Maher And Dawkins During The AAI

Last night, Bill Maher received an award named for Richard Dawkins and before arriving at the awards show to accept the award, he was on TV live with Dawkins while the conference watched.  And, btw, in this video, Thomas Friedman has a remark that I think is one of the most insightful you’ll hear about Islamist motivation.

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PZ Myers reports on the relationship between this show and the simultaneous proceedings of the Atheist Alliance International meeting:

We sat down first to watch a live video stream of Bill Maher’s show, with special guest Richard Dawkins.

Maher and Dawkins arrived near the end of Mr Deity’s talk, and I know that’s what everyone wants to hear about. I was seated at the same table with Maher, but sadly, there was no opportunity to have a conversation with him. Dawkins introduced him, he gave a short speech, he got surrounded by a photograph-taking mob, he left.

The good news for all the critics of this choice is that Dawkins pulled no punches. In his introduction, he praised Religulous and thanked Maher for his contributions to freethought, but he also very clearly and unambiguously stated that some of his beliefs about medicine were simply crazy. He did a good job of walking a difficult tightrope; he made it clear that the award was granted for some specific worthy matters, his humorous approach to religion, while carefully dissociating the AAI from any endorsement of crackpot medicine. It won’t be enough, I know, but the effort was made, and talking to Dawkins afterwards there was no question but that Maher’s quackery was highly objectionable. I also got the impression that he felt the critics of the award were making good and reasonable points, and that he felt the awkwardness of the decision.

Maher’s talk was hilarious, too.

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.


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