The Language of God

September and October are going to be big months in the Colbertoverse: A great interview in Vanity Fair, the Emmy Awards, the release of I Am America (and So Can You) and a whole set of new shows. Two things while we wait:

Head over to No Fact Zone and take a peek at the review scans of the VF article and some other tidbits of Stephen news.

And here’s a clip of one of my favorite “Science and Religion” pieces, the interview with Francis Collins of the Human Genome Project. I’ve got Collins’ book out of the library but haven’t had a chance to read it yet.

Updated to add: Serendipitously, my blogging buddy Deacon Greg has a link to a new blog at Discover magazine on science and religion. In glancing through it, I noticed a further discussion of some of Francis Collins’ ideas.

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Monkey Business

Hey folks, we’re into the second week of Stephen’s vacation. He was pitching ice cream back home in Charleston over the weekend. Less than a week till we get all new episodes.

I’m deep in research for the Theo 325 Course at Colbert University. (Extra points for anyone who “gets” the course number!) This clip from a show the end of March was too good not to pass along here.

Magic, the Middle Ground Between Science and Religion

You never know when it’s worth staying awake through the last set of commercials for a trip to the bookshelf. On Thursday’s Report, Stephen paid tribute to TV’s Mr. Wizard (Don Herbert), who died last week, by recreating his famous egg-in-a-bottle experiment.

To this day when my kids ask how something scientific works, I say, “A wizard does it.” … watch and try not to learn … Now, here’s the science part. How did I do that? Well, I didn’t. The smoke from the fire alerted God, who pushed the egg into the bottle to put put the fire. Thanks, Big Guy.

The Wisconsin State Journal link above explains how it works.

Big Holiday Over the Weekend

Along with Fathers’ Day, Stephen celebrated the 800th anniversary of the conversion of St. Francis.Bonus: For a really intricate version of the chalice illusion, go here.

I couldn’t resist this snippet from the pope’s speech to youth. I kept thinking of Stephen’s shout out last week (“Hey, Carly Simon, thanks for writing that song about me!”):

The same biographical text tells us that Francis was quite vain. He liked to have sumptuous clothes tailored for him and sought to be original. (Comp 1, 2: FF 1396). In vanity, in the search for originality, there is something which touches us all directly. Today there is much talk about “taking care of one’s image” or “keeping up with appearances”. In order to have the slightest chance of success, we have to strike others with something new, original. In a certain way, this may be expressed in an innocent desire for acceptance. But all too often it is penetrated by a subtle pride, an excessive search for ourselves, egoism and the desire to outdo others. In real terms, a life which revolves around oneself is a death trap: we can only be ourselves if we open up to love, by loving God and others.

(hat tip to Amy’s Open Book. I always know I can find great coverage of the pope’s speeches over there.)

A couple other gems in last night’s episode, including the tip of the hat to the GOP candidates who don’t believe in evolution: “We’ve got science on the run. It’s time to press our advantage. So from now on , Senator Tancredo, you don’t believe in geology, either. Diamonds are just Jesus’ tears.”

Science and Religion—Formidable Opponents?

Not for Stephen Colbert, although possibly for his stubbornly one-sided persona, whose ignorance is only exceeded by his arrogance. At Book Expo America this past Saturday, Colbert had this to say in response to a thoughtful question during the Q&A:

“I’m really interested in religion, I’m really interested in science. As someone who was raised by a mother who was a mystical Catholic and a father who was an immunologist, those things mix in me in a really interesting way, I think, and it’s a nice combination. It doesn’t make you immune to mysticism, unfortunately.”

I couldn’t resist using this for my inaugural post. It’s a theme that runs through many of his conversations with those who interview him out of character and it provides the foundation for his brilliant and often biting satire. Through the laughter, we find ourselves thinking about the issues he raises night after night.

Major tip of the hat to No Fact Zone for covering the run-up to Stephen’s appearance BEA. Their own correspondent WordsWithGrace asked the fine question at the breakfast.

Watch excerpts of the panel presentation here:

and the Q&A here. The relevant question is about the fourth one in.