I don’t know how I missed this 2008, 10-minute exchange between Mike Huckleberry and Bill Maher but I sure am glad to have seen it this morning. It’s a real doozey. It was so good, in fact, that I immediately clicked the “replay” button twice., and I plan to click it a few more times because each time I watch it, I observe something new.
The exchange was one of the finest examples I’ve ever seen showing the difference between the mind of a rationalist and that of a non-rationalist. At about the 4-minute marker, Maher expresses something that many of us hold true: that religiousness is basically a “neurological disorder,” more often than not bordering on the pathological.
Huckleberry naturally takes great offence at what Bill offers but he’s able to disguise his feelings of “insult” extremely well. Born-agains are very good at this. Born-agains that are graduates of the Pot Robertson and Jerry Falwell School of Delusional Buffoonery are certified experts at the art. There’s another thing that born-agains are also very good at and Huckleberry proves himself to be a master: he’s quick to disguise his hostile and contemptuous attitude toward Bill with his voluntary (and unneeded) expression of “love” for him. Notice also the fixed smile that hangs on Hucky’s face throughout the exchange. The only time it’s replaced is when the Huckster is smirking about something Bill says that’s really offensive to him.
But I think that one of the most important things to be derived from this exchange is how important it is to understand the basic mindset of the person with whom you’re having a dialogue. Huckleberry demonstrates having a mindset that, at its very core, is irrational, illogical, delusional, confused and, I’m so sorry to have to pile on even more, breathtakingly ignorant. Maher, as you will immediately observe, exemplifies everything that Hucky is not: rational, logical, thoughtful, skeptical, nuanced in his comprehension of reality, etc.
This conversation with the Huckster will further serve as a great example, that, when evaluating the mindset of those with whom you wish to engage in conversations about one’s non-evidenced beliefs (er, I mean, delusions), it’s very “impordant” (as the Huckster would say) to keep your expectations extremely low. I’d say that expectations for a fruitful outcome somewhere in the .001% to 002% range are realistic.
I’d be willing to bet that the first words to run through Bill’s mind after leaving the studio were: “Boy, I sure would like to reclaim that last 10-minutes of my life.”