What do Richard Dawkins and Greg Graffin have in common? They both have PhDs that prepared them to teach evolutionary biology to college students: Dawkins at Oxford and Graffin at UCLA. They also both have written anti-theistic books about faith and evolution: Dawkins' God Delusion (2006) and Graffin's Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science, and Bad Religion in a World Without God (2010). Finally, they share the honor of making appearances at the Reason Rally in Washington, DC, which is promoting itself as the "Largest Gathering of the Secular Movement in World History."
The Reason Rally on March 24th, 2012 at the National Mall will feature Dawkins preaching and Graffin singing with his group Bad Religion. Their message: A world without God is more reasonable and happy. Even if the preaching is bad, the event might grip the masses if the music shines. Indeed, Graffin is (still) the lead singer/songwriter for the punk rock group Bad Religion, which he co-founded in Los Angeles in 1979. Graffin has mellowed since his screaming F-bomb days. He's an aging punker with kids of his own now. There is a useful biography of Graffin here and a musical history of Bad Religion here (played out in the music video "Wrong Way Kids").
Speaking of kids, the ones that show up for the Reason Rally might hear "Wrong Way Kids" from Bad Religion's September 2010 album The Dissent of Man (he is playing with the title of Darwin's book The Descent of Man, which is about human evolution). Here are the main lyrics:
Stop them from shimmering away
on blank sidewalk glittering asphalt somewhere summer days
the wrong way kids were something more than friends
navigating a sprawl without end ... Did you ever want to take bad advice
did you ever want to go and take it twice
do you remember when the world began to put up its thorny fence
right you are my friend
so what's wrong with them
there go the wrong way kids
The kids today are gone away petitioning the dust
with nobody to look up to because they're looking up to us
just misfit melancholy dregs gone lost in the mall
wanderers to nowhere at all
Graffin is as confused about right and wrong as Darwin was in The Descent of Man (1871). As Dr. Meyer explains in TrueU, based on evolutionary naturalism there is no way to objectively distinguish between good and bad, between good instincts and baser instincts. Darwin struggled with this, and so does Graffin today. One biographical source quotes Graffin saying:
Raising my son and daughter with the knowledge that nothing lasts forever or that everything might cease is actually very valuable. It gives them perspective and allows them to treat not only their fellow humans, but rare commodities better and with more appreciation.
Oh really? This seems like a leap of blind naturalistic faith grounded in nothing. Even science journals are affirming Graffin's message. Here are a few quoted on the Amazon webpage featuring Graffin's book Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science, and Bad Religion in a World Without God (a book he released the same day in 2010 as his album The Dissent of Man):
- [Graffin] explains how evolution can be a guide to life." (Scientific American)
- "Bucking authority and the religious views of his family, Graffin explains how he has developed a personal philosophy that celebrates the power of nature." (Nature)
Has Graffin become a lead singer for the new atheists--old and young? Find out yourself. Hop on one of the Reason Rally tour busses and talk with the "Wrong Way Kids" and muddled adults. Listen carefully. What are they thinking and singing? Anyone can go to this secular DC rally, even if you are a skeptic of skepticism like me.