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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Letters in the NY Press highlight the lack of real AIDS debate

A handful of letters in the lively NY Press this week in response to the Bergman-Farber clash over AIDS Drugs Worse than The Disease? range from the dissident Frank Lusardi’s judicious comments pointing out the telling contrast in styles to an asinine one liner (“Re: Celia Farber’s article “Drugs, Disease, Denial” (6/22): I believe she’s the one in denial”) and an attack on one dissident by another.

Most interesting is the one from a man whose wife was tested positive but whose suspicions were aroused by the fact he had never become positive himself, after fourteen years of apparently athletic marital sex. On further investigation be became a convinced skeptic on HIV and AIDS.

The gene for love of thinking

What gene is it that enables the small fraction of the population that thinks for itself, as this gentleman does? Or is the capacity for thought independent of authority a product of nurture? The billions spent on AIDS research have led nowhere as far as understanding the moduc operandi of the virus is concerned, let alone any preventive or cure. Perhaps a small part could be diverted to this challenging topic of why certain people like to think for themselves, unlike the majority of the human race.

Perhaps the research of Allen Snyder, the Australian scientist who won the Marconi prize a few years ago for enabling laser communications down wires, could be expanded.

After all, Snyder has achieved a breakthrough in the field already. He has discovered that if he outfitted experimental subjects with suitable helmets he could sear a certain area of their brains with focused magnetic resonance and remove the mental framework with which people process data input.

While the helmets were activated the subjects demonstrated the openminded receptivity of autistic children, and one of the symptoms of this was that they made drawings in a remarkably unfiltered way.

It is not too much to say that many supporters of the HIV paradigm are apparently in dire need of being fitted with Snyder helmets.




Drugs, Disease, Debate

I would like to congratulate you for the courage to enable an open debate on the subject of AIDS drugs. Hopefully we will see more discussions of this kind in order to overcome the domination of the prevailing mainstream view (“Drugs, Disease, Denial,” 6/22). It is one of the most tragic contradictions of our time that AIDS-specialists pretend to treat immunodeficiency by using drugs that kill the immune system.

Christian Fiala, MD, Vienna, Austria

South African Presidential Aids Advisory Panel

“Drugs, Disease, Denial” (6/22) once again illustrates the unfortunate fact that it requires the chutzpah of a New York Press to permit a public airing of this vitally important discussion. It also perfectly illustrates the tone of this now 20-year-old scientific disagreement.

On the one side, representing received authority, Jeanne Bergman gives us a farrago of invective and adulation, freighted hardly at all with history, facts, names, citations or argumentation, but wisely laced with caveats (side-effects can be fatal, ACS often abuses its power, American medicine has a history of racism, and the pharmaceuticals pursue profits single-mindedly).

On the other side of the debate, representing the “dissidents,” Celia Farber offers an analysis of how language can rigidify into ideology, delineates a history of the AIDS medications, cites newspapers, journals, books and the experiences of individuals “in the trenches,” and, in general, presents something resembling a reasoned argument.

Frank Lusardi, Manhattan

I guess you would now call me a “denialist” concerning HIV (“Drugs, Disease, Denial,” 6/22). But back in 1999, when my pregnant wife tested positive on a routine test, we were initially shattered by the news. A strange sequence of events, however, provoked a suspicion that soon became a certainty.

Kathleen, my wife, and I had been at that time monogamously married for 14 years. A vigorous athlete, she would, before she became pregnant, train each year to run a 26-mile marathon. No noticeable health problems had ever been apparent.

After her HIV positivity had been thoroughly established I took the test. It came back negative. I took it again. Negative. She took it again. Positive.

Before I continue I should assure the reader that Kathleen and I had had an active sex life. If HIV has even the remotest possibility of being transmitted sexually it would have been. However, this did not jibe with the propaganda promulgated by the Centers for Disease Control.

I became obsessed with a more scientific approach. Surely with the billions being spent on research some solid, useable science would have emerged. Here again I was disappointed. But don’t take my word for it. See if you can find, after 21 years and $40 billion, a paper that describes conclusively the mechanism of pathogenicity for HIV. You won’t. It doesn’t exist. Proof that HIV has any deleterious effect on the human metabolism whatsoever does not exist. Ample evidence abounds, on the other hand, that AZT and the assorted protease inhibitors effectively poison.

David H. Tyson, Eugene, OR

Re: Celia Farber’s article “Drugs, Disease, Denial” (6/22): I believe she’s the one in denial.

David Maciorkowski, Fords, NJ

I would like to see a debate between Jeanne Bergman and Celia Farber (“Drugs, Disease, Denial,” 6/22). It would be nice to see where Jeanne gets her facts regarding the claim that the dissidents’ theories have been disproved. It would be my bet that Jeanne would not go near such a debate.

Kyle Shields, via email

Re: “Drugs, Disease, Denial” (6/22): I can’t believe that Celia Farber quoted Paul King. What a huge disappointment in an otherwise excellent article. Paul King isn’t even the man’s real name. There are so many dissidents that are credible and whom have integrity and are in relatively good repute, why on earth would you quote a hack and a liar like Paul King?

Todd Phillips, San Francisco

© 2005 New York Press

The twenty year evasion of HIV debate

It is interesting that letter-writer Kyle Shields wants to see a genuine debate but she imagines that Jeanne Bergman would probaably refuse to go near such a debate where she would be challenged on her facts.

With this she reminds us of the fact that it is the scientists who promote the paradigm in this field that have failed in precisely this way for the duration of the entire AIDS scare. Not once have they dared any live confrontation with the reviewers who reject the theory, and they have failed even to answer the reviewers in the same journals they were published in (which have included the topmost journals Cancer Research and the Proceedings of the National Academy).

The one time in the past two decades a “debate” of sorts on the rationale for HIV took place in print in Science, it took the same form as this “debate” in the New York Press. Rival statements were written, followed in Science by one set of rival rebuttals, before the discussion was cut off by the editor. The editor of Nature also followed the same policy of cutting off debate, at one point famously proclaiming that the chief HIV reviewer and “denier” Peter Duesberg of Berkeley did not deserve the right of reply.

As Kyle Shields seems perceptively to divine, the greatest flaw in AIDS science is this lack of free debate and free speech. Is there anything which more powerfully suggests that the paradigm is vulnerable to any free and open inspection?

Like Saddam Hussein pretending he had weapons of mass destruction in the hope that America would not topple his regime, the purveyors of the AIDS paradigm may be just as empty handed.

In fact, it is very hard to imagine another motive for the resistance of the rulers of AIDS science to genuine debate, however much they protest that they are too busy saving lives to spare any time for defending their view.

With millions of lives and billions of dollars at stake, there is certainly no excuse for not holding hearings on this vital matter which has continued to be scientifically unresolved for two decades, in that the objections of the reviewers have not been refuted in the literature.

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