How Scientific Censorship Works

#1
by David Crowe

published in Alive Magazine, November 2003

It is a modern cliché that we live in an ‘Information Society’. We drown in data, but scientific discussions that threaten vested interests are lost at sea and scientists who insist on studying controversial theories are cast adrift.

One esteemed scientist turned pariah because he refused to stop questioning a dogma (that HIV causes AIDS) is Dr. Peter Duesberg. He once was considered a top retrovirologist, the first to isolate a cancer gene, California Scientist of the Year in 1971 and recipient of an Outstanding Investigator Award from the US National Institutes of Health in 19861 . For 25 years he had every grant application approved.

That ended in 1987 when he published a paper providing extensive evidence that HIV could not cause disease2 . Since then he has had 0 of 23 government grants approved for research in AIDS and cancer and great difficulty getting his work published.

Duesberg’s mirror image is Robert Gallo, widely revered as a co-discoverer of HIV, yet with an entire book devoted to documenting his shoddy and corrupt science3 . The scientific establishment shuns Duesberg and his ideas, yet treats Gallo’s questionable work as the foundation of a multi-billion dollar research program.

Another researcher who suffered for his integrity was Erdem Cantekin who published data indicating that antibiotics were not effective for ear infections without permission from the lead researcher, Charles Bluestone, who was cozy with antibiotic manufacturers4 . The issue became not the validity of the data, but whether the lead researcher could control if, when and how it would be published. After a long legal battle Cantekin ended up shunned by his peers, broke and with his career destroyed.

Mark Purdey5 , the man who first questioned the infectious theory of Mad Cow disease (BSE)6 is an outsider, an organic farmer turned scientist. The massive British BSE report7 grudgingly admitted that the use of organophosphate pesticides could be a co-factor, but that the connection claimed by Purdey was unproven. Conveniently, funding to test the hypothesis has been difficult to obtain. Only the persistence of Purdey and his supporters has allowed a small research program to proceed and show that the theory is tenable .8

For ideas to be censored the mainstream media must also be silent. Mainstream scientists and public health organizations often characterize certain ideas (and open discussion of them) as ‘dangerous’ or ‘junk science’ and usually refuse to debate them in public.9

Paul Connett of the Fluoride Action Network has experienced shunning many times. This college chemistry professor has traveled the world offering to debate experts on the safety and effectiveness of water fluoridation. Only on two occasions has he had his offer accepted, and even then they refused to debate important issues like safety .10 Without both sides of an issue being presented, the media often decide that there is no story.

Scientists are fatally proud of their reliance on peer-review to ensure that only good science gets funded and published. Yet it has been shown that peer review does not increase the quality of studies11,12 and because the anonymous reviewers generally represent established ideas it is an effective way to suppress innovation 13,14 .

Censorship is most effective when the censor’s hand is invisible. Modern science has developed an effective hierarchy for disseminating ‘acceptable’ information and, perhaps more importantly, for excluding work that threatens mainstream scientists and the governments and industries that fund them. Luckily, there are still publications and websites outside this web of self-censorship. You should take advantage of this information, use it to formulate your own opinions, and discuss them with friends, family and colleagues. Small donations of your time and money can make a tremendous difference to the world’s excluded scientists.

David Crowe is a Calgary based environmentalist and analyst of the scientific justification for modern medicine. He has an HBSc in Biology and Mathematics. He can be reached at David.Crowe@aras.ab.ca.

References

1. Duesberg Website (Biographical sketch)

2. Duesberg PH. Retroviruses as Carcinogens and Pathogens: Expectations and Reality. Cancer Res. 1987 Mar 1; 47: 1199-1220.

3. Crewdson J. Science fictions: A scientific mystery, a massive cover-up, and the dark legacy of Robert Gallo. Little, Brown. 2002.

4. Crossen C. A medical researcher pays for doubting industry claim. WSJ. 2001 Jan 3.

5. http://www.markpurdey.com

6. Crowe D. Mad cows or mad scientists? Alive. 2001 Jun.

7. BSE inquiry report. MAFF. 2000 Oct.

8. Brown DR. BSE did not cause variant CJD: an alternative cause related to post-industrial environmental contamination. Med Hypoth. 2001 Nov; 57(5): 555-60.

9. Duesberg PH. Inventing the AIDS Virus. Regnery. 1996.

10. IFIN Bulletins.

11. Editorial peer review for improving the quality of reports of biomedical studies. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003.

12. Rothwell PM et al. Reproducibility of peer review in clinical neuroscience - is agreement between reviewers any greater than would be expected by chance alone? Brain. 2000; 123: 1964-9.

13. Horrobin DF. Peer review of grant applications: a harbinger for mediocrity in clinical research? Lancet. 1996; 348(9037): 1293-5.

14. Horrobin DF. The philosophical basis of peer review and the suppression of innovation. JAMA. 1990; 263(10): 1438-41.
 
#2
What I never see in these types of articles is a proposal on how the rules should be changed.

It's a zero-sum game: there is a particular budget that has to be divided between the various proposals, and usually there are more proposals than budget available. If more funding is given to one project it means another project won't get funding.

So what are the current selection rules. and how should they be altered?
 
#3
What I never see in these types of articles is a proposal on how the rules should be changed.
That implies you haven't read many of them. Not to mention that the focus of the article is not on project funding but on the censorship of what completed research is published.
 
#4
"The dogma that HIV causes AIDS" Ah wonderful, AIDS Denial. Yes that's working well. In fact, it's working so brilliantly that thanks to Thabo Mbeki's 'insight' into this very subject, 20% of the South African population have aids. And as it turns out, Deusberg advised that scumbag of a president, so I guess he is partly to blame for the millions of lives lost or dangerously afflicted by this disease, so I'm not suprised the scientific community shuns him. Nor am I surprised the mainstream is 'suppressing' him He's effectively an indirect mass murderer. On a similar note, I like to ask, Saiko, as you seem to be happy to post an article which refers to HIV leads to AIDS as a dogma, are you an AIDS denier? And if so, is it because you are a homophobe, or a racist, or both, or perhaps for shits and giggles?.


"Paul Connett of the Fluoride Action Network has experienced shunning many times. This college chemistry professor has traveled the world offering to debate experts on the safety and effectiveness of water fluoridation"

What's next? The Jewish banking cartels control the world, Obama is a Kenyan Muslim Marxist, The Royal Family are reptilian shape shifters?
 
#6
This would be far more effective as a topic if the examples given weren't shunned because their ideas were without merit. Stay away from HIV denialism if you want to be taken seriously.

Linda
 
#10
"The dogma that HIV causes AIDS" Ah wonderful, AIDS Denial. Yes that's working well. In fact, it's working so brilliantly that thanks to Thabo Mbeki's 'insight' into this very subject, 20% of the South African population have aids. And as it turns out, Deusberg advised that scumbag of a president, so I guess he is partly to blame for the millions of lives lost or dangerously afflicted by this disease, so I'm not suprised the scientific community shuns him. Nor am I surprised the mainstream is 'suppressing' him He's effectively an indirect mass murderer. On a similar note, I like to ask, Saiko, as you seem to be happy to post an article which refers to HIV leads to AIDS as a dogma, are you an AIDS denier? And if so, is it because you are a homophobe, or a racist, or both, or perhaps for shits and giggles?.


"Paul Connett of the Fluoride Action Network has experienced shunning many times. This college chemistry professor has traveled the world offering to debate experts on the safety and effectiveness of water fluoridation"

What's next? The Jewish banking cartels control the world, Obama is a Kenyan Muslim Marxist, The Royal Family are reptilian shape shifters?
Whether or not HIV causes AIDS, thank you for illustrating perfectly how scientific censorship works.
 
#11
Whether or not HIV causes AIDS, thank you for illustrating perfectly how scientific censorship works.
It does cause AIDS, that this is even questioned has directly led to the deaths of thousands in South Africa and elsewhere. This has happened. Crying censorship because one has been halted for promoting dangerous bullshit doesn't cut the mustard, sorry. This isn't like parapsychology. People's lives aren't being put at risk by promoting it. AIDS denial kills people, plain and simple. It isn't much of a coincidence that the AIDS rate spiked massively in SA when that scumfuck Mbeki questioned it. Thanks in part to the advise of the dirtbag mentioned in the OP. So you'll understand why I am rather emotive about this.
 
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#12
It does cause AIDS, that this is even questioned has directly led to the deaths of thousands in South Africa and elsewhere. This has happened. Crying censorship because one has been halted for promoting dangerous bullshit doesn't cut the mustard, sorry. This isn't like parapsychology. People's lives aren't being put at risk by promoting it. AIDS denial kills people, plain and simple. It isn't much of a coincidence that the AIDS rate spiked massively in SA when that scumfuck Mbeki questioned it. Thanks in part to the advise of the dirtbag mentioned in the OP. So you'll understand why I am rather emotive about this.
Thanks again.
 
#14
It is not censorship. We aren't talking about a scientific claim being ridiculed because it upsets someone's beliefs, we are talking about a claim which is not only incredibly moronic, but life threatening. you can't assume that others are just being mean or trying to oppress the truth by not allowing crap like that to be supported
 
#15
But what are we suggesting? Should all studies be published? Should all journals be required to accept all papers? Surely not.

Can we agree that not every paper is worthy of being published in mainstream journal? I suspect so.

Are there some ideas that go against the mainstream that are correct? Sure

Are there some ideas that go against the mainstream incorrect? Sure.

How do we differentiate between the two? That's the tricky part!

Again: we need to remember even with journals its a zero sum game: they do not have the resources to peer review every article submitted. At some point criteria must be established.
 
#16
Yeah, I think this topic would be more fruitful if examples were given of ideas which were shown to be correct, or were at least not obviously misbegotten, which were failed by the process.

It's hard to show the process is broken if ideas which should be rejected on merit, end up rejected.

Linda
 
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