Germ theory denialism

Germ theory denialism is the belief that germs do not cause infectious disease, and that the germ theory of disease is wrong.[1] It usually involves arguing that Louis Pasteur's model of infectious disease was wrong, and that Antoine Béchamp's was right. One of the first movements to deny the germ theory was the Sanitary Movement, which was nevertheless central in developing America's public health infrastructure.[2] One well-known advocate of this form of denialism is Bill Maher, who has claimed that Pasteur recanted germ theory on his deathbed.[3] Shikha Dalmia, writing in The Washington Examiner, referred to Maher as a "germ theory denier" after he made these comments on Real Time with Bill Maher on March 4, 2007.[4] However, in response to criticism of his views, Maher said, on the October 16, 2009 episode of his show, that he accepted microorganisms as the cause of some disease, but expressed skepticism about other topics in medicine, such as vaccination.[5] Similarly, the following month, Maher wrote that he "understand[s] germ theory," but that he still thought that "Western medicine ignores too much [sic] the fact that the terrain in which bacteria can thrive is crucial and often controllable, which shouldn't even be controversial."[6] Harriet Hall published an article in Skeptic where she describes her experience arguing with germ theory denialists.[7]

An opposite kind of pseudoscience is the belief that germs cause all diseases, including ones like cancer, which the preponderance of evidence indicates are not caused by microorganisms. That belief was promoted by Hulda Regehr Clark in her book The Cure for all Cancers.[8]

See also


  1. NeuroLogica Blog » Germ Theory Denial
  2. Apostles of cleanliness
  3. Is Bill Maher really that ignorant? – Respectful Insolence
  4. Dalmia, Shikha (10 May 2013). "Shikha Dalmia: 'Scientific' liberals should accept results of science". The Washington Examiner. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  5. "[[List of Real Time with Bill Maher episodes (2008–2012)|]]". Real Time with Bill Maher. Season 7. Episode 172. October 16, 2009. 24 minutes in. I am not a germ theory denier. I understand that germs and viruses cause diseases.
  6. Maher, Bill (15 November 2009). "Vaccination: A Conversation Worth Having". Huffington Post. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  7. I reject your reality: Germ Theory Denial and Other Curiosities
  8. Hulda Regehr Clark, The Cure for All Cancers New Century Press, 1993.

External links

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