Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Religious survey results not good for American Christians

Earlier this year the Pew Forum on Religion and Public life conducted a survey on religious knowledge among the American populace. The newly released results were not surprising, to me at least. In the 32 question survey atheists and agnostics scored the highest, closely followed by Jews and Mormons who were way ahead of the average Christian believer. There's a summary of the results here.

To test yourself, click on the image for a shorter sample of the questions asked. I scored 14 out of 15 and am kicking myself for dithering over the one I got wrong rather than going with my first thought.

The New York Times reports
On average, people who took the survey answered half the questions incorrectly, and many flubbed even questions about their own faith.

Those who scored the highest were atheists and agnostics, as well as two religious minorities: Jews and Mormons. The results were the same even after the researchers controlled for factors like age and racial differences.
What is it about religion that suppresses what should be no more than basic general knowledge? Grow into these trousers... >>

Sunday, 26 September 2010

A thought for a Sunday

"Champagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector. It encourages a man to be expansive, even reckless, while lie detectors are only a challenge to tell lies successfully".

Graham Greene (1904 – 1991) Grow into these trousers... >>

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Spot the goat

The work these guys must put into making their videos makes my jaw drop. OK Go do it again with their latest opus:

OK Go - White Knuckles - Official Video

Their previous video is here and is well worth seeing too.

And did you spot the goat? Grow into these trousers... >>

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Dude, you have no Quran

I'm sure we all remember the Quran book burning threat from a couple of weekends ago. I wanted to comment at the time but other commitments got in the way. Now I have a quieter day so here we go:

Burning books is stupid and ignorant.

Note, I am not saying that all books are sacred, or that any are. Nor am I saying that an individual is forbidden to destroy a possession, so long as it is legally their own or they have suitable permission. But each book has a value greater than that printed on the cover and the combined writings of humanity have a value greater than the summed content of the individual books. That value is context.

Important texts from times past are often difficult to interpret without contemporary texts to set things in a social or linguistic structure. Structures which, 2000 years ago say, have no modern counterpart for comparison. We need the legacy of books from all ages to understand ourselves and how our societies have developed.

Burning any book has the potential to rob the future of a storehouse of historical knowledge. Just think of the attacks on the Library of Alexandria where humanity lost forever texts which, even then, were of great antiquity.

Of course the unadulterated word of Allah has been a previous victim of book burning, and surprisingly Moslems themselves were responsible, as this news report from 653AD informs us. An incalculable loss to religious scholars and historians of every generation since.

So I am glad that the September 11th Quran burning fizzled out into a non-event: except for one incident in Amarillo, Texas.

Some religious nutter was planning to burn a copy in an Amarillo park when Jacob Isom rescued the kerosene dowsed volume from a barbeque and ran off. In an interview for the local News Channel 10, Isom said he snuck up behind the organiser, David Grisham, liberated the book and said “Dude, you have no Quran”.

The book was delivered unsinged to a local Muslim leader and Jacob Isom is now an internet hero. Well done Sir!

Dude You Have No Quran AUTOTUNE REMIX

Via Unreasonable Faith Grow into these trousers... >>

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Protesting against the Pope

Richard Dawkins does a remarkable shakedown. Brief, to the point and utterly true.

Richard Dawkins' Speech at Protest the Pope March

<rant> Perhaps this should have been today's Sunday thought... My use of the English language is far from perfect; but I protest against something, or I protest in favour of something. Or if someone makes a statement with which I disagree, I can say "I protest" in reply.

I do not protest something!

I do not protest the Pope. I protest against the Pope and will never protest in favour of him. </rant> Grow into these trousers... >>

A thought for a Sunday

"Even when poetry has a meaning, as it usually has, it may be inadvisable to draw it out... Perfect understanding will sometimes almost extinguish pleasure".

A. E. Housman (1859 – 1936) Grow into these trousers... >>

Friday, 17 September 2010

This is made of awesome

Over the next weekend BlogTV is to present an interactive, 24 hour, non-stop fundraiser in aid of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders - international links), a very worthy charity. Starting on Saturday 18th September at 4pm BST (click for your local time) the lineup is... Well, awesome. The live broadcast will be here:

Watch the promotional video!

Roll Call - who's on the show?

Sadly Michael Shermer only did the promo clip and won’t be involved, but those who will feature include a whole bunch of my favourite YouTubers such as:


Matt Dillahunty and the Amazing James Randi are involved and I also understand that PZ Myers will be sticking his oar in.

Donations to MSF can be made safe and secure using JustGiving (PayPal or cards) or FirstGiving (cards only).

That's my weekend sorted! Grow into these trousers... >>

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Pope? Pap!

So the Ratman arrives in Edinburgh and immediately contradicts himself. The BBC reports him saying he wants to "extend the hand of friendship" to the whole of the UK during his visit. Hmm, OK...

He continued:
"Today, the United Kingdom strives to be a modern and multicultural society. In this challenging enterprise, may it always maintain its respect for those traditional values and cultural expressions that more aggressive forms of secularism no longer value or even tolerate".
Well fuck you Ratman, I do respect the traditional values and cultural expressions of others so long as they don't impose them on those who see the world otherwise. Sing to the clouds and eat magic crackers all you like but don't expect me to do the same and never, NEVER EVER, try to tell me how to behave. My morals are not dictated to me by invisible magical spirits but by a genuine care for all of humanity. In fact I care for all life on this beautiful planet which gave me birth. How about you respecting my values, my expression, and my right not to believe?

How anyone can think that this fallible, ignorant, old man is the spokesperson on Earth for an all-powerful, benign creator defies my understanding.

This comes after one of his 'advisors', Cardinal Walter Kasper, espoused that
"when you land at Heathrow you think at times you have landed in a Third World country".
Walter is not accompanying the Ratman to the UK and the Vatican issues the ludicrous claim of 'ill-health'.

Ratman, don't lie. Your own book of lore says this (see Exodus 20:16, Deuteronomy 5:20), how can anyone form any respect for an individual who says one thing and does the opposite?

Admit the truth Ratman, you are human, you were not appointed by a deity, you are not even a head of state but the elected leader of a vastly wealthy organisation dedicated to self-preservation at the expense of billions of ordinary people.

Until then I exercise my freedom to repeat...

Tim Minchin - Pope Song (Warning - Offense Possible)
Grow into these trousers... >>

Monday, 13 September 2010

Late night music

I think I've posted this before, but again tonight it is capturing the right mood for me...

Joni Mitchell - Coyote
Grow into these trousers... >>

Sunday, 12 September 2010

A thought for a Sunday

"I don't need you to remind me of my age. I have a bladder to do that for me".

Stephen Fry (b. 1957) Grow into these trousers... >>

Thursday, 9 September 2010

What I did last summer

Hello everyone! I know I haven't been posting much recently but it's been an enjoyable summer and the band is starting to get back on track again so I hope I am excused my holiday.

Here are some video clips of us from last weekend at our own CleckFest bash when we opened the night for The Voos and The Syndicates. Hats off to Steve, our front man, for putting together yet another great weekend of local music. Without him these events would be hard to get off the ground. I'm sure that more video from the three nights will appear on YouTube etc, but I'm buggered if I'm editing it. It took me 2 days to pick these bits out of our set, anyone know how to adjust aspect ratios?

And for Jackie and Karen; I hope this gives you an idea what I am up to, you didn't miss too much :)

We are ABandinurHead, we just do covers right now, and we opened like this...

The Alex Harvey Band - Framed
(And if you are wondering, Steve came on with a stocking over his head)

David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust

George Thorogood - If You Don't Start Drinking

The Animals - House of the Rising Sun

Bad Company - Can't Get Enough Of Your Love

And we finished like this...
Rolling Stones - Jumpin' Jack Flash

:) Grow into these trousers... >>

Sunday, 5 September 2010

A thought for a Sunday

"One of the definitions of sanity is the ability to tell real from unreal. Soon we'll need a new definition".

Alvin Toffler (b. 1928) Grow into these trousers... >>