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

(Click for more Unusual Quotations on Science and Belief)

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Naive SA Minister sacked

Mbeki gives mainstream yapper the royal boot

AIDS activists scream, but evidently Mbeki not one of them yet

mbeki1.jpgWell, well, well. It turns out that Thabo Mbeki, the intellectually energetic leader of South Africa who has tried to maintain his independence and objectivity in AIDS in the face of the global propaganda tsunami, has not given up his fight for clarity in the matter of AIDS policy.

The annoying deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, whose uncritical promotion of standard dogma in HIV∫AIDS smacked of nothing but the worst kind of goody-goody opportunism, has finally been fired.

Her uncritical swallowing of the Washington-media-activist-drug company line that drugs will cure “AIDS” in South Africa the modern way, and that old fashioned, low tech nourishing food, especially certain nutrient bearing vegetables, is merely a secondary line of defense in fighting the impact of filth, disease and starvation on the weak immune systems of the poor, seems finally to have proved too irritating to the only world leader who seems capable of looking into the question for himself.

idiot.jpgSo Mbeki, who has adopted a policy of allowing drugs to reach the so-called “AIDS” victims of Suth Africa in expanding quantities in recent years, even though we suspect he would rather not until the Western medical community publicly sorts out the science and its dissent, finally freed himself of this yapping terrier with its teeth clamped on his trouser cuff.

As the sole political leader in the world who has been sophisticated enough to perceive that top scientists may mislead policy makers, not to mention themselves, we hope that Mbeki continues to struggle for rational reassessment in this arena, and uses what leeway he has to get rid of those who can’t or won’t think critically about this vital topic.

aids-highway2.gifEven if he is forced like other African leaders to accept that the “AIDS” label is the quickest way to win foreign aid for building up his health infrastructure, there is no need to sell out completely to a paradigm fueled by every motive except scientific objectivity, despite the constant media and activist barrage he is subjected to, such as this dimwittedly presumptuous cartoon (above left, click to resize).

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 10 (AFP)
Sacked S. African minister hints at plot to remove her

South Africa’s sacked deputy health minister, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, suggested Friday that her immediate boss had set her up for dismissal.

Madlala-Routledge, who had questioned the government’s health policy, was axed by President Thabo Mbeki on Wednesday for undertaking an “unauthorized” trip to an AIDS conference in Madrid.

In a radio interview on Friday, she pointed a finger of blame at her former boss, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, with whom she had differences of opinion over policy.

“I will say that when I spoke in the National Council of Provinces two years ago…the minister of health had said to me…’I’ll fix you’ and maybe she has fixed me,” Madlala-Routledge said.

Tshabalala-Msimang has been a target of criticism both at home and abroad over her approach to AIDS, earning the sobriquet “Dr Beetroot” for touting the use of vegetables to help combat the disease.

The minister is seen as very close to Mbeki, who attracted flak some years ago for questioning the link between HIV and AIDS.

Madlala-Routledge is believed to have incurred the president’s wrath when she recently exposed abysmal health facilities at a government hospital in relatively underdeveloped Eastern Cape province.

In her radio interview, she said she had not sought to slight Mbeki by taking the trip to the conference Spain.

“I acted in good faith in the belief that our president had approved the trip,” she said. “I was just doing my job.”

Madlala-Routledge’s sacking has been condemned by opposition parties and AIDS lobby groups, but Mbeki spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga said the president was not bound to explain her dismissal.

“It is a world-wide convention that heads of states do not give reasons for appointments and dismissals,” Ratshitanga told AFP Friday.

“This has nothing to do with democracy at all. He is not obliged to explain his action over this matter,” he said.

Some 5.41 million South Africans are estimated to be HIV-positive, including 257,000 children under the age of 14.

The action points up the irony that the only influential political leader in the world prepared to take on the inconsistencies and incredibilities of the world HIV∫AIDS paradigm is African, when all his peers on the continent, like their Western counterparts in science and media, are only too glad to feed at the trough and wear blinkers to prevent themselves seeing any signs that something is wrong, even as the scientific and popular literature indicating this accumulates to unprecedented proportions.

Meanwhile, the HIV∫AIDS meme continues to spread fantasy, violence and death in his country, as the following report notes at the end if our interpretation is correct:

South African AIDS activists outraged over axing of deputy health minister:

South African AIDS activists outraged over axing of deputy health minister
The Associated Press
Published: August 9, 2007

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa: South Africa’s deputy health minister, one of its most respected women politicians, lost her job on the eve of the nation’s Women’s Day.

Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge was credited with revamping a beleaguered campaign against AIDS, earning the respect of AIDS activists who had blasted her boss, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, for her promotion of garlic and lemons as a remedy of AIDS and her open mistrust of antiretroviral medicines. President Thabo Mbeki fired Madlala-Routledge late Wednesday following reports that she had gone to Spain to attend an AIDS conference without his permission.

Madlala-Routledge’s aides told a newspaper earlier this week that there had been a mix up in dates and she had already arrived in Spain by the time she received word from the president she should not go. Since then she has made no comment, but AIDS activists said Thursday she would address a press conference Friday.

A two-paragraph statement from the presidency, released just before midnight, gave no reason for the dismissal.

Opposition parties and AIDS activists reacted to the dismissal with shock and outrage Thursday.
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“This is a dreadful error of judgment that will harm public health care and especially the response to the HIV epidemic,” the Treatment Action Campaign said in a statement. “It indicates that the President still remains opposed to the science of HIV and to appropriately responding to the epidemic.”

Patricia De Lille, leader of the small Independent Democrats party, noted the dismissal came “just hours before the dawn of our 13th Women’s Day,” calling it “an insult to every single South African woman who has the courage to stand up for the truth.”

Mbeki — whose own record fighting has been criticized by AIDS activist — is a staunch ally of Health Minister Tshabalala-Msimang.

Tshabalala-Msimang was ill for nine months and has only recently resumed her duties. During the health minister’s illness, Madlala-Routledge mended fences with the activists in the Treatment Action Campaign and the mainstream medical community and was one of the driving forces behind a new five year plan which has made reducing the number of new HIV infections one of its main targets, and aims to extend treatment to 80 percent of those with AIDS by 2011.

Doctors, trade unionists and international organizations like UNAIDS celebrated that South Africa had finally emerged from an era of mistrust and confusion over AIDS.

But when Tshabalala-Msimang returned to work in June after a liver transplant, her first public gesture was to snub South Africa’s national AIDS conference on the grounds that her deputy had been given a more prominent speaking role than her.

“If full control of the AIDS program is now back in the hands of health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, we can expect an end to the optimism and vision of recent months, and a progressive new approach, and a return to the dark ages of denialism,” said Mike Waters, health spokesman for the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance.

Madlala-Routledge and Tshabalala-Msimang are among several women prominent in South African politics. Mbeki was hailed when he appointed Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as deputy president and the country has a number of women at the helm of key ministries, such as foreign affairs.

The South African parliament also has the highest proportion of women legislators in Africa due to the ruling ANC’s policy that 33 percent of its members should be women.

But despite the gains made to improve conditions for women in the last decade, millions are still battling poverty, discrimination and abuse.

About 75 percent of African women under 30 are jobless while in 2002 women held only 14 percent of positions at top management level, with black women holding only 2 percent of these positions.

Women also suffer the most from the HIV/AIDS pandemic and bear the brunt of the country’s high rate of murder and rape with a staggering 52,617 women raped in the last year.

The recent murders of three lesbians showed that South Africa was celebrating National Women’s Day in a climate of violent homophobia and sexism, the New York-based Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

Last month the bodies of Sizakele Sigasa and Salome Masooa, were found with fatal bullet wounds in a field in Soweto. Sigasa had been an activist for the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people’s rights.

While police have refused to speculate on the motive for the murders it is feared that the two women were the latest in the growing number of lesbians killed for their sexual orientation.

“Despite legal commitments to equality for all, lesbians in South African townships are still targeted for rape and murder,” Jessica Stern, researcher with the Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

The South African government will look more closely at crimes against women, Mbeki said at a Women’s Day event Thursday, the South African Press Association reported. Mbeki said nothing about Madlala-Routledge’s dismissal.

4 Responses to “Naive SA Minister sacked”

  1. hhbauer Says:

    Re Africa: A court just ordered go-ahead for a trial of NEVIRAPINE in pregnant women:
    http://allafrica.com/stories/200708100565.html?viewall=1
    South Africa’s Medicines Control Council had initially refused to permit the trial because it “rejected the findings of the HIVNet012 study conducted in Uganda”
    I thought that HIVNet012 had been thoroughly discredited, given that Jonathan Fishbein won his legal battle? And what about Farber’s article in Harper’s?

  2. Truthseeker Says:

    Thanks Henry you have prompted a post, next one.

    It is a disgrace.

  3. MartinDKessler Says:

    The New York Times (in its now reduced size) printed an editorial comment on the sacking today (Aug 14, 2007). It’s not very noteworthy that the editorial trashed the “denialists” referring to their “crackpot theories” and praising the efforts of Rougledge to end the scourge of AIDS.

  4. Truthseeker Says:

    You anticipated our post, except we wonder if you have rushed to put your head in the noose, or do we have to do it?

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