New Atheist Promotes “AIDS Cure”

Atheist activist Bill Maher recently helped promote a quack who claims he cured Charlie Sheen, and entire countries, of AIDS with the milk of arthritic goats:

Maher hosted—and seemed to take seriously—Dr. Samir Chachoua, who famously injected himself with Charlie Sheen’s blood while treating the HIV-positive actor in Mexico, as revealed on an episode of Dr. Oz that ran earlier this month. Chachoua is not licensed to practice medicine in the U.S., a fact glossed over by Maher, who repeatedly gave the “doctor” the benefit of the doubt as a beacon of hope in the fight against AIDS. Maher furthermore denigrated the usefulness of the antiretroviral drugs that are proven life-savers to promote Chachoua’s supposed miracle cure.

As a writer for salon.com notes:

It’s not exactly surprising that Bill Maher would lap this sort of thing up. Last year, Mediate chronicled his lengthy history of vaccine skepticism, and in April, he welcomed Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to show for a conversation about vaccines, and said, “It astounds me that liberals, who are always suspicious of corporations… and defending minorities, somehow when it comes to this minority that’s hurt, it’s like, ‘You know what? Shut the f__k up and let me take every vaccine that Merck wants to shove down my throat.’”

And as noted AIDS activist Peter Staley said this weekend on Facebook, Maher “has a history of AIDS denialism,” including blurbing the late Christine Maggiore’s book“What If Everything You Thought You Knew about AIDS Was Wrong?”

The thing to keep in mind here is that Maher is a leader in the New Atheist movement.  He has been given the Richard Dawkins award.  He was on the Advisory Board for Sam Harris’ failed think tank, Project Reason.  He spoke to the crowd at the 2012 Reason Rally.  He is enlisted to write book blurbs for Dawkins. And he is often promoted on Jerry Coyne’s blog.

It’s hilarious to watch the New Atheists posture as if they represent reason and science when one of their leaders is Bill Maher.

 

 

 

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21 Responses to New Atheist Promotes “AIDS Cure”

  1. Bilbo says:

    I usually enjoy Maher’s humor, but I don’t take his science seriously. But when Lynn Margulis doubted the link between HIV and AIDS, I took it a little more seriously. I’m still not sure what to make of her doubt.

  2. Doug Evans says:

    If Maher ignored this information he’s beyond arrogant, he’s dangerous
    http://gawker.com/charlie-sheens-blood-returned-to-detectable-levels-of-h-1752559140

  3. tildeb says:

    Other New Atheists have been taking Maher to task for this faith-based thinking since forever. A good summary is here. And there was much criticism for the Dawkin’s award because of it. The contrary argument from the award panel was that his his contribution of the documentary Religulus made him deserving as so he was given that award. Many NA’s vehemently disagreed and for just this reason but what’s done is done.

    What I don’t find is any prominent NA supporting Maher’s anti-vax stance (that he likes to call his anti-flu position). On this issue, he is fringe. But as for decrying the privilege of religious claims in the public domain, which is what New Atheism is all about, he remains very much a New Atheist.

    Look, faith-based beliefs are always going to be seductive in all their guises because they’re easy and they make one feel one has special insight into an issue. No one is immune, not even New Atheists, not even more famous New Atheists. This is why some of us keep hammering away at the importance of recognizing which method – evidence adduced or imposed – is used to justify the particular belief. Faith-based beliefs are a major root cause for much pernicious effects. Religion is the mother ship of this method and therefore is deserving of the greatest criticism. But New Atheism is not about only criticizing religious belief per se; it is about criticizing faith-based beliefs in all its forms. Many atheists have written about exactly this for many more years than only since 9/11, but there is no question this event was a catalyst for a new kind of atheism, an activist atheism, one that targeted this mother ship in particular. Those atheists and faitheists who then criticize New Atheism are part of the problem of giving cover and succor to those who presume faith-based beliefs really do have a justified and legitimate place at the table of human concerns – in science, in government, in law, in defense, in education, in medicine, in social policies and foreign affairs, and so on.As long as we have support for the legitimacy of faith-based beliefs in the public domain, we will have atheists criticizing it. That’s what makes such an atheist a New Atheist and not some imaginary allegiance to some imaginary cabal of imaginary leaders as falsely presented here time after time.

  4. Michael says:

    Other New Atheists have been taking Maher to task for this faith-based thinking since forever. A good summary is here.

    David Gorski has taken the lead in critiquing Maher, yet I can’t recall someone like Dawkins, Harris, or Coyne promoting such critiques. Nevertheless, I see no evidence that he is a New Atheist. In fact, he has routinely criticized Dawkins’ tweets.

    And there was much criticism for the Dawkin’s award because of it.

    Not among the New Atheist leaders. Did Coyne stand on principle and refuse the Richard Dawkins award because it was given to an anti-vaxxer? Nope. Did Harris ever kick him off the advisory board of Project Reason? No. Did Dawkins solicit a book blurb from Maher for his new book? Yes. Have Dawkins, Harris, Pinker, or Coyne publicly bashed Maher for promoting goat’s milk as a cure for AIDS? Nope.

    Maher is a leader in the New Atheist movement who is embraced by other leaders. Oh, they might muster up the courage to say a few snippy things about him now and then, but in the end, they will not bash him, shun him or deplatform him. As long as he has ratings and influence, they will scratch his back in return for him scratching their back.

    The contrary argument from the award panel was that his his contribution of the documentaryReligulus made him deserving as so he was given that award.

    Of course. They were happy to give him a pass on his anti-vaxxer views as long as he helped them bash the right target. Being pro-science was never a requirement.

    Many NA’s vehemently disagreed and for just this reason but what’s done is done.

    Yes, what’s done is done. By giving him that award, the New Atheists have falsified their official “pro-science, pro-reason” posture.

    What I don’t find is any prominent NA supporting Maher’s anti-vax stance

    Maher is a prominent NA who espouses ant-vaccine and anti-modern medicine positions on a regular basis. That other leaders don’t support his views is as meaningful as other NAs not supporting Harris’s psychedelic-drugs-as-atheist-spirituality view. What is meaningful is their embrace of Maher himself. They help promote him and his show. They give him awards and give him a seat on their advisory boards and give him a place for a book blurb on their books. He is one of them and thus helps to define the NA movement.

    I’m curious. If a prominent neo-Nazi comes out as a NA, would the other Gnu leaders likewise prop him up as long as the neo-Nazi spent some time decrying “the privilege of religious claims in the public domain.” I’m not saying Maher is as bad as a neo-nazi, but I’m wondering where they draw the line. For clearly the line is not drawn around being pro-science and pro-reason.

  5. tildeb says:

    The award is determined and awarded by the Atheist Alliance International. At that ‘ceremony’ where Maher received the award, PZ tells us,

    “The good news for all the critics of this choice is that Dawkins pulled no punches. In his introduction, he praised Religulous and thanked Maher for his contributions to freethought, but he also very clearly and unambiguously stated that some of his beliefs about medicine were simply crazy. He did a good job of walking a difficult tightrope; he made it clear that the award was granted for some specific worthy matters, his humorous approach to religion, while carefully dissociating the AAI from any endorsement of crackpot medicine. It won’t be enough, I know, but the effort was made, and talking to Dawkins afterwards there was no question but that Maher’s quackery was highly objectionable. I also got the impression that he felt the critics of the award were making good and reasonable points, and that he felt the awkwardness of the decision.”

    So, does the granting of the award mean Dawkins in some way goes along with the anti-vax faith-based position of Maher? You seem to think so.

    According to the Richard Dawkins Foundation,

    “Whilst Richard was not involved in the decision (of the award), 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.”

    Your contrary belief is a reflection about you and not reality.

    To be clear, there is no official New Atheist dogma, no central authority figure or even leaders beyond the Four Horsemen who really brought into public focus why respecting religious beliefs in the public domain is so pernicious. There is a very loose sense of being part of the larger atheist community when one identifies as New Atheist and a shared practice of criticizing religious privilege publicly, from the Friendly Atheist to Steve Pinker and Steve Novella, from Carl Sagan to Bill Nye and Victor Steiner, from Salman Rusdie to Ayaan Hirsi Ali (whose 24 hour protection detail is paid for by the likes of Harris and Maher and Dawkins and Hitchen’s estate, people you try to vilify repeatedly) and thousands upon thousands more… many of whom watch videos of debates and post comments all over the internet… a place where such religious (and all kinds of denialism like Maher’s anti-vax) beliefs come to die.

    This is the base from which the younger generation learns that it’s okay not to believe in Oogity Boogity, not to accept the pseudo-reasoning presented by people like you and the ‘Fesser that attempts to vilify these comments but to go to the source and learn for one’s self, who understand that questioning religious beliefs and withdrawing respect for religious edicts is not a sign of immorality but intellectual honesty by a lot of other big brained and very moral people.

    This is the ‘movement’ you are trying to vilify and it’s not working for you. It simply casts you as a twit, too concerned with your own myopic and malicious fury for this ongoing success with the younger generation to bother representing others and what they think fairly and honestly, opinions without so much preordained and pious rancor as you employ repeatedly.

    You see, Michael, no matter how much sophisticated philosophy you use to try to attempt to justify metaphysical nonsense incompatible with how we understand reality to operate, the pendulum really is swinging in favour of reason and evidence for our public domain policies – the central goal of this ‘movement’ – no matter who stands to impede it, New Atheist or otherwise. You think you’re behind the pendulum but in reality you’re just in the way.

  6. Doug says:

    @tildeb,
    What exactly are your “public domain policies”? Do you have a manifesto?

  7. Dhay says:

    tildeb > You see, Michael, no matter how much sophisticated philosophy you use to try to attempt to justify metaphysical nonsense …

    You have used that term, “sophisticated philosophy” a number of times now. Jerry Coyne loves it, too, in such constructions as “sophisticated philosophy” and “sophisticated theology”; in both cases, it seems to be code for “I don’t have to capacity to understand it, and certainly not the capacity to refute it, so I’ll wave my hands in a mocking manner”; I rather think you use it the same way.

  8. tildeb says:

    Those would be policies in the public domain. And, no, there is no manifesto other than understanding why public domain secularism is a necessary standard for private domain religious freedom.

  9. tildeb says:

    @ Dhay,

    It’s code for, “I’m not going to get diverted into a reading list argument.” The diversion is a favourite of the ‘Fesser’s who goes to this well so many times he might as well live there.

  10. Michael says:

    The award is determined and awarded by the Atheist Alliance International.

    And it is named the Richard Dawkins Award and it was personally delivered by Richard Dawkins.

    At that ‘ceremony’ where Maher received the award, PZ tells us,

    “The good news for all the critics of this choice is that Dawkins pulled no punches.

    Ah, this was back when PZ was still one of the good ol’ boys in the NA movement, thus keep the bias in mind when it comes a claim about pulling “no punches.” That sounds like PZ spin.

    In his introduction, he praised Religulous and thanked Maher for his contributions to freethought, but he also very clearly and unambiguously stated that some of his beliefs about medicine were simply crazy.

    Here’s the only video I could find of the speech:

    As far as I can tell, we have no evidence Dawkins ever clearly and unambiguously stated that some of Maher’s beliefs about medicine were simply crazy. Do you have any evidence?

    If you want me to accept on faith that Dawkins clearly and unambiguously stated that some of his beliefs about medicine were simply crazy, okay, but I am left wondering how much time he spent on this? 10 seconds? 30 seconds? You tell me.

    He did a good job of walking a difficult tightrope; he made it clear that the award was granted for some specific worthy matters, his humorous approach to religion, while carefully dissociating the AAI from any endorsement of crackpot medicine. It won’t be enough, I know, but the effort was made,

    Assuming the effort actually occurred (since I can’t find any evidence of it), we would also have to ask why such a mixed message was sent. Simple. David Gorski raised a huge stink over this, forcing Dawkins to offer up some kind of gentle criticism. If Gorski had remained silent, would Dawkins have felt the need to send a mixed message. Doubtful.

    Look, if Dawkins was truly pro-science and pro-reason, he would have stood on principle and objected to the award. Dawkins had to power the force the AAI to withdraw their award. At the very least, he could have refused to personally hand the award to Maher. He did none of this.

    Since praising Maher with his award, perhaps Tildeb can provide some links where Dawkins expands on this buried thesis that Maher’s beliefs about modern medicine are crazy. Consider it a challenge – provide a list of articles where Dawkins goes after Maher for his quack ideas about medicine.

    In the meantime, I note that Tildeb ignores the fact that Dawkins solicited a book blurb from the anti-vaxxer. I also note that Tildeb ignores the fact that Maher was always part of Sam Harris’s project reason, even after Harris must have known about the anti-vax and anti-medicine views.

    So, does the granting of the award mean Dawkins in some way goes along with the anti-vax faith-based position of Maher? You seem to think so.

    No, it means Dawkins is not being honest when he sells himself as pro-science and pro-reason. Pay attention.

  11. Kevin says:

    So let’s see, thus far we have from the New Atheist representative:

    1. a demonstrated inability to refute God-belief
    2. an inability to provide evidence to support the many assertions presented as fact
    3. an inability to spell “Feser” correctly, or even worse, a lack of maturity to do so
    4. either a rational inability to detect, or an emotional inability to acknowledge, the numerous inherent flaws within the New Atheist movement
    5. an inability to demonstrate that atheism is a more rational position than God-belief
    6. an inability to demonstrate that the anti-theistic foundation for New Atheism is a positive force for humanity, either in goals or deeds
    7. the tendency to insult those atheists who do not agree with the anti-religious bigotry of New Atheists
    8. an inability to separate one’s own opinion from fact, as evidenced by claiming to be a spokesperson for Reality.

    In other words, yet another run-of-the-mill New Atheist using the exact same failed arguments and fallacies as all the rest. Apparently the list of arguments that New Atheists go online to learn and use against Christians hasn’t been expanded since 2005 or so.

  12. TFBW says:

    @tildeb:

    So, does the granting of the award mean Dawkins in some way goes along with the anti-vax faith-based position of Maher? You seem to think so.

    Nowhere does anyone suggest that Dawkins goes along with Maher’s anti-vax position. You are so preoccupied with the stereotype of your opponents that you can’t see past it to reality. I would issue this statement as a warning to you, given that you repeatedly invoke “Reality” as a basis for things, but it’s apparent from your frequent rants that you’re invested in the idea that your New Atheist world view is reality. As such, I doubt that pointing out actual reality, right there on the page in front of you, will do anything but provoke more of the same ranting. Please prove me wrong.

  13. tildeb says:

    @ TFBW

    You say Nowhere does anyone suggest that Dawkins goes along with Maher’s anti-vax position. And then build an imaginary case around this assertion of yours as if it were true. It’s not.

    Michael does make just such a suggestion:

    “Maher is a leader in the New Atheist movement who is embraced by other leaders. Oh, they might muster up the courage to say a few snippy things about him now and then, but in the end, they will not bash him, shun him or deplatform him. As long as he has ratings and influence, they will scratch his back in return for him scratching their back.”

  14. tildeb says:

    @ Kevin

    First you say “So let’s see, thus far we have from the New Atheist representative:

    1. a demonstrated inability to refute God-belief”

    I haven’t even started to refute ‘God-belief’, Kevin. If I had, you would know it.

    What I have done is refute the METHOD used to justify belief in all kinds of Oogity Boogity and woo including belief in gods or a god. That you can’t even grasp this fundamental starting point to begin your summary with anything approaching an accurate summation demonstrates your agenda here: it’s not to criticize my line of reasoning or indicate where it goes astray but to misrepresent what I have said and insert your own malicious version. That’s not nice, Kevin. In fact, it’s a transparently dishonest way to try score points against an opponent. We’re not opponents, although I have no doubt you see yourself as such and so cast me in your self-directed movie and present a script of what you think I should say. The problem here is that it’s fiction. And you take to it like a fish to water.

  15. Michael says:

    Michael does make just such a suggestion:

    Wrong. What I am pointing out is that the other Gnu leaders are willing to give Maher a pass on his quack views, and overlook them, as long as it is in their interests to do so. The ends justify the means. In the world of New Atheism, its no big deal if you have some crazy anti-vax ideas as long as you bash Christians loud and often enough.

  16. Kevin says:

    You are just like every other New Atheist. You have an unjustifiably high opinion of your own powers of reason, with no evidence to back it up. Then when you fail to convince someone that your long-refuted recycled talking points you got off the internet or some crappy New Atheist book are actually lethal bullets aimed at the heart of religion, faith, God, etc, you immediately conclude that the fault lies with the other person being deluded, too emotionally invested to accept Reality (TM), or having a malicious agenda against the poor benign New Atheists.

    The reality is that New Atheists as a movement are primarily defined by arrogance, poor reasoning, and a hatred of religion. It is thus little wonder that your critics can’t find many nice things to say about the movement. But go on thinking you are some paragon of reason and one of the very few Prophets of Reality that must guide the blind out of the religious darkness into a secular utopia where these uncanny logical powers will ensure that everyone agrees on all issues. Because by golly gee, if us poor unreasoning Christians were to see New Atheists tearing each other apart on other issues where they apparently can’t agree on what Reality (TM) says, then how can we know we should trust their reasoning on religion?

  17. Michael says:

    There is a very loose sense of being part of the larger atheist community when one identifies as New Atheist and a shared practice of criticizing religious privilege publicly, from the Friendly Atheist to Steve Pinker and Steve Novella, from Carl Sagan to Bill Nye and Victor Steiner, from Salman Rusdie to Ayaan Hirsi Ali (whose 24 hour protection detail is paid for by the likes of Harris and Maher and Dawkins and Hitchen’s estate, people you try to vilify repeatedly) and thousands upon thousands more… many of whom watch videos of debates and post comments all over the internet… a place where such religious (and all kinds of denialism like Maher’s anti-vax) beliefs come to die.

    This is the base from which the younger generation learns that it’s okay not to believe inOogity Boogity, not to accept the pseudo-reasoning presented by people like you and the ‘Fesser that attempts to vilify these comments but to go to the source and learn for one’s self, who understand that questioning religious beliefs and withdrawing respect for religious edicts is not a sign of immorality but intellectual honesty by a lot of other big brained and very moral people.

    This is the ‘movement’ you are trying to vilify and it’s not working for you. It simply casts you as a twit, too concerned with your own myopic and malicious fury for this ongoing success with the younger generation to bother representing others and what they think fairly and honestly, opinions without so much preordained and pious rancor as you employ repeatedly.

    You see, Michael, no matter how much sophisticated philosophy you use to try to attempt to justify metaphysical nonsense incompatible with how we understand reality to operate, the pendulum really is swinging in favour of reason and evidence for our public domain policies – the central goal of this ‘movement’ – no matter who stands to impede it, New Atheist or otherwise. You think you’re behind the pendulum but in reality you’re just in the way.

    Yes, Tildeb, faith in the Coming Gnutopia is part of New Atheist dogma. We’ve all heard it before. Look, I know you are tuning us out, but you should consider the possibility that your idealistic perspectives are divorced from reality. Let’s stick with the hard facts of reality, shall we?

    Even though Jerry Coyne was a NYT bestseller and had a mainstream publisher, his book flopped. And it received only a handful of reviews, most of them negative. In fact, the only positive reception for the book came from within the Gnu atheist community. It hasn’t garnered any traction outside the Gnu community.

    Consider Richard Dawkins’ latest book. Another flop. Even members of the Gnu community were sorely disappointed by it. What’s more, Dawkins has come to be something of a joke because of his twitter account. Most of the news stories about Dawkins these days are the latest example of him putting his foot in his twitter mouth. Large segments of the atheist community now vilify him, where even PZ Myers blocks him on twitter.

    And what about Harris? His Project Reason was a flop. Harris is currently in the process of quietly tossing it into the memory hole. And it has been 3 months since his last blog entry. It sure looks like Harris is gradually drifting away from the New Atheist community with his recent interests in promoting veganism and meditation, coupled to his increasing persistent attacks of the political left.

    Finally, as for your laundry list of names – Friendly Atheist to Steve Pinker and Steve Novella, from Carl Sagan to Bill Nye and Victor Steiner, from Salman Rusdie to Ayaan Hirsi Ali…..Harris and Maher and Dawkins and Hitchens – ever notice how it’s the same list of names year after year after year? Recruitment of new New Atheist leaders hasn’t been easy the last decade.

    It’s becoming increasingly clear that New Atheism is long past its peak. In fact, it’s quite interesting to note that although secularism has been growing, New Atheism has not been able to exploit this and grow itself proportionately. Instead, we see this constant drip of article after article criticizing New Atheism, all written by…..atheists. You might say the fastest growing subpopulation of atheists are ex-New Atheists.

    In the end, there has always been an extreme militant atheist subculture (just think of Madalyn Murray O’Hair and her network of angry atheists). I realize you believe strongly your subculture will eventually breakout and mainstream itself one day. But the evidence from reality tells us that is just wishful thinking. And given the manner in which your thinking is saturated with wishful thinking, why are you surprised that no one seems to grant you any credibility when you posture as a champion of reason and evidence?

  18. TFBW says:

    @tildeb:

    Michael does make just such a suggestion …

    And then you quote something which in no way suggests that Dawkins goes along with Maher’s anti-vax stance, but rather that New Atheists are generally willing to turn a blind eye to Maher’s anti-vax stance on the grounds that he’s vociferously anti-religious, and that’s what really matters. That’s the whole point being made here: New Atheists posture as though Science, Reason, and Reality are the just causes which demand opposition to Religion, God-belief, and other forms of Oogity Boogity (the generic, disparaging catch-all term), but that cart is actually well in front of the alleged horse. That’s why someone like Maher can be embraced for his opposition to religion, despite the fact that he’s way off-message with his science: the Science and Reason bluster is just a veneer; a pretext.

    I haven’t even started to refute ‘God-belief’, Kevin. If I had, you would know it.

    You, sir, are the perfect example of Walter Mitty atheism. Abandon hope all ye who argue here.

  19. Kevin says:

    Lol, you linked to a Feser article so it will be ignored.

    Out of curiosity, I went looking for the origin of “the Fesser”, which was perhaps the secret superhero identity Feser assumes to fight crime or something. Turns out that tildeb has been intentionally mispelling Feser’s name for at least two years now, based on comments I’ve found all over the Internet. That is just…sad. Walter Mitty atheism indeed.

  20. Dhay says:

    tildeb > It [ie Sophisticated philosophy] is code for, “I’m not going to get diverted into a reading list argument.” The diversion is a favourite of the ‘Fesser’s who goes to this well so many times he might as well live there.

    I have some sympathy with this argument, should what you call the “reading list argument” be used as a mere fob-off, but the question arises as to whether Edward Feser does try to merely fob off Jerry Coyne, and I don’t think he does.

    One of Coyne’s strengths is the excellent articles, which he takes considerable time and trouble to research, write up and post on his website, explaining aspects of biology, especially evolutionary biology. If I were so ill-advised as to jump into Coyne’s field of expertise arguing that one of Coyne’s articles is wrong, and falls apart, because of [insert clueless inanity here], Coyne would be perfectly justified if, instead of trying to summarise years of study into a blog-response or newspaper article length reply, he were to advise me to first spend three years of full-time supervised learning the basics (BSc) of Biology, and another year or several learning the speciality to the requisite level to make a properly informed critique. On the way the student should expect to be set course books to study in depth, and a wider reading list.

    Coyne is in that position regarding philosophy (and also theology); his two-and-a-bit years of part-time study, fitted around a full-time university professorship, fitted around astonishingly numerous and voluminous posts on his blog, and fitted around planning, composing and revising his recent book — two-and-a-bit years of part-time study of philosophy and theology are woefully inadequate preparation for plunging in and telling experts in their fields that they are wrong.

    Coyne’s philosophy and theology tutor during that period, Eric Macdonald evidently thinks Coyne was a lousy student (“Coyne is completely out of his element in philosophy”), failed his ‘coursework’ (“I’ve lost count of the times that I have regaled him with similar criticisms”), and failed his ‘final exam’ (“Wonderful demolition of Coyne’s book”):

    Wonderful demolition of Coyne’s book. I’ve been telling Coyne that this is what he has been doing for so long that I’ve lost count of the times that I have regaled him with similar criticisms. Coyne is completely out of his element in philosophy.

    (As an aside, there’s a post each and every day (ie it’s obsessive) about a talking cat: are you quite sure Coyne’s is the voice of reason.)

    Had Coyne kept clear of Scholastic Philosophy, Feser’s speciality, he could have expected to avoid the instruction to come back when he’d studied the subject properly, but instead Coyne jumped in with both feet in his mouth, and got told that to avoid that, he needs to study and actually understand the subject.

    The final twist of the knife is Feser’s criticism of Coyne’s understanding of the philosophy of science as being hopelessly outdated. It seems to me that we can put it this way, that although Coyne is an expert technician when it comes to science, specifically Biology, he doesn’t actually understand the rationale behind what he is doing.

    *

    But your claim that Feser’s “reading list argument” is a diversion is itself a diversion: in the first of Feser’s critiques, Feser complains that Coyne doesn’t know the elementary basics of how to do philosophy; that has nothing to do with reading lists, except to tell us that Coyne has not only failed to read the advanced and specialised parts of philosophy, he hasn’t read even the foundational material. That Jainism cannot be both a religion and not a religion is about as basic as you can get — not only does that fail examination by what you call “sophisticated philosophy”, it really ought to fail examination by what in the The Worst Atheist Book? thread you described as follows: “He [Feser] reserves that philosophical right to judge and condemn the use of common philosophy by New Atheists …” * — if it doesn’t fail examination by the New Atheist “common philosophy” (whatever that might be), then the New Atheist “common philosophy” is evidently so much bollocks; and it even fails examination by that totally non-philosophical mode of thought called common-sense. It doesn’t take a reading list to know that Coyne here and in Feser’s other examples, is demonstrably incapable of philosophical (and common-sense) thinking.

    (* Source: https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/the-worst-atheist-book/#comment-11617)

    And that is but one example.

    Your “diversion” claim is also a diversion from Feser’s second critique, which criticises Coyne on the grounds of his failure to understand Alvin Plantinga’s books and arguments, let alone criticise cogently — these are not books and arguments which Feser demands Coyne must go away and, with great expense of time and effort, to read, but books and arguments which Coyne claims to have already read.

    So, your claim of Feser that …

    It [ie “Sophisticated” philosophy] is code for, “I’m not going to get diverted into a reading list argument.” The diversion is a favourite of the ‘Fesser’s who goes to this well so many times he might as well live there.

    … is diversionary bullshit.

  21. Doug says:

    @tildeb,
    On the one hand, you talk about addressing a “METHOD”. On the other, you reply to Kevin:

    …misrepresent what I have said and insert your own malicious version. That’s not nice…

    But the fact is that all New Atheist talk of faith being a “METHOD” is a misrepresentation of Christian faith — a malicious version inserted as a strawman of the real thing. (As every one of the commenters here has taken pains to attempt to explain to you again and again and again).
    As a result, we can add “a blatant hypocrisy” to all the (now long) list of valid criticisms of the New Atheists.

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