| "A wise man
proportions his belief to the
-- David Hume
| "Never argue
with an idiot".
-- Mark Twain
There was yesterday no Nederlog because I tried to read through ERV's
blog from September 2009 till now, and indeed did so, including most of
I wouldn't recommend
this to most, but then I am like that, i.e. curious to know and find
out, if indeed sometimes somewhat slow - but then my excuses are that
(i) I do have ME/CFS in a rather serious form and (ii) I have said from
the very beginning, in October 2009, that I am not competent to judge
virology and biochemistry, and lacked both the health and the interest
to read up on it.
Anyway... here are
some findings, and there may be more later. I sorted them in sections
and got them from my reading and clicking on appropriate links:
0. General introduction
1. Our Gerwyn Has A Model Our Dr Judy We TrustTM
2. Our Dr Judy We TrustTM
"is a nutbar" (ERV-collection)
3. Loveletter from W(h)ittemore Peterson Institute to ERV
4. Cui Bono?
5. How did it come to this?
There are two
epigraphs I've used before at the top, and there is
this immortal piece of film that is totally apt and should be seen or
reviewed by all:
(MUST read/hear/see: 1 min 22 secs)
Our Gerwyn Has A Model Our Dr Judy We TrustTM Approved (gasp)
There is the new forum for Guru Gerwyn And His Geroupies,
that I wrote about four days ago, under the link. On condition that you
become a member there (not otherwise: Real Gerwynesque Science
is only for The Select Few, since otherwise the heathens might mock
it), you'll be able to find there A Model Of The Disease, by
Gerwyn Himself, of which He says
This is a
diagram of my disease model, please do not reproduce elsewhere.
I shall not reproduce it, but I can give a description, that must have
been written by a cynic, a denialist, a doubter and a very bad sort of
I'd said that I would comment on Gerwyn's Abstract Art.
Well... that's what it is. To start with, on a superficial count, it
contains about 55 entities and 55 arrows, all multi-colored, and all
clearly the fruit of many an hour with a drawing program, that may
indeed look quite nice as some sort of illustration, of some thing or
things. But there my problem starts, with this "disease
somethings it is an illustration of (always apart from Gerwyn's Mighty
Mind And Great Knowledge) consists of about 1 of 2^110 possible Models Of The Disease ME (namely,
as modelled by absence or presence of entities or arrows).
again, it does allow us an adequate measure of the powers of Gerwyn's mighty mind, as expressed in
It is just 1 of a mere 1298074214633706907132624082305024
possibilities, according to the programming language I use to calculate
and express it in integers. You may be inclined to give or take a few
percentages, in case you were feeling skeptical or strict, but then the
above should be the exact number, that I doubt has any regular
English expression for it.
So... it's possibly quite nice as Abstract Fart - A True Conversation
Piece - but otherwise of no rational cognitive use. Being the most
humble of men, he lets his readers know that he "constructed
it in consultation with Judy";
that - in case you might have wondered - it "is colored to make it
easier to present" and also that "I have no
idea whether it is accurate the hypothesis can be tested I can only say
it is original."
you frown upon my mathematically inspired levity, I am willing to admit, that a similar
treatment could be given to many diagrams appearing in medical or would
be medical books - but then I should also say these tend not to
be as flagrantly in conflict with Ockham's
Razor as Gerwyn's Abstract Fart, that seems to have been compiled
on the following principle: Let's put in ALL the terms we
know, nicely coloured and shadowed, including also that most infamous
Vegus Nerve, that does Our Community Of pwMEs such untold harm, and
then connect the lot with arrows, but in a nice fashion, and
without too many double arrows, which would increase the model in
complexity to something like 1 out of 2^165 - or (and I am again
counting carefully) just a mere
46768052394588893382517914646921056628989841375232 of possibilities
surveyed by Our Judy And Gerwyn (who must have refuted all of them, but
one: Real Science!).
This whole approach - put in a term, nicely coloured, and connect
it with a pointed arrow to another nicely coloured term: Biomedical
Science at its abstract best - also has the nice
possibility of seeming to comprise and cover and contain every possible model involving the
terms: mitochondria, NO (nitrous oxide), methylation, glucose
metabolism, peroxynitrate, autoimmunity .... in brief: nobody who
in the last three decades has proposed anything vaguely biomedical
about ME/CFS seems to have been left out of Gerwyn's Abstract Fart, and
it all starts with (drumroll......) HGRV.
If you believe it.
Anyway, if this is the best our Ger can do, maybe
he should consider becoming, with Flex as male model, the new Lucian
Having done the
science, modus Gerwynicus, let's continue with the ArchFiend:
Our Dr Judy We TrustTM "is a nutbar" (ERV-collection)
As I said, I read through ERV's blog on XMRV and indeed some other
subjects from september 2009 onwards, including most of the comments,
and learned quite a bit more than I knew.
In fact, Ms. Smith
may offer the sort of hypothesis that Our Dr Judy We TrustTM's
very own lawyers may also tender to the court, namely that, really and
truly, she did not do it, on
purpose. To quote Ms Smith on the subject, she has not as many models
as Gerwyn & Dr. Judy, and can make do with two, albeit it with "a
spectrum" in between:
The lead PI on
paper is a woman named Judy Mikovits.
She is a nutbar. Everyone is out to get her, everyone is part of
conspiracies to discredit her research, she consorts with anti-vaxers
and snake-oil peddlers-- aka, nutbar. One of her many claims of
persecution was that she has allllllllll these papers written but no
one will 'let' her publish.
If I am being generous, I would say that they did not start with the
right populations of patients and grossly overstated their data because
they are mind blowingly incompetent.
On the other end
of the spectrum is the assumption that they know damn well what they
are doing, and just wanted to publish 'something' to justify selling
CFS patients another expensive-say-nothing 'diagnostic test'. They
mentioned in the paper they wanted to use this 'cytokine test' to
assess whether antiretrovirals are working. So they could sell this
test to a CFS patient, 2, 3, 4, more times a year? If I were evil,
thats how I would do it.
If you click on
the relevant term "nutbar",
Google should produce a nicely collected sorted set of ERV's blogs on
the subject, that may convince some that Our Dr Judy We TrustTM
may really have been speaking the truth, as she saw it.
I'll return to
that eventuality a little later, and first consider
A Loveletter From W(h)ittemore Peterson Institute to ERV
This is an
interesting bit of endearing prose that seems to have been sent from
the IP-address of the WPI, that somewhere got misspelled. It starts of
your a pig. go
to school and learn to write you asshole. plus I believe this doctor
judy mikovits has a higher education than you, UVA is a very difficult
school and from they way you write I can't tell if you passed the
middle school SOL bullshit. You can't even spell blog. fucking idiot.
It's also funny that you want to fight a lady. You are a classless
piece of shit, mine as well have pulled your scummy ass out of the
horse shit piles at the rodeo.
Those who want
more - this was about 20% of it - including lessons on spelling
"W(h)ittemore, IP-numbers, and moral views can go to
Next, something I
had read about, namely that Doctor Judy, and the Doctors Ruscetti
(husband and wife) and indeed also Doctor Lombardi, have filed patents
on what they did.
Very few in
Our Patient Community seem to have been interested in them, though they
will or would make eventual medicines - effective or not: caveat
emptor, as always - a lot more expensive and profitable,
especially to the holders of the patents.
Since I am myself
old, cynical, ill since over thirty years, and not very favorably
impressed with much of mankind, I wanted to know, since I think
that asking "Cui Bono?" often clarifies a lot, as regards
politicians, mafiosi, priests, psychiatrists and indeed scientists, and
two days of reading told me what I wanted to know, in outline, on a
site appropriately called Free Patents On
doctors Mikovits, Lombardi and Ruscettis patents
So... Cui bono?
That is: Who benefits? Well, clearly these four biomedical scientists,
who all mean so very well, to start with.
It still does not
prove fraud, of course, but it does prove motive for fraud, and
a motive for these people's strong personal interest in their story
being believed by patients, employers and colleagues. (*)
Incidentally, the file linked is a fair amount of quite technical text
- 174 Kb in small letters in html and I have not read all but some -
that seems, with today's knowledge, palpably false, and all seems to
promise lots of wealth if these patents are awarded to them and
if medicines (effective or not) are based on them, or perhaps even if
just their methods were used by others.
Having provided a
motive, let's end with a question:
How did it come to this?
Actually, there is
a piece in the most recent Slate,
and namely by "Julie Rehmeyer" who "is an award-winning math and
science writer who writes mathematics columns for Wired and
News" that addresses just this
very question (Ms Rehmeyer's title):
did the study of chronic fatigue syndrome come to this?
Ms. Rehmeyer, who
wrote an interesting informed article, says among other things,
I myself have CFS.)" that
For now, itís
unclear whether Mikovits is a fraud; an overambitious, careless, and
irresponsible scientist; or just a researcher who temporarily lost all
perspective. But itís easy to imagine how her sense of obligation to
produce results quickly for desperate patients, and the polarized
atmosphere around CFS research, could have greased the slide she and
the institute took from cautious science into reckless overreaching.
The failings of
Mikovits, Whittemore, or the patients who trusted them arenít the
point, though. With a disease this debilitating and marginalized, some
patients are bound to make leaps of faith; some researchers might start
to believe their own press; and a mother may overextend herself in her
quest to save her child. But the alienation of the patient community
only arose because of the mishandling of CFS by the public agencies.
The best way to avoid this kind of fiasco would be for researchers and
public health officials to follow their obligation to protect public
health, be faithful to the science from the beginning, and fund and
pursue the many promising avenues for research on CFS that have
while I agree that Ms. Rehmeijer gives a fair, balanced and informed
view, I should add that, speaking for myself, I incline to fraud rather
than madness. I don't have proof, but I do have a proof of evidence for
motive given above, and I also have a probabilistic argument:
The reasons I
think a series of mistakes based on incompetence is less likely as an
explanation, is that, mostly from reading the 30 issues on ERVs blog on
the subject of XMRV, scientific methodology, and the morals of
scientists, that Our Dear Judy has been criticized a lot by her very
own colleagues, and since the beginning, and if Our Judy were honest
and fair and concerned with patients' welfare and chances, and indeed
also sane, she should and would have handled much of it quite
differently, whereas if she were not honest nor fair nor concerned
about patients interests, she would have done as she seems to have been
doing for two years: bluffing it. Besides, many people want to
What most patients - at least - simply miss is that this very chance of
getting very rich as a scientific researcher makes (retro-)virology,
like medicine, rather different from mathematics, physics, or
indeed psychology: In either of these, one's financial reward as a
scientist is tenure at a university, and the status that goes with
that, and little else, normally. (Physicists may invent patentable
stuff, but getting a patent tends to take a lot of time and money, for
what often is a gamble, namely that a financier will arise, finance the
realizing of the good idea, and make a huge profit, one can share in as
patent owner. With stuff that directly touches people's health, it's a
bit different than having invented a better ballpoint or toaster.)
This - the huge patents and expensive medicines big pharma sells - make
medicine and retrovirology really different from other sciences.
And it should make
patients at least a little wary of scientists with patents who are so
incredibly and miraculously Good and Moral and Helpful and Kind, that
it defies belief, of the somewhat informed about science, human beings
or human motives.
(*) There is a
rather demented group of wishfully
thinking patients who at this point love to scream at me and
others, in caps, preferably, that "NO ONE IS GUILTY BEFORE BEING
DECLARED GUILTY BY A COURT!!!". Sure: Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Khaddafi
all are perfectly innocent. (In brief, such bright people confuse a
legal principle for a moral principle: Of course people are
guilty before they are judged to be guilty, if they are
judged guilty, and indeed are guilty, for else they could not be truly
judged to be guilty. Why o why is logic so difficult for some?!)