Overview of Scientific Gospel today
To quote Molière: “If the function of comedy is to correct men’s vices, I do not see why any should be exempt… We have seen that the theatre is admirably suited to provide correction. The most forceful lines of a serious moral statement are usually less powerful than those of satire; and nothing will reform most men better than the depiction of their faults. It is a vigorous blow to vices to expose them to public laughter.”
The creation of Scientific Gospel is just such a means to an end. This unique musical genre grew out of Dr. Stephen Baird’s disappointment with how poorly most people understand science and how eager they are to embrace magic. Haranguing citizens about thinking rationally and making data-driven decisions does not usually stimulate them to change – it usually angers them or makes them more steadfast in their fundamentalist views. Entertaining the militantly ignorant or the uneducated sends the message of rationalism in a palatable fashion, and entertaining those who have already seen the light has rewards as well. Music and laughter soothe the soul. The Opossums of Truth do not sing songs that attack religion, but they make fun of religion. They do not attack our government, but they make fun of it. They praise science and heroes of scientific thought, but do so with humor. In doing so, our goal is the same as Molière’s – an attempt to praise those who think critically, yet reform, educate and change the minds of those in our society who still walk with their knuckles dragging on the ground.
Scientific Gospel is a slowly emerging product of modernity. This unique musical genre, invented by Dr. Baird, is a blend of humor and science with a gospel/country flavor that reflects the folk song era of the 1960’s. It offers answers to cosmic questions such as where do we come from and what does it all mean. The producer, Carol Davidson Baird, said, "Scientific Gospel puts the soul into rational humanism." Reality can be a lot of fun. The Opossums of Truth spread the gospel at their ‘services’ because humor is their ultimate response to the universe. When you think of Scientific Gospel, think of Tom Lehrer, Mort Sahl, Woody Guthrie, Sons of the Pioneers, and Alan Sherman all wrapped up into one performer.
Steve will go back into the recording studio March 1st with a new collection of Scientific Gospel tunes. Produced by Scientific Gospel Productions, LLC, the new CD showcases Dr. Baird, backed by the Opossums of Truth: Daniel Baird, Ron Jackson. Given Harrison (Adjunct Opossum) and friends who were, until now, unindicted co-conspirators in the Scientific Gospel movement, will join them in the studio.
Stephen Baird received a Bachelor’s degree and an M.D. from Stanford University. His day job is Professor of Pathology at UCSD School of Medicine and Chief of Pathology at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in San Diego. He divides his time between his work practicing pathology, administering the clinical labs at the V.A., teaching medical students and residents, engaging in immunological research, serving on many university committees, battling bureaucracy, and at home where he is a husband, father, dog walker, dishwasher, and in his spare time, a composer of Scientific Gospel music. This musical genre began many years ago in Dr. Baird’s medical school classes where he taught complex medical concepts in song to make learning enjoyable and ultimately easier to remember. He won the Kaiser Teaching Award 3 times at UCSD School of Medicine, the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at UCSD, and the University of California’s most prestigious Academic Senate Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has also published 100 scientific papers.
Daniel Baird and Ron Jackson are also products of the University of California: Daniel graduated from Santa Cruz and Ron from San Diego. Daniel’s day job is a software engineer at MusicMatch and Ron professes traditional music at the Buffalo Brothers institute in Carlsbad, CA.
The CD will be recorded and engineered by well-known jazz guitarist, Peter Sprague of Encinitas, CA. When trying to explain the genre of Scientific Gospel to a jazz colleague, Mr. Sprague was heard to remark, “There are not a lot of chord changes but they come in strange places.” Dr. Baird, himself, mused about his last CD, "The ideas and materials of which this CD are composed, are ultimately founded on chaos."
Epistemology and the conflict between experimental science and mythology in search of truth predict that Jerry Falwell and Osama bin Laden would not find these songs amusing. Despite their ongoing sales of The Globe and The Enquirer, Dr. Baird's first CD, “Hallelujah! Evolution,” is banned at the San Diego Veterans Administration Medical Center store because it is considered too controversial. The CD concerns itself with cosmic themes, false prophets, and the consequences of sexually transmitted diseases.
“Ain’t Gonna Be No Judgment Day,” praises heroes of SG - Darwin, Mendel and Stanley Miller. Evolutionary questions are posed: When did we get naked? Might we have been dinosaurs if the meteor had not struck the Yucatan? Did liquid water make our creation and existence possible? Do you think we’re alone in the universe? How different are we from one another? Shall we end “not with a bang, but a whimper?”
The Opossums of Truth are going back into the recording studio in March 2003 to produce another CD of Scientific Gospel songs, some of which are medical in nature, such as “The Lumbar Spine” and “The Lower G.I. Blues.” In the Fall, they go back into the studio to create a Winter Solstice CD targeted to freethinkers everywhere. A “Mainly Medical” CD is in the works as well.
The Opossums of Truth may not be able to refrain from a politically motivated concert in 2004, so come back to the website to be informed of such a political party.