Monday, December 24, 2007

Discovery Institute, Dembski, Copyright, and 'Design of Life'

*squints eyes shut*

*rubs temples*

*keyboard to forehead*

So… You know all that stuff Dembski said in his notpology a while back? You know, where Dembski said he was really, really sorry for using a manipulated version of XVIVO/Harvards animation titled 'The Inner Life of a Cell’, but he didn’t do anything wrong?

Back in September of 2006 I announced at my blog UncommonDescent that a "breathtaking video" titled "The Inner Life of Cell" had just come out... ...Moreover, at the time, the video did not have a voiceover explaining the biology of what was being shown... most simply have some background music that do not explain the relevant biology... I downloaded from the Internet a version of the video with a voiceover describing the relevant biology...the version I used omitted the opening credits (a fact about which I became aware only in the last few days)...
Remember how John West at the Discovery Institute said they didn’t know nuthin about anything, they were being persecuted by Darwinists?
Some have even claimed (as usual, without an iota of evidence) that Discovery Institute supports the disregard of copyright laws or even had something to do with Dr. Dembski's usage of the animation in question. (Wrong on both counts.)
*squints eyes closed again*

Yeah… They were lying.

Peter Irons and Afarensis teamed together and discovered things in ‘Design of Life’ only a Master would look for or notice:

Footnote from Chapter 6:

Now, there is nothing wrong with them referencing XVIVO’s animation. Nothing weird about that. Whats interesting is the ‘last accessed’ date:

January 25, 2007.

The footnote is to the original Harvard website, not YouTube. The longer animation, with the original narration, with the original title/opening credits/closing credits/copyright.

January 25, 2007.

But Dembski didn’t know nuthin November 26, 2007. He sure didn’t know there was an original narration or no opinin credits! He just thought it was nifty and found it on the intrawebz!

January 25, 2007

Dembski knew at the time of his presentation at OU (September 17, 2007) that he was NOT allowed to use Harvards animation, but he did it anyway and lied about it when he got caught.

But theres more. You remember this coincidence? This figure?

The caption refers you to Footnote #4:

"As seen" at a web-article about 'Inner Life of a Cell.' Figure 8.1 was SUPPOSED to be a still from ‘Inner Life’. Not a funny coincidence, it was supposed to be ‘Inner Life’. But while they changed the actual figure, the stupid bastards didn’t change the footnote.

*keyboard to forehead again*

To quote Peter:

  1. Removing the XVIVO still from the book (but forgetting to remove the incriminating footnote) indicates that Dembski knew a) that he didn't have permission to use any portion of the video, and b) that Harvard and/or XVIVO would have grounds for copyright infringement if a still from the video appeared in the book.
  2. Nonetheless, knowing this (as he must have before Sept. 2007), Dembski went ahead and showed the over-dubbed XVIVO video at his OU talk on Sept. 17, probably assuming that nobody in the audience would know that it was a doctored version of the video. Over-dubbed or not, the video was still protected by copyright, and Dembski did not have permission to use it, which he obviously knew by then. Claiming (as he did on UD on Nov. 26 and 27, after you exposed him on ERV on Sept. 20) that he simply "found" the doctored version on the Internet, does not excuse his knowing violation of copyright.
  3. All the other evidence you showed on ERV (stripping the opening credits, projecting a new title of "The Cell as an Automated City," etc.) indicate that Dembski knew he was using the XVIVO video without permission.
  4. Is the latest footnote snafu a big deal? Not as big as the OU use of the doctored video. But it shows, IMO, that Dembski knew well before his OU talk, while DOL was still in production, that using a still from the XVIVO video would violate copyright. However, he failed to erase his fingerprints (the tell-tale footnote on p. 299) from the scene of the attempted crime.
  5. This footnote snafu is just further evidence of Dembski's cover-up of his serious ethical problems in appropriating other people's work for his own purposes (and profit). Rubbing his nose in it seems perfectly justified.

Dembski is a lying sac of Creationist Crap. Pretend to act shocked.

But lets not forget the organization supporting Dembski and ‘Design of Life’. John West at the Discovery Institute wants us to believe that the DI ‘Don’t know nuthin’ about Dembski’s obsession with ‘Inner Life of a Cell.’ Even though everyone at the DI has written GLOWING reviews of ‘Design’, and they all no doubt received review copies, as well as pre-print copies, and drafts, and two DI senior fellows wrote ‘Design’—Dembski and Wells (wheres Behe?), they expect all of us to believe that the DI knew nuthin of Dembski/Wells having some ‘copyright issues’ with Harvard trying to get a pic for ‘Inner Life’.

Im sure Dembski/Wells kept it to themselves that the Evil Darwinists in their Ivory Towers at Harvard wouldn’t let them use a dippy little picture.

Im sure none of them flipped by the Harvard picture in a pre-print version and said 'WOW! We got Harvard to give us the copyright to use this pic??' Lawyers wouldnt think of such things.

John West—You all are the IDiots that tried to steal Harvards work and were too incompetent to cover your own tracks. *We* aren’t the stupid ones. *We* don’t believe you knew nuthin.

* Before anyone posts any crap about ‘IZ CRIZMAS Y R U POSTIN?’, my family isn’t Christian, but Dembski wanted to make sure this years Christmas present got to everyone on time.


Albatrossity said...

Well, somebody has to say it...


and Merry Christmas; it's time for egg nog!

Bill said...

Egg nog it is, and don't forget the brandy buffer solution!

J-Dog said...

HAVE A SUPER SOLSTICE and thanks for making this year fun for us, and not so much fun for Billy and Mikey.

I think the old joke about how do you tell when a ID Creationist is lying - his lips are moving, should be changed to - when he's showing you a Power Point slide... and his name is Bill Dembksi.

BTW I don't want you to get a swelled head or anything, but - when you are Empress Of The World, will you be Empress Abbie, or Empress ERV?

Thanks again,and I am looking forward to much more in 2008.

Anonymous said...

Happy Agnostica everyone!

(I can't help it; the name is just so much cooler than "christmas" or "festivus")


"The person of the century as declared by Time
"Is a person on SCIENCE- Albert Einstein!"
King Luca continued, "So why not revere
"This new white haired-man at this time each year?
"For Einstein! For Rutherford! For Bohr, Planck and Fermi!
"For Heisenberg, Schrodinger, for Roentgen and Curie!
"For all of those Nukees who've ever known scorn,
"The secular holiday AGNOSTICA is born!"

Unknown said...

Happy Yule! Nice Christmas present for us....

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said...

Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

Croupier: Your winnings, sir.

Captain Renault: Oh, thank you very much.

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said...

* Before anyone posts any crap about ‘IZ CRIZMAS Y R U POSTIN?’, my family isn’t Christian,...

Well child, here's a good reason to convert:

Vicar holds 'chocoholics' service

Lurchgs said...

Why not post on Christmas? It's a day, just like any other. This year, it happens to fall on Tuesday...

I post on MY birthday, why shouldn't somebody post on the day the federal government recognises some suicidal maniac's birthday?

Jay said...

Dembski: pwned (again!)

rsht61 said...

Dembski is completely cavalier when it comes to other people's copyright of an expensive video, but look at the care he takes with one crappy sticker (this is from UD, his idea of a sticker to announce DoL as a companion volume to the "Expelled" movie):

"I’m therefore offering a $100 prize to anyone who can come up with a better sticker (receipt of payment for the prize cedes copyright to me)."

Sheesh, what is he worried about...?

Unknown said...

Off topic, but I note that Dembski continues to refer to Carl Zimmer's book "Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea" as "The Triumph of Evolution", even though he's been corrected in the past.

My guess is that he thinks his version of the title makes those evil evolutionists sound downright arrogant.

Doppelganger said...

These folks - they KNOW, do they not, that the animation they adore is... AN ANIMATION.... right?

Do these wizards think that showing Bugs Bunny proves that animals can talk, too?

ERV said...

Doppelganger, dude, theyre Creationists.

The YECs think 'The Flintstones' is a documentary, which is only slightly worse than Dembskis obsession with 'Inner Life'. He doesnt understand the science behind kinesin and how to move a peroxisome. Its all magic. Zip codes and UPS delivery men.

At Pandas Thumb, a UD commenter was all in a tizzy because the prez of XVIVO said similar things at a TED talk that Dembski said at OU-- Why was THAT okay, but not Dembski??

Cause David was using zip codes and post men as a funny, easy analogy, and the audience laughed.

Dembski was dead serious (you can see him in his presentation yourself). Dead serious. 'Inner Life' is REAL.

Albatrossity said...

The YECs think 'The Flintstones' is a documentary, which is only slightly worse than Dembskis obsession with 'Inner Life'. He doesnt understand the science behind kinesin and how to move a peroxisome. Its all magic. Zip codes and UPS delivery men.

This is exactly why ID is a science-stopper. If your imagination is so feeble that you cannot comprehend anything about how the world works other than as analogies to your own mundane experiences with human-derived objects and processes, you will never venture to peek out over the edge of knowledge and come up with a new idea. You will always be content with "Isn't that wonderful? Goddidit, you know."

Daniel Poehlman said...

Great job, ERV.

One seriously has to wonder how "strong" the argument for creationism is when its proponents are reduced to lying and petty thievery to make their case.

Unfortunately, I am beginning to think that Dembski is actually quite insane, and he's cast his fine "Christian morals" to the wayside in in pursuit of just trying to prove someone --anyone-- wrong. I'd almost feel sorry for the guy if he wasn't so blatantly intellectually dishonest.

thalarctos said...

"My guess is that he thinks his version of the title makes those evil evolutionists sound downright arrogant."

Plus, I'll bet he digs the Leni Reifenstahl frisson his version evokes.

The honest version of the title just doesn't have that same Nazi propaganda ring.

thalarctos said...


That's "Riefenstahl", of course.


Unknown said...

Thank you, Abbie, Peter Irons and Afarensis! Merry Krismas to all!

-- HalfMooner

Kristine said...

Heathens' greetings and Merry Kitzmass to all! Shrewd detective work, ERV. You know, they have (not really) the EF - we have ERV. It needs to be made into a verb. Dembski, ERV-ed again! ;-)

revmatty said...

A belated Merry Mithrasmas and thanks for a kick ass bit of investigation ( I refer to your entire series, not just this post).

Unknown said...

"Plus, I'll bet he digs the Leni Riefenstahl frisson his version evokes."

Ah yes, that's it exactly! Thanks for making the connection.

Rich Hughes said...

*More Here*

"So let's go back to that original post of Dembski's of September of 2006, where we find the following comment:

sagebrush gardener


12:44 am


Great animation but I wish it was ten times as long…

The video preview shown here is a three-minute condensed version. The full version has a voice over and is eight minutes long.



Bayesian Bouffant, FCD said...

Peter Irons appears to be having a great deal of fun with this.

Blake Stacey said...

Hey, everybody, a new LOLDembski!

Amadan said...

I think it is quite presumtious to accuse our reverend friends of cop[yright theft. Without a detailed byte-by-byte comparison, how can you assume that the two videos have common descent? And in any case, the similarities you may see in them are easily explained: they both make use of the most efficient way for a video designer to show the internal life of a cell.

Sheesh! Am I the only one around here who does any thinking?

rsht61 said...

This is a little off-topic, but will afford fun and horror to anyone who reads the whole thing at the link (

It's an e-mail exchange between an ex-Dembski student who left the fold and the pastors who use every carrot or stick tactic they can think of to get him back. The lines I can't resist quoting (and the only ones that specifically mention our "hero") are:

"Did you doubt our ability to answer the questions you were facing? Do you think that [...], Al Mohler, or Bill Dembski would hold to a faith that was not intellectually viable? Or did you doubt our veracity? Had we ever given you the impression that we were lying or did not have your best interests in mind?"

Unknown said...

A friend sent this to me, thought you might enjoy :)