Entertainment/culture Medicine Music Science Skepticism/critical thinking

Science is the poetry of reality…

…and I can’t argue with Symphony of Science:

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

25 replies on “Science is the poetry of reality…”

Actually, watching this, I thought that science must be the bad commercial marketing of reality. I kept waiting for Richard Dawkins to hold up a jar of “Science” – the combination of abstract quotes out of context that don’t really mean much and cheesy music would be enough to make me take up real poetry.

I don’t disagree that science needs better advertising, but this ain’t it.


Sorry, but that’s awful. It’s so awful I urgently have to leave this comment telling you it’s awful which means it’s really awful.

I liked it for the people they chose to speak (sing?, chant?) the message rather than the weird sing/chant thing. I especially enjoyed Jacob Bronowski who wrote the Ascent of Man and did a PBS show on it when I was young. It was a fascinating look at how science connects things in the world. I was saddened when I learned the show was canceled due to Bronowski’s death in 1974. Richard Feynman also had a moment – a very funny scientist he was.

Well, my 8-year old sat through it, as well as one of the other ones from the website. It’s a bit gimmicky — and the other one we watched was way too Sagan-heavy — but I liked it. You have to accept the rhythm of it. It probably also helps that I’m quite used to synthesized voices; I particularly like the way it normalizes Hawking to have everyone else’s voices distorted.

This is my second favorite after ‘We are all connected’. My kids (7 and 9) know most of the words to that one already 🙂

I adore these. (When Jane Goodall says in The Unbroken Thread, “…It’s a very wuzzie line, and it’s getting wuzzier all the time…” it just gives me the chills.) I would say they’re not really about science as much as they’re celebrating the reverence that scientists have for what they do. This is the sense of wonder that Deepak Chopra claims skeptics don’t have, and here, in a few minutes, in a quite accessible way, anyone can see how wrong Chopra is.

Nonsense, TDG! This is probably the only acceptable use of auto-tune that I can think of. 🙂 As long as it’s used comically and blatantly, I have no problem with it. I’m not sure these vids would get under anyone’s skin quite as well without it.

That said, the Symphony does seem to be wearing out its welcome… the music seems to have undergone no evolution whatsoever since the first release.

Since I only hear them when they are linked at one of the blogs I read, I haven’t heard them all yet – which is probably a good thing.

I did like the quotes in this one though.

I’ve heard a couple of the more Sagan-heavy ones. They’re pretty cool overall if not really about “science” so much as, as noted, the fact that scientists can and do have a sense of wonder about their discoveries.

And they sound pretty decent too. I should probably try to cut up some episodes of Cosmos or something to see what I can do with them.

While I must join in with the others in saying I hate autotuners and despise those who use them, I agree entirely with the message and find this uplifting even though it’s corny. but as music videos go it’s not as much fun as the PCR “We are the world” spoof that was going around last year.

They are pretty corny. I do like the message and it was good to see clips from all these good documentaries. I understand the sentiment and if I try to look at it as being intentionally being corny the use of the auto-tuner is alright with me.

I agree with DLC, not nearly as enjoyable as the PCR one, or the song that came over, GTCA. I do have a soft spot for fun, silly science videos though.

the fact that any adult could find this tolerable or even enjoyable just makes me feel embarrassed for them

I might enjoy this if I didn’t hate Autotune, and what it has done to vocal artistry in pop music, with an unbound burning white hot hatred.

Agree with #1 — this ain’t it. Agree with everyone else, autotune sucks. But the post was totally worthwhile because I might have missed GTCA otherwise.

I’m all for a heavy dose of cynicism when needed, but why hate on something that is meant to inspire when it doesn’t have any woo content?

I have all five songs on my mp3 player and listen to them “all the time time time…”

I’d much rather have my friends and family listen to auto-tuned scientists than the latest fade with such bad grammar and premise that it makes me want to vomit (Think lady gag gag, I mean ga ga)
Neil Tyson had a Nova special a while back with the inventor of the Autotune so I found the use of him quite apt.

I’m a little tired of this anti-Autotune bandwagon. The program is nothing new, it’s been around since 1997 after all. It’s a tool and like any tool it can be abused. Keep in mind that since the beginning of multi-track recording sound engineers have been saying to musicians “We’ll fix it in the mix.” It used to be done by cobbling together the best bits of various takes. Autotune is just an easier way to achieve the same end: an artificially perfect take. When it’s used properly you’ll never know it was used at all and I’m willing to bet that any number of acts that are regarded as somehow “legitimate” have used it to speed up the production process.

Don’t like current pop music? Don’t blame the tools, blame the people who buy the product. They’re the one’s making sure that more of that crap gets made.

Hello sorry it’s been SO long since I last visited & commented! Your work is just as gorgeous as always and I love the simplicity of this particular piece! The inside scripture is beautiful & so fitting!

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