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May 20, 2009

Fourth Annual Science and the Public Conference

The Fourth Annual Science and the Public Conference will be held at the University of Brighton this year, on June 13 and 14 2009. The theme this year is 'Science and the public: uncertain pasts, presents and futures'.

May 5, 2009

Creationist Rock

Music video aiming to subvert evolution education via the medium of late 20th century North American Rock Music (found at The Huffington Post).

For those who don't want to set the video playing - we start with a bald and bespectacled biology teacher ranting in front of a board emblazoned with the word evolution. You can tell he's a wrong'un because he has a strained, whiny voice, dresses badly and there is an odd green light shining up at him. Not to mention the use of scary jagged closeups of his face. A pretty blonde student stares at her textbook: bored, sceptical and biting her lip. But lo and behold, there's a rockstar winking out at her from behind a diagram of the evolution of man, conspiratorially shaking his head. Then it all goes a bit Labyrinth as she sort of floats into their song. The lyrics poke fun at some of the images of evolutionary thought (monkeys), as well as the scientific faith involved. They also suggest a different take on the word evolution in terms of (Christian) personal development and the work of God:

He [the teacher] spoke with such conviction, it really made me think, maybe my teacher, he's the missing link [...] It takes a lot of faith to say we're accidents of nature, but I believe we are the work of a loving creator [...] My evolution to perfection started when God rescued me.

Eventually the aforementioned blonde and her classmates are all dancing along, the dour science teacher transformed into the smiling rockstar who points to the word 'Redefined' which is now written over 'Evolution' on the board.

The video is easy to mock, especially for those of us who tend not to question to validity of teaching evolution in schools (including me, unless I make myself question it for research purposes). However, I'm pretty sure the producers of this have their tongue quite firmly in their cheeks - at least in respects to media images (I imagine their critique of science is entirely serious). I thought it was interesting as a bit of alternative/ anti-science communication, but also because despite its very different ideological position in respects to mainstream scientific thought, aspects of its style really reminded me of Horrible Science.