Saturday, January 25, 2014

This Post Doesn't Add to the Discussion

The other day I purchased some music for the kids. They Might Be Giants has an album called Here Comes Science and it's full of really catchy, not-annoying music for kids about cool science stuff. It sounds great for encouraging your kiddies in the love of science and exploring and building and learning and dreaming and taking care of the planet, and it really is. But.

Look, I have no problem with teaching kids about evolution. No problem with different theories about the origin of the universe. I think scientific discovery is awesome. I am happy my five-year old takes such an interest in it. I don't mind the catchy song "Electric Car" and I can handle the song "My Brother the Ape" even if I don't agree with all of its implications. But.

The song "Science Is Real," in all its fun glory, hit the limit for me. Here's some of the lyrics. (the parentheses parts are the lyrics I might add if They Might Be Giants ever let me be a member of their band. you know, to make the song even more catchy.)

Science is real (yep, it is)
From the Big Bang to DNA (yeah, that's some cool sciency stuff)
Science is real (yeah, and I already agreed with that)
From evolution to the Milky Way (yes. some more good scientific discoveries... where we goin with this?)
I like the stories (wait, stories? so we're talking fairy tales here?)
About angels, unicorns and elves (wait wait wait. hold on a second. one of these is not like the others...)
Now I like those stories (hey before you move on with that assumption, can we talk about--)
As much as anybody else (do you really like them, all those stories? or are you really just emphasizing the fact that you don't think they're real?)
But when I'm seeking knowledge (knowledge about how you should treat people? or knowledge about photosynthesis?)
Either simple or abstract (oh, so basically everything. got it.)
The facts are with science (yes, there are lots of facts in science, facts you are pretty dang sure are true because you've done lots of tests.)
The facts are with science (mm hm, you said that)
Science is real (uh huh)
Science is real (yes, we know)
Science is real (wait, are you maybe repeating this over and over again as a mantra to counter what some little kids' parents might have taught them about God being real? ohhh, I get it now.)

The song goes on to talk about hypotheses and proving things through experiments. And how that's a really great way to know things. I get it. I agree. But. But! Come on, guys. Are we going to ignore what just happened here?

Let's just do a few screenshots from the cute little video that goes with the song. (Here's the link if you want to watch the whole thing):

Now I like those stories 
(oh, he's reading about an angel in a book. hmm. I wonder what book that is.)

 About angels, unicorns 
(oh how fun! she's putting him on a unicorn in the sky!)

and elves 
(oh, cute. I love fantasy!)

As much as anybody else
But (oh no, he tried to fly and he fell!)

when I'm seeking knowledge 
(...and hit the ground. of reality.)

Okay. So I know what you're thinking. So delete the song already, my dear. Stop whining about it and move on and teach your kids what you believe to be real. 

Yes, that is my plan, it really is, I really will move on, but but but I just really need to talk about the first comment on this video.

Wow, Michael Cox must have said something offensive here. Maybe even inappropriate or vulgar. It must be, or it wouldn't be hidden, right? I'd better not click on that.

But wait, A. Robinson was just responding to Michael's comment and 76 out of 88 people thought his/her post added to the discussion. What the heck. Let's check it out. Hold your breath, if you want.

Only 26 out of 199 people think that Michael Cox's comment is relevant to the discussion. Actually, I'd make the case that Mr. Cox's comment is the heart and soul of the discussion that follows.

But, that aside, what amazes me is that a succint, well-written, polite comment like Michael's would be hidden away like something crude or totally off the wall, or, at the very least, rude.

Let's take a look at another hidden, irrelevant comment. Why not. Let's live on the edge a little.

         My goodness, E. Vage! 
         How dare you love the band's music and respect their views! 
         That definitely does not add to this discussion! 

         122 out of 137 people who read this comment.

Okay, we could keep looking at comments that don't add to the discussion, but maybe the point is that people just want to talk about how cute and catchy the song is. Let's take a look at some comments that do add to the discussion.

Wait a minute. Did religion intrude into this video? Nope. They Might Be Giants put it in there on purpose. Huh. 82 of 86 people think this comment adds to the discussion. Whatevs, maybe it's a fluke. Let's look at another relevant comment.

Anyways. We can stop there. I don't want to get into a debate about science vs. religion. I personally believe there is room for both of them, and you can believe what you want.

But guys, how can we have nice discussions if people aren't nice? Can't we agree to disagree? What kind of discussion is there if the opposing view isn't even viewable?

I suppose if you are on Amazon and label something as "not adding to the discussion," you might not realize that eventually the comment could be hidden from view like something inappropriate. I can see that. But I'm tired of people with my views being discredited and ridiculed and hidden.

There are still some of us who do believe in God. Maybe there are only 26 of us in a group of 199 people who comment on a video about a kids' science song, but we are still here.

God is real. I've done experiments, just like the scientists have, to find out for myself. My experiments are not done in a science lab, but they are just as conclusive for me. Do your own experiments, but please don't try to discredit me or make me feel like an idiot for mine.That's all I ask.


K.E.N said...

We have that cd/dvd combo (Christmas present) and that song-and My Brother The Ape, for that matter-have always bothered me...but I am absolutely flabbergasted about the comments. I'm with you.

K.E.N said...

We have that cd/dvd combo (Christmas present) and that song-and My Brother The Ape, for that matter-have always bothered me...but I am absolutely flabbergasted about the comments. I'm with you.

The Gilberts said...

Its crazy how much religion is bashed now. I hope and pray that people can be more open minded to God and religion, just as we have been taught in our faith to be understanding of others as well. It seems to be a one way street nowadays! Great post!

Brian, Emily, Charlie, and Lucy said...

I love your posts -- keep your opinions and testimony coming!!! You are an incredible person, Adele:)

Alaina said...

I love the idea that you've/we've done our own experiments. Amen. Thanks for sharing this.

xantonriver said...

Well delivered, Adele. And well perceived.

Becky Gentry said...

I have that CD, and I love all of the other songs including "My Brother, The Ape", but I have the same reaction about "Science Is Real". I skip it whenever I can. The "pot shot at religion" threw me for a loop (along with a couple of other things in that song, but I won't get in to those in this comment).

However, as a physics and chemistry teacher, I see where the "thumb down-ers" are coming from. Today, in my ward's Sunday School, several people "testified" that there was no physical death of anything (animal, plant or human) before the fall. The teacher had a quote that supported that idea. She read the quote from a non-doctrinal book, and the quote seemed authoritative to anyone who didn't know the background of the reference (It was portrayed as being written by a prophet, as a prophet, but it was actually written as speculation by JFS about 20 years before he was called as prophet, and the statement was rejected by the prophet at the time, D.O. McKay).

Once, my favorite institute teacher even equated Darwin to Hitler.

When things like that are taught as official "Mormon Doctrine", it deepens the chasm between religion and science, and too often shakes the faith of young people and investigators (and gee whiz, even some well-seasoned members) as they realize that these theories (evolution, big bang, etc) are amazing and have great merit. Too often, people don't realize that the official doctrine is: there is no official doctrine.

Anyways, it sounds like I agree with you about this being a low shot from TMBG. At the same time, I am frustrated more often than I'd like with religious organizations demonizing science. Some students, especially in the bible belt, seem to think that I'm acting as a servant of the devil when I mention anything that could question a totally literal interpretation of Genesis/ Moses/ B.R. McConkie.

Camilla Cole said...

That is annoying for sure. Good post! I have no comment that would add to this post that doesn't add to the discussion, so I'll just say well done. :) As always.

Mandie Flood said...

Well said. And great investigative work. Count me in with the minority in this case...apparently.

greensweaterkid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.