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A note about the 'Richard Dawkins Award' being presented to Bill Maher this weekend

As you may know, Richard has been invited to present AAI’s ‘Richard Dawkins Award’ at their convention in Burbank this weekend. The AAI committee (of which Richard is not a member) chose Bill Maher to be this year’s recipient, especially because of his film, ‘Religulous’. Some commenters have raised objections because of Bill Maher's stance on other issues, related to medicine.

Whilst Richard was not involved in the decision, 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. Richard and Christopher Hitchens don't see eye to eye on all political matters, but that doesn't stop them from working together against the dangers of religion. Honoring the creation of ‘Religulous’ does not imply endorsement of all of Bill Maher’s other views, and does not preclude Richard's arguing against them on future occasions. It is simply showing proper appreciation of his brilliant film.

Bill Maher’s ‘Religulous’ was easily the most prominent film against religion in the United States last year, bringing the discussion to people who might not have bothered to pick up books by Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, Dennett, or others. This achievement deserves recognition, and I think we should let him have this moment of celebration.

Josh Timonen



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