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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Duesberg triumphant at Rockwell Conference


Surrounded by admirers for two hours, the celebrated HIV∫AIDS critic is birthday boy

But no one offers a check – yet

Just how well Duesberg’s talk went at the Libertarian Lew Rockwell conference in San Francisco on Friday and Saturday, where Duesberg delivered the keynote on Friday evening at 6.30pm, “AIDS – a viral or chemical epidemic?”, is made clear on Barnesworld, the blog renamed Hank’s You Bet Your Life, where two appreciative reports are carried today. They give a good account of both the scene and the content of Duesberg’s talk to about 150 people.

Duesberg was surrounded by a throng of questioners for two hours afterwards, during which a birthday cake was carried in in his honor, December 2 being his 70th birthday (“he looks 50” says one of the entries). Scholar and author Harvey Bialy, the eminence grise of the blog and now its frequent correspondent, follows the reports with an email from Duesberg which ends with the single down note (as far as we are concerned) of the evening, his joke that “they did offer heart-felt applause and questions from 9 until 11 PM. But no one has asked if they could write a check to the lab yet.”

In the Comments that follow, however, there is already one Pat Edmonson promising Duesberg a share of a sum he will receive after the year end.

Carrying these reports on YBYL is a significant public service, not only because it shows how overwhelming Duesberg’s critique is when presented to a live audience, but draws attention to the key factor – big money – which has crippled good science in this field, and allow bad science to triumph. Everything is being done, we hope, to make contributions to Duesberg as easy as a click on PayPal or mailing a check. His website is Peter Duesberg, where it lists his address as Professor Peter H. Duesberg, Ph.D., Department of Molecular & Cell Biology, c/o Stanley/Donner Administrative Services Unit, 229 Stanley Hall #3206, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-3206 Fax: (510) 643-6455. There is a form to write a quick email to Duesberg if you wish at Write an email.

Why send money to Duesberg?

His research into cancer is the most significant and pioneering in the field, and can be continued at the modest sum of $100,000 a year. Modest, that is, relative to the huge sums being wasted by proponents of the current oncogene paradigm in cancer research, which Duesberg and Bialy have pointed out in their respective articles and books has been a theoretical dead end since the mid eighties, like HIV∫AIDS, an even vaster money machine which is also wasting all its research millions on a paradigm which has yet to be justified in any meaningful way, not to mention wasting the expanding millions spent on delivering AIDS drugs to patients here and in Africa, India and points East, courtesy of the efforts of Gates, Clinton, Bono and other celebrities whose view of HIV∫AIDS is under researched.

At the moment, with his faithful long time lab assistant dying of the very same dread disease that they were researching, Duesberg is alone in his laboratory, dealing with his own minor errands and bench work as well as following his fruitful intellectual path into exploring aneuploidy (multiplying chromosomes) as the real trigger of cancer, as explained in Harvey Bialy’s valuable handbook to the Duesberg saga in both fields, “Oncogenes, Aneuploidy and AIDS: A Scientific Life of Peter H. Duesberg”.

There have been no graduate students in Berkeley who have dared work under Duesberg since he entered the fray by tilting against both the HIV∫AIDS and oncogene windmills two decades ago in Cancer Research. But the undergraduates he taught about viruses and cancer last year gave him a standing ovation after his final class.

All in all, there are few scientists who deserve full funding more than Duesberg, given the staggering quality and significance of his accomplishments, from starting two major fields of research (oncogenes and aneuploidy) to renouncing two (oncogenes and HIV∫AIDS) out of a love of real scientific truth and a sense of public responsibility, despite his privileges as the leading scientist in oncogenes and retroviruses and popularity among the scientific elite – he was a member of the National Academy before any of his opponents in AIDS, as far as we know, and every single grant application of his to the NIH was given the green light, until he wrote the Cancer Research paper in 1987 rejecting HIV as the cause of AIDS.

His work over twenty two years dealing with the profession and the public on the HIV∫AIDS question is a breathtaking accomplishment given the depth and breadth of the research he had to cover to shut all the escape hatches built by the paradigm promoters in arguing that even if the theory didn’t make too much sense in this regard or that regard it would all become clear in the end.

Meanwhile they need another $100 million from the NIH, please, whereas all the time Duesberg’s important research in cancer was shortchanged of his time and starved of funds, since Duesberg has never got a penny from the NIH since 1987 and the number of private patrons who have responded you can count in the fingers of one hand and have two fingers left over, and this in a country where there are now so many millionaires that only billionaires are counted as rich any more. San Francisco private investor Robert Leppo deserves a medal for taking the lead in enabling Duesberg’s work.

ABC’s John Stossel ran a segment last Wednesday taking the super rich to task for not contributing enough to charity, and we were particularly struck by the man worth $6 billion who said he didn’t know where to send it.

We are sending him a suggestion.

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