❚ IT’S NOT RAP AS WE KNOW IT, but here’s the music video of the week — Professor Richard Dawkins crooning his anti-creationist taunts like some born-again Craig David. Also known as “Darwin’s Rottweiler”, Dawkins is one of 10 distinguished thinkers remixed into song to spread enlightenment in A Wave of Reason, a musical compilation of soundbites preaching spiritual fulfilment through scepticism. It’s either shrill or lethal depending on your viewpoint, but does teeter on the brink of characterising the boffins as just as zealous as the believers. In its first three days online this vid has scored 120,340 views! (Click through to YouTube to read the “lyrics” in full. And yes, that is Darwin’s tree of life sprouting at 1:55.)
♫ There is a new wave of reason
Sweeping across America, Britain, Europe, Australia
South America, the Middle East and Africa.
There is a new wave of reason
Where superstition had a firm hold ♫
— Richard Dawkins
This is the seventh instalment in the Symphony of Science music video series, which aims to bring scientific ideas to the public in a novel way, through the medium of music. The mission of John Boswell, its Washington-based producer, is to fight people’s growing and irrational addiction to such pseudosciences as astrology and homeopathy. A sad paradox of the first era to be driven by digital technology is that scientists find it necessary to stand up and actively argue that a scientific worldview is as enlightening as blind faith!
Boswell, an electronic musician, was inspired initially by the American cosmologist Carl Sagan who became a global TV superstar during the 1980s, and the series has grown to embrace many other popularisers such as David Attenborough, in distinctly less strident vein than this week’s effort. In January Attenborough starred in The Unbroken Thread, a beautiful and lyrical tribute to planet Earth. Other eggheads in the series include Brian Cox, Jacob Bronowski, Bertrand Russell, Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, Lawrence Krauss, Jane Goodall, Carolyn Porco, Richard Feynman and James Randi, the stage magician and notorious sceptic best known for challenging the “woo-woo” of the paranormal.
➢ Richard Dawkins is an atheist and critic of creationism and so-called “intelligent design”
➢ Join the Brights movement where the worldview is free of supernatural and mystical elements
➢ Dip into The Third Culture at edge.org where the world’s leading scientists, artists and creative thinkers answer a new Big Question every year — in 2010 it was “How is the internet changing the way you think?”