Science is Real

September 1, 2009 · 1 comment

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Who knew that the Johns Linnell and Flansburg – aka They Might Be Giants – were pro-science skeptics? I didn’t until I placed an order for their new CD/DVD Here Comes Science on Amazon, where I saw this video:

I was so impressed I transcribed the lyrics:

Science is real
From the Big Bang to DNA
Science is real
From evolution to the Milky Way

I like cool stories
About angels, unicorns and elves
Now I like good stories
As much as anybody else
But when I’m seeking knowledge
Either simple or abstract
The facts are with science
The facts are with science

Science is real
Science is real
Science is real

Science is real
From anatomy to geology
Science is real
From astrophysics to biology

A scientific theory
Isn’t just a hunch or a guess
It’s more like a question
That’s been put through a lot of tests
And when a theory emerges
It’s consistent with the facts
The proof is with science
The truth is with science

Science is real
Science is real
Science is real

Science is real

They covered all the bases in less than two minutes. How could they improve upon it? With anwsers like this, in the August 27, 2009 issue of Nature:

Your lyrics talk about evolution being real and how stories about angels and unicorns are just that, stories. Did you worry that this might alienate some listeners?

John Flansburgh took the bull by the horns by writing that song and addressing that situation, which is that religion cannot take the place of science. It’s not something you can tiptoe around. It’s important that everybody gets what the discussion is about. If we’re talking about the history of Earth, we can’t rely on religious tradition to tell us all the information. He says it in the song: as beautiful as the stories are, they don’t tell us everything we need to know. It’s an old complaint on the part of scientists, but it bears repeating.

They Might Be Giants in Nature! How cool is that? It’s something I never managed in my scientific career.

If you click on the “Share” link in the video, it takes you to the permalink page at Amazon, where a discussion has already turned into a flame war about how appropriate the record would be for children. Warning: This video is dangerous and subversive, leading to independent thought and questioning of authority!

The only thing that would make me happier about  the record is if I could get TMBG to write a song about vaccines and autism titled “Correlation is Not Causation.”

1 comment

Aimee September 1, 2009 at 11:56 am

Write to them. They’re from around here (Lincoln), and are probably geeky enough to like the idea.

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