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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bill Maher Shows Us that "Smart" People Can Believe Really Stupid Things

Bill Maher thinks he's a smart person ... maybe even an intellectual. Here's a video of him attacking smart people who believe really stupid things. It drips with sarcasm and mockery. At the end of the video you wonder how in the world people could be so stupid. Maher is upset about the resurgence of the "smart-stupid person." One of his targets is a former Prime Minister of Canada.

Hermant Mehta liked this video [Bill Maher Goes After Dr. Eben Alexander and Other Brilliant Scholars Who Believe in Complete Nonsense].

Speaking of smart-stupid people. Here's a video of Bill Maher talking complete nonsense about vaccines. He is corrected by a really smart person, Bill Frist. This is an example of irony and an example of hypocrisy. The hypocrisy is worse than the irony.

And here's Bill Maher talking scientific nonsense about genetically modified foods, which he calls "Frankenfood." Bill Maher has demonstrated repeatedly that he rejects all scientific knowledge about the safety of GMOs. How can a smart person be so stupid?

Here's an excerpt from the Wikipedia article on Bill Maher [Bill Maher].
In a discussion with Michael Moore about the film Sicko, Maher said, "The human body is pretty amazing; it doesn't get sick, usually, for no reason. I mean, there's some genetic stuff that can get to you, but, basically, people are sick in this country because they're poisoned. The environment is a poisoning factor, but also, we gotta say, they poison themselves. They eat shit. People eat shit, and that's, to my way of thinking, about 90 percent of why people are sick, is because they eat shit."[78]

On October 9, 2009, on his HBO show, Maher debated the effectiveness of flu vaccinations with Bill Frist and stated, "Why would you let them be the ones to stick a disease into your arm? I would never get a swine flu vaccine or any vaccine. I don’t trust the government, especially with my health." Maher also expressed skepticism about the seriousness of the swine flu and whether completely healthy people could die from it.

Maher's comments on medicine have generated criticism from the medical and skeptic communities, and his remarks have been called unscientific and even harmful.[79] Infectious diseases expert Paul Offit has written that misinformation about vaccines from celebrities like Maher have put children at unnecessary risk. Offit notes that celebrities like Maher are seen as "less credible" and would still be considered just "great entertainment" if they weren't joined by the former Director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Bernadine Healy and influential pediatrician, Dr. Robert Sears.[80] Oncologist, David Gorski has also criticized Maher's beliefs about vaccines several times in ScienceBlogs, and when Maher received the Richard Dawkins Award in 2009, Gorski wrote it was inappropriate.[81] Skeptics, including mathematician and science writer Martin Gardner,[82] neurologist Steven Novella,[83] and magician Jamy Ian Swiss have also strongly rebuked Maher, characterizing him as anti-science, uninformed and potentially endangering the health of fans who take his "non-medical" advice.[84]

Maher responded to the criticism, saying, "What I've read about what they think I'm saying is not what I've said. I'm not a germ theory denier. I believe vaccinations can work. Polio is a good example. Do I think in certain situations that inoculating Third World children against malaria or diphtheria, or whatever, is right? Of course. In a situation like that, the benefits outweigh costs. But to me living in Los Angeles? To get a flu shot? No."[85]
You should read what Orac (David Gorski) said when Bill Maher received the Richard Dawkins Award in 2009 [Bill Maher gets the Richard Dawkins Award? That’s like Jenny McCarthy getting an award for public health].

So, Bill Maher proves to us that smart people can believe really stupid things. Here's the problem. We should not be praising Bill Maher for exposing the stupidity of smart people he disagrees with when he is every bit as guilty of being anti-science on many other issues. Bill Maher is not one of the good guys in the war between rationalism and superstition. Those of us on the "rationalism" side of the debate should stop treating him as an ally.


Steve Watson said...

Bill Frist, it should be noted, used his bully pulpit as a Senator to say some stupid things about the Terry Schaivo case. So, yet another person who's smart about one thing and stupid about others.

But yeah: I could do without Maher, and I cringe whenever someone holds him up as an exemplar for atheism. In many important ways, he is not on my "side".

Veronica Abbass said...

I had the same thought when I saw Hemant Mehta's tweet about the post: Bill Maher believes really stupid things and speaks out about vaccines. That's really stupid and dangerous talk.

Marcoli said...

Thank you for this post. I find that Bill Maher is funny, and I can laugh along with him most of the time. Then there is that anti-vaxx bit about him that puts me on edge. I do wish he would come out and clearly rebuke himself on that-- but I doubt he will.

Harriet said...

No one is perfect and in the US, there aren't a lot of people attacking religion.

GMO: I catch lots of flack from my lefty friends on this issue.

The dirty secret is that most people, liberal or conservative, are only "pro-science" when science tells them what they want to hear.

Diogenes said...

To quote the old Jewish man in "Religulous" who briefly walks in front of the camera while Maher is yammering mightily, trying to make some Jews look stupid:


Robert Byers said...

Bill Maher is sooooo offensive to me. I think he's literally a bad person. I don't accuse lightly.
I don't think he has a claim to tell anyone anything.
Getting an audience, including the comedian help, is not a sign of a scholarly person.
Empty barrels make the most noise

Anonymous said...

being an atheist/freethinker/skeptic/bright what-have-you does not inoculate you from ignorance...Maher makes sharp jabs at the irrationality that is religion, and at the right-wing crazies..and I often find myself nodding in for when he starts in on his libertarian views, or his views on GMO or vaccines, I just switch the channel...but i do this (i think we all do this) in other aspects of our lives...I still listen and enjoy the White Stripes even though Jack White professes to have 3 fathers, with one of them being imaginary...I still watch the Dolphins (ugh, i know) even though when someone scores a touchdown they give glory to god...I (we) can compartmentalize and sift out the good from the bad...nobody is going to be in 100% register with our views/outlooks/ be sure, we should call out Maher (and any other pundits with a public platform) when they make dumbass comments or take dumbass positions that are counter to the evidence at Maher's defense he is not a scientist, he hasn't been trained to evaluate evidence...right now the head of the NIH believes in a personal (Christian) god!!

colnago80 said...

What was really amusing about Dr. Frist was his diagnosis of Terry Schaivo from a 30 second video clip. As a prominent neurologist was quoted as saying, "if heart surgeon Frist is going to practice neurology, maybe I can perform open heart surgery and heart transplants; sure would be a lot more lucrative then neurology".

dummy said...

Funny how last night on real time he says," finaller Canada is "stupider" than us". Stupider is not a word.. Idiot

Anonymous said...

"Stupider" is the comparative adjective form of the word stupid. Purely a matter of preference if you use "stupider" or "more stupid." This is my position as well as that of the Oxford English Dictionary. Example: It is stupid to assume your assumptions are correct without fact checking, but stupider still to make your assumptions public prior to any confirming investigation.

I think you are the stupider idiot in this case.