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.


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.

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).

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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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The key point in the Farber-Harpers vs AIDS Church dispute

So why do the drugs appear to work very well?

Only one point in all the blog crowd response seems to us to be worth anything at all, and that is precisely what Jim Watson said to this writer when asked if he didn’t think he had misjudged HIV?AIDS. He replied, “but the (new) drugs work, don’t they?”

There it is time and again in the blog comments, we see, and the same point was repeatedly made to us in Washington last week, often with great force of conviction. Indeed, any skeptic is constantly told this by people who have dealt with HIV?AIDS patients as doctor, nurse, friend or social worker, that in their experience the drugs have worked, and this surely suggests they are directed at the right target.

Here is the latest letter in the POZ comment column, voicing precisely this point.

From Harry Wingfield, Birmingham, AL:

As a person who has lived with AIDS since 1990, my personal experience is that I was extremely ill until I got on the right regimen of HIV medications. I was too ill to work, and was on disability for 12 years. In 2002, thanks to antiretroviral medications, I was well enough to return to full time work again, and continue to work full time and stay healthy today.

Good diet and nutrition have also contributed to my health, but I give the major credit to finding the right combination of HIV medications. Some that I tried proved to be too toxic for my system, but with plenty of choices available, my doctors and I have found the right “cocktail” to keep me in good health. On the one occasion that I did go off medication, my health began to plummet again until I started the medicines back again.

I’ll leave it to the scientists to debate what causes HIV and AIDS. My experience, however, has been that the medicines that fight the HIV virus are responsible for my current good health. Simple logic tells me that the virus must be what has caused me to be sick.

Often they testify that patients virtually leap out of bed and climb mountains as soon as they are dosed with HAART. What have the HIV critics to say in answer to this point? Not enough, we have found in the past. They have three or four responses, but insufficient, and sound somewhat at a loss to account for it. Naturally, believers in HIV then dismiss them and all their otherwise copious reasoning and evidence against the prevailing paradigm.

But with all reason and evidence otherwise against it, as Duesberg has continually shown, without genuine refutation, it is impossible to accept that HIV is the correct target for medication after all, and that Duesberg despite his extraordinary crednetials and peer reviewed, superbly written testimony is really an ass. This seems as incredible to us as the HIV supporters find any challenge to HIV.

Currently, the HIV critics answer to this is largely not to fully credit the improvement, it seems to us. Their explanation for the apparently beneficial effect of antiretrovirals consists of four points. That a) it is a psychological effect rather than an actual bodily effect b) the antiretroviral agents erase some of the other viruses that actually are causing a problem, in the wake immune dysfunction c) it provokes the generation of antibodies which in itself makes people feel better and d) the temporary relative improvement does not last and the long term death rate is the same as before.

In the face of radical improvment in patients’ feeling of well being, which has clearly been observed time and again by people in the field, HIV critics have long clearly needed more cards in their hand, as Jim Watson observed.

We think we have this answer, which we will call Factor X, and as noted in the last post, we think the answer to AIDS is clearly indicated now in the scientific literature, and Factor X is part of this answer. We will post on it shortly.

Whatever the explanation, one thing is certain. This is currently the crucial issue in the minds of most lay observers of the highly contentious difference of opinion on HIV and AIDS.

Unless the objection of Watson – “the drugs work, don’t they?” – is laid to rest, critics of HIV?AIDS will always have a tough time persuading the world that they are right.

3 Responses to “The key point in the Farber-Harpers vs AIDS Church dispute”

  1. Joperd Says:

    What are the chances of a hypothesis like “HIV + Something Else -> AIDS” turning out to be correct?

  2. truthseeker Says:

    The truth appears to be Something Else -> AIDS with HIV not in the equation in any meaningful causal way. AIDS now is mostly relabeling other ailments, but re AIDS in the beginning in the US it is possible to give an account as to what Something Else really was, and what its cure would be.Something you can buy at the drugstore and keep on your shelf.

  3. noreen martin Says:

    As having been classified with full blown AIDS, I can appreciate when someone says that the anti-virals helped them. However, I do not believe that it is so cut and dry meaning, AIDS in itself is just a reclassification of numerous diseases from the past.

    It does seem somewhat logical to call a group of sickness which are severely affecting one’s immunity, AIDS, instead of listing a bunch of medical diseases. When someone hears the term AIDS, they immediately know that the person is very ill or has been.

    If someone have viruses which are pulling their immunity down, then the anti-viral medications will help. But most of the time, other things are involved such as pneumonia requiring antibotics or candidadis requiring anti-fungal medications. Generally, an AIDS patient are on other medications besides the anti-virals.

    Aids, I believe, is due to many factors such as drug use (legal and otherwise), health habits of the person, past medical problems, environmental influences, malnutrition, severe stress and various diseases.

    I had numerous viruses that is why the anti-viral medications worked. However, in the past I also had cancer and radiation treatments. What do you think would have happened if I had stayed on the radiation treatments for the rest of my life.

    Currently, I am not on the anti-virals and feel fine. I believe in only taking medicine when it is absolutely necessary as a person cannot be medicated or vaccinated into health or else Americans would be the healthiest people on the planet, we certainly are the most medicated.

    The best medical advice is from the old Star Trek classics from Dr. Bones McCoy, “Eat right and exercise”, probably the all-time, best, medical advice.

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