The Sciences

With a rebel yell, they cried Maher, Maher, Maher

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitNov 17, 2009 9:00 PM

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Oh, that Bill Maher. It's time to change his show's name to "Antireality Time". Because when he talks vaccines, he wanders into major woowoo territory. I don't need to debunk his antivax nonsense, since actual doctors who have facts at their fingertips do it so well, like in this tirade from Orac and in Steve Novella's more measured (but just as devastating) response. But there is one thing I want to mention. My favorite part is when Maher says:

I agree with my critics who say there are far more qualified people than me — its [sic] just that mainstream media rarely interviews doctors and scientists who present an alternative point of view.

First off, that's total baloney. Go watch the news and other talking head shows; they often have people talking up the "alternative" (that is to say, wrong) point of view when it comes to vaccines. And if these people aren't certified physicians, what does that tell you? Maybe you'll come to the correct conclusion that the overwhelming majority of physicians think antivaxxers are full of it. And second, about talk shows not having "alternative" viewpoints -- and this is critical -- why should they? When the weatherman talks about lightning in your area, should he give equal time to the Zeus theory? Feh. Maher digs himself deeper every time he talks about this. Some people hold him up as an icon of skepticism, but it's simply not true. A lot of non-believers love his ideas and attitude when it comes to religion, which is fine, but it doesn't translate to his other beliefs, especially when it comes to real medicine. What he does isn't skepticism, it's dogma, and just as dogmatic as the religions he mocks.

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