Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

I am Richard Feynman and I approve of this blog

Qualified outsiders and maverick insiders are often right about the need to replace received wisdom in science and society, as the history of the Nobel prize shows. This blog exists to back the best of them in their uphill assault on the massively entrenched edifice of resistance to and prejudice against reviewing, let alone revising, ruling ideas. In support of such qualified dissenters and courageous heretics we search for scientific paradigms and other established beliefs which may be maintained only by the power and politics of the status quo, comparing them with academic research and the published experimental and investigative record.

We especially defend and support the funding of honest, accomplished, independent minded and often heroic scientists, inventors and other original thinkers and their right to free speech and publication against the censorship, mudslinging, false arguments, ad hominem propaganda, overwhelming crowd prejudice and internal science politics of the paradigm wars of cancer, AIDS, evolution, global warming, cosmology, particle physics, macroeconomics, health and medicine, diet and nutrition.


Henry Bauer, Peter Breggin , Harvey Bialy, Giordano Bruno, Erwin Chargaff, Nicolaus Copernicus, Francis Crick, Paul Crutzen, Marie Curie, Rebecca Culshaw, Freeman Dyson, Peter Duesberg, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, John Fewster, Galileo Galilei, Alec Gordon, James Hansen, Edward Jenner, Benjamin Jesty, Michio Kaku, Adrian Kent, Ernst Krebs, Thomas Kuhn, Serge Lang, John Lauritsen, Mark Leggett, Richard Lindzen, Lynn Margulis, Barbara McClintock, George Miklos, Marco Mamone Capria, Peter Medawar, Kary Mullis, Linus Pauling, Eric Penrose, Max Planck, Rainer Plaga, David Rasnick, Sherwood Rowland, Carl Sagan, Otto Rossler, Fred Singer, Thomas Szasz, Alfred Wegener, Edward O. Wilson, James Watson.

Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

Skepticism is dangerous. That’s exactly its function, in my view. It is the business of skepticism to be dangerous. And that’s why there is a great reluctance to teach it in schools. That’s why you don’t find a general fluency in skepticism in the media. On the other hand, how will we negotiate a very perilous future if we don’t have the elementary intellectual tools to ask searching questions of those nominally in charge, especially in a democracy? – Carl Sagan (The Burden of Skepticism, keynote address to CSICOP Annual Conference, Pasadena, April 3/4, 1982).

It is really important to underscore that everything we’re talking about tonight could be utter nonsense. – Brian Greene (NYU panel on Hidden Dimensions June 5 2010, World Science Festival)

I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing ever interfered with my learning was my education. My name as you already perceive without a doubt is George Bernard Shaw, and I certainly approve of this blog, in that its guiding spirit appears to be blasphemous in regard to the High Church doctrines of science, and it flouts the censorship of the powers that be, and as I have famously remarked, all great truths begin as blasphemy, and the first duty of the truthteller is to fight censorship, and while I notice that its seriousness of purpose is often alleviated by a satirical irony which sometimes borders on the facetious, this is all to the good, for as I have also famously remarked, if you wish to be a dissenter, make certain that you frame your ideas in jest, otherwise they will seek to kill you.  My own method was always to take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then to say it with the utmost levity. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine) One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways. – Bertrand Russell, Conquest of Happiness (1930) ch. 9

(Click for more Unusual Quotations on Science and Belief)

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Doctors and scientists as sheep

January 25th, 2007

Should some people be blamed by patients for not thinking?

$150,000 a year not enough for one wife

The current Comment thread is raising the issue of whether scientists and doctors who go along with the current paradigm in HIV∫AIDS should be blamed for their lack of thought and research, which results in patients being severely mismedicated, according to the easily available scientific and medical literature.

This literature, which now includes tens of thousands of papers over the last 22 years, tells us that HIV as the cause of AIDS was first disproved (sic) by Robert Gallo and later more comprehensively by Peter Duesberg, that it is not noticeably if at all infectious between the sexes (so the global pandemic is a chimera, pace Laurie Garrett and the Council of Foreign Relations), and that the much vaunted antiretroviral drugs now kill as many AIDS patients as die from other symptoms. That is to say, half of AIDS patients in the US who die, die of symptoms (liver and kidney rot) which are not on the CDC list of thirty or more AIDS symptoms. They are dying of the drugs, not of AIDS.

We thought we would move our own comment on the topic of blame and responsibility here as a new post, since the issue is important enough to see the full light of day. Perhaps the thread will move here too, since it is overlong at 412 Comments.

As we said there, debating whether all the scientists in HIV∫AIDS are scoundrels is fairly irrelevant, since there are so many factors involved that nothing of that kind is black and white. There are probably some saints as well as sinners at every level, tongue tied though they might be.

Certainly the trusting patients who have suffered the vicious and needless impact of the wrong drugs – lambs to the slaughter, it would seem – have every right to be furious that their doctors either don’t even know about the critics and their critique of the paradigm, or refuse to follow its arguments, instead inattentively assuming, as an establishment scientist put it in his Comment, that it is “scientifically indefensible”.

Yet debating how rotten is this state of Denmark can’t get much further than speculating how many more black sheep there are than white in a herd of grey that stretches to the horizon with all the animals moving in the same direction.

Still, anyone like Kevin who complains that the entire system has shifted towards money and away from saving health and lives can hardly be contradicted, judging from the flow of news over the past three decades, with the money involved in medicine getting bigger and bigger. Only the other day the Times reported a newly fledged specialist turning his nose up at $150,000 a year, saying sorry, but he had to get down to Wall Street fast and make millions or his wife would complain.

Then there is the disillusioning experience of unprejudiced science reporters that come into contact with the system and see this for themselves. The abandonment of thinking for oneself that has occurred as medical and biological science has become a self protective and self interested profession is fairly obvious from the situation in HIV∫AIDS where it is clear that if more than 20 per cent of scientists and doctors in the field honestly reviewed what they “knew” about HIV and AIDS the paradigm would collapse politically as fast as it does logically from its internal inconsistencies.

The inability or unwillingness to think for oneself is something that should disqualify any person from practicing medicine or science. Is that the kind of doctor you would want handling your case? Yet Lo and behold, originality of thought is practically a justification these days for being kicked out of these professions, not only in censored HIV∫AIDS ‘science’, but for years in almost any field in medicine. Medical politics in New York State virtually guarantees prosecution if one steps out of line, for example, in cancer treatment.

Paradigms are naturally very hard to displace in any field of mental endeavor since all the senior members of any practice or profession or academic or other community become invested in the ruling wisdom. In matters of medicine or science, however, this bias is unethical and unprofessional, because it is against the public interest and may hurt other people’s health or even end their lives. It is the responsibility of the leaders of the community to allow vigorous reassessment of every dimension of knowledge, not to loathe and discourage it.

In particular, it is not for the powerful Dr. Anthony Fauci of the NIAID to discourage journalists from covering challenges to the HIV∫AIDS paradigm by publicly warning, in print in the AAAS newsletter, as he did early on after the birth of the HIV∫AIDS paradigm, that any calls on the dangerous subject of HIV’s questionability and the critical paradigm reviews by a certain eminent scientist (Dr Peter Duesberg of Berkeley, the world’s leading cancer retrovirologist at the time) would never be returned by his scientists at the NIH, whom he had under strict instructions never to mention the topic either.

(Pic at left is of a sheepdog herding a flock of Coopworth ewes on the English sea coast, representing the relationship referred to, ie the one between President Reagan’s distinguished “hero of AIDS” and the scientists, doctors, health workers, journalists, celebrities and activists of HIV∫AIDS).

Yet in real life in HIV∫AIDS we have the situation where those that act in this unethical way are celebrated and given awards and patent royalties and those who act ethically by challenging the status quo with some improvement are liable to get it in the neck.

The trashing of an outstanding scientist

The treatment of Dr Peter Duesberg by colleagues and officials at Berkeley for example has been and is a disgraceful sin against both him and the public interest. We understand he has been barred from including his views on the HIVÃIDS and oncogene paradigms in his lectures, which as far as we know are now limited to undergraduate students, and he has been effectively cut off by his colleagues (who advise the students against it for the sake of their careers) from having graduate students in his lab, and despite his triumph last year of collecting more applications from undergraduate students to work in his lab than any of his colleagues, he complained when we last spoke to him of having no one else helping him at all in the lab, now that his one loyal graduate lab assistant has come down with cancer.

We will check the details and include them here if he is willing to elucidate in public, but it seems pretty clear from all reports that the Berkeley administration and faculty have behaved like intellectual criminals in his regard. The criminality is social as well as scientific since Duesberg has been handicapped in pursuing his own initiative in cancer research which is widely acknowledged by even by his most prominent opponents (who are now trying to steal the credit) as having opened up a promising and hitherto neglected line of research which may help improve cancer treatment.

We haven’t suffered as Kevin has but we recall going to a specialist once for a prescription for a very mild skin complaint in recent years and paying good money to be misinformed by this Park Avenue hero (see pic, left) with medical misinformation that contradicted the literature. Not only do we feel that he should give our hard earned money back if we ask for it but we also feel that any such doctor or specialist that advises and treats patients in disregard of the literature these days is culpable civilly and probably criminally.

Of course this view is widely shared in the US today it seems since the high insurance rates that docs have to pay these days reflects their perceived risk of being sued for this kind of neglect when it results on sickness or death. And why shouldn’t they be blamed? Checking PubMed for the latest on whatever they are presented with is not difficult these days, thanks to the NIH.

But of course one suspects that none of them do it. In fact, a good friend of ours reports that while he was often in the library of an eminent medical treatment and research institution in New York City (Cornell) not too long ago he found that doctors in white coats in their rare appearances there often approached him for help in traversing its stacks and other resources.

But what interested them most often, he noticed, was sharing the sports pages in the newspapers in the lounge area.

His theory was that having had quite enough of medical texts in school and having dealt with sick people all day all they wanted to read about were super healthy athletes.

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