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Vincent Bugliosi (1934–2015)

Forfatter af Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

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Vincent T. Bugliosi, Jr. (August 18, 1934 - June 6, 2015) was an American attorney and New York Times bestselling author. During his eight years in the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, he was best known for prosecuting Charles Manson and other defendants accused of the seven vis mere Tate-LaBianca murders of August 9-10, 1969. Although Manson did not physically participate in the murders at Sharon Tate's home, Bugliosi used circumstantial evidence to show that he had orchestrated the killings. Bugliosi co-wrote Helter Skelter and later wrote and co-wrote more than a dozen books, including Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O.J. Simpson Got Away with Murder, Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder and Divinity of Doubt: The God Question. (Bowker Author Biography) vis mindre
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Værker af Vincent Bugliosi

Associated Works

Murder in Brentwood (1997) — Forord — 237 eksemplarer
The Best American Political Writing 2002 (2002) — Bidragyder — 25 eksemplarer

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Quite interesting. When it got to the testimonies of the defendants I started skimming because I figured it was all lies, and by the time we were in the closing statements I was heavily skimming because it got very repetitive. I skimmed basically everything after that until it came to the epilogue, which, along with the afterward, returned to new and interesting points.

Final thought: I was surprised and titillated at how much the author threw the cops under the bus, it must have been quite controversial at the time.… (mere)
blueskygreentrees | 88 andre anmeldelser | Nov 5, 2023 |
I couldn't get through it. Maybe it was the way the story was told. I never felt like I was getting a sense of the people who joined the Family, or why they did.
nogomu | 88 andre anmeldelser | Oct 19, 2023 |
I started this book and just had to grimace and toss it aside. Was Manson out of his mind? No. Manson was a con artist who was able to hold on to the minds gulliable fools. He knew exactly what he was doing and he knew the media was going to eat it up with a golden ladle. That made him very dangerous. Was he a serial Killer? By definition...No. The media along with this book is responsible for turning these criminals and criminals after them into celebrities. I can't help but see this book as a cash machine that turned a little guy with a big mouth into a celebrity which to this day has nursed an entire counter culture.… (mere)
JHemlock | 88 andre anmeldelser | Jul 18, 2023 |
Most of the book could be a tract for atheism, as almost all of it concerns why Christianity is not believable. Bugliosi begins discussing atheism in chapter 4. Having spent three excellent chapters declaring that one of the major weaknesses of Christian religious claims is reconciling the idea of a god who is both omnipotent and omni-benevolent, when atheists make the same argument, he dismisses it as "the moldy non sequitor." The atheists that he mentions have all lived in a Christian dominated culture, so one can reasonably assume that those are the god-claims that they deal with the most. His argument is also called the Epicurean Paradox, which I will use to refer to it for the sake of simplicity.

Bugliosi's claim that atheists dismiss without justification the claims of deism, which he also hasn't addressed to this point, which goes to show how little he knows about atheism. If he had read the article in Wikipedia, particularly if he followed the links to other related forms of doubt, especially the article on Theological Noncognitivists (Igtheism), he would have known much more than he appears to. Deism has been discussed at some length by atheists, particularly in historical works. Many atheists look upon deists as forebears. I am not aware that there are many deists at this time, although there are other forms loosely defined deities in Christianity, such as the variations on the idea of God as not a being, but Being itself, or deities so transcendent as to be unable to interact with humanity, and of course, if we go outside the Abrahamic religions, there are thousands of deities. If the Epicurean Paradox applies only to traditional Christianity, then Bugliosi has his work cut out for him disproving all of those gods. Incidentally, Bugliosi said that he was going to deal with Deism, but it's not in the index. He does discuss Judaisim, Islam, Hindusim, and Buddhism briefly, in a chapter entitled, "Hey Look at Us, We're Just as Silly as They Are." He doesn't really build a case about why they are invalid, especially the latter two. He simply describes Hinduism and Buddhism, and apparently expects the reader to see them as ridiculous. At least Judaism and Islam could be said to share the same problem with the Epicurean Paradox as Christianity does.

The reader may guess that I am an atheist. The usual definition is one who believes that there are no gods, also called positive atheism. I prefer the definition that it is one who is without a set of beliefs about god(s), negative atheism, or Sir John Cheke's, who in 1540 "coined the use of the word 'Atheists' to describe people who do not 'care whether there be a God or no [...].'", also called apatheism. Bugliosi mentions the differences between positive and negative atheism in his end notes. The latter two could of course, include agnostics, but since most prefer to distinguish between themselves and atheists, I don't use it that way. Where people like theological noncognitivists place themselves, I couldn't say, but I recommend reading the article on them in Wikipedia and following all the links. I refer to myself as an agnostic atheist, meaning that, after much thought and reading, I believe and think that there is no God-of the Four Omnis (omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omni-benevolent), although I know that it cannot be proven empirically, so far. Since it cannot be proven one way or the other, I feel free to go with what my reasoning tells me. When it comes to all other gods, I am an apatheist. I don't believe in any of them, and I have neither the time nor the interest to study them as I have the God of the Four Omnis. If they cannot or will not end suffering, I see no point in thinking about them, although others are free to revere them.

In building his case against the traditional Christian god, Bugliosi ranged over writings from the Bronze age to modern times. In considering atheism, he thinks that it is adequate to allow three authors (Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins), whose famous or infamous books on atheism were published in the 21st century, to represent all the millennia of people questioning the existence of god(s). He claims that this is valid because they have the benefit of all the writings that came before them; that doesn't mean that all that thought was included in any particular work. I was an atheist 30 years before any of these books were published, and they didn't make the enormous impression on me that they did on society, so I would have to reread them to question the accuracy of Bugliosi's descriptions. He is claims that Hitchens and Harris are discussing organized religion more than the existence of god, which makes them a poor choice for his examination of atheism. As Bugliosi himself says, they are not the same thing. He also, with his high regard for logic and impatience with non-sequitors, finds that the atheistic argument is compromised because he doesn't agree with Christopher Hitchens' politics, and assumes that neither does the reader.

Given the sloppiness of Bugliosi's arguments, I reread the crucial fourth chapter of Dawkin's book. Bugliosi thinks that he has reduced the chapter to nonsense by pointing out that at the end of his life, Darwin had moved from being a theist to being an agnostic. That has nothing to do with Dawkin's book - he isn't making an argument from authority, i.e., that we should be atheists because Darwin was. If he claims somewhere else that Darwin was, he doesn't say it here. That's irrelevant. Dawkins is arguing that Darwin's theory of natural selection explains the complexity of life better than a creator. Moreover, the multiverses that Bugliosi mocks are not pulled out of Dawkins' imagination, as Bugliosi implies. Those, and other ideas of universes, including serial universes and daughter universes were thought up by physicists. Dawkins merely discusses them - he is clear that this is not his field.

I have heard the argument about the complexity of god more than once, but Bugliosi often takes it out of context. It is a rebuttal to the argument that the universe is too complex to have arisen by chance, it must have a creator. The rebuttal is that a creator must be more complex than their design, so a creator god would be even more complex than the universe, and therefore is even less likely to arise by chance. It is not a stand-alone argument that a creator is too complex to exist. Bugliosi seems to be trying to get around this when he asks if computer designers are more complex than computers, but the comparison is inapt. Computers, like most complex technologies, develop incrementally with later designers adding to what already exists - one might say that they evolve. Who is arguing that computers do not have designers? Bugliosi triumphantly tells us that between the printing of the hardcover edition of his book, and the paperback, he appeared before two groups of people, many of them atheists, and refuted their arguments for atheism, at least in his own opinion. I'd be interested in a poll of the audience. By the time I finished this chapter, I began to wonder about the first three chapters as well.

Early in Chapter 5, "Darwin and Evolution," Bugliosi says, "I may be wrong about this . . ." He is. He seems to have read a scattershot collection of pieces about evolution, but he has never quite put it all together. We are not descended from modern monkeys. Parent species may or may not exist at the same time as daughter species. The evidence for evolution isn't solely fossils, it is also based on things like anatomy, embryology, and more recently, genetics. Moreover, one can't describe current evolutionary thinking solely by consulting Darwin's work. The theory has been expanded and refined several times by other work, and is referred to as Neo-Darwinism or the Modern Synthesis. Bugliosi then abandons evidence and logic to decide on the basis of personal anecdotes that evolution is hard pressed to explain memory and it is more likely the gift of a creator, and it is possible that the origin of life is with a creator who then let it evolve. He may remember that Dawkins refers to that as an Argument from Personal Incredulity and idea of the Lazy God. He quotes popes on the subject, as if he hadn't previously argued on the basis of the Epicurean Paradox that the Christian God can't exist. That, I guess, is his idea of arguing that one shouldn't disbelieve in gods.

I leafed through the rest of the book, but it's nothing that I haven't read before in atheist writings, and I was finding Bugliosi annoying. He's put a lot into debunking religion, especially Christianity, but his arguments for why an atheist should become an agnostic are very weak.
… (mere)
PuddinTame | 3 andre anmeldelser | Jul 6, 2023 |



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Associated Authors

Charles MANSON Associated Name
John F. KENNEDY Associated Name
Mel Foster Narrator
Jane Raese Designer
Leigh Taylor Cover designer


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