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The recent race-riots in Ferguson, after the non-guilty verdict, would never have happened had the witnesses told the truth. How can you condemn a man for manslaughter, if witnesses contradict each other, and even themselves ? Racism – especially, but not exclusively, in the U.S. – is of course an open sore, the tragic heritage of the white (and sometimes black) crime against humanity which was the enslaving of human beings we used to call “Negroes”, even “niggers”, become the citizens whom political correctness and the law demand we call “Afro-Americans”. All Americans today have equal rights, but some people apparently are still more equal than others, as the cliché puts it. The white policeman and his attorneys pleaded self-defence against the unarmed black, probably aggressive, teenager he shot. The black community and many whites throughout the country are furious about the acquittal. The problem of mutual racist prejudice has been exacerbated by the decision, which, if you will pardon another cliché, is not likely to go away any time soon.

We all know from party-games or exercises in seminars on communication that testimony from witnesses is often contradictory and cannot always be trusted. Even without malice or intent to deceive or to embellish or distort the facts, innocently mistaken perceptions are common occurrences in accidents and crimes. In the search for truth which is the warp and the woof of this Blog, one may be permitted to wonder about and question what many non-atheists claim to be “miracles”. Eye-witness accounts of people being cured, without apparent cause, of major ailments, or even being raised from the dead, the feeding of five thousand people with a couple of loaves of bread and a few fish, a woman being assumed bodily into Heaven – all deserve more than the proverbial grain of salt. “Innocent unless and until proven guilty”, “doubtful unless and until proven beyond reasonable doubt” : the same logic should be applied to presumed violations of the law and presumed miraculous events. Incontestable evidence is a sine non condition for both passing a sentence of guilt and affirming faith.