Saturday, December 01, 2007

Dembskis 'Animation' and Hanlons Razor

Hanlons Razor-- "Never assume malice when stupidity will suffice."

Dembski probably didnt modify that animation himself. Hes just a friggen idiot.

Greg Laden just stumbled upon the altered animation (seriously, we've been looking for that damn thing for MONTHS, and Gregs just like 'Hmm, lipid rafts.' ARRG!). It was uploaded in 2006, and doesnt appear to be anything malicious-- from the other videos uploaded, its probably just some student who did it for a class presentation. Its definitely the one-- stutter of the animation at the beginning, faint credits at the end.

Dembski is just a tard.

Not a malicious tard.

But stupidity isnt an excuse for what he did, nor does it explain his bizarre reaction to being called out. Ah well-- I contacted GoogleVideo, going to have them take it down, hope I can get into contact with the dude who did it. But there are still downloaded copies of this animation out there. Keep your eyes open for this and other pictures/animations/etc that Creationists might be pilfering.

Edited 12.20 pm to add-- AtBC poster Reciprocating Bill predicted this, ROFL!!


Tyler DiPietro said...

Dembski may not have modified the video himself, but I find it hard to believe that he had no idea that he was making illegitimate use of copyrighted material. He had already been denied permission to use the video from the original source and from the looks of things was looking for a backdoor. I still say there was some degree of malice, though not as great a degree.

Sili said...

What an annoying voice - I think I preferred it with drdr Dembski ...

Curse that young fool who did this!

John said...

I'm no Dembski fan, but a "tard?" Ehh...I thought we were above language like this.

J Myers said...

I don't know, John; I often use the description "f'ing retard" when discussing someone who fits that bill. Speaking of which, f'ing total kook (ftk) should be here soon to proclaim that this somehow constitutes a complete exoneration of her favorite liar for jesus.

ERV said...

Sorry, John-- AtBC slang ;)

Gary said...

John - Lighten up. We're in the trenches at ATBC fighting the ID Menace, and trying to hold back the Tide Of Tard(TM) spewing forth from Dembski's Tardmine, so you don't have to.

Yeah. It is a thankless task, so you should make a donation to the Toys For Tots drive in your area, and thank whatever God or Gods that you do belive in that we're out here, fighting the damn tard, so you can keep your hands clean and soft as a little girl's.

Bitter? Me? No, but the tard fromn the ID crowd never stops, and neither do we. It's a tough life we have chosen, but we're just crazy enough to want to do it.

We are happy to have ERV with us, and so should you, so please leave her alone. If you got a problem with tard, come see us at ATBC, and comment. You will if you really care.


ERV said...

J-Dog, Steward of Gondor ;)

steveh said...

Hmmm, the credits at the end of this clip are very faint. It's not surprising that they would not show up on a video made from a screening.

However, in Dembski's notpology, the credits he says his audience saw, are much less faint, almost as if they had been copied from one of the many unnarrated versions copies knocking around on the internet.

John said...

Thanks for the apology, ERV.

rsht61 said...

steveh is giving Dembski way too much benefit of the doubt. If the frame he posted in his notpology did come from the version he used (and it certainly doesn't look as if it did) then he must have photoshopped it to make the text seem much brighter than it originally was.

And on the other question, I think people who seriously want to avoid being called tards, I mean those to whom that is a really important issue, above many other things on their agenda, simply adhere to a different standard of behavior (and accountability) than Dembski does in his public life. We all know that he expresses himself as clearly as he wants to at all times and the fact that he seems never to have objected to being called a tard would indicate strongly that he's completely ok with it.

Forthekids said...

“Thanks for the apology, ERV.”

Was there an apology in there somewhere? Maybe I missed it, or maybe it was what you all consider a “notpology”.

Figures that Reciprocating Bill is the only one who predicted the outcome...he’s one of the *very* few over at AtBC who is *borderline* sane. Perhaps one day he’ll cross over the bridge and follow the light...certainly not holding my breath on that hope.

Looks like J Myers is good at predictions as well...though I’m not a “fucking kook”. I will admit that I probably have some type of mental problem that causes me to keep tabs on the insanity of the Darwinian militia forces and wondering what their next attack will be. Or maybe I’m just watching my back...I’ll have to consult a therapist and see what they think about my lack of restraint from ignoring the militia.

ERV said...

FTK, have you ever 'read' a thread before you commented on it?

The apology is for using AtBC slang to people unfamiliar with it.

Im not apologizing to Dembski for him stealing someone elses animation AND narration.

Do you understand the 'tard' slang now, John?

Forthekids said...

Oh, ERV, I APOLOGIZE! (See it's not that hard to do).

Goodness me, but I'm such a 'tard'. Forgive me?

Forthekids said...

Here's a question. How many educators do you think use Youtube and other Internet sources to educate their students? I'd be appalled if they aren't using these sources.

The Harvard link states that the animation can be using for educational purposes. I have no idea if the voice over would be illegal in that sense because obviously the guy who did it was adding to the educational value in doing so.

I’m quite positive that Dembski had no intention of maliciously stealing someone else's work and pawning it off as his own. There would be no point in that, and it’s pretty obvious that he credited the source. If it had been ANYONE other than Dembski using that clip for educational purposes, no one would have ever thought anything about it.

I'm a bit surprised that all you scientists think it is a bad thing to educate the public about the intricacy of the cell merely because it may cause them to think 'DESIGN'.

For shame...

Two words....WITCH HUNT. Give it a rest already.

Tyler DiPietro said...

"The Harvard link states that the animation can be using for educational purposes. I have no idea if the voice over would be illegal in that sense because obviously the guy who did it was adding to the educational value in doing so."

No, you still have to get permission to make derivatie works with copyrighted material.

"I’m quite positive that Dembski had no intention of maliciously stealing someone else's work and pawning it off as his own."

I'm not in the least bit surprised. I, however, seriously question the sincerety of his claim given that he had already been, by his own admission, denied permission to use the video. And considering Harvard's fierce reaction, his "they only said it wasn't ready" excuse doesn't really hold up. Like I said, even if he didn't modify the work himself, he would have to be a complete idiot to not know that he was making illegitimate use of copyrighted material.

"I'm a bit surprised that all you scientists think it is a bad thing to educate the public about the intricacy of the cell merely because it may cause them to think 'DESIGN'."

Oh please. What Dembski did wasn't "education", it was slick rhetoric, inuendo and propaganda. The cell has "NANOTECHNOLGY", it does "INFORMATION PROCESSING". All of those metaphors sound a bit more sexy than "the cell implements a chemical transcription process that fails just as often as it succeeds." The educational value of that is nil.

rsht61 said...

FtK said: "and it’s pretty obvious that he credited the source"

Do we need a transcript of the couple of minutes before he screened the clip? He may possibly be clear of the charge of removing credits that were so faint no one present seems to have been aware of them, but not one word he uttered on that occasion mentioned either Harvard or XVIVO or made it clear that he had no responsibility for what was about to be shown. He did not actually say a single word about who was responsible, but he provided plenty of misdirection in his intro. So, no, I don't think it is any way reasonable to claim that it is obvious that he credited the source. Any more notpologies out there?

blipey said...


Do you understand what the complaint against Dembski is? I don't care if you agree with it--DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS?

If so, please recap--in your own words--what the complaint is. Please do not comment on its validity one way or the other. Just state in plain English what the substance of the complaint is.

As has often been explained to you, in order to argue a point, you must first have a good grasp of what the point is.

I know you are often too busy cooking, cleaning, and polishing to actually answer anything or to be bothered with forming your own thoughts, but give it a try. You might fnd it freeing.


Albatrossity said...

FtK asks: Here's a question. How many educators do you think use Youtube and other Internet sources to educate their students? I'd be appalled if they aren't using these sources.

And here's an answer, from your favorite educator.

Yes, I use internet sources as adjunct material. I also provide material to others who ask me if they can use tutorials, pictures, animations, or other things that I have produced.

But the difference between what I do and what Dembski did is that I ask permission if I am going to copy them to my own web sites, or use them in a lecture. At the university level we get some education about fair-use , we are expected to abide by those rules, and we understand that there are consequences if we don't abide by the rules.

Dembski didn't ask permission, even though he KNEW that the video he grabbed was produced by Harvard (he had seen it before and allegedly tried to get a copy). Dembski didn't abide by the rules, and he is learning about the consequences.

See the difference?

Forthekids said...

So, even if it states on the website that the video can be used for educational purposes, you still have to get permission to do so??

Huh, learn something new every day. Mibad.

I don't know why they put that phrase on the website then...they should just state that, "permission to use for educational purposes may be granted upon written request."

Perhaps, as Dave says, there is some unwritten rule about using material from the Internet in a *lecture* for "educational purposes". Or maybe there is a written rule about this particular type of use somewhere that I'm just not familiar with. Certainly seems to me that Dembski was using the clip for educational purposes.

Another thing that seems odd would be if permission for "educational purposes" only included showing the Youtube clip on line to someone else at their computer. That's kind of a small screen if you're educating a group of students or something.

I'd think it would be okay to put it on a big screen...perhaps it was just the voice over that was illegal to do.

Perhaps if Dembski had just used the original Harvard clip it would have been okay?

Again, I APOLOGIZE for any misunderstanding. (see Abbie, I did it again...actually isn't that hard to do).

Oh, and Dave you're not my "favorite" educator, but I'll put you in my top ten. Kay?

ERV said...

What Im loving about this:
1. If he had just said "My bad" two months ago, this would have never gotten out, and certainly never escalated.

2. It did escalate because Dembski was unwilling to be honest, and unwilling to defend himself.

3. Dembski is still doing nothing to defend himself. He wont tell anyone where he found the video. He takes fake 'screen shots' of 'his' animation. Its the evilutionists clearing him of maliciousness, not him. Though technically, we still dont know where Dembski got the animation-- we just know the original source.

4. Dembski didnt tell DI what was up. They had to ask him, despite the fact that several other DI people have been named as showing the animation. Did Dembski just tell the other fellows who were showing the animation, and kept everyone else in the dark? Did he keep everyone in the dark, keep quiet until they got caught too? Cause he definitely didnt tell Behe to keep his distance, and we all had a good time with that.

LOL Gawd hes a weird.

ERV said...

FTK-- I have never seen a video in class that did not have a citation, outside of the video citation (link, if online, university, year, etc). My professors also say "This is some video we just took in the lab" or "This is an animation Australia blah blah university made". Sometimes they even go to the websites in class and project directly from the creators page. They do not dredge the internet for altered videos. They certainly wouldnt show a video with an altered narration that is scientifically inaccurate.

If we asked them about the animation, they would not say "I found it on the internet somewhere." The could tell me exactly where the 'found it'.

If for some reason a creator objected to classroom use, they just wouldnt use it. They wouldnt require cease and desist orders.

Do you get that Dembskis behavior here, as everywhere else, is abnormal?

Forthekids said...

Abbie, let me ask a direct question here.

Have you EVER (I mean ever) considered that perhaps Dembski, et. al. are paying very little attention to your big stink about all this. Obviously, they got wind of it as Harvard evidently contacted Dembski after the militia struck.

If you contacted Dembski about this earlier, chances are he didn't think much about it. You're always freaking out about something or other. You're just horrifically angry. period. I don't think they pay that much attention to you unless they are berated with emails or whatever about something you've instigated.

Perhaps, just perhaps mind you, after Dembski wrote at his blog that he wouldn't use the clip again, he didn't think much more about it.

Now, I've found it interesting that for all the crap ATBC writes about UD, it's appears to me that most of them don't pay any attention to it at all. That's pretty apparent when AtBC plants sock puppets and anyone reading their site could pick up on that. If UD writers and commenters were glued to their computers reading the peanut gallery's insanity, they'd toss the bums off their site immediately.

So, sorry to say, I'm probably one of the few people from my side who keeps an eye on your guys...never know what kind of stunts you'll pull. I don't think most of the ID guys care. You're harmless enough, but sometimes the humor of it all attracts me. I do love a good laugh.

tgibbs said...

No, one does not necessarily have to get permission to make derivative works. There have been a number of cases in which derivative works have been ruled to be Fair Use.

Universities normally adhere to usage standards considerably more strict than required by Copyright Law, in part because the Fair Use standards are rather vague, and the universities do not want to be sued. Even if a usage is ruled to be Fair Use, it is only after an expensive trial and bad publicity. And universities have been burned in the past, when the courts found that photocopying entire chapters of textbooks and distributing them to college classes did not qualify as Fair Use. Permission is not always required by law, but it is always safer.

On the other hand, using materials without clear attribution, in such a context that a viewer could reasonably suffer the misconception that the materials were authored by the speaker or the speaker's organization, is unquestionably plagiarism.

blipey said...


I'll take that to mean that you have absolutely no idea what the fuss is about? Thanks for continuing to be the funniest force on the interwebbies. :)

Tyler DiPietro said...

"So, sorry to say, I'm probably one of the few people from my side who keeps an eye on your guys..."

Yeah, I'm sure the rest are too busy with their imaginary research.

Tyler DiPietro said...


Thanks for the correction. As you note what counts as "fair use" in the case of derivative works is often fuzzy, so it's usually wise to get permission before hand. Given that, I still would say that Harvard's lenience with regard to "educational purposes" doesn't equate to permission to make a derivative work.

I'm actually a proponent of more lax copyright laws, and I agree that the much more damning charge in this case is plagiarism. Dembski certainly didn't go out of his way to make it clear that the animation was originally created by Harvard/XVIVO, as others have noted.

Albatrossity said...

FtK wrote: Have you EVER (I mean ever) considered that perhaps Dembski, et. al. are paying very little attention to your big stink about all this. Obviously, they got wind of it as Harvard evidently contacted Dembski after the militia struck.

What an interesting red herring. In a discussion of what Dembski did, and why it was wrong, and what pitiful excuses he made for doing it, you are trying to change the topic to "Does Dembski care about what happens in the real world? (i.e., not his blog)?"

Nice try. But whether or not Dembski or any of his acolytes pay attention to the real world is not the point here. The point is that a group of self-righteous pontificators, posing as the saviors of culture and humanity, violated a law and then tried to act as if there was no violation. The point is that an organization composed primarily of theologists and lawyers paid no attention to ethics or the law, and got caught at it.

So even though I'm thrilled to have you paying attention to AtBC and ERV, I don't see why or how that excuses Dembski (and other DI fellows who may have used that video) from culpability in this particular case. No amount of diversions can mask their guilt, and pointing fingers at others for being angry or shrill is really pathetic.

Richard Simons said...

Part of the problem may be the difference in attitudes. It is acceptable within most churches for clergy to use sermons written by others without attribution. If you grow up with that background it is no wonder that Ftk, Dembski and others do not see the problem with using someone else's work, yet in science it is considered a serious violation of ethics.

Ftk: you suggest that the reason Dembski took so long to respond might be that he pays no attention to science bloggers. If he wants to be taken seriously by the science community don't you think he should be paying attention to what they have to say? More likely, however, is that he knows ID is not science but thinks that getting the non-scientific public to see ID as science is the best means of getting creationism into schools.

Tatarize said...

Congrats to Greg for finding a transitional form. We now know a bit more about how this video-theft evolved. Filling in the links... oh yeah!

ERV said...

Jesus Christ, FTK. Please, again, would you read my blog and comments before you comment/pass good Christian judgment?

Dembski was made aware that Harvard was pissed ~2 months before I wrote anything. I gave him a chance to say "Wow, my mistake, I screwed up" to Harvard, and I wasnt going to say 'boo.'

He ignored Harvard/XVIVO for 2 months, they had to serve him papers, and the morning they were delivered, I wrote about it. He wanted to be a brat, fine, then I wanted to make sure everyone knew to keep an eye out for stolen materials in Creationist presentations.

They quote-mine and pubjack left and right, but stealing animations-- that we can call them out for in a legal sense.

Which brings me to my original post-- why the hell did the crack team of lawyers at DI let their fellows show that animation?

Incompetent all around.

alloy said...


Dembski said he knew who made the video, he asked permission which was denied.

Then he found a version on the internet which a)he knew wasn't the intended final product, and b) he none the less still didn't have permission to use.

He knew he didn't have permission, breaking the 8th commandment, Thou shalt not steal!
He KNEW it wasn't Harvards intended final product, breaking the 9th commandment, Thou shalt not bear false witness

J Myers said...

Ah, FTK--there's my crazy lady! Terrific stuff here... I outline the sort of nuttery toward which you are inclined, and you just follow the script. Of course, that is to be expected from someone who seemingly incapable of processing information and modifying her thoughts and behavior accordingly.

You're probably right that Dembski and pals are not paying much attention to this matter. In the course of ignoring other significant aspects of reality, they have repeatedly demonstrated that things such as honesty, accuracy, and ethical conduct simply aren't of any concern to them. Lying, generating propaganda, cultivating their collective persecution complex, caterwauling, and otherwise thrusting their delusions upon the rest of us must consume a substantial portion of their time and energy; it would be no surprise if they again chose to largely disregard an inconvenient facet of the real world in light of their priorities.

As to your kookiness, FTK: if you are indeed substantively sane, you do a marvelous job belying this fact. You're right about our side being harmless (in the not-screwing-up-the-world sort of way, anyhow--yours has that market cornered). Likewise with witch hunts (and, of course, witch burnings). And stunts. And insanity. And, it would seem, projection. I'm glad to hear that you're planning to see a therapist, and I sincerely hope that you make some good progress, even if it means I will no longer get to be entertained by your muddled musings when they pop up in a thread I'm reading.