Matt Young posted Entry 2175 on April 5, 2006 12:09 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2170

My colleague, Steven Mahone, with Colorado Citizens for Science, was taken by the latest episode of the popular series, “The Sopranos.” Evidently, producers, artists, and writers in the entertainment industry are very much aware of the whole evolution-creation-ID debate that affects our culture.

Here is Mr. Mahone’s recap of the relevant scenes:

Mob boss Tony Soprano is in the hospital recovering from a gunshot wound. He’s given a dinosaur book, and it’s sitting next to his bed. A young evangelical visits him, picks up the book, and comments, “Kids love dinosaurs” (isn’t this the “hook” often used by Answers in Genesis and Kent Hovind?). The evangelical goes on, “Most people are told that dinosaurs are millions of years removed from man, but the Bible tells us that’s just not true. Dinosaurs and man coexisted 6,000 years ago.” Tony responds, “You mean like The Flintstones? That’s not what scientists say.” The fundamentalist replies, “Evolution is just Satan’s way of coming between man and God.” Christopher (one of Tony’s wiseguys) chimes in irreverently, “You saying that T-Rex lived with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? They’d f***ing be running for their lives all the time. Some paradise!” The evangelical then gives Tony the Charles Colson book, “Born Again,” and asks him to read it. Colson, as most of you know, was a Watergate conspirator who found the Protestant God while serving time in prison and became an avid anti-evolutionist. (There’s no explanation as to why Colson didn’t find God before he committed a felony.)

A man in the room next to Tony is a retired engineer from Bell Labs (played by Hal Holbrook). Tony starts asking him questions about life, the Universe, faith, etc. It gets real deep. The engineer is rational and scientific, and tells Tony about Schrödinger’s cat, the impossibility of eternal life, how everything is connected, etc. Tony wants to hear more but the guy is heading for surgery. The engineer comes out of surgery with his larynx removed! He can’t talk any more! Was this a metaphor on the part of the writers, suggesting that the voice of reason is being silenced? Was the Protestant God responsible, or is the impersonal universe just trudging along as it must?

Actor Hal Holbrook also played Mark Twain for years in a one-man play; Mark Twain once proclaimed, “Faith is believing in what you know ain’t so.” Ironically, Holbrook also played Deep Throat in the movie “All The President’s Men.” Deep Throat was the character who eventually brought down Colson. Thse “coincidences” were probably intentional on the part of “The Sopranos” producers. Very clever and very calculated – perhaps even intelligently designed?

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Comment #94930

Posted by Julie Stahlhut on April 5, 2006 1:43 PM (e)

There’s no explanation as to why Colson didn’t find God before he committed a felony.

Once more, the ROFL monster rears its ancient head!

Comment #94931

Posted by Norm Jenson on April 5, 2006 1:44 PM (e)

Here is a link to video from the episode
http://onegoodmove.org/1gm/1gmarchive/2006/04/what_like_the_f_1.html

Comment #94933

Posted by Steve on April 5, 2006 1:44 PM (e)

My God…a specified complex event!

Comment #94936

Posted by Dave Thomas on April 5, 2006 1:45 PM (e)

Hey, someone has put the short clip online, here.

Takes a bit to download.

Dave

Comment #94946

Posted by plastyr on April 5, 2006 2:11 PM (e)

The clip leaves out the last part of that scene.

There’s a Jewish couple in the room and after Christopher’s T-rex Garden of Eden remark, the women says something like “You can disagree with Evangelicals, but they are good friends of the Jews, because Israel is the Holy Land.” The Jewish man, Hesh, looks at his wife and says “Just you wait.”

Comment #94948

Posted by Steverino on April 5, 2006 2:13 PM (e)

The “Pastor” character was spot-on. I have met that character many times and felt almost as uncomfortable watching him on TV as I have in their presence in real life…very smarmy.

Comment #94958

Posted by doyle on April 5, 2006 2:40 PM (e)

The evangelical prays with Tony after telling him that studies show that people who are prayed for have less post-surgical complications. What might happen if Tony finds out about the most recent study mentioned on an earlier thread?

Comment #94970

Posted by k.e. on April 5, 2006 3:15 PM (e)

Wow
who said life imitates art ..er …

maybe they could do a Berlinski type episode where a mob guy takes out a contract on himself.

He hires himself in the third person as the killer, makes a case against himself telling everyone what a rotten nutter he is but slyly saying he maybe too smart to actually find and kill, then proceeds to try and convince his hired assassin what a nice guy he really is, then walks off into the sunset really happy with himself that he survived but really lonely since he had to kill the assassin.

No never mind, no one would buy it too stupid.

Comment #94987

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 5, 2006 3:56 PM (e)

What might happen if Tony finds out about the most recent study mentioned on an earlier thread?

LOL.

I actually posted a thread on this over at ATBC.

as to Tony…

Badabing, Badaboom.

I doubt Tony would be averse to having any irritant knee-capped, even if they were a pastor.

besides, Tony’s gotta be catholic.

Comment #95015

Posted by Mike Rogers on April 5, 2006 6:14 PM (e)

Yeah, now there’s a good strategy for figting the DI. Let’s recruit the mob! Next time Wells or Dembski give us any shit they’ll be “sleepin’ with the fishes” :) (For the humor challenged, I’m not attempting to make a anything resembling a serious point here - just having a little fun with the thought of the Sopranos writers throwing in this bit current affairs commentary.)

Comment #95040

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on April 5, 2006 8:53 PM (e)

Damn, now Dembski’s gonna report you to the FBI.

Comment #95053

Posted by Kevin from nyc on April 5, 2006 10:10 PM (e)

“The “Pastor” character was spot-on. I have met that character many times and felt almost as uncomfortable watching him on TV as I have in their presence in real life…very smarmy”

and the eyes…those wierd burning eyes…

Comment #95118

Posted by harold on April 6, 2006 9:32 AM (e)

I happened to see this episode, even though I’m not a regular watcher of the show.

This is an excellent sign. Creationism is being ridiculed and villainized in popular culture.

The creationist was expertly portrayed.

The Sopranos may be “edgy”, but it falls within the mainstream of popular culture.

No doubt there will be howls of protest, but I doubt if HBO will “pull” the episode.

The blunt truth is, creationism/ID was able to do well when it didn’t draw attention to itself. As long as the audience was self-selected, and the message obscured, and the debate confined to internet arguments with science geeks, they were able to draw money from the brainwashed and appear strong. As soon as TMLC convinced them to actually do something, it all came crashing down.

When Tony Soprano said “You mean like the Flintstones?”, creationism suffered one its worst setbacks to date.

Comment #95120

Posted by Logicman on April 6, 2006 10:07 AM (e)

The creationist was expertly portrayed.

Precisely. He was polite and gentle, yet you just felt uneasy with him around.

This is an excellent sign. Creationism is being ridiculed and villainized in popular culture.

I wonder if that’s where the “battle” will ultimately be won … not in the scientific arena but with cultural pressure. Surely the ID/Creationists realize that they have no chance of fooling all of the people all of the time. The best they can hope for is a temporary audience that will have an increasingly difficult time of influencing the next generation of thinkers.

Comment #95170

Posted by Ben on April 6, 2006 2:22 PM (e)

The Sopranos definately help… but you know that’s just the “left wing Hollywood crowd” that aside this makes me feel better than just about anything I’ve seen on TV. 88% of children raised in Evangelical homes leave the faith after high school.

All you have to do is google. It’s the Southern Baptist Convention’s own number… and rather than examine their own faith and wonder why it repulses so many people who were raised in it… they blame mainstream schools and media…. and talk about ways to cut kids off even more from the outside… which probably is only going to compound the problem for them.

Evangelicals are their own cure. You just have to wait.

Comment #95171

Posted by Ben on April 6, 2006 2:24 PM (e)

The Sopranos aside this makes me feel better than just about anything I’ve seen on TV. 88% of children raised in Evangelical homes leave the faith after high school.

All you have to do is google. It’s the Southern Baptist Convention’s own number… and rather than examine their own faith and wonder why it repulses so many people who were raised in it… they blame mainstream media… and talk about ways to cut kids off even more from the outside… which probably is only going to compound the problem for them.

Evangelicals are their own cure. This period of superficial religious stupidity has to eventually run it’s course. Of course that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying to speed it on it’s way.

Comment #95232

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on April 6, 2006 6:29 PM (e)

The blunt truth is, creationism/ID was able to do well when it didn’t draw attention to itself. As long as the audience was self-selected, and the message obscured, and the debate confined to internet arguments with science geeks, they were able to draw money from the brainwashed and appear strong. As soon as TMLC convinced them to actually do something, it all came crashing down.

The crash came before that —- the first time the IDers were forced to present their best and brightest under the glare of incessant public awareness, was at the Kansas Kangaroo Kourt. And even when the other side **refused to show up**, the IDers, with the entire stage to themselves, ***still*** managed to be spectacularly stupid, and publicly shoot themselves in the head.

It was Kansas that prepared the press for Dover.

Comment #95274

Posted by Autumnmist on April 6, 2006 10:56 PM (e)

In addition, in tonight’s CSI, we also had the following heartwarming exchange:

Greg (one of the junior CSIs): You know, it’s possible to both believe and be a scientist.
Grissom (the geeky logical senior guy): Yes it is. The problem comes when you get belief confused with science. (*he reads off a letter from in the show in which people believed a psychic because they heard what they wanted to hear in her words*)

Comment #95421

Posted by the pro from dover on April 7, 2006 6:48 PM (e)

I am intersted in the comment that “Charles Colson found the Protestant God…and became an avid anti-evolutionist.” Like b follows a? Most mainstream protestants believe that the god they worship is the same god worshipped by all other Christians, as well as Jews and Muslims. There is no special “Protestant God”. Charles Colson could well have become another biblical-literalist/fundamentalist handling serpents-and babbling-in-tongues evangelical Christian like Karla Faye Tucker but don’t confuse that with other protestant Christians; most of whom accept evolution as the scientific theory to explain diversification of species and want it taught in public high school science classes and not Intelligent Design. By the way the lead editorial in this month’s American Journal of Medicine is a ringing endorsement of the importance of evolution in medicine from the chairman of the dept. of internal medicine at the U. of Arizona in Tucson.

Comment #95814

Posted by Chris on April 10, 2006 1:35 AM (e)

“I hope you know a lot more than you’re believing”
-Gram Parsons