Surrealistic Lilliputian Realm
November 20, 2007 5:56 PM   Subscribe

The Inner Life of an Intelligently Designed Cell? Remember The Inner Life of a Cell animation (discussed here)? Apparently the Discovery Institute (recently discussed here) is showing it in presentations with a new title and narration, and without attribution.
posted by homunculus (20 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The inner life of the sleeper cell.

posted by koeselitz at 6:15 PM on November 20, 2007


I'm glad this was posted, though. I missed that cell thing. Awesome.
posted by DU at 6:29 PM on November 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

How do these biologists fit those tiny cameras into people? They must be witches. We should drown them. If they die, they're innocent. If they survive, we drown them until they die.
posted by stavrogin at 6:30 PM on November 20, 2007 [5 favorites]

That's it; I'm tearing up my membership card. I'm sure the rest of MeFi is with me.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 7:16 PM on November 20, 2007

(I meant DI, oh god don' take my mefi away!)
posted by a robot made out of meat at 7:17 PM on November 20, 2007

Stunning still is the fact that the Discovery Institute still makes headlines despite their hapless hero, Dr. Behe, being ripped a new one in the Kitzmiller vs. Dover trial.

Apart from the capable and educated biologists charged with refuting his and his colleagues' barely thought out drivel every few months, does nobody else notice that not a single "fellow" of this "Institute" is a biologist? Plenty of well-connected right-wing theologians, journalists, politicos, bankers, lawyers, and self-proclaimed social and cultural "authorities" (oh and one crank biochemist) but actual biologists. Surprised?
posted by inoculatedcities at 8:19 PM on November 20, 2007

inoculated: actually the DI is a generic conservative/anti-Progressive corporate entity somewhat like the Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Hudson Institute.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:32 PM on November 20, 2007


So, one of our responses against the intelligent design folks is that they're plagiarizing? Surely we can come up with something more relevant to discredit their science...
posted by spiderskull at 9:51 PM on November 20, 2007

Well, their science, or lack thereof, has been pretty thoroughly discredited. But that was never the basis of their position in the first place, so it didn't matter much to them.

"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into."
-Jonathan Swift.
posted by homunculus at 10:53 PM on November 20, 2007

Besides, this was a good excuse to repost that awesome cell animation.
posted by homunculus at 10:57 PM on November 20, 2007

So, one of our responses against the intelligent design folks is that they're plagiarizing?

Being accused of plagiarism is of no concern to "scholars" who don't submit their work to a peer review process and who use pseudoscience as a way to circumvent the scientific process. Nevertheless, the feds had to resort to tax evasion charges to put Al Capone behind bars, so if plagiarism is what will discredit these guys, I'll take it.
posted by HotPatatta at 12:11 AM on November 21, 2007

John Allen Paulos argues that spending any time refuting specific points probably only reinforces those points in most people's minds.
The difficulty in processing denials is probably part of the reason for their frequent ineffectiveness. Complexity and logical connectives get lost in transmission. (Quick, what does the following sentence mean? "It's not the case that Waldo denied that evidence was lacking that he did in fact fail to do X.") In fact, the new research suggests that people quite often mentally transmute a denial into an assertion. They hear "X is not this bad thing Y," and soon enough what remains with them is the link between X and Y, which eventually becomes "X is Y."
Deny All You Want, They'll Still Believe
Why Public Denials May Only Fuel Conspiracy Theories
posted by cgc373 at 1:26 AM on November 21, 2007

refuting specific points probably only reinforces those points in most people's minds.

There's more on that in this post.
posted by homunculus at 8:59 AM on November 21, 2007

Thanks for posting this! I'd somehow missed this thread but picked up the story on Pharyngula.
The question of illegality is pretty trivial compared to the bone-jarring intellectual dishonesty of the Discovery Institute.

• The shorter original video from XVIVO is one of the most spectacular and painstaking visualizations I've ever seen.
• The longer original (with narration) is the product of decades of hard-core research for an audience with very serious cellular and molecular biology chops. (I understood precious little of the details, but I know some CMB people who understand these amazing processes.)
• The hijacked version that DI is spinning shows a smug disregard (or even hostility) for both topic and audience. They reduce all that research into the dopiest and most cartoonish terms. "Look at the pretty pictures. Feel the pixie dust. Revel in the Designer's mysterious ways. See, it's like Lilliput with a United Parcel Service."
The fact that they dropped XVIVO's and Harvard's attributions pretty much seals the dishonesty verdict.

Like most "think tanks," the Discovery Institute is not a think tank but a public relations outfit. I pray they continue to have a low regard for the biologists and evolutionists whose hard work they parasitize.

Homunculus, a request: Could you also tag this with "visualization"?
posted by McLir at 11:25 PM on November 22, 2007

posted by homunculus at 12:04 AM on November 23, 2007

Could you also tag it with "MenaceToOurChildren"? That's unbiased, right?
posted by stavrogin at 2:32 AM on November 24, 2007

refuting specific points probably only reinforces those points in most people's minds.

See also: Fake Photos Alter Real Memories
posted by homunculus at 2:17 PM on November 29, 2007

Billy Dembski, pious and deluded
posted by homunculus at 7:24 PM on December 14, 2007

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