Maher's Religulous : More Borat Atheism
Bill Maher's mockumentary Religulous opens in theaters on Friday. Judging by Maher's media interviews, it's more of the same type of sophomoric ridicule that has been so self-defeating to the atheist movement and that I have written about at this blog and in recent articles. Watch the trailer of the film, directed by the high minded genius who brought us Borat.
As this NY Times review describes, Maher chooses the easiest of targets to interview in his film, such as an amusement park Jesus. In the process, Maher makes fun of fundamentalist religion while seldom addressing the moderate dimensions that many Americans find so meaningful.
Maher's claim, like Dawkins and others, is that the goal of his film is consciousness raising among agnostics and rationalists, lending them the strength to speak out against religion. But if Maher's and Dawkins' rants become the model for our own Borat-like conversations with friends and neighbors, as atheists we are likely to be scoring a lot of self-inflicted wounds.
I discuss the impact of the New Atheist movement in this recent video interview with Big Think.
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She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
New research on the public's opinion about genetically modified foods illustrates an alarming cognitive bias.
- A recent study compared the public's scientific literacy with their attitudes on GM foods.
- The results showed that "as the extremity of opposition increased, objective knowledge went down, but self-assessed knowledge went up."
- The results also suggest that, in terms of policy efforts to boost scientific literacy, education about a given topic alone isn't going to be enough.
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