Avoiding the same old song: Spider Baby Jesus

It’s short and sweet with simple lyrics and a straight forward structure. Like all the best punk, though, Duffy and the Doubters’ Spider Baby Jesus is great not because it’s catchy but because there’s something true about it. It’s the kind of song that works because it leaves you knowing that something, anything, somehow makes more sense than it did before. This time around, Vancouver music mainstay Duffy Driediger reminds us of the pitfalls of relying on the same tired narratives. When we tell the same stories, the ending is always the same. There’s always a boring subject and there’s always someone else to blame. It may be inescapable. It’s always the same old song.

Science can’t just tell the same old stories. Assumptions have to be challenged, new questions have to be asked. Yesterday Josh wrote about a study of the adaptive value of prejudice, crippled by its reliance on the assumption that acting on prejudice is effective: Prejudice is rational if you assume prejudice is rational. Discussions in science education often face the same problem. Generation after generation there are calls for improving science education by actively involving students in doing science and learning its processes to get away from traditional textbook and rote learning. The funny thing is hardly anyone has ever advocated it as the way science should be taught. The problems in implementation are numerous and challenging, from evaluation structures to school facilities, but there’s no way these problems can be addressed when discussions continue to focus on convincing everyone that process-focused science teaching is a good idea. When it’s always the same old stories, the ending is always the same.

Science, both doing it and learning it, can’t work that way. What better way to be reminded than with a great song.

Duffy and the Doubter’ Scriptural Supplies is available in limited edition and for download at Triple Crown Recordings. Driediger also fronts the always terrific band Ladyhawk.

Author: mcshanahan

Science education researcher and writer

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