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Nederlog

 

July 3, 2010

 

ME + me :  On CDC-"science"

 

I am still not well at all etc. as before, for which reason I reproduce a discussion I had on a forum, because it is about the subject in the title. In the kindness of my heart, I delete the names of others, while I publish this because it does answer a number of points and concerns about the subject, and has some independent interest.

Also, there is a neat summary of how to lie scientifically and get away with it for 20 years. Here is the link if you want it immediately:

Explanation of CDC-"science"

The discussion concerns the question why the just published CDC-research failed to find any XMRV, and therefore also failed to find any associations between XMRV and ME. This is a reasonable starting point, N asking this:

Quote

So is CDC failure to find anything due to

a) total incompetence and arrogance
or
b) deliberate attempts at cover up

three days ago I would have said a mixture of both, but seeing Switzer's biog here makes me think it is exclusively b)

This seems fair enough, but one can ask questions about proportions, and indeed that happened: First, Awol wrote

b) but the cover-up is because of previous a)

which G answered thus

b) but the cover-up is because of previous a)

Then F rightly quoted some, though I doubt both attributions are correct (I know Napoleon's purported saying as "Hanlon's Law", for example):

"Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence."
-Napoleon Bonaparte
                                                                               "...but don't rule out malice."
                                                                                                    -Albert Einstein

G answered to this as follows, it seemed to me quite rationally and reasonably:

  They set out to trivialise this disease and stigmatise the ones who suffered from it as psychologically inadequate. For the  most part they have succeeded thus. I think we can rule out incompetence. It might seem incompetence from our perspective but this kind of manipulation over so many years actually requires consumate levels of skill.

Then Awol answered G as follows:

I agree with that G, but I do think that, unless they actually KNEW there was a virus and where it came from (ie, direct link to a vaccination or military bioweapons program was verifiable but suppressed) incompetance is the best way to interpret their initial reaction to the Nevada outbreak. They studied it, they found nothing, and then, believing themselves to be pure brilliance, they assumed there must be nothing to find so they attacked the patients as psychologically deranged.

They then, for 25 years, set out to prove that theory, manufacturing evidence when it did not fit their assumptions, sabotaging conflicting research and also, gradually destroying the case definition.

We certainly have some reasons to be very suspcious there might have been a cover-up of a vaccination program gone bad, but on the other hand, initial incompetance followed by an arrogant failure to admit mistakes explains everything.

It so happens that I was under the mistaken impression Awol is taking a Ph.D. in physics, so I took the trouble to provide a logical analysis:

Hi A

I agree with G, and see

http://www.maartensz.org/log/2010/NL100702a.htm#4.

Here is my argument, in steps:

Quote from: Awol on Today at 09:30:45 AM

I agree with that G, but I do think that, unless they actually KNEW there was a virus and where it came from (ie, direct link to a vaccination or military bioweapons program was verifiable but suppressed)

Both the "unless" and the "KNEW" grant far too much. What they knew then and know now is that there may be a virus the existence of which would explain the disease; what they should research for is such a possibility, on the basis of what can be established as not functioning well in ill patients.

Quote

incompetance is the best way to interpret their initial reaction to the Nevada outbreak.

What positive knowledge you have to assume or conclude that incompetence is "the best way" to explain their scientific malfunctioning? That is: How do you know that they were bona fides to start with? They may have been, logically speaking, but a government institution serves the government before science, I say from having seen this happening for the most part where I live, for over 40 years. CDC never was a pure science or pure research outfit, as some real universities in some real subjects still have.

Quote

They studied it,

They said. I wasn't there to see what they did.

Quote

they found nothing,

They said. I wasn't there to see what they did.

Quote

and then, believing themselves to be pure brilliance,

I wasn't there. But if you believe that you are brilliant while or because you work at the CDC, then therefrom it follows you are not, and also that you should not research anything. The CDC just is not a place intellectually brilliant people go to work for, even if they were 100% squeaky clean and scientific.

Quote

they assumed there must be nothing to find

I wasn't there.  And this is a very stupid assumption to make, for a scientific researcher, into medical problems: There is an enormous list of false medical explanations that were maintained to be true a long time by medical and other folks, sometimes honorably, but most times by logical fallacies, such as following authorities because they are authorities.

Quote

so they attacked the patients as psychologically deranged.

Which to this psychologist, among other things, sounds psychologically deranged in a person doing what is purported to be objective scientific research into possible causes for reported illness.

The inference - "so" - is wholly unwarranted, even if very common. ("I am a GP. I can't explain it. "Therefore" your condition "must be" "psychosomatic". This really is worse, in the 20th and 21st C,  than a medieval herbalist argueing "I am a medical man. I can't explain your pains. Therefore you either are a witch or bewitched.")

Quote

They then, for 25 years, set out to prove that theory,

Awol, this then is not ordinary incompetence anymore, say by some lonely guy trying to make a career by some flawed research he can't see through: This is a whole institute, with yearly accounts running into the millions, and many nominal "scientists" around who should know methodology and the sad list of medically faulty explanations through the ages based on ignorance and pretentions of knowledge "because one studied medicine".

Besides, it doesn't require special brilliance to understand that in science you normally cannot prove a negative existential claim ("there is no ..." i.e. "all things in the universe are not .."), though you can prove a positive existential claim ("there is a virus"), namely by looking for it and finding it.

And neither does it require any special brilliance to understand that to claim that a medical condition is "psychosomatic", one is implicitly attributing an divine omniscient knowledge about the relation between experienced mental states and the brain, besides implicitly psycho-analysing millions of persons you don't even know to exist personally.

None of this is real science: It is totally unscientific bullshit, they know to be bullshit, and would call bullshit if it were used to pooh-pooh their personal problems with pissing or whatever, and rightly so.

You just can't say rationally for more than twenty years "if your complaints are not medically explained by such medical science as now is accepted, your complaints must be due to your being insane".

If you do that nevertheless, as the CDC did, it must have another reason besides their being clearly not brilliant scientists, not moral medical doctors, not clued up researchers, and being clearly themselves not really scientifically competent.

Quote

manufacturing evidence when it did not fit their assumptions, sabotaging conflicting research and also, gradually destroying the case definition.

This is by no stretching of meaning of "incompetence" incompetent: This is criminal lying, and NOT in an incompetent way either - and as you say, systematically, according to the same pattern, for 25 years.

Quote

We certainly have some reasons to be very suspcious there might have been a cover-up of a vaccination program gone bad,

Yes, but there are more explanations, though this is a frightening one. For a governmental institution or indeed for medics or "medics" in such an institution with some delusions of grandeur, it might have been a means of financial budgetting; of covering up an escaped secret weapon; of trying to influence research funding towards what they think is most important; of playing mindgames because anyway nobody controls them effectively; of getting personally rich by expropriating research moneys and producing fluke reports ... you name it.

And always they produced "scientific papers" about "CFS" that are palpably, evidently, clearly NOT good science at all. ALL the time. For DECADES.

That is not a pattern, a coincidence, a fluke, or a predictable result of allowing tenth-rate misfits do and publish "research": That is most probably policy.

Quote

but on the other hand, initial incompetance followed by an arrogant failure to admit mistakes explains everything.

No A, it does not. It might, perhaps, conceivably, possibly, be a true description of a Catholic priest and his gradual fall towards the asses of choir boys, but it cannot be a full explanation ("everything") of real scientists doing real science in an honest way for the government for 25 years.

Mere incompetence doesn't explain their track record AT ALL, though I agree with you that it probably played a mayor role in minor players and authors of "scientific" CDC-papers.

And no medical researcher worth his or her salt, let alone the pay they get, can maintain for 25 years that a disease that so far has not found an explanation must be a psychosomatic condition. Such a person then proves not to know the history of medical science, and not to care one whitt for ill people's legal rights, or indeed to be lying, for money or for the sadistic kick of getting away with it.

Likewise, the whole notion of "psychosomatic illness" is an oxymoron in real science, and a return to the Middle Ages, or the grossest and most blatant Freudian baloney at best, and people having any minimal sound understanding of philosophy of science, as all these CDC-worthies should have, KNOW this.

Incidentally, I agree the moniker "CFS" should be maintained, best in combination as in "ME/CFS", because for decades it has been, unfortunately, accepted as a name for what much more appropriately is called ME, and also because indeed it was, it seems, construed and, certainly, abused, to play games with the interests of real patients and real science.

Maarten.

Now at this point I believed myself to have been polite, rational and reasonable. Awol did not think so or not quite:

Ok tnx for the detailed breakdown! I think a careful reading of all of my statements, including the ones above, would reveal that we are not actually in disagreement. I just have a different way of presenting my areas of suspicion and disgust. I at no point in this discussion defended the CDC, or said that there was no cover-up. However we can either believe that they were covering up that the VIRUS was their fault, or, they were covering up that their response to the outbreak was scandalous. Since I have trouble believing they were, as Dr. Judy once said, "smart enough" to CREATE a retrovirus, I think shocking incompetance (and yes, maliciousness in a more small-minded and petty way) at the outset was the cause of the later cover-ups, which then needed further covering up and fraud, etc.

I found this not a tiny bit condescending, for example (having written rather a lot, quite clearly also):

I think a careful reading of all of my statements, including the ones above, would reveal that we are not actually in disagreement.

Therefore I answered as follows

Hi A,

(..)

"I think a careful reading of all of my statements, including the ones above, would reveal that we are" not "actually in disagreement", and I was talking logic and methodology, and am still:

Colloquially speaking, it seems to me that what I do is calling them frauds, for what I think are excellent logical and methodological and factual reasons, given such knowledge as patients can have, whereas what you are doing is calling them incompetents.

I do not think Bill Reeves is an incompetent, although he clearly doesn't have nor ever had a really good let alone a brilliant mind:

He has been lying on purpose for decades - seems by far the most probable inference from the evidence I have. I do think many of his co-authors were and are very minor mostly extinct "lights", who seem to have collaborated, perhaps blindly, for getting their names on a published "scientific paper", to further their careers.

I think it really is most probable that it was fraudulence from the start, at the top of the CDC and the KCL and Radboud. They just wanted it to be "psychosomatic", for whatever reasons, including stupidity, but then manufactured things and did NOT follow proper scientific procedures so as to provide "evidence based science" for that conclusion.

If they were honest scientists, they would have had other conclusions, whatever their personal convictions.

And perhaps I should add something else, me being 60 and from a revolutionary marxist family, which is a belief I gave up in 1970 when 20, when my babybooming generation without my background massively turned to marxism and related political radicalism, for over 25 years also, in Holland.

It is because of my background that I know the lot of them that studied in a university and pretended these things to be frauds: They didn't even read Marx, while pretending they did. All they did and wanted was to collaborate so as to get tenure (in Holland, then: for life, as a civil servant in a top job). They succeeded in that. It was all fraudulent, scam, flimflam, lies, impostures - and see Alan Sokal. Also, it was all known  fraudulence, scam, flimflam, lies, impostures, done on purpose, so as to make a career.

That's another reason why I think it was humanly speaking very similar in the CDC, and indeed why what I write is regularly rejected, also by patients with ME: I do not have the sort of respectful view of humankind the Martlets and the Corts and many other pretend to, in which most people mean well, are honest and competent, and deserve respect. In the mass, human beings are flawed ideological rationalizing apes, much more like Swift's yahoos than ads tell their still usually nominally Christian viewers. And yes, I'm sorry too, and I have seen a lot of evidence for it e.g. in histories of concentration camps and Gulags: Ordinary men, including ordinary scientists, doing statistically speaking ordinary things to other mostly ordinary human beings, for human-all-too-human reasons and flaws it has been virtually impossible to discuss rationally in any politically correct climate, such as reigned throughout the West these decades, and still reigns, as it is maintained by the media.

And what makes all of this even more complicated to diagnose and expose is that at present almost 50% of people are deemed fit to enter universities, which most of them will leave with a degree, that permits them to bill themselves as "scientists" of some kind - while the educational level and contents in the schools and universities in the West have been declining for over 40 years.

Hence, most nominal "scientists" appreciably younger than me are not real scientists at all, do not have the ability for it, and indeed do not understand science and don't care for it: They only care for the diploma and the money.

But yes: I do know speaking and writing the truth about human beings is a very dangerous thing to try, that few attempt, since one easily gets crucified for it.

Maarten.

P.S. I am here not saying what people ought to be saying in public about the CDC: I am saying what I think is very probably true. They are not merely incompetents: They are conscious frauds. Not all of them,  but the leading ones. What I am saying here on this list is:

Quote

    'My dear friend, clear your mind of cant. You may talk as other people do: you may say to a man, "Sir, I am your most humble servant." (...) You may talk in this manner; it is a mode of talking in Society; but don't think foolishly.

But this again met with little approval, appreciation or acclamation:

again, all I ever said was that incompetance was a factor, initially and later. I also clearly stated that there was fraud and cover-up. So please, explain to me why you feel such a violent need to disagree with me?

And, I would add, to be so damned condescending?

Well.... I answered

Awol, I am sorry, since you seemed to be bright and a budding scientist (with hope on a career, of course), but you did write
 
Quote

A: initial incompetance followed by an arrogant failure to admit mistakes explains everything.

and I did give you a long, precise, logical, methodologically informed argument why I think this is not the right diagnosis of the CDC|KCL|Radboud, that you chose not to meet nor answer.

OK then: here is more Dr. Johnson:

Quote

"I can provide you with an argument; I cannot provide you with an understanding."

I am sorry if I wasted you time or that of others. Pick apart my argument, but don't invite me to BS and mock innocent questions. It is NOT true that

Quote

all I ever said was that incompetance was a factor, initially and later.

I gave you a polite, fair, friendly point by point breakdown, which you condescended not to read properly. And what is this if not condescending?:

Quote

Ok tnx for the detailed breakdown! I think a careful reading of all of my statements, including the ones above, would reveal that we are not actually in disagreement.

Le style de Martlet, if you excuse my French, telling me that if I would do "a careful reading" - after writing a precise full breakdown - I would understand that I was - basically - just speaking falsely.

And I am myself always condescending to those who pretend to argue but don't do so properly, miss, since I the feel condescended to, either by smart cheats or by dumb pretenders.

But OK, I give up. It's pointless. It's also too warm, but I've learned.

M.

After this there was some discussion I skip to end here with this post of mine:

I agree with G and gave my reasons: Those who led the CDC, KCL and Radboud wilfully - consciously, intentionally, with malice aforethought - abused the scientific method and medical ethics.

Professor Hooper piled up the evidence, especially as regards KCL, in "Magical Medicine". Anybody who really understands science, methodology and mathematics cannot conclude otherwise.

Besides, one does not have the moral right, neither as "a scientist" nor as a "medical doctor" nor as a "psychologist", to wilfully help take away the means of livelihood of people, as happened in England, the US and the Netherlands, by denying they are really ill and insisting therefore, explicitly or implicitly, they are mad or fraudulent, and that on the basis of merely one's own personal conviction - IF one is not lying from the start, that is, as Bill Reeves and Simon Wessely were, in my very firm conviction, from my genuine respect for such abilities as they do have - in a psychosomatic theory any physicist, chemist or neuro-scientist can tell you is utter baloney from the start, only fit for the Middle Ages.

In real science there are not both a mind|soul and a body|matter. That's medieval. And indeed,  professor Hooper also said so, in the video "Engaging with ME", preceding this by "while I am a Christian".

MM

P.S. Reading G's last: Quite so. They also deliberately, up and including to Switzer, used the same trick:

Explanation of CDC-"science":

Create a large superset with just about any fatigued sort of person; select from those the persons without known ME-symptomatology; run "evidence-based science" on these, and triumphantically conclude that "therefore" there is no ME, and "therefore" those with those symptoms (deliberately excluded in the CDC|KCL|Radboud-"science"!) are malingerers if not mad.

That has been THE trick for over 20 years now. 

It's like throwing a basket of mandarins in a ton of oranges; selecting from the mixture those that certainly are not mandarins; and then running a test on that set of oranges to find out, honorably and scientifically, evidence-based and with p-value as well, whether there are any mandarins. Amazingly, all evidence of any existence of mandarins will have disappeared! Scientifically!


P.S. "And thus it goes..." (Vonnegut).

-- August 29: Replaced the "A" by "Awol" as is correct. See my Meditation on me & ME + National Archives (British).

I could quote more of my prose written in this context but leave it as the above suffices, and may help some to clear their minds from cant or else have ready arguments. Also, it still has not rained nor cooled down much in Amsterdam, so I restrict myself to the above and repeat just in case:

P.P.S. It may be I have to stop Nederlog for a while. The reason is that I am physically not well at all, and it seems a heath-wave is coming, which is the type of weather I can't handle well. I don't know yet, but if there is no Nederlog, now you know the reason.


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

1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)

2. Malcolm Hooper THE MENTAL HEALTH MOVEMENT:  
PERSECUTION OF PATIENTS?
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)
9. SleepyDust (patient) M.E. / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (video)
10. Laurel (patient) Laurel's October 2009 CFS/CFSAC Testimony (video)

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.
9. SleepyDust explains what life with ME/CFS is like for patients
10. Laurel explains what life with severe ME/CFS is like for patients

"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


P.P.S. ME - Resources needs is a Work In Progress that hasn't progressed today.


Maarten Maartensz

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