Part 2 of 3: Science Was Wrong Interview with Stanton Friedman and Kathleen Marden by Michelle M. Pillow
Science Was Wrong Part 2 of 3
Interview with authors Stanton T. Friedman, MSC and Kathleen Marden
by Michelle M. Pillow, www.michellepillow.com
Part 2: In depth with Kathleen Marden
Kathleen, your book is titled Science Was Wrong. Yet it is obvious that both of you hold the scientific community in very high esteem. Was science wrong or was it related more to personal bias on the part of some scientists?
Kathleen: Science Was Wrong informs readers that throughout history it has been difficult, if not impossible, to promote the acceptance of new discoveries. Today it is apparent that similar forces are engaging in ad hominem attacks against some leading edge scientists, disseminating fabrications and misrepresenting factual information. Each chapter in our book explores the causative factors behind the scientific bias and tunnel vision that have impeded scientific progress. We present example after example of the failure of science to make progress, not because the science was flawed, but as a result of human bias.
Why do you think it is so difficult to advance new sound scientific ideas and discoveries?
Kathleen: I think that there are several reasons. First, scientific methodology is naturally conservative and in a sense this is good. But it is extremely difficult for scientists to admit that their life’s work was wrong. Imagine that you are a an academic scientist who has spent your entire career as the proponent of a particular theory only to have a young upstart come along with conclusive evidence that effectively refuted and therefore nullified everything you had accomplished.
Second, we should consider Occams Razor, the theoretical construct that demands that scientists accept the simplest possible theoretical explanation for existing data. According to Popper, we prefer simpler theories to more complex ones “because their empirical content is greater; and because they are better testable”. Science tends to prefer the simplest explanation that is consistent with the data available at a given time, but history shows that these simplest explanations often give way to more complex explanations as new data become available. Most of the time, Occam’s razor is a conservative tool that assures hypotheses are grounded in the science of the day. However, it has not been useful to science in its failure to accept some scientific evidence such as meteorites, continental drift, and the idea that genetic information is carried in DNA, not proteins. This also applies to telepathy and UFOs.
Next, I want to mention the difficulty scientists experience in having their sound scientific ideas and discoveries published in prestigious peer reviewed journals. The scientists who control the flow of information usually adhere to existing theories and reject new ideas. For example, R. Leo Sprinkle, Ph.D., formerly a psychologist at the University of Wyoming, spent much of his career researching UFO abductions. He met the university’s publishing requirement, but couldn’t advance in his career because the most prestigious peer-reviewed journals wouldn’t publish his work.
As noted in Science Was Wrong, Luc Montagnier, a researcher from the Louis Pasteur Institute, had already submitted a professional research article about his work on the HIV virus to Nature but he was not successful in getting it published. These findings were only published after Robert Gallo from the National Cancer Institute agreed to submit the Pasteur team’s research findings to Science magazine, along with his own.
Finally, human motivations such as big egos, greed, power grabbing, politics, religious beliefs, and the denial that it was possible get in the way of good science.
Your book has a chapter titled “Politics, Personalities and Childbed fever”. Tell us a little bit about childbed fever and why you wrote about it.
Kathleen: Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis (1818-1865) grew up in Pest in Hungary and graduated from medical school in Vienna. After graduating he found a position teaching medical students at the Vienna General Hospital. The birthing ward at Vienna General Hospital was the largest in Europe when it was divided into two units: one for teaching medical students and the other for midwives. Although the midwifery unit averaged a 2% mortality rate from childbed fever, the obstetrical unit that taught from cadavers instead of wooden models, averaged 20%, and ran even higher during epidemic periods. Sometimes entire rows of women and infants died.
Childbed fever is caused by sepsis, but during Semmelweis’s time bacteria hadn’t been discovered. It occurred up to two weeks after childbirth, typically in the uterus or genital tract, and became a systemic infection within hours. I know that it sounds gruesome, but Semmelweis instructed his students in the autopsy room mornings where they dissected the bodies of the women and infants who had succumbed to childbed fever the previous day. As ridiculous as it seems in modern times, sanitation was limited to wiping one’s bloody hands on a filthy apron before proceeding to the obstetrical unit in the afternoon. Laboring and postpartum women were subjected to several intrusive exams by several medical students who were often inexperienced and tore their delicate tissues. You can understand how easily the contaminated matter could be transferred from the medical students’ hands to the laboring women.
Quite by accident, one of Semmelweis’s colleagues had pricked his finger on an infected scalpel during an autopsy. He subsequently developed the symptoms of childbed fever and died. Semmelweis realized that contaminants carried on the hands of his students that were intended to heal these women were actually killing them. In May 1847, he introduced hand washing into the obstetrical unit using a chlorinated lime solution and a nail brush prior to each student’s entry into Division I. Over time, he carefully recorded scientific data that clearly demonstrated a reduction in the mortality rate in the obstetrical unit. He even conducted laboratory experiments on rabbits that clearly supported his hypothesis. However, his actions were interpreted as insubordination by his supervisor who was grounded in the zeitgeist of the old guard. Instead of being rewarded for his significant discovery, he was relieved of his duties.
The tragedy is that although Semmelweis was right, his ideas were generally scoffed at during his entire lifetime. He endured personal attacks by his adversaries throughout Europe who flat out lied about his theory and findings because they were personally invested in promoting their own miasma, milk metastasis and emotional distress theories.
“The Hemophilia Holocaust” sounds ominous. What caused the holocaust among hemophiliacs?
Kathleen: First, let me say that hemophilia is a genetic disorder in which blood fails to clot normally due to a deficiency in clotting Factor VIII. Drug companies developed sophisticated chemical processing techniques to extract the Factor VIII from blood and to process it in large batches—up to 20,000 units of blood produced a powder which had a high concentration of Factor VIII. The problem occurred when the blood supply became contaminated with HIV and the pharmaceutical companies and blood banks reassured users that the chance of contracting the virus was only one in a million. The tragedy is that another drug and been developed and heat treating showed promise, but they were both rejected by the pharmaceutical companies. In the end, 90% of Factor VIII concentrate users became HIV positive. Various factors were responsible for spreading the disease to the hemophilia community including political correctness, denial and disbelief, incorrect assumptions by the medical establishment, political posturing and greed.
You seem particularly passionate in your chapter titled “The Eugenics Movement in America”. When did you first learn about this movement and do you have a personal story to tell about it?
Kathleen: Forced sterilization of the developmentally disabled and convicted criminals was still being debated in sociology and genetics classes when I was a college student in the mid to late 1960s. Had the Eugenics Movement succeeded, I might have been sterilized because one of my cousin’s is deaf. Also, my brilliant Jewish coauthor would probably have been exterminated.
You touched briefly upon the story of Carrie Buck describing her as a victim of the Eugenics Movement. Who is Carrie Buck and what is her story?
Kathleen: Harry Laughlin, one of the leading figures in the Eugenics Movement, wrote the “Model Sterilization Act” which served as a mock-up for Virginia’s 1924 “Eugenical Sterilization Act” to legalize compulsory sterilizations of “defective persons”. Later that year, the statute went before the court in the famous test case Buck versus Bell, and finally on to the U.S. Supreme Court which passed it.
Carrie Buck was the daughter of a woman whose husband had died and who attempted to support her family through prostitution. Carrie was placed in foster care and her mother was institutionalized at the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feeble Minded in Lynchburg, Virginia. Carrie had been raped by her foster parents’ nephew and gave birth to an illegitimate child. For this she was declared feebleminded and the potential parent of socially inadequate offspring in what can only be described as a sham trial. Her fate was sealed on May 2, 1927, when US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes delivered the Supreme Court’s decision: “It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” Later, evidence confirmed that Carrie and her daughter were of normal intelligence.
You devote a chapter to Methyl‐Mercury in the Food Chain. What is methyl‐mercury and how does it differ from mercury? What causes methyl‐mercury contamination and why is it dangerous?
Kathleen: Methylmercury is an organic form of mercury that arises when inorganic mercury is absorbed by small plants and animals in lakes and streams. At each step up the food chain, it accumulates in greater concentrations. So that predatory fish at the top of the food chain can have dangerously high levels of the neurotoxin, 10,000 to 100,000 times greater than the water.
Virtually every state in the United States is at risk for methyl-mercury toxicity. Chronic mercury exposure can have a serious impact upon fertility and the outcome of pregnancy. It interferes with the part of the brain that controls reproduction and results in menstrual cycle disorders. In men organic mercury can cause low sperm count, minor genetic damage, a reduction in libido and impotence. It has also been linked to an increased level of cardiac arrhythmia and heart disease, autoimmune disorders, kidney disease and liver disease in both men and women. In children it has been linked to neurological disorders such as learning disabilities, and at worst, symptoms similar to Cerebral Palsy.
You wrote a powerful account of the devastating effect of methyl‐mercury contamination in Minamata, Japan. What went wrong and what was the impact?
Kathleen: Minamata disease was the natural consequence of the Chisso Corporation’s policy of dumping mercury into Japan’s Minamata Bay and its tributaries from 1930s to the 1960s. The company denied and covered up its role in causing the disease. To make matters worse, local politicians were in bed with the Chisso Corporation and refused to hold Chisso accountable. First it killed the fish, birds and cats that ate it. Then it started killing young children or terribly maiming them. The neurotoxin caused mental retardation and physical spasticity in children and also affected adults. The official denial went on until 1968—4 months after the Chisso Co. stopped using mercury in its manufacturing process.
Section 5 of your book has three chapters under the heading “Frontiers of Science”. What are the exciting new sciences?
Kathleen: PSI: There is reason to believe that psychic phenomena are real. Independent replication of controlled experiments performed thousands of times by researchers around the world has demonstrated statistical evidence in support of psi phenomena. Although the hit rate in experiments averages only 32 percent, among telepathic people such as psychics, it is 65 percent—pretty amazing despite the strong social prohibition against it by western science. A 1985 meta-analysis of 2,549 ganzfeld telepathy experiments by researchers around the world clearly showed that psi effects do occur in the ganzfeld.
UFOs and UFO Abductions: There is substantial support for the idea that members of the scientific community are refusing to examine UFO evidence for reasons that sometime have to do with the fear of not advancing in one’s career. I think that the scientific establishment is clinging to the zeitgeist of the old guard in order to perpetuate the scientific tenets for which they have been handsomely rewarded. This is blatantly obvious in the infamous “Trick Memo” written by Robert Low, the assistant dean of graduate studies at the University of Colorado and project coordinator for the Condon study of UFOs. He wrote, “In order to undertake such a project, one would have to approach it objectively. That is, one has to admit the possibility that such things as UFOs exist. It is not respectable to give serious consideration to such a possibility…The very act of admitting these possibilities just as possibilities puts us beyond the pale.” Edward Condon, the study’s chairman made the negative pronouncement that “Nothing has come from the study of UFOs in the past 21 years that has added to scientific knowledge…we consider it safe to assume that no ILE (intelligent life elsewhere) outside of our solar system has any possibility of visiting Earth in the next 10,000 years.” Subsequently, the National Academy of Science’s issued the statement that “The least likely explanation for UFOs is the hypothesis of extraterrestrial visitations by intelligent beings”. However, the special UFO subcommittee of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics found that 30 percent of the 117 cases studied in detail could not be identified. The AIAA finding clearly demonstrated Condon and the NAS, of which Condon was a member, were biased in their assessment of the evidence. There is substantial evidence that UFOs are real, and I think it deserves the attention of an unbiased scientific community.
In “Extraordinary Visual Feats: Psi Phenomena” you wrote about the plight of Natasha Demkina. Who is she and what brought her to your attention?
Kathleen: Natasha Demkina is a young Russia medical intuitive who claimed she could “see” the full structure of the human body, including how internal organs are positioned and how they function almost as if she had x-ray eyes. The Discovery Channel produced a television program in 2004 allegedly designed to test Natasha’s paranormal ability in an objective and unbiased manner. They said she would be tested by top scientists, but they were actually three members of the skeptic’s society, CSICOP, now CSI. By all appearances the experiment was designed to increase Natasha’s chances of failure. She complained that she had been forced to perform under conditions that are known to reduce psychic ability. These included stress, fatigue due to jet lag, and hostility from the scientific team, not being able to follow her usual protocols, not being able to use her own interpreter, and having the bar for a passing grade raised above that which is normally accepted by international statistical standards. If the bar had not been raised, she would have passed the test. In the end, several highly respected international scientists and a lawyer defended Natasha’s position. Nobel Prize winning physicist and director of the University of Cambridge’s Mind Matter Unification Project, Brian Josephson, Ph.D. criticized the experimental team’s methodology and questioned its motives.
Is there reason to believe that some psychic phenomena are real?
Kathleen: Yes, as I stated above there is significant scientific evidence that telepathy is real.
Tell me about UFOs and little green men.
Kathleen: I thought they were gray. (grin) Although the “impossibilists” promote the idea that all UFO abductions are attributable to sleep disorders and delusional thinking, there is scientific evidence that some abductions are real. Psychological studies of suspected abductees have demonstrated that those who meet the criteria for having a real abduction are no more fantasy prone than the general population. They also score normal on psychological testing. Studies that limit their participants to self-identified abductees that lack supporting evidence for alien abduction tend to produce results indicating that they score higher than the norm on a variety of personality scales that measure fantasy proneness, dissociation, schizotypy, etc. Many do have sleep anomalies and personality disorders. However, they are in an entirely separate category than those who meet the criteria for alien abduction. In addition to the unbiased psychological study findings, the well investigated accounts of alien abduction provide evidence that some abduction claims have a foundation in reality. Despite the many psychological explanations, some abductions cannot be explained as personality aberrations, psychological abnormalities, hoaxes, sleep anomalies, hypnotic confabulation or misinterpretations. One needs only to read the peer reviewed journal articles. I have written an overview of their findings in Chapter 14 of Science Was Wrong.
Are we being visited by aliens?
Kathleen: One needs only to examine the evidence to be convinced that we are being visited by non-human entities. The greatest challenge for someone who is not a UFO abduction researcher/investigator is in determining what evidence is credible and where to look for it. Unfortunately, the UFO field has been riddled with hoaxes and false claims that tend to confuse. For example, the Betty and Barney Hill UFO abduction case has been terribly misrepresented. An Internet search will produce a plethora of false accounts and outright lies about their experience. They were my aunt and uncle. I have all of their files and evidence and researched/ investigated their experience for fifteen years prior to writing Captured!. I have separated fact from fiction and it is all in Captured!.
Can you sum up why this book is important and tell us how you are taking it to the world?
Kathleen: Science Was Wrong is important because it informs reader that throughout history it has been difficult, if not impossible, to promote the acceptance of new discoveries. It also gives “paranormal category” readers hope that mainstream science will one day accept the evidence that psi phenomena and UFOs are real. I only hope that the average reader will come away with an altered and enlightened perception of how mainstream science works and learn about the scientific evidence that psi phenomena and UFOs are real. I am carrying my message to the public through radio and television programs and speaking engagements. You can find my upcoming appearances on my Web site at www.kathleen-marden.com
Look for Part 3 of this interview next week!
If you would like to read more about Stanton T. Friedman, MSC and Kathleen Marden, or any of their mentioned titles, please visit them on the web at: www.stantonfriedman.com and www.kathleen-marden.com.
Interview by Michelle M. Pillow, www.michellepillow.com