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article imageOp-Ed: Maher — Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position

By Bart B. Van Bockstaele     Feb 12, 2012 in World
While poking fun at religion on his television programme, Bill Maher explains that there is something wrong with the religionist's claim that evidence-based belief is somehow equivalent to evidence-free belief.
First, let's be clear: I am not all that fond of Bill Maher [01]. Anybody who suggests that headaches are not caused by Aspirin deficiency [02] and that Aspirin should therefore not be taken when one has a headache, is a bit of a loon and a crank, and almost certainly does not score too high on any reasonably reliable intelligence scale.
When we have an acute appendicitis, a surgeon will take her* scalpel to our abdomen and cut it open. He* does not do that because we have a hole-in-the-abdomen deficiency and/or appendix superfluity. Those are neither here nor there. However, he does it because when we have an acute appendicitis, we have more chances for survival when that appendix is taken out.
While the headache-Aspirin connection isn't quite this dramatic, the principle is the same, and let me add to this that when one has some type of a condition or even just a "normal" condition, increasing one's consumption of vitamins and minerals to toxic levels isn't all that bright either.
That said, Bill Maher does deserve some degree of respect. In a country where atheists are all but considered vermin and where rapists [03] are better trusted by the public, coming out as an atheist is something of a brave thing to do.
In his programme "Real Time" on 3 February 2012, Maher talked about religion, as he usually does, this time about the rather ridiculous news that Mitt Romney's father-in-law Edward Davies, a scientist and atheist, had been posthumously baptised in accordance with Mor(m)on fantasy.
He also talked about a rather peculiar habit American religionists have taken on in recent years, namely to call evidence-based belief a religion. According to those religionists, man-made climate change is a religion, evolution is a religion, and atheism, everything that is not religion, is -according to these religionists- a religion as well. This is so blatantly wrong that it is less than funny. So, Bill Maher makes it crystal clear:
Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position
While Maher's humour is not always the most refined there is and is in no way even remotely comparable to the pinnacle of humour, the English humour, this statement certainly makes, well, a statement. And so, I have added a new quote to my favourite quotes.
Enjoy the video!
*The creative use of pronouns is intentional.
[01] Several authors, Bill Maher, Wikipedia, retrieved 12 February 2012
[02] Anonymous, transcript of Interview with Bill Maher, Larry King Live, aired 15 December 2005 - 21:00 ET, retrieved 12 February 2012
[03] Gervais et al., Do You Believe in Atheists? Distrust Is Central to Anti-Atheist Prejudice, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 101(6), Dec 2011, 1189-1206.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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