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Jan 05 2012

I’m sure they are a very spiritual couple

Kristy Bamu and his two sisters were visiting their older sister, Magalie Bamu, and her partner, Eric Bikubi, over Christmas in London. Initially, it was apparently a jolly time…and then Eric got it into his head that his three visitors were witches.

The court was told that over a period of days the pair, originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, attempted to exorcise evil spirits they believed were in three of the children – Kristy, his sister Kelly, 20, and their 11-year-old sister, who cannot be named. Bikubi refused "to let them eat, drink or sleep for days, while the punishments became increasingly violent, with [the attackers] using the many implements found in the flat as weapons of torture", Altman said.

During their ordeal the siblings were forced to pray and chant throughout several nights and, in a "staggering act of depravity and cruelty", the defendants recruited sibling against sibling as "vehicles for their violence", said Altman.

Kristy became the focus of Bikubi’s attention, the court heard. He allegedly struck the boy with a hammer in the face, knocking out his teeth; on another occasion he shoved a metal bar into the teenager’s mouth, the court heard.

When Kelly attempted to hit her brother using something light, she was ordered to use a heavier implement. In a desperate attempt to prevent any further suffering, Kristy and his two sisters eventually admitted to being sorcerers, said Altman. "As Kristy’s injuries became ever more severe he even pleaded to be allowed to die," he added.

They gave him his wish and drowned him in the bathtub.

A couple of people believe there is magic in the world and that their delusions are real, and a 15 year old boy ends up tortured to death.

The couple are denying that they committed murder; Eric Bikubi claims “diminished responsibility”, apparently because he’s an evil idiot who believes in spirits.

100 comments

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  1. 1
    Lagerbaer

    Isn’t it convenient that these people recognize that their beliefs are insane just when insanity is a good defense in court?

  2. 2
    Glen Davidson

    Hey Paul Nelson, see what “mind” can do? Especially when it’s filled with idiotic “non-materialistic” ideas?

    What makes your BS any more “true” than this vicious garbage?

    Glen Davidson

  3. 3
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    You need to stop being so intolerant of religious beliefs. The fact that the murderers believe in sorcery, and that witches must be killed, has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they believed that this child was a witch and had to be killed.

    No connection whatsoever.

  4. 4
    lilith

    I wonder if that is a story of religious evil, or just mental illness. Anyway, even if Eric is diagnosably crazy, the people around him – especially the big sister – must have known and assisted him, at least by not reporting about it. Did he really convinced them in his delusions? That might be the most frightening part of the whole horrible story.

  5. 5
    Momo Elektra

    I wonder if that is a story of religious evil, or just mental illness.

    Those are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

  6. 6
    alysonmiers

    It sounds like Eric and Magalie are full of hostile woo AND they’re batshit insane. To what extent Eric influenced Magalie or vice versa, I have no idea.

    Meanwhile, according to the Guardian article, there were two more brothers present in the apartment during this time, including a 22-year-old. Those siblings are going to be scarred for life. They must have been in agony, not knowing what to do and feeling so helpless while their brother and sisters were tortured. They thought it was just going to be a nice family visit for the holidays.

  7. 7
    ChristineRose

    @lilith:

    That’s the real problem. Normal people reinforce these people’s delusions. They say “Well I’m not so sure about these children but I do think witchcraft is real” instead of taking the perpetrator to the emergency room. They pray for guidance instead of following their secular moral compass.

    My guess is that the bystanders tolerated the exorcism when it seemed relatively harmless, telling themselves that it might help with whatever family problem started the events, and then when things turned overtly violent they were afraid they’d be arrested for taking part and so tried to get things under control without getting help.

  8. 8
    'Tis Himself

    If these people were witches, then why didn’t they perform magic to escape or to harm their tormentors?

  9. 9
    redpanda

    If these people were witches, then why didn’t they perform magic to escape or to harm their tormentors?

    Because Gawd is stronger than Satan, and protects us from the evil spells of his servants.

  10. 10
    RFW

    James Frazer’s “The Golden Bough” is in my in-process pile of books, gradually being read. It gives a great deal of context to “primitive” belief systems and behavior such as reported here.

    Strongly recommended to those who want a deeper understanding of horrors like this.

    I’m reading a cheap and not very well produced one-volume abridged reprint published by Konecky & Konecky which has been remaindered and shouldn’t be too expensive if you find a copy.

  11. 11
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    Whoever coined the ‘ignorance is bliss’ expression obviously never had relatives that believed in witchcraft. We’re inundated on a daily basis with in-your-face examples that ignorance is sickeningly dangerous.

  12. 12
    robro

    @ Himself #8: It might be difficult to do magic spells when someone’s beating you with a hammer. Besides, as I’m sure you know, if your victims know about your spell, then they can defend themselves against it. See, knowledge is power.

  13. 13
    tielserrath

    From the same article:

    “However, if the practice of kindoki is dislocated from the control of churches in the Congo, and the supervisory influence of religious leaders, then it may take on a feral and, indeed, evil character, as we suggest it did here.”

    Somehow I fail to be reassured that religion/religious leaders in the Congo act as much of a brake on these kinds of behaviours.

  14. 14
    Nadai

    @RFW #10 – The Golden Bough is also available free at Project Gutenberg

  15. 15
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    @ tielserrath:

    Somehow I fail to be reassured that religion/religious leaders in the Congo act as much of a brake on these kinds of behaviours.

    And probably with good reason, if these leaders are anything like Nigeria’s Helen Ukpabio (head of Liberty Gospel Church, a popular evangelical organization with over 77 churches and 50,000 members) or Pastor Kenneth Okonkwo, evangelical preacher and actor/productor of popular Nollywood movies. Their churches and the videos they produce have been linked to murders of “child witches” and attacks on albinos in East Africa.

    More information about these disturbing topics can be found in articles by Leo Igwe, Nigerian humanist activist, at Butterfliesandwheels.org, Ophelia’s main website.

  16. 16
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    That might be the most frightening part of the whole horrible story.

    I think the fact that people are insisting on dismissing him as “just crazy” and plugging their ears and going “la la la I can’t hear you” about the pattern of violence inspired by religious delusions is worse, actually.

  17. 17
    Hurin

    The couple are denying that they committed murder; Eric Bikubi claims “diminished responsibility”, apparently because he’s an evil idiot who believes in spirits.

    It really is difficult for me to express the level of contempt I have for this person. This wretched piece of shit tortures a child to death, and then he can’t even take responsibility? Evil idiot nothing, this guy is a rotten abscess on the ass of the human race. Whatever hole they throw him in, I hope they mold the key into a useless little statue of jebus and throw it at him.

  18. 18
    Aquaria

    Weinberg’s Axiom holds true, as always.

    How many people have to die before we realize that mental illness isn’t an excuse anymore? Religion is the problem.

    Anglican ministers beat their wives to death when the former can’t find a radio program. Religious nuts put their kids in incinerators and burn them alive, starve their children to death, refuse to get dying children medical care–

    At some point, it’s not insanity. It’s religion, for fuck’s sake.

  19. 19
    QueQuoi

    As a long time lurker who doesn’t comment, because there are so many better qualified, I was driven to log in tonight to say:

    Fuck this. Fuck these people and anyone who does this to a child. Fuck everyone who perpetuates the religious dogma/bullshit that drives unstable people to commit these heinous actions against children. Fuck anyone, up to and including the pope, who through there own fucking weakness of mind, accepts the torture of children, because they cannot and will not think for themselves.
    This article is saved to my phone and will be whipped out along with Perry Bulwar’s blog the next time anyone attempts to corner me on the subject of religion.

    P.S.
    PZ and the Pharyngulite Horde,
    Thank you for enlightening me every day and for constantly fighting the good fight.

  20. 20
    DLC

    You’d think the culprits in this would gleefully brag on what they did, considering it was for the greater glory of their deity.

  21. 21
    raven

    Couple pleads not guilty in homicide of adopted daughter | Local …www.komonews.com/news/local/131234864.htmlCached

    6 Oct 2011 – The parents of an adopted girl who died of exposure in her own backyard after she had been starved and beaten for months pleaded not guilty to the charges Thursday. … Larry P. Williams and Carri D. Williams of Sedro Woolley were …

    food while the parents played the Bible on tape and Christian music for …

    It’s probably not mental illness.

    It’s religion.

    When people are under the influence of delusional belief systems, they can get more vicious than normal people can imagine.

    This 11 year old girl in Washington was beaten, starved, and tortured to death in her own backyard by some fundie xians. This happens occasionally. They still don’t see what they did wrong.

    It’s estimated that around a 1000 child witches are killed in Africa each year. Why they pick on children is real simple. Africa is saturated with guns and picking on an adult can be difficult, especially if they have a clip that holds a lot of ammo. They may be xians, they may be wannabe killers, but they aren’t completely stupid.

  22. 22
    karimghantous

    Bikubi should face the same pain that he inflicted upon his victims. Even by his own standards, you’d think he would know the difference between driving out spirits and hurting the victim. When does breaking a kid’s teeth exorcise a spirit? I bet you that Bikubi is pro-life, too.

    This is almost the same sort of indignation I felt when I learned about how AZT (a then resurrected chemotherapy drug) was given to AIDS patients in the early years. The excuse for that is similar to ‘diminished responsibility’.

  23. 23
    Stacy

    For fuck’s sake. This isn’t a story about psychosis or about “primitive” belief systems.

    The court heard that a series of calls were made to the children’s parents in Paris during their four-day ordeal. One call on Christmas Eve lasted two and a half hours and between midnight and 7am on Christmas Day, 45 calls were made to Kristy’s parents.

    The court heard that in the early morning Bikubi told Kristy’s father, Pierre Bamu, that he would kill his son if he was not collected.

    Think it couldn’t happen here amongst Middle Class white folks? Fuck you.

    As horrible as Eric Bikubi’s behavior was, he wasn’t the only one in that apartment for those four days. Magalie and Kristy’s 20 year-old sister Kelly were there too. And as brainwashed as everyone there was by religion, the victims did try to reach out–to their parents–many, many, many times–before Kristy wound up dead.

    I grew up with a Christian Scientist mother. Without boring everyone with the details (they involve somebody dying unnecessarily. No way to express the horror) Let me just fucking say this: this is not just a case of “insanity”, or of nutty brown people from some country far away where the people don’t have much edumacation (my mother was a WASP with a Master’s Degree.)

    Human beings can rationalize the most crazy belief systems. And once they do, they will act according to their beliefs. Unless other people learn to be willing to recognize and challenge nonsense when they hear it, without excusing it because it is “religion”, tragedy will ensue.

  24. 24
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    ‘Tis Himself wrote:

    If these people were witches, then why didn’t they perform magic to escape or to harm their tormentors?

    If the person who believed in witchcraft possessed the critical thinking skills required to apply that kind of logic to a situation, they probably wouldn’t believe in witchcraft.

  25. 25
    modeller

    @karimghantous #21: Agree with you on the disgusting actions from the spirituality, but indignation at AZT?

    AZT does have some side effects (serious at high doses), but is still a critical tool in controlling HIV being one of the drugs in HAART. In fact it’s so important it’s on the WHO’s list of Essential Medicines.

  26. 26
    jamesmichaels1

    off topic, but i’m a christian called James and I’d like to rip apart your ridiculous “new atheist” movement.

    ya see, the problem with the new atheist movement is that the fathers of new atheism, on the whole, have no backround in philosophy. For the most part they are either the remains of old guard atheistic Leninism/Marxism or scientists who have no real background in philosophy history or sociology. For example Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Victor J. Stenger and dead Christopher Hitchens. The closest you could get is Daniel Dennett who while has a kind of philosophical education (although more in the philosophical field of Naturalized epistemology and a behaviorist in his education) but is more focused in his career in Behavioral Science.

    The cornerstone of New Atheism is not that God does not exist (secularists believe this all over) but that belief in god is, by itself, a destructive concept and bad for society. See phrases like ” Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where’s the harm? September 11th changed all that.” and “The unfairness of the “special privelage” that religion expects also irritates me” – a phrase that I generally tend to see all over the comments for your blog.

    new atheism is largely a political and social movement rather then an intellectual movement.

    Previously atheists came from philosophy or politics. So from Epicurus to Baron D’Holbach and David Hume you have the atheistic movement based in philosophy. You then had atheists who were atheists as a political movement. From Maximilien Robespierre to VI Lenin, atheism was a political tool rather than a belief system aimed at religion rather then faith.

    Now they are coming from science and ex-communism thus they attack religion by building arguments from examples (ie experiments) that serve as examples of phenomena but they do so only focusing on religion and thus new atheists are able to ignore the history of atheism and atheistic state while in the same breath condemning religion for the crusades (wrongly, it was about the money and politics) and the European wars of religion. They build the argument like scientists by acting like science is the only way of knowing anything and everything else is just superstition.

    The problem with this is it ignores philosophy and history. Science cannot prove the social contract theory. Science cannot prove that George Washington crossed the Delaware or Caesar crossed the Rubicon just like it cannot prove that Jesus was crucified on Cavalry hill.
    New Atheism goes beyond the mere disbelief in God but instead that religion and by extension faith is the most dangerous and wicked force on the planet and the struggle against it will define the future of humanity.

    Atheism is not a religion. New Atheism (TM) is a religion if a religion is a set of shared stories, concepts and characters which explain what is happening in the world and creates a base of morality and influences a worldview.

    please get back to me soon.

    James

  27. 27
    pokealot

    Whatever PZ. You’re a dumb ass. You can find evil people in all walks of life. Why are you so obsessed putting the religious ones on display? What did they stick up your ass? And does your wife know who you’re fucking?

  28. 28
    pokealot

    Raven why don’t you let your bigoted fundamentalist atheist mind del on Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge for a second.

  29. 29
    karimghantous

    AZT does have some side effects (serious at high doses), but is still a critical tool in controlling HIV being one of the drugs in HAART. In fact it’s so important it’s on the WHO’s list of Essential Medicines.

    The evidence so far is against AZT as being an effective treatment for AIDS (because it causes the very problems it’s supposed to solve). It is very much a seriously toxic substance (the packaging says so, admitted at least by some manufacturers).

    As to why the WHO recommends it, I have no idea. I suggest political pressure or, most likely, incompetence. Because any fool can see how bad an idea AZT (and HAART) is.

    I don’t deny one’s right to take it. But sometimes, authority does very, very, very stupid things. If anyone thinks that medicine, with its Hippocratic Oath, is not as political, self-serving and sometimes incompetent as any other field, I have some bad news about the Tooth Fairy, never mind Santa Claus.

    Science cannot prove the social contract theory. Science cannot prove that George Washington crossed the Delaware or Caesar crossed the Rubicon

    Of course not: that is not the job of a scientist. Unless that is actually your point? E.g. PZ himself does not advocate that science is the ideal discipline for deciding morality. Sure, science helps provide facts from which we can improve our morality, but nobody pretends that science can ‘prove’ moral choices or historical events.

    What did they stick up your ass?

    I guess he could remain silent and say nothing about these and other abuses. Would you like that? Would you not give a voice to the voiceless? Would you not stand up for the underprivileged? I look forward to your reply.

  30. 30
    ll11

    Maybe the BNP will have something else to harp on now besides how ‘Teh Muslims!!!!111!!!!1!!’ are destroying Britain.

    @ James the Christian (#26) “…the problem with the new atheist movement is that the fathers of new atheism, on the whole, have no backround in philosophy.”

    You say that like it’s a bad thing. A huge proportion of philosophy is nothing but intellectual masturbation, the spank of which is self-justification in high-sounding rhetoric.

    27 does not deserve the dignity of a response.

  31. 31
    Azuma Hazuki

    @26/James

    Hi there. I’m an “old atheist.” I am a scientist, but all science did was get me into the history, philosophy, text criticism, apologetics, koine Greek, and archaeology.

    Your screed was impressive, but not very useful. All the New Atheists are, are the equivalent of standard computer users as compared to the coding gurus of the 70s for example. Dennis Ritchie didn’t invent Firefox themes, but he invented C. The New Atheists are the ones working on the edges, because we in the Old Atheist camp already broke the basic ground.

    If anything, the New Atheists are a sign that the Old Atheists did all that really needed to be done, and now it’s window dressing and variations on themes.

  32. 32
    andrewbrown not the one from the grauniad

    Obvious troll is obvious

    Raven why don’t you let your bigoted fundamentalist atheist mind del on Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge for a second.

    Is that the Jesuit educated Pol Pot by any chance?

    Remember the atheist mass murdering fuckheads you’re describing wouldn’t have got to the positions that they did without knowing how to manipulate the religious sheep they fleeced and butchered

  33. 33
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    It takes a Christian to come on a thread about a kid getting murdered for being a witch and blather about how atheists are wrong, wrong, wrong.

  34. 34
    Russell

    Captain Joseph Conrad of Danzig was arrested and cautioned last night by Pool of London authorities acting on a tip from the East End Neighborhood Antirascism watch.

    Capt. Conrad was reportedly heard to mutter the words :’The horror, the horror” over his laptop while reading a blog article over a glass of palm toddy in a popular Limehouse opium den.

  35. 35
    ll11

    @ Beatrice, #33: exactly. Translation of #26 for us non-philosophical new atheists: ‘Sure a kid was tortured to death, but the REAL problem is your lack of philosophical rigor!’

  36. 36
    osmosis

    Actually, science CAN prove that Caesar crossed the Rubicon. That it cannot prove that Jesus ever existed is quite true though..

    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/resurrection/rubicon.html

  37. 37
    karimghantous

    Actually, science CAN prove that Caesar crossed the Rubicon.

    I disagree. That is an example of an historian using logic and geography. Science is not the issue there. YMMV.

  38. 38
    Nancy New, Queen of your Regulatory Nightmare

    #32… Obvious troll is obvious

    *sigh* That’s done it. I now have Paul Simon’s “Why Deny the Obvious Child” running through my head, except the lyrics are being altered.

    Why deny the obvious troll.
    Why deny the obvious…troll.

    Considering that the current embedded earworm was the theme song from “Identical Cousins,” I can only be grateful.

  39. 39
    ricardodivali having sniffles over stiffles

    There’s a lot of other wierdness in this article. If someone rang me and told me to take back my kids or they would kill them, I wouldn’t ignore it.

    Religion. As weird as you can imagine.

  40. 40
    pedron

    #1 clemensadolphs

    Isn’t it convenient that these people recognize that their beliefs are insane just when insanity is a good defense in court?

    That comment is going to stay with me for the rest of the day.

  41. 41
    modeller

    @ karimghantous:

    Because any fool can see how bad an idea AZT (and HAART) is.

    While HIV medicines can frequently cause side effects, by 2006 these medicines have extended life expectancy by 17 years – and I bet it is longer now.
    Maybe you’d advise antineoplastons by the piss-bucket-load, or perhaps (if you don’t like those side effects) why not any-effect free homeopathic pills.
    Fuck your advice, your approach is killing people.

  42. 42
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    jamesmichael1 wrote:

    ya see, the problem with the new atheist movement is that the fathers of new atheism, on the whole, have no backround in philosophy

    ORLY?

    Are you perhaps familiar with AC Grayling?

  43. 43
    'Tis Himself

    ya see, the problem with the new atheist movement is that the fathers of new atheism, on the whole, have no backround in philosophy

    So what? Is philosophy necessary to opine that there’s zero evidence for gods (that’s all gods, not just jamesmichael1′s favorite sadist) so there’s no reason to believe in any of them?

    New Atheism goes beyond the mere disbelief in God but instead that religion and by extension faith is the most dangerous and wicked force on the planet and the struggle against it will define the future of humanity.

    Only a complete asshole would write this on a thread about how some wackaloon goddists tortured and killed children for religious reasons.

  44. 44
    Felix

    I note that “jamesmichael” didn’t get around to actually refuting a single point the “new atheists” are making. Typical pompous asshole, stomping in here all “imma rip you apart” and then leaving after farting into the room.
    Jamesmichael, science is applied philosophy, and it says that literal belief in mythical accounts is false. It doesn’t take years of philosophical study to understand that non-literal belief in the same mythical accounts is nonsensical. If it was, the Plantingas and Swinburnes and Craigs would have made the case by now, don’t you think? They wouldn’t contradict each other and be caught at using fallacies, don’t you think?
    You’ve lost, and you wont be getting awarded for being stubborn.

  45. 45
    'Tis Himself

    i’m [sic] a christian [sic] called James and I’d like to rip apart your ridiculous “new atheist” movement.

    Why don’t you offer some objections to “new atheism” rather than whining about Dennett not being philosophical enough and Robespierre being anti-clerical rather than a philosophical atheist?

  46. 46
    valis

    *Sigh* And at this very moment, here in South Africa, with the world’s most progressive Constitution, wherein LGBT rights are enshrined, our esteemed government leaders are busy slaughtering cattle with their bare hands and sacrificing them and worshipping their ancestors.

    Monday they’ll be back in Parliament making decisions affecting millions of lives (like the ones about making ARVs available to desperately ill people).

  47. 47
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    James the longwinded theist, where is the physical evidence for your imaginary deity? You know, solid and conclusive physical evidence that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers, as being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin. Delusion is belief without evidence, and all the gnu atheists want is such delusional thinking and beliefs out of the political processes, and not protected and exempt, and back on the individuals.

    Philosophy that is not grounded in reality is sophistry. All theology is sophistry, since it is based on the twin lies of an imaginary deity existing, and some book not being mythology/fiction. Philosophy is nothing but mental masturbation with regards to religion.

  48. 48
    carlie

    but i’m a christian called James and I’d like to rip apart your ridiculous “new atheist” movement.

    I’m sure you would.

    When do you plan to start?

  49. 49
    penningtrap

    The couple are denying that they committed murder; Eric Bikubi claims “diminished responsibility”, apparently because he’s an evil idiot who believes in spirits.

    so, what is it?
    1) They didn’t commit murder because (he believed) they really were witches

    or

    2) They did commit murder but plead “diminished responsibility” because he’s an idiot

    … can’t have your cake and eat it too

  50. 50
    karimghantous

    While HIV medicines can frequently cause side effects, by 2006 these medicines have extended life expectancy by 17 years – and I bet it is longer now.

    Perhaps this figure is higher due to the change in the definition of what it meant to have AIDS. In any case, what you are proposing – that AZT helped to prolong lifespan – is illogical. It is too toxic for that. Unless, that is, you are saying that AZT is a cure for AIDS (because that would mean that AZT doses are short-term)?

    I don’t know about antineoplastons or homeopathy. But it might be the case that aspirin is just as effective as those inexpensive medications:

    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=16464616

    Fuck your advice, your approach is killing people.

    You are interested in winning the moral high ground, and you’ll aim to take it ferociously. And when you’ve taken it you’ll be left with an unshakable feeling in the back of your mind that something is not quite right.

    The accepted characteristics of HIV which amount to not much more than special pleading (it rapidly mutates but we can trace its lineage; we know how to mitigate it but we don’t know where it hides; we can know that you’re infected with it but we can’t detect it except via indirect means) are eerily similar to the Christian Trinity. Not just because the Trinity is convoluted, but because the Trinity is nowhere to be found even in the later Gospels.

    The Trinity explained for the benefit of non-Christians:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFS9m5pTll4 (3:35)

  51. 51
    carlie

    Complaining that atheism doesn’t spend enough time on philosophy is like complaining that people pointing out that the emperor has no clothes don’t spend enough time talking about textile manufacturing.

    It really doesn’t matter what kind of clothes he doesn’t have on. The reality is that there are no clothes there to think about in the first place.

  52. 52
    Jerry

    karimghantous, unfortunately, has no clue what he is talking about with respect to AZT and AIDS. This is not just my opinion. This is my educated conclusion after 20 years of science research on retroviruses (NOT working for drug companies, thanks for asking). In short, HIV infects immune system cells. Like all other retroviruses, it rapidly mutates due to poor error correcting mechanisms of reverse transcriptase when copying viral RNA to double stranded DNA and thereby avoids drugs. Yes, AZT is somewhat toxic, but newer AIDS drugs like raltegravir have much lower side effects. The old “HIV drugs are what really causes AIDS” garbage was thrown out a long time ago, quite soon after it was proposed by some kooky MDs selling woo-based medicine, but the scientifically illiterate keep bringing it up because they don’t know any better. The non-witch doctors out here in the real world, i.e. 99.999% of working doctors and biological scientists, don’t even listen to these people any more, but I wanted to chime in, just in case some young minds might be influenced by that heap of verbal nonsense.

  53. 53
    ciucilon

    #51, Do you imply that New Atheists need more philosophy?

    Because even more than the lack of clothes on the emperor the essential is that he doesn’t need any…

    Reading the related articles on the guardian is really depressing. And of course religion is exonerated…

  54. 54
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    It’s probably not mental illness.

    It’s religion.

    As mentioned before: Not mutually exclusive.
    If your mental illness fits with religion, the chances of getting adequate treatment diminish.
    Say you talk with Napoleon? People will rush you to the hospital.
    Say you talk with angels? People stand in awe.

    Which doesn’t mean that this isn’t a case about a coupleas vile as they get.

  55. 55
    carlie

    Do you imply that New Atheists need more philosophy?

    ? No, I was saying the exact opposite.

    So, were these guys mentally ill, too? I wonder where the sanity line is between murdering people because of religion and… murdering people because of religion.

  56. 56
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    I disagree. That is an example of an historian using logic and geography. Science is not the issue there.

    If you take a broad view of science as being a way of drawing conclusions from evidence, then the argument about Caesar crossing the Rubicon is very much scientific. But even if you take a narrow view of science, basically confining yourself to the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology, you can still comment on the plausibility of events. A general crossing a river with his army? Yeah, no problem. An itinerant preacher tortured to death on a cross by the occupying Romans? OK, ignoring the historical and sociological implausibility of the actual event, sure, it could happen. The resurrection? Walking on water? Turning water into wine?

    Um, Houston, we got problems….

  57. 57
    Eurasian magpie

    off topic, but i’m a christian called James and I’d like to rip apart your ridiculous “new atheist” movement.

    ROTFLMAO! Keep on wishing.

  58. 58
    sarahbrown

    I second (third?) the above questions about where the line lies between religious fervor and insanity. I’m thinking it looks kind of like a giant, fuzzy vast expanse of crazy/religiousness. The trip from “hate the sin” to “kill the sinner” is, I’m afraid, a lot shorter than we think.

  59. 59
    raven

    psycholot the troll:

    Raven why don’t you let your bigoted fundamentalist atheist mind del on Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge for a second.

    OK, sure. Pol Pot was educated in Catholic schools. The Khmer Rouge were a quasi-religion.

    Now back to our scheduled program. Xian atrocities. Today’s episode involves an exorcism that worked really well. The witch is dead. So is a 15 year old child.

    Xian atrocities happen on a near daily basis. It’s known that the fundies produce a lot of monsters. It’s not entirely clear why but if you worship a Sky Monster god, that isn’t going to help.

  60. 60
    Nick Gotts

    condemning religion for the crusades (wrongly, it was about the money and politics) – James

    You’re either a liar or an ignoramus. The crusading movement was set in motion by the Church, churchmen took a leading part in orgnaising crusades, indulgences were offered to those who took part, and there are numerous contemporary accounts indicating that religious fervour did indeed motivate a large proportion of those who took part. The fact that some organisers and participants were motivated by money and politics does not change that.

  61. 61
    raven

    It’s too easy to blame mental illness every time some theist commits an atrocity. Were the 17 suicide hijackers that brought down the WTC, mentally ill. All 17? Really?

    To make it harder, a lot of religion on a personal basis is used as a cover for mental illness.

    The DSM IV attempts to differentiate the two.

    1. If you believe in weird things as part of and shared by a group, that is religion.

    2. If you believe in weird things that are not part of and shared by a group, you are mentally ill.

    Not much difference. The critical factor seems to be whether you beliefs are shared by other people in a group setting.

  62. 62
    raven

    BTW, as alluded to above, Weinberg’s Rule applies.

    Good people will do good.

    Bad people will do bad.

    But it takes religion for good people to do bad things.

  63. 63
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    raven:

    But it takes religion for good people to do bad things.

    And I’ll raise the ante here:

    It takes religion to make many bad people into horrible people. Religion provides a very convenient excuse to do atrocious acts. It’s especially bad when the bad person honestly believes the religion, as well.

    Religion is the catalyst for anti-social behavior.

  64. 64
    hypatiasdaughter

    All the sofistimicated religious philosophy over the True Meaning of the voice(s) in someone’s head (which is what Revelation really means) doesn’t make me believe that the voice(s) are real and come from god.
    Moses heard god tell him what to do; David Berkowitz heard the Son of Sam tell him what do do; Joseph Smith heard the angel Moroni tell him what to do.
    I suspect they were listening to themselves.

  65. 65
    cadrpear

    So, not only has a child been tortured to death, but a Christian and an HIV denialist see this as a golden opportunity to throw a clog of shit at them dad-gum new atheists and to lie about AZT, respectively.

    Fuck faith. It bring out the worst in humanity, as you can see three times in this thread.

  66. 66
    jamesmichaels1

    Contrary to claims I’m a troll, I actually am fully considering all the responses I’ve received, and I promise to give an honest reply (as honest as you guys would perceive a christian to be I guess) to all the rebuttals to my original post. Just quickly though, I believe I mentioned Tis Himself from #45, one particular objection I had to new atheism that no one’s addressed:

    “Now they are coming from science and ex-communism thus they attack religion by building arguments from examples (ie experiments) that serve as examples of phenomena but they do so only focusing on religion and thus new atheists are able to ignore the history of atheism and atheistic state while in the same breath condemning religion for the crusades (wrongly, it was about the money and politics) and the European wars of religion. They build the argument like scientists by acting like science is the only way of knowing anything and everything else is just superstition.”

    If at least people could address that, that would be a good start. Also, I can assure people (especially Tis Himself again from Post #43) that I didn’t mean to offend with my comment about how atheists consider faith and religion to be the most dangerous and wicked force on the planet. But here’s the thing: this is ONE example. I sympathise a LOT for the victims of this case, but aren’t you entering into generalisations when you essentially claim that ALL of religion and faith are the Big Bad Villains of the piece from ONE example? Surely you’re not denying that there are in fact good Christians amongst the bad, and likewise for other faiths? Hell, I know the USSR, North Korea and Nazi Germany were atheist states, but that doesn’t mean i consider atheists to be mass-murdering vermin.

  67. 67
    raven

    Surely you’re not denying that there are in fact good Christians amongst the bad, and likewise for other faiths?

    True but irrelevant.

    You can be good and be a xian. But it just seems to be harder.

    Xians aren’t better than the general population. The fundie xian perversion is demonstrably, statistically worse than the general population.

    BTW, we have a thread, called the endless thread for derails. Use it. This is a thread about yet again, another xian atrocity, not about your pet theories.

    Quick link to the endless thread.

    The link is found on the right sidebar, below the second picture of PZ Myers.

  68. 68
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    jamesmichaels1,

    I don’t care who you are. You came into a thread about a boy who was murdered because his own sister and her husband thought he was a witch. They beat and tortured him and his sisters before murdering him. You come here, obviously not giving half a fuck about that, and start bullshitting about your religion.
    Fuck off, you selfish asshole.

  69. 69
    Nick Gotts

    jamesmichaels1,

    It would help a lot if you stopped telling outright lies. Nazi Germany was not an atheist state in any sense of the word: atheist organisations were suppressed, Hitlerwas not an atheist, he made a concordat with the Roman Catholic Church, the passage of the Enabling Act – which enabled him to attain complete power – depended on the votes of the Catholic Centre Party, most Catholic and Lutheran churchmen went along with the Nazi regime, the Wehrmacht’s belt-buckles were emblazoned with the words “Gott mit uns” (God with us), and the vast majority of those who carried out Hitler’s orders, including those forgenocide, were believing Christians.

  70. 70
    jnorris

    This is why both Presidents Bush and Obama use torture to get information: it works, the three witches confessed.

  71. 71
    penningtrap

    @66 jamesmichaels1

    atheism =/= secularism

    As an atheist I deliberately avoid participating in religious events and actively oppose then when they (try to) enter my life.
    (Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy any excuse to party and do spend christmas and new-years eve with family and friends. The difference is that they have no religious or spiritual meaning attached, these are social events)

    Although I am an atheist I would not want to live in a atheistic state because -when this is state policy- this practice would limit the freedom of other people who do want religion in their lives.

    A secular state however leaves religion (or the lack thereof) up to the private life of the people, where it belongs. A secular state is not influenced by the inhabitant’s religion or the lack thereof.

    Now this is where your argument breaks down:
    If you want to equate science with communism and say they are flawed by saying:
    Now they are coming from science and ex-communism thus they attack religion by building arguments from examples (ie experiments) …
    Thus implying the failed communistic regimes throughout history where religion was banned.

    You have missed one important factor
    Most if not all of the (former) communistic regimes wants to be totalitarian and allows no competition -not unlike religion-. It was not the lack of religion in those regimes that was the problem, it was their attempt to be totalitarian.
    In other words: Religion was being replaced by communism, NOT by atheism.

    Science in and of itself does not attack religion. Yes it can be (successfully) used to falsify religious claims, but there is no goal or intent to attack.

  72. 72
    Ing

    Neither Hitler nor the Soviet Union accepted evolution. Just saying

  73. 73
    'Tis Himself

    jamesmichael1 should aquaint himself with the Fourth Crusade. This bunch of crusaders never made it to Palestine. They were too busy sacking Christian Constaninople and setting up Byzantium to be conquered by the Ottoman Turks. There are some people who think the actions of the Fourth Crusade were double plus ungood but also typical goddist behavior. After all, according to the Catholic Crusader the Orthodox Byzantines were the wrong sort of Christians.

    Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius. (“Kill them all. The Lord will know His own.”)

  74. 74
    carlie

    Surely you’re not denying that there are in fact good Christians amongst the bad, and likewise for other faiths?

    Here’s the thing, though: they are only able to be good because they ignore the parts of their religion that they dislike. You most assuredly ARE supposed to kill witches, according to the Bible. And kill your children if they disobey, and disown your family if they aren’t properly religious, and a whole host of other things. And before you try to “Old Testament” handwave that all away, remember that Jesus very clearly said that he was not here to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. The New Testament also says that ALL scripture is God-inspired and useful for teaching.

  75. 75
    Ing

    Also pointing out that there has never been a skeptic who has killed someone for being a witch.

  76. 76
    Ganner

    Clear evidence, confession, no doubt as to who did it or what they did… a rare instance where I wholeheartedly support the death penalty. These people are deranged and dangerous, can never be trusted in society again, and are a pox on the human race.

  77. 77
    Ing

    @Ganner

    I disagree. These people did their crime not because of an inherent greater proclivity to violence but

    a) They believe in a supernatural monster
    b) They fear that supernatural monster

    I know we often say that the religion masks insanity but in this case let us reverse it. If the crime was them driving a stake through this person’s heart because they thought they were a vampire we would probably view them as insane and needing treatment. The problem is that too many people in society agree with their delusion.

    Ironically, I might MOST disagree with death penalty in this case, as horrible as it is, because the offenders might have a better chance of being rehabilitated. You just have to convince them there’s no such thing as witches right?

  78. 78
    Krasnaya Koshka

    We Are Ing @ 72:

    I’m sitting here celebrating “Christmas Eve”–hey, Russians mostly don’t believe in christmas but they get two weeks off for the holidays and they will celebrate EVERYTHING–with several ex-Soviets and they say they were all taught evolution, nothing else, in school.

    I hesitate to mention, (because I feel it was an imposition to her) I asked the eldest (nearly 70) if this was the case for her and it was. It was true (I take it from my companions tonight) that Stalin didn’t accept evolution (for his own gains, of course) but that’s not the Soviet Union. That’s when Stalin was alive.

    /total pedant (who’s celebrating far too many holidays, forgive me)

  79. 79
    'Tis Himself

    Now they are coming from science and ex-communism thus they attack religion by building arguments from examples (ie experiments) that serve as examples of phenomena but they do so only focusing on religion and thus new atheists are able to ignore the history of atheism and atheistic state while in the same breath condemning religion for the crusades (wrongly, it was about the money and politics) and the European wars of religion. They build the argument like scientists by acting like science is the only way of knowing anything and everything else is just superstition.

    Science is the study of the natural. Something that effects the real world is natural. Most goddists claim their god(s) effect the real world. Therefore science is a reasonable tool for investigating these claims.

    There are several possibilities:

    ● There are gods which interact with the real world. As noted above, these interactions are legitimate sources for scientific investigation.

    ● There are gods who cannot interact with the real world. These gods are indistinguishable with non-existent gods.

    ● There are gods who can interact with the real world but chose not to. Again, these gods are effectively non-existent.

    ● There are no gods.

    Please note that three of these four possibilities are effectively identical. The first possibility, interactive gods, are what most goddists believe in. Gods who answer prayers, who perform miracles, who interfere with the physical world, who decide which team will win The Big Game and take a dim view of masturbation, are gods amenable to scientific investigation. And guess what, jamesmichael1, thousands of years of investigation have failed to give conclusive evidence for the existence of gods.

    So we either have gods who are non-existent, effectively non-existent, or haven’t been detected despite centuries of fervent investigation. In other words, there’s no evidence for gods, so why believe in them.

    See, no deep-thought, PhD level philosophy involved. Basic epistomolgy is all that’s required. So your complaints about gnu atheists not being philosophical enough fail to produce a smoking gnu.

  80. 80
    Ing

    I hesitate to mention, (because I feel it was an imposition to her) I asked the eldest (nearly 70) if this was the case for her and it was. It was true (I take it from my companions tonight) that Stalin didn’t accept evolution (for his own

    Americans tend to associate the USSR with Stalin so sorry

    BUT! Did they learn actual evolution? Darwinism/NeoDarwinism or were they taught Lysenkoism?

  81. 81
    Krasnaya Koshka

    This article horrified me, to be on topic. I couldn’t even believe it when I read it. The many phone calls to home. The siblings looking forward (maybe I’m extrapolating but it sounded that way to me) to seeing their older sister. It’s horrific.

    As the older sister of three siblings I spent most of my childhood trying to rescue, I can’t imagine doing that. As an older sister of a 16-year-younger brother who died seven years ago at the age of 23, it sickens me even more. I still spend so much time mourning my baby brother.

    This is the fault of religion. How else could a big sister do that? Well, of course she could be completely a monster (there are some of those, I will grant) but things are rarely that simple.

    This really did hit me in a soft spot.

  82. 82
    Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach

    @ #79, ‘Tis

    So your complaints about gnu atheists not being philosophical enough fail to produce a smoking gnu.

    You owe me a new monitor, mine is now covered in coffee.

  83. 83
    Krasnaya Koshka

    We Are Ing @80:

    I asked around the room. Everyone knows Darwin, no-one knows Lysenko. BUT I have no idea who translated The Origin of Species for them, though a couple claim they’ve read it, nor how they were taught evolution (my Russian is not that good, yet).

    I’m in a room of eight people. Most are chemists. They’re drinking to that “good fellow Христос, who gives us more reason to not work!” It’s a tough audience.

  84. 84
    ScottM

    jamesmichaels1, you seem to be having difficulty with understanding what is appropriate and what isn’t. What possessed you to imagine that it would be okay to come on to a thread where people are outraged over the murder of a child and the torture of two others by a pair of hyper-religious loons and preach? Then you try to defend it with irrelevancies.

    WTF does anything you’ve said have to do with the topic? Did you just hop on to the blog and pick the first topic you saw and imagine that would be a great place to preach?

    A child is dead as a direct result of superstitious idiocy. An idiocy that is actively encouraged by the magical thinking of religion. But that didn’t mean a damn thing to you in your enthusiasm to post inanities. Is there some kind of blind spot in your mind? A blind spot similar to the relatives of the victims of the atrocity being discussed in this thread.

    I believe that this would be the point where someone would suggest you do something with a dead porcupine.

  85. 85
    alkaloid

    Clear evidence, confession, no doubt as to who did it or what they did… a rare instance where I wholeheartedly support the death penalty. These people are deranged and dangerous, can never be trusted in society again, and are a pox on the human race.

    As much as I agree with the sentiment, I still don’t think the death penalty is a good idea. In addition to the issue of innocent people getting convicted and killed (which wouldn’t be true in this case, but happens a lot in the US), what happens if people that are this religious end up controlling the society, and the death penalty is still normalized?

  86. 86
    andrewphilips

    I read this and now I feel like puking. I mean it. I can’t concentrate and need to take a walk.

  87. 87
    Azuma Hazuki

    Funny, Jimmy-Jimmy hasn’t responded to me at all. It’s almost as if he’s never met an atheist who wasn’t one of his stereotyped science-worshipping hedonists. Or, you know, any of us at all.

    Hey Jim! Got anything to say to me? Odds are good I could trounce you in any of the fields you mentioned. You bluster but it’s all hot air.

  88. 88
    'Tis Himself

    Apparently Jimmy Mikey has more important things to do than revisit this thread and respond to rebuttals of his arguments. Plucking one’s nose hair can be very time-consuming.

    Or so I’m told.

  89. 89
    carlie

    I assume that if jamesmichael posts again, he will ignore everything that everyone has written and say that we’re all being mean and unfair so he’s not going to post here anymore.

  90. 90
    No One

    jamesmichaels1 says:
    6 January 2012 at 2:55 am

    off topic, but i’m a christian called James and I’d like to rip apart your ridiculous “new atheist” movement.

    *Yawn*

    ya see, the problem with the new atheist movement is that the fathers of new atheism, on the whole, have no backround in philosophy.

    The sophisticated theology argument. *yawn*

    The cornerstone of New Atheism is not that God does not exist (secularists believe this all over) but that belief in god is, by itself, a destructive concept and bad for society.

    Self delusion is not a “concept” and is destructive.

    new atheism is largely a political and social movement rather then an intellectual movement.Previously atheists came from philosophy or politics. So from Epicurus to Baron D’Holbach and David Hume you have the atheistic movement based in philosophy. You then had atheists who were atheists as a political movement. From Maximilien Robespierre to VI Lenin, atheism was a political tool rather than a belief system aimed at religion rather then faith.

    Yeah, none of the presidential candidates wear religion on their shirtsleeves do they?

    Now they are coming from science and ex-communism thus they attack religion by building arguments from examples (ie experiments) that serve as examples of phenomena but they do so only focusing on religion and thus new atheists are able to ignore the history of atheism and atheistic state while in the same breath condemning religion for the crusades (wrongly, it was about the money and politics) and the European wars of religion. They build the argument like scientists by acting like science is the only way of knowing anything and everything else is just superstition.

    Oh give me a break. The first thing any totalitarian government does is go after the educated, who often are atheists. That’s if they are not already co-opting the local religion and bending it to their needs. See Constantine, King James, Hitler, and the Asian God-Kings.

    The problem with this is it ignores philosophy and history. Science cannot prove the social contract theory. Science cannot prove that George Washington crossed the Delaware or Caesar crossed the Rubicon just like it cannot prove that Jesus was crucified on Cavalry hill.

    You’ve never seen a cleaner fish inside the mouth of a barracuda? History never looks to science to verify what has been recorded?

    New Atheism goes beyond the mere disbelief in God but instead that religion and by extension faith is the most dangerous and wicked force on the planet and the struggle against it will define the future of humanity.

    It is extremely dangerous when large groups people act on a mass delusion. It fucks things up. Badly.

    Atheism is not a religion. New Atheism (TM) is a religion if a religion is a set of shared stories, concepts and characters which explain what is happening in the world and creates a base of morality and influences a worldview.

    Is that all? A weak poke with the umbrella? And still not one shred of evidence for the supernatural.

    please get back to me soon.

    Self irrumation.

  91. 91
    Ing

    ow they are coming from science and ex-communism thus they attack religion by building arguments from examples (ie experiments) that serve as examples of phenomena but they do so only focusing on religion and thus new atheists are able to ignore the history of atheism and atheistic state while in the same breath condemning religion for the crusades (wrongly, it was about the money and politics) and the European wars of religion. They build the argument like scientists by acting like science is the only way of knowing anything and everything else is just superstition.

    There has never been a society that has slipped into atrocity due to an excess of reason.

  92. 92
    No One

    Back on topic. For any whiners on how this is an isolated incident. Nigeria is up to it’s eyeballs in this witch hunter stuff. Helen Ukpabio, is coming to America to lecture. Look her up on you tube to watch her bizarre movies.

    A documentary about the subject here:

  93. 93
    Nemo

    … our esteemed government leaders are busy slaughtering cattle with their bare hands and sacrificing them and worshipping their ancestors.

    No more ridiculous than taking communion. Not even more gory, if you really take the eucharist seriously.

    Anyway, I’m really curious as to what set off this incident.

  94. 94
    karimghantous

    But even if you take a narrow view of science, basically confining yourself to the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology, you can still comment on the plausibility of events. A general crossing a river with his army? Yeah, no problem.

    Let me back up a little. The reason why Carrier wrote that article was to because a Christian apologists claimed that “we have as much evidence that Jesus rose from his grave as we have that Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon”. It wasn’t primarily about the plausibility of the event, because it doesn’t have to be true to be plausible.

    The fact is that due to geography (plus the written history), there was no other way for Caesar to get from A to B. Apologists were implying, I think, that if Jesus’ life was apocryphal, then so too must Caesar’s crossing be apocryphal.

    You could say that this inductive ‘proof’ that Caesar had to cross the Rubicon was ‘scientific’ but science per se had nothing to do with it. Mind you, some people think mathematics is science, some don’t, so I just want to say again that YMMV. FWIW I don’t think that maths is science.

    Yes, AZT is somewhat toxic

    “Somewhat”? Tell me, what did that young boy die of? Violence or spiritual infection? Whose fault was it that he died? The spirit’s or Eric Bikubi’s? Well, what’s a few broken teeth, anyway.

  95. 95
  96. 96
    anchor

    james: “…I promise to give an honest reply (as honest as you guys would perceive a christian to be I guess)”

    Your guess isn’t as good as ours. My guess is that you are so habituated to your irrational way of thinking that you aren’t even aware that you sound very much like a dishonest schmuck.

    Even if you were, you wouldn’t care. Never deny you are Right In All Things. That’s the objective, right?

    And you can take that promise and stick it up into your nose as far as the back of your insincere fat head goes.

  97. 97
    Walton

    ya see, the problem with the new atheist movement is that the fathers of new atheism, on the whole, have no backround in philosophy.

    Except that the supposed “fathers of new atheism” aren’t. Bertrand Russell was an outspoken atheist long before anyone had heard of Dawkins or Hitchens. See Why I Am Not A Christian, published in 1927. The philosophical arguments against theism are not new, and plenty of actual philosophers have been making them for quite some time.

    I very much dislike many of the people who the media holds up today as celebrity atheists: Sam Harris, for instance, is a shallow-minded idiot and a promoter of anti-Muslim bigotry. That doesn’t, however, have any bearing either way on the question of whether gods exist. I am compelled to be a non-theist, because I cannot see any empirical evidence or any reasoned argument that would convince me of the existence of a personal God or gods; and if we are to be intellectually honest, I cannot make myself believe something which does not appear to me to be true. (Like Russell, I’m not sure whether to call myself an atheist or an agnostic: “if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one prove that there is not a God… [but] if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods.”)

  98. 98
    Irène Delse, on dry land among seabirds

    Not much to add to jamesmichael1′s pathetic derailment attempt, except for a discussion of a few of his howlers this on the never-ending thread.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2012/01/03/episode-cclxxxviii-haute-cuisine/comment-page-1/#comment-238507

  99. 99
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I’ve made a more detialed response here:

    We don’t give a shit about the inane and unsupported by solid evidence conclusions of a fuckwitted presuppositionalist. Take the hint and buzz off

  100. 100
    crocswsocks

    Revolting.

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