RE: The story-telling ape (was virus: Logic)

chardin (
Sat, 18 Oct 1997 12:43:31 CST+6CDT

> Date: Fri, 17 Oct 1997 17:00:32 -0700 (PDT)
> From: Eva-Lise Carlstrom <>
> To:
> Subject: RE: The story-telling ape (was virus: Logic)
> Reply-to:

> On Fri, 17 Oct 1997, chardin wrote:
> > Science makes special claims for itself
> > Science says you should believe in me because I am tested and true
> > I am replication, I am peer-review. Someone just posted a notice
> > to the effect: "we accept science because it has been replicated"
> > Not true. David admitted almost no validation takes place.
> > Because scientists don't expect other scientists to lie, they tend
> > to take each other's word for it. This is why Randi says
> > scientists are the easiest to fool.
> <snip>
> >
> > Do you think I am attacking your Holy Cow? No, I accept things
> > for which we have proof, but I want to the evidence to be good.
> > Don't give me a picture of natives eating post roast and tell me
> > that are feasting on the brain of a human beinsg. I feel very
> > betrayed. But what is even worse, is nothing is done. It is in
> > the literature, it is cited. Maybe I am the one who is crushed by
> > the falliability of this Holy Cow. Maybe I am projecting my hurt
> > at the betrayal of science to you guys, when in fact, I am the one
> > disappointed. Chardin
> Cathy:
> Your demand that science should live up to its own stated standards
> of evidence and replicability is perfectly reasonable and
> commendable. I am interested in what evidence the authors of
> _Betrayers of the Truth_ have that lack of evidence for accepted
> scientific claims is commonplace (if that's not too
> self-referential!), since such a situation would obviously be cause
> for concern.

First off, they claim that a full 50% of scientific papers published
are not cited one time during the year after publication. Using this
information, they assume that these papers have not been scrutizied
by other scientists--they also point out the liklihood that these
documents probably have very little impact on scientific thought
anyway. However, the frightening thing is that in studies asking how
many scientists had ever been asked for their raw data for validation
or replication, they found that very few were asked, very few would
be willing to make the data available, and the few that did make
their data available, it was fraught with error and
misrepresentations, either accidental or intential.

The authors also point out that in the one area where testing and
validation takes place in any methodical way , at the FDA, those
scientists found all sorts of fraud and deceit and sloppy science in
studies presented before that body for the approval of new drugs and
new drug devices.

Let me ask you a question. Let us take a very modern and up-to-date
example. Do you believe that HIV cause AIDS? Are you shocked that
anyone would even ask such a foolish question? I was, the first time
I heard it-- I thought the person was a lunatic who asserted the idea
that perhaps it didn't. But why do you believe it?
Do you believe because the guys in white say so? Because the CDC
tells you to believe it? What if the guys in white and the CDC are
the same? When Gallo asserted at a press conference in 1984 his
idea that HIV causes AIDS, not one
scientific paper had been published to that effect and submitted to
peer-review--not that it would have mattered much anyway, I suppose.
Yet we have bought that theory hook, line and sinker to
the tune of $40 billion in research. Why? That is what Kary Mullis
asked himself in 1988 when he was asked to write a paper on HIV and
AIDS. Kary Mullis won the Nobel Prize for his polymerase chain reaction
work--the method whereby scientists, among other thing, determine the
"viral load" in an "HIV-infected" individual. Check it out, if your
Do you think it has since been validated? It is a good think you
have access to the net, otherwise you would be hard pressed to find
any information--except for a lone book or two--such as Peter
Duesberg's--which I would definitely recommend for anyone interested
in how science really works. The history of this whole affair is very interesting for anyone who
cares about science and the direction it is heading. I found it
fascinating, anyway. If you decide to look into it, let me have
your comments, please.

I have added _Betrayers of the Truth_ to my list of
> book recommendations from Church of Virus members, which take
> precedence over recommendations from most other sources. In turn, I
> would like to recommend that you read one or both of the following:
> _Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark_ by Carl Sagan
> _Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and its Quarrels with
> Science_ by
> Paul Gross and Norman Levitt
> Both of these books deal with science, in both theory and practice,
> and attacks on it from various (often mutually opposed) camps.
> Neither book claims that scientific practice is perfect, but the
> authors of both do evaluate the reasonableness of many of the
> criticisms levelled against science, and they defend science as the
> best method for its purposes. Once I've read _Betrayers_, I'd be
> interested in comparing the books with you.
> Eva
Eva, I've had "Higher Superstitutions" on my list for sometime but
haven't gotten around to it. I will try to get the other one as
well. I, too, would like to read and compare.