May 18, 2011

More on XMRV (and viruses)

  The first of nature's gifts is this force of reason which raises you above your own passions and your weaknesses and puts you in control of your capacities, your talents, and your virtues.  
  -- Chamfort

This continues

of May 7 last with an interesting link involving professor Vincent Racaniello (whose Virology Blog you find under the link):

It was yesterday, and the text is by Tsine Tsouderos and starts thus

Viruses are in the news all of the time. The flu hits, we hear about it. H1N1 hits, we really hear about it. We hear about vaccines, some of which protect against dangerous viral infections. We hear about HIV, which has killed so many and transformed Africa. We hear about XMRV, a retrovirus potentially being the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome and prostate cancer. From our neighbors and friends we hear about viruses making the rounds among our kids, striking people down on vacation and even leading to untimely deaths of loved ones. We are covered in viruses, surrounded by them. They shape our lives in so many ways. Here's a unique opportunity to talk about viruses with one of the great experts on them, Vincent Racaniello.

It is the kind of grandstanding journalist's prose I don't like, but then it is American, and the Chicago Tribune, and if Ms Tsouderos speaks as if in a circus about "a true virus guru", while  personally I get a bit cramped when addressed in such dulcet tones, as if all of life is an advertisement were all things are awesome, fabulous, fantastic and extraordinary, I suppose the folks of Chicago Tribune - part of that great nation informed by the likes of Glenn Beck - believe this is the way the average American these days loves to be addressed:

Hello everybody! Thank you for coming to this chat. We're extremely lucky to have Dr. Vincent Racaniello here to answer questions about all things viruses. He's a true virus guru, a professor at Columbia, the co-author of the classic Principles of Virology, author of the amazing Virology Blog and co-host of several podcasts, including my favorite, This Week in Virology. He has an extraordinary ability to explain complicated topics in a clear way. Okay, so let's talk about viruses!

But OK... it is an interesting chat, and I like it that such things - chatting about real science - are being done, and professor Racaniello did get some interesting questions which he answered well, and that is why I mentioned it and link it. Also, Ms Tsouderos took the trouble of putting it all on line, and I am both personally interested in the subject and a fan of real science, so I am feeling appropriately thankful.

I also have a remark relating to paranoia:

While I do not have a lot of faith to loose in ordinary scientists or indeed ordinary men and women , and while I have come to very strongly distrust anything that smacks of psychiatry, psycho-therapy and self-styled pleonastic or ironical oxymoronic 'evidence based science' (*), I like real science and real scientists, and have put most of my hopes, both for getting a rational explanation and cure for ME/CFS and for improving the world, on real science.

This also is, in my case, not at all a naive sort of faith, but better based, I fear, than is the "scientific knowledge" of moral rotters and intellectual thousand-raters like Wessely, Sharpe, Reeves, Bleijenberg c.s. who falsify science, and use it to lie, to mislead and to make a career with it that consists basically of lying, misleading and wrecking lives and chances of ill people, in the way of witchdoctors and shamans, for money, and with bullshit:

The point I want to make about paranoia is this:

There is every reason - argued for over a 100 years, meanwhile! - to distrust very much of psychiatry, psychotherapy and psychology, mainly because (1) these pretended sciences lack the science, about the brain and neurology mostly, to support most of their pretensions of insight, cures and therapies, which they offer for money, generally without honesty, and (2) the professionals of these sciences, and in particular psychiatrists, have meanwhile century-old tradition of lying and misleading to the public and their patients about their true capacities and real knowledge, while more specifically - see in particular
ME Awareness Day and the DSM-5 - the latest efforts of the American Psychiatric Association are truly frightening for whoever means well with ill people and with real - "medical"! - science, this is not real science, and these are not real scientists: These are frauds, modern shamans, mystery mongers, pseudos who are more like warlocks and witches than like honest real scientists, while trying to pose as if they were the real thing, for money.

By contrast, and until one has specific evidence and a good knowledge of the methods of real science, there is not much sense in distrusting real scientists, even if one disagrees with them or their conclusions, and there is much sense in supporting them, and supporting real science, especially if one is ill with a disease like ME/CFS.

And in the end the real reasons are these:

1. Only in real science are people involved whose main aim and technique is to find and write the truth about some field, rather than indulge in some propaganda, superstition, or pretense about it, that unfortunately are the norm in most other fields of human social endeavor (politics, religion, advertising) and

2. Real scientists generally are persons who really care about science and the truth, which one can infer from the fact that generally they are easily smart enough to get rich as a bank manager or popular as a politician, whereas they clearly prefer science and the truth over (generally much better paying!) lying, posturing, deceiving and fraudulence.

3. Real science is a minority affair, of a minority of persons who try to be rational and reasonable, and who are intelligent and highly educated.

4. Real science is what emancipated humanity from the Stone Age, the Middle Age, and enormous amounts of dangerous political or religious bullshit that repressed and deceived the mass of mankind, while keeping them poor, ignorant and abused.

Finally, this is what sickened me so much in the education I got offered at University of Amsterdam, in postmodernism, and in psychiatric and medical fraudulence and deception: These are liars and lies in the name of science or philosophy.

P.S. Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.

As an aside a remark on my html-editor: I am very pleased to say this text was written in KompoZer 08.b3 and not in MS Frontpage.

As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):

1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

6. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7. Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)

Short descriptions:

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:
   "it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence".
7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.

    "Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!

No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.
I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?
I ask yon Heaven, the all-beholding Sun,
Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm,
Heaven's ever-changing Shadow, spread below,
Have its deaf waves not heard my agony?
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!
     - (Shelley, "Prometheus Unbound") 

    "It was from this time that I developed my way of judging the Chinese by dividing them into two kinds: one humane and one not. "
     - (Jung Chang)


See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources

Maarten Maartensz (M.A. psy, B.A. phi)

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