Respectful Insolence

Bill Maher on Christine Maggiore’s book

Last week, I did multiple posts about the death of HIV/AIDS denialist Christine Maggiore of what for all the world looked like an HIV-related pneumonia, the excuses HIV/AIDS denialists made to try to persuade people that it wasn’t AIDS, and the attempted coverup of damning posts. In the past, I’ve also taken a certain comedian by the name of Bill Maher to task for his antivaccine views, germ theory denialism, and embrace of detoxification quackery and conspiracy mongering about big pharma.

I should have known that wasn’t all. I should have realized that he would be sympathetic to HIV/AIDS denialism. He even posted a positive blurb about Christine Maggiore’s book What If Everything You Thought You Knew about AIDS Was Wrong?:

This is a book everyone should read, and not a moment too soon! One of the most corrosive flaws in America is our tendency toward conformity; in the quest to understand AIDS, it has been stifling. Christine Maggiore prompts the kind of questioning that is the lifeblood of scientific inquiry

Why anyone takes Maher seriously about anything, I have no idea. He’s about as much of a “skeptic” as Deepak Chopra. I suppose one could call him a “freethinker” if “free” means that he’s let his logic and reason go free from his brain and into the woo.

Comments

  1. #1 Chris
    January 14, 2009

    That quote seems to come from Maggiore’s own ironically named “AliveAndWell” website. It is a promotional blurb without a date stamp or any other kind of context.

    It would be interesting to see how they got that blurb from Maher, and if he woo enough to stick to it after half of her family is no longer “alive and well.”

    Looking at its Amazon page, it is interesting to see the most “helpful” reviews at the front include more negative than positive. Then when you pick the most recent reviews you get one (and, by the way I posted one that is not there that only said “RIP, she died at age 52″ and nothing else, so I am guessing they chose one out of several to post):
    http://www.amazon.com/review/product/0967415322/ref=cm_cr_dp_all_helpful?%5Fencoding=UTF8&coliid=&showViewpoints=1&colid=&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

    It says “She and her 3-year-old daughter both died of AIDS. Too bad she lived long enough to write a book about her beliefs that ended up killing her and her daughter.

    Read this book if you want to kill yourself.”

  2. #2 DLC
    January 14, 2009

    Maher’s not so much a skeptic as a populist.
    He tends to throw things up against the wall and see what sticks. Without bothering to read or do much research, Maher seems to go with “gut feelings” and if something doesn’t “seem right” then it isn’t.

  3. #3 Robster, FCD
    January 14, 2009

    Sad. Sometimes he gets it when attacking 9/11 cultists, but then cranks up his conspiracy electromagnet.

  4. #4 Alan Kellogg
    January 14, 2009

    My favorite episode of his old Politically Incorrect on ABC was when he had two American Indian activists on. He kept trying to pull the old “evil murderous white man” sthick, and they kept knocking him down.

    I think it was Russel Means who told Maher, “Until you came along we didn’t even know we were a people.”

  5. #5 mk
    January 14, 2009

    Well, this is just sad.

  6. #6 Militant Agnostic
    January 14, 2009

    I think Maher is a contrarian rather than a skeptic. If America were predominately atheist, he would be Christian fundamentalist.

  7. #7 Interrobang
    January 14, 2009

    Maher is a “free” thinker — his thoughts are worth nothing, and he gives them away all the time.

  8. #8 marilove
    January 14, 2009

    He just likes to stir up shit.

  9. #9 James
    January 14, 2009

    I’ll start paying attention to HIV denialists when they line up to receive blood transfusions from HIV positive donors.

  10. #10 Seth Kalichman
    January 14, 2009

    I like Bill Maher. I am disappointed but not surprised. Look, Rebecca Culshaw made her denialist debut at Lew Rockwell’s website. Probaby has lots to do with conspiracy thinkers being drawn to anti-goverment rhetoric. Also the whoel free speech thing and Duesberg being censored. The politics of denialism demands more attention. Celia Farber says there are no politics in AIDS denialism. But I bet Bob Guccione has some strong libertarian sentiments, especially around free speech.
    http://denyingaids.blogspot.com/

  11. #11 wfjag
    January 14, 2009

    Are books by HIV/AIDS denialists like art — becoming more valuable after the creator dies?

  12. #12 Evan Henke
    January 14, 2009

    James’ comment for teh win!

  13. #13 cooler
    January 14, 2009

    Well, it’s been well established for 20 years that HIV causes disease and death. Afterall, AZT was approved in 1987, so there must have been overwhelming proof of causality by then.

    Can somebody provide the overwhelming proof from that time period of HIV’s causality that justified AZT being approved for long term use? Waiting.

  14. #14 Orac
    January 14, 2009

    James’ comment for teh win!

    Oh, I don’t know. wfjag gave James a run for his money!

    cooler, on the other hand, remains cooler, and just as ignorant as ever.

  15. #15 Seth Kalichman
    January 14, 2009

    Can some plesae prove that the AIDS Denialist David Crowe exists? You know, the so called ‘President of the Rethinkers’ and ‘webmaster’ for Alberta Reapprasing AIDS…

    There is no proof that he exists. None. No one can prove they have met him. He has not been verified and seen in public. No proof of employment. Nothing.
    The pictures of him and videos are obviously an actor playing the so called Crowe. There is a theory that he was created by Vitamin Salesman Gary Null to sell more fake cures for HIV/AIDS and Cancer. The kinds of treatments Celia Farber says killed Christine Maggiore.

    David Crowe is the missing AIDS Denialist.

    If you cannot prove your great leader even exists, what does this whole ‘dissident movement’ really mean?

    See the lack of proof that David Crowe exists at
    http://denyingaids.blogspot.com/

  16. #16 DrFrank
    January 15, 2009

    Arg, some of the discussions on the Amazon page definitely need some respectful insolence throwing in, though.

  17. #17 Pieter B
    January 15, 2009

    A British broadcaster once referred to Bill Maher’s friend (his words, not mine, though he hasn’t had her on his show in quite a while) as a “controversialist.” I think that’s a perfect word for Maher as well, much better than “contrarian.”

  18. #18 Pieter B
    January 15, 2009

    Argh. I was referring to Ann Coulter above. More coffee . . .

  19. #19 Chris Swanson
    January 17, 2009

    I generally enjoy Bill Maher and find him entertaining. He is, however, entirely too unskeptical about certain things. He’s a PETA supporter and buys into the “natural is better” thing a lot more than I’d like to see. On the other hand, at least he puts the smack-down on religious nonsense and 9/11 conspiracy theorists, so I’ll give him credit there.

  20. #20 Dave Tworkowski
    February 1, 2009

    Christine Maggiore just called me from heaven. She says that she and Eliza Jane are well and that she has no regrets. She does miss Charlie and Robin but plans to be their special angel for many, many years before the whole family is finally reunited. She says there is actually no hell but she is negotiating with God to create a special one for Robert Gallo. What’s most beautiful, I’ve learned, are all the HIV positives who constantly surround her with reassurance that they are happy that she wrote ‘What if Everything You Thought You Knew About AIDS Was Wrong?’. Her compassion and motherly love, strong as ever, is still at work.

    There will never be another one like her. It will probably take many years before she is recognized for her achievements, but thAT day will come as it will also for Peter Duesberg. Her spirit is unquenchable and lives on in many thousands, world-wide, who take up her cause and delliver her message of hope.

    Denialist? Are you kidding? The woman was a realist of the first order. And not only intelligent, but sexy as hell. Thank God that Robiin, her loving husband, is a film-maker and a good one at that. That means that we have a record of this woman’s goodness to counter the media that slandered her. If I could produce just.000000000000000000000000000000000000000.1% of the good that she did on this earth, I would consider my life a success. Enjoy your new life, Christine. You did a good job!…..Dave Tworkowski of HEAL San Diego (California)

  21. #21 Joseph C.
    February 1, 2009

    Christine Maggiore just called me from heaven.

    A little bit of Clozapine could probably fix your hallucinations right up.

  22. #22 Anthony Alexander
    June 10, 2009

    ‘You’ say ‘WE’ like the fat guy sitting in front row seats shouting at HIS team’s players to move it, or the kids watching a rocket go up into space, yes, we did it. We sat on our asses and now we’re taking the credit. Our research, our Scientists.

    What is important is not accepting what you’re told just because the guys is a doctor. I’m quite tired of professionals making public statements that seem obvious to me, even layman. You don’t need more than high school biology to see that the Aids case is a false one.

    I’m black so I don’t really trust anyone. I remember very well that you enslaved a nation because they weren’t christian. And that you wouldn’t release them because it would affect your livelihood. I will never forget that such corrupt individuals exist and are always up to making money the quickest way possible.

    Anything is possible. I await your brute remarks, while your scientists come up with more ways to make themselves relevant.

  23. #23 Anthony Alexander
    June 10, 2009

    ‘You’ say ‘WE’ like the fat guy sitting in front row seats shouting at HIS team’s players to move it, or the kids watching a rocket go up into space, yes, we did it. We sat on our asses and now we’re taking the credit. Our research, our Scientists.

    What is important is not accepting what you’re told just because the guys is a doctor. I’m quite tired of professionals making public statements that seem obvious to me, even layman. You don’t need more than high school biology to see that the Aids case is a false one.

    I’m black so I don’t really trust anyone. I remember very well that you enslaved a nation because they weren’t christian. And that you wouldn’t release them because it would affect your livelihood. I will never forget that such corrupt individuals exist and are always up to making money the quickest way possible.

    Anything is possible. I await your brute remarks, while your scientists come up with more ways to make themselves relevant.

  24. #24 Antaeus Feldspar
    July 23, 2009

    You don’t need more than high school biology to see that the Aids case is a false one.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that this opinion originates with someone whose knowledge of biology ends with what they learned in high school.

    I remember very well that you enslaved a nation because they weren’t christian.

    It’s a funny thing, but I simply can’t recall ever having enslaved a nation. I mean, it really is the sort of thing you’d expect to remember, if you had personally enslaved a nation… oh, you didn’t mean “personally”? You were in fact saying “someone somewhere sometimes enslaved a nation and I am going to attribute the acts of that someone somewhere sometime to you despite having no idea how close to or far from that someone somewhere sometime you are”? Well, why didn’t you say so? I mean, besides the fact that it would have shown up the emptiness of your “argument”.

  25. #25 lou piccone
    September 30, 2009

    i dont like Bill Mahar, but I like you even less. Your views suck. AIDS is a fraud, and so is the medical system.

  26. #26 Chris
    September 30, 2009

    Wow, lou. That was such a well thought out and executed rebuttal! I wonder how you manage to get through the day knowing of your obvious superiority to those who actually managed to not only graduate from high school, but who also went to medical school.

    (oh, lou, just by going on what you wrote, I should explain the previous paragraph was sarcasm — look it up)

  27. #27 Chris
    September 30, 2009

    With all the more frequent and recent postings on Bill Maher, I missed that you chose to comment on a nine month old blog posting! What possesses you to decide that your comment is more relevant on a January 2009 posting, than the two on Maher in the past few days?

  28. #28 Gerry M.
    November 19, 2009

    Bravo!

    Although I once believed what Christine “preached” I learned the hard way that she was dead wrong. And there is nothing wrong with being wrong. Remember… she died from “complications” of HIV/AIDS. And let’s get real… her daughter did too. The fact is… within 10 years of contracting HIV, your T-cells will diminish down to almost ZERO and you will develop PCP pneumonia among other opportunistic infections. And they will kill you, if not treated properly and quickly. My partner has been HIV positive for over 10 years. We followed Duesberg and Christine’s ideology for years… then the same month Christine died, he ended up in Cedars with PCP!!! His T-cells were at 20 (outrageously low) and the HIV Virus out of control.

    He is now on one pill a day. The viral load is GONE. His T-cells are over 200 and climbing and he no longer gets sick. No headaches. He was on a respirator for 3 weeks and in hospital for 6 weeks!

    Live and learn folks. This is real.

  29. #29 L
    January 5, 2010

    I think it’s funny that instead of researching and looking at her information for themselves, and I mean really looking, looking at sources, it’s easier to critisize then to accept that the very thought of something believed for so long might be wrong, or at the very least have aspects that are wrong. Anyone who does not believe the majority must be wrong, everything they say must be wrong. And hey, if something is repeated enough, eventually people start to believe it as truth. Open minds are needed….clearly there aren’t nearly enough in this world.

  30. #30 Chris
    January 5, 2010

    So you are saying that Bill Maher should have done a bit more research on Maggiore to figure out she was spouting dangerous advice? Like the type that led the the deaths of her daughter and herself.

    Because that is what I got out your word salad.

  31. #31 Bryan Gabbard
    January 11, 2010

    25 years into this debate and there is yet to be one single demonstration of HIV killing a tcell.

  32. #32 Chris
    January 11, 2010

    Only to those who refuse to look at the real research (not an expert, but I bet it says that HIV does not kill the t-cell, but actually takes it over to reproduce, where it renders it useless for its real use).

  33. #33 uhh
    November 3, 2010

    “25 years into this debate and there is yet to be one single demonstration of HIV killing a tcell.”

    Yeah, sorry that no virologist came to your house, held your hand and taught you how to read and think, to convince you of something that you’re too lazy to do. It’s great that these people keep asking for proof, when they’re not even sure what proof would be ok, what would convince them (real answer: nothing) nor what science is and how it works. Just keep on spouting the nonsense about proof.

  34. #34 Chris
    November 3, 2010

    Dear, uhh (a necromancer, do you seriously think Bryan is still here after over ten months?

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