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Dara Ó Briain: a comedian…for science

Published by marco on

Updated by marco on

Dara Ó Briain is London-based Irish comedian with a show on BBC2 called Dara Ó Briain’s Science Club. His act is a good deal bawdier on stage though the focus remains on promulgating a pro-science agenda. In the segment below, he discusses a show he did with physicist Brian Cox in which the topic of astrology just happened to arise.

Some choice tidbits from this segment:

“The astrologers get going on Twitter and write, ‘if you were really a scientist, then you’d be more open-minded.‘ And I go, ‘well lucky for me, I’m a comedian.‘ (flashes two fingers)”
“And they all wanted to come onto the show, onto this BBC science show to give their side of the “argument”. And you’re going, no, you can’t come on. Why? It’s a science show. You can’t come onto it because your work clothes are a cape with stars sewn onto it.”

And then he starts on his finale with “[r]acism is way better than astrology…”

Astrology by Dara Ó Briain (YouTube)

This other segment is more representative—and better—in my opinion. The tag line is “Get in the fookin’ sack.” Well worth your six minutes if you like science, the Irish, comedians or any combination of the above.

Again with the tidbits:

“There’s this kind of a notion that everyone’s opinion is equally valid. My arse! Bloke who’s a professor of dentistry for forty years with some eejit who removes his teeth with string and a door.”
“Jaysus, homepaths get on my nerves, with their ‘well, science doesn’t know everything…‘ Well, science knows it doesn’t know everything; otherwise, it’d stop, wouldn’t it? And, just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean you can just fill in the gaps with whatever fairy tale most appeals to you. (Emphasis added.)”
“Herbal medicine…oh, herbal medicine’s been around for thousands of years. Indeed it has. And then we tested it all and the stuff that worked because “medicine”. And the rest of it is just a nice bowl of soup and some potpourri.[1]
“You never see the balance thing with really hard science. You never see the guy on from NASA, talking about the space station. And they go, Mr. NASA guy, you’re building a space station, well that’s very interesting. And then they go and they say for “balance” we must now turn to Barry, who believes the sky is a carpet painted by God.”
“If someone says that they’re a nutritionist, be slightly wary. “Dietitian” is the legally protected term[2]. Dietitian is like dentist and nutritionist is like “toothiologist”.”

Dara Ó Briain on Science, Quackery and other Stuff by Dara Ó Briain (YouTube)

Amazing clip. Tears.


[1] This is comedy, not an airtight argument. Standard disclaimers about the corporatized and corrupted state of allopathic research and medicine have been elided for concision.
[2] At least in Great Britain.