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Senate GOP leader investigating California Science Center's cancellation of anti-Darwin film

January 20, 2010 |  7:16 pm

InheritTheWind The case of the canceled anti-Darwin film is evolving in a potentially unpleasant way for the California Science Center.

It's already facing a lawsuit for alleged fraud and 1st Amendment violations from the American Freedom Alliance, an L.A. think tank that wanted to screen "Darwin's Dilemma: The Mystery of the Cambrian Fossil Record," which promotes intelligent design as an alternative to Darwinian theory as an explanation for how life developed on Earth. Now, the state-owned museum in Exposition Park is getting heat from Sacramento.

Dennis Hollingsworth (R-Murrieta), the GOP's leader in the state Senate, last week sent Joel Strom, the chairman of the science center's board of directors, a letter saying he aims to investigate the "disturbing situation." Hollingsworth said he's concerned that the science center may have violated laws prohibiting government agencies from banning groups from using public spaces because of their point of view.

DennisHollingsworth Attached was a long list of information he wants handed over pertaining to the decision to cancel the Oct. 25 screening, "including e-mail communications from CSC staff, employees and board members which discuss the event and the topic of intelligent design."

The case may prove awkward for Strom, a Beverly Hills dentist who was appointed to the science center's board by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

-- Mike Boehm

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Photos: Spencer Tracy, left, and Fredric March as lawyers resembling Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan in the film "Inherit the Wind," echoing the 1925 "Scopes monkey trial" that debated Darwin's theory of evolution; Dennis Hollingsworth. Credits: Associated Press (film still); Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press (Hollingsworth).


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