My Opinion on Conspiracies There is a huge misconception, from my point of view, on all sides involving conspiracy. I am delving deeply into philosophy of science in regard to psychobabble, but a lot of it is still relevant to the XMRV debate. In practical terms research can be considered to come from competing communities of scientists, each with their own views. Science is adversarial between such groups, and collaborative within. So scientists in one group will present information and arguments to undermine the other group. That is their role. We might not like it if we are supporting the other group. This is not a conspiracy, it is science as routinely practiced. People who take upon themselves to pursuade a community are also not conspiracists. If some of them collude privately to co-ordinate an information campaign, that might be considered a conspiracy ... or good sense. Where one sits on these issues is based on values. There are conflicting values of science involved, conflicting methodologies, conflicting philosophies .... and they don't mesh. Values include goals/agendas. Conspiracy is bandied about way too much. Conspiracies exist, no question. A conspiracy is not just collaboration in private for an agenda. To me, a conspiracy is collaboration in private for an agenda that seeks to violate accepted standards, rules or laws. If it doesn't, its legitimate though not always welcome. The XMRV debate could still be won by the pro-XMRV group. Its not disproved/falsified. The side which is staunchly defending the anti-XMRV view are using a process called verificationism, not falsificationism. Basically, they point to steadily accumulating data that supports their views. However, they tend to suffer from dogmatic verificationism. That is they dismiss, downplay or ignore contrary evidence. This is very apparent in psychobabble, but I see it in the XMRV debate too. The problem is, the other side - proXMRV - are also using verificationism. So are they both wrong? Verificationism has value in early days of experimental and explorative science. It also has value in accumulating data for pragmatic purpose. There is a concept called tenacity in philosophy of science. New hypotheses/models/theories get attacked. This is normal. Good scientists carry on regardless, tenaciously pursuing their model until it has evolved enough that it can go beyond verificationism. So an emerging model of anything, under attack, is best served by people who fight for it in a highly rational fashion. In this sense it is the old school, conventional wisdom, dogma, that is defending their turf and more likely to be inappropriately dogmatic, even though they might be right. Now I do think a conspiracy probably exists that involves ME research. I am thinking about writing a book on it, but that is all I want to say for now. The Lipkin et. al. study into XMRV prevalence in ME patients goes beyond verificationism. Its falsification testing in my view. That makes this a higher standard of study than anything that has gone before. We should pay close attention to it, regardless of the outcome. Bye, Alex PS I consider myself a pragmatic rationalist/pancritical rationalist. So my bias, my values, show in that I regard falsification as a higher standard of evidence.