For those of you who may not know, Insane Clown Posse has a new song out called "Miracles" which is funny because despite listing lots of things about the world we live in that could be considered quite cool, there's this sort of lack of interest in really understanding any of it, and some downright mistrust of science itself for whatever reasons. It's quite amusing on its own but I thought I'd lay out in detail a lot of the issues that I take with the song. So here you have the product of my evening, which I *should* have spent making a write-up for an actual lab report on optical pumping.
Oh hey dudes...now you're on my turf. Time for me to take you two to school...
I appreciate your wanting to inspire a sense of wonder
But that's a little different from asking, "What the hell is thunder?"
I an led to suspect you didn't get through high school
So when you talk about it all you sound like complete fools
Life, sure, is precious and something pretty damn sweet
And our whole damn existence is one hell of a feat
When you think about everything just on earth you can see
Like natural wonders and animals roaming free
And I'd love to find an animal by tracking their turds
There's a thing about lava, that it cools into rocks
And that turns into sand after it takes a few knocks
And when you put everything together it's a really big thrill
I mean, the concept of life is something that feels unique
The processes that regulate it are all pretty freak
The smallest and largest things in life appear almost like dots
But the stuff in the middle -- and there sure is lots
It looks nothing like that and it is pretty crazy
But I won't stop there and wave my hands and be lazy
There are still lots of rules that guide how it did all form
And my purpose of rapping now is to try to inform
It's actually all pretty crazy! There's a lot to keep in mind in the development on how life formed on the planet that we can't just treat biology as a small offshoot of cosmology the way that we look at astronomy as a branch of physics or how a lot of chemisty relies on the studies of scientists like Bohr whose studies were more than just chemistry. Biochemistry is a study of why a lot of larger organisms have a lot of the same parts -- in order to take energy and use it to do things --the way all cars have an engine and some wheels, but even past that there are a lot of open possibilities for species development, with limitations coming from being able to provide the energy for all the parts of the animal or plant to work and the ability to outperform the other things that might be living near it that it has to compete with.
When we look at how humans developed their language and speech
You should think for a moment that monkeys have it just out of reach
Though their cries carry emotions and their faces can too
Koko's the only one that I know ever signed "I love you"
And before humanoids talked they would cry and we'd sing
They had primitive music and, well, that is the thing
Since they're social creatures they'd hang out in packs
And their songs could alert to either move out or stay back
Like if a predator came or if there was food near to eat
And it did help with bonding, maybe add with it a beat
So this rapping I'm doing goes as far back as that
And another thing to think about that we should look at
When you're there with a crowd all taking MDMA
'Cause after all of their work they all need some time to play
There's some natural dopamine that runs through your head
It can make you feel good and certainly glad you're not dead
And you can get some in your brain if you're tripping on X
Or doing pleasureable things -- hey, there's a rush after sex!
And it's part of why juggalos whos reputation is trash
Can all meet together and party and have a fun bash
With no violence or hatred or our guns all firing
And there's a part of me that actually finds that kinda inspiring
But that's why music's like love and why music's like feeling
Because early humans needed it and it was appealing
And that's not to hate on music or say it's dull, dumb, or crappy
Well, unless it's maybe the stuff that's recorded by ICP! (buuuuuuurn)
Just because we have a pretty good idea of why something is what it is or how it came to be doesn't have to take away from a sense of wonder. When Carl Sagan said "To make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe," he was commenting on how a lot of things all came together to actually form things the way they are now, and it's pretty impressive. Even if we know why music sounds pretty to us, that doesn't mean that we're not supposed to think it is or feel like music is trying to mislead us. Well, okay, sometimes it does, which is the whole reason that this song exists, but we can still celebrate music! And if all your crazy violent fans can get together and celebrate and unite under some common bond, even if I question your organization, I think that is a pretty clear example of how music has power and that it can be a very strong force of good. You know, a lot of the music I really enjoy listening to, like spirituals or sea chanties, were done for the sake of communication outside of just creating a nice song to listen to; no, they had a distinct purpose, to guide work and to lift up one's spirits.
Now, sure you may not want to trust any of the the Ph.D.'s
But if you think they're trying to scam you out well then, brothers, please
Remember now that science is more than what an expert claims
They aren't in this for the sake of tricking you or playing mind games
If they seem condescending then it just might be
That they know more than you 'bout something and you're too dumb to see
I won't always fault the ignorant for not knowing what they don't
But it's a pretty big problem if it's more that they just won't
Try to educate themselves on how things might just work
And instead say those who disagree are just a ton of jerks
And there are hints within that song that you're the second group
I suspect that it is time for me to give you the scoop:
When it comes to doing science it's not what the lab coats say
But that their findings match others' done on other days
They have to be sure that their testing finds just what they claim
And that their explanations fit with the data just the same
And lots of scientists will test that older knowledge really might be wrong
But that doesn't justify distrusting them like in your song
There's a system of peer review where scientists review the findings of others by doing the research themselves. Multiple people, with no obvious conflicts of interest. Now, sometimes scientific results are submitted for publishing by people who want the data to go one way or the other -- which, admittedly, can affect the way they interpret the data -- but if the peer review finds that their data and methods are good, then it's still good science either way. It's actually a pretty egalitarian system overall. If you rise to prominence in your field it's because you've done good research. And sure, sometimes scientific inquiry reveals things that might contradict what used to be the orthodoxy, but that doesn't mean that science is wrong or that the previous explanation didn't allow for good predictions of the nature of the world at large.
Now I've droned on for forever and it's taken quite some time
To try to get those who might read this to understand my rhyme
And what is with your kids I just don't quite get what I'm seeing
They're dressed up with your face paint which sure ain't done by their genes
But they have half of what makes you "you" and half that's from their mom
Meiosis splits alleles in half -- now ain't that just the bomb?
Then they combine in pairs, ensures diversity
And that's the reason why it is that, say, you won't look like me
But that's the sort of thing that makes so many different creatures
And although we all should take the time to enjoy every feature
I live in this and love it. I think it would be a sin
To be a complete stranger in the universe we're in.
Now that I've finished with my crazy song of defiance
I think I'll turn off "Miracles" and put on Symphony of Science