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)

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Crowds and Power explains much in AIDS science and politics

Leading AIDS political analyst and critic Celia Farber calls our attention to a fascinating literary work, one which fathoms the subterranean human emotions which surely account best for what is happening in the politically distorted paradigm dispute of HIV?AIDS.

Certainly anyone who assumes that the global endorsement and support of HIV=AIDS must mean it is correct should read Crowds and Power by Elias Canetti (Farrar Straus and Giroux, tr. 1984, originally 1960).

This unique and original book makes it clear how a bad idea might indeed be maintained through the behavior of the crowd of supporters it accumulates and grow more strongly entrenched over two decades, even though it is false, despite the best efforts of critics to expose and illuminate its fraudulent foundation.

For example, on page 71:

“The fact that wars can last so long, and may be carried on well after they have been lost, arises from the deep urge of the crowd to maintain itself in the acute stage; not to disintegrate; to remain a crowd. This feeling is sometimes so strong that people prefer to perish together with open eyes, rather than to acknowledge defeat and this experience the disintegration of their own crowd.”

Not as accessible and plainly stated as it could be, perhaps perforce given its literary approach, the book is an over the top extended riff of 495 pages on the theme of how crowds possess their own momentum and nature, with very little of it rational in motivation or thinking, and easily directed by tyrants, rabble rousers and other leaders.

Written in a hyperbolic style and intermittently loaded with historical examples which sound exaggerated and unlikely in their excesses, it is often difficult to assess how much truth there is in the Canetti’s endless pages of fantastical description of crowd behavior in war and other situations of conflict.

From the first pages, however, one can recognize truths which are seldom voiced, such as the way the normal fear and anxiety associated with strangers touching is converted in a crowd to the exact opposite, the feeling of security and comfort provided by being a member of a crowd where people press close upon each other, where proximity is a benefit and not a threat.

The initial difficulty readers might have is seeing how relevant and realistic the description of crowd behavior is in Crowds and Power may be partly due to the nature of the translation, which in general seems to sacrifice a tone of accuracy and credibility for literary excitement and flair. Without a comparison with the original it is impossible to tell for sure, however, and there is enough in the book that can be recognized as true and perceptive to suggest that any example of Canetti’s seemingly unrealistic description is likely to be profoundly perceptive, and seem unfamiliar precisely for this good reason, rather than because it is wrong. Canetti’s credentials include the Nobel Prize for Literature, which also speaks for the book’s emotional accuracy.

Certainly it speaks to anyone who contemplates the scene in HIV?AIDS. One of the remarkable aspects of the book is how often it seems to echo the irrational behavior of the mainstream crowd in AIDS, with its preference for the logically and scientifically unsustainable ideology of HIV=AIDS over the potential mental liberation of the reviewers and the review literature which says that there is much less danger than alleged ie that AIDS is non infectious, not inevitable and not even real as typically perceived and described, but instead a relabeling of familiar diseases in the framework of a fantasy.

Thus for an explanation of the ill mannered and bullying inability of the mainstream scientists and officials to respond coolly to objections to their theory see p 22:

“One of the most striking traits of the inner life of a crowd is the feeling of being persecuted, a peculiar angry sensitiveness and irritability directed against those it has once and forever nominated as enemies. These can behave in any manner, harsh or conciliatory, cold or sympathetic, severe or mild — whatever they do will be interpreted as springing from a malevolence, a premeditated intention to destroy the crowd openly, or by stealth.”

Anyone who reads this book and recognizes the relevance of its descriptions to the politics of AIDS will no longer be surprised that the reviewers in HIV?AIDS have over twenty years made absolutely no progress in tilting against the windmills of mainstream AIDS ideology, and instead seem only to contribute to the solidarity, certainty and inviolability of HIV=AIDS thinking of a crowd which presses ever more tightly together under what it views as a deadly attack.

When it comes to a showdown between logic and evidence, and crowd solidarity, there is no question which will prevail, and that is the lesson of Canetti’s book. Anyone who reads deeply into it will find nothing surprising in the fact that in HIV?AIDS, countervailing opinion and analysis has been crushed by the juggernaut of crowd behavior, certainly not when the size of the crowd of this paradigm’s followers is the greatest in the history of science to accumulate in support of an idea which claims no proof and has been thoroughly discredited in the top scientific literature.

The plain fact of the matter is that the misbegotten heart of the global HIV?AIDS affair is now found in the play on the political stage rather than the one acted out in the labs and periodicals of science, and the current scene only responds to analysis from a psychological and sociological perspective and not to scientific discussion. The roots of its unreality are in human nature, rather than scientific error, and any of the objective scientific critics of HIV are going to be vastly disappointed if they expect anyone in the crowd or leading the crowd to respond to logic and evidence.

To read Canetti is to understand that HIV?AIDS has always been a crowd phenomenon, rather than a scientific and medical matter, and the proper discussion is how to redirect it politically, before even contemplating how the debate about the truth of the matter can be returned to science where it belongs. Any attempt to bring reason and evidence to bear before that redirection is whistling in the wind.

One of the most telling points Canetti makes is to indicate how crowd behavior has a lot to do with fear of death in war. Both factors – death, and war – are obviously involved in the massive war on the deadly virus, of course, and on the second front of the war, against the HIV reviewers and revisionists in AIDS science and medicine. As Canetti forecasts these truth seekers are seen as nothing more than Quislings, traitors and enemy spies by the crowd they are trying to enlighten.

On page 75:

“The wish to see death is everywhere and one does not have to go deep into men to bring it to light.

The curious and unmistakable high tension which characterizes all the processes of war has two causes: people want to forestall death, and they are acting as a crowd. Without the latter element there is no chance whatsoever of success in the first. As long as the war lasts they must remain a crowd, and the war really ends as soon as they cease to be one. War offers the crowd the hope of a definite duration of life, and this is a considerable force in its popularity. It can be shown that the coherence and duration of wars in modern times is associated with the greatly increased size and density of the double crowds [one on each side] involved in them.”

The parallel between Canetti’s description and the international scene in AIDS is very easy to see. Death, fear, and the largest crowd possible – one of global proportions – add up to the end of truth in science, and all critics of HIV=AIDS should realize this.

One Response to “Crowds and Power explains much in AIDS science and politics”

  1. Frank Lusardi Says:

    “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact” — Mark Twain

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