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California Wild Re-Posts "In My Backyard"


In the spring 2005 issue of California Wild, the magazine of the California Academy of Sciences, NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott, a Fellow of the Academy, discussed creationism in California, in a piece entitled "In My Backyard." A section of the article briefly described controversies over evolution education in the Roseville, California, schools over the last few years.

Subsequently, Larry Caldwell, a Roseville resident active in those controversies, filed suit against Scott and NCSE, alleging that "false statements about Caldwell in the Scott Article are defamatory per se, since they expose him to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or obloquy ...." Scott and NCSE obtained pro bono legal representation from Robert Mahnke and Warrington Parker III of the San Francisco office of Heller Ehrman LLP.

Caldwell also threatened lawsuits against California Wild and a number of people who quoted from or posted links to the article on California Wild's website. In response, California Wild removed the article from its website in June. Caldwell also has an ongoing suit against the Roseville Joint Union High School District for allegedly violating his civil rights during those controversies.

Scott corrected a small number of errors in a letter to the editor published in the summer 2005 issue of California Wild, including some of which Caldwell had complained. When that letter appeared, various creationism-promoting institutions accused NCSE of a "campaign of disinformation" and a "pattern of making false claims and character attacks," uncritically repeating Caldwell's allegations. On the contrary, NCSE contends that it has well earned its reputation as the most important and reliable source for information on the creationism/evolution controversy.

NCSE is pleased that California Wild has now posted a corrected version of "In My Backyard" [Link broken] on its website. To enable readers to decide for themselves whether the corrected errors were minor, as Scott contends, or outrageous, as Caldwell contends, NCSE has posted a corrected version of the article with the changes indicated. We believe that the evidence speaks for itself.