Pharyngula

I want this guy at my parties

The sound quality is awful, but the sentiment comes through clearly: Tim Minchin describes a typical evening with a woo artist.

Comments

  1. #1 Cruithne
    December 28, 2008

    I now have the serious manlove for Tim Minchin.

  2. #2 Sven DiMilo
    December 28, 2008

    Clenched. Fist. Salute.

  3. #3 defectiverobot
    December 28, 2008

    Thank dog for Tim Minchin, because if it was left up to me and my phenomenal debating skills, I’d end up converting the most hardcore atheist into a Scientologist or something. However, if I listen to and read more stuff like this, perhaps there’s a chance for me…

  4. #4 spam spam bacon spam
    December 28, 2008

    Awesome.

    I watched a few other videos of him, as well.

    All excellent.

  5. #5 ElJay
    December 28, 2008

    Hell Yeah!

  6. #6 Simon
    December 28, 2008

    That’s the first time I heard him do poetry….
    I can’t wait to see him in June, when he comes (back) to Perth.
    What surprised me the most in the documentary about him, ‘Rock Nerd’, was the early footage of him before he made it big and before he chose his look. A quick google images search reveals no pictures of this… so you’ll have to see the doco to know what I’m talking about.

  7. #7 Simon
    December 28, 2008

    I take that back…. the early photos from the documentary are near the bottom of this page: http://www.rocknrollnerd.com/photos/

  8. #8 Andrés Diplotti
    December 28, 2008

    “Because throughout history, every mystery ever solved has turned out to be not magic.”

    That’s great.

  9. #9 hubris hurts
    December 28, 2008

    Absolutely wonderful. Funny and profound. PZ – thank you for sharing this with us.

  10. #10 ggab
    December 28, 2008

    I got hip to this guy a few months ago from a post on Richard Dawkins’ site.
    I was immediately obsessed.
    Still waiting for a dvd release that will run in the US.
    Damn region coding.

  11. #11 David
    December 28, 2008

    bang on.

  12. #12 freelunch
    December 28, 2008

    Thanks PZ and thanks Tim for that hilarious story about woo.

  13. #13 Frederik Rosenkjær
    December 28, 2008

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this guy, but this was nothing shy of FANTASTIC! True, funny and beautiful!

    Certainly the winner of the Internets for December 2008…

  14. #14 David Wiener
    December 28, 2008

    There are many woo-mongers in my family and in-laws family, and over the years I have had to bite my tongue to preserve the peace, because there is always much un-happiness when I question the reality of their beliefs. I have received the wife-look, the mom-look, etc. etc., and usually comply. Usually. But it is f-ing fun when I don’t comply. Ho hum.

  15. #15 havoc
    December 28, 2008

    “What are we, fucking two? Do we actually believe that Horton heard a Who?”

    Haha… quite enjoyable.

  16. #16 co
    December 28, 2008

    Like the first poster, serious mancrush. I just found out about Tim a few weeks ago, from an old episode of “Nevermind the Buzzcocks” on YouTube, and looked him up. Absolutely brilliant, and spot-on with his diatribe here.

    Does it remind anyone here of Randy’s little dinner-debate in Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon?

  17. #17 Bridget Mermikides
    December 28, 2008

    Thank you so much for posting this video here… my husband painstakingly made it last night. Glad you love it as we do, sorry there is no visual, we were at the performance which was utterly stunning!

  18. #18 Emmet Caulfield
    December 28, 2008

    Superb!

    Reminds me a bit of Taylor Mali: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxsOVK4syxU

  19. #19 Evolving Squid
    December 28, 2008

    Awesome

  20. #20 Crudely Wrott
    December 28, 2008

    What a great line!

    “Because throughout history, every mystery ever solved has turned out to be . . . not magic.”

    Short, punchy and without apparent exception.

    I’m going to put it to good use. Oh, yes.

  21. #21 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 28, 2008

    Awesome.

    I have a few people this would be perfect for.

    They won’t watch it of course.

  22. #22 Big Mike
    December 28, 2008

    Great! Looking up more on him now. The quote I took away, wondering if this comes from somewhere else?
    “science adjust its views based on what’s observed. faith is the denial of observation, so that belief can be preserved.”

  23. #23 Cruithne
    December 28, 2008

    Bridget.

    Say thank you to your husband from me, his work is appreciated.

  24. #24 Allen N
    December 28, 2008

    Abso-fuckin-lutely great!

  25. #25 Milt
    December 28, 2008

    Dear all,

    Glad everyone’s enjoying this!
    It took all yesterday to make, but a day well spent it seems.
    The recording’s with an iphone so low quality, but the lyrics I felt were too good not to share.
    Looking forward to his London gig on Jan 16th!!

    This is what the world needs – more brilliantly witty, articulate, creative and rational people!

    I’m a leukaemia and bone marrow transplant survivor, and the ‘twice as long’ , ‘medicine’ and ‘just this’ sections are so eminently satisfying and moving to me, that I confess I cried hearing them.

  26. #26 Nick Gotts
    December 28, 2008

    Great stuff. His name was only vaguely familiar – I’ll be looking out for him from now on.

  27. #27 Anon
    December 28, 2008

    Skeptic TANK vodcast interview with Tim Minchin (2008):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fABcXf_j4vw

  28. #28 protocol
    December 28, 2008

    Absolutely great….except for that part about pharmaceutical companies (I have a major problem with the profit motive when it comes to medicine).

  29. #29 H.H.
    December 28, 2008

    “If you must watch telly,
    you should watch Scooby-Doo.
    That show was so cool!
    Because every time there was a church with a ghoul,
    or a ghost in a school,
    They looked beneath the mask.
    and what was inside?
    The fucking janitor or the dude who ran the water slide!”

    Absolutely great stuff. Funny and dead on. I wish I could have attended Godless Christmas special. Sounds like it was a blast.

  30. #30 Sven DiMilo
    December 28, 2008

    Thanks very much, Milt. Your efforts are greatly appreciated today.

  31. #31 Mike
    December 28, 2008

    Marvelous. Sadly the people who need it wont heed hit.

  32. #32 Samwise
    December 28, 2008

    Oh wow. That was just fantastic. Powerful and entertaining; I want to print it out and hand it to woo-flingers who cross my path.

  33. #33 Gib
    December 28, 2008

    Thanks for uploading. I was there that night, and seem to remember the signs which said “no recording instruments allowed”…. I recorded it too though :) Your recording isn’t great, but better than mine.

    I’ll see you guys at his gig on the 16th Jan.
    He’s wicked. And from my home town :)

  34. #34 spyderkl
    December 28, 2008

    That was terrific! I’ve got to confess, that’s the first I’d heard of Tim Minchim. Can’t wait to have a couple of hours to look up some of his other stuff now.

    Heh…hubs and I’ve both given each other “the eye” at various family gatherings of some sort, usually happening over the holidays. Sometimes it’s not so bad to have certain family members 2000 miles away.

  35. #35 moneduloides
    December 28, 2008

    Loved it.

  36. #36 spyderkl
    December 28, 2008

    Minchin, dammit! Gahhh…tried to fix it, too.

  37. #37 'Tis Himself
    December 28, 2008

    Excellent. Thank you, Tim and Bridget’s husband.

  38. #38 freelunch
    December 28, 2008

    Absolutely great….except for that part about pharmaceutical companies (I have a major problem with the profit motive when it comes to medicine).

    That is a very legitimate concern, but these pharmaceutical companies, greedy as they are, actually use science (and legal and regulatory manipulation) to make their money. The ethical drug companies don’t sell woo, though they may have affiliates who sell such nonsense.

  39. #39 rufustfirefly
    December 28, 2008

    Heard of him, but that’s the first I’ve heard him peform, and I am hooked. He’s great.

  40. #40 Cactus Wren
    December 28, 2008

    That

    was

    ART.

  41. #41 K.Greybe
    December 28, 2008

    Just for the kudos, I was there for the gig in question; the whole night was awesome. Tim was the last act on and really punctuated the whole night brilliantly. He has another gig in London on January 16 that a friend and I will probably be going to.

  42. #42 Rheinhard
    December 28, 2008

    One small turd in the punchbowl wrt Scooby Doo: while Minchin’s analysis of classic ‘Doo is basically spot on, I have been dismayed to find that the snippets I have seen of recent Scooby Doo movies on Cartoon Network the last few years seem to have the mummy or the space alien actually be real! Seems like Scooby Doo’s writers have succumbed to Storm-like thinking.

  43. #43 Doubting Foo
    December 28, 2008

    Thanks, I needed that pick-me-up…

  44. #44 inkadu
    December 28, 2008

    That’s was brilliant.

    Especially, “Do you know what alternative medicine that works is called? Medicine,” followed up with his willow bark extract of aspirin. Genius.

    And, yes, modern Scooby Doo is no longer the domain of the skeptics, sadly.

  45. #45 Dust
    December 28, 2008

    “science adjust its views based on what’s observed. faith is the denial of observation, so that belief can be preserved.” Agree with you there Big Mike, this quote is great.

    A shout out to rufustfirefly—I remember that name from the old Smirking Chimp boards (Chimp 1.0) Those were the days, your handle brings back memories.

    Which memories, thanks to science, I can enjoy for twice as long…………….

  46. #46 Quidam
    December 28, 2008

    He has clips in his website you can download
    http://www.timminchin.com/media for free.

    Or you could always grab the torrent http://torrents.thepiratebay.org/3902501/Tim.Minchin.So.Live.2007.DVDRiP.XViD-WPi.3902501.TPB.torrent
    and either buy the dvd in Europe zone or send the guy some money.

  47. #47 John C. Randolph
    December 28, 2008

    Classic.

    Hope he records it with a decent mic sometime.

    -jcr

  48. #48 Dan L.
    December 28, 2008

    #42:

    Yes, there have been several Scooby Doo series that use actual ghosts. The one with just Scooby, Scrappy, and Shaggy (new adventures?) had ghosts, as did “The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo.” In fact, only the original 1970′s version had a refreshingly skeptical outlook, at least to my knowledge.

    A shame really.

  49. #49 6EQUJ5
    December 28, 2008

    Most poetry blows. This guy soars. He had to allow for his audience cheering.

  50. #50 John C. Randolph
    December 28, 2008

    I have a major problem with the profit motive when it comes to medicine

    Feel free to reject it if you wish. Without those greedy doctors and pharma companies fleecing you, I’m sure you’ll live a far happier life, all forty years of it or so.

    -jcr

  51. #51 brokensoldier, OM
    December 28, 2008

    That was absolutely freakin’ perfect!

    Clenched. Fist. Salute.

    Make that two.

  52. #52 Jadehawk
    December 28, 2008

    “Because throughout history, every mystery ever solved has turned out to be not magic.”

    I’m stealing that.

  53. #53 blue
    December 28, 2008

    [standing ovation]

  54. #54 ggab
    December 28, 2008

    For those who hadn’t seen Tim do poetry before.
    This is amazing.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zA4sLyHp4Fw

  55. #55 Jadehawk
    December 28, 2008

    JCR, stop polluting all our threads with libertarianism, ffs

  56. #56 bernarda
    December 28, 2008

    This was funny and strangely moving at the same time.

  57. #57 ihedenius
    December 28, 2008

    ok, that was pretty good

  58. #58 E.V.
    December 28, 2008

    The ultimate non-explanation: knowledge is unknowable. I know a few people who espouse this notion, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out how their heads haven’t imploded.

  59. #59 Sven DiMilo
    December 28, 2008

    The ethical drug companies don’t sell woo

    The government-regulated drug companies don’t sell (much) woo.

    ggab (#54), thanks–excellent link. This guy’s for real (as a pianist, too).

  60. #60 Sastra
    December 28, 2008

    This was brilliant.

    The ‘philosophy’ (and I use the term loosely) espoused by Storm is basically where I “come from.” It’s also what I frequently encounter in personal life. Not religious, but spiritual, and open to many kinds of truth and mystery. Anything is possible. Blah, blah, blah.

    Thinking my way out of this bs mindtrap also brought me away from more traditional religions. They’re making the same arguments. They’re pushing the same rationalizations. They’re appealing to the same intuitions and emotions. The details differ, is all.

    Otherwise, the same — right down to the condescending pity for those who don’t see how very different they are from the religious/spiritual folks on the other side.

  61. #61 brokensoldier, OM
    December 28, 2008

    Sastra:

    Thinking my way out of this bs mindtrap also brought me away from more traditional religions. They’re making the same arguments. They’re pushing the same rationalizations. They’re appealing to the same intuitions and emotions. The details differ, is all.

    IMO, the only difference between many of the claims that new age medicine makes and many religious claims is the millenia-long history of ignorant submission to authority that religion has enjoyed. Take that away from religion, and the two are equally and demonstrably ridiculous.

  62. #62 Bronze Dog
    December 28, 2008

    Simply awesome.

  63. #63 Cruithne
    December 28, 2008

    How dare the writers of Scooby Doo introduce supernatural elements into the programme. Don’t they realise that their show based around the adventures of a talking dog has just lost all credibility?

  64. #64 Science Goddess
    December 28, 2008

    Hi Milt: 20 year liver transplant survivor here.

    SG

  65. #65 Kevin
    December 28, 2008

    help!

    vote against the angels!

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28365548/

  66. #66 Rey Fox
    December 28, 2008

    “Seems like Scooby Doo’s writers have succumbed to Storm-like thinking.”

    Or else they just needed some relatively fresh ideas. When you’re trying to revive a show for the kids of today, and you have Wayne’s World and every other TV show repeating the “if it weren’t for those meddling kids” line, you might think it necessary to put in some actual spooks to keep the kids’ attention.

  67. #67 Coyote
    December 28, 2008

    COYOTE: The wily, tricky, sneaky, pesky, cheaty God of the Wild West. He’s the ubiquitous Trickster God and Cultural Hero of Native American mythology, the original Marx Brother and thorn in RAVEN’s side.

    Responsible for many things, including the Milky Way
    and the diversity of mankind. There are more stories about him than stars in the sky. He ought to have his own website.

    For example, did you hear the one about the Spying Moon? It seems that someone had pinched the moon, and COYOTE offered to stand in as replacement. Everyone agreed that he made a fine moon, but from his elevated position COYOTE could see everything that was going on.

    Being of an irritating disposition, he couldn’t resist blowing the whistle on friends and enemies alike. “Hey, look what BADGER is doing behind his tepee!” Pretty soon everyone was sick of his snooping and voted him out of the sky.

    But nothing can keep COYOTE down for long. Being a boastful old show-off, he loves to impress the girls by juggling his eyeballs. One day he threw one so high it got stuck in the sky and became the star Arcturus. So even now he’s keeping an eye on us all.

  68. #68 Douglas Berry
    December 28, 2008

    Hey Milt, 13 year Hodgkins Lymphoma survivor. Lots of science and very little woo got me to this point.

  69. #69 Joel
    December 28, 2008

    Very good.

  70. #70 Steven Dunlap
    December 28, 2008

    Re: “big pharma” and its discontents

    The profit motive for Pharma companies is one of those good new/bad news sort of deals. The good news is that they have an incentive to develop medications. The bad news is that they have an incentive to develop medications for people with money. How many have seen TV commercials hawking remedies for “restless leg syndrome?” (He’s a remedy, to paraphrase the band Park Life: “Lay off the pork-pies, mate, and get a little exercise!”) The pharma companies also do not have much incentive to develop medications for rare diseases. Someone fabu rich has to come down with something (or have a spouse or child with it) before research for cures will receive much funding. I understand allocation of resources and greatest good for the greatest number and all that but reconcile those considerations with “restless leg syndrome” and such like.

    The profit motive also leads to phrama research ignoring or opposing the approval of naturally derived medicines. For years I have read about the “Brazilian rain forest pharmacopeia.” But if any plant derived medicine does pass the GAAS test (“Generally Accepted as Safe,” like aspirin, for instance) then no one can patent it and therefore it fails to generate enough profit to motivate the companies. Does anyone know any medications currently on the market in the U.S. that are derived from plants in the Amazon basin? I’m curious.

    And remember how all pharma companies in the U.S. stopped making flu vaccine a few years ago because it was such a money loser? (They have since re-started, mostly for public relations, not the profit motive).

    The profit motive works, yes, but not like magic.

    BTW, that said, “Storm’s” jeremiad against big pharma I found simply childish and idiotic. There’s plenty of hard working and dedicated researchers working for pharmaceutical companies. It’s the structure of the industry and our current “rules of the game” that result in some bad along with the greater good.

  71. #71 John C. Randolph
    December 28, 2008

    Jadehawk,

    Don’t you just hate it when people don’t comply with your arbitrary demands?

    -jcr

  72. #72 John C. Randolph
    December 28, 2008

    The bad news is that they have an incentive to develop medications for people with money.

    Why is that bad news? People with money need medicine, too.

    The profit motive works, yes, but not like magic.

    It works like any other economic incentive. No magic needed.

    -jcr

  73. #73 Holly
    December 28, 2008

    Tim Minchin is rather brilliant. I had a brief chat with him after one of his recent gigs and, prompted by my t-shirt (from xkcd which reads, “SCIENCE. IT WORKS, BITCHES.”), he talked about writing this poem, Storm. The original version was over twenty minutes long because there’s so much woo to rant about, and he’s got such an arsenal of rationality and reason he wanted to squeeze into the poem.

    A lovely chap indeed. Look up some of his other stuff on youtube: Ten Foot Cock And A Few Hundred Virgins is good, and If I Didn’t Have You, which isn’t really a love song, it’s a song about maths. :D

  74. #74 Nick Gotts
    December 28, 2008

    The bad news is that they have an incentive to develop medications for people with money. – Stephen Dunlap

    I think an “only” was needed in there, between “they” and “have”. They also have an incentive to develop treatments that have to be taken for life, in preference to cures.

  75. #75 Feyn
    December 28, 2008

    I second Holly’s recommendation of Ten foot cock and a few hundred virgins. Simply brilliant.

  76. #76 protocol
    December 28, 2008

    Just wanted to clarify that I did not mean that I disagree with Tim Minchin’s general representation of the woo-spouting airhead’s criticism of pharmaceutical companies (and I quite agree with the poster above who pointed out that most of them make their money through legitimate applied science). I just disagree with the particular statement that he used which could be construed to mean that any criticism of the industry necessarily contains wooish sentiments (after all there is “good” criticism along with “nutty” ones). And no, industries are not consciously “evil” or “good”. I just happen to think that they follow certain institutional logics that can have really bad effects.
    And the less said about jcr’s implicit assumptions about human nature and human incentives (i.e. that scientific progress can take place only when–and only when– people are motivated by profit; he has not talked to enough scientists and researchers)the better.

  77. #77 samuel black
    December 28, 2008

    “Because throughout history, every mystery ever solved has turned out to be not magic.”

    Great stuff, but we should recognize that the above is a tautology, because what we mean by “solved” is “shown to be not magic”.

    Every mystery ever shown to be not magic has turned out to be not magic

  78. #78 jeanette Garcia
    December 28, 2008

    PZ, Thank you so much for turning me on to this guy. Hubby and I listened to it 3 times in a row, laughing and nodding our heads. I must know more about him, Why is it that British entertainers have so much more depth to them than US entertainers? I am thinking of the Britney Spears interview I saw part of last night. Hey, and I have always loved Scooby Doo, as does my 30 year old son. We watch it together when he comes to visit.

  79. #79 shonny
    December 28, 2008

    Laughter seems the best way to kill superstition. Maybe the reason for the churches throughout times being so fucking gloomy?

  80. #80 Andrew
    December 28, 2008

    Why is it that British entertainers have so much more depth to them than US entertainers? I am thinking of the Britney Spears interview I saw part of last night.

    In all fairness, the difference would be far less stark if you put Spears against Kylie Minogue, to give an example. Minchin is tremendous, but he’s not the UK’s answer to Spears.

  81. #81 MattW
    December 28, 2008

    This is a recording from an event (extended due to popular demand) at London Hammersmith Apollo 21/12: “Nine Carols and Lessons for Godless People” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/comedy/3900416/Nine-Lessons-and-Carols-for-Godless-People—review.html). It was a fantastic event, and Tim Minchin’s beat poem finished it off nicely

  82. #82 co
    December 28, 2008

    Samuel Black: Agreed, and I noticed the tautology, too. Of course, what’s implied is that all of these mysteries have been solved, despite the woo-mongers’ habit of claiming them as divinity, or something “deeper”. Maybe Tim just needs to add a line.

  83. #83 Sam
    December 28, 2008

    Minchin is tremendous and he’s not from the UK. As the poem suggests, he’s Australian.

  84. #84 Peter
    December 28, 2008

    Why is it that British entertainers have so much more depth to them than US entertainers? I am thinking of the Britney Spears interview I saw part of last night.

    Tim is an Australian.

  85. #85 Mike
    December 28, 2008

    Andrew #80

    Replace UK/Britain with Australia (i.e he’s australian)

    Also listen to Kevin Bloody Wilson to disprove one of your hypotheses.

  86. #86 Feynmaniac
    December 28, 2008

    OT: Look what Laura Bush said about the shoe-throwing incident,

    “As bad as the incident is, in my view, it is a sign that Iraqis feel a lot more free to express themselves,” she said.

    “I know that if Saddam Hussein had been there the man wouldn’t have been released, and probably would’ve been executed,” she said of the Iraqi journalist, who was arrested following the Dec. 14 incident and has been in custody since.

  87. #87 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 28, 2008

    Why is it that British entertainers have so much more depth to them than US entertainers? I am thinking of the Britney Spears interview I saw part of last night.

    oh yawn.

    yes Britney spears is the only product he have. How about genre vs. geography. Pop stars are are pop stars. They;re not stars because of their depth.

    What a horrible comparison.

  88. #88 Citizen Z
    December 28, 2008

    Why is it that British entertainers have so much more depth to them than US entertainers? I am thinking of the Britney Spears interview I saw part of last night.

    They can’t all be MENSA members like Jordan. You should hear her when she gets together with Posh and Becks. It’s a regular Algonquin Round Table.

  89. #89 Wowbagger
    December 28, 2008

    76 days.

    That’s how long ’til I get to see him here in Adelaide. It’s going to be sweet.

    “We don’t eat pigs.

    You don’t eat pigs.

    Why not…not eat pigs together?”

  90. #90 Andrew
    December 28, 2008

    Replace UK/Britain with Australia (i.e he’s australian)

    Come to think of it, isn’t Minogue actually Australian herself? I may have accidentally corrected myself.

  91. #91 Wowbagger
    December 28, 2008

    Come to think of it, isn’t Minogue actually Australian herself? I may have accidentally corrected myself.

    Yes, she is. Lots of famous Australians were born elsewhere and lived here (Mel Gibson, Russel Crowe, Nicole Kidman, Guy Pearce; I think Cate Blanchett as well) but Kylie Minogue was born here, as was Hugh Jackman, Geoffrey Rush and the late Heath Ledger.

    All you UK people can take some solace in knowing we also produced ‘Mr’ Jordan, Peter Andre…

  92. #92 Quine
    December 28, 2008

    He does a nice job of showing that magic goes away when the trick becomes known. So, what is the basis of magic? …. Not knowing.

    And the magic of faith? … Not knowing, and working hard to keep it that way.

  93. #93 Moggie
    December 28, 2008

    #28:

    Absolutely great….except for that part about pharmaceutical companies (I have a major problem with the profit motive when it comes to medicine).

    Presumably you include the manufacturers of “alternative” “medicine”, since they’re certainly not in business out of altruism. That’s a surprising blind spot for the woo crowd: to hear them carry on, you’d think that homeopathic pills and the like are all lovingly hand-crafted by wise old grandmothers at the kitchen table and sold at cost.

  94. #94 Milt
    December 28, 2008

    Hey Science Goddess and Douglas Berry,

    Glad you are well -
    Thank Science we’re here!

    Milt

  95. #95 Dagor
    December 28, 2008

    I actually liked it a lot.
    It somehow gives you a different perspective then Dawkins or related speakers. Very interesting. I will listen to it again, when i am sober.

  96. #96 MTran
    December 28, 2008

    #70

    If you think “restless legs syndrome” is funny or trivial, you don’t know shit about the condition. Just because a disease or medical condition has a “funny” sounding name does not mean that the condition is funny or inconsequential. And it’s a lot more common than you might expect.

    Those who have complained about its symptoms have been ridiculed by people such as yourself and are understandably reluctant to talk about it in public. You are hearing about it now because there is finally something that can be done about it.

    The condition started getting serious attention when numerous patients who were on prescription meds for mood disorders such as depression developed the condition. It is a simple matter to stop taking the offending medications or switch to a different medication altogether.

    But that clustering of symptoms among a wide swath of patients helped researchers better understand the underlying mechanisms of the condition and led to treatments for those who suffer from it in the absence of a causative pharmaceutical agent.

    Stop getting your medical advice from South Park.

    (Just for the record, I do not have this condition.)

  97. #97 Muzz
    December 28, 2008

    All you UK people can take some solace in knowing we also produced ‘Mr’ Jordan, Peter Andre…

    The UK taking that bullet for us is a dept we shall never fully repay.

    I’m familiar with Mr Minchin’s work but I haven’t heard this and damn funny it was too. I’d like to hear about the “fallout” though.

  98. #98 J S Day
    December 28, 2008

    There’s quite a difference between Ms. Spears, who is very well equipped to help restore the population of the world after some cataclysmic event (she’s a superstar in that respect), and a quick witted entertainer. Honestly, I can’t think of any situation that I would be in with Ms. Spears where I would not lie to her and tell her she was the most gifted performer on the planet. So very off topic…

    This guy is great, PZ. Thanx. There is just one thing. I know this is just Minchin’s act, but a number of alternative medicines have been proven to be great accepted medicines. It was all an alternative to something at one time or another. ["I'll be having chemo as an alternative medicine. Yeah, it's an alternative to death."]

  99. #99 Andy
    December 28, 2008

    Tim Minchin – If You Open Your Mind Too Much…

    If anybody can show me empirically, or give me reason to believe, in homeopathy, god etc… I will give you my piano, one of my legs, and my wife. Tim’s DVDs are great, well worth it.

  100. #100 'Tis Himself
    December 28, 2008

    Quine #92

    He does a nice job of showing that magic goes away when the trick becomes known. So, what is the basis of magic? …. Not knowing.

    And the magic of faith? … Not knowing, and working hard to keep it that way.

    I read this and immediately thought of Arthur Clarke’s Third Law:

    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

    The complexity of science renders more and more of our everyday technology “magical” in the eyes of the general public. How many among us can explain how a telephone works? Or a cell phone? Copier? Computer? There’s a lot of stuff that we accept as not magic, even as we don’t personally understand how it works. This leaves us vulnerable to the following argument perpetrated by the proponents of various types of woo:

    Anything that looks like magic (i.e., cannot be explained by contemporary science) must be too advanced for us to understand.

    “I’m not sure how it works, but I know it does,” could be the response of a non-techie trying to explain a cell phone to a young child. The only saving grace is the existence of people who do understand the technology.

  101. #101 Sir Craig
    December 28, 2008

    Until now I had never been a fan of beat poetry, although perhaps my lack of exposure to it might be a significant contributor. Whenever I thought of beat poetry I pictured black clothed nihilists wearing cats eye shades, sitting in a dark room made smoky by impossibly long cigarettes held in holders resting listlessly in disdainful fingers, all while listening to David Sanborn playing some disjointed tune on his sax and thinking to themselves, “This guy gets it.”

    So I was wrong – Tim Minchin totally rocked.

  102. #102 uncle frogy
    December 28, 2008

    sorry to expose my inner technician but though I did with the help of the pause button get the whole thing that was an awful recording must have been from cellphone or some other similar low quality device out in the audience, would have been just as good without the audio entirely. It had a Garrison Keeler quality that I liked very much.
    I have been in similar situations but I have never handled them so beautifully.

  103. #103 milt
    December 28, 2008

    @uncle frogy Yup, IPhone recording from audience, hence the low audio quality, hopefully the onscreen text aided intelligibility.

  104. #104 Ramases
    December 28, 2008

    Loved it!

    Not sure about his attempt to imitate (or perhaps take off) an Australian accent though.

    Do we really sound like that to the rest of you?

  105. #105 Eliza
    December 28, 2008

    I love Tim! I saw him a few weeks ago on Enough Rope, his song ‘Drinking white wine in the sun’ made me cry

  106. #106 Milt
    December 28, 2008

    @Ramases

    uh-oh!

    Tim Minchin IS an aussie…

  107. #107 Kylie Sturgess
    December 28, 2008

    Hey, thanks to ‘Anon’ for linking to my TANK vodcast interview with him. :) We also hope to catch up with him again when he tours Australia, for the Skeptic Zone podcast. :)

  108. #108 Nerd of Redhead
    December 28, 2008

    The pharma companies also do not have much incentive to develop medications for rare diseases.

    The FDA and the US patent office allow for “orphan drug” status, where a rare disease has no known (or very few) treatment options, so that the patent protections elongated if a drug proves efficacious. This allows the drug manufacturer patent protection based upon usage (which is much lesser than composition of matter or process patents) for rare diseases. For example, this allowed thalidomide to be used for Hansen’s disease (leprosy) and later a leukemia. So for the period of the patent, the supplier (usually clinical studies sponsor) of the drug is the only company able to sell that drug for that indication. Since that is a long period of time, there is some incentive to bring a drug to market that may show other activity against other indications. Since once a drug is on the market, any doctor may prescribe it for any indication.

  109. #109 Cath the Canberra Cook
    December 28, 2008

    Ahem. I have one short sentence for you all:

    I GOT TIM MINCHIN TICKETS FOR XMAS!!11!eleventy1!11!

    My bloke is so fuckin’ rock.

  110. #110 ggab
    December 28, 2008

    Ramases
    That was freaking brilliant.
    Best laugh of the thread.
    Perhaps it’s a regional thing (I believe he’s from Perth, if that makes a difference), or the poor quality of the recording, but that was gold.

  111. #111 Brian's A Wild Downer
    December 28, 2008

    I NEED a decent quality MP3 of that.

  112. #112 Kylie Sturgess
    December 28, 2008

    Regional? Hey, I’m from Perth – on a podcast… I’d suggest it’s the quality of the recording! ;)

    I do know that you’ll hear ‘Storm’ during his tour and it’ll be on his next CD.

  113. #113 Thomas C
    December 28, 2008

    “Because throughout history, every mystery ever solved has turned out to be not magic.”

    Great stuff, but we should recognize that the above is a tautology, because what we mean by “solved” is “shown to be not magic”.

    Every mystery ever shown to be not magic has turned out to be not magic

    I think you’re ignoring the definition of magic as understood by most people: supernatural intervention, instantaneous transformation or action at a distance.

    No suitably rigorous and repeatable test has ever come to the conclusion: a supernatural entity did it.

    Neither has any properly conducted investigation into an observable phenomenon come to the result: the transformation occurred instantly (even quantum entanglement is constrained by the speed of light.)

    Action at a distance (assuming we’re not referring to radiation or other observable natural causes) has never had a positive proof of any kind.

      Also, in response to the “why are all the (artists from country I don’t live in so much better?” questions: I believe that the Import Filter is in full effect here. Australia has plenty of mediocre comedians, singers, and actors. Only the very best of them get the luxury of succeeding abroad.

    A good example is the complete dominance of Aussie TV by US dramas and sitcoms; most of them are quite good… until you turn on the TV at 1:00am. It soon becomes clear that the ratio of good to crap is about the same everywhere in the world, only the best foreign films, actors, songs, etc. reach the shores of your homeland.

  114. #114 Vadjong
    December 28, 2008

    #93 Moggie

    Imagine the good that could have been done with some of the gullible money wasted on the woo industry!

  115. #115 AdamK
    December 28, 2008

    I used to believe in the existence of Australians, but after this thread, I’m beginning to have some doubts.

  116. #116 Steven Dunlap
    December 28, 2008

    Re: #74 Nick Gotts’ correction:

    The bad news is that they have an incentive to develop medications for people with money. – Stev[ph]en Dunlap

    I think an “only” was needed in there, between “they” and “have”. They also have an incentive to develop treatments that have to be taken for life, in preference to cures.

    Yes, thank you. Although in the re-writing I should have done I would put “mostly” instead of “only.”

    Also, nice catch on the distinction between cure and lifelong treatment. I forgot about that one.

    Re: #96 Restless leg syndrome
    I’m willing to admit that what I know about this comes from the television advertisements. As it afflicts people with real discomfort I would wish to exclude them from the comment I made. That said, a person who truly has a problem does not need a television ad to tell them that they have a serious problem. I’d like to see more money on R&D (or lower prices) than advertising. I had no intent to malign or belittle anyone with a painful condition.

    Re: #106 and prolonged patents
    Thanks for this. I should be more aware of such distinctions. That said, I do, from time to time, continue to see pleas for funding for R&D on rare diseases which do not (at least according to the funding plea) have sufficient funding. Perhaps this is a con? (I ask not sarcastically).

  117. #117 Sven
    December 28, 2008

    @AdamK: Hahaha… nice. We’ve just let the cat out of the bag… it’s all just an orchestrated accent we all agreed on to help us get away with being drunk in public outside of Oz… looks like a few here on this thread forgot to go to the last meeting…

    @Ramases: I’d say that Tim’s way to distinguish the voice of “Storm” is to pretty much drip it in as much Aussie as possible – Kath & Kim style…

  118. #118 Scott from Oregon
    December 28, 2008

    Oz has indeed produced a few comedic linguists over the years. Kevin Bloody Wilson… and of course Rodney–

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihk9-lO5cQc

    As for the “libertarian” slamming…

    Which of these two statements is MORE true?

    “Capitalism and the pursuit of profits has produced the greatest amount of medical breakthroughs…”

    “Socialism and state controlled medical research has produced the greatest amount of medical breakthroughs…”

    While nothing in politics is emperically black or white,it is plainly obvious which “system” produces (invents) the greatest amount of life-saving products.

  119. #119 Grace Conyers
    December 28, 2008

    I feel like memorising that for a random monologue. It would make for a great drama reading.

  120. #120 Cruithne
    December 28, 2008

    While nothing in politics is emperically black or white,it is plainly obvious which “system” produces (invents) the greatest amount of life-saving products.

    It’s also pretty clear which system excludes people from accessing aid when they need it. Unlike other fields dominated by the capitalist ethos I do not accept the argument that medical advances would wither and die without the competetive model. There’s more than enough willingness to research for the sake of research, by people who have a thirst for knowledge and want to advance medicine for the sake of advancing medicine.

  121. #121 JJR
    December 29, 2008

    Re: Big Pharma side discussion; Leaving aside a direct discussion of profit motive, the comparative percentages of monies spent on R&D (small) versus Advertising and Promotions (f*cking huge) is so completely out of whack it’s sickening. They should be completely the reverse of what they currently are.

    UK regulation is much better than US when it comes to drug advertising and marketing.

    What’s better, a purely for-profit system where only the wealthy have decent insurance cover and the poor have to wait until their conditions become chronic and go to an ER because they can’t afford preventative care, or a (gasp) National health plan that includes the whole population in the insurance risk pool, and that encourages preventive care by making it an economically viable option for all.

    Otherwise I enjoyed Tim’s poetic performance, and his woo interlocutor’s criticism of big pharma is superficial and I really liked Tim’s rants about the “alternatives”.

  122. #122 samuel black
    December 29, 2008

    >>>”Because throughout history, every mystery ever solved has turned out to be not magic.”
    >>Great stuff, but we should recognize that the above is a tautology, because what we mean by “solved” is “shown to be not magic”.

    >No suitably rigorous and repeatable test has ever come to the conclusion: a supernatural entity did it.

    Nor could it. Supernatural (magic) means not explainable by science (nature). If an explanation for a phenomenon is found, the explanation becomes part of science (nature), and then the phenomenon is not supernatural.

    Unexplained phenomena (mysteries) are supernatural to some, but just unexplained to others. Although, toast falling jam-side down? That could be magic.

    >(even quantum entanglement is constrained by the speed of light.)

    …beside the point, but quantum entanglement itself is not constrained by the speed of light, although it cannot be used to transfer classical information faster than the speed of light.

  123. #123 Nan McIntyre
    December 29, 2008

    Minchin comes out of a family, and a tradition, which boasts Western Australia’s living legend, Jim Fisher aka Calamity Jim of the Sensitive New Age Cowpersons. The tradition is of smart and extremely musical comic treatments of pop stuff, based on a deep experience of bluegrass. Not a paradox when you hear what the SNACs make of ABBA and U2 and ACDC. Their treatment of Sound of Music is up there with Coltrane’s Favourite Things. Not a word of a lie.

    Get your ears around their cd “Strange on the Range”, which I believe is still in print. Their pastiche national anthem still stirs every Australian to tearful laughter.

    After you’ve caught up with the exceedingly gifted Minchin, of course.

    And I fancy that Minchin’s point is that although no arguments ever seem to get through to woo pitchers, jeez it’s a relief to throw a bit of sarcasm their way from time to time.

  124. #124 Andrew
    December 29, 2008

    “While nothing in politics is emperically black or white,it is plainly obvious which “system” produces (invents) the greatest amount of life-saving products.”

    It’s not to me, but then I don’t have the figures at hand re: which discoveries were produced by socialist organizations like the military, government-subsidized universities and research facilities, government funded hospitals, all of whose findings are distributed relatively freely via professional journals versus those discoveries which came exclusively from the dedicated heroes who remain untainted by exposure to public institutions and the “collectivist” knowledge they use to undermine and contaminate the pure and noble pursuit of corporate power and individual wealth.

    I have always wondered why, if the products these companies present to us like Promethean fire are such (demi) godsends, their advertising budgets are so large…

  125. #125 Longtime Lurker
    December 29, 2008

    I hope Mr Minchin put’s Storm’s number in the liner notes… she’d probably be great to visit at 3 A.M.

    John Edwards… that guy is the biggest fraud going, but he made a musician friend of mine quite a bit of money when his production company decided to use some pieces my friend composed as bumpers.

  126. #126 Jake
    December 29, 2008

    Tim was the headliner at my first stand up gig, had a chat with him and he’s a really really nice guy too.

    Haven’t read any of the other comments so can’t respond to those, but just like to say that he is indeed a great guy to hang around with, the limited amount of times that I have.

  127. #127 Mike
    December 29, 2008

    Got Viruses? Get Panda Internet Security 2009 for $20Apparently an end of year special thru 12/31/2008

    http://www.tinyurl.com/a3cyw6

  128. #128 toomanytribbles
    December 29, 2008

    this has been removed from youtube. does anybody have it anywhere? it’s brilliant.

  129. #129 Cronan
    December 29, 2008

    Youtube tells me that the author has removed it.

  130. #130 Thomas C
    December 29, 2008

    I’ll admit that I may be incorrect on the quantum entanglement front (a simple search resulted in metric tonnes of stuff that goes far above my head: lesson about trying to use anything more complicated than classical physics in an argument learned)

    However this is more to do with semantics:

    >No suitably rigorous and repeatable test has ever come to the conclusion: a supernatural entity did it.

    Nor could it. Supernatural (magic) means not explainable by science (nature). If an explanation for a phenomenon is found, the explanation becomes part of science (nature), and then the phenomenon is not supernatural.

    Unexplained phenomena (mysteries) are supernatural to some, but just unexplained to others. Although, toast falling jam-side down? That could be magic.

    I wasn’t as clear as I should’ve been, by supernatural entity I refer to ghosts, bigfoot, a literal God or other beings in that category. Huge numbers of people claim to have observed these entities, but every time an objective investigation has been conducted on a ghost haunting, piece of frozen bigfoot flank, or angel sighting the conclusion has been that other far more mundane things are at work (i.e. human greed and gullibility).

    You seem to be making the argument that magical simply means unexplained or unexplainable, the truth is that many believers in magic claim that it does things which are impossible yet observable. This doesn’t make their claims any less impossible, but it does mean we can debunk those claims.

    What I believe Tim Minchin is referring to when he says “not magic” is that there is often no explanation needed for things like ghost sightings and bigfoot steaks… because they aren’t real and never were. The phrase “every mystery” is, from the context of the Scooby Doo reference, intended to refer to criminal investigations not scientific inquiry. Criminal investigations tend to start with eyewitness reports or written statements which are not direct observations of the natural world.

    Magical or mystical events are completely different to unexplained phenomena in that most unexplained phenomena are real, whereas magical phenomena are simply lies from beginning to end.

  131. #131 elbuho
    December 29, 2008

    I still have the clip in my cache memory, but I can’t find a way to record it – Real Player used to have a ‘Download this video’ link appear every time I watched a video, but even though the option is enabled, it doesn’t want to. Anyone have any other tips how I can ‘save’ this video?

  132. #132 CosmicTeapot
    December 29, 2008

    Jadehawk @55

    You just had to mention the ‘l’ word, didn’t you! :(

  133. #133 elbuho
    December 29, 2008

    I downloaded a Firefox add-on (Magic’s Video Downloader) which looked like it could do the job. Unfortunately I had to restart Firefox, which removed the vid from the cache. Oh well.

  134. #134 Sigmund
    December 29, 2008

    “Which of these two statements is MORE true?
    “Capitalism and the pursuit of profits has produced the greatest amount of medical breakthroughs…”
    “Socialism and state controlled medical research has produced the greatest amount of medical breakthroughs…”
    Does anyone seriously think that private investors are producing most of the breakthroughs in medical research?
    In my experience it is state funding, such as provided by the NIH, that finances these breakthroughs and only then do private companies get involved.

  135. #135 Am I Evil?
    December 29, 2008

    Saw this live at the Bloomsbury on the original 9 Lessons gig – very, very good. There was a lot of good stuff that night – all 3 hours of it!

  136. #136 bezoar
    December 29, 2008

    videohaas been removed by user :-(.

  137. #137 javafrenzy
    December 29, 2008

    I guess the heavy exposure freaked him out? I got to it one day too late, as did bezoar.

  138. #138 Christopher
    December 29, 2008

    Ooh look:

    STORM by Tim Minchin, 2008.

    In a North London top floor flat,
    All white walls, white carpet, white cat.
    Rice paper partition, Modern art And Ambition

    The host’s a physician,
    Lovely bloke,
    Has his own practice,
    His girlfriend’s an actress -
    An old mate of ours from home,
    And they’re always great fun,
    So to dinner we’ve come -

    The fifth guest is an unknown,
    The hosts have just thrown us
    together for a favour.
    The girl’s just arrived from Australia,
    And she’s moved to North London,
    And she’s a sister of someone.
    Or has – some connection.

    As we make introductions,
    I’m struck by her beauty,
    She’s irrefutably fair,
    With dark eyes and dark hair.
    But as she sits, I admit:
    I’m a little bit wary,
    As I notice the tip,
    Of the wing of a fairy,
    Tattooed on that popular area,
    Just above the derrière,
    And when she says “I’m Sagittarius!”

    I confess, a pigeonhole starts to form,
    And is immediately filled with pigeon,
    When she says her name is *Storm*

    Conversation is initially bright and light-hearted,
    But it’s not long before Storm gets started.

    “You can’t know anything.
    Knowledge is merely opinion.”

    She opines over her Cabernet Sauvignon
    Vis-à-vis,
    Some unhappily empirical comment made by me.
    Not a good start I think,
    We’re only on pre-dinner drinks,
    And across the room my wife widens her eyes,
    Silently begging me “Be nice!”

    A matrimonial warning,
    Not worth ignoring.
    So,

    I resist the urge to ask Storm,
    Whether knowledge is so loose weave,
    Of a morning, when deciding whether to leave,
    Her apartment by the front door,
    Or the window on the second floor.

    The food is delicious,
    And Storm whilst avoiding all meat,
    Happily sits and eats,
    As the good doctor slightly pissedly holds court on some anachronistic aspect of medical history.

    When Storm suddenly insists:
    “But the human body is a mystery
    Science just falls in a hole
    When it tries to explain the nature of the soul.”

    My hostess throws me a glance,
    She, like my wife, knows there’s a chance,
    I’ll be off on one of my rare, but fun, rants.
    But I shan’t, My lips are sealed,
    I just want to enjoy the meal.

    And although Storm is starting to get my goat,
    I have no intention of rocking the boat,
    Although it’s becoming a bit of a wrestle,
    Because, like her meteorological namesake,
    Storm has no such concerns for our vessel.

    Pharmaceutical companies is an enemy,
    They promote drug dependency,
    At the cost of the natural remedies,
    That are all our bodies need,
    They’re immoral and driven by greed,
    Why take drugs when herbs can solve it?
    Why do chemicals when
    Homeopathic solvents can resolve it?
    I think it’s time we all return to live,
    With natural medical alternatives.

    And try as I like,
    A small crack appears in my diplomacy dyke.

    By definition, (I begin)
    Alternative medicine, (I continue)
    Is either not been proved to work,
    Or been proved, not to work.
    Do you know what they call
    ‘Alternative Medicine’
    That’s been proved to work?

    – Medicine

    So you don’t believe in any natural remedies?
    On the contrary, Storm, actually,
    Before we came to tea,
    I took a natural remedy,
    Derived from the bark of a willow tree.
    It’s a painkiller, virtually side-effect free.
    It’s got a, a weird name,
    Darling, what was it again?
    Maspirin?
    Baspirin? Oh, yeah -
    Aspirin!
    Which I paid about a buck for,
    Down at the local drugstore.

    The debate briefly abates,
    As my hosts collect plates.
    But as they return with dessert,
    Storm pertly asserts,
    Shakespeare said it first:
    There are more things in
    Heaven and Earth,
    Than exist in your philosophy
    Science is just how we’re trained, to look at reality,
    It doesn’t explain, Love or spirituality.
    How does Science explain
    Psychics, auras, the afterlife,
    The power of prayer?

    I’m becoming aware,
    That I’m staring,
    I’m like a rabbit suddenly trapped,
    In the blinding headlights of vacuous crap.
    Maybe it’s the Hamlet,
    She just misquothed,
    Or the fifth glass of wine I just quaffed.
    But my diplomacy dyke groans,
    And the arsehole held back by its stones.
    Could be held back no more.

    Look up, Storm, So I don’t need to bore ya,
    But there’s no such thing as an aura,
    Reading auras is like reading minds,
    Or tea leaves, or star-signs,
    Or meridian lines.
    These people aren’t plying a skill,
    They’re either lying, or mentally ill.
    Same goes for people who claim
    To hear God’s demands,
    Spiritual healers who think
    They’ve got magic hands.
    By the way, why do we think it’s okay,
    For people to pretend they can talk to the dead?
    Isn’t that totally fucked in the head?
    Lying to some crying woman whose child has died,
    And telling me you’re in touch with the other side?
    I think that’s fundamentally sick.
    Do I need to clairify here,
    That there’s no such thing as a psychic?

    What are we – fucking two?
    Do we actually think that
    Horton heard a Who?
    Do we still believe that Santa brings us gifts,
    That Michael Jackson didn’t have facelifts?
    Or are you still so stunned
    by circus tricks,
    That we think the dead would,
    Wanna talk to pricks like John Edward?

    Storm, to her credit,
    Despite my derision
    Keeps firing off cliches
    With startling precision
    Like a sniper using
    Bollocks for ammunition.

    You’re so sure of your position,
    But you’re just close-minded,
    I think you’ll find tat
    Your FAITH in science and tests,
    Is just as blind as the
    faith of any fundamentalists,

    Wow, that’s a good point,
    Let me think for a bit.
    Oh wait, my mistake,
    That’s absolute bullshit.
    Science adjusts its views
    Based on what’s observed.
    Faith is the denial of observation,
    so that belief can be preserved.

    If you show me that, say,
    Homeopathy works,
    I will change my mind,
    I will spin on a fucking dime.
    I’ll be as embarassed as hell,
    Yet I will run through the streets yelling,
    It’s a MIRACLE!
    Take pysics and bin it!
    Water has memory!
    And whilst its memory
    Of a long lost drop of onion juice is infinite,
    It somehow forgets all the poo it’s had in it.

    You show me that it works,
    And how it works,
    and when I’ve recovered,
    from the shock,
    I will take a compass and carve
    ‘Fancy That’,
    On the side of my cock.

    Everyone’s just staring now,
    But I’m pretty pissed and I’ve dug this far down.
    So I figure.. In for a penny, in for a pound!

    Life is full of mystery, yeah,
    but,
    there are answers out there.
    And they won’t be found,
    By people sitting around,
    Looking serious,
    And saying: Isn’t life mysterious,
    Let’s sit here and hope,
    Let’s call up the fucking Pope,
    Let’s go on Oprah,
    And Interview Deepak Chopra.

    If you must watch telly,
    you should watch Scooby-Doo,
    That show was so cool!
    Because every time
    There was a church with a ghoul,
    Or a ghost in a school,
    They looked beneath the mask.
    And what was inside?
    The fucking janitor,
    or the dude who ran the water slide!
    Because,
    throughout history,
    every mystery
    ever solved,
    Has turned out to be -
    Not Magic!

    Does the idea that
    there might be knowledge frighten you?
    Does the idea that
    one afternoon on Wiki-fucking-pedia
    Might enlighten you,
    Frighten you?
    Does the notion that there might not be a supernatural,
    so blow your hippy noodle,
    that you’d rather just stand in the fog of your
    Inability to google?

    Isn’t this enough?
    Just,
    this world?

    Just,
    Beautiful,
    Complex,
    Wonderfully Unfathomable,
    Natural World?

    How does it so fail to hold our attention
    That we have to diminish it
    with the invention
    of cheap man-made
    myths and monsters?
    If you’re so into your Shakespeare,
    Lend me your ear
    To gild refined gold,
    To paint the lily,
    To throw perfume on the violet,
    Is just fucking silly
    Or something like that.
    Or what about Satchmo?
    I see trees of green,
    Red roses too…

    And fine, if you wish to,
    Glorify Krishna and Vishnu,
    In a post-colonial,
    Condescending,
    Bottled-up-and-labeled
    kind of way,
    Whatever, That’s okay.

    But, here’s what gives me a hard-on,
    I’m a tiny, insignificant
    Ignorant bit of carbon.
    I have one life,
    And it is short and unimportant,
    But thanks to recent scientific advances…

    I get to live twice as long,
    As my great-great-great-great
    uncleses and auntses.

    Twice as long!
    To live this life of mine,
    Twice as long,
    To love this wife of mine.
    Twice as many years,
    Of friends, of wine,
    Of sharing curries and getting shitty,
    At good looking hippies,
    With fairies on their spines,
    And butterflies on their titties.

    And if perchance, I have offended,
    Think but this, and all is mended,

    We’d as well be ten minutes back in time
    For all the chance you’ll change your mind.

  139. #139 myfavoriteteacher
    December 29, 2008

    Let’s all go to Tim Minchin’s blog and ask him to re-post his clever poem. http://www.timminchin.com/blog

  140. #140 ihedenius
    December 29, 2008

    [blockquote]
    I still have the clip in my cache memory, but I can’t find a way to record it – Real Player used to have a ‘Download this video’ link appear every time I watched a video, but even though the option is enabled, it doesn’t want to. Anyone have any other tips how I can ‘save’ this video?
    [/blockquote]

    Don’t know what you mean by “Record it”. Copy it from the cache before it gets overwritten. No need to manipulate it, it’ll play in any player (media player classic, VLC eg) unedited as is.

  141. #141 Milt
    December 29, 2008

    Dear All,

    Apologies all for having to take down the video.
    Received an email from Tim Minchin, very politely asking me to take it down, as he would prefer not to have any of his new material public until after his Australian tour.
    Of course, I must respect his wishes.
    I guess we’ll all have to wait till then to enjoy Storm again – or catch one of his awesome live shows.
    The good news is the quality will be much improved and am sure it will make an enormous internet impact.

    Best,

    Milt

    PS. Incidentally the response was amazing, with ridiculous viewing stats so Tim has obviously tapped into an eager skeptical market – perhaps this is some cause for cautious optimism?

  142. #142 samuel black
    December 29, 2008

    >I wasn’t as clear as I should’ve been, by supernatural entity I refer to ghosts, bigfoot, a literal God or other beings in that category.

    This is getting circular, but if the existence of any of those entities were proven, they would have to be integrated into scientific theory, and would therefore be neither magic nor supernatural.

  143. #143 elbuho
    December 29, 2008

    Someone else has posted it on YouTube – I won’t post the link here out of respect for Tim, but it’s there if you want it.

  144. #144 Alllison Bown
    December 29, 2008

    What the heck is a “woo artist”?

  145. #145 Cruithne
    December 29, 2008

    Fair enough, I think Tim has earned enough respect that we comply with his wishes.

  146. #146 John C. Randolph
    December 29, 2008

    jcr’s implicit assumptions about human nature and human incentives (i.e. that scientific progress can take place only when–and only when– people are motivated by profit

    I have said nothing of the kind.

    Scientists are motivated primarily by curiosity. Profit results if the work they do in pursuit of their curiosity turns up discoveries that others find useful.

    -jcr

  147. #147 Scote
    December 29, 2008

    PS. Incidentally the response was amazing, with ridiculous viewing stats so Tim has obviously tapped into an eager skeptical market – perhaps this is some cause for cautious optimism?

    It was great piece. Too bad Tim decided to squelch the momentum by asking you to pull it. I’d never heard of Tim Minchin before this thread and people who come to it after the video was pulled still won’t have “heard” him. I think he may be reducing his market by having this vid pulled rather than increasing it.

  148. #148 Gib
    December 30, 2008

    There are already a few videos of Tim’s on youtube, which I think are quite good at increasing his market. This one video won’t make or break it, and it’s fair enough that he wants his material to still be fresh when performed live, so that not everyone in the audience has heard it before…

    Comedy is different to music like that…

  149. #149 Everbleed
    December 30, 2008

    Re: STORM by Tim Minchin, 2008

    I was too slow to see the video post. How lucky to have STORM published here.

    It is beautiful.

    I am going to send it to all my friends.

    Thank you Tim. Thank you Christopher.

  150. #150 Jon
    December 30, 2008

    Scientists are motivated primarily by curiosity.

    True.

    Profit results if the work they do in pursuit of their curiosity turns up discoveries that others find useful

    And winds up in other peoples’ pockets. And the scientist just needs one blind-ending investigation to be deemed no longer of value and lose out on funding.

    Face it: research — the very basis of the progress in modern medicine — is NOT, for the most part, fruit from the tree of capitalism.

  151. #151 Eric Jones
    January 11, 2009

    I wish he would make a good copy of it and sell it. I’d gladly pay for it if I can’t get it on Youtube. I was rather disappointed that it had been removed, but really I just want to hear it again one way or another.

  152. #152 Cafeeine
    January 28, 2009

    He just did. Started his own YT channel.

    Here’s the video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujUQn0HhGEk

  153. #153 hery
    January 25, 2010

    Everyone agreed that he made a fine moon, but from his elevated position coyote could see everything that was going on.

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