You’ve all no doubt heard of the “intelligent design” movement, an amalgam created by cobbling together bits and pieces of the long-refuted teleological argument for the existence of God, what used to be called “creation science” and a bunch of sciency-sounding words. At bottom, ID is a political strategy designed reintroduce the teaching of religion in public schools.
You’ve also likely heard of the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, which is scheduled for release this Friday. The film, which stars teevee douchebag and former Nixon speechwriter Ben Stein, portrays ID as legitimate science that the evil atheist academic establishment is desperately trying to suppress. The filmakers also claim that “Darwinism” is responsible for every abomination from the Holocaust to Lunchables.
The film’s producer is an outfit called Premise Media. Premise’s CoB is A. Logan Craft, an Episcopal preacher from New Mexico whose previous media endeavors included a television program called Church and State TV.
The film is unadulterated bullshit, as the National Center for Science Education reveals in great detail at its website Expelled Exposed. The reviews thus far have been less than complimentary. Fox News reviewer Roger Friedman wrote:
“Expelled” is a sloppy, all-over-the-place, poorly made (and not just a little boring) “expose” of the scientific community. It’s not very exciting. But it does show that Stein, who’s carved out a career selling eye drops in commercials and amusing us on sitcoms, is either completely nuts or so avaricious that he’s abandoned all good sense to make a buck.
Scientific American’s commentary is available here.
A company called XVIVO, LLC owns the copyright on a scientific animation video called The Inner Life of a Cell. XVIVO recently sent Premise Media a letter (pdf, 1 page) complaining that Premise essentially stole a clip from Inner Life and used it without permission in Expelled. That’s copyright infringement, and XVIVO advised in the letter that it would “vigorously and promptly pursue its legal remedies” unless the producers excised the stolen material from Expelled before its release.
Premise Media responded with this gibbering, drooling, bedwetting train wreck of a press release. Premise says that it’s filed a declaratory judgment action in a Texas federal court seeking a declaration that no copyright infringement occurred.
Biology professor and blogosphere legend P.Z. Myers discusses Expelled’s use of the film clip here. P.Z. notes that the surest proof of outright theft in this regard is reproduction of mistakes as well as accuracies. The original Inner Life video contains an error that’s reproduced in the clip from Expelled, indicating that the movie’s producers “brainlessly cop[ied] what they saw in the original.”
True Believers(tm) know that a lie in the service of the Lord is no lie at all. Apparently, the same rule applies to copyright infringement.