Monday, March 4, 2013

Defending Bill Maher

I like Mark Shea. He is usually correct. However, he seems to go off half cocked a bit more often these days. My guess is that it comes from being spread pretty thin - he does quite a bit of writing and blogging is probably not priority number one for him. So that is my guess as to why his posts tend towards the Twitter/FB side of things and less towards the blog and contemplate side of things these days.

Today he throws out a silly chart on the assumed before and verified after of life with vaccinations.
Not his best work...Lazy thinking and sloppy connection to Maher to rile up the tribe.

I posted a response but it seems to have been deleted, (Patheos seems to do that often so I'm sure it was by accident as I don't think I said anything rude). 

Anyway, here are my thoughts...
Certainly, vaccinations have had a positive impact. I’m not contesting that, (and neither does Maher btw). However, I think it is fair to scrutinize any over application or mis-application. It’s like anything else, from antibiotics to alcohol. Everything in its right place.

Now, I certainly wouldn’t line up with Maher, point for point but I agree with him here in any his opening take: “Vaccination is a nuanced subject, and I’ve never said all vaccines in all situations are bad. The point I am representing is: Is getting frequent vaccinations for any and all viruses consequence-free?” 
"Blather, blather, blather. Blah, Blah...Actually I'm making sense if you can get over my rudeness."
What I don’t understand is the prohibition on inquiry when it comes to vaccines and any side effects or even peripheral impacts. It’s sort of like the reaction folks have on inquiring about any link to contraceptives and cancer. That question is unwelcome. Does that sort of response promote good science?

Also, I really would urge folks to be slow in mocking people who have had a personal encounter with autism. It’s not productive. I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of friends’ children who have autism. They are welcome to ask any questions they want as far as I’m concerned.

One more point here...How many folks here know where and how their vaccinations are made? Problematic contents don’t end with fetal tissue but that’s a pretty hefty start.

Again, let me be clear. I understand folks get fired up over this issue. I’m not making an argument against any and all vaccinations. I am however, defending Maher and anyone else who wants to reasonably and methodically scrutinize what and how vaccinations are applied today.

My closing thoughts on Maher... During his tv show, he is sometimes lazy in his comments and just fires off without really thinking things through. It's HBO and he has to cuss and be outrageous. He explains a little of this in his article and says that some of this is just due to the nature of television. No one responds as quick on their feet as well as Steve Colbert. But Colbert only has half an hour, less than that actually if you consider commercials, monologues and segments by other comedians. There are lots of producers and writers to make sure that all goes well. He really only has to function in an open forum with guests for 8 minutes. Maher on the other hand, has to hang out for an hour. Listen, as much as I like to hear myself talk and think I have all sorts of awesome things to say, if you put me on the tube for an hour and let me go, you would hear me some some crazy stuff. I guarantee it. Some of it I might even disagree with. So I can cut Maher a little slack for being an ass at times.  Here's the thing about Maher though. I think the guy is genuinely curious and is on an honest pursuit of truth. Now, obviously I disagree with his atheism and he can often be trite and rude.  But at least he is asking the questions. I know a guy, (a Christian), who has been on his show a couple of times and he reports that Maher was always pretty respectful and decent, both on and off camera.  I think that is more likely the real Bill Maher. Not the blathering rude jerk you see in 8 second sound bites.  Why not take people on the best version of themselves instead of the worst? I think the real Maher is more in line with his closing comments in the HuffPost article. And I think most people would find these sentiments to be pretty reasonable.

"Is it conspiracy theory to believe that American medicine too much treats symptoms and not root causes of disease? I always ask my friends when they go to the doctor for something, "Did your doctor ask you what you eat?" The answer is almost always 'no,' and a lot can be cured with diet and a healthier lifestyle. (And a lot can't. I also understand the role of genetics and generations of artificial selection). But Americans don't want to hear that, so doctors don't push it. It's easier and more profitable to write a prescription for Lipitor. They're not bad people, and at the end of the day, you can't make someone eat right. I like and respect all the M.D.s I've had over the years, and for the record, I have a naturopath doctor and I have a Western doctor. I would make an analogy to Republicans and Democrats: in both politics and health, I don't commit to either party because I'm on the side of the truth, whoever has it. In both cases, I'm an Independent."

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