Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

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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.


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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blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.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

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AIDS superbug fantasy implodes – but are co-factors making a comeback?

Today, we learn from the AIDS Conference in Brazil that the Very Fierce HIV virus strain detected in an NYC man recently is not fierce or unique after all. One of the man’s partners in Connecticut proves to have had the same strain since 1993. and is doing OK. The hard won conclusion of researchers in this case is now the same as any intelligent skeptic’s reading of the original news report. Namely, that five years of crystal methamphetamine does not do your body any favors.

Mark Wainberg, PhD, professor of medicine at McGill University in Montreal, says multiple sex partners and repeated use of crystal “meth” may pack a wallop to the immune system, facilitating infection with multidrug-resistant HIV.

Wait… If multiple sex partners and heavy use of meth wallop the immune system, we have a new co-factor theory of AIDS, it seems. Do we even need HIV? would be the next question, long raised by the AIDS dissidents.

In the old days, this would have earned Mark Wainberg a rap on the knuckles. But somehow the idea that HIV cannot work its insidious depredations alone but needs a co-factor seems to be making some kind of a comeback. The idea has always been anathema to the promoters of HIV, with the exception of Luc Montagnier, the French researcher with the lips of a bon vivant at the Pasteur Institute who is the sole discoverer of HIV, though he has as yet failed to win the Nobel prize for it, perhaps because Robert Gallo of the NIH muddied the water for years with his own claim to have done so (Gallo actually discovered it in the mail from Montagnier, it turned out, Montagnier having sent him samples not once but twice, since Gallo lost the first batch, and Montagnier had the receipts to prove it), or perhaps because the Nobel rule is that the achievement recognized should have had some benefit for mankind, and to date the observable benefit of discovering HIV seems to have been entirely confined to the scientific and political geniuses running the campaign against it.

Luc Montagnier made the mistake a while back of agreeing to answer in the same journal a wholesale critique of HIV=AIDS by Peter Duesberg, a rash commitment which he was unable to live up to once the full panoply of Duesberg’s arguments unfurled under his unsettled gaze. The situation was exactly reminiscent of Robert Gallo’s equally confident pledge in 1989 to the editors of the Proceedings of the National Academy that he would undertake a reply to Duesberg’s first definitive broadside against the virus that in Gallo’s phrase “kills like a truck”, a 200 footnote paper which later was used in Walter Gilbert’s Harvard classes as an example of classic and perfectly formulated heresy. Gallo somehow never found the time to do that either.

Montagnier, who has always given the impression of being more painfully caught than his HIV colleagues between the exigencies of ruthless scientific assertion and the obligations of a gentlemanly upbringing and a genuine vocation as a scientist, evidently decided that Duesberg had a point, and HIV was by itself insufficient to cause AIDS. That was when he fastened on a mycoplasma as the required co-factor, and hurried to the San Franscisco AIDS Conference to unveil it to the world, only to be shunned and shut out by the Bob Club. Montagnier was forced to make his anouncement to the world’s press in a long, low ceilinged hotel conference room, packed with hacks but well outside the AIDS Conference’s precincts, and afterwards to hightail it back to Paris for lack of hospitality from the Club. The mycoplasma was soon off the front pages and has not been much heard about since.

But recently, we hear that Bob Gallo has been returning calls to Charles “Chuck” Ortleb, one time publisher and editor of the inimitable New York Native, a gay weekly which published much informed and skeptical material on HIV=AIDS at the very beginning of this now global affair but was put out of business by an ACTUP boycott, presumably the work of Larry Kramer, the playwright who founded ACTUP and who is still unable to grasp the nettle of the possibility that we may have been misled by the Bob Club. even though he has had to suffer a liver transplant in the wake of his assiduous imbibing of the HAART drug regime.

Ortleb reports that his own long time favorite culprit for the cause of AIDS, a herpes virus, has been taken up anew by Gallo as a necessary co-factor for HIV, which apparently no longer “kills like a truck”.

If this is the case it will be interesting to see how far it flies before it is shot down by its own army, since any idea that HIV needs a cofactor has always been too dangerously close to admitting that by itself or even in partnership it is harmless, and that AIDS symptoms are caused by other disease agents and toxicities which do not need HIV in the mix to do exactly what they would do and have always done, which is cause the weight loss, illness and death of drug walloping, malaria, tuberculosis, and all the other ills humanity is heir to.

For the superbug news see Fears of AIDS ‘Superbug’ Eased (Fox News)

Fears of AIDS ‘Superbug’ Eased

Monday, July 25, 2005

By Charlene Laino

Fears of an AIDS superbug were alleviated Monday when researchers reported that they have homed in on the source of a New York City man’s HIV infection.

Concerns had existed since February when officials from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced that a middle-aged man had purportedly been infected with a new and unique strain of HIV — one that resists most medications used to treat HIV and progresses to full-blown AIDS in a fraction of the usual time.

But viral testing shows that the man does not have a unique HIV strain, says Gary Blick, MD, medical and research director of Circle Medicine in Norwalk, Conn.

Rather, the New York City man has the same viral strain as an HIV-infected man in Connecticut, he says. The two men admit having unprotected sex with each other.

“The Connecticut patient’s virus is a 99.5 percent match to the New York City man. They’re essentially identical,” Blick tells WebMD.

Speaking at a meeting of the International AIDS Society, Blick says that the 52-year-old Connecticut man infected the New York City man with a potent viral strain that is resistant to three of the four types of medications used to treat HIV.

Possible New Strain of HIV Investigated

Risky Behavior Blamed for Rapid Progression

One of the major reasons some health officials believed that a new AIDS superbug was in our midst was that the New York City man developed AIDS in less than 20 months, just two months after a positive HIV diagnosis was made.

Normally, progression from HIV to AIDS in an untreated patient takes 7 to 10 years, with death following months after that time.

But since the Connecticut man first tested positive for HIV in 1993, the virus itself does not appear to be responsible for the rapid progression to full-blown AIDS, Blick says.

So why did the New York City man get sick so quickly?

Most likely, his behavior is the culprit, Blick says. The New York City man admitted not only to being promiscuous, but also to being a heavy user of crystal methamphetamine, an illicit drug that lowers inhibitions and increases risky sexual behavior.

Mark Wainberg, PhD, professor of medicine at McGill University in Montreal, says multiple sex partners and repeated use of crystal “meth” may pack a wallop to the immune system, facilitating infection with multidrug-resistant HIV.

Another indication that a fast-acting new strain of HIV was not behind the man’s rapid illness was a measurement of his CD4 cell count. Blick’s study shows that his CD4 cell count (an indication of disease progression) responded to treatment, refuting the concept of a new aggressive strain.

Also, genetic susceptibility may have played a role in the man’s condition, Blick says. Because this type of supervirulent virus was seen in only one case in February, some researchers had theorized that the man’s individual genetic susceptibility, not the virus itself, was responsible for its rapid progression.

Wainberg tells WebMD that the study should end talk of a new AIDS superbug. “It’s a well-done analysis that shows the strains are virtually identical,” he says.

Get the Facts About HIV and AIDS

By Charlene Laino, reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD

SOURCES: 3rd IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 24-27, 2005. Gary Blick, MD, medical and research director, Circle Medicine, Norwalk, Conn. Mark Wainberg, PhD, professor of medicine, McGill University, Montreal.

Copyright 2005 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

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3 Responses to “AIDS superbug fantasy implodes – but are co-factors making a comeback?”

  1. Robert Houston Says:

    What’s this? Dr. Mark Wainberg, the former president of the International AIDS Society, now says that “repeated use of crystal ‘meth’ may pack a wallop to the immune system.” Sounds like an AIDS dissident to me – someone suggesting a form of “Drug/AIDS Hypothesis” – that drugs can cause or co-cause the immune decline in AIDS. But this is the same professor who 5 years ago advocated jailing any HIV dissenters who suggested such a view. It’s time he turned himself in. See story in the Globe and Mail (Canada), May 1, 2000: HIV Deniers Should Be Jailed. (http://www.virusmyth.net/aids/news/apwainberg.htm).

  2. Robert Houston Says:

    In the practice of their faith, HIV true believers have long upheld the monocausal doctrine, which states in effect, “thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Thus, Dr. Wainberg (who looks remarkably like Dr. Fauci) once wrote an article entitled, HIV Is the Only Cause of AIDS (BETA, Spring 2000).Dr. Luc Montagnier may have been driven to a cofactor hypothesis by his inability to refute the cogent arguments in Duesberg’s superb 1990 paper. It appeared in Reviews in Immunology, the journal of Montagnier’s own Pasteur Institute, preceded by an editor’s note promising his future reply, which has yet to appear. A characteristic of truth is that it’s undiminished by time, and every word of this great Duesberg paper still rings true.

  3. Robert Houston Says:

    The correct citation is Research in Immunology 141:511, 1990.

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