There Are No Old Wise Men at the Top, Making Sure We Don’t Do Something Really Dumb

This post was originally published in June, 2013. Kary Mullis died in August 2020.

“If you go to an authority, you don’t always get the right answer” – Kary Mullis, Nobel Prize-winning American biochemist, author, and lecturer.

Here is an older TED talk by Kary Mullis.  It is an example of why The Establishment – in media, in education, in science, in politics – hates independent thinkers.  This is another feast of a speech for those who are independent minded.  I was raised by the Old Left, and we were constantly reminded, via bumper stickers and dinner conversations to “question authority”.  Mullis begins the talk by explaining the wonderful era of the 16th century, particularly the age of discovery with Robert Boyle.  Back then they set up discussion groups that were purposely set up to discuss things that could be proven.  The adage “God is everywhere” to explain away the ‘unexplainable’ was disallowed in these places, and hard core scientific process (hypothesis => experimentation => conclusion => repetition) was the rule.

Mullis notes that the ‘higher ups’, the ‘priests’ were not part of the discussion.  This was intentional.  The   specter of ‘authority’, religious or otherwise, wasn’t allowed to intervene with scientific discoveries that could be seen and explained.  Mullis notes how the system now is controlled by internecine politics and money.  He tells a hysterical story about how, as a child, he attempted to build a rocket so he could blast a frog into space.  It is this self driven independent discovery (his mother ‘watched’  from an upstairs window) where groundbreaking scientific discoveries are made.

In the final ten minutes of this talk he really lets it fly.  He obliterates the Establishment on Global Warming, HIV / AIDS research and the Ozone Hoax.  It would be frighteningly easy to dismiss Mullis as a quack, an oddball, or the eternally effective title of “conspiracy theorist”.  The problem with that tactic is that Mullis actually reads the work that the Establishment puts out on these topics.  I was intrigued that Mullis, a nobel laureate, would be so contrarian.  I found this: “Eventually, this burgeoning little group would expand to include more than 300 scientists and journalists who signed on to a short letter asserting that HIV science was deficient and needed a complete review by impartial people. One signer was Kary Mullis, a Nobel laureate who had discovered the PCR test for DNA. Mullis was like the grim reaper when it came to HIV. He was willing to take on anyone anywhere.”

I was fascinated by that last sentence.  As high schoolers, we learn to grovel before authority and call those who speak unorthodox thoughts ‘crazy’.  The fact that Mullis was on the rampage against the Thought Controllers was spectacular.  I have found it useful to look at the contrarian thinkers, analyze their work for myself, and see if they have a case.  As the world wide web continues to spread, the shibboleths begin to get disproven,  and the ‘crazies’ begin to make sense.  It’s getting to the point that the Establishment has ramped up the propaganda to such a fever pitch, you have to look at people like Kary Mullis even more carefully. 

 Mullis and Peter Duesberg (Berkeley) refuse to bow down before the ‘established thoughts’.  They pay for their transgressions before The Powers That Be, but they don’t seem to care.  Good for them.

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