Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Expelled: The Ballad

Come gather round people, I’ll sing you the tale
It’s bigger by far than a land-dwelling whale
Compared to it, stories from Shakespeare will pale
It’s glitter, and glamour, and glory,
More drama than all the last season of Maury

It all started out with a promising plan
With two different views of the journey of Man
And so nice and friendly was how it began
At the Crossroads with Dawkins and Myers
But the movie crew all were creationist liars

They enlisted the help of the actor Ben Stein
Who showed he could toe the creationist line
In a droning, annoying, monotonous whine
He ridicules notions of fitness
Ignoring the ban against bearing false witness

Now nobody knew what the final cut held
Though various leaks gave a hint that it smelled
Like someone’s abdominal gas was expelled
A film that was fighting for freedom
Apparently only the freedom to be dumb

For instance one segment that somebody saw
Molecular momement that just drops your jaw
Especially if you know your copyright law
Those molecules just kept on rollin’
Not caring if anyone knew they were stolen

So PZ decided to give it a view
To spare the annoyance for me and for you
And he signed up online like they asked him to do
With family and friend, he awaited
But his efforts to see it would end up frustrated

The producer saw Myers, and told him to stop
(Well, not by himself—through a theatre cop)
PZ acquiesced, and he went to a shop
Where he put the adventure to writing
And the people who read it all found it exciting

“But the funniest thing of the evening” he said
“Was that I had to leave, but my friend went ahead
This mild-mannered Englishman, calls me P-Zed
Despite all their squeakins and squawkins
The fools threw me out, but let in Richard Dawkins!”

The movie reviews are predictably bad
And Myers, who missed it, is secretly glad
And trust the producers to put out an ad
Defiantly claiming they’re winning
But nothing is heard but the sound of their spinning


Maxwell's Demoness said...

Bravo! *Applauds*

Amazing how the "Expellers" can't even keep their stories straight, while you manage to keep the story straight, and in verse.

Eamon Knight said...

Bravo! The opening line and meter irresistibly suggests Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'", but it needs a one-line refrain added to each verse to make it fit.

Hate to sound like a complainer, but: could you suggest something to fill it out?

Cuttlefish said...

eamon knight--

You will also find that it fits Roy Zimmerman's "Sadaam Shame" (verses, not chorus). So adding a chorus would also work... as would finding a new tune specifically for this song!

pod said...

Hey - did I tell you that Skepticality is interviewing Zimmerman? Derek told me yesterday and I pointed him to your blog. :)


Amadan said...

A long-time admirer of your opus (opa?) at Pharyngula. My own humble ballad here

Selcaby said...

To completely fit the meter of "The Times They Are A-Changin" you'd need to change it more than just adding a refrain. Line 4 of every verse ought to rhyme with the refrain, and line 5 ought to rhyme with the first three. I don't think it's needed. The song works to something like Dylan's tune if you cut out a chunk from the last two lines so you can sing it to one line.

Patrick Roberts said...

just saw Expelled; the fact that Ben Stein isn't trying to win any popularity contests helps to validate his message... i gather that his goal is to promote free thought, especially more thinking about the worldviews that drive American academia

Cuttlefish said...

Actually, Patrick, I would quibble just a bit--it does not help to validate his message, but it certainly does help to sell his message.

If you gathered that as his goal, then he has succeeded in convincing you; that is an entirely different thing from succeeding in educating you. I encourage you to explore both sides of the story before you conclude that Stein's goal is to promote free thought. In science, anyone can play, and win, as long as they can bring the evidence; indeed, the big names in science are those whose ideas overcame earlier ideas. We celebrate those who prove us wrong, because they help us to overcome our ignorance.

ID/Creationism, quite simply, has no supporting evidence. There is no conspiracy of academics; they have the same opportunity to compete as anyone else. What Ben Stein is suggesting is not "promoting free thought", but rather an affirmative action program for prescientific world-views that do not have the evidential muscle to stand on their own two feet, let alone compete against established scientific theory.

I doubt you would be able to find another scientific theory that has been assailed as much as Evolution. But the predictions made by evolutionary theory, which could have disconfirmed it, have instead bolstered it; it is a much much stronger theory now, because of (not "in spite of") a century and a half of steady fire.

I encourage you to visit expelledexposed, to read the court transcripts of Kitzmiller V. Dover, PA, to read about the "wedge document", and then to make up your mind whether Ben Stein and the producers of Expelled are "promoting free thought" or simply producing propoganda.