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Dave Letterman with Bill Maher

Christmas in Las Vegas, the Iowa Caucuses, pharmaceuticals, and George Bush are the topics of discussion. In related news how can Bill Maher be so Ignorant




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Late Show w/David Letterman

 

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I am just watching this on the DVR. Maher's alt-med speech is really tiring. I may agree with him on religion, but with alt-meds he is pushing the same kind of bullshit creationists do. That "western medicine" is corrupt doesn't mean at all that "alt-meds" have any validity in any way.

Creationists also latch onto this false choice, that something has some controversy (though in evolution's case is totally misrepresented, and in medicine it is not) implies that any alternative is better. Screw that. Maher is just a nut that happens to agree with us on religion. All his nice talk about "science" and crap is only valid when he talks about religion? He doesn't understand science. I would like him to be asked what he thinks about homeopathy and acupuncture.

He and Jon Stewart seem to be smart people (Stewart more so) and well-informed in anything but science. I just heard a standup by Stewart from 2006 and even then he was still doing his "religion and science are 2 extremes" crappy routine. As much as I like him, he needs an intellectual beating from the likes of Neil DeGrasse Tyson or someone like that.

This alt-med stuff irks me almost as much as religion. I have some people I care about also drinking the alt-med kool-aid. That sucks. Why won't people see that it is a false choice?

oh... Maher:

"I have to come back here and teach you science"

That was a funny one.

Still watching...

Maher was wrong about the how the caucus works - i think. I am pretty sure I heard that in Iowa there are only 99 counties- ergo 99 conventions. ergo, regardless of the number of people who vote in the state, the sum will be be 99 votes for delegates to the NATIONAL conventions.

There are not 100,000 party caucuses. i could be wrong.

Andyo - agreed that Maher's stance on medicine is an interesting one. I think it is driven by anti-corporate/anti-corruption interests. if he felt that the western medical system actually used objective treatment/control tests, he might be a bit more accepting. however he has pointed out several times on his show that big Pharma buys influence ergo the industry shouldn't be trusted. I agree 100% with that, however i don't see how alternative meds are any more proven.

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Andyo, I didn't hear Maher say much of anything about alt-med. He blasted away (quite rightly from what I've seen in many people I know) against corporate "meds," which often aren't meds, but rather products we don't really need. He's railing against a mainstream mindset that seeks treatment of symptoms rather than prevention and clean, toxin-free living. Bravo, sez I.

Yeah, Maher's "Western medicine is poison" meme turned me off from watching the rest.

PZ Meyer recently put up a link to a new blog called Science Based Medicine.

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/

Maher saying he will explain science is not one of his better jokes. It is a bit like Tom Cruise explaining psychology.

He is as usual on his alt medicine and poisoning shtick.

Fortunately he didn't go into his anti-vaccination routine.

Maher's Toxin rant is tiresome as always, but he is right to attack these drugs that treat symptoms, like Nasonex and Muscinex, that are usually indications of a larger problem. Not a particularly good interview.

flubber, I don't know if you've already seen this, but http://badscience.net is an excellent website too. It's got many excellent's articles. I wish my alt-med friends read that.

And by the way, the misspelling of PZ Myer's name is only reserved for his creationists clown enemies (it's kind of a running joke if you read his site regularly). I think "Slimy Sal" does it.

millie wink,

yeah, I include the "Western medicine is poison" thing in the "alt-med speech". Just someone talking about "Western" medicine is enough to get my cynicism going on them. "Western medicine" is alt-med talk crap. Some people go as far as say "Western science".

I agree that the pharma industry is corrupt as hell, but scientific medicine is the only thing that can work well. It is important not to mix them as the same. I think tougher but more reasonable regulations are in order, like ending the stupid war on drugs. I think also a considerable part of Maher's motives is that he wants his pot to be more easily accessible and cheaper. And again, the worst part is that because Big Pharma is corrupt, people automatically go to the false "alternative". That is sloppy thinking.

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Thanks for the further thoughts, Andyo. Maybe I've missed other comments by Maher on alternative meds--has he recommended them before, aside from pot for pain relief? If not, he may be more in agreement with you than you think. I'd be surprised if he takes swipes at the advances of medical research in general. Again, his target seems to be the coporatized foisting on gullible consumers of drugs they don't need, not Western medicine in geneal.

As far as I can tell, he is not promoting alternative medicine over western medicine. He is urging us to stop endlessly dumping garbage into our bodies, making ourselves sick, and then using western medicine to treat the symptoms, not the problems.

I agree with him philosophically. But cheeseburgers are just too damned good.

So, the people that are going after Maher... you support Mucinex? You disagree with what he's saying here?

I don't know any of Maher's "Alt-med" beliefs, and I don't recall him giving any in that interview, so if anybody has a link or quote or something, please, I'd love to get informed. I do know that when he talks about a different take on medicine he usually means "EAT BETTER." Norm has linked a New Rules video before that ends with something like, "the real medicine you need is spinach."

Also, Maher is one of the only people who will talk about people poisoning themselves with food and prescription drugs. His rant here was against prescription drugs. Perhaps it's "tiresome," but it has to be. ALMOST NO ONE ELSE IS SAYING THIS. Other than my mother, and she stopped doing that after I was five and "greens" were no longer important. And yes, he is a bit of an arrogant prick about it.

Come on, guys. Just because you disagree with something Maher says, does that mean you can't stand to hear anything he says?

If that's how we feel, I expect the next outcry to be against his belief in decriminalizing marijuana. Because you can have my spliff - when you pry it from my cold dead hands.

So, the people that are going after Maher... you support Mucinex? You disagree with what he's saying here?

I don't know any of Maher's "Alt-med" beliefs, and I don't recall him giving any in that interview, so if anybody has a link or quote or something, please, I'd love to get informed. I do know that when he talks about a different take on medicine he usually means "EAT BETTER." Norm has linked a New Rules video before that ends with something like, "the real medicine you need is spinach."

Also, Maher is one of the only people who will talk about people poisoning themselves with food and prescription drugs. His rant here was against prescription drugs. Perhaps it's "tiresome," but it has to be. ALMOST NO ONE ELSE IS SAYING THIS. Other than my mother, and she stopped doing that after I was five and "greens" were no longer important. And yes, he is a bit of an arrogant prick about it.

Come on, guys. Just because you disagree with something Maher says, does that mean you can't stand to hear anything he says?

If that's how we feel, I expect the next outcry to be against his belief in decriminalizing marijuana. Because you can have my spliff - when you pry it from my cold dead hands.

I don't think Bill was necessarily rubbishing the health care companies to the benefit of other forms of medicine so much as saying that filling ourselves with one processed, pre-fab drug in response to the effects of another, which are in turn owing to the effects of another, which are in turn the result of another, which are....well, you get my drift-is not helpful-and plays into drug companies' hands. Anyway. Great to have Dave and Bill back on.

What many of you are ignoring is that on medicine, Maher is a total crackpot.

Especially you ignore the fact that he is strongly against vaccination, you know, like many religious sects.

It appears that he doesn't even believe in the germ theory of disease. He thinks people become ill only because of "poisons" in the environment.

Of course that can happen. But it is dangerous bacteria and viruses that cause the overwhelming majority of diseases. But Maher doesn't accept that.

He thinks people become ill only because of "poisons" in the environment

Link please? Maher thinks tht people become ill "only" because of poisons in the environment.

I may not agree with him vis-à-vis alt medicine, but that doesn't then mean that I will disgree with anything at all that he has to say about medicine.

I found out that I had breast cancer about five or six years ago which resulted in me doing some intensive research into the various medications that were offered up to me. I found the reports that only nurses and doctors have access to (by pretending to be eligible to access these documents, and got away with it) and also by looking at the Lancet studies. I was surprised to find out that so many medications (and even chemotherapie in certain cirumstances... it's complex) only improve you condition by maybe 3 percent, and yet the side effect are a lot worse than any purported benefits. And I'm not talking from a new-age alt medicine point of view... oh no...

chemotherapie.. oops, that should have been "chemotherapy"... I have French on the brain which is messing up my English..

Side effect - should be side effects - (my fingers have a habit of leaving off the "s" as Jonathan Becker and Magnolia EC can attest to.. ;) )

Requisite NPR Science Friday Link Discussing how what we are eating isn't Food, but "nutrients"(from 1/4/08)

This is an example of the language you should use when talking about "toxins" and "Western Medicine" without coming off as a crackpot. Bill, Take notes.

You guys asking for links...

You will find links on Maher's views on "Western medicine" in most of the science blogs dealing with crackpottery. Here's one of them. You will find more if you look around. It's not hard. He has also had rants on alt-meds being good.

Again, I agree that Big Pharma are corrupt sons of bitches sometimes, but scientific medicine is the only thing that works. The fact that people are getting poisoned is testament that the medicines are active and dangerous, but also that they do work. The danger is in their misuse, and in their overconsumption, that's a good thing to say, but the time someone utters the phrase "'Western' medicine", they lose their credibility regarding scientific literacy.

Many alt-meds don't have any side-effects (and I've been told this by a friend as an excuse, defending them), but it is only because they don't work, like homeopathy, or they just work for psychosomatic conditions. If it works, it will most likely have other effects. What scientific medicine intends to do is isolate the active substance, and minimize side-effects, but it's far from perfect. Alt-meds are by definition either not scientifically studied, or already scientifically rejected.

I still watch Maher's show because it's entertaining, and he says many interesting things still. He should change though "Western medicine" for "the pharmaceutical industry" for his criticism. Alt-meds are no alternative. That's a false choice.

But even sometimes he's also too lenient on New Age crackpots, like the time Deepak Chopra was sitting next to him, and they both criticized The Secret. That was irony at its best (or worst?). That Chopra guy deserves the same or worse consideration than any religious leader. But that's for another discussion.

For anyone who is serious about looking into the efficacy of any given medication or treatment, you should also understand the language as concerns the difference between "relative risk reduction" and "absolute risk reduction"

After I had subjected my poor body to chemotherapy is when I finally did an in-depth analysis.. alas..

Anyway, afterwards I asked my oncologist if it was true that the chemo had only improved my chances of living beyond five years by only 3 percent (absolute benefit), and she responded that, yes, that was true, but that most people elected to have chemo anyway knowing that the benefit was so small.

She was also quite shocked to learn that I had found this information.

I was tempted to be angry that I was not made aware of the true significance of the statistics before having to make this decision but I decided not to because she was otherwise an excellent doctor and I didn't want to alienate my own doctor..

How long ago was that?

How long ago was that?

Five or six... I don't keep count... yikes!

Andyo, you seem to have a bit of a stick up yer bum. Just because he rants against Big Pharma here doesn't mean he's in love with the generally equally scammy "alt meds" as you say. Clearly each have their place.

Certainly many non-allopathic remedies are fake, but can't you be critically rigorous at all?, at least enough to separate the wheat from the chaff?

As any very basic intro to the non-pharmaceutical approach would tell you, as would any person who has any experience outside the ubiquitous mainstream medical model, alt remedies typically are effective because they work to strengthen the body's natural systems. Yes, it takes longer, but no, there are many less side effects.

If I'm in a car crash, don't give me herbs or acupuncture, but for chronic complaints, especially, alt treatments are totally called for. You'd be wise to check 'em out, as would Letterman.

Stop being so damn dogmatic about things you clearly haven't taken the time to investigate. You're clearly talking out yer bum.

Viajero, I'm not the one being dogmatic. How can asking for good evidence be dogmatic? Maher has stated his love for alt-meds before.

Anyway, answer me this before going any further. Do you believe acupuncture works, and if so, for what, and how does it work? How about homeopathy?

We can talk about herbs after.

By the way:

Just because he rants against Big Pharma here doesn't mean he's in love with the generally equally scammy "alt meds" as you say. Clearly each have their place.
I'm not saying that because he hates Big Pharma it means he's in love with alt-meds. He's the one making the false choice. He has stated so before. And so many people make that false choice. That was my point. There is not really a choice between "Western" medicine and Alt-meds. There is stuff that works (scientifically based medicine), there is stuff that may work, but is not tested thoroughly, thus potentially more dangerous than the previous, and there is stuff that just doesn't work, maybe just as a placebo. Alt-meds are just the two latter.

I asked my oncologist if it was true that the chemo had only improved my chances of living beyond five years by only 3 percent ...

JoAnn, There are some people for whom we're grateful for every small increment - glad your still with us in any case!

That "western medicine" is corrupt doesn't mean at all that "alt-meds" have any validity in any way.
he has pointed out several times on his show that big Pharma buys influence ergo the industry shouldn't be trusted. I agree 100% with that, however i don't see how alternative meds are any more proven.

Western medicine is corrupt? Maybe American medicine is, but in Europe Western medicine is doing just fine. Maybe it's the bans on advertising for medial products, or the fixed (by the government) prices, or the fact that we're strict about what medicaments we let out on the marked. I don't know, but the whole "Western medicine is corrupt, but that doesn't mean alternative medicine is better" seems strange from a European perspective, because around here Western medicine is doing just fine.

(Of course that doesn't mean we don't have alt-heads here too.)

Bill Maher has expressed his anti-vaccination views on his own program, on Larry King, and on Sanjay Gupta. A couple of years ago, the site Skeptico documented his views.

http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2005/11/mahergetssmac.html

http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2005/12/drinkingthean.html#comments

I could give more links, but spam catchers usually don't like that. Maher believes it is pollution and poisons that are responsible for disease.

"MAHER: But there is something we can do. We can accentuate more the theory that it's the terrain that the virus and the bacteria invade. It's like the mosquito in the swamp. That's what the virus is. It's a mosquito. But it wouldn't be dangerous unless it had a dirty, polluted swamp to breed in. In other words, our bodies. If we were healthier and we boosted our immune system more, then we wouldn't have to fear these viruses. Isn't that true, Doc?"

Of course the Doc told him it wasn't true. And actually, the mosquitos might not breed so well in a "dirty polluted" swamp as opposed to a natural one. No matter how good your immune system is, it is not going to protect you against all the bugs that are out there, if you happen to get one.

Bill on his program,

"BM: You're in denial, about I think is a key fact, which is it is the at... people get sick because of an aggregate toxicity, because their body has so much poison in it, from the air, the water... Yes, much of it is not our fault and we can't control it. But a lot of it we can and even the food people think is good for them, is bad, and I'm not presenting myself as a paradigm."

For some reason, the links came up wrong. There should be an underline _ between maher and gets, and then between gets and smac.

There should also be underlines between drinking, the, and an.

So Bill Maher thinks without pollution there wouldn't be diphtheria or smallpox or any of the other diseases that we have contained (or nigh eradicated) with the help of immunizations?

If so, Bill is an idiot.

I mean, maybe some of the newer immunizations have side effects that could be scientifically looked into. But given the billions of lives most immunizations have saved so far, nobody should be just writing them off.

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