GZA Raps About the Big Bang Theory

Add this to your List of Albums You Never Knew You Wanted Until Now: The Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA is about to release a solo album called “Dark Matter” on which he raps about… well… just watch:

Everything we see around us: the sun, the moon, the stars,
Are millions of worlds that astound us
The universe in size was hard to fathom.
It was composed in a region small as a single atom,
Less than one-trillionth the size the point of a pen,
Microscopic but on a macro level within.

Okay, not the best lyrics you’ve ever heard, but you can’t deny you want more.

(Thanks to @scanchovy for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • corps_suk

    This guy has always seemed too intellegent to be a believer, just listen to Liquid Swords with an atheists ear…

    • TSeeker

      A silly and bigoted thing to say. You might as well have said he seems too black not to like watermelon. Both statements have about the same intellectual merit.

      • Tobias2772

        Sorry seeker, but if you have to believe in imaginary beings then I get to question your intelligence.

        • TSeeker

          A lazy and uninformed opinion. Nothing but a half hearted defense of intellectual vapidity and, if I may, bigotry. If we have nothing but contempt for the religious, we ought not then use arguments that mirror the worst that religion has to offer.

          • corps_suk

            It’s not contempt, but pity that we feel toward believers. Adults who have imaginary friends should have their intelligence questioned

            • 3lemenope

              I dunno. It sounds an awful lot like contempt. For one, if it were pity, usually it wouldn’t be so loud.

              • corps_suk

                Pity…”Oh poor dear child, you don’t still have an imaginary friend at 20 years old do you? Lets talk about this”

                Its what they do with this belief that i have contempt for.

            • TSeeker

              Why pity? Most religious believers I know are happy, contented, and deal with life’s myriad struggles as well as any atheist I know. If you think that about religion, it suggests you have spent precious little time studying it, and perhaps that is to be pitied: people proud of strong opinions on a subject they are likewise proud to be ignorant of.

              • corps_suk

                Most 10 year olds who still believe in Santa are happy too…whats your point?

            • Blacksheep

              We’re doing just fine! Happy, well adjusted, at peace, and very intelligent, thank you. Friendly Atheist posts stories from the fringe of our faith, and at times from the bottom of the barrel. That’s pretty easy to do with any group of humans.

          • Tobias2772

            T,
            I’m not sure how my response mirrors anything about religion. If someone says nonsensical things then I question their sense whether or not that may offend their sensibilities. That seems rational to me.

      • corps_suk

        Really? By saying he seemed intelligent is bigoted?
        Hmm, bet he does like watermelon though, who doesn’t?

        • TSeeker

          If you don’t see the problem, explaining it to you won’t help because it means you probably don’t want to.

      • Carmelita Spats

        If you believe in an incarnational-trinitarian-atoning-resurrecting-ascending-soon-to-be-returning-to-Earth-god who sacrificed himself to himself and was his own father then YES, I can question your honesty, sanity, educational level and intelligence…I don’t privilege the Dead-Guy-On-A-Stick over the Scientologists’ Lord Xenu with his spaceship piloted by talking-lava-eating-sea-clams. Tremendous claims. Zero evidence. Religion=superstition.

        • TSeeker

          Only if it isn’t true. That remains to be demonstrated, and it must be demonstrated by atheists who aren’t afraid to roll up the sleeves and engage, rather than stand off the sidelines and hurl insults and half baked rhetoric that suggests an ill-informed position, instead of an informed one. One of my dearest friends is a professor of Calculus with a PhD in physics. Recently he began teaching himself Russian just to keep his mind sharp. He already knows three languages. He is also an accomplished self taught musician and composer. And he’s the head of the computer networking for the university, knowing more about computers than the head of the tech department. And he’s an evangelical Christian. I doubt if it was just a bunch of, you know, like dumb stuff man with like no evidence man dude, he would devote himself to the belief. It’s something I’m mindful of whenever we discuss the topic. So, you were saying?

          • allein

            Compartmentalization. Smart people can still hold dumb ideas.
            And it’s not our job to prove someone else’s claims aren’t true. It’s their job to prove they are.

            • TSeeker

              Prove that. One of the things said to me that made me take a second look at my own assumptions.

              • 3lemenope

                You can’t prove it, it’s a heuristic. A damn useful one, seeing as how our epistemological position wouldn’t let us get very far demanding that people prove negatives all over the place. There is a stupendously huge set of absisting possible predicates. Are you really saying that we have to eliminate them all before making assertions about the more probable ones?

              • allein

                Prove what, exactly?

                • TSeeker

                  That the existence of a divine must be proven based on our standards.

                • allein

                  Did I say that? All I said is that the claimant is the one who has to provide evidence of what they are claiming. Applies to anything, really, “divine” or not.

            • Pseudonym

              The word “compartentalization” officially attained the status of thought-terminating cliche some time ago. Any time someone uses the word, I encourage you to question their psychology qualifications.

              • Nox

                The alternative explanation is that religious people really are just blindly superstitious morons.

                In light of the type of beliefs we’re talking about, compartmentalization is a completely charitable explanation.

                • Pseudonym

                  And your psychology qualifications are…?

                • Nox

                  Do you have another possible explanation for why so many otherwise rational people continue believing irrational things in the face of clear evidence that they are not true?

              • allein

                And what are your qualifications?

                • Pseudonym

                  I don’t need to be a physicist to object to a new ager misusing words like “quantum” or “energy”. The burden of proof is on the person making the positive claim to put up evidence.

                • allein

                  So you don’t have any psychology qualifications, then. But you are qualified to decide if a particular concept has merit. Where’s youre evidence?

                • Pseudonym

                  Evidence for what? What positive claim am I making that I need to back up with evidence?

                  The invocation of “compartmentalisation” is a solution looking for a problem. You need to establish a) there is a genuine phenomenon that needs an explanation, and b) your explanation is the most plausible one, including what other explanations you’ve ruled out.

                  If you can’t do that, then you might be a pseudoscientist. One useful screening technique is to look for the presence or absence of expertise in the general area.

                  No, I’m not a psychologist. I’m a skeptic.

                • allein

                  You claimed, rather condescendingly and with nothing to back it up, that the psychological concept of compartmentalization, which I am hardly the first to mention around here, is invalid. You then said we should question people’s qualifications, though you don’t have any relevant qualifications either, other than being a “skeptic,” and when questioned as to your psychology qualifications, your response was, essentially, “I don’t need to have any.” So forgive me if I don’t take you seriously. Have a nice day.

                • Pseudonym

                  I think we have a misunderstanding.

                  I was not claiming that the psychological concept of compartmentalisation was invalid. I can see that if someone took that comment out of the context of the thread and read just a little bit into it, you could totally get that from what I wrote.

                  I was criticising the use of the term, by non-psychologists, who “apply” the half-understood term. See my later comment on the misuse of scientific terms like “quantum” and “energy” by people who don’t understand what they mean. I certainly wasn’t trying to say that quantum mechanics is invalid!

                  I unreservedly apologise for being unclear on that point.

            • Blacksheep

              It’s compartmentalization every time someone of FA engages in the now classic flip flop:

              Atheist: “NO intelligent person believes in Christianity.”
              - Believer submits example of intelligent person who is a Christian -
              Atheist: “Clearly they are compartmentalizing.”

              Always makes me smile.

              • Nox

                When did any atheist anywhere say “NO intelligent person believes in Christianity”?

          • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

            so what evidence for the god(s) of your choice are you offering?

            i offer the evidence that is all around all of us, none of which lacks a scientific explanation. i offer the evidence of the many conflicting and contradictory claims found within a single religion, and that fact that virtually all religions are guilty in this regard. i offer the evidence that religious scholar agree that most holy texts can be traced back to specific human authors, written and edited many times, and frequently for specific, even modern times political motivations.

            I’m reading about Calvin right now, in a well done history text about that period of history. it is quite fascinating to see how even Christians can’t agree on what they should believe, let alone the rationalist and other thinkers of the time beginning the process of shaking off Christianity’s hold on the intellectual class of europe. thru it all, none of them can offer more than opinion and faith-based rationalization for the existence of the christian gods.

            • TSeeker

              The fact that Christians can’t agree is hardly any point at all. Fact is, I know many atheists who vary greatly on just what it’s all really about. By that standard, atheism isn’t true? The idea that there are contradictory claims by religions, of course there are. Just as there are contradictory theories until proof can be found, or contradictory explanations until an answer is discovered. I work in finances and you’d be surprised at the conflicting theories about our problems – that doesn’t mean finances don’t exist That sort of reasoning does wonders if we already assume there is no truth behind religion. But most religions actually have their answers that are internally consistent to their own traditions. And of course their claims are based on faith. In the mind of the believer, faith is as real as gravity. It is upon those grounds that religion must be debated, not grounds that begin with the assumption that all religion is wrong anyway. Maybe I’m just getting cranky in my old age, but I would like to see a return to the original philosophers who took on religious thought on its own terms, not invented terms or terms that already assume religion is wrong to begin with. It isn’t hard to convict Tom Robinson if you assume all black men are rapists anyway. No evidence needed. Look instead at religion from its own terms, and argue from there. To do anything else is to engage in nothing but an atheist’s version of religious faith and practice.

              • allein

                The only claim I am making as an atheist is “I don’t believe in gods.” That says nothing about what I think “it’s all really about,” or how I or anyone else should live life, or even if there really is a god out there somewhere. I just don’t believe that there is. (If he’s out there and he wants to come down here and prove me wrong, he’s more than welcome to.) If believing in god makes you happy and you aren’t trying to force anyone else to live by your religion’s rules, I really don’t care what you believe, even if I think it’s silly or that the time spent in religious practice could be better spent. I’m not trying to argue anyone out of their religion.
                .
                Tomorrow my parents will go to Easter services at church, and later my brother (also a non-believer, as far as I know) and I will go over for dinner, and if they say grace before dinner (sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t), I will hold hands and listen quietly and then I will eat. I will give them Easter cards and overdose on jellybeans and hunt for eggs because my mother thinks we’re 6 and we humor her. I don’t get up on my chair and make a case for atheism.

              • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

                people have sought proof of the existence of divinities since before writing was invented. so far, zip. lots of con artists and magic shows and fables and pogroms and wars and prayers… but still no proof. even today, in an age when we put people into space and can split the atom and see the farthest distances and smallest particles, still no proof. and there are lots of believing scientists who would love to be the one to find it. i wonder why those people tend to work on problems that can actually be solved, instead of taking all that knowledge and rustling up some grant money in the search for (some god)?

                whether they admit it or not, the truth is the more science you know, the less easy it becomes to design any sort of reproducible, peer reviewable “test” that could find “proof” of divinity. some believing scientists will stretch scientific truth to conform to their particular belief system, but very few of them are willing to go out on a limb and “meet religion on its own terms” in a quest to find proof. in the end, they take it on faith, just like the least education believers.

                • Emmet

                  There’s no scientific test for what is immaterial, and never will be. There’s also no “reproducible, peer reviewable ‘test’” that can “prove” that the only way to prove something is by “reproducible, peer reviewable ‘test[s]‘”.

                • Blacksheep

                  You are absolutely right, CD. In the end it’s all about faith. It’s about something outside of ourselves that’s mysterious, powerful, and uplifting. Many things in life don’t require scientific proof because we know they are real. I don’t need a scientific test to prove that I find peace, joy, and strength in Christ.

          • corps_suk

            First, i will need proof this person exists.
            Second, I bet he is just messing with you, probably pretends to be a christian for the community, meanwhile when you are talking about your imaginary friends he is LHAO in his brain. With a PhD in physics and calculus he knows the probability of a supremely intellegent infinitely complex being just always existing is hilariously smaller than you waking up a tree.

            Remember that next time you talk to him, the more educated a person is the more likely they are to throw off childhood myths, thats why high school kids dont believe in Santa, college graduates have less imaginary friends, and a majority of science doctorates are at least agnostic. He may actaully be laughing at you, even though he likes you as a friend.

          • Tobias2772

            T,
            Just because he is brilliant in some fields doesn’t mean he is brilliant in all. i would argue that, posibbly because of his childhood indoctrination, he does not apply the same rigorous challenges to his religious beliefs that he does to his mathematical work. Could that be possible ??
            Living in South Carolina, I know many christains, including family members whom I love and respect. Most of them are plenty intelligent, but they refuse to apply the same level of intellectual challenge or curiosity to their indoctrinated beliefs. It doesn’t make them stupid, but it does make me double question their rationality in all fields. Notice I said question, not dismiss.

    • aoscott

      Great album – but isn’t the last track named the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (B.I.B.L.E.)??

      • corps_suk

        Yup, but listen to it again…well the first verse anyway.

        • aoscott

          I did go back and listen, not just the first verse but the whole song!! I’m glad I took your advice and listened again!!

          One of the many lines I enjoyed:

          That the preach-ass souped up with lies
          Had couped up, lookin’ at loot, butt N’ thighs
          During the service, he swallowed up the poor
          N’ after they heard this, they wallowed on the floor
          But I ignored, N’ explored my history that was untold
          N’ watched mysteries unfold
          N’ dropped the jewel like Solomon, but never followed men
          Cuz if you do your brain is more hollow then
          Space oblivia, or the abyss
          With no trace of trivia, left with the hiss
          Does it pay to be deaf, dumb, or blind
          From a slave he was kept from the mind

    • Pseudonym

      Nobody ever said that about Martin Gardner. It must be a rap thing, or possibly a race thing.

  • 3lemenope

    Quantum Chromodynamics ain’t nothin’ to fuck with…

  • compl3x

    Aren’t all the Wu members part of that crack-pot Nation of Islam stuff? I like a lot of their stuff, but a lot of their lyrics are peppered with that kinda stuff. That goes for a lot of hip-hop in general, really.

    • 3lemenope

      Not that I know of, though unsurprisingly the NoI looms fairly large in the cultural history of the African-American community (more for the Elijah Muhammad/Malcolm X era than the Louis Farrakhan era to be sure) and so is going to be referenced in earnest in lyrics. Sting mentions Rice Krispies in one of his songs, but I doubt it was out of affiliation with Kellogg’s.

  • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

    I think I like Barenaked Ladies’ lyrics about the Big Bang better:-).

  • TSeeker

    The Big Bang Theory. Brought to us by a Catholic priest. The awareness of which was one of many things that changed the way I handled my own skepticism and non-belief.

    • 3lemenope

      Georges Lemaître was an important figure in the exploration of the hypothesis, to be sure, but neither the only one or the most important one. Even the term itself was coined by another.

      The only thing that believers who are smart should indicate is that there are believers who are smart. Which, granted, is so obvious a lesson that many folks lose sight of it, but still, it is really easy to oversell this notion the other way. That a bunch of putatively clever folks believe a thing it does not itself make the thing more likely to be true.

      • TSeeker

        Then the assumption that believers are not smart should then be challenged, based on logic? To say believers are obviously smart should then negate the frequent joke about believers not being, you know, smart. Oh, and nobody said he was the only important figure. Just enough to get you to say what you said, that laughing at ‘dumb believers is an exercise in its own version of dumb.

        • 3lemenope

          Oh, and nobody said he was the only important figure.

          No, but “…brought to us by a Catholic priest…” is rather suggestive of integral importance, instead of simply being the guy to beat Hubble by two years to the discovery that regions of space are accelerating away from our spacetime frame. Again, that ain’t nothing, but given that the discovery was discovered by many people nearly contemporaneously, not a very integral figure to the testing of the hypothesis, leading to me looking askance at the claim that the Big Bang theory was in any relevant sense “…brought to us by a Catholic priest.”

          • TSeeker

            He was important. One can be important,not be the only one who is important, and still be important. Just as many who are religious are important. I tip my hat to the Vatican Observatory one of the truly wondrous contributors to modern scientific discovery. That simply is. I merely notice that such things as the earlier ‘too smart to be a believer’ falls dead on the reality of the observation that believers tend to be, well, smart. Just like atheists. And of course, both have our contributions to the idiot side just the same.

            FWIW, resting on the idea that there were tons of musicians just as talented as Mozart usually doesn’t mean much: at the end, it’s still Mozart who deserves the credit for what Mozart accomplished. Same with scientific discovery. Nobody says ‘let’s see how many other people were thinking the same things Newton thought.’ At the end, Pope still sang Newton’s praises without feeling the need to qualify. Trying to say anything else when speaking of someone’s obvious contributions suggests a completely biased and personally subjective ax to grind rather than actual logical and reasoned evaluations of the facts at hand.

            • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

              i really think you’re being deliberately obtuse. no one is saying brilliant people can not compartmentalize. it’s done all the time, and for more than just religious belief. smart people have been racist, sexist, prejudiced against ethnic groups… newton is actually a really bad example of that; some of the stuff he believed and indeed obsessed over is just scary in its ridiculous nature. you can have a PhD and a job in a biology lab and still think “those people” are inferior, or a PhD and a job in a sociology department and still believe “women just can’t hack the work.”

              you used the word “proof” first. so far, you and everyone else have utterly failed to provide any. religious claims are quite extreme, in any honest evaluation. an afterlife, magical and invisible beings who affect human reality, stories about the creation of the universe, demons, angels… in contrast, most atheists merely say, “i see no evidence for any of that and I believe as firmly as I can that this means religious claims are false.”

              as several have said: our minds are actually quite open. speak to your god(s) and have them call me. my phone is right here. or just speak to me in a voice i can hear. talk to me about how i should perceive i am wrong. even if i am wrong, a silent invisible unknowable being is hardly worthy of worship, in my estimation. thinking people should be able to agree on that much.

        • Nox

          Believing something which is patently untrue is a pretty foolish choice. How is that affected at all by whether the person making the foolish choice is smart?

      • Pseudonym

        Very true. The point here is just because a bunch of dumb people believe a thing does not itself mean that all smart people disbelieve it.


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