“Appeal to ignorance – the claim that whatever has not been proved false must be true, and vice versa (e.g., there is no compelling evidence that UFOs are not visiting the Earth; therefore UFOs exist – and there is intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe. Or: there may be seventy kazillion other worlds, but not one is known to have the moral advancement of the Earth, so we’re still central to the Universe.) This impatience with ambiguity can be criticized in the phrase: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” ~ Carl Sagan. The Demon-Haunted World: Chapter 12 – The Fine Art of Baloney Detection.
I am feeling subdued. Jason contacted me back channel after our conversation in the comments of the last blog. We said what we each perceived to be a reach across the divide, but it quickly became clear that the distance was too great. I am deeply saddened by this state of affairs. ‘Scientific community’ is an oxymoron. Everybody in their own labs doing their little absence of evidence experiments, knowing nothing of the disease in question. Argumentum ad ignorantium. A false dichotomy. I own that I am one half of the dichotomy, though unlike the other side, I don’t fail to consider alternatives. The obvious third alternative here is there has been insufficient investigation to reach a conclusion. Unfortunately, it’s the folks with the above ‘vice versa’ view that we need to do the work in order to have enough information to know what is true and what is false. Deductive reasoning leads to blinders and inductive reasoning can go to religion; I acknowledge that. All valid alternatives must be considered. Hume’s Problem of Induction puts the current conundrum in a larger philosophical context.
I didn’t even see a possibility for mediation. No common ground at all. It felt like a microcosm of the entire situation. The emperor has no clothes, but he is sighing with relief, because nobody is going to know. They aren’t going to have to deal with us. XMRV is going away.
I feel like a lightening rod, a lot of anger going to ground through me. Making people squirm isn’t my first choice, but I guess it’s better than being ignored. I’d rather be a lover than a fighter, but it seems it isn’t to be. I am propelled by the ‘atta girl’s I get from people who have had no voice for a very long time. It seems more important than who is pissed off or hurt.
More mail from Dr. Peterson’s patients. The jist is, he is really sad, but can’t say anything because of Annette Whittemore. And Annette Whittemore has never been willing to clear it up publicly either. These people are holding themselves out as our best hope. A little transparency is in order. I repeat. I have never met Dr. Peterson. Everything I know about him and what happened at the WPI came from the people there. Not one person, a bunch of people, but all hearsay and I plan never to repeat any of it. I believe patients first and foremost, so I apologize to Dr. Peterson. I don’t understand the apparent fixation with HHV-6 though. It seems so much less plausible than a retroviral etiology. I do admire his persistence above all else. Anyone dealing with CFS for 27 years without going insane deserves huge gratitude and congratulation for unusual survival skills and fortitude.
Emotions run high because there is a huge reservoir of feelings and thoughts that has had no outlet for years and years. So many have suffered silently, trying to be good so they could be believed, much less helped. It’s one thing to ask for help and another to become a supplicant and plead and beg. Unfortunately pleading and begging is what we’ve been reduced to. Seems like birthing a new paradigm is just like any other birth, difficult and messy, but oh, the results matter so much. We have the old paradigm fighting tooth and nail to stop an unstoppable process. Progress will be made in strange, uncomfortable ways, but move forward we will.