Tim Minchin’s ‘Storm’: The Animated Movie

by Luke Muehlhauser on April 9, 2011 in Video

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

cl April 9, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I enjoyed it until the propaganda set in. I found it interesting that the narrator mocked Storm’s assertion that the human body is mysterious, yet, this is exactly what experts actually say about the brain. LOL!

Stopped at 2 minutes and something. The animation and music were awesome.

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Jeff H April 9, 2011 at 1:41 pm

cl,

The views expressed in the video are not the official policy of any state that I am aware of. In what sense is the expression of personal opinion considered “propaganda”?

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g April 9, 2011 at 2:18 pm

cl, are you able to distinguish between “the human body is mysterious” and “the human body is mysterious, which means that there is no point trying to understand it”? It seems clear to me that what Minchin is mocking is much more the latter than the former.

Also: it’s not until much later than “2 minutes and something” that Minchin says anything mocking about mysteriousness.

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CharlesR April 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm

I found it interesting that the narrator mocked Storm’s assertion that the human body is mysterious

Saying, “X is mysterious,” is a proposition about your own ignorance. It has nothing to do with what exists out there, in the world. The map is not the territory.

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Justfinethanks April 9, 2011 at 6:43 pm

cl

If you notice, in the poem Storm makes the comment about the human body being mysterious after the medical doctor speaks about “some anarchistic aspect of medical history.” It’s fairly clear Minchin is doing two things here. Firstly, he is contrasting those who are awed and compelled by knowledge (the doctor) against those who are awed and compelled by ignorance (Storm). Secondly, he is mocking arguments from ignorance. In this particular instance, Strom is implying that since the human body is a mystery, medical science is somehow inadequate. Of course, that doesn’t follow.

If believing that it is noble to revel in our real knowledge about the world (rather than revel in the gaps in our knowledge and fill it up with magic and woo) and that the existence of a mystery doesn’t warrant any conclusion (besides that a mystery exists) makes you a propagandist, then every good educator and scientist in the world is freakin’ Goebbels.

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cl April 10, 2011 at 12:46 am

And they say I’m predictable! You guys/gals react just like true believers in scientism, that’s for sure! Like many who comment here, Minchin is an intellectual chauvinist who thinks he has a monopoly on reason. His mockery of natural remedies and his implicit endorsement of the pharmaceutical industry deserve to be mocked. It’s beyond me that you all are willing to let that slide in order to score a cheap point against “cl the mean ol’ theist who always comments at CSA.” Grow up and shed the ingroup/outgroup mentality that Luke is ostensibly dedicated to demoting. Fry the real fish here, not the lone dissenter. Think critically. Don’t just swallow everything somebody says because it tickles *your* faith of choice.

Jeff H,

From Wikipedia: Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself.

g,

cl, are you able to distinguish between “the human body is mysterious” and “the human body is mysterious, which means that there is no point trying to understand it”?

Are you able to listen to what Minchin’s characters actually say without processing it through your obvious bias? Apparently not, because all Storm said in the pertinent passage I alluded to was, “But the human body is mysterious. Science is in a hole when it comes to the soul.” Did Storm say, “which means that there is no point trying to understand” the body? No. That’s what you read into it. Why? How many decibels is bias?

Also: it’s not until much later than “2 minutes and something” that Minchin says anything mocking about mysteriousness.

Like I said, I stopped at 2 and something, where Minchin mockingly characterizes Storm: “But the human body is a mystery…” [2:12] So yeah, my original statement was correct, thank you very much.

CharlesR,

Saying, “X is mysterious,” is a proposition about your own ignorance.

Your point?

justfinethanks,

If you notice, in the poem Storm makes the comment about the human body being mysterious after the medical doctor speaks about “some anarchistic aspect of medical history.”

Anachronistic aspect of medical history. Clean your ears and then get back to me, else I suspect you’ve misheard other parts of the dialog. I don’t debate potatoes.

Secondly, he is mocking arguments from ignorance. In this particular instance, Strom is implying that since the human body is a mystery, medical science is somehow inadequate.

It’s Storm, not that Senator, and, even if you were correct in your assessment of Storm’s inner psychology–which I believe you are not–her reply at 2:17 is not an argument from ignorance. Quite the contrary, it is a scientifically correct statement: science DOES fall into a hole when it comes to the nature of the soul. Science deals in the realm of falsifiable claims about the natural world. From NAS: “Because they are not a part of nature, supernatural entities cannot be investigated by science.”

[...cue Minchin's sneering tone over melodic, 20's-style jazz...]

If you want to challenge NAS, be my guest, you’ll be scientific all the less, if only you’d confess! How’s that for a rhyme, it took hardly no time!

If believing that it is noble to revel in our real knowledge about the world (rather than revel in the gaps in our knowledge and fill it up with magic and woo) and that the existence of a mystery doesn’t warrant any conclusion (besides that a mystery exists) makes you a propagandist, then every good educator and scientist in the world is freakin’ Goebbels.

This horridly atrocious misrepresentation makes you–by the definition I just supplied–the real propagandist, complete with derogatory, cultish ingroup verbiage and all. Are you a Rattler? Or an Eagle? Oh yeah, that’s right…

[...cue tone and music again...]

…this is CSA, home of the Scarlet A’s, saviors of the human race!

Listen, er… should I say look, since listening clearly isn’t your strong point: After you clean your ears, study up on your fallacies. Or, maybe just let me express my opinions in peace instead of rallying to the cause with the rest of the Rattlers. Or Eagles. Or Scarlet A’s. Or whatever.

Wake up and smell the intellectual chauvinism, people.

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Alex Petrov April 10, 2011 at 4:21 am

I would just like to remind people not to address cl. I mean, if you actually want him to clarify something, go ahead and ask him, but otherwise leave it be. He loves to nitpick small, inconsequential details and argue semantics. And considering so many people reply to him, it leads to long rants over the choice of words of various posts.

He’s not interested in actual dialog, he just wants to argue at you. Give him nothing to feed off of and he’ll have his one post that people can either agree with or disagree with and move on.

Anyways, about the video, I did not particularly like the rhythm of the rhyme scheme.

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dw April 10, 2011 at 5:43 am

loved it,

mostly for the bit about homoeopathy

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Lorkas April 10, 2011 at 7:25 am

I’m with cl–I prefer my decisions about my own health to be made based on medical recommendations that, as that chauvinistic propagandist Tim Minchin puts it, “have either not been proved to work, or been proved not to work”.

Scientism is the great problem with the world today. Scientists like to brag about putting astronauts on the moon, but they conveniently forget all the astral travelers who routinely skip over to Alpha Centauri for an after-dinner walk. Demanding that we be able to prove that these things are true is ridiculous scientism.

I trust that cl, like myself, completely shuns all the fruits of these intellectual chauvinist’s behavior. The Bible gives us the only prescription we need–prayer and the anointment of the elders in our church. Don’t ask us to prove that it works–we know 100% that it works because the holy Bible says so. Even considering to take the advice of any modern medical doctor (filthy proponents of scientism that they are) just shows a lack of faith in the only true medicine our bodies need.

Keep up the good message, cl. Down with medicine, up with prayer!

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Silas April 10, 2011 at 10:20 am

Lorkas,

LOL, that was a brilliant display of irony.

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Bill Snedden April 11, 2011 at 1:36 pm

@cl:

And they say I’m predictable! You guys/gals react just like true believers in scientism, that’s for sure! Like many who comment here, Minchin is an intellectual chauvinist who thinks he has a monopoly on reason. His mockery of natural remedies and his implicit endorsement of the pharmaceutical industry deserve to be mocked. It’s beyond me that you all are willing to let that slide in order to score a cheap point against “cl the mean ol’ theist who always comments at CSA.” Grow up and shed the ingroup/outgroup mentality that Luke is ostensibly dedicated to demoting. Fry the real fish here, not the lone dissenter. Think critically. Don’t just swallow everything somebody says because it tickles *your* faith of choice.

Honestly cl, I want to like you. I REALLY, really do. I want to believe that you’re an honest questioner. That you really want answers. Some of the posts on your own blog and some of your comments here support that opinion. But when you engage in the kind of nonsense that you’re attempting to perpetrate in the comments of this post, you make it really difficult to remember that stuff and not just dismiss you out of hand.

1) Confidence in the scientific method does not equate to “scientism”, no matter how many times you repeat that risible strawman. Neither Minchin nor anyone commenting in this thread has said that science has all the answers or that science is to be worshipped like some kind of faith-object.

2) Tim Minchin is, first and foremost, a comic/musician/entertainer. One should expect his works to be hyperbolic/polemical and it would be ridiculous to expect them to be philosophically or rhetorically rigorous.

3) Minchin did NOT mock natural remedies. In fact, he explicitly mentions one in a positive light: aspirin. He is mocking so-called “alternative medicine” and his point is a good one: what do they call “alternative medicine” that works? MEDICINE. No amount of posturing and logically fallacious “big pharma” nonsense is going to vitiate that point.

4) Minchin is an example of someone who DOES “think critically”, even if some of his conclusions do not match yours. I see no evidence here that anyone is “swallow(ing) everything” ANYONE says just because it “tickles (our) faith of choice”. I HAVE critically examined the evidence and my conclusions are pretty much on par with Minchin’s. I think that’s likely true of most people here.

5) What is “intellectual chauvinism”? Is it bias? If so, we’re ALL guilty of it. But it cannot be intellectual chauvinism to favor methodologies that work over methodologies that do not. In the areas in which Minchin is commenting, science works. Is it “intellectual chauvinism” to have confidence in the abilities of proven methodologies to solve problems in the real world? I think it could be if one were unable to admit even the possibility of error. But Minchin, and I think most of us here as well, are not in that category. Minchin says as much in the video at about 5:45 in or so.

6) Finally, the point of the entire piece, which you might have got had you listened to the whole thing, is not “wow look at all these stupid ideas people have. I am so much smarter than them.”, but a diatribe against the kind of sloppy thinking that CAN lead people to believe things that have no rational support (and he never directly talks about “god” or “the soul”). He’s not just saying “people are stupid for believing stuff”, but “people are stupid for believing stuff WITHOUT GOOD REASON”. And yes, he equates “good reason” with empirical evidence, but every situation in his rant presents a question open to empirical investigation (astrology, homeopathy & alternative medicine, faith healing, psychics, etc, etc).

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Lorkas April 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Confidence in the scientific method does not equate to “scientism”, no matter how many times you repeat that risible strawman.

This ^

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