Bill Maher terrifies Bill O’Reilly: An atheist has the Fox News host running scared – Salon.com

Posted: April 12, 2015 in American Politics, Atheism, Democracy, New Atheists, Religion

What flabbergasts O’Reilly & Coulter is nonbelievers are no longer keeping mum about Christianity’s rank stupidity

Jeffrey Tayler

All in all, rationalists should applaud O’Reilly and Coulter for having the courage to so boldly air their mendacity, mischaracterizations, and lopsided analogies, which are in fact illuminating.  Namely, they both argue from a premise so widely accepted that they leave it unstated: that those who believe, without proof, fantastical, far-reaching propositions about the nature of our cosmos and how we should live our lives have nothing to explain, nothing to account for, while those of us who value convictions based on evidence, reasoned solutions, and rules for living deriving from consensus must ceaselessly justify ourselves and genuflect apologetically for voicing disagreement.

Beneath this unstated premise lies another more insidious notion: that there are two kinds of truth – religious and otherwise.  That, say, the assertion that God created the earth in six days and rested on the seventh might not be literally true, but it merits respect as “religious truth” (or, as Reza Aslan puts it, “sacred history”), as a metaphor for some ethereal verity, one so transcendental that boneheaded rationalists obsessed with superfluities like evidence cannot grasp it.

This is sophistry of the most contemptible variety.  By such unscrupulous subterfuge the faithful (and their apologists) commit treason against reason, betray honest discourse, and hope to render their (preposterous) dogmas immune to disproof and open to limitless interpretation, depending on their needs of the moment.  Either an objective proposition (say, that Jesus was the son of God, or that the Prophet Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse) is true or it is untrue.  It cannot be whatever the one advancing it says it is; much less, true for some, but not for others.

via Bill Maher terrifies Bill O’Reilly: An atheist has the Fox News host running scared – Salon.com.


April 13, 2015 – Note: “…a metaphor for some ethereal verity, one so transcendental that boneheaded rationalists obsessed with superfluities like evidence cannot grasp it.” It’s too bad that straw-man based judgments like this ruin an otherwise good point. A metaphor is pretty much an ‘ethereal verity’ by definition so doesn’t this mean any use of metaphor is verboten when speaking to ‘evidence’ obsessed ‘boneheaded rationalists’?

Another funny thing  Jeffrey Tayler does in this extract is to move from Coulter and O’Reilly to all the ‘faithful (and their apologists)’ without batting an eye. From two publicity-seeking media whores to billions of people, just like that! Like magic! Then, to prove my previous point, he reverts to a literal reading of religious myths, he dismisses as ‘sophistry’ any value they may have as metaphorical storytelling, and he insists his dogmatic empiricist interpretation renders them logically inconsistent and therefore devoid of meaning. Anyone who disagrees is ‘contemptible’ and ‘unscrupulous’.

What really tickles my funny-bone is Tayler’s ‘either/or’ tone – taunting, sarcastic, condescending … (ie. cliche – ‘yur either with us or yur with the terrorists’ attitude).  By seeing humanity as fuzzy & grey, I’m an “apologist”. I’m sinister. I’m stupid. I’m worse than Coulter and O’Reilly!

It’s getting to the point where I no longer want to label my state-of-disbelief-in-theism as being an “atheist” – a word that seems to have been hijacked by militants.

Peter Guenther

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