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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City on a Hill Reports HIV War

UC Santa Cruz student paper covers AIDS Paradigm Scrap without bias

Joshua Nicholson fairly briefs readers on HIV dissent

freepress.jpgA student at the University of California at Santa Cruz reported on the AIDS paradigm war three weeks ago, and did a better and more balanced job that the New York Times. Congratulations to Joshua Nicholson, who covered Is HIV Truly the Cause of AIDS? New Research Could Suggest Otherwise with remarkable despatch and balance for City on a Hill, the Santa Cruz student paper.

Is HIV Truly the Cause of AIDS?
New Research Could Suggest Otherwise
By Joshua Nicholson

HIV is not the cause of AIDS. This statement may seem foolish — and wrong — to many, but for Peter Duesberg and a growing number of AIDS dissidents it is the reality.

In his office at UC Berkeley sits Duesberg, a professor of molecular and cell biology. Above him hangs his award for 1971 California Scientist of the year. It serves to remind him of his brilliance and success. Duesberg, a world-renowned biologist who at age 33 gained tenure at Berkeley, is known for isolating the first cancer gene in 1970.

Among other awards, he was the recipient of the seven-year National Institute of Health Outstanding Scientific Investigator grant.

Despite multiple failed proposals, a new grant application to Phillip Morris now sits in front of him. The prestigious scientist gave up his fairytale career when he began to question HIV as the cause of AIDS.
Duesberg proposed the hypothesis that recreational drugs, antiviral chemotherapy, and malnutrition are the cause of AIDS. In his proposal he says that AIDS is not infectious, it is highly non-random, and that HIV cannot be found in AIDS patients.

In defense of his argument, he points to the fact that there was no reported case of a doctor or health care worker contracting AIDS, rather than just HIV, from 1981 to 2004.

The fact that AIDS is highly non-random in the U.S. and Europe, unlike every other viral epidemic, suggests that a virus does not cause it. Duesberg explains that about two-thirds of AIDS patients in the U.S. and Europe are male homosexuals who have used nitrite inhalants, amphetamines, cocaine and other aphrodisiac and psychoactive drugs for years. A third of AIDS patients are intravenous drug users.

Lastly, he says that HIV cannot even be found in AIDS patients.

“There is no viral load, only antibodies,” said Duesberg. “The load is generated on the bench by the scientist.”…..

Allen attributes the lack of awareness to journalists who, “instead of disturbing the status quo about something as big and important as the HIV/AIDS fraud, they learn to put these kinds of stories in the ‘UFO bin’ and avoid them.” Consequently, if they don’t, they face becoming “unemployed and blacklisted,” something that Allen has dealt with personally over the years.

Lauritsen describes the persistent belief and lack of representation on Duesberg’s side of the HIV/AIDS hypothesis to be fueled by money. Researchers who believe HIV to be the cause of AIDS “are dupes of the public relations firms employed by the pharmaceutical companies,” he said.

“In 1987, he [Duesberg] had the scientific authority and the courage to express his considerable doubt,” De Harven said. “This was not agreeable to the ears of the ‘AIDS business’ that was developing at that time, with considerable financial interest from big-pharma.”

As a result, he said, “Peter Duesberg has been radically ostracized by the orthodox establishment of medical science, his research funding being terminated.”

Duesberg thinks HIV is a harmless passenger virus. “It is like a passenger on an airplane. It is there but it does not determine the departure time or how the plane is flown, the pilot does.”

Will the scientific community ever come to agreement with Duesberg’s claims?

“Time is the best ally I have,” said Duesberg. He reasoned that his claims were not accepted because too much time and money have already been invested. “HIV/AIDS researchers cling to HIV like passengers of the Titanic clinging to a lifeboat.”

If he is right, Lauritsen said, our conventional notion of HIV being the cause of AIDS could possibly be “ the greatest blunder and the greatest hoax in medical history — an epidemic of incompetence and an epidemic of lies.”


Is HIV Truly the Cause of AIDS?
New Research Could Suggest Otherwise
By Joshua Nicholson

HIV is not the cause of AIDS. This statement may seem foolish — and wrong — to many, but for Peter Duesberg and a growing number of AIDS dissidents it is the reality.

In his office at UC Berkeley sits Duesberg, a professor of molecular and cell biology. Above him hangs his award for 1971 California Scientist of the year. It serves to remind him of his brilliance and success. Duesberg, a world-renowned biologist who at age 33 gained tenure at Berkeley, is known for isolating the first cancer gene in 1970.

Among other awards, he was the recipient of the seven-year National Institute of Health Outstanding Scientific Investigator grant.

Despite multiple failed proposals, a new grant application to Phillip Morris now sits in front of him. The prestigious scientist gave up his fairytale career when he began to question HIV as the cause of AIDS.
Duesberg proposed the hypothesis that recreational drugs, antiviral chemotherapy, and malnutrition are the cause of AIDS. In his proposal he says that AIDS is not infectious, it is highly non-random, and that HIV cannot be found in AIDS patients.

In defense of his argument, he points to the fact that there was no reported case of a doctor or health care worker contracting AIDS, rather than just HIV, from 1981 to 2004.

The fact that AIDS is highly non-random in the U.S. and Europe, unlike every other viral epidemic, suggests that a virus does not cause it. Duesberg explains that about two-thirds of AIDS patients in the U.S. and Europe are male homosexuals who have used nitrite inhalants, amphetamines, cocaine and other aphrodisiac and psychoactive drugs for years. A third of AIDS patients are intravenous drug users.

Lastly, he says that HIV cannot even be found in AIDS patients.

“There is no viral load, only antibodies,” said Duesberg. “The load is generated on the bench by the scientist.”

In contrast, conventional pathogenic viruses are abundant and antibodies have not yet neutralized them. He points to recent research in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) done by Rodriguez, et. al. from 2006, in which they found the “viral load” to have no correlation with AIDS. HIV RNA “loads” are high, low, or undetectable in asymptomatic carriers and AIDS.

The television show “AIDS: The World is Dying for the Truth” began with the words, “In the course of human history, never before has a force either natural or man-made had a more devastating impact on the human race than a small virus (HIV).” The fear and desperation in these words has remained unwavering since they were first spoken in 1988. The fear is with good reason, as the AIDS pandemic has resulted in an estimated 32 million deaths.

Stephen Allen, AIDS dissident and producer of the documentary “HIV-AIDS: Fact or Fraud?,” has been following the AIDS epidemic since 1980, when it was thought of as a “strange gay disease.”

The disease and its cause was first announced on April 23,1984 by Secretary of Health and Human Services Margaret Heckler. It was announced in absence of any peer-reviewed experiments or articles. Alongside her stood Ph.D. Robert Gallo, co-discoverer of HIV. A prediction that a vaccine would be available within two years followed soon after the announcement. Now, 23 years later, the world is still without a vaccine and without a cure.

Currently, $22.8 billion for the 2007 federal budget for HIV/AIDS activities is awaiting congressional approval. Research will make up 12 percent of the amount, at $2.6 billion dollars.

“I originally believed the 1984 press conference had nailed the cause, and that the blood supply was now going to be safe,” Allen said in an email to City On a Hill Press.

Allen had accepted Heckler’s speech, as most of the world did that day. What changed his mind?

“The thing that really started me thinking, was the way they kept extending the latency period from HIV infection to AIDS and then to death,” Allen said. The average time from HIV infection to AIDS is 10 years.

“Whatever the virus could possibly do, it would have done in a few days,” Duesberg said. “HIV replicates in 24 hours; there is nothing slow about it.”

Doctor Phillip Berman, head of the Department of Biomolecular Engineering at UC Santa Cruz, feels that the “controversy has long been resolved.”

“ The ‘coup de grâce’ for the Duesberg hypothesis was the success of the current anti-viral drugs,” he said.

In 1995, Berman co-founded Vaxgen, a biopharmaceutical company aimed at developing a HIV vaccine. He served as senior vice president of research and development until February 1, 2004, when both he and co-founder Donald P. Francis left after Vaxgen began to broaden its research portfolio.

They went on to create Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases, a nonprofit organization, and continued the search of a HIV vaccine. The timing also coincided with an experimental HIV vaccine, AIDSVAX, which had failed its drug trials, showing no advantages to vaccinated persons.

Etienne De Harven, M.D., president of Rethinking Aids, said that on the other hand, “highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) did not give a ‘coup de grâce’ to the alternative, chemical hypothesis initially formulated by Peter Duesberg.”

He explained that, “as AIDS patients get dangerously ill, they suffer most frequently from ‘opportunistic infections’ that have no direct, causal relationship with HIV.”

A recent find published in the UK medical journal The Lancet in 2006 by May, et. al., showed that under HAART, rapid clinical improvement is frequently observed while a decline in mortality is not.

“This is no proof of any possible role of antiretroviral drugs against HIV,” De Harven said.

He feels the visible improvement is “because HAART contains ‘anti-proteases’ molecules that are known to be highly effective against both Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia(PCP) and Candidiasis.” These are the two most common opportunistic infections in AIDS patients.

The success of the drugs that Berman referred to is no success at all, explained Henry Bauer, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry from Virgina Tech and author of the new book The Origin, Persistence, and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory.

He argues, like Duesberg, “that the antiretroviral drugs are killing rather than curing.” He supports this argument by pointing to a common cause of death in AIDS patients.

“In the 1980s, [AIDS patients] died soon after diagnosis because of opportunistic infections,” said Bauer. “Nowadays, people with AIDS tend to die from liver failure or heart failure, both of which are typical results of toxic medications.”

Or, as Duesberg put it: “It is AIDS by prescription.”

Dr. Mary Zavanelli, who teaches the UCSC course “Biology of AIDS,” believes that questioning the orthodoxy is necessary to the scientific process and that Duesberg’s ideas “were reasonable questions to ask with the amount of information we had 20 years ago.”
However, she defends the position that HIV causes AIDS.

“The direct correlation of how fast someone gets ill to the amount of HIV is one good piece of evidence in favor of the HIV hypothesis,” Zavanelli said.

On the other side, AIDS dissident John Lauritsen, who has authored numerous books on the subject, believes that Zavanelli’s claim is wrong. Calling the assertions “ignorant of what the ‘viral load’ tests do and do not do.”

Lauritsen cited a quote in which Kary Mullis, the inventor of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) said, “quantitative PCR is an oxymoron.”

PCR is a method scientists use for amplifying small pieces of DNA. In this case it is being used to quantify the amount of HIV RNA.

Many students are unaware of the debate on the HIV/AIDS theory. When 10 biology students on campus were asked if they had heard of the alternative HIV/AIDS hypothesis, all but one answered no. The overwhelming belief that HIV causes AIDS has persisted, and even in the academic arena, most are unaware of alternative claims.

Ryan Alanzalon, a third-year molecular cell and developmental biology major who recently served as a TA for Zavanelli’s class, sums up the pervading belief of students who have studied AIDS.

“HIV disables the immune system by destroying the all-too-important helper T cells, which are central to proper immune system function,” he said.

Allen attributes the lack of awareness to journalists who, “instead of disturbing the status quo about something as big and important as the HIV/AIDS fraud, they learn to put these kinds of stories in the ‘UFO bin’ and avoid them.” Consequently, if they don’t, they face becoming “unemployed and blacklisted,” something that Allen has dealt with personally over the years.

Lauritsen describes the persistent belief and lack of representation on Duesberg’s side of the HIV/AIDS hypothesis to be fueled by money. Researchers who believe HIV to be the cause of AIDS “are dupes of the public relations firms employed by the pharmaceutical companies,” he said.

“In 1987, he [Duesberg] had the scientific authority and the courage to express his considerable doubt,” De Harven said. “This was not agreeable to the ears of the ‘AIDS business’ that was developing at that time, with considerable financial interest from big-pharma.”

As a result, he said, “Peter Duesberg has been radically ostracized by the orthodox establishment of medical science, his research funding being terminated.”

Duesberg thinks HIV is a harmless passenger virus. “It is like a passenger on an airplane. It is there but it does not determine the departure time or how the plane is flown, the pilot does.”

Will the scientific community ever come to agreement with Duesberg’s claims?

“Time is the best ally I have,” said Duesberg. He reasoned that his claims were not accepted because too much time and money have already been invested. “HIV/AIDS researchers cling to HIV like passengers of the Titanic clinging to a lifeboat.”

If he is right, Lauritsen said, our conventional notion of HIV being the cause of AIDS could possibly be “ the greatest blunder and the greatest hoax in medical history — an epidemic of incompetence and an epidemic of lies.”

Published on: 2007-05-10An excellent performance, produced by the author’s drawing on the help of David Crowe of Alberta Reappraising AIDS, who clearly guided him to the main actors in the drama, with the exception of the Perth group.

We wondered who Joshua Nicholson was, and what had enabled the estimable editors of the City on a Hill paper to evade the AIDS meme and the usual hostility to reporting the other side of AIDS science. Duesberg is family, but there are enough of his colleagues that feel less than fraternal to discourage similar efforts in the past.

So we wrote to the editors and passed a few remarks of encouragement at the same time. This rather intemperate letter was published along with two others, one from Noreen Martin. We regret that we weren’t given the option of editing it for tone, though it is accurate:

Congratulations on printing a fresh look at HIV/AIDS and the atrocious way Peter Duesberg and other science critics have been treated for pointing to the unacceptable flaws and holes in the conventional wisdom, which has been defended purely by politics and propaganda for over twenty years, as any serious review of the scientific literature will show. In fact, so overwhelming is the flow of negative research disproving this paradigm recently that it is difficult to think that the scientists and science officials concerned are not knowing liars in this regard, as so many concerned patients and other professionals have concluded over the years.

The piece was a deft summary of the important points to be made on this topic and the author and yourselves are to be congratulated on writing and running it, notwithstanding the kneejerk, ignorant letters that are bound to fill your mailbox from AIDS activists and other defenders of the faith, many of them financed by drug companies exploiting the situation.

These militants are fond of attacking critics who are trying to enlighten them by accusing them of being “dangerous” heretics who might try to put people off taking AIDS drugs, which is exactly the point, as the recent study has shown. For reasons that have nothing to do with the virus these drugs show a temporary improvement (they substitute for the immune system in attacking parasitical infections) but they eventually seriously injure and even kill those who take them (half the patients with AIDS who die annually in the States now die of drug effects which are not on the list of AIDS symptoms).

Noreen Martin wrote:

I want to commend you for the story by Joshua Nicholson about AIDS. It was well-written and covered some valid points in the flaws of modern science. Many of us, know as AIDS Rethinkers, are fighting the battle to get the truth out to the world. We hail from all walks of life with one common goal, to get this travesty turned around.

Most people do not start out as “rethinkers” but after most of us have been thrust into the situation, we read and learn about our disease and when we cannot get two and two to equal four in this case, we swim upstream and go against the mainstream.
I myself, had full-blown AIDS, took the meds for awhile and when I became a “rethinker,” I stopped them. I have been off of them for 15 months now and I am extremely healthy, doing what “they” say cannot be done.

I have since written two books, Surviving AIDS and Cancer and Life After AIDS to help get the truth out, especially to those who desperately need it.

I would encourage your paper to keep on writing and searching for the truth in this matter. It will take many of us doing our part to make a change in this matter.

Yours in health,
Noreen Martin

Balance was provided by one Gregory Rowe, who feared that Joshua Nicholson has fallen into “group counterthink”. He was persuaded by Peter Duesberg’s reasoning until he declined to such a point – despite never taking recreational drugs, living in rural France breathing fresh air, eating French food, and studying Buddhist meditation – he felt he had to take the “meds”, and Bingo! his whole life turned around even though they now “wreak havoc” with his body.

Thank you for your piece questioning status quo AIDS thinking. I think it’s always important to question cultural assumptions, group-think, and corporate manipulation. It’s no big secret that BigPharma drives a lot of research and influences many peer-review processes we call science.

But I’m afraid Joshua Nicholson may have fallen into group-counterthink on his article on HIV.

I have lived with AIDS for over 20 years. I don’t know if the labs ever isolated HIV in me and don’t care. I have never done recreational drugs. I lived in very comfortable rural France for 20 years, eating food from never more than 100 KM around. I received spiritual teaching from a nearby Tibetan Buddhist monastery; had very little stress, long vacations and breathed fresh air every day. And still my immune system (T-4 cells) went south. I watched my ecosystem gradually fall apart and I developed skin infections, coughs, stomach ailments. All that time I did not want to betroth pharmacy.

Alas I have to have the humility to admit that I began taking those pills and my whole life turned around. As much as it doesn’t fit into my vision of healthy living, they saved my life.

I do agree that the meds I take today wreak havoc on my body and hope to be free of them now that my immune system is intact.

If Mr. Duesberg lends a cause and effect relationship to lifestyle and AIDS why doesn’t he design a study to prove it?

I’m afraid the outcome might contradict with his fantasized image of gay debauchery.

Gregory Rowe
San Francisco, CA

As an example of how little HIV patients look into a matter which is life and death in its consequences, this anecdote is discouraging.

However, it is clear that no one else is reading into HIV∫AIDS science, either, even those who teach it to other students:

Many students are unaware of the debate on the HIV/AIDS theory. When 10 biology students on campus were asked if they had heard of the alternative HIV/AIDS hypothesis, all but one answered no. The overwhelming belief that HIV causes AIDS has persisted, and even in the academic arena, most are unaware of alternative claims.

Ryan Alanzalon, a third-year molecular cell and developmental biology major who recently served as a TA for Zavanelli’s class, sums up the pervading belief of students who have studied AIDS.

“HIV disables the immune system by destroying the all-too-important helper T cells, which are central to proper immune system function,” he said.

Believing this at such a late stage in the game, when in over twenty years there has been no evidence produced for this belief and when the best minds in HIV apologia have been unable to come up with any mechanism how this could possibly happen, is evidence that the scientific literature is as valued at Santa Cruz as the Cantatas of Bach which ended up being sold as paper to wrap fish.

Praise for the two woman editors of City on a Hill and their exemplary reporter is thus doubly due.

Thank you so much for your support. We are very proud to have run this feature, and are pleased (and somewhat surprised) that we have received mostly positive feedback.

All of our writers are responsible for choosing their story topics, and they receive guidance along the way from one of our two managing editors.

Again, thank you for your email and please feel free to contact Josh about his feature.

-Claire Walla
Co-Editor in Chief, City on a Hill Press

One Response to “City on a Hill Reports HIV War”

  1. MartinDKessler Says:

    Gregory Rowe who appeared skeptical of the AIDS Rethinkers and of the article, may have had something that more than likely cross-reacted with the antibody test (assuming he had one – he didn’t say). Now he said he had not used any recreational drugs, but he does not appear to be very introspective about other mutifactoral causes or about the specifics of the diseases he had. I believe that the majority of PWA’s on “cocktails” aren’t very introspective except maybe along the lines of what the AIDS Establishment wants them to be (ie along the lines of how who and when they acquired HIV) – which would “close” the circular argument. It would be interesting to hear what an open minded pathologist (like Dr. Mohammed Al Bayati) with more complete information about Mr. Rowe would come up with. I wish Mr. Rowe luck in getting well.

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