My colleague, Steven Mahone, with Colorado Citizens for Science, was taken by the latest episode of the popular series, “The Sopranos.” Evidently, producers, artists, and writers in the entertainment industry are very much aware of the whole evolution-creation-ID debate that affects our culture.
Here is Mr. Mahone’s recap of the relevant scenes:
Mob boss Tony Soprano is in the hospital recovering from a gunshot wound. He’s given a dinosaur book, and it’s sitting next to his bed. A young evangelical visits him, picks up the book, and comments, “Kids love dinosaurs” (isn’t this the “hook” often used by Answers in Genesis and Kent Hovind?). The evangelical goes on, “Most people are told that dinosaurs are millions of years removed from man, but the Bible tells us that’s just not true. Dinosaurs and man coexisted 6,000 years ago.” Tony responds, “You mean like The Flintstones? That’s not what scientists say.” The fundamentalist replies, “Evolution is just Satan’s way of coming between man and God.” Christopher (one of Tony’s wiseguys) chimes in irreverently, “You saying that T-Rex lived with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? They’d f***ing be running for their lives all the time. Some paradise!” The evangelical then gives Tony the Charles Colson book, “Born Again,” and asks him to read it. Colson, as most of you know, was a Watergate conspirator who found the Protestant God while serving time in prison and became an avid anti-evolutionist. (There’s no explanation as to why Colson didn’t find God before he committed a felony.)
A man in the room next to Tony is a retired engineer from Bell Labs (played by Hal Holbrook). Tony starts asking him questions about life, the Universe, faith, etc. It gets real deep. The engineer is rational and scientific, and tells Tony about SchrÃ¶dinger’s cat, the impossibility of eternal life, how everything is connected, etc. Tony wants to hear more but the guy is heading for surgery. The engineer comes out of surgery with his larynx removed! He can’t talk any more! Was this a metaphor on the part of the writers, suggesting that the voice of reason is being silenced? Was the Protestant God responsible, or is the impersonal universe just trudging along as it must?
Actor Hal Holbrook also played Mark Twain for years in a one-man play; Mark Twain once proclaimed, “Faith is believing in what you know ain’t so.” Ironically, Holbrook also played Deep Throat in the movie “All The President’s Men.” Deep Throat was the character who eventually brought down Colson. Thse “coincidences” were probably intentional on the part of “The Sopranos” producers. Very clever and very calculated – perhaps even intelligently designed?