Bill Maher gets spanked by Michael Shermer


I know many fans of the podcast are a little confused about what to make of Bill Maher. His movie, Religulous, was one of the few pleasures of 2009. His passionate tirade at the end of the movie, arguing that religious faith and superstition made the world more dangerous, was compelling. And yet, this is the same man who does not believe in vaccinations, and mistrusts “modern” medicine.

I suppose it’s a little hard for everyone to believe a person who can so rationally argue against religion could be so stupid. I find it only reinforces the notion that no one on this planet can be right about everything. Everyone is wrong about some things; you just have to make sure the shit you’re wrong about isn’t really a big deal. Problem is that undermining vaccination is actually a HUGE FUCKING DEAL, and puts peoples’ lives in real danger.

So, while Bill Maher claims religious irrationality is dangerous (which I agree with), his own attitudes about vaccination compromises the immunization of adults and children. It’s no surprise many of the diseases that were once conquered have resurfaced (you might recall measles is back with a vengeance ). So Michael Shermer, editor in chief of Skeptic Magazine, wrote Bill a nice and polite letter telling him to basically stop being a retard.

I think the problem might be Bill’s pride hasn’t let him get over the fact that his opinions on medical science are on par with nutty conspiracy theorists. Hey, to be fair, I used to believe in ghosts and all kinds of crazy shit. I had to admit to myself there was no basis in reality for my dumb ideas, and that’s an inevitable part of growing up.

So cut out the anti-vaccination shit Bill, or you’re going to keep getting spanked.

Comments (22)

  • avatar

    Isaac

    Wonder what Bill would do if he got a deadly diease and the only thing that could save him was a needle full of antidote. Will he die an idiot or live as a hypocrite?

  • avatar

    Mark Haar

    Such a shame, Maher was a wise, courageous and irreverent voice in a sea of religious insanity. Shermer’s letter is brilliant. Hopefully Bill will read it, as well as posts like this one, give his head a rational shake, and come around.

  • avatar

    Doctor Sparkles

    Atheists who “worship” at the altar of medical science might well do us all a favor and stop being so self-righteous. As a medical doctor I applaud when people challenge standard of care medicine, which from a purely rational and scientific point of view is more religious than it is objective.

    If you trust vaccination and the wisdom of those saying you should get it, then get vaccinated. In the meantime, do you think you could please let all us fools who think it’s unsafe (whether through informed scientific opinion, healthy distrust of the medical-congressional-industrial complex or sheer religious disapproval of such things) to take our chances without the browbeating? You’ll be safe, right?

  • avatar

    Jerad

    Goes to show that any system, skepticism included, can be taken too far.

  • avatar

    Razzle

    I’m betting Maher is just deluding himself, intellectually he knows what’s going on, but he feels the need to not admit being wrong, so he goes about self delusion.

  • avatar

    Doctor Sparkles

    Upon further reflection, I’d remove the second paragraph in my post above if I could – if just because it’s a bit off point. I don’t really mind Bill Maher receiving criticism. He actually seems to invite it. But why criticize him for this? Lots of folks wisely question the safety of vaccination – more folks than are represented by the MSM, even if you include Maher in its social conditioning ranks. If a talking head like Maher empowers folks to look before leaping (or not leaping), I’d hardly call that “dangerous”. More arguably “dangerous” is living in a country where no dissenting opinions are allowed to question a “sacred cow” such as vaccination.

  • avatar

    Razzle

    To question vaccinations is wise, but to conclude that they aren’t worth it, is retarded.

  • avatar

    LB

    I think Maher just sees conspiracy wherever he looks. I think it’s important to keep in mind the question the first led him down this path. He was originally concerned with what is making us all so sick. That evolved into his war on food (I actually agree with him on that one). But it also soon evolved into the pharmaceuticals industry. Early on he was just griping about how we were all over medicated etc.. but lately he seems to be a tear on the whole profession.

    His position is a little incongruous, given how much he wants science to rule the day and how much he seems to distrust medical science.

  • avatar

    Duane

    I also disagree with Bill Maher on this subject. Though I don’t usually get flu vaccinations, just lazy and still young’ish ‘n healthy.

    However, I love Bill Maher. He is usually on the money with most of his opinions, at least for me. He was been the voice for some of us on national TV for over 15 years. I still greatly respect him, even if I think he is wrong on this one.

  • avatar

    Spector567

    With Respect to Dr. Sparkles. Dissenting opinions are great. However, an unqualified dissenting opinion is useless. I don’t listen to opera to get my pschology I won’t listen to Myre to get my medical advice.

    If actual studies show that there is an effect I will listen, however, till than antidotal evidence is not that useful.

    Yes people do die or get injured from vaccines, however, how many more would die without them. That is the greater question. Those who have never taken a vaccine are protected by the herd immunity. I hate to say it but the small % that have negative effects outweigh the many that would have died without the vaccine.

  • avatar

    Razzle

    //hate to say it but the small % that have negative effects outweigh the many that would have died without the vaccine.//

    Don’t hate to say it. You’re dead right and there’s nothing wrong with this. It isn’t like we are giving vaccines to people we know it will kill so that the majority will somehow live.

  • avatar

    Jim

    ” Though I don’t usually get flu vaccinations, just lazy and still young’ish ‘n healthy. ”

    You do realise that the age demographic with the highest mortality rate from influenza epidemics is “youngish” people?

  • avatar

    Razzle

    Is there a link to a study that says this?

    I assumed the old and the very young were always the ones hardest hit % wise

  • avatar

    Duane

    Hi Jim, I don’t realize that. I am with Razzle. Pretty much all the US news I have seen says the opposite.

  • avatar

    Mr RebeL

    @ Razzle & Duane

    Look no further than the CDC
    http://www.cdc.gov/H1N1FLU/surveillanceqa.htm#grapha

  • avatar

    Razzle

    That is indeed 1 piece of evidence to the contrary, I should have said,
    I assumed the old and the very young were *usually* ( instead of always ) the ones hardest hit % wise

  • avatar

    Razzle

    Thanks for correcting me – i over generalized.

  • avatar

    Razzle

    Wait a sec, did you check out the part where it talks about hospitalization? The oldest and the youngest are generally the ones most hospitalized (hardest hit), with the people in the middle of life the least effected. I think you missed that graph

  • avatar

    Mr RebeL

    I saw all of the graphs. I wasnt trying to push one way or the other but i did find it interesting.

    Look at Graph C (the last one)
    age 25-49 accounts for most of the deaths by a rather large margin.

    The very young and the old have the lowest death rate.

    Although with any statistic it can be argued either way. The largest bar is also the largest age range so it sort of makes sense. Too bad there wasnt a more detailed graph.

  • avatar

    Razzle

    That’s because more people in the US fit into 25-49 than any other age group, it’s not a per 100k, its a raw %. The very young and the very old DO NOT have the lowest death rate, just the lowest total amount of deaths, because their numbers are comparitively small to 25-49.

  • avatar

    SHANE

    Maher responded to Shermer and further explained his stance on vaccines on his blog. http://therealbillmaher.blogspot.com/

  • avatar

    Chantel

    Keep in mind that Maher is also a big fan of Kevin Trudeau (convicted felon/ex con) and his “cures” that “They” don’t want you to know about. He talks about being more cynical, but swallows the Trudeau Koolaid without any examination or reason.

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