Is Bill Maher the atheist Jenny McCarthy?

Bill Maher live

Many people accuse me of only criticizing Christians, Republicans, or anyone with conservative family values. Anyone who reads this blog regularly, knows this is not true. I am an equal opportunity offender. Case in point, here’s a post slamming an atheist and giving praise to a Southern Christian Republican senator.

A lot has been said recently about Bill Maher and his being given the Richard Dawkins award at the AAI conference. Since my site was down, I didn’t get a chance to throw in my own two cents. Many others have done a great job covering it, so I will be brief.

First off, I believe Richard Dawkins handled the situation perfectly. He defused the entire situation by very clearly stating that he didn’t agree with everything Bill Maher believed, and specifically Maher’s view on medicine. This was the best thing Dawkins could have done. It took the air out of the protester’s sails.

Secondly, the engraving on the beautiful award given to Maher was simply entitled, “The 2009 Richard Dawkins Award.” I could be wrong, but I believe this may have symbolized a name change for the award. It should also be pointed out that Richard Dawkins himself had nothing to do with the decision to give Maher the award. The award is given by AAI and simply bears Dawkins’ name.

A blog at the New York Times sums up Maher’s position pretty well:

Mr. Maher recently told his Twitter followers that people who get flu shots are “idiots.” On his Friday HBO show “Real Time With Bill Maher,” he explained his opposition to the flu vaccine during an interview with Bill Frist, a heart surgeon who was a Republican senator from Tennessee.

Mr. Maher questioned letting someone stick “a disease into your arm,” wrongly implying that the flu shot contains a live virus. The flu shot is a killed vaccine. (Only the nasal mist vaccine contains a weakened live virus.)

He said he did not believe that healthy people were vulnerable to dying from the new H1N1 virus. This contradicts statements from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that young, healthy people from ages 5 to 24 appear particularly vulnerable to this flu. About a third of the 76 children who have died of H1N1 since April have had no underlying health problems.

Mr. Maher also discouraged pregnant women from getting vaccinated. Studies show pregnant women are among the most vulnerable to serious complications from H1N1.

In case you missed it, here is the video clip of Sen. Frist’s appearance on last week’s Real Time with Bill Maher:

This goes to show you that we don’t only have to worry about fools like Jenny McCarthy. Atheists can be idiots too. And it is also about time we quit allowing people to condemn “Western medicine.” I’m sure that we have a lot to learn from “Eastern medicine,” but anything of value will stand up to the scientific method.

Brother Richard

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/MonolithTMA Mike aka MonolithTMA

    I have noticed from time to time that being an atheist does not always mean one will be rational. Sometimes people take their skepticism to the point of paranoia and conspiracy theories.

  • JohnAtl

    Frist is impressive.
    It is odd that a presumably rational person (Maher) can compartmentalize that rationality and go off in left field on vaccines.

  • http://goodreasonnews.blogspot.com good reason news

    Brother Richard,

    There's been a lot of discussion about Maher's winning the award, and this almost immediate vaccine comment which caused many atheists to cringe. I wrote a little about why I think he deserves the award anyway here. http://goodreasonnews.blogspot.com/2009/10/open-l

    Sorry to self-promote, but I figured if it were on topic it'd be OK.

    In addition to that, I'd like to add, while I think Maher is wrong here, is it really any wonder that so many are suspicious of an industry so fraught with needless products and tied so tightly to a profit margin? It came out recently that watermelons work about as good as that blue boner pill. How many cases of parents just itching to put their kids on ritalin have we heard about? Vioxx, Oxy Cotin, Heroin — all disasters of modern medicine. How is a laymen, like Maher and myself, to have any trust in an industry that seeks to profit off sick people when we see results in drugs like these?

    Again, I'm not saying Maher is right, but I do think the atheist community isn't doing a fair job of explaining their point of view.

  • http://goodreasonnews.blogspot.com goodreasonnews

    Brother Richard,

    There's been a lot of discussion about Maher's winning the award, and this almost immediate vaccine comment which caused many atheists to cringe. I wrote a little about why I think he deserves the award anyway on my blog.

    Sorry to self-promote, but I figured if it were on topic it'd be OK.

    In addition to that, I'd like to add, while I think Maher is wrong here, is it really any wonder that so many are suspicious of an industry so fraught with needless products and tied so tightly to a profit margin? It came out recently that watermelons work about as good as that blue boner pill. How many cases of parents just itching to put their kids on ritalin have we heard about? Vioxx, Oxy Cotin, Heroin — all disasters of modern medicine. How is a laymen, like Maher and myself, to have any trust in an industry that seeks to profit off sick people when we see results in drugs like these?

    Again, I'm not saying Maher is right, but I do think the atheist community isn't doing a fair job of explaining their point of view.

  • http://obsessedwr.wordpress.com Freidenker

    Don't get it. Atheists don't believe in gods. That's it. How does that make them any less predisposed to being idiots? Are we falling for the kind of bullshit religionists call on atheists?

    Maher's just a dude who doesn't like organized religion. He's not an atheist out of rational reasons. (I'll gladly be refuted regarding that matter. If I'm wrong, it means Maher is an extraordinary version of kook)

    Gotta admit, though, he is funny, and good at what he does.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/BrotherRichard BrotherRichard

      I totally agree. Being an atheist just means you don't have a belief in a god. It is not a religion, or a particular belief system. There are atheists who believe in the supernatural. There are atheists, who are not humanists. There are atheist, like Bill Maher, who are not skeptics. This is one of the main reasons I wanted to point him out. And in some ways he may be more dangerous, because some people to think that because he is an atheist that he is a rational person.

  • http://compassionateheathen.blogspot.com/ Jonathan

    Man, I agree completely. It's not that I hate Maher….but I sure wish he would keep his mouth shut sometimes about things he's not fully knowledgeable of.

  • liar liar…

    I'm a scientist and know 100 times more about statistics than these dumb medical researchers (according to many metaanalyses, around 70% of the medical research published is statistically wrong). Their statistics (pregnant women are 9x more susceptible to die from the flu…) are bogus.
    Bill Maher was right once again. It was proven that the swine flu vaccine was a scam.
    Bill Frist is a filthy republican who lies his ass off. The US does not have the best health care. When we want to get an operation, we stay in our own countries.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X