Dr. Stephen Baird, a pathology professor at the UCSD School of Medicine, has been teaching his students foryears by using concepts and principles of science as lyrics for songs that he sings during class. I spoke withBaird on the phone about his recent CD, Hallelujah! Evolution! Scientific Gospel.
“One of the reasons that I wrote some of these songs was that there was a letter in a science magazine abouttwo or three years ago….asking if anybody knew any good songs about evolution, because, ‘in the battle for thehearts and minds of people – creationism vs. evolutionism – the creationists have all the good songs.’
“Where do your songs about sexually transmitted diseases fit in?”
“Well, al lot of that came from medical consideration. For example, HIV infection is completely preventable.So some of my songs about HIV are to help people understand that it’s preventable.”
“The one that really got me laughing was ‘They Caught Jimmy with Another Whore.'” (The lights are allout and the choir isn’t singing/They can’t pay their bills because Swaggart was swinging/And what’s even worseis he’s done it before/Yes, they caught Jimmy with another whore.) “It says in your bio that you grew up inthe Bible Belt. Is this backlash on your part?
“Absolutely. I have ‘The Jerry Falwell Waltz’ and the Jimmy Swaggart song in there as false prophet songs.I think that these guys basically are in the business to extract money from people who are more or less unaware.”
“Did you read Car Sagan’s last novel, The Demon-Haunted World?” It was basically about false prophetsand science as a candle in the dark. I just saw his widow giving a speech on cable. I have to say, her voice isa little better than yours. You kind of sound like my dad singing in church.”
“I was actually reviewed in the Jewish Times here. Somebody reviewed my CD on the same page as a CD of GeorgeGershwin – because it’s the 100th anniversary of his birth. My favorite quote from that review is, ‘He’s no GeorgeGershwin'”