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FORA.tv – From Fatwa to Jihad: The Rushdie Affair

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Kenan Malik is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster, and Senior Visiting Fellow at the Department of Political, International and Policy Studies at the University of Surrey. His main areas of interest are the history of ideas; the history and philosophy of science; philosophy of the mind; theories of human nature; bioethics; political philosophy; and the politics of race, religion and identity.

FORA.tv – Eugenie Scott: Bigfoot and Wild Men of the Forest


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Friday Music – Little Fluffy Clouds

Absolute classic from The Orb that’s been playing in my head all morning so I thought I’d share. The video is a bit naff but for sheer put your feet upism this is hard to beat. Enjoy!

Shameless Plug Sunday

Proving that my “regular” feature, “Shameless Plug Saturday”, is, in fact, variable and decidely un-regular, I now present you with today’s Shameless Plug Sunday feature!

Having recently watched Joyeux Noel and having heard “The Call” by Regina Spektor in the ending credits for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian I recently wrote a song from the point of view of a spouse, decidely androgynous, watching their loved one head off to battle, vowing to wait for them understanding the reality that they may never come back and attempting to rationalise their experience against that of their loved one.

It’s called “Spectre”, as it’s inspired by the words and melody of Regina Spektor’s heart-string-tugging song “The Call”. Since the medium of Youtube is not just auditory, but visual also, I’ve included some related imagery I scavenged from Google in the video, and though I’m not visual maestro, I hope it adds to the atmosphere and emotion of the song.


Friday Music – Atheist Rap

This Friday music, I’m finally getting around to posting about Greydon Square – an atheistic rapper who has been featured on popular sceptical podcasts such as Skepticality and Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe. Rather than regurgitating what I learnt about him from the aforelinked, I’ll let you look into it yourself if you’re interested (Skepticality spend a bit more time with him).

The song I’ve embedded below is called ‘Squared, and it’s from his album, ‘The Compton Effect’. I downloaded this album over the summer, and found it generally enjoyable for sheer novelty value alone, as it’s quite satisfying to hear rational lyrics accompanying some funky hip-hop beats. That said, I don’t think I’d be doing my job as a sceptic if I didn’t highlight some negative aspects before slapping a hearty seal of approval on it, so bear with me for a bit.

After a few listens, the lyrics begin to cause some dissonance – I’m aware that rap is generally predicated on exaggerated metaphors and healthy narcissism, but it’s still hard to take a self-professed sceptic seriously when he uses a line like “What makes Republicans and Democrats any different than Bloods and Crips? / Absolutely positively nothing” (from the song Pandora’s Box)

Due to the constraints of the medium, Greydon either over-simplifies his topics or interrupts the flow to get his points across, which is hopefully a shortcoming that will be addressed in the next album, (which I intend on downloading over the next few days).

For the low low price of $3.99 from Soundclick, you can get 19 very varied tracks of atheistic-infused hip-hop, DRM free (and at a bitrate of 320kbps) – which is an absolute bargain. Even if you don’t like hip-hop, you should support this artist, just to hear some bitesize atheistic rhetoric – for less than €3(!) what have you got to lose?

Please to enjoy:

Greydon Square on MySpace

Atheists and Free Speech Advocates on YouTube

As some of you may know Creationists and other Christians have been using false DMCA notices to stop free debate on YouTube for some time now. Now a group of the most vocal and popular pro-reason contributers on YouTube have banded together to fight back.

It’s wonderful to see this sort of spontaneous organisation. If you’re a YouTube user please do anything you can to support this effort.

Edit – An excellent background to all of this can be found here.

Shameless Plug Saturday

Since I was too slow off the mark to get my post in yesterday for Music Friday, silly XNA programming has gotten me addicted, I’ve decided to come up with my own regular feature, Shameless Plug Saturday. Most likely it won’t be a regular feature unless I regularly come up with things of my own invention/creation that I feel need a shameless plug, but for now I have at least one!! And, of course, it’s related to everything irreligious and Irish, since I’m Irish,and irreligious.

It’s a song about the typical mindset of staunch believers, and how they fail to think for themselves or seek their own evidence for extraordinary claims.

“Faithful” by Ignorance Manifest (that’s my solo musical project):

Thank you for listening (or bypassing my post entirely…either way!)

Anyway, on another note, thanks to this post it appears that I have spent the past 3 years being a devout student of Islam, and now I seem to have converted to Mormonism thanks to my Final Year Project.

Who would’ve guessed it?

(Still Technically) Friday Music – NOFX

Phew! Just made it!

Unlike my esteemed blogging-colleagues, I like to tease the readers by making them wade through a bit of waffle before getting to the good stuff – and the video embedded below is the kind of thing that needs a preface.

I used to be a big fan of punk rockers NOFX, even if their songs all sound the same, they have the decency to repackage them with worthwhile lyrics. I decided to post this song based on the few lines I could remember, as I thought it features some nice commentary on how cavalier we as a species are with respect to our world. Of course, after just listening to the song, I’m now aware that the ‘We’ that is being referred to in the song is the denizens of the USA, but let’s just use some manipulative interpretation to convince ourselves that ‘We’ is in reference to the human race.

I’m not 100% sure about the others, but I know that the singer, Fat Mike, is a humanist – quite openly so (I’ve heard him tease theistic musicians in interviews), and this song’s lament at the lack of willingness as a species to self-correct our behaviour certainly reflects these beliefs.

Please to enjoy – ‘Wolves in Wolves Clothing’ from NOFX’s [“No Eff Ex”] ‘The War on Errorism’

[I know that NOFX openly express their hatred for Bush, but the person who made this video seems to think that they attribute all of the woes of the world to Georgie boy, which annoys me, so I’d like to divorce myself from majority of the visual-content in this video!]

Friday’s music

Great song from a great band.  Enjoy the lyrics…


Friday Music – Rat Race by The Specials

For no reason I can think of this song has been in my head all week.