Singh a Sherine song

By Phil Plait | May 1, 2010 12:08 pm

OMFSM! How did I miss this? The wonderful skeptic Ariane Sherine sings a song of Simon Singh:

Ha! That was brilliant. And her point is a good one: go support libel reform in the UK! Even though the BCA dropped its suit* against Simon, the libel law evilness lives on.

If Ariane looks familiar, that because she was a speaker at TAM London, and I did a short interview with her there too. I had no idea she could play guitar and sing! I think she’ll have to join George Hrab and Tim Minchin onstage at some point.

Tip o’ the subluxated spine to Neil Haggath.

*Because the emperor had no clothes. Hahahaha! Get it? "Suit"? Get it? Sigh.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Alt-Med, Antiscience, Skepticism

Comments (35)

  1. Brian

    Yes, it’s always embarrassing when you are forced to drop your suit.

  2. Flip

    Thanks for the Youtube link so I can watch it flash-less in HTML5.

  3. The way the song is structured and written gives me a very Ricky Gervais vibe. Very reminiscent of his song for Marge in “Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife.”

  4. Sandra (MedTek)

    Actually Phil, Tim joined her onstage at the Libel reform gig. He wandered on, inserted the word “strewth”, and wandered back off. Priceless.

  5. George

    Phil, I really enjoy your blog for its astronomy content, but I think your really need to drop the skeptic content. To be honest it feels just like you are evangelizing your lack of religion. Silence is perhaps a better approach.

  6. shawmutt

    Thanks, George, for the “you should run YOUR blog MY way” mandatory commment. To be honest it feels just like you are evangelizing to bloggers. Silence is perhaps a better approach.

    Unless, of course, you are using irony to convey a message. Preaching silence in a post about libel reform–now that’s funny. If that is the case, then bravo, and carry on.

    Good find Phil, keep up the good work!

  7. Tobin Dax

    Don’t forget the owls! Phil should stop evangelizing about birds, too. They have nothing to do with astronomy.

    Whoops, my sarcasm fuse just blew. Excuse me for a moment.

  8. fernly

    Could we have lyrics and a fake sheet please?

  9. Thomas Siefert

    Yes George, silence is a better approach, so please be quiet while we listen to the song.

  10. gopher65

    George: Since when does skepticism have anything to do with religion or lack thereof? There are plenty of religious people who are skeptics. Skepticism is merely the act of thinking about things before accepting them, rather than automatically believing everything everyone tells you.

  11. Joey Joe Joe

    I agree with George. We never hear Christians, Jews or Muslims say anything about their religious beliefs*, so he should just sit down in a corner and shut up like a good little atheist.


    * Yeah, yeah… Before anyone bites my head off, I know skeptic != atheist (even though it probably should). I don’t care, it would ruin the joke.

  12. Geoff I

    Um.. is she single?

  13. @Gopher65: Skepticism and religion really do not get along. As soon as you move past the whole untestable deist belief that some skeptics have and accept as an unfalsifiable claim, scientific skepticism really does start to conflict with religion. I say that in loose terms, you certainly can be religious and be skeptical you simply aren’t extending your questioning attitude towards your religion.

    @George: I think Phil should be applauded for combining astronomy with skeptiscm (see above). Science is inherently based on being skeptical of claims and I think that Phil does a great job at explaining both the results and methods/science-behind astronomy. I don’t ever recall Phil actively attacking religion. Trying to explain your own wonder at the majesty of the universe and the power of science, not a supernatural deity, on your own astronomy blog is what I think most people expect from a science blog.

  14. Autumn

    Dude, this blog started (and I apologize if I seem to be speaking for Dr. Plait, as I am both unqualified to and incapable of such a thing) as a blog about skeptiscm. Its (notice the proper non-use of apostrophe) primary drive is promoting wonderful, wonderful thought.
    And what the heck does endorsing a song that attempts to rectify a horrific gap in the ability of a free people to speak their minds have to do with any sort of godlessness?

  15. cgray

    Just another anti-religion circle jerk. Getting really old. Amazing how absolutely certain atheists are that there is no God. Almost like they’re God-like. Irony.

  16. cgray: Indeed, we’re absolutely 100% convinced there is no God. All of us. Which means, logically, that we are Gods.

    Speaking of which, I see you haven’t done a goat-blood sacrifice to us. I’d recommend you get on that, since the Atheist Apocalypse is nigh!

  17. Jesper

    Great! Beautiful skepchick Ariane I want to marry you! 😉

  18. Devin

    The blog entry starts off “OMFSM!” I know the first three, but what does the “SM” that’s replacing the G stand for?

  19. Bob

    She’s hot – and sends a great messge – awesome win all around…

  20. Peter B

    cgray said @ #15: “Just another anti-religion circle jerk. Getting really old. Amazing how absolutely certain atheists are that there is no God. Almost like they’re God-like. Irony.”

    G’day cgray.

    Remember that it’s not just atheists who don’t believe in your God. Every person who follows a religion other than yours also doesn’t believe in your God.

    And anyway, how does not believing in God make an atheist God-like? God, almost by definition isn’t bound by the physical laws of the universe we live in. As far as I can tell, every human on Earth *is* bound by those physical laws. I certainly never heard any atheists claim they were God-like.

  21. Kimpatsu

    Your wish is my command.
    Doo-did-doo-roo, doo-doo-doo-roo
    I don’t believe all the stuff in the Bible
    But at least god won’t come down and sue me for libel
    I don’t believe that if I call god bogus
    He’ll get cross and send down a big plague of locusts
    It’s just a shame we can’t say
    The same about the BCA
    So I’m gonna sing
    About Simon Singh
    But he’s not the Pope
    So I won’t kiss his ring
    He fights for what’s right, although his hair’s wrong
    We’ll spend tonight in a Simon sing-song
    Doo-did-doo-roo, doo-doo-doo-roo
    I don’t believe that cracking my spine
    Can uncross my eyes or make my ears fine
    I don’t believe that chiropractic cures colic
    It all sounds to me like a big load of bollocks
    So if you have pain in your back
    Go see a GP not a quack
    I’m gonna sing
    About Simon Singh
    If we are skeptics then he is the king
    He keeps up the fight, though the battle is long
    We’ll spend tonight in a Simon sing-song
    Doo-did-doo-roo, doo-doo-doo-roo
    I don’t know much about English law
    But silencing science is not what it’s for
    So let’s fight for Simon
    I think we can trust his
    Verdict above that of crap British justice
    So if you think speech should be free
    Come sing along now with me
    We’re gonna sing
    About Simon Singh
    He’s not the Pope
    So we won’t kiss his ring
    He fights for what’s right, although his hair’s wrong
    We’ll spend tonight in a Simon sing-song
    We’re gonna sing
    About Simon Singh
    If we are skeptics
    Then he is the king
    He keeps up the fight though the battle is long
    We’ll spend tonight in a Simon sing-song

  22. Great song, great singer… signed the petition before the verdict. Makes you ashamed to be British. Sometimes I think that this country still stuck in the 19th century (let alone even the 20th!)

  23. I have no problem with this song and in fact I agree with it. I signed the petition some time back. However, in the comments and elsewhere, I have noted a growing trend among “atheists” to show a great lack of tolerance for others’ beliefs, and a distinct trend toward disparaging and I am sure in some people’s minds, hateful remarks. This is hardly necessary, and in fact puts these folks in the same boat of intolerance as the people they are deriding.

    From a logical standpoint, there really are no true atheists — at least in the sense that no one truly “knows” that there is no God. Someone in the comments made this point in a way. To prove God does not exist, you would logically have to be god, and obviously there is a problem there. In fact, there are only “true believers” and agnostics. (If you insist that you are an atheist, then you have your own kind of semi-religious belief system.) True believers are, in my opinion, deluded individuals at least until and unless they can provide rational, logical and testable proof of their claims (which seems unlikely).

    Anyway, I don’t intend to get into long diatribe or discussion on this, which would be contrary to my point. I simply want to say that atheists are evolving into the same type of people they are complaining about. The better choice is to live and let live, using logic and rationality rather than ad hominem attacks or other forms of derision. I say drop the anti-religion militancy and spend your time promoting clear thinking.

  24. shawmutt


    There is no reason to hold back on religion in the name of tolerance. I am tolerant to the point when the religious world view affects critical thinking–e.g. when creationist wackos effect every biology book in the US.

    On Atheism: I used to have a problem using the word atheist to describe myself, then I realized that, like the word, I was simply “without theism”. I’m not “without knowledge”, or agnostic. To say someone “knows” there is no God–I suppose you’d call that person a gnostic.

    I can say with quite a bit of certainty that the God of the Bible does not exist–simply because in order for that God to exist certain laws of science need to be, at best, temporarily suspended. To avoid the “literal translation” strawman, at one point in my life I was going to attend Yale seminary and become a rector–I’m not referring to the children’s stories; I’m referring to the basic tenets that make up the Christian faith. Therefore, to the majority of people in this country who consider themselves “Christian” I am an athiest, and don’t mind being referred to as such.

    I agree, the better choice is to live and let live. But I’m not the type to sit and listen to foolishness or hypocrites. I tend to speak my mind when told how I’m going to hell for not believing in their God. It’s called skeptical activism, and thankfully we live in a time when (in most places) we won’t get burned at the stake for blasphemy.

    @Devin (#18)

    OMFSM = “Oh My Flying Spaghetti Monster”

  25. Kimpatsu

    Why should I tolerate nonsense? It’s not incumbent on me to demonstrate the non-existence of Yahweh, Zeus, Thor, Quetzlcotl, Amaterasu, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Nor can I disprove the existence of elves, leprechauns, goblins, ghosts, or bigfoot. The evidence, however, suggests otherwise, and I always follow the evidnece. Strange how you find following the evidence to be “militant”.

  26. Your responses sound as if you are saying that it is OK to be intolerant if you don’t agree with someone. I’m not arguing in favor of any belief. I am not arguing in favor of hatred or violence or stupidity. I don’t tolerate nonsense well. I agree with you, but going out of your way to attack someone or some group because you do not believe as they do, or you interpret your evidence differently (say your logic versus their “faith”) is what I was referring to as militancy.

    I am suggesting that proponents of both sides (religions v. rationalism, for example here) not be so arrogant. I’m not saying that you have to believe in ridiculous things to be tolerant. I’ve used the concept of leprechauns and ghosts myself. I can’t fathom that anyone with half a brain would beileve in those things, but I also don’t feel that my disbelief makes me so much better than the other person that I need to go out of my way to belittle them.

    You don’t have to be tolerant of things that impose obvious and real harm on others or the environment — Nazism, cruelty in any form, abuse and so on. But so many people go out of their way to ridicule and belittle others for what you and I might call irrational beliefs. I’m just saying that if anyone is so sure of themselve that thety feel it necessary to attack others in that way, maybe they need to chill a little. If you don’t believe in God, does it make sense to set yourself up in a role of divine judgement over others? That is all I have to say.

  27. diogenes

    @Larry Sessions See, even your quite mild and rational post gets some atheists all riled up. getting so it’s hard to call oneself an atheist with “friends” like some of these. I don’t recall you saying anything about “tolerating nonsense” in your post either. As is common, I know a number of atheists who are fine outstanding people, a lot of true believers who are nut cases, a lot of atheists who are nut cases, a lot of true believers who are fine outstanding people etc. etc.

  28. shawmutt

    @ Larry

    Did you just need a random place to vent about your perceived intolerance of belief? I’m not seeing what you are talking about in this blog post or the following comments. Who is passing divine judgement over others?

    In any case, regarding your “mean people suck” diatribe, sometimes laughter is the best medicine when dealing with malarkey in any form.

    @ diogenes

    Interesting that you should interpret my post as getting “all riled up”.

  29. mike burkhart

    I think Phill needs to say something about these lible laws , This type of a suite would be thrown out of court in the U.S. . Let me ask those who critizes the skeptical tone on this blog.Would you rather this blog be like a supermarket tabloid?Would you like to read stuff like this: Iv’e been abducted by aliens 20 timesin my life.Big foot and aliens join forces.Aliens stole my brain.My ufo love child.Alien base found on moon.and other nonsence like this?If Phill were not a skeptic this is what you would be reading and this site would be called goofball astronomy not bad astronomy. Keep up the good work Phill.

  30. Timmy

    The Empire lacked faith and we all know how that turned out. Some whiny farm-boy from Tattoine busted it all up. I’m just saying.

    And the sure-fire, works-every-time way to get someone to close their minds and ears to what you have to say is to ridicule their beliefs, no matter how ridiculous you may find them.

  31. rrt

    Larry et al:

    Criticism != attack, no matter how carelessly we tend to use the word these days. Nor does it equal intolerance. To wear out the cliche: I disagree strongly with your ideas, but I’d die to defend your right to have and express them. THAT’S tolerance.

    It stinks when someone you like starts expressing ideas you don’t agree with. It makes you feel uncomfortable, I know. But you can’t try to make that untrue. Expecting one’s friends and heroes to agree with one’s self leads to a lonely life.

    Phil is an atheist and skeptic who sometimes mentions and advocates those positions. Deal. No, really, DEAL. For the sake of your own enjoyment of life, you need to start being able to enjoy places like this despite the (to you) occasional sour note.

  32. Devin:

    The blog entry starts off “OMFSM!” I know the first three, but what does the “SM” that’s replacing the G stand for?

    Actually, you only know the first two. The “F” is not what you think.

    FSM = “Flying Spaghetti Monster”, and is a semi-humorous replacement for the name of a deity. For more details, see

  33. Jesper

    @18 (Devin): FSM – ever heard of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

  34. Leon

    Wow, I wouldn’t mind seeing her drop her suit, either…! 😉

    That’s awesome. “I don’t believe all the stuff in the Bible, but at least God won’t come down and sue me for libel.” Nail on the head.

    Makes me want to write a filk!

    Singh a song of sixpence
    Chiro in a snit
    Simon pointed out their claims are all full of sh**…

  35. Stargazer

    George, why would it be a good thing to not be a sceptic? That sounds stupid.


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


See More

Collapse bottom bar