Bill Maher PETA

Bill Maher is a very confused atheist. On one hand he mocks religious people for believing in God, but on the other hand he gives interviews with PETA where he laments the fact that Liam Neeson favors crushing the “spirits” of horses in New York City. Horses have “spirits,” according to the guy who thinks that humans are all just a bunch of atoms and molecules and random electrical impulses that just-so-happen to collide in ways that make life (and the illusion of free will) possible.

Mediate reported Thursday:

HBO’s Real Time host Bill Maher is no longer a fan of actor Liam Neeson. In a new video posted Wednesday by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Maher railed against Neeson’s support for New York City’s controversial horse carriage business.

“My life-long Liam Neeson fandom has ended, I can’t stand to look at him,” Maher said. “Why a guy would go out of his way to champion animal abuse, I have no idea. […] If anyone has ever seen a horse run wild, even in movies or whatever, you know that’s the furthest from the way these animal should be,” he concluded. “I mean they have a wonderful spirit and to get them to do that job, you have to completely break it.”

Someone needs to inform atheist Bill Maher that for guys who believe we’re all just a bunch of random electrical signals following a program we can not control, words like “should” and “spirit” are a no-no. If we’re all essentially running on a computer program that will end in black, why does he care what Liam Neeson advocates for or against? In fact, if the Real Time host wasn’t so intellectually confused he would say that Liam Neeson has no choice but to advocate for horse-and-buggy rides in New York City because that’s what his computer program is telling him to do.

Dinesh D’Souza puts Mr. Maher’s problem in perspective in his amazing book “What’s So Great About Christianity.”:

“We are moral beings. We have moral concepts like “right” and “wrong” and “good” and “evil.” We “ought” to do this and “ought not” to do that. Try as we can, we cannot avoid this way of thinking and acting. Morality is an empirical fact no less real than any other experience in the world. Kant argues that for these concepts to have any meaning or applicability whatsoever, it must be the case that we have a choice whether to do something. Ought implies can. This is not to deny that factors both material and unconscious might influence our decision. But even so, we are at least sometimes at liberty to say yes to this option and no to that option. If we never have such a choice, then it is simply false to say I “should” do this and “shouldn’t” do that because there is no possibility of deciding one way or the other. For anyone to recommend one course or action instead of another is completely pointless. If determinism is true, then no one in the world can ever refrain from anything that he or she does. The whole of morality — not just this morality or that morality but morality itself — becomes an illusion.” — (Dinesh D’Souza. What’s So Great About Christianity. 248)

Are we just a complex computer program that luckily wrote itself with the creation of the universe, or do we have free will? If we have free will, then Maher is in for a whole new load of headaches.

I’ll let Stephen Hawking describe it for him:

Now if you believe that the universe is not arbitrary, but is governed by definite laws, you ultimately have to combine the partial theories in science into a complete unified theory that will describe everything in the universe. But there is a fundamental paradox in the search for such a complete unified theory. Our ideas about scientific theories…assume we are rational beings who are free to observe the universe as we want and to draw logical deductions from what we see. In such a scheme it is reasonable to suppose that we might progress ever closer toward the laws that govern our universe. Yet if there really is a complete unified theory, it would also presumably determine our actions. And so the theory itself would determine the outcome of our search for it! And why should it determine that we come to the right conclusions from the evidence? Might it not equally well determine that we draw the wrong conclusion?” — (Stephen Hawking. A Brief History of Time. 12-13)

Perhaps we should cut Bill Maher some slack, since even Stephen Hawking finds himself aimlessly wandering around inside a paradox — or perhaps not since Bill Maher regularly says really mean things about people who believe in spirits, the soul and a non-local consciousness that directs and guides us.

The point is this: Bill Maher might want to think twice the next time he mocks religious individuals, given the fact that he now finds himself defending the spirits of horses, which his atheism demands he must deny.

 

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

25 comments

  1. Yeah, I’ve always found atheists who are of the more Secular Humanistic variety like Maher claims to be to be immensely inconsistent with the full implications of their world view, which favor Nihilism of all stripes and flavors far more than any form of Secular Humanism.

    In fact, do you think it’s possible that Secular Humanists are really just social chameleons that put on a facade of a belief in objective morality (popular objective morality) that are really Nihilists on the inside? I mean, if one were an honest Nihilist, trying to make the world said one desires to actualize would be far less likely because of the negative connotation associated with Nihilism. Heck, that’s why Hitler and Lenin tried to frame their Nihilism in a way that the masses of their respective countries found palatable and beneficial now that I think about it.

    1. That’s an interesting connecting of the dots, I guess it could be plausible, but would a true nihilist go thru that trouble to avoid negative connotations to a life they believe has no inherent meaning?

      I’m friendly with a few atheists who all have secular humanist views. They seem to enjoy exploring the bounds of logic, reason, and science; in that sense their life has meaning. Where I say the feeling of love is a gift from God, they may explore a different reason behind it, but they fall in love, love their families etc; enriching their life…..I don’t think “nihilist” would describe them.

    2. I’m friendly with a few atheists who all have secular humanist views. They seem to enjoy exploring the bounds of logic, reason, and science; in that sense their life has meaning. Where I say the feeling of love is a gift from God, they may explore a different reason behind it, but they fall in love, love their families etc; enriching their life…..I don’t think “nihilist” would describe them.

      My observation is that the Bill Maher’s of the world claim to be explorers in search of knowledge, but their quest is not as epic as they make it out to be. They seek a very cursory knowledge of the world and the way it works, but they stop at the “Why?” part. “My life has meaning because I have a kid and I have these feelings which the world has deemed love, so I guess that means I love him.” But then when they’re asked, “Well, what’s the point of it all?” they just shrug and basically say, “Beats me. I’m here now. Durrrrr. Science. Math. Stuff.”

      That’s not enough for anyone. That doesn’t satisfy. That’s why atheists like Maher always come across as really angry or sad — they’re not satisfied and no matter how much they rack their brain they can’t escape God and the implications of God.

    3. @Patrick (Denver)

      “That’s an interesting connecting of the dots, I guess it could be plausible, but would a true nihilist go thru that trouble to avoid negative connotations to a life they believe has no inherent meaning?”

      If they desire to turn their will to power and desire for certain aspects of the world to be as they want it, why can’t they be true Nihilists on the inside? Sure, they wouldn’t be honest Nihilists, but there is a distinction of being honest about what you believe to folks on the outside and what you believe deep down.

      “They seem to enjoy exploring the bounds of logic, reason, and science; in that sense their life has meaning.”

      A relative meaning, a false meaning, and a false enjoyment to the thinking man who can honestly deconstruct their own world view.

      Why?

      Because, objectively, objective meaning is the only meaning, in the end, that really means anything and without it, ALL relative meaning (IE, all relative meaning from the kind a serial killer gets from rubbing his feet in butter after taking out his latest victim to two parent’s love for their children) is really just a bunch of folks spinning their wheels and wishing their lives had objective meaning since all the objectives and goals of logic, reason, and science are (using logic and reason) all rendered arbitrary and pointless, especially when one considers cosmic eschatology and folks who posit a past-eternal multiverse.

    4. The quest can only be as epic as human knowledge will allow, which I agree falls short and isn’t satisfying. That isn’t the life for me, but I can’t say their life is empty to them.

      As Emmanuel states, it may well be false enjoyment/meaning, but it is a meaning for them; as I took Emmanuel’s question literally, I wouldnt declare them nilhilist….the fun of philosophy 🙂

      I think Doug hit it on the head with the “not wanting to held responsible for their actions” comment further down. The irony to me, in Maher’s case, is that he won’t hold himself accountable to God, yet Liam Nieeson is held accountable for going against Maher’s worldview.

    5. The irony to me, in Maher’s case, is that he won’t hold himself accountable to God, yet Liam Nieeson is held accountable for going against Maher’s worldview.

      Haha! Very true.

    6. “If they desire to turn their will to power and desire for certain aspects of the world to be as they want it, why can’t they be true Nihilists on the inside? Sure, they wouldn’t be honest Nihilists, but there is a distinction of being honest about what you believe to folks on the outside and what you believe deep down.”

      If attaining power is their definition of the meaning of life, then they aren’t pure nihilists. Stalin, as you mentioned, is a great example of providing a false wall to folks on the outside. He preached a communist utopia for all, but he used it for a personal power grab, his meaning to life. Again, Doug nails it with the narcissism observation. God is out of their picture, so their narcissistic view of themselves makes them believe that their enlightenment is the way.

      When they attain power, bad things can happen as they struggle to keep it (Stalin, Mao). God is comfortable being God, we have a free will to disent. Stalin and Mao aren’t comfortable being “god”, their subjects have gulags, mass killings, secret police and “cultural revolutions” leading to more killings/imprisonment.

    7. In fact, do you think it’s possible that Secular Humanists are really just social chameleons that put on a facade of a belief in objective morality (popular objective morality) that are really Nihilists on the inside?

      I think guys like Maher, deep down, are not nihilists. I think they know the truth, which is why they’re incredibly inconsistent, but they don’t like the idea of being held responsible for their actions. Whereas you and I know that there are aspects of our personality that need work, Maher essentially says, “What kind of loving God would make it possible for me to have [insert thought or feeling here], and then not expect me to act on it?”] I think there’s a combination of things at play, and narcissism is one of them. Maher looks at things from Maher’s point of view, and can’t seem to understand that God’s perspective is not Bill Maher’s perspective.

      I think Whittaker Chambers said it well: “Between man’s purpose in time and God’s purpose in eternity, there is an infinite difference in quality.”

  2. “Perhaps we should cut Bill Maher some slack, since even Stephen Hawking finds himself aimlessly wandering around inside a paradox — or perhaps not since Bill Maher regularly says really mean things about people who believe in spirits, the soul and a non-local consciousness that directs and guides us.”

    I guess we should pray for them:) We could pray for them to be enlightened and to open their minds and hearts to other views.

  3. I often wonder if atheists would be more likely to change their views if they have children. My son will raise his hands in praise to spiritual songs (he is not even 2). Sometimes he is looking up and talking (to him it is talking to us it is a jumble of words and sounds) I often wonder who he is talking to. I also dare to believe that he may even see things that I do not. Before he seemed to know the meaning of yes and no I asked him if he loved Jesus and he smiled and shook his head yes.
    For those who question Gods existence I look at my son and I believe.

    1. I often wonder if atheists would be more likely to change their views if they have children.

      It would be nice to be able to read minds on occasion, because I think it would be fascinating to compare the thoughts of an atheist before and after having children. I don’t know how a man can look at his son and, for all intents and purposes, say: “I created one heck of a computer. This lumpy little mass of atoms and molecules doesn’t have a soul, but it’s a lot cooler than my laptop will ever be.”

    2. @Douglas Ernst

      That’s another thing I find odd. That so many atheists confuse and try to reduce contemplation with computation, even though some of the most contemplative folks ever couldn’t really tell you what e=mc^2 means.

      By the way:

      E=energy.

      M=mass

      C=the constant of the speed of light in a vacuum.

      😛

  4. I laugh at those people who have romanticized views of animals with spending little to no time around them (animal rights folks who have actually grown up or spent time on a farm, are a-ok).

    Yes, I sometimes wonder (and hope) if being around people animals are uplifted, if our souls rub off on them a little in the same way we are uplifted and God’s glory rubs off a little on us as we follow Jesus, but in the wild life is brutal and short. If we could ask and they could answer, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if some horses would vote to pull carriages for a few hours a day/night and have a steady supply of food & healthcare rather than run free and wonder where their next meal will be or to suffer through diseases (same reason a lot of us choose predictable, even boring jobs over running wild in the woods).

    Heh, and yes I do find it HIGHLY ironic that the same people who lobby to free animals from the tyranny of domesticality are very often the same people who want to domesticate humans. I mean if you don’t believe a person should take care of a horse’s food and medical care, why do you think the government should take care of our food and medical care?

    1. Heh, and yes I do find it HIGHLY ironic that the same people who lobby to free animals from the tyranny of domesticality are very often the same people who want to domesticate humans.

      Arg! I’m kicking myself for not putting that in to the original piece. That is a great point, Nate.

  5. “The quest can only be as epic as human knowledge will allow, which I agree falls short and isn’t satisfying. That isn’t the life for me, but I can’t say their life is empty to them.”

    Exactly, because they haven’t really though about the implications of their world view. Transhumanists though, have, but even then, don’t really seem to care about all of those that have died before them and seem selectively ignorant of the fact that everything is most likely going to end in a heat death (I.E., they are selectively ignorant of cosmic eschatology).

    “As Emmanuel states, it may well be false enjoyment/meaning, but it is a meaning for them;”

    Ummm… yeah. I mentioned relative meaning. The problem is, as I’ve stated, without objective meaning as the foundation for that sense of relative meaning, (IE, the same kind of objective meaning that would have said Hitler’s Third Reich was objectively in the wrong even if they had conquered the world and silenced, converted, or killed all dissenting voices that would dare to give them the finger), that sense is altogether unfounded and pointless on a macrocosmic view of things. In other words, meaning for them is sort of like the kind of meaning someone gets when they masturbate. Short, fleeting, ultimately emotionally unsatisfying compared to the real thing, and ultimately intellectually no different than spending that time to, say, save a kitten from a tree.

    “As I took Emmanuel’s question literally, I wouldnt declare them nilhilist….the fun of philosophy :)”

    Question: does a wolf in sheep’s clothing remain a wolf or a sheep?

  6. “If attaining power is their definition of the meaning of life, then they aren’t pure nihilists.”

    Ummm… yeah, they could be, since Nihilism doesn’t say that you can’t have a personal definition to the meaning of life and can’t use will to power to make it the generally accepted one. It just says that, objectively, there is no meaning to life and all definitions of it are ultimately subjective (I.E., personal), as well as that the only way to maintain a generally accepted one is through will to power.

    1. Ummm… yeah…

      I sense the old Emmanuel tone bubbling up to the surface. I’m just going to head this off at the pass and say it’s getting dangerously close to becoming a pedantic debate where the end result will be Emmanuel getting upset at Patrick. Patrick will then throw his hands up while saying, “I was just trying to be friendly. What the heck?”

      Let’s not have that happen, please.

      Patrick, proceed at your own risk! 🙂

  7. “Sure, they wouldn’t be honest Nihilists….”

    Sounds like he’s debating himself, I think he did post a good question that got me thinking last night.

  8. Do you really think when Maher uses the word “spirit”. He is referring to the horse having a soul? There is a huge difference between a horse u see running in the wild and one that has been tamed. With the sequacious nature of most religious people…I am not suprised. Please enlighten us when u find any small amount of proof that Santa, easter bunny, or yahweh to be factual. Oh that’s right! Facts are not allowed in your discussions. THAT SCIENCE AN MATH STUFF IS JUST BLACK MAGIC AN WITCHERY! So go enjoy duck dynasty and live in a fantasy world.

  9. James, would you like to talk about science with me — the guy who is quite comfortable talking about Stephen Hawking, knowing full well that it might start a discussion that flows in the direction of science? Where would you like to start, James? Would you like to talk about Quantum Physics, and how that makes your comments about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny look like an immature kid who has never thought about these issues beyond a cursory level? We can do that, or maybe we can talk about liquid fluoride throrium reactors just to see who is more scientifically inclined between the two of us.

    Maybe we can talk about black holes, and what a singularity means to your entire world view.

    My guess is that you won’t engage in any of these discussions, or if you do it will only be to abuse the caps lock button some more, because the writing is on the wall: you, Mr. Genius Atheist, will get intellectually taken to the woodshed by the guy you thought was a Duck Dynasty watching goober.

    Try me. Please, James. Let’s see what you’ve got. Since your reading comprehension skills appear to be lacking (you missed the entire point of the post), I’m inclined to think that after your third comment most people will safely call you the sad recipient of a TKO. I’ve just slapped you down once. Want to try two more?

    James Fun Fact for regular readers: Part of James’ email address is “Jamesmax.” What is it with atheists and “max”? It appears as though James has a lot in common with Cenk Uygur, the guy who named his son “Promethius Maximus.” Cute.

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