Stranger Fruit

i-19871b696463d0a8f14220b80e2a08b2-expelled.jpg David Bolinsky of XVIVIO has posted an open letter regarding the copyright infringement by Expelled. Interestingly, Mike Edmondson who was the animator for the movie has been scrubbed from the Expelled website and Dembksi has hinted that the producers had squirreled away money for copyright lawsuits. Sayeth Dembski:

I’ve gotten to know the producers quite well. As far as I can tell, they made sure to budget for lawsuits. Also, I know for a fact that they have one of the best intellectual property attorneys in the business. I expect that the producers made their video close enough to the Harvard video to get tongues awagging (Headline: “Harvard University Seeks Injunction Against Ben Stein and EXPELLED” — you think that might generate interest in the movie?), but different enough so that they are unexposed.

To make things worse for the cdesign proponentsists, Jonathan Wells has claimed that Expelled produced their animation in three months (versus the fourteen months it took XVIVIO working probably with a larger crew and budget):

Expelled does NOT use the Harvard animation. The producers paid a professional to create a new animation that is more accurate than the Harvard one (based on current knowledge of cellular processes). Any similarities between the Expelled animation and the Harvard one are due to the fact that both animations depict many of the same processes.

Notes Bolinsky:

Given the vast number of structures to be removed, and given the structures remaining "on camera", whose positioning and relationships, both aesthetic and functional, needed to remain true to the function and beauty of molecular biology, it is inconceivable, mathematically, that the animator hired by EXPELLED’s producers, independently and randomly came up with the same identical actin filament mesh XVIVO depicted in one scene, which had never before been rendered anywhere in
3D! 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? Equally astonishing is the "Intell[i]gent Design" treatment of these and other proteins surfaces, which XVIVO derived using procedural iso-surface skinning of the PDB cloud data of our protein’s atom placement. There are an infinite number of poss[i]ble "correct" solutions to that problem.

Even Dembski’s useless explanatory filter could pick this one out.

In his execrable Icons of Evolution, Wells asks:

“If this is fraud when a stock promoter does it, what is it when a scientists does it?” [p. 234]

Beware of the log in one’s own eye.

Comments

  1. #1 JuliaL
    April 12, 2008

    So David Bolinsky and XVIVIO have withdrawn the threat of legal action and given permission to Expelled to use the animation? Did Harvard not back them?

  2. #2 blf
    April 12, 2008

    Julia, why do you think the threat of legal action has been withdrawn?

    Here is the conclusion of Bolinsky’s open letter (enboldening added):

    Once we uncover the EXPELLED animation dollar trail, and bring it to light, we will have even more fun. The sublimely ridiculous claim that EXPELLED uses completely original animation, in light of copying our work so closely that a budget was reserved to pay for an infringement suit by Harvard, is delicious! Why should I try to take you guys down when you are doing such a splendid job yourselves? For free! So go ahead and release your movie. Just keep track of how many tickets you sell. We may just find that data valuable, too.

    It seems rather clear XVIVIO et al. have every intent on following through.

  3. #3 Dana Hunter
    April 12, 2008

    These people have surpassed insane stupid and hit orbital. Holy crap. It’s not even fun bashing them anymore – there’s no challenge.

    We don’t have to counter their junk science. All we need to do is take all of the idiotic crap they’ve done, write a few songs, and put on a farce: IDiots! The Musical.

    PZ said “Point and laugh.” No need to even point – just wave a hand vaguely in their direction, and you’re golden. Argh.

    I know how this chess game will end. Dumbski will get beaten soundly, knock all the pieces off the board, and start shouting “I win!” It’s what all two-year olds do.

  4. #4 JuliaL
    April 12, 2008

    Julia, why do you think the threat of legal action has been withdrawn?

    Because of these statements from the letter

    Harvard slapped you down for [the earlier use of the video in lectures], and yes there is a paper trail.

    Imagine our surprise earlier this month, to see our work copied in a movie trailer for EXPELLED! And you are in the movie too! Not quite a star, but brown dwarfs are cool. XVIVO has no intention of engaging alone, in asymmetrical fighting against an ideological entity with orders of magnitude more resources than we have. That might make great theater, but would resemble a hugely expensive game of whack-a-ID. Boring!

    . . . you no had doubt discussed with EXPELLED’s producers, Harvard’s previous legal infringement action against you, the Discovery Institute, where you are a fellow and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where you teach.

    Why should I try to take you guys down when you are doing such a splendid job yourselves? For free! So go ahead and release your movie.

    Isn’t he saying that while Harvard made objections to the earlier use of the video in lectures, that XVIVO is alone in objecting to the movie and, lacking the financial and legal resources to carry through, now tell the Expelled people they should go ahead and release the movie? That sounds to me as though they are saying that they don’t have Harvard’s backing this time and so are withdrawing their demand that the Expelled people not release the movie with the video in it.

  5. #5 blf
    April 12, 2008

    Isn’t he saying that while Harvard made objections to the earlier use of the video in lectures, that XVIVO is alone in objecting to the movie and, lacking the financial and legal resources to carry through, now tell the Expelled people they should go ahead and release the movie?

    I continue to read the Bolinski comments Julia refers to as sarcasm:

    A cutting, often ironic, form of wit intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule

    –from Public Speaking Course: Glossary P-T).

    And keep in mind what Peter Irons said in the comments in the Pharyngula thread:

    XVIVO does have a really good copyright lawyer from a big firm in Boston, so it’s not just an idle threat.

  6. #6 ERV
    April 12, 2008

    Despite pleas from the Harvard PIs, Harvard Law wont do anything until the movie is released. XVIVO does not have the resources to file an injunction to prevent the release of EXPELLED (which they would prefer to do), but EXPELLED will still be in trouble if they release the movie with the animation there.

  7. #7 JuliaL
    April 12, 2008

    ERV,

    Oh, thanks for the clarification! I take it, then, that Harvard Law is expected to do something after the movie is released if the animation is still in Expelled.

  8. #8 Citizen Z
    April 12, 2008

    JuliaL, I don’t think that’s what they’re saying. I think the confusion is over this part:

    XVIVO has no intention of engaging alone, in asymmetrical fighting against an ideological entity with orders of magnitude more resources than we have. That might make great theater, but would resemble a hugely expensive game of whack-a-ID.

    I think many people are think he’s saying XVIVO has no intention of engaging the Expelled crew, when he means that XVIVO has no intention of engaging them alone, as in they’re trying to get Harvard involved, but haven’t gotten an official answer from Harvard. Basically describing what they intend to do, and not saying that if Harvard backs out, they’ll give up.

  9. #9 Citizen Z
    April 12, 2008

    Well, I guess I need to refresh the page once in a while.