Episode 65

Published on:

25th Feb 2023

Bill Maher: A boozy, stoned, liberal take on classic anti-vax tropes

Bill Maher is an American comedian, political commentator, and television host from the tail end of the baby-boomer generation. He's principally a centrist liberal in terms of his political leanings, being well known for his anti-religious and pro-animal rights positions, as well as a supporter of things like cannabis legalisation. On the other hand, he's something of a contrarian and styles himself as anti-political correctness and anti-woke, identifying as a disenchanted liberal, like Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris.

Now, all of that is well and good, let a hundred flowers bloom! But... on the less-salubrious side, he's also a contrarian when it comes to his extreme scepticism of conventional medicine, and vaccines in particular. And as we'll see in the two interviews we cover, with Sam Harris ^ and Richard Dawkins, it never seems to take him very long before the conversation is steered back to vaccines.

So, will Maher make the gurometer go 'DING'? Let's face it, probably not. But if not, why not? It is worth checking to tune up the old instrument. And it is indeed something to behold as a boozy, stoned Maher tries (and manifestly fails) to coax Richard Dawkins out of his prim and proper shell.

Also features discussions of Chris' run-ins with the rationalists, a new 'Whinge of the Week' segment, and the rhetorical technique of 'pouncing'.


Show artwork for Decoding the Gurus

About the Podcast

Decoding the Gurus
A psychologist and an anthropologist try to make sense of the world's greatest self-declared Gurus.
An exiled Northern Irish anthropologist and a hitchhiking Australian psychologist take a close look at the contemporary crop of 'secular gurus', iconoclasts, and other exiles from the mainstream, offering their own brands of unique takes and special insights.

Leveraging two of the most diverse accents in modern podcasting, Chris and Matt dig deep into the claims, peek behind the psychological curtains, and try to figure out once and for all... What's it all About?

Join us, as we try to puzzle our way through and talk some smart-sounding smack about the intellectual giants of our age, from Jordan Peterson to Robin DiAngelo. Are they revolutionary thinkers or just grifters with delusions of grandeur?

Join us and let's find out!
Support This Show

About your hosts

Christopher Kavanagh

Profile picture for Christopher Kavanagh
A Northern Irish cognitive anthropologist who occasionally moonlights as a social psychologist. Chris has long standing interests in the psychology of conspiracy theorists and pseudoscience. His academic research focuses on the Cognitive Science of Religion and ritual psychology. He lives happily in Japan with his family.

Matthew Browne

Profile picture for Matthew Browne
An Australian psychologist and numbers-guy. He does research on all kinds of stuff, but particularly enjoys looking into why people believe the things they do: religion, conspiracy theories, alternative medicine and stuff. He's into social media in the same way people slow down for car accidents.