Category Archives: atheism

Fox News Blames Atheism For Virginia Shooting


The debate surrounding gun control is once again dominating discourse Stateside after the brutal gunning down of two Tv news journalists live on air.

The usual suspects wasted no time in exploiting this atrocity to further their own political agendas and prejudices.

So, what does the Fox say? Now, I know most sensible people would agree that Fox ‘News’ is a wretched little propaganda hole that would only merit a mention were it to actually deviate from its usual M.O. of sowing fear and hate.

However, given Fox is the main source of information for countless American citizens – I can’t help but feel they’ve certainly played their part in influencing some of the disconcerting polling data regarding American attitudes towards atheists. Read and weep at the thought that some consider atheists to be less trustworthy than rapists & murderers in the land of the free.

Let’s take a look at what Mayor of Bullshit Mountain Bill O’Reilly had to say in the aftermath of this horrific crime (via The Examiner):

“Every single murderer over 40 years that I have covered in these circumstances has been either atheistic, agnostic, no religious basis at all.”

O’Reilly continued, claiming that Americans were “tending away” from religion and spirituality.

AlterNet has already gone to the trouble of pointing out a number of examples to falsify O’Reilly’s dubious claims, but what of the shooter in this particular crime?

Sometime after gunning down Allison Parker and Adam Ward live on air, suspect Vester Flanagan found the time to fax a 23 page suicide note and list of grievances to ABC News, before eventually turning his gun on himself, ending his life.

Contained amongst the slew of grievances he’d highlighted about his former colleagues and employers, was this item of note (ABC):

He said Jehovah spoke to him, telling him to act.

I wonder if that’s spiritual enough for Bill O’Reilly.

Needless to say, of all the things Vester Flanagan may have lacked, religion doesn’t appear to be amongst them.

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.

Clarifying A News Article Mentioning Me

IndyImageI recently gave a brief interview to The Independent on the topic of my Twitter suspension and free speech.  I’m as surprised as you are.

This is the first of, the admittedly few, media requests I’ve accepted.  I’ve no desire for the attention and I’m always mindful of the intentions of those wishing to speak to me.

After a brief email back and forth with the friendly journalist at The Independent, it became apparent that they were genuinely interested in reporting on the topics at hand, rather than sensationalism – so I decided it was worthwhile to have a discussion. I’m pleasantly surprised and pleased with being accurately quoted and having the larger issues highlighted in the piece.  Seems my cynicism towards journalism was misplaced on this occasion.

This has led to a follow-up opinion piece in The Telegraph, which is perfectly fine and well, but given I’ve had accusations of ‘targeting’ before, I feel compelled to address a misconception in the article (emphasis Mine):

I also knew I didn’t want to get into quick-fire religious debate, the kind that was exemplified in yesterday’s news story about an atheist tweeter called the ‘Godless Spellchecker’, who had been temporarily suspended from the site for apparently abusing the (mainly Muslim) religious tweeters he disagreed with – a story which ended up seeming all the more poignant as the horrific, incomprehensive events in Paris unfolded.

I’m grateful that the article also reiterates that I am in fact innocent of any abuse on Twitter, but the above paragraph appears to suggest my account mostly targets (or abuses) actual Muslims. This is objectively false.  Yes, it is true that I’m especially critical of Islamism over other ideologies – and my criticism of it is considerably more frequent.

I see nothing sinister in giving special attention to the current most dangerous strain of Abrahamic Faith.  Perhaps I’ve misread and the article is actually saying it was predominantly Muslims who complained about my account.  Still, there is no way to confirm if this is actually true.

However, for the sake of clarification on my part; interactions with actual Muslims are particularly rare.  In fact, the majority of my interactions are of the Christian Zealot flavour.  I’d say the overwhelming amount of misspelled anti-atheist sentiment I respond to on Twitter comes via a Christian denomination.  Who knows what I’d discover were I to learn Arabic though.

When I interact with Christians I’m often told I ‘wouldn’t dare criticise Islam in the same way’, and when I criticise Islam, I’m informed of my potent ‘Islamophobia’.  The game is rigged, but I enjoy playing anyway.

You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.


CJ Werleman Releases Plagiarism Nonpology


I recently wrote two blog pieces on Author CJ Werleman. The first detailed some deeply unethical methods of operating and the second revealed an apparent catalogue of plagiarism throughout his work. Prompted by these articles, Michael Luciano with the help of Peter Boghossian have done a great job of uncovering even more instances of plagiarism (14 more at last count1).

After days of lashing out, excuses and potentially libellous claims2 levelled at other public figures, Werleman has released what he understands to be an ‘apology’. You can read it in full here3, but I’ll detail below my initial thoughts regarding some of it.

“Since my recent appearance on the Young Turks Network, my criticism of Sam Harris’ position, as it specifically pertains to the main driver of terrorism led many of his ardent fans to attack me. I have no problem with that – I made myself fair game”

This is the first attempt to deceive. ‘Ardent fans’ didn’t ‘attack him’ because he criticised Harris’s position, they ‘attacked’ him because he invented it. I’d like CJ Werleman to reference what in Harris’s works justifies saying: “[Harris] Has already said, that [he] would support, possibly, a nuclear first-strike on the Arab world”. This sentence is particularly troubling given Werleman so casually interchanges the word ‘Islamist’ with ‘Arab’. Do keep an eye on that CJ. Read more

  1. Now confirmed to be 14 additional instances
  2. Werleman publicly accused Sam Harris of plagiarism only to have said accusations dismantled with devastating precision here
  3. It seems given the negative response to this ‘nonpology’, Werleman has now deleted it

CJ Werleman: Misrepresentation, Dubious Ethics and Unoriginal Hackery.


I own a couple of Werleman’s books: ‘God Hates You, Hate Him Back’ & ‘Jesus Lied – He Was Only Human‘. I’d never heard of him beforehand, but I was happy to receive them as Christmas gifts a few years back – my Dad’s cool like that.

They’re ok – they don’t cover any new ground, the humour is a bit too school yard for my taste and reading them created the impression of an author who’d spied an opening in a growing a market – but it doesn’t really matter. I decided they were essentially good, as they were accessible (that’s a polite way of saying ‘dumbed down’).

The so-called ‘Four Horsemen/New Atheists’ are often accused of being elitist, as if that’s somehow an invective. Whilst not really sharing this concern, I think I understand one aspect of it. We have a group of incredibly intelligent, likely privileged (white – must mention white!) and qualified individuals who write on topics in such a manner that may require a life-time worth of research and expertise to fully get to grips with. Not everyone feels this way of course, but it’s not necessarily entry-level stuff for some either. I count myself amongst those that have their own intelligence challenged (and often pummelled) by the ideas these people so effortlessly hold court on. So I also consider any contribution to a body of literature that’s critical of religion to be a good thing, especially if it reaches a broader audience.

Needless to say we won’t be seeing Werleman follow up with ‘Allah Hates You, Hate Him Back’ or ‘Muhammad Lied – He Was Only A Charlatan’ any time soon, as he’s currently preoccupied with the deeply courageous task of mocking Republicans, ‘New Atheists’, and bravely highlighting the dangers posed by talk show hosts & neuroscientists (see the article ‘What atheists like Bill Maher have in common with medieval Christian crusaders). Islamic terrorism can wait – or rather, is explained away as a product of politics, not a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam – as though the two are mutually exclusive. Drop in a pinch of white guilt, a dash of masochism and you’ve already heard this elsewhere, many times before, many years ago.

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‘The Hitch’ – Indie Christopher Hitchens Documentary

SPECIAL FOR THE WASHINGTON POSTAre you a fan of Hitch? Of course you are.  The below documentary was brought to my attention last week, and it’s wonderful. Kristoffer Hellesmark has managed to put together a lengthy film chronicling the life of the great late polemecist.  It’s a superb blend of archive footage, Hitch voiceover from his autobiography audio book and Kristoffer’s own impressive visual style.  Highly recommended.  A thoroughly decent way to spend a Sunday in my opinion.  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.  Enjoy.

Kristoffer’s note:

I was looking for a documentary about The Hitch to watch but
I could never find one. I waited and waited. Finally I figured:
“Why don’t I just make one?”. That was the inspiration for this project.
I did not make it to gain financially as I do not own most of the
footage used.

I simply wanted to in my own small way, further the legacy of Christopher Hitchens.

Thanks for watching.


‘The Hitch’- Christopher Hitchens documentary from Kristoffer Hellesmark on Vimeo.

Easter Review: ‘The Real Easter Egg’

Evangelism is alive and well.  Chocolatey, chocolatey evangelism.

The Real Easter EggMany of you may have noticed ‘The Real Easter Egg’ gracing our supermarket shelves, adorned with the promise of telling the ‘true’ story of Easter.  Not to mention the proclamation of ‘charity’ plastered all over the packaging.  Ever wondered what it’s all about?  Probably not.  But I’m going to save you the £3.00 and tell you anyway.  You’re welcome.

Given the fact that there are now a few variations of this product on the shelf this year, I would be inclined to believe they’ve been selling well (It is chocolate after all), or perhaps they’re simply happy to pour ‘God’ knows how much of whoever’s money into a failing enterprise for the sake of filling some impressionable child’s noggin with superstitious nonsense.  Indeed, I’ve had images tweeted my way to show these packaged humpty dumpties, sitting tragically alone on the shelves, remaining long after the other non-indoctineggs have been snapped up.  If anyone knows how to obtain sales figures on these tasty propagandeggs, I’d be pleased to have them shared my way.

The egg I’ll be taking a look at is the one shown in the image above.  If you’ve picked up one of the other variations, please feel free to let me know of any differences in the comments below.  I must say on a personal note, I was incredibly disappointed to discover the sticker set was absent this year.  Arranging Jesus in imaginative positions amongst the other characters filled my entire Sunday last year.  I’ll do my best to avoid egg puns, but I’m not promising anything. Read more

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