Over the past year or so, the following creationist/intelligent design supporters have engaged in a campaign of censorship on YouTube through the filing of false DMCA claims against YouTube videos and accounts who published opinions with which they disagreed:
1) Creation Science Evangelism, the organization founded by Pastor Kent Hovind. Hovind is currently serving time in Federal prison for income tax evasion. By the way, when the Internal Revenue Servive raided the Hovind home, they found about $42,000 in cash stashed, in addition to a half dozen guns. On the day the IRS searched the Hovind home, Kent withdrew $70,000 from the Creation Science Evangelism account. Half in a check, and half in cash.
2) Illustra Media, which produces creationist videos. They are the producers of the video “Unlocking the Mystery of Life“, which aired on the Public Broadcasting System in 2003. The executive producer of that video is James W. Adams, president of Discovery Media, and it was produced and directed by Lad Allen and Timothy Eaton. The script was written by Stephen C. Meyer of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture and W. Peter Allen.
Illustra Media is directly linked with Discovery Media – which in turn is the successor to the Moody Institute of Science – being that Discovery Media Productions is the registrant of Illustra Media’s website.
3) Answers In Genesis, founded by Ken Ham, which also produces videos on creationism, as well as books and serves as one of the leading creationist organizations in the USA. Pastor Ham had a bit of trouble some years ago, when he was excommunicated from his church after making false accusations of withcraft and necrophilia against a fellow member of the ministry. AiG is the owner of the Creation Science Museum, which features animatronic dinosaurs standing alongside humans, which any credible scientist will inform you is impossible, as dinosaurs died-out millions of years before the earliest humans walked on Earth. If you can show me a dinosaur bone which had been engraved with designs or shaped into a tool by human hands, as bones of mammals had been during the Stone Age, then we can discuss the issue further. Unless you can show me such an item, the debate is closed.
As mentioned in the newspaper, The Australian, in May 2007 Creation Ministries International (CMI) filed a lawsuit against Ham and AiG in the Supreme Court of Queensland seeking damages and accusing him of deceptive conduct in his dealings with the Australian organisation. Members of the ministry were “concern[ed] over Mr Ham’s domination of the ministries, the amount of money being spent on his fellow executives and a shift away from delivering the creationist message to raising donations.”.
Seems like fraud and deception isn’t very uncommon in creationist circles.
4) Another creationist fraudster is YouTube user VenomFangX, who filed over 150 DMCA claims. His abuses continued until his campaign of censorship was brought to an ignonimous end by YouTube user Thunderf00t, as mentioned in a previous blog on this site. VenomFangX was forced to make a public apology, make a full admission of his wrongdoing and promise to never abuse the DMCA complaint system again. In exchange, he escaped criminal and civil charges being brought against him by Thunderf00t and was allowed to keep his YouTube account after Thunderf00t agreed not to report him to YouTube for violating their terms of service.
5) Another creationist group linked to DMCA abuse is a company known as Eternal Publications. Aside from creationism, this company offers resources for people who wish to convert Roman Catholics to Protestantism and links the Catholic Church to the Whore of Babylon mentioned in the New Testament Book of Revelations.
The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) was created to protect copyrighted material from being illegally copied and distributed without the consent of the original video’s owner. However, creationists have begun using the DMCA complaint reporting system on YouTube in order to silence those people who post videos criticizing and debunking the views of creationists (a.k.a. intelligent design advocates) and this reign of censorship had been successful, due to the lack of legal knowledge in the general population.
However, as individual account-holders on YouTube began to fight back by filing counter-notices, the tide of videos being taken-down was halted in many cases.
As of January 1st 2009, the creationist individuals and organizations that have abused the DMCA now face an international coalition of YouTube users who have banded together to fight against false DMCA takedowns and, hopefully, reverse the tide.
As stated in my previous blog on this topic, it is the creationist side of this argument that has a history of abusing the DMCA by filing false claims. The pro-evolution/pro-science side has not engaged in any such behavior that I have seen or even heard of as of today. Creationists have accused their detractors of filing false claims, but have yet to show any proof whatsoever that said events actually occured. In other words: creationists lie by filing false DMCA claims and then lie again when they say that they have been victimized by false DMCA claims themselves.
This is just the latest in creationist antics on YouTube in their efforts to silence the opposition. In the past, bots were used to put “thumbs down” ratings on anti-creationist comments on creationist-debunking videos, in addition to attempts to alter the ratings of each video by giving each of them a One Star rating. Such efforts in the past were relatively harmless and seem not to have met with great success, as those efforts appear to have been discontinued and YouTube responded to complaints by users who had been the targets of these attacks. Furthermore, creationists have blocked comments to their own videos from their detractors, thereby having only supportive comments shown for their videos. They also disable the ratings system to prevent opponents from doing unto them as they have done unto others.
However, the filing of false DMCA claims had a much better rate of success, due to the fact that most people don’t know enough about the law to fight a false claim and may not have the financial resources to hire or consult an attorney. Corporations like Creation Science Evangelism, Eternal Publications, Answers in Genesis and Illustra Media doubtlessly all have attorneys on retainer and can utilize their expertise. VenomFangX, I feel, was simply following their lead, as I doubt he has a lawyer on-staff or the money to hire one. He probably saw the success of the companies misusing the DMCA and simply piled-on.
As of today, that has changed and the collective knowledge and activism of YouTube users, joined as one to fight for Free Speech, will turn the tide of censorship and work to restore Freedom of Speech on YouTube. The YouTube users who have joined together to fight the creationist censorship onslaught are:
- ExtantDodo whose YouTube account has repeatedly been suspended by individuals and groups filing false DMCA claims.
- Thunderf00t whose success in fighting a false claim was the most publicized of all, resulting in the exposure of the individual who filed the false claim.
Unlike their creationist opponents, each of these ten people have education in advanced sciences at accredited universities. Many creationist lecturers have little or no scientific background, with the exception of Ken Ham, who He has a bachelor’s degree in applied science, with an emphasis on environmental biology. from the Queensland Institute of Technology. The vast majority of creationist lecturers either have no scientific background of any kind or have degrees from non-accredited universities, which is basically the same things as having no science education anyway.
What makes this whole thing so frakking intolerable is that creationists, most of whom are Christian but there are some who are Jewish or Muslim, presume to lecture the rest of us about how we need to convert to their religion in order to live a moral and upright life. However, they will use fraud and deceit to accomplish their goals. Rather than live in a world where opposing viewpoints can coexist and each opinion can be freely heard and judged on its own merits by an informed audience, creationists want only their opinions in the public eye and will work feverishly to silence those who disagree with them. What makes their abuse of the DMCA so appealing is that if they have an entire account removed, there is no one to expose exactly who filed the DMCA claim in the first place, as few YouTube users possess the email address of their favorite channel-holders. Until this morning, there was no united front to oppose the creationist censorshop machine. Now, that the tide is beginning to turn, creationists could find themselves fighting perjury charges in civil and/or criminal courts around the USA and in other countries.
While preaching the values of morality, decency and virtue, creationist organizations and individuals have conducted a campaign of harassment, intimidation, perjury and libel against those with whom they disagree. They have attempted to create a climate of fear where people would be afraid to speak-out against them, for fear of having the YouTube account closed – wasting all the time and energy they put into creating their videos – as well as the real possibility of becoming a target of harassment in the event that their personal information could be discovered and disseminate among creationism supporters.
Given that such behavior patterns were followed by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and other totalitarian regimes both past and present, it doesn’t put the Creationist movement in very good company. But, it seems to be the most appropriate company they could be in.
Tags: AndromedasWake, Answers In Genesis, AronRa, cdk007, censorship, Creation Science Evangelism, creationism, discovery institute, djarm67, DMCA abuse, DonExodus2, dprjones, Eternal Publications, ExtantDodo, fraud, Illustra Media, intelligent design, ken ham, kent hovind, perjury, potholer54, ThetaOmega, Thunderf00t, VenomFangX, YouTube