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and now a word from Fran Lebowitz...


Comments (31)


Hmmmm....and here all this time I though small people, like Bill Maher just whine.

Love the quote, John!

But speaking of Bill Maher... since he seemed to be the big buzz here, I decided to check him out because I had never heard of him before (being from Europe and all that!)

Frankly, I have only watched him perform for ~2 hours now, but the picture I am getting is someone who is very interested in ideas, and likes to debate in a rational manner.

Let me explain:

I started by looking at one his videos explaining how the Founding Fathers would've hated "the Teabaggers'" guts.


Essentially his points are: Religion is bad; the Founding Fathers agreed; Tea Party movement is all about religion; religious "Teabaggers" who quote Founding Fathers are evading the fact that Founding Fathers didn't like religion - which makes "Teabaggers" hypocrites; and thus implicitly making the point that the Tea Party movement has little to do with America's founding principles.

IMO, calling the Tea Party movement "religious" is a smear, and Bill is obviously evading a lot at this point. I think it is frankly amazing how very *secular* the Tea Party movement is, since it mainly focuses on economy (limited government, balance the budget etc.) - it makes the religionists (conservatives), agnostics (libertarians) and atheists (objectivists) all come togther, fighting for the same cause. This uniting under one banner of common goals was really what led to the Democrats being thrown out of Congress in November.

I also saw Bill Maher's documentary "Religulous" (2008), where he took a principled stand against religion on *rational* grounds, instead of the purely sceptical "we cannot be certain of anything"-ideas that usually come from leftists and tolerationists nowadays.

So to sum it up: I think I could consider Bill Maher an ally, at least on the debate of religion. On other topics I don't know... yet! I think I will continue studying him more closely.

Ed B:

When I hear "Fran" and "whine" in the same sentence, I immediately think "Fran Drescher"!

I hadn't heard of this Liebowitz before, so I looked her up, very interesting person.



Martin be forewarned - Maher is a legend - in his own mind. Smears are his specialty.

Very nice blog.I like this and will come back very soon.


Great quotation. The one it's a riff on is great as well:

“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.” – Laurence J. Peter

Seriously, Martin? I enjoy reading your posts, & I have nothing against you--but when you stretch out, your reasoning (especially the false associations) can be hard to stomach.

The big lesson I learned from Religulous is how ignorant outsiders view thought/belief systems that are different from their own--for example, how Leftists view republicanism. Religulous is a shallow, scatterbrained attack on easy targets, & parts of it are taken grossly out of context. Maher may appear "intellectual" when he's in attack mode & has a sympathetic editor, but he can't stand up to the same rigor.

When Maher agrees to debate Gary Habermas one-on-one & in depth (& that will NEVER happen), I'll take him seriously. Read up on Anthony Flew & see how he fared--& Maher is a lightweight compared to Flew.

Ed B:

Hey T - I pretty much despise Maher for myriad reasons, but he could wipe the floor with Habermas in a debate. It appears to me that Habermas' main arguments are based on self-referential biblical passages as history, with lip service to other questionable research that he sees as supportive. Big friggin' deal.

As for Antony Flew, browbeating a senile old atheist (now dead) to concede to some vague form of deism in his 2007 book is no great accomplishment, particularly when his co-author did most of the writing.



Flew conceded that theism was as good an explanation as any for why we are here before the Stanford Philosophy department in a debate with Habermas while he was fully active on the debate circuit well before his 2007 book (in the late 90s, I think; it's been too long since I've read the transcript). That book was simply an accumulation of evidence that elucidated his position--nothing more--& you are correct in noting that Flew did "nothing more" than concede that there is a God. One would think that if Flew was manipulated by Fundamentalist Christians, he would have professed faith in Christ. Flew never conceded that point; he conceded that the Gospel account of Christ was possible, but he also stated he did not believe it--nor did he accept the religious component of Biblical history.

I disagree with your assessment of Flew, & I consider the evidence you cite to be spurious. There is more to Habermas than what you perceive as well--but you have to look beyond Google & YouTube.

Anybody interested--read There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind by Anthony Flew & decide for yourself.

I'm no more inclined to blindly follow Habermas than I am to prescribe to the tenets of Objectivism (as Objectivism absolutely dismisses things that might be true)--but at least I'll do my best to remain objective. I'll profess belief in nothing until I have satisfactory proof of its existence, & I'll deny nothing until I have satisfactory proof it does not exist. I'd rather be uncomfortable in inquisitive uncertainty than comfortably, certainly wrong.

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