On last night’s Real Time with Bill Maher, the eponymous host went off on a bizarre rant (goaded by the audience, alas) during which he said that we perfectly understand the climate, but we “don’t know” about vaccines, fake sugar, genetically modified foods, and the benefits of moderate drinking. Wacky stuff. I’ve provided a partial transcript below.
BM: Could I make one more point about the media that bothered me this week. The analogy that I see all the time where if you ask any questions [about vaccines] then you are the same thing as a global warming denier. I think this is a very bad analogy. Because I don’t think that all science is alike. I think climate science is rather straightforward, cause you’re dealing with the earth. It’s a rock. I’m not saying that I know how to deal with it. But climate scientists, from the very beginning, have pretty much said the same thing. And their predictions have pretty much come true. It’s atmospherics. And its uhhh geology and chemistry. That’s not true of the medical industry. I mean, they’ve had to retract a million things. Because the human body is infinitely more mysterious. People get cancer, and doctors just don’t know why. They just don’t know why, and they don’t know how to fix it. And they put mercury in my teeth. I remember my father had ulcers, and they treated it wrong when I was a kid. I mean, I could go on with all the times that they’ve been wrong. So to compare the sciences, I just think, is wrong.
Again, about this era that we live, where we can’t ask any questions. I’m going to ask a few questions…
Maher then went on to question vaccines, sugar substitutes, genetically modified foods, and the benefits of moderate drinking. He concluded thusly:
There’s a lot we don’t know, unlike global warming, which we do know.
Sounds kooky to me. I say this as someone who, like Sen. James Mountain Inhofe and Bill Maher, believes in climate change. On the other hand, and unlike Maher, I’ve low confidence in our understanding of the climate system, I think GMOs are a miracle for humanity, and I find certain diet sodas to be delicious. Finally, I’m eager to believe in the benefits of moderate (or even moderate-heavy) alcohol consumption.