Vaccination:A Conversation Worth Having
By BILL MAHER - BILLMAHER.COM
Added: Tue, 17 Nov 2009 00:00:00 UTC
Thanks to mark for the link.
Open Letter from Michael Shermer previously posted here
While America is still in the grips of swine flu mania, let me use this opportunity to clear up a few things about my beliefs concerning the flu shot, vaccines, and health in general. I do this because there is obviously a lot of curiosity about this subject of vaccines -- it comes up in every interview I do these days, and I've been finding that people, including doctors, are privately expressing a skepticism that is still not very prevalent in public. I feel like I've become a confessor for people who want someone to be raising questions about vaccines.
But I don't want the job. I agree with my critics who say there are far more qualified people than me -- its just that mainstream media rarely interviews doctors and scientists who present an alternative point of view. There is a movement to stop people from asking any questions about vaccines -- they're a miracle, that's it, debate over. I don't think its that simple, and neither do millions of other people. The British Medical Journal from August 25 says half the doctors and medical workers in the U.K. are not taking the flu shot -- are they all crazy too? Sixty-five percent of French people don't want it. Maybe its not as simple as the medical establishment wants to paint it.
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? I feel its unnecessary and counterproductive to try and silence people with condescension. Michael Shermer wrote me an open letter and felt I needed to be told that "vaccinations work by tricking the body's immune system into thinking that it has already had the disease for which the vaccination was given." Thanks, Doc, I thought there might be a little man inside the needle. Yes, I read Microbe Hunters when I was eight, I have a basic idea how vaccines work.
That's not -- or shouldn't be -- where the debate is.
[UPDATE] A couple of other good links
- - Top Documentary Films Comments
Documentary about ongoing events in Uganda, where many question whether the growing influence of American religious groups has led to a movement to make homosexuality a crime punishable by death.
Lyneka Little - ABC News Comments
Beginning Aug.30, the online auction site will ban the sale of curses, spells, hexes, magic, prayers, blessing services, magic potions, and healing sessions, which upsets some users.
Bettye Miller - UCR Today Comments
The John Templeton Foundation grant to UC Riverside philosopher John Fischer will fund research on aspects of immortality, including near-death experiences and the impact of belief in an afterlife on human behavior
Leigh Phillips - Scientific American Comments
Less than two weeks after the state's senate passed a bill banning state agencies from reporting that sea-level rise is accelerating, research has shown that the coast between North Carolina and Massachusetts is experiencing the fastest sea-level rise in the world.
Caspar Melville - New Humanist 26 Comments
Our friend and colleague Sanal Edamaruku, the President of the Indian Rationalist Association, is facing arrest for exposing a fraudulent ‘miracle’ in a Catholic Church
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