Monday, August 10, 2009


The Best They Can Do

The Discovery Institute has announced in a press release (where else?) a new animation of the interior working of a cell -- in particular the copying of DNA and protein synthesis -- that supposedly "dramatically illustrates the evidence for intelligent design within DNA, as described in Stephen C. Meyer's book, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design." One has to wonder how original the video is.

More importantly, how well does it live up to this hype?

"This video is going to make things worse for critics of intelligent design," Dr. Meyer explains. "They will have more difficulty convincing the public that their eyes are deceiving them when the evidence for design literally unfolds before them in this animation."

See what evidence? It shows some interesting chemistry but there is no evidence of design pointed out. At most, those members of the public uneducated in science may look at it and go "gee whiz, that sure looks complex so I guess it must be designed." Is that the sum and "substance" of Meyer's book? ... Just an appeal to ignorance?

One wonders just what Dembski thinks of this rhetorical move -- one which is widespread among the creationists among ID supporters. Dembski, it's important to recall, made a name for himself by arguing that design is an inference. If the new move is that design is simply a self-evident truth, then there's no inference to be made, and no science of intelligent design, either.
Maybe they could enhance this by giving a video of something which is clearly not designed, and then point out the differences.

There is a segment of this new animation that looks eerily similar to Drew Berry's animation of transcription found here.

Here's a simple visual comparison I put together. If you compare the relevant parts of the two videos, you'll notice the similarity right away.

I recognized this immediately when I saw the DI's new video because the segment in question was also in the original cell animation in "Expelled" (before XVIVO threatened legal action). In fact, I contacted Drew Berry at the time to let him know about it. He informed me that his animation is actually owned by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and vowed to bring it to their attention. I wonder if HHMI ever looked into it?

Anyway, it's quite strange that the producers of "Expelled" decided to scrap their original animation of the cell in order to avoid copyright infringement, only to have the DI use parts of it later.
I saw an animation in which Homer Simpson caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. My eyes would not deceive me.

Good one.
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