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Famous Atheists (Courtesy of Boing Boing)

From top left: Mark Twain, Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, Keira Knightley, Stephen Hawking, Bill Maher, John Lennon, Ricky Gervais, Julianne Moore, Keanu Reeves, Bill Shatner, Johnny Depp, Janeane Garofalo, James Cameron, Billy Joel, Jack Nicholson, John Malkovich, Dame Helen Mirren, Sir Richard Branson, Sir Ian McKellan, Albert Einstein, Brad Pitt, Daniel Radcliffe, Jodie Foster, Hugh Laurie, Lance Armstrong, George Carlin, Morgan Freeman, Fred Armisen, Angelina Jolie, Gene Wilder, Penn Jillette, Teller, Dylan Moran, Patton Oswalt, Seth Green, Norm MacDonald, Eddie Izzard, Cillian Murphy, Jeremy Clarkson, and George Clooney.

Hey… they left me out. Not famous enough?

 

There have been enough crazies loose in the USA that this bunch makes me very nervous…

Let me start with a statement on my own religious beliefs: I am an atheist in the Stephen Hawking vein…there has been nothing in centuries of scientific discovery to prove the existence of God, nor are the mythological concepts of Heaven, Hell or any “afterlife” at all a reality. OK?

The proposal to make a cross shaped piece of twisted beams from the World Trade Center into a monument in a public space supporting Christianity triggered a response by some atheists that they should have an equivalent monument caused a controversy that Fox News covered. Let me also state my view here: neither of these concepts are supported by me. People’s beliefs should be private things in a free society and not be inflicted on others.

So, when I read this post on the American Atheist‘s blog (and, btw, this is an organization I’m not a member of… organized atheism is just another religion) about their Communications Director appearing on Fox News and the responses that were posted by listeners, I felt unsafe:

FOX News Facebook Page on 9/11 Cross Generates Death Threats Against Atheists

FOX News readers on Facebook started going off after Blair Scott, Communications Director for American Atheists, appeared on America Live with Megyn Kelly. Blair reports that when he returned home from his local FOX station for the interview that his voice mail was full of messages and his inbox had almost 200 hateful messages. “I can always tell when someone from American Atheists is on FOX news, because my Inbox explodes with hate email,” said Blair.

We can talk about the issues about this, but our friend William Hamby has put it well over at the Examiner. In addition, Practical Doubt was able to capture some more as well. Unfortunately, they blacked out the names of the guilty.

Moderators on FOX News’ Facebook page had been trying diligently to delete the violent threats, but not before they were screen-captured by a diligent American Atheists member named Robert Posey.

So how direct are these statements posted as comments on the Fox News Facebook Page? These were some of Posey’s captures before Fox had them deleted (and these do NOT have the poster’s names blacked out… as AA says, people should have responsibility for what they say):

What’s scary as well is the amount of support agreements they get from other readers. It is a good move that Fox is eliminating these as they catch them (why they don’t just set the keywords on their spam list, or set all comments to be reviewed before posting as I do on this blog, is confusing.) However, thousands, and perhaps millions of people see them’ and as William Hamby says in the Atlanta Atheist Examiner:

In a week or two, that Facebook page will be clean swept of any threats or incitements to violence.  If anyone goes back to read it, they’ll see Christians and atheists arguing — not always politely, but without threats.  The words on the page will be gone.  But for me and my fellow atheists, they will live on as long as we live.

When I think of lunatics who have been able to kill groups of people based on the lunacy of extreme beliefs, I realize how the promotion of such concepts can trigger dangerous responses. I also realize that by printing some of these here, I may be doing the same thing… however this will happen here once and it will give you an idea of what is happening. If you think back to the Holocaust and what Jews (and the rest of the world) learned from it, this is a serious situation.

If those who believe in Christianity (or any other religion) need this kind of response to justify their unfortunate view of life, then more people than atheists should take notice and be ready to defend themselves.

… and a quote for the evening from Stephen Hawking:

“I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first. I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”

It is a strong statement, and one I agree with.

Quote of the Day – From Stephen Hawking…

“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. … It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”

– Stephen Hawking in his new book.

So the Universe can be created without God. Terrific.

Quote of the Day…

“There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.”

– Stephen Hawking (being interviewed by Diane Sawyer.)

Thanks, Professor Hawking… there are some more important comments at the interview. Go HERE.

A Glorious Dawn – Symphony of Science

Here’s a little treat for Sunday… a musical remix of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos with input from Stephen Hawking as a music video. Enjoy.