Have a look at this:

Did you notice that “miracle” and chlorophyll” are rhymed? So, maybe there is no word other than “miracle” that rhymes with “chlorophyll.” But I doubt it. (See below.)

One could, and many will, argue that this is an innocent use of an innocent phrase and one should not think twice about using this video in an American public school classroom. But those who are in the trenches on this issue know that if you tell the students in a 10th grade biology classroom (for instance) that a particular process is “a miracle” that you have opened a very nasty can of worms. Many of the students will, in fact, believe that you have just endorsed a view of life and biology that they have been hearing all along from their pastors, parents, other teachers, and so on.

Indeed, one could make the argument that the use of this particular video in a public school classroom is not only a bad idea (for the reasons cited here … because of the reality of today’s classrooms) but it would also be of questionable legality.

So, I ask you, why do producers of such films and educational materials not realize that they are rendering their products useless by the invocation of Christian (or other) religious terminology, even if only for metaphorical purposes, or for the simple reason that they could get something to rhyme?

Ok, folks, what rhymes with Chlorophyll?

We can start with:

Over the hill
Take a pill
Cut and fill
Plankton and krill
Window sill

…. Any others?

[added: Please see this post at Sandwalk for Larry Moran's critique of the video]

Comments

  1. #1 Nathaniel
    November 10, 2007

    The fun part is that none of those suggestions for alternative rhymes fit into the song. You would have to rearrange that entire verse in order to get anything out of it… even then, it’s a real stretch.

    “It’s amazing still, how the chlorophyll…”
    That’s the best I can come up with. It’s a bit of a stretch but at least it makes sense, fits the 5 syllables needed to make the rhyme not feel too awkward, and it still has the same basic meaning as the original verse.

    Now a miracle doesn’t have to be spiritual in nature… but you’re right, you can’t trust a child to make that distinction.

    Oh and “every plant can do this” is that really true. It just bugs me when people use “all” and “every” to describe a population. Granted… I suppose that plants that cannot photosynthesize would be more like fungi. If a plant is classified by its ability to use photosynthesis, then I suppose that is true. Otherwise, it is only mostly true with a few possible exceptions.

    Fun little video though… It’s probably going to be stuck in my head all day today.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    November 10, 2007

    It’s amazing still, how the chlorophyll

    is the basis of life, for the plankton and krill.

    helps trees live over the hill

    makes the plants green on the window sill

    (Forget take the pill and cut and fill)

  3. #3 Theo Bromine
    November 10, 2007

    A few weeks ago, on the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting) science show Quirks and Quarks there was an interview with Dr William Parker about the recent research finding that the human appendix serves a useful purpose as a repository for beneficial bacteria. At one point in the interview, Dr Parker said, “the human appendix has [noticeable pause] adapted to…”. The tingling of my skeptic spidey senses made me wonder if he was pausing as he searched for an alternative to “evolved”.

  4. #4 jen
    November 10, 2007

    Perhaps if one wants to use a song about photosynthesis, the one by Moxy Fruvous is a better choice. Unfortunately, I cannot find a video of it.

  5. #5 mark
    November 11, 2007

    Spinach is full of chlorophyll,
    I think that’s why it makes me ill.
    I’d rather have some meat instead,
    Something fresh that just has bled.

    So I ignore the vegans shrill
    Who sing with praise for chlorophyll;
    For when you take a spud out of its bed,
    Like slaughtered cow, it’s just as dead.

  6. #6 CalderaGal
    November 11, 2007

    I don’t have a problem with miracles. I believe in them and do not associate them with any one culture or religion. I DO have a problem with teaching anything using simple rhyme. It’s one more way we stuff kids into a box and try to make them all say and think the same thing, according to a boring, mundane rhythm.

    As for the miracle-word, why attack mysticism rather than look at the “song” itself as a whole?

  7. #7 Theo Bromine
    November 11, 2007

    CalderaGal:

    I don’t think using songs and rhyme as a teaching tool is the same thing as “stuffing kids into a box”, assuming that this is only one of the tools in the teaching toolkit. Many people, especially as kids, find it rhythm and melody to be excellent (and even enjoyable) memory aids. And I think that in any form of education which includes discussion of technical concepts can benefit from a tool that helps learners become familiar with standard terminology – kids can be more comfortable discussing photosynthesis with teachers or peers if they aren’t stumbling over the pronunciation of the word.

  8. #8 Theo Bromine
    November 11, 2007

    The words for the Moxy Fruvous photosynthesis song are here:
    http://fruvous.com/lyr-set7.html#photo (sorry, no video)

  9. #9 the real FMC
    November 11, 2007

    This is one case where I can point out that politically correct speech is absolutely necessary in some cases, as opposed to its monitoring.
    There is no small miracle in the bloody jesus people smuggling Christo-memes into the classrooms: it is un-intelligently designed propaganda that deliberately confuses kids.
    However, so much of our day to day lexicon has these memes built in from birth forward, and enforced by teachers and parents alike, as noted by Norbert Elias the “Civilizing Process”; a mechanism of the sociogenesis of the church, rather than the state, and in this case, an unadressed collusion of both .

Current ye@r *