Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

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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.

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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blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.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

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Fauci wins Lasker

Deserves it for his power to explain biological threats, says award

One step towards Nobel for revealing HIV is harmless after all, we say

fauci190.jpgFans of Dr Anthony Fauci, the smoothly tailored director of NIAIDS since 1984, will be pleased to hear he has won the Lasker award.

This is one step nearer the Nobel we heralded earlier here at New AIDS Review, a prize we thought the good doctor deserved for his contributions to our understanding of the solution to AIDS.

After all, his meta review of the grand puzzle in AIDS, how HIV can possibly cause the syndrome without showing any sign whatsoever of relevant biological activity, contained the thrilling revelation that the best antidote to HIV may be HIV itself!

For Fauci noted in that masterwork that the main effect of HIV when it arrives in the bloodstream was to excite the production of greater levels of T cells than normal, ie prompted them to proliferate rather than kill them.

This honest admission that HIV might act as its own cure was modestly communicated only to the National Academy and not to the general public, but since it indicated that an endlessly expensive effort to find a vaccine might not be needed after all, and that the lethal AIDS drugs could be thrown in the trash, we felt it was quite important.

Now the Times backs our contention that Fauci deserves nomination for a trip to Stockholm by reporting with apparent approval that the Lasker will be awarded to the great bureaucrat this year, for his services in facilitating counter measures to AIDS all these years.

September 16, 2007
4 Winners of Lasker Medical Prize
By LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN

Two surgeons who developed prosthetic heart valves that have prolonged the lives of millions of people are among the winners of this year’s Lasker awards, widely considered the nation’s most prestigious medical prizes.

Drs. Alain Carpentier, 74, of the Georges Pompidou hospital in Paris, and Albert Starr, 81, of the Providence Health System in Portland, Ore., are among three American and one French scientists to win the awards, the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation announced yesterday.

The third, Dr. Ralph M. Steinman, 64, of Rockefeller University in Manhattan, discovered a cell that starts a cascade of immune responses that defend the body against microbes. The cell is now the basis of experimental therapies for cancer and many other diseases.

The fourth winner, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, 66, is an internationally known immunologist who is being honored as the principal architect of two major Bush administration programs: the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or Pepfar, and Project Bioshield, which seeks to improve countermeasures against potential bioterror agents.

Dr. Fauci, who has directed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, marshaled scientific evidence to construct the United States’ responses to these two global crises. The Lasker Foundation also cited Dr. Fauci for his role “in explaining issues of great concern like the science behind emerging biological hazards” to the public.

The prestigious Lasker is the harbinger of the Nobel – 72 of the winners have gone on to the Nobel as well – for such great men as Fauci, but for the moment he will have to be happy with the limited renown of the US prize, and will at least be able to pocket a nice piece of change in addition to his royal stipend at NIAID.

Dr. Steinman and Dr. Fauci will each receive $150,000 and Dr. Starr and Dr. Carpentier will each receive $75,000.

Here at NAR we feel vindicated since we suggested to Dr Anthony Fauci when we met him last year, (in the Washington HIVNET meeting where all those he funds to pursue trials of AIDS drugs in Africa gathered to hear him assure them that he would make sure their money came through) that we cover him as a “hero of AIDS’, and were surprised when after several moment’s thought he declined the flattering invitation.

Since Fauci is cited for his helpfulness in “explaining issues of great concern” maybe we will now put up his remarkable answer to Robert Houston at the panel at the New School later in 2006 when he and Mathilde Krim celebrated 25 years of HIV∫AIDS with Larry Kramer, until the gay playwright activist walked off the stage in a huff, when Houston rescued the two by hailing their importance as scientists and asking Fauci how he thought HIV killed T cells.

Dr Fauci’s answer was most informative and we will give the text here shortly after putting the video up on YouTube, in recognition of the signal honor to be extended to Dr Fauci in New York when he next visits.

We can honestly say it is one of the most helpful explanations we have heard any of the paradigm protectors give in public, since Dr Robert Gallo (a double Lasker winner) gave his renowned prize lectures at Columbia University.

When you read and/or hear it you will see what we mean.

One Response to “Fauci wins Lasker”

  1. MacDonald Says:

    Far be it from me to suggest to the dear blog host where the real story lies; Fauci’s explanation of how HIV kills T-cells is a scoop in itself, but does it not warrant a raised eyebrow that the same expensive Pentagon run suit is now getting a scientific prize for selling us the war on (bio)terror and the war on AIDS?

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