All posts for the month February, 2008

“Expelled” is a movie in the pipeline (due for release in April at the last count) that purports not so much to “debunk” evolution (or Darwinism as they refer to it, like any good Victorian might) in favour of ID / Creationism, but to claim a mass institutional conspiracy preventing debate on alternatives, not just to evolution, but to fundamentals of science generally. It’ll be lizards in the board-rooms next.

Thanks to P Z Myers at Pharyngula for the link to Roger Moore’s piece, on previewing the film, under conditions where the makers intended it to be seen only by supporters. (The review piece includes a YouTube link to the film’s trailer.)

[Post Note – I notice these guys are paying serious attention to publicity – they get top billing in the sponsored Google side-bar, when any evolution / origins keywords are on the page.]

The film is such an obvious piece of conspiracy theory propaganda, that it is very easy for the reviewer (and the commenters) to rubbish it, on so many levels beyond the content itself. It is a good review, and as an atheist I side with the scientific view, but as you know my agenda is to temper the “hyper-rationalism” of science as a “culture” to knee-jerk its response in dogmatic certainty in the name of science.

Intellectual honesty demands that science recognise the limits to what can be known scientifically, at its own boundaries and it’s own foundations in epistemology and the philosophy of science, however much it screams the empirical evidence mantra, back at faith-based believers. I made my comment on the original post.

You probably know my view on conspiracy theories generally – most are in the minds of the beholder – but you could be forgiven for seeing the scientific response as just the kind of conspiracy that Expelled claims to be exposing.

Reminds me of so many threads on Ben Goldacre’s “Bad Science” Blog, where the assembled masses end up baying for blood like any neurotic lynch mob. Again,  a good blog exposing good valid stories, but if science doesn’t wake up it will find it has shot itself in the foot whilst it nodded off.

It’s also exactly the kind of thing that happened within “Friends of Wisdom” – a forum of those in science and education looking to promote the philosophy of science ideas of Nick Maxwell – when any member openly suggested doubts or value-based philosophical extensions to the basic empiricism of science, the poor dears were run out of town (despite the fact those ideas are explicit in Nick’s work.)

Methinks science doth protest too much. Something I said about Dawkins, long before the recent upturn in science vs god debates.

[Post Note – I see in the very brief “Expelled” ads being broadcast on Fox TV (~12th April ?) – the language is “evolution” rather than the pretense at the “Darwinism” target, and apart from a worried looking shot of Dawkins, the memorable line, in response to a crusty, dusty old “evolution” lecturer the question asked is “Yes, but how did life originate.” – as if somehow that was some killer question. Doh ! The disgusting rhetoric continues. This one may run and run.]

Interesting, if light-hearted Beeb magazine article here from Valentine’s Day. Some good anecdotal examples of a well worn adage – decision rationality is action irrationality (and vice-versa).

Aside – “There’s no-one so easy to rob of their culture as those who don’t know they’ve got one.” – quote from today’s “Thinking Allowed” on the subject of destructive urban planning & renewal.

Not seen “No Country for Old Men” yet, but saw “There Will be Blood” last week and “Michael Clayton” last night.

“There Will be Blood” – interesting documentary of cynical exploitation and life-threatening risks in pioneering oil industry. As well as the two great characters – Daniel Day-Lewis and the young preacher (is he his twin ?) – there is the excellent moody discordant soundtrack and cinematography, particularly early on, wonderful big-country scenery, and an unexpectedly gorey conclusion (the clue is in the title BTW). Worth seeing.

“Michael Clayton” is simply a great thriller / mystery plotline well acted, with lots of messy slow-paced real-life background behind the old main plot of big-bad-business in litigation gets its come-uppance. The George Clooney eponymous lead and supporting Tilda Swinton (stress) and Sydney Pollack (calm) all convincing. Tom Wilkinson’s “eccentric” role suited the Brit, (who’s really mad here ?) but unfortuately his accent doesn’t quite cross the Atlantic. The format – starting from a scene that is 80% through the plotline, explicitly flipping back 4 days to the start and then running through to the end – creates some clever confusion. Why did he get out his car ? Was he lying when he said he hadn’t had a drink / bet in weeks ? Anyway some original twists, in an otherwise old plot. Again, definitely worth seeing, for the characters and their predicaments.

Still highly distracted from main blogging subjects at the moment, and a month since I’ve blogged at all – my biggest hiatus ever ?

Well – as a result of obtaining a guitar and having a go at playing again; there I said it – I’ve been seeking out sheet music, tabs and lyrics to some of my favourite “standards”. (Not the cause of the hiatus, I hasten to add, but that’s another story.) Pretty recognisable version of “The Weight” so far. Well I’ve been looking up versions of “Morning Dew” – a song I’ve previously attributed to Tim Rose (also arranger of the – otherwise trad – Hey Joe version Hendrix made famous), after hearing London pub-rockers Scarecrow’s John Stewart cover version back in the 70’s. Since then I became more familiar with the Nazareth version (spooky after The Weight, no ?) and especially the Blackfoot version – which I still play regularly to this day. Most people will associate the song with the Grateful Dead, but there are many others, Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart, Robert Plant to name a few, and even Devo – and Andy Summers was guitarist with Tim Rose in a later life too. The Blackfoot version has a verse I didn’t recognise from other versions, but we’re only talking of phoenetic recall here.

Searching for tabs and lyrics I couldn’t help noticing variation and even vagueness in the freely transcribed lyrics and in the chords too, more than just transposed keys. Well it turns out there are several versions / variations, and I’ve not yet found any formally published sheet music versions, other than lyrics of the Warner-Chappell Music “Tim Rose / Bonnie Dobson” version.

Turns out Canadian Bonnie Dobson originally wrote the song in 1961 and first performed it in ’62. Tim Rose gained co-writing credits from publishing his version with an extra verse in 1966. And indeed Blackfoot did make it theirs with an extra verse as late as 1984. And that’s just the half of it.

Thanks to Brenda Stardom’s blog for a comprehensive review of the lyrics, and an amazingly comprehensive history of the song on Wikipedia.

I think this is the Dobson / Rose / Blackfoot version I’m going with


Walk me out in the morning dew (my) baby
Please walk me out in the morning dew
I can’t walk you out in the morning dew (now mama)
Can’t walk you out in the morning dew today


Thought I heard a young girl cry my baby,
Thought I heard a young girl cry (today)
You did not hear no young girl cryin’ (mama),
You did not hear no young girl cry today

But, I thought I saw a flash in the sky this mornin’
Thought that I saw a flash in the sky today
Well, the earth it trembled and the sky is no longer blue
And now there is no more morning dew (oh) today.


(Thought I heard a young man cry mama
Thought I heard a young man cry today
You didn’t hear no young man crying mama
You didn’t hear no young man cry today)

Now, there is no more morning dew
Now, there is no more morning dew today
What we’ve been saying all these years has come true
And, now, there is no more morning dew (oh) today


No more morning dew today
Won’t you please walk me out in the dew
The dew, morning dew, yeah, yeah

(Solo to fade … )

But what about the chords ?
(Not that they’re complicated, you understand. Can probably work it out.)

Anyway, still a favourite on several re-listens this evening. Post-apocalyptic it’s true, but very powerful and evocative, even though the Blackfoot verse (flash in the sky) makes the original fear much more explicit. Must give it a go.