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October 14, 2005


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"And genuine people of faith are not going to make these asinine statements like Franklin Graham or these nut cases that you point out"

That is where I would call "Bullshit!" on Sullivan. His argument excludes the very people who anger Maher, because they don't match Sullivan's (no doubt) profound level of Christianity.

Your third point is a little off, unless the transcription doesn't convey the intended meaning of Sullivan. I read it as not all people of faith (i.e. the born again wackos), but just those people of faith who "don't seek to impose on other people". Am I misreading it? Of course, you could argue that ALL people of faith want to impose their viewpoints on the general population, but I don't think that's what he said.

"genuine people of faith are not going to make these asinine statements"

Essentially this sounds like a case of No True Scotsman - Sullivan seems to be claiming that a 'genuine person of faith' must fit his idea of what faith should imply; by implication, he claims that those 'making asinine statements' are (by definition) not genuine people of faith. This seems to me unlikely to be factually correct... at the very least he is indulging in a high redefinition of 'person of faith'; by then applying this to what Maher said using a broader definition of the term he builds up a nice little straw man to attack...

Though Maher's generalizations were arguably heavy-handed, Sullivan's response pile fallacy upon fallacy. Good rhetoric, though!

I just finished reading the whole transcript. He sounds more reasonable when you read the whole thing. To wit: "the people that seriously take their faith seriously, I think, are also respectful of other people of other faiths, and also respectful of people with no faith at all." Sure, it's his idea of faith, but if all people of faith thought that way, we'd have little to complain about.

Personally, I stand by my description of Bill Maher as having passed from the realm of "smug but entertaining curmudgeon that I usually disagree with but sometimes find entertaining anyway" to full-fledged fruitloop. His antivaccination nuttery and flaky views on "aggregate" toxicity, coupled with his radical animal rights views, point to a loopiness that makes him a poor example for advocates of critical thinking.

Basically, Maher is not nearly as intelligent as he thinks he is, nor does he know nearly as much as he thinks he does. He actually used to be better at thinking on his feet, but I suspect all the altie Kool Aid he's imbibed has affected his ability to make good comebacks when challenged.

I agree w/ Orac RE: Maher. I used to find him entertaining, but when someone champions bullshit, I no longer enjoy them.

OutEast is correct too. No True Scotsman fallacy indeed.

GRW: You should examine the No True Scotsman fallacy more intensively. What is Sullivan's definition of "people that take their faith seriously"? In my experience, these people are the least accepting of my secular point of view. Remember, the whole Xian faith is based on the fact that if you believe Jebus died for your sins, you go to heaven (whether or not you raped children and ate babies). Inherently, they do not want their family and friends to go to hell. It's in their very nature to "spread the word" at least to those they care about.

No quibbles with your assessment, Rockstar. I find way too stinking many Christians proselytizing. And if I were a Christian, I don't see how you could not, given what you said about not wanting your friends and family to go to hell. But again, that's not what this Sullivan guy was talking about. Obviously his faith doesn't make him do that, and presumably there are others out there like that, but how would we know if they're not telling us to get right with Jesus? They're quiet! He also said his view of the way things ought to be with religious folk is they get along with other faiths and those with no faith. I just don't see your beef with what he said exactly, not what you're reading into what you know of most Christians.

I wish he wouldn't dance around the point that belief in some deity is about well founded as belief in the easter bunny.

I am also disappointed that there is no retorte to morality being a religious thing. The easiest argument to that is to ask if there was 100% proof of no god would you become a murderous rapist? Living your life morally because you fear eternal damnation does not make you a moral person.

Got news for Sullivan our prison system is FILLED with christians.

The easiest argument to that is to ask if there was 100% proof of no god would you become a murderous rapist?

One thing that scares me is that some people effectively answer, "Yes."

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