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March 31, 2007

Atheist attacked publicizing talk about "God: The Failed Hypothesis"

As I've mentioned before, in June our local skeptics and freethinkers groups will be hosting Victor J. Stenger, author of God: The Failed Hypothesis, on this leg of his book tour. As a result, I've been keeping an eye on any news related to the book. Generally, this means reviews, but this week I found something different:

An atheist group leader says he is the victim of a religious hate crime.

Freethought Association of Canada president Justin Trottier said he was assaulted at Ryerson University earlier this week while he and a colleague were hanging posters for a coming lecture.

[...]

Mr. Trottier, 24, and his colleague were hanging posters Tuesday night announcing a lecture by Victor Stenger, author of God: The Failed Hypothesis, when they were approached by two men.

[...]

One of the men hit him in the face twice, and butted him on his face, causing his nose to bleed, Mr. Trottier said.

So, was it a hate crime? The university and the police aren't treating it as such.

Were the attackers religious? (One might immediately object that they weren't acting religious, but that's a separate question. There's plenty of precedent to argue that attacking a non-believer is a very religious action, but we can debate that some other time.)

Assuming that the attackers were motivated by the fact that Mr. Trottier was publicizing an atheist event, would that make it a hate crime? Seems to me like it would. If Mr. Trottier was attacked because he was publicizing a Jewish event or a Muslim event, I don't think anyone would hesitate to call it a hate crime, so the fact that it was an atheist event shouldn't make any difference.

Of course, it's certainly possible that the attackers were motivated by nothing more than alcohol and boredom, in which case it was just a random event. However, unless there's something I'm missing here, it would seem prudent for the police to at least accept that this might have been a hate crime and investigate it as such to determine the truth.

(For those who wonder what the big deal is about hate crimes: If someone is going around killing everyone named "Sarah Connor" and your name is Sarah Connor, that is an implicit threat against you. It isn't just the immediate crime; it's the implicit threat against others that makes a hate crime worse.)

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March 31, 2007 in Religions, Cults, and Miracles | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 05, 2007

More Stenger News

God: The Failed Hypothesis by Victor J. Stenger has now shown up at #21 on the March 11 edition of the New York Times Best Seller List in the Hardcover Nonfiction category. The God Delusion is at #12 and Letter to a Christian Nation is at #24.

Blogcritics has an interview with Victor Stenger.

There's also an interview with Victor Stenger in the March 3 Point of Inquiry podcast.

ExChristian.net has a brief article about the book and the advertising campaign.

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March 5, 2007 in Religions, Cults, and Miracles | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 02, 2007

"God: The Failed Hypothesis" at #21 on NYT list

I received an email from Jill Maxick, Director of Publicity at Prometheus Books,  saying that God: The Failed Hypothesis by Victor J. Stenger will appear at #21 on the next New York TImes Best Seller Hardcover Nonfiction Extended Best Seller List. (Coincidentally, #21 is where Letter to a Christian Nation is on the current list. The God Delusion is currently at #10.) Once it gets into the top 15, it will show up in the printed New York Times Book Review.

Incidentally, there's a 38-page PDF excerpt from the book available from the Prometheus web site.

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March 2, 2007 in Religions, Cults, and Miracles | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 01, 2007

Three Atheist Books on New York Times Best Seller List

Yesterday I received an email from Victor J. Stenger, who said that he had just learned that his book, God: The Failed Hypothesis, has made the New York Times Best Seller list. He doesn't know where it ranks yet, just that it will be on the "extended list" (i.e. the top 35 of hardcover nonfiction). At Amazon.com, it's #292 of all books.

This means that there will be THREE atheist books on the NYT best seller list at the same time:

Aside from it being pretty exciting that there are 3 atheist books on that list, I'm also happy because Victor Stenger will be speaking to our local skeptics group, the Rational Examination Assocation of Lincoln Land (REALL), on June 5. Being able to tell the local newspaper that a "New York Times Best Selling Author" will be speaking to your group sounds like a good way to get ourselves a little bit of publicity!

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March 1, 2007 in Religions, Cults, and Miracles | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack