Science Guardian

Truth, beauty and paradigm power in science and society

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

News, views and reviews measured against professional literature in peer reviewed journals (adjusted for design flaws and bias), well researched books, authoritative encyclopedias (not the bowdlerized Wiki entries on controversial topics) and the investigative reporting and skeptical studies of courageous original thinkers among academics, philosophers, researchers, scholars, authors, filmmakers and journalists.

Supporting the right of exceptional minds to free speech, publication, media coverage and funding against the crowd prejudice, leadership resistance, monetary influences and internal professional politics of the paradigm wars of cancer, HIV(not)AIDS, evolution, global warming, cosmology, particle physics, macroeconomics, information technology, religions and cults, health, medicine, diet and nutrition.

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HONOR ROLL OF SCIENTIFIC TRUTHSEEKERS

Halton C. Arp wki/obit/txt/vds/txt/txt/bk/bk, Henry Bauer txt/blg/ blg/bks/bk/txt/bk/vd, John Beard bk, Harvey Bialy bk/bk/txt/txt/rdo/vd, John Bockris bio/txt/ltr/bk, Donald W. Braben, Peter Breggin ste/fb/col/bks, Darin Brown txt/txt/txt/txt/txt/vd, Giordano Bruno bk/bio/bio, Frank R. Buianouckas, Stanislav Burzynski mov, Erwin Chargaff bio/bk/bio/prs, James Chin bk/vd, Nicolaus Copernicus bk, Mark Craddock, Francis Crick vd, Paul Crutzen, Marie Curie, Rebecca Culshaw txt/bk, Roger Cunningham, Charles Darwin txts/bk, Erasmus Darwin txt//bk/txt/hse/bks, Peter Duesberg ste/ste/bk/txt/vd/vd, Freeman Dyson, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman bio, John Fewster, Rosalind Franklin, Bernard Forscher tx, Galileo Galilei, Walter Gilbert vd, Goethe bio/bk/bio, Nicolas Gonzalez tlk/rec/stetxt/txt, Patricia Goodson txt/bk/bk, Alec Gordon, James Hansen, Etienne de Harven bk/txt/vd, Alfred Hassig intw/txt, Robert G. Houston txt, Steven Jonas vd, Edward Jenner txt, Benjamin Jesty, Adrian Kent vd, Thomas Kuhn, Fred Kummerow, Stefan Lanka txt/txt/vd, Serge Lang, John Lauritsen vd, Paul Lauterbur vd, Mark Leggett, Richard Lindzen, James Lovelock, Andrew Maniotis, Lynn Margulis, Barbara McClintock, Christi Meyer vd, George Miklos, Marco Mamone Capria, Peter Medawar, Luc Montagnier txt/txt/vd, Kary Mullis, Linus Pauling prs/vd/vd, Eric Penrose, Roger Penrose vd, Max Planck, Rainer Plaga, David Rasnick bio/vd/bk, Robert Root-Bernstein vd, Sherwood Rowland, Otto Rossler, Harry Rubin, Marco Ruggiero txt/txt/intw/vd, Bertrand Russell Carl Sagan vd, Erwin Schrodinger, Fred Singer, Barbara Starfield txt, Gordon Stewart txt/txt, Richard Strohman, Thomas Szasz, Nicola Tesla bio/bio, Charles Thomas intw/vd, Frank Tipler, James Watson vd/vd, Alfred Wegener vd, Edward O. Wilson vd.

ACADEMICS, DOCTORS, AUTHORS, FILMMAKERS, REPORTERS AND COMMENTATORS WHO HAVE NOBLY AIDED REVIEW OF THE STATUS QUO

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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 that ever interfered with my learning was my education. I am Freeman Dyson, and I approve of this blog, but would warn the author that life as a heretic is a hard one, since the ignorant and the half informed, let alone those who should know better, will automatically trash their betters who try to enlighten them with independent thinking, as I have found to my sorrow in commenting on "global warming" and its cures.
Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

The progress of science is strewn, like an ancient desert trail, with the bleached skeletons of discarded theories which once seemed to possess eternal life. - Arthur Koestler

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A sudden bold and unexpected question doth many times surprise a man and lay him open. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

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When even the brightest mind in our world has been trained up from childhood in a superstition of any kind, it will never be possible for that mind, in its maturity, to examine sincerely, dispassionately, and conscientiously any evidence or any circumstance which shall seem to cast a doubt upon the validity of that superstition. I doubt if I could do it myself. – Mark Twain

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Man’s mind cannot grasp the causes of events in their completeness, but the desire to find those causes is implanted in man’s soul. And without considering the multiplicity and complexity of the conditions any one of which taken separately may seem to be the cause, he snatches at the first approximation to a cause that seems to him intelligible and says: “This is the cause!” – Leo Tolstoy

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Why HIV/AIDS rules the Times and the World

June 1st, 2011

How a blatantly incorrect paradigm got to rule the world

The network utility of ideas is related to tribal markings, not truth

When the utility of truth approaches zero for all of us, don’t blame Larry

The social utility of believing in HIV/AIDS is founded in its ever expanding network utility, which reached world dominance and has never been replaced, as a result.   This is the icon for network utility, which ensures that any meme that reaches complete global dominance will never be replaced.,If anyone is still wondering what lack of logical acuteness, psychological bias, group emotion or other factor is at the root of this astonishing survival of a concept which amounts in so many ways to rank stupidity, and yet inhabits the minds of so many intelligent, informed and otherwise reliable people, let us offer yet one more way of accounting for the phenomenon.

It is this. In the realm of computer software, the rickety and patchwork monstrosity of the Windows OS rose to the top and roundly defeated the rival Mac OS, despite all the beauty, innovation, reliability and simplified design of the latter. That is, until Steve Jobs totally revamped the MacOS from the ground up, giving it a UNIX base and UNIX power. Nowadays the MacOS is regaining the ground it lost. But there is still a huge inherent advantage that the Windows OS still enjoys and which was the secret to its early success in the face of the superior system.

That advantage was what is called by computer experts “network utility” – simply the fact that as more people adopt the same OS, the more useful it becomes to each user. Windows achieved an early advantage over Apple in terms of the number of users, since it was more attractive to business, and its network utility rose steeply accordingly, eventually to a height that Apple could not match. Only the enormous advantages of the new Mac Unix based system turned the tide, combined with the introduction of the iPod which made Apple newly fashionable in style and reputation.

Similarly, in the HIV/AIDS world, the network utility of the HIV/AIDS paradigm achieved rapid dominance because its advantages in terms of ease of funding and institutional backing soon outdid any alternative, whether it made complete sense or not.

The belated attempts of highly accurate reviewers to turn the tide were soon completely ineffectual, and like steel balls rolling down a seesaw plank when the incline becomes steep, the numbers of believers soon overwhelmed the number of skeptics.
Soon HIV/AIDS became as globally dominant as Windows.

The network utility of truth in HIV/AIDS: zero

No one wants to hear from a black sheepWhen everybody settled on HIV as the cause of AIDS, and funding poured in to expand research on this basis, the network utility rose to heights which the network utility of truth could not match. In fact, the network utility of truth dwindled in about a year to zero, where it has stayed ever since.

Thus Peter Duesberg, the leading mind in the field who used his scalpel-sharp intellect and literary flair to eviscerate this comically fatheaded claim, was as noted, ostracized to an almost lethal extent for his trouble, and those who support him experienced the same response on all levels.

Professionals journalists were cut off from NIH scientists if they raised the topic of Duesberg by order of Anthony Fauci, who wrote in a newsletter than he had ordained that any such initiative would simply prove to him that the science reporter in question was incompetent, which on a political level was surely true.

For the NIH stance was matched throughout the field by everybody from scientists to health workers to gay activists. One of the latter when he learned that this writer viewed Duesberg’s science as impeccable and his rejection of the HIV/AIDS paradigm as completely authoritative broke off the conversation and retreated to a distance of some fifteen feet, in a physical demonstration of the psychology involved.

Such statements mark you as a member of a different and hostile tribe, and if you are within the system you will be marked as a black sheep if not a pariah, beyond the pale of respectability. If you wish to remain an insider, you must keep your true opinion to yourself and risk voicing it to only a few trusted longtime colleagues.

In such an atmosphere truth has much the same effect as informing an attractive member of the opposite sex who is waving a placard at OccupyWallStreet that you work for the Federal Reserve.

Integrity will get you nowhere

However one analyzes the failings of individuals in this arena – whether one blames them for confirmation bias and other scientific failings, or imagines them influenced, consciously or not, by group psychology, money, fear or power, this one fact remains.

The utility of believing in the paradigm HIV=AIDS is geometrically larger than challenging it in almost every situation, whether lab, conference. career interview or publishing a paper. On the one hand, the audience is global. On the other, a handful of insightful people, admirable in character and intent, hoping to promote truth, and save the lemmings from rushing to their doom.

None of the latter holdouts are employed by the New York Times. Whom, if you were Larry Altman, their chief reporter and adviser on HIV/AIDS, would you choose to throw your lot in with?


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