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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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

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Brown and Bialy outmaneuver John Moore on Lew Rockwell


Op-Ed author of “Deadly Quackery” told who are the real “denialists” by AIDS Wiki founder, and professor

A remarkable article, Who Are the Real AIDS Denialists? – Testing the Moore Assertion by the philosopher-mathematician Darin Brown, the founder of the AIDS Wiki, appears on the libertarian site this morning (Wed Jun 21).

Brown presents a zinger of a proposal, after tracking the email exchange which erupted when the intellectually brilliant biographer of Duesberg and his science, Harvey Bialy, challenged the understandably reluctant John Moore to a seven point exchange on the etiology of AIDS.

Despite his initial contemptuous dismissal Moore got lured into an exchange which ended with him comparing their doubts over HIV and AIDS with someone who “thought the moon was made of green cheese” (the cliche betrays than John Moore is another embarrassment to the reputation of Brit expatriates, joining Andrew Sullivan and Nick Bennett).

Any scientist who claims that HIV does not cause AIDS (or that HIV does not exist) is simply not credible, essentially as a point of definition. The evidence is so overwhelming that a credible scientist could not fail to understand and accept it… Would astrophysicists and geologists debate with people who believed the moon was made of green cheese?”

Darin Brown corrects this assertion by pointing out that Science thought the debate worth holding in 1988, and that the discussion was arbitrarily halted by editor Dan Koshland before resolution.

Brown relaunches Bialy’s challenge to editors of Nature and Science

Brown – in what may be a watershed move in the age of the Web – then revives Bialy’s idea of harassing the editors of Science and Nature today with a request that they take a straw poll of their readers to see how many of them would support a rematch, this time a series of debates between David Baltimore and Peter Duesberg on the cause of AIDS.

All that is required is to take an anonymous, electronic straw poll of the readership of Nature and Science, the world’s two most prominent science journals, asking whether they would support a series of debates, organized and held under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, between Peter Duesberg and David Baltimore (the two most prominent and best-credentialed spokespersons for the two sides) on the cause of AIDS.

The idea was previously rejected as a petition from the Committee for the Reappraisal of HIV/AIDS to those editors, since that group (known for short as Rethinking AIDS) thought that there was no more chance of the editors taking such a suggestion seriously than devoting a special issue to the topic, which has been anathema ever since 1988, due to the active and public hostility of Anthony Fauci and every other paradigm promoter in HIV?AIDS science, which may or may not have to do with the bountiful rewards that it brings to them in their work. Such promoters include the editors of both Science and Nature, of course, then and since.

But Bialy is no fool and his purpose was not to convince the editors of Science and Nature to mend their ways, but to expose the situation for what it is – political censorship of first class science, by the very gatekeepers themselves. As the Romans said, Who shall guard the guardians?

Now Brown writes:

If you would like to see this experiment performed, you may meaningfully contribute by sending a joint email to Don Kennedy and Philip Campbell, (the editors of Science and Nature respectively) expressing your agreement with the letter above (and carbon-copying me) so we can, in the words of Prof. Moore, “keep at the maths…someone has to do it, after all.” (Please address them by name in your email.) In contradistinction to the “Moore Assertion,” we present the “Brown/Bialy Conjecture”:

“No matter how many emails are received by the editors of Science and Nature in support of the above experiment to test the ‘Moore Assertion,’ they will never allow such an experiment to take place.”

We speculate that the reason is because they know full well what the uncomfortable result would be.

The ploy has all the earmarks of Bialy’s convoluted logic, and there seems to us some possibility that, like the members of Rethinking AIDS, readers may not get the point. And we are not quite sure they will not be right. Will the inevitable scorn of the proposal by the editors of Science and Nature prove that they wish actively to censor the debate, or merely that they consider the proposal silly?

Silly – or subtle?

The proposal, after all, is to poll their readers’ opinions on the matter. They might validly feel that to hold such a poll is to imply that they think that the debate should be renewed. They might balk at that because they genuinely feel that the issue is decided, and therefore such a debate is a waste of time and not called for.

This has always been the subtle catch-22 of the HIV?AIDS debate on the cause of AIDS. If people genuinely judge that an issue is settled to their own satisfaction, then they are not actively censoring the debate when they refuse to endorse it, since their reason is that the argument of the HIV critics is not so strong and threatening that it must be censored, but too weak, and therefore should not be supported because it will waste everyone’s time.

Of course, anyone with a working intelligence who has studied the issue for more than a few hours can see very well that the HIV critics have overwhelming arguments to review the cause of AIDS, since as Peter Duesberg has repeatedly demonstrated without rebuttal, the scientific evidence for HIV turns out not to be “overwhelming” at all, as is so often claimed, by Anthony Fauci and his many Moore’s, but distinctly underwhelming.

In fact, underwhelming to the vanishing point, for there is no good scientific reason yet offered under the sun or moon as to why one should believe such a claim, as the unanswered papers by Peter Duesberg have clearly shown for twenty years, except the single reason that everyone else believes in it as the “consensus” belief, a tautology which satisfies everyone who wishes to believe it but no one who needs to justify it. In other words, the belief is a matter of faith and collegiality which serves emotional and financial interests but offers no defenses at all against scientific examination.

But this fact doesn’t prove that the editors of Science and Nature don’t firmly believe in HIV, or believe the case against it is so very strong that it must be repressed. In fact, we are very sure they do believe it, since doubting HIV in their circles is a one way express ticket to obscurity and ostracism. Hard to be an HIV skeptic and edit either journal very effectively.

This genuine belief in HIV is what their inevitable scornful response to any such proposal as a straw poll of their readers will come from, unless they are secretly independent minds who have troubled to examine the case for themselves and are going to discreetly become allies of the critics by going along with the proposal.

Not very likely. So what will Bialy’s caper prove? We wait to see if anyone else thinks it makes sense: Will his proposal, if taken up by large numbers of people emailing Don Kennedy and Philip Campbell, expose

a) their recognition that the challenge to HIV and all the fruits it brings (delicious to some, poisonous to others) is so dangerous it must be actively repressed

or

b) their belief that the paradigm is an incontrovertible fact and that it is political suicide and useless time wasting to give it to their readers to respond to, especially since the readers are bound to reject it?

We are afraid that it is b) and even if it is a) there will be no way of telling, so the whole exercise is pointless.

Much better for Darin Brown and Harvey Bialy to run the poll themselves.

Or will a Perfect Storm sink HIV?AIDS?

But then – and this is an example of Bialy’s fiendish acuity, which is so often displayed in his book, “Oncogenes, Aneuploidy and AIDS: The Life and Scientific Times of Peter H. Duesberg”, a sine qua non of informed understanding of this vexed debate – that is precisely what they will do and are doing.

The numbers of people emailing will be their poll, a poll of the public at large, including presumably no small number of Nature and Science readers, on their wish to reopen the can or coffin of worms which, scientifically speaking, have been wriggling for twenty years eating the stillborn theory of HIV causing immune deficiency, stillborn according to the most tested scientific literature on the topic.

Stillborn, in fact, as we recently showed, according to the very first papers on the topic by Robert “I discovered HIV in the mail” Gallo, which showed clearly that HIV was totally insufficient even to qualify as a candidate for causing AIDS, let alone win the prize.

Whatever John Moore says, then, it seems he is outmaneuvered. If this email attack builds, it may prove to be the Perfect Storm that sinks the merry cruise liner of HIV?AIDS.

Perhaps the effort will fizzle at a few dozen or hundred, but Lew Rockwell being a popular libertarian site, and libertarians being by nature for freedom of debate and against censorship, the chance of this building into thousands or even tens of thousands of emails over time are not nil.

(show)

Who Are the Real AIDS Denialists? – Testing the ‘Moore Assertion’

by Darin Brown

A very interesting and instructive exchange between myself, Harvey Bialy and the New York Times-celebrated Op. Ed. author Prof. John P. Moore, self-appointed “Major General in the War on AIDS” and spokesperson for “The Scientific Community,” recently appeared on the AIDS Wiki. The exchange was prompted by an offer to Prof. Moore to participate in a moderated debate with Dr. Bialy, who wrote in part:

“I propose a simple debate at the AIDS Wiki on the etiology of AIDS. I further propose it take the following form:

I will present one fully referenced (with PDF files that the moderator can hyperlink) challenge to your favorite and livelihood-sustaining hypothesis, and you can demolish my feeble arguments in the same fashion. We will continue this for one additional round, and then move on to the next challenge. I have maybe seven such challenges.

At the end, we will have produced the first fully documented, real scientific debate on the cause of AIDS. Interesting that after 25 years none has ever been held before, Bob Gallo’s promise in the PNAS in 1989 not withstanding.”

Within the hour, Prof. Moore had replied to me by email:

“Participating in any public forum with the likes of Bialy would give him a credibility that he does not merit. The science community does not ‘debate’ with the AIDS denialists, it treats them with the utter contempt that they deserve and exposes them for the charlatans that they are. Kindly do not send me any further communications on this or any related matter.”

Despite Prof. Moore’s expressed wish to discontinue communication, he in fact continued conversation with Dr. Bialy and myself for several days thereafter. By the end of this exchange, Moore had produced (and “more” than thrice) what we now call “The Moore Assertion.” In the professor’s inimitable style,

“… I’ll expand a very little…about why it’s not appropriate to ‘debate’ with HIV denialists who also happen to be scientists, by profession or self-proclaimed… The principal reason is that there’s nothing to debate… A secondary one is that there’s nobody worth debating with. One should only debate science with credible scientists, and no credible scientist could ever dispute the causative role of HIV infection in AIDS. I repeat, in case you have missed the point: Any scientist who claims that HIV does not cause AIDS (or that HIV does not exist) is simply not credible, essentially as a point of definition. The evidence is so overwhelming that a credible scientist could not fail to understand and accept it… Would astrophysicists and geologists debate with people who believed the moon was made of green cheese?”

More succinctly, “The Assertion” denies that there is any scientific reason to doubt HIV as the cause of AIDS because a vaguely defined “scientific community” has already pronounced on the matter ad nauseum. This is vigorously defended by the ultra-orthodox AIDS cadres that Moore represents, even though the only semblance of a “real” debate in the literature occurred in the journal Science in 1988.

It ran under the logo of a “Policy Forum,” with Peter Duesberg arguing against, and William Blattner, Robert Gallo, and Howard Temin arguing for, the HIV/AIDS hypothesis. In his book Oncogenes, Aneuploidy, and AIDS, Bialy gives an entertaining and accurate description of this “heavyweight science fight.” Here is the last paragraph of the linked excerpt

“After the ‘Policy Forum’ appeared, Peter all but begged Dan to sanction another round, to no avail. And so just when it was getting good, the bout was declared a technical draw on an inexplicable and non-appealable decision of commissioner Koshland. There was never to be a rematch. The failure to extend the discussion in the pages of Science was significant. Most scientists have neither time nor inclination to follow specialist literature in fields outside their own. They depend, consequently, on journals like Science and Nature to tell them what is considered important. Having read, as best they could at the time, the arguments of the Policy Forum, and then seeing nothing more than vulgar anti-Duesberg editorials in the scientific press and worse in the popular media, even a partially persuaded non-specialist could and would eventually concur with the ‘overwhelming evidence’ of Team Virus, although it has become even less overwhelming now than it was in 1988.”

The truth of the “Moore Assertion” is a key point of dispute between the two camps. Indeed, in the absence of a satisfactory resolution of its validity, it remains the principal impediment to ever discovering the real scientific merits of the virus-AIDS hypothesis that have nothing to do with the consensual basis of the claim. Until now, assertions of this type were like the Riemann hypothesis in number theory – important but impossible to resolve due to a lack of technical tools. With the ascendance of the internet, however, the “Moore Assertion” is readily testable as a scientific hypothesis. All that is required is to take an anonymous, electronic straw poll of the readership of Nature and Science, the world’s two most prominent science journals, asking whether they would support a series of debates, organized and held under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, between Peter Duesberg and David Baltimore (the two most prominent and best-credentialed spokespersons for the two sides) on the cause of AIDS.

The goal of such an electronic straw poll would not be to generate an actual debate between Duesberg and Baltimore, but to test the “Moore Assertion” that “there is nothing to debate and no-one worth debating with, and the issue has already been decided by ‘overwhelming evidence’ by the ‘scientific community.’”

To take this experiment out of the gedenken, we propose the following letter to the editors of Nature and Science:

“In the interests of once and forever ending the disquieting and possibly harmful pseudo-debate over the cause of AIDS that has been simmering at the margins of the journals and popular media for almost two decades, we urge you to use your good offices to take an electronic straw poll of your readers in which you simply ask them to respond to the following question. Would you support a series of debates between David Baltimore and Peter Duesberg, to be organized by, and held under the auspices of, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, on the etiology of AIDS?”

If you would like to see this experiment performed, you may meaningfully contribute by sending a joint email to Don Kennedy and Philip Campbell, (the editors of Science and Nature respectively) expressing your agreement with the letter above (and carbon-copying me) so we can, in the words of Prof. Moore, “keep at the maths…someone has to do it, after all.” (Please address them by name in your email.) In contradistinction to the “Moore Assertion,” we present the “Brown/Bialy Conjecture”:

“No matter how many emails are received by the editors of Science and Nature in support of the above experiment to test the ‘Moore Assertion,’ they will never allow such an experiment to take place.”

We speculate that the reason is because they know full well what the uncomfortable result would be.

June 21, 2006

Darin Brown [send him mail] received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2004. He maintains the AIDS Wiki with Frank Lusardi, a New York computer programmer.

Copyright © 2006 LewRockwell.com

2 Responses to “Brown and Bialy outmaneuver John Moore on Lew Rockwell”

  1. patrick Moore Says:

    Where can I get these email adresses? Forgive me if I missed it.

  2. truthseeker Says:

    Click the names of the editors on the Lew Rockwell page, and the email addresses will set up on your mail software.

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