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)

Expanded GUIDE TO SITE PURPOSE AND LAYOUT is in the lower blue section at the bottom of every home page.

Duesberg’s excellent book (and others)

“Another damned, thick, square, book! Always scribble, scribble, scribble! Eh! Mr. Gibbon?” William Henry, Duke of Gloucester, upon receiving the second volume of Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire from the author, 1781.

One of the most remarkable things about the controversy over HIV and AIDS is how many good books have been written on the topic, and how few people of influence have paid any attention to them.

Authors may “scribble, scribble, scribble”, as the ungrateful Duke put it to Gibbon, but those who rule are not, it seems, inclined to read or benefit from books which would teach them a great deal about science and society today. They should. For sheer educational value in suggesting how money and politics can derail science, there has not been a set to match it since Jim Watson’s The Double Helix launched realistic coverage of science politics in 1968, nearly forty years ago. Any graduate student in science or medicine should read one of these volumes to get up to speed on the sociology of modern research.

Inventing the AIDS Virus (Regnery, 1996) is the classic par excellence in the field, authored by Peter H. Duesberg and with an outspoken and biting introduction by Kary Mullis, one of the only two Nobel Laureates in science who have had the intestinal fortitude to approve of the author’s view publicly. The other one is renowned Harvard DNA biologist Walter Gilbert, now at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island.

Mullis writes “We have not been able to discover any good reasons why most people on earth believe that AIDS is a disease caused by a virus called HIV. There is simply no scientific evidence demonstrating this to be true.” In fact, says Mullis, “the HIV/AIDS hypothesis is one hell of a mistake.”

Gilbert, the book notes, “made the Cancer Research paper (the first published critique that Duesberg wrote in 1987 damning the HIV theory for lacking any good evidence) required reading for his graduate students, using it as an illustration of how skeptical thinking ought to work in science.”

Inventing the AIDS Virus is a classic of the field, combining a popular account with first rate, footnoted science. The very readable story includes both the scientific argument and the play of politics inside science as objections to the theory were sidelined and quashed, rather than dealt with straightforwardly in a professional manner.

It benefits from the journalistic talents of Bryan J. Ellison, the young research assistant and co-author who unfortunately lacked confidence in the original publisher, quarreled with Duesberg over it and broke away to self-publish his own book, Why We Will Never Win The War on AIDS (Inside Story) in 1994. This was legally suppressed by Regnery, and copies are rare, but is also worth reading.

There are two other first rate books by Duesberg as author or editor which collect his and others’ papers on HIV-AIDS dissidence. Infectious AIDS: Have We Been Misled? (North Atlantic Books, 1995) binds thirteen articles by Duesberg from scientific journals “that call into question the dogma of infectious AIDS”. This is the primary source for his writings, but since it was published in 1995 it leaves out his very important summary of his views set against eight more years of research and debate in the journal of the Indian Academy of Scince in 2003.

The other collection of scientific papers is

AIDS: Virus—Or Drug Induced? (Contemporary Issues in Genetics and Evolution)
by Peter H. Duesberg (Editor) (Kluwer, Amsterdam 1996),

This is unfortuntely very expensive now ($352 new and over $305 used on Amazon) but a good library (eg New York University’s) will have it. Its chief interest is the defense of HIV-AIDS by one author, written for the Skeptical Inquirer, which then Duesberg replies to directly.

These were not the first books to criticize the scientific ideology of AIDS, by any means. By the time Duesberg’s magnum opus was published, many authors had taken his lead from his articles and limited public appearances and a string of other passionate and thorough books had been written, offering what to the authors seems incontrovertible evidence that the idea that HIV causes AIDS is a myth.

The following books are well written and well informed, and by authros who think for themselves. Like Duesberg’s books and articles, very little of their information or reasoning grows out of date. If anything, it has been the claims of the HIV-AIDS supporters which have been refuted over the years, as studies which once looked as if they validated the HIV thesis turn out to be ill founded. Thus, it really doesn’t matter how far you go back in the history of AIDS, the material of the debate stands up as well as anything in more recent publications—in fact, it is often more revealing, since the issue was more alive and open in the early years, and statements were less guarded.

In fact, that is one of the main pillars of concern in AIDS. Almost all the problems the dissidents point out were there at the beginning, and none have been scotched since. Another matter for real concern is the fact that this slew of very well written and thorough books exposing the problem in AIDS has had no effect in getting opinionmakers and politicians genuinely to revisit the issue for seventeen years.

AIDS Inc: Scandal of the Century by Jon Rappoport (Human Energy Press) a thorough going popular wrap up of all the important points, scientific and political, from the unreliability of HIV tests to a detailed account of how debate and press interest was discouraged and actively repressed by the statements and behavior of the scientists involved. This is the book that records such small but telling details as Anthony Fauci’s explicit warning in writing that :Journalists who make mistakes or who are sloppy are going to find their acces to scientists may diminish.”

Rappoport’s early coverage of the topic includes material on the aborted White House conference on questions about HIV and similar activity at a time when challenge to HIV was not yet suffocated. Already people were guarding their careers, however. One authoritative scientist who spoke to Rappoport on condition of anonymity called the HIV theory “fatuous”. The giant misstep in the book, however, is Rappoport’s positive prediction that the tide was turning and that “the charade is coming to a close”.

Unfortunately, Rappoport has followed this early bullseye in uncovering the scientific difficulties and political realities of AIDS with a generalized broadside against established medicine, broadened into preoccupations with topics such as planetary mind control, now featured on his site No More Fake News, where subscriptions win extra briefings including “over a hundred long text interviews, some with deep sources of mine who know how this planet is really being controlled. And 11 hours of audiotape from me on The Planetary Chessboard.”

Another early guide AIDS:The HIV Myth, by Jad Adams

(MacMillan 1989, St. Martins 1989) was and still is one of the best popular surveys of the problem. This is now available for a negligible sum on Amazon, both a bargain and an insult which probably derives from some fiercely disparaging shallow reviews the book got in London, where it was first published, since Adams was a British journalist who had already helped complete a documentary TV film on the topic.

The reception of the book in the British popular press was instructive. The reviews were generally positive at the outset, but always turned on Adams by the end, dismissing his thesis with one liners in reflex support of the scientific/medical establishment, as if that was a club to which the reviewers were anxious to belong to, or retain their invitations from.

Thus Beverly Halstead in The Observer hailed “a deeply moving account of the AIDS saga portraying “ambition, greed, hatred, cruelty and fear as driving forces” but wrote that Duesberg’s case “has not convinced the scientific world” and that Duesbeg’s claim that “no known virus or microbe discriminates between men and women, nor between homosexuals and heterosexuals” was “unworthy of a serious scientist”, because “whatever else HIV does, it does not discriminate between sexes or sexual preferences” (this was before the stark contrast between risk groups in the US and Europe, where AIDS remains overwhelmingly a threat to gays, and Africa and Asia, where it is heterosexual, had continued for two decades) . It was “sad”, the review concluded, “that a writer of such talent as Jad Adams should have let himself be caught up in the proselytizing of such a flawed cause.”

The strongest attack came in the New Scientist where Duncan Campbell, who also debated Adams live at the London School of Economics, wrote that the fact “Duesberg’s criticisms have repeatedly and effectively been refuted deters Adams not at all.” Apparently filled with the fury of the true believer, perhaps fueled by the fear of the gay at risk, Campbell fumed that “his reporting is staggeringly inaccurate” and betrays “remarkable ignorance.” The popular science weekly’s editors piled on in an editorial saying that “rarely has such a deadly book been published.”

What these and similar comments overlooked was the fact that Duesberg’s critiques of the new HIV paradigm had been published in top scientific journals only after unusually intense peer review that could find no fault. But the hubris was not atypical of London’s Grub Street, where books founded on years of research are typically dismissed in one liners. Apparently, while cheerfully acknowledging lack of real scientific expertise, reviewers felt equipped to do better than highly motivated professional scientists in detecting flaws in Duesberg’s critique in brief notices which sometimes read as if they were written between lifting pints of beer in Fleet Street pubs.

Having gone beyond Duesberg in his own account the young Adams had made mistakes, however, and apparently winded by the attacks, he retreated to saying that he did not claim that HIV did not cause AIDS (“that would be proving a negative”) but that he believed that it needed a co-factor, and that was probably syphilis. James Le Fanu in the Sunday Telegraph had reached the same conclusion, agreeing that Adams had “highlighted that the HIV virus may not be sufficient by itself to cause AIDS”. (As it happens, however, this amounted in the end to much the same thing. If HIV is not sufficient the question quickly becomes, Is it necessary? and the same logical difficulties suggest it is not.)

Meanwhile, countering those who wrote that the book was “riddled with errors” and that “every major scientific statement in the book was wrong”, the Lancet admired “an excellent job of summarising doubts about HIV/AIDS” and Professor Beverly E. Griffin of the Royal Postgraduate Medical School supported the book in Nature as “meticulously researched” and placing “the burden of proof” back to where it belonged—to those who maintain that HIV causes AIDS”.

What the dust storm indicated was that London’s Fleet Street was, compared with the US, more willing to have lively public discussions of the issue. In fact, a long series on Duesberg’s views would later be published in the London Sunday Times by science correspondent Neville Hodgkinson, who would write his own book. And over the years no fewer than seven documentaries on the topic of AIDS dissidents have been completed by producer Joan Shenton for Britain Channel 4, none of which have been accepted by US channels for showing in the US.

On the other hand. it also suggested that just as in the US, many London commentators were anxious to align themselves with the established thinking in AIDS, rather than deal with a challenge purely on its merits. They quickly joined “leading AIDS doctors”, such as Charles Farthing of St. Stephen’s Hospital, in castigating Adams’ book as “evil” and “errant and dangerous nonsense” which would if believed lead to “more deaths”, and called for Macmillan to withdraw the book.

This kind of jump-the-gun attack on Duesberg’s ideas has bedevilled discussion with prejudice for two decades now, and will likely only abate when fear eases.

The intellectually sharp Poison by Prescription: The AZT story by John Lauritsen (Asklepios, NY 1990), is by a Harvard graduate and trained market researcher who has consistently eviscerated the logic and evidence backing the drugs used for AIDS medication. “I have maintained, and continue to maintain, that there is no scientifically credible avidence that AZT has benefits of any kind.”

In fact, Lauritsen famously exposed public fakery in one presentation of the AIDS establishment to journalists mounted by AMFAR (American Foundation for AIDS Research) in Washington, when researcher William Haseltine presented a graph as fact which was pure speculation. Reading Lauritsen, you get an indispensable, clear understanding of how the whole mess grew out of early false claims and missteps, which he caught at the time, and lucidly exposed better than any other journalist.

An excellent book by a documentary maker, with the first hand experience and realistic writing that entails, is much more recent. Joan Shenton has produced more than fifty programs for Meditel on health issues, including seven on AIDS dissidence, which Jad Adams (above) was also involved with. The programs are broadcast in the Dispatches series on Channel 4 in London. challenging the consensus that HIV is the cause of AIDS and that AZT is an appropriate therapy for treating HIV. Her book, Positively False : Exposing the Myths Around HIV and AIDS in 1998 is well informed by that on-the-ground experience, including a visit to Africa with leading AIDS dissident writer Celia Farber. The trip revealed that the AIDS hot zones they checked out were war zones where malnutrition and bad water easily produced the required two symptoms in the long list that identified “AIDS”, and that all illness was being labeled AIDS by African officials who had learned that was the preferred way to obtain Western aid.

The Amazon review provides another small example of how reviewers can’t resist professing faith in the established order, even when the experience of the crtical author is apparently much wider. “She repeatedly expresses the dubious notion that mainstream AIDS researchers throughout the world, ignoring the obvious human costs, have closed ranks against dissenting opinions merely in order to protect their own financial interests” writes Linda Gleason, formerly with the Univ. of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Lib., Newark. Why this notion is dubious to Linda is not clear to a cynic, but perhaps she trusts her colleagues because she doesn’t allow for the possibility that motives can be camouflaged even from their owner by self-deception.

Most recent among the popular books is one by Christine Maggiore, a woman who tested positive for HIV and then, in an independent minded move oddly rare in “AIDS” patients, investigated second opinion. She has written What if everything you thought you knew about AIDS was wrong? American Foundation for AIDS Alternatives; 4th Rev edition (January, 2000) which is a straightforward and readable account of the many grand anomalies in the HIV theory of AIDS.

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