What the hell is wrong with Bill Maher? (Germ Theory Denialism)
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05-07-2011, 02:55 AM
What the hell is wrong with Bill Maher? (Germ Theory Denialism)
So uh... I'm currently taking Microbiology in college and learning about disease and such.

And, I like Bill Maher's movie religulous, but... wtf, why does he deny the effectiveness of vaccines and modern medicine?

How come he can apply critical thinking and evidence-based reasoning to things like evolution and global warming, yet he denies the scientific research of preventive medicine?

He's spreading a message of psuedoscientific bullshit.

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with him?

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05-07-2011, 09:25 AM
RE: What the hell is wrong with Bill Maher? (Germ Theory Denialism)
I think you are missing Maher's point. I've seen him go off on this point in the past, and he's not denying the effectiveness of vaccines. His point is that there is not nearly enough debate on the long term impacts on these things, and that just maybe a policy of mass vaccination to everyone, whether they are at risk for a certain virus or not and whether they have a compromised immune system or not, is maybe not the best policy. If you fuck with the body and nature long enough, it may at some point start fucking with you back.

Consider antibiotics. They are less than a century old and already we are creating super strains of bacteria that are increasingly immune to antibiotics. There are a lot of causes for that and one of them is certainly the misuse and overuse of antibiotics, but the result is the same. How do we know vaccines are not causing some of the same issues? And, more to the point, why is it heresy within the medical and scientific community to even bring up the issue? My guess as to the answer has to do with the amount of money that is made from these vaccines.

Sometimes medical science is wrong. I have a friend who's brother had cancer when he was a teenager. The way they treated it back then (late 1970s, early 1980s) was to basically bathe you in radiation from head to toe. What we now know is that by doing that, you may cure the cancer at the time but you pretty much ensure that 25 or so years later that person is going to die from cancer caused by the treatment. And, sure enough, 25 years later, my friend's brother died from cancer. We no longer treat cancer patients that way. We localize the use of radiation to the impacted area so we don't cause long term impacts. But, that is in the past 20 years. So, basically, people will continue to drop dead from past cancer treatments for another 5 - 10 years or so because medical science did not know what it did not know.

I'm actually not a Maher fan and I think he's a bit of a douchebag on this. But, on the point of there not being enough debate on this topic, I think he has a very valid point.

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05-07-2011, 09:29 AM
RE: What the hell is wrong with Bill Maher? (Germ Theory Denialism)
I don't want him to get misunderstood, so here's a video I feel shows his views on things well.





He says that he's not a germ theory conspiracist and that he understands germs do cause ailments, but he believes that many treatments/vaccines/cures put forth by western medicine(not sure his views on alternative medicine) can do more harm than good, and he tends to believe that here in a clean first world country, vaccines for healthy people tend to be unnecessary and even cause harm. Not that I agree with his views, but I just don't want any strawman fallacies going on.

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05-07-2011, 09:35 AM
RE: What the hell is wrong with Bill Maher? (Germ Theory Denialism)
His message is of the runaway need to produce new vaccines and antibiotics due to the coevolution of resistance in bacteria to the medicine. For instance there are some bacteria that we now have only a few antibiotics for. If one of these does not work for an individual then a simple bacterial infection can turn deadly.

A better long term solution would be to produce products that take advantage of evolution to better reduce disease. Also relying on the human immune system for help would be good. We get fevers and vomit for a reason. It may be uncomfortable but it is a natural way for our body to recover (given that our temperatures do not get to high and we stay hydrated).

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05-07-2011, 11:56 AM
RE: What the hell is wrong with Bill Maher? (Germ Theory Denialism)
(05-07-2011 09:29 AM)ashley.hunt60 Wrote:  I don't want him to get misunderstood, so here's a video I feel shows his views on things well.

He says that he's not a germ theory conspiracist and that he understands germs do cause ailments, but he believes that many treatments/vaccines/cures put forth by western medicine(not sure his views on alternative medicine) can do more harm than good, and he tends to believe that here in a clean first world country, vaccines for healthy people tend to be unnecessary and even cause harm. Not that I agree with his views, but I just don't want any strawman fallacies going on.

A video by c0nc0rdance seems to say otherwise.

And doesn't Bill Maher actively promote alternative medicine? Saying the people should go out of the country to get some obscure cancer treatment?





Quote:A better long term solution would be to produce products that take advantage of evolution to better reduce disease. Also relying on the human immune system for help would be good. We get fevers and vomit for a reason. It may be uncomfortable but it is a natural way for our body to recover (given that our temperatures do not get to high and we stay hydrated).

Yeah, I did see a pretty interesting discussion between Dawkins and a doctor about how we should look at medicine from an evolutionary biology standpoint. I can't seem to find the video at the moment because I can't remember the name of the doctor he was having a discussion with...

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05-07-2011, 01:29 PM
RE: What the hell is wrong with Bill Maher? (Germ Theory Denialism)
Actually I found that vaccines are VERY effective. Also, vaccines do not equal antibiotics, they are two entirely different processes.

Vaccines actually use your own body's immune system, you get "infected" with a weakened or dead virus, your body's immune system kill's this virus, and your body's memory B cells keep a memory of the virus, so next time you get infected, your body can kill it quickly and effectively.

I do agree that people use antibodies a little too much, and that doctors should be (and they are) more careful about handing them out these days. What Maher is bringing up is old arguments that have already been solved, or simply arguments based on incorrect knowledge of vaccines.

I'm very much in support of public vaccination. Vaccines are very effective in our country because EVERYONE has to get them, so we pretty much eradicate these diseases from the general public, diseases like small pox and polio. Those that are too young or too ill to get vaccines are usually protected by the immunity of the general public.

There is also no correlation between autism and vaccines. The simple fact that we give children vaccines around the same time that autism makes it's self present.

Anyways vaccines are not any more dangerous then any other standard medical treatment, and the good things the offer the individual as well as society on the whole way over reaches any (perceived) dangers.

Until we have a better treatment, I believe that we should continue with vaccines.

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05-07-2011, 03:06 PM (This post was last modified: 05-07-2011 03:21 PM by Efrx86.)
RE: What the hell is wrong with Bill Maher? (Germ Theory Denialism)
There are still many diseases that, to be eradicated, need vaccinations to whole populations. The MMR vaccine controversy should serve as an example of what happens if a country, however developed it may be, stops taking vaccines for contagious diseases that still haven't been eradicated.

I do agree, however, with being against the swine flu vaccine, but that was because I never thought swine flu itself was a big deal to begin with; in the end it vanished with a poof, the mortality rate was lower than that of seasonal flu, and the media ended up looking like fools.

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05-07-2011, 08:03 PM
 
RE: What the hell is wrong with Bill Maher? (Germ Theory Denialism)
Is there actually mercury in the vaccines, as well as other chemicals? I understand that the vaccine itself is harmless, but I wonder if anything harmful might be added to it. That doesn't make any sense unless the harmful chemical served some important purpose such as preserving the virus.
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06-07-2011, 12:15 AM
RE: What the hell is wrong with Bill Maher? (Germ Theory Denialism)
I don't think that mercury is added to vaccines, I'll have to double check that, but mercury is very poisonous, and I'm pretty sure doctors wouldn't put something inside of you that could cause permanent blindness or death.

It may have been added in the past, before refrigeration, but vaccines are now refrigerated to keep them fresh.

There may be other chemicals in vaccines, but just because it's a chemical does not mean it's harmful, people often get hung up on this for some reason.

Either way the good way way way out numbers the bad, I still think that people who do not vaccinate themselves or their children are selfish.

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06-07-2011, 08:05 AM (This post was last modified: 06-07-2011 08:14 AM by ashley.hunt60.)
RE: What the hell is wrong with Bill Maher? (Germ Theory Denialism)
From the CDC.

Quote:Chemicals commonly used in the production of vaccines include a suspending fluid (sterile water, saline, or fluids containing protein); preservatives and stabilizers (for example, albumin, phenols, and glycine); and adjuvants or enhancers that help improve the vaccine's effectiveness. Vaccines also may contain very small amounts of the culture material used to grow the virus or bacteria used in the vaccine, such as chicken egg protein...
  • Aluminum gels or salts of aluminum which are added as adjuvants to help the vaccine stimulate a better response. Adjuvants help promote an earlier, more potent response, and more persistent immune response to the vaccine.
  • Antibiotics which are added to some vaccines to prevent the growth of germs (bacteria) during production and storage of the vaccine. No vaccine produced in the United States contains penicillin.
  • Egg protein is found in influenza and yellow fever vaccines, which are prepared using chicken eggs. Ordinarily, persons who are able to eat eggs or egg products safely can receive these vaccines.
  • Formaldehyde is used to inactivate bacterial products for toxoid vaccines, (these are vaccines that use an inactive bacterial toxin to produce immunity.) It is also used to kill unwanted viruses and bacteria that might contaminate the vaccine during production. Most formaldehyde is removed from the vaccine before it is packaged.
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and 2-phenoxy-ethanol which are used as stabilizers in a few vaccines to help the vaccine remain unchanged when the vaccine is exposed to heat, light, acidity, or humidity.
  • Thimerosal is a mercury-containing preservative that is added to vials of vaccine that contain more than one dose to prevent contamination and growth of potentially harmful bacteria.

Here is a complete chart also from the CDC on the ingredients in vaccines. No mercury, although there are monkey kidneys...
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