Wednesday, May 21, 2008


What Am I?

In the never-ending game of 20 Questions that Intelligent Design advocates play, it seems that we have a new entry.

Is ID, as William Dembski says, "the path for people to come to Christ"? Or is it philosophy of science, promising us a non-materialistic version of science?

Now it seems that it may be politics. According to the attorney representing the producers of Expelled in the Yoko Ono suit seeking to remove John Lennon's song "Imagine" from the film:

[Anthony T. Falzone] said an adverse ruling by [U.S. District Judge Sidney] Stein would mean "you have muzzled the speech of my clients" because they would have to replace the song with other images, losing the chance to make the issue important enough that it could even influence the U.S. presidential campaign.

"If you issue that injunction, you trample on these free speech rights and you put a muzzle on them and you do it in a way that stops them from speaking on this political issue leading up to the election," Falzone said.
Interesting stuff, that ID. If it can cause the nature of the world to be subject to the ballot box, it can do just about anything. I wonder if it'll remove bathtub rings?

I'm not the lawyer here, but Falzone's arguments there seem to be grasping at straws. Prohibiting a specific use of a copyrighted work doesn't restrict their ability to proffer anti-evolution arguments in any non-trivial way I can conceive of.

Somehow I doubt that his heart is really in the case.
Well, this particular argument is solely about the continuing of the injunction, where claims of a (to put it mildly) highly speculative nature are allowed.

As the use of the song being trivial to the movie's "case" for ID and against "Darwinism," that's actually not the measure. Freedom of speech is not dependent on the speech being cogent or non-trivial. From reading between the lines, I suspect that the problem the judge is having is that the producers are claiming that they are criticizing the attitude of the song but used Lennon's performance of it. In short, Ono's attempt to deny them use of the lyrics is probably weak and appropriating a snippet of the words is probably "fair use." Using the performance (which belongs to the record company) is appropriating a different right and, unless they were criticizing the performance, they might not be making fair use of it. At best, though, it is a close case.
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