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

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McKiernan quotes Sam Walter Foss


Prominent blog challenger revealed as earnest truthseeker

Well known and prolific HIV∫AIDS blog comment poster with the moniker “McKiernan” finally broke down on the Larry Altman’s Guide to AIDS Conferences comment thread last night and revealed that he was no troll or spoiler, as many other posters had thought, but an earnest seeker after truth in the realm of HIV?AIDS. An ex Air Force man who lost lost two sisters to cancer and chemotherapy, he retains a certain skepticism as to the economic motivations of modern medicine.

McKiernan clinched this surprise revelation by quoting from a verse which describes the behavior of paradigm scientists and their cult like followers in the TAC and elsewhere to a T:

The Calf-Path

by Sam Walter Foss

(NH 1858-1911)

One day, through the primeval wood,

A calf walked home, as good calves should;

But made a trail all bent askew,

A crooked trail as all calves do.

Since then three hundred years have fled,

And, I infer, the calf is dead.

But still he left behind his trail,

And thereby hangs my moral tale.

The trail was taken up next day,

By a lone dog that passed that way.

And then a wise bell-wether sheep,

Pursued the trail o’er vale and steep;

And drew the flock behind him too,

As good bell-wethers always do.

And from that day, o’er hill and glade.

Through those old woods a path was made.

And many men wound in and out,

And dodged, and turned, and bent about;

And uttered words of righteous wrath,

Because ’twas such a crooked path.

But still they followed – do not laugh –

The first migrations of that calf.

And through this winding wood-way stalked,

Because he wobbled when he walked.

This forest path became a lane,

that bent, and turned, and turned again.

This crooked lane became a road,

Where many a poor horse with his load,

Toiled on beneath the burning sun,

And traveled some three miles in one.

And thus a century and a half,

They trod the footsteps of that calf.

The years passed on in swiftness fleet,

The road became a village street;

And this, before men were aware,

A city’s crowded thoroughfare;

And soon the central street was this,

Of a renowned metropolis;

And men two centuries and a half,

Trod in the footsteps of that calf.

Each day a hundred thousand rout,

Followed the zigzag calf about;

And o’er his crooked journey went,

The traffic of a continent.

A Hundred thousand men were led,

By one calf near three centuries dead.

They followed still his crooked way,

And lost one hundred years a day;

For thus such reverence is lent,

To well established precedent.

A moral lesson this might teach,

Were I ordained and called to preach;

For men are prone to go it blind,

Along the calf-paths of the mind;

And work away from sun to sun,

To do what other men have done.

They follow in the beaten track,

And out and in, and forth and back,

And still their devious course pursue,

To keep the path that others do.

They keep the path a sacred groove,

Along which all their lives they move.

But how the wise old wood gods laugh,

Who saw the first primeval calf!

Ah! many things this tale might teach –

But I am not ordained to preach.

In his honor, we are putting up a symbolic picture of our well known commentator checking out a HIV paradigm follower:

One Response to “McKiernan quotes Sam Walter Foss”

  1. noreen martin Says:

    Wonderfully written, probably a lot of truth for our time. One could deduct alot from this defending upon whether one is an optimist or a pessimist. The pessimist would rather follow than lead and “this is the way that we’ve always done things “. While the optimist is not afraid of pressing ahead and forging out new paths for others to follow.

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