Monday, 12 October 2009

Bill Maher on the swine flu vaccine

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Last week, I blogged about how the Atheist Alliance International had given its annual Richard Dawkins Award to the comedian Bill Maher, and how this had caused a spot of controversy among online skeptics due to Maher's irrationalist views on medicine, particularly immunisation. Just to follow up on that, here's a video of Maher appearing on US TV, less than a week after receiving that award, declaring that he "would never get a swine flu vaccine or any vaccine."



Maher's opinions leave the blogger behind the Respectful Insolence blog amazed that the AAI could give their Dawkins Award to Maher:

"He's an anti-vaccine, quackery-supporting font of flaming moronicity every bit as bad as Ken Ham, Michael Behe, or any flak from the Discovery Institute. His views on medicine are every bit as much ideology driven as any view on evolution from a creationist. Indeed, the vitalism from which Maher's germ theory denialism derives is every bit as much a mystical, religious viewpoint as that of the worst hard core young earth creationist. And he's the 2009 recipient of the Richard Dawkins Award. Good going, AAI."

Now those are strong words.

7 comments:

Nicholas Stark said...

I agree, his views on vaccines are bizarre and poor. However, on most other issues he's a brilliant man, especially on politics, war, the health care industry, human rights, etc. I think he well deserved the award, although he must be shown how backwards his views on vaccines are.

Arnfinn Pettersen said...

Hard words, but justified. Would those that defend giving him the award have done the same if his absurdities were about, say, race? "His views on jews are bizarre and poor. However, on most other issues he´s a brilliant man." I think not. At least, I HOPE not.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that this is the same man who a few years ago was arguing FOR socialist health care, saying he had great respect for the French system...

Syzygy said...

Strong words, but well deserved. His view of the health care industry is indeed inspired by his mystical beliefs, every bit as much as the transfusion-shunning Jehovah's Witness, or the fundamentalist faith healer who prefers prayer to physicians.

Even so, I think AAI was justified in giving him an award. While Religulous was a flawed and ham-handed bit of propaganda, it did make some points which needed to be made, and sparked some dialogue which wouldn't have happened without it.

MC Iced Borscht said...

I take it you mean the "Respectful Insolence" blog, penned by Orac, and not "Respectful Ignorance." (Unless, of course, you dislike Orac and were razzing him.)

George said...

He's right that Western medicine misses a lot, and this makes interesting reading... http://vactruth.com/2009/07/21/dr-andrew-moulden-interview-what-you-were-never-told-about-vaccines/
Just because we're rationalist humanists, I don't think that means we have to believe everything we're told!

Paul Sims said...

MC Iced - yes, my mistake. Thanks for pointing it out, I've now changed it. It definitely wasn't a "razz" (can you use that as a noun?) - it's a great blog.