Loren, I agree in re Cupp. As for Maher I like him but he comes off poorly even when he is prepared for the theists'. He is quick with a quip but deficient in understanding.
"Deficient in understanding"? Not from where I sit. Quantify your criticism, please.
Acuity of a grape, knowledge of above average college junior, and an all around not quite but heart is in right place. That is my assesment. I have watched most episodes of real time. In direct debate with theists I find myself yelling at the tv. Okay I admit that. I am prepared with multiple effective arguments and he is effete or speechless presumably after preparation. I assume he leaves most theists comfortable in their thinking.
A lot of ad hominem there, not a lot of hard critique. I've watched my share of Real Time as well and I've seen him hold his own. If you can do better, apply to his writers' staff or get your own gig.
Loren, you can do better. I have read alot of your comments and I respect you. I dont respect the acumen of Bill Maher. He is quite ignorant of history and does not seem to know some of the banal arguments between us and them. If you go back and watch some of the episodes you will see that I am correct. The last time he had the bushy haired guy who was pimping his apologist book and making the most infantile arguments. Maher was helpless. It was utter sophistry. I wish I could be more specific but I dont remember which guests only that the impression I got has been confirmed repeatedly. Hitchens he aint.
I do not mean any of that as an attack on Maher. I like his personality and I approve of an out and open atheist. And he has a quick wit. Polemics though, he aint got it. On politics and the current scene he seems okay to me. Knows way more than I but in terms of history and critique of religion he is not my equal.
I repeat - either cite specific situations which you can pull up on YouTube or post transcripts for or go fish. Hardly anyone short of the Hitch could counter all situations under all conditions and come up a winner. I for one am not interested in dunning Maher because he supposedly falls short, and if he does, the last I looked, he's still human. The fact is, he still has an audience (albeit too often a sycophantic audience) and a following and, as you note, he is very much an OUT atheist with the balls to back it up, if not the substance 100% of the time.
I'm willing to take Maher for what he's worth, and at this point in the game, he's worth a fair measure. If not in your book, then find me someone who is at least as public and as vocal. As it comes to atheists, that breed is few and far between.
The last you looked he was still human? What else would he be?
A republican, maybe? [wry chuckle]
Additionally it irks me how he is unprepared to argue with his religious guests when he knows in advance their arguments and he cant make hay. I used to practice law and would never go into court without considering the arguments of the opposition and preparing my own.
I dont understand, why the emotional response? I did not attack Maher. I like him. That does not change because he is not up to speed on the issues and deficient in background. I have lots of those too. Where I have those I acknowledge em. So what.
I am not willing to spend the time replaying a bunch of real time to find the episodes and scenes. If you think he is sharp so be it. Pay attention and listen critically and you will see.
Maher bugs me for some reason, I agree with him sometimes but other times I want to go on his show and stress how strongly I disagree, but Im a secular conservative so I have my bias.
Loren you asked for a vocal atheist. I respect Pat Condell. Think he is really sharp and outspoken. Cant penalize the guy for not having his own show. And there are many here on A/N who outshine Maher in terms of understanding the issues. Doesn't mean they could replace him on Real Time, cuz Maher is quick to bring up talking snakes and has the right personality. And new rules is funny. He has good writers.