Christopher Eric Hitchens was a British author, essayist, orator and social critic. Hitchens was the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of over 30 books, including five collections of essays on culture and literature. A staple of public discourse, his confrontational style of debate made him both a lauded intellectual and a controversial public figure, he contributed to New Statesman, The Nation, The Weekly Standard, The Atlantic, London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, Free Inquiry and Vanity Fair. Having long described himself as a democratic socialist, Marxist and an anti-totalitarian, he broke from the political left after what he called the "tepid reaction" of the Western left to the Satanic Verses controversy, followed by what he perceived as an ill-advised embrace of Bill Clinton by parts of the left and the antiwar movement's opposition to NATO intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s, his support of the Iraq War separated him further. His writings include critiques of public figures Bill Clinton, Henry Kissinger, Mother Teresa and Diana, Princess of Wales.
He was the elder brother of author Peter Hitchens. As an antitheist, he regarded concepts of a god or supreme being as a totalitarian belief that impedes individual freedom, he argued in favour of free expression and scientific discovery, that it was superior to religion as an ethical code of conduct for human civilization. He advocated for the separation of church and state; the dictum "What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence" has become known as Hitchens's razor. Hitchens was born the elder of two boys in Hampshire; when they were children Christopher never got on well with his brother Peter Hitchens, a Christian and conservative journalist. His parents, Eric Ernest Hitchens and Yvonne Jean Hitchens, met in Scotland when both were serving in the Royal Navy during World War II. Christopher referred to Eric as the'commander'. Eric was deployed on HMS Jamaica which took part in the sinking of the German battleship Scharnhorst in the Battle of the North Cape on 26 December 1943.
Christopher would pay tribute to his father's contribution to the war: "Sending a Nazi convoy raider to the bottom is a better day's work than any I have done." He stated that "the remark that most summed him up was the flat statement that the war of 1939 to 1945 had been'the only time when I felt I knew what I was doing'." Eric Hitchens would work as a bookkeeper for boatbuilders, speedboat-manufacturers and at a prep school. In life, Hitchens identified as a secular Jew—since Judaism is matrilineal and he discovered his mother was Jewish, his mother was a'Wren'. His father's naval career required the family to move a number of times from base to base throughout Britain and its dependencies, including to Malta, where Christopher's brother Peter was born in Sliema in 1951. Hitchens attended Mount House School in Tavistock, from the age of eight, followed by the independent Leys School in Cambridge. In 1967, Hitchens enrolled at Balliol College, where he was tutored by Steven Lukes and Anthony Kenny and read Philosophy and Economics, graduating in 1970 with a third-class degree.
Hitchens was'bowled over' in his adolescence by Richard Llewellyn's How Green Was My Valley, Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon, Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, R. H. Tawney's critique on Religion and the Rise of Capitalism, the works of George Orwell. In 1968, he took. In the 1960s, Hitchens joined the political left, drawn by disagreement over the Vietnam War, nuclear weapons and oligarchy, including that of "the unaccountable corporation", he expressed affinity with the politically charged countercultural and protest movements of the 1960s and 1970s. He avoided the recreational drug use of the time, saying "in my cohort we were anti-hedonistic...it made it much easier for police provocation to occur, because the planting of drugs was something that happened to everyone one knew." Hitchens was inspired to become a journalist after reading a piece by James Cameron. Hitchens was bisexual during his younger days, he claimed to have had sexual relations with two male students at Oxford who would become Tory ministers during the prime ministership of Margaret Thatcher, although he would not reveal their names publicly.
Hitchens joined the Labour Party in 1965, but along with the majority of the Labour students' organisation was expelled in 1967, because of what Hitchens called "Prime Minister Harold Wilson's contemptible support for the war in Vietnam". Under the influence of Peter Sedgwick, who translated the writings of Russian revolutionary and Soviet dissident Victor Serge, Hitchens forged an ideological interest in Trotskyism and anti-Stalinist socialism. Shortly after, he joined "a small but growing post-Trotskyist Luxemburgist sect". Early in his career Hitchens began working as a correspondent for the magazine International Socialism, published by the International Socialists, the forerunners of today's British Socialist Workers Party; this group was broadly Trotskyist, but differed from more orthodox Trotskyist groups in its refusal to defend communist states as "workers' states". Their slogan was "Neither Washington nor Moscow but International Socialism". In 1971 Hitchens went to work at the Times Higher Education Supplement where he served as a social science correspondent.
Hitchens admitted that he hated the position, was fired after six months in the job. Next he was a research
Irreligion in India
Atheism and agnosticism have a long history in India and flourished within the Sramana movement. Indian religions like Jainism and certain schools of Hinduism, though not all, consider atheism to be acceptable. India has produced social reformers. According to 2011 Census of India, 99.76% of Indians identified with a religion while 0.24% did not state their religious identity. According to the 2012 WIN-Gallup Global Index of Religion and Atheism report, 81% of Indians were religious, 13% were non-religious, 3% were convinced atheists, 3% were unsure or did not respond. In Hinduism, the religion of the majority of Indians, atheism is considered to be a valid path to spirituality, as it can be argued that God can manifest in several forms with "no form" being one of them. But, the path is considered difficult to follow; the belief in a personal creator God is not required in Jainism and Buddhism, both of which originated in the Indian subcontinent. Atheistic schools are found in Hinduism. Hindu philosophy is divided into schools.
These schools can be categorised as āstika, schools which conforms to the Vedas, nāstika, schools reject the Vedas. The six schools Sāṃkhya, Yoga, Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika, Mimāṃsā and Vedānta are considered āstika, while Jainism, Buddhism, Cārvāka and Ājīvika are considered nāstika; the Cārvāka school originated in India around the 6th century BCE. It is classified as a nāstika school, it is noteworthy as evidence of a materialistic movement in ancient India. Followers of this school only accepted pratyakşa as a valid pramāna, they considered other pramāna like sabda, upamāna, anumāna as unreliable. Thus, the existence of a soul and God were rejected, they considered everything to be made of four elements: earth, water and fire. The Cārvāka pursued enjoyment of elimination of physical pain. So, they can be considered hedonistic. All of the original Cārvāka texts are considered lost. A much quoted sūtra by Brhaspati, considered the founder of the school, is thought to be lost; the Tattvopaplavasimha by Jayarāśi Bhaṭṭa and the Sarvadarśanasaṅ̇graha by Madhavacarya are considered important secondary Cārvāka texts.
Sāṃkhya has some atheistic elements. Sāṃkhya is a radically dualist philosophy, they believed that the two ontological principles, puruṣa and prakriti, to be the underlying foundation of the universe. The objective of life is considered the achievement of separation of pure consciousness from matter; the reasoning within this system led to the Nir-isvara Sāṃkhya philosophy, which deemed the existence of God as unnecessary. There is the opposing reasoning which accepts God, called Sesvara Sankhya. Samkhya Karika is the earliest known systematic text of this philosophy. Mīmāṃsā is an astika school, they believed the Vedas to be self-authenticating. They did not accept the Vedas as being composed by any ṛishi, they considered them to not be authored by anyone, they resisted any notion of a Supreme Creator. They only concentrated on upholding the ṛta by following the duties of the Vedas; the foundational text of this school is the Mīmāṃsā Sutra by Jaimini. Ājīvika is yet another astika school with an atheistic outlook.
None of their scriptures survive and there is some question as to whether or not the accounts of them in secondary sources are accurate. They believed in a naturalistic atomic theory and held that the consequence of natural laws led to a deterministic universe, they upheld the atman. They existed in southern India until at least the 14th century. Gautama Buddha rejected the existence of a creator deity, refused to endorse many views on creation and stated that questions on the origin of the world are not useful for ending suffering. Buddhism instead emphasises the system of causal relationships underlying the universe, pratītyasamutpāda, which constitute the dharma and source of enlightenment. No dependence of phenomena on a supernatural reality is asserted in order to explain the behaviour of matter. Jainism rejects the idea of a creator deity responsible for the manifestation, creation, or maintenance of this universe. According to Jain doctrine, the universe and its constituents have always existed.
All the constituents and actions are governed by universal natural laws and an immaterial entity like God cannot create a material entity like the universe. Jainism offers an elaborate cosmology, including heavenly beings, but these beings are not viewed as creators. Jains define godliness as the inherent quality of any soul characterising infinite bliss, infinite power, Kevala Jnana and Perfect peace. However, these qualities of a soul are subdued due to karmas of the soul. One who achieves this state of soul through right belief, right knowledge and right conduct can be termed a god; this perfection of soul is called kevalin or bodhi. A god thus becomes a liberated soul – liberated of miseries, cycles of rebirth, world and liberated of body as well; this is called moksha. Ajita Kesakambali was a materialist philosopher, he is mentioned in the Samaññaphala Sutta. He rejected an afterlife and karma. Payasi is a charact
Hemant Mehta is an American author and atheist activist who gained fame for "selling his soul" on eBay. Mehta is a regular speaker at atheist events and has sat on the boards of charitable organizations such as the Secular Student Alliance and the Foundation Beyond Belief, he runs a blog on Patheos, Friendly Atheist, in which he and his associates publish articles several times a day. Hemant Mehta was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1983, he graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2004 with a double degree in math and biology and began teaching in 2007. He acquired a master's degree in math education from DePaul University in 2010 and a national board certification in teaching in 2012, he taught high school math at Neuqua Valley High School until 2014 when he announced on Facebook and his blog that he had submitted his resignation to the school, citing that "As much as I love being in the classroom, the opportunities online are just a lot greater right now, I don’t want to have any regrets down the road about not taking this chance while I have it."
After his resignation, he stayed on as the head coach of the school's speech team. Mehta was raised in the Jain faith, he became an atheist as a teenager. Seeking to learn more about what motivated many Americans to be religious, he decided to attend and take notes at a number of churches across the United States, he based his choice of churches to attend on the results of an eBay auction in which he offered his bidders, ”I am an atheist. You can bid on where I go to church or a temple or a mosque, etc." Mehta's experiences at the churches became the basis for his book, I Sold My Soul on eBay. He is the father of two children. Hemant Mehta established a secular student group, Students WithOut Religious Dogma, at the University of Illinois at Chicago while earning dual degrees there. Still in college, he served as board chair for the Secular Student Alliance, he interned at the Center for Inquiry where he became familiar with a lot of the national organizations and leaders in the activist world at that time.
Now, he serves on the board of directors for the Foundation Beyond Belief, a non-profit charitable organization. Mehta is a regular speaker at freethought and skeptical events around the U. S, he attempts to build bridges of understanding between believers and non-believers through his blog, The Friendly Atheist. Due in part to his positive message, he is invited to speak at atheist events such as the one he presented at The Reason Rally or at the American Atheists Annual Convention in March 2012. A vocal advocate of building an atheist community, Mehta's activism includes fundraising for charitable causes, he helped establish and serves on the board of the Foundation Beyond Belief, which has raised more than $2,400,000 since it launched in 2010. He established a church cleanup fund in response to reports of church vandalism in Bend, Oregon, in 2012; the vandals tagged the church with allusions to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Mehta's readers contributed nearly $3,000 in one day to help clean up the damage.
Mehta writes for the "On Faith" column in the Washington Post and has been featured in a New York Times debate on prayer. When asked about his beliefs his response is clear: "Simply put, I have never seen any evidence of'God's work' in action. I've seen what people think is God's work, but which has natural explanations. I believe that most people are good when nobody's looking. I believe our best path to discovering the truth lies in science, not religion." Hemant Mehta continues to challenge religious believers with straight talk in a non-confrontational fashion. In June 2013 he wrote for the "Room for Debate" series in the New York Times, where he argued that "There’s a real downside to praying, it lulls believers into a false sense of accomplishment." In July 2013 he held an open discussion at the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, where he explained his frustration at being confronted time and again with the same arguments for believing in God. He commented that "Many Christians had negative stereotypes about atheists that prevented fruitful conversation."Mehta was a guest on CNN on August 20, 2013 to discuss the rise of atheism among the millennial generation.
In 2013 he began publishing "The Atheist Voice" series of video discussions on YouTube, which had over 190,000 subscribers in October 2017. In January 2006, Hemant Mehta posted an auction on eBay where he explained his background in atheism and offered to go to the worship services of the winning bidder's choosing; the auction ended on February 3, 2006 with a final bid of $504 from Jim Henderson, a minister from Seattle, Washington. Mehta donated that money to the Secular Student Alliance, a non-profit organization for which he served as chair of the board of directors. Nearly a month after the auction, an article about Mehta's experiences appeared on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, leading to a flurry of media coverage, he was featured in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Seattle Times, the Village Voice, on National Public Radio. Henderson asked Mehta to visit a variety of churches and write about the experiences on Henderson's website, offthemap.com. Mehta wrote about his visits at nine different churches as well as two additional pieces dealing with atheist conventions and Christian media.
I Sold My Soul on eBay contains Mehta's observations and critiques of the churches along with background on how he became an atheist. Other published works include The Young Atheist's Survival Guide published in 2012 and The Friendly Atheist: Thoughts on the Role of Religion in Politics and Media published in 2013; the former is aimed at students, and
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, was a British philosopher, mathematician, writer, social critic, political activist, Nobel laureate. At various points in his life, Russell considered himself a liberal, a socialist and a pacifist, although he confessed that his skeptical nature had led him to feel that he had "never been any of these things, in any profound sense." Russell was born in Monmouthshire into one of the most prominent aristocratic families in the United Kingdom. In the early 20th century, Russell led the British "revolt against idealism", he is considered one of the founders of analytic philosophy along with his predecessor Gottlob Frege, colleague G. E. Moore and protégé Ludwig Wittgenstein, he is held to be one of the 20th century's premier logicians. With A. N. Whitehead he wrote Principia Mathematica, an attempt to create a logical basis for mathematics, the quintessential work of classical logic, his philosophical essay "On Denoting" has been considered a "paradigm of philosophy".
His work has had a considerable influence on mathematics, set theory, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science and philosophy the philosophy of language and metaphysics. Russell was a prominent anti-war activist and he championed anti-imperialism, he advocated preventive nuclear war, before the opportunity provided by the atomic monopoly had passed and "welcomed with enthusiasm" world government. He went to prison for his pacifism during World War I. Russell concluded that war against Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany was a necessary "lesser of two evils" and criticised Stalinist totalitarianism, attacked the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War and was an outspoken proponent of nuclear disarmament. In 1950, Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature "in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought". Bertrand Russell was born on 18 May 1872 at Ravenscroft, Monmouthshire, into an influential and liberal family of the British aristocracy.
His parents and Viscountess Amberley, were radical for their times. Lord Amberley consented to his wife's affair with their children's tutor, the biologist Douglas Spalding. Both were early advocates of birth control at a time. Lord Amberley was an atheist and his atheism was evident when he asked the philosopher John Stuart Mill to act as Russell's secular godfather. Mill died the year after Russell's birth, his paternal grandfather, the Earl Russell, had been asked twice by Queen Victoria to form a government, serving her as Prime Minister in the 1840s and 1860s. The Russells had been prominent in England for several centuries before this, coming to power and the peerage with the rise of the Tudor dynasty, they established themselves as one of the leading British Whig families, participated in every great political event from the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536–1540 to the Glorious Revolution in 1688–1689 and the Great Reform Act in 1832. Lady Amberley was Lady Stanley of Alderley. Russell feared the ridicule of his maternal grandmother, one of the campaigners for education of women.
Russell had two siblings: brother Frank, sister Rachel. In June 1874 Russell's mother died followed shortly by Rachel's death. In January 1876, his father died of bronchitis following a long period of depression. Frank and Bertrand were placed in the care of their staunchly Victorian paternal grandparents, who lived at Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park, his grandfather, former Prime Minister Earl Russell, died in 1878, was remembered by Russell as a kindly old man in a wheelchair. His grandmother, the Countess Russell, was the dominant family figure for the rest of Russell's childhood and youth; the countess was from a Scottish Presbyterian family, petitioned the Court of Chancery to set aside a provision in Amberley's will requiring the children to be raised as agnostics. Despite her religious conservatism, she held progressive views in other areas, her influence on Bertrand Russell's outlook on social justice and standing up for principle remained with him throughout his life, her favourite Bible verse, became his motto.
The atmosphere at Pembroke Lodge was one of frequent prayer, emotional repression, formality. Russell's adolescence was lonely, he contemplated suicide, he remarked in his autobiography that his keenest interests were in religion and mathematics, that only his wish to know more mathematics kept him from suicide. He was educated at home by a series of tutors; when Russell was eleven years old, his brother Frank introduced him to the work of Euclid, which he described in his autobiography as "one of the great events of my life, as dazzling as first love."During these formative years he discovered the works of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Russell wrote: "I spent all my spare time reading him, learning him by heart, knowing no one to whom I could speak of what I thought or felt, I used to reflect how wonderful it would have been to know Shelley, to wonder whether
State atheism is the incorporation of positive atheism or non-theism into political regimes associated with Soviet systems. In contrast, a secular state purports to be neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion. State atheism may refer to a government's anti-clericalism, which opposes religious institutional power and influence in all aspects of public and political life, including the involvement of religion in the everyday life of the citizen; the majority of Marxist–Leninist states followed similar policies from 1917. The Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, the Soviet Union more broadly, had a long history of state atheism, whereby those seeking social success had to profess atheism and to stay away from houses of worship; the Soviet Union attempted to suppress public religious expression over wide areas of its influence, including places such as central Asia. Only China, North Korea and Vietnam are atheist. A communist state, in popular usage, is a state with a form of government characterized by one-party rule or dominant-party rule of a communist party and a professed allegiance to a Leninist or Marxist–Leninist communist ideology as the guiding principle of the state.
The founder and primary theorist of Marxism, the nineteenth-century German thinker Karl Marx, had an ambivalent attitude toward religion, viewing it as "the opium of the people", used by the ruling classes to give the working classes false hope for millennia, whilst at the same time recognizing it as a form of protest by the working classes against their poor economic conditions. In the Marxist–Leninist interpretation of Marxist theory, developed by Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, religion is seen as negative to human development, communist states that follow a Marxist–Leninist variant are atheistic and explicitly antireligious. Lenin states: Religion is the opiate of the people: this saying of Marx is the cornerstone of the entire ideology of Marxism about religion. All modern religions and churches, all and of every kind of religious organizations are always considered by Marxism as the organs of bourgeois reaction, used for the protection of the exploitation and the stupefaction of the working class.
Although Marx and Lenin were both atheists, several religious communist groups exist, including Christian communists. Julian Baggini devotes a chapter of his book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction to discussion of 20th century political systems, including communism and political repression in the Soviet Union. Baggini argues that "Soviet communism, with its active oppression of religion, is a distortion of original Marxist communism, which did not advocate oppression of the religious." Baggini goes on to argue that "Fundamentalism is a danger in any belief system" and that "Atheism's most authentic political expression... takes the form of state secularism, not state atheism." State atheism, was a major goal of the official Soviet ideology. To that end, the regime expropriated church property, publication of information against religious beliefs and the official promotion of anti-religious materials in the education system. After the Russian Civil War, the state used its resources to stop the implanting of religious beliefs in nonbelievers and remove "prerevolutionary remnants" that still existed.
The Bolsheviks were hostile toward the Russian Orthodox Church and saw it as a supporter of Tsarist autocracy. During a process of collectivization of land, Orthodox priests distributed pamphlets declaring that the Soviet regime was the Antichrist coming to place "the Devil's mark" on the peasants, encouraged them to resist the government. Political repression was widespread in the Soviet Union, while religious persecution was applied to most religions, the regime's anti-religious campaigns were directed against specific religions based on state interests, that varied over time; the attitude in the Soviet Union toward religion varied from a total ban on some religions to official support of others. From the late 1920s to the late 1930s, such organizations as the League of Militant Atheists ridiculed all religions and harassed believers. Anti-religious and atheistic propaganda was implemented into every portion of soviet life: in schools, communist organizations such as the Young Pioneer Organization, the media.
Though Lenin introduced the Gregorian calendar to the Soviets, subsequent efforts to reorganise the week to improve worker productivity saw the introduction of the Soviet calendar, which had the side-effect that a "holiday will fall on Sunday". Within about a year of the revolution, the state expropriated all church property, including the churches themselves, in the period from 1922 to 1926, 28 Russian Orthodox bishops and more than 1,200 priests were killed. Most seminaries were closed, publication of religious writing was banned; the Russian Orthodox Church, which had 54,000 parishes before World War I, was reduced to 500 by 1940. A meeting of the Antireligious Commission of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party that occurred on 23 May 1929 estimated the portion of believers in the USSR at 80 percent, though this percentage may be understated to prove the successfulness of the struggle with religion. Despite the Soviet Union's attempts to eliminate religion, other former USSR and anti-religious nations, such as Armenia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyz
Avijit Roy was a Bangladeshi-American online activist and blogger known for creating and administrating the Mukto-Mona, an Internet community for freethinkers, skeptics and humanists of Bengali and other South Asian descent. Roy was an advocate of free expression in Bangladesh, coordinating international protests against government censorship and imprisonment of atheist bloggers, he was hacked to death by machete-wielding assailants in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 26 February 2015. His father, Ajoy Roy, was a professor of physics at University of Dhaka who received the Ekushey Padak award. Avijit earned a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from BUET, he earned a master's and doctoral degree in Biomedical Engineering from National University of Singapore. In 2006, he moved to Atlanta and worked as a software engineer. Roy published eight books in Bengali. Roy was the founder of the Bangladeshi Mukto-Mona website, one of the nominees of The Bobs Award in the Best of Online Activism category; the site published death threats.
Mukto-Mona began as a Yahoo group in May 2001, but became a website in 2002. Roy described his writing as "taboo" in Bangladesh, he had received death threats from fundamentalist bloggers for his books. Rokomari.com, a Bangladeshi e-commerce site, stopped selling Roy's books after its owner received death threats from Islamists. Our aim is to build a society which will not be bound by the dictates of arbitrary authority, comfortable superstition, stifling tradition, or suffocating orthodoxy but would rather be based on reason, humanity and science. A Bangladeshi group and Online Activist Network, initiated the 2013 Shahbag protests that sought capital punishment for the Islamist leader and war criminal Abdul Quader Molla as well as the removal of Jamaat-e-Islami from politics. Islamist groups responded by organising protests calling for the execution of "atheist bloggers" accused of insulting Islam, the introduction of a blasphemy law. Many atheist bloggers who supported the Shahbag protests came under attack, Ahmed Rajib Haider was killed by Islamist groups on 15 February 2013.
A month before the protest, blogger Asif Mohiuddin was attacked outside his house by four youths influenced by Anwar Al-Awlaki, Sunnyur Rahman, known as Nastik Nobi, was stabbed on 7 March 2013. Asif Mohiuddin, a winner of the BOBs award for online activism, was on an Islamist hit list that included the murdered sociology professor Shafiul Islam. Mohiuddin's blog was shut down by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, he was jailed for posting "offensive comments about Islam and Mohammed." The secular government arrested several other bloggers and blocked about a dozen websites and blogs, as well as giving police protection to some bloggers. International organisations, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Reporters without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the imprisonment of bloggers and the climate of fear for journalists. Avijit Roy wrote that he was disgusted that the Bangladeshi media portrayed young bloggers as "crooks in the public eye" and wrote to Western media outlets and the Center for Inquiry and the International Humanist and Ethical Union for support.
Roy went on to coordinate international protests in Dhaka, New York City, Washington, D. C. London and other cities in support of the jailed bloggers, he was joined by writers and prominent secularists and intellectuals around the world including Salman Rushdie, Taslima Nasrin, Hemant Mehta, Maryam Namazie, PZ Myers, Anu Muhammad, Ajoy Roy, Qayyum Chowdhury, Ramendu Majumdar and Muhammad Zafar Iqbal in publicly expressing their solidarity with the arrested bloggers. In 2015, Roy went to Dhaka with his wife Bonya during the Ekushey Book Fair. On the evening of 26 February, he and Bonya were returning home from the fair by bicycle rickshaw. At around 8:30 pm, they were attacked near the Teacher Student Center intersection of Dhaka University by unidentified assailants. Two assailants stopped and dragged them from the rickshaw to the pavement before striking them with machetes, according to witnesses. Roy was stabbed with sharp weapons in the head, his wife was slashed on her shoulders and the fingers of her left hand were severed.
Both of them were rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital, where Roy was pronounced dead around 10:30 pm. Bonya survived. In an interview with BBC's Newshour, she said that police stood nearby when they were attacked on the spot but did not act. In a Twitter post on the day after his death, an Islamist group, calling itself Ansar Bangla-7, claimed responsibility for the killing. Ansar Bangla-7 is said to be the same organization as Ansarullah Bangla Team. A case of murder was filed by Roy's father without naming any suspects at Shahbagh thana on 27 February 2015. According to police sources, they are investigating a local Islamist group. Avijit's body was placed at Aparajeyo Bangla in front of the Faculty of Arts building at Dhaka University on 1 March 2015 where people from all walks of life, including his friends, well-wishers and students, gathered with flowers to pay their respect to the writer; as per Roy's wish, his body was handed over to Dhaka Medical College for medical research. On 6 March 2015, a four-member team of Federal Bureau of Investigation along with detective branch of Bangladesh Police inspected the spot where Roy was killed.
The FBI members collec
Victor J. Stenger
Victor John Stenger was an American particle physicist, philosopher and religious skeptic. Following a career as a research scientist in the field of particle physics, Stenger was associated with New Atheism and he authored popular science books, he published twelve books for general audiences on physics, quantum mechanics, philosophy, religion and pseudoscience, including the 2007 best-seller God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist. His final book was the Multiverse: Humanity's Expanding View of the Cosmos, he was a regular featured science columnist for the Huffington Post. He was an advocate for removing the influence of religion from scientific research, commercial activity, the political decision process, he coined the phrase "Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings". Victor J. Stenger was born on January 29, 1935 and raised in a working-class neighborhood of Bayonne, New Jersey, his father was a Lithuanian immigrant and his mother was the daughter of Hungarian immigrants.
He died in August 2014 at the age of 79. Stenger attended public schools in Bayonne, New Jersey before going on to receive a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Newark College of Engineering, he moved to Los Angeles on a Hughes Aircraft Company fellowship, where he earned a Master of Science from UCLA in 1958 and a Ph. D in 1963, both in physics, he moved to Hawai'i, where he was a member of the Department of Physics at the University of Hawaii until his 2000 retirement. He held visiting positions on the faculties of the University of Heidelberg in Germany, Oxford University, was a visiting researcher at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in England, the National Nuclear Physics Laboratory in Frascati and the University of Florence in Italy, he was an Emeritus Professor of physics at the University of Hawaii, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado. Stenger's first peer-reviewed publication was in 1964, his research career continued until his retirement in 2000.
His research involved work that determined properties of gluons, strange particles, neutrinos. Stenger focused on neutrino astronomy and high-energy gamma rays. Stenger was an advocate of philosophical naturalism and atheism, he was the aggressive use of the anthropic principle. He maintained that if consciousness and free will do exist, they will be explained in a scientific manner that invokes neither the mystical nor the supernatural, he criticized those who invoke the perplexities of quantum mechanics in support of the paranormal, mysticism, or supernatural phenomena, wrote several books and articles aiming to debunk contemporary pseudoscience. Stenger was a public speaker, including taking part in the 2008 "Origins Conference" hosted by the Skeptics Society at the California Institute of Technology alongside Nancey Murphy, Hugh Ross, Leonard Susskind, Kenneth R. Miller, Sean Carroll and Michael Shermer. Stenger debated several Christian apologists and scientists such as William Lane Craig, Hugh Ross, John Lennox and David J. Bartholomew on topics such as the existence of God and the relationship between science and religion.
In 1992, Uri Geller sued Stenger and Prometheus Books for $4 million, claiming defamation for questioning his "psychic powers." The suit was dismissed and Geller was ordered to pay court costs. In a 2012 paper in PASA, astronomer Luke Barnes argued that many of Stenger's claims about fine-tuning were problematic, that Stenger's arguments were examples of various fallacies such as "the Cheap Binoculars Fallacy". Stenger responded, disputing Barnes' objections and reiterating: "The universe is not fine-tuned for us. We are fine-tuned to the universe" and "...no prominent physicist or cosmologist has disputed my basic conclusions. Barnes does not invalidate these conclusions and misunderstands and misrepresents much of what is in the book." President, 1990–94 Hawaiian Humanists Member of Editorial Board, Free Inquiry Member of Society of Humanist Philosophers Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry Fellow of the Center for Inquiry President, 2002–06, Colorado Citizens for Science In recent years, Stenger's books and articles were written for the wider educated public.
These writings explore the interfaces between physics and cosmology, philosophy and pseudoscience. The following books were all published by Prometheus Books. Not by Design: The Origin of the Universe, Prometheus Books, 1988, p. 202, ISBN 978-0-87975-451-8, archived from the original on 2014-08-12, retrieved 2014-07-18 Physics and Psychics: The Search for a World Beyond the Senses, Prometheus Books, 1990, p. 323, ISBN 978-0-87975-575-1, archived from the original on 2014-10-19, retrieved 2014-07-18 The Unconscious Quantum: Metaphysics in Modern Physics and Cosmology, Prometheus Books, 1995, p. 322, ISBN 978-1-57392-022-3, archived from the original on 2014-08-12, retrieved 2014-08-09 Timeless Reality: Symmetry and Multiple Universes, Prometheus Books, 2000, p. 396, ISBN 978-1-57392-859-5, archived from the original on 2014-08-12, retrieved 2014-07-18 Has Science Found God? The Latest Results in the Search for Purpose in the Universe, Prometheus Books, 2003, p. 373, ISBN 978-1-59102-018-9, archived from the original on 2014-10-19, retrieved 2014-08-09 The Comprehensible Cosmos: Where Do the Laws of Physics Come From?, Prometheus Books, 2006, p. 340, ISBN 978-1-59102-424-8, archived from the original on 2014-07-25, retrieved 2014-07-18 G