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Atheism, current events, Religion, Theist Wackiness

Praying Pilot Kills 16 Passengers

PALERMO (Reuters) – A Tunisian pilot who paused to pray instead of taking emergency measures before crash-landing his plane, killing 16 people, has been sentenced to 10 years in jail by an Italian court along with his co-pilot.

There isn’t really a lot to say about this.  The pilot of the Hudson River crash acted.  He used his years of experience and training to their full advantage and acted.  Without help from a deity, he single-handedly saved the lives of dozens of people.  On the other hand, a pilot who relied on help from above got his just rewards.  He is a murderer.

Prayer doesn’t work.  Action does.

Coincidentally, a good friend of mine is a pilot, and this past monday, he put a plane down with no back landing gear.  He skidded to a stop, and walked away uninjured.  (He was en route to pick up passengers, so he was the only one on the plane.)

I met him for drinks shortly afterwards, and his girlfriend kept going on and on about how it was a miracle that he had lived.  After about the fourth time she said that, I couldn’t stand it anymore.  “The only miracle,” I said firmly, “was the miracle of 40 years worth of experience and training, cool wits, and lots of ground support.  Why aren’t you giving your man the credit he deserves?”

This goes back to what I was thinking about a couple of weeks ago — whether or not there really are any theists in foxholes.  Apparently, my initial thought was wrong.  There are theists in foxholes, and they get people killed because they pray instead of doing the right thing and trying to save lives.



10 thoughts on “Praying Pilot Kills 16 Passengers

  1. Great response to your friend’s girlfriend! I, too, am annoyed by claims of divine intervention. If God was involved, why didn’t he just fix the rear landing gear… or not let them break in the first place? Oiy.

    Posted by Dan Gilbert | March 27, 2009, 4:02 pm
  2. I’ve often wondered, if theists are so unafraid of death and are eager to get to paradise, why do they need foxholes?

    Hope you and your girlfriend made up.

    Posted by Shamelessly Atheist | March 27, 2009, 6:09 pm
  3. I apologize to the deceased and their family, but:

    I just burst-out laughing. Did this fellow listen to one too many American country songs?

    “Jesus take the flight stick! Take it from my– *BOOM*!”

    What are we even supposed to do anymore? I mean, we’ve empirically proven that prayer has absolutely no effect on anything, we’ve shown people the logical trap they’ve fallen into by mis-attributing agency, we’ve dug-up examples throughout the world and history of instances where prayer just plain fails when it would be most expected to work…

    What more can we do?

    Posted by Kevin R Brown | March 27, 2009, 7:40 pm
  4. It was the only thing he could think to do while he was shitting his pants on the way down.
    I guess at some point he had to realize prayer wasn’t working so decided to use his skill and actually try to land the plane on the water…I wonder if he still believes.

    Funny, if he had a REAL belief why did he stop praying?

    Posted by Renee Obsidianwords | March 27, 2009, 7:47 pm
  5. …Y’know, a comforting thought for the day, on this topic:

    Do you remember that ‘Truck Stop Church’ that was briefly featured in Religulous? Well, just think – we now know that some of the largest, heaviest and most dangerous vehicles on the road are, in some portion, driven by Bible-thumping backwoods truckers who likely listen to Top 10 country radio.

    You could be cruising down the 4-lane tomorrow when some Jesus-minded dumbass in an 18-wheeler in front of you starts to skid and decides that the best course of action is to try and put his deity behind the wheel.

    Have fun driving to work and back home this week! 😛

    Posted by Kevin R Brown | March 27, 2009, 7:55 pm
  6. Renee: “I wonder if he still believes.”

    Actually, that’s a pretty good question. I’m curious too.

    Posted by Kevin R Brown | March 27, 2009, 7:56 pm
  7. The Lord works in mysterious ways. There must be some reason why god wanted him to go to jail. We’ll understand it all after we die.

    Posted by Watcher | March 27, 2009, 8:35 pm
  8. “Well, just think – we now know that some of the largest, heaviest and most dangerous vehicles on the road are, in some portion, driven by Bible-thumping backwoods truckers who likely listen to Top 10 country radio.”

    That’d help explain why truck driving is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country.

    Posted by KaylaKaze | March 28, 2009, 12:24 am
  9. Heh, that’s a comforting thought. Maybe the “terrorists” didn’t actually mean to crash their planes, perhaps they just wanted to test their faith.

    Posted by Chris | March 29, 2009, 10:26 am
  10. Err… it was his girlfriend, not mine… and we haven’t had makeup sex thusfar.

    Posted by hambydammit | March 30, 2009, 2:11 am

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