David Bolinsky: ‘Expelled’ ripped off Harvard’s ‘Inner Life of the Cell’ animation

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banner.jpgDavid Bolinsky, the medical illustrator responsible for the “Inner Life of the Cell” animation has sent an email to Richard Dawkins which he allowed to be shared. In this email, he outlines how he believes the hard work of his team, which involved over fourteen months of preparation, was apparently used by ID proponents in their own works.

Read all about how Expelled ‘Flunked’ at ExpelledExposed.com

David Bolinsky Wrote:

To the anti-ID community which is giving XVIVO support in our ideological battle against the microcephalic apostates of “Intelligent Design”:

XVIVO created The Inner Life of the Cell for Harvard, through fourteen months of painstaking examination of how a myriad of systems, functional structures and proteins in a cell, could be depicted in a sweeping panoramic style of animation, reminiscent of cinema, that fundamentally raised the bar on the visualization of molecular and cellular biology for undergraduate students. In depicting what we did, other than merely maintaining the intent of the syllabus, we needed to edit like mad. A cell has billions of molecules, millions of active functional proteins and tens of thousands of structural elements separating, sequestering and joining compartments and systems into a functional whole. An initial foundational decision process of our creative vision, consisted of editing out 95% of the contents of our cell in order to gain, for our virtual camera, a vista to visualize what elements we left in. The decisions we made blended aesthetics with science. They were not made lightly, nor were they made without extensive consultation with researchers at Harvard, and an extensive body of literature, including protein data libraries and new findings by Harvard researchers.

In other words based on aesthetics, creative license and educational value, the team painstakingly eliminated features of lesser interest, allowing the main features of the inner workings of the cell to remain visible to the viewers. As such, the fact that the Expelled version of the video seems to have chosen the same features and camera angles seems to strengthen a ‘design inference’. Ironic that ID proponents are now trying to downplay the ‘design inference’ and assign it to chance and regularity. However, by the standards set by Dembski and other ID creationists, it seems obvious that a ‘design inference’ is warranted.

David Bolinsky Wrote:

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 “Intellgent Design” treatment of these and other proteins surfaces, which XVIVO derived using procedural iso-surface skinning of the PDB cloud data of our proteins’ atom placement. There are an infinite number of possble “correct” solutions to that problem.

And the ‘design inference’ continues to be strengthened by these insights.

David Bolinsky Wrote:

Coincidence? Given their “access to the same literature” we had, where Graham Johnson at Scripps so brilliantly worked out the real motion of kinesins, I am simply blown away that the “Intelligent Design” animators slavishly made the hands of their kenesins move exactly as we did, even though we intentionally left out the stochastic Brownian motion which actually characterizes the tractive force and periodic pedicle placement of these tiny motivators. We simply did not have the time or budget to render these, and a dozen other details, to the level of insanity we would like to have done! This was, after all, an underfunded proof-of-concept piece. The cellular biology that serves as “filler” material, between scenes copied from Inner Life, is riddled with biological errors. Imagine “Intelligent Design’s” depiction of protein synthesis without ribosomes!

David Bolinsky also has a message to William Dembski who has admitted in his own blog that the goal of the animator was to mimic as closely as possible the XVIVO animation without ‘crossing the line’.

William Dembski Wrote:

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.

Given William Dembski’s uncanning abilities to predict the opposite of the future, these words give comfort to those interested in science and the protection of the legal rights of the copyright owners.

David Bolinsky Wrote:

To Mr. Dembski: The only reason I am involved in this discussion is because I do not want the reputation of my company, hard-earned as it is, to be sullied by even oblique affiliation to your sort of smarmy ethics, if only through works of ours, purloined to fit your agenda. Last year you were charging colleges thousands of dollars to give lectures showing a copy of The Inner Life of the Cell, you claimed you “found somewhere”, with Harvard’s and XVIVO’s credits stripped out and the copyright notice removed (which is in itself a felony) and a creationist voice-over pasted on over our music (yes, I have a recording of your lecture). Harvard slapped you down for that, and yes there is a paper trail. One can only assume that had we not taken notice then, we would be debating The Inner Life of the Cell being used in EXPELLED, instead of a copy. You have enough of a colorful history that Harvard, in its wisdom, decided to ‘swat the gnat’ with as little fuss as possible. Imagine our surprise earlier this month, to see our work copied in a movie trailer for EXPELLED! And you are in the movie too! Not quite a star, but brown dwarfs are cool. XVIVO has no intention of engaging alone, in asymmetrical fighting against an ideological entity with orders of magnitude more resources than we have. That might make great theater, but would resemble a hugely expensive game of whack-a-ID. Boring!

Seems David Bolinsky has also noticed the incriminating statements made by Demsbki on his own blog.

It makes me happy, though, that you decided to implicate your friends in print, on your blog (http://www.uncommondescent.com/lega[…]mment-229619), in what is legally, malignant infringement, since you no had doubt discussed with EXPELLED’s producers, Harvard’s previous legal infringement action against you, the Discovery Institute, where you are a fellow and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where you teach. Once we uncover the EXPELLED animation dollar trail, and bring it to light, we will have even more fun. The sublimely ridiculous claim that EXPELLED uses completely original animation, in light of copying our work so closely that a budget was reserved to pay for an infringement suit by Harvard, is delicious! Why should I try to take you guys down when you are doing such a splendid job yourselves? For free! So go ahead and release your movie. Just keep track of how many tickets you sell. We may just find that data valuable, too.

David Bolinsky

For more on David Bolinksy and the animation see:

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

This is getting better and better. I can’t wait for the legal discovery phase which will likely involve William Dembski’s use of the copyrighted video. What a lovely paper trail there may exist. Another ‘Waterloo’ for the Intelligent Design movement and again by their own ‘design’.

This is not the first time that Dembski’s intemperate comments have served to undermine the Intelligent Design movement. Soon after Dembski had been awarded the directorship of the Polanyi Center, he sent out an email which caused Baylor to ask him to retract his email. Dembski refused and was replaced by Bruce Gordon.

William Dembski Wrote:

Dogmatic opponents of design who demanded the Center be shut down have met their Waterloo. Baylor University is to be commended for remaining strong in the face of intolerant assaults on freedom of thought and expression

Dembski also remarks

BOTTOM LINE: Before you think the producers of EXPELLED are idiots, you might think that they are chess players who have seen several moves ahead. For instance, have you ever thought who stood to gain the most from the Machine Video featured at UD a week ago? …”

Given their historical track record I believe the safe assumption is that indeed they are not very qualified chess players.

40 Comments

Thanks for posting this!

William Dembski and company are truly the Keystone Cops of creationism.

Copyright infringement is a civil offense. No one is going to jail. Or are they?

The creos, Expelled, and the Dishonesty Institute have never demonstrated much in the way of ethics or smarts.

Obstruction of justice and lying under oath, perjury, can be felonies. The old, old story. It isn’t the crime that gets these guys, it is the coverup.

Yo, Mathis et al., don’t destroy any documents or computer files, obstruction of justice. What happened to Arthur Andersen. Do I hear the whirring sound of a paper shredder in the background? CLUNK!!! Sounds like a hard drive just hit a dumpster. LOL

PS: They will probably just cut the XVIVO segment and substitute more Nazis or a cartoon of scientists beating puppies to death. Given the tone of the film and probable audience, no one will know or care.

Copyright infringement is a civil offense. No one is going to jail. Or are they?

Copyright infringement is a civil as well as a criminal offense.

With the passage of the so-called No Electronic Theft Act (NET Act), US copyright law was changed to allow for the civil and criminal prosecution of persons allegedly engaged in copying of copyrighted works without permission that did not result in personal financial gain; historically, the criminal copyright law required infringement to be for financial gain.

The chap comes off as being a little smug, which is admittedly funny, but as you mention in the post, it didn’t do much for Dembski when he tried it.

I mean, we know that the religious-side-which-happens-to-be-affiliated-with-ID will spin this as more oppression, but there’s no need to make it easy for them. :)

Raven, If this:

David Bolinsky Wrote: …Last year you were charging colleges thousands of dollars to give lectures showing a copy of The Inner Life of the Cell, you claimed you “found somewhere”, with Harvard’s and XVIVO’s credits stripped out

and the copyright notice removed (which is in itself a felony)

and a creationist voice-over pasted on over our music (yes, I have a recording of your lecture).

then it is more than just a civil offense. It is a crying shame XVIVO didn’t ask a prosecutor to smack Dembski for that, Ken Ham would no doubt enjoy the company, but then we would not be enjoying this fiasco now.

Ken HamKent Hovind

[hides under bed in shame for mixing them up]

As reported by Darwin Central, the producers of Expelled have apparently posted an initial response to the copyright claim on the Expelled blog:

Editor’s Note: Questions have been raised about the origination of some of the animation used in our movie EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed. Claims that we have used any animation in an unauthorized manner are simply false. Premise Media created the animation that illustrates cellular activity used in our film.

The Producers of “EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed”

Paul Flocken:

Ken HamKent Hovind

[hides under bed in shame for mixing them up]

They are both crooks, so you’re forgiven!

Tim Tesar posted from the Expelled blog- “Editor’s Note: Questions have been raised about the origination of some of the animation used in our movie EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed. Claims that we have used any animation in an unauthorized manner are simply false. Premise Media created the animation that illustrates cellular activity used in our film.

The Producers of “EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed”

Whew! I feel so much better now. If the producers claim the allegation is false, they MUST be telling the truth, right? Game over. Yes?

Yeah. Right.

Premise Media created the animation that illustrates cellular activity used in our film.

These clowns can’t even keep their lies straight. Yesterday, they had hired someone to create the video. Today Premise Media created it.

They might as well just go ahead and say that Jesus made the video for them at this point. Anyone stupid enough to believe that they’re telling anything like the truth when their story keeps changing is just as likely to buy that explanation.

Paul Flocken Wrote:

Ken Ham Kent Hovind

We have Kenneth Miller, David Bolinsky and Einstein; they have Kevin Miller, David Berlinski, and Ben Stein. So you’re not the only one having a hard time keeping track of names. ;-)

Yeah, yeah, I was wrong. So they are crooks and will go to jail. See if I care. LOL

In civil trials discovery can be extensive and last for months. Depositions are taken under oath and transcribed and videotaped.

You can only take the 5th amendment in criminal trials or if testimony in a civil case is likely to lead to criminal prosecution or be used in a criminal case. You can’t just take the 5th because you don’t want to tell the truth.

There will be paper and computer trails and multiple witnesses. The small fry, if they are smart will tell the truth. Perjury is a criminal offense and Mathis, Miller, Dembski, et al. aren’t worth it.

The fact that they are lying and changing their story already is bizarre. First rule of coverups, when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. They may yet turn a civil case into a jail sentence.

It is an example of descent with modification done by intelligent, but ignorant and dishonest designers.

Dover Redux?

Tick.….tick.….tick.….tick.….tick.….

Why hasn’t the Dishonesty Institute commented yet on the copyright infringement claim? They usually jump in right away when someone gores their ox.

DI?? DI?? Anyone??

Over on Unco[Expletive Deleted]cent, “Andrea” has posted this gem (#98n at 04/10/2008 5:56 pm:

“The Expelled producers are not fools, but they clearly may be a bit careless, since the first version(s) of the movie actually had the original XVIVO movie, uncredited and unauthorized. This version of the animation was created/introduced later, when it became obvious that the first was violating XVIVO’s intellectual property.”

Does this person know whereof he/she speaks? Might it be worth investigating?

PvM:

I know this is off topic, but I didn’t see any live threads discussing this issue surrounding Expelled, so I wanted to get your take on this (perhaps you post another thread where comments can be made). My question is this:

Do you think that Darwinism, and the spirit of the science that it embraces, has any logical connection with Nazism, eugenics, or anything of that nature that the movie Expelled claims it does?

I can guess what you will say–no. Darwin didn’t make anyone bad, the person is to be held accountable. It was a perversion of Darwin’s theory and a shame that Stein would try to pin such a horrible act on a perfectly legitimate theory instead of an evil man.

Close enough?

Well, quite frankly, you, and PZ, and Richard, and Wesley, and everyone else promoting this opinion is wrong. It is Richard Dawkins who has argued that evolutionary biology whitewashes all of this wickedness. Don’t believe me? Who do you think made this statement:

“As scientists, we believe that human brains, though they may not work in the same way as man-made computers, are as surely governed by the laws of physics. When a computer malfunctions, we do not punish it. We track down the problem and fix it, usually by replacing a damaged component, either in hardware or software.…But doesn’t a truly scientific, mechanistic view of the nervous system make nonsense of the very idea of responsibility, whether diminished or not? Any crime, however heinous, is in principle to be blamed on antecedent conditions acting through the accused’s physiology, heredity and environment.…Presumably because mental constructs like blame and responsibility, indeed evil and good, are built into our brains by millennia of Darwinian evolution. Assigning blame and responsibility is an aspect of the useful fiction of intentional agents that we construct in our brains as a means of short-cutting a truer analysis of what is going on in the world in which we have to live. My dangerous idea is that we shall eventually grow out of all this and even learn to laugh at it, just as we laugh at Basil Fawlty when he beats his car. But I fear it is unlikely that I shall ever reach that level of enlightenment.”

http://www.edge.org/q2006/q06_9.html

This is evolutionary biology at its finest. Hitler was not bad–just broken. DARWINIAN EVOLUTION has imbibed us with the sense of right and wrong–it is not something grand an external and Platonic and real but simply a changeable convention that was useful for surviving–if not, we would be at each others throats. You and the whordes of internet atheist are going to try and say that it is the producers of Expelled who are ‘sinister’ in trivializing Hitler–here Dawkins justifies Hitler with evolutionary biology.

Look, everyone like to say that the spirit of methodological naturalism is essential for science, and science is compatible with religious thought. It’s just learning about math, or engineering, or baking. But do you really think WORKING WITH THE ASSUMPTION THAT ALL EXPLANATIONS SHOULD BE MATERIAL–OUR ORIGINS, OUR THOUGHT LIFE, OUR PRAYER LIFE, OUR SENSE OF MORALITY, ETC.–has no effect on religious thought or lends a person to atheism? Look, there are evolutionary biologists out there who try to justify all sorts of things by pinning it on evolution–racism, rape, etc. If you learn in a neurophysiology class that you do not have a free will–as Will Provine has argued for–then you are going to look at the world through a different lens and it is certainly not going to be one very helpful to religion. Methodological Naturalism, the spirit which is infused with Darwinism, is a necessary but not sufficient condition for atheism…but it does have a logical path towards atheism. And if atheism is the case, and everything (including our sense of right and wrong, decency, respect, free will, etc) is just an outgrowth matter in motion, then Hume may be right. There are not ought’s, only is’s. And if someone–say Hitler–feels that Darwinian principles are at work and that his race needs to suceed at the expense of others, who are you to say that he ought not do that? Or that his behavior is not Darwinian? After all, he is using a competitive advantage (his mind, speaking skills, etc) to propogate his genes and the similar genes of a race that is very much like him, rather like kin selection.

So no, evolution by itself does not get you to the place of killing 6 million Jews, but the spirit of evolution–Darwinism, methodological naturalism–says that we are not special and that the hardy survive and that we, our lives, our morals, are nothing more than a material process that might not have happened or could have gone the other way. That in itself is a factor, among many others, that could have been necessary for the extermination of the Jews at that time and place in history (it might have been impossible without rallying the scientists under some banner–and darwinism served that purpose).

Ideas have implications, and I think it is a shame that you and everyone else think that it is okay for us to openly talk about faith being a wicked virtue leading to travesty and ignorance and a necessary component in the slaughter of many, but not a theory belying an ideology that treats all morals as relative and all life as nothing more than matter and energy.

I think the producers of Expelled may have gotten it right…

The most amusing thing is the extent to which the ID cause has been damaged by Behe and Dembski. It is quite clear from the judge’s decision in Dover that Behe almost single-handedly lost the case for the ID side, and since Behe is actually a believer in common descent by guided evolution, rather than the thinly disguised creationism favored by the Discovery Institute, he undermines their arguments almost every time he opens his mouth.

And now Dembski has now effectively admitted that the video in Expelled is a derivative work based on the XVIVO movie, thereby increasing exposure of the Expelled producers to a copyright violation suit.

One would think that Discovery Institute would have dumped these loose cannons long ago. But of course, they can’t. Despite their blundering, Dembski and Behe are the closest thing to real scientists that the ID cause has been able to recruit. Beggars can’t be choosers.

Ideas have implications, and I think it is a shame that you and everyone else think that it is okay for us to openly talk about faith being a wicked virtue leading to travesty and ignorance and a necessary component in the slaughter of many, but not a theory belying an ideology that treats all morals as relative and all life as nothing more than matter and energy.

So why is it, then, that it is the scientists who are so meticulous about honesty, while the creationists are constantly lying and (in this case) stealing?

Maybe it is the other way around. Could it be that believing in morality as a set of rules arbitrarily laid down by God, rather than as a set of rationally derived ethical principles, makes one less moral rather than more? Is it really possible to value human life while believing that one’s own God has engaged in and approved of mass murder and war crimes (the Flood, Sodom & Gomorra, the murder of the first-born children of Egypt, the massacre at Jericho)? After all, if God makes the rules, then God can make exceptions. You can’t get much more relative than that. It is not atheists who came up with the adage, “Kill them all, let God sort them out.” Any level of harm to another person is justifiable if by doing so we increase their chances of avoiding Hell and going to Heaven, because no harm that man can inflict is as bad as Hell, and no reward is as great as Heaven. And if we do wrong in His name, God will surely forgive us, because after all, God is Love.

Person,

Here are some questions for you:

Why do you think that the theory of EVOLUTION, or any scientific theory, has any moral implications?

If the theory of EVOLUTION has moral implications, should it be jusged based on these moral implications?

Could the theory of EVOLUTION be true, even if it has moral implications?

Could the therory of EVOLUTION be true, even if Dawkins said that Hitler was absolutely right?

Could the theory of EVOLUTION be true if Dawkins kills six million jews?

Do you even care if the theory of EVOLUTION is true or not?

How can you tell if the theory of EVOLUTION is true or not?

Do you find it annoying when someone uses CAPITAL LETTERS randomly for no apoparent reason as though it made their argument more persuasive?

What do you think of the moral behavior of the makers of EXPELLED? Should we reject their religious views because of their immoral behavior? Should we judge all religious people based on the immoral behavior of these few?

Are you really a PERSON, or are you just trying to fool us?

DS:

Do you find it annoying when someone uses CAPITAL LETTERS randomly…

Nice try, but you don’t quite have the translation from English to Kook down.

DO yOu!!! FiNd IT AnnoyinG!!! WheN SOMEone UseS CAPITAl letTERS!!! Rand!!!oMLY!!!…

Fixed it for you.

raven:

Nice try, but you don’t quite have the translation from English to Kook down.

DO yOu!!! FiNd IT AnnoyinG!!! WheN SOMEone UseS CAPITAl letTERS!!! Rand!!!oMLY!!!…

Fixed it for you.

LOL!

David Bolinsky Wrote:

You have enough of a colorful history that Harvard, in its wisdom, decided to ‘swat the gnat’ with as little fuss as possible. Imagine our surprise earlier this month, to see our work copied in a movie trailer for EXPELLED! And you are in the movie too! Not quite a star, but brown dwarfs are cool. [My emphasis.]

David David Bolinsky: He’s the No 1 Human Hero. He’s a Big Deal.

Btw, it makes one both glad and sad when creationists comes out to alleviate their angst when reality hits their dogmas harder than usual:

person Wrote:

WORKING WITH THE ASSUMPTION THAT ALL EXPLANATIONS SHOULD BE MATERIAL

There is no such assumption that empirical methods works with; it is just that empirical methods works with such a result.

person Wrote:

Methodological Naturalism, the spirit which is infused with Darwinism, is a necessary but not sufficient condition for atheism…

“Methodological naturalism” is a philosophical description without any relevance for science.

The fact is that natural theories are lawful since our observations are such, which admits no agency and is consistent with the most parsimonious description. Of course it is necessary that observations are lawful to be useful, but that is an observable result and not an assumption.

Is lawful theories necessary for atheism? That is doubtful, because even a result of haphazard agency in our explanations would not argue that supernatural explanations are responsible. Our universe could be a setup or a simulation by forceful natural agents. It would also be the most parsimonious explanation.

So this is an argument without any legs to stand on. And please, please; explain what “Darwinism” is. Apparently it is responsible for a great deal, whatever it is, but no one cares to explain to scientists exactly what it is and why we should care.

Given William Dembski’s uncanning abilities to predict the opposite of the future…

Sounds like a new hypothesis for Intelligent Design scientists to explore. They might actually have something there with that one. No false positives or nothin! Good luck!

“Person”: I considered responding to your post, but since you’ve managed to misunderstand almost everything about what Dawkins was saying, as well as misrepresented the actual consequences of evolutionary biology, I’ve decided that you wouldn’t be able to understand my response either. So we’ll just have to agree to disagree. And make no mistake, those of us who actually understand the science *do* disagree with your take on it, and reject your simplistic notions about what an understanding of evolutionary biology “must” cause us to think and feel.

But in closing, I’d like to point out that a system of ethics or morals based on religious precepts is the most relative, least objective system of all, because it’s entirely relative to what god one subscribes to, what ancient myths one accepts, what holy books one adheres to, what preacher one follows, what textual passages one gives more weight than others, and how one interprets them. If you don’t think that religious “morals” are relative, consider just how yours differ from the religious morals of, say, the 9/11 hijackers.

I’ll make you a deal – just as soon as you and your fellow religionists can manage to come to agreements with each other as to what exactly your “absolute” god-given morals are, and whether they involve 72 virgins or not, etc., then I’ll start to consider that maybe such a thing as “absolute morality” exists after all.

Until then, I’ll stick with my silly relative morality, based on practical notions like truth, honor, fairness, and cooperation – things that the “Intelligent Design” folks seem to care so little for, even as they try to smear *us* as the “immoral” ones… Believe me, the irony is not lost on most observers.

person Wrote:

So no, evolution by itself does not get you to the place of killing 6 million Jews, but the spirit of evolution–Darwinism, methodological naturalism–says that we are not special and that the hardy survive and that we, our lives, our morals, are nothing more than a material process that might not have happened or could have gone the other way.

Have you ever noticed that genocide, eugenics, racism, etc. always occurs within what anti-evolutionists call a single “kind”? Have you also noticed how it is never common descent with modification, but natural selection that is invoked when “Darwinism” is linked with all the bad stuff? That means that if “Darwinism” is responsible for anything (it isn’t) then the “microevolution” that anti-evolutionists concede (note how some of them concede common descent too) is just as responsible.

You may have also noticed that many “evolutionists” disagree greatly with Dawkins on philosophical matters, and strongly disagree that “we, our lives, our morals, are nothing more than a material process …” Do you think that the producers of “Expelled” “got it right” by conveniently omitting those scientists???

Our friend “person” will never succeed as a troll. Not enough words typed out in all capital letters, no random font changes, no changes in print color . … .

person claims that scientists are

WORKING WITH THE ASSUMPTION THAT ALL EXPLANATIONS SHOULD BE MATERIAL–OUR ORIGINS, OUR THOUGHT LIFE, OUR PRAYER LIFE, OUR SENSE OF MORALITY, ETC.

and “person” is wrong.

(1) Everyone knows that most questions are not scientific questions. Questions like “What is the character of true justice?” “What is art?” “Who should I marry?” “What should I have for dinner tonight?” and “What ought to be my favorite color?” Cannot be answered by observation, experiment, or reasoning. Any question involving “should” or “ought” cannot be answered by scientific means.

(2) Furthermore many of the ideas routinely and legitimately used by scientists are not material. A good example is the number “three”. It’s a pure concept: I’ve seen three fingers, three pears, and three people, but I’ve never seen three. Neither have you. The following scientific concepts are not material: number, integration, differentiation, time, vector, velocity, momentum, Lagrangian, … you can easily extend the list.

In short, the claim of “person” is wrong on two fronts: First, he thinks that someone wants to reduce all questions to scientific questions, second he thinks that all scientific questions are material questions.

I predict that Expelled will be long gone from theaters and forgotten by the public before this ever comes to trial, if ever it ever does. By then the producers will be deeply in debt, and there will be nothing to recover in damages.

“By then the producers will be deeply in debt, and there will be nothing to recover in damages.”

Since I am the master of the obvious, I will relay my wisdom. 1. The movie is already paid for from the same uncritical evangelical followers that fund the Discovery Institute, Answers in Genesis, etc. They think they’re contributing to a defense against evil atheists taking over the US. Arrogant atheists seem happy to reinforce their paranoia.

2. They couldn’t be happier that PZ Myers is attacking them, and someone is going to sue them. I’m sure they’ve purposely provoked it. The more their simplistic misunderstanding of science as being anti-religious is reinforced the more effective their propaganda becomes, and the more difficult teaching biology becomes.

“The more their simplistic misunderstanding of science as being anti-religious is reinforced the more effective their propaganda becomes, and the more difficult teaching biology becomes.”

As long as their religious beliefs are in clear conflict with science, there is no way to avoid doing this. It isn’t the fault of PZ, Dawkins, etc. that certain segments of the Christian population are ignorant, simple-minded, paranoid and harbor a sense of entitlement about their blinkered supernaturalist belief system. In their case, science is indeed clearly antithetical to their religion, and capitulation on that basic fact is no strategy.

Tyler DiPietro points up a wry irony:”It isn’t the fault of PZ, Dawkins, etc. that certain segments of the Christian population are ignorant, simple-minded, paranoid and harbor a sense of entitlement about their blinkered supernaturalist belief system. In their case, science is indeed clearly antithetical to their religion, and capitulation on that basic fact is no strategy.”

These “certain segments” are not only ignorant of science, they are entirely ignorant of their own religion. I have found that learning more about one’s religion—through books, classes, lectures—leads not only to a greater appreciation of other views, but also a greater foundation for one’s own faith.

Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living. So also, the unexamined faith is not worth having. This is probably why so many children of fundamentalists find their entire belief system crumbling when they encounter good science courses.

“Capitulation”? Listen to yourselves. This isn’t a war. This is a political problem that requires a political solution that will work in a pluralistic democratic society. We aren’t dealing with just a few wing nuts. This is a majority of the population that believes there’s an “alternative”. This is a third of public school secondary science teachers who “teach the controversy”. I’m just starting to realize that the majority of the Internet anti-creationism activists haven’t realized yet that you can’t just slap down the other side and expect them to go away.

Vast majority of what population? Not the world, that’s for sure.

.

Mike:

“Capitulation”? Listen to yourselves. This isn’t a war. This is a political problem that requires a political solution that will work in a pluralistic democratic society. We aren’t dealing with just a few wing nuts. This is a majority of the population that believes there’s an “alternative”. This is a third of public school secondary science teachers who “teach the controversy”. I’m just starting to realize that the majority of the Internet anti-creationism activists haven’t realized yet that you can’t just slap down the other side and expect them to go away.

I’m assuming that you are talking about the US - OK.

Well, on that train of thought, the vast majority of the (US) population thought that segregation was proper until the mid-sixties.

Do you think that was right?

Americans paid taxes to the Catholic church until the Danbury Baptists wrote a rather convincing letter to Thomas Jefferson.

Do you think that it was right for the government to tax citizens for support of a church that one didn’t even belong?

It’s not about what the majority of Americans think, it’s about legal and illegal

The US has never been about complete majority rule, and the creationists are obviously wrong and ignorant, but segregation and race relations aren’t successfully dealt with by being rude and dismissive. Segregationists weren’t smacked down in rightousness. They changed as their fear and prejudice was decreased.

The first amendment, and its interpretation, can not be counted on to keep education, and even the research budget and established science, safe from majority opinion. There was serious discussion of the other side winning if Dover was to get to the Supreme Court in its present ideological configuration. An effective education campaign is the only thing that will roll back the victory of the creation science campaign, and that is only just beginning as the scientific community has been dragged, screaming and kicking, to examine this failure of education, and its consequences for US research. Effective education doesn’t involve poking the student in the eye. Call it framing, call it what you want, but teaching the truth about the nature of science, and its relationship with other ways of “knowing”, will remove the fear and prejudice in the majority population. Fighting an enjoyable little war with religious fundamentalists will just make things worse, as we are seeing now.

This is a political problem that requires a political solution that will work in a pluralistic democratic society.

So why do you harp on Myers or Dawkins? Both of them propose such solutions. They may not be solutions you like, or think they don’t work, but never the less they have a positive agenda.

other ways of “knowing”

And there in lies the problem, there are no incompatible empirical ways of getting to validated knowledge. Religious events can give you experiences and emotions, sure, but it doesn’t count as knowledge - and the fact that you can get that from drugs as well is telling.

Torbjörn Larsson, OM Wrote:

Religious events can give you experiences and emotions, sure, but it doesn’t count as knowledge - and the fact that you can get that from drugs as well is telling.

You mean you get religion from drugs?? Damn! That’s where I’ve been going wrong all these years. ;-)

I also hear drugs are religion for some. :-P

Premise Media and its marketers have engaged in deception from the beginning of the production of Expelled to the opening weekend. The makers were dishonest with their interviewees, dishonest about allowing (and then disallowing) people to view the film, and dishonest in promoting the film.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on April 11, 2008 3:49 PM.

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Ben Stein: Front Man for Creationism’s Manufactroversy is the next entry in this blog.

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