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.


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).

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)

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

Winston Churchill encourages heretics in AIDS, but probably to no avail

Winston Churchill once spoke some words which may encourage those who soldier on after nearly two decades in their uphill battle to open up the HIV?AIDS debate.

“Laws, just or unjust, may govern men’s actions. Tyrannies may restrain or regulate their words. The machinery for propaganda may pack their minds with falsehood. … But the soul of man thus held in trance or frozen in a long night can be awakened by a spark coming from God knows where.”

The AIDS dissidents certainly need some encouragement, we have to say, given that each time they seem to score a watershed victory in publishing powerful antiparadigm material, which they quite reasonably expect finally to blow the lid off mainstream concealment and dismissal of the debate, absolutely nothing happens.

The shocking initial paper by Peter Duesberg in Cancer Research in 1986, partly considering and rejecting the new HIV=AIDS hypothesis, caused a stir in scientific and political circles for a few months, including provoking a famous internal NIH memo in Washington asking why no one had “flagged” it before publication (ie got to the editor of Cancer Research first to head off publication). Indeed thanks to the proposal of Harvey Bialy, then scientific editor of Nature/Biotechnology, it nearly sparked a shoot out at the White House between mainstream HIV supporters and the reviewers, until this was scotched by the refusal of mainstream NIH scientists to participate. After that, the article stayed under the carpet where it was swept.

The subsequent 10 page, 200-footnote broadside by Peter Duesberg in the Proceedings of the National Academy in Febnruary 1989 was definitive in its evisceration of the purported grounds for believing HIV could cause any medical problem at all for humans, let alone defeat the immune system. Sent a copy before publication, Robert Gallo, the champion of the theory it trashed, promised a response, and even the editors of the Proceedings, a rather staid house organ for the most exclusive club in science which sits firmly at the pinnacle of science publishing, were excited at the prospect of the waves they were about to generate.

The result was an extraordinary disappointment for all but the most practiced cynic. There was effectively no reply. Officially there was pure, distilled public silence from Gallo and the other generals of HIV. Not only was there absolutely no reply paper as promised in the Proceedings, but very little media coverage, and no political wave of any significance, certainly not the tidal wave that had been confidently expected by the editors of the Proceedings and others who knew what was coming.

In a story to be repeated many times over two decades, the paradigm sailed on unperturbed, an airship beyond the reach of artillery fire which would have easily brought it down if it had come within range.

The fizzle so far of Harvey Bialy’s brilliant book, “Oncogenes, Aneuploidy and AIDS: A Scientific Life and Times of Peter H. Duesberg”(North Atlantic Books, 2004) is a prime example of how a book which would explode HIV?AIDS thinking in all its complacent illogic if anybody politically influential would bother to read it gets absolutely nowhere simply because it is ignored. In that case, hope still flickers because it is proving an underground sleeper which is being read with interest by key figures in science, and has garnered so far a handful of extremely laudatory reviews.

And this silent treatment has been the experience of dissidents since. There have been fifteen or more books, and a handful of searing papers which have been fired like large rockets at the great AIDS theory Hindenberg, which as far as the dissidents are concerned is full of nothing but highly inflammable gas which would instantly detonate in a gigantic, globe-rending disintegration if permitted to come into range of logic and the demand for genuine evidence.

And we have to agree with them that this is the key reason why AIDS science evades criticism. It is not so much the repression of debate as the utter evasion of it through ignoring it and denying it any respect whatsoever. The extraordinary extended life of the AIDS paradigm seems to have been achieved politically by the simple expedient of staying out of range of missiles,

One thing is certain. No proper scientific reply on the same level has ever been achieved by any of these attacks on the standard theory of AIDS, as can easily be seen by the fact that no one has ever attempted a reply in the Proceedings to the Proceedings paper, and when Walter Gilbert used the paper as an impeccable example of paradigm challenge in teaching his graduate students at Harvard, not one of them was able to make a name for himself by writing a rebuttal.

Politically speaking however the most effective reply to any attack on AIDS science has been to ignore it. It is the qualifications and sanity of the critic which are called into question, rather than the arguments answered. The right of the questioner to respect and consideration is rejected. No respect is granted. Thus there is no need to answer his or her arguments.

And this we predict will be the political strategy of responding to any future critique, however strong, and on the basis of what has happened over two decades we suspect it will be always effective.

We say this even though we happen to know that a particularly brilliant journalistic critique of the egregious situation in AIDS science is in the pipeline, and is good enough and politically persuasive enough that in a sane world it would cause the political facade of AIDS science to crack and fall apart.

But we sadly predict that this critique, while it will probably trigger some secondary press coverage and debate, will have no more effect in the end on the AIDS juggernaut than a boulder on the shore would have in stopping a tsunami.

For twelve years ago, in 1993, the same thing happened in Britain with the publication of a major series of articles in the Sunday Times, laying out the ideas of Duesberg on AIDS and showing how experience and discussion in England and in Africa bore them out. The series, written by Neville Hodgkinson, the science correspondent, was persuasive enough to infuriate the editor of Nature, who editorialized against it and announced that his readers need not buy their own copies of the Sunday Times but that he, John Maddox, would let them know of anything it printed which was worth reading,

The outcome was that absolutely nothing changed except that in the end Hodgkinson and his editor lost their jobs, and his own son we hear still does not believe Hodgkinson, who subsequently wrote a book in 1996,’AIDS; The Failure of Contemporary Science’ (Fourth Estate, London UK 1996, 420 pages, ISBN 1-85702-337-4). (See here for Neville Hodgkinson’s excellent reporting on AIDS

Of course the UK is not the US but in AIDS the pattern of scientific debate has been much the same, with Nature playing the role of Science. There are two things, however, which may make a difference this time around, perhaps all the difference in the world.

One, of course, is the existence of the World Wide Web, and its blogs.

The second is that the Fishbein allegations of grossly improper behavior at the NIH in rewriting the conclusions of research reports in AIDS seem to be too well evidenced to be easily swept under the carpet, and these are news stories in their own right as well as calling into question the ethics and credibility of the minds who run AIDS science politics.

This material will be spotlighted to damning effect in the upcoming article.

One Response to “Winston Churchill encourages heretics in AIDS, but probably to no avail”

  1. Truthseeker Says:

    Another quote from Churchill:

    “Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue.”

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