Thursday, August 23, 2007

Science blogger gets sued: for once it's not me!

PZ Myers, over at the pharyngula blog, is getting sued for libel to the tune of $15M by Stuart Pivar. The story is eerily familiar, Pivar is a businessman who thinks geneticists have it all wrong and has his own version of evolution and developmental biology. He decided to write a book about it called Lifecode, which he sent for review to PZ Myers. Myers being a developmental and evolutionary biologist called the book for what it is, bullshit, exposed all of the factual scientific errors and called Pivar a "crackpot". Now Pivar's feelings are hurt and he is suing, and he has the money to do so. I don't know yet if the World Court is involved.

Speaking of crackpots, PLOS has a good article exposing some of the HIV deniers, including our favorite character Duesberg:

"Interestingly, alternative hypotheses for AIDS causation depend on where the patient lives. In Africa, HIV deniers attribute AIDS to a combination of malnutrition and poor sanitation, i.e., they believe that AIDS is simply a relabeling of old diseases. In America and other wealthy countries, they claim AIDS is caused by drug use and promiscuity. Duesberg has long been an advocate of the idea that the use of “poppers,” or amyl nitrate, is a cause of AIDS in the gay community [31]. With the identification of AIDS in individuals who have never used poppers, this hypothesis has been widened by HIV deniers to implicate a number of recreational drugs (cocaine, crack, heroin, methamphetamines) as well as prescription drugs such as antibiotics and steroids in the etiology of AIDS. HIV deniers have criticized the idea that immunosuppression due to infection with HIV could result in all of the different infections that characterize AIDS, and yet they support the idea that poppers or other drugs—including many that have not been shown to cause severe immune deficiencies—could cause AIDS. In the past decade, the very drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS have come under fire by HIV deniers, who have suggested that the medicines themselves are a cause of AIDS"

You know I've never figured out why pharyngula is so popular, it's always the same creationist bashing, with a picture of a cephalopod thrown in from time to time. I mean I dislike creationists as much as the next scientist, but man it gets old quickly, the bayblab is soo much better.


Anonymous said...

pharyngula is like the bible of blogs.
the bayblab has comparably poor Darwinian fitness.

Bayman said...

"This book is the result of a ten-year study of morphology and evolution with the help of an large private library of rare books and an extensive collection of natural history items."

Of course. Secret knowledge in a mysterious book collection contains the "real" secret to life.

My secret books say that his secret books might be full of it. But who knows what other secret books out there might be saying about my secret books?

Anonymous said...

The authority on the subject isn't a secret book at all. Just crack open your bible.

Bayman said...

Exactly. Geometry give rise to life?? That's ridiculous.

Lim Leng Hiong said...

Heh, apparently creationist bashing doesn't get old that quickly.

Pharyngula's science posts get around 20 comments a piece, squid photos often less.

Posts about creationism and religion on the other hand get 50 - 200 comments.

Bayman said...

Pharyngula might have creationism covered, but here at the bayblab we find one of our biggest audiences in those searching the secrets of the penis ("Penises of the Animal Kingdom") is our biggest all-time post and shows no sign of slowing down), and we also seem to be a well-established authority on relative protein abundance in cells, humans and on the planet.

I guess it goes to show people really just want to know a few things - "who am I", "where did I come from", and "what the hell am I made of"?

John said...

Nice post! You have said it very well. Keep going.

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