MM on ME


26 Feb, 2010




Hello Kurt and Anne,

I agree here with Anne, though I am myself not a big believer in XMRV as THE cause of ME. (I just don't know and am in no illusions about my own knowledge of biochemistry.)

And I have read Kurt's contributions to this thread with interest, but not with much conviction, though he might just have a generally more romantic view of life and science than I have, or he may be writing more diplomatically than I normally do.

Here are just a few remarks as to what puzzled me:

(1) Kurt defines the terms "science", "atheism", "religion" and "medicine" in #88 of this thread in his own terms. None of these are defined as I would define them, and the definitions seem loaded and arbitrary to me, but I am not going to discuss this here (but please compare Kurt's definitions with those in the Oxford English Dictionary: I'd like to start from thence, rather than from what someone stipulatively and rather arbitrarily defines in a public discussion).

What I found odd in his definitions - apart from other things - is the occurence of "faith" in his definition of "medicine":

"Medicine is a belief system based on faith in drugs, vaccinations and surgical procedures."

Why mention "faith" here and not under "religion"? And whence the iterated "belief system" in all four definitions without any explanation what this is supposed to be?

(2) What is the science Kurt refers to in "My personal view as a scientist"? (I ask because I couldn't find it in Kurt's profile.) In any case, my own "personal view as a scientist" is definitely not like his - which I do not say in a derogatory way: I may just be less romantic, less prone to religion, and may very well be personally lacking in the article of spirituality in major ways, for the spiritually inclined.

(3) To illustrate the above point a little: Kurt wrote in #84 i.a.

"There appears to be some type of invisible spiritual reality and there is evidence of its effects in the fact that sometimes people are healed without explanation. The fact that experiments fail to detect this phenomenon at this time does not disprove its existence (see Carl Sagan on that topic)."

All this amounts to be my lights is that there are unexplained events, but served in a suggestive sauce,

(4) Skipping much that seems arbitrary or vague to my mind, I come to another of Kurt's definitions:

[/Quote] Being objective means to seriously look at both sides of a situation, and I have done that. [/Quote]

Again, the OED has it QUITE differently, just as in case of the other definitions Kurt gave.

(5) Finally - still skipping a lot I don't agree with, either in intent or in expression - Kurt wrote

"So I think there is enough evidence both for and also against the XMRV hypothesis to justify some serious discussion of both sides of the issue. And I just don't see that objectivity. What I see is defense of XMRV based on a hope that this will be the answer rather than based on a careful analysis of the entire picture of what is happening here."

First, my problem with his definition of "objectvity" recurs. Second, I think it is not very reasonable to expect or demand that on a forum like this people do "some serious discussion of both sides of the issue" as regards "the XMRV hypothesis".

Here is part of my reason why: I know enough biochemistry and physics to have found and formulated the hypothesis of mitochondrial failure myself in 1986, but I also know enough about my own ignorance of especially biochemistry to insist that I, for one - who is a serious scientist - do NOT know enough to judge the XMRV hypothesis "objectively" or rationally, other than as I just did: I can't seize it up rationally in terms of the knowledge I have, and indeed decided already in October last that personally I don't have the health to read up on it. (Also, I am not aware of any member of this forum with an M.A. or Ph.D. in biochemistry.)

Second, OF COURSE what you get on a forum like this is "defense of XMRV based on a hope that this will be the answer". Indeed, this seems a rational hope to me, since it seems solid science while qualified and respected real scientists set up the hypothesis and found the evidence. That the hope of many or all on this forum concerning the ins and outs of the XMRV-hypothesis is not proportionate to their knowledge seems also natural (and again, I do not know of any on the forum with an M.A. or Ph.D. in biochemistry), and especially on a forum like this.

Third, no one in this forum, even with a Ph.D. in biochemistry, is really capable of "a careful analysis of the entire picture of what is happening here", simply because noone has the requisite knowledge and health to do so. All one may do is read some of the evidence, and try to make up one's own mind rationally.

Anyway... my main reasons to write this is that I agree with Anne here; I disagree with Kurt on many of his definitions and arguments about science etc.; and I am curious about the science or sciences he has degrees in.

Best regards,


P.P.S. Off topic and by the way, but having lost a lot of time over it:

I find this editor in which I have to write this a damned pest! (1) there are no explanations how to use its supposed tools (2) there are not even tooltips (3) for techies and geeks: it obviously is a minimally pimped richedit.dll - this can be done MUCH better, I KNOW (4) where is a html-converter, if only a simple one?

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