Tuesday, 23 September 2008

There's a serious point in all this...

Dear reader, our blog has moved to a new address.

Do come on over (and change your bookmarks accordingly): rationalist.org.uk

I think I've seen it all now. My morning trawlings have led me to this video promo for American lawyer Geoff J Henley's contribution to the New Atheist canon Beyond Reasonable Doubt: A Lawyer's Case for Disbelief in God.

Here's a brief synopsis of Henley's book:
"After handling thousands of civil and criminal cases, former prosecutor Geoff Henley takes on the world’s biggest culprit: God. In Beyond Reasonable Doubt, the attorney applies accepted legal precepts to scripture with devastating results for religion. Much like science has confounded religion’s depiction of the natural word, Henley shows how well-settled common law principles undermine religion’s claims that a just God exists. Whether you are a skeptic or a believer, a layman or a lawyer, you will not want to miss this pointed analysis of myths, the Bible, the Koran and Anglo-American law."
And here's how Henley chose to market it:



Well, it is the internet. But it's not just an excuse for Henley to make some videos featuring girls in bikinis. Oh no. As he explained to one religious news site, there's a proper message and everything:
"My goal is to integrate skepticism into popular culture. When we watch commercial TV, read newspapers, attend weddings and sporting events or drive through our neighbourhoods at Easter, religion all gets a free plug. But to find something about scepticism, you have to go look for it on the Internet or at a bookstore."
Which, of course, is why he also made this video:

8 comments:

George Jelliss said...

I think I prefer his approach to that of Martin Rowson!

Geoff Henley said...

Not every discussion concerning the presence or absence of deity relies on clever syllogisms.

It is paramount that skeptics not confine their comments to atheist blogs, fashionable coffeehouses and unwatched panel discussions on CSPAN.

We must openly take the debate to the popular culture, especially since we live in such a secular world.

Tony Konrath said...

Well It MADE me buy it!

Paul Sims said...

Thanks for the comment Geoff. I wasn't criticising your book, especially since I haven't read it. I was just amused, and entertained, by your marketing techniques. Those vids are all over YouTube, with loads of comments, so it was clearly successful.

AT said...

Henley you have got to be KIDDING! Your commercial is hilarious. It's more an argument against lawyers than an argument for a secular world.

Of course, anyone trying to discuss God on the basis of legal reasoning impugns lawyers to begin with. But then when he sells his books with bikinis...! Awesome. Even the best couldn't have written it.

Geoff Henley said...

I appreciate all of your comments, especially Tony Konrath'!

The book itself does have some treatments of sex--e.g. Allah, heaven and earth and the Barbie Twins and Egypt's masturbating Khepera--in places and reflects the views and employs the metaphors of a late-30s unmarried urban Dallas guy who happens to be a lawyer.

Not of all the book discusses the law--just those facets that dovetail with faith, in particular, and other tenets of organized religion.

Likewise, I certainly do not have the biology resume of Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris's background in neural science, so I do not spend too, too much time on science...except with the things that are common knowledge (except with Creationists) and with how the law currently treats scientific evidence.

One of the greatest ironies is that it is conservative Republican courts that have substantially raised the bar on scientific evidence...namely to make obtaining personal injury recoveries far more difficult for plaintiffs, but somehow this message gets lost when we apply the same reasoning to our natural origins. Perhaps, they just want to dwell on the image of the scantily clad couple of Eden.

Best regards,


GJH

Geoff Henley said...

I appreciate all of your comments, especially Tony Konrath's!

The book itself does have some treatments of sex--e.g. Allah, heaven and earth and the Barbie Twins and Egypt's masturbating Khepera--in places and reflects the views and employs the metaphors of a late-30s unmarried urban Dallas guy who happens to be a lawyer.

Not of all the book discusses the law--just those facets that dovetail with faith, in particular, and other tenets of organized religion.

Likewise, I certainly do not have the biology resume of Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris's background in neural science, so I do not spend too, too much time on science...except with the things that are common knowledge (except with Creationists) and with how the law currently treats scientific evidence.

One of the greatest ironies is that it is conservative Republican courts that have substantially raised the bar on scientific evidence...namely to make obtaining personal injury recoveries far more difficult for plaintiffs, but somehow this message gets lost when we apply the same reasoning to our natural origins. Perhaps, they just want to dwell on the image of the scantily clad couple of Eden.

Best regards,


GJH

AT said...

Geoff, that was a measured and persuasive response. No sarcasm intended.