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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Neville Hodgkinson gives global HIV?AIDS the business


Why they are cutting up red ribbons in India

Have a look at The circular reasoning scandal of HIV testing by Neville Hodgkinson for a realistic view of the world HIV?AIDS scene before it is obscured by the gassy cloud of rhetorical smoke and statistical mirrors about to emerge from the UN government meet on “AIDS After 25 Years” at the cusp of June (May 31 Wed to June 2 Fri).

While the paradigm purveyors hope that India and China will provide a gigantic expansion of the market for the ideas and the drugs that go along with them, it seems that in fact there is a possibility that India and perhaps even China will join the “denialist” South Africa in picking up the idea with extremely long tongs.

It is not impossible that Indian scientists may actually compared the scientific literature with the claims being pushed on them by Bill Gates and Richard Holbrooke, claims for a paradigm which otherwise has long been liberated from the annoying tendency of critical skeptics – those party spoilers who are wisely shut out of most high level deliberations on the future of world disease – to fire up PubMed and see exactly what it is we should be worried about. It is the Indian National Academy of Science after all which had the independence of mind to publish Peter Duesberg’s latest broadside against the entire edifice of HIV?AIDS in 2003 (see Duesberg, P., Koehnlein, C. and Rasnick, D. (2003) The Chemical Bases of the Various AIDS Epidemics: Recreational Drugs, Anti-viral Chemotherapy and Malnutrition (J. Biosci. 28: 383-412)), which seemed to leave not a brick of this doubtful hypothesis standing. Now people counted as “HIV positive” are cutting up the red ribbon as a symbol of patronising oppression:
In India, a proposed Red Ribbon Campaign through the national rail network has been abandoned, following a national convention on HIV in Bangalore last October attended by more than 1,500 HIV-positive people where the once-fashionable symbol of Aids awareness was ceremoniously rejected. In front of television cameras, a six-foot red ribbon was cut into pieces as a protest against the “oppressive and patronising” symbol.
Perhaps this attitude will reduce one of the more factual threats of being tested “positive”, which is that panic overcomes the patient and by itself throws the body’s systems into disarray.

HIV?AIDS peddlers are finding out that India happens not to be as intellectually challenged as less developed countries or the bulk of the United States when it comes to viewing official statistics with a juandiced eye, it is clear:

That is not the view of Anju Singh, of JACKINDIA, a Delhi-based Aids policy study group. Singh, chief guest at the Bangalore convention, told The Business last week that “there are no reports – not even anecdotal ones – that reflect visible proof of an epidemic in this country.” The official estimate for HIV infections is around 5m; but a dearth of Aids cases – averaging 10,000 a year over the past 10 years – suggests that is grossly wrong.

Nor has there been any abnormal increase in death rates, even in suspected “high risk groups” such as red light areas. The Indian government does not publish data for Aids deaths; but “questions we got asked in Parliament have elicited a cumulative figure of 1,100.” When UNAIDS published a figure of 310,000 Aids deaths in India in 1999 alone, and a cumulative total of 558,000 Aids orphans, JACKINDIA challenged them publicly. In late 2001 the figures were withdrawn – but only after being used earlier that year to project the state of the epidemic in India at the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/Aids in New York.

“For years now, agencies like the CIA, World Bank, UNDP, UNAIDS, a plethora of NGOs as well as articles published in respected science journals have been talking of an exploding epidemic in India, and Africa-like conditions,” Singh said. “We have consistently challenged the agencies that claim India is underplaying figures and is in denial; none of them has been able to provide any alternative data or evidence to substantiate their claims.”

Gay men leading “fast-track” sex lives, drug addicts, blood product recipients and others whose immune systems are exposed to multiple challenges and who are at risk of Aids are much more likely to have raised levels of the antibodies looked for by the tests than healthy people – because the antigens in the tests were chosen on the basis that they react with antibodies in Aids patients. But this association does not prove the presence of a lethal new virus.

The tests do discriminate between healthy blood and the blood of patients with Aids or Aids-like conditions, because Aids patients suffer a range of active infections and other blood abnormalities, some of which are transmissible. This is why the tests are useful as a screen for the safety of blood supplies.

But to tell even one person that they are HIV-infected on the grounds that they have antibodies that react with the proteins in these tests is an unwarranted assault.

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