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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Duesberg back on top

Scientific American carries his wisdom on cancer, Bialy referenced too

But in split editorial view his “AIDS theories” carefully labeled “not endorsed”.


In a signal triumph of belated recognition by a respected science publication, Scientific American for May 2007 is carrying six pages (pp 53 to 59) of the eminent Dr Peter Duesberg’s description of aneuploidy, his breakthrough approach to investigating the origin of cancer, which seeks its cause in the huge disruption of chromosomes that takes place before any cell becomes cancerous.

The prominent page placement itself salutes his stature and recognizes his leadership in singlehandedly and productively restarting and expanding a field in the larger and more important territory of cancer in medical science (559,000 deaths a year, including an unknown number from drugs, radiation and invasive surgery), while the editors at the same time hurry to say they do not wish to associate themselves with his equally distinguished contribution in the smaller field of HIV∫AIDS (17,000 deaths in 2005, with perhaps 20,000 more from AIDS drugs).

The schizophrenic editorial posture says all that needs to be said about the respective political and funding power of the two fields. The defenders of the HIV∫AIDS paradigm have been far more active politically and in censoring critics than the less publicized media backwater of oncogene research.

Duesberg as Jekyll and Hyde

So in an editorial approach which recalls the novel of Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde”, the editors in their semi enlightened state of mind show suitable respect for Duesberg’s view that

“his ongoing work with cancer viruses also persuaded him that mutations in individual genes are insufficient to cause the malignant transformations seen in cancer”.

In other words, they don’t mind that he condemns the oncogene paradigm of the last 25 years or more and its two Nobel prizes as spurious, nothing much more than a money driven gallop down a cul-de-sac which has delayed a preventive and cure for cancer for a quarter century while the more important and obvious research prospect remained ignored without even a wave from the jolly travelers on the bandwagon of scientists on their way to Stockholm where at least two have ended up so far.

However, they rush to brush off the slightest suspicion that they might also credit Duesberg for his equally well informed rejection of the hallowed HIV∫AIDS paradigm, which is far more transparently nonsensical than (cancer) oncogenes even to passers by with very little scientific training of any kind, who happen to read one of Duesberg’s books or many peer reviewed articles on that topic, or Harvey Bialy’s or Rebecca Culshaw’s books, or Christine Maggiore’s, or James Hogan’s, or any of the other twenty or so volumes now out confidently condemning HIV∫AIDS as a fairy tale, or even this blog, which merely quotes the scientific literature produced by the mainstream to show how impossible it all is.

THE AUTHOR: PETER DUESBERG is a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley, where he arrived from Germany in 1964 as a research virologist. Within six years he had isolated the first true oncogene, from within the Rous sarcoma virus, and mapped the genetic structure of the entire virus. He proceeded to do the same for 10 more mouse and avian sarcoma and leukemia viruses and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1986. By 1987 his work with retroviruses led him to conclude that HIV is merely a bystander and AIDS results from chemical exposures and malnutrition. His ongoing work with cancer viruses also persuaded him that mutations in individual genes are insuffiicient to cause the malignant transformations seen in cancer.

This, presumably, is the bio that Duesberg himself gave them, with its nice little succinct dismissal of HIV slipped in, to the horror of some of the politically chicken and less knowledgeable editors at the magazine who immediately had to add the following right beside it:

Editor’s Note: The author, Peter Duesberg, a pioneering virologist, may be well known to readers for his assertion that HIV is not the cause of AIDS. The biomedical community has roundly rebutted that claim many times. Duesberg’s ideas about chromosomal abnormality as a root cause for cancer, in contrast, are controversial but are being actively investigated by mainstream science. We have therefore asked Duesberg to explain that work here. This article is in no sense an endorsement by Scientific American of his AIDS theories.

Of course, the word “rebutted” is wrong. So far, there has been no sign of any rebuttal of Duesberg’s points which have passed muster in peer reviewed journals of equal stature to those in which they have been made. “Rejected”, perhaps, “scorned”, “deplored”, “ignored”, “unacknowledged”, “unread”, possibly even privately “cursed”, but not rebutted.

The plain evidence for this is the fact that no one is willing to answer them either in print or in debate. Even the combative John P. Moore of Cornell, when presented with a rebuttal of his and Gallo’s first try at rejection of the Duesberg points replayed in Harper’s a year ago, was reduced to avowing on his AIDS Truth paradigm propaganda site that they were “silly” and he wasn’t going to waste his time trying to answer them.

Is it possible that Moore had some good rebuttal in hand that he was too lazy to produce, preferring to give the impression that he was empty handed? We don’t think so. But whether that is so or not, the plain fact of the matter is that is for 22 years those that claim they have a rebuttal of Duesberg’s ideas have not delivered as promised, and show no sign of doing so even today, after tens of billions of dollars worth of research and experience in examining and treating HIV∫AIDSpatients with “miracle drugs that work.”

In fact, the only argument for HIV as the cause of AIDS which is produced for skeptics by anyone in science or out that we have encountered recently is that the “drugs work”, an idea that was clearly vitiated by last year’s Lancet and JAMA articles, among many others before them. Rebutted as anything involving the Virus, that is. There are other reason that the “drugs work”, as we have noted in earlier posts.

Yet this is the reason why James Watson. Bill Clinton, Gerard Piel (past editor of Scientific American) and other renowned personages have given this writer when they are asked about their HIV∫AIDS beliefs. Until we briefed them they had no idea that there might be very good reasons why this initially beneficial effect might occur without it being anything to do with the Virus, and certainly no reason to take the drugs which now kill more AIDS patients than AIDS.

New view that makes sense

The point of the article for readers is that Duesberg’s theory says we had better pay attention to the gross changes in chromosomes that occur first in all cancer cells, or aneupoloidy, which the individual-gene obsessed oncogene researchers entirely ignore in accounting for cancers, believing that it is the mutations of specific genes which give rise to specific cancers.

Aneuploid cells reshuffle their chromosomes much faster than mutation can alter their genes.

Duesberg’s idea goes back to the early 20th Century work of the German biologist Theodor Boveri with sea urchins who believed that the huge chromosomal disruptions that precede cancer in cells and their descendants are the obvious source of their controls going haywire. Evidence that particular disruptions are tied to particular tissues such as breast or cervix (that one found at the Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden last year – not so far from Stockholm!) suggests that the theory is on the right track.

The article ends with four references under the heading More to Explore, one of which is “The Sigmoidal Curve of Cancer”, by Roberto Stock and Harvey Bialy in Nature Biotechnology, Vol. 212, pages 13-14, January 2003.

Congratulations to SciAm editors

For the moment Scientific American editors feel that the time is not right to acknowledge that Duesberg might also be right about HIV∫AIDS being equally ripe for an upgrade of the paradigm, if not a wholesale replacement, but we have no doubt they are literate enough in the science to know the lie of the land, scientifically speaking, and will certainly be ready to support him as soon as the grandest scientific boondoggle in history finally starts crumbling, assuming it ever does.

One reason that may not happen soon is of course that editors who are scientifically literate is a rare thing, and having a publisher that allows independent thought on HIV∫AIDS is rarer still.

So despite the logical inconsistency of crediting the brain, research and independent mind of Peter Duesberg on cancer and not on HIV∫AIDS we forgive the political discretion of these fine and upstanding representatives of old time science coverage at a professional level, who put both Science and Nature to shame.

Let’s hope that other publications are brave enough to follow their lead and at least allow Peter Duesberg to explain himself in future without censorship.

Is John Moore worried?

But of course we are sure that John P. Moore of Cornell and his defense squad are wondering what they can do to prevent that, after yet another worrying penetration of the protective free fire zone they have established around the mountainous paradigm whose guns they man as they slowly run out of ammunition – given the fact that the scientific literature keeps proving them misguided.

Given his research specialty at Cornell is painting the undersides of macaques with potential anti-HIV microbicides the latest result of this kind to concern Moore personally is of course the alarming proof that microbicides designed to stop people contracting HIV positivity may actually encourage it in the Alice in Wonderland territory of HIV∫AIDS.

So far, as the Scientific American political caution shows, there is not much other movement under their feet, and they may hold off the “denialist” guerillas for a while longer. But Moore and his frequently drug company supported activists at AIDSTruth must be beginning to wonder where the next setback is coming from.

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