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Denialism, Bill Maher, Sneers, and Looking the Fool

October 23, 2010

This information won’t be new to the regular readers of Countering (as I know many of you read Orac’s stuff), but it’s good, occasionally to put stuff together in one place, especially so that when someone says, nah, Bill Maher’s not against vaccines, “Western” medicine, or the whole germ theory of disease, you can simply link them to one post that collects a lot of the stuff that’s been put out there on the internet.

What follows is a series of video clips and blog posts relating to germ theory denialism and anti-vaccination, specifically relating to Bill Maher, along with some closing thoughts about being science-based.

Bill Maher starts defending his previous wacky remarks, and proves in his denial of being a germ theory denialist that he still doesn’t get it:

The interview that prompted the above video response:

Orac has written several posts on Maher; here is a select sample:

Bill Maher: Antivaccination wingnut

Bill Maher flames out in a pyre of stupidity over vaccines–again

Is Bill Maher really that ignorant? (part IV): Bill loves him some cancer quackery

More Maher idiocy about vaccines


And, let’s not forget that Orac’s counterpoint, as well,  has written on Maher’s lack of critical reasoning skills regarding medicine, germ theory, and anti-vaccination several times. Here are some of these:

“Oh, come on, Superman!”: Bill Maher versus “Western medicine”

“Oh, come on, Superman!” (Part II): Bill Maher meets Kryptonite over vaccines and “Western medicine”

Germ theory denialism: A major strain in “alt-med” thought

Many people applaud Maher’s stance against organized religion and some of these individuals are no doubt tempted to brush off the fact that he doesn’t apply logic and reason to matters of science and medicine. He’s an atheist, and he disses believers! Go, Maher! Yeah, not so much, really, unless it’s go back to school and take a critical thinking course.

He’s a pompous ass who thinks a biting wit and a sardonic sneer make him superior to anyone who thinks differently from him, especially as it involves organized religion and science-based medicine. Until folks get that their particular beliefs don’t make them superior to others, it will always be about in-grouping and out-grouping. It’s harder to think of oneself as equal to those who hold what we believe are irrational beliefs; it’s hard to remember that they think if we disagree we’re the ones who are wrong, but it’s the right course of action unless you want to lose the ability to move in compassion towards others who are different. By gods, sure, some folks are asshats, but they aren’t any less human for it. None of us is perfect, and we each occasionally act the dumbass, after all.

Denialists go around thinking they’ve got a special claim on the truth, that everyone else is the fool. If we’re science-based (and humble, no easy task for any of us), we allow that we’re working at getting at the truth, and that we might be wrong, but here’s what the preponderance of evidence suggests, and we work our way from there. It ain’t perfect, but it beats the hell of looking a fool while wearing a sneer.

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