Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

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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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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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Who said HIV caused AIDS? Did anyone?


When did it go from “probable” to “proven”?

Dr Bialy notes that it never did

As we noted earlier, in How Gallo proved that HIV was not the cause of AIDS, there is some difficulty in locating the exact moment when HIV changed its status from “the probable cause” of HIV?AIDS to the certain cause of HIV?AIDS, at least in the eyes of the members of the field of science that mushroomed from zero in 1984 to a billion dollar operation in just a few years.

Part of the problem was/is that Robert Gallo’s four watershed papers in 1984 actually proved that HIV was probably not the cause of the new syndrome, for which breakthrough achievement we at NAR have demanded that this now relatively neglected scientist (Gallo was the world’s most referenced scientist in the 1980s, but his position has slipped since) receive credit.

It did not take Peter Duesberg in Cancer Reearch in 1987 to demonstrate this fact first. Robert Gallo had already done it. Duesberg is a most distinguished scientist and his many achievements should have won him the Nobel, as a letter in Nature once pointed out. But Gallo deserves credit for the only truly significant result he has attained in his long sustained effort to justify his celebrity.

In this regard we would like to refer readers to a little comment written by Harvey Bialy on the topic, first published at Lew Rockwell on June 22 and now enshrined at the AIDS Wiki for the enlightenment of all as Fast Food Etiology: The Invention of the AIDS Virus by Science and Nature. The good doc, author of “Oncogenes, Aneuploidy and AIDS: A Scientific Life and Times of Peter H. Dueberg”, a definitive account of the way Duesberg was blocked from freely critiquing HIV as the cause of HIV?AIDS, notes that the Gallo 1984 papers failed to back up Margaret Heckler’s press conference announcement that American science had triumphed by nailing the “probable” cause.

But no problem. By the evening of the press conference Robert Gallo had nailed the patent for the HIV test, and newspaper reporters, even the sterling Larry Altman of the New York Times, didn’t have time to check by reading the papers, since they hadn’t been published yet and they would have had to ask the editors of Science for copies.

The one sterling exception was Harry Nelson, the correspondent of the Los Angeles Times. Unlike Altman, he was clearheaded enough to point out that Gallo had found the virus in only 26 of 72 samples, that is to say, a rather unimpressive 36% of AIDS patients. Altman, although he did often mention the possibility that the claim wouldn’t prove out, didn’t mention this vital giveaway, now the crux of Gallo’s claim for precedence in proving that HIV does not cause AIDS, for which we urge full recognition.

Following the press conference, the papers began to appear in Science and in Nature, but the waffling titles reflected the lack of hard evidence for the claim, which Bialy points out:

Shortly after, the spate of papers on which the virus-AIDS hypothesis rested appeared. I reproduce the abstracts of the two most important ones below. It is clear from their titles and language that there was very little hard proof to support the claim of the press conference.

Actually the Nature paper in November states “After extensive sero-epidemiological studies, together with numerous virus isolations from these patients, we concluded that HTLV-III is the causative agent of AIDS”, but as Bialy points out, the rest of the material is “molecular biology geek gook having nothing to do with the etiological claim.”

So what’s the bottom line here? Bialy tells it like it is, in his inimitably robust manner:

Now do not think that everybody in molecular biology and virology bought this beefless burger, but the majority went along with it with the following justification, which some reading this will remember as a frequent refrain.

Even though the evidence is a bit shaky, it would be irresponsible not to proceed as though the hypothesis was proved because of the public health implications. And in the future, you can be sure that there will be more than enough additional evidence to back us up.

The really responsible response by the government officials in charge of protecting the health of the nation, as opposed to a politically inspired press conference, should have been: At the moment, we have what looks like the beginning of an epidemic of a strange and complex and until now, fatal assortment of maladies, and it appears to involve a sexually-transmitted and blood-borne agent, as well as non-contagious risk factors associated with life-style and drug consumption. Until we know for sure the etiological agent or agents, we advise the strict use of condoms when engaged in sexual intercourse and the abstinence from any form of drug abuse, recreational or pharmaceutical.

But instead, history marched along for 25 years as it has. Today when one asks a defender of the failed virus-AIDS hypothesis to supply some scientific proof in the form of a series of logically and experimentally connected papers, the answer (if you get one) is invariably: “I can’t do that, you fool. Don’t you know, that in science it is the totality of the evidence that matters?”

To which I respond, as might you: OK, I agree. So tell me exactly when did the “totality” of the published evidence reach critical mass? To which I receive this invariant reply: “I see, serious conversation with you is impossible,” which often includes some mutation of “bugger off !”

That grown up scientists can get away with this stuff, and persuade grown men and women to take highly toxic and often lethal drugs in honor of an unsubstantiated claim, is so astonishing that the good Bialy, evidently a skeptic by nature, is at a loss for words or even a cutting quotation. His Parthian shot is the apt but dignified truth from Mencius, “If the root be in confusion, nothing will be well-governed.”

(show)

Document:Fast Food Etiology

From AIDS Wiki

Fast Food Etiology: The Invention

of the AIDS Virus by Science and Nature

by Harvey Bialy

LewRockwell.com

22 June 2006

In April of 1984 Margaret Heckler, Reagan’s Secretary of Health, held a press conference, unprecedented in the history of medical science, at which she announced that “an American researcher has discovered the (very sotto voce) probable cause of AIDS.”

At the time no peer-reviewed publication supporting this grand claim had yet been published, although as pointed out many times, the patent protection for the “AIDS test” was already in place.

Shortly after, the spate of papers on which the virus-AIDS hypothesis rested appeared. I reproduce the abstracts of the two most important ones below. It is clear from their titles and language that there was very little hard proof to support the claim of the press conference.

Homology of genome of AIDS-associated virus with genomes of human T-cell leukemia viruses.

Arya SK, Gallo RC, Hahn BH, Shaw GM, Popovic M, Salahuddin SZ, Wong-Staal F.

A T lymphotropic virus found in patients with the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or lymphadenopathy syndrome has been postulated to be the cause of AIDS. Immunological analysis of this retrovirus and its biological properties suggest that it is a member of the family of human T-lymphotropic retroviruses known as HTLV. Accordingly, it has been named HTLV-III. In the present report it is shown by nucleic acid hybridization that sequences of the genome of HTLV-III…virus geek gook to the end of the abstract

Science. 1984 Aug 31; 225 (4665): 927–930

Molecular cloning and characterization of the HTLV-III virus associated with AIDS.

Hahn BH, Shaw GM, Arya SK, Popovic M, Gallo RC, Wong-Staal F.

We recently reported the isolation and characterization of a novel human T-lymphotropic retrovirus, HTLV-III, in patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and in those at risk for the disease. After extensive sero-epidemiological studies, together with numerous virus isolations from these patients, we concluded that HTLV-III is the causative agent of AIDS. Here we report the molecular cloning and characterization of two highly related but distinct forms of the HTLV-III genome… Molecular biology geek gook having nothing to do with the etiological claim… The availability of the cloned HTLV-III genome will…facilitate the development of diagnostic and therapeutic measures in the treatment of AIDS.

Nature. 1984 Nov 8-14; 312 (5990): 166–169

At the very end of 1984, the following paper appeared in Nature in which the virus officially went from associated to cause. Here is its abstract.

The CD4 (T4) antigen is an essential component of the receptor for the AIDS retrovirus.

Dalgleish AG, Beverley PC, Clapham PR, Crawford DH, Greaves MF, Weiss RA.

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is characterized by opportunistic infections and by ‘opportunistic neoplasms’ (for example, Kaposi’s sarcoma). Persistent generalized lymphadenopathy (PGL) is epidemiologically associated with AIDS, especially in male homosexuals. A subset of T lymphocytes positive for the CD4 antigen (also termed T4 antigen), is depleted in AIDS and PGL patients. A retrovirus found in T-cell cultures from these patients is strongly implicated in the aetiology of AIDS because of the high frequency of isolation and the prevalence of specific antibodies in the patients. Here we have detected cell-surface receptors for the AIDS retrovirus (human T-cell leukaemia virus-III (HTLV-III) and lymphadenopathy-associated virus-1 (LAV-1) isolates) by testing the susceptibility of cells to infection with pseudotypes of vesicular stomatitis virus…mol. bio. geek gook having nothing to do with the very strong last prepositional phrase. Hence, we conclude that the CD4 antigen is an essential and specific component of the receptor for the causative agent of AIDS.

Nature. 1984 Dec 20-1985 Jan 2; 312 (5996): 763–767

Now do not think that everybody in molecular biology and virology bought this beefless burger, but the majority went along with it with the following justification, which some reading this will remember as a frequent refrain.

Even though the evidence is a bit shaky, it would be irresponsible not to proceed as though the hypothesis was proved because of the public health implications. And in the future, you can be sure that there will be more than enough additional evidence to back us up.

The really responsible response by the government officials in charge of protecting the health of the nation, as opposed to a politically inspired press conference, should have been: At the moment, we have what looks like the beginning of an epidemic of a strange and complex and until now, fatal assortment of maladies, and it appears to involve a sexually-transmitted and blood-borne agent, as well as non-contagious risk factors associated with life-style and drug consumption. Until we know for sure the etiological agent or agents, we advise the strict use of condoms when engaged in sexual intercourse and the abstinence from any form of drug abuse, recreational or pharmaceutical.

But instead, history marched along for 25 years as it has. Today when one asks a defender of the failed virus-AIDS hypothesis to supply some scientific proof in the form of a series of logically and experimentally connected papers, the answer (if you get one) is invariably: “I can’t do that, you fool. Don’t you know, that in science it is the totality of the evidence that matters?”

To which I respond, as might you: OK, I agree. So tell me exactly when did the “totality” of the published evidence reach critical mass? To which I receive this invariant reply: “I see, serious conversation with you is impossible,” which often includes some mutation of “bugger off !”

I am reminded at such moments of the words of the Chinese philosopher, Mencius, in “The Unwobbling Pivot,” as translated for us by The Poet, Ezra Pound:

“If the root be in confusion, nothing will be well-governed.”

© 2006 by Harvey Bialy

Originally published at LewRockwell.com

Retrieved from “http://www.reviewingaids.com/awiki/index.php/Document:Fast_Food_Etiology”

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