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.

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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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Lethal 21st Century Libyan witch hunting enabled by “AIDS” superstition

The most horrifying and outlandish current story of AIDS nonsense at a high level of government is covered by the New York Times this morning (Mon Oct 17).

Bulgarian Nurses Facing Death In Libya

Elizabeth Rosenthal reports on the almost incredible fact that Libya is threatening to execute five nurses and a doctor from Bulgaria for “intentionally infecting more than 400 children witrh the AIDS virus.”


They are accused of intentionally infecting more than 400 hospitalized Libyan children with the AIDS virus, in order, according to the initial indictment, to undermine Libyan state security.

They were also charged with working for Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service.

“Nurses from little towns in Bulgaria acting as agents of Mossad?” said Antoanetta Ouzounova, 28, one of Ms. Chervenyashka’s two daughters. “It all sounds funny and absurd until you realize your mother could die for it.” Although the motive of subversion has been dropped, the death sentence stands. The Libyan Supreme Court is to hear the nurses’ final appeal on Nov. 15.

One wonders if the experts from WHO and Luc Montagnier who have become involved in this case have finally been prompted to think about the effects of their theoretical and statistical concoctions on the world in general, by the evidence, in this extreme case, of how it can feed superstitious nonsense even at the highest level of government, with possibly lethal consequences.

One can only hope so, though there is no sign of it.

Of course, one can also hope that the officials of science and government in other countries might also examine themselves on the same basis to see if their own ideas are just as ill founded. After all, there is so much in current establishment AIDS ideology which conflicts sharply with plain common sense, not least the glaring discrepancy between US and Europe, where sexually transmitted AIDS is a gay disease which leaves heterosexuals largely untouched, and Africa and Asia, where it is an equal opportunity disease for all.

But of course, people being what they are, it is unlikely that those horrified at the superstition and ignorance of the benighted Libyans will turn the light of reassessment on themselves.

(show)

The New York Times

October 17, 2005

Time Is Short for Bulgarian Nurses Facing Death in Libya

By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL

SOFIA, Bulgaria – In 1998, at a time when her country was mired in hyperinflation, Valya Chervenyashka left her rural Bulgarian village and went to work as a nurse in Benghazi, Libya, for $250 a month, to pay for her daughters’ college educations.

Today, Ms. Chervenyashka and four other Bulgarian nurses, as well as a Palestinian doctor whose family moved to Libya in 1967, are under death sentence in a Libyan jail and could face a firing squad. They are accused of intentionally infecting more than 400 hospitalized Libyan children with the AIDS virus, in order, according to the initial indictment, to undermine Libyan state security.

They were also charged with working for Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service.

“Nurses from little towns in Bulgaria acting as agents of Mossad?” said Antoanetta Ouzounova, 28, one of Ms. Chervenyashka’s two daughters. “It all sounds funny and absurd until you realize your mother could die for it.” Although the motive of subversion has been dropped, the death sentence stands. The Libyan Supreme Court is to hear the nurses’ final appeal on Nov. 15.

With that date approaching, President Georgi Parvanov of Bulgaria plans to raise the case at a meeting with President Bush in Washington on Monday, Bulgarian officials say. International AIDS specialists, including Dr. Luc Montagnier, who discovered the AIDS virus, have traveled to Libya to study the situation and have testified that the children were infected as a result of poor sanitary practices at the hospital, Al Fateh Children’s Hospital, in Benghazi. The nurses have testified that they were tortured in the months after their arrest in 1999.

In a handwritten 2003 declaration to the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry, one, Snezhana Dimitrova, described part of the torture. “They tied my hands behind my back,” she wrote. “Then they hung me from a door. It feels like they are stretching you from all sides. My torso was twisted and my shoulders were dislocated from their joints from time to time. The pain cannot be described. The translator was shouting, ‘Confess or you will die here.’ “

For seven years the nurses’ plight has simmered on the back burner of international politics, especially since Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, renounced terrorism and nuclear weapons in 2003.

Last year, even as Condoleezza Rice, then the national security adviser, and Romano Prodi, then president of the European Commission, were protesting the case, the commission invited Colonel Qaddafi to Brussels for lunch, and the United States lifted the trade embargo against Libya.

But with time running out, negotiations to secure the nurses’ release are “not moving well,” Ivailo Kalfin, the Bulgarian foreign minister, said in a recent interview here.

Solomon Passy, leader of the Committee on Foreign Policy of the Bulgarian National Assembly and a former foreign minister who has visited Libya five times on the case, said Bulgaria needed more international support, calling the nurses “hostages.”

“The Libyans need to know they won’t get carrots, like they won’t get taken off the terrorist list, until they release the nurses,” he said. Libya remains on the State Department’s list of nations that sponsor terrorism. If the nurses were Italian or British or American, some diplomats say, the case would have provoked a major international protest.

Mr. Kalfin, the foreign minister, said with a shrug, “It is one thing when Britain raises an issue; it is another when Bulgaria raises it.”

Libyan officials have suggested that Bulgaria pay $10 million in compensation for each of the 420 children Libya accuses the nurses of infecting, according to Bulgarian and European Union diplomats, saying the families might then express forgiveness toward the nurses and ask for dismissal of the court case, a procedure permitted under Islamic law. The Libyans drew parallels to compensation payments the Libyan government agreed to make to families of the 270 people killed in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, the work of Libyan agents.

The Bulgarian government has rejected the idea, Mr. Kalfin said, adding that it was absurd to compare the nurses to terrorists, and that Bulgaria would not pay “blood money since the nurses are not guilty.”

Still, a senior European Union diplomat, speaking of covert activities on condition of anonymity, said there had been extensive “underground meetings” about a payment. Hoping to broker a deal, the European Union has sent diplomats and medical teams to Libya to study and consult on AIDS. It has flown dozens of children to Europe from Libya for medical treatment and held training sessions for doctors in Libya.

Bulgaria recently agreed to send Libya 20 of the 50 pieces of medical equipment it had requested, and even offered to restructure the $27 million in Libyan debt it holds.

Around the time the doctor and nurses were arrested, a team of World Health Organization doctors was dispatched to study Libya’s rapidly growing AIDS problem. Its internal report, which was provided to a reporter by an official, said the factor “mainly responsible for the current epidemic” was the accidental spread of the virus in medical procedures. It added that sterile supplies and better equipment were needed.

Three years later, Dr. Montagnier was hired by Colonel Qaddafi’s son to reconstruct what had happened at Al Fateh Children’s Hospital.

“Some of the children were infected before the Bulgarian nurses even arrived, and others after they left,” Dr. Montagnier said in a recent telephone interview. He said most of the children were also infected with various subtypes of hepatitis C, which can be transmitted to children only by injection, clear evidence that “there were many errors in hygiene in this hospital at the time.”

But at the trial, in 2004, a group of medical specialists from Benghazi disputed the Montagnier report.

Dr. Montagnier said that testimony “contained many mistakes showing that they didn’t understand much about H.I.V.,” the virus that causes AIDS.

“The hospital,” he said, “needed a scapegoat.”

Matthew Brunwasser contributed reporting for this article.

* Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

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