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.


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.

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)

Expanded GUIDE TO SITE PURPOSE AND LAYOUT is in the lower blue section at the bottom of every home page.

Circling the NIH wagons against reality

That NIH researchers tried out lethal drugs on orphans sparks an inquiry which will surely have officials practicing the same old song and dance

The hearings on the slow provision of armor for our soldiers in Iraq ran on CSPAN this evening (May 5), seeming to demonstrate the natural tendency of Pentagon brass to polish the apple and hide the worm, even when the whole point of the exercise is to find the worm and get rid of it.

Doubtless we will now have the same reaction from the bureaucrats and researchers in Harlem who notoriously used hapless orphans in government care as guinea pigs to test the exceptionally debilitating drugs used in AIDS. The New York City Council started hearings today on this sad tale, which was summarized in an AP story that the News ran this morning:

AIDS drugs tested on kids

WASHINGTON – Government-funded researchers used hundreds of foster children as guinea pigs over the past two decades to test AIDS drugs, often without providing them a basic protection afforded in federal law, an Associated Press review has found.

The researchers usually failed to provide an independent advocate to look out for each child’s interests, a protection afforded in federal law and required by some states.

In the end, the researchers said, the foster children – mostly poor and/or minority – received care from world-class researchers at government expense, slowing their rate of death and extending their lives.

But they also exposed a vulnerable population to the risks of medical research and drugs not yet in the marketplace. The AIDS drugs were known to have serious side effects in adults, and their safety for children was unknown at the time.

The research was most widespread in the 1990s and conducted in at least seven states – New York, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Colorado and Texas. The foster children ranged from infants to late teens, according to interviews and government records.

At least 465 New York City foster children were enrolled in AIDS studies dating to the late 1980s. Although city policy required the appointment of independent advocates for the children, officials could only find records that 142 got them.

Several studies that enlisted foster children reported patients suffered side effects such as rashes, vomiting and sharp drops in infection-fighting blood cells as they tested anti-retroviral drugs to suppress AIDS or other medicines to treat secondary infections.

In one study, researchers reported a “disturbing” higher death rate among children who took higher doses of a drug.

The Associated Press

I do not know why the AP is now reporting it as a story now confirmed in a “review”, but it seems that the original report must got them into hot water with the bureaucracy in some way.

You noted this paragraph, of course—included for “balance” in the story, one assumes:

In the end, the researchers said, the foster children – mostly poor and/or minority – received care from world-class researchers at government expense, slowing their rate of death and extending their lives.

As anyone knows who has followed this appalling story since it broke last summer, this bit of weaseling public relations is an attempt to make a rotting corpse stand up and dance. The real story appears to be almost exactly the opposite. Innocent toddlers, and some older children were literally forced to imbibe high doses of toxic drugs. If the child kicked and screamed, as many did in terrified refusal, they were simply sedated. Then plastic tubes were surgically inserted into their intestines, allowing the drugs to be introduced with precision and control.

For anyone familiar with the unreality of AIDS claims it seems to be a case where the natural instincts of the children were more discerning than the ideology-addled brains of the researchers. Whichever way you look at it, these NIH funded trials did the children no favor, resulting in the disabling and even death of many of the children concerned, and the idea that they were done without clearance is disgusting, given that the protection of children is one of the fundamental decencies of instinct and conscience. The possibility that the research wasn’t even justified by science only highlights the moral degradation of the researchers if the suspicions are true.

The situation was exposed by the determined efforts of a freelancer, Liam Scheff, who somehow managed to get inside the institution (a Catholic charity in Harlem named the Incarnation Children’s Center) and interview the nurses and foster parents. Scheff had a great deal of trouble getting the story into the press, however, with the left-liberal media dismissing him as an AIDS dissident who was hostile to the drug regimen currently applied, which they so enthusiastically endorse.

Fortunately, Celia Farber, the reporter who has pursued the story of the scientific case against HIV for longer than almost anybody else in the field, managed to get the editors at the weekly New York Press to publish Scheff’s story. Typically, it was ignored here in the US, but in London a freelance producer sold the BBC on the idea of doing a documentary and visited New York City last summer. Farber helped with the research. She wrote to us yesterday:

I researched the deaths as deeply as I was able to–got the children’s names off a mass grave (yes) at Gate of Heaven cemetary in Hawthorne NY, where ICC has a burial plot, looked the names up in the DOH death registry, and spent many weeks trying to obtain their death certificates. Eventually, through a friend of a friend who is a mortician, I got two of them. As expected, there were no autopsies, and the deaths were listed as “natural causes.”

Finally, after a year of protests every Saturday outside the Incarnation Children’s Center, an investigation has begun, and hearings were held today by the City Council. No doubt, we will now be treated to a display of defensive circling of the wagons which will resist every effort to uncover the responsibility for these horrors.

Obtaining a free pass

What is equally disturbing to all those aware of how strongly HIV is rejected as the cause of AIDS, or any illness at all, in the well written, precisely argued and copiously referenced reviews by Peter Duesberg and his companions in leading scientific journals, which have survived the most strenuous attempts by hostile peer reviewers to find fault, is not that all the pain and degradation, injury and death visited upon these children may have been in the service of an empty scientific fantasy, but worse. It is that the fantasy itself will be used as camouflage and justification for these crimes against innocents.

Such is the enthusiasm for HIV-AIDS ideology and its medications that it can be invoked, as it was in the AP story above, as a free pass for these researchers in fighting off scrutiny and criticism of their irresponsible behavior.

And doubtless it will be invoked, even though in fact HIV ideology, whether fantasy or fact, can not justify their acts. Even if HIV is the cause of AIDS, which seems virtually impossible in the light of the innumerable scientific arguments against it and the lack of any evidence for it free of the circular assumption itself—even if this scientifically incredible claim is true, it can hardly justify forcible experimentation on children in foster care.

For a much bigger example of this kind of effect, where the universal endorsement and popularity of HIV-AIDS ideology is used to screen skullduggery, one has to go back no farther than the extraordinary announcement from the Institute of Medicine a few weeks ago that the studies of the drug nevirapine carried out in Uganda were valid, after all, despite all the evidence that critics have exposed in the last few years that those and other studies not only showed that nevirapine is harmful and useless, but that they were rewritten at the NIH to conclude the opposite!

For more details on that stunning apparent cover up, please refer to the post (to be written) below. Meanwhile, the point here is simple. As long as the overarching paradigm is in place and politically supported, it can be used as a screen to deflect criticism of its parts.

It is, in other words—dare we say it—a religion, and has one of the chief characteristics of a religion, which is that it deflects any critique by appeal to tribalism.

From the political point of view, the phenomenon plays out in the same way. The wagons of power are circled, the lines are drawn—you are either with us or against us—and denial is the order of the day.

For these reasons, I would sadly expect the City Council of New York to make little or no headway in confronting the power of the NIH, whose budget, at some $28 billion, is, in terms of planetary influence, as big as the earth compared to the moon, or rather, an asteroid.

The innocents of Incarnation will probably have to wait a little longer in Heaven before their tormentors are consigned to Hell.

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