Wednesday 22 May 2024

The Medical Hypotheses Affair - 14 years on

...Consider the case of the critical thinking journal Medical Hypotheses. Founded by British scholar David Horrobin in 1975, this journal published novel, radical ideas about health likely to be rejected by conventional journals. A single editor decided what to publish, with no review panel. 

In the 2003 British Medical Journal obituary, Horrobin was described as ‘one of the most original scientific minds of his generation’. In 2009 Medical Hypotheses became a cause célèbre. Bruce Charlton, who succeeded Horrobin as editor-in-chief, accepted a highly controversial article by Berkeley virologist Peter Duesberg, who contested the HIV basis of AIDS and argued that the South African government was right not to administer antiretroviral drugs to AIDS sufferers because the HIV–AIDS link remained unproven. Publication caused furore in the scientific world. Scientists associated with the US National Institutes of Health threatened to remove all subscriptions to Elsevier titles from the National Library of Medicine. Their demand was not only that Elsevier withdrew the article, but also to institute peer review at the journal. 

Elsevier agreed and dismissed Charlton. Mehar Manku, who replaced him, assured that the journal would now ‘be careful not to get into controversial subjects’, the reverse of what Horrobin intended. Charlton later remarked: ‘The journal which currently styles itself Medical Hypotheses is a dishonest fake and a travesty of the vision bequeathed by the founder Professor David Horrobin; and as such it ought to be closed down—and on present trends it surely will be.’

From "Did Robert Maxwell start the censorship of science?" In Conservative Woman, 22 may, 2024. 

The article suggests that the - completely successful - capture of science by "peer review" was actually begun by the publisher and spy Robert Maxwell being bankrolled by British Intelligence to buy up Pergamon Press in 1951 (later part of Elsevier) and institute the beginnings of peer review, on an international scale.  

Whether or not the details provided are correct, it seems certain that something of the sort was afoot; as part of a multi-pronged (and, as I said, completely successful) strategy to capture and destroy real science; but transfer the name and prestige to what had become just-another branch of the global totalitarian bureaucracy.

And not just science but all of academia, education, the arts, law, churches, mass media - and all other major social systems.  

The authors of this article end by saying: "For the sake of humanity, we need to revert to an open and objective scientific enterprise".

Clearly the authors don't grasp the depth and scale of social transformation: that "They" have won; and that "science" is long-since dead. 

So there can be no "reversion" from where we now are, back anything good 

All institutions are corrupt, and assimilated to the agenda of damnation. 

From here, anything good (whether honest science, beautiful art, or whatever else) must be created anew from the ground-up. 

And, quite frankly; in this existing world of secular-leftist-materialism triumphant; there are insufficient people, with inadequately strong motivation, for this actually to happen. 


NOTE: I tried to summarize the Medical Hypotheses Affair for a general audience in this article. Further information is available in subsequent posts of the same blog. 

BTW - I was completely wrong when I predicted that the fake-journal styling itself Medical Hypotheses would be closed-down: it wasn't and isn't! It was not until a couple of years later, after assimilating the significance of the events, that I realized the totalitarian bureaucracy could and would often keep "alive" the formal identity of institutions it had assimilated - so long as this is useful for the larger agenda. And until The Whole Thing began its inevitable and irreversible collapse, which has not yet (at the time of writing) begun to be undeniable.     


NLR said...

What's so strange about institutions falling apart is that it isn't just that they were co-opted or conquered. That has happened throughout history and people have found ways to deal with it. But in this case, people just went along with and accepted the co-option of institutions and then seemed to forget that it even happened. And also there was internal weakening and losing of purpose that made institutions able to be co-opted.

Bruce Charlton said...

@NLR - You are right. This is something unprecedented.

The difference is that we are the first Men ever to live without God, without religion - as profound materialists.

(And that, of course, includes nearly-all the self-identified Christians.)

Brett Stevens said...

Either that, or apply Occam's Razor: the same template as Political Correctness was applied, namely filtering out anything that contradicts egalitarianism, which has as one of its tenets the notion that all individual misfortunes are caused by external forces like a dastardly evil virus.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

I don't know why the aetiology of AIDS, of all things, is such a radioactive issue! What a bizarre pretext for a two minutes' hate.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - Bizarre or not, it is a data point.

It became clear during the business that They were funding people to monitor the research literature for any dissenting paper challenging the HIV causation (impending or recently published), anywhere in the world; and had a system for blocking its publication or evoking withdrawal. The alphabet people lobby was apparently primarily involved - and it seems likely that, in some way, that power bloc was being defended.

For me the whole business was a kind of slo-mo revelation of the way the world was set-up and operated - and that "science" was merely a cog in the system - with individual "scientists" (qua professional researchers/ teachers) having no significant agency, nor wanting any!

Philip Neal said...

In recent years I have come to believe that a great deal of bad science conforms to a particular template. Its practitioners regard scientific research as a purely practical endeavour, aimed at solving social and medical problems, and accordingly combine factual reasoning and policy making into a single process. Symptoms include

1 The conviction that a serious danger has been demonstrated beyond any doubt.

2 Hostility to falsification, null hypothesis testing and statistical significance as obstacles to the action which urgently needs to be taken.

3 A willingness to suppress contrary opinion as a menace to public safety.

4 At least one would-be scientific genius, often well-connected politically, whose reputation would be destroyed if a seemingly career-making discovery was discredited.

The campaign against Duesberg fits this template more or less exactly.

For another example see Neil Lock's recent series on particulate matter and the war against motoring in Free Life web magazine (URL -

Bruce Charlton said...

@PN - As I said - I believe things are much Worse than you describe. It is not a matter of discerning bad science, among the (normal) good. The actual system of science has been corrupted and rendered useless by endemic untruthfulness.

Matias F. said...

@Wm I don't find it at all bizarre that AIDS is an important issue for the system and dissent is still suppressed. At least in Finland in the early 1990's, AIDS was a very big issue in the media, schoolchildren knew what it was and were terribly afraid and there were posters in public warning about it and instructing to use condoms. It was as least as big a media-medical campaign as the mad cow disease and surpassed only the birdemic.

After all, AIDS did give an excuse to present homosexuals as victims and thus normalize them.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Matias - You are correct that that was a major policy priority, and (even in the mid 1980s) another (simultaneously) was the race "inclusivity" agenda which completely over-rode the importance of public health.

The propaganda mantra was that Everybody was at risk from AIDS, including all "heterosexuals" - and to that end publicity was given to a few scores of "heterosexually transmitted AIDS" in the UK. In fact, as it later emerged, these were either entirely or very nearly entirely in recently arrived African immigrants to London specifically - but this information was kept from the public - i.e. in order to protect the sexual/ race agenda, which was decisively regarded as more important than human lives.

The lesson I take is that for At Least 40 years (i.e. longer than most people realize), health policy has been firmly-subordinated to the left-totalitarian agenda. Health may be the excuse, but the reality is that actual here-and-now health is routinely risked and destroyed in pursuit of long-term political goals.

In other words, and for several/ many decades, the Primary goal of actual "health" policy is/has-been left-totalitarian political.

Ranger said...

During the Birdemic, I realized that the Public Health Message was "Public Health is so important that we must do *anything* to stop a disease... except refrain from sin."

Bruce Charlton said...

@Ranger. True.