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“Evolved This Way”: My Atheist Evolution-Themed Lady Gaga “Born This Way” Song Parody

Carl Sagan told me when I was young
We are all made of stars
And Darwin said all life’s descended from
Ancient common ancestors…

*

Lady-gaga-born-this-way-single-album-cover Don’t get me wrong. I like Lady Gaga. I respect Lady Gaga. I’m even reasonably fond of “Born This Way” (although I do think it’s awfully goddamn close to “Express Yourself” — there is a line between “homage” and “ripoff”, people!).

But the lyrics kind of get up my nose. They got up my nose the first time I heard it; they get up my nose more and more on every subsequent listening. The whole “God makes no mistakes” bull keeps making me want to scream, “There is no god! And if you believe in a god who created the world and is responsible for how it’s turning out, how can you not think that he makes mistakes all the freaking time! Sinuses! Knees! Too-narrow birth canals! Pediatric cancer! Have you read anything about evolution? Do you even know how it works? Rrrrrr!”

If it were just a couple of passing mentions, it wouldn’t bug me so much. But religion is all over the freaking song. “‘Cause he made you perfect, babe”; “God makes no mistakes”; “Believe capital H-i-m”… it’s all over the song like a cheap suit. Indeed, the whole bloody theme of the song — “I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way,” in the context of “God makes no mistakes,” smacks strongly of deistic theistic predestination. Not to mention a piss-poor understanding of evolution, and how life came into being, and why we are the way we are.

And I want no part of it. I don’t think we should love ourselves because God made us the way we are. I think we should love ourselves because we’re awesome and lucky to be alive, and because our lives and the lives of the people around us improve vastly when we love ourselves. And the teleological fallacy seriously gets my goat. There is no reason to think that we were “born this way” because some invisible all-powerful supernatural entity shaped us into being on purpose to make him happy, or even because evolution proceeds in a specific direction towards some supposedly “higher” state of being. We’re not on “the right track” — there is no track. We were “born this way” because of natural selection, coupled with random chance. Period.

Okay. Deep breath. I am clearly taking this waaaaaay too seriously.

Pride 4 Ingrid So anyway. When Ingrid and I marched with the atheist contingent in the LGBT Pride Parade this year, Ingrid really, really wanted to make a sign that was an atheist riff on “Born This Way.” (She assumed — rightly so, as it turns out — that “Born This Way” would be getting played to death at this year’s parade.) And at almost the very last minute, the night before the parade, she came up with her totally brilliant sign concept: “Evolved This Way.” We jokingly started coming up with parody song lyrics on our way to the parade… and I got the bug in my brain, and couldn’t stop until I had the whole thing done. (And can I just say: Some of the best lines are the ones lifted wholesale from the original song. “In the religion of the insecure”? I couldn’t have done better.) Enjoy!

*

Evolved This Way

It doesn’t matter if you sing hymns,
There’s no capital H-I-M
Just put your paws up
‘Cause you evolved this way, baby

Carl Sagan told me when I was young
We are all made of stars
And Darwin said all life’s descended from
Ancient common ancestors

“There’s nothing wrong with loving who you are,”
They said, “‘Cause we’re all imperfect, babe
Our knees and sinuses don’t work for shit
But we’re alive — so celebrate!”

Lucky to be here today
There’s no god making mistakes
I’m on the tree of life, baby
I evolved this way

Humans and seaweed and cats
Mushrooms and beetles and rats
You know there’s no track, baby
We evolved this way

Could have gone another way
Thank your mutant DNA
Baby, we evolved this way

Could have gone another way
If that asteroid had strayed
No track, baby, we evolved this way

There’s killer sharks, there’s killer bees
There’s viruses, there’s willow trees
There’s elephants, there’s tiny fleas
And me.

It’s sometimes hard to see this scary world
With life in our own puny hands
In the religion of the insecure
They think it’s all a master plan.

It might be pretty to believe that lie
But it’s all an S-H-A-M
I love myself, I love my friends, and I
Accept that it’s all going to end.

Lucky to be here today
There’s no god making mistakes
I’m a primate, baby
I evolved this way

Gorillas, roses and dogs
Amoebas, algae and frogs
You know there’s no track, baby
We evolved this way

Could have gone another way
Thank your mutant DNA
Baby, we evolved this way

Could have gone another way
If mammals hadn’t made the grade
No track, baby, we evolved this way

If you survive, you’ll make the scene
Then reproduce, pass on your genes
Random mutations roll the dice
Change every species, moss or mice
Forget your teleology
There’s no track on life’s gorgeous tree
Rejoice and love yourself today
‘Cause baby you evolved this way

No matter huge or small fry
Whether you swim or you fly
You know there’s no track, baby
We evolved to survive

No matter feathers or fur
Whether you bark or you purr
You know there’s no track, baby
We were shaped by this world

Lucky to be here today
There’s no god making mistakes
I’m on the tree of life, baby
I evolved this way

Mosquitos, plankton and pigs
Canaries, leeches and figs
You know there’s no track, baby
We evolved this way

Could have gone another way
Thank your mutant DNA
Baby, we evolved this way

Could have gone another way
If grandma hadn’t gotten laid
No track, baby, we evolved this way

We evolved this way-hey
We evolved this way-hey
You know there’s no track, baby
We evolved this way-hey

We evolved this way-hey
We evolved this way-hey
You know there’s no track, baby
We evolved this way-hey

Note: I would love, love, LOVE to make a YouTube video of this. I don’t have the singing chops or video-making skills to do it on my own… but if someone out there wants to collaborate, please let me know. It doesn’t have to be a fancy video; I’d be totally happy with one of those “sequence of still images” numbers, and will even find the images. If you can sing ([cough] JT [cough]), and/ or if you have video-making skills, drop me a line at greta (at) gretachristina (dot) com.

Comments

  1. says

    One clarification, Deists wouldn’t really believe in any sort of “predestination.” Deists, at least the Deists at Harvard, believe something like “God banged the big bang.” If god is doing things like predetermining our lives, we are talking about Theism (watered-down, albeit), not Deism.

  2. Dean Allemang says

    <quote>If grandma hadn’t gotten laid</quote>
    What!? What are you insinuating! OMG, I don’t even want . . .
    Oh, well, yeah, I guess so . . .

  3. Nurse Ingrid says

    My favorite line that survived from the original into the parody:
    “Just put your paws up.”

  4. says

    This is the best thing I’ve seen all day. It put a smile on my face, especially:
    “Could have gone another way
    Thank your mutant DNA
    Baby, we evolved this way”
    Love it!

  5. says

    “God makes no mistakes”
    Whoo. Hard to believe I actually once believed this.
    If one subscribes to the christian faith at least, that statement makes him one hell of an evil bastard.
    Interesting how you never quite realise these things when all your friends believe it too.
    Thanks by the way. I am quite enjoying this blog. Still lots of interesting posts I haven’t read yet.

  6. Margo K. says

    “although I do think it’s awfully goddamn close to “Express Yourself'”
    I find it interesting that you use the term “goddamn” considering the rest of the content in this post.
    Anyway, it seems like a great parody, though I have somehow managed to evade ever listening to the original song and thus cannot really appreciate parodies of it.

  7. kait says

    Love it! Great job!
    Did you ever do your karaoke for the campquest challenge? If not, I suggest doing this!

  8. says

    I always thought the ‘HIM’ line meant either believing in “him” a person, or “HIM” that brand of men’s clothes. I don’t know. Now that I’ve typed that out it sounds silly, but I’ve never heard the song in it’s entirety.
    Also, I had the same annoyance when I heard “Black and Gold”. “Cos if you’re not really here, then the stars don’t even matter/ and I’m filled to the top with fear, that we’re all just a bunch of matter/cos if you’re not really here, then I don’t want to be either… I want to be next to you”
    Stop being scared of reality dammit, just deal with it! *rant rant grumble rant*

  9. Nobullporfavor says

    @Jesus loves you,
    I stopped reading after point 1. Biogenesis has nothing to do with Darwin or evolution. Starts off badly, I’m sure it just gets worse

  10. says

    Nice alternate lyrics!
    Yeah, knees really suck, and so does autoimmunity. If we were designed it would be easy to come up with a way to distinguish self from non-self… ID cards anyone?
    Thank science for replacement insulin!

  11. Robert B says

    @Nobullporfavor,
    Oh, it does. Cherry-picking the data, God of the gaps, begging the question, and enough straw men to conquer Oz. I wasn’t surprised to see all the misunderstandings of biology/archaeology theory and observation. I was surprised to see a major error of physics in point ten – I thought that was impressively far afield.

  12. Lauren Ipsum says

    First, I LOVE these lyrics. I love parodies of any stripe, and this just marvelous. :)
    However, I do want to make a point about the intranasal irritance of the original lyrics.
    Lady Gaga is a huge supporter of LGBT rights. Atheists, generally speaking, are also widely supportive of LGBT rights, often because we don’t have religious dogma dictating that we have to think otherwise.
    This song really isn’t aimed at us. She’s dogwhistling the religious folks by using their own codewords to get past their defenses. If the Christianists think the Infallible Bearded Sky Fairy created each individual person, then Gaga insists the IBSF made each LGBTQetc. person exactly the way s/he is for a reason. She’s using their own logic against them.
    I appreciate that the godtalk is annoying; I skip quite a few tracks on the album for the same reason. But I think this one is okay. You’re annoyed, and with perfectly good reason, but you’re not the intended target.

  13. kait says

    @Lauren Ispsum
    I see what you are saying about the method of using their own godspeak to get the message to them, but I would still say fighting nonsense with more nonsense isn’t that much better.
    Personally, I think its a catchy song and I can deal with the lyrics. I take the references to god as being poetic and “I’m on the right track” as being more like “I’m doing what I want to be doing with my life” or “I am being me”.

  14. LittleLionCat says

    I just found this while searching for “evolved this way” on youtube :)

  15. LittleLionCat says

    Oh dear, I didn’t realize that you can’t post links. Nevertheless, if you search for “evolved this way” the first video that will come up is a cute and very clever song about manatee evolution :)

  16. Randy says

    I’m looking forward to hearing whoever records this… much better than the original.

  17. Ubi Dubium says

    I do sing, and I’ll be at TAM9,
    so maybe I could sing it for you if you haven’t gotten a recording of the song done by then. Is there even time for Karaoke at TAM? (It will be my first one!)

  18. says

    Lauren Ipsum: I know it’s not aimed at us. I know it’s not an anti-atheist song; the message is aimed at LGBTs and other outsiders, saying they’re okay. But I still have a problem with it. It’s saying, “You’re okay and should accept yourself because God made you the way you are.” I don’t think that’s accurate — mostly because I don’t think there is a god — and I don’t think it’s helpful. Even if I believed in God, I don’t think self-acceptance should rely on acceptance by him.

  19. says

    Maybe you could see if Auntie Diluvian would be interested in recording this parody. She’s done quite a few nice parodies – follow the link for a sample of one of my favorites.

  20. Stonyground says

    it has just occured to me that some guy standing up and challenging the existence of YHWH would have been very unlikely to have changed history and very likely to have died a horrible death and then been forgotten. So there could have been any number of such brave souls and we would never know.

  21. hf says

    Greta, I agree with all this, but have you seen the music video? I think it pretty clearly tells us, ‘The following tropes drawn from Christianity contradict each other.’
    Before the lyrics you tear apart, the video sets up a war between “Good” and “Evil”. It also mocks the word “in-finite” as applied to Good. And I think it mocks having a male or female deity by taking this to the logical conclusion.

  22. says

    All I can think of when I hear that song, and I love that song’s rhythm ans pulse, is how great an argument Lady Gaga is making to the faithful. Her argument is basically that there is no need for behavior modification to suppress the sinnful nature of homoerotic feelings because you were born this way.
    I argue the exact same point when conversion attempts are made on me. I was born an Atheist with a skeptical mind. Why should I give that up for their fairy tale?

  23. Stonyground says

    If my last post didn’t make sense it was because there was one before that that got lost. If I can recall it was something about our local village chapel being used as a polling station and there being a kind of tapestry on the wall featuring a rainbow and the legend ‘God never fails to keep a promise’. I’m not sure where I went with it after that but thought that if some ancient Israealite had pointed out that God didn’t exist, we would all have been spared a lot of trouble.

  24. Grant says

    Funny, that an atheist that doesn’t believe in God, likes to use his name in vain.

  25. David Litman says

    Last night, my 10 year old daughter asked my why bananas are shaped like bananas. I told her that I don’t know, baby, they evolved that way. We looked at each other, laughed and started singing Gaga.
    So today I decided to redo some of the lyrics (below). I only changed certain lines. I think I prefer your version. Great job!
    It doesn’t matter that your ancestors wiggled and swam the sea, sea, sea, sea
    Just put your feet down
    ‘Cause you evolved this way, baby
    My mamma told me when I was young
    We’re all distant cousins,
    from worms to fish and from fish to frogs
    on this planet we call Earth
    There’s nothin’ wrong with lovin’ who you are
    she said, ’cause its just a random chance
    So hold your head up, girl and you’ll go far
    Listen to me when I say
    I’m beautiful in my way
    a billion years to adapt
    I’m on the right tract, baby
    I evolved this way
    Don’t let a myth cause distress
    just love yourself and your set
    I’m on the right track baby
    I evolved this way, evolved this way
    Cosmic rays, time and space, molten lava, DNA
    Baby, I evolved this way
    Cosmic rays, time and space, molten lava, DNA
    I’m on the right track, baby, I evolved this way
    Don’t close your mind, think for yourself
    Don’t close your mind, think for yourself
    Don’t close your mind, think for yourself
    Don’t close
    No hell below us, just sky above*
    Subway kid, rejoice the truth
    In the religion of the insecure
    Self delusion, war and misery
    Don’t need a book to tell me right from wrong
    Believe, we’re all one big family
    I love my life, I love my independence
    My destiny is up to me
    I’m beautiful in my way,
    A billion years to adapt
    I’m on the right track baby
    I evolved this way
    Don’t let a myth cause distress
    Just love yourself and you’re set
    I’m on the right track baby
    I evolved this way
    Cosmic rays, time and space, molten lava, DNA
    Baby, I evolved this way
    Cosmic rays, time and space, molten lava, DNA
    I’m on the right track baby
    I evolved this way
    Don’t close your mind, think for yourself
    whether your broke or of full of wealth
    You’re black, white, beige, chola descent
    you’r Lebanese, you’re orient
    Whether life’s disabilities
    Left you outcast, bullied or teased
    Rejoice and love yourself today
    ‘Cause baby, you evolved this way
    No matter gay, straight or bi
    Lesbian, transgendered life
    I’m on the right track baby
    I was born to survive
    No matter black, white or beige
    Chola or orient made
    I’m on the right track baby
    I was born to be brave
    I’m beautiful in my way,
    A billion years to adapt
    I’m on the right track baby
    I evolved this way
    Don’t let a myth cause distress
    Just love yourself and you’re set
    I’m on the right track baby
    I evolved this way, yeah
    Cosmic rays, time and space, molten lava, DNA
    Baby I evolved this way
    Cosmic rays, time and space, molten lava, DNA
    I’m on the right track baby, I evolved this way
    I evolved this way, hey
    I evolved this way, hey
    I’m on the right track, baby, I evolved this way, hey
    I evolved this way, hey
    I evolved this way, hey
    I’m on the right track, baby, I evolved this way, hey
    *JL

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