Ricky Gervais nails it again

Despite all the debates I’ve seen and been a part of, it still amazes me when Christians trot out the particularly bad piece of logic that says atheists hate them (or, more often, God). What doesn’t surprise me is that Ricky Gervais has said something intelligent:

Ricky Gervais

Here’s one believers often miss

RickyGervais

Next up on the list of what believers miss: Why noting that no atheists spends as much time debunking unicorns as they do debunking gods is asinine.

Ricky Gervais in New Humanist

I’m a big Ricky Gervais fan. He’s a funny guy, especially in his interviews on The Daily Show, and he has produced a lot of good television, too. Now he has an interview with New Humanist:

I never actively try to offend though. That’s churlish, pointless and frankly too easy. But I believe you should say what you mean. Be honest. No one should ever be offended by truth. That way you’ll never have to apologise. I hate it when a comedian says, “Sorry for what I said.” You shouldn’t have said it. You shouldn’t say it if you didn’t mean it and you should never regret anything you meant to do.

I like this quote. Offending others merely for the sake of offending them is a useless endeavor. It doesn’t get anyone anywhere. But causing offense when there is a wider point to be had is useful. In Gervais’ case, he is doing it for the sake of comedy. For others such as Gnu Atheists (of which Gervais is one), the point is often to raise consciousness/awareness. It’s like Kant says about using others as a means. (He is commonly summed up as saying that it’s a bad thing, but that misses a very key part of his philosophy.) What he says is that it is bad to use others merely as a means. Of course we’re using others as a means all the time. It’s when the point is to only use others that we’ve gone awry. The very same goes for causing offense.

But all this aside, I think Gervais may have an even better quote:

I used to believe in God. The Christian one, that is. (There are a few thousand to choose from. But I was born in a country where the dominant religion was Christianity so I believed in that one. Isn’t it weird how that always happens?)

Weird, indeed.

“Sufferers of obesity”

You mean fat people?

Two worthwhile videos

The first is hilarious.

I love Ricky Gervais.

The second is surprising for the level of caricature to which the theists rises. “You believe in reason and things that work! You have faith, you have faith, you have faith!” Good job. You totally got us, what with your use of reason against reason. Good job.

“They haven’t a monopoly on good.”

Ricky Gervais is fast making himself one of my favorite celebrities.

I love Ricky Gervais

“Surely the burden of proof is on the believer.”

A Holiday Message from Ricky Gervais.

Arrogance is another accusation. Which seems particularly unfair. Science seeks the truth. And it does not discriminate. For better or worse it finds things out. Science is humble. It knows what it knows and it knows what it doesn’t know. It bases its conclusions and beliefs on hard evidence -­‐ evidence that is constantly updated and upgraded. It doesn’t get offended when new facts come along. It embraces the body of knowledge. It doesn’t hold on to medieval practices because they are tradition. If it did, you wouldn’t get a shot of penicillin, you’d pop a leach down your trousers and pray. Whatever you “believe”, this is not as effective as medicine. Again you can say, “It works for me”, but so do placebos. My point being, I’m saying God doesn’t exist. I’m not saying faith doesn’t exist. I know faith exists. I see it all the time. But believing in something doesn’t make it true. Hoping that something is true doesn’t make it true. The existence of God is not subjective. He either exists or he doesn’t. It’s not a matter of opinion. You can have your own opinions. But you can’t have your own facts.

But to get to the point:

Why don’t I believe in God? No, no no, why do YOU believe in God? Surely the burden of proof is on the believer. You started all this. If I came up to you and said, “Why don’t you believe I can fly?” You’d say, “Why would I?” I’d reply, “Because it’s a matter of faith”. If I then said, “Prove I can’t fly. Prove I can’t fly see, see, you can’t prove it can you?” You’d probably either walk away, call security or throw me out of the window and shout, ‘’F—ing fly then you lunatic.”

There are no great responses to this from theists, but there are half-way decent ones. Those are the ones that seek to offer evidence. Of course, they fail and that’s why they aren’t great. But at least they recognize where the onus lies. The bad ones are the ones that try to argue the above argument is somehow flawed. That’s ignorant, stupid, or disingenuous.

And finally:

You won’t burn in hell. But be nice anyway.

The Invention of Lying

I know, I know. I’m way behind on seeing The Invention of Lying, but I did finally manage to see it the other night. As a Ricky Gervais fan, I loved it. The romance in the plot came across as contrived from time to time, but that really wasn’t the point of the movie. To understand that, one only needs to watch this scene. (Sorry, embedding has been disabled.)

But for those too lazy to click, this scene from another Ricky Gervais movie gives the jist of the idea.

He doesn’t get atheism either

It’s annoying enough when Christopher Maloney wades in over his head and pretends to know something about medicine beyond what a pre-med student might know. But it’s even more annoying when he goes after atheists. (And, I mean, does he really want to go down that road, what with yet offering a viable defense for his quackery?)

I’m constantly amazed that the spokespeople for religious points of view aren’t better at getting their points across. The atheists are the one group who could have picked their spokespeople logically and by open election, but they let the most grumpy of their brethren carry the flag. Here’s a comparison of Dawkins vs. Gervais. If Gervais were the spokesperson for atheism, there would be a lot more converts. He makes his point, and you can’t help liking him for it. Dawkins makes a clever (rehearsed- he gives the same mocking answer to others as well) response without engaging the speaker.

Here’s Richard Dawkins not answering a question. Or answering it, if answering with the same question is an answer.

He then links to this video of Dawkins where an audience member asks what happens if he’s wrong about the Christian god. Dawkins replies by asking the audience member what if she’s wrong about all the other gods. To Maloney, this isn’t answering the question.

Is Dawkins’ point really that hard to get? He’s saying that the only reason that question seems reasonable to the audience member is that she has been brought up in a Christian culture. His question about what it means if she’s wrong about Zeus or Thor or whoever is to show that it doesn’t matter about what god we want to ask the question. It’s a trivial issue that assumes a lot of culture with it. So what if he’s wrong about the Christian god? Then he goes to hell, to the glee of a so-called benevolent creator. And if the audience member is wrong about Allah, she can kiss heaven goodbye. Who cares? The whole question is just a rudimentary way of posing Pascal’s Wager, that piece of philosophical trash.

Oh, and I love how Maloney links back to religion and atheism, as if we need his help in defining the terms. (Well, maybe he needs some help in defining “atheism”.) And linking to the IMDb page for Dawkins? Gold. I love when the elderly use the Internet.