Thursday, October 16, 2008

He's Baaaaaaaack.

I am almost glad to see that Dinesh is leaving a giant load of verbal feces on our collective cyber doorstep again. Surprise, surprise, he doesn't like Religulous! I would have never guessed that, since D'Souza is so complex, has such a rich sense of humor, and is generally accepting of alternate points of view.
Bill Maher is a very irritating fellow
The irony burns me.
but the truth is that Maher is offensive because he has an offensive personality. He seems chronically unable to wipe the smug arrogant smile off his face, which is especially galling because this arrogance is entirely unsubstantiated by intellectual ability.
Arrrgghhh! Incineration! I now know how spontaneous human combustion occurs...from moronic a-holes like Dinesh calling other people moronic a-holes.
Maher employs his trademark sneer to poke snide, sarcastic fun at people, usually people who are markedly less sophisticated or culturally established or economically well off than he is.
Sure, the movie does provide some laughs, but as you will see, they are easy laughs that score no real points against Maher’s intended target.
Sure, it doesn't score any "real points", if you mean that you were expecting the film to tear down the entire edifice of religion through argumentation over the course of 90 minutes while still being entertaining. The entire film was just supposed to be "easy laughs", which was supposed to add to underlying premise that religion is a prime source for such "easy laughs", due to being laughable.
Here we get an unsubtle introduction to one of Maher’s central themes: people are going to blow up the world in the name of God.
Tell us why that is not consistent with many religious ideologies, and what would possibly stop the people who think the end is nigh and go to war at a drop of a hat from doing so. Honestly, I am interested in hearing why you think that this isn't at all possible, considering how far our fundie-in-chief has tried to bring us along that path.
Maher, however, cannot find anyone to actually say that.
Yes. Curious that. Inconsistency is a blessed thing.
The best he can do is ambush harmless middle-aged people at tourist sites and force them to confess they think we may be living in the last days.Maher seeks to make the very strained point that these are Christian Bin Ladens who would stop at nothing to usher in the Second Coming of Christ.
If there ever was a strawman argument, in the history of all of mankind, this would be it.
anti-religious bigotry.
I can't help but scoff whenever I hear that phrase.
At times he says he is an agnostic, who simply holds the rational position that he doesn’t know what comes after death. But if you don’t know whether there is an afterlife, and even if you have no reason to believe in one, it hardly makes sense to attack those who hold a different view. After all, you yourself are in the dark and they might very well be right.
Agnostics also know that they don't know whether there is or is not a god, God, or gods, more pertinently. And, Maher states explicitly that the reason why he is "attacking" people for holding beliefs on the subject is because they hold those beliefs with certainty, when he thinks that everyone should have rational doubts about such subjects. He, himself is in the dark, but so is everyone else, and he wants people to realize that this is true, instead of pretending to be able to tell us the color of the wallpaper in an unlit room.
By way of analogy, I don’t believe in unicorns, because there is no evidence for them, but I haven’t written any books called “The Unicorn Delusion” or “Unicorns are Not Great” or made any documentaries denouncing unicorns.
By way of analogy, this analogy would only be significant if there was a sizeable amount of the world around you that did believe in unicorns, believed that this belief was relevant to morality, and that the rules set forth by their unicorn masters should be imposed on the world around them.
Like Christopher Hitchens, he is an “anti-theist” who hates the Christian God. And the main reason seems to be, as Maher himself says at one point, that this God has rules that interfere with Maher’s sex life.
ORLY? I don't remember that part. I wonder what Christians hate about Brahma that make it so that they are unwilling to worship him? I assume it is because it interferes with the ability to eat beef, right? And Christians despise Allah because they don't want to deal with the hassel of worshipping five times a day, and fasting periodically, right? Right?
You get the picture: Maher is in search of weak opponents that he can embarrass.
On one occasion Maher interviews a Jesus actor at a Holy Land Experience who seems like a carefully selected dummy. But when Maher asks him to explain the Trinity, the actor says it can be understood in the same way that water appears in three quite different forms: in a solid form, as ice; in liquid form, as water; and in the gaseous form of water vapor. Maher is completely stumped by this and rendered speechless.
"Speechless" doesn't necessarily mean that it was a good argument. Just that it was baffling. The comparison is neat, but it necessitates that the Trinity isn't really a trinity, but rather just three different states of the same entity, which cannot exist at the same time. The Father is liquid, solidifies into the Son, or evaporates into the Holy Spirit, but he is still essentially the same thing (God), just in a different form. And as such, any two of the Trinity cannot exist at the same time . So, unless you are willing to suggest that they are not just separate states of the same thing, (and thus, irrelevant distinctions), but separate entities as well, the comparison fails. And, if you do suggest that they are not only separate states, but separate entities too, we go back to the original problems with the Trinity.
At the end of the discussion, just before Maher’s triumphant exit, the truckers hold hands and pray for Maher. This is the sole moving moment in the film, and in a way that Maher doesn’t realize, it raises these simple people entirely above his snide sophistication.
LOLWUT? Yes, it is a moving moment and it portrays the truckers as very kind and sympathetic people. Which Bill himself remarks on (though, in doing so, he takes a jab at Christians in general, who are deemed to not behave in such a respectable and loving fashion). The fact that they couldn't answer his arguments is irrelevant, because they are still good people, and were willing to deal with the doubts that Bill wants people to have. They were supposed to be shown as good people, which they are, rather than just a punching bag (which others resemble more closely).
The only intelligent believers who are interviewed are geneticist Francis Collins and Father George Coyne, former head of the Vatican Observatory. Both of them are given only a few seconds, for fear that they might undermine Maher’s big theme that religious people are suffering from a kind of mental illness.
"Mental illness"? Strawmanning again, are we? The reason why he doesn't dwell on "intelligent believers" is because their beliefs are not representative of what mainstream religion is. That is why Maher jumps back and forth between a wide variety of different believers: so that he can get a lick of all of the different flavors of the absurd.
Actually Maher’s points—that there is no historical evidence for Jesus, that the main themes of Christianity are all derived from other ancient religions, that miracles are impossible, that religion is responsible for the mass murders of history—are all highly debatable. Maher simply ignores the good evidence on the other side.
Provide some evidence then, dammit! I concede that religion is not responsible for all mass murders in history, but aside from that, the historical existence of Jesus in any relevant form is iffy, and the pagan roots of Christianity are undeniable (the degree, however, may be). As for is solely dependent on your definition of "miracle". Most of the definitions I've found are damn near irrelevant, however. Get crackin', or quit whinin'.
I would love to debate him on his show, and can easily show that Maher’s self-image as an intellectual is largely bogus.
Funny how the only way that you could be considered an "intellectual" is in a debate format. Pretty much anywhere else, you come off as an obvious nincompoop. I guess it is because a debate is the only time that you can actually "win" by rattling off complete nonsense and half-truths, but doing so convincingly, which seems to be the only talent windbags like yourself possess.
And because he cannot stand up to real opposition, I doubt that Maher has the guts to take me up on this offer.
The chest beating has begun. Dinesh, the chickenhawk, the intellectual lightweight with entitlement issues, is once again calling out someone to come debate him, because he desperately needs the validation that comes from someone who is actually known by the general public. I wonder if this challenge is because he got bored of throwing ad hominems at Dawkins for not being willing to deal with his Gish Gallops, or if this is just due to Dinesh being a complete opportunist. Hard to say.
Ultimately he is an intellectual coward who relies on the argumentum ad ignorantium—the argument that relies on the ignorance of the audience.
And spontaneous human combustion strikes again.

1 comment:

mac said...

Great rant !

I checked out Dinesh' offering on "Town Hall". I thought a lot like you did, but you express yourself so much more eloquently than I.
I really like your arguement about the seperate states of god (water)! If we are to buy that line, what about all the lesser gods(saints, angels, etc...)? God turns into Jesus at 32 degrees Farenmeit? It better be a cold day if you need Jesus...or a steamy oven of a day if you expect a visit from the Holy Spirit.

At least we can always on Dinesh for a good chuckle. The only problem is, too many people actually believe the shit that spews from his keyboard.