The meme of religious extremists flying airplanes into buildings grew out of that prevailing opinion. It, a slightly more generic version of the 9/11 Commission’s story line of Islamic extremists hijacking and flying the planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Leading atheists have promoted that religious-extremist meme
Possibly, atheists have tailored the specifics to this more generic meme. The more generic version certainly suits their purposes, as it shifts the "bad guys" away from being just Islamic Jihadists to any type of religious extremists. Here are examples:
Most well-known atheist, and the coiner of the term “meme” in his book, The Selfish Gene (1976).
- Quoted from Paul Copan in the Parchment & Pen Blog (Credo House Ministries March 2, 2011) “To top off his answer to me (without addressing how to ground rationality), Dawkins dismissively quipped that science flies rockets to the moon while religion flies planes into buildings.”
Harris is a leading atheist, and the most frequent promoter of the meme, and possibly the earliest to craft the idea and promote it. Here are several examples:
- Article by Sam Harris, L.A. Times “Head-in-the-Sand Liberals: Western civilization really is at risk from Muslim extremists” – Sept 18, 2006. “I don’t know how many more engineers and architects need to blow themselves up, fly planes into buildings or saw the heads off of journalists before this fantasy will dissipate.”
- Q&A with Sam Harris (Official Website for “The End of Faith” by Sam Harris. “People who think you can get to heaven by flying planes into buildings must be educated.”
- “The Science Studio Interview – with Sam Harris” Interviewed by Roger Bingham. Response to question by Harris, “And then people started flying planes into our buildings, obviously based on what they believed to be true about the nature of the universe, based on no evidence that anyone should credit.”
Stenger is another leading atheist, also promoting the meme. One example:
- “Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.” Victor Stenger thought of this great original slogan as a possible ad for the bus campaign, or perhaps for something else? Maybe we could start running ads like this as banner ads on popular websites, too? (January 31, 2009)
This meme promotion has been for questionable reasons
The meme provides a catchy way of promoting atheism. Stenger even advocates a variation of the meme as an advertisement on the side of busses, clearly a means of promoting atheism.
There has been no checks and balance within atheism’s leadership. Anyone raising an objection was marginalized.
The basis for this meme was the US government and the mainstream media
Basis was from the immediate accounts in the mainstream media following Sept. 11, 2001.
The account of 19 Arab/Islamic hijackers taking control of four airliners, flying three of them on a suicide mission into buildings, was authenticated by the 9/11 Commission. This is part of what commonly is referred to as the Official Story.
The basis for this meme is likely to be without merit
“Consensus 9/11: The Best Evidence Panel” casts doubt on the Official Story as it pertains to hijackers and al-Qaeda pilots. The panel consists of over twenty experts in 9/11 research. A Delphi method was used to arrive at consensus on points of evidence.
These three points, out of 13 recently published Points of Best Evidence, are pertinent:
- The FBI did not list 9/11 as one of the terrorist acts for which Osama bin Laden is wanted.
- When asked why, Rex Tomb, when he was the head of investigative publicity for the FBI, stated that the FBI had no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.
- Also, although Secretary of State Colin Powell, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and the 9/11 Commission promised to provide evidence of Bin Laden’s responsibility for the 9/11 attacks, they also failed.
- Pilots are trained to “squawk” the universal hijack code (7500) on a transponder if they receive evidence of an attempted hijacking, thereby notifying FAA controllers on the ground. But leading newspapers and the 9/11 Commission pointed out that FAA controllers were not notified.
- A CNN story said that pilots are trained to send the hijack code “if possible.” But entering the code takes only two or three seconds, whereas it took hijackers, according to the official story, more than 30 seconds to break into the pilots’ cabin of Flight 93.
Point 12: Hani Hanjour, as al-Qaeda pilot of AA77, incapable of flying the “official” maneuver
- Several former airliner pilots have stated that Hanjour could not possibly have maneuvered a large airliner through the trajectory allegedly taken by Flight 77 and then hit the Pentagon between the first and second floors without touching the lawn.
Atheist leaders should explain themselves
Atheists pride themselves in their rational thought processes. Critical thinking is the hallmark of their rational approach.
The idea of the “meme,” how it develops, and how it can influence public thinking, is also high on their list of important topics. Yet, in this case, they apparently unknowingly became promoters and possibly even designers of a false meme.
The time has come for leading atheists to seriously consider the evidence brought forward by these 9/11 research experts, and recognize the errors the atheist leaders may have made relative to Sept 11, 2001.