Have any of you even read Batchelor's "Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist"? After reading this dishonest, disgusting book don't you see how Buddhism is being made to conform to a gross materialistic impression in the West? This is totally against Buddha's teachings. Batchelor dismisses all talk of reincarnation in the Pali Canon as being useless memes of Indian civilization. What this guy does not know or wish to conceal is that Buddha rejected the materialistic philosophy of Ajita Kesakhambali. It is adhamma to make Buddhadhamma conform to a materialist outlook. Buddhism and all dharmic traditions are against materialism and by reducing Buddhism to such a watered down version, the westerners are distorting and perverting Buddha's message. In short Buddhism is going the way of Yoga in the West as some fad for modern consumerism.
As for dating the Buddha, Bechert is the scholar who is proposing this ridiculously recent date. What strikes me is all the current Indology scholars like Witzel, Olivelle, and Lance Cousins. Again the Pali Canon specifically mentions the traditional date, there is no reason to deny it. Buddhists unlike Hindus recorded history very well. Their records of dynasties such as the Sishunags, Nandas, Licchavis, Mauryas, etc. are impeccable. What strikes me here is how the whole academic community jumped on the bandwagon when these later dates were postulated. If this is not deliberate Eurocentrism..then what is?
And it makes a lot of difference to me when some people claim Buddha was influenced by Greek thought, as his philosophy firmly belongs to the Sramana stream of Dharma and that has its roots in the Indus Valley Civilization.