Tuesday, November 20, 2007

DI Fellows-- EXPELLED for plagiarism

It is one thing to correct Michael Behe (some structure guy) with zero HIV-1 research experience on HIV-1 evolution. But considering the sheer number of DI 'fellows' who are lawyers, and the fact Im 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. I dont know what theyre going to do (theyre Harvard-- they can do whatever they want). I do know that they are not happy campers. IANAL, I am a virologist, but heres why *I* would be upset.

This isnt a case of naive copyright infringement on Dembskis 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', 'nano moters', 'UPS labels'. Maybe they think it is 'okay' because they turned all of Harvards science into 'MAGIC!'

Hmm. From my point of view, as a virologist and former teaching assistant, this isnt just copyright infringement. This is theft and plagiarism. Taking someone elses work without their consent, manipulating it without their consent, pretending it supports ID Creationists distorted views of reality, and presenting it as DIs work.

*shrug* The DI fellows would be EXPELLED from my university for this.

122 comments:

Scottus said...

Yes pay no attention to the content of the video which obliterates Darwinian explanations for the cell and it's nano-technology. Rather, burn the plagiarist!!!

Jeff said...

Scottus, if you bring the same critical thinking skills with you to the voting booth that you used when you decided not to accept evolution, I'm going to have to ask you not to vote. Ever.

Oldcola said...

Could you please add a big warning sign over videos with IDiots, especially Dembski?
Measures must be taken before visioning such stuff, like avoid drinking coffee ;-)

Have to clean up my keyboard now.

Reynold Hall said...

How can you find the time and the stomach to deal with those people? Does it have something to do with the thrill of the hunt or more along the lines of doing a little extra public service to go along with the research you're doing?

Gary said...

Yeah! Your my favorite detective! And maybe this comment will go through too!~

Art said...

Great find, Abbie! This was a new low: A bunch of pseudoscientific stealth Creationists twisting scientific educational material made by people who actually DO science, into something to combat science.

We've long known DI was a pack of liars. Now we know they are thieves, too.

I hope Harvard lowers the boom on 'em!

HalfMooner

The Factician said...

scottus,

If you'll look on other posts, she's already obliterated the suggestions of Dembski and Behe.

The pointing out of plagiarism seems merely an afterthought.

But please, don't let us stop your persecution fantasy...

Wanderin' Weeta said...

That makes me angry. That is an absolutely beautiful video; I must have watched it at least a dozen times. I could barely bear to watch the iDIots' (although that is too polite a term for them) rape of it.

I hope Harvard buries them.

Gary said...

The DI is so sleezy, they make Barry Bonds look clean.

Harvard - You HAVE to stomp on these Moonie-loving lyers now! If we don't fight them in Seattle now , we'll have to fight them in Normon, Evanston and Cambridge later.


J-Dog

monado said...

Thanks for your efforts to clean up this disease as well as HIV.

Brett said...

Great catch. I'm now your newest fan. Hopefully, theyll get whats coming to them for having done that.

Tyson said...

Wow, you'd think that the fear of getting harvard legal against them would be enough of a deterrent to this bilge. But I guess having the whole of the biology community against them hasn't stopped them.

Scottus said...

Oh yes, "factician". I'm certain that Abbie has obliterated any notion that the most sophisticated software programs and nano-machinery we know of (which boggles the minds of engineering PHd's), were the result of intelligence.

You Darwinian fundies reaaally need at least a remedial course in computer science, maybe throw an introduction to engineering program in there as well. It will help you let go of your tired, Civil-war era creation myth. I promise.

Hermagoras said...

Great catch. I commented a little more about it, with mad props to you, at paralepsis.

Lemur said...

@Scottus:

I'm a math kiddo who's currently working as a programmer, specifically in the field of machine learning. While the complexity of cellular structures certainly do boggle the mind, that doesn't mean I think INTELLIGENCE!

Instead I (or rather, researchers in the field more knowledgeable than I) think "Hey, what if we mimic evolutionary methods to design algorithms."

in re: to It will help you let go of your tired, Civil-war era creation myth. I promise.:

Pot, kettle. Kettle, pot.

(P.S. to Abbie: I read your blog with great pleasure - very fun learning about real biology that is wonderfully accessible to a layman. Thanks!)

Blake Stacey said...

All right, I have to ask: if it took intelligence to create something so complicated as life — and in particular life which can sustain intelligent thought — then where did that first intelligence come from?

Keep up the good work, Abbie.

salient said...

Dumbski actually has the temerity to imply that it was Behe who discovered the inner workings of the cell!

These people truly are the most egregious creepoids, I hope that Harvard and the animation company sue them.

Amenhotep said...

Scottus, what *are* you talking about? The English Civil War was from 1642 to 1651. Precisely what theory was in dominance at that time?

The DI really cuts a pathetic figure these days. Lo and behold, "irreducible complexity" is not a barrier to evolution, therefore the DI is reduced to simply trying to dazzle with complexity itself. A straight path from "oooo" to "wooo".

John said...

Ah, scottus, trying to say that because computer tech uses nanometer processes, and therefore, "nano-technology", is really hard, and was created via Intelligent Design, therefore everything that has a lot of stuff happening must be created by ID, because everything is exactly the same.

I await, with true enthusiasm, your explanation for how everything is exactly the same, and how biological evolution is *exactly* like technological evolution.

I'm equally fascinated by your "ends justify the means" attitude towards theft and lying. Really, your moral high ground is astounding in its magnificence.

The Factician said...

Okay, "scottus" (we're all using real names, here, right?)

I'm certain that Abbie has obliterated any notion that the most sophisticated software programs and nano-machinery we know of (which boggles the minds of engineering PHd's)

I understand that one must be boggled to believe in ID. Don't worry, we can help you. Poke around, I'm sure you'll find something educational if you put your bible away for a moment.

Tyler DiPietro said...

"You Darwinian fundies reaaally need at least a remedial course in computer science, maybe throw an introduction to engineering program in there as well."

As a CS student, I'd be curious as to why you think they need this course. Is the cell Turing-equivalent? I'd like to see you lay out a proof if that is your position, then we'll see who needs remedial work in CS.

Paul said...

[silentsanta, NZ]

Scottus: As a CS graduate, who graduated near the top of my year, on my way through a good university with an excellent THE ranking, I find your comments fascinating.
Could you please provide some examples in which computer science supports the hypothesis of creation by an 'intelligent' agency?

Wesley said...

I also have linked to your post with some comments.

I essayed the suggestion that any settlement offer that may be needed include payment of a bottle of single malt scotch to the copyright holders.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Brian said...

"You Darwinian fundies reaaally need at least a remedial course in computer science, maybe throw an introduction to engineering program in there as well."

As a Computer Science student (with special interest in system automation and design standards) and programmer of printed-circuit board translation software, I offer my services to anyone needing some remedial help with computer science. Cellular biology and Organic Chemistry I may have some problems with, but apparently there is some compiled and linked piece of software in cells that I was originally unaware of. Scottus, can you point me at the source code files and perhaps the use-case documentation for the system?

The Inoculated Mind said...

I would just like to add that the IDists have been using these videos for along time. I attended a lecture by Jed Macosko in 2002 that used it. Using without attribution seems a little fishy.

Hermagoras said...

The Inoculated Mind,

Small question of fact: Are you sure it was the same video? I'm not sure the "Inner Life" animation was available before 2006. See this post, which seems to have been written when the film was new. Maybe you're thinking of a different film they stole.

The Factician said...

Not since 2002. If memory serves, the video was only released by Harvard and XVIVO in 2006.

They may have been using a plagiarized video, but it wasn't this plagiarized video - unless they have a mole deep in XVIVO ;)

ERV said...

inoculated-- I bet youre thinking of 'UNLOCKING THE MYSTERIES OF LIFE!'

I accidentally watched part of that this weekend. Lots of animations. Hey, did you know the bacterial flagellum lights up like a carousel? Sweeeeet. hehehehe!

vhut said...

To get the facts straight about the Dembski smack-down at the University of Oklahoma: (1) He apparently was not paid an honorarium of $10,000. (2) The Trinity Baptist Church of Norman, OK and their closely affiliated student group, Pursuit Campus Ministry (that had University approval as a student organization),first asked to raise $5000 on the church web site to pay all expenses of their hosting - his honorarium, travel, meal costs (including invitations to science faculty to attend lunch free with Dembski [apparently none accepted as best I could tell], newspaper ads, hand outs given to science faculty and 400+ persons that attended the lecture, etc. As the costs seemed to mount, the Church then mentioned on their web site a goal of $10,000 to be raised by church members and others. They likely did not reach that goal. (3) Thus, Dembski likely received somewhat less than $5000 (still too much for what he accomplished!). (4) The Trinity Church let out word that they would sell the video on DVD and CD, but that did not happen. After a few repeated requests from university students to get the video made by the church group, a student member agreed to provide the videos and then placed them on Google videos. (5) Thus, the posting of the videos by Matt Dowling on his blog, ONTOGENY, came AFTER the church member placed them on Google. Matt can not be charged with first making them available to the general public. We also believe that the Trinity elders approved of the Google post, but can not be certain.

We have posted earlier the efforts of many in the OU community, mostly students, to counter Dembski's talk in advance, including a full page anti-Dembski ad in the student newspaper signed by about 200 faculty, staff and graduate students, the sidewalk chalkings to counter those made by the Trinity group, hand outs to all attending the lecture (a copy of Shallit's anti-Dembski paper provided for the Dover trial, distributed by the student group Center for Inquiry, op-eds, letters to the editor, etc.

The Trinity group was hoping for a large crowd and they got it, but more than half the audience was composed of anti-ID folks. As the videos of the Q and A reveal, Dembski's comments were often met with derisive laughter and the students asking good questions often got loud rounds of applause, especially when they stood at the microphone and would not let Dembski off the hook.

Unfortunately, the videos do not show Dembski's "deer in the headlights" looks, his eye-rolling, etc. At times, his thin skin was apparent. However, to his credit, he stood their and took all the questions asked of him.

We hope now that Harvard will take some action for his unauthorized use of the video as detailed on Abbie Smith's blog, ERV.

There has been NO mention on Dembski's blog or by his DI followers about the OU visit. After all of this can you believe that some Trinity students have mentioned bringing him back!

ERV said...

YAY! Thank you, Vic! The ground work you all did in Norman made this depantsing possible!!

**standing ovation!!**

Brett said...

Vhut,
Youre right on target there. The Trinity kids did want to bring Dembski back and they asked me if CFI could provide somebody for them to debate. I thought about it and decided if i ded get somebody, it wouldnt be a scientist so that i wouldnt contribute to elevating their "controversy" to appear to be a scientific one. Instead I asked Barbara Forrest if she'd be interested, since her research played such a big role in the Dover trial. But she turned it down, not wanting to give the IDers any publicity at all.

You also might take note that his visit was purely religiously motivated, as is the entire movement. Trinity's website, in a message from the elders, said the following:

"In about three weeks, Trinity will be undertaking a very intense and strategic effort to present the gospel to the University of Oklahoma... In our effort to penetrate the university campus with the gospel, we are bringing Dr. William Dembski to OU on September 16-17... Make no mistake about it, our goal for this project is not to win a debate or to simply present an alternative worldview. Our prayer for this entire effort is for God to open doors so the power of His gospel would be made known to groups of people who need to hear the truth."

ERV said...

Brett-- Why not students? Learning experience for the students, Creationist gets no satisfaction! Students have nothing to lose!

waldteufel said...

Thanks for your usual great work, Abbie. I hope DI gets some heat for this.

Brett said...

Abbie, do you know many students who would want to do that? I might, if I studied all my arguments so I wouldnt forget them under pressure. You think Dembski would come back just for students? I think they wouldnt settle for that with how much Dembski costs to bring in. Maybe the Trinity kids would want to do it though. Just some thoughts.

Mark Iredell said...

The DI can always claim their material is parody, and hence fair use.

Darron said...

A friend of mine took me to a presentation that Jed Macosko, a former DI Fellow, gave here in the Twin Cities a few months ago in which he used the DI's ripped-off version of this video. I remember thinking that although DI's "science" was a joke, they sure did a slick-looking video. I should have known better. I'm going to have to send a link to this story to my friend so he can see how moral and upstanding the good Christians at DI are.

Darron said...

A friend of mine took me to a presentation that Jed Macosko, a former DI Fellow, gave here in the Twin Cities in Minnesota a few months ago in which he used the DI's ripped-off version of this video. I remember thinking that although DI's "science" was a joke, they sure did a slick-looking video. I should have known better. I'm going to have to send a link to this story to my friend so he can see how moral and upstanding the good Christians at DI are.

Ed Darrell said...

It's been more than two years, but I attended a DI circus at a church in North Dallas, with Dembski and Paul Nelson and Ray Bohlin and most of the Usual Suspects. I remember watching an animated movie of cellular actions and thinking they must be spending a fortune on animators.

How long has this video been available in any form? You've already got one commenter who says he saw it in Minneapolis -- who else has seen the DI use this pirated video, where, and how long have they been doing it?

Bob O'Hara said...

Why not students? Learning experience for the students, Creationist gets no satisfaction! Students have nothing to lose!
Or some nobody at AtBC (no, Wes, I'm not including you in that!). There's at least one clown there (blipey).

Bob

Xzanron said...

scottus raved: "You Darwinian fundies reaaally need at least a remedial course in computer science, maybe throw an introduction to engineering program in there as well. It will help you let go of your tired, Civil-war era creation myth. I promise."

As a Senior Software Engineer at London (City) software company whose client list reads like the Who's Who of the FT100 and with over almost fifteen years experience designing writing and maintaining software programs both professionally and privately, I'd like to point out that there is nothing in software engineering that could possibly in any way lead you to a conclusion that some fairy created the world.

Given how many errors (bugs) that crop up in living things, I'd say that your "agent" was a mediocre engineer at best and should spend some time reading up on software verifcation, validation and testing procedures and methodologies.

alloy said...

Dear Christian Fundumbmentalists

Please do show me in the bible where it says it's OK to slander, misquote and outright lie in order to challange something you don't like.

Surely if God thought it was so bad you wouldn't have to consistantly and persistantly break commandments 8, 9 and sometimes 6.
***********

Good on ya Abby for catching them on 8 & 9

大力 said...

FYI, I just submitted the following comment to Uncommon Descent. It's awaiting moderation. The URL is

http://www.uncommondescent.com/the-design-of-life/from-the-academic-literature-fred-flintstone-vs-the-law/

Pardon me for bringing up a matter that has no connection to the topic of this discussion apart from pertaining to the law.

Ms AS Smith, a junior HIV researcher, has alleged in her blog that Dr Dembski has publicly presented an elaborate computer animation depicting some of the molecular mechanisms responsible for the actions of a leukocyte to fight infection, with an alternative narration highlighting the complexity of those mechanisms and thereby stressing the difficulty of explaining their origin by naturalistic means. Furthermore, Ms Smith speculates Dr Dembski has not obtained due permission for his presentation from the copyright holder, thus committing plagiarism.

Ms Smith’s blog entry containing the accusation can be found at the following address:

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=34913414&postID=1095819170103040943

Given the level of legal expertise accessible to Dr Dembski at the Discovery Institute, the allegations of Ms Smith appear implausible. Nevertheless, I deem it expedient, from the public relations viewpoint, for Dr Dembski and the DI to address her claims and to prominently display evidence conclusively refuting them. I am certain such evidence is trivially easy to produce.

Torbjörn Larsson said...

Scottus:

the video which obliterates Darwinian explanations

Oh, so that is your explanation why references to science is removed from the DI version. But the usual interpretation of "obliterate" is less literal and more substantial.

the most sophisticated software programs and nano-machinery we know of

Please define "sophisticated", "software", "programs" and "nano-machinery".

Sophisticated as algorithmic capability: Tyler points out that it isn't proven that the algorithmic capabilities of the cellular machinery is Turing equivalent. So my laptop is at least as sophisticated, and much more versatile.

Software: The algorithms that guides some, but not all, of the cellular machinery has its source in the genome. The most important algorithm, protein expression and regulation, is however sourced by heredity of a cell (mitosis or meiosis), so it is definitely sourced as "hardware" or rather wetware.

The genome is modified by evolution, obtaining information of the current environment and so containing slowly depreciated information of past environments. It can slowly modify the wetware, but it is itself wetware. The best technological analogy to a biological evolutionary population would perhaps be modifiable von Neumann machines, i.e. self-evolvable hardware.

Nano-machinery: The cell is a tightly packed chemically active container(s). The boundary between common "simple" active sites of enzymes and piece-wise movable "machinery" is fuzzy.

need at least a remedial course in computer science, maybe throw an introduction to engineering program in there as well

Check and check. Throw in (a lot more) physics as well. But while I'm not a biologist, I do recognize good science when I see it. Biology, and especially its fundamental basis in evolution and its theory, is such.

Now, what has CS to do with biology proper, considering that evolution as a biological process has been successfully formalized without it? (I.e. the theory of the phenomena doesn't contain any information or engineering theory.)

May I instead suggest that it would be good if denialists try to orient themselves about science in general, and especially the field(s) they desperately deny?

Not that I expect that to happen, denialists are probably most often fundamentally incompetents, who can't recognize facts and knowledge when they see it. (See "denialism" blog for posts on behavioral science supporting this.)

Reynold said...

大力 said...

FYI, I just submitted the following comment to Uncommon Descent. It's awaiting moderation. The URL is

http://www.uncommondescent.com/the-design-of-life/from-the-academic-literature-fred-flintstone-vs-the-law/

Pardon me for bringing up a matter that has no connection to the topic of this discussion apart from pertaining to the law.



Nothing yet. Hope you have better luck than I did.

Blake Stacey said...

Quoth Mark Iredell:

The DI can always claim their material is parody, and hence fair use.

Taking this comment a bit more seriously than it was probably meant, I don't think fair use applies. The relevant section of law reads,

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 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 Discoverup Institute fails on criteria 1 and 3, at the very least.

tgibbs said...

Perhaps not quite fair to say that "Harvard/XVIVOs narration, all of the science, is whisked away," considering that the short version available on YouTube did not have the narration.

But I certainly agree that presenting the video uncredited is plagiarism. And there seems to be genuine deceptive intent here--it clearly seems designed to give the impression that these images originated with ID "scientists"

waldteufel said...

I can't wait to see how scottus's computer game, er . . I mean super sophisticated computer program is gonna sweep away 150 years of good science.

I'll go get my popcorn and wait anxiously by the computer . . . .

Crickets chirping . . . . . .

Rev. BigDumbChimp said...

Nice Job Abby.

Kristjan Wager said...

Do we need any more CS people to speak up? I seem to make a decent living as an IT consultant these days, but I must have been an abyssal failure at my education if it was to lead me to believe that cells are somehow related to computer science.

Like others, I look forward to scottus enlighten us about how we've misunderstood both biology and computer science.

Sili said...

I can see the fun in getting students to 'debate' Dumbski.

But - doesn't he always follow the same script?

Wouldn't it be better (read: more fun) to coach a coupla housewives and the ever so slightly crazy guy who begs for spare change outside Starbucks with the usual talking points and have them refute Denseski's 'arguments'?

(Alternatively you could just find suitable students and dress them up as housewives, crazies &c.)

The Rev. Jenner J. Hull said...

The Discovery Institute...

It's not plagiarism...

It's plagiaristastic!

monado said...

Well, there's been some reaction: none of the videos is available on YouTube any more. Too bad - I finally have a quiet moment to watch them.

Definitely burn the plagiarist. And throw in all those "proofs" that bumblebees can't fly, evolution can't happen, and Zeno's paradox proves that you can never pass a given point. Then look around at the real world, where all those things occur daily.

Incidentally, Abbie, I looked at my Blogspot comment options and found I could set them to show the complete date as well as the time. I like knowing when folks dropped by. You might, also.

Glenn said...

The DI video was not available 1/2 hour ago or so. It's available now, though.

Thank you, ERV!

- 22 Nov 2007

ERV said...

Well Ive gotten no messages from YouTube (though I have gotten messages from concerned citizens who recognize it as a stolen Harvard animation). And I can get permission to post the animation, if YouTube asks for it.

If any of you notice its been taken down, drop me a note!

Reynold said...

The Rev. Jenner J. Hull said...

The Discovery Institute...

It's not plagiarism...

It's plagiaristastic!


I am SO going to steal that line!

monado said...

The videos from Harvard and the DI version. They were gone but now they're back.

I guess there's no word from Harvard?

Bob O'Hara said...

I watched the full Dembski performance last night. The first questioner seems to have been the person who organised the petition against wMad. He said that he hadn't meant to imply that ID didn't have any publications, and said that he would email Billy D an apology. Dembski replied saying that he would then post it on his blog.

Was the email sent? I haven't seen it at UD...

Bob
P.S. there was also some questioner whinging about someone at UD being nasty to her. Anyone you know? :-)

大力 said...

Reynold, thank you, but my well-meaning warning about the accusation has apparently been silently deleted; it doesn't show as "awaiting moderation" any more.

Anyway, another comment I made in another thread is still pending after almost 24 hours. It was a followup to bornagain77's explanation that the small information gain in HIV was more than offset by a corresponding information loss in the infected humans and hence it didn't violate the principle of Genetic Entropy.

http://www.uncommondescent.com/the-design-of-life/human-origins-the-darwinian-left-discovers-group-selection/#comment-150638

The theory you presented suggests a method to prevent HIV from gaining any further complexity. Suppose we collect a tissue sample from every inhabitant of the planet, deep-freeze the samples and store them in a secure location. Assuming the practical difficulties can be overcome, no genetic information possessed by the whole mankind will be lost, not even a trivial amount. Thus HIV cannot gain any new information in the future.

Is my understanding of Genetic Entropy correct?

breakerslion said...

Ms. Smith:

You are now an honorary Th.D. (Doctor of Thinkology). For explanation, see comments on this post at Panda's Thumb. Congratulations on a delightful and magnificent post.

As for the argument about computer tech versus biology here, please show me a computer that can reproduce itself when mated with another computer and fed a quantity of sand, plastic, and metal. When studying the biological process of reproduction, please point out the step where God's magic penis is required in order to continue.

Tyler DiPietro said...

"God's magic penis"

I think someone may have finally dethroned Blake as the winner of the internet.

Blake Stacey said...

Eh, that happens often enough — but I'm still the Lord of the Computers Internet Blog.

BlackGriffen said...

I actually disliked this video from the moment I first saw it precisely for the reasons that made it so vulnerable to abuse by the DI - things whiz around, fly into place, and generally don't experience any Brownian motion whatsoever in the video. In other words, the video glosses over the randomness and chaos that is inherent even in the goings on of the cell. The molecular motors and ribosomal RNA, for instance, will sometimes move backward. Why do they do that? Because they can, and thermodynamics demands that they must because they are at a finite temperature. There is just a bias to move forward that overcomes the tendency to move about randomly. The polymerization, too, makes it look like the molecules are lined up in an orderly queue waiting to join the chain, when they're doing nothing of the sort. Just imagine bar magnets floating around, mostly ignoring each-other, except when they get close enough they'll get stuck.

I can understand the motivation behind glossing this over - it would take too long to show properly or would make things in the cell look like they buzz around on caffeinated crack, which they kind of do, but which is visually unappealing.

Doc Mara said...

I think these DI folks were the yutz brigade asleep in the back of my Intro to Composition course. Not only did they sleep through the plagiarism lesson, they apparently whiffed the metaphor lesson as well. Just because you can make REALLY clever metaphors that seem to transfer qualities from one signifier to the next does not actually transport the soul of one thing to the next.

A computer is not a cell is not a computer.

Of course, what I REALLY want to know is whether or not you can get tracking on those nano-UPS parcels.

tropaean said...

Heh, as an audio professional, all I have to say is that the voice over guy on the original deserves a medal for getting through that. It must have been an interesting session.

Otherwise, very interesting blog, I may have to add it to the ever growing mass of must reads. As to the ID fools' poor behavior, really, does anybody expect them to act reasonably? They can do anything they want. All means are justified by their ends, right?

Ugh.

Art said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Art said...

It's quite interesting to look over the Discovery Institute's main Web site. In their "Latest Views & News" section, there's not a mention at all of their self-inflicted PR wound via plagiarism.

Strange, now that one of their bone-headed capers is getting plenty of publicity in the "materialist" media, they seem reluctant to acknowledge the fact.

-- HalfMooner

Joe said...

Scottus, you mentioned something about a computer science course... which one should I take. I took many CS courses on my way to my masters. The ones I felt were the most enlightening were the artificial life, artificial intelligence and evolutionary algorithms using parallel systems. Of course if you really want to learn something try a few Philosophy courses. I think Basic logic and critical thinking may be a big help to you, of course if you want to learn anything worth while I suggest Phil of mind.

Oh yeah, I know this will just bug you but I must say it. I believe in evolution and I believe in Christ Jesus. The two are not mutually exclusive(that means only one can be true at any given time) as you would want many to believe.


To the owner/blogger of this blog; Good work. I found this place by mere chance and it has been added to my list of daily readers. Keep up the good work.

Caio
o.O

Usage May Vary said...

I'd see a lawyer, stat. You do realize you have a bit of a case on this one, right? I don't think these people (creationists) will respond to any less.

sliver said...

"Yes pay no attention to the content of the video which obliterates Darwinian explanations for the cell and it's nano-technology. Rather, burn the plagiarist!!!"

Scottus, the message is irrelevant here. A crime was committed, and its perpetrator needs to be punished.

Is this an example of the morally bankrupt nature of Creationists?

Are all Creationists this ethically lacking, or is it just you?

Jeremy said...

Guys, I can't believe you've spent all this time responding to scottus, an obvious troll. It's ridiculous. Isn't it clear he's only saying things which could possibly make you all angry? He's obviously playing the role of a ID proponent and laughing as you all go crazy over it.

STOP FEEDING THE TROLL.

Tracy P. Hamilton said...

"I also have linked to your post with some comments.

I essayed the suggestion that any settlement offer that may be needed include payment of a bottle of single malt scotch to the copyright holders.

Wesley R. Elsberry"

If so, they may make a sequel to "EXPELLED": "Obanned!"

New Orleans News Ladder said...

Hi, I really enjoyed your un'coverage of the idiot wind of creationists pestilence. Argh.

Where would you place these freaks within the body politic virology? Get my drift?
What would be the resonant metaphor for such drop-outs from the P.T. Barnham School of Shameless Self Promotion, within your field of expertise?

Once you have identified and localized, then we can devise counter-measures? A vaccine perhaps? Quarantine?

Personally I wish that we could load up All the God People onto a big boat and send them back to the Holy Land. Let 'em go work it out amongst themselves Over There~~lest they resort to drastic...measures Over Here.

But really, can you map their behavior virally?

Thanks again for a great post.
écrasez l'infâme!
from the
back hand path

emajae01 said...

I am not going to debate whether copying, modifying, or using the video is right or wrong. That much is obvious.

However, my comment revolves around the much bigger issue of who can prove what.

Evolution is a THEORY, just like CREATIONISM is a THEORY.

Science itself discredits Evolution...ask if you got questions.

You can not PROVE evolution is absolute truth anymore than I can PROVE Creationism is absolute truth.

Equal Respect for Both is warranted, and just.

Tyler DiPietro said...

emajae01, just thought I'd give you fair warning: you're in waaaay over your head here. Quit while you're ahead.

Col. Mitchell said...

I don't know the whole story behind the Harvard video thing and I certainly am not a lawyer, but I do condemn plagiarism and if anything wrong was done with this video then I cannot support that action. Having said that, I am a senior biology major and it boggles my mind how anyone who understands Darwinian or neo-Darwinian evolution could have enough faith to believe that either one of those resulted in our complex and largely ordered universe. After all of my science courses and reading journal articles and books on the subject, I strongly believe in ID.

PM said...

Having said that, I am a senior biology major and it boggles my mind how anyone who understands Darwinian or neo-Darwinian evolution could have enough faith to believe that either one of those resulted in our complex and largely ordered universe.

Yes, I agree. It would take a lot of faith to believe that a biological process would apply to a non-biological event like the origins of the universe you colossal freaking idiot.

drtomaso said...

emajae01 said...

I am not going to debate whether copying, modifying, or using the video is right or wrong. That much is obvious.

However, my comment revolves around the much bigger issue of who can prove what.

Evolution is a THEORY, just like CREATIONISM is a THEORY.

Science itself discredits Evolution...ask if you got questions.

You can not PROVE evolution is absolute truth anymore than I can PROVE Creationism is absolute truth.

Equal Respect for Both is warranted, and just.


Ummm... no. You, like every other IDiot out there mix the scientific and colloquial definitions of "theory". The Theory of Evolution is a Theory like the Theory of Gravity is a Theory. The ID theory is a theory like the "CIA-blew-up-building-7" theory is a theory. One means a scientifically tested explanation for a set of observed facts, and the other is a bunch of crap made up by kooks too incompetent to do real science, which can never be tested but can be dressed in the language of science sufficiently to fool the layman.

The only thing ID or "Creationism for the legally-aware" deserves is a thorough mocking.

Reynold said...

One thing that bugs me about these people: they're always complaining about how honest scientists don't give them the respect they deserve; but instead of doing the work that they promise to do, they do sh*t like this.


These are the people whining about suppression? They don't pony up the evidences for intelligent design that people like John Lynch has practically begged for...yet they regularly throw away comments that "darwinists" make on their Uncommon Descent blog.


Hypocrosy doesn't begin to cover this.

dsdfdsf said...

LMFAO, what scottus and the student was arguing about is irreducible complexity that some organisms cannot be function when they are broken down further. WELL that claims is FALSE because scientists know about many other organisms with similar "motor mechanisms" that perform different tasks because they are MISSING these proteins (parts to the motor).

Creationists are scum of the Earth.

dennis said...

>emajae01 said...
>I am not going to debate whether
>copying, modifying, or using the
> video is right or wrong. That
> much is obvious.

so obvious that someone still is not getting it.

> Evolution is a THEORY, just like CREATIONISM is a THEORY.


no, evolution is a theory with theory in the science meaning, creationism is a theory in the
common meaning.

They involves two totally different approach and i suggest you to go look on some physic book what the scientistic theory involves.


>Science itself discredits evolution...ask if you got questions.

one problem of science is his "pessimistic" approach in accepting new ideas theories and models, even when they have valid "scientific proofs" but this doesn't mean that every crap idea you can come up is valid, you need scientific proofs about that and valid models.

Again i am speaking using words like models, proofs, theories in the scientific meaning which involves experiments, and some rigid scheme to follow, if you are not familiar with them please refer to a physic or scientific book, don't use the common term which is misleading.

>Equal Respect for Both is warranted, and just.

this matter is not scientific but involves human being: you can be an excellent scientist then go back to home and kill your wife.

When we talk about science we talk about given facts, theories with proofs behind them, theories that we know "at the moment works but don't explain this or that", theories that one day will be surpassed by others theories because the new ones make us explained unsolved problems.

when we talk about other stuff we give our personal opinion, which is subjective.

if you to talk about personal ideas of respect then please let me point out to what happened to galileo galilei, to keplero, to darwin, to giordano bruno, to stam cell research and let's see who's actually censoring, killing, banning people that have different idea.

p.s. sorry for my english it's not my first language.

last note about CS, nano technology and so on: by being a graded C.S. i can tell: we developed c.s. by learning from nature not the opposite. Nature was born first than windows vista and java :-)

emajae01 said...

EVOLUTION AND PROBABILITY
Dr. Emile Borel, one of the world’s experts on mathematical probability, formulated a basic law of probability: “This law states that the occurrence of any event where the chances are beyond one in one followed by 50 zeros is an event which we can state with certainty will never happen no matter how much time is allotted and no matter how many conceivable opportunities could exist for the event to take place.”

Science reveres Dr. Carl Sagan (Cosmo, etc)and he quite openly has said that the chance of life evolving on one planet is calculated to be one chance in one followed by two billion zeros.

So, not even CLOSE!

Thus, there is absolutely no chance that life could have evolved on the earth.
SCIENCE said that, not me.

Jonathan said...

Please excuse me going off topic a bit here, but there is question that has been eating at me for a while now. I don't understand why every involved with this subject is always so one sided, either for or against. On one side you have a completely theological argument and on the other completely scientific. Is there no middle ground? Does the existence of evolutionary biology disprove "God"? Also cannot an all powerful "God" use figurative examples to explain a process that would be otherwise impossible to grasp without scientific understanding? Not as far as I can see anyway and please correct me if I am wrong here. The problem seems to lie more in a human element. People have a tendency to become feverish in their explanations and arguments which has an adverse effect on those who don't quite it that way. For example Apple/Windows based computing. Apple supporters tend to be so feverish in their approach, declaring their platforms supremacy. So much so that the other side is left completely disenchanted. It would seem to be the same result in this debate. Theology is a wonderful tool to debate and theorize on ideas and subjects the are scientifically unexplainable, adversely science is great tool to explain as much as possible while staying grounded in fact. Why not meld the two? Is that idea so replusive to everyone? Is it possible that a "God" could mastermind a long evolutionary process? Is it so wild to think that a being of this power and magnitude could possibly use its own biological rules to develop it's creation? From what I gather everyone has put themselves in their comfortable little box and refuse to see anything that stretches beyond it's borders. My only goal with this post is to persuade people to think "what if" more than "you're wrong because".
"When even the brightest mind in our world has been trained up from childhood in a superstition of any kind, it will never be possible for that mind, in its maturity, to examine sincerely, dispassionately, and conscientiously any evidence or any circumstance which shall seem to cast a doubt upon the validity of that superstition. I doubt if I could do it myself." - Mark Twain

Robert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert said...

(Sorry for the deleted above post-- the link included was wrong.)

Nice to see that this issue made it to Slashdot:

http://science.slashdot.org/science/07/11/25/
0430235.shtml

The more people that hear about the DI plagiarism the better.

emajae01 said...

Jonathan:

I agree with most of what you said. Yes, I am willing to live in harmony with Evolutionist. Everyone has their right to their belief.

However, Creationism does not have equal rights.

I think BOTH are theories, because neither can provide absolute proof.

People use the Constitution against my belief, take the "Seperation of Church and State" out of context and beyond the intent of the Writers.

Teaching Creationism as a THEORY in the Public Schools is NOT teaching a religion. Religion is define by Merriam-Webster On-Line as:

Main Entry: re·li·gion
Pronunciation: \ri-ˈli-jən\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English religioun, from Anglo-French religiun, Latin religion-, religio supernatural constraint, sanction, religious practice, perhaps from religare to restrain, tie back — more at rely
Date: 13th century
1 a: the state of a religious (a nun in her 20th year of religion) b (1): the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2): commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
3: archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness
4: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

Teaching Creationalism as a Theory in the Schools is NOT Religion by this definition.

The Seperation Clause in the Constitution was intended to abolish State-Mandated Religion; not to Abolish Religion entirely.

Some people using this blog seem to have a high distain for Creationist. Terms like "IDiots", "Scum of the Earth", etc.

I am not nor will I ever use demeaning terms or names. I am trying to respect everyone as a person.

How about we all start there?

Jon Voisey said...

emajae01: Those statistics are a load of crap. They're both for the spontaneous generation of humans. The probabilities for generating any sort of self replicating organic molecules on which natural selection could act are well under the threshold to be accounted for by the anthropic principle (ie, how damn big our universe is).

Try again. Next time with a real argument.

Jon Voisey said...

emajae01: Both are NOT theories. You've been corrected on this twice already. Your insistence that they are is abusing the fallacy of equivocation and is revealing you for the intellectually dishonest troll you are.

And yes, Creationism is religious. It fits right under the definition that you yourself posted:

the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2): commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance

ID/Creationism does service to God by suspending reasonable though and pretending that he magically made the universe. In doing so, it commits itself to a specific religious faith (Christianity) and superstition in general.

Jonathan: Your argument is pathetic. It's an argument from ignorance/incredulity with a bit of tossed in equivocation. Going for a logical fallacy hat trick were we?

Do you care to actually support your arguments with logically sound points next time and explain how the amazingly successful theory of evolution, supported by direct laboratory observations, a detailed fossil record, genetic confirmation, etc.... is escaping your mental grip?

J Myers said...

emajae01: “This law states that the occurrence of any event where the chances are beyond one in one followed by 50 zeros is an event which we can state with certainty will never happen no matter how much time is allotted and no matter how many conceivable opportunities could exist for the event to take place.”

You don't see that this obviously incorrect?

Jason said...

jonathon,

I'm not sure I understand what you are getting at with your 'middle ground' comments. Just because what science says makes religious people uncomfortable doesn't mean we should try to accomodate their viewpoint in the science that we use to further the good of society. This isn't politics, it's coming up with theories that can be tested... something that creationists have no interest in doing. Creationists and DI proponents are far more interested in trying the "you can't prove EVERYTHING so therefore a magic elf created the universe" play with naive or uneducated people.

Believing in a supreme intelligence or being is fine, as long as you don't try to use same to explain scientifically testable actions.

emajae01 said...

Thanks for all the comments.

Question:

Who is willing to look at and consider all the scientific evidence, not just the evidence that supports Evolution?

Reynold said...

Check out the transcripts for the Dover trial. There, they looked at all the evidence. Only one side was able to stand up though.

Maybe if Dembski and some others hadn't cut and run from the trial the ID people would have been able to post more "evidence" for their side?


http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/kitzmiller_v_dover.html

Reynold said...

Ooh, I forgot something. Guess what else those guys are doing instead of actual research.

Panda's Thumb picked it up: the Darwin Days Sock Hop.

http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/11/id-movement-dig.html


God! Those people are pathetic. At least real scientists, those "lacking the Thanksgiving spirit" are actually doing some research. Sure, they make fun of ID but 1)the ID people deserve it

2) the ridicule is a sideline to actual research.

Jon Voisey said...

emajae01: I'm perfectly willing to look at all the scientific evidence. However, Creationists seem to frequently miss the key word here: Scientific.

That means it has to be testable. Positing supernatural causation like ID/Creationism does is not testable and thus not acceptable for scientific evidence. Making arguments from ignorance/incredulity is logically flawed and thus not acceptable for scientific evidence. Making inane emotional appeals due to perceived implications of evolution (ie, evolution = Hitler) is not acceptable for scientific evidence. Misapplying basic math, biology, physics, astronomy, etc... is not acceptable for scientific evidence. Dishonestly equivocating layman's terms with technical jargon is not acceptable for scientific evidence.

So again, I'm perfectly willing to consider scientific evidence, but the ID/Creationist crowd seems utterly unable to provide it based on the reasons shown above.

dennis said...

>Who is willing to look at and consider
>all the scientific evidence, not just the
>evidence that supports Evolution?

please give us the evidences that support creationism.

emajae01 said...

The Laws of Physics says matter cannot be created or destroyed.

Creationism explains origins.

The Laws of Physics says Energy cannot be created or destroyed.

Are you alive? Did you come from Nothing? No, your parent's energy (Life) was passed on to you.

The Law of Conservation of energy says your energy will not disappear when you die.

This is a start, but I gotta go to work now.

I will post more later.

Jon Voisey said...

Geez, emajae01. Did you pass high school science?

The Laws of Physics says matter cannot be created or destroyed.

This is vaguely true. Matter can be turned into energy. But anyway, nothing says that matter/energy magically popped into existence. So there's no real point in this statement, unless you're trying to imply that there's a problem with the Big Bang theory because it says matter/energy came from nothing. It doesn't.

Creationism explains origins.

So does the flying spaghetti monster. Shame that neither one has any scientific evidence for it.

The Laws of Physics says Energy cannot be created or destroyed.

Again, pointless statement.

Are you alive?

Yep.

Did you come from Nothing? No, your parent's energy (Life) was passed on to you.

The energy in my body did not come from my parents. The genetic code I possess did. But the energy has been collected from intake of food over the past 24 years.

The Law of Conservation of energy says your energy will not disappear when you die.

Are you trying for some inane "energy = soul" nonsense?

This is a start

Not much of one. Keep playing.

Jonathan said...

Jon Voisey:

Your post is an ideal example of what I am trying to explain even though it was aimed more at the other side of the fence. I made no argument for or against anything other than the fact that most people force themselves to be short sighted. It's not my place to convince anyone that "God" exists, nor that it doesn't. Your reaction is exactly what I'm trying to dissuade. Because you are so against the possibility of a "God" all you heard in my comment was "you should believe in a "God". When in actuality I said no such thing. My intention is for there to be less hatred involved. It irritates me to hear anyone try to discredit biological evolution especially with pseudo-science. It irritates me just as much to hear anyone trying to completely discredit a "God" as well. Just remember these are two completely different subjects. Carl Sagan himself said in the Cosmos series that with the vast universe in which we are immersed there are possibilities for any and everything. It is up to science to prove or disprove theories this is true, however there are things such as the possibility of a "God" that science is lost on. That is something to be determined on a personal basis. You may believe there is no "God" and may have some good arguments for it, this however does not prove there isn't one. Also just because I believe there is one and have arguments for it doesn't mean it's true.

Jason:

You are completely right, science should not change nor conform for personal belief for it is completely based on factual findings. The only point I am making is less hatred and more understanding.


Here is a quote for good measure:

Every one of us is precious in the cosmic perspective. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.
- Carl Sagan

Jon Voisey said...

Jonathan: My apologies. My comment was not intended to be directed towards you. It was meant to go to Col. Mitchell who claims to be a biology major but made the fallacious arguments I pointed out.

Commenting on tightly spaced responses like this is difficult at times. Again, I apologize for misdirecting my comment.

However, to address your point, that arguing science/religion is like arguing Mac/PC: This is a cute analogy, but I don't feel that it really addresses the actual issue. Macs and PCs can both do the same things with roughly similar efficiencies. The argument is just hyped to help sell things and make owners of one or another feel special.

However, the same cannot be said for religion and science. When it comes to explaining things, the two are in no way similar in their abilities. Religion fails repeatedly. Science, while it does make errors, has done amazing things in terms of explaining our universe and produces tangible results. The computer you're reading this on being an example.

I have no personal animosity towards a bit of magical thinking, but when taken to the extent that it requires people to suspend rational thought, yes, I do get angry.

dennis said...

>The Laws of Physics says Energy cannot
>be created or destroyed.

>Are you alive? Did you come from
>Nothing? No, your parent's energy
>(Life) was passed on to you.

i must give you an important information: if you don't eat you die


>The Law of Conservation of energy says
>your energy will not disappear when you >die.

that is not really the law of conservation and yes, it doesn't disappear but become part of the world
have u ever putted a cadaver under the grass ? not a human body :-) just even a small creature, you will see that the grass over the cadaver is greener

however what do you mean by energy ? because that is the same energy that let you drive your car and turn up your pc, so if i was you i'd be careful to make any resemblance between the soul and the energy or you could end up by saying that your car is running because you are burning souls (but you could explain some behaviour you can see on pc from time to time :-) ) .

Last note from a religious point of view: it is said that soul goes to heaven or hell till the armageddon, so basically speaking - since heaven and hell are not in this world - and reincarnation is not permitted (you will be resurrected for the armageddon) what you are trying to do is basically a blasfemy.

Now let me give a good suggestion: i live in italy and i have been quite instructed by all the things about bible and so on; in my country the church is quite enough smart to not to debate law of phisics trying to give a bible explanation: they just shut up and corrupt our governement (but yeah this is another story)

dave said...

Jonathan: it's a bit misleading to think of the arguments as theology against science: there are two separate but related arguments. ID is claimed to be science, but on the basis that science "unfairly" excludes the supernatural as an explanation. Their basic argument is that if something can't be explained in complete detail by science, the default explanation is goddidit. This position was seen as essentially dishonest and was discarded by science in the 19th century, and in its "creation science" reincarnation was thrown out in the 1982 McLean v. Arkansas ruling, which defines as the essential characteristics of science that It is guided by natural law; It has to be explanatory by reference to nature law; It is testable against the empirical world; Its conclusions are tentative, i.e. are not necessarily the final word; and It is falsifiable. In Kitzmiller, ID failed the same test, and the "default goddidit" argument was described as the same "false duality" as used by "creation science".

The other parallel argument is theological: ID "rejects the premise that there is a God who acts purposefully and effectively in the world, but this divine action is always persuasive and never coercive. .... To the ID movement, to be a God who is not empirically detectable is to a dispensable God. Any God whose actions are not empirically detectable would be of no value in defeating naturalism."

http://www.counterbalance.net/id-hvt/getti-frame.html

tgibbs said...

"EVOLUTION AND PROBABILITY
Dr. Emile Borel, one of the world’s experts on mathematical probability, formulated a basic law of probability: 'This law states that the occurrence of any event where the chances are beyond one in one followed by 50 zeros is an event which we can state with certainty will never happen no matter how much time is allotted and no matter how many conceivable opportunities could exist for the event to take place.'...

Thus, there is absolutely no chance that life could have evolved on the earth.
SCIENCE said that, not me."

-------

Take a deck of cards. Shuffle them, deal them out.
The probability of obtaining that sequence of cards is less than 1 one followed by 67 zeroes.

So by your argument, "SCIENCE" says that there is absolutely no chance that you could have dealt out those cards.

So how did it happen?

An invisible "Intelligent Dealer"?

rsht61 said...

FYI, Dembski just thought of something to say:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/molecular-animations/news-release-harvards-xvivo-video/

rsht61 said...

After looking in greater detail, I have a question for anyone who has access to a higher-quality version of Dembski's Oklahoma lecture than what is on YouTube: he posts a frame-grab of the original Harvard credits and claims it's the last thing his lecture audience saw. It's from head-on, not like the angle of the lecture. I see nothing on the screen after the final image in the lecture recording, but am I not seeing something the lecture audience might have seen?

He also claims he had nothing to do with the new voice-over, that it was already on the version he considered most suitable for his audience of those available on the internet. Surely this can be checked.

Steve said...

Frankly, by fighting the IDiots, science strengthens them. This is one area where ignoring them and they'll go away applies.

The sort of people who are susceptible to unscientific beliefs are also prone to see science fighting back as science having something to hide. It's a bit calvinist, I know, but those of us who trust in experiment and observation, those who have faith in creation are pretty much predetermined and can't be swayed from their annointed path.

You can't really keep religious fruitcakes out of politics, either. We have to live with them and keep plugging away at the good work, rather than waste time and energy convincing an IDiot they're wrong. Lets face it, how can you prove to somebody with faith that they're wrong?

Sad, but true, they're a lost cause, those intelligent design believers.

honestly... said...

I find it odd that this video is crystal clear right untill the credits. Look at how the screen blurs from the cameraman... Even if you watch the orriginal clip, the credits are a dull blue color that are hard to distinguish on the black screen. Watch it again for yourself and be puzzled at why the screen stays black with the blury title for a while before the screen goes to the next slide. What was there? NOrmally if someone cut something off it could be a freeze frame, and not a black screen. I think it is only fair to read his response at his website. I am sure that you may all not agree, but you shouldn't jump to such hasty conclusions.
http://www.uncommondescent.com/molecular-animations/news-release-harvards-xvivo-video/

ERV said...

honestly-- That video was created by Creationists, not me. Youre welcome to ask them for a DVD, if you dont trust me.

Dembski also has that option. He has not chosen to pursue it.

Bad said...

XVIVO is a really really bad name for anything serious. It makes me think of people making out.

Or maybe I'm just bad for anything serious.

James said...

XVIVO is a really really bad name for anything serious. It makes me think of people making out.


))<>((

Sorry. Couldn't help it.

Torbjörn Larsson said...

Dr. Emile Borel, one of the world’s experts on mathematical probability, formulated a basic law of probability: “This law states that the occurrence of any event where the chances are beyond one in one followed by 50 zeros is an event which we can state with certainty will never happen no matter how much time is allotted and no matter how many conceivable opportunities could exist for the event to take place.”

Yes, Borel was an early measure theoretician, with basic results named after him. No, there is no such law. For some scientific models one can in practice exclude cases in the tail of the distribution. But it is always specific cases, not a general rule and certainly not "a law", as any scientist can tell you.

Borel was aware of this, as he was also aware that such calculations are at best a rule of thumb, and downright meaningless in the absence of knowledge:

"Moreover, certain of these properties of living matter also belong to inanimate matter, when it takes certain forms, such as that of crystals. It does not seem possible to apply the laws of probability calculus to the phenomenon of the formation of a crystal in a more or less supersaturated solution. At least, it would not be possible to treat this as a problem of probability without taking account of certain properties of matter, properties that facilitate the formation of crystals and that we are certainly obliged to verify. We ought, it seems to me, to consider it likely that the formation of elementary living organisms, and the evolution of those organisms, are also governed by elementary properties of matter that we do not understand perfectly but whose existence we ought nevertheless admit."

the chance of life evolving on one planet is calculated to be one chance in one followed by two billion zeros

The likelihood, not unconditional probability ("chance"), for life on Earth was probably much higher. It seems to have taken only 200 My between the in all likelihood sterilizing Late Heavy Bombardment and the first observation of life. Moreover, we can't say for certain if life went extinct several times before it caught on for certain, nor if independent protobiont communities later coalesced to a genomic LUCA.

But the specific likelihood doesn't matter. What matters is that the number of possible planets, now confirmed with the raising statistics on detected exoplanets, is huge so any small probability may sum to a likelihood for life in the universe ~ 1. That is consistent with current observation.

mantis said...

Great catch and great blog. Top stuff.

Has Harvard made an official response to this? Are they likely to pursue legal action?

Jamie said...

The ID people seem to creep out of the woodwork everywhere, including here in Edinburgh

I had encountered someone from the Edinburgh Creation Group today outside the library. They are showing a DVD next week called "Unlocking the mystery of life", and it's about molecular biology.

Any chance this is the same video?

Rat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rat said...

emajae01 said
"EVOLUTION AND PROBABILITY
Dr. Emile Borel, one of the world’s experts on mathematical probability, formulated a basic law of probability: “This law states that the occurrence of any event where the chances are beyond one in one followed by 50 zeros is an event which we can state with certainty will never happen no matter how much time is allotted and no matter how many conceivable opportunities could exist for the event to take place."

There is huge fundamental flaw in this probability even for a mathmatician.

Think about this: How many instances of time existed from the beginning of the universe to the time at which life was created on this planet? Answer: Indeterminable as the measure of time can be infitesimally made smaller to the point of infinite points in time.

Next item is space: What measure of space are we referring to for this probability. Once again this is indeterminable as the area of space in which life was created can be made infitesimially smaller that there are an infinite amount of spaces in which life could have been created.

So to sum up, we have an infinite amount of points in time multiplied by an infinite amount of points in space in which life could have been created. So for the mathmatician, last I checked, infinite points in time multiplied by infinite points in space in which life could have been created divided by 1 followed by 50 zeroes of probability of something happening still equates to an infinite number of chances in which life could have been created.

I don't even need a math degree to figure that one out. You need to stop being narrow minded.

Richard said...

"You Darwinian fundies reaaally need at least a remedial course in computer science, maybe throw an introduction to engineering program in there as well. It will help you let go of your tired, Civil-war era creation myth. I promise."

Lol. The Salem conjecture lives!

Rat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rat said...

Richard, you make me laugh. I am a application developer and I have to say your concept is weak at best. If life is what you say I would be embarrassed to be the programmer because it all adds up to one of the worst computer programs ever built. It's full of bugs, errors and totally incomplete. My guess is Microsoft is your creator too.

Pyre said...

[Steve] "Frankly, by fighting the IDiots, science strengthens them. This is one area where ignoring them and they'll go away applies."

That's been tried, and hasn't worked. As with opponents' slanders in a political campaign, ignoring them just lets them spread unchallenged and take root, gaining ground by default.
___________________________________

[Scottus] "You Darwinian fundies reaaally need at least a remedial course in computer science..."

[various, to the effect of] "WTF does computer science have to do with the inner workings of the cell?"

At a guess, he's referring to... cellular programming.

((grin, duck, & run))

possum_momma said...

What's really sad about the creationist commentary in this blog is that they just don't get it. No matter what side of this coin you're sitting on (ID or Evo), what has been done by the DI is unethical and fraudulent. Just because it's stealing for Jesus doesn't mean that it is right. It's still theft. And, I believe, that's frowned upon in their Big Book of Multiple Choice. So...even if you believe in an inteligent designer, you can't (and shouldn't) fight blindly for the thief. If you support the crime, and if your God does exist, then you're breaking that God's law. Way to go, IDers!! *gives you a gold star sticky for your forehead*

Commonsensical said...

People like the IDs and other 'fundies' are one of the reasons I eschewed Christianity even tho I was practically raised in the church. I have no problem letting people believe as they wish as long as they aren't disrespecting me by trying to shove their beliefs and opinions down my throat as absolute truth. (and then lying, cheating, stealing or some seriously heinous crime minutes/hours/days later)

I also learned early on to use something called common sense. Well, maybe the probability of there being other humans in the universe/several galaxies is low enough to be virtually non-existent, but I seem to recall that 'life' was discovered on Mars. Maybe it's just a microbe, but I do believe that it was alive. If that's what in our 'backyard', what else is out there beyond our 'sight'? And will we ever be intelligent enough to communicate with it?

Although I have no degree (yet) I HAVE studied both physics and computer science. My biology professor (fall 2006) gained permission to use the short version of that video for my class. It was new enough that he had been unable to find the original long version. I found the website of the company that created it and the long version and gave him the link. On their website they do say that some 'literary license' was taken in the creation of it because of the fact that the cell and it's actions are so crammed and fast. Just an FYI :)

I guess I kind of rambled over several comments. I apologize for the rambling, but not my comments or opinions. Finally, I do want to applaud Ms. Smith for her attentiveness and for her tenacity in reporting this gross abuse. I was so sickened by the DI's version, I only finished watching out of morbid fascination that such idiocy continues to defy the evolution of intelligence and seldom results in a Darwin Award.

Brian Jordan said...

Jamie said "I had encountered someone from the Edinburgh Creation Group today outside the library. They are showing a DVD next week called "Unlocking the mystery of life", and it's about molecular biology.

Any chance this is the same video?"

No, this is standard cretinist stuff from the Discovery Institute. The ECS will have got it from their mate Andy McIntosh, who will have lots of unsold copies available from his YEC outfit "Truth in Science"
It can be seen here on Google Video: ttp://tinyurl.com/yv4vry
Brian

Sven said...

iGood Job! :)

Rosie said...

This is a great site. Thank you for your information. I THANK YOU I SALUTE YOU IT,S A AMZING SITE.