HIV/AIDS Skepticism

Pointing to evidence that HIV is not the necessary and sufficient cause of AIDS

Mainstream science wrong again, for two decades

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/04/20

In 1989, I was stunned when I saw, purely by chance, the announcement by Martin Fleischmann and Stan Pons that they had generated in an electrochemical cell energy of a magnitude explainable only by a nuclear and not chemical process. Disbelievers, especially physicists, pooh-poohed the claim, on the basis of first principles and also a few very hurried experiments that could not match what Fleischmann and Pons had developed over the course of years.

Science pundits and groupies, very much including the self-styled “Skeptics” groups, accepted the statements of the physicists as authoritative, and “cold fusion” became as synonymous with proven pseudo-science as astrology, Loch Ness monsters, pyramid power, etc.

Soon there were no research funds from mainstream sources to examine rigorously the claims of Fleischmann and Pons, but dozens and later hundreds of scientists continued to look into the claims with whatever resources they could muster. Reproducibility improved, theoretically plausible explanations were proposed, international conferences were held, but the mainstream continued to dismiss “cold fusion” as disproved.

So I was astonished, as well as pleasantly surprised, to see Martin Fleischmann being asked, last night on “60 Minutes”, how he felt about having his claim vindicated at last: 

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/04/17/60minutes/main4952167.shtml

“60 Minutes” had persuaded an independent expert to actually examine in detail ongoing experiments in Israel, and he was convinced that there was a source of energy being tapped that exceeded in magnitude what could be explained by chemical processes. He had been among the mainstream pooh-poohers in 1989.

*********************

So here’s another, contemporary, instance where the mainstream wrongly rejected the minority views of highly competent scientists. Fleischmann is as distinguished an electrochemist as Duesberg is a distinguished retrovirologist, but their admitted high achievements didn’t prevent the mainstream the pundits, the science groupies from denigrating them viciously.

If “60 Minutes” were able to persuade an independent biologist — biostatistician or epidemiologist, say — to actually look at the data on positive “HIV” tests, then Duesberg too would be pronounced as finally vindicated.

The mainstream experts refused to look through Galileo’s telescope. They refused to look through the microscope at the bacteria that cause ulcers. They long refused to look at the “cold fusion” experiments. And they continue to refuse to look at what HIV Skeptics and AIDS Rethinkers say, and persistently refuse even to produce the publications that they claim to know about that prove HIV to be the cause of AIDS.

The mainstream Defenders of the HIV/AIDS Faith are the real “denialists” — they are in denial that their Emperor has no clothes.

15 Responses to “Mainstream science wrong again, for two decades”

  1. mo79uk said

    The problem lies in that the automatic connotation of mainstream science is ‘correct science’ and anything else is ridiculous because it’s held by a minority, and being a minority they must be ‘nuts’. They must be equivalent to far-right political parties.

    Science unfortunately isn’t the only area to show these problems. There are many things that people adopt because it is marketed as ‘right’ without looking into it, or even being given an opportunity to look into it. Others may simply be scared of being seen as pests and so kill their doubts.

    Here in England I have never seen any debate on why HIV is only ever shown as a computer-generated image on TV or textbooks — and indeed a Google image search shows the majority of HIV images being drastically different looking images, not photographs.
    Most people accept this because of a) power of authority, b) brilliant marketing, and worst of all c) complacency.
    We rely too much on others opinions than making our own.

  2. Arden said

    Henry,

    I was wondering if I can use this piece for publication at some of my websites?

    • Henry Bauer said

      Arden:

      I’ll be delighted to have you use that piece. I’d appreciate your including links to my blog and website.

  3. Joe said

    It occurs to me regularly that the work that you’ve been doing on HIV should have been done by epidemiologists. It’s a disgrace that they have ignored the anomalies.

    Even though I’m not a scientist, throughout the whole debate on HIV/AIDS I’ve continually had in the back of my mind my biology lessons at school. We had an amazing biology teacher who used his university notes to teach us school biology, and he clearly kept himself ahead of the curve. We discussed the controversy that peptic ulcers may have been caused by bacteria. This was around 1980, and over the next couple of decades I was able to watch how something that had been considered a ridiculous idea was morphed into accepted medical wisdom without any indication that it greatly changed medical thinking on such a common disease.

    And of course you are right that it’s the mainstream that is in denial about HIV/AIDS. It’s such a pity that Science Studies is not taught in schools. So many kids flee from studying science, but far more might be interested in the way that science works rather than actually mixing chemicals or cutting up frogs. Our societies would be better places if people realized that what passes for scientific truth at any particular point can well be wrong.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Joe:

      One distinguished epidemiologist, Gordon Stewart, has been trying for a long time to get the mainstream to acknowledge its errors. Stewart predicted that the “epidemic” would remain within the original “risk groups”, and has persistently received rejections from Lancet, Nature, BMJ, of short articles or letters pointing out that his predictions have been borne out whereas the official ones have been wrong.

  4. Kirk Shanahan said

    Dr Bauer,

    I am dissappointed in your post above, in that you have apparently bought into the psuedoscientific claims of cold fusion supporters. I am also disappointed that you would expect a neophyte, a ‘newbie’, to be able to detect the subtle problems in a psuedoscience experiment with just a brief visit. Unfortunately it isn’t as easy as Wood’s debunking of n-rays.

    The CBS show did not present any contemporary crticisms of the cold fusion field, and they did not consult anyone who actually had studied the field recently. Dr. Garwin is a prime example. He doesn’t believe it, he doubts, but he can’t say why.

    Fortunately I can, but it would take inordinate space to do so here, as explaining why someone is wrong takes a lot more space than it does to make a falacious claim. But just as an example, I have now published 3 papers on why excess heat is not real excess heat. The first was the original proposal and the other two were responses to abortive attempts to denigrate the concepts I published. The sad thing is is that all it takes to understand the problem is a knowledge of algebra and a little practical experience on fixing broken analytical methods. For reference, see Shanahan, Thermochimica Acta 382(2002)95, 428(2005)207, and 441(2006)210.

    Kirk Shanahan

    • Henry Bauer said

      Kirk:

      I’ve been interested in cold fusion from the beginning, and have read all the major books about it, and heard talks by and been able to question Mike McKubre and Ed Storms and others, and have followed the developments at the International Conferences. I won’t be able to look at your articles until I get home, but my present knowledge includes that a variety of competent electrochemists and others have reproduced “excess heat” and various indications of nuclear transformations by a variety of approaches. The man who checked out the israeli work for “60 Minutes” may be a “newbie” to “cold fusion” but he’s a highly qualified person re measurements of this type. Perhaps if you had been there you might also have changed your mind.

      Fleischmann, McKubre, Storms, and many others who have worked in this area are fully competent in algebra, and fully competent in the analytical methods they use. I’m rather surprised that you’re willing to impugn them on those scores.

  5. Sadun Kal said

    Perhaps this is not the right place and I have no “knowledge of algebra and a little practical experience on fixing broken analytical methods” but I’d still be interested in learning more about Shanahan’s papers and their relation to the excess heat. All I could find was a little summary about his work here:
    http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/cf/293wikipedia.html

    I think it’s nice that he bothers to criticize the work he doesn’t agree with instead of just dismissing, that’s very much unlike HIV/AIDS orthodoxy, in my opinion.🙂

    Other than that there appears to be more interesting recent developments than what’s suggested by the link to the CBS story: http://pesn.com/2009/03/29/9501535_Cold-Fusion-confirmed/

    But all that still has its critics apparently:
    http://www.space.com/common/forums/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=17485

    Perhaps it’s still too early to say whether or not the cold fusion phenomenon is real. But I think that what appears to have happened to Martin Fleischmann is still disgraceful no matter what, that’s just not how science is supposed to function.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Sadun Kal:

      “that’s just not how science is supposed to function”

      but that’s how it DOES function. That’s why Science & Technology Studies should be a part of every general education.

  6. Kirk Shanahan said

    Henry:

    Well, if you’ve read all the major books on it, you may recognize my name then. I am mentioned in a recent one (and I might add the mention is a gross misrepresentation of the situation).

    Most of the promoters of cold fusion are quite good at it, McKubre being very smooth, and Storms being very academic, but in science smoothness means little. Clearly you didn’t know the ‘right’ questions to ask, and so missed the ‘rougher’ side they have shown to me when I ask the nasty questions and get no answers.

    By the way, my first publication in TA is a direct challenge to Storms’ interpretation of his own data, and the third is a point-by-point rebuttal of points made by Storms (4 years after publication) against my 1st publication. The second one is a comment on a paper, with one author of the group being Fleischmann, where my first publication is characterized as being ‘difficult to understand and therefore to accept’. Perhaps it is for them, but most mainstream scientists I deal with can see the problem I describe quite clearly.

    However, your not being up on the current criticisms of the field is somewhat understandable, as the field is a ‘pariah’ field, to quote David Goodstein (“Whatever happened to cold fusion?”, American Scholar (Phi Beta Kappa Society) 63 (4), (1994), 527–541). That of course means very few mainstreamers exist who are knowledgeble on it. You have to look very hard to find one. Most are like Garwin, they looked at it a long time ago, but haven’t kept up. One other besides me was W. Brian Clarke, who published a direct challenge to the quality of results coming from the McKubre laboratory in “Production of 4He in D2-loaded palladium-carbon catalyst II”, Fusion science and technology 43 (2), (2003), 250. Unfortunately, he passed on in 2003. You could potentially contact one of his coauthors in a related study, Brian Oliver of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, but he has not become ‘involved’ in the field and may have little to say.

    I will take your word for it that the named persons are competent in algebra. That does lead directly to the question then, “Why do they have such difficulty understanding something that is just algebra?” Perhaps you can ask them.

    Kirk Shanahan

    P.S. I notice most of the comments here are not on cold fusion, but on HIV. Perhaps we should take this off-line. Your choice. But any more comments are going to end up quite a bit longer.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Kirk:

      Yes, I’ll look at your articles after I get home and perhaps continue not via the blog; but I thought readers deserved to see your response to my response

  7. Johan said

    Heres another example of probable cold fusion

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn16820-neutron-tracks-revive-hopes-for-cold-fusion.html
    “Pamela Mosier-Boss and colleagues at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) in San Diego, California, are claiming to have made a “significant” discovery – clear evidence of the products of cold fusion.”

    • Henry Bauer said

      Johan:

      The cold fusion controversy is too specialized for further discussion on this blog. I urge people who are interested in it to read pro- and also con- arguments, for example the recent ones cited by Kirk Shanahan

  8. Emilia Regar said

    Kirk:

    I do applaud your attempts at playing devils advocate, but with your membership as part of the current DoE establishment with possible vested interests in CF not working (my feelings after seeing the real issues over the years), I think readers of these comments and this fine article by Bauer need to be aware of the gamesmanship going on by citing “one paper” as a means of refuting many excellent papers and quite startling results (transmutation, xP, low levels of emission). Fine papers by many scientists reporting positive results over the years. To simply dismiss results as measurement errors is getting a little old don’t you think by now? I do wish you all the best..

    • Henry Bauer said

      Emilia:
      I really don’t want to continue about “cold fusion” on this blog. Kirk suggested exchanging private e-mails, and I think that’s approprriate. You can get his contact info via Googling his name

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s