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Maher: Media treated Haiti as ‘disaster porn’ - Comments

glenister_m's Avatar Comment 1 by glenister_m

Nice plug for Richard's Haiti donation compaign!

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 07:14:00 UTC | #442062

kaiser's Avatar Comment 2 by kaiser

Nice interview and Bill Maher made some good statements (whole interview is up on youtube).

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 09:08:00 UTC | #442075

Fuller's Avatar Comment 3 by Fuller

I just can not tolerate that mans compartmentalized brain.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 10:18:00 UTC | #442085

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 4 by NewEnglandBob

Bill Maher made several insane statements. I guess he is an attention whore.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 10:50:00 UTC | #442091

godsbelow's Avatar Comment 5 by godsbelow

Maher has a point: the media picks its pet topics and focuses on them at the expense of others.

Kudos to Maher for bringing up the Congo conflict at least. How many people have even heard of the Second Congo War, the most lethal conflict since World War II? Or the continuing horrors in Kivu, or the systematic use of rape as an instrument of ethnic cleansing, or the ethnic cleansing BY CANNIBALISM of pygmies in the north?

Maher also has a good point about celebrities being instrumental in raising awareness of problems. I'd suggest HE head to the Congo and do some awareness-raising since he seems so concerned, but a real celebrity might do a better job of getting the public's attention. Jon Stewart, maybe?

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 14:29:00 UTC | #442132

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 6 by Jos Gibbons

Comment #461857 by godsbelow

the systematic use of rape as an instrument of ethnic cleansing
How does that work? I have 2 hypotheses, but you're the expert, so please correct me on the subject.
1. Impregnating women with mixed-race children so that the ethnic group whose eradication is desired has no more pure children
2. Taking advantage of the hated group's belief that raped women must be subject to "honour killings"

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 15:17:00 UTC | #442140

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 7 by alaskansee

Jos,

Isn't hypotheses 1 the standard form of invasion and general taking over a bit of land through human history? Isn't that why we're Anglo-Saxons?

The men didn't kill the raped women because we were all dead anyway?

edit - just remembered - isn't that also the standard biblical advise too? Kill the men and male children but keep the women.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 16:42:00 UTC | #442160

Lapin Diabolique's Avatar Comment 8 by Lapin Diabolique

Some mysteries are far beyond our comprehension.
Science may well remain mute forever when bewildered people ask her how the first self-replicating molecules came about, why some people think that Adam Sandler is funny, and why - by God's cock- anyone in his right mind would voluntarily watch Larry King's televised aberration.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 18:05:00 UTC | #442178

godsbelow's Avatar Comment 9 by godsbelow

Jos and alaskansee

Hypothesis 1 seems to be one of the main points. Its also a kind of psychological warfare, sexual terrorism if you will. It's too bloody horrible to contemplate.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 18:49:00 UTC | #442186

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 10 by Mr DArcy

In case anyone is thinking that the Congo civil war is about religion instead of economics read this:

http://www.globalissues.org/article/442/guns-money-and-cell-phones

No wars are fought over religion. Religion is used as an excuse to fight wars.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 22:23:00 UTC | #442228

decius's Avatar Comment 11 by decius

Godsbelow, wars are man-made disasters, and the Congolese have in their power to stop the war. Granted, it isn't that simple, as long as the west profits with the weapon trade; as long as the warlords control the country's resources, etc.

Yet, it is a category error to equate natural disasters with wars and demand they be treated equally and receive the same attention.
Right or wrong, natural disasters are more interesting to the media and to the public opinion and command different empathic reactions.

Thu, 18 Feb 2010 23:37:00 UTC | #442231

Mitch Kahle's Avatar Comment 12 by Mitch Kahle

I enjoy Bill Maher's show "Real Time"; he's jumped on religion where George Carlin (RIP) left off.

That's all good, but in general I don't think Maher is all that smart. Certainly not in the way George Carlin was smart, with his razor-sharp wit and biting sarcasm.

Most of the time Maher simply states the obvious and acts pissed off about it. He is very condescending to his audience, which is annoying, and he obviously has little respect for women.

Maher would be more likeable if he could demonstrate a little humility and show some respect for reasonable people when they don't happen to agree with his opinions.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give Carlin an 11 (comic genius) and Maher a 6 (just above average).

Fri, 19 Feb 2010 00:52:00 UTC | #442237

Mitch Kahle's Avatar Comment 13 by Mitch Kahle

Mr DArcy wrote: "No wars are fought over religion. Religion is used as an excuse to fight wars."

This is nonsense! What do you think the Crusades were? What is the conflict in Northern Ireland about? What about Kashmir?

Religion is the root cause of most war.

Fri, 19 Feb 2010 00:56:00 UTC | #442239

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 14 by Steve Zara

Association with Maher may perhaps be a political necessity, but he is no supporter of reason and science. I find it astonishing that Maher is on the advisory board of Sam Harris' Reason Project. I refuse to have anything to do with that project while the science-denier Maher is involved.

Fri, 19 Feb 2010 01:17:00 UTC | #442241

decius's Avatar Comment 15 by decius

Comment #461966 by Steve Zara

I agree, it's a disgrace.
The only way to remove the political expediency is to embed some real sceptic/rationalist in prime-time television, which still is the only medium with a simultaneous outreach to millions of people.

We really ought to distance ourselves from pro-quackery loons like Mahers, and science-denying libertarian cranks like Jillette.

Fri, 19 Feb 2010 02:06:00 UTC | #442246

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 16 by Steve Zara

Comment #461971 by decius

You are so right. So many in the media who pretend to be "sceptical rebels" are simply pandering to an audience. Bill Maher fits this description, as does Penn Jillette. This also describes the current darling of soft-libertarian politics in the USA Ron Paul, who is so intent on being independent of political forces that he rejects evolution.

Fri, 19 Feb 2010 02:31:00 UTC | #442250

SaintStephen's Avatar Comment 17 by SaintStephen

Bill Maher understands the "meme game" in America better than most, and has used his show (and his recent movie Religulous) to advance and popularize the messages of atheism for millions of viewers.

It's great to see this hi-profile, courageous, and comically talented atheist entering the mix as a valuable and much-needed ally of the RDF.

Bravo, Bill!

Fri, 19 Feb 2010 06:50:00 UTC | #442259

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 18 by Mr DArcy

This is nonsense! What do you think the Crusades were? What is the conflict in Northern Ireland about? What about Kashmir?


I think these were/are struggles for political and economic power with religion used as window dressing.

Fri, 19 Feb 2010 08:32:00 UTC | #442265

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 19 by Quetzalcoatl

Now if Maher were to stop being so wilfully ignorant when it comes to his stance on vaccinations I would think he were really great.

Fri, 19 Feb 2010 09:00:00 UTC | #442267

Christopher Davis's Avatar Comment 20 by Christopher Davis

What a minute, Maher and Jillette are science-deniers? I see Quetz's mention of Maher and vaccinations (I'll look that up when I get back from the gym), but what do I not know?

Fri, 19 Feb 2010 13:06:00 UTC | #442295

HunterZolomon's Avatar Comment 21 by HunterZolomon

@ 20. Comment #462024 by Christopher Davis

What he said. I thought Maher would be well received here since Religulous. How exactly is he a science-denier? He's not orthodox enough? Links please.

Edit: Is it this one, or are there more?

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/13/bill-maher-vs-the-flu-vaccine/

Fri, 19 Feb 2010 13:39:00 UTC | #442319

decius's Avatar Comment 22 by decius

Comment #462048 by HunterZolomon

Search Orac's blog for Maher. He is a frequent critic of scientific medicine and a purveyor of quackery.
http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/

Jillette is an AGW denier. Plus he presented skewered, cherry-picked data concerning other issues linked to environmentalism, for instance. His libertarian ideology can blind him completely, when it comes to these issues.

Fri, 19 Feb 2010 20:21:00 UTC | #442448

decius's Avatar Comment 23 by decius

Ad addendum, Zolomon - for our initiatives and policies, we shouldn't be relying on people who happen to be critical of religion, but generally fail to act and think as rationalists when their sacred cows are challenged. We should stay especially clear of those who take positions antithetic to science and are impervious to evidence-based corrections, for we would be setting a double standard if we did.
Furthermore, they can't be trusted. If their favourite ideologue or quack revealed to them tomorrow that a giant invisible leprechaun is the creator of the universe, they would most likely do a U-turn.

Fri, 19 Feb 2010 20:47:00 UTC | #442460

Christopher Davis's Avatar Comment 24 by Christopher Davis

@ decius

AGW? Anthropogenic Global Warming?

Also, I've been reading a little bit regarding Bill Maher's stance on immunizations. I had no idea he was that misinformed.

However, I don't think that all opposition to vaccination is of the quack variety. I talked with a medical student about a month ago and she was against the schedule used to administer vaccines. She was getting ready to take a job doing research to see if there might be a generational effect of early vaccinations.

The idea is that certain vaccinations if adminstered too early in life can lead to a reduction in the ability to clear certain toxins from the body. This is important for females, because later in life when they become pregnant the reduced ability to clear toxins allows for more toxins to cross the placenta, thereby negatively affecting the child.

Granted, I don't know if there is anything to this, but it doesn't sound like quackery to me. Furthermore, I know of research done at Arizona State that showed these type of results regarding insulin response and diabetes in rats.

Of course I'm not advocating against vaccination, I'm just saying that maybe it's worth researching to see if can't be improved on.

Fri, 19 Feb 2010 23:12:00 UTC | #442490

decius's Avatar Comment 25 by decius

Comment #462224 by Christopher Davis

AGW? Anthropogenic Global Warming?


Yes.

Of course, no one claims that all vaccines are safe or that all modes of administrations are equally effective. But these are technical issues and in no way do they constitute a rational basis for any sort of opposition to vaccines in general.

But Maher isn't interested in genuine scientific debate, he has espoused quack propaganda and brainlessly runs with it.

Sat, 20 Feb 2010 20:21:00 UTC | #442647

SaintStephen's Avatar Comment 26 by SaintStephen

23. Comment #462193 by decius on February 19, 2010 at 8:47 pm

...for our initiatives and policies, we shouldn't be relying on people who happen to be critical of religion, but generally fail to act and think as rationalists when their sacred cows are challenged. We should stay especially clear of those who take positions antithetic to science and are impervious to evidence-based corrections, for we would be setting a double standard if we did.
Furthermore, they can't be trusted. If their favourite ideologue or quack revealed to them tomorrow that a giant invisible leprechaun is the creator of the universe, they would most likely do a U-turn.
I disagree completely.

In your opinion, which stands in stark contrast to the prevailing attitude of the RDF (if Bill Maher's smiling mug on the front page of the website is any indication), Richard Dawkins and Bill Maher have formed an Unholy Alliance.

Indeed they have, because wars are typically won with alliances.

Allies unite under a common cause, to achieve a common goal. Do allies need to see eye-to-eye on every issue, political or otherwise, to achieve their objectives? Of course not -- the proposition is highly impractical. It's a ridiculous notion, in fact. Effective alliances form between groups of people with differences all the time. It isn't even worth debating.

Bill Maher has undoubtedly contributed heavily to the RDF, and his very public atheism (i.e. Religulous) has raised awareness worldwide. Perhaps, Decius, when you are elected to the RDF board of directors, you can suggest alternatives to Bill Maher's award-winning role and participation in the plans of the RDF. You are also welcome to find innovative ways to pay the bills after you reject and return Maher's money, due to your personal crisis in conscience.

Sun, 21 Feb 2010 00:05:00 UTC | #442668

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 27 by Steve Zara

Bill Maher has undoubtedly contributed heavily to the RDF, and his very public atheism (i.e. Religulous) has raised awareness worldwide.


Not really, no. Maher does not identify as an atheist:

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article6010432.ece

"“I'm not an atheist, though, because the belief that there is no God only mirrors the certitude of religion,” he says"

If you are going to promote someone as a prominent atheist, it's a good idea to first make sure that this is what they identify as.

Sun, 21 Feb 2010 01:08:00 UTC | #442673

SaintStephen's Avatar Comment 28 by SaintStephen

@Steve Zara:

Bill Maher has undoubtedly contributed heavily to the RDF, and his very public atheism lampooning of religion (i.e. Religulous) has raised awareness worldwide.
Your point is well taken. But it fails to undermine my point one iota.

The point was about alliances. Try again.

Sun, 21 Feb 2010 01:24:00 UTC | #442675

Mark Jones's Avatar Comment 29 by Mark Jones

Comment #462382 by decius


But Maher isn't interested in genuine scientific debate, he has espoused quack propaganda and brainlessly runs with it.

Unfortunately his comments on vaccines do confirm this.

Sun, 21 Feb 2010 01:26:00 UTC | #442676

decius's Avatar Comment 30 by decius

Saintstephen, RD himself wasn't aware of Maher's support for quackery when he rubber-stamped the decision to award him. When he was informed, it would have been too late and damaging to make a U-turn, but the circumstance certainly gave him pause. This can be evinced from the caveat in RD's speech.
I'm inclined to think that things might have turned out very differently if RD had all the facts in.

I agree that alliances can play an important role in the struggle against religion - especially in a country hypnotised by TV, where many don't arrive to atheism through a reasoned process, but might do so by aping this or that celebrity.
(Does this ring any bell? I thought I might ape your inability to make a single argument without personalising the issue.)

However, there are plenty of smarter atheist celebrities around - whose intellectual outlook isn't antithetical to the manifesto and raison d'etre of both the RDF and the RP - and who might be persuaded to help without embarrassing the rationalist cause in the process.

Sun, 21 Feb 2010 11:01:00 UTC | #442732