This week’s Ask a science blogger question is:

If you could have practiced science in any time and any place throughout history, which would it be, and why?…

Discussion after the fold…

Several folks have already responded with the answer of “now,” and I agree. I’ve said before that this is an incredible time to be a scientist (funding issues notwithstanding). It’s especially good to be a microbiologist. We’re just starting to get a view into the incredible diversity of microbial life all around (and within!) us, and advances in our tools are allowing us to work on questions that weren’t possible even when I started my own scientific training a bit over a decade ago. I can only imagine what the next decade or two will bring us in this field.

As far as a historical time, I’ll note that (at least as I’m writing this), everyone who’s responded so far has been male. If I had to pick a different time in history, I’d want to work during the original “golden era of microbiology,” but I’m just not as familiar as I should be with the social dynamics that would have come with working as a female scientist in 19th century France or Germany, following the discoveries of Koch, Pasteur, and others. I know there certainly were women who had successful careers (Rebecca Lancefield beginning in the 1920s, for one), but I don’t know enough about how much they had to put up with to be successful (meaning I probably should read a few more biographies and a few less books just about epidemics).

Comments

  1. #1 Scott Kirwin
    July 21, 2006

    This is a tangent, but one that occurred to me as I read the above article:

    Practiced science?

    That makes science sound like something external – like practicing the piano or practicing yoga.

    Can one practice awareness? Can one practice breathing?

    In Dr. Zhivago, one of the characters notes that to him poetry is as much a profession as good health. I feel the same way with science.

    Science is not external to me: it is me. It shapes how I view the world and my place in it. It helps me to pose questions, seek answers and arrive at truth – everyday.

    One doesn’t have to be “scientist” to live science. Although I work in the business world and live in the creative world of writing, science is not separate from those worlds at all.

    And that’s why I get upset with people who claim that teaching Intelligent Design in science class is a good thing – because ID is the antithesis of science. If I were a science teacher I would start a science class like this:

    Today class we are going to discuss Intelligent Design. Unfortunately we don’t have a philosophy class, where I would be happy to discuss this subject in detail. Since this is a science class, however, all you need to know is that Intelligent Design is bullsh*t…

    In fact, I believe we should stop limiting the teaching of science to the natural sciences. We should teach it in every subject.

    The scientific method is one of the best intellectual tools humanity has ever designed. It is by far the most powerful.

    Practicing science… Sheesh…

  2. #2 quork
    July 21, 2006

    I think I’d go for 2068, after the grand unification breakthroughs in physics provide 6 more dimensions in which to perform experiments!

  3. #3 lo
    July 22, 2006

    it may be a good time for molecular biology and will become even better, as the instrumentation will yield better and more sophisticated results.

    But chronology doesn`t apply to all sciences, for instance physics is in a huge disarray, which may not be that visible to the populace but the truth is that all the experimental results and insight we gained led to the truth that our current models hardly withstand the forthcoming waves of integration latest experimental data.

    As physics is the driving force for all other disciplines (with the exception of mathematics which is the base of all science – no i am not a mathematician) and much of the physicists are doing rather fruitless attemps and striving for very different viewpoints i would have to say, i would really like to see a unification in this discipline again at some point.

    All in all the best time you can live in is when technological sophistication has led to enough insight to directly manipulate the epigenome (and genome…although this is to be reached very soon, but won`t do us that much good).

    Sadly the intrinsic complexity lies within other mechanisms than the mere sequence (and the overlaid complexity due to polycistronic gene shuffling) but rather is somewhat proportional to the effort of “reverse engineering”. Unraveling the most significant epigenetical mechanisms will take way longer than reading the sequence of DNA/RNA. In fact if everything goes well i am sure within two decades pocket sized sequencers will be available that could be directly connected to a laptop with speeds on par of the polymerase. (nanotechnology already pursues such efforts)

  4. #4 jspreen
    July 23, 2006

    Now Tara, I think that is an extremely good idea. Go back in history and find out from where we come and why we have landed where we are today.

    Pasteur and Koch? Why not. But they are in a certain way the founders of modern medicine and I don’t think you’ll find much exciting information about things you didn’t know already.

    There is another person though, who lived in the same time as Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch, and who’s findings I think are extremely interesting. His name is Antoine Béchamp.

    Do some research Tara. Then you will be ready to start from scratch again, forget the germ theory nonsense and become a real scientist.

    On the other hand, you might not want to become a denialist.

    JS

    http://www.nightsofarmour.com

  5. #5 Kristjan Wager
    July 23, 2006

    So Tara should start believing in the cellular disease hypothesis? Thinking that bacteria is the result of disease rather than the cause of disease not only goes against everyhting we know, but was disregarded even in Béchamp’s lifetime.

    Were people to follow your idea, diseases like cholera, leprosy, and typhoid fever could become widespread very easily.

    And were we to expand Béchamp’s ideas to vira, then smallpox and similar threaths would be something to worry about again.

  6. #6 jspreen
    July 23, 2006

    “So Tara should start believing in the cellular disease hypothesis?”

    No, of course not. Science is not about “I believe” but about “I know”. Isn’t it?

    Science is also about “Doubt”. Also in science the word “D e n i a l i s t” does not exist.

    Hypothesis are compared and if wrong they are proved to be wrong. But they are not shoveled under. Béchamp has been shoveled under. Béchamp has been totally cut away from all scientific literature. He would have ceased to exist in any memory were it not for the Internet.

    Do some research about Louis Pasteur and his vaccinations. They were often disastrous and kept Pasteur awake at night. Complete herds of cattle were found dead the day after vaccination.

    The struggle between Pasteur and Béchamp is comparable to today’s struggle between say Gallo and Duesberg. Pasteur and Gallo are the same money, fame and glory addicts whereas Béchamp and Duesberg are the same brand of questioning non-bribable scientists.

    Pasteur had all the glory. Béchamp has been shuffled under and forgotten.

    But times have changed and today there’s the Internet. Gallo won’t get away with it. I’d give it all a closer look, my friend. One day the boat of the glory and money addicts will be sunk. Get off of it.

  7. #7 Kristjan Wager
    July 23, 2006

    No, of course not. Science is not about “I believe” but about “I know”. Isn’t it?

    No, science is not about believing, but neither is it about knowing. It’s about observing, explaining and falsifying, none of which is the same as knowing.
    Science follow the evidence to the most plausible explanaition, but it never knows. This, however doesn’t mean that science can’t tell if something is wrong – this it can.

    Hypothesis are compared and if wrong they are proved to be wrong. But they are not shoveled under. Béchamp has been shoveled under. Béchamp has been totally cut away from all scientific literature. He would have ceased to exist in any memory were it not for the Internet.

    Nonsense. Béchamp is mentioned in the literature, as an historic example of a different (and wrong) understanding of the evidence. His ideas are not presented on equal footing with Pasteurs, for the simple reason that they were quickly shown to be wrong.

    Do some research about Louis Pasteur and his vaccinations. They were often disastrous and kept Pasteur awake at night. Complete herds of cattle were found dead the day after vaccination.

    Yes, his vaccinations didn’t always work as they should. However, he understod the real causes of the diseases, and how to prevent them. He didn’t think that bacteria were the result of diseases, but understod that they were the cause of them. This is why we focus on his findings, not Béchamp’s.

    The struggle between Pasteur and Béchamp is comparable to today’s struggle between say Gallo and Duesberg. Pasteur and Gallo are the same money, fame and glory addicts whereas Béchamp and Duesberg are the same brand of questioning non-bribable scientists.

    I would not suggest that Gallo is another Pasteur, but if you want to equal Duesberg to Béchamp, then go ahead.

    Pasteur had all the glory. Béchamp has been shuffled under and forgotten.

    People who held on to a flat-earth view of the world have been forgotten as well. Few geo-centrists are remembered after Kopernicus. Béchamp is remembered for his hypothesis, and has become something of a retorical point for pseudo-scientists, but he is deservedly less remembered than Pasteur, for the simple reason that Pasteur was right, as was even shown back in the days.

  8. #8 Peter Barber
    July 23, 2006

    jspreen wrote:

    Do some research Tara. Then you will be ready to start from scratch again, forget the germ theory nonsense and become a real scientist.

    Oh, for goodness’ sake! Do you realise how many years of research you have casually tossed out of the window in just two sentences? Do you have any evidence, any at all, that the germ theory is “nonsense”? No, you don’t.

  9. #9 jspreen
    July 23, 2006

    “Do you have any evidence, any at all, that the germ theory is “nonsense”? No, you don’t.”

    Evidence is all around and you have as much evidence as I do. The sole difference between you and me is that you are still blindfolded by a century of dogmatic thinking and are not able to see the evidence.

    You can do what you want with your special laboratory mice, but whan it comes to it nobody has ever proven that germs cause disease and a century of war on microbes has had no results and, to cite a professor of the Villejuif hospital “up to today medicine doesn’t know the cause of any disease”.
    Medicine today has no remedies, only chemotherapy poison and new diseases like Aids and avian flu. HIV and H5N1. Ha, ha, ha, ha ! Excuse me while I climb back on my seat now I fell off of it in roaring laughter.

    “Were people to follow your idea, diseases like cholera, leprosy, and typhoid fever could become widespread very easily.”

    You are blind and cannot see they still are widespread. They are still all around in places where people suffer. Which is natural because the suffering is the cause, not the germs. TBC is as widespread in places of poverty and famine as it was a century ago. You must fight poverty and famine and suffering, you dummy. Not the germs.

    But who cares about a fight against poverty and famine and suffering? So few. There’s no money and fame in it so what the heck. Look at Africa: on goes the plundering and we pay them with fear, ARVs and condoms.

  10. #10 Kristjan Wager
    July 23, 2006

    But who cares about a fight against poverty and famine and suffering?

    I live in a country that has consistently paid towards 1% of it’s GNP in foreign aid towards fighting those very things. This amount is collected through taxes. And there is even a majority of the population (myself included) that feels this amount is too little, and should be increased.

    We are many who cares about these issues, as the Live8 concerts also showed.

    However, turning our backs on science is not the way to aid this fight. Science is very much needed to end diseases, improve living standards etc.

  11. #11 jspreen
    July 23, 2006

    “I live in a country that has consistently paid towards 1% of it’s GNP in foreign aid towards fighting those very things.”

    Yeah. 1% is put back into countries that provide 50% of national wealth to start with.

    Kristjan, I don’t want to fight. I only want to make people think. You’re absolutely right when you say that “Science is very much needed to end diseases, improve living standards etc.” But I would add, that what we really don’t need at all, is this newly bred non-science that treats the defenders of all kinds of “off the road” hypothesis as Denialists.

  12. #12 Kristjan Wager
    July 23, 2006

    But I would add, that what we really don’t need at all, is this newly bred non-science that treats the defenders of all kinds of “off the road” hypothesis as Denialists.

    We can’t use “off the road” hypothesis for anything, unless they are backed up with evidence. There are too much research needed to be done on well documented paths to waste time on things we know are wrong.

    You bring up Béchamp, who was proven wrong even in his own lifetime. How is that going to help science? Unless you can bring something new to the table, there is no gain by wasted our time going through the same processes that proved him wrong in the first palce. Instead the time and resources could be spent testing new paths based upon solid evidence.

    HIV-deniers are not called deniers because they are proposing new ideas. They are called deniers, because they deny evidence against their ideas, and evidence for other hypothesis. Some HIV-deniers even deny that there is such a things as HIV, others that there is such a thing as AIDS, and the rest that HIV causes AIDS.

  13. #13 jspreen
    July 23, 2006

    “You bring up Béchamp, who was proven wrong even in his own lifetime.”

    Now, that is interesting. Can you give me a reference so I can learn who proved where that Bechamp was wrong about what?

    And about HIV/Aids: May I suggest you read Celia Farber’s “Serious adverse events”? You will learn that the science surrounding Aids medication is one of the most criminal things ever. I don’t appreciate at all when I see people fighting on the Internet but now that I’ve read some more about the absolutely disgusting and shocking ICC affair, I can understand very well why Liam Scheff looses his patience every now and then and I must admit that right now I kind of feel like slapping very hard one some person’s faces.

    As for the denial of HIV: nobody ever really proved it exists so why do you want to call people who doubt its existence Denialists? Until research comes up with something more consistant than hypothetical viruses hiding away, HIV is junk science, as were the findings of Louis Pasteur. The amusing thing about it all is that Louis Pasteur admitted that himself just before he died.

  14. #14 pat
    July 23, 2006

    “We are many who cares about these issues, as the Live8 concerts also showed”

    Typical wanna-be do-gooder statement. When I was a kid I remember the “We are the World”, I remember Band-Aid (how appropriate the name is in hindsight) and countless others. How many more rock-concerts are you going to have to attend and drugs you’re going to have to quit before you realize it is not about “giving aid” but rather about stopping the plunder. You may think the plunder has stopped because you went to a concert and got your dose of “activist high” but in the mean time the World Bank trolls poor countries on the verge of defaulting and dictates to them what they may or may not import and export (to “save” them the humiliation and catastrophic financial consequences involved in defaulting). So they strong-arm the poor bastards into giving up certain farming practices and selling mines to some white guys. Pretty much all of Africa is a case in point: They were told for example that they really shouldn’t grow rice but rather let “other” countries that have a more “efficient” rice production, such as “Thailand”, produce the rice for them and they only concentrate on the things that they are good at, for example: supplying cheap labor for those foreign owned mines (after they were kicked off their lands to make room for this new mine). Now to add insult to injury, guess where the rice is now coming from?…
    Yours truely, the US of f*****g A. At a surcharge of course!
    You’re probably going to ask me for proof of this of course so I suggest as a a start an attentive and time-consuming wade through the BBC archives and then follow the money.

    PS: I wonder when we are going to throw all of Africa into prison for vagrancy, tresspass and their disgusting tendency for sexual deviency?

  15. #15 Chris Noble
    July 23, 2006

    Jan writes:

    The amusing thing about it all is that Louis Pasteur admitted that himself just before he died.

    For someone that claims he is a skeptic you are incredibly credulous. Can you, perchance, provide any evidence for the supposed deathbed confession of Pasteur?

    The supposed last words of Pasteur can be found on hundreds of pseudoscience websites. However, every time I asked for a reference to support this assertion nobody could find one.

    http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/comment/pasteur.htm

  16. #16 jspreen
    July 24, 2006

    He’s reported to have said this to his friend Renon. Well, who cares. I wasn’t there and it’s someone’s word against someone else’s. Let’s admit that Pasteur never said this.

    That said, I’m still very eager to access the garden of knowledge and learn who proved where that Bechamp was wrong about what.

  17. #17 Kristjan Wager
    July 24, 2006

    Now, that is interesting. Can you give me a reference so I can learn who proved where that Bechamp was wrong about what?

    I can’t provide you with an English title, but perhaps others here can. I can see that most of what you find on the internet regarding Béchamp, is pseudo-scientific, and I can’t be bothered to go through all the links to find a website that actually deal with facts.

  18. #18 Kristjan Wager
    July 24, 2006

    I should perhaps make clear, that Béchamp was a scientist, who did a lot of good science. The problem was that he reached the wrong conclusions. This doesn’t mean we should discard everything he did, but we should certainly discard his conclusions.

  19. #19 Chris Noble
    July 24, 2006

    Jan writes:

    He’s reported to have said this to his friend Renon. Well, who cares. I wasn’t there and it’s someone’s word against someone else’s. Let’s admit that Pasteur never said this.

    In different accounts it is Claude Bernard or Antoine Bechamp that utters these words. In some accounts Pasteur is supposed to have prefixed the quote with “Bernard was right, “. In some accounts it was prefixed with “Bechamp was right, “. A source for the quote is never given. Surely this should awaken some skepticism.

    That said, I’m still very eager to access the garden of knowledge and learn who proved where that Bechamp was wrong about what.

    The garden of knowledge is your local library. Read some decent textbooks. Stop basing your opinion on what you read on quack websites.

  20. #20 jspreen
    July 24, 2006

    Ha, ha, ha! Look it up in my local library! I recognize the apologists dummy talk strategie. Come up with some dogmatic nonsense and tell all critics and opponents to shut up and get informed.

    Béchamp has been carefuly deleted from all textbooks and if you ask around, you find that today almost no scientists even knows his name although Béchamp was one of the most entitled scientists in the history of France.
    Béchamp has been censored. Censoring is done to keep people from knowing the truth.

  21. #21 jspreen
    July 24, 2006

    “I can’t provide you with an English title, but perhaps others here can”

    I can perfectly read French, German and Dutch. But maybe the results of scientific research that proved that Béchamp was wrong has only been published in Chinese?

  22. #22 Kristjan Wager
    July 24, 2006

    Maybe, I have only read about Béchamp in textbooks in my native language, and thus can’t point you to relevant textbooks in English?

    Any book dealing with the history of germ research would mention Béchamp, and explain why he is considered wrong. Like any book dealing with the history of evolutionary biology would mention Lamarck, and explain why he is considered wrong.

    Lamarck is a good comparision to Béchamp, as both of them have contributed to their field, but are mostly remembered for their hypothesis that has been disregarded because they didn’t fit the evidence.
    Yet we don’t hear people say that Lamarck has been censored – a statement that is remarkably absurb, wether we apply it to Lamarck or Béchamp. No one in the West, has stopped their works from being published. No one have tried to stop people from teaching their ideas. “Censoring” has a specific meaning, and can’t be applied however we feel like it.

  23. #23 viji
    July 24, 2006

    Never came across Béchamp in Chinese…

    but anyway this interesting line discussion led me to some look-about, since the rigours of lab work is indeed taxing

    certainly we can find Antoine Béchamp on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoine_Bechamp

    by which I was led to this particular article
    http://members.iinet.net.au/~dminoz/bechamp/pearson/dream_text.htm

    Titled ” The Dream and Lie of Louis Pasteur ”

    I’ll prompt readers to have a look, there is some brief mentions of Béchamp’s experiments and the interpretations of the results by both Béchamp and Pastuer

    I’ve had a quick read throught the texts, it it seems the whole point of the article is defaming Pastuer, pointing fingers, abeit skewed in its interpretation of the chronological accounts of the experiments done in the time of Béchamp and Pastuer, and their hearthy exchanges between the two men.

    Particularly hilarious is the authors warped twisting of some comments by Florence Nightingale, which I can only guess is the author’s way of justifying his distaste for Pastuer and his admiration of Béchamp, stating, of which I quote ” one of the most famous nurses in history, after life-long experience with infection, contagion and epidemics, challenging the germ theory 17 years before Pasteur put it forward as his own discovery! ”

    Even the mentions of the experiments of that time, and the persepctives of Béchamp versus Pastuer is hopelessly skewed and misleading.

    In any case, I find little effort in trying to look at the issue with a level-head, rather the article is akin something written in the heat of emotion, for which I put is as the author’s passion against Pastuer for whatever reasons

    There is little substance in the article but for reading pleasure and intellectual displeasure of course.

    Anyway, being in the research field myself, I can understand that hot topics and competition between research ideas can get heated and get ugly, and it is whoever than can show reproducible, consistent, and non-flasifiable evidence that supports their perspectives, get recognised. It really doesn’t matter where the idea comes from (of course nowadays its courtesy to acknowledge the contributor of the original idea)

    But what I do understand, and I’m sure the wealth of observations everywhere, from industry to medicine, it is the germ theory that have been shown to make good sense of the observations.

    One fine example would be oppurtunistic infections caused by environmental bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii. Both are ubiquitously found in nature and on healthy individuals, but infects persons who are critically ill or immunocompromised exposed to the bugs (those similarly ill but not exposed to these bugs, you would not find the infection or the disease). For this first hand observation, I don’t see any basis for the cellular disease hypothesis. Rather Koch’s postulates and Pastuer’s germ theory explains it.

  24. #24 viji
    July 24, 2006

    the rigours of lab work is indeed taxing, and I need some time off ….

  25. #25 jspreen
    July 24, 2006

    Maybe, I have only read about Béchamp in textbooks in my native language, and thus can’t point you to relevant textbooks in English?

    And what language might that be? Anyway, you must have read a textbook printed in the beginning of the 20est century that you found somewhere in a dusty attic because today there are no textbooks mentioning Béchamp. Nobody knows Antoine Béchamp. I asked hundreds of hospital chemists and biologists that I frequent through my work and in five years I have never met one single health care professional who even know the name. In France!
    You can find textbooks on everything about anybody, but you cannot find one that mentions Béchamp. That is what I call being censored.

    Even on the Internet things disappear. I found a text by Béchamp some years ago and luckily I have it on my hard disk because the site is gone. It’s called “The third element of the blood” and although the version I found on the net does not include the actual data of the experiments, it is very worth reading. Maybe Béchamp was wrong. But I can think of only one reason why he has been so totally wiped off of the face of the earth: Béchamp was right and Pasteur was wrong. And thus the nowadays multi billion dollar industry of vaccines and drugs can only continue to exist as long as Béchamp, and with him all the damned of science, are not remembered.

    You can read Béchamp’s “The Third Element of the Blood” here:

    http://www.nightsofarmour.com

  26. #26 Kristjan Wager
    July 24, 2006

    Anyway, you must have read a textbook printed in the beginning of the 20est century that you found somewhere in a dusty attic because today there are no textbooks mentioning Béchamp. Nobody knows Antoine Béchamp.

    If you mean “knows” in a personal sense, you are quite right. If you mean “knows” as in “knows about”, then you are quite wrong, as the mere fact that several of us knew him shows.

    You won’t find Béchamp mentioned much in textbooks about epidemiology or similar subjects, unless they have a historical chapter. Much like Ptolemy isn’t mentioned much in books about contemporary astronomy.

    Maybe Béchamp was wrong. But I can think of only one reason why he has been so totally wiped off of the face of the earth: Béchamp was right and Pasteur was wrong.

    The irony of someone claiming that a historical person was totally wiped off the face of the earth while debating his very merits is rather stunning. He existence is known, and you can almost certainly get hold of copies of his original work, if you do a little legwork (e.g. go to the libraries of scientific societies).
    And there are many people who are forgotten and/or ignored – most people would hesistate to claim that they have been so, because they were right. Yet, this would be the logical conclusion of your statements.

    And thus the nowadays multi billion dollar industry of vaccines and drugs can only continue to exist as long as Béchamp, and with him all the damned of science, are not remembered.

    Ah, an anti-vax conspiracy theorist.
    For us to accept your premise, we would have to conclude that everyone doing research on germs would be part of the conspiracy. Otherwise they would find the anormalities that shows that Béchamp was on to something, and that Pasteur was wrong. They would do this, regardless of them knowing about Béchamp or not.
    This is a wider conspiracy than most in the anti-vax crowd claims – they normally only include people working for vaccination companies.

  27. #27 Kristjan Wager
    July 24, 2006

    Regarding Béchamp being censored; I can see that his work Blood and its Third Anatomical Element was published by Kessinger Publishing in 1997, and by Metropolis Ink in 2002. Rather remarkable given that it was censored.

  28. #28 jspreen
    July 24, 2006

    Why don’t you answer simple questions instead of beating around the bush? In which language did you read which book written by whom and where one can learn that Bechamp was wrong about what?

    I think the sole reason you know the name of Antoine Béchamp is that you’ve been fighting with other people on the Internet before who mentioned the guy and that, besides that, you know nothing about Bechamp.
    It’s true, quite some people talk about Béchamp on the net, but I have never once met one single healtcare worker who has heard that name and who knows where it stands for.

    I must say that I am very grateful you mentioned the “Blood and its Third Anatomical Element” being printed in 1997. Maybe I just never found it because I was looking for the title “The third element of blood” but I assure you that I will order a hard copy asap. And, while you continue to beat around the bush to defend your master’s lessons with hollow prose and dig yourself deeper and deeper in the pit of dogma, I will study the book of Béchamp and learn about things I didn’t know already.

  29. #29 jspreen
    July 24, 2006

    For us to accept your premise, we would have to conclude that everyone doing research on germs would be part of the conspiracy. Otherwise they would find the anormalities that shows that Béchamp was on to something, and that Pasteur was wrong. They would do this, regardless of them knowing about Béchamp or not.

    But people find anormalities every day and you know them very well. You call them “The Denialists”. It has nothing to do with conspiracy. It has to do with lazy brains that are too tired to reconsider.

  30. #30 Kristjan Wager
    July 24, 2006

    Why don’t you answer simple questions instead of beating around the bush? In which language did you read which book written by whom and where one can learn that Bechamp was wrong about what?

    It’s no big secret that I’m Danish, which about five seconds of google search on my name would have shown.

    I think the sole reason you know the name of Antoine Béchamp is that you’ve been fighting with other people on the Internet before who mentioned the guy and that, besides that, you know nothing about Bechamp.
    It’s true, quite some people talk about Béchamp on the net, but I have never once met one single healtcare worker who has heard that name and who knows where it stands for.

    I can’t recall having seen him mentioned in such debated before you mentioned him.
    I knew him, because I have a passing interest in the hsitory of science.

    Since Béchamp hasn’t added anything to current health care, I see no problem in healthcare workers not knowing about him. Actually, I would prefer them to use their time on studying current knowledge, rather than historic knowledge.

    I must say that I am very grateful you mentioned the “Blood and its Third Anatomical Element” being printed in 1997. Maybe I just never found it because I was looking for the title “The third element of blood” but I assure you that I will order a hard copy asap.

    I guess this shows the dept of your research ability. I did something as advanced as searching on his name at Amazon. This lead me to the book in question.
    Since you aparently was unable to do that, I think it might be excused if we think that Béchamp hasn’t been as “censored” as you presume.

    And, while you continue to beat around the bush to defend your master’s lessons with hollow prose and dig yourself deeper and deeper in the pit of dogma, I will study the book of Béchamp and learn about things I didn’t know already.

    I defend science, not any particular scientist. Béchamp and Pasteur have nothing to do with my particular field of science, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t understand the scientific process that lead to one’s ideas being choosen instead of the other’s. It’s the same process as in every other field of science.

    But people find anormalities every day and you know them very well. You call them “The Denialists”. It has nothing to do with conspiracy. It has to do with lazy brains that are too tired to reconsider.

    Many of those you ally yourself with, would consider even Béchamp’s ideas impossible.
    And your absurb slander of all the hard-working scientists who work to expand our knowledge is rather preposperous.

  31. #31 jspreen
    July 24, 2006

    So I ask again:

    In which Danish book book written by whom did you learn that Bechamp was wrong about what?

    And your absurb slander of all the hard-working scientists who work to expand our knowledge is rather preposperous.

    As long as they use the word Denialist for all hard-working scientists who’s results go against their theories, I’ll continue to slander and despise the defenders of mainstream dogmatic thinking.

    Are you going to read “The Third Element of the Blood” to know what it’s all about?

  32. #32 jspreen
    July 24, 2006

    Many of those you ally yourself with, would consider even Béchamp’s ideas impossible.

    Which ideas? About what?

  33. #33 Kristjan Wager
    July 24, 2006

    I have actually explained my understanding of Béchamp’s theories upthread, but why don’t you explain it to us?

    You are the one who said that Tara should study him and his ideas, and “forget the germ theory nonsense” – why don’t you tell us about him, his ideas and explain the evidence that supports him. Preferably, you would also explain to us, what would falsify his ideas.

  34. #34 lo
    July 24, 2006

    jspreen, your lack of knowledge is so blatantly obvious i would recommend you start studying (as it shows that even if you are a student – i gotta say i fail to notice in you even beginne-semester-class knowledge).

    This is not meant offending – just that you should not engage in discussions that do not offer you anything other than killing time – time that could be used for educational purposes.

  35. #35 jspreen
    July 24, 2006

    jspreen, your lack of knowledge is so blatantly obvious I would recommend you start studying

    The Archbishop said something like that about Copernicus: “He doesn’t even know some parts of the bible by heart!”

    You don’t have to worry about my lack of knowledge. Personally I don’t worry about it at all and anyway, I’m very curious and read a lot.
    But it’s true that I started to read the wrong books and meet with the wrong people, those whom you would call Denialists, say seven years ago, after 45 years of sleep wandering on main street.
    At first I wanted to share my new knowledge with others but people mostly don’t give a shit and the specialists are even totally hostile.
    So recently I have decided to go for the clowns role. To attract as much attention as possible and try to make people laugh while ridiculing would-be scientists who, when left without arguments, call their opponents “Denialists” and “Dangerous Psychopaths”.
    You think that it’s a loss of time. I know it’s not. Some time ago somebody started to shout: “But he has nothing on!” and that person is not alone anymore. They are millions.

  36. #36 Simon Harding
    July 24, 2006

    “You can find textbooks on everything about anybody, but you cannot find one that mentions Béchamp. That is what I call being censored.”

    As Wager points out its pretty crappy censorship……

    From amazon.com:
    *Bechamp or Pasteur: A Lost Chapter in the History of Biology by Douglas E. Hume
    *An Introduction to Antoine Bechamp
    *Pasteur And Bechamp by Douglas Hume
    *The Blood and Its Third Element by Antoine Bechamp

    You can even search inside one of them: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1564599272/

  37. #37 Rachel
    July 24, 2006

    jspreen et al.:

    Feel free to believe in whatever looney conspiracy theory you wish. Nice thing for you is, reality-based folks like Tara will be there to save your sorry ass the next time a nasty pandemic comes along. Because that’s the beauty of public health: all those vaccinations and clean water keep you from being exposed to measles and cholera germs, and thus keep you safe, no matter how fervently you believe some crock of crap about how Merck, space aliens and the Tri-Lateral Commission conspired with the Masons to keep Bechamp from posthumously winning the Nobel prize. Believe whatever you want, but–you can thank me later for this tip–don’t share hypodermic needles, or have surgery in a place where they don’t autoclave the scalpels. Don’t eat uncooked pork or hamburger. Don’t drink unfiltered pond water. And don’t have sex with someone who has that HIV that you think doesn’t exist. Because in the end, it doesn’t matter one bit whether you believe in germs or not. They believe in you.

  38. #38 Peter Barber
    July 25, 2006

    pat, your concerns are easily answered by saying that most of the “do-gooders” I know get as angry as you about both US (and EU) abuses of economic power in international trade and African leaders’ abuse of domestic political power. Indeed, without the “do-gooders” you probably wouldn’t even be aware of either class of abuses, and the lives of many Africans would probably be even harder. (I’m guessing your postscript was ironic…)

  39. #39 Peter Barber
    July 25, 2006

    After Rachel’s comment, and especially her final sentence

    They believe in you.

    the David Bowie song Kooks popped into my head. And now it’s stuck there, damn it!

  40. #40 Ric
    July 25, 2006

    Wow, at the risk of committing an ad hominem, let me just say… what a wacko.

    It was fun to read, though.

  41. #41 jspreen
    July 25, 2006

    Because in the end, it doesn’t matter one bit whether you believe in germs or not. They believe in you.

    I take that and promise to find out for myself how much H5N1 believes in me when, during the terrible pandemic that will certainly happen soon, I will bravely face the terrible ennemy without either mask nor Tamiflu nor whatever else they’ve come up with by then. Maybe I should buy a container load of masks though and sell’em when the shit hits the fan. Business!!!
    About HIV: here you can read how much I believe that virus believes in me.
    http://www.gnn.tv/threads/16887/Why_people_still_believe_HIV_causes_Aids?page=2#181319

  42. #42 mgr
    July 25, 2006

    jspreen–

    I can offer a simplier experiment. I assume you are aware of the organisms in your gut. Just ingest a sample of E. coli from another human source, not necessarily any of the pathogenic strains, and observe what happens. If you do not experience any discomfort (stomach upset), or odd physiological reactions (Montezuma’s revenge) after sampling several strains, then you may be justified in thinking the Germ theory does not apply in this instance. (By the way, this is typical of what happens on camping trips.)

    (bonus point)
    I do suspect that you may have a problem explaining the spontaeous generation of the gut flora anyways, if you accept that micro-organisms follow disease, rather than the germ theory

    Mike

  43. #43 George Cauldron
    July 25, 2006
  44. #44 pat
    July 25, 2006

    Peter
    Your assumption that I get my knowledge from pop concerts and Bono clowns is insulting and you are correct about my postscript.

  45. #45 viji
    July 25, 2006

    jspreen,

    You’ve linked to in your (jspreen | July 25, 2006 04:45 PM)

    The ideas and arguments presented by you and other persons, e.g. Liam and Wilheim have been thoroughly discussed on this forum as well, albeit less befuddled by emotional outburst and rude sarcasms that pockmarked the forum you’ve linked.

    Look for it here, http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2006/06/wrong_again.php

    you’ll find the answers for all of the concerns on the scientific methods you’ve brought up, i.e. Rasnick’s perspectives, surrogate HIV markers, sexual transmission of HIV, isolation of HIV, etc.

    there are also plenty of healthy discussions on the epidemiology of AIDS, and especially interesting is the ongoing discussion about endogenous retroelements and exogenous retroviruses like HIV

    Happy reading!
    P.S. Hows your literature review on SARS going?

    Cheers

  46. #46 HappyPig
    July 26, 2006

    “But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”

    Carl Sagan

  47. #47 Seth Manapio
    July 26, 2006

    Okay… I’m no epidmiologist, but I’m reasonably certain that there are deep implications to this discussion. It seems to me that if Pasteur was wrong, the flu virus doesn’t make you sick, right? I mean, you should be able to infect any number of people with any virus; ebola, flu, whatever, and they wouldn’t get sick unless they were sick already, which means that, for example, thousands health care workers worldwide are just coincidentally prone to getting diseases when a patient with that disease is not properly isolated.

    So… given that, we have a really wild occurance during the European colonization of America, because hundreds of thousands of Indigenous people spontaneously and simultaneously got sick and died of smallpox. Now, if Pasteur is wrong about this whole virus thing, this is really weird… why would this new disease (several, actually) suddenly appear in this population, simultaneously with the arrival of Eurpeans? Whats the cause? It just doesn’t make any sense.

    Also, why did the Europeans and their animals suddenly start getting diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever when they moved to the US? Wouldn’t they just keep getting the same diseases they used to get, if there were no pathogens causing the diseases? Where do the new symptoms come from, and why are they geographically isolated? Why is it that Bubonic plague is endemic to areas with very infected rodent populations, and completely unknown in the rest of the world? Why do people who take tetracycline live through it, while people who don’t die horrible painful deaths that, coincidentally, are exactly what you would expect to see if they had a huge population of cell killing bacteria in their bodies?

    When a kid gets chicken pox, and other parents bring their kids around to catch the pox (a fad that has faded, I think) why do the other kids get sick, if there are no germs?

    I’m sorry, but without a distribution mechanism of some kind, I just don’t see how any of these things could happen. And since the little kids aren’t sharing needles or whatever, and smallpox travelled along trade routes regardless of whether Europeans or their goods did, and you never find malaria when you don’t find mosquitoes, and for a host of other reasons, I’m really not sold on this “germs don’t exist” thing.

  48. #48 Phillip J. Birmingham
    July 28, 2006

    Practicing science… Sheesh…

    No, science really is a practice. It’s a set of habits that one must develop, most particularly the habit of systematizing one’s observations, and actively looking for sources of error.

    Most people don’t do that as automatically as they breathe — they have to be taught by themselves or others.

  49. #49 Ed Watson
    August 16, 2011

    Quit arguing over epistemology. How many people here have bothered to look into whether pleomorphism exists? Why do reputable, peer reviewed journals such as The Journal of Clinical Microbiology study pleomorphism? url:http://jcm.asm.org/cgi/content/full/40/12/4771 Are There Naturally Occurring Pleomorphic Bacteria in the Blood of Healthy Humans?

    Some of you are too lazy to study before slinging mud, thinking you have answers. You are the worst type of scientists. Saying things such as, “It seems to me that if Pasteur was wrong, the flu virus doesn’t make you sick, right?” These statements reflect a limited and dull comprehension, and the assumption that exposure to a germ translates to getting ‘the flu bug’ and hence ‘the flu’. It is also stupid to say, “So Tara should start believing in the cellular disease hypothesis? Thinking that bacteria is the result of disease rather than the cause of disease not only goes against everything we know, but was disregarded even in Béchamp’s lifetime.

    That is NOT what pleomorphism claims you moron.

    Just changing the temperature of your gut, i.e run on a hot day will change the gut permeability, and hence the terrain of your hut. Not too mention foods alter the levels of anaerobic and aerobic bacteria that live in the gut. Most of you people need to study physiology and biochemistry and connect this with cell function and further… connect this to the big picture. If anything, modern research proves Bechamp correct. What’s with you people?

    Reductions in transport enzymes into the mitochondria also alter the metabolism of the cell, and hence ‘the terrain’. Opportunistic conditions are normal course for setting up situations for bacteria to invade. To not consider ‘terrain’ is simply stupid. Altering oxygen transport is affected directly by blood flow through capillaries,

    Also stupid “Were people to follow your idea, diseases like cholera, leprosy, and typhoid fever could become widespread very easily.” ….This is totally NOT what pleomorphism proponents are advocating when it comes to “following Bechamp’s ideas”.

    Some of the critics shortsightedness is appalling… ironically as they think they are pointing out shortsightedness. Joke.