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Environment

Bill Maher and his Unscientific Beliefs

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Bill Maher, the comedian and host of his own HBO show, is God's gift to conservatives. Nobody makes liberals look likes asses more than Maher. You think I'm kidding? Try watching Maher's latest show without banging your head against the wall (if you're an evidence-based, science-minded-liberal). As Mark Hoofnagle observes at his Denialist blog, it is "just about the most perfect example I’ve seen yet that maybe reality doesn’t have a liberal bias." The stuff Maher says about vaccines and immunity, in particular, will take your breath away. (Hoofnagle summarizes all the "incredibly stupid, unscientific beliefs about medicine" uttered by Maher.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7yvI0tu3Ho When you watch the clip, you'll notice that one of the panelists, John McCormack, a senior writer for the Weekly Standard (a conservative magazine), is mostly quiet. I can see why. If the host is making a fool of himself, why get in the way? Still, McCormack has a barely concealed grin, as if he's thinking, gleefully: I'm watching a left-wing equivalent of Glenn Beck--without the chalkboard. Maher, towards the end of his opening rant, starts blathering about the dangers of Monsanto and GMOs. Hoofnagle describes what ensued:

There is a moment then when the conservative John McCormack butts in and points out there is no evidence that GMOs are harmful, and Maher and his panel of ignoramuses are shocked into silence, and one panelist gives this weighty sigh and covers her face in horror and Maher simply sighs. No, Bill Maher, it is we that should be asking you to justify your foolishness here, McCormack, the conservative who should supposedly be the one without the liberal bias of reality asked the right question. Where is your data? Where is the proof? There is no evidence, and worse, no even plausible mechanism by which he can describe the current GMO foods on the market to be harmful to humans.

Look, we've been here before with Maher. He's been saying asinine things about vaccines and GMOs for years. Science bloggers and writers have taken him to task for the former; in recent years they have started paying attention to the latter. It is his nonsense about vaccines, though, that drives people crazy. At a time when Jenny McCarthy is trying to shed her image as the face of the anti-vaccine movement, Bill Maher is cementing his reputation as a vaccine skeptic and all-around crank.

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