"It may sound like a silly parody of Christian worship" (Dave W) - but it was really a celebration of science & reason! (crabsallover)
Watch the 22 acts being interviewed backstage. Its good to see some rationalists discussing the show on Christian Forums. Other reviews of Nine Lessons and carols for Godless People on Spoonfed & New Scientist ("Al Murray, in his persona the pub landlord, proved the existence of god with a bacon sandwich, in a well-honed routine that was brilliant, expletive laden and sustained with big laughs.")
My favourite quote '"Science is the new rock and roll!", declares singer-songwriter Robyn Hitchcock, referring to Richard Dawkins as "Keith Richards Dawkins".
This Christmas celebration of science and reason organised by Robin Ince, the comedian, is becoming quite a phenomenon. The variety performance that brought together the likes of Richard Dawkins, Dara O'Briain, Jim Bob from Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine and Simon Singh sold out five nights at the Bloomsbury Theatre, followed by last night's event at the 3,600-capacity, £25-a-seat Apollo.
Ince's hypothesis that scepticism and the wonder of science need not be dry and dull, and that there just might be a market for jokes about Heisenberg's uncertainty principle (two of them, in fact), has been beautifully validated by experiment. After a similar success last year, Nerdstock, as O'Briain described it, seems certain to become a seasonal fixture.
Ince had the idea for Nerdstock last year, after Ince appeared on a television debate with Stephen Green of Christian Voice and found himself accused again and again, as a non-believer, of wanting to ban Christmas. "I wanted to do events around Christmas for people who don't have any belief, to show that they're not bitter, Scrooge-like characters," he explained.
Despite the show's title, there was very little overt atheism in Nine Lessons. A few jokes at the expense of creationists apart, this was pro-science rather than anti-religion. Chris Addison's take on T. Rex's proficiency at slapses was followed by Richard Dawkins comparing the ridiculous claims made for crystal therapy with the majesty of crystal structures as revealed by science. Gavin Osborn rhymed knickers with Copernicus, Simon Singh extracted prophesies of Princess Diana's death from Moby Dick, Al Murray mused on the brain's bacon receptor, and O'Briain diluted his homeopathy gags to make them funnier.
Baba Brinkman, the Canadian rap comedian, delighted with his "peer-reviewed hip-hop" on natural selection.. And Brian Cox awed the audience with his lyrical explanations of fundamental particles and the Hubble deep field.
This is the sort of show that everybody should see. It is just the way that science can and should be communicated to the widest possible audience.
POSTED BY MARK HENDERSON ON DECEMBER 21 in the times, 2009 edited by crabsallover