Dr Ling objects.

Rae West 1999


Summary: Dr Gilbert Ling, who I should make clear is one of the best scientists in his field, and (like his friend Harold Hillman) a victim of long-term frauds in modern biology, in my opinion damages his case by his appeal to methods of popular journalism. This site contains, below, the unedited texts ofSo far he has not replied - a thing not uncommon among people who loudly announce their willingness to debate.
1. Gilbert Ling's site. This link contains a mirror of the whole of Dr Gilbert Ling's site, much of which, though not (it's important to repeat) the cell membrane material, I was criticising. It begins with a long (100K) file which states his position, and which has links to about fifty subsidiary files, most of them much smaller.
2. Dr Ling's e-mail.
Date sent:     Tue, 17 Nov 1998 10:42:34 -0800
From:     "Dr. Gilbert Ling"
Send reply to:     dobar@asb2.asb.com
Organization:     Fonar Corporation
To:     HillmanSite@big-lies.com
Subject:     derogatory comments

You made a comment about my work: "unfortunately incorporating much doubtful material". My homepage has over fifty linked pages and extensive documentation supporting everything I stated. Harold Hillman is a good friend of mine and we see eye to eye on most major issues in contemporary science. Indeed, his overall comment on my work is cited at the concluding pages of my web-site. (In fact, Dr. Hillman has rather recently visited my with his daughter.)
  There is no possibility that he could be the originator of your derogatory remarks on my life's work. You are publicly damaging my reputation.
Either you spell out in details what are doubtful. Or if you cannot, remove the remarks with a public apology.
Sincerely,
Gilbert Ling (gilbertling@dobar.org)


3. Two e-mails to Dr Ling
25 November, 1998

Dear Dr Ling,
Thanks for your e-mail. I'm sorry I've been a little slow in replying; however, since I previously e-mailed you in June 1997 on this topic, but never received a reply from you, perhaps this is forgivable. (I've appended my e-mail in, I think, unaltered form).

My site has two references to you, at present, with links to www.gilbertling.org:
    *The cell membrane - An entire site by Gilbert Ling on errors in understanding the cell wall. In my view Ling weakens his case by his uncritical acceptance of a great deal of flawed biology.
    *Related Site: Gilbert Ling on the Cell Membrane unfortunately incorporating much doubtful material

I'm going to explain in detail the doubtful material in your website piece, based on the complete version I have, dated June 18, 1977. I hope in turn that you will have the good grace to publicly apologise for the nonsensensical parts of your site, `doubtful material' which you have helped promulgate in the guise of science.

Firstly I must make it clear that I expect your own work is sound and important and that, like Harold Hillman, you have a very legitimate case against the `scientists' who have opposed you. I must also make it clear that, personally, I have always avoided writing begging letters, whether to fraudulent organisations or elsewhere; it may be that your Internet piece isn't intended to be scientific, but is in the style of an advertisement or grovelling letter. However, I'm treating it as a prima facie accurate statement of your beliefs. Also I should add that your assessment of Harold Hillman's character and loyalty is correct: in one of his books he even states that he knows the name of someone who admits to carrying out fraudulent electron microscope work, but that he will never reveal the man's name.

I've collected my comments under six headings:-


[1] Current medical state of things - dangerous epidemics?
You say `a new killer disease appeared .. in 1982.. caused by a virus.' It is utterly contemptible that you should rehash this journalistic stuff. You clearly haven't attempted to investigate the bases on which the `AIDS' idea was erected. This alone is enough to discredit your entire site.
    There are other examples in your site - microbes `ceaselessly mutating and becoming stronger with each passing day'; dying off of insects and small animals, where you seem unaware of plausible counter theories notably involving chemicals; and BSE, where you quote a conventional line obviously without having investigated it.

[2] Effects of science
The fact is that all new science has been used in war, so far as I know - chemistry, physics, and biology - in explosives and chemical warfare, aircraft, experimental biological warfare - though the latter has so far been handicapped by insufficient knowledge. So what would be the results of genuine theoretical breakthroughs in biology? I don't know - but you have dishonestly not considered this question and pretend there could only be benefits. As you point out yourself, suppressing negative evidence is a well-known scientific fraud.

[3] History of science
All your examples are selected to suit your case; you casually deal with these matters in a way which clearly reflects your own preoccupations and has little to do with real science. For example:
    The idea that science has been a free exchange of ideas simply isn't true, although there is an ideology to that effect. Industrial revolution metallurgical techniques were kept secret; Descartes' geometry was considered a war secret in Napoleon times. Pasteur, who you praise for open debate, in fact seems to have been a sort of pet of Napoleon III. It's ironic that you quote C P Snow, in a novel, since Snow's era was characterised by secrecy in atomic and other work. Newton's work was written in Latin, for that matter (in the 17th century - not 18th which you seem to imply was the earliest time for modern science). At the present day there's secrecy in every aspect of science; as witness e.g. the FDA's amnesty of chemical companies, whereupon thousands of papers suddenly emerged listing environmental dangers. There is now, and has been for more than a century, endless legal involvement with patents with the associated industrial spying, employment contracts with secrecy, and so on.
    On money, you say Federal (US) largesse is distributed in `an impartial and democratic manner' - a statement so bizarre I wonder what you conceivably mean by it. Quite apart from huge secret funds, which can hardly be distributed democratically, there's little evidence of any sort of democratic input whatever, and in any case as you say many of the report-writers are anonymous and there are few possibilities to challenge decisions. As for `impartial', the whole thrust of your argument is that these people are very partial, but not to you.

[4] Future of science
You say `cell physiology .. [is] the (only) remaining major domain of relevant medical science', [i.e. relevant to `cancer and AIDS'] a statement which surely also reflects your own case. Cancer isn't understood; how can you possibly be sure it's the only `relevant domain'? Despite your claim that cell physiology is essential to curing cancer, which may be true (or may not if some empirical technique is found and becomes known), you provide no sort of timetable or system for this project. This seems to weaken your case: your whole claim is that you might provide a way forward, and that you know more about it than other people, and that you've studied the history of science to get some insight; and yet you appear unable to give even a hint as to what might be achieved. You can't even produce evidence that the problems are theoretically soluble - they might not be. Your argument is: rockets took a few men to the moon, therefore surely we can understand cell structure.
    You're also anxious to downplay rival claimants for funds, notably physics, which you describe as `mature' despite the fact that there are endless phenomena - even the structure of water - not understood by physics. It's perfectly possible that physics is less `mature' than biology.

[5] Science in US
Unfortunately even your claim of a `retreat from basic science' - (your `extensive documentation' in this case includes material from the discredited New York Times) - seems open to challenge. Certainly the perception of the US from the start to the middle of the century was a bit like Japan just after WW2 - i.e. they copied European ideas but had bigger markets and cheaper raw materials and more pollutable space. The most striking novelty was Edison, who had his own lab and did practical (not `basic') work. Later, there was immense state funding, but I'd suggest this was mostly weapons-related practical stuff, notably aircraft, bombs and missiles, not `basic' at all. Perhaps you could list for me (say) ten fundamental breakthroughs made by the Princeton `Institute of Advanced Studies'? You talk about `the skyrocketing cost for social programs' and also of an officially-announced Pentagon project but don't seem able to produce a coherent picture of science spending - and no wonder, since of course much of this is secret. Fundamentally, what you're saying seems to be that some years ago you got plenty of money, and now you don't.
    I'm also amused by your descriptions of philanthropists. And your account of the Boxer Indemnity. You don't seem to realise the Americans were keen to important intelligent technicians from abroad, both to weaken the foreign countries and strengthen their own. There seem to be striking confirmations of this. For example when China became `Communist' the Rockefeller Foundation, faced with the possibility that it could no longer make money, immediately lost its supposed philanthropic interest in the health of the Chinese. [I haven't checked this statement; it may be wrong].
    And by your passive acceptance of Nobel Prizes; it's a sad comment on the mercenary nature of scientists that they can't honestly state that these prizes are often given for worthless rubbish.
    You say `America is a kind and generous country'. Without going into such questions as deaths through blockades, and war dead inflicted by Americans, it's true that America has a large empire and control over many raw materials. In view of that, it appears rather to be ungenerous - as you've found out. But perhaps your statement was made in begging-letter mode.

[6] Personal claims
You say I'm `publicly damaging your reputation'.
    Unfortunately, reading your own site, it seems your work has never been cited by anyone, apart from a few people you've worked with. You also seem to claim, at the start of your article, to have invented MRI, and yet close examination reveals that the `inventor and patent-holder' wrote to you about the first human body image which he'd obtained with his - not your - machine. Unfortunately, even intracellular electrodes appear not have achieved much; if I've interpreted Hillman correctly, it seems they've been responsible for forty or fifty years of wrong results, notably the supposed potential across the cell membrane. (I'm awaiting comment from Harold on this point, though I doubt whether I'll get it).


So I conclude, as I said, that your site is weakened by the inclusion of a large amount of dubious material. The most important though is the medical/biological material; if you accept this sort of thing, on the basis of popular books or newspapers, or of peer-reviewed junk articles, it hard to see how you can logically object to people doing the same thing with your work, i.e. accepting the ordinary view.

Regards
Rae West.

PS: I hope this doesn't read too harshly. But I dislike being accused of making `derogatory remarks' when I'm just pointing out truths. My interpretation of your work is somewhat like Hillman's, namely that, if you'd been given proper support, you could have achieved much more, but that (as anyone would expect) being held back and sabotaged naturally was a drag on you both.


E-mail June 1997
Dear Gilbert Ling,
    I've downloaded and read through your home page information [www.gilbertling.org] and all (I think) of the linked files.
    I hope you don't mind if I make some comments. Some are related to the presentation, some to the argument to your 'association-induction' (AI) theory, so far as you've explained it in these shortish files.

    [1] It's discouraging to find much of the introductory material is discredited or at any rate highly doubtful. These are my examples:
    * AIDS: you adopt the alarmist view of AIDS (apparently relying on sources like Randy Shilts' anecdotal book, and the New York Times's hack writers). By now, I think most people in this field realise the HIV theory is exploded (the virus has never been isolated, and never reliably identified by electron microscopy or by the various protein identification and DNA techniques). The idea that it is 'spreading like wild fire' is only maintainable by manufacturing spurious classifications for AIDS (e.g. incorporating cervical cancer).
    * Similarly with Ebola fever; the best demolition job on this, known to me, is Bryan Ellison's book on AIDS.
    * On 'mad cow' disease, there's plenty of evidence this is caused by dosing the animals with organophosphorus compounds to get rid of warble fly. Thus, areas in the UK legally required to treat warble fly have BSE; other areas don't; and in Europe, only countries like Switzerland using OPs get BSE, others don't. Organic farmers don't get BSE. The whole idea of a 'new infectious killer disease' is nonsense.
    * On Garrett's book, 'The Coming Plague', which I haven't read, I'd suggest (in view of the great difficulty of doing SERIOUS work on DNA) that examining genes of bacteria is more difficult than popular writers make out. Frogs, toads, birds and bees are all sensitive to weedkillers and other poisons & I was surprised, in view of your mention of 'Silent Spring', that you didn't consider this hypothesis worth considering. Why don't countries with less intensive chemical use have populations of these creatures dying off?
    * On vaccination (in 'A Common Cause') there seems great doubt whether it was as wonderful as is made out by medicos; I'm surprised you accept it as a health promoting measure in such an uncritical way.
    * On life expectancy, also in 'A Common Cause', you seem to make a common error: these figures in fact are compiled from people who are already dead! How else could they be compiled? There's no particular reason to suppose they apply to living people, expect in the sense that one expects things not to change very fast. These figures are not predictions of the future.


    [2] Basic, or fundamental, research.
    * You don't produce evidence that your work on cell structure would, in fact, produce benefits. You seem to just be saying that good quality basic research always produced benefits. But in view of the fact you seem to have nothing useful to say about the points made in [1], how can you expect anyone to believe your claims? In other words, you're saying you've done years of basic research which others haven't done. But, if so, where's your cure for AIDS? More seriously, from my point of view, what do you say about cancer? Here's a serious disease in which the research has been botched, but you seem to say (e.g. in 'The Coming Renaissance..') that you will continue your cell work, but offer no particular insight into whether it might help with cancer. You say near the beginning, 'Of course, none can answer with certainty' and again don't say what you could do with cancer.
    * You say ('Played on One String..) that 'drugs are currently made by the highly inefficient trial-and-error method'. This is misleading; penicillin was isolated after people realised that fungi have a defence mechanism against some bacteria; this isn't 'trial and error'.
    * On scientists, you mention Darwin and Einstein. You don't seem to know there's serious doubt about the priority of Darwin (Brackman, 1980 is the best book). Thus Darwin ought to be avoided as an example. Something similar is true of Einstein, whose stature seems questionable; no physicist I've ever met can give an account of relativity, and it may be simply a toy or joke, a distraction so people don't notice the real purposes of physics.
    * Pasteur and Jenner are also troublesome examples, both perhaps having received more credit than they deserved.
    * In my view, you're wrong to regard physics as 'a mature science'. (You remind me of Harold Hillman, who seems to believe that corruption only exists in his tiny corner of the world). In fact, the properties of matter aren't understood, which is one reason for the fiasco of nuclear power and continued failure to get plasma reactors to work. Even the weather isn't understood! Moreover, electronics, which figures in your thought experiment of 'Queen Victoria's Radio', is still at the empirical stage which you describe from Alfred Burger's 1960 book; nobody knows what 'electromagnetism' really is, only what it does. This is important in your field: the structures of ice can be determined by X-ray crystallography; but the structure of water can't, because it moves! Hence, the macro-structures formed by water molecules aren't known. If you think of Brownian motion, where a particle with molecular weight in the millions is buffeted about, you can see how important this structure is. In particular, it is likely that cells have evolved around properties of water, and therefore the immaturity of physics is something I'd have thought you were aware of.
    * You don't seem to realise that the US has never had much of a record in original research; although it's difficult to quantify this sort of thing, most basic science was European and probably still is, so far as it exists. Of course, it's difficult to separate out the strands of technology, and of pseudo-science which intrigues the public; it's also difficult to take account of the huge amount of secretised science and technology. But it's probably true that most of the US's technological accomplishments (cf. e.g. cars, computers, rockets, TV industry, aircraft) were built by huge amounts of money pushed into monopolies or oligopolistic big businesses.

    [3] Benefactors.
    * In the section 'Appeal for Help from Philanthropists..' you assume, naively in my view, that the object of Rockefeller et al was to improve people's health. This is highly questionable; another interpretation of these men is that they wanted to make money and did what they could to design systems from which they could make themselves rich (or richer). You might ask yourself what would happen if unpatentable drugs were found valuable (lithium being a mild sort of example). If there isn't money in it, they probably wouldn't be interested - hence the lack of concern over preventive medicine, for example.
    So in approaching these people, you have to convince them they can make money - or, more precisely, that they can make more money than they could by putting it somewhere else. If your work led to a cancer cure for everyone, they would probably not be interested.


    [4] Your science education policy (section 28). I fear you haven't considered how subversive this approach would really be, and therefore how much opposition it would arouse. Freedom of information and of thought is much more radical than you seem to realise, and your claim that 'the majority of citizens believe in and will fight for' it is not true. At least, they certainly won't do anything about it, even if they 'believe in it'. For example, the New York Times, which you treat as a serious source, in view of its record would not even exist in a civilised society.
    * One of the problems with peer review is anonymity. If names were given, this might make for some improvement.
    * I'm surprised (as I always am) by your lukewarm criticism of Nobel Prizes. I would have thought they've had a terribly corrupting effect in all fields. (NB: why is there no US equivalent? They're not that expensive to set up. All you need is a name that sounds good - 'Nobel' being impeccable in that sense - and some rented royalty.)

    [5] Contents of your theory. This is difficult, partly because you haven't given much information on your 200 papers & 3 books, and partly because (like Harold Hillman) you naturally tend to emphasise your work and depreciate other people's; so, as with Harold, it's difficult to get a flat statement of the point of your theory. Looking at computer files numbered 6 and 7,
    * I'm familiar with Harold's criticism of pumps in the cell membrane & sodium channels, and also (though I don't know if you agree with this) his belief that the endoplasmic reticulum, nuclear pores (like the 'atomic sieve'), cell surface molecules, ribosomes, and Golgi bodies are artefacts not corresponding to real-life objects. He also has reservations about the cell's membrane potential, based on the difficulty of avoiding artefacts due to ion-protein attraction. All this is my starting point.
    * I'm still unsure what you mean when you discuss the (non-woody) cell. Are you saying they have no membranes, but are so to speak jelly blobs? Or that there is a membrane, but the cell contents, which are rather 'sticky', tend to adhere to it? You seem to have a cell membrane, with a mechanism for adsorption of ions (which I guess diffuse in or out)?
    * New ATP theory - I heard about the attack on 'high energy' ATP from Barbara Banks (who however seems to have got nowhere with her criticisms).
    * Your physics-of-water idea seems good, with multilayers & molecules clustering round ions (you might cp. the physics of water in clouds; I've heard it suggested such water is not droplets but a less dense allotrope of water, which condenses to give rain (or crystallises as snow).
    * What's the connection between your ideas and MRI? I thought this technique, with magnetism plus I think radio, in a sense is empirical, i.e. found to work; the theory has spinning electrons (or whatever) but it's the pragmatic fact that matters. I can't see that salty solutions have much to do with it.
    * That's about as far as you seem to go on your Internet site. Surely there's more to it than that? I couldn't find anything on how drugs control cell functions (as claimed in 'Played on One String..')

Best wishes,
Rae West.

PS: Some small points: could you respell 'Nicolo', linkded, point-by-pint, Noble prize, (and others), and rewrite 'Prize for.. hypothesis is unheard-of' (since it is heard-of). And why not name Prof X, or former graduate student A? I know this can be difficult, but if nobody names names, things become even more difficult, and people reading about the case in the future don't know who's being discussed. (To be fair, you have explicitly named quite a number of 'baddies' and (rather fewer!) 'goodies')


Click for big-lies.org
First upload 99-01-10.