Pharyngula

About that cell video in Expelled

I was wrong — it’s not the Harvard multimedia video. It’s an independently generated copy. I grabbed a few images from the DVD I got at my truncated visit to the Expelled screening, and here, for instance, is the segment that shows that striking kinesin motor protein towing a vesicle down a microtubule. This is the version in the Expelled movie:

i-59d1fbf2a21b45d151fc6685323c53a6-ex_motor

Now here’s an equivalent frame from the actual Harvard video.

i-460c72f42efff96aa2412c57982a9692-hm_motor

Now I’m embarrassed to have mistaken one for the other, since the Expelled version is of much lower resolution and quality. However, do notice that they both have roughly the same layout and the same elements in view; this is a remarkable, umm, coincidence, since these are highly edited, selected renderings, with many molecules omitted … and curiously, they’ve both left out the same things.

Another curious coincidence: you’ve heard of the concept of plagiarized errors, the idea that the real tell-tale of a copy is when it’s the mistakes that are duplicated, in addition to the accuracies. In this case, I previously criticized the Harvard video for a shortcut. That kinesin molecule is illustrated showing a stately march, step by step, straight down the microtubule. Observations of kinesin show it’s more complex, jittering back and forth and advancing stochastically. That’s a simplification in the Harvard video that is also present in Expelled‘s version.

It’s clear that what they did was brainlessly copy what they saw in the original. I don’t know whether this is actionable anymore — that they slapped together a look-alike video to cover their butts makes the issue much more complicated.

Comments

  1. #1 Mark B
    March 23, 2008

    Interesting. The evidence proved your hypothesis wrong, so you abandoned it. Have you no faith, man?

  2. #2 James F
    March 23, 2008

    If there is a way to take legal action, Harvard can find it. I believe you mentioned that the makers of the original will be notified – have you heard anything?

  3. #3 MAJeff, OM
    March 23, 2008

    If there is a way to take legal action, Harvard can find it.

    And they have resources rivaling many nation-states. Don’t fuck with Harvard.

  4. #4 danley
    March 23, 2008

    But wait, isn’t that coming out of Ben Stein’s nose?

  5. #5 Dale Husband
    March 23, 2008

    I think it’s still plagerism. If a cartoon uses the Peanuts comic characters without any input or permission from the estate of the late Charles Schultz, it’s still wrong to do. Even if it’s an original story written by someone else those characters appear in.

  6. #6 rrt
    March 23, 2008

    Is the video of the copied version available anywhere?

  7. #7 Dale Austin
    March 23, 2008

    Looks like an attempt to change something just enough to pass legal muster. Where have we seen this before I wonder?

    cdesignproponentists anyone?

  8. #8 FutureMD
    March 23, 2008

    Devil’s advocate:
    Is it really that unexpected that someone would show kinesin as making a stately march down the microtubule?

    I don’t doubt that they did their best to copy the harvard videos, but that bit about kinesin makely a stately march is hardly a smoking gun.

  9. #9 dsmvwld
    March 23, 2008

    OMIGOSH! They plagiarized one frame! The cads!

  10. #11 FutureMD
    March 23, 2008

    I should amend that: I do have some nagging doubts, it is afterall entirely possible based on the little information presented that they did in fact produce this video from scratch. If I were producing these videos, based on my knowledge of cell biology, I would have done something very similar. We really need more examples to determine whether this is really an attempt at exact copying of the Harvard material.

  11. #12 FutureMD
    March 23, 2008

    Okay, based on ERV’s bit I’m sold that this was an attempt at exact copying.

  12. #13 rrt
    March 23, 2008

    I agree, FutureMD. PZ’s point about plagiarized errors is a good one, not just because of the “stately walk” but the other molecules/features/visual framing as well. If it’s enough to (apparently) make most viewers who know the Inner Life vids to think it WAS an Inner Live vid, well…

    Seems to me it’s another example of their inept dishonesty. If they had to remake this from scratch, how hard would it have been to mix it up enough to be genuinely original? After all, it’s not the specific Inner Life vid they’re really after, just the general pretty, high-resolution smooth-animation “molecular machines and outboard motors OMG GODDIDIT!” effect they’re after.

  13. #14 Techskeptic
    March 23, 2008

    I wish someone (hint hint) would put up a side-by-side video of this animation (either one) against a real video of this process. Cant we see this take place? Isnt there a video of the process that shows how NOT designed and how random these cellular processes are?

    Molecules dont magically get attracted to form columns and spheres. There’s no train track for things to ride on. There are no machines, no gears, no computer code. These are models of processes that help people learn what is going on.

    I think a real video would put a damper on any idea that any of these processes are designed.

  14. #15 FutureMD
    March 23, 2008

    TechSkeptic:
    Most of these processes are so small that they are not really amenable to getting the sort of cinematic shots in these videos. The best we could probably do is show the molecules stain with molecule specific fluorescent dyes. So you would see a little red dot move along a long green one.

  15. #16 Schmeer
    March 23, 2008

    OMIGOSH! They plagiarized one frame! The cads!

    Troll.

  16. #17 Mark B
    March 23, 2008

    I wish someone (hint hint) would put up a side-by-side video of this animation (either one) against a real video of this process. Cant we see this take place? Isnt there a video of the process that shows how NOT designed and how random these cellular processes are?

    No, no ‘real’ videos of these molecular processes exist, because the scales are much smaller than the wavelength of visible light. The best you can do is an animation based on the well known data about the chemical processes involved. I suppose an electron microscope could provide some images of close to the desired resolution, but no movies.

  17. #18 dsmvwld
    March 23, 2008

    Troll.

    Posted by: Schmeer

    So you believe the movie plagiarized Harvard based upon a couple of split-second screenshots?

    What was it before about ellipses that PZ was talking about?

  18. #19 rrt
    March 23, 2008

    How about the fact that a great many people thought this WAS the Harvard vid, my trollish friend? And are the other similarities visible in the “one frame” really so easy to dismiss?

  19. #20 techskeptic
    March 23, 2008

    I realize they are small. But we can see atoms for god sake. yes yes I realize that the equipment is big, bulky and that the insides of cells dont sit still, and so on and so forth. But really? This is impossible?

    I didnt say it would be easy to get, just that it would be nice. And the fact that it would be a messy vid, putting it next to this sort of nonsense videos just makes it a stronger case that none of this is as they are saying.

    Even a red dot moving a long a green one in the midst of a bunch of other crap would be useful (at least I think so). Even that would show that nothing is moving as cleanly as they are claiming.

    -Tech (clearly not a biologist)

  20. #21 Schmeer
    March 23, 2008

    Students used to get caught copying Maple labs(software for lots of calculus fun) when I was a freshman doing something like this. They would change what they thought were superficial details, but it was obvious to the TA who was copying and who did it on their own.

    Bad job, “Expelled”, you get a zero on this homework.

  21. #22 Schmeer
    March 23, 2008

    No dsmvlwd,
    Your attempt at putting words in my mouth fails like the DI’s attempts to play scientist.
    You are a troll because you show up here making ridiculous statements. You never respond to honest attempts at a discussion of the topic.
    What was the “atheist doctrine” that was forced down your throat again?

  22. #23 James F
    March 23, 2008

    dsmvwld may have a point, unfortunately. The rest of the video looks nothing like the Harvard video.

  23. #24 ERV
    March 23, 2008

    Just in case Jamess link gets taken down, I saved it.

  24. #25 spurge
    March 23, 2008

    Rickrolled!

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooo

  25. #26 Mark B
    March 23, 2008

    That’s an interesting site, techskeptic. Purdue is doing some interesting work with their scanning tunneling and scanning force microscopes. It isn’t visible light imagery and it isn’t movies. Maybe someday there will be technology to provide moving images on that scale, but so far, we don’t have the technology, as far as I know.

  26. #27 rrt
    March 23, 2008

    James F: I think that was my first genuine beverage –> monitor moment.

  27. #28 Cesium
    March 23, 2008

    “I realize they are small. But we can see atoms for god sake. yes yes I realize that the equipment is big, bulky and that the insides of cells dont sit still, and so on and so forth. But really? This is impossible?”
    We can see stills of atoms arranged into clever shapes with electron microscopes. This is much harder to do with a cell if things are actually moving around; the spaces are not as wide open as the Harvard video shows. And dyeing them doesn’t help if you’re using an EM.

  28. #29 --PatF in Madison
    March 23, 2008

    Sadly, James F is right. It even looks as if the DI has made a major improvement in their capabilities. This should have us worried.

  29. #30 inkadu
    March 23, 2008

    Dale Husband:

    I think it’s still plagerism. If a cartoon uses the Peanuts comic characters without any input or permission from the estate of the late Charles Schultz, it’s still wrong to do. Even if it’s an original story written by someone else those characters appear in.

    Yeah, except that Harvard didn’t create the characters in this case.

    It’s more like if you spent all night drawing a map of the constellations, then somebody copied your map. You didn’t create the stars, and you have to prove that their map is derived from your map and not from an independent and original observation.

    I think it would be fun to sue them just for the discovery phase of the trial. (no pun intended)

  30. #31 Mark B
    March 23, 2008

    It’s more like if you spent all night drawing a map of the constellations, then somebody copied your map. You didn’t create the stars, and you have to prove that their map is derived from your map and not from an independent and original observation.

    If your map of the stars had several errors in it (stars in the wrong place, missing stars, etc.) and the second map had exactly the same errors, it would be good evidence of plagiarism. Which is what PZ is getting at with his remark about the concept of plagiarized errors.

  31. #32 Patches
    March 24, 2008

    You didn’t create the stars, and you have to prove that their map is derived from your map and not from an independent and original observation.

    This is precisely the purpose of trap streets in road maps. Intentional errors inserted in obscure areas to weed out plagiarists.

  32. #33 Brownian, OM
    March 24, 2008

    It’s more like if you spent all night drawing a map of the constellations, then somebody copied your map. You didn’t create the stars, and you have to prove that their map is derived from your map and not from an independent and original observation.

    I don’t think that analogy is apt, inkadu. Given relatively similar equipment and levels of accuracy and precision, their star maps should be identical.

    Even a short animated film like this offers any number of choices in the perspectives used. As Mark B and Cesium noted, it’s impossible for the video makers to say “Oh, we just animated what we saw through our microscopes” because images at that resolution just don’t exist. It would definitely be easier to demonstrate plagiarism in this case then in your example.

  33. #34 Blondin
    March 24, 2008

    I wonder if this would fall under something like the missappropriation laws used by Bette Midler and Tom Waits when Ford Motors and Frito-Lay, respectively, used “sound-alikes” in their ads because they couldn’t get the real thing.

  34. #35 Nullifidian
    March 24, 2008

    If there is a way to take legal action, Harvard can find it. I believe you mentioned that the makers of the original will be notified – have you heard anything?

    What appears to be the case is that the documentary’s version is simply re-animated from the Harvard video. In this case, where there is a “substantial derivation”, it’s still copyright infringement. And unfortunately for the spinmeisters in the Expelled writing and production team, it is the business of the court to decide whether there is a substantial derivation, and they don’t just take the defendant’s word of honour that they did it all themselves.

  35. #36 jimmbo
    March 24, 2008

    I think the movie should be called ‘EXCRETED’

  36. #37 Mark B
    March 24, 2008

    This is precisely the purpose of trap streets in road maps. Intentional errors inserted in obscure areas to weed out plagiarists.

    A company that I buy parts for my MGs from Moss Motors uses something similar in their parts catalogs. In the exploded drawings of the motors, they often have some random body part, which has a part number. For example, this page includes part #459-299 N/A TOE, (still in picture by mistake). I’m not sure if this is copyright protection, or just humor, but I’ve had that toe on back order for years.

  37. #38 Trevor Shikaze
    March 24, 2008

    A caveat:

    I don’t believe in god or gods, I support PZ, I support the blog, intelligent design is ridiculous.

    Still, I think we are all above this. PZ, you have done much to debunk ID muddleheadedness. ID, as we all know, is propagandistic nonsense, and we do well to rise above it. I watched your discussion with Dawkins on pandasthumb and I couldn’t help but feel a blush of embarrassment. Let’s be frank: you were reaching. We don’t need to jump to conclusions; the last thing we need is to sound like conspiracy theorists–leave that to Jonathan Wells. You made a bit of a leap, and so did Dawkins. Let’s not dig around like moon-walk deniers–let’s not make imprudent accusations. After all, we distinguish ourselves from our creationist friends by our willingness to hold off on judgment until the facts are in. ID is spurious, and we all know it. It is more important for us to reiterate the flaws in the reasoning behind intelligent design–and in the process to educate the public on the subject of evolution–than it is to smear ID’s proponents. Believe me, I would love nothing more than to see Dembski caught in a child porn ring; until then, we should remain above cheap shots. We’re right: we can take comfort in that. And keep hammering home that truth.

    Right?

    Anyway, keep up the good work. We would be less without you.

    Trevor

  38. #39 William Wallace
    March 24, 2008

    That was a great video, by the way. I blogged about it awhile back wondering if the evolanders would accuse the makers of being closet creationists. Now, of course, it seems possible that the makers of Expelled also saw the video, and did there own research, and generated a video. I am not sure what is wrong with that; it’s not as though sub-cellular machinery has been copyrighted.

    But my main interest, PZ, is that you substantiate your claim that “just about everybody” was a gate crasher.

    I don’t claim to know whether or not the majority of those responding with the automated RSVP system set up by the promoters of Expelled were invited or not. But you seem to have some insider information, according to a video posted on you tube.

    So, substantiate your assertion, PZ. Was “just about everybody” who used the automated RSVP system not actually invited? Did you not know that Glen Davidson had disseminated information on how to hack the RSVP system?

    Were you invited to the private screening, or were you aware of the RSVP system through one of Glen Davidson’s many disseminations, and decided to game the RSVP system?

  39. #40 Mark B
    March 24, 2008

    Did you not know that Glen Davidson had disseminated information on how to hack the RSVP system?

    There was no ‘hacking’. PZ visited the website and filled out the form. He received a confirmation which gave him permission to come, and he showed as per the invitation. If using a URL to visit a website is ‘hacking’, then you just hacked Pharyngula!

    If the filmmakers wanted to limit the showing to some kind of list, they simply had to check the people who signed up against the invitation list (if it ever existed). They could have also secured the website through any number of easily implemented and well known ways, but they chose not to.

    Really, this question have been answered many times, but since it hasn’t been answered on THIS thread yet, I’m repeating it for you.

  40. #41 IAmMarauder
    March 24, 2008

    @ William Wallace (#37):
    If PZ was removed for not being invited, then why was his whole party not removed as well? And if procedures for “gaming the RSVP system” were disseminated so widely, why did the organisers not fix the problems or manually check things? As far as I know, PZ got an email confirming he was on the list of those allowed to attend so he attended. So if he was on the list how could he gatecrash?

    From reading your comments all I can say is that the organisers were foolish not to attempt to fix the problem if it was so widely known. If people take advantage of a known issue it is the organisers fault for not taking more care.

  41. #42 IAmMarauder
    March 24, 2008

    Dangit, that should be #38, not #37.

  42. #43 Michael X
    March 24, 2008

    Would reverse Rickrolling be like clicking on William’s link and finding something informative?

  43. #44 Leigh
    March 24, 2008

    “As discussed earlier, copyright gives its owner the exclusive right, for example, to reproduce protected subject matter (such things as ideas and facts being excluded). Sometimes a question arises as to whether a second, similar work was copied or independently created. If the person creating a second work had access to the original work and the works are virtually identical, copying is likely to be presumed even if the chance of access is remote.”

    OR, IOW,

    “substantial similarity suggesting derivation”

  44. #45 Owlmirror
    March 24, 2008

    Did you not know that Glen Davidson had disseminated information on how to hack the RSVP system?

    Posting URLs is disseminating information on how to hack?

  45. #46 Owlmirror
    March 24, 2008

    BTW, I think even a star map would also be copyrighted. The stars and their locations are public domain, but the choice of which areas of the sky, and more importantly, the methods chosen of how exactly to represent the stars and other astronomical information, might well use artistic choices and particular technology that would be copyrighted.

    And while I think that there is indeed a real difference between the two representations of the cellular systems, it does seem clear that the artistic choices and technology used to depict the molecules are very similar indeed between the two examples.

    Of course, IANA(IP)L. But it would be interesting to hear if someone with more IP experience does think that there is indeed a case for copyright infringement based on appearance.

    “Look and feel”, anyone?

  46. #47 Brownian, OM
    March 24, 2008

    Now, of course, it seems possible that the makers of Expelled….did there own research

    Ha-ha, ha-hoo-hoo! Creationists doing their own research?! Hee-hee! You’re a riot! That’s about as unlikely as a tornado sweeping through a junkyard and assembling a 747 out of spare parts. Ha-ha-ha-ha!

  47. #48 Dave Thomas
    March 24, 2008

    Re “Concern Troll Trevor” and comment #37:

    I watched your discussion with Dawkins on pandasthumb and I couldn’t help but feel a blush of embarrassment. Let’s be frank: you were reaching. We don’t need to jump to conclusions; the last thing we need is to sound like conspiracy theorists–leave that to Jonathan Wells. You made a bit of a leap, and so did Dawkins.

    Trevor, didn’t you read the first three words of this post? “I was wrong…”

    It reminded me of this great observation by the guy that DID get in to see the movie, one Richard Dawkins:

    I have previously told the story of a respected elder statesman of the Zoology Department at Oxford when I was an undergraduate. For years he had passionately believed, and taught, that the Golgi Apparatus (a microscopic feature of the interior of cells) was not real: an artifact, an illusion. Every Monday afternoon it was the custom for the whole department to listen to a research talk by a visiting lecturer. One Monday, the visitor was an American cell biologist who presented completely convincing evidence that the Golgi Apparatus was real. At the end of the lecture, the old man strode to the front of the hall, shook the American by the hand and said–with passion–”My dear fellow, I wish to thank you. I have been wrong these fifteen years.” We clapped our hands red. No fundamentalist would ever say that. In practice, not all scientists would. But all scientists pay lip service to it as an ideal–unlike, say, politicians who would probably condemn it as flip-flopping. The memory of the incident I have described still brings a lump to my throat.

    PZ, ya got class. I am clapping for you. When did Dembski or Johnson or Wells ever own up to one of their ubiquitous errors?

    Dave

  48. #49 jack lecou
    March 24, 2008

    Tech-

    I think if cell biologists could get even to the point of seeing moving red dots for molecules, they’d be ecstatic. I am not a biologist, but my perception is that puzzling out something like kinesin transport involves years of painstakingling isolating molecules and eaking out information from tiny clues.

    I’m with you on wanting another video though. Something aimed not at the didactictic purpose of illustrating a particular process, but the idea of illustrating the vision I think many of us have of the process of life – the one creationists don’t see.

    I think an animation that illustrated the stochastic, chemical nature of these processes would be excellent. Showing the confusion of all the solvent and other molecules, then fading those mostly transperent to illustrate a biomolecular cell process, emphasizing the random, Brownian nature of it. Repeat.

    I think a video of something like “the first 5 minutes of life” would be cool too. Something illustrating one or more abiogenesis hyoptheses, showing how once the reagents are in place, formation of a replicator is more or less inevitable, and it’s all downhill from there.

  49. #50 Thomas S. Howard
    March 24, 2008

    Hey, Willy, be honest. You’re in truth tremendously pleased by it all because this is a golden opportunity for you to adopt the pose of the brave-hearted crusader for truth and justice. I mean, why else would you be posting a request to Mr. Myers on Uncommon Descent of all places?

    Answer: to flog your blog and strut for the faithful.

  50. #51 laurelin
    March 24, 2008

    As a person who creates these kinds of animations for a living, I think that some of you underestimate the human creative effort that goes into scientific visualization and animation. To me, this is OBVIOUS plagiarism. If any one person started from scratch, arranged and animated all those molecules in a scene according to a variety of current scientific research, it would come out spectacularly different every time, unless they were aping someone else’s work.

  51. #52 Thomas S. Howard
    March 24, 2008

    Laurelin: True Creationists don’t ape. Ever. It’s against their religious beliefs. Some of the IDers have been known to dabble on occasion…

  52. #53 Brachychiton
    March 24, 2008

    William, were you kicked in the head by a horse as a youth? That seems to me to be the most charitable explanation of your inability to grasp the most basic concepts. Really, lad, how do you manage to feed yourself? Do you get people to tape up your nostrils so you don’t shovel the mashed potato into the wrong orifice during dinner?

  53. #54 Michael X
    March 24, 2008

    Laurelin,
    I completely agree. It’s an obvious rip off. 3D modeling of the inner life of a cell is going to vary depending on who’s modeling. Not to mention who’s researching, and who’s directing.

    No matter how many crystal clear facts we know, the art in how they are presented (angle, scope, POV, composition, etc) is going to be fantastically different. Here we see a clip where every one of those is the same. The only thing they changed was the color. Not to mention, as PZ points out, they make the same technical mistakes in biology. This is almost as obvious as Vanilla Ice ripping off Under Pressure.

  54. #55 Palin Drome
    March 24, 2008

    Surely the fact that these two videos duplicate the same errors isn’t evidence of descent, it’s proof that they both share the same divine creator? Praise the Lord!

    Next those crazy scientists with their wild theories will claim that you can chart ‘copying errors’ and use ‘evidence’ to prove that actual organisms are descended from earlier forms.

  55. #56 I get paid $300 an hour to sit on a park bench
    March 24, 2008

    Is distinguished author and Nobel prize winning scientist Ann Coulter in the movie?

  56. #57 xcdesignproponensists
    March 24, 2008

    This is plagiarism, unless of course they obtained permission from the XVIVO guys to reproduce and/or alter their video. We should probably reserve judgement till we know for sure whether they did this without the knowledge of the Harvard group.
    Even if details are changed, there are a myriad of ways to represent these molecules, and if two independent groups started from scratch they wouldn’t produce the same kind of video.

    Tech: Currently we don’t have any means of imaging these kinds of processes down to that level of magnification. Electron microscopy, as far as I know, still doesn’t have a high enough resolution or magnification, and even if it did, one must first fix the cell. The best we can do is to use fluorescence or multiphoton microscopy using recombinant proteins or fluorescent dyes, but as others have said it will at best only show us the movement of two “dots” relative to one another.

  57. #58 Richard Eis
    March 24, 2008

    Given who we are dealing with, the chance of plagiarism is damn high and should be looked into.Unfortunately, given the creationist legal team I bet this is 50% and a feather on the side of not being plagiarism.
    Actually I wouldn’t want this movie to be stopped over something like this. Personally I’d wait till the movie was out proper and being properly ridiculed in cinema’s and then start legal proceedings. Otherwise we will be the evilutionists stopping the movie from coming out. Which would be exactly what they would want.

  58. #59 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    March 24, 2008

    About the trolls…

    - I wouldn’t answer WW. It is pretty well established by his behavior that he is far removed from reality. Pathologically so, so it would be nice to him to just ignore his problem, preventing further progression in the process.

    - I realize this is another troll, but fitting the context dsmvwld shows us how inept creationists are at Design Detection™.

    This is one, a forensic investigation. And it can be illustrative to point out the differences between forensic and biology science.

    First business in forensics is to establish opportunity, means, motive.

    Opportunity and motive: ERV has established that.
    Means: Harvard video, IDC $$$, available physical modelers.

    No corresponding agency exists in evolution. But another element here, establishing plagiarism, is more comparatively illustrative on crucial differences. Our creationist troll confuses this with biology science at large (“ellipses” EXPELLED). But PZ that knows whereof he speaks correctly identifies a tool of forensics (and biology), plagiarized errors.

    Sure, other effects of nested hierarchies will show up in a plagiarism, such as a “lineage” between layouts and views et cetera. But the “genetics” differs from biological heredity, hence “ellipses” allowed.

  59. #60 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    March 24, 2008

    About the trolls…

    - I wouldn’t answer WW. It is pretty well established by his behavior that he is far removed from reality. Pathologically so, so it would be nice to him to just ignore his problem, preventing further progression in the process.

    - I realize this is another troll, but fitting the context dsmvwld shows us how inept creationists are at Design Detection™.

    This is one, a forensic investigation. And it can be illustrative to point out the differences between forensic and biology science.

    First business in forensics is to establish opportunity, means, motive.

    Opportunity and motive: ERV has established that.
    Means: Harvard video, IDC $$$, available physical modelers.

    No corresponding agency exists in evolution. But another element here, establishing plagiarism, is more comparatively illustrative on crucial differences. Our creationist troll confuses this with biology science at large (“ellipses” EXPELLED). But PZ that knows whereof he speaks correctly identifies a tool of forensics (and biology), plagiarized errors.

    Sure, other effects of nested hierarchies will show up in a plagiarism, such as a “lineage” between layouts and views et cetera. But the “genetics” differs from biological heredity, hence “ellipses” allowed.

  60. #61 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    March 24, 2008

    About cell animation, my 0.02 $:

    IIRC earlier discussions, Harvard has mentioned that it choose to remove cellular crowding and modify relative time constants et cetera of the chemistry to make for easier modeling and viewing. But the ideal could be to retain more of the physics of crowding et cetera while keeping the open view format.

  61. #62 Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    March 24, 2008

    About cell animation, my 0.02 $:

    IIRC earlier discussions, Harvard has mentioned that it choose to remove cellular crowding and modify relative time constants et cetera of the chemistry to make for easier modeling and viewing. But the ideal could be to retain more of the physics of crowding et cetera while keeping the open view format.

  62. #63 MH
    March 24, 2008

    I’d love to see the EXPELLED animators/advisors in the witness box trying to justify their inclusion/exclusion of the cell components.

  63. #64 oriole
    March 24, 2008

    William Wallace, you disgusting liar for Jesus, when you show a quote as a weblink, you’re supposed to link to the source, so people can judge for themselves whether the quote was accurate, not to your own blog where you can disseminate further lies. You are a classic lying creationist quote-miner, because what PZ actually said was that IF he was a gate-crasher, THEN so was just about everybody there; in other words, he followed precisely the same procedure that everyone else (except presumably special insiders, hence the “almost”), followed, so by reductio ad absurdum, if you accept the producer’s nonsensical claim, then essentially the entire audience was made up of gate-crashers – which of course it was not, hence the producer’s claim is shown to be false. That’s a classic method of logical reasoning, Wallace, as opposed to your crew’s pathetic propaganda techniques.

    And what basis do you have for your insinuation that PZ tried to get in illegally? Don’t pretend that it was just a question; you were clearly trying to make an accusation, as evidenced by your absurd insistence that PZ prove that he did not do what you insinuate.

    PZ, I really think things have gone too far with this lying douchebag troll William Wallace. I would prefer to not have the posts written by honest, intelligent people constantly interrupted by this nitwit, and I think others agree with me. How many others are in favor or disemvowelling followed by banishment of the odious WW?

  64. #65 Donnie B.
    March 24, 2008

    Actually, I find William Wallace and others of his ilk (such as FL over on Panda’s Thumb) to be excellent reminders of the mindset we’re struggling against.

  65. #66 James F
    March 24, 2008

    #27 rrt: Glad you liked it, sorry about the monitor!

    #54 Michael X:

    This is almost as obvious as Vanilla Ice ripping off Under Pressure.

    I love it. Bill Dembski is the Vanilla Ice of pseudoscience: “Word to your designer.”

    But back on topic: I direct your attention to another representation of kinesin motion from Ron Vale’s lab at UCSF to show how different animated models can be depending on what the makers want to emphasize.

  66. #67 Greg Laden
    March 24, 2008

    I’m not yet convinced it is not a copy.

  67. #68 Bob L
    March 24, 2008

    The Expelled people will defend themselves by claiming it is a parody.

  68. #69 Dale Austin
    March 24, 2008

    I doubt the producers of Expelled had the capacity to generate this animation in-house. That means that the owner of a small animation firm somewhere is now sweating bullets. If, as they are probably going to claim, this thing was created using a “clean room” approach, there will be a mountain of things like storyboards, rough cuts, memos about edits, employee time cards, and on the client side a whole mountain of similar stuff. All of which would be evidence for the defense in their upcoming civil court date-where, it should be pointed out, the burden of profof will be on the defendant.

    I’ve done some sciency-type illustration in the past, and it’s not uncommon for a client to bring in some already published work and ask if we could change it enough to get past the copyright issue. (I say no-and that securing re-use rights would be cheaper anyway) That is probably what happened here. If the animation is plagarized in that way, it would be a good idea for the animator to throw the producers under the bus as soon as possible. Remember, copyright is both a civil and criminal matter.

  69. #70 Eric
    March 24, 2008

    OMIGOSH! They plagiarized one frame! The cads!

    Troll or not, he’s shown exactly the sort of lack of logic we are fighting against.

    dsmvwld: Did you read PZ’s post? What he’s said here is not “These two frames show that there was plagiarism!”

    What he has said is (in summary): “It looked before like they had plagiarized directly, but these two frames show that they didn’t use the video directly; the plagiarism is indirect (and possibly might have covered their asses); my bad.”

  70. #71 Glen Davidson
    March 24, 2008

    In practical terms, I’m sure it’s not worth pursuing action.

    Have a heart though, what are these dolts supposed to do, rely on their science knowledge, or even more laughable, their science research? They have to copy by rote (with just enough variation to make suits impractical), they can’t do anything on their own.

    Back to any action, though, this is a fairly low budget film ($3.5 million, by Variety’s reporting), which most likely will make little or no profits. I’m sure they looked at the legal angle, and the financial angle, and said, hey, if they want to spend millions pursuing this, they’re going to be sorry.

    And they’re beyond any possibility of embarrassment by now. I think that the more brazen the fraud, the better, in ID circles at this time.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  71. #72 Nimravid
    March 24, 2008

    Plagiarism is not just copying something word for word or frame for frame. Plagiarism is also copying the presentation and flow of ideas even if done in different words or pictures. In this case they appear to have taken the presentation in the Harvard video and regenerated the same presentation with different video. That’s still plagiarism. If the people who made the video put it together from their own research, you would not expect to see shots like those above with the same molecular orientations shown, and you would not expect the second video to leave out the same information left out in the first. Clearly they did not want to bother trying to get permission to use the Harvard video (or thought they wouldn’t get it), so they made their own version by copying from it, thus in their minds removing the necessity of crediting the original authors and getting permission for use from them.

  72. #73 Steven
    March 24, 2008

    Do you notice how the IDiots version has the vesicle being almost perfectly circular. Unlike the Harvard Biovisions one.

    COZ GOD LUVZ CIRCLES YO

  73. #74 trrll
    March 24, 2008

    I wish someone (hint hint) would put up a side-by-side video of this animation (either one) against a real video of this process. Cant we see this take place? Isnt there a video of the process that shows how NOT designed and how random these cellular processes are?

    There is not any way of taking actual video of structures this small, because they are so small that light waves simply bend around them rather than bouncing off. The video combines information deduced from such methods as X-ray diffraction and theoretical modeling to provide something that essentially an “artist’s rendition,” albeit one that is factually based in many respects. The problem with trying to show how random these cellular events are is that a lot of them do not make sense unless you show cellular molecules at realistic concentration and velocity. Remember, for example, that microtubule extension occurs as a result of tubulin molecules randomly rattling around, and only occasionally happening to bang into the end of the growing microtubule at the correct place and orientation for it to stick. Most of the time, the molecule will hit in the wrong place, or be aligned wrong, and will just bounce off. It only works because the cell is not mostly empty as shown but full of stuff rattling around. Imagine it like trying to film what one person is doing at rush hour in the middle of Grand Central Station from a camera 20 feet away. To visualize the action inside a cell “realistically,” you’d have to slow things way down and show the view from so close up that it would be hard to get a sense of the larger picture of what is going on.

    It’s unfortunate, because the way that all of is driven by random thermal motion is far more remarkable than the random aspects of natural selection that ID/creationists find so incomprehensible. If the IDists actually understood biochemistry (which they clearly do not) they probably would be insisting that there must be an Intelligent Molecular Shepherd in charge of moving molecules around inside the cell, because it is “obviously” impossible that random motion could lead to all of that precisely coordinated behavior.

  74. #75 dwarf zebu
    March 24, 2008

    This blog entry is significant because, once again, PZ takes the high road, does the right thing and admits a mistake, as is his wont to do.

    This is in direct contrast to the IDists, who continually cover-up, spin and outright lie about nearly everything they do. And STILL have the nerve to whine about how they’re being treated unfairly!

  75. #76 Peter Ashby
    March 25, 2008

    I am reminded by these discussions of plagiarism of the tunicates. They have recently been found to have plagiarised the entire synthesis pathway for cellulose from an algae. Though I’m not sure if the plagiarised algae has been found yet.

    Call the lawyers? Or conclude that creationIDiots are (marine) pond life?

  76. #77 Michael
    March 25, 2008

    There is a suggestion over on the Dawkins site from someone who claims to have seen both that the video used in Expelled is this one

    http://www.amazon.com/Unlocking-Mystery-Life-Jay-Richards/dp/B00007KLDW

    Can anyone who has seen them comment ?

    Michael

  77. #78 ERV
    March 25, 2008

    Kinesin isnt in ‘Unlocking’. ‘Unlocking’ also looks like mid-90′s animation. The EXPELLED animation looks like a Bizzarro World ‘Inner Life’.

  78. #79 Michael
    March 25, 2008

    OK thanks. Here is the link to the Dawkins site if you are interested

    http://richarddawkins.net/articleComments,2389,Discussion-on-PZ-Myers-being-expelled-from-Expelled,Richard-Dawkins-PZ-Myers,page2#148193

    Regards – Michael

  79. #80 Duae Quartunciae
    March 25, 2008

    Good work on a prompt retraction, PZ. The speculations were the most jarring thing for me in your otherwise excellent fireside chat video; kudos on the way you handled additional information showing that the original speculations went too far.

    What is left remains most interesting! I’d love to know who produced the animations used in Expelled. Apparently, there are credits at the end of the movie which indicate this. If anyone reading this is off to see the Expelled movie in the near future, could they please make a note of any credits that were given for these animations, and let us know here?

    I’ve also asked Kevin Miller, but he might be a bit busy with all the comments at his blog at present and miss the question. So I’ll ask here as well.

  80. #81 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 25, 2008

    Now, of course, it seems possible that the makers of Expelled also saw the video, and did there own research, and generated a video. I am not sure what is wrong with that; it’s not as though sub-cellular machinery has been copyrighted.

    You are so naïve… :-D

    Apart from comment 47, let me mention I have (under great pains) finished the equivalent of a Bachelor in molecular biology. Take any two textbooks and compare how they show the same process — even if it’s based on the same original paper. Often even a single textbook shows the same thing in quite different ways. That’s because what’s really going on is so complicated — the real shape of a protein with all those zillions of atoms, all of which are in Brownian motion… — that it has to be simplified in some way for didactic purposes, and there are lots of different ways to do that even if you want to teach the exact same thing.

    Also, you have no idea how much time and even money it takes to do your own research. Plus, the makers of Expelled know next to nothing about biology — how did you imagine doing some research of your own works? Just having a cell and a microscope won’t get you anything. Even if they had a lab, and they don’t, they wouldn’t know what do with it. That requires years of study.

    Oh man. :-D

  81. #82 David Marjanovi?, OM
    March 25, 2008

    Now, of course, it seems possible that the makers of Expelled also saw the video, and did there own research, and generated a video. I am not sure what is wrong with that; it’s not as though sub-cellular machinery has been copyrighted.

    You are so naïve… :-D

    Apart from comment 47, let me mention I have (under great pains) finished the equivalent of a Bachelor in molecular biology. Take any two textbooks and compare how they show the same process — even if it’s based on the same original paper. Often even a single textbook shows the same thing in quite different ways. That’s because what’s really going on is so complicated — the real shape of a protein with all those zillions of atoms, all of which are in Brownian motion… — that it has to be simplified in some way for didactic purposes, and there are lots of different ways to do that even if you want to teach the exact same thing.

    Also, you have no idea how much time and even money it takes to do your own research. Plus, the makers of Expelled know next to nothing about biology — how did you imagine doing some research of your own works? Just having a cell and a microscope won’t get you anything. Even if they had a lab, and they don’t, they wouldn’t know what do with it. That requires years of study.

    Oh man. :-D

  82. #83 Thomas S. Howard
    March 25, 2008

    I really wish the Expelled footage was available. I’m more than willing myself to go through each frame by frame. I’m rather convinced of plagiarism based on past behavior and the fact that so many people mistook it for the Harvard stuff, but it would be nice to be able to say, “Here, look. Ripoff.” I would of course never advocate that anyone should rip the DVD and place it on bittorrent. Nobody should do that. I mean it.

  83. #84 Monado, FCD
    March 26, 2008

    Not to mention that, if this is original, they’d need the use of a room full of computer processors (a render farm) to render their calculated 3D shapes into video. Assuming they did their own work, they’d have to convert their moving 3D models (based on biochemistry) to thousands of 2D frames of video images.

  84. #85 Quidam
    March 27, 2008

    You might enjoy this picture confirming that Harvard’s video is completely different to eXelled’s

    http://img85.imageshack.us/img85/9669/jewlyingforjesuscy8.jpg

  85. #86 Thomas S. Howard
    March 28, 2008

    I started getting really annoyed about having to eat copious crow, and the insane levels of exultation from IDists that would accompany it, and then I looked at the link. You should have named it something else. Crueler, but funnier, if you had.

  86. #87 Pyrite
    April 9, 2008

    All the same, the Harvard video demonstrates the reality of intelligent design. As the Bible says, all people are ‘without excuse’. A great video.

  87. #88 Jimbo
    April 10, 2008

    Win Ben Stein’s money!

  88. #89 Smokey
    April 10, 2008

    trrll wrote:
    “There is not any way of taking actual video of structures this small, because they are so small that light waves simply bend around them rather than bouncing off.”

    Correct, but we can take actual video of fluorophores attached to structures of this size.

    “The video combines information deduced from such methods as X-ray diffraction and theoretical modeling to provide something that essentially an “artist’s rendition,” albeit one that is factually based in many respects.”

    Actually, the information comes from neither technique and the video is very inaccurate about the mechanism. The real mechanism looks a helluva lot less directed and intelligent.

    “The problem with trying to show how random these cellular events are is that a lot of them do not make sense unless you show cellular molecules at realistic concentration and velocity.”

    This, however, is an excellent point.

  89. #90 Smokey
    April 10, 2008

    Pyrite claimed:
    “All the same, the Harvard video demonstrates the reality of intelligent design.”

    How does a *simulation* demonstrate the *reality* of intelligent design, especially when correcting the mistakes in the simulation would make you far less likely to claim such a thing?

  90. #91 HiEv
    April 10, 2008

    For those wanting to compare and contrast both videos, the clip in Expelled can be seen in the “A Cell” clip here:

    http://wingclips.com/cart.php?target=category&category_id=778

    And the Inner Life of the Cell video can be seen here:

    http://multimedia.mcb.harvard.edu/

    For the first one look starting at around the 1:07 mark (~55% mark), and for the second one look starting at around the 3:47 mark (~47% mark).

    I should also note that the Golgi apparatus depicted in the Expelled version reminded me of the one seen in the XVIVO demo clip here:

    http://www.xvivo.net/

    (Look at around the 12 second mark.) XVIVO is the animation company that made the Inner Life of the Cell video for Harvard.

    For me, the two videos seem too similar in some aspects to be the products of “random chance.” Ironic that, eh? ;-)

  91. #92 wnelson
    April 12, 2008

    Harvard better keep that footage a little closer to their chest. Wouldn’t want the stupid little people getting [or being given] the unapproved interpretation.

    So many dangerous ways of interpreting the truth.

  92. #93 Prhean
    April 12, 2008

    It’s all random and purposeless, anyway, so what’s the difference? The videos are less complicated than the cell itself, so maybe the videos weren’t created by anyone, they just happened.

  93. #94 Ichthyic
    April 12, 2008

    Harvard better keep that footage a little closer to their chest. Wouldn’t want the stupid little people getting [or being given] the unapproved interpretation.

    you better tell them yourself:

    http://multimedia.mcb.harvard.edu/

    make sure you read the Copyright notice at the beginning of each video before you do, though.

  94. #95 wnelson
    April 12, 2008

    No, it would be much more useful to have Harvard sue to keep the magic under wraps. Which in this case, is anything _even similar_ to the magic from getting the unapproved interpretation.

    Getting the Science across is the idea, except when it isn’t. My advice? Go reread Animal Farm.

  95. #96 intheTRUTH
    April 12, 2008

    Wow! Many of you appear to be so smart… beyond intelligence.
    Thank you for including Charles Schultz, a Christian, in this conversation.

    BTW, how did life begin in the first place? Anyone? Anyone?

  96. #97 HiEv
    April 12, 2008

    Re intheTRUTH: “BTW, how did life begin in the first place? Anyone? Anyone?”

    Short answer: We don’t know.

    Sadly, creationists commonly confuse not knowing as evidence for a god, goddess, or gods. However, not knowing something is not evidence for something else. This is commonly called the “God of the gaps” argument, and it creates “The Incredible Shrinking God” as those gaps keep getting filled with science.

    Long answer: We have some pretty good guesses about how life began. If you want to see them, here is a link to the Wikipedia article with the long answer:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis#Current_models

    If history shows you anything, then it should show you that science has given us a far better and more realistic understanding of our universe and how it works than any religion ever has. Religion didn’t give us computers, rocket ships, and digital watches; science did.

    Of course, it should be noted that “evolution”, as we are using the term in this context, has nothing to do with the origin of life (abiogenesis) or the origin of the universe. “Evolution” is only about what happened after life began. Creationists commonly confuse and conflate these things as well.

    If you really want the “TRUTH”, as your nick implies, then you should base your beliefs in testable evidence, rather than blind faith. Blind faith is far more likely to be false, and you can’t honestly know if it is truth if you can’t and don’t test your beliefs. Please keep an open mind about your beliefs and don’t be afraid to question them, as I always question my own. If they really are true then they should survive testing, shouldn’t they?

  97. #98 Owlmirror
    April 12, 2008

    Thank you for including Charles Schultz, a Christian, in this conversation.

    Former Christian, I think, would be more accurate.

    http://www.metroactive.com/papers/sonoma/12.30.99/schulz2-9952.html

  98. #99 Monkey
    April 14, 2008

    Bunch of cry babies.

    Make your own movie and let it all sort out.

  99. #100 Janine, ID
    April 14, 2008

    Monkey, no one is crying, just pointing out the dishonesty of the mockumentary. By the way, the truth is not measured by how much a film does or does not make. But I have to commend you for using a different insult from most of the other IDiots who leave their droppings here.

  100. #101 PirateHooker
    April 14, 2008

    to 93:

    Abiogenisis. DuH!

  101. #102 Monado, FCD
    April 16, 2008

    To see the difference independent development makes, look at the images here:
    Official Expelled Paternity Test.” None of the animations of the same molecules doing the same things look alike except for the XVIVO and Expelled videos.

    Then come back and comment on how “of course it looks the same; they’re documenting the same process.”

  102. #103 Doubting animator.
    April 17, 2008

    Hey,

    I visited this site;

    http://endogenousretrovirus.blogspot.com/2007/11/di-fellows-expelled-for-plagiarism.html

    So my question is:

    Was the third video in the series in the “Expelled” movie?

    If so the animation is identical to the first and second video clips.

  103. #104 Funny Atheists Ignore Truth
    April 17, 2008

    Hilarious. So instead of trying to debunk the premises of the argument in “Expelled” all the atheists seem to be able to do is pull out a red-herring and focus on some seemingly copy right infringed animation. There is no copyright violation period as the producers made their own video. It doesn’t matter whether the cell and/or the storyline is basically the same. Of course they look the same, they’re illustrating the same concept. And who cares if the “errors” are similar. Simplification of processes is a common tactic for demonstrating a process that the average ignorant person cannot understand fully. Let’s all go take a picture of the same tree, standing in the same place and then sue each other over copyright infringement. There is NO CASE, each producer own the copyright to their own “original” work. There is no difference between the picture and the animation. Both ‘producers’ used the same source material. So what ?

    This is a lame attempt by the Atheist mentality to redirect attention from a movie that blasts their illogical reasoning and instead tries to demonize the irrefutable, rational and very scientific arguments made in Expelled. It’s funny that your community only succeeds in letting everyone know how foolish you are and how poor your non-arguments are when you resort to straw men and name calling. There is a God and you WILL know him and you WILL wish you hadn’t been so self centered and humanistic when he returns. But alas, it will be too late. Enjoy that idea for a while, it won’t last.

  104. Jesus Christ On A Pogo Stick, “Funny Atheists Ignore Truth”, I don’t know what *you’re* on, but I’ll sure have a jug. We’re both atheists, old son: the only difference is that I just happen to believe in one fewer god than you do.

    “Th-th-th-that’s all folks!”

  105. #106 Bronze Dog
    April 17, 2008

    Hilarious. So instead of trying to debunk the premises of the argument in “Expelled” all the atheists seem to be able to do is pull out a red-herring and focus on some seemingly copy right infringed animation.

    You’re funny, FAIT. Never been on the internet before, or are you too scared to read about the whole thing? Didn’t know that we did all that before the movie was a twinkle in the creator’s eye?

    More likely, you’re one of the dishonest nihilists who likes to pretend that nothing existed before you got on the scene, no matter how many times we repeat our answers. Such hubris.

  106. #107 Susie Roth
    April 18, 2008

    Why do you believe that EXPELLED plaigerized a Harvard video? I saw advanced screening of EXPELLED at SC DHEC on April 9. I look at this link http://www.leestrobel.com/videoserver/video.php?clip=strobelT2043
    and believe that this animation by Church Communication Network is the animation that I saw in the movie. I will view the movie again today (April 18) as it opens. Why don’t you investigate which came first, the Harvard video or this Church Communication Network video? Perhaps EXPELLED used the Church Communication Network animation by permission.

  107. #108 Ryan F Stello
    April 18, 2008

    Perhaps EXPELLED used the Church Communication Network animation by permission.

    Or perhaps both Expelled and CCN used the Harvard animation without permission?

    Dumbass.

  108. #109 Owlmirror
    April 18, 2008

    instead of trying
    all
    atheists seem to be
    do is pull out a red-herring and
    seemingly

    “So in addition to debunking the premises of the argument in “Expelled” at expelledexposed.com, the scientists are able to focus on some copyright infringed animation.”

    Fixed that for ya!

  109. #110 KevinD
    April 18, 2008

    Thought I’d provide a little 100-level Emily Post etiquette here. RSVP means “answer back please”. The “reply” is made in response to what is called an “invitation”.

    If I read an invitation on my neigbors fridge, take down the number, and then proceed to make a phone call to RSVP RSVP myself to the party I would be attempting to ‘crash’ the party. If I have the gall to show-up – I am crashing the party. It’s that simple.

    But I guess they probably aren’t allowed to teach that kind of thing in the public school system.

  110. #111 Jason
    April 21, 2008

    If two independent animation companies created a short about volcanism or the lifecycle of a butterfly, could each sue the other over copyright issues?

    Why WOULDN’T two animations appear similar if they are animating similar natural phenomena?

  111. #112 GregR
    April 30, 2008

    Well, if copyrights in video and animation work anything like the music industry, I’d have to say that this video is like doing a “cover version” of someone else’s song.

    It’s not the same video (i.e. same recording) but a version of someone else’s video (i.e. a version of someone else’s song).

    In the music industry, a cover tune still requires permission from the original publisher’s record company and the band, full credit, and almost always royalty payments to the original author(s) of the song. It seems that this same legal premise might be applicable here.

  112. #113 GregR
    April 30, 2008

    See comments from the person responsible for the original Harvard animation: http://richarddawkins.net/article,2460,Expelled-ripped-off-Harvards-Inner-Life-of-the-Cell-animation,David-Bolinsky

    He says, “It is astonishing that among well over a dozen functional kinesins from which an animator might choose, we both chose the same configuration of kinesin, pulling the same protein-studded vesicle, on the same microtubule! Can YOU believe we coincidentally picked the same camera angles and left in the same specific structures in the background, positioned with the same composition?”

    They even used the same music to accompany the video. The likeness between these two animations isn’t a coincidental similarity.

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