Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

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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blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.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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Celia’s Christmas spirit – model for HIV critics


In memory of Joyce

All those touched by the plight of the family of Joyce Ann Hafford will want to go to this page, generously put up by Celia Farber in their honor and as a tribute to the mother they lost.

The dissenting HIV∫AIDS blog Hank’s You Bet Your Life, in a post today, Celia Farber on the Spirit of Christmas, directed readers to the page with only two quotes, one tragic and one grotesque, that by themselves say all that needs to be said about HIV∫AIDS scientists and their concern for the human victims of their hubris:

“I miss her every day. I have not visited her grave or put flowers on it since we laid her to rest on August 6, 2003. The pain is so deep. Almost three years later, just thinking of her brings tears to my eyes. My sister was an incredible person, not a lab rat.” (Rubbie King)

“Farber describes the death of one patient and implies this is relevant to the science of HIV.” (Robert Gallo, MD, et al.)

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Update: As the Comments below indicate, the moving success of this appeal is a tribute both to the compelling authenticity of Rubbie King’s expanded letter and to Celia and her rare level of compassion for the luckless victims of this unjustified paradigm and the hubris of its perpetrators, knowing or not.

Possibly this is the source of her unrelenting courage in sticking to her coverage of this grossly unpopular topic all these twenty years.

All rethinkers question the science but some may find it too easy to be preoccupied with the abstract scientific issue and its politics and, if we do not know any victims personally, to forget the individuals who have been and are being rolled over by the bandwagon of HIV∫AIDS. Or perhaps some may feel it but simply forget to express it.

Whatever the case surely it is that empathy which is so horrifyingly lacking in Gallo’s remark so aptly quoted by Otis that is all important in the battle to correct the science.

For only those with the imagination and sensitivity to truly feel for those who pay the sometimes horrific human cost of what is arguably one of science’s biggest mistakes will be concerned enough to put their names and reputations on the line to back their doubts, faced as they are with the censoring antagonism of those who lead and exploit the paradigm, and the witless hostility of their footsoldiers.

A guestbook is on the site for all those who contributed and/or wish to sign their names and comment.

19 Responses to “Celia’s Christmas spirit – model for HIV critics”

  1. Celia Farber Says:

    Thank you TS, for the mention. I am very inspired by the example we seem to be setting here: We have raised $1215 so far for the family, in less than two days. Let’s keep going. I want to stress that every donation is highly valued. $5 is great. $10 is great. It can be any amount–but every name, every human being we can count as being one who chose to partake, be it via a donation or a mention or whatever it may be..is part of something much larger. I really want you all to join the caravan. I am quite serious that I cheer loudly over every dollar, because it represents the dream, and the dream is very beautiful. Wait till I tell you about it. It’s a human chain away from apathy. Toward the things that actually make us happy, such as helping one another, showing love and support and empathy. I chose to start here. I could have started any number of places. Please trust me on this–we have power. We have each other.

    Thus is the most fun I have had in a long time because it is the first experiment in real HOPE.

    Who is going to tell Americans they cannot help one another with their own money? Why wait for Fauci? The Media?

    Good luck.

    I say come with me and let’s do it this way.

    Next party meets at http://www.celiafarber.com

  2. Truthseeker Says:

    NAR contributed even though our own cupboard is bare. Anyone else here who contributes, let’s hear about it. Be nice to know if our very distinguished contributors do it.

    Put your money where your mouth is, as they say.

    How about it folks? A mother was lost to demonstrate scientifically that nevirapine can kill. Let her not die in vain.

  3. chase Says:

    Once again, Celia Farber is on the cutting edge — reminding us all that there are real people affected every day by this disaster we call HIV/AIDS. All the debate we have here is very important, but so is remembering that this debate consumes actual lives, destroys them. I’ve Celia Farber to thank for my awakening to the holes in HIV/AIDS theory. Now I have another reason to be grateful to Celia Farber. My contribution has been made, and I hope that it gives hope to Rubbie King, to Jermal, and to Sterling.

  4. chase Says:

    I’d like to write that I make my contribution in the memory of Joyce Ann, and in memory of lost friends, Thomas Dent (TD) Hofius and Carlos Sanchez.

  5. Glider Says:

    My contribution has been made. Thanks Celia, for setting this up.

  6. Celia Farber Says:

    You guys are great. Thank you each and all. I was very moved by your contributions falling during the night… I will be excoriated for writing this by some who are finding me unbearably sentimental of late, but I am certain that this might be is a wormhole in the universe of AIDS (recrimination.) That we can build tiny fires, and not be characterized by anything except that which we ourselves express about ourselves. Original cultures expressed themselves. Here’s how we pray, here’s how we grieve, here’s how we dance, here’s how we honor our dead, here’s how we celebrate–

    That’s the freedom I have in mind.

    Thank you again. Have a peaceful loving Christmas/Chanukah/New Year. Soon we’ll have a guestbook up at http://www.joyceannhafford.com if you want to send messages to the family. All names of donors will go up at the site on Saturday UNLESS you specify you’d like your to be kept off. If anybody thinks that policy is off in some way, please advise. I want this to be a gentle thing, not aggressive. It’s just about wishing to thank people. People are really great, I am finding.

  7. kevin Says:

    I’ve made my contribution, as well. It’s a very nice thing you’re doing for this family, Celia, and I’m very happy to contribute and have no problem being thanked on the website 😉

    Kevin

  8. Celia Farber Says:

    If anybody wants to make a last minute Christmas donation at http://www.joyceannhafford.com, there is still time. I leave for the post office at 3 pm.

    OR you could sign the guest book, recently added to the site. The response to employ a commonly used phrase, has been overwhelming, and I thank each of you, as does the family, who will be writing to us from the site.

  9. Truthseeker Says:

    I will be excoriated for writing this by some who are finding me unbearably sentimental of late, but I am certain that this might be a wormhole in the universe of AIDS (recrimination.)

    Sentiment is false feeling, Celia, is it not? Artificial in some way, perhaps based on fiction or imagination. You cannot be accused of false feeling.

    The more feeling that people have for those that die from false science the more courage they will show, as you do.

    It is the coward and hypocrite in all of us that we have to fear.

    (Note to Dr Fauci: please do not let these comments prevent you from sending money to NAR, whose editor is notoriously neither as sensitive nor as courageous as Celia, owing to lack of imagination and cowardice in the face of billion dollar institutions).

  10. Otis Says:

    TS,

    Can you please enlighten me as to the relationship between Joyce Ann Hafford and Joyce Ann Gifford* (the person mentioned above in the post that so resembles the one at YBYL)?

    Thanks.

    *All those touched by the plight of the family of Joyce Ann Gifford …

  11. Mark Biernbaum Says:

    Well, Otis, at least you’re a decent Copy Editor. Hoo-ray.

  12. Truthseeker Says:

    Can you please enlighten me as to the relationship between Joyce Ann Hafford and Joyce Ann Gifford* (the person mentioned above in the post that so resembles the one at YBYL)?

    Thanks Otis, though sad that no one else caught it. What would we do without you? Copy editing with a humorous flair, quite unique.

  13. Truthseeker Says:

    In the guestbook, you can add a statement to your listing of your name, location and email address. We wrote the following, which we append here purely as reference:

    In our preoccupation with correcting one of the most blatant and lethal of scientific errors it is easy to forget the consummate tragedies which it causes in individual lives, and the hubris of scientists which compounds the error. Joyce’s spirit and memory lives on to give us courage and remind us and the world of how much is at stake, and how important it is to overcome the barriers that power and politics place in the way of replacing the current belief with something that makes sense, and is confirmed instead of contradicted by the scientific literature, and which instead of sacrificing people and destroying families, helps them.

    There are only five statements so far, but perhaps others will make them, since this seems a particularly compelling place to plant the flag of your dissent to HIV∫AIDS and all its works, including so many needless deaths.

  14. Celia Farber Says:

    Please do feel encouraged to write into the guestbook. It got added to the page late in the process, but is proving to be a place of unusual stillness and quiet.

    I’ll be posting an update there tonight. The check is in the (express) mail and I ever got blessed with a loving and understanding US Postal worker…at 4:01 pm…day before Christmas…as I realized I was missing a small piece of the address…Tears welling…she put me at ease. She patiently looked it up and even called me “sweetie.”

    She told me that she has found that if we want to get good we have to “beget good.”

    The day before a cab driver found her pocketbook and drove it to her home in Queens. She gave him $50. Neither of them could believe their “luck.”

    I am thinking simply that I wish in the New Year to find a way to not have to focus anymore on how bad I think people are because it is more interesting and life-giving to focus on how good they are. The postal clerk and I agreed, it’s neck and neck but people are more good than bad. What you focus on expands. Always.

  15. noreen martin Says:

    I think that the comment by Robert Gallo is disgusting. Isn’t one human life worth saving and if he insn’t impressed by one needless death, how about over 300,000 who died from AZT, how about the lives that are being ruined by being labeled with HVI+ and now the doctor and nurses who are to be shot because of his theories? Like the Grinch, maybe his heart is just a little too small.

  16. Truthseeker Says:

    Humor and generosity are the way to win people over most of all, which you show here, Celia, and which Otis shows on YBYL life today, with one of the greatest segments of spontaneous wit ever recorded on television, Groucho’s game show with a housewife and God.

  17. Glider Says:

    What a lovely story Celia.

  18. Wilyretrovirus Says:


    I think that the comment by Robert Gallo is disgusting. Isn’t one human life worth saving and if he insn’t impressed by one needless death, how about over 300,000 who died from AZT, how about the lives that are being ruined by being labeled with HVI+ and now the doctor and nurses who are to be shot because of his theories? Like the Grinch, maybe his heart is just a little too small.

    Noreen,

    for some people, “saving lives” is a facade. The facade is incredibly important and necessary. Without it, the veil is lifted, exposing reality. I wouldn’t spend much time questioning the integrity of certain people involved in “AIDS” science. You’d be giving them far too much credit in just the simple act of questioning.

    To “prove” that “saving lives” is a facade in “AIDS research”, all you need to do is take a gander at the AMFAR ad that’s placed conspicuously in buses and other public transport. I forget the exact wording, but it states there are 40 million people with AIDS worldwide, none cured. I can’t think of any other example in medicine where utter failure is displayed with pride. But they’re saving lives, right?

  19. noreen martin Says:

    Yeh, you’re right about all of those lives that they are not saving. Actually, we are saving ourselves and without their drugs, I’m proof of that. Maybe the other side of AIDS should plaster themselves on buses to really get the word around as seeing is believing or better than a thousand words by these yoyo’s.

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