DI—Expelled for Plagiarism

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By SA Smith

It is one thing to correct Michael Behe, some structure guy with zero research experience on HIV-1 evolution. But considering the sheer number of DI “fellows” who are lawyers, and the fact I’m just a biology student with zero experience in law, I found it rather strange that I caught something the DI lawyers evidently had no problem with:

Original:

Long Original with Narration:

DI manipulation with *Narration*:

Now, I have brought this to the attention of Harvard and XVIVO, and I don’t know what they’re going to do. (They’re Harvard.—They can do whatever they want.) I do know that they are not happy campers. Now, IANAL, I am a virologist, but here’s why I would be upset.

This isn’t a case of naive copyright infringement on Dembski’s part, ie “Hey! I found this cool video on YouTube, lets use it!” Though Dembski is pictured here, others have reported multiple DI “fellows” presenting this manipulated animation. The Discovery Institute does not have a license to use this animation, so they downloaded it illegally.

Maybe they think it is “okay” to use it anyway because they stripped off Harvard/XVIVOs copyright and credits.

Maybe they think it is “okay” because they gave the animation a new title— “Inner life of a cell” became “The cell as an automated city”—and an extraordinarily unprofessional new narration—alternate alternate title: “Big Gay Al takes a tour of a cell!”. Harvard/XVIVOs narration, all of the science, is whisked away and replaced with a “surrealistic lilliputian realm”—“robots”, “manufacturing”, “circuitry”, “nanomotor”, “UPS labels”. Maybe they think it is “okay” because they turned all of Harvard’s science into “Magic”!

Hmm. From my point of view, as a virologist and former teaching assistant, this isn’t just copyright infringement. This is theft and plagiarism. Taking someone else’s work without their consent, manipulating it without their consent, pretending it supports ID creationist’s absurd views of reality, and presenting it as DI’s work.

Shrug The DI fellows would be expelled from my university for this.

Ms. Smith is a graduate student studying the molecular and biochemical evolution of HIV within patients and within populations. She can be found blogging at ERV.

2 TrackBacks

Questions from Stranger Fruit on November 20, 2007 9:06 PM

Have fellows of the Discovery Institute been caught plagiarizing? You decide. Does the Discovery Institute lie? You decide. Does Behe get owned by a grad student? You decide. Bad week for the cdesign proponentsists by the looks of it. Oh,... Read More

Bruce Chapman, president of the creationist Disco. Inst., complains about "young adults talking about politics and making fools of themselves in television and radio interviews." This is already rich, coming from a group that hosts such intellectual lo... Read More

60 Comments

One can only hope that Harvard will actually take some actions because of Discovery Institute’s golden boy Billy Dembski stealing and perverting their good work.

DI continues to be sleaze merchants to the stars . … .

Shouldn’t the fact that Dembski gets paid for his talks in which he uses the stolen and altered video, as he did at the University of Oklahoma lecture, add to the illegality? Copyright law can be confusing; any legal minds here care to comment?

I suggest that all three videos be saved off youtube in case some form of take-down notice be given. (I could imagine the DI trying to pull a Kent Hovind and send a take down notice about the video of Dembski’s lecture).

I think this is a bit of a new emerging phenomenon: taking the actual product of science, stripping away the content, and replacing it with woo. It’s a bit like ibuprofen relabeled and sold as a homeopathic pain cure. But it’s even a bit more than that… they’re taking the wonder that science has discovered and rebadging it as the wonder of magic. They are, in a sense, stealing the wonder. Expect to see a lot more of this, as superstition is content-free and doesn’t really produce any tangible wonder of its own

Don’t worry! We have several good copies and the videos have now been posted on several blogs.

waldteufel– I dont think its just Dembski, and I dont think this theft is fresh. Im hoping some PTers will watch the animations and recognize them from previous DI fellows presentations.

Theres a description of an animation that *sounds* like this one in the PT archives, 9 months ago…

Vic– From what I understand, I think a ‘cease and desist’ order from a judge is the best we can hope for at this point. *sigh* But IANAHL (I am not a Harvard lawyer, lol!)

Josh– I have them all too :)

If Harvard lets this incident slide, thinking the Disco Institute is small potatoes or hoping to avoid embarrassing publicity, the DI will very likely start pushing their “Harvard connection.” (Speaking of universities, I’m sure Baylor is ecstatic that Dembski has renewed his association with their institution, and is once again bringing it national recognition.)

need an i after the g: plagiarism

I just made a copy of Ms. Smith’s damning post here:

http://www.care2.com/c2c/groups/dis[…]p;pst=841850

Check this out too:

http://circleh.wordpress.com/2007/0[…]lution-site/

What will it take to shut down this gang of con artists?!

Totally agree with what you posted here, but I just want to say, that video is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

Hey, I remember seeing a TED talk by the lead animator on this project. The video is shown at the end of the talk.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/147

no no no AFTER the g! plagiarism

Assuming that this is an unlicensed copy for the sake of argument, there are several aspects to consider.

A preliminary consideration is to determine that the DI did copy the Harvard materials, rather than, for example, create them independently or derive them from another source. I assume this is a slam-dunk.

Another aspect concerns whether the DI’s use is a “fair use” under the copyright statute. Probably the two most important factors in this situation are whether the infringing use is commercial (as opposed to not for profit) and the extent to which the copying impacts the market for the original.

A further consideration is which rights have been infringed. Making a copy is by itself an infringement. Changing the original is making a “derivastive work,” which is also an infringement. Public display of the work is also an infringement. There may be more.

As Abbie noted, it is up to the copyright owner to send a cease-and-desisit letter or to sue for infringement. What the blogger corps can do is to expose the copying as widely as possibe. Be careful, however, of your facts; no one wants a defamation action brought against them. Accusations such as this hold them up to a lot of ridicule.

You might look around for other possible copyrights infringed by DI. Seems to me that this might not be the first time they have appropriated the work of others.

Dembski’s narration is simply atrocious.

It sounds like a some poor sap managed to slip his way into first year biology at university without ever having studied at it high school and has just realised they are out of their depth.

What better illustration is there that the DI is so incapable of doing “ID” research that have to resort to stealing legitimate research and making it appear to support there POV.

The DI is hopelessly corrupt.

Good catch Dr. Smith

Stuart Weinstein Wrote:

Good catch Dr. Smith

While I agree with the sentiment, I’m going to nitpick: IIUC, ERV is working towards a PhD, so does not yet have the title “Dr”.

ERV, I hope you will correct me if I’m wrong.

PS, Having read some of ERV’s blogging, and her fisking of Behe, I’m sure it is only a matter of time. IMO she definitely knows her stuff.

The ultimate quote mine.

Perhaps, next time Dembski’s surfing the web, he can look up ‘argument from personal incredulity’ too.

I haven’t yet watched all the videos, so I don’t know how much of a case there would be for fair use, but in principle a fair use defense isn’t out of the question, though it depends on various factors having to do with the use’s nature and purpose. (The fact that it was shown in paid lectures doesn’t automatically disqualify it.)

However, plagiarism and copyright violation aren’t the same thing. If you reuse someone else’s work in an academic or other formal context and remove or fail to make proper attribution for it, that’s plagiarism, *regardless* of whether it’s also copyright violation. (For example, copying from a public domain document without credit is still plagiarism.) And plagiarism alone is considered an offense serous enough to thoroughly discredit anyone who engages in it.

As for other examples, I’d look at their new books. These guys do not do original research. Just about anything in those books came from somewhere else. If they did things correctly all the photos and texts were credited properly and they have to ask to use them if they take them from other sources. Since they use publishers with pretty suspect motives and backgrounds it may not all be on the up and up. If you were a naturalist and had published pictures or a textbook, would you want the Discovery Institute frauds using your material? They could use stock photos and things like that, but did they? Being honest isn’t the nature of these guys. Their first consideration has always been “Can we get away with it?”

Ron Okimoto Wrote:

Their first consideration has always been “Can we get away with it?”

That concisely answers my “20/20 hindsight” question of why some anti-evolution activist groups didn’t bypass ID and go straight to the “replacement scam” even before “Edwards v. Aguillard,” when the flaws and contradictions were already putting a strain on classic creationism. While the replacement scam would have avoided the legally risky design language as well as the specific claims of YEC and OEC that not only fail the tests, but contradict each other to boot, some groups probably thought that was too “cold and impersonal,” and that they could “get away” with design language, as long as references to “Creator,” and any identities, were omitted. So the compromise of “teach design” might have been the only way at the time to get advocates of a wide range of anti-evolution strategies on the same page.

Abbie - Thanks for all the work helping to keep the lying liers in line. I hope your committee gives you Extra Credit for bashing Behe and de-pantsing Demsbksi.

THANKS!

Hope you have a good Thanksgiving.

At least Dembski wasn’t blowing fart noises in this one. That’s a step up for him.

So creationists overdub real science to make it conform to their purposes. Hey, this isn’t even the first time this year for that trick. From The Telegraph (UK), 21 Feb 2007:

“The world’s best known wildlife broadcaster, Sir David Attenborough, has called on the BBC to stop Christian fundamentalists from deleting references to evolution from his documentaries. “Censored versions of Sir David’s award winning programmes have been broadcast in Holland without any references to evolution, speciation, descent and timescales of millions of years, after being censored by Christian creationists who are opposed to Charles Darwin’s ideas.

.…

“The edits by the public broadcasting organisation Evangelische Omroep (EO, Evangelical Broadcasting) have triggered howls protests about “deviations and sins of omission” from Dutch scientists, led by Dr Gerdien de Jong, an evolutionary biologist at Utrecht University.

I think the presence of fart noises would have actually improved his narration.

Dale Husband Wrote:

What will it take to shut down this gang of con artists?!

Kevin Trudeau went to jail, and he’s back selling snake oil, so I guess the word you’re looking for is “miracle”.

since people are suggesting looking for more DI theft, i was wondering if anyone has looked into the that ridiculous ‘Explore Evolution’ book they came out with. on their website they have a “peek inside” section http://www.exploreevolution.com/ on the section that i looked at they have a tree of life by Haeckel (they’re obsessed with him!!) where they make sure to put ‘public domain.’ i’d be interested to see what all else is there. however, it was published by a Melbourne/London publisher. so maybe someone can take a hint from tom cruise and the scientologists and sue them in england. :)

Molecanthro, Great Britain makes it easier to sue for libel. I’m not a lawyer but I’m not aware anything that makes suing for copyright violations substantially easier there.

I know very little about the copyright issues involved, but I have just finished watching the official Harvard videos, and I just have to say: they are so cool! I have always struggled with visualising the many interactions that occur between different types of proteins and organelles and so on (since all of the interactions are typically taught in isolation). Those proteins look so blobby and alien - it really brings across the fact that they behave like nothing within the realm of our personal experience.

So, Dembski is a liar like Gish! They prostitute their intelligence with known fallacious arguments.They are comtemnible.

Thank you so much. This is the kind of thing that you give credit for in a classroom setting and especially a public lecture. Every article I use in every class must be cited appropriately so that everyone knows where, what, when, who, and why. I don’t know that he could actually be sued. But I love the way no credit is due to actual working scientists with actual explanations who actually gave Dembski the ability to say, “Wow! This is so complex! It must be specified and irreducible at the same time!” Of course, anyone who would have stood up during Q&A and asked for him to explain how the designer did anything, they would have been accused of looking for a “pathetic level of detail.” Once again, show us the money.

{reduced to attempts at humor by the enormity of it all}

WRT Sarah above: This goes way beyond mere quote mining. Since they have removed the original narration and the official attribution and (C) notice, I’d say it must be strip mining!

I would like to point out some of the words and descriptions used in the recent blog post by PZMyers “Stem cell breakthrough”.

The words used throughout the article clearly describe the way researchers are looking at cells, thinking about how they function, seeing the way they function, and how they intend to go about manipulating them. Words such as:

“Reprogram” “Distinct states” “Specific function” “Patterns of activation” “Switch on, Switch off” “Reconfigure the pattern” “Reset Button” “Signaling cascades” “Molded”

Here is an interesting statement in the article: “What the investigators have accomplished is to discover the reset button for the cell, but the way they currently press it is by hitting it hard with a ball peen hammer.”

A “reset button”? “Pressing it” by hitting with a “ball peen hammer”?

Ms. Smith, in your post here you state that the new narration of the Harvard video is “extraordinarily unprofessional”, and “all of the Harvard science is whisked away and replaced”. You say that the ID creationist’s absurd views of reality are expressed by describing the cell and it’s functions in a way that is perverting Science and turning it into “Magic”.

Ms. Smith, or anyone else, could you please clearly explain why it is OK for the stem cell researchers to speak in metaphorical language concerning the cell and it’s functioning, but it is not OK for “ID creationists” to do the same?

JKelly:

I would like to point out some of the words and descriptions used in the recent blog post by PZMyers “Stem cell breakthrough”.

The words used throughout the article clearly describe the way researchers are looking at cells, thinking about how they function, seeing the way they function, and how they intend to go about manipulating them. Words such as:

“Reprogram” “Distinct states” “Specific function” “Patterns of activation” “Switch on, Switch off” “Reconfigure the pattern” “Reset Button” “Signaling cascades” “Molded”

Here is an interesting statement in the article: “What the investigators have accomplished is to discover the reset button for the cell, but the way they currently press it is by hitting it hard with a ball peen hammer.”

A “reset button”? “Pressing it” by hitting with a “ball peen hammer”?

Ms. Smith, in your post here you state that the new narration of the Harvard video is “extraordinarily unprofessional”, and “all of the Harvard science is whisked away and replaced”. You say that the ID creationist’s absurd views of reality are expressed by describing the cell and it’s functions in a way that is perverting Science and turning it into “Magic”.

Ms. Smith, or anyone else, could you please clearly explain why it is OK for the stem cell researchers to speak in metaphorical language concerning the cell and it’s functioning, but it is not OK for “ID creationists” to do the same?

Simple. No plagiarism was committed by the stem cell researchers, and they stuck to facts, not useless speculation about a “designer” that cannot be empirically verified.

Got any other stupid questions for us?

This is a felony under U.S. copyright law. The removal of the copyrights is particularly egregious.

Of course, they can always try to defend themselves by claiming it’s a parody falling under fair use.

JKelly–

You are making a big deal, here, out of how scientists sometimes use silly language, as if that were all Dembski and the DI did. You conveniently left out the elephant in the room, that the fellows of the DI certainly committed plagiarism– a serious lapse of ethics that has ended more than one academic career. They may even have committed a felony under US copyright law.

I’m just curious. What would the Discovery Institute have to do in order for you to stop making excuses for them? Is there anything they could do that would make you say, ‘I’m going to stop defending them at all costs and look at the situation impartially.’

I don’t expect you to respond to me, but I do hope you spend some time thinking about your own ethical position.

JKelly– Ms. Smith, or anyone else, could you please clearly explain why it is OK for the stem cell researchers to speak in metaphorical language concerning the cell and it’s functioning, but it is not OK for “ID creationists” to do the same?

Sure! I think thats a valid question!

I think the main difference is the same as the difference between similes and metaphors. Scientist– “A cell is like an automated city.” Creationist– “A cell is an automated city.”

The scientists you quote do not mean a literal ‘reset button.’ ID Creationist using that phrase would. Please see Dembskis pre-animation comments for more examples.

Another main difference is how those analogies are used. Scientists use everyday terms like “hit a reset button” to help people who arent experts in their field understand the point of their research. If you press them, though, or let them know you understand their field enough for more complex explanations, scientists will happily provide them. ID Creationists use analogies for non-education. To “WOW!” and confuse their audience. William Dembski knows jack shit about the interactions between dynein and kinesin to move a vacuole. He has no idea how alpha- and betatubulin make microtubules. And he doesnt want you to know either. The analogy is NOT for education. Its for confusion.

If Dembski was so concerned about education, why didnt he use the animation with the narration and credit Harvard? It would have been a hellovalot easier, and legal.

But he didnt.

What does that tell you?

A lot of the discussion here is about copyright law. I think the more immediate issue is the plagiarism and the plagiarists continued employment at educational institution.

Dale Husband:

Simple. No plagiarism was committed by the stem cell researchers, and they stuck to facts, not useless speculation about a “designer” that cannot be empirically verified.

Got any other stupid questions for us?

I have no clue as to whether or not the video used in Dembski’s presentation violates “fair use”, so please continue your war on him, the DI, religion, god, or whatever makes you feel better.

In regards to my question, you obviously didn’t closely read it or understand it; otherwise you wouldn’t have given such a stupid answer.

ERV: If Dembski was so concerned about education, why didnt he use the animation with the narration and credit Harvard? It would have been a hellovalot easier, and legal.

But he didnt.

What does that tell you?

Thanks for the response ERV. I see your point. The difference is in the agenda.

Granted, the DI video may have been improperly ripped from Harvard or from the company that made it (XVIVO), but for what it’s worth, some of the metaphorical lingo in Dembski’s “Automated City” video seems to be taken from David Bolinsky’s presentation “Fantastic voyage inside a cell”, which I thought was very intriguing and even “educational”. Do a You Tube search for the video “David Bolinsky: Fantastic voyage inside a cell”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Id2rZS59xSE

…DI video may have been improperly ripped from Harvard or from the company that made it…

No, its not ‘may have been.’ It was. Ive spoken with both David Bolinsky and Alain Viel. Neither one of them is pleased with DIs final product, nor does DI have a license to do what they did.

And, I genuinely wonder, why didnt the Discovery Institute use the narrated animation with the appropriate credits if their interest was ‘education’?

Here it is for the amateur legal beagles. 17 US Code 107, on fair use of a copyrighted work.

=========== Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A [17 USC §§106 and 106A], the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include–

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors. =============

“Nature of the copyrighted work” has mostly to do with the amount of artistic creativity in the work. For example, you can copy more from a factual report than from a novel. (Yeah, I know.…) The purposes and factors in the statute are not exclusive, but as a practical matter it’s an uphill slog to argue fair use on one that is not listed. Commercial use is probably the biggest factor, and even teaching or research can become quite limited when done for gain or in a business setting.

ERV: And, I genuinely wonder, why didnt the Discovery Institute use the narrated animation with the appropriate credits if their interest was ‘education’?

Because they’re lying for Jesus, and anything done for Jesus is okay, even if it’s otherwise sinful, immoral, illegal or even inhumane in any other context.

Nigel D:

Stuart Weinstein Wrote:

Good catch Dr. Smith

While I agree with the sentiment, I’m going to nitpick: IIUC, ERV is working towards a PhD, so does not yet have the title “Dr”.

ERV, I hope you will correct me if I’m wrong.

PS, Having read some of ERV’s blogging, and her fisking of Behe, I’m sure it is only a matter of time. IMO she definitely knows her stuff.

In recognition of her original contributions to the fine art of debunking charlatans, and by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Universitatus Committeeatum e pluribis unum, I hereby confer upon S.A. Smith, the honorary degree of Th.D. Doctor of Thinkology.

There. That’s one problem solved. Too bad the Dembski problem isn’t that simple.

Olorin–

Thanks for the explanation of ‘fair use.’ I can now stop feeling guilty about those excepts I photocopied for my classes when I was still teaching. However, I NEVER, in any context, pretended that somebody else’s work was my own.

Whether Dembski’s use of the video was legal under ‘fair use’ still doesn’t address the plagiarism issue. Why did Dembski make such a point of the video being “state of the art animation” without mentioning who made it? It looks very much like the Discovery Institute was trying to create the impression they were involved in the work.

P.S. JKelley– no, this is not a war on God. It’s a war on scientific fraud, and a defense of the Constitution of the United States. If that offends you, so be it. But subjecting us to Marxist-inspired postmodern ‘critical analysis’ is not the way to convince anyone of your good intentions.

Breakerslion: “Th.D. Doctor of Thinkology.” That’s funnier than you know. A cousin of mine has a Th.D. from Columbia. But there, they call it a “Doctor of Theology.”

As to pursuing plagiarism first: That’s great, and it’s something that doesn’t require Harvard to agree to. But copyright infringement stings in the wallet, and adds an official imprimatur that is harder to weasel out of. (See Kitzmiller v. Dover.)

Here’s another thought. Harvard, don’t sue the DI. Sue Dembski personally. First, the impact is much more formidable when, say, $200,000 might come out of your own hide, rather than your employer’s. Second, proof of copying is easier; suing the DI allows them to deny involvement, adding another issue. Third, if the DI is to be involved, let Dembski drag them in to shift the liability away from himself. This sets up a conflict between Dembski and the DI, even if the DI can wiggle out somehow.

Olorin - It sounds like you are are suggesting a Wedgie Strategy… and I like it!

The issue is on slashdot today. http://science.slashdot.org/article[…]1/25/0430235

Refers to ERV’s blog. Hope her server can handle the load.

What is the position of Harvard? Has it made any official comment about it? Or have the Creationists applied some political pressure to make Harvard let it slide?

Ironically, AFAIK, the DI and Dembski could have avoided all of the problems that they are facing if they had simply shown the whole video, turned off the audio, SAID that they had turned off the audio, and had Dembski put in all of his own commentary. That way, any interested party could have looked up the video (and how many of his victims…ah, audience members, would have?) if they had wanted. The original video would not have been misrepresented, it would have been clear that Dembski was putting his own interpretation on the video, and the plagiarism issue would have gone away. The only remaining issue that I can think of is that if Dembski was making money on the lecture, then Harvard might be due some royalties.

I do something like this all the time in my classroom lectures. I use the web extensively in my lectures, and use many figures from other websites as well as my own. I always (barring a few times early on when I forgot to) include a link to the original website as a way of referencing the original, and I’ve never had a complaint. I’ve even been granted free permission from a commercial image-making company to use one of their copyrighted images, after I explained that I wanted to use it for academic purposes. I’ve also had a few times when I’ve been contacted by other academics who’ve found my websites and wanted to use my images (I’ve also stated that my websites are copyrighted) and have always granted permission.

There are two reasons that I can think of that the DI or Dembski chose the route that they did. (1) They are so used to quote-mining that this was second nature to them to take real works and distort them, or (2) they figured that once Harvard found out why they wanted to used the video, Harvard wouldn’t allow it.

ERV:

…DI video may have been improperly ripped from Harvard or from the company that made it…

No, its not ‘may have been.’ It was. Ive spoken with both David Bolinsky and Alain Viel. Neither one of them is pleased with DIs final product, nor does DI have a license to do what they did.

And, I genuinely wonder, why didnt the Discovery Institute use the narrated animation with the appropriate credits if their interest was ‘education’?

Their interest is in re-education.

Re “Their interest is in re-education.”

Or DIs-education?

Henry

Maybe they think it is “okay” to use it anyway because they stripped off Harvard/XVIVOs copyright and credits.

Actually, he didn’t. The copyright credits are there at the end, although it is hard to see with this video. Dembski posted the video on his blog, praising Harvard for creating it when it was first made available. Frankly, I don’t see how Dembski is infringing the copyright anymore than you are by having those videos on this web site.

Also, the video is all over the internet. It is posted dozens of times on Youtube and DailyMotion and every other major video sharing site. So it is impossible to claim that XVIVO and Harvard are somehow damaged. Whoever suggested suing Dembski for $200,000 has no clue about copyright law.

The so-called “manipulation” that is credited to the Discovery Institute (without basis) looks to me like a simple voice-over of the original 3:10 version. The voice-over only describes what is being seen in the video, there is nothing inherently “ID” about it. I would like the genus who claims that video is “lying for Jesus” to pick out a single inaccuracy in the voice-over. In fact, the lecture given by one of its creators, David Bolinsky, at Ted was far more “ID” sounding. Bolinsky mentions the “anthropic” nature of the universe and “micro machines” transferring “information.” That is ID’s bread and butter. Check out the lecture here, http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/147 Are the creators at Harvard and XVIVO lying for Jesus as well?

Jehu,

Knowing full well who the video’s creators were, and knowing that they didn’t want to release an incomplete product. Dembski apparently thought that using an amateurishy modified pirate copy was the ethical way to go?

He chose the one that best suited his purpose, knowing full well that it subverted the intention of the original creators.

Jehu– Thank you for posting your comments here, since all of us are banned from posting on Dembski’s reply.

Dembski edited his ‘press release’ to say that the credits he provided were dim, and compounded with the projector and lighting at this venue, made the credits invisible to the audience. Fine. Lets pretend he intended the credits to be there: Dembski was aware of the originals, but still chose to use his manipulated version. He was aware of the copyrights, title, and credits, but chose to use his version. Why? And, I have the approval of Harvard and XVIVO to post YouTubed versions of those videos. Dembski did not have permission to manipulate their animation and show it in his presentations. If it makes you happy, Harvard is getting all YouTube versions of their animation taken down. It will only be available on the BioVisions site. Congratulations, Creationist rats.

And, the voice over is scientifically inaccurate and painfully unprofessional. Lets pretend Dembski intended the credits to be there– his audience is supposed to believe Harvard said that crap?

And, I already answered your ‘machines’ question. Notice that the audience laughed after David used the ‘post man’ analogy. Dembski was dead serious. David does not agree that any of the beauty of how a cell works is ‘magic’– its chemistry, physics, etc, that students can learn to make new discoveries. Dembski wants us to admire the beauty and STOP. Its God, not chemistry. Its magic, not physics. Nothing more to learn. Humans are specially created. Stop.

Stop.

Stop.

And you want us to believe that his intentions were innocent and in the interest of education.

I made this post on the Peppered Moths thread, but in light of ERV’s comment, maybe it’s more appropriate here:

This is OT, but I don’t know where to send it otherwise. Possibly a regular PT author can post about it?

This morning, on NPR’s Morning Edition, a terrific example of the uselessness and potential danger to human safety and knowledge of ID was inadvertently shown. In a story (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/[…]ry.php?story…) about the Afghan air force, the following quote was made near the end:

But whatever tussles exist over the air corps’ mission, Lt. Col. Abdul Shafi Nouri says the corps is far happier these days than during its years under the Taliban. The Afghan engineer in charge of maintenance says the Taliban didn’t care whether the aircraft were airworthy. If one went down, so be it.

Nouri recalls how a Taliban official stopped his team from approaching one particular crash site. The official lifted his hands in the air and said a prayer for the dead crew.

He then sent Nouri’s team away, saying the crash was God’s will and merited no further review.

This is right in line with the philosophy of Intelligent Design.

Jehu said (136384): “So it is impossible to claim that XVIVO and Harvard are somehow damaged. Whoever suggested suing Dembski for $200,000 has no clue about copyright law.”

Yer right, Jehu. I misremembered the amount. It’s $150,000, not $200,000. That’s the maximum amount you can get for willful copyright infringement without having to show any economic damage whatsoever. See 17USC504(c)(2). The rationale behind these “statutory damages” is that infringement harms not only the individual copyright owner, but also the creative process itself, by destroying the incentive for others to produce creative works. So the law can zap infringers even where there is no economic detriment to the owner or benefit to the copier.

Also, unlike trademark infringement, a copyright owner can be selective. Harvard can sue Dembski and no one else if it so chooses.

I think this crticism of Dembski is petty.

Boboluck said: “I think this criticism of Dembski is petty.”

Picking his nose in public would be a petty criticism. Plagiarism and willful copyright infringement are not petty.

Unfortunately, the Visual Artists’ Rights Act (17USC106A) only covers still images and not videos. It gives explicit rights against modification and misattribution of an author’s work. More specifically, “to prevent any intentional distortion, mutilation, or other modification of that work which would be prejudicial to his or her honor or reputation.…”

I didn’t mean to imply that, if the video is not covered by VARA, there is no remedy for infringement. VARA gives rights over and above all the other provisions of the copyright statutes.

Dear breakerslion, “Th.D.” is the abbreviation for “Doctor of Theology.” I doubt if Abby qualifies for or desires such a title. On the other hand, since it’s customary for medical students to be called “Dr.” before they actually receive their M.D. degrees, I see no reason why the same custom shouldn’t be applied to the eminently deserving ERV.

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This page contains a single entry by Guest Contributor published on November 20, 2007 7:47 PM.

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