Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

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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.

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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).

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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blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.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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SciAm editors explain

Editorial expands on Jekyll-Hyde theme as best defense of giving a “pariah” a platform

Good science as numbers game, rather than best interpretation of evidence

Guess we spoke too soon in wholly admiring the Scientific American editors unusual spirit of standing up and standing for good science in providing a platform for Peter Duesberg to explain his breakthrough ideas on how cancer is generated.cat_on_a_hot_bin_roof_jackie_fleming.jpg
(Pic is Cat on a Hot Bin Roof by Jacqueline Fleming)
“Cat on a Hot Bin Roof” is based on the expression “Cat on a hot tin roof”. An acrylic on canvas 21 x 16 Inches (Width x Height). Painted in 2005. The painting is part of a baby and children series that incorporates nursery rhymes, childhood themes and stories. Jackie brings these tales to life in brilliant colors with vivid figures and humoristic characters that appeal to all ages. All paintings are one of a kind, signed by Jacqueline Fleming. Jackie is based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. (To buy, go to MostOriginal)

In a depressing exhibition of how elite editors are forced to kowtow to the prejudice of the scientific herd, the Scientific American editorial in this issue, When Pariahs Have Good Ideas, tries to head off criticism and counter attack from John P. Moore types anxious to condemn any sign of respecting the scientific analysis and judgement of Peter Duesberg, in case the spotlight is brought to bear once again on whether he may be right after all about the laughably inconsistent paradigm on which they stand insecurely in HIV∫AIDS.

As wrong as Duesberg surely is about HIV, there is at least a chance that he is significantly right about cancer. We consider the case worthy of bringing to your attention, with the article beginning on page 52.

It’s not Duesberg who is shaky on HIV∫AIDS

“Laughably inconsistent”, that is, with logic, reason, evidence and common sense, and out of kilter with its own mainstream literature, by which proponents have persuaded the world that a Virus which cannot generally be found at all in “HIV positive” patients even with PCR is going somehow inexplicably to reappear and surge after years and kill them, an unprecedented feat for a retrovirus or indeed any microbe at all which has been successfully banished from the body by antibodies, which is what HIV tests test for, since there is so little HIV to be found, if any at all, in AIDS patients, even dying ones, and anyway there is no explanation of how it could possibly kill T cells even if there was any solid evidence that it did so, indeed there is an abundance of data showing it does not, and in fact is as harmless to cells as any other retrovirus among the multitude that inhabit the body without any effect whatsoever on the host.

Not to mention the fact that mainstream studies show with brilliant clarity, despite the brazen denial of the ever politick authors themselves, that the Virus in question is not infectious between heterosexuals, so how there can be a worldwide pandemic racing across Africa and Asia to kill millions on this basis is not easily accounted for in scientific terms, though it is very well explained in terms of political and economic advantage for the purveyors of the paradigm and its drugs.

Heading off the backlash

Unhappily the Scientific American editors are forced to do the same, having to explain themselves politically rather than scientifically to anticipate and parry the response of Robert Gallo, John P. Moore, Anthony Fauci and other scientific pr hit men who may strike back on behalf of their politically and financially beloved but increasingly scientifically shaky HIV∫AIDS paradigm, which even their mainstream literature now constantly calls into question with its latest results. sciameditorial.jpg

Readers may therefore be shocked to see Duesberg as an author in this month’s issue. He is not here because we have misgivings about the HIV-AIDS link.

So instead of celebrating their gumption in providing a place for this superior scientific mind to explain his valuable initiative in cancer, which now boasts many followers around the world at high institutions, we have to observe it and good science compromised by a somewhat weaseling editorial which joins the bulk of the scientific community in mistaking science for a democracy, where votes decide the truth and to go against the unthinking mainstream for too long labels one a crank.

To the dissidents, Duesberg is Galileo, oppressed for proclaiming scientific truth against biomedical dogma. A far larger number of AIDS activists, physicians and researchers, however, think Duesberg has become a crank who refuses to accept abundant proof that he is wrong. To them, he is at best a nuisance and at worst a source of dangerous disinformation on public health.

Science as a numbers game

Do the editors of Scientific American really think that the “far larger number” is a guide as to who is right in a fierce paradigm dispute where all the perks, power, profit and position are on the paradigm side, and all the literature of the field on the other? Let’s hope not.

The Ask John research route

But perhaps like so many people who participate in science and its story, including it seems the smartly tailored Anthony Fauci, who apparently (unless he is invested in Tamiflu) remains unaware that Vitamin A is the simple answer to bird flu, according to study papers we pointed to a year ago, they have not bothered to check PubMed for the real dope, but merely called up a pet senior scientist for his opinion, often one not even in the field concerned.

Of course, this is the preferred way in forming scientific judgement because it is the one which prevails, and anybody who actually reads the literature of science in a disputed field and realizes that the paradigm is a crock, as indicated in HIV∫AIDS by the papers and book chapters which the scientists in residence at the top of the hill write quietly for their friends and not for public consumption, will have a very hard time not being labeled a crank by the Scientific American editors, most other scientists and the public at large, a public which has not been informed by the New York Times that any other reality than indicated by its mantra “HIV, the virus that causes AIDS”, is being discussed by anybody, other than by the one highly misleading Op Ed by John P. Moore last year dismissing Duesberg and his often well credentialed supporters as “Deadly Quackery”.

It is an approach that we have characterized in the past as the “Ask John” style of checking facts, and it is sad to see the Scientific American editorial writer writing an apology for featuring Duesberg based on a complete misunderstanding of how science works to replace paradigms with better ones. Science is not a democracy, and nor is it led exclusively by accomplished scientists who embrace novelty and change as if it was welcome, since it will displace them and the beliefs on which their careers were founded and flourished.

Science is a study which like any other in the academy is ruled by people who are mostly anxious to retain their position and funding till their retirement, and don’t particularly relish any young whipper snapper interfering with their quietly sailing into the sunset, and certainly not a senior colleague who should know better how to behave in the club.

Kicking dissidents down the hill

For proof of this phenomenon ask any Nobel prize winner what it was like when they first came up with their world view flipping idea. They will have nothing good to report in most cases. First publication was almost always very troublesome.
Meanwhile, the bulk of scientists are journeymen who labor in the fields below the lowest slopes of Mount Olympus, and their opinion about any paradigm which governs their work is a follower’s opinion borrowed from the leaders of the field. This is especially true today as the influx of giant sums from investors and corporations has turned science into a profession rather than a vocation, and even a business in many cases.

Whatever the reason, the fact is that scientific opinion is formed among those in and outside a field mostly by the social necessity of getting into lockstep for social reasons extraneous to scientific concerns, and with some $7 billion a year in Federal funds devoted to this paradigm he who pays the piper calls the tune, even for otherwise enlightened and well informed scientific periodicals.

This editorial is a sorry example of this influence at work, which anybody who has read Peter Duesberg’s work on HIV∫AIDS will find irritating but will forgive as a leadership weakness inherent in running any science oriented institution these days.

When we look at submitted manuscripts from scientists, we consider it a reassuring sign when the authors forthrightly acknowledge both their collaborators and their competitors and note potential conflicts of interest before we ask. If we see that they are describing the science of their rivals fairly, we can have more confidence that they are being similarly candid about their own work. (Still, the old nuclear disarmament treaty maxim applies: trust, but verify.) We typically steer away from controversial ideas too new to have much supporting evidence. Those that have lasted for years and accumulated some substantiation have earned consideration. Our judgments are imperfect, but they tend to mirror those of the scientific community.

Blots on a researcher’s history often should bear on regard for his or her new work. Scientists who have intentionally published fraudulent papers, as the stem cell researcher Woo Suk Hwang so notoriously did two years ago, may be irredeemably tainted. But to dismiss a scientist solely for holding some wrong or controversial views risks sweeping away valuable nuggets of truth. We respect the opinions of any readers who may criticize our choice to publish Duesberg in this case but hope they will nonetheless evaluate his ideas about cancer on their own merits.

“Evaluate his ideas about cancer on their own merits?” Is there any reason why this novel principle cannot be applied to Duesberg’s ideas about HIV∫AIDS also?

We can’t think of one.

Here is the whole editorial song and dance, choreographed by a cat on a hot tin roof:

April 15, 2007

When Pariahs Have Good Ideas

By The Editors

Even mentioning the name Peter Duesberg inflames strong feelings, both pro and con. After gaining fame in 1970 as the virologist who first identified a cancer-causing gene, in the 1980s he became the leading scientific torchbearer for the so-called AIDS dissidents who dispute that HIV causes the immunodeficiency disorder. To the dissidents, Duesberg is Galileo, oppressed for proclaiming scientific truth against biomedical dogma. A far larger number of AIDS activists, physicians and researchers, however, think Duesberg has become a crank who refuses to accept abundant proof that he is wrong. To them, he is at best a nuisance and at worst a source of dangerous disinformation on public health.

Readers may therefore be shocked to see Duesberg as an author in this month’s issue. He is not here because we have misgivings about the HIV-AIDS link. Rather Duesberg has also developed a novel theory about the origins of cancer, one that supposes a derangement of the chromosomes, rather than of individual genes, is the spark that ignites malignant changes in cells. That concept is still on the fringe of cancer research, but laboratories are investigating it seriously. Thus, as wrong as Duesberg surely is about HIV, there is at least a chance that he is significantly right about cancer. We consider the case worthy of bringing to your attention, with the article beginning on page 52.

Thousands of scientific papers appear in technical journals every month; why do some rate more fame and journalistic attention? It helps for science news to have dramatic relevance to human affairs: Is there strong new hope for curing a disease, transforming the economy, building a better mousetrap? Alternatively, reporters and editors may gravitate toward new science that easily inspires the public’s sense of wonder, as so many astronomy stories do. And reports that appear in certain major scientific journals tend to get more play because those
publications have a self-fulfilling reputation for releasing the most noteworthy papers. (It doesn’t hurt that those journals have particularly strong public relations departments, too.)

When we look at submitted manuscripts from scientists, we consider it a reassuring sign when the authors forthrightly acknowledge both their collaborators and their competitors and note potential conflicts of interest before we ask. If we see that they are describing the science of their rivals fairly, we can have more confidence that they are being similarly candid about their own work. (Still, the old nuclear disarmament treaty maxim applies: trust, but verify.) We typically steer away from controversial ideas too new to have much supporting evidence. Those that have lasted for years and accumulated some substantiation have earned consideration. Our judgments are imperfect, but they tend to mirror those of the scientific community.

Blots on a researcher’s history often should bear on regard for his or her new work. Scientists who have intentionally published fraudulent papers, as the stem cell researcher Woo Suk Hwang so notoriously did two years ago, may be irredeemably tainted. But to dismiss a scientist solely for holding some wrong or controversial views risks sweeping away valuable nuggets of truth. We respect the opinions of any readers who may criticize our choice to publish Duesberg in this case but hope they will nonetheless evaluate his ideas about cancer on their own merits.

http://www.sciam.com/print_version.cfm?articleID=E6AE9A0B-E7F2-99DF-3C6C9B72962EE534

Scientific American: When Pariahs Have Good Ideas
© 1996-2007 Scientific American, Inc.

On the whole a wretched document, demonstrating how editorial torchbearers of the truth have to mollify the mob by joining in the nonsense about Duesberg failing to grasp the reality of HIV∫AIDS while, despite the vindictive and fearful withdrawal of NIH support, he triumphs over a far more complex subject by establishing world leadership in a new avenue of research.

One Response to “SciAm editors explain”

  1. Michael Says:

    Schizophrenia. Or more than one editor editing the remarks. Or complete paranoia. These are the only logical conclusions one can draw, as to the baffling back and forth of the Sci-Am editors comments.

    Fear of backlash from the do-gooders of AIDS advocacy was foremost, I must presume. Either that, or more than one editor had his say as to what the comments would be.

    Once again, I could not help but to hold their feet to the fire, and call them on their words.

    The following email was sent to several desks, as I find the email to get duly noticed when the receiver understands that several people in the office have also read it. If nothing else, it gives them a more interesting time at coffee break.

    The following was sent to: experts@sciam.com ; editorsblog@sciam.com ; subscriptions@sciam.com ; comments@sciam.com ; editors@sciam.com ; samind@sciam.com ; gbronson@sciam.com ; sciam@epnet.com

    Dear experts at Scientific American, and dear Blog Editor, please forward this to your editor and publisher as well.

    In this months Scientific American May issue, you have a wonderful and astounding piece by Peter Duesberg on Cancer. Thank you for finally bringing this to the publics eye.

    However, the “editor” felt that he needed to put in a disclaimer that Peter Duesberg’s theories on whether HIV causes AIDS have been “thoroughly rebutted”.??? Ohhhh Really????

    Peter Duesberg’s theories on HIV have been, are, and continue to be, outright rejected, and are not anywhere rebutted!

    I am, to say the least, disappointed in the editors choice of words, as well as disappointed that he even felt the need to run such a “disclaimer” regarding one of the most astute and integrous scientists of our time, National Academy of Science member Peter Duesberg.

    1)Scientific papers still all currently show that HIV is never found in a quantity that can damage an immune system or body, let alone be even a contributing cause of death.

    2)They currently show that CD4 counts and viral load counts DO NOT predict AIDS.

    3)They show that no mechanism by which HIV affects the immune system has ever been found.

    4)They show HIV has never been found in T-Cells or infected tissues.

    5)They show that HIV has NEVER caused AIDS in any of the chimps that were given it – that DO get absolutely EVERY other human disease.

    6)They show that the symptoms of AIDS in Gays, hemophilliacs, heterosexuals, and Africans are ALL COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, and are ALL explainable by other factors!

    7)They show the leading cause of death in HIV positive Americans has been PROVEN by Dr. Amy Justice to be directly related to who takes the AIDS medications!

    8)Even Nancy Padian’s study showed HIV was NOT sexually transmitted in any of her 160 some sero-opposite married couples in the only and longest running study of heterosexual transmission.

    9)Look at the years of high HIV deaths. They are identical to the exact years of high dosage AZT monotherapy given to all HIV positives! This clearly shows that AZT caused the majority of deaths from 87 to 96 during the period of greatest death attributed to “complications” of HIV.

    10)The studies on HIV tests clearly show HIV tests are not verified against any isolated HIV virus, and they show these tests are notorious for false positives, including the Oraquick test that was found to be giving at least 1/4th false positive results in San Francisco last year.

    And furthermore, every passing year that there is no “cure” and no vaccine continually proves again and again that Peter’s theory is most likely to be correct! Even Bob Gallo admits since 1993 that he has NEVER FOUND HIV in any T-Cells, and he admits that he NEVER FOUND HIV in Kaposis Sarcoma.

    Pray tell?
    Why would Scientific American keep this information from the public?

    Would the SA editor et al continue to have people who have been diagnosed as HIV positive be unecessarily placed into the very well proven immune system destructive emotional states of extreme fear and panic and stress?

    Does the SA editor et al feel the need to enhance the pharmaceutical company sales of very poorly tested and proven toxic HIV therapies?

    Or does the SA editor et al feel the need to be the moral watchdog on the public’s sexual behaviors and choices?

    Bob Gallo, the so-called “co-discoverer” of HIV, who had been at one time found guilty of scientific misconduct, did quite a miserable job when he testified 3 weeks ago to the Supreme Court of Australia, in still trying to prove that HIV is the cause of AIDS. The opposing lawyer nailed him on some crucial facts, and in the trial transcript, Gallo himself admitted that he only found evidence of HIV in 40 percent of AIDS patients, he admitted that his Electron Microscope picture of supposed HIV was NOT HIV, he admitted that he never found HIV in any T-Cells or KS, and he admitted that there were a lot of problems with his supposed isolation of HIV. Read the transcript for your own self at:

    http://garlan.rethinkingaids.info/Cases/Parenzee/Gallo.html and

    http://garlan.rethinkingaids.info/Cases/Parenzee/

    In the piece by the editor “When Pariahs Have Good Ideas”, the editor says “Thus, as wrong as Duesberg surely is about HIV”. Oh is he really so wrong? And what evidence do you hold up as proof for such a supposed “statement of fact”??? What seminal paper do you uphold as the proof that HIV is the cause of AIDS???

    So I beg the experts and editors please tell me.

    Where is this rebuttal to Peter Duesberg? By Who? In what Paper? When were Peter’s theories on HIV ever proven wrong? What and whose work establishes HIV as anything more than a possible, but most likely improbable cause of AIDS? When did Robert Gallo or anyone else ever debate Peter on this? When and who rebutted Peter’s work on this?

    How is it possible that the editor says that Peter’s HIV theories are “thoroughly rebutted” when in fact, they have never even been properly aired, debated, or tested, let alone ever proved wrong by anyone?

    If your magazine has some proof that Peter was wrong, please do share it with us, your public!

    Tony Fauci, Bob-‘I found HIV in the mail from France’ Gallo, and all of the virologists that still run the NIH are all still avoiding Peter’s criticisms of HIV, because they have been, and are still, financially, egoically, and scientifically terrified that Peter is indeed correct that HIV is not, does not, and could not be the cause of AIDS.

    The supposed rebutters of Peter Duesberg and the defenders of HIV are simply still, after 20 years, running scared because they know they have NOT EVER rebutted or answered Peter. They are scared to death that Peter was and is right about HIV not causing AIDS. They are terrified of how the public would react after spending more than 100 billion taxpayer dollars betting on the wrong pony. And they are terrified of loosing this funding or admitting to the greatest and most costly error that medical science has ever made.

    ‘It should be fairly obvious to anyone who investigates this issue without bias, that Peter has not ever been rebutted. It is also fairly obvious, if one simply reads HIV research papers that HIV Does Not and Can Not cause AIDS! And to claim it does after 25 years with still no proof of how or why it possibly could, is a travesty of science unworthy of Scientific American, as well as a travesty of justice due to Dr. Peter Duesberg!

    Was your own editor simply afraid of the possible backlash by the terrified “experts” of HIV and do-gooder AIDS advocates if he was perceived as possibly even remotely backing Peter on the issue of HIV/AIDS?

    At least Harpers Magazine had the courage to stand up when they ran Celia Farber’s piece on Duesberg in March of 2006: “AIDS: Out of Control and the Corruption of Medical Science. http://www.harpers.org/archive/2006/03/0080961

    It is an unfortunate shame for the world today that other mainstream magazines such as our own Scientific American have not yet also been able to muster such courage or clarity.

    I beg the “experts” at Scientific American to respond! Please tell me and please tell the rest of the world how and where, and who, and in what papers Peter Duesberg’s theories on HIV have been thoroughly rebutted? Either respond and show us this rebuttal, or be ashamed of what must be your own magazines biased, willful, unscientific and unfounded misleading of the general public, as well as a lack of courage in dealing with this still very current issue and boondoggle of public health!

    You have done wrong to say Peter “is surely wrong on HIV”. But, either way, I sincerely DO thank you for running the current piece on Duesberg’s groundbreaking work on cancer.

    Sincerely,

    Michael Geiger
    HEAL San Diego

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