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Apr 09 2008

A Hymn

Ok, I admit it: there is a soft spot in my hearts for hymns. Both the staid and conservative hymns of the congregation I left decades ago, and the blues-laced gospel hymns that, for instance, the Blues Brothers Movie celebrated. There is a joy to that music, a weight to those lyrics, that is just beautiful. Now, I do not feel the same way about “praise music”, mind you. Its lyrics are insipid, its faux-anthemic chord structures and melodies are artificial, saccharine, and so without substance as to make Kenny G sound like Charlie Parker. It is clearly not the topic of hymns that makes me enjoy them, but rather the realization, in music and poetry, of their vision. I have no problems, atheist that I am, enjoying hymns or christmas carols, or the architecture of a cathedral or the design of a stained glass window. Beauty is beauty.

And I feel absolutely no desire to promote the idea of “atheist hymns” or “scientific churches” to serve whatever purpose hymns and churches do for the theist community. If I needed those purposes served, I would not be who I am. If I want to listen to a hymn, I am fortunate to live in an age where I can just find an appropriate internet site and listen. No need to write my own.

But I did anyway. It is all the fault of the Illinois legislature, and the million dollars being spent to restore or renovate that church. In all the furor over Representative Davis’s outburst, there were conversations here and there from people who either did or did not appreciate the architecture of that particular church. I swear I read one person saying that they would support the reconstruction of a church if it were secular. An odd concept to me, but whatever. Anyway, it all got me to thinking about these things, and the catch-phrase to my hymn showed up, in tune and with appropriate harmony.

The hymn can be sung either straight or gospel. Pipe organ for the first, combined piano and Hammond 3B for the second, and some singers who can shake the dust off the rafters. In the chorus, of course, the parenthetical parts are for the bass. As if I had to tell you that.

Oh, I still remember thinking that I had it figured out
I was certain of my theory, and I had no room for doubt
But my elegant predictions were in no way guaranteed
Now I’ll follow where the evidence may lead…

chorus:
I’m following the evidence; I’m following the clues
                              (Following, I’m following the clues)
By following the evidence, there’s no way I can lose
                              (Following, I’m following the clues)
A slow and steady journey, make sure and then proceed
And I’ll follow where the evidence may lead…

I obtained my random samples, and I carefully took note;
With appropriate controls in place, the chances were remote
That some artifact would kill my study’s chances to succeed—
Now I’ll follow where the evidence may lead…

chorus

When I finished up my paper, then I sent it for review;
I was following procedure—it’s the proper thing to do:
But my peer-reviewers pointed to some things that I must heed
Now I’ll follow where the evidence may lead…

(skip the chorus this time)

My study’s methodology, reviewer one opined,
Was flawed because a crucial part was not made double-blind
And my biased expectations were a problem, I concede
Now I’ll follow where the evidence may lead…

chorus

There were parts of my procedure that I had to run once more;
I was happy when the data showed the same thing as before.
With a miniscule revision, my reviewers all agreed,
Cos we followed where the evidence did lead

chorus

Now it’s published in the journal, but that is just the start
A community of scientists will pick it all apart
Through acceptance or dismissal, now science will proceed
For we follow where the evidence may lead.

3 comments

  1. 1
    King of Ferrets

    Science in verse… this is an idea that needs expanding upon.

  2. 2
    Thordr

    bow down all before the mighty Digital Cuttlefishdude, I so wish I had your gift with verse

  3. 3
    The Ridger, FCD

    Sing it, brother! (Sister?)

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