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.

HONOR ROLL OF SCIENTIFIC TRUTHSEEKERS

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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Blood money saves nurses

Libyan medical hostages saved by $1 million per family payout

EU, US, Bulgaria and Libya fund $460 million jackpot

montagnier.jpegLuc Montagnier can breathe easier now, along with many around the world who were concerned that the eight years of prison, rape and torture inflicted on five Bulgarian nurses and an Egyptian doctor in Libya would end in execution, as ordained by the Libyan Supreme Court.

A promise of $1 million per family has been made to the parents of the babies supposedly somehow infected by HIV at the Tripoli hospital, and this has been accepted as sufficient blood money to allow them to relent and be satisfied with a different outcome.

Reuters reports that the nurses can expect to be released from their torment soon by the Judicial Panel, now that the Libyan lynch mob has been paid off.

The payout is expected to bring to a close the eight-year legal case surrounding the medics and the children and remove a major obstacle to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s return to the international stage after decades of diplomatic isolation.

montagnier3.jpegMontagnier is now released from the obligation of finally confessing that he, the half hearted originator of the global scientific fantasy launched by his rival Robert Gallo on the world in 1984, doesn’t really believe in it. This might have been the only way in which the lives of the nurses and doctor could have been saved, if the nearly half billion dollar payout hadn’t become available.

Unlikely as that may seem, we have sufficient confidence in Montagnier as the only leader of the political movement for HIV∫AIDS paradigm promulgation, protection and prevention of review to possess any gentlemanly qualities whatsoever that he might have considered abandoning the whole project with the lives of innocent men and women at stake.

Unlike the many millions of gays and black and brown people in Africa and Asia who have been and will be victims of the gross miscarriage of science with which Montagnier has been a half hearted fellow traveler. these six had faces, and their predicament was unjustified even by the false assumptions of standard HIV∫AIDS thinking that Montagnier has gone along with so skittishly for so long.

montagnier4.pngMontagnier was brave and decent enough to go to Tripoli and ascertain that the conditions in the city’s hospitals are so unhygienic that the motives of officials in scapegoating the Bulgarians became very clear, and he was willing to say so. It seems just possible that as the unfortunate group approached the Libya execution chamber that Montagnier, who in our opinion judging from his gourmand features is a lot more interested in the good life than he is in hurting people, would have broken down and confessed.

montagnier1.jpegNow we shall never know, and indeed, the story will probably have the opposite effect, confirming the validity of HIV∫AIDS paradigm in the minds of millions more people around the world, who might otherwise have doubted it for the many conflicting claims inherent in the ideology which so flout common sense. The chief of these of course is a pandemic based on a condition of possessing HIV antibodies which cannot be transmitted between the sexes at a rate faster than 1 in 1000, if at all, as Nancy Padian’s research has confirmed.

After all, a paradigm that can sustain eight years of torture of innocent nurses, at least three of whom are very pretty, and a payout of nearly half a billion dollars, must be valid.

Mustn’t it?

Families receive settlement in Libya HIV nurses case:
Families receive settlement in Libya HIV nurses case
Tue Jul 17, 2007 7:07PM BST
By Salah Sarrar

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – The families of hundreds of HIV positive children in Libya received a $460 million (230 million pound) financial settlement on Tuesday, opening the door for a judicial panel to free six foreign medics condemned to death for infecting them.

The payout is expected to bring to a close the eight-year legal case surrounding the medics and the children and remove a major obstacle to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s return to the international stage after decades of diplomatic isolation.

The medics — five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor — were sentenced to death last year after being convicted of intentionally starting an HIV epidemic at a children’s hospital in the city of Benghazi. They say they are innocent.

Spokesman Idriss Lagha said 460 families in all had received “compensation money”, each family receiving $1.0 million.

He would not comment on speculation they would send a declaration to Libya’s High Judicial Council renouncing the medics’ death sentences but said the way appeared open for a pardon.

“They did not say they had pardoned the medics, but my personal interpretation is that their move is the equivalent of a pardon because the compensation money is the equivalent in Islam to ‘blood money’, which entails pardon,” he said.

In jail since 1999, the medics say they are innocent and confessions central to their case were extracted under torture.

Foreign HIV experts say the infections started before the workers arrived at the hospital and are more likely to be the result of poor hygiene.

The victims’ families have said the case was part of a Western attempt to undermine Muslims and Libya. Fifty-six of the children have died, which has provoked widespread anger in Libya over their suffering.

RULING EXPECTED

The High Judicial Council, which has the power to commute sentences or issue pardons, took over the case last week after Libya’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentences.

The Council has held off on ruling on the fate of the medics pending the families’ acceptance of the deal with the European Union, which has campaigned on behalf of its new member Bulgaria to have the nurses freed and sent home.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, EU commissioner for external relations, welcomed the families’ acceptance of the settlement.

“This is indeed good news,” she said.

“We trust that this should now permit the High Judicial Council to take a decision in favour of the Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian doctor.” She added that the Union would continue to stand by commitments to assist the HIV infected children.

Lagha said many sources had contributed: “The money came from the Benghazi International Fund, which is financed by the European Union, United States, Bulgaria and Libya.”

He said the documents signed by the families would be taken to the judicial council later on Tuesday, and Othman Bizanti, a leading lawyer for the nurses, said he had “great hope” that the council would free the medics.

Bulgaria and its allies in the EU and the United States say Libya is using the medics as scapegoats to deflect criticism from a dilapidated health care sector.

They have also suggested that not freeing the nurses would hurt Gaddafi’s efforts to emerge from isolation, a process he began by scrapping a prohibited weapons programme in 2003.
© Reuters 2006.

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