Degaussed Moral Compass Alert: John West on Dembski Using “Internet Video”

None other than DI honcho John West has appeared to make some statements. I get the definite flavor of squink from perusing West’s missive.

Tu quoque, anyone?

Now that the internet Darwinists have discovered the glories of copyright, may we hope they will begin to police their own supporters?

The old step away from the perp move:

In the present case, Discovery Institute played no role whatever in the use, alteration, or dissemination of any animation clip from Harvard that our esteemed colleague may have included in some of his lectures. When we first learned several weeks ago that someone had concerns about Dr. Dembski’s occasional use of this particular clip, we contacted Dr. Dembski directly, and he told us that he had stopped using the material as soon as these concerns had been raised with him.

Why do I have the feeling that if this went to court, we’d find out that the DI would have to step away from several more fellows?

More tu quoque:

What I find difficult to take seriously are the recent histrionics by members of the Darwinist internet posse. If would take them more seriously if they applied their concerns a tad more consistently. For example, some of the very Darwinists who are now browbeating Dr. Dembski also posted on their blogs video from his lecture, presumably without his permission.

One doesn’t need the permission of a speaker giving a public lecture to post your own video of the talk. [Commenter Zachriel notes an implicit copyright for speakers, but that fair use allows the publication of excerpts, as is the case here. –WRE] Journalists also get privileges for use of media in the public interest, which bringing to light illegal activity certainly represents. (There remains the issue of whether the video represented someone else’s copyright, but that isn’t the legal argument West invoked.)

And then the grand whopper:

What is apparent from all of this is just how bare the Darwinists’ cupboard must be these days. Every time they try to shift the evolution-ID debate away from the scientific evidence—whether it be by fake reenactments of the Dover trial a la PBS, or through overblown controversies such as this one—they expose the weakness of their position. After all, if they had the evidence on their side, they would be arguing it. Since they don’t, they try to change the subject.

Uh, John, I’m not Darwin-only, I’m science-only. We in the pro-science side of this have delivered on criticism concerning the scientific evidence. I haven’t noticed much in the way of substantive response from IDC advocates to critiques such as “Why Intelligent Design Fails” and “Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism”. There’s oodles of criticism that IDC advocates like to pretend never was written, or which they airily dismiss without dealing with the arguments contained therein. We in the pro-science side of the argument choose to also highlight the apparently highly morally corrosive nature of antievolution activism. This is in addition to, not in lieu of, the already copious criticism we’ve made of the anti-science antievolution position on its dubious-to-absent merits.

It seems like the only time we can get IDC advocates to stay on topic is when they are being deposed and cross-examined. Speaking of which, there were a number of times that Judge Jones used the phrase, “unrebutted testimony”, in his decision. Want to count up how many times it was used in relation to the defense experts as opposed to the plaintiffs’ experts? This seems to be a simple case of projection. Are you sure that you want to go down that road?

(OK, it was four times, all of them refer to plaintiffs’ experts, three of them refer to Dr. Padian, and once for Dr. Miller. The DI Fellows testifying, Michael Behe and Scott Minnich, scored big goose eggs on that metric.)

Back to the moral compass. The deployment of the tu quoque fallacy is a surefire sign that the person deploying it is a moral relativist. West seems to think that something is less of a moral problem if it only occurs “occasionally”. And, of course, that whole last paragraph of West’s falls under the “bearing false witness” category.

Are these the folks that citizens want “renewing” our culture? I don’t think so.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Data scientist in real estate and econometrics. Blogger. Speaker. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

6 thoughts on “Degaussed Moral Compass Alert: John West on Dembski Using “Internet Video”

  • 2007/11/28 at 8:24 am

    One doesn’t need the permission of a speaker giving a public lecture to post your own video of the talk.

    A lecturer or artist has an implicit copyright on their original material and on their presentation. Fair-use means the use of limited excerpts only. (Many lecturers don’t bother to enforce their copyrights preferring the widest possible dissemination of their ideas–but others do.)

  • 2007/11/29 at 6:27 am

    Thanks. I think my understanding of this was likely skewed by my job working as photojournalist in college. Journalists have the privilege to utilize things without obtaining permission that aren’t available to others.

  • 2007/11/29 at 9:54 am

    Note the sneaky attempt to switch the issue from plagiarism to copyright violation. The objection was not to Dembski’s use of the material, which might well be legal under the “Fair Use” exemption, but over his violation of academic ethics in stripping off the original credits and adding narration, thereby conveying the false impression that the video was developed by ID “scientists.”

  • 2007/11/29 at 10:59 am

    I guess that some scientists will find themselves guilty of being false prophets when judgment day comes… and it’s coming. Unbelief will not stop it or shield those from it.

    To acknowledge him for his efforts is to accept the TRUTH, anything else is but a lie. Those that teach our children that we are here by chance and have no purpose, will be responsible for those lost souls that Satan wins and will ultimately be placed in a place where they can pay for it… eternally.

    Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:13-14 that we should enter through the small gate, because the road to destruction is broad and many will enter there, but that life can be found through the small gate, but few will enter. Jesus seems to know that a majority of men and women will not be present in His Kingdom.

    I think it is only common sense to be able to look at our universe and our planet and the abundance of complex life forms and realize that everything was designed by God. DNA, cell comlexity and the the explosion of life during the Cambrian Period have made my faith in God stronger. I am constantly teaching my children to confront their science teachers with questions regarding macro-evolution and to not be ashamed or intimidated by the Darwinian bullies that they encounter that will more than likely fall short of God’s glory in the end.

    The Word is a stumbling block for the scholarly.

    It is very sad that the efforts of Christians to bring people to Christ to obtain the only real “Free Gift” are met with such contempt and resentment.

    God be Praised, Amen.

  • 2007/11/29 at 11:13 am

    Hmmm. I guess “DL” didn’t get the memo that IDC has nothing to do with creationism. Or religion. No sirree, none at all.

    Nor does he know much about me, it seems.

  • 2007/11/29 at 11:19 am

    You’re that atheist gay commie Osama kisser, aren’t you Wes? :)

    It’s like St. Augustine never said a word. I just have to shake my head.

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