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.

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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.
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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

(Click for more Unusual Quotations on Science and Belief)

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Bethell of the Spectator trashes African AIDS in his new book

Page Six sets Bethell on Cole:African AIDS is PC Science

As the New York Post’s Richard Johnson points out today (Wed Dec 7) in his notorious Page Six, the city’s leading gossip column, one author who would like to set Kenneth Cole straight on whether “We All Have AIDS” or not in Africa is Tom Bethell, the science correspondent for the American Spectator. Long alert to the politics of AIDS and other questionable scientific paradigms, Bethell reviews them all skeptically in his deftly written new book, The Politically Correct Guide to Science (Regnery), available on Amazon for the last two weeks.


“We Dont All Have AIDS” – December 7, 2005 — BEFORE fashion designer Kenneth Cole is heaped with more praise for his “We All Have AIDS” campaign, which is supposedly raising awareness of the disease, maybe he should consult with Tom Bethell, author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Sci ence” (Regnery), which is on ama zon.com. Elizabeth Taylor, Tom Hanks, Sir Elton John, Richard Gere, Natasha Richardson and Sharon Stone should read it, too, since they are appearing in ads under the “We All Have AIDS” banner. Bethell claims AIDS in Africa has been vastly overre ported since 1985, when the World Health Organization decided “a combi nation of the following symptoms would suffice for an AIDS diagnosis: weight loss, fever, diarrhea, swollen glands, a cough, prolonged fatigue.” Bethell re ports in The American Spectator that the real problem is lack of clean drink ing water in sub-Saharan Africa, which leads to a horrifying smorgasbord of infections, parasites and disease. Such conditions render HIV tests unreliable. “About 70 conditions have been shown to trigger a false positive, so the test is essentially useless in countries where bacterial contamination is endemic,” Bethell writes. “Therefore, AIDS in Africa has never been shown to be the same as AIDS here . . . The sheer dishonesty of the New York Times and other media in not reporting these facts is hard to take.”

Bethell devotes a chapter to exposing the claims of African AIDS as a blatant fiction, as well as presenting the case against all the usual suspects among pc paradigms that are taken for granted by the art and humanities crowd and the liberal media, who take any critique as evidence of right wing proclivities or selling out to industry. Among the topics: global warming, endangered species, DDT, nuclear power,cloning, stem cells, evolution and intelligent design.

Bethell’s major theme is the way science has become distorted by politics, and his treatment of African AIDS is precisely what Peter Duesberg and his colleagues have elucidated in the scientific literature (he also follows Duesberg in a critique of cancer research as having wasted time for twenty five years following a mirage in oncogenes).

However, like many authors who have critiqued HIV-AIDS ideology in one dimension or another – such as Michael Fumento or Robert Root-Bernstein – he never grasps the real nettle. He does not question HIV as the cause of immune deficiency. Given the lethal politics of the issue, it may be that all these authors, who otherwise find it so easy to lift the veil of politics from the true face of science, prefer to win a battle than to lose a war in AIDS. Whatever the reason, it is a pity that their courage or their intellect fails them.

Bethell’s chapter on evolution vs intelligent design in the classroom is also oddly weak, since though he has a very good grasp of the debate and its many aspects, he seems to feel that the inability of evolutionary theory to provide a working mechanism that explains the origin of species admits the possibility that evolution may be wrong. He doesn’t specifically say this, but he leaves a large gate open for intelligent design to drive through and take over.

Evidently Bethell’s thinking is driven by more than pure faith in science allied to a healthy political skepticism. But for all that, he has written what is currently the best introduction to the flip side of the major pc paradigms promoted by scientists and reported uncritically by most of the mainstream media.

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