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Bill Maher a Bigot? UFO’s more likely than the Christian Story? Is the Catholic League Right to be Offended?

So I just saw on Fox News Donohue of the Catholic League talking about the subject of their news release.  He was pretty hot about it.  The offending statement- as taken from the news release- is this:

“But I think it is much more likely that there could be space ships from outer space, than what a lot of things people believe. People still believe, you know, excuse me I know I may inject religion into every show but UFO’s are a lot more likely than a space god flew down bodily and you know who was the Son of God and you know had sex with a Palestinian woman, and um…”

If anyone can find the original source, I’d appreciate it.  For now, I will assume that this is accurate and in context.

I have a problem with this and it isn’t with Maher.  Maher is only saying the things that Maher says.  Donohue interprets this as Christian bashing, and insofar as it is true that no one like Maher would say things like this about Islam (for fear of his life), it is also true that this is actually a standard argument that has emerged from the skeptical community.  Rather than be offended by it, we should respond to it.

I’ve got a guy on my forum who thinks he’s a logic ninja who makes basically the same argument.  He’ll grant every miracle in the Bible (by ‘Bible’ he only means the New Testament and by New Testament he only means the Gospels) but he argues that as long as any naturalistic theory can be conceived of, it is more likely than a supernatural explanation.  Similarly, the same man has just cited Cavin, the proponent of the “Jesus had a twin and it was the twin that the disciples witnessed” theory.  Cavin’s argument is cut from the same cloth:  any naturalistic theory, no matter how absurd, is more likely and more reasonable than a supernaturalistic account.

The argument surfaces too in Dawkins’s Delusion where Dawkins argues on the old line that any sufficiently technologically advanced society would appear to be magical (read: supernatural) to a sufficiently less advanced society.  In this line of thinking (like the thinking of our superhero, Rational Boy, cited in the above paragraph), if a putative super sophisticated alien could reproduce what Jesus did, there is no way to distinguish between such an entity and a supernatural one, so one is never in principle justified in inferring a supernatural explanation.

That’s the family of argumentation and I don’t find it offensive in the least.  I think it is ridiculous and ignorant and question begging, but that is a different matter.  Donahue’s approach makes it sound as though we need to be afraid of arguments like the one Maher advanced.  Far from it.

In this case, pointing out the latent assumption that “any naturalistic explanation is to be preferred” is enough to expose the argument for what it is.   On what grounds can it be advanced that philosophical naturalism should be the default interpretation?  Because the atheist insists that it should be?  Nonsense.  My approach would be that we ought to be inferring to the best explanations, being open minded about what is possible and what might be actual.  If the evidence leads to the conclusion that Jesus really is God, that’s the way it goes.  If evidence surfaces that Jesus is an imposter alien (other than it merely being a logically conceivable possibility), I reckon we’ll consider it then.

By showing Maher, Dawkins, Cavin, and Logic Ninja’s arguments to be based on a set of philosophical assumptions that they use to interpret the evidence rather than actually being derived from the evidence itself, you help expose what is going on.  Then, intelligent and thoughtful people can decide for themselves.  Honestly, then, I welcome comments like Maher’s and wish we heard more of them.  If more people knew what atheists really believed, there would be less atheists, and less commentators on TV spouting ‘offensive’ and ‘bigoted’ ‘anti-Christian’ remarks.



    • BLASe on February 1, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Exactly. This is something that should be talked about. The bible has many references to visitors from other planets. If a person believes what the bible says, they will believe everything it mentions about alien visitation. How in the world do people think Mary got pregnant without doing so the conventional way? This is worth discussion, don’t you think?

    • joe nahhas on January 29, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Bill The Sissy Maher
    Why Bill does not take on real crooks? At MIT Harvard Calect who teach at PHD level time travel and that his grandpas were Apes?
    How many Apes beside Bill Maher travelled through time?
    2009 is the end of Einstein’s space-jail of time and Fraud symbol E=mc²
    Time is not a structure like space to allow space-to time-back to space jumping claimed by Physicists regardless of what physicists have to say about it because Physics is a business and not necessarily science or scientific and like every business it comes with fraud and fraud is Einstein’s space-time (x, y, z, it) continuum that led to fraud symbol E=mc² and yes I am saying that 109 years of Nobel prize winners physics and physicists are all wrong and space-time physics is based on scientific fraud. When “results” expected and “No” discovery, Physicists rigged Physics for grant money since the start of the industrial revolution. Physics today is at least 51 % fraud!
    r ——————>>Exp (ì w t) ———->> S=r Exp (ì wt) Nahhas’ Equation
    Orbit——–>> Orbit light sensing——>> Visual Orbit; Exp = Exponential
    Particle —->> light sensing of moving objects———— >> Wave
    Newton———>>light sensing———->> Quantum
    Quantum = Newton x Visual Effects
    Quantum – Newton = Relativistic = Optical Illusions
    E (Energy by definition) = mv²/2 = mc²/2; if v = c
    m = mass; v= speed; c= light speed; w= angular velocity; t= time
    S = r Exp (ì w t) = r [cos (wt) + ì sin (wt)] Visual effects
    P = visual velocity = change of visual location
    P = d S/d t = v Exp (ì w t) + ì w r Exp (ì w t)
    = (v + ì w r) Exp (ì w t) = v (1 + ì) Exp (ì w t) = visual speed; v = wr
    E (visual energy= what you see in lab) = m p²/2; replace v by p in E = mv²/2
    = m p²/2 = m v²/2 (1 + ì) ² Exp (2ì wt)
    = mv²/2 (2ì) [cosine (2wt) + ì sine (2wt)]
    =ì mv² [1 – 2 sine² (wt) + 2 ì sine (wt) cosine (wt)];v = speed; c = light speed
    wt = ?/2
    E (visual) = ìmv² (1 – 2 + 0)
    E (visual) = -ì mc² ? mc² (absolute value;-ì = negative complex unit) If v = c
    w t = ?/4
    E (visual) = imv² [1-1 +?] =-mc²; v = c
    wt =-?/4+?ln2/2; 2? wt=-??/2 – ln2
    Exp (2i wt) = Exp [-??/2] Exp [ln(1/2)]=[-? (1/2)]
    E (visual) = imv² (-?/2) =1/2mc² v = c
    Conclusion: E = mc² is the visual Illusion of E = mc²/2 joenahhas1958@yahoo.com. All rights reserved.
    PS: In case of E=mc² claims to be rest energy claims then
    E=1/2m (m v + m’ r) ² = (1/2m) (m’ r) ²; v = 0
    E = (1/2m) (mc) ²; m’ r =mc

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