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November 08, 2005

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Surprisingly for a libertarian and an atheist, Maher seems to be falling into old lapses against science sometimes. The guy is just not reliable. How can anyone argue against vaccines, the #1 tool we have to eliminate deadly epidemics, and expect to be taken seriously ? It's utterly irresponsible and should have been censored.

I don't know about "censored" (and the connotations and implications I might be incorrectly attaching to Francois Tremblay's post), but he most certainly deserved the verbal smack-down.

I don't know much about Maher, but anyone, regardless of their beliefs (or disbeliefs) is capable of being stupid.

Definitely not censored. He should be required to spout his bullshit, preferrably in front of real medical experts that can give him the smack down.

I've said it before - I don't watch Maher anymore because he praises pseudo-science.

The response sounds incredibly milktoast to me. The simple fact is that vaccination is one of the two biggest factors in the virtual elimination of infectious disaseses as a cause of death of non-elderly frail or immune system compromised populations. The other is the invention of the antibiotic.

To do anything but contemptuously deride someone like that as a dangerous crackpot puts children's lives at risk.

Unfortunately, I suspect that even if we do smack down nutbars all the time, people will flock to the "victim" (of his own stupidity and slothful research).

I suggest injecting Bill Maher with Smallpox to test his theory...

Agreed it was not much of a smack down. Frankly, I really cannot abide either one. Sanjay Gupta certainly IS a milquetoast and Maher is often cruel to the disenfrachised. I have noticed that here in LA, the majority seem to be "vaccine-phobic", btw.

Maher needed to be smacked down hard, and unfortunately Dr. Gupta was way too deferential to Maher's wingnuttery.

Once gain, as I mentioned before, Maher has fallen for a favorite altie concept, namely Bechamps' outmoded ideas, ideas that were abandoned after Pasteur developed the germ theory of disease.

What Gupta should have said about the 1918 flu pandemic is that it got started (in the U.S., at least) on a military base in Kansas. Within two days after the first case, over 500 men contracted the disease. These were typical miltiary recruits, young men between 18-22 years of age in excellent health. It did not originate, nor did the pandemic get its foothold in the U.S., through people in poor health or people who, as Dr. Gupta put it, "ate shit every day." Approximately 1/3 of people who developed this strain of the flu died. Yes, the elderly and infirm were more likely to die, but this strain was remarkable for how lethal it was to even young, healthy individuals.

I really can't stand Bill Maher much anymore. I will concede that his "New Rules" segment is sometimes quite funny, but everything in his show leading up to that is

Agreed it was not much of a smack down. Frankly, I really cannot abide either one. Sanjay Gupta certainly IS a milquetoast and Maher is often cruel to the disenfrachised. I have noticed that here in LA, the majority seem to be "vaccine-phobic", btw.

For the record, Maher is not an atheist, he's just opposed to organized religion.

I thought it was actually a pretty reasonable thing for Gupta to say, actually.

It WOULD be great if doing the "right things" (eating well, exercising, good hygiene) prevented you from getting sick. Those things may help, but they're not guarantees.

Although I do concede that from reading the transcript, Gupta was way too deferential to Maher.

I agree that while the "biological terrain" is self-evidently important in preventing microbes from establishing a foothold on the body, promoting and maintaining such a healthy terrain simply can't, in a practical sense, save EVERYONE from death from such a nasty virus as avian flu. A vaccine can. I believe as much has been said in previous posts.

Contrary to Orac's comments above though, Pasteur conceded on his deathbed that his opponent's approach to pathogens is the correct one- "Bernard was correct: the microbe is nothing: the terrain is everything." Naturally, Pasteur might himself have been wrong, or delusional from his physical state. My opinion is that neither approach is "everything", but both are equally valid and scientifically plausible approaches.

This is the terrain that Maher was referring to. I'm sure he read it on some "altie" website, heard it from a celebrity friend who read it on such a website, or heard it from a naturopathic doctor. IMO, it is irrational to get mad at Maher for bringing it up. Since he is a layman, he couldn't give the competing idea a proper explanation (there are more methods of improving the biological terrain than merely exercising and eating well), but it's not a crime to bring up an alternative idea or ask a question.

Ummm...Dana...

You may want to check what Pasteur really said before ya go correctin the good Doctor Orac. His biographer notes nothing of the sort, and was there with him when he passed.

Just a heads up. Be wary of the pseudo-scientific nonsense out there. I don't want you going and misquoting Sir Arthur Keith now:)

Yeah, I've seen the link before. You must have it permanently stored in your clipboard. It's basically saying that he didn't say that because:

1) His son-in-law must have been around to receive or overhear everything Pasteur said to anyone, during the time he was on his deathbed
2) It wasn't mentioned by his son-in-law in his biographical account

Therefore, this is conclusive proof denying another biographer's account. Pretty weak for this overused link if you ask me.

Regardless however, my argument did not exactly heavily rely on that debatable tidbit of history- on the contrary I diminished its relevance.

Maher a libertarian? Piffle. He just says that to sidestep being labeled right or left. Listen to him speak. If he's a libertarian, I'm the bleedin' King of Siam..

Perhaps a social libertarian. He's a leftist as far as I could tell.

No Dana. You made a claim -

Contrary to Orac's comments above though, Pasteur conceded on his deathbed that his opponent's approach to pathogens is the correct one- "Bernard was correct: the microbe is nothing: the terrain is everything."

It is your responsibility to prove it. Until you do, I say you're full of shit.

How articulate. You also made a claim, impled in "what Pasteur really said". Your "proof" that one biographer is lying is that the Australian Skeptic- hardly a neutral source -cites this fact not being mentioned in another biography as proof that it did not happen. Since your proof is hardly sufficient, it is thus your "responsibility to prove it" now, as your strict standards of excellence require.

What else of my original post is wrong, since my uncorroborated quote obviously makes me "full of shit"?

How very woo-woo of you. Shift that burden of proof! Avoid that question!

Again, you made a claim that Orac was wrong. I told you to check your facts, pointed out the fact that not only is there no evidence Pasteur said that, but also evidence supporting the position he didn't say that.

You are the one setting up the strawman. I never said "one biographer is lying". I'm saying someone made it up (namely YOU). I never claimed "proof" of anything.

Rockstarded-

How very woo-woo of you. Shift that burden of proof! Avoid that question!

You made an (implied, because the article you hyperlink makes this assertion) assertion that another biographer is lying. Are you the only one who is allowed to shift the burden of proof? Furthermore, what would constitute "evidence" Pasteur said anything? A biographical account? Are not both biographies biographical accounts? If I can't use one author's account of positive evidence of Pasteur's words, you certainly can't use an author's lack of an account as evidence of what Pasteur didn't say.

...but also evidence supporting the position he didn't say that.

And this evidence is that René Vallery-Radot would have heard it? Pasteur allegedly told the notorious quote to someone while "on his deathbed". What was the duration of time he was "on his deathbed"? Was René Vallery-Radot there at all times? Could Pasteur have told someone else in Rene's absence? Where's your skeptical spirit now? Conspicuously absent when it comes to dogma which you support.

Again, you made a claim that Orac was wrong.

And Orac made a claim that others were wrong. Where's your outrage over this? Where is your zeal in examining his evidence? Or does it just conveniently fit your existing bias?

I'm saying someone made it up (namely YOU)

Made what up, the Pasteur quote? How did you know about it before today then?

Rockstar, I think she's got you on this one buddy, let it go

Hey I'm a guy dammit, LOL

I'm fully prepared to let the arguments stand considering Dana made my point by saying this:

Furthermore, what would constitute "evidence" Pasteur said anything?

Exactly. Your claim, you back it up.

And Orac made a claim that others were wrong. Where's your outrage over this?

He backs up his claims, unlike some.

He backs up his claims, unlike some.

OK, for those who need a little help:

My claim backup- a biographical account

Orac's claim backup- a critique of a biographical account

There is no hyperlink to my biographical reference, but it is unnecessary considering even Orac's critique of it acknowledges its existence. To deny that it exists is to question the Australian Skeptics' accuracy and therefore all of their claims (Rockstar's "full of shit" thesis, see previous post)

Let's leave it at that.

Rockstar, I think she's got you on this one buddy, let it go

I spose if you think this is a valid argument:

I said something and you can't prove it conclusively wrong; therefore I'm right.

The biographical stuff about Pasteur is not from Orac, it is from a different place, with references and everything:
https://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/comment/pasteur.htm

Hope you don't mind if I step in for a second. I think this is what's being asked, Dana. You said

Pasteur conceded on his deathbed that his opponent's approach to pathogens is the correct one- "Bernard was correct: the microbe is nothing: the terrain is everything."

To which Rockstar responded

His biographer notes nothing of the sort, and was there with him when he passed.

Rockstar provided a citation for his claim; a citation which you fairly dispute the necessary veracity of. However, you have so far failed to provide a citation for your claim. You say there's no web link for your source; that's fine, not everything's on the web. But what needs to be known for this to be fairly debated is what your source was. Was it a biography you read of Pasteur? If so, which one?

When two people provide conflicting statements, the only way to try to resolve which one (if either) is correct is to look at the data sources and determine which are the more likely to be true.

I certainly accept that you could be right; that Pasteur's biographer might have missed this deathbed confession. But without any evidence so far having been provided to support the case, it's impossible for me to accept that you are right.

However, you have so far failed to provide a citation for your claim.

Alan, I think what Dana said is

There is no hyperlink to my biographical reference, but it is unnecessary considering even Orac's critique of it acknowledges its existence. To deny that it exists is to question the Australian Skeptics' accuracy and therefore all of their claims.

In other words her source is basically the same as Orac's, since Orac's is a critique of her source.

Of course, there needs to be a critique of the critique for the original citation to mean anything.

Kind of like what I did with... I believe it was Doug's reference: I found what appeared to be a peer review of a 404'd article he was referencing. Well, he didn't address the myriad criticisms.

If those criticisms invalidate the original, they invalidate the original. If the original had any value, they'd address those criticisms quite easily.

I've done a lot of study on the subject recently, and am preparing an entry on the subject.

The only reference the woo-woos cite regarding the Pasteur deathbed quote is Awakenings, Oliver Sacks p. 228 1990 (original version 1973). Sacks includes no bibliography for this particular quote, so I can only assume that someone made it up - the stuff of urban legend.

I purchased the book to investigate further, but have yet to receive it.

At this point, I have absolutely no reason to buy Dana Hata's claim, and doubt I'll ever find one. I'll keep looking.

A philosophical approach to medicine that does not fall within the main stream of thinking is very compatible with being libertarian and atheistic.

Mahers comments on vacines were not scandolus and have no power to hurt small children. Unless of course there were small children staring at the screen right into Mahers eyes as he spoke. Had that been the case those poor innocent children who were viewing would have probably been instantly bedevilved and gone right into anti vaccine rages vowing to never be vacinated. I can picture them now, writing on the floor and foaming at their little mouths, no, no, no, you cannot vacinate me.

If only the lobotomy victims of the mid twentieth century had had the forethought to keep football helmets chained on their heads day and night.

A philosophical approach to medicine that does not fall within the main stream of thinking is very compatible with being libertarian and atheistic.

The problem is, of course, that Maher's outside of critical thinking and the evidence, not that he's outside the mainstream.

"The problem is, of course, that Maher's outside of critical thinking"

Since Maher is not making decisions for any one else his views on medical issues aren't really a problem.

He has a platform. If people believe his nonsense and act upon it, his views on medical issues are a problem.

First Off, Let me say, Is Not the Issue Are Health?, So why are we To Have Closed Minds About Any matter when it comes to our Lives. At This Point our Goal Is To Be Healthy, so When someone is Making an Argument and you know they are Missing Important Facts to help Make the Opinion Logical, Why would you Persecute that Person for what he May Not KNow? You should only be open minded to their opinion and if you have a chance show them what You KNow for them to take it in and Learn More. All Of us Will only continue to Learn more and more but there are few of us That Keep an Open Mind, With Logical Thoughts and Reasonable Research. Many Of Us do research with a Closed mind and get Rouled up off the First things we Learn. May I tell you that I know there is Much for me to Learn still and I am very Eager to obtain that Knowledge. I want to make my Comments on the Maher and Gupta Issue. First Off, Of Course you can't be Susceptable to Viruses and Bacterias Only through Eating Healthy and Excerscise. If you don't know this NOW, Please Inform yourselves by doing more Research. Please keep in Mind to take Commen Sense and Logical thinking when you do your Research. First Off, We would have to eat 10 Nutritionally Healthy Meals a Day to Recieve all the Nutrients are Bodies Need, due to many Issues involving NON Organics, Meats, and Plenbty Other Issues that you will eventually learn about. Also Today's Healthy Eating Habits still will Not Provide all the Things Are Bodies Thrive For to Be Healthy and Have a Strong Immune System. So To Help that I suggest Taking Whoel Food Vitamins and Doing your Research on Healthy Herbs, Vitamins, Oils-Like Flax Seed Oil, and PLenty others. Also who ever Thought that Bad thinking Habits didn't Affect Our Bodies Immunes System and the way we Fight Off Bacteria and Viruses. If Our Minds are Healthy and our thought Patterns are on the Correct Path, than we won't be Depresed and our Bodies will be Much happier, Do your Research on Stress, depresion, etc. and Tell me if you think it affects our Health or NOT. Also Nobody Takes into consideration our Activities and what is around Us at all times. I GUarantee you when you use your Microwave your Food is Unhealthy afterwards, I guarantee you that Simply going on Walks and Looking into the Distance is Very Stress Relieving and results in Better Health, and also in My Opinion after doing Research and using my Common Logic, I've found that Having certain amounts of Electrical Sources around you at all times with Constant Noises, Electrical Outputs, Radiowaves, and so on, which if you did your research would find Plenty of these things. I feel that all of these things affect your Health and If you Don't want to be Truly Healthy and Take up Jurastic Matters and Make True Changes to your lifestyle, than I at least suggest doing what you can to take the Negative things out of your life. Cut Back on things that are easier for you to do. Start small and eventually one day your mind will be Healthy enough for you to be Able to Consider Taken up a Truly Healthy Life Style. Here are some Reccomendations that are my opinion and I suggest asking your Doctor or your on Logic before Doing:... Stay Away From Drinking Tap Water, Also in the Shower we absorb up to 10 Glasses of it through our Skin and into our Bloodstream, so use your Logic When Bathing-My Reasos for this would be because Tap water contains Flouride and Chlorine. Flouride is Not Healthy to Drink even in Small amounts and Chlorine is Not Healthy in Small amounts Either, Chlorine Scars the Arteries and Cholesterol Attatches to the Scars resulting in Heart Disease, once again do your research......Eat Only Certified Organic Vegatables and Fruits, Also if you continue to Eat Meats, Eat Organic Meat ONLY, Meaning Free Range, Naturally Fed with Grains, Not other animals!.............Eating Healthy in general is a Big Task and You Must Also Take the Porper Vitamins and Find other ways to derive Nutrients to keep yourself Nutrtionally Fit.... Remember That Eliminating Toxins is Just as Important as Taking in Nutrients, So in Closing, Do All your Research to Find out the Best ways to Get your Nutrition, Eliminate your Toxins, Excerscise, Do your Research on Electrical Output, Microwaves, and some others I mentioned, and Make your Decision on what you believe you can elimnate tht Might be Affecting your Health. Thin about Everything I Mentioned and hopefully with an Open MInd do your Own Research on all of My Opinions and Figure out what You think Is Best For You. Thanks For Listening. Have a Great Day Everyone.

Excsue My Typos and Misspelled Words, I don't have the time to Correct things and Only wanted to express my opinions. Thanks Again

Where to begin?

1. I'm openminded.

2. An unfounded opinion is an unfounded opinion. Look for a foundation before expressing that opinion, or at least let us know ahead of time that it's unfounded.

3. Anecdotes are inherently biased, since they don't control for alternate explanations. I'm not about to base my conclusions on an ignorance of those alternate explanations.

First Off, We would have to eat 10 Nutritionally Healthy Meals a Day to Recieve all the Nutrients are Bodies Need, due to many Issues involving NON Organics, Meats, and Plenbty Other Issues that you will eventually learn about.

Big myth. The average person gets all the nutrients he needs from food. If anything, we have problems with excess.

Microwave stuff: Big myth. Microwaves aren't powerful enough to really do anything except heat the food up. They're weaker than visible light. Since it can't really trigger chemical reactions, that's precisely why microwaved food tends to be bland: Genuine cooking causes tasty chemical reactions. Microwaving doesn't... Unless someone changed the laws of quantum mechanics when I wasn't looking.

Fluoride and chloride: Flouridation is an emulation of a natural phenomena: Texas teeth. Texas had lakes with naturally high fluoride content. Although this stained teeth, it did render them less vulnerable to decay. Fluoridation does this at lower levels, where it can still provide the benefits without staining. Chloride is everywhere. Your stomach runs on hydrochloric acid. You can't live without chloride, especially since the human body is essentially a bag of salt water. (Might as well tackle sodium while I'm at it: Too little sodium and you die of hyponatremia: Hypo: Too little, Natron: Latin (?) for sodium)

"Toxins" is a scare word overused by people who want you to think that the human body is incapable of handling them, even though we have organs specifically devoted to that task. It's also a propaganda technique: Intentional Vagueness.

For ONE, I Did Not Make Comments to Offend Any Person who Reads Them. I was Only getting out things that I have found to Make Sense through Many Experiences and through others. I have done research and I know that I have PLenty more to Learn about but let me make a few comments about your remarks. You show either Insecurity or you have a purpose for reasons other than Health because your Comment is Evidently done with Offense and with Attacks. Did I attack anyone? I believe not and for my Remarks I appollogize if you were offended or do not feel the same about my Opinions. I will say a few things about your remarks "Bronze Dog". If you Believe Flouride Is Healthy To Consume, go Drink some, if you want to use it for your teeth, Maybe I can see that?. Since when did consuming Large amounts of Chlorine become Healthy? IN Our Swimming Pools, Jacuzis, Steam Rooms, Tap Water we Drink everyday, The Water we Bathe in, Cook With. I would Immagine that there are more ways that we are exposed to it and the ones I named I could immagine would have an Impact on our Bodies over time. Point Being, It Would not Help Us To Be Healthy At All and only INcreases Chances to be the Opposite . If you think other wise, than that's OK. Now I Never Once Said that the Body Couldn't Handle all the Crap that is around us today and almost shoved down our throats! The Human Body Is Amazing and Is Meant to Handle Everything that comes it's way. We Are supposed to Live Long and NOT Just Existing Like Most of the Elderly Today but Live Vibrant and Healthy well in to our Old Age. Now the point would be that Our Body is Designed in a way to Heal certain things with Certain organs. When Certain Organs are Stressed too Much Your Body takes it's defense from other parts and organs in the Body to Fight Off where you Might Need It More. A Constant Cycle of this would only result in Malfunction and Higher Susceptibility to Bacteria and Viruses. When our Bodies are being Dumped on By So Much it is Not going to be able to Function Correctly. Continuously hurting our bodies will only result with an Unhealthy State. So I Reccomended to Take as Much of it out and Eliminate as Many Toxins from your Diet, Just Because our Bodies are meant to Handle all this shit, it doesn't mean that our Bodies don't need a Brake from all of this Crap. More People are Sick, Have Heart Disease, and almost every other disease today. Maybe not Your Small Pocks Virus or Polio anymore but PLenty More things that Kill you in a More Disturbing way in my Opinion. Slowly and Over time with constant Pains and resulting in Cancer or some type of Disease because we thought I Bodies cab be crapped on continuosly every day. It's not true and If you Disagree with my Comments Before, Ask Yourself why you attacked me instead of Simply Stating what you found to be Correct? Have I offended you by Making Statments about My Mannerisms with my Life and what I would Like to share? I love your type of a Reaction because I know somewhere along the Line you will come to realize what I'm expressing. I could go along about other comments you made but I don't feel I need to explain sometihng to someone who probably already KNows and is Just Expressing other wise for some Reason, Maybe getting $? All I can say is it's evident with your Reaction that you are not in it for the health of others because the only way to get people Motivated is to be Positive and look towards the Best and Find everything that Helps Us To Be Healthy. Do Your research, get your Facts, both Sides left and right, make Commense sense of it, and then Come back to me with your Positive Reaction that will Posibly Benifit Others . Thanks for Listening

George:

First, could you please leave a few blank lines between paragraphs to make your comments easier to read?

Second, please stop playing victim: it is getting rather tiresome. You are not being “attacked”. This is a skeptic’s blog, and you will be asked for evidence to back up your claims. Also, implying other people have hidden motives will not get you very far here either. Motives are irrelevant to what the data tell us.

You keep telling us to “Do Your research, get your Facts” etc, and yet you offer no references to support your claims. It seems to me you are the one who needs to show you have done any research and have any “facts” to share. This thread was about how Bill Maher erroneously claimed that vaccines are not necessary, or even useless, and that just by eating right and “boosting our immune systems” we could avoid the flu and other diseases. If you have any evidence that he is right then please present it. Just asserting opinions won’t work here. Please stick to the post’s subject, and present evidence to back up your claims, or I will rule your post off-topic and delete it.

George, try reading what I write. I wasn't attacking. But I will now, since you've stooped to distorting what I say into the near-opposite, as well as resort to other propaganda techniques.

I never said that large amounts of chloride were healthy. I only said that it was necessary, just like how water is necessary. Too much water, by the way, leads to hyponatremia.

I get plenty of fluoride. I live in Texas, I have fluoride toothpaste, and I'm pretty sure the water is fluoridated. If I get too much, it'll be flushed out by my urinary tract.

It Would not Help Us To Be Healthy At All and only INcreases Chances to be the Opposite

Evidence, please?

We Are supposed to Live Long and NOT Just Existing Like Most of the Elderly Today but Live Vibrant and Healthy well in to our Old Age.

We weren't meant for anything. At least that's the null hypothesis to be falsified. Besides, we've got a rare thing going: We can actually live long enough to die of old age, and at higher quality than any other time in history.

Have I offended you by Making Statments about My Mannerisms with my Life and what I would Like to share?

I'm offended by people handing out wrong information.

I love your type of a Reaction because I know somewhere along the Line you will come to realize what I'm expressing.

Only if you start providing evidence for your bizarre claims, rather than opinions. Be sure to read that link I included in my previous post. THAT is the sort of thing it takes to convince me: Properly done medical studies. Not shouting unsupported conclusions and propaganda tactics.

I could go along about other comments you made but I don't feel I need to explain sometihng to someone who probably already KNows and is Just Expressing other wise for some Reason, Maybe getting $?

Very, very low blow. The always depraved "appeal to motivation" logical fallacy designed to distract people from the content of a person's arguments. "Don't listen to him, he's a liberal!" "Don't listen to him, he's a Communist!" "Don't listen to him, he disagrees with me!" All you're doing is avoiding discussion by changing the subject from the arguments to the arguers.

Besides, I could accuse you of being in the pay of quacks. I won't, because that argument leads nowhere except a politician's mud-slinging.

All I can say is it's evident with your Reaction that you are not in it for the health of others because the only way to get people Motivated is to be Positive and look towards the Best and Find everything that Helps Us To Be Healthy. Do Your research, get your Facts, both Sides left and right, make Commense sense of it, and then Come back to me with your Positive Reaction that will Posibly Benifit Others . Thanks for Listening

Sorry, but you don't have any arguments. You're just spamming your apparently unsupported conclusions. How about this: Pick one of your conclusions, and show me the support for it. Until you can back up your conclusions, you're just performing argumentum ad nauseum, or for the fans of Aldous Huxley:

"Sixty-two thousand four hundred repetitions make one truth." -Bernard Marx

As for my "positive reaction"... Which is more positive: Someone who prevents money from going to useless quacks by presenting arguments, or someone who distorts his opponents claims and questions their motivations, rather than their arguments?

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