Beware the Believers

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Dick to the Dawk to the P-H-D

Credits

A brilliant little piece of satire that Richard Dawkins seems to have taken a while to realize is satire.

Contents

Text

Prelude

("Ministry of Science Propaganda" logo with pidgin-Cyrillic lettering)
(Caption:)
    BEWARE THE BELIEVERS
    THEY ARE AMONG US!

    REPORTING IDIOCY ISN'T REALLY SQUEALING

(A theatrical stage, curtains drawn.)
(RICHARD DAWKINS steps through the curtain)

  DAWKINS:
Ladies and gentlemen, we are on the cusp of a glorious age, the age of -- the machine

(Curtain rises to reveal spherical monocular machination with four limbs, tank treads for feet, and scissor-claws for hands)
(Audience gasps)

  DAWKINS:
We appreciate your concern.  It is noted, and stupid.
After all, we are scientists, much smarter than you.
But perhaps a little demonstration will set your minds at ease.

(Projection screen appears, showing traditional countdown reel.  Zoom to screen.)

(Scientist 1 is peering into a microscope.)

  SCIENTIST 1:
Hey Boris, look at this.

(SCIENTIST 2 appears from under the desk.  He has the traditional Guy Fawkes "bad guy" mustache.)

  SCIENTIST 2:
Big deal.  Natural selection creates that sort of thing every day.

(Scientist 2 steps off to the side.)

  SCIENTIST 1:
Natural selection?  I think there's something else going on here.

(Scientist 2's eyes widen)

  SCIENTIST 2:
(touching a device on his left breast, which makes the ST:TNG "communicator" sound)
Big gadget, this is little tool.  We've got ourselves a situation.

(Clawed arm of the machine breaches the wall, grabs SCIENTIST 1 by the scruff of his neck.)

  SCIENTIST 1:
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

(SCIENTIST 1 is pulled through the hole in the wall)
(Exterior shot, a traditional brick-and-mortar University facade.)
(SCIENTIST 1 bursts through a window, as if thrown, and hits the ground, skidding into the foreground.)
(His progress is halted by the camera lens, which cracks.)
(An "EXPELLED" stamp is clearly visible on his forehead.)

(Return to stage shot)

  DAWKINS:
I wish I could take full credit for the machine's development, 
for its efficient expulsion of so-called scientists, 
its unwavering rejection of your quaint though ludicrous notions 
about the origins of life.
But the story of the machine began well before I arrived on the scene.
For that, we present this little ditty.

Lyrics

My name is D to the I to C to the K, 
Yeah I'm the Dickie D, I gots my PhD 
and comin' your way on the youtube to bust your worldview
so just listen to me and don't you argue.

You see, this battle's been ragin' since Zeus was on the bottle,
between science like Democritus and faith like Aristotle,
who said the mover wasn't movin' like some magic trick 
but that's no good logic, 
my posse is far too quick 
for this religious shtick.

Cos science is the only way to know y'all,
you stand with me y'all,
or you can fall y'all 
so go ahead and take your pick.
(???:) Yeah you tell him Rick!
(Charles Darwin:) 'cause if you don't know me
(Dawkins:) YOU DON'T KNOW DICK!

Yeah he's the Dick to the Dawk to the P-H-D,
he's smarter than you he's got a science degree!
Yeah he's the Dick to the Dawk to the P-H-D,
he's smarter than you he's got a science degree!

On the shoulders of midgets we built up this machine, (YEAH!!!)
Science silenced that watchdog Will'm Paley,
Growing stronger and harder almost daily, 
Storming Wilber by force as we framed the discourse 
until the science is split in schismatic divorce 

And Darwin took to the seas to see what no one had seen, 
and ever since then we've been increasingly keen, 
they may never adore us, but they'll no longer ignore us, 
give it to 'em PZ, hit these BLEEP with the chorus!

Chorus : Yeah he's the Dick to the Dawk to the P-H-D,
he's smarter than you he's got a science degree!
The Dick to the Dawk to the P-H-D,
he's still smarter than you he studied biology!

Then there was Darrow
dukin' it out with the straight and the narrow 
a ragin' bull in the ring, he did his thing, 
and took it on the chin like he was Bobby DeNiro.

We might have lost at Scopes, beaten down by the dopes, 
and the stooges of popes, but in losin' we coped, 
becomin' more than we hoped, creationists slipped on the soap 
of their own slippery slope, 

what was impossible, improbable, is now wholly unstoppable untoppleable
the Dick Dawk will roll up as the creationst fold up 
you hate us talking bull, 
don't you know that this Dick is un-BLEEP frickin' blockable

Chorus : Yeah he's the Dick to the Dawk to the P-H-D,
he's smarter than you he's got a science degree!
The Dick to the Dawk to the P-H-D,
he's still smarter than you he studied biology!

Now the machine of our making, sees culture ripe for the taking 
Cos I'm the rappingest rapper thats rappin that's atheist too
unlike the Catholic, Muslim or even the Jew, 
believes that no God but science could ever be true, hell, 
if I was dyslexic I'd even hate "dog" too.

Time to open your eyes, get yourself wise, 
the age of science has arised to be religion's demise, 
and while your churches all cry, shouting why God oh why, 
I'll still be poppin' my collar earning my dollars in (???allah???)

Yeah he's the Dick to the Dawk to the P-H-D,
he's smarter than you he's got a science degree!
Dick to the Dawk to the P-H-D,
he's still smarter than you he studied biology!

Dick to the Dawk to the P-H-D,
he's smarter than you he's got a science degree!
Dick to the Dawk to the P-H-D,
he's still smarter than you he studied biology!

Study Guide

People

  • Dr. Richard Dawkins (aka Dick Dawk, aka Dicky D) -- strident atheist fundamentalist. Formerly a practicing biologist at Oxford, he is now a full-time apologist for the religion of materialism.
  • Paley -- wikipedia:William Paley, who first devised the famous "watchmaker" presentation of the teleological argument.
  • Wilberforce ("Wilber by force") - wikipedia:Samuel Wilberforce, third son of wikipedia:William Wilberforce (British abolitionist). Samuel famously debated wikipedia:Thomas Huxley on the question of Darwinism in 1860, in which he queried Huxley through which of his grandparents he traces his Ape ancestry.
  • Darwin -- wikipedia:Charles Darwin, whose masterwork "The Origin of Species" is widely credited with first setting forth the modern theory of evolution through purely naturalistic mechanisms.
  • PZ - wikipedia:PZ Myers, who gained widest recognition for trying to crash a screening of "Expelled: The Movie" and later offering a bounty on a duly-blessed "host" from a Eucharist so he could defile it.
  • Darrow - wikipedia:Charles Darrow, ACLU attorney who defended wikipedia:John T. Scopes (and, by proxy, the teaching of Darwinism in schools) in the "Scopes Monkey Trial".
  • Scopes - wikipedia:John T. Scopes, a Tennessee teacher who was brought to trial for teaching Darwinism in the classroom ("Scopes Monkey Trial").

Other References

  • Poe's Law -- "Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won't mistake for the real thing." Named for its coiner, Nathan Poe.

Doc's Commentary

The key to the fullest appreciation of this short is on Ben Stein's T-shirt in the "credits" clip that followed the original -- "Poe's Law". What we saw immediately following the release of the first video was precisely what Poe's Law (and its corollary, Poe's Paradox) would lead us to expect -- Dawkins and his cadre of materialistic fundamentalists were unable to tell whether they were being defended or lampooned, most initially interpreting the video as the former. When it came out that the video was more intended to be "funny" than to pose a serious defense or critique of a position, they were completely befuddled and at a loss for how to deal with something so odd as humor and silliness for its own sake. Perhaps the difficulty arose from the subject men being in the habit of taking themselves so terribly seriously?

The first clue that this video is not on the side of the Dawk is in the opening emblem, which credits the film to the "Ministry of Science Propaganda". Aside from the obviously Soviet flare of the graphics and typography (and we know how tolerant Soviet Moscow was of dissenting opinions), the very notion of "science propaganda" points to a contradiction. Propaganda is simply Bullshit transmitted by mass media -- a mix of facts and falsehoods proclaimed to achieve some desired effect upon the hearers that treats truth and falsehood as functionally unimportant. Such a strategy, at its heart, stands in opposition to core values of the scientific method, namely unfettered inquiry and disdain for ideological presupposition. So clearly the implication is that "science" is being somehow misapprehended or co-opted and used in support of some other unnamed agenda which itself needs propagandizing. Which happens to be the contention of the producers of "Expelled: The Movie" -- that there is something besides "science" at work in the habitual expulsion from the academy of those who question Darwinian orthodoxy.

The notion of "the machine" is a powerful and centuries-old metaphor -- among other things, it represents a system which has been completely dehumanized and which has lost its ability to question. Presented with the same inputs, a machine always produces the same outputs, without regard to ethics, truth, or beauty. Since "creation" is, through the Darwinian paradigm, nothing but the outworking of biochemical machinery, a mechanization of thought, culture, and inquiry is a seemingly natural consequence.

The lampooning of Dawkins' elitism (being a self-identified "bright") appears early and often. Mistrust of the machine is "noted and stupid" because the scientists who have built the machine are, well, scientists, and what could possibly be untrustworthy about a scientist? They can't possibly have selfish motives driven by hunger for power, aberrant lusts, narcissistic self-worship, or obsessive addictive personalities -- they're above such mundane human foibles in the application of their science. Right?

Some have asked whether the chorus is somehow implying that we should not esteem those who invest long years into becoming experts in their field. As a Ph.D. myself, such a notion is far from my mind. However, I think there is a healthy measure of humility that is lacking among the self-professed "brights". In particular, Dawkins seems to think that his own expertise in biology and biochemistry translates into authority to speak on matters of ethics, morality, psychology, philosophy, epistemology, and theology. Consider the hubris of such a notion for a moment. Had a verse like this appeared:

He's John to the Paul to the T-H-D,
He's smarter than you, he's mastered divinity,
He's John to the Paul to the T-H-D,
He's still smarter than you, he's studied theology

it would be quickly and universally recognized as satire, because nobody expects that a mastery of theology necessarily equips someone to speak articulately and accurately about the nuances of biomechanics or the conundrums of quantum physics. And yet, somehow this right and healthy skepticism is supposed to dissolve when someone holds a doctorate in biology. That Dawkins is well-studied in one area does not necessarily preclude him from being well-learned in others, but neither is it license for him to presume such expertise. In point of fact, the sheer ham-fisted ineptitude of his handling of matters philosophical, epistemological, and theological is outshone only by his galling lack of self-consciousness as he presumes to speak with authority on such matters. There is an ample supply of Ph.D.'s in the world who have been educated beyond their intelligence, trained far beyond their own wisdom, and whose intellectual self-image is almost comical in its exaggerations, and the chorus calls us (in its very tongue-in-cheek way) to keep this firmly in mind when a "bright" begins to unpack life, the universe, and everything. At the same time, there is also a decent supply out there of very intelligent, careful, thoughtful people who do not hold graduate degrees (or college degrees, or even high school diplomas) who must not be presumptively excluded from the discussion based upon their lack of credentials; academic credentials, after all, are just another appeal to authority, which Dawkins would no doubt remind us is a logical fallacy.

The Rap stands well on its own within its genre, evidencing many of the forms typical of millennial urban hip-hop: the self-introduction ("my name is Dicky D"/"my name is Slim Shady"), the spell ("D to the I to the C to the K"/"s-n-double-o-p-d-o-double-g"), the shift of the chorus from an AA form to an AB form, extensive use of internal rhymes, and a movie reference ("raging bull ... Bobby DeNiro"/"a Terminator, like Arnold Schwarzenegger"). Common urban hip-hop themes are also in evidence -- the history review (the second, fifth, sixth, and eighth stanzas), the showdown ("you can stand with me or you can fall") and show-up ("roll up as the creationists fold up"), phallic word play ("this Dick is uncockblockable"), and the speaker's acquisition of bling ("earning my dollars"). Graphic elements tend toward over-the-top cliches (the Flava Flav watch and grillz in particular), but are still well within normal parameters for videos in the genre.

In terms of content, there are a few "we're lampooning militant atheism" flags that any "bright" worthy of the name should have picked up on immediately. See in particular the "machine of our making" verse, which is full of tells. The phrase "no God but science could ever be true" is not framed the way an atheist would prefer, but rather after the pattern of a common theist critique -- that naturalism simply displaces a nominal god with a functional authoritative deity which it calls "science" and attempt to resolve epistemological disputes by evoking that god in an appeal to authority. Another clear tell is the "dyslexic" line which clearly evokes C. S. Lewis: "I maintained that God did not exist. I was also very angry with God for not existing. I was equally angry with him for creating a world."

As not only a theist but a Christian, I particularly appreciated the line about Huxley "fram[ing] the discourse" -- Christians have gotten into no end of intellectual trouble by allowing atheists to frame the debate on stolen epistemological grounds, grounds which they can neither logically claim nor rationally defend but which they are then allowed to assert as beyond examination. Until a coherent epistemological account for the reliability of human reason in particular and science in general can be made without reference to reason and logic being somehow grounded in a realm beyond debate, question, inquisition, and doubt, there is no shared platform upon which a debate of evidence, facts, and truth can be conducted (see rationalism, and particularly Douglas Wilson's fine deconstruction of the "neutrality" of reason).

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