...from PZ Myers at the AAI Convention:
The good news for all the critics of this choice is that Dawkins pulled no punches. In his introduction, he praised Religulous and thanked Maher for his contributions to freethought, but he also very clearly and unambiguously stated that some of his beliefs about medicine were simply crazy. He did a good job of walking a difficult tightrope; he made it clear that the award was granted for some specific worthy matters, his humorous approach to religion, while carefully dissociating the AAI from any endorsement of crackpot medicine. It won't be enough, I know, but the effort was made, and talking to Dawkins afterwards there was no question but that Maher's quackery was highly objectionable. I also got the impression that he felt the critics of the award were making good and reasonable points, and that he felt the awkwardness of the decision.
Good. I daresay he wasn't made to feel uncomfortable enough.
Dawkins should feel the awkwardness of the decision to give an anti-medical science loon an award that bears his name. Although the AAI screwed up, Dawkins is not blameless. He brought it on himself with his airly dismissive attitude when these concerns were first brought up. I can only hope Dawkins learns from this experience. Maher's views are far worse than a simple political disagreement, such as the example of Dawkins disagreeing with Christopher Hitchens but remaining able to work with him on other issues. Maher is a medical crank, who is demonstrably wrong about vaccines, HIV, and cancer, among other things, as I documented in a post listing many of the posts about Maher I and others have done over the years to describe just how far into quackery he is.