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144 - On Dinosaurs & Holy Wars: Creationist Amusement Parks & America's Strange Relationship with Science, with Monica Long Ross & Clayton Brown

Ep. 144

This week I talk with film-makers Monica Long Ross and Clayton Brown about their bizarre and wonderful documentary, We Believe in Dinosaurs — and how a creationist amusement park in Kentucky provides a lens through which to examine the tense relationship between science, religion, and business in America. This is a conversation about what happens when premodern, modern, and postmodern worldviews duke it out on a landscape of rapid change for which none of them are sufficient. It’s about the surreal Young Earth dinosaur museums of Late Capitalism, but more, it is about our trust (or lack of trust) and where we put it when we lose the plot.


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Grab the books we talk about on Future Fossils and Amazon will chip me a little of the proceeds, at no cost to you.


Theme Music: “God Detector” by Evan “Skytree” Snyder (feat. Michael Garfield)


Additional Intro Music: “Lambent” by Michael Garfield


Topics:


How an Australian fundamentalist extremist ended up building a $200M “replica” of Noah’s Ark as a theme park in rural Kentucky.

How Young Earth creationists can doubt geology but trust high-energy physics: their distinction between experimental versus observational science.

The role of Big Money and economic development in the entire history of dinosaur science, and the use of dinosaurs as rhetorical tools (or “missionary lizards”).

What’s really behind the culture wars between science and religion…and how it is that fundamentalists can come to believe they’re practicing better science than the scientists.

The fractal weirdness of culture wars between different sects of American Christianity about matters of scientific investigation.

Amusement parks and museums as architectural arguments for particular worldviews.

Why so many people distrust science, and why people seek out preposterous but easy-to-understand narratives when history moves too fast for comfort.

What it looks like when 21st Century global industry meets 1st Century religious zealotry: giant warehouses full of masterfully produced educational media for Bible propaganda.

Why our origin story and Earth history will probably always be an issue of contention and an area where people will distrust scientists.

How faith and hope appears in the science of the abstract and its practitioners: both legitimate high energy physics, and illegitimate cold fusion.

Religious privilege versus religious freedom (and how trying to teach Genesis in high school biology is not about religious freedom, but power).

Entering a recombinant flux of personal worldviews, thanks to the Web, in which all possible religions exist.

What is the tipping point where an abstract risk becomes tangible enough for all of us to agree on its existence, much less a strategy for adaptation?



Mentions:


Bill Nye, Ken Ham, Mirta Galesic, Henrik Olsson, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Florida, Isaac Newton, Aristophanes, Charles Darwin, Steve Brusatte, David B. Kinney, Santa Fe Institute, Large Hadron Collider, The Ark Encounter, The Smithsonian Institute, University of Kansas Natural History Museum

More Episodes

7/8/2020

147 - How to Live in The Future (Parts 1 - 4)

Ep. 147
This week is something different: author-read audio of the first four essays from my ongoing book-in-progress, How to Live in The Future.These essays are the first in my feature-length interrogation of the insufficient ways we think about the future…a poetic exploration of the fruitful interface between psychedelic mysticism, evolutionary theory, and critical futurism.For more along these lines, check out Future Fossils Episode 129 for the Boom Festival 2016 talk that started it all…You can read these pieces —rich with explanatory hyperlinks and graphics —at the links below:Part 1: The Future is A PlacePart 2: The Future is More of EverythingPart 3: The Future is Both True and FalsePart 4: The Future is Exapted/RemixedMusical interludes from my 2017 live album, Pavo: Music for Mystery, recorded live on tour across Australia.Episode cover art by Collin Elder, whose paintings feel to me like the fine art approximation of what I am trying to communicate in words. Follow him on Instagram.Support this show on Patreon for over a dozen secret episodes, the Future Fossils book club, and weekly community calls, and much more.Later essays in this series, which I’ll likely read in a fall episode:Part 6: The Future is DisgustingPart 7: The Future Acts Like YouPart 8: The Future is Indistinguishable from MagicAlthough I’d rather you shop elsewhere, you can grab the books we talk about on Future Fossils at Amazon and they’ll chip me a piece of the proceedings at no cost to you.
6/25/2020

146 - Raising Earth Consciousness with Ralph Metzner, Dennis McKenna, Gay Dillingham, Valerie Plame Wilson, Allan Badiner, and Michael Garfield at Synergia Ranch, April 2016

Ep. 146
Where do I even start explaining this week's episode? Probably with a vignette: someone came up to me after I was on this all-star panel discussion featuring five living legends — psychedelic researchers Ralph Metzner and Dennis McKenna, author Allan Badiner, film-maker Gay Dillingham, and former CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson —and asked me who I was and what I was doing there. I was the youngest person on stage by twenty years, and had done nothing with my life yet that put me in the same weight class as any of them. And yet there I was to offer my synthetic insights and play music to a packed house in a geodesic dome on an utterly magical evening. We had an intense discussion about nuclear disarmament, ecological destruction, and psychedelic medicines hosted by my then-new friends at Synergia Ranch. Rick Doblin of MAPS and Johnny Dolphin of Biosphere 2 fame got up on stage that night as well (although not for this panel). It was a night I'd dreamt about weeks in advance with uncanny accuracy, and was the catalyzing moment that ultimately led to my moving to Santa Fe in 2018. I'm deeply grateful to Synergetic Press for hosting the event, inviting me to join this panel, and letting me share this recording as a podcast episode.Read all about this awesome April 2016 symposium and salon here:https://www.synergeticpress.com/raising-earth-consciousness-at-the-synergetic-symposium-and-salon/So much has changed since then and honestly, it isn't the most timely episode to publish at this moment, but I'm working hard to get some awesome people on the show soon who can speak to what we're living through in history right now.I would have more to say about this, but it's been a very busy week. If you'd like more new listening material, I strongly recommend checking out the recent conversation that I had with physicist Geoffrey West of the Santa Fe Institute about how the science of cities undercuts the economic myth of endless open growth and forces us to seriously study other paths to a sustainable planetary culture.Please take a moment to leave a glowing review of Future Fossils at Apple Podcasts.If you would like to link up with other amazing Future Fossils listeners, please email me and I'll invite you to our Discord server.Support this show on Patreonfor over a dozen secret episodes, the Future Fossils Book Club (next up: Lilith's Brood by Octavia Butler!), and muuuuuch more.Theme Music:“God Detector” by Evan “Skytree” Snyder (feat. Michael Garfield).Additional Intro Music: "Lambent" by Michael Garfield.Thank you for listening!

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