The 2009 Richard Dawkins award goes to Bill Maher, anti-vaxer.

The Richard Dawkins Award is chosen every year by the Atheist Alliance International (AAI) and awarded to the most outstanding atheist. This year the award went to the comedian Bill Maher for his film “Religulous” which was a no-holes barred analysis of the dangers of religion. It has since been revealed however, that Maher has some rather tin-foil hat ideas when it comes to vaccination, stating on his talk show recently that he tells pregnant woman not to get the swine flu vaccination because the flu is not very serious and “perfectly healthy people don’t die from it”.

Questions have been raised about rewarding Maher for being a great atheist when he publicly spouts nonsense about the benefits of science and medicine. Some commentators even suggested that Dawkins must be off crying in a corner somewhere. But the AAI have defended their decision, claiming that Maher’s film addresses issues not covered by other atheist commentators and “it is not a prerequisite to agree with a person on all issues in order to unite in support of a common objective”.

Decide for yourself, but we think the only way to fight the scourge of the anti-vaxers is to ensure they do not get a platform in the mainstream media. Recognising them with the 2009 Richard Dawkins Award does exactly the opposite.

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