On his weekly Friday night panel discussion during his HBO show Real Time on Feb. 6, Bill Maher wasted no time jumping into the vaccination debate. Maher suggested that vaccines are preventable if people would simply eat better, attacked genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and defended climate change to make his own argument that inconsistencies within the medical profession are all the more reason not to trust vaccines.
Maher prefaced his argument by expressly stating that he is “not an anti-vaxxer, I never have been.” He then complained that comparing climate change skepticism to vaccine skepticism was unfair to vaccine skeptics:
The analogy that I see all the time is that if you ask any questions [about vaccines], you are the same thing as a global warming denier. I think this is a very bad analogy, because I don’t think all science is alike. I think climate science is rather straightforward because you’re dealing with the earth, it’s a rock. Climate scientists, from the very beginning, have pretty much said the same thing, and their predictions have pretty much come true. It’s atmospherics, and it’s geology, and chemistry. That’s not true of the medical industry. I mean, they’ve had to retract a million things because the human body is infinitely more mysterious.
Maher has a history of rejecting “Western medicine” both on and off his show. A list compiled by Mediate.com points to Maher’s history of anti-vaccination rhetoric.
On Friday night, Maher did say that he is “an anti-flu shot guy,” as he has said in the past:
If u get a swine flu shot ur an idiot.
— Bill Maher (@billmaher) September 26, 2009
Maher also noted that “if Ebola was airborne, I’d get the vaccine tomorrow.” Trials for an Ebola vaccine have recently been launched in West Africa.
Weekly Standard Senior Writer John McCormack pointed out that there were no serious vaccine-skeptic professors, while there were several who were critical of climate change, which Maher rebutted by saying that “The ones who are skeptics [on climate change] are usually paid off by the oil industry.”
Maher also made an argument against vaccination by stating that “too much of a good thing” could be bad for you as well, likening overuse of vaccines to building up immunity in the body to antibiotics.
He again circled back to his argument that eating well could prevent the need for vaccinations and then attacked GMOs, stating that the only way he would eat foods that were genetically-modified is if he was “a starving child in Africa.” When McCormack asked him to provide studies that proved that GMOs were harmful, Maher simply groaned as he said, “we don’t know, and we don’t trust Monsanto.”
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