I have deep respect for Bill Maher. It just boggles my mind when I think about why he did what he did.. He had a great opportunity to reach the masses with a great message, but failed miserably.. I have never been so disappointed with a film. I know this is a delayed response (taking into consideration the film was released a while back), however, I just watched the film for the first time last week.
Everyone tells me that it was meant to be a comedic film.. but I am sincerely pissed off. He did everything wrong. He cut and edited everything horribly to only show discussion that either defamed his opponent or furthered his message. Nobody wants to watch intelligent discussion with edits every 5 or so seconds. Furthermore, his arguments were weak and not well thought out. There was nothing in the film that was attention grabbing, it was the same, dull attack on religion the entire time. This film was an embarrassment. He had a real opportunity to reach millions of people.. and he just made a fart joke instead.. At least that's how I see it.
When I say that it hurt the atheist cause, I'm saying that it failed
there are acouple of discussions on the site already on this topic but i'll say that i wish Maher would shut up about religion.
all he does is make fun of the ludicrous aspects of it which is fine enough i guess, he is a comedian after all, but the fact that religions demand you believe in some ludicrous things doesn't speak to the truth or falsity of the god hypothesis. it's not unreasonable to think that if a god existed he might give prescriptions for believing in things that seemed patently ludicrous.
furthermore, he demonstrates a deep misunderstanding of what agnosticism and atheism is. he can be heard to say repeatedly that he doesn't call himself an atheist because he doesn't like the atheist stance, he finds it as distasteful as the theist stance because atheists and theists both claim to know and he acknowledges that he doesn't know. he calls himself an agnostic. but of course the great majority of atheists don't claim to know a god doesn't exist to any greater extent than they would say little green men from Mars don't exist- something i'm sure Maher would feel comfortable saying he knows doesn't exist as well. Maher doesn't understand that the majority of atheists understand that the possibility of a god's existence is acknowledge by atheists but, in light of both the evidence we have for natural phenomena needing no supernatural explanations and because there's simply no evidence of a god's existence, the probability of a god's existence is so vanishingly small as to be beyond reasonable consideration. so no, atheists don't claim to know in the same way that the theists claim to know. that's pure bullshit. atheism is, at a minimum, simply a lack of belief in gods, something Maher clearly lacks himself.
finally, he calls himself an agnostic because he doesn't know. agnosticism, properly defined isn't "i don't know" it's a philosophical position on knowledge that says that human beings as a whole lack the knowledge, and may always lack the knowledge, to be able to answer the question of a god's existence. once both atheism and agnosticism is properly defined we see that Maher is probably an agnostic atheist just like most atheists would describe themselves. he lacks belief while acknowledging that we do not have ultimate knowledge of the universe to be able to say that the probability of a god's existence is zero, he knows gods don't exist in the same way he knows little green men from Mars don't exist. if he's comfortable saying that little green men from Mars, and i have to assume he would be, then why wouldn't he be just as comfortable saying that he knows in the same way that gods don't exist?
I suffered through it. I just kept hoping it would get better, but it never did. I find him amusing on rare occasions, for the most part I don't think much of him. I don't watch TV so unless I find it from an internet source, I have no idea what goes on with what is on the idiot box.