Real Time with Bill Maher - Atheism Discussion May 14, 2010

Bill Maher discusses atheism and religion with Cory Booker, John Avlon and S.E. Cupp.

Comment by Matt on May 19, 2010 at 5:59am
Does anyone else agree with me that the woman doesn't sound like an atheist? Seriously, what atheist makes the mistake of saying that Hitler was an atheist?
Comment by Shine on May 19, 2010 at 6:48am
Wow, I'm embarrassed by how much my blood pressure rises when listening to Cupp speak. She cannot be an atheist if she does not think that religious beliefs are delusions; the very definition of an "atheist" is someone who rejects religious assertions as untrue. If the assertions are untrue, then the corresponding beliefs are false. A false belief is a delusion. If she does not think that religious beliefs are delusions, then she necessarily thinks that they are justified beliefs. If she thinks that religious beliefs are justified, then she cannot be an atheist because she must necessarily accept the beliefs as valid and true. How can she not see this basic logic?

She is only using the label "atheist" because it gives her a nice hook to sell her book. This is not a "No True Scotsman" fallacy because it is quite clear that she has no idea what atheism actually means. Anyone can adopt any label that they like, but if her actual ideological stance violates this label then I consider her to have chosen an inaccurate label.
Comment by luvtheheaven on May 19, 2010 at 7:34am
Yeah that woman likes and defends religion too much to be an atheist - IMO.
Comment by Jake W. Andrews on May 19, 2010 at 8:28am
I love it when christians like Booker make an appeal to emotion that Christians "Are a powerful source of transforming the community", and then in the same breathe says, "Oh well christians dont start wars, people do". So christians are responsible for good, and people are responsible for bad, instead of saying the smart thing, that PEOPLE ARE RESPONSIBLE.
Comment by Shine on May 19, 2010 at 8:32am
Haha, excellent point, Jake. It's like when a sick person recovers, God has saved them. Yet if that same person were to die, often the blame falls upon the doctor instead. (I know some people do the whole "God called them home" speech, but I think that people blame doctors more often.)
Comment by QM on May 19, 2010 at 9:00am
She sounds like an 'atheist apologist', that is if there is such a thing!
Comment by Jānis Ķimsis on May 19, 2010 at 10:16am
Matt - an uninformed atheist might accept that Hitler was an atheist.
Everyone who doesn't think she's really an atheist - you are commiting the No True Scotsman fallacy. If she doesn't think there is a god, she is an atheist, no matter what she thinks of religion. Now, I would agree that she is either dumb, or, more likely, sees where the big bucks are - pandering to religion.
Comment by Shine on May 19, 2010 at 11:08am
Janis, I disagree that it is the "No True Scotsman" fallacy because Cupp has erroneously labeled herself as an atheist. "Atheist" is an ideological position; if her actual ideology contradicts the label, then she has wrongly adopted the term. Her refusal to identify religious beliefs as delusions completely contradicts the ideological stance of atheism.

People can label themselves whatever they want. However, if one's actual ideology contradicts the definition of a chosen label, then the person is falsely labled and, therefore, not truly representative of that ideology. I could label myself as a Christian, but if I run around denying Jesus Christ, I am directly violating the definition of that ideology.

I say that Cupp is not an atheist not because I disagree with her, but only because her actual expressed ideology violates the defintion of atheism.
Comment by Matt on May 19, 2010 at 12:55pm
I feel compelled to write to Bill's show about this women. She has really gotten under my skin.
Comment by James on May 19, 2010 at 10:23pm
Cupp certainly doesn't sound like an Atheist to me either. It's either an act or she's very poorly read. When she was on Hannity's show, she didn't even correct his horribly wrong definition of the term Atheist. The rest... nothing new there. But at least Bill was his usual self. :)

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