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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Comedy on the TV screen Tues


Throwing caution to the winds, NAR founder appears on MNN for one hour

Danger that HIV dissent may be seen as another 9/11 theory

Tomorrow at 10.30 am New York time your humble yet far seeing blogger will be on TV in New York City at Public Access Channel 34, on the Harold Channer interview show. The hour long bloviation will also be projected on the MNN website http://www.mnn.org at the same time, and then it will join Harold Channer’s 2000+ past shows on his site via YouTube, joining Buckminster Fuller, Robert Atkins, and other greater names among the “everybody” that the celebrated Harold seems to catch sooner or later.

The segment was recorded at the MNN public access studio on 59th Street, after Harold called and asked us to do it at rather short notice, so the cosmetic flaws which public access likes to expose (tie askew, shirt rumpled and a gap between sock and trouser) are there to emphasize how real human beings are talking, rather than primped, powdered and sprayed institutional figureheads replaying a loop of canned messages from their political and commercial sponsors , or sources sanctioned by editors (publishers).

Another small misfire was that we ran over time and the books we brought – Serge Lang’s Challenges, Peter Duesberg’s Inventing the AIDS Virus, Harvey Bialy’s Oncogenes, Aneuploidy and AIDS: A Scientific Life and Times of Peter H. Duesberg, and Celia Farber’s Serious Adverse Events – were squeezed in the end as far as possible, and not entirely.

Perhaps there will be a second segment to cover the burgeoning critique of the HIV∫AIDS paradigm of AIDS, which is gaining so much muscle on the Web and even in the media following the 12 page Harpers breakthrough by Celia Farber in March. Optimists even detect that the snarling of the wolves that guard the scientifically hollow paradigm is beginning to sound more like the bleating of lambs that wolves encircle.

Switching on Channel 34 this Xmas morning to see what kind of framing this discussion will have when broadcast tomorrow morning in New York and around the world, we were happy to see Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, the Pacifica network news show, telling the story of an important songwriter of yore, Yip Harburg, who wrote lyrics for Brother Can You Spare a Dime, Wizard of Oz, etc.

At midmorning however we were a little less happy to see another segment with Webster Tarpley and his 9/11 “coordinated demolition” theory of WTC collapse on TV yet again, propagandizing the world on Xmas day with an authoritative rant that his admiring female interviewer couldn’t stop. As Tarpley went on and on he seemed rather pleased with the sound of his own voice, and amiable enough, though finding analogies and reasons for suspicion everywhere. He brought home once again how easy it is for the practiced mind to produce arguments for almost any side of any question, and in a pleasant voice too, and be a crackpot.

It wasn’t just that Tarpley argued with analogy rather than logic, or that none of this seems to have stood up when investigated, it was that all the while he skirted a central problem with his own thesis: its extreme unlikelihood from any point of view. This is that like most conspiracy theorists, he suggests a complex plan carried out at high government level with consummate skill and kept utterly leakproof ever since. Governments in the minds of such debaters are full of masterminds who are more cunning than Dr. Fu Manchu, and operatives that are more secretive and loyal than humanly possible. Perhaps they are right, since nothing has leaked to confirm the 9/11 plot. But as Iraq and other debacles make clear, intelligence, efficiency and coverup are unlikely to be perfect at this level. Plotters have difficulty planning with 100% accuracy and then remaining totally leak proof, especially in the reign of the Internet.

Had we known that MNN was the home of so much conspiracy theory we would have emphasized in the interview that the dissent from HIV∫AIDS is not a conspiracy theory so much as a battle against a diversion of funding and the standard tendency of scientists to hang on to a fund winning, prize winning paradigm as long as they can even when it has been shot to pieces in the literature.

So we admit to a momentary impulse to keep our public indiscretion secret for fear that Channel 34 will mark us as supporting some similar kind of conspiracy theory, as well as alerting the HIV goon squad to our appearance and location. But this soon passed. Stand up, stand for or you stand still, as someone once said.

Anyhow, aside from the human weaknesses on view, such as looking as if one had been run over by a truck on the way to the studio, the session went off alright, we thought, though we doubt that much of the message got through. Harold first made us confess to our life story and then became preoccupied with the fact that we had studied economics, his favorite topic (he is a fan of Louis Kelso’s), and that we had abandoned it for covering science, for which we had no real excuse except that economics at the time was far less worldly and hands on than it is now.

The flattering Channer also has a rather alarming habit of treating his guests as sages on grand topics, perhaps because many of them are. So we only got to the HIV∫AIDS issue about half way through the exchange, and weren’t able to deal with the topic pros and cons in much detail. We hope we did enough that one or two seeds will be sown and some chance listeners will be alerted to what is really going on in AIDS science.

In praise of public tv

Looking Back and Moving Forward: A Year in the Fight to Save Public Access TV!Back in September 2005, a cluster of anti-Community Access TV legislation emerged in the Washington—and we faced the greatest threat to Public Access TV in its thirty-five year history. Today, after fifteen months of campaigning and organizing by MNN’s producers, supporters, saveaccess.org, and our community allies, the threat is still real—but we have a clearer understanding of what may happen in the future. In recent months, since the Congressional Bills have been stalled, the telephone companies have been putting their efforts into lobbying for a statewide franchise system—and attack Public Access TV and the local franchising in this way.

As a listener today to MNN on 34 we found it a very pleasant experience after the cacophony of commercial networks. One delightful aspect of public TV is the tone of voice used by people on it, which is authentic and personal, rather than commercially prepared – home cooking rather than hotel dining room menu, handwriting rather than computer font. This is reality without cosmetics and without hype, where shirts are rumpled and ties askew, and the talk is honest. The ideas are equally ungroomed, and free of official or commercial restraint. The tones of voice used have some of the soothing qualities of honest friendship.

As a truthseeker, one is proud to participate, even if the information people purvey is a little questionable, sometimes. For it is natural that many of the speakers are tilted against power and its secret machinations against the will of the people. But that is in fact the complaint in HIV∫AIDS, even though it is not a conspiracy theory of secretly coordinated policy against the truth.

Or is it? Perhaps it is a conspiracy of sorts. You would think so if you read the memos which were written in the NIH when Peter Duesberg’s initial thorough debunking of HIV∫AIDS first came out in Cancer Research in 1987 (to be effectively ignored or quashed for 21 years). Read Peter Duesberg’s or Harvey Bialy’s book for these memos, which rather than show interest in whether Duesberg might be right in saying that HIV as the cause of AIDS was improbable to the level of impossible, chose rather to be concerned with “How the heck did this get into print without someone flagging it and getting to the editor in time to disparage it and prevent its publication?”

So treating HIV∫AIDS as a conspiracy, knowing or not (Clinton and Gates and other fellow travelers cannot be said to know that what they have backed is incorrect), may not be so far off the mark, certainly as far as its roots are concerned. In this case we are talking about a conspiracy to conceal the truth and defeat it by using censorship and official propaganda against it, however, not a conspiracy which cooked up a new virus to kill blacks and gays, which would be the 9/11 equivalent in AIDS.

After midday, MNN moved on to covering a march for housing for AIDS victims in New York before the recent election, with most of those interviewed being blacks.

“We are marching to show we are people who care about this disease and the AIDS crisis has not been addressed,” some of the marchers told the camera. “There is a crisis going on here on our shores and there are people dying and not getting access to medications, We may have had our own reasons to go into Iraq but we need Bush to pay attention here. Bush and Cheney have to go. We want to send a message to them that we don’t want them in the White House any more. We don’t have housing for AIDS and we are very sick and tired of this. We want more AIDS research and give us better housing and stuff. We are saying to our so called leaders they are not doing their job. Every year we have people dying of AIDS…”

Who is going to tell these good people what they really have to complain about? Only public access, it seems.

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