Sadly, Bill Maher does anything but that. It seems clear that the award is really an award for public atheism and the science-advocacy is just lip-service to Dawkins to use his name on the award.
It is not too late to stop this idiocy - join me in writing your own letter to the AAI telling them what you think about their selection. Maybe we can make a difference?
Here's my letter - write your own. (Contact Info for AAI)
To: AAI President Stuart Bechman
No doubt you've heard a lot already from the pro-science community on the matter of Bill Maher's selection as the winner of the Richard Dawkins award. It is not too late to stop this travesty. I'm sure many people have pointed out to you the text that describes the award's theme:
The Richard Dawkins Award will be given every year to honor an outstanding atheist whose contributions raise public awareness of the nontheist life stance; who through writings, media, the arts, film, and/or the stage advocates increased scientific knowledge; who through work or by example teaches acceptance of the nontheist philosophy; and whose public posture mirrors the uncompromising nontheist life stance of Dr. Richard Dawkins.
No doubt they pointed to the text that says "advocates increased scientific knowledge" and then tried to explain that Maher, as a denier of evidence-based medicine, shouldn't get an award that appears to be at least 50% based on the promotion of nontheism and 50% on the promotion of science. Some folks may have written in saying things like, "pick someone who is nontheist and not an unreasoning conspiracy nut." Or perhaps they might have suggested, "why not pick someone who promotes science but is iffy on the nontheism?"
I am writing to suggest to you a different tack altogether: CHANGE THE AWARD.
Here is some new wording that will allow Mr. Maher to be your man without violating your adherence to nontheism, or Richard Dawkins' reputation as being pro-science:
The [Godless Jenny McCarthy Award] will be given every year to honor an outstanding plausibly-atheist peson whose contributions raise public awareness of the nontheist life stance; who through writings, media, the arts, film, and/or the stage advocate philosophical positions our selection committee agrees with (even if the winner is a clueless git); who through work or by example teaches acceptance of the nontheist philosophy; and whose public posture mirrors the nosepicking clueless anti-science of Jenny McCarthy.
The thing is, Stuart - the existence of gods is not provable. But the viability of evidence based medicine is. If you're going to give this award to someone who rejects science and reason you need to change the award and the criteria.
No doubt about it.