Denialist?,.........Denialism

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Offline RavenMadd

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« on: February 17, 2013, 03:51:03 PM »
“Denialism” — Who are the “denialists”? Posted by Henry Bauer on 2013/02/16
“Denialism” is a recently invented, highly disdained condition. The inventors and deployers of the term intend it as a fatal blow to anyone who does not accept a mainstream consensus.
 But there have always been minority views, unorthodox opinions, heterodox beliefs, and history teaches that some of them outlasted and eventually superseded the mainstream consensus.
 In science, at times a difference of opinion has persisted unresolved for quite a long time. What’s new is not that a significant number of competent experts disagree with a mainstream consensus: What’s new — in modern science — is that mainstream institutions and their representatives seek to discredit their colleagues who interpret the evidence in a different fashion. What’s new in modern science is that differing opinions are labeled heretical and that their proponents are excommunicated, even when those proponents comprise a sizable number of well qualified experts.
Iconoclastic novelty has traditionally been resisted by mainstream science (1-3). Even well-established, senior scientists who make startling claims have tended to be ignored or ostracized (4).
On the other hand, occasionally a medical or scientific specialty seizes on some new claim that quickly becomes a fad. In recent times some of those have become bandwagons: fluorocarbons as destroyers of the ozone layer, for example, or carbon dioxide emissions as cause of global warming, or a retrovirus as cause of AIDS. Here the traditional roles of conservative and iconoclast have been reversed: The mainstream consensus upholds the iconoclastic novelty virtually from the outset while a minority of specialists denies that the evidence has established the new claim beyond a reasonable doubt.
The history of science teaches quite unequivocally that no new claim should be accepted without further ado. Only time can tell whether a new claim is sound; and time can tell that only if researchers repeatedly and persistently test the claim by trying to disconfirm or to confirm the early observations, and by trying to build on them.
The history of HIV/AIDS theory and of the theory of human-caused global warming (AGW, for anthropogenic global warming) demonstrates that in these cases the mainstream misguidedly jumped to acceptance well before conclusive support for the theories was at hand. With AGW, the claim rests entirely on computer models that neglect such important variables as those associated with historical cycles of temperature (5). With HIV/AIDS, the claim is  not supported by epidemiologic data, some of which was available quite early in the AIDS era (6).
These instances also demonstrate that early wholehearted acceptance by influential mainstream organizations can stymie subsequent reconsideration even as the evidence against the theories mounts. A mainstream consensus has enormous inertia; it maintains itself through control of the institutions that fund research and publish findings.
The volte-face in the traditional conservatism of science seen with HIV/AIDS and AGW has been accompanied by an unprecedented ostracizing and persecution of sizable numbers of well established and formerly respected specialists who attempted to play the traditional role of skeptical scrutinizing of new claims. The persecution has consisted of such things as refusal of research funding, exclusion from professional conferences, and extraordinary measures to prevent publication (5).
In the past, there have been cases where once well-established scientists were banished beyond the pale when they made unacceptable claims (4). But it is unprecedented that whole swaths of mainstream practitioners, including highly accomplished individuals, are effectively excommunicated from their profession, are held up to derision and ridicule in the media, and are even branded “denialists” in specific comparison to those who deny the occurrence or nature of the Nazi Holocaust with its mass killings of millions of Jews, gypsies, and other political or social undesirables.
It seems a little remarkable that no influential or popular media have pointed out the high qualifications of significant numbers of those who have been called denialists. Here is a brief survey.
HIV/AIDS “denialists”
The most well known HIV/AIDS denialist is Peter Duesberg, who before his apostasy over HIV and AIDS had been generally recognized as one of the world’s leading cancer researchers and retrovirologists. Other highly qualified critics of HIV/AIDS theory include  Kary Mullis (Nobel Prize), Robert Root-Bernstein (MacArthur “Genius” Awardee), Gordon Stewart (professor at the University of Glasgow and epidemiology consultant to the World Health Organization) and others as well (7).
In an open letter to the scientific community in 1991, more than 30 people asked that the HIV/AIDS hypothesis be re-examined; the signatories included Mullis, Root-Bernstein and Stewart and other well-established biologists in pertinent specialties (e.g. Gordon J. Edlin, Beverly Griffith, Harry Rubin, Richard C. Strohman, Charles A. Thomas, Jr.) as well as MDs and other scientists and science writers. Within 2 years more than 350 others had added their signatures (8): biological scientists, doctors, science writers, and a number of individuals with first- or second-hand experience of AIDS.
Some of those individuals are among those who have written articles and books explaining why HIV/AIDS theory has not been established. Much of this material comes from individuals who have no personal axe to grind and who stood to gain nothing in personal preferment by criticizing the mainstream dogma, indeed some of these people paid heavy professional prices for their apostasy. Among these are science writers who began by researching stories about AIDS but found to their astonishment that the facts on the ground do not support HIV/AIDS theory; see for example the books by Jad Adams, Ellinor Burkett, Neville Hodgkinson, Jon Rappoport, Joan Shenton, Bruce Nussbaum, and also sociologist Steven Epstein (9).
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