…you need to read David Gorski about the latest episode of Real Time. He’s got the full quarter hour of Maher chatting with an anti-vaxxer.
The interview started off with Maher introducing Dr. Jay as a “noted author and pediatrician who gives vaccines to children, to adults, and to himself but who has been called an ‘antivaxer.’” Things went rapidly south from there. As always, Maher’s smugness was something to behold. After the standard pleasantries when introducing any guest, Maher opined about how “it’s courageous today just to speak at all about the subject of vaccines,” leading Dr. Jay to interject, “They do take shots at you.” Of course, some “shots” are deserved. When you promote antivaccine misinformation on a national stage, hell yes, Mr. Maher and Dr. Jay, I am very likely going to “take shots” at you because you deserve it. Maher, as usual, went smugly on about how vaccines are one thing in this culture for which there is only “the one true opinion” and how “we don’t play that game here”, which is his usual self-serving arrogant nonsense when he wants to spout nonsense about “Western medicine.” The only reason Dr. Jay and Mr. Maher get so much pushback is because they promote dangerous antivaccine misinformation.
The smugness when he said those words, “we don’t play that game here”, might be a lethal dose all by themselves, but Maher goes on and on, raging about those doctors who don’t know anything.
Although the title isn’t as direct as it should (“Bill Maher Falsely Claims Vaccine-Autism Connection” would be, e.g., better), and the article meanders at first, Forbe’s Bill Maher Supports Vaccine-Autism Connection does eventually zero in on and eviscerate Maher’s lies. (Along the way, it also takes some pot-shots at goop and various other fads & eejits.)
The article does not discuses / distinguish vaccine deniers from the vaccine hesitant — which seems to be an important distinction to make (see, e.g., Dr Gorski’s special friend Orac): Vaccine deniers are something of a waste of time (rather like Global Climate Catastrophe deniers). However, encouraging / convincing vaccine hesitant parents to get their children vaccinated (and such parent’s adult children fully-vaccinated) whenever possible seems to work with the right tools and strategy, including outlawing exemptions (or making them inconvenient to obtain, such as requiring an interview with public health officials), and checking on medical exemptions to ensure they are legitimate, and cracking down on quacks issuing illegitimate exemptions.
Marcus Ranum says
I hate how theists characterize atheists as “smug” and then I remember Bill Maher.
The one thing in this culture on which there is only one true opinion? No. For example, it is a truth universally acknowledged that if you swallow enough potassium cyanide, you’ll die. And, no matter how many woo-ish opinions are ever put forward contesting that, there is, in fact, only one true opinion, and no other one will be tolerated and no “discussion” of “alternative” opinions needs to be listened to.
I could give tons of examples of that. What a stupid shill. And this guy has the gall to call Trump a deluded phony.
Maher then added to his woomeistering his acting like complete slime in his repeatedly asking Ronan Farrow who his biological father is. To which the answers are 1) none of your fucking business, 2) why do you give a damn, and 3) how is Farrow supposed to know, he wasn’t alive at the time.
Maher is getting worse and worse with age, sort a Sam Harris decline.
I think TV has too strong exposure to Bill Maher. We need to lengthen out our Maher exposure to say, 2 minutes a week. Otherwise our mental immune system will be overwhelmed by it.
gijoel, I am selfishly going to avoid all exposure to Maher, and rely on herd immunity to protect mememe.
Steve Bruce says
This, I think, is the defining failure of the new atheist movement. Elevating idiots like Maher as some kind of beacon of rationalism. Looking back, it’s very obvious. The movement had only two requirements- mocking religion ad accepting evolution. Everything else was permitted and excused. If Maher had argued against evolution in this fashion, Daw, Coyne and others would have laughed him out of the room. But they didn’t. They defended him, made excuses and went on his show regularly. A shining of their integrity and commitment to rationalism and skepticism or lack thereof.
Steve Bruce says
That was Dawkins and not Daw in the previous comment
I don’t watch much television, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen as much as a clip of Maher in action. I’ve only seen stills of his smarmy face. Those have been enough. He just looks like a preening jerk.