Monday, September 12, 2011

Not Alone

Yesterday was September 11th; a day that will be known as nine-eleven for the foreseeable future. Ten years ago religious fanatics flew planes into buildings in New York and Washington DC. One hundred and fifty-four years ago a bunch of religious fanatics attacked a few hundred pioneers on a sagebrush studded mountain meadow in what would become the state of Utah. 9-11 is an important day for religious fanatics, but this year it fell on a Sunday so many possible memorials (at least in Utah) were cut short.

Only one person was ever convicted of the slaughter that occurred on nine-eleven 1857. The tight-knit authoritarian Mormon community whose residents slaughtered the non-Mormon pioneers were able to pull off a conspiracy of silence protecting all but one of those nineteenth-century terrorists. To this day residents of the towns near mountain meadows insist on the innocence of just about everyone who could have been involved.

The 2001 nine-eleven events have spawned hundreds of conspiracy theories. On most days I find them amusing, but the tone of their insistence on the anniversary reached a sickening pitch. It was like eating too much of a rich sweet desert; it is hard to think of them without burping up a bit of their now unfortunate flavor. Good people died and we mark the suffering of their families by the cacophonous wailing of internet sleuths who “discovered” this or that hidden in TV footage?

It is at these times, when I am over-imbibed with truther quacking, that I am tempted to say: “I am only interested in your conspiracies because they sound so amusingly stupid”. This would unfortunately get me labeled a “hater” or a “non”, and I would be deprived of my more direct source of sweets when the flow of stupidity ran thin. However, the synergy of teabaggers and the current election cycle is probably not going to stopper that flow anytime soon.

To avoid the onset of some intellectual diabetic condition in these coming times of plenty I have begun reaching out to other atheists in Utah. They do exist, and they are interesting!

Recently they put up a billboard advertising their existence. Here is a picture of it:
I'm in this picture.  Can you spot me?

The billboard is on 2100. Just the other side of the impressive heap of spent ore from the Bingham canyon copper mine is a still-standing billboard advertising the end of the world on May 21st 2011.

On September 10th I had the marvelous opportunity to see Victor Stenger talk at the University of Utah. The event was organized by SHIFT; a student group of secular humanists. Though his talk was intelligent to the point where I felt measurably smarter after it my attention was captivated by the audience.

The look of informed question in a person's eye is an extremely attractive feature. I could have spent hours just listening to the questions, and staring in awe. I guess I'm just kinda creepy that way.

We are not alone!

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