Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Bill Maher is an Atheist, Whether He Knows It or Not!

by Nico Raj Rahm

I was watching the Daily Show with Jon Stewart the other night, and to my delight Bill Maher was the guest. Bill was there to promote his new movie Religulous opening this weekend, which I'm really excited to go see.

Bill Maher interview pt.1
Bill Maher interview pt.2

During the interview Bill declared to Jon that he was not an atheist. Bill explained that atheism is an extreme view; the polar opposite of religious extremism. For someone to be an atheist, Bill suggested, they would have to believe firmly in the non-existence of a creator. His personal stance is that he is not one hundred percent sure that a god does not exist. I believe that Richard Dawkins also made a simlar claim if I'm not mistaken.

While I respect Bill's point of view, I do not agree with it. I believe in the non-existence of a creator as much as I believe that the sun will rise tomorrow. Now, having this belief, can I declare that "the sun will rise tomorrow", or is it more correct to make that claim with an attached disclaimer such as, "the sun will rise tomorrow, according to historical evidence".

If it is within reason to claim that the sun will rise tomorrow minus the added disclaimer, then it also follows that I can make the claim that a creator, or God, does not exist, which by default means that I am an atheist.

Bill Maher is an atheist, whether he knows it or not!


  1. Atheism is not an extremist position, it is simply a disbelief in a god. In fact, it is simply stating the obvious--that god is man made.

    People don't argue with you when you say that dragons or faeries don't exist, even though there is no evidence to prove they're not. But we know for certain that they are simply mythology.

    There's no way to prove that god doesn't exist--there's no proof he does either, but just because someone thinks that he does doesn't mean that it is a reasonable question.

    I can say there is an elephant in my room, but isn't it even silly to argue with me for or against my position.

    It is the believer who has the work cut out for themselves. They have to prove he exists, and explain where he came from and why he even cares about the what humans eat and copulate with. An extraordinary claim deserves extraordinary evidence.

    You can be agnostic with respect to the idea of knowing whether or not there is a god, but it still begs the question; Do you believe in god or not?

    I don't, therefore I am an atheist. Claiming to be an agnostic, in my opinion, is to be a prude. Does god really make sense or not. I concur that it is quite unreasonable.

    The facts are against the theist, not the atheist.

  2. The wikipedia has a nice summary on the different kinds of atheism. Maher is what the wiki calls a "weak atheist", as opposed to a "strong atheist" which it sounds like is the category to which you belong.

    I tend to agree with Maher's opinion of strong atheists. It is a scientifically untenable position because one cannot prove something does not exist in any way, place, or form, without being everywhere and seeing everying in all the universe simultaneously. It simply can't be done.

    To claim absolute confidence that something does not exist anywhere, especially if that thing is of a nature that cannot be physically measured or quantified (because it's in another dimension for example) violates the scientific method.

    Now one may claim 100% confidence that a normally visible thing with mass does not exist within a given temporal space - this is possible because they can inspect that space and take measurements and prove it (see scientific method). Similarly one can claim 99.99% (or similar) level of confidence that something does not exist because according to probability the math seems to indicate that it is highly improbable, but they'd better have that math on hand if they want to be taken seriously. But when speaking about something that can not be measured with temporal instruments ... well it's a fools errand. Like I said, it can't be measured so no level of confidence can be backed up with any level of proof.

    In other words, one can not simultaneously take a picture of everything in every dimension and show it to someone and say: see, I told you ... God isn't anywhere so he doesn't exist.

    That said, even as a theist myself (and I'm somewhat of the deist persuation) I find merit and great respect in the weak atheist philosophies, even though I disagree with them. Why? Because at least they're compatible with the scientific method.

    That said, I can't stand Maher because I've seen him fabricate some real whoppers just to get publicity and I have no respect for that. I'd have even more respect for a strong atheist that him if they at least could give truthful representations of others - something Maher doesn't seem entirely capable of doing.