Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

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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.

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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Moore takes the lid off

Cornell defender publishes evidence of his paradigm bankruptcy

Scurrilous piece attacks Duesberg personally, but is sometimes hilariously wrong

Self condemning move shows scientific confidence is absent

peter_duesberg.jpgRecently Peter Duesberg, the Berkeley professor whom many agree would have the Nobel for his work in cancer if he hadn’t exposed the bankruptcy of the HIV=AIDS paradigm, was asked to comment on AIDSTruth.org by a journalist. He dismissed the site out of hand as nothing but a set of ad hominem attacks in the cause of paradigm defense, without valid intellectual substance.

With the publication of a piece yesterday that has attained a new low in this vein, John P. Moore, the macaque microbicide researcher at Weill Cornell who runs the site, has proved Duesberg’s point so effectively that paradigm critics are celebrating.

There is probably nothing in the history of the twenty three year old debate which so effectively shows that paradigm protectors such as Moore have no valid defense of the notion that HIV causes AIDS than this pitiable document, which ironically is a pot-kettle attack on Duesberg as a “malignant narcissist”, who is so disappointed by his career failures that he rejects the paradigm to compensate.

A heroic public and scientific spirit

This is utter nonsense, of course. Duesberg wrote his original dismissal of the AIDS paradigm for Cancer Research at 50, as a newly minted member of the National Academy and Fogarty Fellow and visiting scientist working in a retrovirus lab at the NIH where he was viewed as a golden haired boy in science, upon whom the NIH had lavished a $350,000 per year, five year Outstanding Investigator Grant to do with what he wished.

Unfortunately for his peers, lesser scientists whose pockets were larger than their minds, he reviewed and rejected HIV=AIDS, and unlike many others who had expressed doubts, he never caved in.

This heroic record of scientific integrity in the service of the public interest has now lasted twenty three years, during which Duesberg has suffered the massive penalty of not being able to obtain one red cent more in NIH funding, despite innumerable grant applications supported by senior members of the scientific community, together with a serious drought in conference speaking invitations and assigned graduate students, who are not allowed near him in case he teaches them better. And now for his pains he has to suffer the display on the Web of ignorant, misleading and insulting papers by anonymous nonentities.

Duesberg’s joke – represented as Gallo envy!

However, there are some amusements in this diatribe. One is that so anxious is the writer to tar and feather Duesberg with ill founded character assassination – let’s say it again, there is probably no prominent scientist who is so squeaky clean in his work and publicly responsible motivation as Duesberg, who unlike his most prominent opponents David Baltimore and Robert Gallo has never been accused, let alone officially condemned for scientific malpractice and skulduggery – that he tries to use an incident which above all speaks for Duesberg’s endlessly resilient sense of humor, which has survived so much exposure to the worst side of human nature, as exemplified by this shamefully crude attack.

We refer to the famous incident where Duesberg arrived at a conference in Europe where Gallo would be a fellow speaker and mischievously told the attractive woman at the sign in table “I am Dr. Gallo!” His joke didn’t last long – “Are you sure?” she asked doubtfully, “You don’t look like him!” – but it earned him a date which turned into Duesberg’s second marriage, soon blessed with a lovely child, a son.

Here is the compleat assassin’s humorless take on this tale, in a footnote to his (surely not her?) masterwork:

Reportedly, Duesberg’s envy of Gallo even prompted him to impersonate his perceived rival. According to Harvey Bialy, Duesberg first met his current wife while pretending to be Robert Gallo at a conference sign-in table. (Oncogenes, Aneuploidy, and AIDS. A Scientific (sic) Life and Times of Peter H. Duesberg, Harvey Bialy, The Institute of Biotechnology of the Autonomous National University of Mexico Press, 2004, pp. 1801.)

We have to say here that we believe that a lack of a sense of humor is one failing that seems to go with the kind of scientific gangsterism perpetrated on Duesberg over the last twenty three years, and we believe that it is a completely reliable indicator of a wit which is either dim by nature or rendered slow by the necessity of keeping pretenses alive.

A welcome character assassination

The full title of this self-defeating document is Malignant Narcissism in the Cancer Lab: Duesberg’s AIDS Denialism Is Driven by Ego Inflamed by Professional Failures”. Unfortunately, it is posted only as a PDF, and therefore may be viewed by fewer passers by than it deserves.

However, it is at the top of AIDSTruth‘s offerings of “Scientific Evidence that HIV Causes AIDS” at the moment, on its front page, so critics of the paradigm are busily publicizing it as far and wide as they can, for rarely in the history of scientific discussion has there appeared such a self incriminating document.

Here are a few random examples of its occupation of moral and social high ground when lambasting the dastardly Duesberg:

What drives Peter Duesberg to act with such professional recklessness and social irresponsibility? His fellow denialists regard Duesberg as a hero who has used his scientific training bravely to combat an oppressive “scientific establishment.” With little or no knowledge of Duesberg’s personality, character and history,2 they liken him to Galileo Galilei; they compare Duesberg’s struggles with “the scientific establishment” to Galileo’s early 17th century challenge to Rome’s dominance in astronomy and philosophy. But, as Bob Park has noted,3 “to wear the mantel ((sic – NAR Ed.)) of Galileo, you must first be right.”4 And Duesberg is woefully wrong on the science of HIV/AIDS. Furthermore, Galileo’s motivations were honorable, a defense of scientific thought against the reactionary forces of religion. In marked contrast, Duesberg’s motives, as many senior scientists of his generation can attest, are questionable at best: his is driven not by science but by an insatiable ego.

One of the most evocative descriptions we have heard of Duesberg is that he is a “malignant narcissist,” a man who cannot tolerate the greater career success of his peers. It should be recalled that Duesberg had seriously damaged—and arguably destroyed—his own potentially world-class scientific career some years before AIDS first came to the attention of the public. He did this by attacking, with no justification, the work of scientists of the caliber of Harold Varmus, Michael Bishop,5 and others whose work on viral oncogenes and cancer was later recognized with the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1989. Dissatisfied with his own progress and the resulting relatively meager recognition of his work, Duesberg resented these increasingly renowned scientists and criticized them privately and, later, publicly….

When it became clear that Robert Gallo had made major scientific breakthroughs in the early years of AIDS research, Duesberg’s ego was inflamed again. He was unable to tolerate the success and public recognition of another member of his scientific generation of virologists.14 So he attacked, again aiming to belittle and criticize a former colleague whose research was receiving vastly more public and professional attention than his own. Duesberg’s aggressive actions were not really about the science of HIV and AIDS; they were merely packaged as such. In reality, they were personal attacks on Bob Gallo’s leading role in this new field, attacks born of a jealous rage,15 just as his criticism of Varmus, Bishop and others had been only a few years earlier.

And so on and so on, with a few specific allegations that Duesberg made scientific errors in his critiques that are quite wrong, and which we will deal with later once Tara’s frog is out of the way.

The inner wound of paradigm protectors

But any reader can pick up on the attitude with which this grubby document is imbued. The author clearly intends to savage Duesberg with every weapon at hand including the kitchen sink. Whence this animosity, one wonders? The only plausible motivation we can imagine is that Duesberg’s spoiler effect is touching on the universal inner flaw of defenders of the HIV=AIDS faith, who are often – as in the case of Martin Delaney, whom we originally suspected was the author of this thesis – surviving financially only courtesy of the drug companies involved in this field.

ragemask.jpegThis inner wound, which when touched upon continually by the endlessly penetrating Duesberg results in cries of hurt rage, is the inner conflict felt consciously or unconciously by those who know very well, whether they admit it or not to themselves, that they have sold out, intellectually speaking, and that they hear an inner voice that tells them, “Hello, Mr Hyde!” Given the price of admitting that they are wrong and have sold out their own honor and intelligence, and the health and lives of those that listen to them, it is not surprising that desperate, vindictive and wholesale efforts to silence Duesberg result.

Here we should mention once again the behind the scenes activity conducted by John Moore, Nancy Padian, Mark Wainberg and presumably others to try to pry loose from their jobs and positions in the academic world anyone who seriously opposes them, efforts which have been proudly claimed by two of these miscreants in a recent article posted on the web site of a Canadian newspaper, and covered here in a previous post.

Thank you Dr Moore

moore.jpgThe seven page paper is unsigned, so for the moment John Moore himself must take all the credit for it (presumably it is not by one of Dr. Moore’s macaques, despite its bad manners). We guess it is by him, since the language matches phrases like “jealous rage” in Moore’s review on AIDSTruth of Duesberg’s book, Inventing the AIDS Virus, and Moore’s review of Bialy’s book on Amazon. Also, we have already detected in Moore the tortured psyche referred to above, which leads him to castigate “denialists” in public while supporting their conclusions quietly in papers read only by insiders (see earlier posts).

If not Moore, then Martin Delaney, with editing by Moore. Delaney is a gay activist who runs Project Inform whose drug company financed defense of the paradigm and of Dr Bob Gallo knows no bounds, and who is known for his similar smear attack on Celia Farber in a letter to the Observer, and several earlier attacks on Duesberg.delaney.jpeg However, since Delaney harps on homophobia as his favorite theme in his political onslaughts, it seems clear that this is by Moore, apparently too sensible, in the end, to take direct credit for such slander. But we have no data yet other than language and style pointers.

We at NAR congratulate Dr Moore for his signal contribution to the crumbling of his favorite paradigm, on behalf of which the AIDSTruth site and its exclusively non peer reviewed documents in support of HIV=AIDS form the most obvious reason for doubting the belief.

For it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to ask, if the HIV=AIDS paradigm is unquestionably the best way of accounting for the variety of illnesses in the world that are now gathered under the AIDS umbrella, and the critics so abysmally wrong in rejecting it, and their leader and scientific guiding light motivated only by love of himself and envious hatred of John Moore and others who cling to the paradigm as if it was a lifebelt, why the need for ad hominem attacks?

Surely the “Scientific Evidence that HIV Causes AIDS” would be enough to speak for itself, and thoroughly crush any opposition? Any convincing accumulation of evidence would allow defenders of the paradigm such as John Moore and his scientific and gay activist colleagues on AIDSTruth to behave with complete assurance. The evidence would be genuinely “overwhelming”, and allow them to confidently face and overcome copious objections even from Peter Duesberg.

Clever though he may be, Duesberg would be defeated intellectually, regardless of the renowned quality of his treatises on the topic, carried in peer reviewed journals from 1987 to as recently as 2003. Not to mention his enduring lab science, which even though conducted under humiliating financial handicaps, stemming from the unwillingness of his peers to shoot themselves in the feet by allowing him NIH funding, has resulted lately in a promising new path in cancer research already adopted by some of his peers.

This line must be as promising as we believe it is, since it has been taken up by other elite researchers, who are so keen on it that they appear to be trying to take it over, and credit themselves for the breakthrough.

Moore’s big giveaway

moore.jpegBut one thing is certain. If the paradigm claimants had a solid case, there would be no need for scurrilous ad hominem attacks, so intellectually crude and emotionally primitive that they will be an embarrassment to Weill Cornell and a giveaway sign of the bankruptcy of the paradigm for years to come.

But this self-confidence, it is clear from AIDSTruth, is completely lacking. There is no other site we know of now or in the recent past which so dwells on ad hominem counter attacks on intellectual critics of a paradigm. And now we have the “Malignant Narcissist” paper.

Long may it be up on AIDSTruth, so that the world can take note. Actually, given that Google has eternal cache memory, the Internet never forgets. So even if Moore comes to his senses and takes this self incriminating document down, it is likely to be around forever.

We congratulate him on his achievement. Perhaps it will find a place on his Cornell Honors and Awards page, which is so far empty.

Here is the complete text for reference, just in case Moore takes it off his site (he has already removed some material, we have been told). Mistatements and errors including ones of spelling and grammar are highlighted by us in bold, and misrepresented and misunderstood facts in italics. We have no good information on Duesberg’s dealings with the companies mentioned in the long tilt against his business integrity, which seems to be sourced entirely from the Internet, but we know Duesberg well enough to be quite sure he has never misled anyone in this realm, as he has not in science:

Malignant Narcissism in the Cancer Lab:
Duesberg’s AIDS Denialism Is Driven by Ego Inflamed by Professional Failures

Peter Duesberg, a professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, is widely regarded as the founder and core proponent of HIV denialism. When other scientists and clinicians who were initially cautious about accepting early reports that HIV exists and is the primary and necessary cause of AIDS were persuaded by the mounting evidence, Duesberg dug in, insisting without data that HIV is a harmless passenger virus. He attributed the explosive epidemic of compromised immune systems and AIDS-related illnesses and deaths in widely disparate populations with nothing in common but the virus—gay men, hemophiliacs, injection drug uses, surgical patients who received transfused blood, infants born to women with HIV, health care workers stuck by needles, heterosexually active South Africans—to a variety of other discrete causes. Duesberg was the first to make many erroneous assertions that have been repeatedly debunked and yet are persistently reiterated, without evidence or reason, by other denialists.1

Because Duesberg is associated with a great university and has worked with viruses, the disinformation he has spread has carried greater weight than that of other HIV denialists, many of whom are associated with other pseudoscientific beliefs (creationism, alien abduction, vaccination as the cause of autism, etc.). Duesberg’s institutional authority and persistence have resulted in countless deaths of HIV-positive people from AIDS—those who believed his claim that their health would not be impaired by their HIV infection, and those who were denied access to treatment when their government (as in South Africa) or their parents (as in California) were influenced by him. Yet denialists portray Duesberg himself as a victim whose professional career has suffered because he maintains his position against the “AIDS establishment”— he refuses to admit that he is dead wrong.

What drives Peter Duesberg to act with such professional recklessness and social irresponsibility? His fellow denialists regard Duesberg as a hero who has used his scientific training bravely to combat an oppressive “scientific establishment.” With little or no knowledge of Duesberg’s personality, character and history,2 they liken him to Galileo Galilei; they compare Duesberg’s struggles with “the scientific establishment” to Galileo’s early 17th century challenge to Rome’s dominance in astronomy and philosophy. But, as Bob Park has noted,3 “to wear the mantel of Galileo, you must first be right.”4 And Duesberg is woefully wrong on the science of HIV/AIDS. Furthermore, Galileo’s motivations were honorable, a defense of scientific thought against the reactionary forces of religion. In marked contrast, Duesberg’s motives, as many senior scientists of his generation can attest, are questionable at best: his is driven not by science but by an insatiable ego.

One of the most evocative descriptions we have heard of Duesberg is that he is a “malignant narcissist,” a man who cannot tolerate the greater career success of his peers. It should be recalled that Duesberg had seriously damaged—and arguably destroyed—his own potentially world-class scientific career some years before AIDS first came to the attention of the public. He did this by attacking, with no justification, the work of scientists of the caliber of Harold Varmus, Michael Bishop,5 and others whose work on viral oncogenes and cancer was later recognized with the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1989. Dissatisfied with his own progress and the resulting relatively meager recognition of his work, Duesberg resented these increasingly renowned scientists and criticized them privately and, later, publicly.

Duesberg’s Cancer Research Is Ignored

The trajectory of this ego-driven criticism may be traced in the scientific literature and peripheral documents. Once exemplified by tedious, behind-the-scenes quibbling about the nomenclature of oncogenes (see, for example, this self-indulgent letter in the Harold Varmus collections: PDF 6), Duesberg’s private arguments and frustration soon spilled over into the public arena. During the mid-1980s, Duesberg’s published reviews on oncogenes and their role in cancer became increasingly shrill. At first, his criticisms were posed as simple questions. “Retroviral transforming genes in normal cells?”7 was the title of a 1983 review. Quickly, the questions became loaded and increasingly insistent: “Are activated protoonc genes cancer genes?”8 and “Activated proto-onc genes: sufficient or necessary for cancer?”9 By 1987, we observe in his titles the Duesbergian denouement: absolute certainty, the pronouncement ex cathedra, the statement of belief as (untested) “fact”: “Cancer genes generated by rare chromosomal rearrangements rather than activation of oncogenes;”10 “Latent cellular oncogenes: the paradox dissolves;”11 and “Cancer genes: rare recombinants instead of activated oncogenes (a review).”12

Even assuming, generously, that Duesberg had any valid scientific points at the outset of his descent into dissent for dissent’s sake, he tossed them aside to make way for empty rhetoric and overblown claims. Dismissing the progress of decades as worthless, Duesberg decided on his own, against the published evidence, that oncogenes and mutations had no role in cancer whatsoever.13 Because he was both transparently wrong and immoderate in making his claims, Duesberg burnt many bridges to the scientific community at that time. He was, accordingly, already regarded as a controversial figure, and worse, when people began dying from AIDS and research into the cause of the destruction of the immune system began.

Duesberg’s HIV Denialism: Egotism without Expertise

When it became clear that Robert Gallo had made major scientific breakthroughs in the early years of AIDS research, Duesberg’s ego was inflamed again. He was unable to tolerate the success and public recognition of another member of his scientific generation of virologists.14 So he attacked, again aiming to belittle and criticize a former colleague whose research was receiving vastly more public and professional attention than his own. Duesberg’s aggressive actions were not really about the science of HIV and AIDS; they were merely packaged as such. In reality, they were personal attacks on Bob Gallo’s leading role in this new field, attacks born of a jealous rage,15 just as his criticism of Varmus, Bishop and others had been only a few years earlier. In 1993, “Duesberg charged that the authors of a study in Nature showing that only HIV positive drug users developed AIDS had fabricated data; the charge was found to be groundless by an independent panel at the University of California, Berkeley.”16 One of the authors of the Nature paper, Warren Winkelstein, describes the bizarre behavior of Peter Duesberg in a published interview in the Online Archive of California: Supreme).17 Rather, Duesberg exploited his membership in the National Academy of Sciences by publishing several rambling reviews on HIV. His arguments were based on misunderstandings and misreadings—perhaps intentional—of the existing literature. The scientific community roundly rejected his half-baked ideas, and, as years passed, Duesberg was forced to stoop to second-tier, then third-tier journals and worse to find an audience. Sadly, some of his readers were not trained in science, and many of those fooled by Duesberg’s sophistry were the very individuals who stood to lose the most from believing him. For a few examples, see Consequencesand Bialy Quotes and Bialy), had joined Insight Medical Group’s medical advisory board for the cancer test, now renamed “Anucyte.” Bialy is the author of a hagiographic biography of Duesberg and was “retired” earlier this year from his last academic affiliation at UNAM in Mexico.

Another recent addition to Modern Technology Corp’s cadre of experts is an eye doctor named Marc Rose, who expanded his interests from sight preservation to male menopause, anti-aging and “life extension.” He is active with the Cancer Control Society, which among other things organizes bus tours of Tijuana cancer clinics that sell laetrile and other unproven nostrums to desperate people. Rose will bring this expertise to the further development and marketing of the Anucyte test.

The CEO of Modern Technology Corp, Anthony Welch, says he studied Electrical Engineering for 2 years (1986-88: he does not claim that a degree was awarded) at the University of Mississippi, and now claims to be a law student at Concord School of Law. (Concord School of Law is an on-line school that does not accept students without degrees.) Despite extraordinary financial losses, deep corporate debt, consistent failures to earn promised revenue, and many complaints to the SEC from angry investors, Welch has been paying himself a very hefty salary—almost $300,000 for the 2006 fiscal year. His CFO, Robert Church, resigned from the company June 2006, reportedly because financial statements required by the SEC were always late. Welch reportedly took over these duties himself.

Insight Medical Group promised “to provide ongoing financial support to Peter Duesberg’s lab … [which] …agrees to work closely with Insight Medical Group to improve products and technology”21 That is to say, Duesberg is a principal of a subsidiary that has as its sole asset an offshore lab (which may or may not exist) for a cancer diagnosis technology that has not been clinically tested or approved by the FDA or any other objective institution. The CEO is regarded by investors as unreliable; the company is, at best, poorly managed. Perhaps Duesberg, Bialy, Rasnick and Welch thought that Duesberg’s article about his aneuploidy theory in Scientific American in May, 2007, would at least temporarily inflate the value of the stock of the company, which they could then dump (see this critique: Critique of Duesberg’s article). But the SciAm article has not helped Modern Technology Corp’s stock price at all: it’s down to $.004—that’s less than half a cent—a share from about $1.50 a share two years ago. (In fact, the loss is much greater when a “reverse split” is calculated in.)

In early August, 2007, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC) revoked the corporate charter for Modern Technology Corp, and the company’s right to transact business has been forfeited. It seems the intellectual property of the super-duper cancer detector had already been returned to Duesberg and Rasnick in the wake of the stock’s death spiral—the half million in stock they got is now barely worth pennies on the dollar and they must have felt humiliated, cheated, and angry. Modern Technology Corp, however, retains the marketing and distribution rights, leading to new alliances with the immortality gurus at the “Life Extension Foundation.” (“The Foundation’s objective is to develop methods to enable people to live in health, youth and vigor for unlimited periods of time.”22) The company has also scheduled a presentation of the AnuCyte cancer test at the quackery conference of the “Cancer Control Society” in September 2007.23

Given Duesberg’s malignant narcissism and his history of lashing out when he is professionally humiliated, the pathetic failure of his foray into entrepreneurship with AnuCyte and the product’s current association with most abased forms of pseudoscience—eternal life, magical cancer cures—may well provoke another wave of scientist bashing from HIV denialism’s most prominent proponent. We’ll be watching for it.

For example, Duesberg stated that HIV could not be the cause of AIDS because it does not fulfill Koch’s postulates, a 19th century 4-part test for establishing causality. HIV does fulfill Koch’s postulates (see Tim Teeter’s “HIV Causes AIDS: Proof Derived from Koch’s Postulates” at The Body). Nevertheless, denialists have robotically claimed that it does not since Duesberg’s 1988 article “HIV is not the cause of AIDS” (Science 241:514-516).

2 Duesberg’s biographer, Harvey Bialy, constitutes a possible rare exception. Most of Duesberg’s “allies” do not know him at all, much less so than the reputable scientists with whom he worked for many years and who are now some of his most authoritative critics.

3 See here

4 This tactic is known as the “Galileo Gambit”
(Orac) so often employed by pseudoscientists of all stripes; see also this satire at AIDS Truth – How to Be A Crank.)

5 The contempt in which Duesberg and his allies hold these highly-respected individuals is evidenced in Harvey Bialy’s biography of Duesberg, where Michael Bishop is faulted, among other things, for having an “Anglican priest” as a father. (Oncogenes, Aneuploidy, and AIDS. A Scientific (sic) Life and Times of Peter H. Duesberg, Harvey Bialy, The Institute of Biotechnology of the Autonomous National University of Mexico Press, 2004, p. 10.)

6 Here, Duesberg argues testily and at length about nomenclature, declaring that he does
not, and will never, use the terms proposed by Varmus and colleagues. Later, Duesberg
himself both accepted and employed the apparently objectionable formulations.

7 Nature. 1983 Jul 21-27;304(5923):219-26

8 Haematol Blood Transfus. 1985;29:9-27

9 Science. 1985 May 10;228(4700):669-77

10 This title appeared both in: Haematol Blood Transfus. 1987;31:496-510’ and in: Med
Oncol Tumor Pharmacother. 1987;4(3-4):163-75

11 J Cell Sci Suppl. 1987;7:169-87

12 Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1987 Apr;84(8):2117-24

13 The association of cancer with aneuploidy has been recognized since the dawn of modern cancer research a century ago. Duesberg is not the first, nor remotely the most important, contributor to knowledge on this front. Duesberg has distinguished himself, instead, by his curiously unswerving—and, many would argue, unscientific—insistence that aneuploidy is the be-all and end-all of cancer, to the exclusion of all other factors. See an Internet critique of Duesberg’s views on cancer, including a reference to a related biotechnology company in which Duesberg and his close friends now have a financial interest
(Insolence blog).

14 Reportedly, Duesberg’s envy of Gallo even prompted him to impersonate his perceived rival. According to Harvey Bialy, Duesberg first met his current wife while pretending to be Robert Gallo at a conference sign-in table. (Oncogenes, Aneuploidy, and AIDS. A Scientific (sic) Life and Times of Peter H. Duesberg, Harvey Bialy, The Institute of Biotechnology of the Autonomous National University of Mexico Press, 2004, pp. 1801.)

15 Duesberg admits as much in a statement recorded by his close friend and biographer Harvey Bialy: “It was largely a personal matter. I could not refrain from looking hard at any hypothesis Bob [Gallo] was behind” (ibid, p. 61).

16 pdf here at Science

17 From Judge Sulan’s verdict. What the Judge says about Turner and Papadopoulos-Eliopoulos would apply equally accurately to Duesberg, as he too has performed no experimental research on HIV/AIDS. Another significant feature of the evidence presented by the appellant’s witnesses was their failure to provide an alternative theory to explain the observations that led to the discovery of HIV/AIDS. Rather, their evidence sought to demonstrate that the HIV had not been proven to exist by critiquing the work of others. As such, the appellant’s witnesses did not criticize the conduct of HIV research on the basis that it conflicted with their own research, experiences or observations. Instead, their evidence was in the form of a critique, in which they identified perceived flaws in the scientific process and research findings that had led the mainstream scientific community to accept the existence of HIV.

18 >a href=”http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/03/12/070312fa_fact_specter “>Specter

19 For background to MODC by technology writer Julie Jacobson, see Cepro.

20 Insight Medical group

21 Prime Newswire

22 Modern technology

23 here; see also Cancer Conrol Society

3 Responses to “Moore takes the lid off”

  1. hhbauer Says:

    You are right (of course, and as usual): the “Malignant narcissism” piece is self-incriminating. Unfortunately the HIV/AIDS groupies don’t understand that, just as their lack of any sense of humor renders them incapable of seeing that Duesberg’s introduction of himself as Gallo couldn’t possibly have been intended as actual impersonation.
    That the “Malignant narcissism” piece is unsigned carries several obvious inferences–among them, cowardice–that you omitted to note.
    In considering possible authors, you should not overlook the Johns-Hopkins graduate-student Kenneth Witwer, who spends an inordinate amount of time on attempted character assassinations, as in his screed denouncing Rebecca Culshaw’s fine book, or his protest to a radio station that carried an interview with me, or his wading through my memoirs to emerge triumphant with an unsustainable charge of homophobia.
    In respect to Witwer’s attack on Culshaw, I had sent to Hank’s “You bet your life” the following piece, after comments there had closed (and Hank preferred not to give Witwer unwarranted exposure). Perhaps my comments are not out of place here:

    The anti-Culshaw rantings by grad student Ken Witwer reminded me of the first controversy over scientific matters that I studied, the Velikovsky Affair. In “Beyond Velikovsky”, Chapter 14 (“Means of Persuasion”) identifies the same rhetorical fudging that Witwer indulges in. I was sickened–literally, I am not ashamed to admit–as well as saddened to see Witwer list as “falsehoods” statements that demonstrably reflect what is in mainstream sources. Every one of the 12 items under “Mathematics, Statistics, and Epidemiology of HIV” faithfully describes what has been published in CDC reports and leading journals of medical science. Specific sources for most of these statements are in the articles I posted many months ago at http://hivnotaids.homestead.com and which Culshaw cites. Even more cited support for the accuracy of those statements is in my forthcoming book, “The Origin, Persistence, and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory”.
    Those 12 items are:

    1. The number of HIV infections in the United States has remained constant since 1985
    2. The latest CDC report estimates one million HIV infections in the United States
    3. HIV never spread exponentially
    4. HIV does not spread like an infectious agent
    5. HIV does not follow “Farr’s law”
    6. If HIV does not follow Farr’s law, it is not infectious
    7. HIV prevalence and AIDS incidence never match, so HIV cannot cause AIDS
    8. Only half of early AIDS patients had HIV
    9. Transmission rates are not high enough to support an epidemic, as proven by the “mainstream literature”
    10. There is no “solid evidence” that HIV is transmitted sexually
    11. There is no “solid evidence” that HIV can be transmitted by blood
    12. Perinatal transmission is the most efficient means of HIV transmission

    Even more disgusting than Witwer’s “review” of Culshaw’s excellent book is another “new” item on the same “AIDStruthiness” website, namely, an ANONYMOUS allegation of 7 instances of plagiarism. None of those actually constitutes plagiarism (my judgment on that stems from the ample opportunities I had as a Dean of Arts & Sciences, and as a member of several faculty committees, to adjudicate claims such as those made by ANON).

    The intent to hurt, to destroy the person one disagrees with, is plainly enough shown in this ANON. piece by the prefatory quote from the Handbook of the institution that is fortunate enough to have on its faculty, a young mathematician with the integrity, insight, and courage that Dr. Culshaw has shown repeatedly. This anonymous piece of ad hominem reveals the frantic rage of a person who cannot bear the thought that his beliefs might prove unfounded, and who therefore thinks it worth spending time to dig out things like that Handbook as a hoped-for basis for his allegations. If ANON plans on a career in science, he had better get used to having his beliefs proved wrong, because science progresses by continually superseding what we thought to be the case.

    As to the state of Witwer’s emotions–presuming for the moment that he is a different person than ANON–one need only read his claim of not attacking Culshaw personally when, in the same paragraph, he does so in several ways.

    It is surely past time that people like Witwer submitted their writings for publication in some print medium, where disinterested parties might come across them and would have the opportunity to judge them. It is also a sad commentary on Moore, Gallo, et al., that they encourage rather than discourage such behavior on the part of a graduate student. After all, it is the responsibility of established scientists to teach–preferably by example as well as dictum–the civility and careful citing of sources that used to be regarded as almost achievable norms in professional disputes. It used to be the case, too, that we urged our graduate students to stick to their lasts, get their research done, graduate, and find a job, not waste their time blogging on amazon.com or on truthiness sites.

  2. yello Says:

    Mr. Bauer Sir.

    As a layman, I applaud your post and the last paragraph in particular.

  3. Truthseeker Says:

    I was sickened–literally, I am not ashamed to admit–as well as saddened to see Witwer list as “falsehoods” statements that demonstrably reflect what is in mainstream sources.

    Henry, we empathize. Your comment is useful for one thing because it reminds us all of basic truths which become clouded simply because when you kick these skunks they emit such a stink that it achieves what they intend – we cannot contemplate their sins with any focus any more.

    Also, point two, it makes us realize that if you as a decent person and sincere academic who has spent much of his time assessing claims without bias are sickened by what you have to deal with in contemplating the appalling output of Moore’s minions, this is something which they actually aim for and take satisfaction from. Write that you are sickened and they will chortle with satisfaction. They have stuck a spanner in the spokes of your principles and for a moment you cannot face dealing with them except at the end of a very long pair of tongs.

    My proof that it is intentional and knowing, this production of disgust, is the delight that the author takes (all signs are that it is John P. “Why haven’t they given me any honors and awards yet?” Moore himself in this case of the Duesberg attack) in learning the “evocative” phrase “malignant narcissism”. Anyone who has dealt with the immovably narcissistic personality knows one of the chief characteristics of the type is that if you accuse him/her of X, they will immediately counter without even trying to make a defense of the charge by counteraccusing the accuser of X.

    This has the comic effect (for those interested in the philosophical plane of action as you are, and so are we) of narcissists when not yet found out and labeled as such accusing others of narcissism before they can be accused of narcissism.

    With Moore et al, we see this hall of mirrors in action in many aspects of the “debate”. To see it happen in such explicit form – Moore the malignant narcissist malignantly and narcissistically accusing the utterly, self sacrificially principled and public spirited Peter Duesberg of Berkeley of malignant narcissism would be a nice irony if it wasn’t so revolting in morally degraded impulse.

    Moore happily describes the phrase as “one of the most evocative descriptions we have heard of Duesberg”, little understanding that sophisticated analysts of what is going on see him describing himself with evocative accuracy. Perhaps we should add “malignant narcissism” to our list of human impulses which distort science.

    No sooner said than done!

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