Nuisance Lawsuit Against Scott and NCSE Withdrawn

| 21 Comments

Dr. Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education put a comment on a thread here that delivers some interesting news on the nuisance lawsuit filed earlier this year: it was never served on NCSE, and in fact was withdrawn in July, although the filer failed to notify NCSE of this action.

Dr. Eugenie C. Scott Wrote:

This is not the first time that Mr. Caldwell has claimed that I maliciously wrote in the California Wild article that he submitted YEC books to the district. Castigating me for my not having explained the source of that error is is disingenuous. After Mr. Caldwell filed suit against NCSE and me personally, my lawyer advised me to not make any public statements. And of course Mr. Caldwell has threatened some members of PT and PT itself for linking to the CW article, is sueing the Roseville school district, and also attempted to subpoena NCSE’s records in regards to THAT lawsuit – you get the picture. The advice seemed prudent. Not being able to speak out has chafed greatly, as NCSE staff and my family are very aware. I have long wanted to get the truth out about Mr. Caldwell’s claims, but have been hampered by his own actions in suing me, and twice threatening to sue the California Academy of Sciences.

However, we have just discovered that Mr. Caldwell has dismissed the lawsuit against us – way back in July, in fact! He had sent us a settlement offer, we replied, and my lawyer and I have been waiting for his response to our reply– but we have heard nothing from him. In fact, although he filed the suit in April, he never even bothered to formally serve me with notice of his legal action! Now, shortly after receiving our reply to his settlement offer, he has moved to dismiss the lawsuit.

He never informed us that he had dismissed the case (which is apparently not legally required, but certainly would have been courteous) and thinking that I was still under the advice of my counsel to maintail silence, I have remained mute. This should not be mistaken for any acquiescence to Caldwell’s claims, nor certainly lack of confidence in the strength of our legal position! But you can’t take certain actions until certain procedural events take place – one usually gets served when one gets sued, for example, and then the clock starts ticking for response. We’ve been waiting around for Caldwell, but I’m happy to say that since he dismissed his lawsuit, I am not longer under those constraints.

Although we are very busy right now getting ready for the Dover trial, which certainly takes precedence over a nuisance suit, however personally annoying this has been, I will soon explain fully the actual facts of the Caldwell vs Scott lawsuit, as contrasted with the distorted version presented by Caldwell here, in Caldwell’s press releases, and in the religious right media echo chamber.

That we would not be able to “defend <ourselves> in court” is laughable, as anyone who reads the corrected version of the article on NCSE’s web site will quickly see: Corrected article

Stay tuned.

(Comment #48088)

21 Comments

As someone unfamiliar with the details of the case prior to reading this, I would suggest it does seem like the corrections include one important piece of information that I could see how someone like Caldwell would be upset about. The article basically lumps ID and Creationism together, as is appropriate in a science setting. However from Caldwell’s perspective they might be completely different things. He might see creationism as religion and ID as science, and to attribute the jehovahs witness book to him might seem offensive.

Of course his remedy available would be to sue. So he sued, and the article was changed. Claiming defamation seems like a legal strategy to force the corrections. Nasty lawyers.

Such is life in America.

Dr Scott wrote:He never informed us that he had dismissed the case (which is apparently not legally required, but certainly would have been courteous)

Yes, that would have been the “Christian” thing to do. But, since the ID crowd (ID crowd = fundamentalist christians) believe they have the absolute authority on deciding who is and is NOT a christian, and have implicitly indicated that evolutionists are NOT christians, they do not feel obliged to treat non-christians with respect and have a right to sue (steal) your money! Wow, they sort of sound like radical muslims. Except for using killing as their terror weapon, the fundamentalist christians are using the US legal system. So, the question becomes, who scares you more? Radical muslims or radical fundamentalist christians. For the record, I’m a conservative ideologue.

Wow, they sort of sound like radical muslims. Except for using killing as their terror weapon, the fundamentalist christians are using the US legal system. So, the question becomes, who scares you more? Radical muslims or radical fundamentalist christians. For the record, I’m a conservative ideologue.

This is a bit of a generalization. There are occasional Christian extremists who use violence, such as shooting medical doctors or setting off bombs during the Olympics. That’s jsut in this country, I won’t mention Northern Ireland.

The fact that the prepetrator of violence happens to be a christian is meaningless unless he claims to be defending christianity by his violent act. And then it is still meaningless in the larger sense because other christians will condemn the violence and call for the prosecution of the criminal. We are still waiting for the muslims who will stand up and say that muslim terrorists do not go to heaven and get 72 virgins but in fact go to hell for their violent acts against innocent persons.

Flash Gordon:

http://www.islam-online.net/English[…]icle25.shtml

Note the dateline: September 13, 2001.

It took me 20 seconds of Googling to find. Maybe we should put that particular canard to rest, OK?

This is a bit of a generalization. There are occasional Christian extremists who use violence, such as shooting medical doctors or setting off bombs during the Olympics. That’s jsut in this country, I won’t mention Northern Ireland.

Yes, you’re correct. That was a generalization as every person should be respected based on their own merits and should not be criticized for their beliefs. Perhaps I could have been more succinct by stating the “religion” or “mindset” of fundamentalist christians. However, I wasn’t referring or insinutating that they are violent. On the contrary, I was pointing out the fact that they choose to use the law to force their views on others. The fact that they use the law scares me more than a group of individuals that use violence. That was my original intent. Is that clearer?

Yes, you’re correct. That was a generalization as every person should be respected based on their own merits and should not be criticized for their beliefs. Perhaps I could have been more succinct by stating the “religion” or “mindset” of fundamentalist christians. However, I wasn’t referring or insinutating that they are violent. On the contrary, I was pointing out the fact that they choose to use the law to force their views on others. The fact that they use the law scares me more than a group of individuals that use violence. That was my original intent. Is that clearer?

Yes, thank you for the clarification. I did not originally grasp your meaning.

Interesting tactic. All he had to pay was filing fees. He didn’t even have to pay for service of the complaint (though, it would be interesting to know whether Mr. Caldwell told the court that he had not bothered to effect service).

I can think of several people I’d like to sue in order to get them to shut up. If all I have to pay is filing fees … hmmmm.

Alas, I doubt the legal expertise of anyone on the ID side would contain the common sense advice to keep quiet.

The article basically lumps ID and Creationism together, as is appropriate in a science setting. However from Caldwell’s perspective they might be completely different things. He might see creationism as religion and ID as science

ALL of the IDers must, of necessity, adopt that view. They have no choice. Creation “science” has already been ruled illegal by the Supreme Court. If IDers want to have ANY chance of getting their crap into schools, any chance AT ALL, they absolutely MUST argue that the two are entirely separate things. They have no choice in the matter.

And that, I think, was the real aim behind Caldwell’s little adventure. I think he was angling to get a real live bona fide court ruling that “ID and creationism aren’t the same”, so he and his ilk could wave it in front of the judge in Dover and exclaim “See!!! See!!!!”

ID, of course, *is* nothing but creation “science”. Same arguments, same goals, and in many cases, same people. (shrug)

This is a bit of a generalization. There are occasional Christian extremists who use violence, such as shooting medical doctors or setting off bombs during the Olympics. That’s jsut in this country, I won’t mention Northern Ireland.

Well, allow me to quickly correct a common misconception held here in America (and one that was corrected for me by some friends from Ireland from both sides in the conflict) —- the fight in Northern Ireland is NOT a religious fight. It is a political fight. They are not fighting over religious doctrines like transubstantiation or the infallibility of the Pope. They are fighting over whether the Six Counties should be part of England, or Ireland. The pro-Ireland side (many, but not all, of which are Catholics) want unity with the Republic of Ireland; the pro-England side (many, but not all, of which are Protestant) want unity with Britain.

It is more a “colonial rebellion” than a religious fight.

We are still waiting for the muslims who will stand up and say that muslim terrorists do not go to heaven and get 72 virgins but in fact go to hell for their violent acts against innocent persons.

IIRC, Hahrun Yaya (or, as I affectionately refer to it/them, the Holy Yoyos) have been saying exactly this. For years now. Pre-9-11.

Jeez, sounds like a creepy guy.

He doesn’t bother to tell people ‘by the way, that lawsuit thing, I’ve withdrawn it.’ Moreover …

He denies the advocacy of ID, but speaks at the Biola ID conference in 2004. He denies in 2005 having even heard of the creationist books submitted to the district, but denies that he submitted them during a meeting in 2003. He denies a creationist viewpoint but allies with Cornelius Hunter. A quick read of Hunter’s books makes it obvious what Hunter’s viewpoint is. What comes to mind? Oh yeah “If it acts like a duck, and quacks like a duck . … . .”

He does promote something called a ‘quality science education policy’ but there’s nothing of quality, scientific value, or educational interest. What does he do anyway? - oh yeah, he’s a lawyer, apparently with a little too much time on his hands. Sounds like a creepy guy.

‘The fact that the prepetrator of violence happens to be a christian is meaningless unless he claims to be defending christianity by his violent act.’

Not so.

‘ And then it is still meaningless in the larger sense because other christians will condemn the violence and call for the prosecution of the criminal.’

Using your logic above, religion has nothing to do with that but rather the secular society we live in. In times past, this ‘condemnation’ didn’t occur because the society viewed persecution based on religion as part and parcel of life.

‘We are still waiting for the muslims who will stand up and say that muslim terrorists do not go to heaven and get 72 virgins but in fact go to hell for their violent acts against innocent persons.’

Please, many have. And I would argue that while the terrorist acts were terrible events, many millions of smaller events occur daily in the name of a variety of religions. Pick you poison but don’t presume one worse than the other based on these actions.

Lenny Wrote:

“The pro-Ireland side (many, but not all, of which are Catholics) want unity with the Republic of Ireland; the pro-England side (many, but not all, of which are Protestant) want unity with Britain.”

Pretty fair analysis there Rev, but no-one asked us Brits if we actually want unity with the six counties. Referendum held in NI, referedum held in RoI, nothing in the place that gets to pay for it all.…

…what’s that line about taxation and representation ?

ID-sympathetic blogger Denyse O’Leary has covered this case prominently, and approvingly, in her “Post-Darwinist” blog, e.g. http://post-darwinist.blogspot.com/[…]settles.html I wonder if she will post any kind of update?

Pretty fair analysis there Rev, but no-one asked us Brits if we actually want unity with the six counties. Referendum held in NI, referedum held in RoI, nothing in the place that gets to pay for it all.……what’s that line about taxation and representation ?

Maybe you Brits should take a lesson from Washington and Adams. ;>

Re Ross and Lenny:The conflict here has been going on for hundreds of years back to when Prince William of Orange ascended to the throne of England and even before that.It is not a question af the people of England wanting the “six counties”. Northern Ireland is part of the UK although not Great Britian. During the last war many people (both protestant and catholic) gave their lives for GB even though there was no conscription here.

While it is true that some people may have been motovated to commit murder by religous issues I would say that very few of the actual terrorists themselves were “born again believers”. Lenny is correct when he says that the situation here is mainly political but its not a case of the people wanting to be part of England as Northern Ireland is already part of the UK.

Although the riots this week were awful (Cloghfern corner was like a scene from Iraq) thankfully there were no lives lost and I think overall the situation is better since the Belfast agreement.

As I’ve probably said before a lot of the protestant churches here are fundamentalist and preach a young Earth creationist message. Even in my own church (Abbots Cross Presbyterian) the minister believes that the Earth was created with the appearance of age 6,000 years ago. Answers in genesis is pushed heavily and we have had a few speakers from the US over the years (Dr. David Menton of AIG and more recently Roger Oakland of Understand The Times International). Both are funamentalist speakers.

My own view on origins is probably the same as C.S.Lewis (who was born, and spent his childhood in Northern Ireland ). ie a theistic evolutionist. This is the position the church in general takes and one which AIG are totally opposed to. I do not accept the young Earth position and find the whole thing utter nonsense. I think there are certain things in science that should be treated as fact, like the Earth is round, that it goes round the sun and not the other way around, or that it is not 6,000 years old. The fact that some scientific facts disagree with the Bible should not be important to a person’s faith. I don’t think that scientists are out to prove that God does not exist !

Ken Ham constantly makes the statement “Where you there” ?. Well we might not have been there but when we look into the night sky we see into the past. The HST has completely changed our view of the universe. The new James Webb telescope (which will replace Hubble in a few years time) will hopefully be just as successful. The new telescopes being built in southern Chile will also provide a view of the early universe which thus far we have been unable to achieve. How Young Earth Creationists can continue with their present position in the face of such insurmountable evidence to me is a mystery.

On a final note Belfast is one of the most interesting cities in the world geologigally speaking. We have Dykes,sills,volcanic plugs (Slemish Moutain) minerals which are found nowhere else , a volcanic plataeu, and the giant’s causeway to name but a few. Clearly 65 million years ago Northern was a very violant place (from a geological point of view)!

And by the way Ross the people of Northern Ireland pay taxes to the exchequer just the same as the people in the rest of the UK !

Syntax Error: not well-formed (invalid token) at line 3, column 12, byte 68 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

Hi Ross. Nice to have met you on the PT. I have lived here all my life and I still can’t understand some of the hatred that exists in this province. Although I am a protestant I have a great admiration for the catholic community here. I don’t think anyone from the “opposite side” has ever done me a bad turn.

I know Larne pretty well as I worked as a chemist in the power station located there for 13 years. The people of Northern Ireland are very conservitive in their thinking and are not always understood by outsiders.

I’m also a member of the IAA (the Irish Astronomical Association). The first lecture of the new season is by professor N Chandra Wickramasinge of Cardiff University and it’s entitled “where are we in our search for origins”. It should be interesting. I wonder if he will mention the YEC’s or the ID movement ? If he doesn’t I will in the Q&A section afterwards ! I’ll also mention both this site, talkorigins and NCSE as well as AIG if they wan’t to look at some creationist astronomy etc. !

I suppose this is yet another exercise in public relations. People will know that there was a lawsuit over an allegedly libellous article, that the article was withdrawn and corrected, and that’s all the creationists want them to know. It won’t get above most people’s horizons that the suit was a nuisance suit that was withdrawn when it had had its PR effect.

Same as that case in Cupertino of a teacher suing the school district for objecting to his lessons where he was, according to some of the students, talking about God the whole time. He and some conservative branches of the press were referring to this as a case of the school district claiming that it was unconsititutional to teach about the Declaration of Independence because their godless political correctness had spiralled out of control. People still refer to this poor guy and the DoI being under attack in the liberal cesspits of California, not realising that there was a lot more to it at the time than just the DoI and that all but one of the teacher’s complaints have been thrown out by the courts and the final complaint was set to be heard next month. And then the teacher dropped the lawsuit. I don’t know about anybody else, but the dropped-lawsuit bit and the throwing out of the complaints bit weren’t very widely reported, and most people don’t know about them. The impression that’s been left is the one the Religious Right wanted to leave, and the press, as usual, seems to have lost interest.

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This page contains a single entry by Wesley R. Elsberry published on September 14, 2005 10:55 PM.

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