Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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“This country is like a college chick after two long island iced teas: we can be talked into anything, like wars, and we can be talked out of anything, like health care,” says Bill Maher. “We should forget town halls and replace them with study halls.”


Comments

  1. #1 Cristina
    February 20, 2010

    Oh my! Hilariously funny, and sadly true… :p

  2. #2 T. Bruce McNeely
    February 20, 2010

    (Bill Maher) is like a college chick after two long island iced teas: (he) can be talked into anything, like (vaccines are BAD!!!) and (he) can be talked out of anything, like (scientific)health care

    Fixed that for Bill.

  3. #3 JohnV
    February 20, 2010

    A germ theory denying anti-vax crank referring to an entire country as “stupid”.

    That’s almost as ironic as a germ theory denying anti-vax crank winning the Richard Dawkins award for science and reason 😮

  4. #4 dcotler
    February 20, 2010

    Automatically opposing anything that rethuglicans favor makes Maher right most of the time, but it doesn’t make him smart or rational.

  5. #5 vorona7001
    February 20, 2010

    We can replace town halls with education halls. But if people don’t want to be clever and educated. People don’t like to think and it’s big problem of our civilization. People like to eat, to sleep and to be entertained. It’s normal for any being. But politics should lead people to intellectual achievements, not to byung a lot of garbage.

  6. #6 Halberd
    February 21, 2010

    Is there a video of Maher explaining exactly what was in the health care bill, and exactly how it would improve our health care lot? Just askin’.

    Sorry, but I put “teh health care bill iz teh awesome!” in the exact same camp as the “death camp” teabaggers. Do *you* know what was in the bill?

  7. #7 skeptifem
    February 21, 2010

    What is so freaking funny about drunk people being coerced into things? We all know why he picked a drunken college girl, friggin misogynist.

    Bill Maher is so freaking wrong anyway. School is not the answer to this problem at all. Anyone who has looked at the cirriculum for these things (or just attended) knows that public schools are an obedience machine. Someone tells you what to do, when to do it, and it often makes no sense or has no relevance but you do it anyway to avoid upsetting an authority figure. Looking at how the united states is portrayed and what facts are left out of history lessons is shocking as well. There are massive efforts to keep people apathetic that extend well beyond school, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Framing this as americans being too stupid to do anything correctly is dishonest. It is very difficult to live in a society where huge centers of power aim to depolitisize people and conceal important information without some of it rubbing off on you. If this much effort was aimed at any group of people the effect would likely be the same.

  8. #8 Mike Miller
    February 21, 2010

    BM is a fool

  9. #9 J
    February 21, 2010

    I’m going to play devil’s advocate here for a minute, because I keep seeing people say “Bill Maher is stupid about this, thus he can’t comment on anyone else being stupid in a different way” First of all, that’s a logical fallacy, and second, the accusations being leveled at him aren’t even correct.

    Several commenters above deride Maher as supposedly not believing in germ theory. While he could still stand to educate himself on immunology for sure, it is NOT true that “does not believe in germ theory” (seriously, a simple visit even to Wikipedia – which as a cited quote from him on the matter – would have sufficed to clear this up, as you can see for yourself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Maher#Views_on_health_care ).

    He does not disbelieve in the existence of the influenza viruses or polio or anything like that; it turns out he just is naive about the average healthy human being’s immune system being able to TAKE influenza germs without dying; which is out of the loop in terms of understanding immunology, but not nearly as stupid and out-there as completely denying germ theory. Basically, he misinterprets over a hundred years’ worth of science that indicates that good diet and exercise = better immune system as being good grounds to be skeptical he “needs” a swine flu vaccine. He also does not (or at least did not) appear to understand that the shot (as opposed to the nasal vaccine) for influenza strains is given using a dead virus, since he claimed he didn’t feel the need to “shot a disease in [his] arm”.

    What this makes him is ignorant on something that is bad to be ignorant about but comparatively specialized.

    This kind of ignorance, though foolish, is nowhere near the same ballpark of not realizing Judaism came before Christianity, even though…hell, like he said, Old Testament, New Testament, you’d think they’d figure it out. Or the whole “sun revolving around the earth” thing, which you would think would have been pretty well established by now.

    Maher may or may not be a slight (unknowing) hypocrite, this is true… but in this case, being a hypocrite does not actually invalidate his points. It’s like claiming that someone who eats a dozen brownies in one sitting can’t say “hey, smoking cigerettes are bad for your lungs”. Yes, they’re dumb in another (health-related) respect, but that does not invalidate their ACTUAL point.

    I would argue that most people, nay, all of them, are stupid or foolish at least some of the time or at least on one subject.

    But yes, some people are stupider than most, some cultures or subcultures are more dangerously incurious than others, and while you may think it’s hypocritical of him to point out this stupidity and mock it, in all honesty, how does that make his actual exact points as made here invalid?

    The answer is it doesn’t. So stop acting like it does, please. You do logic a disservice when you do that.

  10. #10 Hammer
    February 22, 2010

    J VERY clearly and eloquently handled the issue here, this post serves to direct others to J’s post (number 9 in case you’re wondering) and to argue that while perhaps his own reasoning wasn’t the greatest there certainly wasn’t any reason to incite panic in the general population and force people into being immunized against swine flue. Dr Marc Lipsitch claimed in a fairly recent article that swine flu’s death rate may have been well below a tenth of a percent, far lower than seasonal flu.

  11. #11 Phillip IV
    February 22, 2010

    like a college chick after two long island iced teas: we can be talked into anything, like wars

    Well, it’s sure possible, but an army of tipsy college chicks is not necessarily the pinnacle of military effectiveness.

  12. #12 "GrrlScientist"
    February 22, 2010

    J wrote:

    Well, it’s sure possible, but an army of tipsy college chicks is not necessarily the pinnacle of military effectiveness.

    Indeed, just like the US war effort in Iraq. And Afghanistan.

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