Science is often chided in the public sphere for being too reductionist. Scientists are often accused of stripping the beauty out of life by removing the mystery from it. This couldn't be further from the truth. I'm sure many would agree, the greater our understanding of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world, the more we can appreciate its splendor.
This seems to be the underlying philosophy of Symphony of Science, "a musical project headed by John Boswell, designed to deliver scientific knowledge and philosophy in musical form." This medium is perfect for relaying the message that knowledge is beautiful. Symphony of Science follows a specific yet successful formula. They take clips from prominent scientists explaining natural phenomena, set them to a soothing melody and then interweave it with video clips of the natural world or the scientists themelves. The concept may seem simple, but what it offers is a chance to see the world through the eyes of a scientist. They are presented in their element: enthusiastic and awestruck at our earth and universe.
Their latest music video, titled The Story of Us: Children of Africa, follows this blueprint. The Story of Us focuses on our origins and the true events which led from our humble beginnings in Africa to our current exploration of space. The following are examples of some of audio clips featured in this video, including some crucial guidance from David Attenborough.
In a 1972 paper published in American Biology Teacher, Evolutionary Biologist and Russian Orthodox Christian, Theodosius Dobzhansky, stated the following: "nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." This declaration proves as true today as it did thirty-nine years ago. And, in light of the current American Culture Wars, this sentiment has been given new life.
Unfortunately, many Americans don't realize how pivotal the understanding of Evolutionary Theory is to solving problems, particularly in the area of health. Without a proper understanding of evolution, we would not be able to "stay one step ahead of pathogenic diseases," or understand "hereditary diseases in people," and this is only the tip of the iceberg. Despite the huge benefits to properly teaching evolution, many actively fight it or detract from it by encouraging the inclusion of baseless alternatives.
It seems that most of the vitriol aimed at Evolutionary Theory has a basis in the huge misapprehension of what evolution is, as well as deep seated religious convictions. Now, these hindrances can be readily observed in a Miss USA 2011 video gone viral, wherein contestants attempt to answer the question, "should evolution be taught in schools?"
The video features contestant after contestant completely floundering on basic concepts. Many cannot differentiate between a hypothesis and a theory. Many more continuously bring up religious contradictions. Of course, there are a few shining beacons of hope with more informed views.
In the wake of, what can aptly be called an embarrassment, a parody has emerged that draws much needed attention to, not only the pitiful responses by many of the Miss USA contestants, but also the ridiculous prompt that lead to their answers in the first place. This hilarious piece of satire is called: "Should Math be taught in School," and it is well worth the watch. Below are a few comparisons between real and parody contestant answers.
YouTube sensation, Melodysheep, edits and autotunes a classic prank from Ali G. Sasha Baron Cohen aka Borat aka Ali G sits down with a bunch of square old geysers; Dr. Jeremiah Baumann (of the Public Interest Research Group), Dr Joseph Coates (Futurologist), Graham Molitor (President of Public Policy Forecasting) and an idiot, Dr. Kent Hovind (Creationist). They talk science, evolution and “techmology.” This speaks more to the absurd nature of “cool” than ignorance about science, but good times either way.
YouTube personality Dusty Smith, the self proclaimed "Peoples' Atheist", has always been one to tell it like it is, and his latest video is no exception. In his typical no frills fashion, Dusty draws attention to some highly questionable comments by none other than Kirk Cameron.
Cameron is most commonly known for his starring role on the popular TV sitcom Growing Pains, but currently he is better known as one half of the Evangelizing Duo from The Way of the Master Series. Cameron is infamous for saying some truly bizarre things. Let us not forget the incident with the crockoduck. However, this most recent episode seems to take the cake.
Recently, renowned British physicist Stephen Hawking commented on the topic of the after life by stating, "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven of afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people who are afraid of the dark."
And how did Cameron respond? By uttering the following:
"To say anything negative about Stephen Hawking is like bullying a blind man. He has an unfair disadvantage, and that gives him a free pass on some of his absurd ideas."
Perhaps Dusty's take on this say it all: "Maybe the opinions of child actors from really shitty 1980s sitcoms should not hold as much weight as the world's most decorated and respected scientists."