Bangladesh authorities arrest man over atheist blogger’s murder

Mar 2, 2015

Photograph: Suvra Kanti Das/AP

By Saad Hammadi and Mark Tran

Bangladeshi authorities have arrested a radical Islamist four days after a secular American blogger of Bangladeshi origin was hacked to death at a crowded book fair in Dhaka.

A spokesman for the police’s elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) said Farabi Shafiur Rahman had been arrested at a bus station in the capital over the brutal murder of Avijit Roy. “He is the main suspect,” RAB spokesman Maj Maksudul Alam said.

Rahman had threatened Roy several times before, including on Facebook, where he said Roy would be killed upon his arrival in Dhaka. The suspect has been handed over to the police’s detective branch, which is investigating the killing.

The RAB paraded Rahman before the press at its headquarters in Dhaka where another RAB spokesman, Mufti Mahmud, described him as a member of the banned pan-Islamist outfit Hizb ut-Tahrir.

“On different occasions, he exchanged [Roy’s] location, his identity and his family’s photographs with various people,” Mahmud told reporters.


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129 comments on “Bangladesh authorities arrest man over atheist blogger’s murder

  • I got the impression there were multiple assailants. Is he just one of them, or was he the lone killer?

    If it was just him, this is a much less significant story.



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  • Think how rare out atheists must be in Bangladesh for the assailant to have to wait for an atheist foreigner to visit to have someone to hack to death.

    We forget that in countries like India and Indonesia, governments ask for your religion on forms, and leaving blank, writing none or atheist are not acceptable responses.

    The government is telling you “Lie for heaven sake. Telling the truth could get you killed over here.”



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  • 8
    Lorenzo says:

    It may explain your barbarian comment up there: death penalty is still an option and is still considered a valid form of punishment in America. A very despicable thing for a Country that wishes to call itself “civilized”.



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  • 9
    Lorenzo says:

    “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment.”

    There are many good reasons why death penalty is a bad idea. It has been so through history. The first systematic, well founded critique happened during the Enlightenment, in Europe. Those arguments are hundreds of years old: I really needn’t explaining them to you now.
    Let’s just demand a very public trial, where the charges are spoken out loud and so are the evidences; let’s demand the most severe sentence -but let’s hope he shall waste his time in prison, and see to it that he won’t commit suicide. His rotting will be an example for others and a shame for him.



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  • Even as a child I understood an eye for an eye was a recipe for disaster. Lose score for a moment in the heat of battle, get out of step in the accounting with your enemey and you are both toast.



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  • Randy, you have hinted at a spectacular personal story, that sounds not a million miles from this. Can you tell us any of it?

    Does it have a bearing on your reaction just now?



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  • 12
    Lorenzo says:

    One is caught. Good. Let’s look for the others.
    And, after a very public trial, let’s forget them in some dungeon.
    But please no killing: it’s inhumane and the last thing we need is to sink at their level and, equally bad, present these lunatics with martyrdom. Let’s see to it that time has its way with them.

    However… I can’t help thinking that he’s but a victim of year of brainwash, probably from before he could talk. There are many instigators of this murder, I fear, more than any prison can hold.
    The best thing we can do to avoid such happenings in the future is support mass education and emancipation of women, speak out louder than these miserables can threaten and shout. It’s not because of a slightly different alleged prophet that the Western countries managed to almost drive these crimes extinct: it’s because of mass education and the unrestricted flow of opinions. If we look back those 6 centuries that Islam is younger than Christianity, we were up to the same things -and often even worse.



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  • The point you make about islam being 600 years “behind” christianity maybe true but it is patronising and depressing because it suggests an inevitable fatalism. Well bollox to that. A large part of the world has engaged with an enlightenment, an enlightenment that does not have to be re-imagined and re-created – it is like the wheel it does not need to be constantly re-invented. Maybe there is an argument to suggest that the enlightenment is a bad thing – but I’ve not heard it, so I assume that these bigots are aware of it and chose to ignore it and because it has been around for about 400 years is irrelevant because in another 400 years they will still be the same dickless, bloodthirsty, mentally challenged psychos. They belong in a secure mental hospital, care for them in the community will only harm the community.



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  • 14
    RandyPing says:

    Oh, ouch, you sure burned me with your little ad hom insinuation there, sport. Bet ya’ feel all moral and superior compared to the barbaric Americans, don’t ya’? You don’t get it, do you? These guys, if held in prison, are going to be treated as heroes in the extremists circles for striking down the infidel, as the prophet commands. Most likely, innocent lives will be taken as bargaining chips, as ISIS did with that Jordanian pilot who they burned to a crisp, to demand their release.

    How many innocent lives are worth the lives of these murdering scum to you? How many people would it take dying for you to understand what these fundamentalists are after? 10? 100? 1,000? Maybe 6,000,000? Would that be the point where you put your holier than thou attitude aside and fight?

    I just love how some people who call themselves “civilized” are all too happy to sit comfortably (and safely) on their hands, to do nothing while innocent people get slaughtered, then have the unmittigated gaul to call the people who have the spine to hit back “barbarians”. Yep, you sure burned me.

    I have seen it with my own eyes. I buried my dearest friend and his fiance to a ‘Warrior for Christ’ who took it upon himself to shoot two “Godless atheists” for his Lord and Savior. I was nearly murdered by a group of right-wing fundamentalists because I said, politely and nicely “No,thank you, I don’t go to church”. And it wasn’t just one or two times. I had a gun pointed at me and fired, heard the phip of that bullet as it went by my right ear. It sure woke me up out of that pacifist to the slaughter paradigm, my friend. If these men go to life in prison, or worse yet get a slap on the wrist, they will continue to serve as an inspiration to other killers, who may not wait for an atheist to come into their country.
    Want to sit on your hands and play morally superior if they come after you? I sure wouldn’t, I’d step in front of you and take that hit and then hit back because that’s what my WWII vet Gandfather taught me that we Americans SHOULD be about, standing up to bullies.



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  • 19
    RandyPing says:

    Sure Phil, though it is in the old RDFRS archive in a long post. It is still painful to tell for me, TBH, even after 20 years. My good friend David, who was the closest thing I ever had to a brother, and his fiancee were sleeping in their bed when a Christian fundamentalist (a man who went to one of those “Jesus camp” style churches, if you haveseen the movie you canimagine what those kids grow up to be) who had been menacing them for months kicked in their door, walked into their bedroom and put half of his magazine into his face before he had time to even react. He then turned the gun on her andemptied the rounds as she went running down the hall, screaming, begging for help. People saw him, people who could ID him, so he knew that he was screwed.
    So, the bastard coward then went to a steak house and shot his own girlfriend and a couple of others from her family, guess he didn’t want to go to heaven alone. When he heard the police sirens catching up to him, he appearantly said a short prayer and took his own life. The media and the police glossed over the motivation for the original murder. When white Christian men do it, it’s not terrorism afterall. I tried to tell myself, it was just that one guy, that he was a lone nut for a couple of years but I know better. I KNOW better.

    I wish I could say that was the only such incident in my life, but it is not. JUst wait until the “American Jesuswith guns” fundamentalist brand has had a genertion or two to work on European Christians.



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  • 21
    RandyPing says:

    The extremist strain of Muslims and the extremist strain of Christians are hell bent, pardon the expression, on wiping everyone who isn’t them from the map, Phil. And no amount of reasoning is going to get in their way. They don’t mind prisons, they don’t mind death, they want to end the world because they think that their god is going to come down in chariots of fire and tell everyone to go jump in a fiery lake then pat them on the head for being good children.
    I have tried to warn my European brothers and sisters for years. How much more evidence to these lunatics goals will it take other than what weare seeing?



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  • 23
    RandyPing says:

    Pardon me, he was Wiccan. But doesit matter what the victim believed?
    Also, lets not forget the Eagle Scout anddevout Christian Arthur Shelton, who murdered atheist Larry Hooper. These cases get buried fast in the US, so I sometimes lose track of them all.



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  • 26
    RandyPing says:

    I have been threatened with death, beaten (And dished it back), shot at and buried friends murdered by extremist religious followers, Nordic11. So, yes, one could say that I am intimitely familiar with the subject at hand.



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  • I agree with RandyPing. Living in Croatia I have experienced war horrors, and from my point of view only response to primitive killers is to kill back. There is no place for “civilized” talk. An eye for an eye, and tooth for a tooth is only talk you can have if you want primitive and evil people out of the way. You can not have civilized talk with uncivilized people, they understand only violence, so if you want to good to prevail you need to fight back with violence. I called myself civilized, but you can do that only as RandyPing say sitting comfortably (and safely) on your hands, but when there is evil in front of your door you must cease to be civilized.

    In my opinion one must respond to violence with violence there is no other way, unfortunately.



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  • …thing we can do to avoid such happenings in the future is support
    mass education and emancipation of women, speak out louder than these
    miserables can threaten and shout.

    Yes. I support that. But You know politics often gets in a way. Money is often spent somewhere else,… in sports for example (hahaha) not in schools, not in education and advertisement of humanism.



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  • Yes, unfortunately. Fight is necessary if civilized persons want to stay “civilized”. Civilized world has been tolerating centuries of violence and evil from mentally disturbed persons. In order to prove our civilized world we are tolerating them. Tolerance is not the way in my opinion.



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  • And so, [the murderer]… shot his [own] girlfriend, and her father, then himself.

    Terrible stuff, Randy.

    But surely madness is the cause? When people get to this level, during a schizophrenic episode, they do these things. I have seen the mildest of men in the throes of delusion take up a hammer against their own family.

    Though I find the worst of American religious culture pretty shoddy and morally deficient, nothing like this is advocated. This is a personal madness.

    Did this not make you staunchly anti-gun?

    It strikes me this all must have been a most terrible shock. People have suffered PTSD from personal experiences like this. Did anyone think to offer you counselling or other support?



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  • 34
    Lorenzo says:

    You don’t get it, do you?

    No, you don’t get it. This is a battle you can’t win with violence because violence is what those miserables look for, what nourishes them. It’s the perfect excuse for them to engage in an even more bloody holy war.
    If, on the other hand, the whole cell is thrown in jail and left there to rot after the humiliation of a public, just trial, they will have far less ideological crap to fuel their hate.

    How many innocent lives are worth the lives of these murdering scum to you?

    Not a single one. But they aren’t worth scarifying the very same values we hold dear and they despise, either. You may very well think that a preemptive strike may help, well, look at the very recent history indeed: look at how the islamic state got started. That is a monster evoked by that war of yours in Iraq.
    The one in question here, though, is still a crime. And, as long as crimes are concerned, we have struggled thousands of years to come up with a legal system that tries to be just and equitable -and that system is one of their targets. Justice shall be used as much as possible. Spreading knowledge through mass schooling will also deprive them of a huge reservoir of minds to corrupt. This is how you fight them to extinction.

    A war must remain the last choice, and essentially one motivated by self defense. And, FYI, this is not just me saying it, it’s also the Constitution of my Country, article 11.

    If these men go to life in prison, or worse yet get a slap on the wrist, they will continue to serve as an inspiration to other killers, who may not wait for an atheist to come into their country.

    Au contraire. If they are left to rot in prison, stripped of their honor and respectability, they are going to have far less support because they cannot be sold as martyrs of a good cause but, in the end of the day, they’ll always have the flavor of the convicted criminal.
    Present them with martyrdom, and you’ll give their sympathizers a powerful selling point with the added romance of “dead fighting for the cause they believed in”. They will be excellent fodder for further holy massacres as corpses, while they will be a bunch of convicted criminals, admired just by their cell, if imprisoned.

    I’d step in front of you and take that hit and then hit back because that’s what my WWII vet Gandfather taught me that we Americans SHOULD be about, standing up to bullies.

    I can take my own bullets, thanks. Take your patronizing moral imperialism somewhere else.
    And don’t brag about WWII: you fought it after the Japanese (who you treated, back at home, very not nicely indeed) stamped on your toe at Pearl Harbor, we had it at home, full length and uncensored: 50 million deaths. And that is the very reasons why European Constitutions look the way they do, that is one of the reasons why death penalty is not accepted in the EU and, in fact, its rejection is an absolute requirement for membership.

    ~~~

    Foot note
    As for your personal history: I do feel for you, deeply, and those happenings enrage me -as should enrage any decent person- beyond words. It’s the reason why I’m reluctant of singling out Islam when it comes to the murderousness of religion: they all share the same evil gene.
    But that -justified- anger you feel is the very reason why you wouldn’t have qualified neither as judge nor as jury in a trial against the murderer.
    Also, if I may be so bold: I’d keep that anger under close surveillance, because it’s so big and reaches so deep, it may blind you some day and lead to a disaster.



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  • 35
    Lorenzo says:

    Modesti,

    I called myself civilized, but you can do that only as RandyPing say sitting comfortably (and safely) on your hands, but when there is evil in front of your door you must cease to be civilized.

    Only when evil comes in. I already stated that: violence is acceptable only in self defense. For anything else we have a legal system and we shall use it. For foreign affairs: diplomacy has been invented long ago and, even if you can’t talk with your enemy, you can talk with its neighbors and slowly strangle him.
    I said it before and I say it again: war must be the last choice and only one motivated by self defense.

    As for your (yours and Randy’s) alleged “safety”: have a look at a map of the Mediterranean, look up in the news what’s happening in Libya and then ponder the consequences of the relative position of it and Italy. Do you still dare speaking of “safety”?

    In my opinion one must respond to violence with violence there is no other way, unfortunately.

    We are in 2015, perhaps you missed the news. The middle age is over, and so is the law of retaliation.
    If you want to resurrect it, well, then I have good news: the ISIS agrees with you deeply. Do you really want that? I hope not.



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  • I think the very essence of our problem here is this single idea of justified killing.

    In 1994 80% of American citizens were for it.

    Sense is starting to prevail at last but still 28% believe that the mentally ill (if murderers!) should die.

    Justified killing is a TV and movie staple even now.



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  • 37
    Lorenzo says:

    That’s a good point, and I agree with it.
    The whole “let’s look back 6 centuries” story was to point out that Christianity wasn’t better than Islam -and Randy can testify that it still isn’t.
    Interestingly, if you look back that amount of time, at Islam in its infancy, they were the rational (sort of) ones, they were the ones who saved past cultural products and they were the ones who planted the seeds of both science and the Humanism and Renaissance. And it’s such a bloody shame that now that part of the world is plagued by such miserable pillocks.

    They belong in a secure mental hospital, care for them in the community will only harm the community.

    And that’s my point. They belong everywhere there’s a very sturdy door and a very good lock but not in a coffin -especially, not after someone who claims to be better than them comes around and kills them.



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  • 38
    Lorenzo says:

    Randy, Modesti:

    Yeah, listen brother, that isn’t going to happen without a fight.

    One of the reasons why I strongly reject institutionalized religion is exactly what you are advocating here. Killing for “the Good” and “the Truth” and “the Right”.
    If by fighting you mean what Christopher Hitchens used to do, what Dawkins does and what Avijit Roy died for doing, then I’m all for it. I would stand by my values up to death. I would argue ferociously in their defense.
    But kill? No. Make war? No. Because the inhumanity and needlessness of war and killing over ideas are part of those values I’d be making war and killing for spreading. It’s what has been preached for thousands of years and it’s what I strongly reject. It’s something that makes me sick.

    Our society, in the face of what those obnoxious books upon which fundamentalism is based, has a justice system that is in charge of convicting criminals after a just and equitable trial. I shall support that. I shall demand for the most severe sentence because that’s what they deserve but no, I will not ask for them to be executed, because a) it’s inhumane and b) it’s making them a big fat favor.



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  • 39
    Lorenzo says:

    Thank you for linking. If I felt strongly for this tragedy earlier, I feel even stronger now: I subscribe to the same culture David did.
    What happened there is yet another example of how a faith-based brainwash can affect people -especially the weak minded ones. Revealed religions have been crafted through the centuries to be exactly that: a deadly weapon. The claims that they are an instrument of spiritual fulfillment is just hot wash. We know that.

    But let me quote from your own words, now:

    The holy servant of Christ fought back the demonic forces of Empathy, of Compassion and Tolerance bravely. he fought all the spiritual forces of society, and the oppression that Christians who want to do the right thing by the lord all too often give in to- that oppressive government that will not give them legal sanction to purge and burn their way through the doubters, the non-believers, the liberals and the willfully homosexual.

    As hard as it may sound -and I know I will infuriate you by saying this: don’t advocate something that looks similar, but in the name of something else. Please.
    Don’t answer this quickly: give it some time.
    The legal system, the just trial and the just punishment are things that are been targeted, heavily and with loads of hatred, by these people. Suspending them to pursue and punish the extremists and the religious lunatics is playing their disgusting game.

    You will always find me by your side when it comes to shouting them out of the water and convict them as criminals, with all the aggravating circumstances necessary. But I will also always try to stop you killing them, because I don’t want you to look any similar to them.

    I find it a shame that the murderer took his own life and didn’t underwent a trial. And I find a shame he is now in a coffin rather than rotting alive in a dark, dump prison cell.



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  • 40
    Lorenzo says:

    I think the very essence of our problem here is this single idea of justified killing.

    Yes, Phil, that is the basal issue.
    Actually, I checked and the percentage of Americans that do not think that death penalty is a valid form of punishment is only 35%, in 2011.

    Also, Oklahoma is the state that executes the most relative to its population -and it’s the second, after Texas, in absolute numbers.

    I think that the argument that is going on is not so much with Randy himself but with his cultural background conjoined with the horrible wounds of his past.



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  • If you want to resurrect it, well, then I have good news: the ISIS
    agrees with you deeply. Do you really want that? I hope not.

    Lorenzo, I do not want wars. I do not want to hunt down any religious extremists, but if they are attacking than how can someone stand and not defend themselves? It is about self defense.



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  • …what you are advocating here. Killing for “the Good” and “the
    Truth” and “the Right”.

    No. I do not want to kill in the name of anything. But I think I have the right to defend myself. If main principles of humanism are attacked we as society need to defend it. Hitchens, Dawkins and others are doing their best to prevent wars, and I support that. But with barbarians with weapons you can not talk with reason, they will continue to destroy what ever you say to them, or try to convince them into. Religious terrorists are trained from childhood into their ideology they are like wound up robots, they do not recognize “truth”, or “good” and “right”, but they understand language of violence. And if that is the only language they hear and respond to, one have to talk their language. I do not think that killing religious extremist would in any way be doing them a favor. No, if they believe in an eye for an eye philosophy, they surely will see what to expect.



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  • If I were to allow myself a knee-jerk reaction, I’d say execute them immediately as well.

    Whilst I am a strong advocate of equal rights, equal opportunity and of human rights in general, if someone violates those rights I also feel it’s fair that they are no longer protected by them.

    I don’t have the answer to the problem of what to do with such a life form, but hacking someone to death in a premeditated attack is barbaric, brutal and horrific in the extreme, and it warrants a sentence strong enough to discourage such future incidents. Life in jail only adds further financial costs to the innocent, so hardly a fair punishment for the emotions and feelings the victim suffered from and possibly not fair justice for the immense loss the family now have to deal with.

    An effective rehabilitation system is also unlikely to be possible in this instance because of the deeply held delusional nature of such extremists. They aren’t rational.

    So if you can’t kill ’em, you can’t rehab them and locking away ‘the few’ serves no benefit to ‘the many’ what do you do? We’re not talking about someone who killed accidentally in a motoring incident, we’re talking about hacking someone to death with a machete in a planned attack, an act I strongly feel should cost the offender some of their rights.



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  • 45
    Lorenzo says:

    No. I do not want to kill in the name of anything.

    Except that’s exactly what you’re saying in the rest of your comment. Let’s kill them before they kill us because of our values -but let’s sacrifice them while defending them:

    If main principles of humanism are attacked we as society need to defend it.
    And if that [violence] is the only language they hear and respond to, one have to talk their language.
    No, if they believe in an eye for an eye philosophy, they surely will see what to expect.

    Case closed. You’re, deep inside, no different than those you want to eliminate. Because violence is the barbaric bit here, not idle faith.
    I mock the faithful on a regular basis but if someone comes around and tries to discriminate them or do them harm, I defend them. That’s how we’re different in here, that’s what we are defending and that’s why it’s absolutely an aberration to repay them in kind. Plus, they thrive if treated with violence: it’s what they want, it’s what they look for to justify themselves and escalate the conflict.

    But with barbarians with weapons you can not talk with reason

    But you can find out where they get their weapons and stop the trade. Of course, if it turns out that those dealers are also the ones who sell you the oil -or even yourself!- it’s way more comfortable to advocate the necessity to kill them all. And still buy oil or trade weapons.

    Religious terrorists are trained from childhood into their ideology

    That’s why we should be incisive in promoting mass schooling. Because that’s the only way you stop the massacre. If you have a great many of those guys around, you cannot kill them all (and only them) faster than they reproduce. You have to stop them reproducing. School neuters religious terrorism.
    Do you want to throw something at them? Swamp them with books, blogs, comments. Promote schooling -bypassing local governments if it’s not reliable. And, as for the weapon, play smart. Cut their supply. They will choke and surrender to their own population -which they have subjugated with violence and, once violence is disarmed, will rebel.

    ~~~

    Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he doesn’t become a monster.
    -Friedrich Nietzsche

    Think about what you want to defend when you plan your defense.



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  • 46
    Lorenzo says:

    It is about self defense.

    I already made that point, abundantly, throughout this discussion. Read more carefully what I said and what you said: the one who’s advocating the “let’s repay them in kind” strategy, here, is you. Even more openly than Randy.
    Stretching the concept of “self defense” so that it covers preemptive strikes or executions is aberrant and dangerous -and is something religious fundamentalists and right wing extremists readily do.

    The topic is “what to do with the criminals”. One suspected criminal has been arrested: I want him to undergo a very public trial and, if guilty, be sentenced to rot in a dark and dump cell for a long time. I don’t want him dead because a) it’s inhumane and it’s what they do, not I, and b) It’s doing him a big fat favor -and all the others of his kind an even bigger one: they’ll have a martyr more to brew their hatred.



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  • 48
    William says:

    Unbridled religious fundamentalism is dangerous enough on it’s own, let alone in the hands of madmen. Non-skeptical thought is easily manipulated. But, I see a turn for the better. More and more free thinking people are surfacing and letting their voices be heard. I sometimes get positive comments from young adults, who were raised Fundamentalist Christian, when I comment on religious extremism. You’re not alone Randy. I see the discrimination and terror inflicted also.



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  • I too say that becoming a wolf under cover of sheep’s clothing leaves you with two wolves in amongst the sheep…..I think? 🙂



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  • 50
    Lorenzo says:

    if someone violates those rights I also feel it’s fair that they are no longer protected by them.

    You cannot even begin to fathom the magnitude of the danger of what you state here. It opens the door to every possible atrocity conceivable.
    It throws to the wind every lesson that brought us to formulate those rights, in 1948 -and it’s, ultimately, nothing more than the good old retaliation law: repay them in kind.
    The whole concept of justice, as it’s commonly accepted, is founded on the principle that the punishment must be proportional to the offense, not just the reiteration of the offense itself. We agreed that, for the most serious offenses, some of the (abused) freedom will be taken away. But that doesn’t suspend decency and humanity toward the guilty.

    An effective rehabilitation system is also unlikely to be possible in this instance because of the deeply held delusional nature of such extremists.
    Life in jail only adds further financial costs to the innocent.

    A great legacy of the Enlightenment has been that this privation of freedom must serve to reeducate the convict so that he shall, later, reenter society and be a constructive member of it.
    If this is not possible, it has been deemed more acceptable to imprison someone for life than kill her -because we regard murder as a heinous crime, utterly unjustifiable in any circumstance but one (self defense) and there really would be no sense at all if that same crime is allowed and forgiven if the State is the perpetrator.
    Furthermore, I find rather distasteful the argument “oh, life imprisonment is gonna cost us, so let’s discard them”. Because attaching a monetary worth to a human life opens, I think, to discrimination of all kinds.
    Besides, convicts can be allowed to do some useful work, thus repaying their stay at least in part.



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  • Let’s kill them before they kill us because of our values

    I didn’t say that. That is your conclusion. I do not support preventive killing and I do not plan defense. I once had this romantic vision of the world like you have, but I think you are mistaken. I have already written that I support educating them, but when weapons speaks there is no education that would help stopping violence. When religious kiosk opens the correct response is to put atheist one, when religious terrorist spread their views the correct response is to spread atheist views, when religious person kills the correct answer is to kill back. Yes you become terrorist yourself. In order to save your skin, yes.
    I have concluded that this is unfortunately the case, because there is no way that you shall convert an terrorist with words. It would take decades and more. Non believers are trying that for centuries now. Terrorists are the ones that are “deep inside” as you say and there is no other side to respond (which they can understand) but to go “deep inside” yourself.

    Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he
    doesn’t become a monster.

    Yes. But that is obvious. Yes I have concluded that in order to fight a monster one have to become one. YES! It is so. Sadly, but it is. One can not avoid that. I have never said that that is a good thing. That is what is tragic about it; the notion that in order to have peace you need to become a monster. Unfortunately one can not have a polite conversation with monster.

    Why do you presume that I want to be violent to them if they did nothing to me? But if they kill someone dear to me – yes I will become a barbarian, I will become a monster and I will try to kill back. Do I like it? No. But there is no other way. Why would any religious extremist listen or read what you are offering? Imagine that you are one, would you read or listen “enemy propaganda”? They are extremists in the first place because they do not read humanistic literature, they are the way they are because they did not get in contact with humanistic views. The world is not having problem with civilized people, it is having problem with extremists, and in order to fight extremism one must become extreme. Unfortunately.

    But you can find out where they get their weapons and stop the trade.
    … as for the weapon, play smart. Cut their supply.

    I know that. Are you doing that? Shall we send some humanistic literature to Syria? I am all for that, but will it help, I am not so sure. If the notion that violence has to be treated with violence makes me barbarian and a monster in your eyes than that is that, I can not change that.



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  • 54
    RandyPing says:

    I, personally, am very anti-gun. I think that except for hunting (which my blue-collar family does to supply food/save money and to help control deer population-good job on wiping out the natural predators, humans), sport shooting (i.e. competitive & target shooting) and home/self defense (a small bore shotgun or pistol if you are of slight build, not a bloody AKM), that a lot of the guns should not be on the market. There is no good reason to have a military style weapons of war in civilian hands, “I like ’em and they’re fun” is not a good reason -some people like heroin and think it’s fun, so much for that argument.
    I strongly support the strictest of controls, regulation, registration, criminal background checks and psychological health requirements. I was lucky enough to have a mother who enrolled me in combat martial arts as a kid (kempo/gung-fu and MA weapons training), and I have always been able to defend myself; except for being outnumbered. So, I fear no man and won’t hesitate to throw down if fucked with.
    But I am of the mind that the first man who reaches for a gun in a one-on-one fair fight is a coward and has no right to call himself a man.

    I do not believe in going out and picking fights, as some have suggested either, don’t put words in my mouth just because you find a straw man easier to argue with than a nuanced discussion of the issue of atheist rights to self defense.

    But here is the reality: The right-wings of Christianity and Islam both are violent and all too happy to use violence on people who do not share their view. Do not fool yourself. They are bullies, and you have to stand up to them and meet them blow for blow. If you take a punch, you give one back harder, then a knee, then an elbow and you don’t stop until they cry uncle. You better be able to defend yourself. You are not going to reason and chat your way out of every situation, so don’t lay down and get yourself beat down just so everyone of your friends can say “It’s a shame he/she is dead, but at least he/she stuck to pacifist ideals and so wins the moral fight.”. A moral victory means shit when you are face doen on the sidewalk in a pool of brains and blood. Being passive is only going to embolden them for the next person they decide to beat or kill.

    And remember the AVG and others who came over early, Lorenzo, as well as the lend lease act when discussing WWII, because there were great heroes who were in the fight before the coawrdly attack on Pearl Harbor. A lot more American lefties wanted to fight but didn’t have the resources to get there, seeing how there was a depression and the dust bowl they were recovering from. America’s isolationist right-wing of the day was nigh impossible to drag into another European caused war before December 7 1941. One of the problems with a large populace spread across a huge landmass is that the giant is slow to move, but once it does… cheer and follow it to victory. And tacos. Man, I love tacos.



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  • There is not much here that I can agree with you on Randy. Anyone who comes back from a war thinking they are a hero should have treatment. Have some humility. The real ‘heroes’ are the ones who realise they did what they had to do and thats it, and never want to do it again. You would probably want to ‘kick my ass’ for saying that but it does not surprise me.



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  • 56
    RandyPing says:

    Wolves are attacking your sheep, would you prefer to throw it a sheep or have a well trained, loyal Pit Bull on your side who doesn’t eat sheep?
    woof





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  • 57
    Lorenzo says:

    I didn’t say that [kill them before they kill us]. That is your conclusion.

    Was it?

    […] when religious person kills the correct answer is to kill back. Yes you become terrorist yourself. In order to save your skin, yes.
    Why do you presume that I want to be violent to them if they did nothing to me? But if they kill someone dear to me – yes I will become a barbarian, I will become a monster and I will try to kill back.

    Things are easier when you argue with yourself by yourself. Thanks.

    Yes I have concluded that in order to fight a monster one have to become one. YES! It is so. Sadly, but it is. One can not avoid that.

    That is just your opinion. Go tell Gandhi -who by the way was murdered by a fundamentalist, because of the Mahatma’s non-violent philosophy.
    You’ll excuse me if I hold Gandhi’s example a little more in consideration that your opinion founded on… your mantra that you have to fight like with like. As a sort of ideological, militarized homeopathy. We don’t need that. Please: don’t defend the indefensible.

    Shall we send some humanistic literature to Syria?

    We should have sent it a lot earlier, before the protest was hijacked by religious nuts. Because at the very beginning it wasn’t, it was a genuine, secular protest against the dictatorship.
    Now the thing turned into an invasion of a foreign, hostile power. Still, humanist literature smuggled into enemy territory may help in constituting a resistance movement, but they will have to fight the invasor off. I already said, up somewhere, that if evil steps in you should throw it out.
    Here’s the thing though: Bangladesh is not Syria. America is not Syria. Europe is not Syria (yet). Immunization, there, is way preferable than any kind of violence -which includes offernigs of brand new martyrs.



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  • If you find out why this wolf is coming to take your sheep then you might actually learn and share the resources. Your sheep are eating his preys grass.



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  • 61
    Lorenzo says:

    If he hadn’t killed himself, I would have gotten myself arrested and taken him out myself.

    I can’t agree with you, but I understand you -I’m human, after all.
    I trained myself to sublimate that wish for revenge into a wish for “rotting in a dark, dump cell” for the rest of his natural life… that’s all.



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  • Politically duff and morally biblical.

    This is all about the moral high ground, Adam. The OT holds nothing for us. Justified killing should no longer exist except in self defence.

    Why throw away the most important distinction with your enemy? You can subdue them if you win more/all to your side.



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  • Moderator message

    To all participants in this discussion, please remember that this is a site for thoughtful, rational discussion, where the aim is to create more light than heat. It is perfectly valid to discuss the role of violence in this context, but please don’t get carried away. A few of the posts have been coming across as relishing the thought of violence, and those are not sentiments we wish to host on this site.

    The mods



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  • a great and somewhat terrifying conversation. we need the meme to eliminate “them” so that it is only ‘us’.
    there, I identified the problem, somebody work out the details because I’m stuck.



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  • Here in Alberta, Canada, we have two school systems, public and Christian. Both supported by public taxes.

    The last thing the churches are interested in is education, indoctrination yes but not education.

    You would think people would have figured that out by now. It's depressing.



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  • oh good they found a scapegoat so presumibly that’s the end of it

    how did they identify him? did one of the authorities turn their back on the scene a little bit too late and accidentally caught a glimpse of him?



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  • 67
    Lorenzo says:

    Confessional schools have a way to get funded by the public, even if they really should not. Some of them never really qualify for the noun “school”.



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  • The State should never take the life of any human, the percentage of innocent people killed by the justice system should always be zero.
    I ‘sort of’ understand the passion of people who have been deeply involved by fundamentalist violence and murder but let’s hope the wise counsel of Lorenzo has enabled them to realize that the only reason to justify killing, (or harming) is ‘self defence’ .
    Education is our first resort and last hope.



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  • Pacifists are frequently challenged for not being “prepared to die for their country”.
    The appropriate response is ” No, I’m not prepared to kill for my country.”
    What right or what power does patriotism have to justify demanding that otherwise normal people take lives or behalf of casual slogans? Calls to arms are just blustering imitations of the Queen of the Night’s aria



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  • Moderator message

    Again, a reminder to all users that comments should remain civil towards other users, even those who disagree with you. Vehement disagreement should not have to mean rudeness or aggression, and it is hard to discuss a topic thoughtfully when posting in anger.

    In the interests of keeping the discussion thoughtful, rational and constructive, we will remove comments that merely berate other users for not agreeing with you.

    The mods



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  • 73
    RandyPing says:

    I am not advocating initiating violence. Do not put words in peoples mouths, Lorenzo and Olgun. It is a deceitful tactic to twist what somebody tells you into such a straw man fallacy.



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  • 74
    RandyPing says:

    No. I have been an atheist for a long time. I was at one point, when I was a kid. Saw first hand what a fraud and sham it all is. Tried to tell myself it was just that one church, t it is all the same myth. Thank you, Power of Myth and Cosmos on PBS. Lol



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  • 75
    RandyPing says:

    I should have put in “at that time” in the middle of that. But considering it was 20 years ago, I assumed it would be inferred



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  • 76
    Lorenzo says:

    If you take a punch, you give one back harder, then a knee, then an elbow and you don’t stop until they cry uncle.

    Part of the martial art education and training is about carefully measuring the force of your reaction. Everybody can take it all the way “untill they cry uncle”, a few can incapacitate them with surgical precision.

    And remember the AVG and others who came over early […]

    …The same year. Actually, the AVG began its activity after Pearl Harbour. And the Land Lease, also, came the same year: 1941.
    You should learn your history with the national anthem turned off.

    As for the heroes… there aren’t any in war. War is a place for senseless death and meaningless blooshed. That’s no value, no virtue, just evil and waste of lives.



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  • Not a single one. But they aren’t worth scarifying the very same
    values we hold dear and they despise, either.

    Your values are not ‘our values’. As a community ‘we’ do not always agree with each other, and YOU do not get to speak for ‘us’. In particular the boundaries where humans become non-humans, and vice versa, and not as clearly settled as you seem to believe. People have different views on boundaries like embryonic development, and brain damage. Some of us also draw a boundary at the point where a person starts acting like Hitler.

    Those who view civilization with contempt waive their civil rights. Mostly this means freedom, but sometimes life too. If this man is found guilty to a high standard, and/or confesses, and/or is proud of what he has done, then this is an individual with no redeeming features, and I do not object to his execution.



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  • 80
    Lorenzo says:

    In particular the boundaries where humans become non-humans

    Since you have problems with the first plural, let’s stick to the first singular: another reason why I reject religions in general is that they tend to mark that boundary and institutionalize it. Same goes of nationalims. Same goes for the right wing ideologies that plagued Europe until 70 years ago.
    I do not see how any human being can arrogate herself the right to mark that boundary without an inexcusable amount of arbitrariety: thus I won’t trace that boundary. Those who are born humans, are gonna be treated as such. No matter how heinous a crime they committed.

    There is solid historical proof that negating their humanity to a group of people, or even reserve the right to do so for somebody, is pernicious and does not improve the quality of life of anybody -it just quenches the thirst of vengence that a victim, or partisans for a cause, might have, usually by the use of violence or torture.
    Personally, then, I think it’s dangerous and aberrant to mark that boundary.

    Oh, don’t get me wrong: anyone’s absolutely free to opinate about marking boundaries and not objecting to executions -just the same, I’m free to think that those things belong to the realm of fascism and, thus, despising them.



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  • @Phil and Lorenzo: You do make sense when it comes to not sinking to their level. However, Randy seems to be making sense in extreme cases like this where they don’t mind prisons or death. They don’t mind annihilation of the entire world if that’s what it takes for them to make everyone follow their ways. In such cases, don’t you think finishing them off is the only way to get rid of them? There is nothing like public shaming for them – they are way beyond feeling any humiliation. You can’t reason with a person who has gone beyond reason.

    Considering the other way – bringing them to the ‘right’ path. If we begin today, the time it would take to disillusion these extremists and bring them back to the right path would be a time in which they’d have finished off the entire human race. It isn’t worth it.



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  • 82
    Lorenzo says:

    WhiteWolf,

    In such cases, don’t you think finishing them off is the only way to get rid of them?

    No.

    You can’t reason with a person who has gone beyond reason.

    In what way does convicting and imprisoning them for murder qualify as “reasoning” with them?
    The ones I want to reason with are all the other decent people that surround them and are often the target of the fundamentalists’ abuses. I want mass education to deprive the faith-looneys of young minds to corrupt.
    But as for them: I want them convicted and imprisoned for their crimes, nothing more, nothing less.



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  • 83
    RandyPing says:

    Btw, yeah the AVG was 41, before Pearl, but that was just one example. From 39-41 there were Americans who crossed over to Canada and volunteering for Canadian and British armed forces. They wore Canadian and British uniforms, but they showed up, to fight, to lay down their lives.



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  • Those who are born humans, are gonna be treated as such. No matter how heinous a crime they committed.

    There are few practical downsides to this heuristic applied to individuals and after the fact. (I have another heuristic that will have me do anything, including lethal, to the mad axeman bearing down on my wife and children.) Morality works mostly by such heuristics, a built in automatic assumption of how you will proceed and what paths are then free to pursue. Cultures grow these heuristics within their populations over the generations. Contrasting the prevailing US heuristics of justified killing and retributional justice with that of say Norway who at every turn treat the criminal as human and thereby create a culture of far greater competence and resilience in dealing with its aberrant fringe, I will choose the (only incidentally, more compassionate) Scandinavian one.



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  • This young man’s life is just one among a countless number which have been totally ruined by having suffered the misfortune of being born and brought up beneath the dreadful joyless gloom of the youngest of the three Monotheistic human constructs which have plagued the world for millennia, and by extension, the lives of his victims and their families have been decimated.

    What is gained by such vicious stupidity?

    Were he to be executed that would only compound the situation and drag his executioners down into the lower depths as well.

    I suppose the best that can be done is to hope that sub specie aeternitatis, the horror that is religion will meet its end under the hammer blows of science.

    After all it’s science that’s already caused its various versions to, of necessity, shape-shift in order to survive; or simply avoid being laughed at.

    One problem is that unlike most people who think for themselves and take a joke against them in good part, religious individuals don’t, apparently, possess much of a sense of humour; too busy taking themselves seriously I suppose.



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  • 86
    Lorenzo says:

    Interesting approach, Phil.

    only incidentally, more compassionate

    I’m not sure that the tendency of more “compassionate” template for societies, when put in practice, to result in a lower average of cime rate -and, I shall add, aggressive behavior in general- is a mere coincidence.
    In an environment that is generally perceived as just and not abusive, aggressivity becomes more of an impediment than an advantage. Also, the Scandinavians have a very interesting organization of the welfare State: society has strong safety nets not to let people hit the ground and, also, I shall stress that every level of education is substantially freely accessible to everyone. This aspect eliminates the “ethical” motivations for crime and leaves behind only those who have a reputation to get pernicious if taken to their extremes -such as envy which, in small doses, can be a motivation for self improvement but can lead to unnice behaviours if the concentration is too high and not tamed.

    What can be stated with a high degree of certainty is that strong, repressive regimes have been an abysmal failure at any relevant aspect of common living. All of them. Those strong regimes, furthermore, all made the case for capital punishment -with a range of exuses that easily encompass every pathetic and/or rationaloid giustification appeared on this page.
    Also, a humane and decent treatment for those who commit crime will result in a more successful return into the society, with far less resent and more motivation to get it right the second attempt. In other words: recidivism is also expected to be less significant where carceration is decent and humane.

    In short: more compassionate, humane societies work better because they tend to be better placees to live in for us primates.

    Also, there is some circumstantial evidence that, when left alone, sexual selection among humans may pull to a general decrease in male aggressivity -and, if true, this is yet another reason to reject religion, since all of them subjugate women, depriving them of the freedom to decide about their own reproduction (and, usually, much more than that), and, at least indirectly, praise male dominance and aggression.
    Surely, what happened to Bonobos could be indicative -although they are somewhat more distant cousins of ours than Chimpanzees.

    ~~~

    Foot note
    I apologize for the comma between subject and preticate in my previous post and the reported quotation.



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  • Lorenzo,

    I like the epidemiological approach to this as evidenced by the likes of Wilkinson and Pickett at the Equality Trust. I don’t want to predicate good outcomes on “compassion” or “empathy” because these are complex entities and open to poor interpretations. Nor are they levers that you can actually pull in civil society. They are rather more global aggregating markers of many sorts of behaviour that I contend are self justifying in themselves.

    I want compassionate societies, but we have to work the details to get them, not ask for everyone to please be more compassionate.



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  • 88
    Lorenzo says:

    I want compassionate societies, but we have to work the details to get them, not ask for everyone to please be more compassionate.

    Absolutely. “Please be compassionate” doesn’t have any well defined meaning, whilst “please don’t execute people” is rather unambiguous.

    I don’t want to predicate good outcomes on “compassion” or “empathy” because these are complex entities and open to poor interpretations.

    Indeed -therefore I tried to avoid such terms in my post above. But all of the terms indicating a set of behaviors in a “moral” acceptation are rather fuzzy and do not constitute a very solid basis -although they may be handy when economy in words is desirable.



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  • Just wanted to say I agree with you Randy. No one wants to see the death penalty just bandied about like child’s play but some people deserve to have their life ended. The guys who raped that poor girl in India, or the guy who raped that girl in America and cut her arms off. What’s the point of jailing a religious fanatic if some day he’ll get out twice as sure he’s been wronged by everything in the world and with no fear of death anyway?

    That being said, if there were a guarantee a person like that would spend 23 1/2 hours in solitary confinement and never get out… that might be a suitable punishment but that isn’t how it works, so either fix the laws so the punishment fits the crime or sentence them to death. No one will be shedding a tear for psychos like this. Their presence does nothing but continue to put rational people in danger. When the human race is elevated to the point where murder/rape are no more, than the death penalty will be no more. We’re not there yet.



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  • Hang in there Randy, reality is tough for some people to accept so bending it to where it’s not as bad as it seems is the only way for them to deal. Some people deserve the death penalty and when the sentence of death is ONLY rendered upon a person who has committed the most heinous of acts, it maintains its worth. Do we want people to die or take joy in it? No. I don’t and I guess you don’t either but some people simply deserve it. Or should we make people carry around a card that designates how they feel – if I’m murdered I would like my murderer put to death if found or – in case of my horrific hacking to pieces death, I prefer a life sentence for the offender. Only if the murdered person could speak would I consider taking the death penalty off the table in a case like this.



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  • I agree as in the case of the rapist of the murdered girl in India who now, still breathing, gets to tell the world that she should have a) not been out in the first place b) deserved it c) should have lain there quietly. A ‘person’ if you can call him that, of such muddled morality and evilness, shouldn’t be allowed to live. Period. No remorse for the crime and, in fact, the urge to justify it. Crazy like that should simply be put to sleep, quietly, no pain needed, but get it done.



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  • Lorenzo hasn’t convinced me, nor will he ever. Some people are better off removed from society. A peaceful death via an injection is an acceptable way to remove the threat they pose to innocent, decent people.



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  • Yes, but there is no guarantee of that. How many murderers/rapists even pedophiles have been released from our ridiculous justice system only to kill again. Are we talking about our wish for the world (our fantasies) or reality? Reality is getting a life sentence without parole often doesn’t happen and when it does it’s not spent in a dark cell 23 hours a day, it’s with tv privileges, yard privileges, conjugal visits, etc. A travesty and a sham. If you could guarantee 23 1/2 hours in a cell per day, forever, I think the death sentence could be shelved in almost all cases – but no one can guarantee the punishment will fit the crime with a 23 hour in a cell day. Sadly, our failed justice system leaves me feeling (in the usa) that death is the safest way to protect our society.



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  • 95
    Lorenzo says:

    I’m not going to chase you around the discussion, Barry, thus I will answer once down here.

    A ‘person’ if you can call him that, of such muddled morality and evilness, shouldn’t be allowed to live.

    As disgusting as he may be, he is still a human being, my dear. He could very well embody the most unspeakable evil (and I think he really comes close to that), but he’s still a human being.
    The heinousness of his crime is rooted in his denial of the humanity of his victim(s): for that he shall be thrown in jail. And you’re rooting your thirst of vengeance in the exact same ground.
    Try to think about it.

    […] but some people deserve to have their life ended.
    […] but some people simply deserve it.
    Sadly, our failed justice system leaves me feeling (in the usa) that death is the safest way to protect our society.

    And try to think about what you are saying here, taking the whole of your comments: you’re basically stating that murder is OK if it has your blessing.
    That’s beneath the law of the jungle.
    And, honestly, if you have a broken legal system, it seems to me that executing people is rather dumb solution to the problem at hand -not to mention: very barbaric.
    What about fixing the system?

    Their presence does nothing but continue to put rational people in danger.
    […] the threat they pose to innocent, decent people.
    How many murderers/rapists even pedophiles have been released from our ridiculous justice system only to kill again.

    How weak is a society that feels threatened by the individuals that have been locked away -and for a very long time, nonetheless? The answer is: very.
    As long as they are in prison, they pose no threat. And since we are talking about murderers, they are supposed to stay in jail lifelong or thereabout. You either have nothing to fear because they won’t get out, or nothing to fear because they will get out as old, brittle men with nothing else to do but wait to die -and, perhaps, those years they had to ponder their deeds brought them a whiff of sanity.
    Tens of years spent looking at a gray wall are very long, my dear. And a very powerful argumentative force, even in the thickest of the heads.

    ~~~

    Lorenzo hasn’t convinced me, nor will he ever.

    I’m not trying to. I really don’t give a damn. It would be a waste of time: you seem as hard wired and unmovable in your reactionary attitude as any of the faith-nuts you’re so eager to put to death.
    You started from the premise that society must permanently discard any criminal and the closest thing to an argument you came up with is “they are dangerous”(*), which is really not the case when they are imprisoned.

    (*)Randy made a good point up at the beginning of this discussion: there may be hostages the rest of the group will try to exchange for their imprisoned fellas. That’s a real concern.
    On balance, I think it’s worse to present them with a brand new martyr -and, also, one additional motivation to seek revenge and shed more blood.



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  • I think, what I’m trying to do is sell compassion to those who might feel a bit icky about it. I like the “compassion is good business” approach.

    (And to complete this I also take against the “Hyper pro-social”. Empathy (particularly of an informed and intellectual sort) is good, but that doesn’t mean endless amounts more of empathy are better. The viscerally empathic can, in extremis, over-read harms to others and overly take against those they see as harming. Oxytocin cuts both ways building demonised out groups as fiercely as it binds loved in groups. Ewan asked about the delusions atheists, say, may have. I think reading the harms to others can be one such that can go badly wrong in the overly sensitive [and hence, in part, my “don’t take offense” schtick]. It means that the right path is indistinct. Cleaving to the idea that empathy pure and simple is the best moral path in all cases is false. So shoot for clearly what is better (rather than an indistinct best). Do the cool details. And take as many people with you of all empathic stripes as you can.)



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  • 99
    bonnie says:

    biblical thinking

    Hmm, is that inferred or something he actually said? There are conservative atheists.

    His point about lethal injection being peaceful – not always, currently mired in controversy.

    To wit – Utah’s bill to reinstate firing squads just passed the House committee; but this also has stirred the death penalty pot and may not pass the state Senate.



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  • Europeans find the US populace notably rightwing and extreme in their views about crime and punishment. There seems a profound need to for high profile retribution to settle the masses and there ever present feeling that someone is taking something from them. It may be the scale of the country. More likely it is a predominently religious culture that leaks in to all walks of life. This is what folks say one to another as they tut over their newspapers.

    I want Americans that might not have noticed this Atlantic polarity to notice others think differently.



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  • 101
    RandyPing says:

    They might commit one act of vengeance for an execution. But they will surelly commit an unlimited number to free a “wrongly” imprisoned comrade.
    Not to mention that people in prison can call out to their comrades, continue to provide inspiration and preach the ideology to fellow miscreants behind bars, which will do far more harm, take more lives and inflict more damage. Mob bosses and gang leaders call shots and issue orders from behind bars despite all efforts to prevent them doing it, so do terrorists and religious extremists.
    You have deal with the real world as it truly is, not as you wish it to be. Leave the wishful thinking, the magical thinking to the superstitious.



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  • RandyPing Mar 5, 2015 at 7:44 am

    You have deal with the real world as it truly is, not as you wish it to be. Leave the wishful thinking, the magical thinking to the superstitious.

    There does seem to be a “religious “humans are a special case”, when we think about the treatment of dangerous dogs which attack!



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  • Alan! I would never have guessed.

    I must apologise to bonnie for my erroneous Atlantic polarity comment.

    I also suddenly feel I need to leave this place. The potential of dog brains and human brains is different. Noticing that is entirely pragmatic.

    Its been fun sometimes. ‘Bye folks.



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  • Last bit of due diligence. Randy and Barry. I should have included you into my apology to bonnie. I think I have overstated the difference on our last topic between the US and Europe.

    FWIW I live in a nicely mixed neighbourhood. I hate the prissy suburbs all buttoned up and neat.



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  • 109
    bonnie says:

    @ Phil – apology

    Kind, but no need, I just read it as an interesting overseas POV. Some days I wish to be plunked in the middle of Soma Cube land.

    At any rate, just remember where Miss Bell’s sweet iced tea♪ is.



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  • 110
    Lorenzo says:

    I’m afraid further objections have been disallowed -but they would have been not particularly helpful: we both stated our position and made a case for it. Probably, going on would just result in a loop.
    Although neither of us changed opinion, I think this whole discussion was for the best.

    You have deal with the real world as it truly is, not as you wish it to be. Leave the wishful thinking, the magical thinking to the superstitious.

    I agree, but there are other traps one’s mind can set to a rational, well founded argument: confirmation bias, for exmple, is one. Animosity is another. We always look at reality through our brains and, those organs, are like a pair of distorting glasses that you wear from you birth. Extremely difficult to deal out, even though they allow you to explore and learn about the world.
    This is why one should always stick to evidence and, especially when neurotransmitters flood, one should consider those evidences before everything and bring a ruler to the party.
    We have a long history of evidence to consider, in any single subject… I always try to look at them, as well. More than once.
    Anyhow, The good thing about not having any truth revealed is that, ultimately, there’s always room for improvement.



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  • 111
    Olgun says:

    Dear Phil’

    Hope you are popping in to keep an eye on us?

    I wish I had some other way of getting in contact with you and not do this publicly but I haven’t so…..

    After all our discussions on free speech and the taking or not taking of offence, I am eager to know why you felt you had to apologies to three people and take, what seemed like, offence and leave the forum abruptly? It is just that I spent a restless night thinking about it and I hate to be right 🙂

    I have thought it through and have come up with a few other reasons for your departure but think it better not to speculate any more than necessary.



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  • phil rimmer Mar 5, 2015 at 8:11 am

    I also suddenly feel I need to leave this place. The potential of dog brains and human brains is different. Noticing that is entirely pragmatic.

    Actually Phil, jihadists and attack/fighting dogs, have a lot in common.
    They have both been indoctrinated and trained to target attacks on other people (or animals), by some of the nastier malicious forms of human life!



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  • 113
    Olgun says:

    I think you’ve missed the important word here Alan and thats ‘Potential”. The dog has no concept of complicated politics and cannot be motivated by it.



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  • Olgun Mar 6, 2015 at 5:54 am

    I think you’ve missed the important word here Alan and thats ‘Potential”. The dog has no concept of complicated politics and cannot be motivated by it.

    .. . . . . . and jihadists, motivated by dogmatism from ignorant preachers, black and white tribal bigoted thinking, and ancient myths, do???? Pleeeeease!!

    It sounds like dog-pack-mentality to me!



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  • I’m off writing elsewhere for a while…..a good while, I think. Thanks, Olgun.

    I took absolutely no offense and am delighted, as ever, at honest speech and finding things out. (Besides, I need to research more on European attitudes to guilt and criminal process.) Would that we had more honest speech.

    I apologised for making an insufficiently true statement. I think a more guarded one along the same lines may be possible. I don’t regret my first statement as it reflected my enthusiastic engagement with its idea that biblical thinking takes a time to die. But it has always been a principle of mine to be clear about how well you know a thing to be true, hence the qualification.

    A final thought on the topic of essential malice-

    Essential malice as a personal attribute is no more scientific an hypothesis than that say of an irreducible complexity. They are defeated by a single invented narrative that can bridge an innocent child to a later incarnation as mad axeman and make you weep for him as he first picks up his axe. A single credible account of an evolutionary journey, involving lost intermediary stages, does for any certainty for an example of an “irreducible complexity”.

    One of the great pleasures of being an actor (even an indifferent one) is getting to play the part of a baddie and get people to care about “you”. (Thomas Cromwell draws compassion from you in Wolf Hall even as he contrives the beheading of a mostly undeserving Anne Boleyn.) The hidden histories of axemen may cloak any amount of outrageous fortune, rendering them pitiable.

    This is not about guilt of a crime, but about the acknowledgement (amongst many other things) of the role of social parasites in the heads of the vulnerable and the hope we may harbour for what shreds of the innocent child remain.

    In more robust terms the heuristic of not accepting justified killing must remain as the single most effective weapon against the parasitising recruiters to violence. This despite its necessary breech in self defense.

    Best,

    Phil



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  • 121
    Olgun says:

    Please! There are people dying and I should worry about a few artefacts.

    EDIT: No body worried too much how whole cities were destroyed in the second world war.



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  • Please! There are people dying and I should worry about a few artefacts.

    yes

    EDIT: No body worried too much how whole cities were destroyed in the second world war.

    false



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  • Must be just me then. People come first.

    Well why didn’t you just say so? 😉

    Sorry! They did worry but still bombed the bejesus out of them.

    -indeed



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  • Must be just me then. People come first.

    Don’t be scared of expressing your concern about the destruction of these ancient cities, museum pieces and libraries. I certainly would not assume that you or Alan or Sean were putting historical artefacts before people – who would?

    Looks like they have moved on from the 13th Century BC Assyrian city of Nimrud to the remains of the 3rd century BC city of Hatra, a Unesco world heritage site.

    Isis militants destroy remains of Hatra in northern Iraq



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  • Although I am sympathetic to your argument, we have been executing serious criminals for millennia using much more barbaric methods than today (drawn and quartered or burnt at the stake), but the murders, rapes and paedophilia continue.
    I agree paedophiles should not be allowed to even look in the direction of a child but we must start thinking about better ways of tackling such problems or it will continue for millennia to come.
    You and I find it sickening but is their propensity for such behaviour their own fault, were they born that way or were they taught somehow?
    Revenge is no answer to anything. The death penalty won’t teach them a lesson because dead people don’t learn. It failed to deter the perpetrators of the crimes you mention so if someone in the future has similar compelling urges, it’s not going to deter them either.
    Psychologists and sociologists target these people but I curious how many people target their parents, social conditions, poverty gaps, population density, living conditions, RELIGIONS and other similar factors.
    I know there have been studies done but obviously not enough.



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