See From Space

by Baba Brinkman

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1.
This is inspector Zorg, reporting back To the galactic order on assorted facts Collected from the planet in the 42nd sector Where the radio waves were detected As directed, I came to investigate it  To see whether an intelligent civilization Had emerged, and determine whether it’s worth Establishing a diplomatic channel with earth Which is still in its late juvenile phase  And remains likely to self-annihilate So I made an assessment of the entire range  Of the planet’s native biological agents The most common is a basic single-celled Liquid dweller, cells that stick together Form colonies of trillions called “bodies” That develop from single-celled progeny You already know, natural selection  Designs organisms to maximize descendants And the life forms here are no exception All descended from a common ancestor Including one ape species that’s an oddity The radio waves came from its technology And you’re not gonna believe it on Betelgeuse  But these apes often choose not to reproduce In fact, most of their time is wasted Emanating strange noises from their faces Instead of baby makin’, sonic arrangements Of which this report is a demonstration Can you see? Can you see from space? Every species of ape Comes from the same DNA Genes rearrange ‘Cause they don’t breed the same Some genes make brains Where memes compete and change And these days Apes can see from space This bipedal ape species, these “humans” Don’t even have tentacles like Betelgeuseans Its limbs are modified fins  And its jaws are just modified gill slits It’s a mammal, it’s got mammal habits But it’s actually just an adapted “land fish” And like fish, each one has two parents Each one of two morphological variants Male and female, they’re called sexes And with some exceptions they behave different The males are physically bigger and more aggressive More prone to stupid risks and more reckless As expected, that’s what mammals are like Females reward the winner after the fight Or choose among contenders selectively While males mate more opportunistically Except in these humans  Females display too, and males do some choosing Especially when investing in offspring And long-term costly signaling of monogamy Humans are odd things, I tried to determine Whether each behavior comes from instinct or learning Just don’t ask them which is which They don’t know, and they find the question offensive Can you see? Can you see from space? Every species of ape Comes from the same DNA Genes rearrange ‘Cause they don’t breed the same Some genes make brains Where memes compete and change And these days Apes can see from space These humans evolved their brains in odd ways Wishful thinking makes them fall for con games Betelgeusians evolved to know ourselves Humans evolved to blame flaws on someone else And take credit for gains, they jockey for status Overdosing on calories, adapted to famines They’re phobic of absent snakes and arachnids With no fear of traffic or cigarette ashes Most believe in telepathic gods and ghosts And pretend to know things they obviously don’t They form coalitions and reject evidence If the facts are a threat to their tribal memberships And yet, they are master cooperators Space station making disease eradicators They display a primitive collective intelligence And sometimes even assist non-relatives It’s amazing, what these apes have achieved Their brains are a teeming accumulation of memes Ideas, tactics and tool-making schemes Which remain unmastered until their late teens They only just found out how evolution works And how it illuminates every mood and urge Just give ‘em a few years and they might deserve The name of Ape that Understood the Universe Can you see? Can you see from space? Every species of ape Comes from the same DNA Genes rearrange ‘Cause they don’t breed the same Some genes make brains Where memes compete and change And these days Apes can see from space
2.
I confess it, I’m a skeptic I believe in the scientific method I believe in reason and evidence And things bein’ tested I’m really not tryin’ to be rude When I tell people “I don’t believe you” I believe you believe it to be true But I want to see some peer review  Human being are oh so deceivable Oh so promiscuous with what’s believable I’m old fashioned, I just want to see if it’s repeatable With a mechanism that’s conceivable Don’t dismiss this as if I’m “just a hater” If you make the claim, you’re the instigator I just wanna see if that claim can be replicated In the presence of a skeptical investigator I’m not scoffin’ – if it’s true, that’s awesome And until proven, my thoughts are agnostic Open minded, seeking truth, hopin’ to find it Tryin’ to light a candle instead of gropin’ blindly I confess it, I’m a skeptic I believe in the scientific method I believe in reason and evidence And things bein’ tested But I believe in people too I may not believe in the things you do But I believe in you You too can seek the truth I don’t believe in telepathy I don’t believe in “chi energy” I don’t believe in any kind of energy  That Stephen Hawking hasn’t been measuring Physics, it can measure neutrinos Hundreds of billions are passing through people Every single second, that’s something we know But no instrument can detect “chi” though? We could measure it with a fake needle Acupuncture it with a placebo And if the effect is no less feeble That’s where medicine stops and psychology goes Belief – it’s oh so powerful That’s why we need to hold it accountable If you know, then please show me how you know And if you don’t, it’s okay to say “I don’t know” I confess it, I’m a skeptic I believe in the scientific method I believe in reason and evidence And things bein’ tested But I believe in people too I may not believe in the things you do But I believe in you You too can seek the truth  Excuse me for rhapsodizing But fake news and alternative facts are rising Quack medicine keeps on metastasizing But there’s a miracle cure, is that surprising? It’s called the scientific method If you think a thing is true, investigate and test it Never forget that your memory’s selective You have incentives to forget the negative I was thinkin’ about my friend all day And then improbably, my friend called me But every time I thought about ‘em and they didn’t call There was no story, so the memory dissolved The mind play tricks, and we can learn to spot ‘em Evolution even teaches us how we got ‘em So learn to love facts and you might just get a passion To put that skepticism into action I confess it, I’m a skeptic I believe in the scientific method I believe in reason and evidence And things bein’ tested But I believe in people too I may not believe in the things you do But I believe in you You too can seek the truth
3.
This is fun! As far as temperature is concerned I spit it 451, it’s a pleasure to burn Fiction, non-fiction, prose, narrative verse Nabakov, Shakespeare, literature Gets turned into ashes in a blast of petroleum I’m grinnin’ into the flames when I’m throwin’ them I’m looking’ into the future, is it dystopian? What’s the harm in burnin’ a book if nobody’s holdin’ it? Crack it open, nothing but ink and paper Don’t blame the death of it on the village incinerator Nothin’ but information physically disintegrating Save the vegetation, give it to the digital innovators Books are never gonna be banned, just scanned And delivered to the palm of your hand, this is planned Obsolescence, Ozymandius falls into sand If we’re too busy to read it, digest it and understand Understand? That’s how history’s curves go No need for old geezers creepin’ on dirt roads Commit it to memory!? No, read it on your phone  I’m just gonna check my social media first though… Daredevils, sex and heroin If the play sucks just sting ‘em with the theremin Motorbikes, helicopters, jets Everything to do with automatic reflex  Retail, death of attention to detail Loss of freedom, not all at once, piecemeal Small opportunities for rebelling Truth, lies, and storytelling Truth, lies, and storytelling (Repeat) Remember the feelin’ of chillin’ under a tree with a book? The tactility, the smell of it? That feeling was good  Remember that? How much would you give to get it back? I try to picture it – all I can see now is a Kindle app The ink is still black, but now it’s a digital article And my attention span is a little bit less methodical Less knowledgable, I sped up quick after starting slow I don’t even use Kindle now, I switched to Audible That’s how the story goes, the fire is metaphorical The seashell in my ears, increasin’ my freedom forty fold The voice in my head, spinnin’ a thread, but nobody’s home Any thoughts of my own get burned into “holy smokes” I listen to podcasts, and watch the political conflag Like Mrs Montag, feelin’ like everything’s gone bad Another sexual predator’s about to be given a hall pass Another presidential affiliate caught red-handed Like an episode of Cops: Special Prosecutor Edition I try not to watch but I’m itchin’, I got a news addiction I used to think thoughts, now I’m glued to the feed Talkin’ to friends like: “the Orange Clown’s on again, have you seen?” Fake news beamed into the parlor to prop the scam up Reading suddenly becomes an oasis in the hot savannah Conspiracies among readers who want some answers Switch off the state television propaganda! Daredevils, sex and heroin If the play sucks just sting ‘em with the theramin Motorbikes, helicopters, jets Everything to do with automatic reflex  Retail, death of attention to detail Loss of freedom, not all at once, piecemeal Small opportunities for rebelling Truth, lies, and storytelling Truth, lies, and storytelling (Repeat) I got sick of chief Beatty gaslightin’ Got enlightened, talked to Faber, got the bug for writin’ Like Bradbury in a library basement typin’ Into devices, never paper fetishizin’ Senses Fahren-heightened, sensitive to fascism Books died ‘cause they got adapted into rap rhythm Not a shallow pleasure, a tactic to hack systems Freedom is needed, nostalgia for the past isn’t Never try and cage thoughts, let a mind range Sometimes it’ll take sedatives over migraines And settle into repetitive blind ways Like Oedipus, wandering in his dying days Censorship, it starts from the bottom up People thinkin’ that they’re motivated by a lot of love  We must protect the weak, but it’s not enough Dangerous ideas must be banned from above Wait! Before you try to call in a leviathan A salamander to fry it all in fireball Try a small thing called dialogue You might just find it viable Daredevils, sex and heroin If the play sucks just sting ‘em with the theremin Motorbikes, helicopters, jets Everything to do with automatic reflex  Retail, death of attention to detail Loss of freedom, not all at once, piecemeal Small opportunities for rebelling Truth, lies, and storytelling Truth, lies, and storytelling (Repeat)
4.
04:08 video
Mr. Donald Trump, you’re not my president ‘Cause I’m not a citizen, just another immigrant A permanent resident stuck in the midst of it Rubber-neckin’ as America drove off a cliff, thinkin’ I wish I could vote, but not for you though Hell no, I voted for Justin Trudeau Here’s a couple things that I think you know Even if you act in public like you don’t Climate change, you know that it’s happening Know that its impact is already damaging You said so! A permit you applied for Said the ocean’s comin’ up on your Irish golf course Well here’s another place you might like to protect America. It’s likewise under threat Sea level rise, extreme weather events Infrastructure risk is bad for business So I made a list, to help you keep track And since you don’t read, I squeezed it in a rap Would’ve put it in a tweet if I could achieve that The seaside’s about to need an evac Erosion Of coastlines, riverbeds Of time left, only chance we’re gonna get Erosion Of ice in the glaciers United nations, isolation Erosion Of faith in democracy Your face in the dictionary next to hypocrisy Erosion, erosion, erosion Mr. President Stickin’ your head in the sand is not principled The rate of sea level rise in Florida tripled In one decade, and that’s easy to count It’s back when Billy Bush and you were hangin’ around Demonstrating your scruples, and since those days The tidal flooding in Miami Beach has quadrupled And that’s great for business if you sell water pumps But not for local residents who voted Donald Trump So what you gonna do now? Lose Mar-a-Lago? Or try to move it all to higher ground in Colorado? Some people try to tell me that you’re all bravado But I think you’ve got a calculation under all the guano Come on though, what’s Tampa supposed to do if Another storm floods the bay with raw sewage? Is the EPA gonna stop the fluid spewin’? Not under Scott Pruitt, all he wants to do is sue it And what about common sense national defence? You got several naval bases under imminent threat It’s not just the Gulf Coast, Hampton Roads’ About to have some of Virginia’s dampest homes Erosion Of waterfront property Insurance underwriters can’t even make a profit Erosion Of the public trust Coal burners fillin’ up our lungs with dust Erosion Of real estate value Sea water comin’ up to surround you Erosion, erosion, erosion Mr. President You know! The fire season’s out of control Losses have doubled since I was six years old With damage in the hundreds of millions We lost a whole town in Canada’s wilderness You know! Climate change is a factor The Pentagon calls it a “risk enhancer” So why do you act like you don’t know? With every new quote that it’s a huge hoax I really do wanna take the charitable view Basic ignorance, that’s embarrassing for you But it’s not as bad as the uncharitable view That you’re funneling profits to fossil fuel And getting kickbacks. There’s a lotta gas to burn And we don’t know what you own, no tax return All we know is, you got a lotta fossil fuel cronies In your cabinet, and Tillerson and Putin are homies And those with the most to gain From the claim that climate change is a hoax are praying That you can delay the clean energy transition Long enough to cash a few chips in Erosion Of journalistic standards We want answers, not panders Erosion Of public institutions Of safeguards against pollution Erosion Of civilization It’s not too late to make changes Erosion, erosion, erosion Mr. President
5.
Voiceover: What are emotions? An evolutionary perspective Suggests a simple definition of emotions Based on the forces that shaped them. Lost my friend to pleasure-seekin’ Good feelings for bad reasons Freaked out and went off the deep end Bad feelings for bad reasons Lost my friend and now I’m grievin’ Bad feelings for good reasons Played with my kids all weekend Good feelings for good reasons There’s nothing more amazing than the brain of a Homo sapien Nothing more prone to a craving – appetites  Calibrated by a thermostat that decides When it’s satisfied and when it’s time to have a slice Homeostatic device – glucose and insulin Temperature regulated by sweating and shivering Happiness and misery, anxiety and equanimity Situations reliably triggering emotions Evolution with has one plot Fitness maximization, genetic jump shot Keys to behavior unlocked, until something comes along To convert a semi-auto to a bump-stock Smoke detector principle: the brain trigger-happy Every snapping twig a potential predator attacking Safe assumption, when predators are snacking But when it’s panic attacking, it gets a bit distracting The system is adapted to the triggers of the past But the mechanisms jam in the modern mishegas Mismatch, a brain open to learning, a system dopaminergic The next drug invented, I really hope I’m allergic I know ‘cause I learned it, enjoyment is a fitness key The shape of an opioid gets in between Oxy is a proxy for a natural poppy In the brain that signals what kind of action to copy And after addiction, comes manic depression Which tends to intervene after a massive rejection When status competitions beat you into submission Depression is a mechanism to get you to pivot Just like pain is a mechanism to get you to change Position and quickly get your fingers out of the flames With minimal tissue damage sustained – I miss my friend Now is the rationalization of our discontent Lost my friend to pleasure-seekin’ Good feelings for bad reasons Freaked out and went off the deep end Bad feelings for bad reasons Lost my friend and now I’m grievin’ Bad feelings for good reasons Played with my kids all weekend Good feelings for good reasons Lost my friend, and I’m still feelin’ the hurt from it I see his face reflected in random surfaces Is he alive or dead? This vivid search image Is adaptive when actively determining where a person is Grief, is it an adaptive feeling that triggers Rumination: “I could’ve done something different”? And if it’s fully out of my hands, does it enhance My assessment of risk in the makin’ of future plans? I can’t… the ache is sharp and intense And no less painful when I’m makin’ it make sense How many weeks get to elapse after a major event Before the DSM is ready to say I’m "depressed"? Drifting in a daze, contemplating giving up Feeling like a bacterium with flailing cilia Of course it’s better to chart random courses Than persist in one direction, into a vortex So true, organisms do what they’re supposed to Act as if fitness enhancement is the only rule Evolution gave us high mood and low mood To assess the relevant situations we go through Persisting in the pursuit of a goal that’s not gonna go through Triggers a hopeless feelin’ of low fuel Even in the produce section of Whole Foods Infinite calories available, but no juice Just a mobile screen in my hand scrolling the feed Everybody seems happier and more successful than me Until ambition triggers a manic episode I’m about to go platinum with this scientifical flow! But no, now I’m back on the sofa, my daughter’s upstairs doing homework My friend is coming over, he’s on his bipolar meds and he’s sober And no longer chasing the ultimate feeling And yes, it helps to know the ultimate reason Lost my friend to pleasure-seekin’ Good feelings for bad reasons Freaked out and went off the deep end Bad feelings for bad reasons Lost my friend and now I’m grievin’ Bad feelings for good reasons Played with my kids all weekend Good feelings for good reasons [Repeat Chorus] Voiceover: What are emotions? Emotions are specialized states that adjust Physiology, cognition, subjective experience Facial expressions, and behavior In ways that increase the ability To meet the adaptive challenges of situations That have recurred over the Evolutionary history of a species. Emotions are for our genes, not us.
6.
E-V-O-L-U-T-I-O-N Lines in your family tree unbroken This view of life, T-V-O-L Take a look and see for yourself
 Selection selection selection Natural, artificial and sexual I’m lookin’ to Darwin to figure the form Of an organ, adaptive or vestigial Everything comes with a precedent Genetic and cultural replicants Selection is when one of them is successful At passin’ it on to the next of kin Selection selection selection It’s like clockin’ an extra dimension It’s like Neo perceivin’ the Matrix Increasin’ your depth of perception Selection selection, the reach of it’s awesome From pollinators to trees when they blossom From the beak of the finch to people who went From quadrupedal to walkin’ Selection, don’t be afraid of it Life evolved, no one created it The genome of every organism, nature is Always mutating and changing it Selection selection selection It’s a question of comprehension Some people can see it and study it Others believe it’s the devil’s invention Selection, the science is settled Every religious objection’s been vetted And rejected, selection is happening The only question is: in which direction? Selection selection selection Embrace it for all of its benefits It’s paving the way for advances in everything From robotics to medicine Selection at multiple levels Genetic and cultural symbols Selection selected your mental capacity To select and disseminate info So tell me why rap is so cocky Versace Versace Versace Selection that’s sexual tends to go BLING! When the signal is costly
 E-V-O-L-U-T-I-O-N Look at the world with two eyes open This view of life, T-V-O-L Learn to read it and it speaks for itself E-V-O-L-U-T-I-O-N Lines in your family tree unbroken This view of life, T-V-O-L Take a look and see for yourself
 This view of life is magnificent No living thing is really insignificant Organisms are part of a tapestry Takin’ us back to abiogenesis And every creature is really your relative From trees to people to krill And it’s easy to see the resemblance And when you spot it say “T-V-O-L” This view of life is changing economies People aren’t as selfish as they’re thought to be Altruism is often adaptive and that should be Part of our public policies Does freedom mean freedom to kill? Freedom to die in the street or to steal? Look for the tragedies of the commons And when you see them say “T-V-O-L” This view of life is adaptable Ready to follow wherever the facts go Darwin just laid out the vision and showed how Origins could be natural He didn’t fill out the map though There’s so much more that we can reveal And every new fact fits into a scaffolding Known as “T-V-O-L” This view of life is exceptional There isn’t another one so successful At linkin’ together so many domains In a way that’s simple and algorithmical Whenever selection and variation And heredity can be revealed As part of a system, Darwinism Is in effect: “T-V-O-L” This view of life is full of grandeur And majesty, but we lack the mastery Of it to tackle the challenges facing Humanity in this century This view of life is the only way to Make sense of how people think and feel So make it a mission to celebrate The vision: “T-V-O-L”
 E-V-O-L-U-T-I-O-N Look at the world with two eyes open This view of life, T-V-O-L Learn to read it and it speaks for itself E-V-O-L-U-T-I-O-N Lines in your family tree unbroken This view of life, T-V-O-L Take a look and see for yourself
7.
Tell me again and again and again You don’t believe We’re on the eve of destruction Mr. President I’m back again after a hell of year With a message you really don’t wanna hear Climate change is real, and everything except for Your legacy will disappear, so lend me your ear And let me hit you with some info you don’t get to ignore It’s from a federal scientific advisory board Straightforward, it’s got the NAS's support The National Climate Assessment Special Report It's real! Even secretary Mattis knows it Expanding ocean’s putting military plans in motion With a risk enhancer the chances of disasters go up Look at the fires in California Let me spell it out for you: rising temperatures Without precipitation triggers drought conditions Liquid evaporates and vegetation’s dry as tinder And that’s why the state was on fire all winter So what’s the message you’re sending the American people Swearing to weasel out of the Paris Agreement? Did you notice the 2017 hurricane season? It was extreme, for the very same reason It's the same message you’re sending to Puerto Ricans When they’re storm-weakened and denied the support of FEMA Maria’s intensity was the ocean catching a fever While you’re tossin' paper towels at the crowd like a diva Attackin’ Colin Kaepernick just to try to distract us from The fact of indictments landing on your campaign manager Or whatever the latest scandal plaguin’ your cabinet Every department head appointed to dismantle it Rippin’ us off, ridiculous Betsy DeVos Never seen a public school or even stepped in its halls The CDC is takin’ “science" and “evidence" off The list of permitted words, which is medicine’s loss And what about Harvey, not the sexual predator Your competitor for the credit of Molester In Chief  I mean the one that gave Texas an enema Climate change took the regular chances and straight tripled them Check the level of deluge in Houston Four feet of rain in as many days, boosted A foot or more by human carbon pollution You’ve been accused of fossil fuel collusion Of conspiracy with a Petro-State To make American energy policy retrograde Every renewable project, you said “no way” But the pipelines and the drilling gets okayed? So congratulations, you’re the Neville Chamberlain Of temperature change, ‘cause instead of facin’ it You deliver craven misinformation With a straight face to the nation Tell me again and again and again You don’t believe  We’re on the eve of destruction What’s the deal? You keep tellin’ me the threat isn’t real But I’m beginnin’ to feel you got something to conceal Credible people tell us emissions are lethal You’re just tryin’ to give investors in ‘em a better yield So what do we do, with a do-nothin federal government? The electorate can get rid of republicans Up and down the ticket as a punishment for Trumpism The EPA’s got a double agent runnin’ it But we can skip the federal regulations and act A city can have a plan, a company and Even a whole industry can; emissions are getting capped By the C-40 mega-city initiative pact And remember, the Paris Agreement isn’t rescinded Every country except for America’s still in it Plus a lot of states are still ready to build with it America’s Pledge, fifty percent still committed Mr. President, it’s already too late To bring your descendants anything but the heaviest shame That’s your legacy, mistake after mistake With climate change at the top of the list of messes you made But that’s enough about you It’s time for the next election cycle to rout you I know you’re not gonna change, you don’t know how to But we can still deal with the climate crisis without you Tell me again and again and again You don’t believe  We’re on the eve of destruction
8.
Mayor Pete Voiceover: Freedom does not belong to just one political party Our conservative friends care about freedom But they only make it part of the way Freedom from taxes, freedom from regulation As though government were the only thing That can make somebody unfree But it’s not true! Your freedom depends on a lot more Than just the size of your government My freestyle ain’t free; it’s highly regulated  That’s what keeps it elevated instead of degraded  I voluntarily restrain it, so you get something from it  It’s free but it’s not free, it needs infrastructure  You wanna hear a freestyle that’s really free?  Check it out: Blah-blah-blah-blah-blaow! Yeah, I improvised every syllable in that sequence! But was the lack of semantic content a weakness?  Okay, here’s a freestyle that’s slightly less free  Wayne Gretzky painted on jetski Try to sell it on Etsy – yeah! Those words came straight off of the top of my dome!  But in retrospect there wasn’t much of a point in the flow  So I suppose when I freestyle, it should have more parameters  So you could tell the difference between professionals and amateurs  It’s gotta work sonically, rhythmically, and logically  It's better off with better laws, kinda like market economies
  Chasin’ life and liberty  Freedom lovin’ but freedom ain’t free Freedom from tyranny  Freedom from livin’ too free Free to make a mess and leave  But that freedom ain’t free  Keep it on a leash  ‘Cause that freedom ain’t free  It ain’t free, too much freedom is dangerous  Your freedom to swing a fist ends where my face begins  Freedom ain’t free, freedom involves tradeoffs  We don’t want a banker to be free like Bernie Madoff  People, freedom ain’t free, freedom for Cecil the Lion  Means you gotta take away the freedom of Don Jr. to buy him  Yeah freedom ain’t free, too much freedom, I’ve had enough  Of the freedom to stash money tax-free in Panama  Freedom from predators, not freedom for predators  Freedom from shaky loans promoted by shady creditors  I want you to have the freedom to say whatever you’re thinkin’  But not the freedom to drive on the highway when you’re heavy drinkin’  I want freedom from bein’ shot randomly in the street That freedom’s bigger than your second amendment freedom to pack heat  I just want to be free to receive needed medical treatment The threat of medical bankruptcy is not freedom  
Chasin’ life and liberty  Freedom lovin’ but freedom ain’t free Freedom from tyranny  Freedom from livin’ too free Free to make a mess and leave  But that freedom ain’t free  Keep it on a leash  ‘Cause that freedom ain’t free  Freedom ain’t free, on its own it’s chaos  I want freedom like Picasso, not like a baby with crayons  Freedom ain’t free, you want freedom of religion?  I want freedom from religiously bigoted politicians People, freedom ain’t free, freedom involves sacrifice  If pollution causes harm, pollution should have a price  Freedom ain’t free, you say you want a free market?  I want a market free from people dumpin’ their garbage on me  Freedom ain’t free 
9.
Dan Dennett Voiceover: Many people think the implications of this are dreadful We don’t really have “free will”, and nothing really matters Listen to this lyric, it isn’t freestyle, it’s written  I wrote it of my own “free will” – it was my decision  Every intimate constituent part of it was deliberate  I considered how to script it and how to stand and deliver it  Forethought, but that doesn't mean nothin’ comes before thought  Take to look at the source of your thoughts, you might find the door's blocked  If every decision is made in a part of my brain that's invisible to me  That's “will”, but with a subliminal origin, I'm not thinkin' it's too “free”  But if not me, who was it that chose to bust the rhyme?  And if the clock was reset, I bet I could not have done otherwise If every molecule and brain state was in the same place  The same thing would happen, so what sense does blame make?  Or praise make? I’m trainin’ to bring nothin’ but my game face  Even if the outcome of the race goes back to big bang days  In a deterministic universe that obeys the laws of physics  It takes a magic wand to make a truly uncaused decision  So there’s no such thing as absolute responsibility  And the more we discover, the more we degrade culpability  Every brain tumor found in someone who shoots up a playground Tells us that we’re nothin’ but brain tumors all the way down I can’t stop believin’ I can choose I feel it in my molecules Words and deeds, not wants and moods Freedom is only strong when it’s used I feel it in my molecules Believin’ I can choose Freedom Is only strong when it’s used Dennett Voiceover:  People are surprisingly good  At distracting themselves  From ominous prospects  But don’t give up hope  Quantum physics to the rescue!  But wait, what if a random quantum fluctuation Breaks up the universe’s basic deterministic nature? A swerve we can surf, a wave-particle duality That puts a human agent back in the chain of causality? Don’t waste my time with that quantum tomfoolery If a swerve is truly random, it’s got nothin’ to do with me! I want “free will” that puts me back in the drivers seat And makes me the author of the rhymes I recite on beats I spent a lot of time trainin’ my brain to rhyme At the drop of a dime; that’s a kind of freedom I can claim as mine Freedom isn’t a metaphysical state at the level of atoms It’s a collection of talents that each of us can develop and manage Freedom evolves, evolution gave us the building blocks Absolute freedom? Maybe not, but more than a digger wasp And more than prefrontal cortex lesion patients living today I’ll take the freedom I’ve got over the non-freedom of Phineas Gage Freedom is having a brain that can reject options Detect imposters and dodge sucker punches like boxers Freedom is having a brain that can navigate obstacles
In a continuous exploration of the adjacent possible A brain that’s free enough to identify goals and pursue them And recognize the reasons why, even if it’s prone to illusions Freedom, it’s what you have to skip a song or rewind it And it’s yours to lose, if you lack the will to find it

  I can’t stop believin’ I can choose I feel it in my molecules Words and deeds, not wants and moods Freedom is only strong when it’s used I feel it in my molecules Believin’ I can choose Freedom Is only strong when it’s used
  Dennett Voiceover:
  Free will is like the air we breath We count on it, but it is neither a Metaphysical background condition Nor a fundamental physical condition 
It evolved, and is still evolving Freedom Is only strong when it’s used
10.
Welcome to the future 2019 Better find them a Nice soft place to land right? ‘Cause they sound high Pseudo-psychics Pseudo-skeptics Pseudo-mystics It’s all pseudo It's all pseudo I'm pseudo-fed-up I want tomorrow to be better than yesterday That’s why I’m all about technology So if you say “slow it down!” I’ll say fast forward And if you want the benefits But not the process then you’re hypocrites Everybody’s wish list is For new toys and tools and better medicines And you can have this wish Just ask the methodological naturalists And if your spouse gets sick Consult professionals never novices Deep down you all know this Jay-Z thanks I had to borrow this To make sure tomorrow is A bit more hospitable to common sense Whatever scientists can discover You want that When it’s justice and life or death You want facts But when you feel threatened by science It’s all bad And you can’t bring the future back Mysticism and pseudo-science We off that Placebo effects and magic Are off track Religion and superstition We off that ‘Cause you can’t bring the future back Tell them fools get off me! Fraud we off that Quacks we off that Chiropractic? Hell yeah, we off that Is you still on that? You're better of crackin' a packet of bubble wrap It ain’t black vs white; it ain’t east vs west It’s about the scientific method against myths It’s colour-blind justice and double-blind tests So you can’t make claims if you lack evidence You say “It suits me best” But you haven’t ruled out those placebo effects And yeah it’s been tested Prayer doesn’t work against illnesses And neither does a sugar pill Nobody gets cancer from a windmill Chill! Just like the Hawaiians Ask 'em about GMO papayas I'm with Mark Lynas, protect the environment Give it the best of biotech sciences Manure is organic, but we leave it behind us Look in the future to find us Whatever scientists can discover You want that When it’s justice and life or death You want facts But when you feel threatened by science It’s all bad And you can’t bring the future back Mysticism and pseudo-science We off that Placebo effects and magic Are off track Religion and superstition We off that ‘Cause you can’t bring the future back Tell them fools get off me! Fraud we off that Ghosts we off that God we off that Yeah, we off that Is you still on that? You better take a message He's not gonna call back I don’t give a measle how your beliefs go Get a vaccine or don't come around people Unless you got a medical reason exemption Those are the people that need your protection Get the shot! Not the suspension Of homeopathic alternative medicine I don't give a chakra if it's holistic I just want evidence-based statistics Eradicate diseases Don't give 'em back to the faith-healers And I don’t give a shroom if you hallucinate Just don’t try to make any truthful claims Unless you can show us the proof we crave ‘Cause no aliens ever flew my way So now it’s time to relax Your mind and learn a couple science facts Whatever scientists can discover You want that When it’s justice and life or death You want facts But when you feel threatened by science It’s all bad And you can’t bring the future back Mysticism and pseudo-science We off that Placebo effects and magic Are off track Religion and superstition We off that ‘Cause you can’t bring the future back Tell them fools get off me! Astrology we off that Reiki we off that Naturopathics? Hell yeah, we off that Is you still on that? Test every treatment And see where they fall flat Test every treatment And see where they fall flat
11.
Oh sinner man Where you gonna run to? On that day Okay, Mr. President... let’s get into it The fourth climate assessment, it’s a definitive Synthesis of the evidence, have you read it yet? It’s your report, straight from the Executive It says right here: “Produced by the White House” I’ve got summary notes for you to write down You might want to lie down, or raise an eyebrow People are dying in America right now From high-powered supercharged hurricane torrents In the five category or the four like Florence A hundred-year storm every year is historic But you just ignore it, ‘cause your gut tells a different story So you go to California like a tourist When the place is scorched and say they oughta "rake the forest" You don’t read climate change reports?! Hot things burn more, Agent Orange And if you’re waiting for an economic incentive The vulnerable sector losses are documented In the hundreds of billions, and you’re on Twitter Every time an immigrant gets a parking ticket?! What’s wrong Mr. President? Did you confuse The climate with the weather? Weather is like your mood Even you can have a minute of benevolent cool Your temperament stays narcissistic and rude And the climate stays getting hotter on a cold day Okay, you’re tryin’ to hold your base But they’re snowflakes, even they will go away When the special prosecutor shows his whole case So brace yourself for the impact friction Tryin’ to bring back Nixon, skin bag edition You got elected as a big tactician But sinner man, you can’t run from redemption Oh sinner man Where you gonna run to? On that day Temperature’s rising, the woods are on fire Ocean’s rising higher and higher People are rising, a tide’s on the move Redemption’s waiting for you Redemption only comes from confession And cooperation like the rest of your henchman So the rest can clean up the mess you left us The extra decades of combustion engines Sloshing around, extra cars on the ground Engineering solutions that are still not found The high carbon count we still gotta draw down You’re the toast of the fossil fuel market now But the garbage found in a kid’s lungs wheezin’ That’s what plagues the dreams of Ebenezer Congratulations on a future without any meaning Either oblivion or haunted by many demons Or... there’s many paths to redemption None of them involve apathy or inattention None involve rejection of the scientific method All of them involve comin’ straight to your senses  Temperature’s rising, the woods are on fire Ocean’s rising higher and higher People are rising, a tide’s on the move Redemption’s waiting for you Redemption is medicine, it means you heal It’s the next generation with extreme new zeal  It’s the green new deal that we’re keen to seal The climate doesn’t give a soybean how you feel It cares about one thing: radiative forcing You got in bed with Vladimir and Alexander Torshin But that doesn’t stop the sun scorchin’ Or the rotation of the democratic door swing Punishing Republicans, it’s already started Renounce Trump now or forever be tarnished Join the Bipartisan Climate Change Caucus And back the Carbon Dividend Act in Congress It’s gonna take a major mobilization to switch it up From Rosie the Riveter to grandma’s pension fund And all the fossil fuel stock it’s divesting from Let the voices sing as one ’til redemption comes  Temperature’s rising, the woods are on fire Ocean’s rising higher and higher People are rising, a tide’s on the move Redemption’s waiting for you Oh sinner man Where you gonna run to? On that day Where you gonna run to?
12.
Check check Double check some truth If I could check one You could check one too Who’s the best technician of cognitive dissonance? The most improbably competent lyricist? Baba Brinkman is competitionless No song ever said what I wanted so I invented it In hip-hip boastin’ and braggin’ is not uncommon  But I can toast to launching a couple of novel genres I called it “Lit-Hop”, when I started with Chaucer And then I was a peer-reviewed rappin’ Darwin apostle Call it what you wanna call it, it’s always been rap Novel species, not a novelty act Hip-hop is a big tent, you got a problem with that? I found a cozy little corner to set up shop and give back Took the concept of concept rap and ran with it Take a topic, examine it, make it simultaneously  Crazy poppin’ and accurate, not immaculate Cognition is flawed but hey, take a stab at it Try to fit some evidence to your theories and prove  That what you’re sayin’ is true, instead of just sharin’ your views In this era of fake news, you too Can make a contribution by embracing peer review You probably got a theory or two that you’re married to You probably think a couple of conspiracies are true Some kind of dispute with a materialist view You expect a paradigm shift, Thomas Kuhn You probably got a favorite kind of alternative medicine  And figure medical professionals bury the evidence Whatever your pleasure is, I really get it I just need a good reason to accept it Check one two, what it come to Everyone believe what you want to Check one two three four, we can be more Double checkin’ is a resource  Check three four five six, check logic Instead of just checkin’ optics Check check five six seven eight Every decision you make, take a second to meditate Reflect and check check seven eight nine ten And then do it again Check check double check some truth If I can check one you can check one too I’m just Gen-Xer tryin’ to keep up with the times I probably got the original idea from Tribe In the 90s, beats, rhymes, and the meaning of life But the meaning has gotta fit with the science If you only want to talk about it with the open-hearted Subjective perspective perfected by most artists I respect it, but objective is harder And perspective is shared, so don’t bogart it  We gotta live on this planet together I figure we could learn to love and examine it better How bad could it get if we never had fact checkers? Reality bites back after bad guesswork As long as we’re settling all scores Let’s get it from measuring contours – tryin’ to solve for X Instead of the mental parkour To protect your wrong diagnosis, wrong cure I know I’m kind of hard core rationalist But I bet you’re glad this kinda rappin’ exists If checkin’ twitter makes you feel like slashin’ a wrist Deep breath… analysis Check one two, what it come to Everyone believe what you want to Check one two three four, we can be more Double checkin’ is a resource  Check three four five six, check logic Instead of just checkin’ optics Check check five six seven eight Every decision you make, take a second to meditate Reflect and check check seven eight nine ten And then do it again Check check double check some truth If I can check one you can check one too I see a lot of division in real honest opinion It’s not a unique feature of a Republican I like Mayor Pete and I really want him to win it Even if I don’t know a thing about a position His positions are probably real thoughtful and clever I’m just sayin’ – we really need to think about intuition And how much intuition is influencing decisions Go with your gut if you wanna be like the president A champion of postmodern relativism Never retreat, treat the facts as irrelevant  Everything is political, keep your rationalism Investigative journalism? Treat it as the enemy Or, if you wanna be a different kind of citizen Be like Obama, treat your gut with suspicion  A "gut check" means against reason and evidence If you’ve got a hunch, go see a physician Or a statistician, and try to figure the patterns Both the base rate and the evidence matters As soon as that idea goes metastatic We can all live happily ever after Check one two, what it come to Everyone believe what you want to Check one two three four, we can be more Double checkin’ is a resource  Check three four five six, check logic Instead of just checkin’ optics Check check five six seven eight Every decision you make, take a second to meditate Reflect and check check seven eight nine ten And then do it again Check check double check some truth If I can check one you can check one too Check check double check some truth If I can check one you can check one too Check check double check some truth If I can check one you can check one…
13.
E-V-O-L-U-T-I-O-N Lines on your family tree unbroken This View of Life – T. V. O. L. Take a look and see for yourself
 Selection selection selection Natural, artificial and sexual I’m lookin’ to Darwin to figure the form Of an organ, adaptive or vestigial Everything comes with a precedent Genetic and cultural replicants Selection is when one of them is successful At passin’ it on to the next of kin Selection selection selection It’s like clockin’ an extra dimension It’s like Neo perceivin’ the Matrix Increasin’ your depth of perception Selection selection, the reach of it’s awesome From pollinators to trees when they blossom From the beak of the finch to people who went From quadrupedal to walkin’ Selection, don’t be afraid of it Life evolved, no one created it The genome of every organism, nature is Always mutating and changing it Selection selection selection It’s a question of comprehension Some people can see it and study it Others believe it’s the devil’s invention Selection, the science is settled Every religious objection’s been vetted And rejected, selection is happening The only question is: in which direction? Selection selection selection Embrace it for all of its benefits It’s paving the way for advances in everything From robotics to medicine Selection at multiple levels Genetic and cultural symbols Selection selected your mental capacity To select and disseminate info So tell me why rap is so cocky Versace Versace Versace Selection that’s sexual tends to go BLING! When the signal is costly
 E-V-O-L-U-T-I-O-N Look at the world with two eyes open This View of Life – T. V. O. L. Learn to read it and it speaks for itself E-V-O-L-U-T-I-O-N Lines on your family tree unbroken This View of Life – T. V. O. L. Take a look and see for yourself
 This view of life is magnificent No living thing is really insignificant Organisms are part of a tapestry Takin’ us back to abiogenesis And every creature is really your relative From trees to people to krill And it’s easy to see the resemblance And when you spot it say “T. V. O. L.” This view of life is changing economies People aren’t as selfish as they’re thought to be Altruism is often adaptive and that should be Part of our public policies Does freedom mean freedom to kill? Freedom to die in the street or to steal? Look for the tragedies of the commons And when you see them say “T. V. O. L.” This view of life is adaptable Ready to follow wherever the facts go Darwin just laid out the vision and showed how Origins could be natural He didn’t fill out the map though There’s so much more that we can reveal And every new fact fits into a scaffolding Known as “T. V. O. L.” This view of life is exceptional There isn’t another one so successful At linkin’ together so many domains In a way that’s simple and algorithmical Whenever selection and variation And heredity can be revealed As part of a system, Darwinism Is in effect: “T. V. O. L.” This view of life is full of grandeur And majesty, but we lack the mastery Of it to tackle the challenges facing Humanity in this century This view of life is the only way to Make sense of how people think and feel So make it a mission to celebrate The vision: “T. V. O. L.”
 E-V-O-L-U-T-I-O-N Look at the world with two eyes open This View of Life – T. V. O. L. Learn to read it and it speaks for itself E-V-O-L-U-T-I-O-N Lines on your family tree unbroken This View of Life – T. V. O. L. Take a look and see for yourself
14.
Can you see from space? This is inspector Zorg, reporting back To the galactic order… [static] …determine whether it’s worth Establishing a diplomatic channel with earth [static] …still in its late juvenile phase… So I made an assessment of the entire range  Of the planet’s native biological agents The most common is a basic single-celled Liquid dweller, cells that stick together Form colonies of trillions called “bodies” That develop from single-celled progeny You already know, natural selection  Designs organisms to maximize descendants And the life forms here are no exception All descended from a common ancestor Including one ape species that’s an oddity The radio waves came from its technology And you’re not gonna believe it on Betelgeuse  But these apes often choose not to reproduce In fact, most of their time is wasted Emanating strange noises from their faces Instead of baby makin’, sonic arrangements Of which this report is a demonstration What can you see? What can you see? What can you see? From space? This bipedal ape species, these “humans” Don’t even have tentacles like Betelgeuseans Its limbs are modified fins  And its jaws are just modified gill slits It’s a mammal, it’s got mammal habits But it’s actually just an adapted “land fish” And like fish, each one has two parents Each one of two morphological variants Male and female, they’re called sexes And with some exceptions they behave different The males are physically bigger and more aggressive More prone to stupid risks and more reckless As expected, that’s what mammals are like Females reward the winner after the fight Or choose among contenders selectively While males mate more opportunistically Except in these humans  Females display too, and males do some choosing Especially when investing in offspring And long-term costly signaling of monogamy Humans are odd things, I tried to determine Whether each behavior comes from instinct or learning Just don’t ask them which is which They don’t know, and they find the question offensive What can you see? What can you see? What can you see? From space? These humans evolved their brains in odd ways Wishful thinking makes them fall for con games Betelgeusians evolved to know ourselves Humans evolved to blame flaws on someone else And take credit for gains, they jockey for status Overdosing on calories, adapted to famines They’re phobic of absent snakes and arachnids With no fear of traffic or cigarette ashes Most believe in telepathic gods and ghosts And pretend to know things they obviously don’t They form coalitions and reject evidence If the facts are a threat to their tribal memberships And yet, they are master cooperators Space station making disease eradicators They display a primitive collective intelligence And sometimes even assist non-relatives It’s amazing, what these apes have achieved Their brains are a teeming accumulation of memes Ideas, tactics and tool-making schemes Which remain unmastered until their late teens They only just found out how evolution works And how it illuminates every mood and urge Just give ‘em a few years and they might deserve The name of Ape that Understood the Universe What can you see? What can you see? What can you see? From space?

about

Evolution, climate change, reason, and evidence. Science rap for thinking people in an era of alternative facts (aka falsehoods). On the bright side, apes can see from space.

credits

released July 11, 2019

1. See From Space (feat. Aaron Nazrul)
(D. Brinkman, T. Caruana, S. Kendall, A. Ross)
Produced and Mixed by Tom Caruana
Piano, Synth, and Additional Vocals by Simon Kendall

Inspired by the book "The Ape that Understood the Universe" by Steve-Stewart Williams.
www.cambridge.org/apethatunderstood

2. Confessions of a Skeptic
(D. Brinkman, T. Caruana)
Produced and Mixed by Tom Caruana
Piano and Synth by Simon Kendall

3. Fahrenheit 45
(D. Brinkman, T. Caruana)
Produced and Mixed by Tom Caruana
Violin by Tim Fain

4. Erosion
(D. Brinkman, T. Caruana)
Produced and Mixed by Tom Caruana
Chorus Vocals by Aaron Nazrul
Piano and Additional Vocals by Simon Kendall
Guitar by Tom Van Deursen

Further Reading:
www.bababrinkman.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Erosion-Lyrics.pdf

5. Feelings for Reasons
(D. Brinkman, T. Caruana, J. Davis)
Produced and Mixed by Tom Caruana
Chorus Vocals by Jessie Davis
Piano and Synth by Simon Kendall
Flute, Clarinet, and Sax by Morgan Price

Adapted from the book "Good Reasons for Bad Feelings" by Randolph M. Nesse. goodreasons.info

6. T. V. O. L. (feat. Aaron Nazrul)
(D. Brinkman, J. Simmonds, A. Ross)
Produced and Mixed by Mr. Simmonds
Additional Piano and Hammond Organ by Simon Kendall
Bass by Owen Strain

Commissioned by TVOL Magazine
thisviewoflife.com

7. Destruction
(D. Brinkman, T. Caruana, B. McGuire, A. Ross)
Produced and Mixed by Tom Caruana
Piano and Organ by Simon Kendall
Guitar by John Ellis

Sources: www.bababrinkman.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Destruction-Lyrics.pdf

8. Freedom Remix (feat. Matt Layzell)
(D. Brinkman, S. Kendall, L. Kidder, M. Layzell, D. Moross, J. Simmonds)
Produced and Mixed by Mr. Simmonds
Original Track Produced by Soulful Spider
Strings Arranged and Recorded by Simon Kendall
Violin by Mark Ferris
Guitar by John Ellis

Further Reading: www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/dec/19/bastardised-libertarianism-makes-freedom-oppression

9. Can’t Stop Remix (feat. Mariella)
(D. Brinkman, L. Gardiner, M. Gonzalez, D. Moross)
Produced and Mixed by Lin G
Original Track Produced by Soulful Spider
Cuts by Mr. Simmonds

Further reading:
www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-marionettes-lament
www.theguardian.com/science/2013/may/22/daniel-dennett-aristotle-flaming-idiot

10. Still Off That
(D. Brinkman, J. Simmonds, S. Carter, T. Mosley, J. Harmon, A. Graham)
Produced and Mixed by Mr. Simmonds

Further reading:
crispian-jago.blogspot.com/2010/07/periodic-table-of-irrational-nonsense.html

11. Redemption (feat. Jessie Davis)
(D. Brinkman, J. Davis, T. Caruana)
Produced and Mixed by Tom Caruana
Piano and Synth by Simon Kendall

Sources:
bababrinkman.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Redemption-Lyrics-Annotated.pdf

12. Check One Too
(D. Brinkman, L. Gardiner, J. Simmonds)
Produced by Mr. Simmonds
Co-Produced and Mixed by Lin G
Guitars by John Ellis and Tom Van Deursen
Piano and Synths by Simon Kendall
Cuts by Mr. Simmonds

13. T. V. O. L. Remix
(D. Brinkman, J. Simmonds, A. Ross)
Produced and Mixed by Mr. Simmonds
Guitars by John Ellis
Piano and Synth by Simon Kendall
Additional Vocals by Simon Kendall

14. See From Space Remix
(D. Brinkman, P. Injeti, A. Ross, J. Simmonds)
Produced by Chin Injeti
Co-Produced and Mixed by Mr. Simmonds
Original Track Produced by Tom Caruana
Chorus Vocals by Aaron Nazrul

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Some rights reserved. Please refer to individual track pages for license info.

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Baba Brinkman New York, New York

Canadian hip-hop with an intellectual bent, nothing but sexy beats and sumptuous brain food.

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