Respectful Insolence

More Maher idiocy about vaccines

I didn’t know that Bill Maher used Twitter, but I do now:

i-b0467634cc1daa6b0d5677d2972787df-MaherTwit-thumb-400x300-19749.jpg

The original Tweet is here.

Gee, given their similar comments about flu shots being “for idiots,” you don’t think that Bill Maher and Doug Bremner are the same person, do you? Maybe they were separated at birth! In any case, perhaps we should see how many of us can be blocked by Maher by telling him that if you call people who get their flu shots idiots, you’re the real idiot.

Here’s a hint, Bill. If crackpots like those at Age of Autism love your stand on vaccines, you’ve gone down the same road as the Gardasil crackpots you criticize. (Of course, AoA wouldn’t like Bill quite so much if they knew this.) Why was it again that you support HPV vaccination but hate flu vaccines?

Comments

  1. #1 Andyo
    September 27, 2009

    Why was it again that you support HPV vaccination but hate flu vaccines?

    You know, I’ve never seen Maher explain clearly why he opposes religion so vehemently. He always says it’s childish and stupid, but never explains why. He also has never said anything that indicates he’s more scientifically literate than the average person (not saying much), like, say Stephen Colbert, whose interviews with scientists are always good fun because of it. I don’t think he even understands evolution at a basic level.

    I think religion is just something that bothers him so he rails against it, but he’s not really a skeptic about bullshit claims, it’s just when it’s in according with his own beliefs.

  2. #2 Barry Leiba
    September 27, 2009

    Frankly, as I look at the rest of Maher’s tweets (assuming that they’re really his), I think there’s no need for anyone to point out that his Twitter stream is full of idiocy: it’s blatantly clear. Take the one about President Obama shaving crop circles into his hair, for instance. Take it, please.

  3. #3 Denice Walter
    September 27, 2009

    Watching Maher is like observing an accident along the highway,you know you *really* shouldn’t look, but you just *have* to, then you’re *sorry* you did. I’ve seen a few of his guests visibly cringe, especially at the germ-theory-denialism.Still, he does manage to get some really bright people(…are they only seeking Schadenfreude?),perhaps one of them will effectively school him on air.(I hope. I hope.)

  4. #4 Shay
    September 27, 2009

    May he get a really, really bad case of H1N1.

  5. #5 Pablo
    September 27, 2009

    If my 1 year old son gets the H1N1 flu because he gets it from you because you refused to get vaccinated, then ur a real asshole.

    Actually, that you would be willing to put my son at risk in the first place pretty much makes you a selfish prick.

  6. #6 Lisa Vant Wout
    September 27, 2009

    I think you have blinders on. The Canadians just finished a research project on the H1N1 vaccine and found that it is causing more swine flu than it is helping. Then on Fox the other night(believe it or not) there was a doctor of infectious disease stating he would not allow his own children to have this vaccine.

    It is well known that this vaccine has not been around long enough for massive testing and that anyone who gets it is really a guinea pig. The amount of advertising of this vaccine, like the Gardisil vaccine is also troublesome.

  7. #7 sailor
    September 27, 2009

    “The Canadians just finished a research project on the H1N1 vaccine and found that it is causing more swine flu than it is helping.”

    If you want you to take that seriously you had better give references. Otherwise we will take it as the ravings of a lunatic. Extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence etc.

  8. #8 Joseph C.
    September 27, 2009

    Richard Dawkins has a new book out on evolution:

    http://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Show-Earth-Evidence-Evolution/dp/1416594787/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254072118&sr=8-1

    It’s probably really good as are most of his biology writings. But I won’t be buying or reading this one.

    Dawkins has been a complete coward and jerk about this Maher thing. He appears to be completely willing to sell out his biomedical science brothers and sisters just because he likes the way Maher bashes religion.

    Sorry Richard, but when you’re speaking at a convention alongside an avowed anti-medicine and anti-vaccine fanatic, you lose all credibility.

    Has Dawkins even had the cojones to disavow Maher’s anti-medicine stance while not entirely disavowing Maher in general? Even that would be a huge improvement over his despicable behavior on this to date.

  9. #9 Joseph C.
    September 27, 2009

    Then on Fox the other night(believe it or not) there was a doctor of infectious disease stating he would not allow his own children to have this vaccine.

    Ah, and since it was on TV news it must be true.

  10. #10 Pablo
    September 27, 2009

    Actually, the “doctor on Fox News” is being discussed on randi’s forums. Not surprisingly, he is a sCAM artist, and while recommending against the H1N1 vaccine (based on misinformation), is pushing his own “alternative” methods.

    Nothing to see here.

  11. #11 Marcus J. Ranum
    September 27, 2009

    andyo writes:
    He always says it’s childish and stupid, but never explains why.

    Well, I think that, in “religulous” he does a pretty good job of trying to shut his yap long enough to let the religious make the case for him – there’s plenty of childish and stupid on display. And that’s his point, if he has one. At that level, sneering works and is sufficient.

    Leave the intellectual arguments for religion’s stupidity to smarter people than Maher.

  12. #12 trrll
    September 27, 2009

    I think you have blinders on. The Canadians just finished a research project on the H1N1 vaccine and found that it is causing more swine flu than it is helping.

    Because the swine flue vaccine uses inactivated virus, it is biologically impossible for it to give anybody the flu.

  13. #13 Michael Ralston
    September 27, 2009

    I’m pretty sure Lisa at @6 is actually referring to the study that indicates that people who got the SEASONAL flu shot LAST YEAR have an increased risk of swine flu.

    I haven’t seen the details of that study, but at least one possible explanation springs promptly to mind: high-risk groups are more likely to get flu shots, but are still high-risk groups.

  14. #14 sophia8
    September 27, 2009

    Here’s the story on the Canadian study.
    It’s not even been published, let alone peer-reviewed. And the researchers don’t claim that the vaccine “gives” anybody swine flu:

    Researchers know that, theoretically, when people are exposed to bacteria or a virus, it can stimulate the immune system to create antibodies that facilitate the entry of another strain of the virus or disease

  15. #15 Kwombles
    September 27, 2009

    why, Lisa,

    Just this morning I added this to my blog:

    Fox News, AoA, and Dr. Kent Holtorf
    Just a blip on why, if AoA runs with it, you probably ought to do a minimal amount of googling:

    http://www.holtorfmed.com/

    Billed as an infectious disease expert and yet mistakes a vaccine court ruling as scientific evidence. Then further goes down the woo trail. Oh, and he’s got testimonials, so there you go.

    No, what it looks like is he’s doing a full court press for media exposure for his medical group. Mh-hmmm. And he’s targeting people who have ailments that are still poorly understood by maintstream medicine.

    Oh, and they don’t take insurance. Surprise, surprise.

  16. #16 the_muteKi
    September 27, 2009

    So, wait a minute. I thought even the vaccine-wary claimed that it was no longer an issue about the mercury so much as it was that so many shots were given at once to children. I thought that was also the main reason that so many people hated vaccines.

    I am not a child, nor am I getting a hundred other shots, so *why* is this a problem? Is it because they’re made by companies?

    (And heaven forbid that the correlation occur merely because children get immunized around the same time they show signs of a distinct individual personality and thus any strong mental differences actually reveal themselves!)

  17. #17 MI Dawn
    September 27, 2009

    @ KWombles: why, Kim, don’t you remember only the VERY BEST doctors refuse to take insurance. All of the BRAVE MAVERICK doctors are cash/credit card only, to prevent the evil insurance companies from refusing to pay claims for their treatments that cure autism, prevent heart disease and cure cancer. After all, we all know the evil insurance companies only want to make money by keeping people sick, and by paying doctors to keep people sick. Ummm….wait a minute…problem there…
    /end snark

  18. #18 Joseph C.
    September 27, 2009

    All of the BRAVE MAVERICK doctors are cash/credit card only, to prevent the evil insurance companies from refusing to pay claims for their treatments that cure autism, prevent heart disease and cure cancer. After all, we all know the evil insurance companies only want to make money by keeping people sick, and by paying doctors to keep people sick. Ummm….wait a minute…problem there…

    Plenty of non-quack MDs have gone cash-only as well. Some of them even see a lot of uninsured patients. Not having billing expenses means you can charge less.

  19. #19 Prometheus
    September 27, 2009

    A quick note on Fox News’ infectious disease “expert”, Dr. Holtorf. He is not board certified in infectious disease; he is, in fact, not board certified in anything.

    Secondly, his “American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine” is not recognized by the ABMS or any other legitimate medical organization. If you go to their website and look over the “certification” process, it doesn’t look like it requires any actual “specialty” education or training – it gives credit for “clinical experience”.

    Prometheus

  20. #20 Joseph C.
    September 27, 2009

    @Prometheus,

    Did you find a proper C.V. for Dr. Holtorf? His webpage is vague:

    Dr. Holtorf received his doctorate of medicine from St. Louis University with residency training at UCLA.

    Residency training in what? Did he complete the residency?

  21. #21 the_muteKi
    September 27, 2009

    Also, am I the only one wondering where the adults who develop autism from the flu shot are? (I mean, again, I’m assuming that this is the issue at hand, and not because vaccines are made by companies. If the latter’s the issue then it’s not a complaint against the effectiveness of vaccines.)

    I’ll never figure out why it is that so many people are both anti-vaccine and claim that modern medicine specifically never tries to treat the root causes of illness and instead just manage symptoms.

  22. #22 Pablo
    September 27, 2009

    Why was it again that you support HPV vaccination but hate flu vaccines?

    All we need to do is to find a way to get organized religion to come out opposed to flu vaccines and Maher will be all in favor of them.

    Actually, I think it is better to keep discrediting Maher.

  23. #23 Anthro
    September 27, 2009

    I think Maher only hates ORGANIZED religion and god-as-a-guy-up-in-the-sky, not belief itself, which he is big on–especially belief in “alternative” things.

    While I am interested in some of his political opinions, most of the time he’s just another pompous ass who smokes too much pot and seems to live a rather odd life.

  24. #24 Prometheus
    September 27, 2009

    Joseph – I checked with the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and found that Dr. Holtorf isn’t certified by any of their member boards.

    I also checked with the California medical board and saw that Dr. Holtorf is claiming “family practice” as his “primary practice area” and “endocrinology” as his “secondary practice area”.

    He also claims (to the California medical board) that he has finished three years of post graduate training, which would be enough time to complete a Family Practice, Pediatrics or Internal Medicine residency. It isn’t enough to complete an endocrinology fellowship (or an infectious disease fellowship).

    In all liklihood, Dr. Holtorf either finished a residency and did not (or could not) complete his board certification OR he did not finish a residency. We may never know.

    As for Bill Maher’s eccentric support of the HPV vaccine and opposition to the flu vaccine, I think that – strange as it may seem to rational people – is completely in keeping with his past performance. Bill Maher seems to reflexively hate anything and everything that conservatives in the US claim to value and values everything they claim to hate.

    Thus, Bill Maher hates religion but respects “spirituality”. He likes the HPV vaccine because the more lunatic right fringe is opposed to it (they claim it will lead to promiscuity – that ship has already sailed, I fear) and hates the flu vaccine because “mainstream medicine” supports it.

    Once you “break the code” of Bill Maher’s rather impoverished life philosophy, it becomes rather easy to predict which way he will jump.

    Prometheus

  25. #25 Sam
    September 27, 2009

    It’s possible and entirely likely that Maher supports the HPV vaccine because he’s had genital warts despite his healthy diet so he knows that with that virus, whole foods and meditation don’t make one impervious.

  26. #26 Skepdude
    September 27, 2009

    I replied to him on twitter as such” If you DON’T get the swine flu vaccine, you’re a dangerous idiot.” Don’t think it will change his mind though!

  27. #27 Shay
    September 27, 2009

    The Canadians just finished a research project on the H1N1 vaccine and found that it is causing more swine flu than it is helping.

    Since the H1N1 vaccine is still being tested and isn’t due to be distributed until mid-October (according the the Illinois Dept of Health as of last Monday), I’d be interested to hear how the Canadians have gotten their hands on it already.

  28. #28 Douglas McClean
    September 27, 2009

    If anyone wants to follow up on what Prometheus said at 24, here’s the link to Holtorf’s CA medical license. His NPI is 1427206135.

    To do the same for other doctors, go to the NPPES, choose “Individual Provider Search” and enter whatever you know about the person. Reasonably uncommon last names, or a first and last name, will almost always narrow you down to just a few candidates.

  29. #29 Paul Browne
    September 28, 2009

    Prometheus “He likes the HPV vaccine because the more lunatic right fringe is opposed to it (they claim it will lead to promiscuity – that ship has already sailed, I fear) and hates the flu vaccine because “mainstream medicine” supports it.”

    Somebody should point out to Maher that the HPV vaccine was developed through research on similar viruses in animals:

    http://www.pro-test.org.uk/b2evo/index.php?blog=7&title=from_the_nobel_prize_to_the_clinic_throu&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

    I wonder how he would reconcile this with his support for PeTA…his other favourite bunch of cranks!

  30. #30 Ace of Sevens
    September 28, 2009

    Here’s my theory (which explains basically everything Bill Maher has ever done): He’s reflexively anti-establishment. He supports the HPV vaccine because some vocal members of the religious right oppose it. He is opposed to the h1n1 vaccine because most health experts support it. For any given issue, he sees otu of the parties with an opinion, who would he most like to piss off. Then, he takes the opposite of whatever their view is.

  31. #31 Shane
    September 28, 2009

    This is the story to the yet-unpublished Canadian study that links receiving a seasonal flu shot to increased susceptibility to the swine flu:

    http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2009/09/23/flu-shots-h1n1-seasonal.html

    The comments, for the most part, make me want to cry.

  32. #32 Don
    September 29, 2009

    This is why I don’t Tweet, though I have a Twitter account to Follow reporter friends. Remember, the first syllable of Twitter is Twit.

  33. #33 rb
    September 30, 2009

    thanks for the link to the story, shows lisa can’t read.

    it is know that vaccines for one bug can make you susceptible for a short time to related bugs, so get vaccine soon and be very careful for a week. kind of a no brainer.

  34. #34 Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
    September 30, 2009

    I’m seeing a lot of kids with Swine Flu here this week. No testing recommended but it sure quacks like a duck so . . .

    The treatment is the usual rest, hydration, good nutrition and not much else.

    No real problems yet but the season’s young.

    Best,

    Jay

  35. #35 MI Dawn
    September 30, 2009

    @ Dr Jay: here’s hoping that all the kids with Swine Flu that you’ve seen this week recover without problems. Rest, hydration, good nutrition are important. Do you find the kids and their parents are compliant?

    I’ve heard stories (friend of a friend types so I am a little skeptical) of parents sending their kids to school sick with the flu so parents don’t have to miss work. And I am skeptical only because I know from experience as soon as the school nurse hears of the sick kid, you will be off work and home with the kid anyway!

    Around here, the main topic of what’s going around the schools is lice, not Swine Flu. As horrible as it is, I’d rather have the lice…

  36. #36 Cosmic Connie
    October 1, 2009

    While we’re on the topics of swine flu quackery and anti-vaccine hysteria, let’s not forget the stellar contributions of noted health expert and ex-convict Kevin Trudeau. In a recent blog post he actually comes out and gives a list of products that he claims are *cures* for the flu virus.

    Sez Kev:
    “I would like to share some natural products with you that I use to keep from getting sick or become better in the rare instance I do come down with a virus. Some of these prevent, others cure, and some are responsible for both!”

    http://www.ktradionetwork.com/2009/09/30/my-anti-viralinfluenza-kit/

    Most of these are external links to other folks’ products, which may be why he doesn’t even waste time with the usual disclaimers (e.g., “These products have not been evaluated by FDA and are not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure disease,” etc.). I guess he figures that it’s up to the manufacturers of the quack products to make those claims. Or maybe he just doesn’t give a damn either way; if he gets fined a few million or so by the government, he’ll just shrug his shoulders, pay the fine, and continue with business as usual.

  37. #37 Locasta
    October 2, 2009

    According to this https://www.imref.org/board.php?board=Holtorf, Holtorf’s residency was in Anesthesia.

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