#Atheism – Chapel Hill


Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

We don’t know that much about thee Chapel Hill shootings yet, partly because there seems to be little interest in the mainstream media in talking about the story at this point. What appears to have happened is that a man has shot three young Muslims dead in America. We don’t know his motivations etc yet, but he appears to have been an atheist and anti-theist and the speculation is that these are the reasons for the attacks.

As a member of the atheist community I apologise for this person, this killer and will be more vigilant in keeping watch on other members of the community latching onto atheism as a cover for racial or other hatreds.

That said, I think it’s important to draw a line between atheism and religion as motivation for doing bad things. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in god. That is simply all it is. It has no dogma, no book, no set of commands to kill the believers. It is not a religion, it has no canon. Basically there’s nothing in atheism to excuse or promote death or dehumanisation as there is in, say, the Bible or the Koran.

‘You’re as bad as us’ isn’t an argument that makes you look very good and honestly we’d have a lot of catching up to do, to be as bad as religions on the death stakes. We’ll see what happens as the story unfolds. That he attacked Muslims in a country replete with Christians may suggest that his attacks were’t anti-religious per-se, but that he had some problem with these three people in particular.

Religion is still a blight on the human race, but we win with logic, reason and evidence and in the field of ideas. Not with violence.

“With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
― Steven Weinberg

Sarkeesian gets a Humanist Award? Uwotm8?


Ultimate Buddha face-palm

So Sarkeesian got a humanist award at Harvard. Fortunately it turns out this is just an independent Humanist society not properly affiliated with Harvard, but most people are going to look at the word ‘Harvard’ and think this is a prestigious award.

Why is this an issue? Because it represents ignorance, stupidity and the worst kind of grand-standing, purely for social reasons. If a Harvard society is willing to back her nonsense, there’s real problems that now go far beyond media corruption and issues. Combine this with the currently push to put her non-academic material into the common core teaching material and we have an absolute failure of critical thinking on a potentially catastrophic scale.

The society state their values are: “Reason, compassion, creativity, justice, integrity, awareness, environmentalism, feminism, equality, science, progress, and pluralism.”

1. Her pronouncements are not based on reason. They are scaremongering moral panic and speculation without much of anything in the way of academic and scientific support. Indeed many assertions are directly contradicted by proper research.

2. She showed little compassion when she used incidents of violence such as school shootings to exploit for her own purposes and publicity.

3. She can hardly be considered to be for creativity when her entire oeuvre is about censoring and constricting how other people express themselves.

4. Her – and McIntosh’s statement are frequently anti-justice, especially when they dip into things like campus rape culture etc. Justice depends on innocent until proven guilty and not mob justice or inquisitorial systems.

5. Integrity? She’s a known con artist (never liked or knew about video games) with a background of links to dodgy telemarketing, pyramid schemes and handwriting analysis. Nor has she delivered on her Kickstarter – years late – and despite a huge amount of additional investment.

6. Awareness is too nebulous to comment on. She may have raised awareness, but of problems that either do not exist or which are being wildly overstated.

7. Environmentalism? No data.

8. Feminism? Not feminism in the sense of equality certainly. Modern pseudo-feminism perhaps, in all its authoritarian and censorious glory. That doesn’t seem to be something worth celebrating though.

9. Equality? See above.

10. Science? Again, her claims are not based on scientific or academic rigour. Nor does she open her work to proper peer review, will not debate it and doesn’t even allow criticism – characterising any such examination as harassment or misogyny.

11. Progress? This kind of puritanical, censorious attitude is a great leap backwards to the 1950s. It can hardly be characterised as progress.

12. Pluralism can mean many things. However with her absolute and total fixation upon the ‘first world problems’ of white, middle class, American pseudo-feminists she can hardly be considered a pluralist.