Information icon.svg At All things in moderation, we are currently voting on restrictions on the use of LLMs (chatbots) in RationalWiki. Reminder: you need to have at least 75 edits and to have been registered for at least three months to be eligible to vote.

Kary Mullis

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
If the Nobel disease had a poster boy.
The woo is out there
Icon ufology.svg
Aliens did it...
...and ran away
Not just a river in Egypt
Icon denialism.svg
Alternative facts
♫ We're not listening ♫
Once he turned on the lights and left sacks of groceries on the floor, he lighted his path to the outhouse with a flashlight. On the way, he saw something glowing under a fir tree. Shining the flashlight on this glow, it seemed to be a raccoon with little black eyes. The raccoon spoke, saying, ‘Good evening, doctor,’ and he replied with a hello.
—You read that correctly. We are not kidding.[1]

Kary Banks Mullis (1944–2019)[2] was a Nobel prize-winning biochemist, best known for developing the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), unquestionably one of the most important tools in molecular biology.

Unfortunately, he had a number of less-founded views that he publicly expounded upon.

Where's the beef?[edit]

Given that he claimed that his LSD use had a major role in his work on PCR (James Watson, one of the discoverers of DNA, notably made similar claims with respect to his development of DNA as a concept prior to empirically confirming it),[3] it is perhaps unsurprising that he holds a number of bizarre views on subjects outside his specialty, and was noted for endorsing various and sundry conspiracy theories and pseudosciences.

Crank views[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Nobel disease
Being a Nobel laureate is a license to be an expert in lots of things as long as you do your homework.

To name a few:

  • AIDS Denialism: Mullis hung around with noted AIDS denialist Peter Duesberg and believed AIDS is a conspiracy involving the government and scientists.
We have not been able to discover any good reasons why most of the people on earth believe that AIDS is a disease caused by a virus called HIV. There is simply no scientific evidence demonstrating that this is true."
—Mullis, in a foreward to Duesberg's book[5]:xiii
  • Alien abduction: Mullis claimed he had had an encounter with an extraterrestrial being, in which he denied the involvement of LSD. More specifically — he reported having close contact with a glowing green raccoon at his cabin in the woods of northern California around midnight one night in 1985. No, really.[1]
  • Aliensdidit: Mullis saw evidence of Urantia Book scientific foreknowledge, writing "Several scientific developments, unexpected in 1955, reported in 2005 in Science and Nature […] were somehow described rather precisely already in the Urantia Book."[6]
  • Astrology[7]
  • Climate change denialism[7]

See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Bullard, Thomas, "The Myth and Mystery of UFOs", LRB (Review) (UK) 33 (22)
  2. Kary Mullis, eccentric Berkley-educated chemistry Nobelist, dies by Peter Fimrite (Aug. 10, 2019 Updated: Aug. 10, 2019 11:02 p.m.) San Francisco Chronicle.
  3. Mullis on LSD
  4. Kary B. Mullis The Nobel Prize.
  5. Inventing The AIDS Virus by Peter Duesberg (1996) .
  6. Seriously.
  7. 7.0 7.1 NYT: Bright Scientists, Dim Notions