"The real reward for the whole band is our being a part of higher education while perpetuating the idea that Bad Religion has always stood for — to question the prevailing dogma. It's something you can do in science, the humanities, and in entertainment as well."

--Greg Graffin

No, it's not an urban legend. Greg Graffin is really a PhD. candidate in Cornell's Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department, and since 1998, his band Bad Religion really has been paying students to be empirical. Brian Baker, Bad Religion's lead guitarist, has said that the scholarship exists "to reward people who are interested in field work versus laboratory work as far as some sort of physical science". Graffin typically reviews appilications for the award, with the entire band contributing to the final decision. Bad Religion is anti-religion. Strict science is traditionally anti-religion. Agenda, perhaps?

The award is given out each year to one high school or college student planning research in physical or biological science. http://www.badreligion. com/badreligion/rf/rf.jsp has this to say (the dates are in regards to last year's award; this year's contest hasn't begun yet, as the entire affair is currently in the process of becoming a nonprofit):
  • Only one award will be granted annually.
  • The proposed research should be completed within 5 months from the date of the fund disbursement.
  • The amount of the award is between 3000 and 5000 dollars.
  • Deadline for application is May 31, 2001.
  • The applications will be reviewed by the band members and the decision will be made jointly.
  • The award decision will be made by June 25, 2001 and the money will be distributed by June 30, 2001.
  • Priority will be given to applicants whose total project budget is between 3000 and 5000 dollars. That is to say, the applicant must complete the proposed research with the money requested from Bad Religion. This is to insure that the research goal can be accomplished without being contigent on other monetary sources.
  • Only applications that have field-oriented research will be considered. We decided not to fund laboratory science projects because there is a relative abundance of other sources for that kind of money. Therefore the Bad Religion research fund is earmarked for travel-related expenses, basic field equipment, and other supplies necessary for scientific investigations in natural or remote settings.

Other sources:

Dr. Nelson Hairston, chairman of Cornell's Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department
http://www.hiponline.com/artist/music/b/bad_religion/
http://www.pub.umich.edu/daily/1998/may/05-11-98/arts/arts1.html
http://www.rollingstone.com/news/newsarticle.asp?nid=4200&cf=122
http://expn.go.com/lifestyle/s/nrm_f_badreligion_pos1.html

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