|Category:||Interview - Internet||Publish date:||11/4/2010|
Greg Graffin, punk scholar
by Janice Vega
ecollegetimes.com, November 4, 2010
Many people know Greg Graffin as the rebellious front man of the famed punk-rock band, Bad Religion. What people may be surprised to find out, is that on top of his rock star credentials, Graffin has a PhD in zoology, and when he's not on stage he teaches evolution at UCLA and most recently wrote a book, "Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science, and Bad Religion in a World Without God." This week, Graffin visits Hoodlums in Tempe to sign copies of the book and the latest Bad Religion album, Dissent of Man.
In the book, the self-proclaimed naturalist talks about his culmination as an artist and the formation of his world view. College Times recently caught up with Graffin to find out more about the book.
College Times: "Anarchy Evolution" touches on a lot of controversial topics such as God, faith and evolution. What provoked you to write this?
Graffin: I spent 30 years with my band writing about a society that circled around religion because the band's name is Bad Religion. We always thought we would write topical material and hopefully provoke people to think a little about some of these challenging issues. Bad Religion was a good forum to do that, but I was also studying evolution for those 30 years and instead of religion, I used science to make sense of the world. It might seem kind of weird to some people that someone would study science and sing punk rock at the same time. But it's true, those two things developed side by side in my life and finally, after 30 years, I wanted to make some sense of it. For myself, really. To make a coherent world view out of the two streams of consciousness.
Is "Anarchy Evolution" an autobiography or just a collection of your beliefs and philosophies?
I'd say it's half personal memoir but it's also part polemic. The points that it makes are numerous, but I guess the most important one is that naturalism is a belief system, one that I use to help me make sense of the world in the same way that some people use religion to make sense of the world. What's interesting about that is that I shy away from atheism as a belief system. If people ask me what my beliefs are, I bill myself as a naturalist. I don't bill myself as an atheist because calling yourself an atheist is just telling people what you don't believe in. It says nothing about what you do believe in. I think if we stay up front about what we believe, then it's [easier] to have a social discussion about important topics.
What is naturalism?
Naturalism is really a belief system. I call it a belief system because those who subscribe to naturalism believe that we can all find truth, regardless of our backgrounds, our race or our creed. How we do that though depends on three things; observation, experimentation and verification. If we follow those three principles, then we can all find the truth.
Rock star vs. scholar: which lifestyle do you prefer?
In me, you have both. If anything, I hope I can demonstrate the two are synonymous.
Greg Graffin, Hoodlums Music and Movies, 6434 S. McClintock Drive, Tempe, 480.775.2722, Tuesday, November 9, 12 p.m., free with purchase of "Anarchy Evolution" from Changing Hands or Dissent of Man from Hoodlums
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