Pharyngula

Creationist crooks pilfer Harvard’s work

Once upon a time, a company named XVIVO put together a beautiful computer animation of molecular activity in the cell — you may have already seen it. I have some quibbles with it — there is no water shown, and the behavior of the molecules is too simplistic, without enough noise (molecular behavior at the scale shown ought to be rich with Brownian phenomena) — but it’s dramatic and spectacular, which was the intent. The whole thing was made to inspire and inform Harvard biology students, so it’s actually owned by Harvard and XVIVO.

Now for the curious and nefarious part of the story. Fellows of the Discovery
Institute love this video. It shows the complexity of the cell, and that there are all kinds of specific functions going on within it, so to them, ignorant as they are of the evolutionary history of any of the molecules involved, it seems to support their contention that cells are full of arcane molecular machines that must have been designed. Never mind that these are proteins and other molecules; never mind that we have identified gene families and patterns of descent within these molecules; never mind that complexity is a hallmark of evolutionary processes and products. This is a movie they can show the rubes and say “Wow! I don’t understand that (always true)! You don’t understand that (usually true)! Therefore, JEEEZUS!” That’s their goal.

So what would a group of good Christians with the aim of renewing American culture do? Simple. Steal the video. They’ve grabbed the video, retitled it, removed the biological explanations for the phenomena, dubbed in a really bad, unprofessional narration on top of it, and stripped off the credits. Now, in their various traveling patent medicine shows, they flaunt this unattributed, modified video ripped off from Harvard Biology, and use it in their generic argument from ignorance for anti-evolutionism.

They are shameless thieves.

ERV has documented one example — Dembski used it in his talk at the University of Oklahoma, at which he profited to the tune of about $10,000. If you find yourself at a DI event and see the video played, you might want to take note and let her know.

Comments

  1. #1 David Marjanovi?, OM
    November 22, 2007

    ripped straight from the BBC’s great ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ series.

    Tell that to Auntie Beeb, and Hovind is toast.

    Oh, wait. Oopsie. He’s already in jail…