Maher's medical confusion understandable

There's been a lot of discussion about Maher's winning the award, and this almost immediate vaccine comment which caused many atheists to cringe. I wrote a little about why I think he deserves the award anyway on my blog.

In addition to that, I'd like to add, while I think Maher is wrong here, is it really any wonder that so many are suspicious of an industry so fraught with needless products and tied so tightly to a profit margin? It came out recently that watermelons work about as good as that blue boner pill. How many cases of parents just itching to put their kids on ritalin have we heard about? Vioxx, Oxy Cotin, Heroin — all disasters of the medical industry. How is a laymen, like Maher and myself, to have any trust in an industry that seeks to profit off sick people when we see results in drugs like these?

Again, I'm not saying Maher is right, but I do think the atheist community isn't doing a fair job of explaining why he's wrong.

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Comment by MsFortune on October 25, 2009 at 12:09am
From that link: "the percentage of 2009 H1N1 related deaths that occurred among people 0 years to 4 years was 3%; among those 5 years to 18 years was 14%; among people 19 to 24 years was 7%; among people 25 to 49 years was 33%; among people 50-64 years was 32%; and among people 65 years and older was 12%"


"And while people 65 and older are the least likely to be infected with 2009 H1N1 flu..."

So it is killing a different group of people than normal seasonal flu, and that is scary.

The Spanish Flu killed 50-100M people. That's more than were killed by the Black Death. Vaccines are key to not having something like that happen again.
Comment by MsFortune on October 15, 2009 at 5:47pm
H1N1 is not more deadly than past flu outbreaks, but what is different is who it is killing. Traditionally flu kills the weak - old or immunosuppressed people. H1N1 is killing healthy adults. That's what is so scary.
Comment by Sean the Blogonaut on October 14, 2009 at 11:46pm
@Bill S

On specifically the H1n1 Virus In Australia we will have enough Vaccine for the entire populace. We are rolling it out on a priority basis ie healthcare professionals and elderly etc

It is been declared a pandemic because of its global footprint ( I know the WHO have reclassified it). Its severity at this point in time is generally mild but it could mutate.

In Australia I belief the intention is to stop the virus dead in its tracks.

And while flu vaccine's are generally not as successful as other types Mahers approach tends to lump everything in the same basket - did I mishear him saying something about Polio disappearing due to improved sanitary conditions and not the Polio Vaccine?
Comment by Sean the Blogonaut on October 14, 2009 at 11:32pm

You got to be more critical in your reading mate. You imply that eating watermelons is about as good as viagra, that's not what the original article says is it?

Maher is funny, Religulous was good, but the man ain't a critical thinker, he's a contrarian and a complete wingnut when it comes to non proven alt med.

How is a layman, like Maher and myself, to have any trust in an industry that seeks to profit off sick people when we see results in drugs like these?

Educate yourself, its honestly not that hard. Indeed Maher with his audience has a duty to present information that is factual, that and he should have access to paid researchers.

Yeah we have to be critical of everything, companies are companies they exist to make a profit whether they sell bullshit homeopathy products or real medicine. Baxter was responsible for dumping HIV infected blood plasma on third world countries, but they also make Aspirin.

How many people drink Coca Cola? A company that has had some very shady deals in South America (killing by proxy). How many people look into the way their food is produced? How many of you are wearing a shirt made by a slave in central china?

That being said I am still more likely to trust my doctor( who doesn't always suggest pharma) and take medication when I need it.
Comment by Billy Deaton on October 14, 2009 at 10:12pm
Comment by Billy Deaton on October 14, 2009 at 9:02pm
Bill S., I agree with everything in your last post— except of one glaring error at the heart of the discussion. Certainly Maher is at least wrong and and worst irresponsible. But to call it 'common sense' that frozen dinners, too much salt or sugary drinks are all bad for your body — I have to disagree. This may be a bit anecdotal, but my sister's a med student. She frequently sees people who've had diabetes without knowing it, who don't know the nutritional difference between broccoli and a bag of Doritos. Fast food companies flourish. Look at what the grocery lobbyists and major food corporations have done to our schools in the first clip above.

Mr. Howard did a good job of paring down my long winded point; how can we beat this?, we both ask. It's education, I know it. But jeez these are some odds we're up against.

In light of that, it's no wonder that some people are eating mallomars for dinner and, on the other extreme, Bill Maher eats only carrots and cabbage.
Comment by Billy Deaton on October 14, 2009 at 8:41pm

Comment by Michael Howard on October 14, 2009 at 8:02pm
Well stated Bill. I usually go with the adage that everything is BS unless I look it up first. I don't think we can expect that of most of society however.
Comment by Michael Howard on October 14, 2009 at 7:43pm
Have to agree with Billy here. His point is that there is enough reason, for even a rational educated person to believe that "corporate greed" often leads to products and drugs that are not in our best interest. I have been beaten up fairly well on Pharyngula as well as other forums on this same topic. I eat 90% organic food and research the crap out of the companies I buy food from because to your point Bill S. Organic has been bastardized to death. Our food in the US is largely petroleum, not nutritious and IS MAKING US ILL! This makes Billy's point as well. How is a laymen supposed to know? Corporations take calculated risks on profit vs. potential for litigation every day. Do I think immunizations cause autism? NO.... but, do I think that a corporation would offer a product to consumers that would harm bet! How many kids are being poisoned by lead filled wall mart toys (and they are aware of it) as I type this? I love me some Bill Maher
Comment by Billy Deaton on October 14, 2009 at 7:38pm
Stay away from square dances? Now who's crazy!



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