We’ve settled what you are, now we’re just haggling over the price

The scientific animation company, XVIVO, has had their work ‘appropriated’ by creationists before, and I hate to say it, but there is a reason for it. Although their animations of cellular and molecular processes are spectacular and beautiful, they are also annoyingly purposeful: they show tubulin making a beeline across microns of distance to assemble a microtubule, for instance, while kinesins stride determinedly down the cytoskeleton. There isn’t the slightest hint of the stochastic nature of the biochemistry, and they are seriously misleading in that sense — which, no doubt, is why creationists love them so much.

Now XVIVO is really pushing the edge. They are a commercial company, and they have to do this work to make money, but they have accepted a commission from Deepak Chopra to create an animation showing how “healing visualization” can “enhance the immune system’s response to cancer”. It shows no such thing, of course. It seems to show macrophages devouring cancer cells, then blue lymphocytes all zooming in towards an antigen presenting cell and getting energized (they glow on the inside!), and then swooping off in a squadron to touch red cancer cells, which promptly wither and die.

Once again, we have the trademark purposeful, directed cells of all XVIVO productions, but this time I guess we’re supposed to imagine magical meditation auras controlling the biochemistry.

Bleh. Sell-outs.