Unnoticed victory in Dover case: ID book not banned from school library
The Darwinists on Panda's Thumb and Questionable Authority have accused the Discovery Institute's John West of falsely claiming that the Kitzmiller decision banned the book Of Pandas and People from school libraries. I think that John West was right in claiming that the book was banned -- it was in fact banned from even being merely mentioned in science classrooms. However, his following statement wrongly implied that the book was banned from school libraries: "While I did not favor the Dover policy, the idea that it was an affront to the First Amendment to make Of Pandas and People available to students on a voluntary basis is simply Orwellian." Understandably, West might have been unaware that the plaintiffs expressly stated that they were not seeking to have the book removed from the school library.
West nominated the book for the dubious distinction of being the banned book of the year for the "Banned Books Week" event. The American Library Association, one of the co-sponsors of "Banned Books Week", said that the event covers "challenged" books as well as banned books:
Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) is asked why the week is called “Banned Books Week” instead of “Challenged Books Week,” since the majority of the books featured during the week are not banned, but “merely” challenged. There are two reasons. One, ALA does not “own” the name Banned Books Week, but is just one of several cosponsors of BBW; therefore, ALA cannot change the name without all the cosponsors agreeing to a change. Two, none want to do so, primarily because a challenge is an attempt to ban or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A successful challenge would result in materials being banned or restricted.
Also, the ALA says that a "challenge" to a book can include an attempt at removal from a curriculum as well as removal from a library:
A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.
So contrary to the claims of the Darwinists, Of Pandas and People is clearly eligible to be selected as a banned book of the year. However, apparently there is no special "banned book of the year" contest in the "Banned Books Week" event -- the books are just ranked according to the number of times that they are challenged.
It is quite obvious why I was banned from Panda's Thumb, Dispatches from the Culture Wars, and Austringer (Wesley Elsberry's blog) -- the Darwinists there don't want me raining on their parades.