Well, yesterday’s House subcommittee hearing on Lyme disease wasn’t much of a fact-finding hearing. Sort of like having a hearing on climate change chaired by James Inhofe with the Koch brothers, ExxonMobil and the Heartland Institute as the expert witnesses. In other words, the usual suspects delivered their previously stated distortions of reality to a cooperative congressmen willing to place those beliefs into the Congressional Record. I suppose the purpose of this hearing was simply to continue to repeat lies and fallacies in another venue in the hope that oft-repeated lies will eventually become, if not fact, more commonly accepted belief.
Stricker provided all of his usual distortions, ignored his past scientific misconduct and firing, stroked his ego by citing every letter and comment he ever got published, and filled out the remainder of his testimony with references from a who’s who of Lyme quacks, including Sapi, Cameron, Liegner, MacDonald, Brorson and Miklossy. He really went out of his way to avoid referencing any real experts or recent findings that might conflict with his own theology.
One sad note in this hearing was the presence of Steve Barthold, an academic veterinarian at UC Davis. He was there to present some recent research by his group, which the activists seem to think supports their view of Lyme disease as relentless Andromeda Strain. Not surprisingly, he didn’t mention any recent suggestions that his research might be flawed. But he did put in a plug for funding more of his own work: “In my opinion, for such important and controversial studies to go forward, NIH will need to publish a specific call for applications, known as a “Request for Applications” (RFA), that requests research on the biological significance of persisting spirochetes following antibiotic treatment.” In other words, “give me money.” I guess that makes him a Lyme lobbyist.