David Bolinsky of XVIVIO has posted an open letter regarding the copyright infringement by Expelled. Interestingly, Mike Edmondson who was the animator for the movie has been scrubbed from the Expelled website and Dembksi has hinted that the producers had squirreled away money for copyright lawsuits. Sayeth Dembski:
I’ve gotten to know the producers quite well. As far as I can tell, they made sure to budget for lawsuits. Also, I know for a fact that they have one of the best intellectual property attorneys in the business. I expect that the producers made their video close enough to the Harvard video to get tongues awagging (Headline: “Harvard University Seeks Injunction Against Ben Stein and EXPELLED” — you think that might generate interest in the movie?), but different enough so that they are unexposed.
To make things worse for the cdesign proponentsists, Jonathan Wells has claimed that Expelled produced their animation in three months (versus the fourteen months it took XVIVIO working probably with a larger crew and budget):
Expelled does NOT use the Harvard animation. The producers paid a professional to create a new animation that is more accurate than the Harvard one (based on current knowledge of cellular processes). Any similarities between the Expelled animation and the Harvard one are due to the fact that both animations depict many of the same processes.
Given the vast number of structures to be removed, and given the structures remaining "on camera", whose positioning and relationships, both aesthetic and functional, needed to remain true to the function and beauty of molecular biology, it is inconceivable, mathematically, that the animator hired by EXPELLED’s producers, independently and randomly came up with the same identical actin filament mesh XVIVO depicted in one scene, which had never before been rendered anywhere in
3D! It is astonishing that among well over a dozen functional kinesins from which an animator might choose, we both chose the same configuration of kinesin, pulling the same protein-studded vesicle, on the same microtubule! Can YOU believe we coincidentally picked the same camera angles and left in the same specific structures in the background, positioned with the same composition? Equally astonishing is the "Intell[i]gent Design" treatment of these and other proteins surfaces, which XVIVO derived using procedural iso-surface skinning of the PDB cloud data of our protein’s atom placement. There are an infinite number of poss[i]ble "correct" solutions to that problem.
Even Dembski’s useless explanatory filter could pick this one out.
In his execrable Icons of Evolution, Wells asks:
“If this is fraud when a stock promoter does it, what is it when a scientists does it?” [p. 234]
Beware of the log in one’s own eye.
The Tempe, AZ Screening has been canceled.
Well, Ken McKnight called the theater today two or so hours before the screening. Ken says:
I just called the Arizona Mills Harkins theater and said that I had heard that the private screening of Expelled had been moved from 7:00 to 6:00 (I didn’t mention that I had been emailed that the showing was canceled). The person I spoke to confirmed that the movie is showing today at 6:00. Clearly the promoters are somehow screening the attendees and then sending out cancellation notices to the "undesirables."
There you go. Lying. Plain and simple and there is no way they can spin that.
Update: Brad was there and offers this report. The show indeed went on, despite being “canceled”.
Update 2: Ken has provided his account of the event.
Never one who is afraid to paint with a very broad brush, Ben Stein gives us this gem (from a Christianity Today interview):
I believe God created the heavens and the earth, and it doesn’t scare me when scientists say that can’t be proved. I couldn’t give a [profanity] whether a person calls himself a scientist. Science has covered itself with glory, morally, in my time. Scientists were the people in Germany telling Hitler that it was a good idea to kill all the Jews. Scientists told Stalin it was a good idea to wipe out the middle-class peasants. Scientists told Mao Tse-Tung it was fine to kill 50,000,000 people in order to further the revolution.
Somebody should inform Stein that it is scientists who developed the life-saving techniques and drugs that he will need should he ever have a heart attack or develop cancer. And that whole polio thing? Scientists as well. I could go on …
(HT to Glenn Branch for the interview transcription)
Caroline Crocker is one of the ID martyrs for the faith featured in Expelled (and in now Executive Director of IDEA). The bogus nature of her case has been well known for a while, but over at Tiny Frog there is a useful "mash-up" of the available information about Crocker.
There’s a screening scheduled for Harkins Arizona Mills at 7pm on April 3rd. I RSVPed last night and got the following in reply:
Dear John Lynch,
This is a confirmation of your RSVP for the free "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" movie screening.Venue information is below.
Theater: Harkins Arizona Mills
5000 Arizona Mills Circle
Tempe, AZ 85281
Number of seats reserved: 1
YOUR NAME WILL BE ON A LIST AT THE DOOR. NO TICKET IS NEEDED. IDs WILL BE CHECKED.
NO BAGS, CELL PHONES OR RECORDING DEVICES WILL BE ALLOWED IN THE THEATER. PLEASE LEAVE THEM IN YOUR CAR.
Motive Entertainement [sic]
I wonder whether they’ll let me in?
For the producers of this movie to continue this Big Lie tying evolution and Nazis together is an irony almost too big to comprehend, given that this is precisely how Nazi propaganda worked. In a rich field of creationist ironies, this may be the elephant in the room. They are projecting onto their enemies the very thing they are guilty of.
For Ben Stein to go to concentration camps and promote creationism is beyond the pale. It’s a lie, it’s ugly, and it should spark universal condemnation from every thinking human on the planet. This movie is founded on falsehoods, the producers lied to get interviews, they’ve used decidedly shady tactics to promote it, and the movie evidently has a huge lie as its very premise -a lie to which the producers themselves have admitted.
All of this, by the way, follows from a sympathetic viewer (Stuart Blessman) noting that
Nazi Germany is the thread that ties everything in the movie together. Evolution leads to atheism leads to eugenics leads to Holocaust and Nazi Germany
Blessman, it appears, also makes up a bunch of lies about Myers at the screening and accuses Dawkins of being a "gatecrasher".
This was a private screening with no admission charge, and you had to reserve seats ahead of time; you also had to sign a promise that you wouldn’t record the movie while you were there, and they were checking ID. Everyone in my family reserved seats under our own names, myself included. There was no attempt to "sneak in" [emphasis mine]
Others may be crashing because they want to trash it before it even gets reviewed by the media. P.Z. Myers, who was not let into a showing last night in Minnesota, probably falls in the latter category.
No surprises. Myers (and Dawkins) did not "crash" the viewing – he applied for tickets just like everyone else (scroll down to the MN viewing at the Bloomington Mall of America AMC 14 showing; screen capture here just in case it slips down the memory hole).
Bruce Chapman is telling lies, plain and simple. I seem to remember a commandment against that.
Update: As this Panda’s Thumb post notes, “If Expelled expected these showings to be ‘private’, why would they provide a public RSVP site where anyone can signup to attend one of the many showings of the movie?” And the DI has issued a, *gasp*, press release. Imagine that.
In The Chronicle of Higher Education (12/21/01) William Dembski had this to say about his publication strategy:
“I’ve just gotten kind of blase about submitting things to journals where you often wait two years to get things into print. And I find I can actually get the turnaround faster by writing a book and getting the ideas expressed there. My books sell well. I get a royalty. And the material gets read more.”
which makes the following all the more ironic. On commenting of Dawkins’ $3.5 million contract for Only A Theory? he says:
$3.5million is a lot of money. The question I have is whether Dawkins still worships exclusively in the temple of Darwin or if he now also attends services at the temple of Mammon.
You got to sense a little envy there.
Why to not engage in scientific peer review:
We have often received feedback in the form of questions on the lines of, ‘If creation is scientific, then why don’t you publish in peer-reviewed secular journals?’ Andrew Kulikovsky answers this common question in detail. He points out the advantage of peer review but then documents its many shortcomings in practice, including rejecting top research while admitting fraud, as well as an all-to-common role in protecting the ruling paradigm. So it is folly for anticreationists to hide behind it instead of dealing with the arguments. This is why, to keep the advantages and overcome its drawbacks, creationists have started their own journals, e.g. CMI’s longstanding publication now titled Journal of Creation.
Whaaaaaaaaaaa? Full version here.
PZ has noted that the boyos over at Uncommon Descent have deep-sixed a comment thread that (rightly) pointed out that he bested DI-fellow Geoffrey Simmons in their debate yesterday (it will be interesting to see how the DI spins this one). Happily, After The Bar Closes has the comments archived. Therein, you can find this gem from Louis Savain (yeah, that Savain):
The ID movement is wasting its time and resources, in my opinion. This ID vs. evolution fight will never be won with either debates, arguments, brochures, web sites or what have you. The opposition has a propaganda machine that is impervious to this strategy. If public debates and discussions are the best that we can do, I’m afraid we have lost the war before it has even started.
ID needs a BIG EVENT. It needs something that will get everybody (laymen and experts alike) to stand up and take notice, something that will quickly and decisively nullify the enemy’s defences. I don’t see these endless debates and arguments making a dent in their armor. They’re stronger than ever.
Education and arguments are nice but they will only be effective after we’re on top, not before.
["mapou", 01/31/2008 5:27pm]
It’s not that public debates and discussions are the "best" that they can do, it’s that public debates and discussions are all that they can do. The evidence clearly hasn’t worked out in their favor and the ID movement has turned to attempts to win over the public through op-ed pieces, websites and "debates." And now they are losing that engagement as well because, as PZ ably demonstrated, their ignorance of scientific findings becomes obvious when they are questioned.
What sort of "BIG EVENT" Savain envisions is anyone’s guess – short of the appearance of Xenu, the FSM, or You-Know-Who, it’s hard to see what could pull ID out of its current tail-spin.
Apparently there are some questions you just can’t ask. The cdesign proponentsists maintain that the truth is being stifled by their not being allowed ask "difficult" questions of evolutionary biology. Yet we need to remember that supporters of intelligent design have questions that they avoid, often by censorship of the kind they accuse mainstream science. Witness DaveScot over at Uncommon Descent:
Permutations of the question “Who designed the designer?” are trite, easily addressed, and if you read the moderation rules you’ll find that comments using this and other trite arguments are deleted. There is not enough data to make any determination of who designed the designer. When and if we can identify the designer of organic life on this planet we might have some data to work with in determining the origin of that agency. Until that situation changes, maybe SETI will give us some data someday, there’s no point in asking the question over and over again.
At least Dembski admits the truth: "The Designer of intelligent design is, ultimately, the Christian God" and I think we can assume that he doesn’t believe the "Christian God" was designed. DaveScot’s statement is just a prevarication aimed at avoiding answering the question.
Cornelius Hunter expectorates:
In the life sciences one’s alternatives are to be a Darwinist or to be a Darwinist. Passing grades, letters of recommendation, graduate school admission, doctorate exams, faculty hiring, and tenure promotion all require adherence to the theory of evolution. The lists are long of otherwise qualified candidates who could not take that next career step because they did not conform to the Darwinian paradigm.
Long lists? Evidence please!
Hunter is not a Darwinist. Was he denied his PhD in biophysics?
Meyer, Wells, Behe, Marcus Ross, Kurt Wise? The signatories of the DI’s "Dissent from Dawin" list? Do I need to go on? Come on Dr Hunter – share your long list with us. Or are you just lying?
I don’t expect an answer, of course*. The IDists never manage to back up a claim of discrimination beyond their harping about Gonzalez and Sternberg.
Oh, and I am not a Darwinist. I’ve passed classes, gotten letters, gotten a PhD, been hired and promoted. Guess it was because I could, ya know, actually do science. Which is more than can be said for Hunter, Wells, Wise and others.
* I particularly don’t expect an answer as Hunter’s post – like all of those by contributers to ARN or the DI – doesn’t allow trackbacks or comments. It always amuses me that these claimed advocates for full and frank discourse either prevent commenting or actively censor it (witness Uncommon Descent).
Over at the Pandas Thumb, "ThisIsPerfection" accuses me of using an argument from authority when I posted the composition of the 300 signatories of the DI’s "Dissent from Darwinism" list. I beg to differ. It is the DI itself that is engaging in such an argument. Witness:
More than 700 Ph.D. scientists have adopted a statement expressing skepticism of the core mechanism of modern Darwinian theory and urging a careful examination of the evidence (dissentfromdarwin.org). Those scientists include members of the national academy of sciences in several countries, as well as professors at Princeton, MIT, Tulane, UCLA, Ohio State, and the University of Michigan.
Now that is a classic argument from authority.
Look, we’ve been through this many times before. The plain fact is that the vast majority of the signatories – being chemists, physicists, engineers and suchlike – have no obvious expertise in evolutionary biology. What they do have, however, is an opinion. As the adage goes, everyone has an opinion.
Dembski pimps an interview with his new bestest buddy, the electrical and computer engineer, Robert Marks "director of the Baylor Evolutionary Informatics Lab" (which is comprised of Dembski, Marks and two students). The Isaac Newton of Information Theory says:
I hope you catch from the interview the ambitiousness of the lab and how it promises to put people like Christoph Adami and Rob Pennock out of business (compare www.evolutionaryinformatics.org with devolab.cse.msu.edu).
Let’s do that shall we? Let’s compare the two labs. Number of journal papers by the Baylor Evolutionary Informatics Lab? Zero. By the Devolab at MSU? Eleven; in journals such as Nature, Science, PNAS, Evolution and J. Theor. Biol. No contest really.
The Baylor unit is the "new ID friendly research center at a major university" that Dembski "predicted" earlier this year. I guessed it would be at Baylor. Boy, I’m good.
Dembski’s other "predictions" were that Behe’s Edge of Evolution and his own The Design of Life (with Wells) would appear. Looks like he’s batting two for three at the moment. It has obviously been a triumphant year for ID.
So let’s ignore the faux "research center," the trade press book that has appeared not with a bang but with a whimper, and the bastard offspring of Pandas and People. What has ID achieved this year so far? Nothing. Let’s cast our minds back to what I suggested ID should give us in 2007:
- A single peer-reviewed article offering positive evidence for design in a biological system.
- A theory of how the Designer-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named did the designing.
- From Dembski: a peer-reviewed paper in the mathematical literature that presents a method to unambiguously (and positively) detect design by differentiating design from non-design.
- From Nelson:  An exposition of the theory of "ontogenetic depth";  A promised peer-reviewed paper on problems with common descent (April 2005 seems so long ago. To speed things up, have Dembski put it online … that’s where he puts everything these days);  The promised monograph on common descent that is currently MIA since the late 90’s.
- From Wells: Any writing that actually fairly represents science (we’re not asking for much here).
I haven’t spoken of Michael Egnor is a long time. If you remember, he’s the DI’s pet neurosurgeon who, as many have documented, has a penchant for silly arguments. Attacking Egnor is a little like harvesting low-hanging fruit, but I couldn’t let this (lack of) logic go unnoticed … think of it as a teaching moment.