Religious matters

For ages people have looked in religion for answers for those things they could not understand, later they started searching more in the subject of science they thought could handle, but later in years also came to see that their they often worked with a wet finger and had it totally wrong.

Diagram of a Religious experience

Diagram of a Religious experience (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Still today their are people who swear by religion and others who swear by their own mind or by the minds of scientists.

Who shall tell?

In any case for believers there is a book of books that tells a lot of mankind, the past but also the future. It is the knowledge of histories and prophesies in that book, the Bible, that we can have not such a bad figure of what may come up to us. That Book of books proofed that the many words written in it became and where a truth, so why not for those things which still have to happen?

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A long time professional in Information Technology who has been in the business since the late 1970’s when he worked on IBM mainframes, saw a signboard of a Christadelphian Church:

“Seminar: Brexit and Bible Prophecy”.

which started him thinking about religion again.

He looks at the way how people sought to expound the things they came to witness around them and in nature.

We remember from his words:

  • religion developing as a means of understanding the world
  • details didn’t matter too much to people
  • original idea of evil spirit embedded in a mythos or body of myths
  • whole structure of myths + stories got inflated into a cosmology & a rationale for the way things were => as if that was the way things were, + to some extent = correct.
  • scientific revolution => most societies on Earth recognise earthquakes + landslides not caused by malevolent supernatural beings > by forces of nature <=== taught to kids ==> learn to distinguish truth + fact
  • vast majority of religious officials would have really believe the religious corpus
  • cultures coming into contact => mismatch in religious beliefs => religious wars, crusades & jihads
  • religion = subject in schools, like maths or geography => dissociated from feelings + belief => uneasy when people believe deeply in religion
  • horrified by radicals + extreme cults
  • Science = explanation of the world, observation based ===>> Maybe our descendants may look on science as we look on religion, as necessary, but ultimately wrong headed view of life.

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Preceding pages

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (1)

Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality

Science, scepticism, doubts and beliefs

Are Science and the Bible Compatible?

Science and God’s existence

How to falsify a religion using scientific or historical evidence

Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience

Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual

Science, belief, denial and visibility 2

Bible containing scientific information

Science and the Bible—Do They Really Contradict Each Other?

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (1)

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (2)

Approachers of ideas around gods, philosophers and theologians

Are religious and secular ethicists climbing the same mountain

Is faith rational?

Finding God amid all the religious externals

Do You Expect God’s Answer

People Seeking for God 1 Looking for answers

People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions

Luther on Being a Theologian: Oratio, Meditatio and Tentatio

Framework and vehicle for Christian Scholasticism and loss of confidence

Bill Maher proves atheism does not guarantee rational thinking

An anarchistic reading of the Bible—(1) Approaching the Bible

 

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Additional reading

  1. Words in the world
  2. A Word and helping sites to give answers
  3. Looking for Answers
  4. Are you looking for answers and Are you looking for God
  5. About a human being or not and life
  6. The I Am to explore
  7. Gone astray, away from God
  8. Faith because of the questions
  9. When you don’t know what to do and hate yourself
  10. Does God answer prayer?
  11. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  12. God’s never-ending stream of much-needed mercies
  13. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #6 Words to feed and communicate
  14. Fragments from the Book of Job #7 Epilogue
  15. A Story of the Soldier and a Spider
  16. Leaving behind the lives we have touched.
  17. Solitude

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Further reading

  1. the primitive as reaction, pt. 2
  2. Cara Wall Scheffler: What anthropology can tell us about the origins of religious behaviour
  3. Belief in moralistic gods makes people generous—towards coreligionists
  4. “Judeo-christian values” — already tried that
  5. Formula for atheism is criticism without abstraction
  6. Religiosity: Saving Jesus
  7. Fundamentalism
  8. Impact of Globalization on the Socio-Religious Values of the Igbo People
  9. England and Wales are now predominantly nonreligious
  10. Millennials & Though less religious than older Americans, they are just as spiritual #PewResearch #Organixbook
  11. Religiosity & Americans Skeptical Of God But Think Heaven Is Real, Somehow
  12. Tennessee legislature repeals religious defense for parents who hurt their children by withholding medical care
  13. The Pridefulness In Asking WWJD
  14. Open thread: Susan Jacoby talks about people who go through religious conversion
  15. Religious countries are more unhappy
  16. Unbelief hurts
  17. Debunking Myths in Private Practice
  18. There never was a norse pantheon
  19. The Vanir Sail to Asgard, Heid comes to life and Njord and Frey take the power as “hostages”
  20. Greek Mythology: Typhoeus (Typhon) – Gaia’s last hope
  21. Halal Has No Links To “Terrorism”
  22. Hypatia says….
  23. Wide Asleep
  24. Young immigrants to Canada passionate about spirituality: Todd
  25. The God of Our Misunderstanding
  26. Systems stink
  27. Why I don’t pay “tithe” anymore
  28. Disengaged (released, freed)
  29. An Intro to Me – An Invitation to You
  30. Muslim refugees in Germany threaten ‘impure’ Christians
  31. Muslims sue Town That Refused Permission for a Mosque
  32. I no longer identify as a Christian
  33. Another Example Of Why Beliefs Matter
  34. “So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk.” ~Jesus
  35. Relating With Your Enemies (4)
  36. Humanity Overtaking Insanity
  37. Where Have All the Good Times Gone?
  38. Wings Of The Morning

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Me on the net

English: Christadelphian Meeting Room, Napton ... English: Christadelphian Meeting Room, Napton This Christadelphian chapel stands on the corner of Howcombe Lane in Napton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seen on the signboard of a Christadelphian Church : “Seminar: Brexit and Bible Prophecy”. What?? Anyway, that started me thinking about religion again.

In the days that religion was developing as a means of understanding the world, when natural occurrences like storms and earthquakes were hypothesised to be caused by supernatural agencies, such as spirits and gods, the details didn’t matter too much to people.

English: Cains Folly Landslide (2) Very active... English: Cains Folly Landslide (2) Very active landslide, Greensand sitting on Lias. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If your neighbour believed an evil spirit caused a landslide, it didn’t matter too much if he thought that the spirit was male, while you categorised it as female, and your other neighbour didn’t assign the spirit a gender at all.

Eventually problems arose with this approach. When Johnny arrived home…

View original post 1,113 more words

Scientific Evidence for God

By the years scientists had to review their ideas and several certainties or scientific teachings first having to be accepted by all or not receiving your marks to pass exams were later considered totally wrong.

Certain things are not yet be proven but that does not mean they do not exist or cannot exist.
The same for the Most High Being, it seems very difficult to proof His existence, though when people would listen to their heart and look around them they shall be able to find out. Being created in the image of God we have a feeling of that God in us.

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In this article:

Argument from Origin > a necessary and sufficient cause behind all that exists in the universe > Prime Mover

  • Everything that begins to exist has a cause
  • The universe began to exist
  • Therefore, the universe has a cause

defense of premise

cosmic beginner behind the universe as its ultimate cause

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Argument from Design

exquisite fine-tuning in the universe for life

world of biological complexity within living organisms

modern science uncovering more and more evidence of design > to point back to an intelligent designer

believing and non-believing astronomers >  essentially concluded > conditions in the universe for life are balanced on a “Razors Edge”.

Christian biochemist, Fazale Rana states,

“The information-based systems that define life’s chemistry can be marshaled to make the case that life stems from a Creator…the hallmark features of biochemical systems are identical to those characteristics of human designs that indicate that they must be the work of a mind. Nothing exemplifies this relationship more than the information systems found inside the cell.”

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Preceding:

Pascal’s Possibility

Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics

Science, scepticism, doubts and beliefs

Is faith rational?

Why think there’s a God? (1): Something from Nothing

Why think there is a God? (2) Goldilocks Effect

Why Think There Is a God? (3): Why Is It Wrong?

Why think there is a God (4): And the Rest …

Why think that (4) … God would reveal himself in words

Does He exists?

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Additional reading:

  1. Science and God’s existence
  2. Did the Inspirator exist
  3. Christianity is a love affair
  4. When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation
  5. Hatred and hostility against God
  6. Daring to speak in multicultural environment

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Pascal’s Possibility

Though many may be happy there has been an increase of theological books, we can see that the interest in God has diminished a lot more.

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Theology has wide appeal, and books promoting it are best sellers, but by the common man we notice that he has drifted further apart from any connection with the Divine Creator.
Though the existence of order presupposes the existence of organizing intelligence. Such intelligence can be none other than God’s.” [Dieu existe? Oui (Paris, 1979), Christian Chabanis, quoting Pierre-Paul Grassé, p. 94.]
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It is not because scientifically we can not prove an existence of something that it doe snot exist. The same with God, we not able to proof He does exist or does not exist, makes it not that He would not exist.

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Our minds cannot fully comprehend the Divine Creator. He seems untouchable and incomprehensible. Though if we would look more to the things around us and listen to our inner soul, we would be more sure. Also when we would listen to the Words in the Holy Scripture and let them enter into our heart we shall come to understand lot more things. Listening to the heart will also give lots of answers.

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It is not our minds cannot fully comprehend it that we would have a sound reason for rejecting the existence of God.

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Levels of existence

Levels of existence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Consider examples: (1) Time. No one can point to a certain moment as the beginning of time. And it is a fact that, even though our lives end, time does not. We do not reject the idea of time because there are aspects of it that we do not fully comprehend. Rather, we regulate our lives by it. (2) Space. Astronomers find no beginning or end to space. The farther they probe into the universe, the more there is. They do not reject what the evidence shows; many refer to space as being infinite. The same principle applies to the existence of God.

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Other examples: (1) Astronomers tell us that the heat of the sun at its core is 27,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit (15,000,000° C.). Do we reject that idea because we cannot fully comprehend such intense heat? (2) They tell us that the size of our Milky Way is so great that a beam of light traveling at over 186,000 miles per second (300,000 km/sec) would require 100,000 years to cross it. Do our minds really comprehend such a distance? Yet we accept it because scientific evidence supports it.

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Which is more reasonable—that the universe is the product of a living, intelligent Creator? or that it must have arisen simply by chance from a nonliving source without intelligent direction? Some persons adopt the latter viewpoint because to believe otherwise would mean that they would have to acknowledge the existence of a Creator whose qualities they cannot fully comprehend. But it is well known that scientists do not fully comprehend the functioning of the genes that are within living cells and that determine how these cells will grow. Nor do they fully understand the functioning of the human brain. Yet, who would deny that these exist? Should we really expect to understand everything about a Person who is so great that he could bring into existence the universe, with all its intricate design and stupendous size?

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To remember:

  • criteria for God’s existence
  • to claim that there is no evidence = claim to knowledge which is itself already assuming a criteria of evidence
  • there already exists an unconscious idea
  • how should a God exist on their view
  • reasons for believing in God’s existence =  entirely pragmatic
  • formulate conception of God
  • our inability to truly conceive of perfect goodness
  • when thinking of God, one must think of a being approaching one’s highest ideals of Perfection
  • the better his idea of God => the better he will know God
  • the worse the man, the smaller and more shallow his conception of God will be +> therefore the further from the truth he will be ===> digression
  • Ontotological argument
  • trick of the mind to think that the goodness of a thing counts as positive proof against its existence
  • metaphysical possibility of God’s existence > no proof such a being is an impossibility -> possibility
  • Pascal was right in concluding that the infinite gain one receives by living in a world of objective meaning, in which at the heart of existence really does lie a Perfect Being who shall set all right, and who can ground all logic and truth, easily justifies the risk one takes in believing in something one thinks is even extremely improbable.
  • metaphysics, truth, science, morality, beauty, and a hope in ultimate triumph of good over evil
  • if our faith lasts till the end we shall die with about as much hope as it is possible for the human heart to contain.
  • We must not be tricked into thinking that just because we are gambling we are gambling on an impossibility. Remember, we are betting on a real possibility – a reality which thousands of years of human thought has not been able to prove impossible, and which there is actually good positive evidence for.

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Preceding articles:

Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics

Science, scepticism, doubts and beliefs

Is faith rational?

Why think there’s a God? (1): Something from Nothing

Why think there is a God? (2) Goldilocks Effect

Why Think There Is a God? (3): Why Is It Wrong?

Why think there is a God (4): And the Rest …

Why think that (4) … God would reveal himself in words

Does He exists?

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Additional reading:

  1. Science and God’s existence
  2. Did the Inspirator exist
  3. Christianity is a love affair
  4. When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation
  5. Hatred and hostility against God
  6. Daring to speak in multicultural environment

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Further interesting readings:

First exploration of Pluto and its moons

The epic, first exploration of Pluto and its moons by NASA’s New Horizons mission was completed on Tuesday, 2015 July 14. And it captured the attention and imaginations of people across America and the entire world.

New Horizons is truly an American-made product, and one we can all be proud of. More than 2,500 Americans worked to design, build, launch, and fly New Horizons.

This NASA-industry-academia team included major partners at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, the Southwest Research Institute, Ball Aerospace, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance, KinetX Corporation, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Stanford University, the University of Colorado, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, as well as dozens of other universities and small companies who contributed.

The people who created New Horizons to complete the first reconnaissance of the planets delivered on the promise we made in 2001 to explore the Pluto system. We invested 15 years of our careers and lives to do this, to create knowledge, to show the United States on its game, to inspire kids and adults alike — across the world — and to make you proud.

In addition to gathering incredible science, one of my hopes for the flyby was that we’d excite people about the power of exploration, the sheer audacity of our species, and the great things we can achieve. And it’s working — from an unprecedented response on social media to global news coverage, the exciting and historic nature of New Horizons has really caught on!

It took us more than nine years to cross the 3 billion miles of space to get to Pluto — and you have followed our journey, supported us, and believed in our mission. We can’t thank you enough for that, or for your support of NASA that made New Horizons possible.

Thanks, from the NASA New Horizons team!

The New Horizons team spells out a token of their appreciation at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.

Please continue to follow the mission at www.nasa.gov/newhorizons and http://pluto.jhuapl.edu.

Sincerely,

Alan

Alan Stern
Principal Investigator
NASA New Horizons Mission

Rembrandt (crater)

Rembrandt (crater) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Citizens of Earth their Solar System’s most prominent “dwarf planet”

At the beginning of July, the United States became the first country to reach Pluto — and the first country to explore the entire classical solar system: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

NASA’s New Horizons interplanetary probe has been making its way to Pluto since January 19, 2006, and has been providing the world with the sharpest photos ever seen of our Solar System‘s most prominent “dwarf planet.” On the 14th of July, it made its closest approach to Pluto yet — about 8,000 miles — at around 07:49:57 EDT.

Here’s the photo they took — which, despite travelling at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second), took four and a half hours to reach us here on Earth as it crossed the 3 billion miles between here and Pluto:

The closest photo we've taken of Pluto.

Tyson - Apollo 40th anniversary 2009.jpg

Neil deGrasse Tyson (°1958) American astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and science communicator, hosting the 40th anniversary celebration of Apollo 11 at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, July 2009

That we were able to get so close to Pluto today is a feat whose probability scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson likened to “a hole-in-one on a two-mile golf shot.” He’s right.

Every once in a while, a photo comes along that has the ability to shift not just how we see our place in the universe, but how we see ourselves — not just as Americans, but as citizens of Earth.

This is one of those photos, and I hope you’ll share it with someone today.

Around 8:00 a.m. Eastern 15 July , New Horizons passed within 8,000 miles of Pluto — capturing even better images of the icy dwarf planet than those made earlier in the probe’s approach.

Here is one of those remarkable, newly transmitted images:

This is the closest we've ever been to Pluto.

It’s been a pretty incredible couple of days.

To top it off, say congratulations to the New Horizons team — and then forward this message to a friend who’s been tracking the mission.

More soon —

John

Dr. John P. Holdren
Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy
The White House
@whitehouseostp

Hubble Peers into the Most Crowded Place in the Milky Way

Dr. John P. Holdren, Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy, The White House wanted to share with us:

Check out this cool Hubble photo!

Hubble Peers into the Most Crowded Place in the Milky Way

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image presents the Arches Cluster, the densest known star cluster in the Milky Way. It is located about 25,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Sagittarius (The Archer), close to the heart of our galaxy, the Milky Way. It is, like its neighbor the Quintuplet Cluster, a fairly young astronomical object at between two and four million years old. The Arches cluster is so dense that in a region with a radius equal to the distance between the sun and its nearest star there would be over 100,000 stars! At least 150 stars within the cluster are among the brightest ever discovered in the Milky Way.

These stars are so bright and massive that they will burn their fuel within a short time (on a cosmological scale that means just a few million years). Then they will die in spectacular supernova explosions. Due to the short lifetime of the stars in the cluster the gas between the stars contains an unusually high amount of heavier elements, which were produced by earlier generations of stars.


P.S. — The President liked this photo so much, he tweeted about it!

Take a look at the President's tweet here.

Bill Maher proves atheism does not guarantee rational thinking

[this is a sample of text from the book “Living on the edge” by Jonathan Burke]

 

Bill Maher proves atheism does not guarantee rational thinking

English: Bill Maher attending a ceremony to re...

Bill Maher attending a ceremony to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Arch-skeptic Bill Maher, famous for his anti-religious stance, has spoken out repeatedly in opposition to Western medicine, in particular against vaccination. In his show ‘Real Time With Bill Maher’ (4 March, 2005), Maher said he did not believe in vaccination, and made the false claim that Louis Pasteur had recanted the germ theory of disease.[1]

In his comments on the Larry King Live show (15 December, 2005), Maher claimed that ‘A flu shot is the worst thing you can do’, that flu vaccinations don’t prevent flu, and that repeated flu shots increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.[2]In a 2008 interview on ‘Late Night With David Letterman’, Maher opposed Western medicine and dismissed medical journals.[3]

In an interview on his own show with a heart surgeon (9 October 2009), Maher denied the efficacy of the swine flu vaccine, denied the value of vaccines, and expressed doubt that the swine flu was dangerous.[4] [5]

During the same show, Maher expressed the view that pregnant women should not receive the swine flu vaccination.[6] In a later interview with HBO, Maher insisted he does not deny the germ theory of disease, nor that vaccines can be efficacious in some circumstances, but still maintained his anti-vaccination stance and said he would not be vaccinated himself.[7]

Maher also wrote an enthusiastic endorsement of the book ‘What If Everything You Thought You Knew about AIDS Was Wrong?’ (4th rev. ed. 2006), by Christine Maggiore.[8]   Maggiore’s book denied that HIV causes AIDS, and insisted that people who appear to die from AIDS-related complications in fact die from lack of general health, and illness caused by factors unrelated to HIV or AIDS.[9] Maggiore’s claims have been dismissed by the professional medical consensus, and she was condemned by doctors for contributing to AIDS-related deaths resulting from promotion of her ideas.[10]

In 2009 the Atheist Alliance International presented Maher with the ‘Richard Dawkins Award’ (an award unrelated to Dawkins’ own ‘Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science’). The award is granted each year to ‘an outstanding atheist’ on the basis of criteria including the promotion of ‘public awareness of the nontheist life stance’, and the advocating of ‘increased scientific knowledge’.[11]

This decision was publicized and criticized widely by a number of high profile atheists and skeptics.[12] [13] [14] [15] [16] On 21 July 2009, Richard Dawkins posted a response pointing out that the award had been granted by an organization unrelated to his own, but acknowledged he had been contacted over the decision, agreed with it, and defended it.[17] Dawkins’ defense of the award has also been criticized by prominent skeptics.[18] [19] [20]

________________________

Albert Edelfelt - Louis Pasteur - 1885

Albert Edelfelt – Louis Pasteur – 1885 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[1] ‘I don’t believe in vaccination either. That’s a… well, that’s a… what? That’s another theory that I think is flawed, that we go by the Louis Pasteur theory, even though Louis Pasteur renounced it on his own deathbed and said that Beauchamp(s) was right: it’s not the invading germs, it’s the terrain. It’s not the mosquitoes, it’s the swamp that they are breeding in.’, transcript, ‘Real Time With Bill Maher’, 5 March, 2005.

[2] ‘MAHER: I’m not into western medicine. That to me is a complete scare tactic. It just shows you, you can…  KING: You mean you don’t get a — you don’t get a flu shot? MAHER: A flu shot is the worst thing you can do. KING: Why? MAHER: Because it’s got — it’s got mercury. KING: It prevents flu. MAHER: It doesn’t prevent. First of all, that’s… KING: I haven’t had the flu in 25 years since I’ve been taking a flu shot. MAHER: Well, I hate to tell you, Larry, but if you have a flu shot for more than five years in a row, there’s ten times the likelihood that you’ll get Alzheimer’s disease. I would stop getting your… KING: What did you say? MAHER: That went better in rehearsal but it was still good. Absolutely, no the defense against disease is to have a strong immune system. A flu shot just compromises your immune system.’, transcript, Larry King Live, 15 December, 2005.

[3] ‘Maher: You know, I do love health as an issue. This is what I read about when I have time off. Letterman: Are you interested in medical journals and that sort of thing? Maher: Not Western medicine, I think we’re being poisoned…I would love for you to investigate the possibility that your health issues might have arisen from the fact that you’re being poisoned by America.’, transcript, Late Night With David Letterman (2008).

[4] ‘Mr. Maher: Why would you let them be the ones to stick a disease into your arm? I would never get a swine flu vaccine or any vaccine. I don’t trust the government, especially with my health. Dr. Frist: On the swine flu, I know you really believe that. And let me just … Mr. Maher: (interrupting) You say that like I’m a crazy person. Dr. Frist: Well, here you are. I think here you are.’, transcript, ‘Real Time With Bill Maher’, 9 October, 2009.

[5] ‘Mr. Maher: This is not a very serious flu. Let’s be honest. There must be something more to this. I cannot believe that a perfectly healthy person died of this swine flu. That person was not perfectly healthy. Western medicine misses a lot.’, ibid.

[6] ‘Dr. Frist: I know you don’t believe this, but I’m telling you the facts. Because if you send a signal out telling pregnant women not to get this vaccine … Mr. Maher: (interrupting) I do.  Dr. Frist: Well, you’re wrong. I’m serious.’, ibid.

[7] ‘What I’ve read about what they think I’m saying is not what I’ve said. I’m not a germ theory denier. I believe vaccinations can work. Polio is a good example. Do I think in certain situations that inoculating Third World children against malaria or diphtheria, or whatever, is right? Of course. In a situation like that, the benefits outweigh costs. But to me living in Los Angeles? To get a flu shot? No.’, Slotek, ‘Needling Bill Maher’, Winnipeg Sun, 28 October, 2009.

[8] ‘This is a book everyone should read, and not a moment too soon! One of the most corrosive flaws in America is our tendency toward conformity; in the quest to understand AIDS, it has been stifling. Christine Maggiore prompts the kind of questioning that is the lifeblood of scientific inquiry.’, http://www.aliveandwell.org/html/top_bar_pages/whatif_eng.html.

[9] In 1992 Maggiore tested positive for HIV, but insisted she never had AIDS; a daughter subsequently born to her died on 16 May 2005 (the autopsy revealing HIV, and evidence of AIDS-related death), and Maggiore herself died on 27 December 2008 (although there was no autopsy or biopsy, Maggiore’s death certificate indicates contributing causes which are congruent with HIV infection and AIDS-relatead death).

[10] ‘AIDS researchers and public health advocates have overwhelmingly condemned her work and personal life as deadly. “They caused the death of thousands of South Africans by delaying treatment and spreading infections,” said Dr. Charlie van der Horst, a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Van der Horst referred to a journal study that estimated 330,000 lives were lost to new AIDS infections during the time Mbeki blocked government funding of AZT treatment to mothers.’, Cox, ‘Death of an AIDS Skeptic’, ABC News Medical Unit, 1 January 2009.

[11] ‘The Richard Dawkins Award will be given every year to honor an outstanding atheist whose contributions raise public awareness of the nontheist life stance; who through writings, media, the arts, film, and/or the stage advocates increased scientific knowledge; who through work or by example teaches acceptance of the nontheist philosophy; and whose public posture mirrors the uncompromising nontheist life stance of Dr. Richard Dawkins.’, Atheist Alliance International, 6 May 2011.

[12] ‘Don’t you think you’d better find out about the stances he’s taken on medical questions, Professor Dawkins? After all, Bill Maher is going to be given an award with your name on it, but his level of rationality when it comes to science is more appropriate for the homeopath and alternative medicine mavens you interviewed in part 2 of Enemies of Reason than for the recipient of an award that bears your name. Heck, his level of rationality when it comes to medicine is more appropriate for Deepak Chopra (whom you also interviewed in Enemies of Reason) than it is for a recipient of the Richard Dawkins Award. No, I’m not exaggerating, either. There’s a very good reason why a number of people are ticked off at Maher’s receiving this award.’, Orac, ‘Bill Maher gets the Richard Dawkins Award? That’s like Jenny McCarthy getting an award for public health’, 23 July 2009.

[13]‘Maybe some of the people attending the Atheist Alliance International Convention can educate Professor Dawkins about just what an anti-science loon is being given an award, part of the criteria for which is to champion science and reason.’, ibid.

[14] ‘Thanks to an anti-religion movie (Religulous) and his frequent stance as a “skeptic,” many of my fellow skeptics consider him one of our own, even to the point of giving him an award named after Richard Dawkins. Yet, when it comes to medicine, nothing could be further from the truth. Maher’s own words show that he has anti-vaccine views, flirts with germ theory denialism and HIV/AIDS denialism, buys into extreme conspiracy theories about big pharma, and promotes animal rights pseudoscience. That’s not a skeptic or a supporter of science-based medicine.’, Gorski, ‘“Oh, come on, Superman!”: Bill Maher versus “Western medicine”’, 7 September, 2009.

[15] ‘Note one of the major criteria for the award: “Advocates increased scientific knowledge.” Certainly Maher earns an EPIC FAIL on that aspect, at least. Given that Richard Dawkins made an excellent two-part documentary about pseudoscience for the BBC, entitled The Enemies of Reason, the second part of which was primarily about quackery and medical pseudoscience, you’d think that he’d be unhappy about having an award bearing his name be given to a person who would not have been out of place as one of the quacks that Dawkins skewered in the second half of his documentary, The Irrational Health Service.’, ibid.

[16] ‘Giving the Richard Dawkins Award to Maher was the equivalent of giving a prominent advocate of creationism and intelligent design a science award because of their opposition to the 911 truther movement. I suspect that such a decision would not sit well with Richard Dawkins and some others who were perceived to be soft on AAI’s decision. The analogies to Miller and Hitchens are not apt – Maher is so far outside the scientific mainstream on medicine that it is incongruous to give him any science award.’, Novella, ‘Bill Maher Followup’, 12 October 2009.

[17] ‘The Richard Dawkins Award (RDA) has no connection with the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (RDFRS). The RDA was instituted by the Atheist Alliance International (AAI) several years before RDFRS was founded, or even thought of. This year, the committee of AAI took the decision to give the RDA to Bill Maher. They asked me, as an individual, if I approved, and I was delighted to do so because I find him, and especially Religulous, very funny. I know nothing of any stance he may have taken on medical questions. This year, RDFRS agreed to jointly sponsor the annual conference of AAI. The decision to do so had nothing to do with the AAI’s decision to give the RDA to Bill Maher.’, Dawkins, 21 July 2009.

[18] ‘In essence, the great Richard Dawkins, the man who is viewed as standing up for science and reason against the forces of superstition and pseudoscience, the man who made a documentary largely about medical pseudoscience (The Enemies of Reason) that contained one of the best illustrations of why homeopathy is nonsense I’ve ever seen, in essence pled ignorance. That in and of itself wouldn’t have been so bad. What was so shocking to me was that, given his history and prior stances on medical pseudoscience, Dawkins showed such an utter lack of curiosity over whether there was anything to the allegations against the person receiving an award that bears his name. In other words, he came across as simply not really caring much about whether Maher promoted anti-vaccine views and quackery or not, as long as Maher was against religion.’, Gorski, ‘“Oh, come on, Superman!”: Bill Maher versus “Western medicine”’.

[19] ‘It’s a shame that neither Bill Maher, Richard Dawkins, the Atheist Alliance International, nor a fair fraction of other self-proclaimed “skeptics” seems to “get it” with regard to this simple fact. From Maher, I don’t expect any better. Richard Dawkins and the Atheist Alliance, however, should know that actions speak louder than words, and right now their actions belie their dedication to science and the promotion of scientific knowledge.’, ibid.

[20] ‘On RichardDawkins.net Josh Timonen gave was [sic] appears to be the official defense of the decision: [“]Whilst Richard was not involved in the decision, he is nevertheless happy to go along with it. Just as he worked with Bishop Harries to protest against creationist schools in the UK, and just as he regularly recommends Kenneth Miller’s books on evolution to religious people, he understands that it is not a prerequisite to agree with a person on all issues in order to unite in support of a common objective. Richard and Christopher Hitchens don’t see eye to eye on all political matters, but that doesn’t stop them from working together against the dangers of religion. Honoring the creation of ‘Religulous’ does not imply endorsement of all of Bill Maher’s other views, and does not preclude Richard’s arguing against them on future occasions. It is simply showing proper appreciation of his brilliant film.[”] This misses the point, in my opinion. If the award were solely for Religulous, and that were clear, I don’t think anyone would have a problem with it. But the award specifically cites “science” as a necessary criterion for the award’, Novella, ‘Bill Maher Followup’, 12 October 2009.

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