I find watching Bill Maher somewhat like watching a train wreck: I don't want to look, but I don't want to not look, either — mostly because of a perhaps unhealthy curiosity about whether his next stupid bloviation will be as outrageous as most everything else he says.
I haven't yet been able to find video of the the segment, nor a transcript thereof, but Mary at Freedom Eden has a detailed account of it, and the quotes as she recounts them are as I remember.
Maher's pontifications on stem cell research took the biscuit:
Maher mocked President Bush on embryonic stem cell research. In the process, he made a fool of himself. Maher complained that "President 'Jesus Loves Me'" wouldn't allow embryonic stem cell research. [Which, of course, is completely false, but this sure is a popular canard, eh? —JJ] He talked as if he were an expert on the subject. That, of course, was ridiculous.
He asked Leno if he understood it. Leno kind of stuttered. Then Maher began his BS lecture.
He called an embryo "a little specklet of goo."
He didn't mention that an embryo is a genetically complete human being. There's a lot of value in that "goo."
Maher said an embryo is "a two-day old dividing cell, or as conservatives call it: a baby."
He called the embryos used in stem cell research "leftovers at fertility clinics."
About the research, he said, "This is something that can help people that are really alive." At no point did Leno question Maher's claims or note that adult stem cells have been used to successfully treat and cure disease. Embryonic stem cells have not.
Together, like good propagandists, Leno and Maher perpetuated the myths.
Leno ended the interview by saying he's always been proud to have Maher on the show, even when he wasn't popular and just a speck of goo.
During this time, the two yukked it up not a little, and the audience followed suit, natch.
But for the virtue of hope, it's at times likes these that I would find myself gravitationally drawn toward despair over what the future holds for our culture.