Carol Davidson Baird
THE PROBLEM: UCSD Medical School’s Professor of Pathology, Dr. Stephen Baird, noticed several years ago that artists and Fundamentalist religious leaders have a wider audience than scientists. People do not pay to see a scientist perform, although some pay to hear a lecture. But neither Jonas Salk nor Charles Darwin ever filled up a football stadium, though Fundamentalist preachers often do! So Steve used the scientific method to come up with a plan to make science fun, understandable to everyone, and eventually win the hearts and minds of cogent humans who would embrace his unique musical genre – Scientific Gospel, the new folk music for the 21st century.
THE HYPOTHESIS: If scientists and rationalists made their field of study fun and understandable, they could replace illogical, fundamentalist belief systems with rationalism. Religion and politics would no longer have their iron fist on the public in order to gain their self-serving goals. Humans would think instead of believe. Rather than blindly following selfish, fanatical, power-hungry despots, peace, love and brotherhood would prevail as, finally, good people did something positive for themselves and their posterity.
THE EXPERIMENT: Create a form of music that would appeal to humankind in order to spread the gospel of science and rational thinking by infection. Education would be the tool and humorous poetry in a folk music style would be the delivery method. Personal appearances of the band, The Opossums of Truth, and production of musical CD’s would relay the words of the new gospel of science; and the words would be: THINK, ANALYZE, and DATA-DRIVEN DECISIONS. Books and plays would follow with the same themes until the experiment showed sufficient infection to replicate by itself.
THE LABORATORY: The facilities to be used would be concert halls, theater stages, humanist halls, libraries, and university auditoriums. The experimental subjects would be university professors and students, rationalists and other religious non-believers, and scientists of every ilk. With equal quantities of data driven concepts and laughter, those lyrical sounds would soothe the soul ignored in other forms of reason and free thought. Eventually the pool of subjects would include the general public as they come to understand that they should not squander their precious time in this world here on Earth, believing and paying for another life in some made-up fairy tale.
THE COURSE OF THE TRIAL: The experiment began in 1999 with Steve’s first CD, “Hallelujah! Evolution,” and continued with “Ain’t Gonna Be No Judgment Day. Released in June 2003, a more evolved musical and lyrical creation was formed: “Water On Mars.” A year later, SGP broke it’s own rules with the 2004 CD, “Breakin’ The Rules.” Concerts have taken place mainly at California venues, but Dr. Baird has taken the show on the road to Colorado for yearly performances at a cancer biology course in Keystone, in July 2003 at the 10th anniversary celebration for Colorado Springs’ Free Thinkers group. This past summer, the band played in Arizona for a conference of humanists and free thinkers at HUMANICON Southwest 2004. Due to 2004 election concerns and fears, the band played a few political gigs to do its part in defeating candidates opposed to free thought and honest scientific inquiry. In order to counter so many religious events in the everyday life of Americans, Dr. Baird and the Opossums of Truth plan to create annual concerts/events around the solstices and equinoxes – the real reasons for the seasons. Every year in San Diego, the band honors the birth of their hero, Charles Darwin, with a birthday concert highlighted by songs about Darwin’s ‘single most important idea anyone ever had.” Evolution is the way, and randomness the method. The experiment will continue until either the hypothesis is proven correct or we are burned at the stake like others in world history who dared to question the prevailing conventional wisdom.
CONCLUSION: That’s up to you. We just began the experiment.