OK, I’m going to try to summarize all this crap at once.
It all started last year when Bill Maher did his Religulous movie. Besides the boring autobiographical stuff and the stupid ending, it was pretty funny.
Then, a few months ago, the Atheist Alliance International decided to give Maher the Richard Dawkins Award, which they give out at their annual convention. People who pay attention to people like Maher here in the States got all up in arms about it because one of the criterion for the award is to promote science. Bill Maher’s an alternative medicine kook who’s against vaccines and doesn’t believe in the germ theory of disease. Here is a good summary of the problems with giving this award to Bill Maher. And just as a side note, what’s kind of weird about this is that nobody seemed to have a problem with giving Penn this same award while he was denying anthropogenic global warming, but whatever.
So some people got in touch with Dawkins and asked if he was aware of this aspect of Bill Maher. Unsurprisingly, since he’s in England and doesn’t have the same exposure to American celebrities as we do, he didn’t. He said something like “Religulous gave me the lulz and I don’t know anything about what he thinks about medicine.”
At some point before presenting Maher with his award, Dawkins looked into it and found that Maher was promoting some of the same crap Dawkins had actually attacked in print and on television. At the AAI convention last weekend he said that he doesn’t share all of Maher’s views, especially those regarding medicine – but hey, we work together with liberal religionists to keep church and state separate and fight against creationism, so this isn’t something to get too upset over.
OK, here’s where it gets weird. In a recent interview PZ Myers, who was also at the convention, said that Dawkins asked Maher if he could go back on his show to discuss “alternative medicine,” and Bill Maher said no. But later that week, Maher had Bill Frist on his show to do exactly that.
This is weird. It’s like Maher doesn’t want to be seen disagreeing with Richard Dawkins. He wants to be seen disagreeing with the conservative Republican who diagnosed Terri Schiavo as “alive” based on a few minutes of video. In the above link, Maher even tries to use some idiotic line like, “Well conservatives don’t believe in evolution (???), so you must be wrong about vaccines too! Ha ha!” And then, like usual, he derides “western medicine.” Uh, right – the same scientific basis used to show evolution as true is great, except when you apply it to medicine. What an asshole.
I’m going to have to go take a shower now. I feel dirty for being on Bill Frist’s side on this one.