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← 'Expelled' ripped off Harvard's 'Inner Life of the Cell' animation

'Expelled' ripped off Harvard's 'Inner Life of the Cell' animation - Comments

adamd164's Avatar Comment 1 by adamd164

Well, that about says it all. As if we needed another reason to believe that these people are frauds and charlatans, they go and produce a blow-for-blow copy of what is an excellent video on the cell. I've seen the screenshots posted on PZ's blog, and it's clearly a poor imitation when viewed in contrast with the original.

Take a look at the comparison for yourself, here.

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 08:29:00 UTC | #151085

clodhopper's Avatar Comment 2 by clodhopper

Sounds like an argument from personal incredulity....

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 08:31:00 UTC | #151087

Dr Benway's Avatar Comment 3 by Dr Benway

Once we uncover the EXPELLED animation dollar trail, and bring it to light, we will have even more fun.
Don't attorneys generally discourage their clients from making such statements? Surely David Bolinsky has representation.

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 08:56:00 UTC | #151091

sarah95's Avatar Comment 4 by sarah95

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!


Whack-a-ID! I'd pay to play THAT game! Perhaps the closest one can get to paying for such a game is just donating to the NAS or NCSE. Oh well, it was a pleasant thought anyway...
(Would the whacker mallet be a "logic mallet"?)

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 08:57:00 UTC | #151092

Elles's Avatar Comment 5 by Elles

Sloppy movie-making, sloppy thinking, and now they've sloppily ripped off an animation.

I hope Ben Stein is sloppy enough to miss his credit card payments and spiral into debt. Heehee.

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 08:59:00 UTC | #151094

DavidJGrossman's Avatar Comment 6 by DavidJGrossman

Before it gets deleted:
http://www.uncommondescent.com/legal/expelled-plagiarizing-harvard/#comment-229619

"William Dembski
04/10/2008
3:37 pm

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" â€" you think that might generate interest in the movie?), but different enough so that they are unexposed.

It was a nice touch on the producer's part to use the same music as the XVIVO video. Presumably they got permission from the artist â€" or is that another possible oversight to explore? But then again, one of the producers was for years in the music business. So most likely they're covered here as well.

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? . . ."

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 09:00:00 UTC | #151095

Devolution's Avatar Comment 7 by Devolution

Does anyone know if this piece of garbage is even going to be shown on the big screen? I cant find any mention of it here in Southern CA.

If by any chance Expelled is playing near your home, by all means go and see it! But whatever you do dont buy a ticket for Expelled, just buy a ticket for another movie and sneak in.

Several friends and I plan to do this while loudly laughing and doing Ben Stein impressions throughout. Good times.

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 09:11:00 UTC | #151101

akado's Avatar Comment 8 by akado

What a shameful, underhanded, and just idiotic things these people display in their works!
Not only that they're trying to spread their ideolgy around like a virus, but also at the expense of others works.

Right after being caught of fruad by missleading some interviewees and then trying to keep them from seeing the first screenings which they initially failed at.

they truely are taking themselves down with their own stupidity =3

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 09:16:00 UTC | #151103

Oromasdes1978's Avatar Comment 9 by Oromasdes1978

I do often wonder if people REALLY are that stupid and then I read this sort of thing and the answer is a resounding "YES PHILIP, THEY ARE!"

Did they really not sit around and think "Hang on a second chaps, won't we get completely shredded if we do that? Ah, they aren't that clever, they will never notice! Plus we have God on our side and He ALWAYS wins and since we made this for Him he will protect us! Now about that PZ Myers...!"


Such dribbling stupidity deserves to be taken to task it really does!

Philip

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 09:32:00 UTC | #151109

Jay G's Avatar Comment 10 by Jay G

I'm scientifically illiterate, so I really didn't understand the technical language in the e-mail. I think, however, I understand enough to conclude that I will not waste any of my money on this film.

My problem is that I'm equally suspicious of the ID people and the non-ID people because any charlatan could manipulate the evidence, and I don't know enough to be able to detect when I'm being lied to. What shold I do?

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 09:49:00 UTC | #151119

EvidenceOnly's Avatar Comment 11 by EvidenceOnly

Why are we surprised of the continuous deception coming out of the Discovery Institute?

Religion starts with believing that human-written books are the word of a supernatural being (initial deception).

Each religion then claims that their supernatural being is the one and only and therefore their religion is the TRUE religion (second deception).

They then go on ignoring the texts in their books that don't really fit them and use what fits them to drive a political agenda that forces their "truths" down everyones throat such as anti gay, anti gay marriage, anti stem cell research, anti condoms, ... (3rd deception).

I could go on an one for a very long time.

Somewhere in this list is violating copyright and claiming this is original new work.

Somewhere in this are claims that Darwin caused all misery in the world (as if there was no misery in the world before Darwin?).

Let's face it. These just add to the very long list of lies that go thousands of years back.

That does not mean that they should get away with it though.

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 09:49:00 UTC | #151120

maton100's Avatar Comment 12 by maton100

Expelled is all pomp and no circumstance. The cell footage was actually a journey through Ben Stein's nasal cavity.

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 09:54:00 UTC | #151121

n0rr1s's Avatar Comment 13 by n0rr1s

sarah95:

Whack-a-ID! I'd pay to play THAT game! Perhaps the closest one can get to paying for such a game is just donating to the NAS or NCSE. Oh well, it was a pleasant thought anyway...
(Would the whacker mallet be a "logic mallet"?)

You'd never him them with the logic mallet: it would go right over their heads.

You'll need to smack 'em with the clue bat, maybe even the trusty clue-by-four.

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 09:55:00 UTC | #151122

Wosret's Avatar Comment 14 by Wosret

This is nothing new. IDiots are well known for two things, criminal stupidity, and criminal dishonesty.

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 10:07:00 UTC | #151132

cdhabecker's Avatar Comment 15 by cdhabecker

ENCOURAGE theists to put their trust in Expelled.
ENCOURAGE theists to quote Expelled at school board meetings.
ENCOURAGE theists to recommend Expelled to their friends.
ENCOURAGE theists to spend money on Expelled.
ENCOURAGE theist candidates to support Expelled publicly.

The harder theists swallow Expelled, the angrier they will be at its producers and supporters when the movie utterly fails them. Consider: if Richard Dawkins were to ridicule a hypothetical Expelled movie, the theists would cry "strawman!" But the theists are actually championing this softball and delivering it with a shiny bow on top.

Time is the enemy of Expelled. Time begets reflection and questions, and Expelled can withstand neither.

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 10:10:00 UTC | #151134

IanRobinson's Avatar Comment 16 by IanRobinson

My problem is that I'm equally suspicious of the ID people and the non-ID people because any charlatan could manipulate the evidence, and I don't know enough to be able to detect when I'm being lied to. What shold I do?


Study?

Ian

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 10:11:00 UTC | #151135

Jay G's Avatar Comment 17 by Jay G

#16

Don't be a wise guy. I'm to old to go back to school for an education. What do I do now?

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 10:13:00 UTC | #151138

phiwilli's Avatar Comment 18 by phiwilli

Those expelled guys are examples of what I like to call the Torquemada syndrome, doing evil that good may come (strongly opposed by St. Paul, Rom. 3:7-8), an obnoxious version of: the end (if it's good enough, such convincing the gullible of ID, or better, of creationism, or better, of the literal infallibility of the Bible) justifies the use of any means, no matter how dishonest or despicable.

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 10:14:00 UTC | #151139

Dr Benway's Avatar Comment 19 by Dr Benway

yussell23: My problem is that I'm equally suspicious of the ID people and the non-ID people because any charlatan could manipulate the evidence, and I don't know enough to be able to detect when I'm being lied to. What shold I do?
We're all in the same boat. No one is an expert at everything. So we have to set up a system of checks and balances to catch the bullshit. Then we can periodically check the system to make sure it's not being corrupted. Checking the system is a lot easier than having to check every claim by every expert in every field.

Anti-bullshit aspects of the current system, off the top of my head:

1. Scientists compete with each other for recognition and publication space. So typically they're not shy about criticizing each other.

2. Anonymous peer review provides a reasonable means to give feedback to the author of a bad study so he can improve his work.

3. The reviewers don't talk to each other. They submit their remarks independently to the editor of the journal, who shields their identities. Thus they can be honest without fears of retaliation.

4. Scientific papers have a defined structure. Each part must be clear enough to allow replication or corroboration of the data by an independent party.

5. Often the names of the authors of the study are removed prior to sending it out for review. Criticism must be directed at the methods, statistics, reasoning, and conclusions. There's no place for personal attacks against the authors.

6. Important papers are discussed in detail at professional meetings. Go to one of these meetings and you'll see that people love finding flaws, just like little kids love "Where's Waldo?"

Scientific reports have to jump all these hurdles before they're taken seriously.

Whenever you hear about a study in the news that hasn't jumped these hurdles, that's a red flag. Trial by media or by high school classroom is a cakewalk compared to trial by peer review.

The intelligent design advocates are taking their case to the high school kids and the general public rather than the scientific journals for a reason. The cold fusion guys did this also. Same with a lot of alternative medicine claims, free energy claims, perpetual motion machines, etc.

It's always the same bullshit: "Let us tell you what Big Science/Big Pharma/Big Gov't don't want you to know! Listen to us and judge for yourself!"

But if the "Bigs" have become so corrupted, we non-experts are all totally screwed, across the board. Might as well drink the Kool-Aid now.

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 10:29:00 UTC | #151149

Thomas Byrne's Avatar Comment 20 by Thomas Byrne

If they were gonna rip off an animation, I think Mickey Mouse would've been more apporpriate.

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 10:35:00 UTC | #151155

Jay G's Avatar Comment 21 by Jay G

Dr. Benway:

Thank you

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 10:39:00 UTC | #151158

Dr Benway's Avatar Comment 22 by Dr Benway

yusell23: Thank you
Happy to help.

"Expelled" makes the case that certain scientists have been hassled for questioning "the Darwinists."

Note the emphasis in this thesis upon people rather than papers. A very clever misdirection. I'm surprised I haven't heard much talk about this angle yet.

Science is a battleground of papers not people. A scientific paper today may be alive and valiantly fending off attacks even though its author died long ago.

Wouldn't it be nice to know which papers were denied publication due to anti-ID bigotry?

Hmm. For some reason I'm imagining the sound of crickets chirping.

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 11:11:00 UTC | #151174

Dr.GH's Avatar Comment 23 by Dr.GH

Several friends and I plan to do this while loudly laughing and doing Ben Stein impressions throughout. Good times.


I wouldn't mind coming along with you, but being disruptive would be a very bad idea. Preparing some sort of handout that could be passed out to people leaving might work.

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 11:24:00 UTC | #151183

Koreman's Avatar Comment 24 by Koreman

I feel pity those people don't understand the basics of quantum mechanics. Far more devastating to deluded bronze age ideas with an early 20th century flavor than evolutionary biology ever can be. I guess god is showing off in ignorance too.

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 11:28:00 UTC | #151185

Frankus1122's Avatar Comment 25 by Frankus1122

From Dr. Benway:


Note the emphasis in this thesis upon people rather than papers.


Good point. I made a similar one on some other thread (hence the praise).

IDers complain that no one will listen to them, that they are "not allowed" to have their ideas heard. But that is not the case from what I can tell. Any science they do (and there seems to be very little) has been shot down because it is bad science. I have read refutations of the irreducible complexity arguments that make sense to me.

They may have a point on some level however. It is like what happens here. Someone posts an opinion and is asked to back it up. They don't. They post more unsubstantiated opinion. We ask them to back it up. They don't. They post the same nonsense again and again. At some point you do refuse to listen. It is like the boy who cried wolf complaining that no one will listen to him. That may be true but there is a reason for that behaviour.

If any real science is done then the scientists can go through the process Dr. Benway listed above.

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 11:29:00 UTC | #151187

Dr Benway's Avatar Comment 26 by Dr Benway

Good point. I made a similar one on some other thread (hence the praise).
Great minds think alike. ;)

Reputation is part of the checks-and-balances system in science.

A shady businessman can get caught cheating the public. He may be fined and his business may go under. But generally he can start a new business with a new name and carry on.

But a scientist can't hide behind a corporate entity. Once his reputation is injured due to publicly revealed dishonesty or idiocy, he can't recover. That's it for him.

So yes, I imagine that after rejections from several journals for pseudocientific methods, if the bloke doesn't wise up quickly he's going to be toast. Publish or perish, eh? Time to start looking for a private industry gig.

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 11:40:00 UTC | #151197

Teratornis's Avatar Comment 27 by Teratornis

Copyright is a form of speech restriction. I believe restricting speech does more harm than good. The best cure for bad speech is more speech, rather than censorship. Imagine if, instead of standing on the shoulders of giants, Newton had been sued by all of them for infringement. Making it easy for Newton to "rip off" earlier work (with proper attribution) created more value for humanity than all the value destroyed by cranks who misused the same easy access to information.

While winning court cases is certainly better than losing them, legal victories don't appear to change many minds, and thus ring a bit hollow. Crucifying creationists in court merely led to their subsequent resurrection as Intelligent Design proponents. Next it will be something else. We can chop heads off that Hydra indefinitely. Of course I have no idea how to get off this treadmill; it would seem we're stuck running in place until science determines what causes religion.

I might mention that Wikipedia has seen its share of bitter disputes, and has been amazingly successful at resolving even some seemingly intractable ones. Two of the core policies on Wikipedia are "Be civil" and "Do not make legal threats." Making legal threats is extremely bad form on Wikipedia, and usually results in a temporary block. Of course in the wider world, disputes take place with no Leviathan to mediate them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:LEGAL
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:CIVIL
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leviathan_(book)

This is part of why Wikipedia has become one of the world's top ten sites. The success is no accident, but rather results from a combination of technical features and a remarkably effective set of rules for personal behavior.

I'm a bit disappointed by the tone of David Bolinsky's essay. Bolinsky has understandable cause to be upset, but anger is a largely maladaptive emotion that evolved to help our ancestors deal with threats in the Pleistocene. Those threats were physical and immediate, such as hungry cave bears wandering into camp. When the threat is abstract and remote, getting angry doesn't increase one's ability to overpower the keyboard. The proper emotion for online disputes is sangfroid. As this is not a natural response we must deliberately cultivate it.

When one feels that instantaneous flood of blinding rage at the latest onscreen affront, I suggest asking a simple question:

What would Sam Harris do?

When we get emotional, we get careless and make mistakes. Often in a dispute, victory accrues to the side which is last to "lose it." It's better to stick to the facts, without emotional embellishment, and let the other side get upset and make mistakes.

Of course I'm advising myself here as much as anyone else. Must ... stay ... calm. Must remember to ask what Sam Harris would do.

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 11:46:00 UTC | #151204

scoobie's Avatar Comment 28 by scoobie


IDiots are well known for two things, criminal stupidity, and criminal dishonesty.

A quick look through the comments on that blog linked to above shows an outstanding collection of both.

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 11:55:00 UTC | #151209

Raiko's Avatar Comment 29 by Raiko

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!


I went to the link. I read that:

(Headline: "Harvard University Seeks Injunction Against Ben Stein and EXPELLED" â€" you think that might generate interest in the movie?)


... this is- wow. I can't even wrap my mind around it. Dembski is apparently lacking enough conscience to only think "yay publicity!" instead of considering any moral implications such an act would have. He's obviously fully aware that they're engageing in illegal activity for this - and happy with it.

Before you think the producers of EXPELLED are idiots, you might think that they are chess players who have seen several moves ahead.



He somehow forgets to mention that some of their moves involve letting the knight run straight!

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 12:19:00 UTC | #151225

Hostile2012's Avatar Comment 30 by Hostile2012

I like the last paragraph, it pretty much sums up the intelligence of ID proponents.

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 12:46:00 UTC | #151241