Re: [asa] Expelled Explained

From: Rich Blinne <rich.blinne@gmail.com>
Date: Sat Apr 12 2008 - 22:48:57 EDT

On Apr 12, 2008, at 6:52 PM, David Opderbeck wrote:

> In response to Rich's questions: I don't want to talk about the
> specifics of any allegations against any real person which may or
> may not be true, and I want to be clear that I'm not endorsing any
> allegations made against anyone. So, I'll offer some personal
> opinions on genercized questions.
>

Thanks, these are extremely helpful. And, your point is well taken.
The allegations are of a class I call Internet allegations. So, the
allegations qua allegations are not even reliable. For example, my
quote of the XVIVO medical illustrator came off of
richarddawkins.net. So, I don't even know if the allegation is made
by the person alleged to have made it. Add to this that it is not from
a "friendly" witness and you get the idea. I found this page from a
link from our good friend, Denyse O'Leary. She crowed about the link
because of this phrase "So go ahead and release your movie. Just keep
track of how many tickets you sell." She took that as they were giving
up. Here's the quote in context. (It doesn't sound like they're
backing down to my layman's ears.)

> It makes me happy, though, that you decided to implicate your
> friends in print, on your blog (http://www.uncommondescent.com/legal/expelled-plagiarizing-harvard/#comment-229619
> ), in what is legally, malignant infringement, since 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. 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.

David, what is malignant infringement and what does that mean? I do
think I know the equivalent in patent law. (I am going to change some
details because there is pending litigation here.) We had a patent
where we have solid evidence that the infringing company knew that we
had a pending patent. When we brought this to the attention of our
attorney his eyes lit up and said, "Oo, willful!"

It is SO ironic that Denyse is involved again. Time for the wayback
machine. Denyse also crowed about how the Smithsonian was endorsing
The Privileged Planet because the Discovery Institute made a donation
and the Smithsonian allowed them to play whatever they wanted in their
auditorium. (http://www.calvin.edu/archive/asa/200505/0358.html) Up
until that time Gonzalez had been yet-another low-profile junior
astronomer who believed in the strong anthropic principle. In the end,
she may have destroyed his career. Now this.

On a different note, I ran down one of Schermer's allegations. The
following is from a blog of a religion prof at Pepperdine:

http://www.heardworld.com/higgaion/?p=997

> On a personal note, I appreciated Shermer’s attention to the fact
> that the parts of Expelled that were shot at Pepperdine were shot
> under the same conditions as any other commercial filming that
> happens here: the production company rented the auditorium, brought
> in extras, and shot their footage, just like the folks from Zoey 101
> used to do. However, I think Shermer overstates the case when he
> writes, “The biology professors at Pepperdine assure me that their
> mostly Christian students fully accept the theory of evolution.” I
> think that’s probably true of most biology majors, but the student
> body as a whole is split (I can state this with some degree of
> confidence based on firsthand experience but also on articles from
> the student newspaper).

Rich Blinne
Member ASA

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Received on Sat Apr 12 22:50:44 2008

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