She Must Be a Scientist; She Works in Front of a Green Screen

This is Dr. Ann Gauger, a “Senior Research Scientist at Biologic Institute” (which is funded by the Intelligent Design-promoting Discovery Institute), talking about what she thinks is population genetics:

The commenters at Sandwalk have already dismantled everything she said… but a lot of viewers noticed something else even more interesting:

She’s not really in a lab.

She’s in front of a green screen.

The lab is a lie.

Did you expect anything else? She’s an ID proponent. It’s not like they do any actual science — they just make things up and spread their lies to people gullible enough to believe them because they look professional, sound authoritative, and pretend to be scientists.

And since Patheos has a subscription to Shutterstock, it turns out I can be in the lab, too!

I’m a fancy scientist, too! (via OverlappingMagisteria)

The Discovery Institute, after being exposed, admitted a stock photo was used, but defended it nonetheless:

… Typically, filming in a genuine location like this would be troublesome for us and bothersome for others who work there — a distraction for all involved, including viewers, when the intent is to focus on the argument. Many other times, in other contexts, we have similarly used backdrops where, to get to an actual locale, it would require travel not to mention complicated, time-consuming setup and many other headaches. Going with a green screen makes sense for an organization that operates under a constrained budget.

The photo above is of Ann Gauger in her actual lab, which doesn’t look all that different from the stock photo.

There’s a picture of Gauger staring at a Petri dish (presumably waiting for God to create something)… but it begs the question: Why not just shoot the video in her actual lab — messy, full of equipment, and real?

Sometimes, you get so used to lying, you forget the truth might actually be more effective.

(image via Shutterstock)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Dennis N

    What would she need a lab for?

    • Glasofruix

      To do sc…

      er, nevermind :p

    • Reginald Selkirk

      For the same reason God needs a starship…

      • Glasofruix

        Right now he needs a mindmeld.

  • Caroline

    I work in a research lab and they film stuff here all the time. Local news comes to interview someone about their research or the government gives a grant and want to make a big show of it, they talk a bit about it, then they film me pipetting or opening a liquid nitrogen freezer, or if they’re lucky, actually doing some work. It takes like an hour at the most. Seems like it would be more work getting the green screen. Hmm maybe I should start charging people to film me working…

    • Tom

      I did that once in our school electronics lab for the yearbook. Naturally we bathed everything in red light and rigged up an oscilloscope with a sig-gen to show pretty sine waves that had nothing to do with the circuit I pretended to be working on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chengis-Khan/100003317165064 Chengis Khan

    Watched a bit of that stuff and I could not continue even while assuming that it is comedy. These are a bunch of people disgracing a whole country and its scientific prowess. I just hope people in other countries do not see it…. oh… it is on youtube?

    Someone on Sandwalk called them “IDiots”. And I say ‘very appropriate’. :)

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    Hemant, Photoshop is not necessary! There already is a picture of you in Patheos Research Laboratories looking very intellegent and probably disproving god using Real Science. Here’s the photo in case you haven’t seen it:

    • http://www.facebook.com/hemantmehta Hemant Mehta

      Score! I’m a scientist now!

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Oh c’mon, where’s the LAB COAT?

        • Zugswang

          I believe you owe DOCTOR Mehta an apology!

          • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

            Does MISTER Mehta have a doctorate from an accredited institution such as Patriot University like Kent Hovind does? I don’t THINK so!

    • CelticWhisper

      This needs a caption. “Rated S…FOR SCIEEEEEENCE!”

      • coyotenose

        “Friendly Atheist Labs: Cloning Better Barbecue Babies.”

  • Octoberfurst

    It’s nice that the ID people have a few Bible-thumpers with PhD’s they can trot out to boost their claims that intelligent design is backed by science. Hell I’m not a scientist but even I know her claims are bullshit.
    This kind of reminds me of an argument I had online a couple weeks ago with some guy who claimed he had a PhD in chemistry from some Ivy League University and he was a literal 6 day creationist. (He believed in evolution until he found Jesus of course and then realized that evolution was “nonsense.”) He expected me to believe his BS simply because he supposedly had a PhD. “I’m a scientist!” “Well” I told him, “if you are, you are a pretty pathetic one.”

    • Bad_homonym

      PhD as in ‘post hole digger’?

  • Reginald Selkirk
  • dan

    As a former biology teacher and evolutionary biologist, let me say that she is one dumb be-ach. She is speaking rubbish, the vertebrate eye and the molluscan eye, really? She must be trying to point out that the cephalopod eye has the vascular and nervous tissue associated with the retina behind the retina as the noodley creator intended, rather than in front of the retina as found in inferior pirates as myself. Be fun to change the background to a fundamentalist sermon complete with tongues.

  • Bdole

    They compare the lab greenscreen to Dawkins standing in front of a backdrop of a ferris wheel on the Bill Maher show. See, atheists use green screens, too! It’s *totally* the same thing.

    Note to IDers, It’s not the fake lab scene, it’s the fake science. The joke is merely accentuated when both are presented at once.

  • http://www.PaulSpoerry.com/ Paul S

    Curious… it appears Hemant Mehta has been in that same lab. hmmmmmm

    • http://www.PaulSpoerry.com/ Paul S

      HA! OverlappingMagisteria is much faster at Photoshop than I am.

      • OverlappingMagisteria

        Well, I only managed one picture, not two. So you may still have me beat on Photoshop speed.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          Ya, but both of you missed the alt attribute
          “friendly looking guy standing in sciency looking room”

  • Kengi

    I don’t understand what the problem with using the green screen was. Green screens are often used by scientists on science programs to demonstrate something that can’t actually be done in real life, like flying on an interstellar spaceship or walking among dinosaurs.

    What the Discovery Institute did was no different.

    They used a green screen to demonstrate something that can’t actually be done in real life. They used it to show the Discovery Institute doing science.

    • Baal

      Um no. The green screen wasn’t used by Dr. Gauger to illustrate something; it was used to show her in a laboratory setting so that she could borrow credibility. The Discovery Institute fights against actual science and pushes religious, ideologically driven lies. Were she shown with a real DI backdrop, she’d look less like a scientist and thus less credible in making scientific assertions.

      • Kengi

        Back off, man. I’m a scientist.

        I do want, however, to thank you for providing one more piece of evidence to support a hypothesis I’ve been working on for years. I’m uncovering a secret UN plot which has been slowly, but steadily, decaffeinating all beverages around the world to make it easier for them to invade democracies so they can replace them with socialist republics.

        I have a picture of myself tirelessly* working in my lab if you want to see it.

        *Actually, I’ve been generally more tired more of the time as I get older, but that’s just more evidence!

    • coyotenose

      As Baal notes and your last sentence describes, they’re trying to deceive the viewer. That’s the problem.

  • viaten

    “So that means it’s premature to say … common ancestor” So one could maybe say so in the future? Is it also premature to say humans were the result of intelligent design? Is it premature to say one theory is looking a lot better than another? I wish she would apply her “skepticism” of science to intelligent design claims.

  • viaten

    Why, in a lab, would someone leave the room lights off but leave the light on in the fume hood?

    • Reginald Selkirk

      It provides a much better mood for cranking up Pink Floyd on the lab stereo system.

      • viaten

        Ha Ha. But I also wounder, why they would pick that picture? It doesn’t seem to be an intelligently designed green screen combination. Maybe there wasn’t any intelligence in selecting the lab background.

  • Cat’s Staff
  • David Starner

    To give credit where credit is due, the photograph via Shutterstock is by Jonathan Lenz.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    The Coverupery Institute’s defense of their fake lab is simply a rationalization saying that deceit and fakery is justified by the inconvenience of being honest and transparent. This is the essence of their entire way of being. They think their “Truth” with a capital T, as in their superstitious fantasy serves a “higher purpose” so it does not have to answer to the standards that truth with a small t, as in REALITY has to answer to.

    These people are so focused on their “Truth” that they’ve completely disregarded honesty.

    Let’s start a new meme: “As phony as a Discovery Institute lab.”

  • Persephone

    I worked in a microbiology / chemistry lab in an industrial setting for a few years, and we’d always get a good laugh out of supply catalog covers and promotional materials which featured a diverse group of people in white lab coats thoughtfully peering at a flask of colored liquid.

    Then one day the business sent an office-type worker up to our lab with a digital camera to get a group photo of us for a newsletter article. We all grabbed our lab coats and I ginned up a few flasks of colored liquid. . .

  • Troels Jakobsen

    “Typically, filming in a genuine location like this would be troublesome for us and bothersome for others who work there”

    That, and you’d have to go through the bother of actually having a laboratory.

  • Aspieguy

    I work in a lab myself. We currently are studying the reproductive rates of alligators raised in warm water sewers as opposed to cold water sewers. One of my fellow scientists is inquiring what kind of children prefer hippos instead of their front teeth. I’m dissecting a Klingon cadaver in my spare time.

    Ann’s studies are far sillier than ours. (via the Institute for Oldwivestaleology)

    • Reginald Selkirk

      the reproductive rates of alligators raised in warm water sewers as opposed to cold water sewers.

      That could be interesting, since in alligators, temperature determines the sex of the embryo.

  • SphericalBunny

    Y’know, funny as this is, I’d kinda rather a post pointing to the scientific inaccuracy than one pointing out that anyone with sufficient funds can use photoshop and stock photos…

    • Reginald Selkirk

      Then follow the link over to Sandwalk and enjoy yourself. Larry Moran of Sandwalk is a professor of biochemistry and author of one of the major college biochemistry textbooks. Hemant is a high school math teacher.

  • ReadsInTrees

    I love her title, “Biologic Senior Research Scientist”. Does anyone in biology refer to themselves as a “Biologic Scientist”?


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