Friendly Atheist Alternative Facts

The Friendly Atheist blog is excited about Netflix airing a new movie about Madalyn Murray O’Hair.  O’Hair was the original New Atheist (Dawkins is just a polished version of O’Hair), so I always thought it strange that today’s New Atheists don’t pay her much attention.  Anyway, what’s interesting is the way the Gnus are trying to rewrite history by turning her into a some victim of religion.  The Friendly Atheist blog writes:

She was also murdered for having the audacity to not believe in a god and defend those who believed the same.

This could not be more wrong.  O’Hair was murdered by another atheist, David Waters, she once employed as an office manager for American Atheists.  And it looks like her murder was triggered by one of the those atheist fights that got out of hand.   Waters apparently stole around $50,000 from Madalyn Murray O’Hair.  She responded by writing this article for her magazine which publicized all kinds of dirt about Waters, including his past criminal history.  This humiliated and enraged Waters, who then began to fantasize about gruesomely murdering O’Hair.  With the help of two accomplices, Waters kidnapped O’Hair and her son and granddaughter.  Although it wasn’t simply about killing O’Hair.  As office manager, Waters believed the O’Hairs were able to embezzle money from their organization and figured he would be able to score all the hidden money.   Anyway, the details of the whole kidnapping are strange, but as it ended, Waters killed all the O’Hairs and one of his accomplices and cut them up into pieces.

Why anyone would try to blame any of this on religion is beyond me.

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19 Responses to Friendly Atheist Alternative Facts

  1. mechanar says:

    Coming from the same People how think that:
    -Hitler was a christian
    -communism has nothing to do with atheism
    -Atheists are ALWAYS the victims never the offenders
    -Religion as the virus of the mind is Legit science
    -Religious Parents Brainwash their children
    -The theocracy is coming
    -The westboro Bapist Church is Representetiv for all religious People on earth
    – Logic and reason always will lead to unbelief
    -Logic and reason is something that you will automaticly have when you become an atheists and dosent need any further training.
    -Religious People are corrupt and malicious because they dont really believe what they believe
    -Religious People are corrupt and malicious because they Do believe what they believe
    -My blog posts and Internet comments will stop the religious from destroying the Planet
    -Mother theresa was a monster
    -the crussaders were a bunch if blind fanatics who wope up one morning and though “lets start a war”
    -Faith is believing with no evidence! dont mind what the dictonary says
    -Most wars in history are Religion wars! dont mind what the History books say.
    -Religious Belief is always Harmful! dont mind what science says.
    -Religion would go Away If we stopped teaching it again dont mind what science says.
    -Refusing to Study religious History and philosophy is an expression of sophisticated intellect
    -God,unicorns,elves all the same thing

    Did I forget something?Ironic that those that claim to defend reason and evidence are ine of its biggest offenders.

  2. Ilíon says:

    As office manager, Waters witnessed how the O’Hairs were able to embezzle money from their organization and figured he would be able to score all the hidden money.

    So, organized atheism has *always* been a scam.

  3. Ilíon says:

    Did I forget something?Ironic that those that claim to defend reason and evidence are ine of its biggest offenders.

    – That disproving, or at any rate, mocking, Zeus, who (allegedly) “arose” in a Darwinistic accidental-and-non-conscious-and-non-rational manner as an effect of the universe serves, somehow, to disprove the Creator-God who is the deliberate-and-conscious rational cause of the universe.
    – That positing logical contradictions, such as Invisible Pink Unicorns, serves, somehow, to disprove the Creator-God who is the deliberate-and-conscious-and rational cause of the universe.

  4. TFBW says:

    Why anyone would try to blame any of this on religion is beyond me.

    A suggestion: it’s the result of a general policy to blame all the world’s ills on religion.

  5. Doug says:

    Another suggestion: it is a manifestation of a new trend “lying for Nothing”.

  6. Nolan says:

    The post has been corrected. Note the author of the post wasn’t Hemant. The uncorrected quote is, of course, absurd — at least as absurd as an intelligent design proponent lecturing about the politicization of science 🙂

    I would probably draw a different lesson from this than you would. On one hand, I see a blog post that was corrected within 24 hours. On the other hand, I see a blog post at a different site that continues to carry provably false implications while its author invokes crazy conspiracies in order to justify them (https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/taking-richard-dawkins-concerns-seriously/).

    What is your source for O’Hair engaging in embezzlement?

  7. Doug says:

    @Nolan, in My life without God, William Murray (Madalyn’s son) writes:

    She stole huge amounts of money. She misused people’s trust. She cheated children out of their parents’ inheritance. She cheated on her taxes and even stole from her own organizations. She once printed up phony stock certificates on her own printing press to try to take over another atheist publishing company.

  8. Kevin says:

    Unlike the so-called Friendly Atheist piece, Michael’s post, while it can’t be decisively proven, is still a far more reasonable position, based on the evidence, than the weak attempt to show that Dawkins was being truthful about his alleged ignorance.

    If a conspiracy theory generally lacks supporting evidence without contortions and the ignoring of a larger body of contradictory evidence, then the defense of Dawkins is the conspiracy theory.

  9. Regual Llegna says:

    mechanar says:
    “Coming from the same People how think that:
    -Hitler was a christian
    …”

    Where the belief of “we are the aryan race”, “the aryan race is the more “evolved” and superior of all human races” and “the aryan race are decendents of -insert, usually, half-god people here-” fall in the christians beliefs? No one gnu atheist will ever answer that question without lying or reflecting.

    “…
    -The westboro Bapist Church is Representetiv for all religious People on earth
    …”

    Right now, in many web sites that show islamic terrorism acts, there are atheist blaming religion in generel sense as the problem for the islamic beliefs, they including christianity often saying “but the Bible..blah…blah…blah”, judaism “jews have the blame”, buddhism “all religion is bad” and any single form of theism “this is what people that belief in a god/s do”. Often you wil read in the comments something that go like this: “religion attacks again” or other general slur (prominent comment in Britain news web sites in the last years) every time that a islamic jihadist do their share in the muslim islamic belief in jihad againts unbelievers, for then those are kuffir (any non-muslims, non-practicing muslims and not enough muslims), plus their share in the global imposition of Sharia to “save the world form Allah offenders”.

    “…
    – Mother theresa was a monster
    …”

    Say the usual atheists/secularists that never help anybody with a serious disease with their own hands.

    “…
    -the crussaders were a bunch if blind fanatics who wope up one morning and though “lets start a war”
    …”

    Say the atheists/secularists that don’t know who the saracens were or the anything about the religion of the Ottoman Empire (hint: Islam).

    “…
    -Refusing to Study religious History and philosophy is an expression of sophisticated intellect
    …”

    Why they attack philosophy? Maybe they do not know that any methodology it is in its base a philosophy: “From wikipedia (in translated from spanish):
    In the description of an adequate methodology, the philosophical stance is oriented by terms such as the following:
    – Rationalism, as opposed to empiricism, emphasizes the role of reason in research.
    – Pragmatic, which is how the elements of the project influence the meaning.
    – Constructivism or epistemological constructivism, in which knowledge is developed based on presumptions (starting hypothesis) of the researcher.
    – Criticism, also of epistemological order, that puts limits to the knowledge by the careful study of possibilities.
    – Skepticism, doubt or disbelief about the truth or the effectiveness of what is generally admitted as valid.
    – Positivism, derived from epistemology, states that the only authentic knowledge is scientific knowledge.
    – Hermeneutics, which interprets knowledge.”

    Note that “Rationalism, as opposed to empiricism…” (philosophy and science vs experience “usually sensorial experience”) part, note the pragmatic (elements that influence the meaning), contructivism (knowledge is developed based on presumptions or hypothesis), positivism (science is the only knowledge) and hermeneutics (interpretation of knowledge) parts.

  10. TFBW says:

    @Nolan: Determined to turn around Friendly Atheist’s faux pas into criticism of The Enemy, hmm? Deflect! Deflect!

    Note the author of the post wasn’t Hemant.

    True, it was Lauren Nelson. Nobody had attributed it to Hemant, though, so … is this important for some reason, or are you just acting as bodyguard for Hemant’s reputation? I note that Lauren’s bio says, “… you’ll find her researching and writing extensively on the subjects of …” Evidently the adverb “extensively” applies only to “writing”, not “researching”, or else she wouldn’t make an “absurd” (as you say) error of this sort. As such, I stand by my original suggestion, with one clarification: it’s the result of a general policy to blame all the world’s ills on religion, coupled with complete ignorance of the facts of the case on which she was reporting. Of course she would assume that the atheist activist was murdered by an angry fundie.

    On the other hand, I see a blog post at a different site that continues to carry provably false implications …

    And here’s the deflection. I’m glad everything is “proved” to your satisfaction. I re-read part of that thread you so kindly linked to, and I’m still waiting for you to point out where Dawkins retracts any of his views regarding a religious upbringing being worse than “mild” sexual abuse (or locking children in a dungeon or knocking their teeth out, etc. ad nauseam). Failing that, all you’ve done is highlight inconsistency on his part — and demand that we ignore the inconsistency and focus on the aspects which help your case. No: a back-pedal is not a retraction. Which part of that don’t you understand?

  11. Michael says:

    The post has been corrected. Note the author of the post wasn’t Hemant.

    I know. It was written by an advocate and aspiring ally focused on intersectional justice. She is a feminist who wrote another post asking, ” Is feminism compatible with atheism? Are atheists forgetting their own humanity?” Is Hemant’s blog going the SJW route?


    The uncorrected quote is, of course, absurd — at least as absurd as an intelligent design proponent lecturing about the politicization of science.

    What made it absurd was when she also claimed “Her story is well known in atheist circles.” I suppose in the post-modern atheist circles, truth didn’t matter.

    The fact remains that an atheist activist actually believed O’Hair was murdered because of her atheism. How does that happen?

    I would probably draw a different lesson from this than you would.

    LOL. No surprise there. Time to change the focus, right?

    On one hand, I see a blog post that was corrected within 24 hours. On the other hand, I see a blog post at a different site that continues to carry provably false implications while its author invokes crazy conspiracies in order to justify them (https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/taking-richard-dawkins-concerns-seriously/).

    Huh? I responded to your silly charges over 5 weeks ago:

    https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/taking-richard-dawkins-concerns-seriously/#comment-16227
    https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/taking-richard-dawkins-concerns-seriously/#comment-16231

    What is your source for O’Hair engaging in embezzlement?

    I corrected the post from “Waters wtinessed” to “Waters believed.” Within 24 hours of your comment. 😉

  12. stcordova says:

    “Is Hemant’s blog going the SJW route?”

    I hope so. 🙂

  13. Dhay says:

    Nolan > The post has been corrected. … [Subsequent reference to discussion in an earlier thread here regarding Richard Dawkins retracting his signature and support from a petition to make teaching religion to children illegal.]

    The “Oops” underlines rather than obliterates the author’s demonstration of her gross prejudice and pig-ignorance.

    The same applies to Richard Dawkins’ earlier “Oops”.

  14. Dhay says:

    Another post by Lauren Nelson, she who revealed her prejudice in her blog post about Madalyn Murray O’Hair, looks at a recent book by Dr. Michael Guillen; it’s entitled ““Scientist” Claims the Bible Is Compatible With Science”:

    On face, his credentials are impressive. A former Harvard professor with a Ph.D. from Cornell in physics, mathematics, and astronomy …

    Further research on Guillen makes his absurdity more understandable. He may hold advanced degrees, but his career has been less about science than it has been showmanship. Indeed, on the “About” section of his website he describes himself as a three-time Emmy winner, bestselling author, and beloved media commentator. Not exactly the bona fides of respected academic or researcher. They don’t discredit him, but they show what he’s most proud of, and it’s not published papers.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2016/02/20/scientist-claims-the-bible-is-compatible-with-science/

    I have my own reservations about Guillen; but what I want to do here is point out that his scientific credentials are impressive, as Nelson grudgingly says, and compare him with some leading New Atheists.

    Jerry Coyne is a (now emeritus) professor at a provincial university of somewhat less reknown and standing than Guillen’s Harvard. Coyne seems to be starting a new career as a writer and interviewee. Eg https://areomagazine.com/2017/03/10/jerry-coyne-on-taboos-in-science-skepticism-and-the-incompatibility-of-faith-and-fact/

    Richard Dawkins was Assistant Professor of Zoology 1967-69, Lecturer (ordinary professor, in US terms) at Oxford (Harvard level) until 1990, was Reader (the next higher grade of near-Professor) until 1995, then was a full Professor until retirement in 2008. But on appointment as full Professor he seems to have effectively retired from academia and devoted his time to being a bestselling author, presenting occasional TV documentaries and being a media commentator. I’d say there’s pronounced similarities.

    Michael Shermer got a PhD in History of Science (ie not in a science), then became a bestselling author, TV personality presenting science (via debunking pseudoscience), and media commentator. Not exactly the bona fides of respected academic or researcher, as Nelson puts it.

    Then there’s Neuroscientist Sam Harris, who got his PhD then abandoned the idea of being an academic or researcher ** for a life as a journalist, podcaster, event speaker and media personality.

    ( ** I suspect Harris merely commissioned and financed the 2016 Neural correlates of maintaining one’s political beliefs in the face of counterevidence research by Stuart Kaplan, which bears Harris’ name as co-researcher; if I’m wrong and Harris was involved at each stage, as the paper claims, then Harris is lying about never lying, for that research relied upon deliberately exaggerated “facts” to make the “counterevidence” more impressive and persuasive; but since I don’t envisage Harris agreeing to deliberately lie — it’s against strongly held and expressed philosophical principles of his – I can’t see Harris as having been much involved in or even aware of the experimental design, whatever the paper claims.)

    In short, that jibe, “bestselling author, and beloved media commentator. Not exactly the bona fides of respected academic or researcher” seems to apply not just to Guillen but also to the more prominent New Atheists. If Guillen can be criticised as being such, so too can these prominent New Atheists.

    As for Hemant Mehta, he’s not in the same league. To borrow terminology from Peter Boghossian, Mehta’s still at the kiddies’ table. He shows no aptitude for science, for philosophy, or for original and distinctive thought; Mehta’s a non-entity. What’s his opinion worth on any subject.

    *

    Nelson quotes Guillen and comments:

    … “The first truth that I talk about in the book is the belief in the existence of absolute truth.” He continued, “That is to say, both science and religion believe that absolute truth, absolute right and wrong exists.”

    He is, of course, dead wrong. The assertion that science is about right and wrong could not be more inaccurate. Science is, at its core, about the pursuit of truth, but that pursuit is not about serving as an arbiter of morality. It never has been. It’s about facts and evidence.

    I suspect she is misunderstanding what Guillen wrote; but whether she is or not, her comment is a slap-down of Harris’ claim in his The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values that science can serve as an arbiter of morality. Looks like the neuroscientist and philosopher has been slapped down by someone whose “About” says:

    Lauren Nelson is an advocate and aspiring ally focused on intersectional justice. When she’s not gabbing on social media or chasing after her precocious seven year old, you’ll find her researching and writing extensively on the subjects of politics, policy, culture, neurodiversity, and faith for The Friendly Atheist and Rethink the Rant.

    No, neurodiversity is not neuroscience, Nelson’s not a scientist, not even a TV science populariser like Guillen, who’s a Bill Nye and Neil DeGrasse Tyson lookalike. Odd, then, that she should slap the far better qualified Harris down – she herself appears to be merely a journalist.

    *

    The thesis of Nelson’s post is that Guillen’s book claims and argues that science and the Bible are compatible, and that this is wrong, they’re incompatible; though she doesn’t tell us what any of Guillen’s ten claims are or argue that any one of them is wrong, settling instead for the dismissive generality that the Bible is just myth that Christians are required to simply believe because it’s the Bible.Well, that’s hand-waved that away.

    (Funny how anti-theists tend to be 100% Biblical fundamentalist, more fundamentalist than most Christians.)

    But an equally prominent thesis of Nelson’s post is that Guillen, a Harvard Professor for eight years after gaining a PhD in physics, mathematics and astronomy, before diversifying into TV science presenting and into media-related businesses of his own, is really merely a showman. Well, so too are many prominent New Atheists, by that reckoning, and most of them do not have anywhere near the scientific and academic achievements and credential that would match Guillen’s.

    Nelson finishes her post by saying of Guillen:

    Make no mistake: this whole hullabaloo is about Guillen’s brand [of showmanship]. A scientist is not claiming compatibility between the Bible and science, but a hack sure is.

    I think we can turn that around slightly and comment on Nelson in her own words: a scientist is not claiming incompatibility between the Bible and science, but a hack sure is.

  15. Tim'L says:

    Nolan,

    “Note the author of the post wasn’t Hemant.”.
    I hope you read Mike’s post because he never said “Hemant” he said “The Friendly Atheist’s blog”.

  16. Barry Wilson says:

    It is always unfortunate to find a figure in history who accomplished important things was a truly awful person. Many men and woman who accomplished good words were disgusting humans . While I have found contradictory information about her. The one thing that is in all reports is that she was vicious and meanspirited. Perhaps because she wanted the publicity, she was also stupid in her arrogance. Writing the article about her ex con employee did not make her murder excusable in any sense, the murderers were a million times worse than anything she did using words. But one should be careful in high crime districts and one should not bother with a criminal who one had arrested. It is a tragedy.

  17. Dhay says:

    The Friendly Atheist post by Bo Gardiner, dated 15 March 2017 and entitled ‘This Atheist’s Obituary from 1889 Is Delightful: The “Infidel” Was “Perfectly Rational to the Last”’ struck me as rather absurd; I’ll pick out the meat:

    … if his final act in the spring of 1889 and these sweet words about him are any guide, I wish I could have known old Gus:

    He was a pronounced infidel, believing in neither God nor a future of any kind. Two weeks before his death, knowing his demise to be imminent, he went to a tree near the yard and under it marked a place for his grave, giving instructions as to how it should be dug and his mode of burial. He wanted a layer of cedar brush at the bottom of the grave, to be filled up with dirt. He said that when decomposition set in the sap of the tree would draw him up the limbs and he could perch on the top of the tree and view the surrounding scenery for ages to come.

    But it was the last line that really left me smiling in delight:

    Setzer was perfectly rational to the last.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2017/03/15/this-atheists-obituary-from-1889-is-delightful-the-infidel-was-perfectly-rational-to-the-last/

    “Delightful” the old newspaper clipping might or might not be. But on the internal evidence of the clipping, Gus was plainly not rational.

    *

    The Friendly Atheist blog pays $25 for each article used. You get what you pay for, I guess.

  18. Ilíon says:

    ^ Dane Cook has the perfect joke for that “rationality”. The punch line being that a big, sweaty lumberjack can cut down the tree, it can be ground into paper, and then have the Bible printed on it.

  19. Dhay says:

    Anybody remember that “Friendly Atheist Insists We Should Mock the Religious” post here in May 2016 quoting Hemant Mehta saying on his blog, “We should absolutely mock religion”, and giving his opinion why ‘we atheists’ should do so?

    https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/friendly-atheists-insists-we-should-mock-the-religious/

    This same friendly guy has now posted “At Least a Dozen Dead After Church Bus Collides With Pickup Truck in Texas”, and what with his blog not being a ‘news collation’ site but specifically and relentlessly an anti-religion blog, I rather wonder how sincere he is in blogging that:

    My heart goes out to everyone in that community suffering right now; I’m sure the same is true for a lot of readers. It’s not hard to set aside our differences in times like these and recognize that these sorts of accidents can happen to anyone. If there’s a way to help the families of the victims, I’ll be sure to post an update.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2017/03/29/at-least-a-dozen-dead-after-church-bus-collides-with-pickup-truck-in-texas/

    Tell you what, Mehta, fair’s fair, you go ahead and pretend you didn’t post this in order to attract the snark from your readers that you both knew you would attract and have attracted and I’ll pretend you’re not a hypocrite cynically exploiting a tragedy for the enjoyment of yourself and (many of) your readers, and to get hits and advertising revenue.

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