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Date: 2002/12/05 21:47:17, Link
Author: charlie d
Somebody should explain to PJ the difference between evidence disproving a theory, and evidence disproving evidence for a theory (assuming that it does, which in the case of the peppered moth is clearly not the case).  Must be a lawyer thing, that he can't see the difference.

None of the "Icons" (even if they were largely correct, rather than essentially an overinflated hodgepodge of willful misrepresentations) comes even close to being  "evidence against the theory of evolution".  For that, I guess, we'll have to wait for the results of that famous ID research that's going on somewhere.

Date: 2002/12/19 18:10:14, Link
Author: charlie d
To me, at the molecular level, an ID hypothesis would be probably warranted (though not proven) by evidence for bona fide teleology, such as real directed mutation mechanisms, or clearcut - not a posteriori - front-loading.  

At the organismal/ecological level, I would be swayed by mechanisms of homeostasis going counter reproductive advantage, for instance if preys ceased to escape from predators when predator numbers decline.  Something like mass lemming suicide, if it were real, would be suggestive evidence too.

Of course, in all these cases the hard part would still be to test the actual ID hypothesis vs alternative naturalistic explanations, but at least the secret ID scientists would have something real to work on.

But I agree, these standards are already too high compared to what Mike seems to be looking for, i.e. some sort of admission for "soft" ID.

Date: 2002/12/20 12:51:11, Link
Author: charlie d
Yes, nice strategy.  
According to Wells, if people ignore his arguments on the Icons, it's because they are not able to answer the arguments.
If they answer the arguments, by showing that Wells is wrong, it's because they have to defend the Icons "at all costs".
And if they change whatever there is to be changed about the Icons, it's because Wells' arguments were right in the first place.

LOL, what a smoke seller!

Date: 2002/12/20 17:07:05, Link
Author: charlie d
Hi Bebbo:

I doubt Mike Gene would make such a silly comment; what he was complaining about was the number of anonymous ID critics at ARN who say they are ("pose" as) scientists.  Of course, one could actually spot a poseur rather quickly, so I am afraid that Mike has to accept the fact that those are real scientists, and that no scientists, anonymously or not, appear interested in defending ID on ARN.  The only people really making noise about actual identities are Chris and Genie.  

Anyway, whether Mike is or not who you think he is, I think you should probably delete the name from the previous post, to respect his privacy, or to avoid associating the wrong person with Mike's work.  


Date: 2002/12/25 13:00:17, Link
Author: charlie d
Biochemistry major at Lehigh, uh?  I wonder who Mr. Langdon's advisor was...

Anyway, the statement in question is:
"critical thinking, along with objective and thorough investigation of data and theories in all areas of study is necessary to ensure the success of the educational program."  

I am surprised they didn't teach that already in Phoenixville: it sure would have helped Mr. Langdon's get a better critical understanding of creationism!

Date: 2003/01/07 10:37:56, Link
Author: charlie d
Interesting new article on the origin of NK cells, a possible "bridge" between innate and adaptive immunity.

Urochordates and the origin of natural killer cells: Identification of a CD94/NKR-P1-related receptor in blood cells of Botryllus
Konstantin Khalturin *, Matthias Becker *, Baruch Rinkevich , and Thomas C. G. Bosch *
*Zoological Institute, Christian Albrechts University Kiel, Olshausenstrasse 40, 24098 Kiel, Germany; and National Institute of Oceanography, Tel Shikmona, P.O. Box 8030, Haifa 31080, Israel

Published online before print January 7, 2003
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 10.1073/pnas.0234104100

Transplantation immunity based on the recognition of MHC molecules is well described in vertebrates. Vertebrates, however, do not undergo transplantation reaction naturally. The phylogenetically closest group in which transplantation reactions can occur is the Urochordata. Therefore, these animals occupy a key position for understanding the evolution of the vertebrate immune system. When screening for genes differentially expressed during allorecognition in Botryllus schlosseri, we isolated a gene coding for a type II transmembrane protein with a C-type lectin-binding domain and close similarity to vertebrates CD94 and NKR-P1. Here we show that the gene, BsCD94-1, is differentially regulated during allorecognition and that a subpopulation of blood cells carries the corresponding receptor on its cell surface. Southern blot analysis with DNA from individual colonies and intronless BsCD94-1 probe reveal variation between individuals at the genomic level. CD94 in vertebrates is one of the markers for natural killer cells and binds to MHC class I molecules. Natural killer cells play a major role in recognition and elimination of allogeneic cells. Their evolutionary origin, however, remained unknown. The results presented here indicate that the elaboration of the vertebrate immune system may have its roots in an ancestral population of cells in the urochordate blood.

Date: 2003/01/10 08:40:09, Link
Author: charlie d
From the ISCID "about" page:
The International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID) is a 501©(3) non-profit organization which provides a forum for free and uncensored inquiry into complex systems. The day-to-day operation of the society centers on the Archive, to which members and nonmembers may submit articles. Once uploaded onto the archive, each article has a commenting facility to which members may append comments. At the author's request, after three months on the archive, articles passed on by the editorial board enter the quarterly online peer-reviewed journal of the society: Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design (PCID).
I guess the keyword here is "uncensored" (ie: anything goes ;) ).

Also, from the PCID page:
The editorial advisory board peer-reviews articles submitted to the society's journal and comprises the society fellows.

and the Fellows page:
Fellows of the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID) have distinguished themselves for their work in complex systems. In addition to fostering the society's intellectual life and guiding its various programs, fellows serve as the editorial advisory board that peer-reviews the society's journal, Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design (PCID).
 There is no doubt ISCID is trying to give the impression that PCID is a legitimte, peer-reviewed publication - which IMO makes the current dearth and low quality of contents even the more damning to ID.

It would be interesting to have a breakdown of articles submitted/accepted, and of the amounts of revisions required per article.  The few articles I paid any attention to seem to have undergone hardly any revision at all between appearance in the archive and actual publication, regardless of comments appearing on Brainstorms (and some were quite significant! ).

Date: 2003/01/10 12:33:03, Link
Author: charlie d
Hi Barbarian:
There are actually several papers published on the physics and psychobiology of ball-catching (your taxpayer money at work!;).  Here's a rather famous one in Science from a few years ago:
How baseball outfielders determine where to run to catch fly balls.
McBeath MK, Shaffer DM, Kaiser MK.
Science 1995 Apr 28;268(5210):569-73

Current theory proposes that baseball outfielders catch fly balls by selecting a running path to achieve optical acceleration cancellation of the ball. Yet people appear to lack the ability to discriminate accelerations accurately. This study supports the idea that outfielders convert the temporal problem to a spatial one by selecting a running path that maintains a linear optical trajectory (LOT) for the ball. The LOT model is a strategy of maintaining "control" over the relative direction of optical ball movement in a manner that is similar to simple predator tracking behavior.


Date: 2003/01/15 10:40:06, Link
Author: charlie d
Yup.  That seems to be Nelson's modus operandi.  Yesterday on ARN he cut-and-pasted a non-obvious (it wasn't in quotes) but literal quote of Behe: a list of purported IC systems.  One of them was telomere synthesis, for which in fact quite a bit is known evolutionarily (some info even pre-dating DBB, IIRC).  When I asked Nelson for clarifications about telomerase ICness, he huffed he was too busy with other ongoing discussions to respond (turns out, that was his last post for the day).  LOL!

[My bet is, he's still trying to find out what a telomere actually is.] ;)

Date: 2003/01/17 14:23:52, Link
Author: charlie d
A good short commentary by Charlebois et al on the issue of microbial phylogenetic trees is found in this week's Nature.
Notable passages:
We and others have been exploring 'whole-genome trees' as a means of overcoming the noise and bias of single-protein analyses, to extract the bulk phylogenetic signals that are inherent in genomes. ...... Despite some early indications to the contrary, whole-genome trees have now largely converged on the rRNA-sequence tree.

For us .... this convergence means that lateral gene transfer has not undermined descent with modification as the default explanation for microbial biodiversity, nor (as recently suggested by Ford Doolittle) has it thrown microbial classification into disarray. ......

The most enthusiastic lateralists reply, however, that convergence between whole-genome and rRNA trees merely demonstrates that rRNA genes — unlike most individual protein-coding genes, but like the genome as a whole — are but pastiches that are produced by lateral gene transfer.

Fascinating as these conflicts are, the important point is not whether a given tree is right or wrong. Rather, we should use these trees as frameworks upon which to construct and test hypotheses about the rate and mode of microbial evolution, and to improve our analytical methods. Without conflicts, we might all be far more complacent about evolutionary theory. In microbial phylogenomics, the scientific process is alive and well!

Date: 2003/01/23 12:56:47, Link
Author: charlie d
IIRC, Behe said that the case for hemoglobin IC-ness was not very strong, without really justifying why.  The main reason, I suspect, is that at the time of DBB there was already good evidence to show how hemoglobin could have evolved.  

If Behe had said hemoglobin was IC, he would have had to admit IC can evolve; if he had said it wasn't, he would have had to throw out the "loss of function"-based definition of IC.  Basically rather than acknowledge the problem with the IC concept and/or its definition(s), he took the fifth.

Date: 2003/01/25 19:08:30, Link
Author: charlie d
Hi Nic:
thanks for cross-posting this.  

I just want to make very clear that the topic of adaptive mutagenesis is in fact very much alive and well, and still very interesting from both a molecular and an evolutionary point of view.  What seems to have lost all steam is the original "neo-lamarckian" interpretation of the phenomenon, that Cairns, Foster, Shapiro, Hall and others initially supported (and arguably with some reason, given the data).

Most importantly, I think the story is very instructive regardless of its ending (the current one, that is. ;) ) .  Here is a set of results that shakes the very foundation of darwinian evolutionary theory, coming (gasp!) from that old bastion of the Modern Synthesis - bacteriology (even essentially rewriting Luria and Delbrueck's experiment! ).  And what does the Darwinian establishment, this entrenched Cabal of scheming censors, do?  They publish the relevant papers in Nature, PNAS, Genetics and the like, with great evidence (and, admittedly, plenty of grumbling in the letters section).  If Behe & C had as much as one tenth of the data that Cairns had in 1988, they'd get them published too.

Date: 2003/01/28 10:56:51, Link
Author: charlie d
Considering that, at this point, one arguably has to grant the Raelians primacy in the formulation of a "modern" biological design theory (and the only one with a clealry stated and active research program, to boot), one would hope the same standards will be applied to intelligent design. To paraphase:
"The one thing I am hoping is that maybe the Christian community can exploit the fact that the Rael was involved in the first attempt at proposing a "scientific" version of Intelligent Design. The fact that it was a UFO group makes it much more repugnant than if it was done by pristine philosophers and theologians."

In alternative, some of the ID advocates could try to explain to the public how exactly their form of ID differs from the Raelians'.

Date: 2003/02/04 09:56:47, Link
Author: charlie d
first of all, thanks for coming all the way into the "wolf's den".  We too strive to be a multidisciplinary and inclusive message board, outside the programmatic constraints that suffocate discussion on the "other boards" ... just joking.  ;)

Personally, my impression is that PCID and ISCID are actually hurting themselves, trying to strive for quantity rather than quality of papers and members.   With some  exceptions, most of the material published so far in PCID quite frankly ranges from the plain bad to the outright cranky, and what is acceptable in tone and content turns out to be essentially rehash of old arguments.  If a third of the papers were published every issue, none would be missed.  

If PCID and ISCID aim at attracting good level scientists, they have to weed out the cranks first. [This is also true of the ID movement in general, although I understand that the "big tent" approach has some political advantages.]   There is actually a whole underworld of characters out there at the fringes of science, and even well within academia, who are just looking for any public forum for their "underappreciated" ideas.  The internet is full of them.  If you have ever worked in close contact with some prominent (or even not-so-prominent) scientist, they all have great stories about the huge packages they get in the mail containing revolutionary papers and theories.  Alas, there is much more often than not a good reason for the underappreciation.  Furthermore, there are many self-proclaimed paradigm-busters who just tag along any new thing that comes on: HIV denial, water memory, distant healing, ID, it's all the same to them, as long as it makes them feel like they are riding the revolution wagon.   Basically, you'll have a hard time attracting serious scientists not already somehow committed to an ID perspective with a journal that publishes "theory of everything" stuff, back-of-the-envelope calculations of just how improbable cells are, and similar circus stuff.  To be seriously considered, you have to act seriously in the first place.

That said, I do feel like starting a diatribe about your claim that in modern science "hypotheses making is a ... process void of any creativity or speculation" (which is clearly belied by the record), and although I must say I don't see what's wrong with calm, collectedness (is that even a word?) and method, I can assure you that just as often good scientific hypotheses are the product of heated discussions, serendipity and severe inebriation (ask Kary Mullis).  However, I got work to do today, so that will have to wait...
Take care

Date: 2003/02/04 16:14:35, Link
Author: charlie d
If I may interject briefly, before disappearing again amidst calcium fluxes going the wrong way, I would say first of all that any attempt of ISCID and PCID to raise their standards and expand their horizons should not be pooh-poohed, but rather warmly encouraged, as far as I am concerned.

My feeling, if Micah you are still reading this, is that you should try to recruit as many as possible good-willed, open-minded-enough reviewers outside the restricted ID circle.  People with recognized expertise in complexity/systems theory, mathematical biology, evolutionary biology, philosophy of science, whatever.  I don't know, send out a mass e-mail to the relevant institutions/departments and see who volunteers, or ask ID-friendly people to recommend colleagues that may fit the bill.  You can be very frank about the goals of the journal, how speculative it is supposed to be, and your outspoken interest in exploring teleology and design in biology.  I bet you'll find more openness than you'd expect.

Then, I would have a 2-tier publication system, at least at the beginning: at the bottom level, I would keep the current model, however making it significantly more stringent.  [Perhaps, soliciting open reviews on Brainstorms would be good, as long as people try to write complete, reasoned and self-standing critiques, applying real review standards, rather than just arguing about issues.  Of course, the editors would still have the last word about any needed revision and final decision.]

The top tier would be made up of papers that at a first screening the editorial committee considers outstanding enough to pass peer review from the external experts mentioned above.  Review of these manuscripts would be handled as in any "mainstream" journal.  When accepted, these high-profile papers, no matter how rare, should be highlighted in the journal in some way as "top-of-the-line" material.  At the end of the year (or more, if the papers are few), publish a list of the active reviewers.

Finally, and I am not sure this is already in place, you should have strict safeguards for both levels of submissions to ensure that all reviewers are anonymous to authors (since you people all know each other so well, it may be hard to be brutally honest about each other's work).  This may of course end up bruising some egos, but I bet it would definitely raise quality.

Oh, and try to apply a consistent editing and layout format: some of the papers are really painful to read, they almost look like high-school essays.

Date: 2003/02/21 16:41:36, Link
Author: charlie d
"I don't see how you can tell kids they are not created," John Calvert, managing director of the Intelligent Design Network, said Feb. 19. "Essentially when West Virginia teaches students that living systems are not designed, that's really teaching anti-religious theory."
Well, now, isn't it nice to see that Calvert agrees that there is a perfect correspondence between design theory and specific religious beliefs that require "special creation", and that the main purpose of teaching ID is effectively to teach a religious viewpoint during science classes!  

This quote should be saved for any future occasion Calvert addresses a BoE.

Date: 2003/04/30 18:41:59, Link
Author: charlie d
Funny you should post this today.  The following is coming out tomorrow in Nature:
An expressed pseudogene regulates the messenger-RNA stability of its homologous coding gene
Nature 423, 91 - 96 (2003)

A pseudogene is a gene copy that does not produce a functional, full-length protein. The human genome is estimated to contain up to 20,000 pseudogenes. Although much effort has been devoted to understanding the function of pseudogenes, their biological roles remain largely unknown. Here we report the role of an expressed pseudogene—regulation of messenger-RNA stability—in a transgene-insertion mouse mutant exhibiting polycystic kidneys and bone deformity. The transgene was integrated into the vicinity of the expressing pseudogene of Makorin1, called Makorin1-p1. This insertion reduced transcription of Makorin1-p1, resulting in destabilization of Makorin1 mRNA in trans by way of a cis-acting RNA decay element within the 5' region of Makorin1 that is homologous between Makorin1 and Makorin1-p1. Either Makorin1 or Makorin1-p1 transgenes could rescue these phenotypes. Our findings demonstrate a specific regulatory role of an expressed pseudogene, and point to the functional significance of non-coding RNAs.
The "no-junkers" are going to have a ball - of course without having read, let alone understood a word of the entire article.

Date: 2003/06/03 11:47:14, Link
Author: charlie d
I think Behe would qualify.  

He had 31 papers, including several in PNAS and JMB up to 1996.  Later in 1996, DBB comes out.  Since then, a 1997 in Biochem Biophys Res Commun, and something that looks like a review (or a theoretical paper - I don't have access) in 1998 in DNA Seq.  After that, nothing.

Sad, really...

Date: 2003/06/27 09:32:30, Link
Author: charlie d
"In acknowledgements to their paper, Nilsson & Pelger thank E. J. Warrant for help with their computations; in the acknowledgements to *their* paper, Warrant & McIntyre thank Mr. Nilsson for critically reading what they have written.

Schnapps all around, I am sure."
That's bizarre, to say the least.  Is a scientist, according to Berlinski, not supposed to search advice and collaboration from other experts in the field whose work parallels, and has significant implications for one's own?

I think the fact that Warrant helped Nilsson with his computations actually ensures that Nilsson interpreted the original equations correctly (unlike, probably, Berlinski: I wonder whether he asked for advice from experts regarding his interpretation of the relevant equations, or whether he took a crash course in optics before writing his reply - most likely, neither).

Besides, the tight and openly acknowledged collaboration between Warrant, Nilsson etc also precludes that they may have served as official reviewers for each other's papers, which should give Berlinski some comfort regarding the fairness of the papers' peer review process.  

Once again, the ability of ID advocates to pontificate about areas of which they have no expertise at all, and do so straightfacedly and proudly, is nothing short of amazing.

Date: 2003/07/06 11:48:41, Link
Author: charlie d
please check the links, several don't work. Thanks

Date: 2004/02/12 12:56:34, Link
Author: charlie d
Don't forget the Wedge document itself (my comments in CAPS):


1. A major public debate between design theorists and Darwinists (by 2003) [MAYBE - THE AMNH DEBATE]

2. Thirty published books on design and its cultural implications (sex, gender issues, medicine, law, and religion) [MAYBE]

3. One hundred scientific, academic and technical articles by our fellows  [JUST EXACTLY 100 ARTICLES SHORT ON THIS ONE]

4. Significant coverage in national media:

Cover story on major news magazine such as Time or Newsweek [NOPE]
PBS show such as Nova treating design theory fairly [NOPE]
Regular press coverage on developments in design theory [WHICH DEVELOPMENTS? NOPE]
Favorable op-ed pieces and columns on the design movement by 3rd party media [YES, I GUESS, DUE TO THEIR ACTIVIST BASE]

5. Spiritual & cultural renewal:

Mainline renewal movements begin to appropriate insights from design theory, and to repudiate theologies influenced by materialism [I HAVE NO CLUE ABOUT THIS ONE]
Major Christian denomination(s) defend(s) traditional doctrine of creation & repudiate(s)
Darwinism [NOPE]
Seminaries increasingly recognize & repudiate naturalistic presuppositions [NO CLUE]
Positive uptake in public opinion polls on issues such as sexuality, abortion and belief in God [I DOUBT IT]
6. Ten states begin to rectify ideological imbalance in their science curricula & include design theory [NOPE]

7. Scientific achievements:

An active design movement in Israel, the UK and other influential countries outside the US [NOPE]
Ten CRSC Fellows teaching at major universities [NOT SURE - THEY HAVE RECRUITED SEVERAL NEW FELLOWS THOUGH]
Design becomes a key concept in the social sciences [I SERIOUSLY DOUBT IT]
Legal reform movements base legislative proposals on design theory [NOT SURE WHAT THEY MEAN]"

Date: 2004/02/29 17:16:00, Link
Author: charlie d
Is Lenski in the book's index?

Date: 2005/02/06 08:33:19, Link
Author: charlie d
It's actually even better than that!

Mod6 has been harassing science advocates on ARN for weeks, while letting the most truculent ID advocates free reins.  I got reprimanded a few weeks ago for calling mturner "skyturner" (from Luke Skywalker, because of his metaphysical belief in the power of the Force), in a thread in which mturner was at his most pathological self, freely insulting people, and thumping his chest about "whupping their ass".

Now, apparently I have been "suspended" for telling someone "hold on to your breeches", and saying that it must be hard for creationists to keep an open mind about what biologist tell them (duh! ). This was in the Sternberg thread, which thanks to the clueless moderation is now practically a free-for-all libel fest about "darwinists" and the Smithsonian faculty, and where people posted things like "Crucify him!" without eliciting a moderation peep (the post got deleted only after I e-mailed the moderation a response to my earlier reprimand about "breeches").  

But now, the best: after my banning, I asked a friend to send the moderation a private message explaining that mod6 reasons for banning me were preposterous, and he got banned too, accused of being my sockpuppet (or I his)!  That's about as clueless as it gets...  LOL

Date: 2005/02/07 08:26:28, Link
Author: charlie d
I think it's worth noting that Dembski himself is now on the record as stating that existing EF-related probability calculations such as those he made for the flagellum in NFL are "incomplete and sloppy ".  In his "Reply to Henry Morris", Dembski says:
Nonetheless, I found the probabilistic reasoning in the creationist literature incomplete and sloppy. For instance, authors often referred to the probability of the chance formation of a particular protein, but failed to note that the relevant probability was that of any protein that performed the same function (this is a much more difficult probability to calculate, and one with which recent ID research has been having some success).
I have no idea what recent "success" Dembski is alluding to, but most definitely his flagellum calculations did not consider the possibility of alternative forms of flagellar proteins capable of performing the same functions.  Instead, he took a straightforward, chance-alone, classical creationist "tornado in a junkyard" approach.  

Thus, the claim that the EF "has never been successfully applied by anyone to any biological phenomena" is now supported by the EF author himself.  I think Sal would have a really hard time contradicting Dembski on that one.

Date: 2008/04/06 17:29:39, Link
Author: charlie d
Perhaps someone should completely freak them out, and inform them that we have known, for decades, that even the DNA sequence of cells within the same individual is not identical (let alone the obvious epigenetic differences that characterize different cells and tissues).

Date: 2008/04/10 20:19:24, Link
Author: charlie d
Quote (Richardthughes @ April 10 2008,19:43)
Discovery will be fun. People, under oath, will have to explain "how they got there".

Yes, sounds like. By the way, I always wondered why the chose to be called Discovery Institute, since they don't actually try to discover anything.  I now realize they were always planning to get all their internal documents subpoenaed on a regular basis.

Date: 2008/04/11 13:49:47, Link
Author: charlie d
Quote (caerbannog @ April 11 2008,13:20)
I thought that the fervent Christians in the Philippines who allow themselves to be whipped and nailed to crosses every Good Friday were willing to torture themselves...

Now comes this:


Fri, 11 Apr 2008 13:07:54 GMT
Author : American Right To Life
Category : Press Release
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DENVER, April 11  /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- American RTL members are holding a movie marathon viewing all fifteen showings on opening weekend of Ben Stein's new movie, Expelled - No Intelligence Allowed (, Friday through Sunday, April 18-20.

..................... says, "American Right To Life's movie marathon, Expelled? Go to the movies! will be from Friday April 18 at 11:30 a.m. through the last showing Sunday evening!"

Getting nailed to a cross... or sitting through 15 showings of "Expelled"... I'd have to think about that one.

That sounds good, actually.  The higher the gross that first night, the higher the damages requested should be if they are sued the next day, after it is confirmed that they used the plagiarized XVIVO animation for commercial purposes.

Date: 2008/04/11 20:34:08, Link
Author: charlie d
Quote (Richardthughes @ April 11 2008,19:49)
DaveTard chimes in:

Well, it does look like they backed down the threat of an injunction blocking the release of the movie, although they leave open the possibility of suing afterwards.  

Maybe they heard something about the final print version that will go (in fact, is going as we speak) out to the theaters?   Note that, as far as I can tell, all the pre-screenings that have been reported so far were projected from laptop files, no prints.  

If Premise had received the injunction and still came out on time with a non-violating movie, that would have been a coup.  But now, if the movie comes out without the animation it's an obvious admission of guilt, and if it does come out with the animation after being warned, their liability has increased.


Date: 2008/04/14 17:13:13, Link
Author: charlie d
I think it should be Expelled, if we want it to show up when the people google for information on the Expelled movie, aka Expelled: no intelligence allowed, with Ben Stein.  Clear enough?

Date: 2008/04/14 17:37:02, Link
Author: charlie d
Quote (Mr_Christopher @ April 14 2008,17:24)
Quote (charlie d @ April 14 2008,17:13)
I think it should be Expelled, if we want it to show up when the people google for information on the Expelled movie, aka Expelled: no intelligence allowed, with Ben Stein.  Clear enough?
You have to play the google game and that site has not made good use of tags, has no content, has no incoming links, in short it is doomed to not show up in a search for "expelled"

The content is on its way.  And the links to Expelled, aka Expelled movie, aka Expelled: no intelligence allowed, with Ben Stein from external web sites are meant precisely to add relevance.

If net-heads have any additional suggestion, let us know.

Date: 2008/04/15 06:53:35, Link
Author: charlie d
what you have as "actin network" in your comparison above looks to me like chromatin in the case of Expelled (DNA wrapped around histones). Either that, or they have no idea what actin looks like.

Date: 2008/04/15 10:21:03, Link
Author: charlie d
I think it's quite obvious that there is sufficiently close resemblance between the Expelled and XVIVO animations for a copyright infringement case to proceed, if XVIVO and/or Harvard decide to sue after the movie comes out.   That of course assumes that the Expelled producers will not argue some exception like "fair use" or minor use, etc, or the judge will reject such arguments.  I am not sure the Expelled producers would do that though, since those arguments would belie their current claim that the animations are original, and while their actions would be legal, it would be pretty much an admission of plagiarism - copying someone else's work without attribution.  Thus they may end up in the clear financially, but with rather rotten eggs on their faces ethically.

If the case goes to court, the process of discovery will easily do the rest: if the Expelled animations were worked out from scientific scratch, there will be, necessarily, tons of evidence for it.  There will be notes and e-mails of discussions between animators and actual biologists, the biologists' own notes, the evidence of 3D modeling from existing protein structures and cell microscopy (e.g. confocal, SEM and TE) data in the literature and databases, and so on.  If not, not.

At this stage, any firm conclusion from any of us is premature.  All we know is that the Expelled people say their animators' work is original, while the XVIVO people have reason to believe it can't be, and the Expelled animators must have copied "Inner life" (whether or not under specific instructions from the producers also remains to be seen, if and when responsibility and damages are assessed).  

That's it, so we can all just chill out.  I suspect we will know soon enough.

Date: 2008/04/15 10:42:42, Link
Author: charlie d
Quote (Assassinator @ April 15 2008,10:36)
Did biologists in general even worked on Expelled?

Not sure what you mean.  Sternberg and Crocker are biologists of course, although I don't know if they had any role in the movie other than being interviewed while looking soulful and aggrieved.  But IIRC Kevin Miller claimed at one point that they had a "team of cell biologists" hard at work on the animations, so there must be at least 2.

Date: 2008/04/17 12:23:21, Link
Author: charlie d
Quote (improvius @ April 17 2008,12:13)
Quote (ReligionProf @ April 17 2008,12:59)
A student of mine has created a better image than I did: Yoko Ono as Kali standing on Ben Stein's chest:[/img]

It's actually not very appropriate in the greater context.  That's Shiva lying down there.  He's lying down in order to stop her murderous rampage, not because she's defeated him.

It does make a good visual at first glance, though.

Great, that's all we needed here: a Mahabharata literalist.

Date: 2008/04/19 09:36:35, Link
Author: charlie d
Ooooohh... pretty colors.... shiny....  
They know their target audience.

Date: 2008/04/22 12:21:46, Link
Author: charlie d
if you regret having signed the statement, in retrospect, and wish that your name were not associated with it anymore, you can just ask them to take it off.  They have done it for a few other people who did.  

It's not like circumcision, you can take it back (well, there are ways to go back on circumcision, but I don't encourage anyone to find out how they work, and especially look at the gruesome pics).

Date: 2008/04/23 10:05:29, Link
Author: charlie d
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ April 23 2008,09:33)
I'm calling Sal a liar
Walt Ruloff mentioned that in filming Expelled he observed there is active suppression of the exploration of RNA synthesis at places like the NIH. These discoveries would overturn much of neo-Darwinism but these medical advances can’t be funded because they violate the party line.

Sal, we know you would say anything to advance your cause, but do you have the slightest bit of evidence to back this up? To me it seems that "expelled" could have focussed on this issue, if true, and had a blockbuster on their hands about how "darwinists" were holding up the cure for cancer.

LOL, sure.  There has been no hype at all in the professional literature about RNA-mediated gene regulation.

And what better and more cunning way for the NIH to suppress the study of the role of miRNAs in cancer than funding grants with titles like:

"Small RNA targeted gene activation for the treatment of prostate cancer"
"Tumor targeted RNAi by novel nanovectors for molecular therapy of prostate cancer"
"PPAR-gamma regulation of micro RNA metabolism in colon cancer"
"Analysis of BRCA1/non-coding RNA interactions"
"Typing the Transcriptome in Cancer Using Splicing Array"
"RNA interference" (NCI-funded)

And these are just the most obviously relevant titles in the first 50 grants (of 1,150 total) retrieved by a search of the CRISP database of NIH-funded projects with the terms "Cancer AND RNA".  Outside of the cancer field, "RNAi" retrieves 671 grants, "miRNA" 130, "RNA interference" (phrase) 1318, and I could go on.

The Darwinist orthodoxy cabal is diabolical that way.

Date: 2008/04/24 12:36:14, Link
Author: charlie d
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ April 24 2008,12:13)
Quote (Robert O'Brien @ April 24 2008,08:29)
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ April 24 2008,03:15)
Ono is seeking Premise's profit from the documentary, as well as at least $75,000 in damages and a ban on the 1971 song's use in the film.

All the profit - potentially gone!,5143,695273188,00.html

EDIT: And if it makes a loss? Does Yoko owe them money? :)

Yoko Ono is a crazy bitch.

Yeah, they use her husband's song without permission and compare him to a Nazi, and 'the bitch' just freaks out! What's up with that?

I am quite sure O'Brien meant that as a compliment: "Bitch is the new black."

Date: 2008/04/24 16:00:29, Link
Author: charlie d
Quote (JLT @ April 24 2008,15:43)
I'm a prophet! (and I didn't even know it.)
Yoko Ono and others have now filed lawsuits challenging the film's use and critique of John Lennon's song Imagine. One of the suits seeks to ban free speech through preliminary injunctive relief which essentially means that they are trying to expel EXPELLED as it is now being shown in theaters.


This is even better:
"If you really listen to the lyrics of Imagine then you realize that it represents everything that the Neo-Darwinists want. 'Imagine there's no Heaven...No hell below us...Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too...'  [...] said Walt Ruloff Executive Producer and CEO of Premise Media.

Really?  Because you just spent a few million bucks making a movie that tries to convince the audience that Darwinists say it's OK to kill people - you moron.

Date: 2008/04/24 18:33:11, Link
Author: charlie d
Quote (khan @ April 24 2008,18:22)
Aren't right-wingers (free enterprise fundies) usually really big on property rights and ownership and such?

According to the Motive Entertainment press release today, Ben Stein's defense in court will be that it's actually OK to steal, provided that the victim is a communist.

Date: 2008/04/29 10:04:09, Link
Author: charlie d
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ April 27 2008,13:53)
The Numbers estimates that Expelled! will have grossed a total of $5,281,787 after this weekend, dropping to number 13. It experienced the largest percentage drop in revenues weekend to weekend of any of the films currently in the top 15.

This is kind of fishy: Boxofficemojo still lists last weekend's numbers for Expelled as "estimates".  The Numbers has the amounts for Friday, (oddly, in a different color than the rest), and doesn't even list Expelled among the movies for either Saturday or Sunday.  

It almost looks as if someone is being unusually coy regarding the smashing success of their ground-breaking documentary.

Date: 2008/04/30 07:53:33, Link
Author: charlie d
Quote (godsilove @ April 29 2008,22:06)
Ben Stein at it again:

Well, it looks like Glenn Beck was right about one thing: judging from the habitual contents and tenor of his show, Ben Stein probably is the smartest guy he knows.

Date: 2008/04/30 07:59:46, Link
Author: charlie d
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ April 30 2008,02:59)
Sunday 27th (Estimate) $414,000
Monday 28th (Not an estimate) $157,191


OK, more people go on a Sunday but....


I think that kind of drop is fairly normal for a Monday.  

Still, however, they have not released their actual numbers for the weekend.  The only movie in the top tier that has not done so, as far as I can see.

Date: 2008/04/30 15:42:28, Link
Author: charlie d
Quote (Kristine @ April 30 2008,15:37)
Quote (didymos @ April 30 2008,13:01)
You forgot to add that it was uphill both ways, in the snow.

Speaking of walking across the road to join the National Guard -  ;)

You know, being that he didn't serve in the military, he's the perfect candidate for President.

(This is a joke, right? Because if it isn't, it still is. I hope it's NOT A JOKE! Because he could always double has Henry Kissinger in his own cabinet. The possibilities are endless!) :p

Sex (I mean Six) Things in Expelled that Ben Stein Doesn't Want You to Know.

Yikes, look at the freepers' responses.

Date: 2008/05/01 11:57:46, Link
Author: charlie d
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ May 01 2008,11:38)
Has anyone seen any non-estimate numbers for last weekend?

What are they afraid of, I wonder?

There is nothing out, as far as I can tell.  The Numbers completely and inexplicably skips 2 days of revenue.

Hollywood Reporter also has numbers, but they are not freely accessible: does anyone have a subscription? No?!  Bunch of geeks!

The other alternative would be getting in touch with the people at the Numbers and/or Boxofficemojo to see if they can figure this out.  

(That said, revenues for Monday and Tuesday are not bad, and would be in line with the estimates shown, so maybe there are no major surprises and it's just a glitch.)

Date: 2008/05/01 12:11:20, Link
Author: charlie d
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ May 01 2008,11:58)
I wonder what the number of screens, currently at 1,041, will drop to after the initial 2 week commitments are up?

Where I live, a Tinseltown theater has dropped it as of tomorrow, but the fundie-owned Regals will keep it.

Date: 2008/05/13 11:50:24, Link
Author: charlie d
I loved the line:
"They [fossil fuels] heat our homes and our swimming pools."

Somehow, this idea that common people can relate to the increased maintenance costs of heated swimming pools doesn't seem to fit Stein's pseudo-populist shtick.

Date: 2008/05/14 08:56:57, Link
Author: charlie d
Quote (dheddle @ May 14 2008,05:24)
Quote (Dr.GH @ May 14 2008,01:51)
I understand that Dawkins has an avid fan base- one might say a cult following.  I think first of all that it is incompetent to assert that science can provide evidence that gods don't exist. I do not think that any do exist, but that is not a scientific conclusion. Further, Dawkin's assertion that he is more honest than other scientists is both insulting and wrong.  Finally, there are many, many thousands of scientists who are active in some faith or other, which makes Dawkins simply wrong.

I have to say I am in agreement with Dr. GH here. Dawkins gets a ground-breaker’s credit for not caring about religious sensibilities—but in that he is hardly novel. I doubt that Dawkins could offend believers any more (*) than Gary or many other atheists that attack a) the dumb things (some) creationists say about science b) the political methods they employ and c) their dishonesty when it comes to the motivations of their actions.

In fact, Dawkins, as far as I can tell, breaks no ground in points a-c above—the points that are important to most scientists, me included, even though I’m a believer. And in fact he is somewhat more gentlemanly than most.

But Dawkins, looking for bigger fish, ventures elsewhere, into the metaphysical or the theological, and attacks the very  notion of God. Again he is not unique nor is he breaking down barriers. There have been intellectual atheists for generations. What he is, in this case, is not very skilled at what he attempts, but that (for this post) is irrelevant. Dawkins is ready to throw believing scientists under the bus, and to cast aspersions on the honesty of scientists who may agree with him on points a-c above, but who find it of no interest to challenge believers, in any more than a cocktail party sense, on the unscientific question of God’s existence. That seems to be the source of his enormous following.

(*) Which in fact is not much. But let’s assume for the sake of argument that Sunday sermons are now almost exclusively devoted to the question of fending off the atheist hordes.

Mmm... I personally don't find all of Dawkins' arguments particularly effective, but I do think it's undeniable that he, Harris etc, with their explicit distaste for religion have touched a nerve with many believers (see the demonization to which they have been subjected in some circles), and have allowed many people who share the same views but were somewhat afraid to speak up to "come out of the closet".  I think this is quite important and a positive development, especially in the US where atheists are a mistrusted/despised (and in some cases - kids especially - browbeaten or worse) minority.  

Their arguments may not be particularly original, but because of the way they made them and/or because of this particular moment in history (a relatively widespread backlash against religious fundamentalism in US politics and the tragic realization of its pernicious effects internationally) they seem to have captured the public imagination.

As for Gary's comment, I don't think that it is correct to say that Dawkins claims that "science can provide evidence that gods don't exist".  He says that if one accepts that science is a (quite possibly, the only) reliable way of learning things about the universe, assuming that gods are active in the universe then claims about gods' actions can be subject to scientific scrutiny, and when they are, one finds that they don't stand up.   After that, it's a matter for those who make the claims to either corroborate them better, or explain why science is not reliable and should be rejected (note that most creationists, including ID advocates, try indeed to do both).  

Dawkins's position is that, in the absence of convincing evidence, we have no reason to believe in any god other than a wish to do so, and some good reasons (political, philosophical) to reject gods altogether.