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)

BEST VIEWED IN LARGE FONT
Expanded GUIDE TO SITE PURPOSE AND LAYOUT is in the lower blue section at the bottom of every home page.

Resources: key reference CD to the literature of HIV?AIDS

A CD makes it easy to access the many scientific papers in AIDS which show the official story is invalid

A fundamental problem in the HIV?AIDS discussion is the fact that virtually no one reads the scientific literature properly except the few scientists and their supporters who object to the paradigm.

This will tell you something in itself, of course, if you are wondering whose view is correct.

One thing in the ongoing dispute is certain, as we never tire of repeating. It is the scientific literature in leading journals, thoroughly peer reviewed by scientists of equal stature and expertise before publication, that is the key credible, authoritative source which tells outsiders whether or not HIV is a valid candidate for causing immune dysfunction. At the present stage of the discussion, this literature concludes that it is not.

To repeat, the top, mostly severely peer-reviewed review literature in AIDS says and has said consistently for 18 years that HIV is not the cause of AIDS, and that all logic and all evidence is against it, and if any evidence or paper purports to support the theory, it does not bear inspection.

We are referring of course to the extensive and evidently unanswerable series of papers against the HIV=AIDS hypothesis by Peter Duesberg and others in the pages of such journals as Cancer Research, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Science, Nature, Lancet, Journal of AIDS, AIDS Forschung, Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapeutics, New England Journal of Medicine, Research in Immunology and Journal of Biosciences.

The people who argue most vociferously with this, the scientific literature’s HIV review and so far unrefuted conclusion that HIV is NOT the cause of immune dysfunction either do not read the review literature properly, or if they do read it they tend to notice only what they believe supports their own beliefs. In other words, they skim it with prejudice.

Of course that statement itself is merely an assertion, without credibility unless it is referenced. And to be honest we don’t have any reference for it. The study on how well people read any of the HIV critique remains to be done. We would bet that the result of such a study would be pretty dismal.

In our experience, it is a consistent characteristic of the scientists who run HIV?AIDS meetings, and who give talks and write papers along orthodox lines, and the editors of science journals who support them, that they generally have a great natural distaste for reading literature that disagrees with their basic assumption. Their claims to have read any of it usually prove hollow if challenged.

We do, however, have an anecdote. A couple of years ago we attended a conference at Rockefeller University held by the premier scientific society for immunology research. There we met the president of the society and asked him what he thought of Peter Duesberg, and the review literature Duesberg had published rejecting the theory of HIV causing AIDS.

This gentleman, a rather dapper little fellow in a well tailored Savile Row suit, seemed to find even the mention of Duesberg’s work laughable in the context of the meeting of his distinguished fellow immunologists, However, we detected that he did not claim to have read much of the review material himself, if any at all, and that his opinion was founded on the quicksand of hearsay, which he however seemed to view as solid enough on which to base his opinion, since it was after all his familiar colleagues who had transmitted it to him.

Therefore we were rather surprised to get an email from him after the conference asking us if we still thought there was something to Duesberg’s papers. We sent an email explaining that we did, and why, and attached a copy of Duesberg’s 2003 Journal of Bioscioences devastating megacritique of HIV?AIDS, which scotches every single aspect of the paradigm and every single Ptolemaic counter argument made to what is now a two decade long review.

Strangely enough, we got only one brief reply from our smartly tailored correspondent, saying that the paper had merely confirmed his conivtion that HIV caused AIDS and that he was in a rush to get to the airport and would reply at length later. He never did.

We found that reaction to Duesberg’s paper interesting because of what it revealed in his response. This was a fairly intelligent fellow who had evidently not given the paper any serious attention, otherwise he would have been forced to admit that it at the very least provided food for thought. The paper, as anyone can see who goes to 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) and reads it for him or herself, is simply not something that can be dismissed lightly, let alone be interpreted in any way as reinforcing belief in the paradigm. even if one reads it standing on one’s head.

The only way one can read it that way is not logical but psychological, of course. Just as the man in the Aesop fable pulls his coat ever more tightly around him when the wind blows as hard as it can to make him take it off, so the Duesberg critique acts like a chill wind to make any mainstream HIV/AIDS priest wrap the protective cloak of the paradigm around himself more tightly than ever.

It is therefore with optimism and pleasure but a certain disheartened cynicism that we pass along the signal news that Harvey Bialy, the expert scientific commentator on matters biological, ex-scientific founder of Nature Biotechnology and the author of the only scientifically fully informed biography of Duesberg and his work so far (Oncogenes, Aneuploidy and AIDS: The Scientific Life and Times of Peter Duesberg (North Atlantic Press 2004) has made available a remarkable CD.

The CD (or its downloadable version) consist of a watershed article written by Duesberg, As Bialy writes


In 1992, Duesberg published an extensive and updated review in Pharmacology & Therapeutics (55: 201-277) (http://duesberg.com/papers/ch62.html) of the state of HIV/AIDS research. The article is typical of Duesberg’s reasoning and contains the usual number of abundant citations.

Between 1994 and 1996, thanks to the generous financial support of Seth Ian Goldberg, MD, I was able to compile a CD that contains the complete text of this monograph, with hyperlinks to approximately 85% of the hundreds of references and all the references listed in the footnotes—and their live urls.

This is normally an impossibly weary slog, undertaken by no one at all ever, we suspect, with the possible exception of the peer reviewers who passed on the paper. Reading these references is absolutely essential, however, if anyone is to assess the validity of Duesberg’s case, since they are the bedrock foundation upon which it is built.

Now, however, by obtaining this CD anyone even halfway literate in science can quickly click to the original sources and see for him/herself exactly why Serge Lang and numerous other independent minded scientists and intellectually alert individuals credit what Duesberg writes despite the combined political weight of the monumental scientific church of HIV?AIDS, possibly the greatest post-Soviet force for repression of thought after the Vatican and Beijing.

To be frank we don’t think that any of them will find anything that contradicts Duesberg, who with his entire reputation on the line is without doubt the best read scientist in the field on the topic of whether HIV causes AIDS.

As Bialy writes, the purpose of the CD is to answer the empty calumny occasionally voiced by the mainstream defenders of the status quo in AIDS science, those that defend the claim that HIV causes AIDS despite the endless evisceration of the paradigm by Duesberg and other distinguished reviewers, that Duesberg et al are cheating by misquoting the scientific literature.

In other words, the long list of references to the papers of the mainstream scientific literature on HIV?AIDS, which Duesberg and his fellow critics are careful to use as the sources for the various details of the paradigm they condemn, which they attach to every review paper they write to back up their own assertions and demolition of the conventional wisdom, are somehow misinterpreted.

Of course, this is a very effective counter in most circumstances since, just like our friend the British president of the immunology society, virtually no one can muster the appetitite to comb through hundreds of papers on AIDS, let alone read them carefully. So as far as anyone listening to the debate is concerned, Duesberg et al are stymied, their arguments cast into sufficient doubt that no one need attend to them. Thank God.

This gamesmanship is typical of the tricky way in which Duesberg is dismissed in HIV?AIDS on every level, scientific and political, It is particularly revolting to anyone who loves good science, since the scientific literature is really the only way of knowing whether a claim is correctly and securely founded or not. Peer review of scientific claims is the gold standard of science, and deserves to be if it is done by honest and capable scientists who do a good job of assessing a paper without fear or favor.

Unfortunately is not always the case, of course. Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours is all too often the underlying impulse in peer reviewing, judging from the unsettling number of poorly designed studies and experiments and speciously argued papers that almost any good scientist can point to, papers which have survived peer review by colleagues friendly to their premises or their authors or both. As we have mentioned before Nobel prize winner Walter Gilbert told us once that he never embarked on any line of experimentation based on a published experiment by someone else without redoing it himself, since all too often it just didn’t stand up.

Duesberg’s major achievement in review is not just a still unrefuted demolition of the arguments and evidence for HIV as the cause of AIDS (his major peer-reviewed review papers are effectively unanswered by any peer-reviewed response in any of the leading journals in which he has published them) but also a remarkable exposure of the fact that so many of the papers supporting it do not stand up to unfriendly analysis. The studies which purport to establish that HIV possibly causes AIDS symptoms (none of them claim the stature of proof) are riddled with errors in design and logic.

Some might feel that this kind of problem with the literature in health and medicine, especially in epidemiology, is fairly evident even to the general newspaper reading public who can see how often this week’s study is contradicted by one a year later. But this is not proof of bad science since such inconclusiveness can stem from the nature of medical research on human beings, whose biological system, diet, environment and activity involve thousands of variables and make it impossible to control for just one. Large studies over long periods are needed to tease out firm conclusions and they are expensive and difficult to arrange.

Nor are we referring to actual fraud which occasionally makes its appearance in the annals of science and is generally deplored by all. The problem we are referring to is that of studies which are poorly designed, or which are prematurely concluded, or where the logic and the science are faulty, which is apparently a problem endemic in AIDS. We say this because we have in years past been in touch with Duesberg on the topic of one study or another in journals as respected as Science and Nature, where he is supposedly proved misguided in his objections to HIV=AIDS, only to find that he can clearly show us that the study itself is egregiously misleading because of inherent problems with its design.

Nevertheless, where necessary all such criticism other people’s papers is mentioned in his HIV?AIDS review papers, and it is not the basis of his fundamental disagreement with HIV?AIDS. Duesberg’s critique and rejection of HIV as the cause of AIDS is based on the same literature as the proponents of the still unproven theory claim supports it.

Duesberg does not reject the literature of AIDS so much as accept it and prove that it fails to support the theory.

Any decent scientist or other researcher who reads his arguments will want to see for him or herself what the original papers he references actually do say, since they are the foundation of his critique, and he claims support his arguments and not the hypothesis that HIV causes AIDS.

But there has always been the barrier of the trouble it takes to get to the hundreds of papers involved. The first Proceedings paper has over 200, for example.

This is what the CD prepared and made available by Harvey Bialy solves. Here is the letter from this author:

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Tools for Finding the Truth about HIV and AIDS

Of all the accusations that have been leveled against my friend, Peter Duesberg, over the many years he has been challenging conventional wisdom in cancer genetics and ‘deadly’- disease etiology, the one that is most frequently heard in scientific circles, and one that is impossible to counter except by extended debate, either at a scientific forum or in the journals (something that for some reason has never occurred) is that “Peter abuses the literature”. Either he cites so many papers that no one can read them all, or, and much worse, he misquotes and draws inferences that are not appropriate from the data in the papers he cites. The latter, as I said, has been a damning accusation, impossible to refute – until now.

In 1992, Duesberg published an extensive and updated review in Pharmacology & Therapeutics (55: 201-277) (http://duesberg.com/papers/ch62.html) of the state of HIV/AIDS research. The article is typical of Duesberg’s reasoning and contains the usual number of abundant citations.

Between 1994 and 1996, thanks to the generous financial support of Seth Ian Goldberg, MD, I was able to compile a CD that contains the complete text of this monograph, with hyperlinks to approximately 85% of the hundreds of references.

I would now like to make it widely available to all serious scientists as the ultimate tool for deciding, for themselves, the questions of what the literature actually says, and what proper inferences may be drawn from the data in the scientific papers.

Also available here is the NIH/NIAID Official website (http://bialystocker.netwp-content/uploads/science_guardian/NIHONAID.PDF) from 1995 that represents the orthodox, scientific community’s position on HIV/AIDS that is contemporaneous with the Duesberg monograph on the CD.

Whether the HIV/AIDS hypothesis rests on ever-changing quicksand or solid scientific bases is another contentious issue that has been bandied back and forth but never resolved. I think that a careful comparison between this document and the one currently available is useful in the resolution of this conundrum as well.

Harvey Bialy

bialy@ibt.unam.mx

The CD is being offered under the auspices of The Virtual Library of Biotechnology for the Americas (http://www.ibt.unam.mx/virtual.cgi). To obtain a copy click here. (http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1128695388.shtml)

Click here (http://bialystocker.netwp-content/uploads/science_guardian/Sample.pdf) for a sample.

Of course, anyone with access to university research systems knows that a number of the data bases available – Sciencedirect and Scopus for instance – will provide live links to many or all of the references in this and other scientific papers. But typically the reference link proves to be an abstract. This invaluable resource has the full texts.

The CD or its online version will solve a major problem for those for those without such expensive access, letting them access the papers without being on line, or to find and read them rapidly on line (a url for this will go up shortly at the site for The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis, currently in beta) .

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