Chapel Hill Shooting: Atheists / Anti-theists Are Responsible?

Craig Hicks, charged with shooting death of 3 Muslims in N.C.

Some less than spectacular people out there on the Inter-webs are calling for vocal atheists and anti-theists to own up to the Chapel Hill Shooting being our version of the Charlie Hebdo Massacre. No, we won’t be doing that. At least not at this time. Should the available facts on record change, such as a confirmed manifesto being released, any reasonable person would adjust their views to include this. But what we have here is a horrible tragedy with no clear motives, nothing more. Charlie Hebdo was killing in the name of religion being held higher in importance than freedom of speech and human life; no comparison.

Standards of acceptance of evidence is probably the core difference between atheists and theists. For instance: I don’t see any evidence that is at all compelling for a historical Jesus of Nazareth nor for a God of Abraham. The commonly used “personal experience” routine is crap on multiple levels but mainly because people lie to further their own goals all the time and religious labels don’t instantly cure a person of unethical behaviors.

I’ve studied the Bible at length, researched non-canonical texts, applied the standards of historical veracity to both the Old and New Testaments and none of it amounts to the claims of “divinity” and “divine truth” made by Bible-believers. At the most, and this is being very generous, there was a Jewish rebel priest put to death by the Romans that had a chain of hearsay turn him into a demigod in the eyes of certain men who were all born around a hundred years after his execution.

Islam and the Quran are different in the sense that the central figure is much, much more so a verified historical figure but shares in the same issues of the Torah and the Bible where none of the claims to divinity and ultimate truth are any more compelling than when the Greeks, Egyptians or the Pagans wrote of their mastery of the ethos of life and contemplation. The endless contradictions anyone can find with enough time spent with almost any “holy book” placed to the side, the issue with any form of religious extremism boils down to dehumanizing those who will not conform to the point where an act of torture or murder upon them is not only acceptable but mandated from on high.

Thing to remember here is some people believe in UFOs and anal probes but it’s rare to the point of being unheard of that one of them would go shoot up a skeptic conference in the name of being unhindered to spread the message of the coming alien overlords to the masses. But both radicalized Christians as well as Muslims, and even the heavily pacifist Buddhists, have done exactly these kinds of actions in both isolated and organized acts of violence. All this in recent decades and not even bothering to dredge out old history books citing violence over the centuries committed in the name of religious “purity.”

No respected atheist anywhere is advocating you solve your disputes with acts of murder or that the best way to silence an ideological opponent is to kill them in their home or place of business. But I could troll the right-wing radio Christian waves for awhile and bring back some moron who is doing exactly that and same with the nationalistic Islamic newsgroups and forums. This would not in turn implicate all Christians and all Muslims in those statements but only those who identify with the speaker’s views which is not an easy thing to assess unless someone declares it to be so.

Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

 

As always when I cover tragic stories my deepest condolences go out to the family members and friends of the victims of this horrible event.  I do not speak merely for myself when I say that this man should face the full force of the legal justice system and hopefully this will bring you some measure of peace.

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USAToday: ‘Embryonic Stem Cells Used On Patient For First Time’

 

USAToday.com:

 

For the first time, surgeons have injected a spinal cord injury patient with human embryonic stem cells in a federally approved experiment, a biomedical firm said Monday.

Food and Drug Administration officials approved the start of the privately funded safety trial in July, allowing a long-awaited test of the cells, which were grown from a single embryo to resemble forerunners to spinal cells.

The unnamed patient received the cells at the Shepherd Center, an Atlanta hospital specializing in brain, spine and related ailments.

 

Despite religious objection of some the benefits of embryonic stem cells are already being applied to better the lives of others. I see this as a victory over religious insanity and unthinking, arcane dogmas that serve no purpose in the modern world.

Two Stories Worth Note From Scientific American

“Meditation on Demand” by Peter B. Reiner

“Why People Believe Invisible Agents Control The World” by Michael Shermer

Talking About God and Science

An anonymous man once impressed this image upon my mind:

I was doing one of these things awhile back and there was this guy in the room with a huge chip on his shoulder as soon as I said the word ‘God.’ This guy was huge, almost seven feet tall and arms like a gorilla. He told me there wasn’t no such thing as God and on top of that since nobody in the room could do a damn thing about him that he was God as far as it mattered. So I put a challenge to him. I emptied out a dresser, moved it out into the center of the room, and had everyone help me fill the bottom drawer with all the training weights we could. Then I told him to lift it up high. He struggled and moved it around more than I thought he would. But he couldn’t get it off the ground. Then we had everyone in the room, with him, try and lift the dresser. It came up from the floor so easily we almost hurt ourselves, surprised at our mutual strength. When we all sat down again after replacing the dresser and the weights he asked me what was the point. I told him that when he walked in that door today he thought he was God and now he can see that some things are outside his power. The God in everyone else with himself included was stronger than he could ever hope to be alone. So he was not God. But God was still present in the room, between all of us and stronger than any of us.

If you change the physical nature of this image of the huge man proclaiming himself “God” for a more intellectual design, one might evoke an image of a high-brow scholar scribbling out a formula that disproves the existence of God.

This is my impression of many atheists, and certain agonistics, I encounter. It seems to me that many have ‘thought God out of existence’ in the course of earnest and worthwhile studies. To my perception all science, and the nature of all knowledge itself, provides us with a constant ’unknown.’ Even in the absence of any religious background there is more than enough room for an understanding of the universe and life beyond simple reasoning’s of black-and-white logic.

While science shatters dogma and begs the eternal question simultaneously, it still does not negate the concept of a higher power.

Has America Gone Conspiracy-Crazy?

It has been my observation that popular websites and radio shows have experienced a recent increase in the number of people touting the “New World Order Theory” (NWO) or an apocalyptic theory that includes global conspiracies in one fashion or another. I am not a fan of dismissive attitudes and rather than mocking these people I wish to explain why I personally do not subscribe to these theories even after having reviewed much of the same media and materials that they often use as evidence for their theory.
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http://www.coasttocoastam.com
http://www.jordanmaxwell.com
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There is no doubt that there remains a large divide in society between the labor classes and the aristocratic classes of people, no matter how wealthy or advanced a society is. As many have written on throughout history there is a mutual disgust shared between these classes.

The labor class most often views the other as uncaring and immoral. The aristocratic class most often views the other as uncivil and illogical.

The clever, and usually fiendish, use this divide on both sides of society to promote their personal agenda. Be it selling DVDs, seeds, books, survival supplies or perhaps gaining ratings, website hits and sponsors the issue of interjecting mass fear without any tangible proof is reprehensible. Not to mention the fact that both modern and ancient politicians have sought to demonize one group or another using these same existing prejudices in what is commonly called class-warfare.

I assert that the entire idea of a “grand-puppeteer council” that rules all of humanity is a form of ancient social-engineering, if you will, developed perhaps some time prior to the Roman Empire. An agenda formed purely to destabilize all forms of government in a time when there was no such thing as democracy or equality under the law for any person not of a ruling class.

I believe the labor class of old created this entire theory around the strange practices of aristocrats that still exist in today’s society in the form of the Skull and Bones Society or other ritualistic practices in society as a whole. The unseen and unknown rulers of all cannot be proven nor disproved. Nor can the shadow regime be seen for it is made of no light that we pathetic laborers can find with the blindfolds that our masters provide. It is a perfect circle of plausible yet improvable concepts leading to the same conclusion of rejecting all the institutions of government as purely evil.

I see certain figures like Jordan Maxwell as not motivated by sheer profiteering motives but rather simply a person who has read more material and done more research than I have, by far, yet he has not considered this simple concept while reading many occult materials. Maxwell is one of the rare exceptions in this subject where he is genuine and earnest about his fears for America coming under some form of global-control. I just simply disagree and obviously I would be proven wrong if such a thing were to happen outside of popular fiction.

I am not certain if America is falling prey to an age-old agenda of anarchistic motives or if a certain few have simply become voiced after being silent but the issues of the press failing to do their job in the modern world or the multitude of other arguments used to promote these theories don’t provide any proof for the theory itself.

No doubt someone who believes strongly in these theories would seek to call me a “NWO shill” and I am trying to convey that I see Alex Jones, for instance, as a profiteering shill. Let people judge for themselves as I make zero dollars on this weblog and Jones runs advertisements for his products on the radio. George Noory would be the converse of Jones where he appears to simply believe in the NWO while further proving my point that Jones is primarily motivated by profit due to fact that Noory doesn’t engage in schemes to sell documentaries yet is still affiliated with and outspoken on the issue.

Many theories defy evidence, like Creationism for instance, and there are many people of varying degrees of study who wish to establish a sense of complete authority on these theories making them into supposed facts. It is the very nature of spreading willful ignorance. Some issues do not have all the standards of scientific proof at this time and must be handled as such.

The answer is, we don’t have the answer. Anyone who tells you otherwise should called into suspect immediately to produce proof or be called to state themselves as a person of convictions and not facts, which is perfectly acceptable.

I am not here to be throwing out names for everyone to repeat of my ‘perfect’ theories or just to start an uproar on any of the issues I’ve touched on but rather to say that when any person simply accepts what they hear, see or read as proof-enough for them that ultimately we all could suffer the consequences if this were to become systemic.

Eric Lightborn
February 17th 2009