A while ago, an organization known as Creation Science Evangelism, founded by the convicted and dishonest (intellectually and not-so-intellectually) Kent Hovind, now apparently run by his son, attempted to have certain videos taken down from YouTube which were critical of the Hovind materials on the web, especially when some of the videos produced by Hovind were included in the YouTube videos. Legally, it was perfectly okay to use CSE material on multiple accounts: the use was for education and not for profit; the material was (on purpose, mind you) NOT copyrighted. So, when CSE tried to take down these videos (some even not using Hovind’s lecture videos), there was a big backlash on the web; hopefully some sort of legal action will keep CSE out of the hair of the Internet.
Now, apparently, the almighty Discovery Institute (called the Disco Institute for short) has tried to do much the same thing. One of my favorite video subscriptions is to Extant Dodo. They had done a critique of the video version of Jonathan Wells’ book Icons of Evolution; like all their videos, it was very well done, educational, and what I love the most–references. Imagine that, showing your sources in order to make a convincing scholarly case. Well, the Disco people apparently don’t like this sort of thing, so they told YouTube to take it down because of copyright infringement. Unlike the CSE case, I am pretty sure their material is copyrighted (though I dare not call it “intellectual property”). However, since Extant Dodo used the material for educational purposes, critical response, and satire as they have done with particularly poor claims on the part of creationists (Thunderf00t does this even more so and very well), such things allow its use on the Internet by the Fair Use policy of US copyright law. Without the ability to use videos for satire or parody, The Daily Show and the Scary Movie movies could not exist.
Now, one would think that the Disco Institute, with all of their lawyers and assets, would be aware of this. Hence, this is obviously a deliberate attempt to silence dissent, even if it requires going to court. Of course Disco will have more money than some PhD candidate that makes YouTube videos, so the move is obviously strategic, not based on proper legal precedent, let alone free inquiry or basic human honor and decency. Of course, that is what the Disco people do.
Honestly though, I have to think: what if this goes to trial in the case court room as the Dover case and under Judge Jones III, which the Disco people have demonized and ridiculed as an activist judge (though he followed Supreme Court precedent on creationism in science and the proper application of the Lemon test) and failed to understand the material (isn’t that the fault of Behe and ID witnesses to not be able to give a case that makes logical sense and so they blame the student for “not getting it”?)? I can imagine things would get very interesting. But that is only a dream and would require a lot of circumstances to happen that are probably unlikely, especially since Jones would likely be asked to recuse himself because of his previous work with the Disco people indirectly. Oh well.
For more info on this situation, see Thunderf00t’s video on the matter which prompted me to write this at 2 in the morning. Obviously I need to learn how to use a bed.
And how about an ironic quote from John West of the Disco Institute about Judge Jone’s decision:
The Dover decision is an attempt by an activist federal judge to stop the spread of a scientific idea and even to prevent criticism of Darwinian evolution through government-imposed censorship rather than open debate, and it won’t work.
So, I guess it is okay to shut down open debate when the criticism comes back your way? Perhaps then Ken Miller should also be able to get rid of VenomfangX’s videos and Kent Hovind’s utter garbage? Oh wait, what is that I hear: special treatment you say? Sorry, but like Harry Truman said, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” At this point, the Disco Institute has been no were near the biological kitchen, especially apparent in Behe’s newest book, so perhaps I should remind them that Disco is dead, in dance and especially in science, and it isn’t coming back (in the latter, it just didn’t exist).