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Brent Leung, Duesberg provoke censorship moves

August 31st, 2009

House of Numbers wins respect in LA, arrives NYC

John Moore leads HIV guard dogs in barking fest on HuffPost without seeing film

HIV/AIDS defenders erase Duesberg’s fine science at Medical Hypotheses

"In House of Numbers, an AIDS film like no other, the HIV/AIDS story is being rewritten. This is the first film to present the uncensored POVs of virtually all the major players; in their own settings, in their own words. It rocks the foundation upon which all conventional wisdom regarding HIV/AIDS is based. House of Numbers could well be the opening volley in a battle to bring sanity and clarity to an epidemic gone awry."

Brent W. Leung’s House of Numbers, the documentary expose of the confused, conflicting and frequently nonsensical claims of HIV/AIDS scientists in the face of reasonable inquiry, which includes the reasoned evisceration of those claims by critics led by the distinguished Peter Duesberg of Berkeley, arrives in New York this Friday at the Quad Cinema, 34 West 13 St.

The film won a respectful review in the Los Angeles Times, a tribute to the documentary’s objectivity in investigating the tortured topic of conflicting official claims in HIV/AIDS medicine, and possibly also to the fact that John Moore of Cornell and other rabid enemies of free inquiry in this scientific arena failed to get to the editors of the LA Times’ entertainment section in time to block a favorable response.

Moore did manage, however, to get a Huffington Post blogger and gay AIDS patient, Thomas Lorenzo, to post a condemnation of the movie’s content, Since When Is the Expression of Fear and Ignorance a Basic American Right?: AIDS Denialists’ Movie Does a Better Job in Spreading Fear than an Insurance Company Lobbyist., without first seeing it. This provoked a very long 92 comment thread in which HIV critics, skeptics and cynics battled Moore, the blogger and the usual HIV defense suspects to a standstill.

Director and producer Brent Leung, 29, (who is neither gay nor HIV positive) then replied himself to the charges of Moore and other HIV scientists in the film (none of whom had seen it at the time, see earlier post, or apparently even now) that their words have been “taken out of context” and that he is a “denialist” instead of a filmmaker documenting replies he received to reasonable questions trying to clarify the issue of what exactly HIV/AIDS science claims. The comment thread blossomed again, by 171 so far, and now both serve as a very useful reference for all who wish to compare current sense and nonsense on this issue and decide which is which.

Unfortunately, Moore’s disgraceful and revealing efforts to censor any review of HIV/AIDS science have scored a great and shameful success elsewhere recently. The publishers of Medical Hypotheses have been persuaded to take down a fine piece by Peter Duesberg, one contradicting the grotesque claim of Harvard researchers that he and colleagues who led Thabo Mbeki to suspect HIV/AIDS ideology was corrupt at its scientific core are responsible for the premature deaths of 330,000 South Africans.

Apparently this was achieved with Moore’s standard claim that free speech in science endangers HIV/AIDS patients, who might, if led astray from the official view, give up their dangerous drugs for healthy nutritional support for their immune systems such as organic fruit and vegetables. That responsible publishers of a publication devoted to novel inquiry should accept this anti-scientific claptrap is a sad commentary on their lack of sophistication in the very science politics that Medical Hypotheses exists to counter.

Duesberg has complained to the publishers and attached letters of support which we reproduce below, and he will be presenting the paper at the upcoming Rethinking AIDS conference 2009 on November 6-8 in Oakland, California, just across the bay from San Francisco.

All in all, the irony is that Moore has stirred up exactly the kind of attention and documentation he seems most afraid of. Once again, we are led to the conclusion that Moore is in fact a secret supporter of review in HIV/AIDS (see earlier post).

The LA Times reviews House of Numbers favorably

Brent Leung, armed with a camera and an open mind, traveled the world asking HIV/AIDS experts to clarify their science, and discovered they hadn't got their story straight.  Luc Montagnier, Nobel prize wining discoverer of HIV, told him that a healthy immune system could easily defeat the microbe without the assistance of drugs or his colleagues.Leung’s film has been getting enthusiastic reviews from bloggers and comment posters on the Web, for example, Documentary Blog:House of Numbers.

House of Numbers reveals some rather startling facts about HIV/AIDS. So startling in fact that I have trouble believing them. That’s not to say that I think Leung is trying to deceive us or that he’s wrong. It’s just that it’s hard to disregard all of the things we’ve been told about HIV/AIDS in order to accept the findings detailed in the film.

Almost as equally startling as Leung’s contention that HIV/AIDS may not be real (let that sink in for a minute), is the ferocity with which the established HIV/AIDS community of researchers, doctors, community activists, etc. has condemned House of Numbers. In fact, to me it seems like there is too much condemnation, which leads me to think that perhaps there is something about Leung’s film that scares the established HIV/AIDS community.

Here’s another, Studio Z (Matthew Zrebski):House of Numbers – film review:

Having never known a world without AIDS, this intrigued Leung, and so his investigative journey began. He was not trying to show courage through radical activism or by asserting some aggressive agenda. He had some questions, and he went around the world asking top HIV/AIDS scientists for the answers.

Now…one would think that, at least on the basic facts, these pioneers of HIV/AIDS research and treatment might all agree. Think again. They not only don’t agree, they contradict each other in ways that are truly terrifying. From these orthodox HIV experts, there is no agreement on what HIV looks like, how it kills human cells, how the virus is isolated, how one confirms an HIV test, how drugs should be used to treat it, whether co-factors are necessary, or if our own immune systems can beat it all on their own. And there is much scandal on how it came to be “discovered” in the first place. There are moments in the film when I found myself laughing heartily at this clownish behavior from our world’s top scientists; it almost plays like satire. But then I’d remember: this is about lives….

It serves to rattle any trust one may have in our medical establishment. In an instant, these scientists lose credibility and reveal that on the issues of HIV/AIDS, it is confusion, not certainty that prevails.

In addition, the film gives voice to many self-proclaimed “dissidents” like Peter Duesberg, Kary Mullis (Nobel Prize winner), and the late Christine Maggiore – along with investigative journalists Celia Farber and Liam Scheff. To many, their opinions might seem downright insane. What do you mean HIV might not cause AIDS? What do you mean we’re wasting money giving Africans HIV drugs when all they need is clean water and nutritional food? What do you mean “lifestyle” may indeed have played a role in the immune collapse of some gay men in the early 1980s? None of these are said to be “true” and all are politically incorrect at best, heretical at worst. But accompanied by the orthodox swamp of contradictions, one sits back and ponders…deeply….

The film was screened this week at the Washougal International Film Festival. Brent Leung and his producer were present and most humble. Knowing the film has received great backlash from the orthodox scientists he interviewed, I asked the director to respond to accusations that he has somehow misrepresented them in the documentary. He simply said, “Not one person has ever offered a specific example of how I have done so. We invite them to join in on the discussion. We want there to be an ongoing dialogue.” An audience member asserted that many of the outraged are linked to pharmaceutical companies that manufacture HIV medications. My research has shown this to be, at least in part, true. And one must ask, “How could he misrepresent them?” There are long interview segments with clear, unedited responses. It’s not as if Leung utilizes second-to-second jump cuts to create a message. In fact, the style of the piece is very straight-forward and journalistic with very little editorial commentary. It trusts the audience to draw individual conclusions.

The whole of this review and its long comment thread is worth reading.

For those who still think print counts for more, here is the respectful Los Angeles Times review by Gary Goldstein (21 August p. 14):

A contradictory view on AIDS

As documentaries go, Brent Leung’s “House of Numbers” is not especially well-organized or focused. It plays as if the producer-director decided — and rightly so — that it was time for a “state of HIV/AIDS” update, hopped the globe to interview researchers, physicians, journalists and other experts (as well as several of the disease’s victims), and then figured out what his film would really be about. No matter, Leung manages to present a barrage of intriguing theories debunking our generally accepted beliefs and misperceptions about how HIV/AIDS is acquired, tested, diagnosed, defined and treated. It’s a vital yet thorny approach whose inconclusiveness is bound to sadden or infuriate anyone who’s lost a loved one to AIDS.

Leung serves as the movie’s on-camera narrator and conscience, but, best efforts aside, the filmmaker’s lack of screen presence undercuts the energy provided by his impressive range of interviewees, whose contradictory positions on HIV/AIDS become the project’s raison d’être. There’s no denying, however, the value of exploring such game-changing topics as how HIV-infection numbers are cooked for monetary and political gain; how the effects of global poverty may have led to so many AIDS-related deaths; how such widely used AIDS drugs as AZT have, themselves, often proved fatal; and whether HIV really exists.
— Gary Goldstein “House of Numbers.” MPAA rating: Unrated. Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes. At the Westwood Crest Theatre.

Thomas DeLorenzo pleads for censorship

In an Aug 25 Op Ed piece on Huffington Post Since When Is the Expression of Fear and Ignorance a Basic American Right? AIDS Denialists’ Movie Does a Better Job in Spreading Fear than an Insurance Company Lobbyist., a gay contributor, Thomas Delorenzo, complained in a confused post rife with misinformation that it sounded to him as if the film’s content should be banned:

One would think that with the advent of all of the drugs, the drops in death rates, the seemingly reduction of suffering of people with AIDS globally, beliefs such as Maggiore’s would die like other snake oil treatments. One would be very wrong. The Denialist Movement is in strong force and picking up numbers, much like the Klu Klux Klan did in Post 9/11 America. They currently have a movie out — House of Numbers — a documentary that dismisses all of the currently held science in HIV and its treatments, continuing the conversation that HIV does not cause AIDS. Many prominent scientists were interviewed for this movie — and quoted severely out of context. You see the one thing I learned quickly about scientists — they are geeks, they are not social animals like us Hollywood types that come seemingly born with media training skills. They like to deal with their research and their data. They do not know how to work a camera – therefore they can easily be caught of guard and may not be the best representative for their own cause. But that’s why God gave us publicists.

This movie is currently on the circuit to potentially be considered for an Oscar nomination in the Best Documentary category. I heard of the movie when it was screening at the Nashville Film Festival. Upon contacting the festival, they stated their support of the movie and they believed it presented the facts in a fair and accurate manner. My response was simply, “Would you present a movie that stated that the Holocaust never occurred?” The Chairman of the Board of the Film Festival declared that this was not the same thing.

Millions of people have died globally, people continue to die in our own country, the Reagan administration did not acknowledge this disease until the end of his tenure and only then when it had become far to obvious to avoid, and this Film Festival decides that it was okay to present a movie filled with misinformation on such a sensitive public health issue – and then decides that comparing it to the Holocaust is completely off base.

It will never, ever cease to amaze me how much ignorance runs rampant in this country. In 2009, we are still fighting the same battles we fought in 1985, except now we do so with seemingly better health. This movie just continues that fear that we fought so hard and thought were well behind us. It lives in a past that no longer exists and expands on it much farther than what is good for public health in general, and instead of providing an alternative theory for the AIDS crisis, it helps spread the AIDS crisis.

Checking Lorenzo’s bio on Huffington Post reveals that this Hollywood PR man (clients such as Nancy Sinatra) has almost as much invested in the HIV/AIDS status quo as Bob Gallo, the renowned discoverer of HIV in the mail from Paris:

After nearly 15 years as an entertainment publicist in Los Angeles, Thomas DeLorenzo has some pretty outrageous stories to tell. Because of his hard work and dedication, DeLorenzo is the person with THE MOST NOMINATED client list in Emmy history for an individual publicist, having 4 nominations at one Emmy Awards alone. Recently, DeLorenzo’s client, Kathy Joosten, won an Emmy for her work on DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, making it her second win.

In 2006, The New York Times chose DeLorenzo as one of the five Unsung Heroes in the Battle Against HIV/AIDS for his Project benefiting the hospice clients of the San Antonio AIDS Foundation. His profile ran in The New York Times World AIDS Day Section. In 2008, the San Antonio AIDS Foundation named him their Angel of the Year. In 2008, DeLorenzo expanded the project to include Joseph’s House, an AIDS Hospice in Washington, D.C., dedicated to serving homeless individuals with AIDS….

As a person living with AIDS himself, DeLorenzo has worked with and continues to work on behalf of a variety of AIDS organizations throughout the country. Included on the list are AIDS Search Alliance, National Association of People with AIDS, Pets Are Wonderful Support/LA, Sacramento AIDS Foundation, Being Alive LA, Joseph’s House, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Broadway Cares, and, his personal favorite, the San Antonio AIDS Foundation. He has also been a guest columnist for POZ Magazine’s political issue, October 2008. DeLorenzo is also a regular columnist for HuffingtonPost.com, writing about health care from a person with AIDS point of view.

The first Comment thread on Lorenzo lures out John Moore et al

The 92 comments on this sitting duck of irrationality include some zingers from HIV skeptics and a few ripostes from John Moore, Nick Bennett and other professional defenders of the status quo. Moore’s posts soon degenerate into public scorn and calumny:

Jesaka Irwin writes:

If you see this movie also you will see that top “Electron Microscopist’s” Refuse to be paid to “isolate” HIV because “Why would I want to do that Gallo already did it.” This movie exposes that much of the current research is based on assumptions that have only been stated/researched by “One” group of scientists as being proven, and never questioned again likely because many have lost their jobs through that questioning. Truly such a thing may simply not have been peer reviewed because of what it would imply and the danger to ones career for exposing such a truth.

As someone who has objectively explored all the scientific evidence and sought to know the truth in matters their truly is A LOT of evidence in the mainstream that exposes that certain beliefs do not add up. Most have to state “In no way are we questioning the validity of ARV treatment, but we are saying that there is definitely a need for more investigation” (Despite the article showing serious damage from the drugs) This disclaimer allows their truth to be published and maintains their job and status what does that tell you about the integrity in our scientific community. And particularly regarding HIV, its diagnosis, and its drugs.

John P. Moore writes:

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. And clearly Jesaka has a little knowledge that she overinterprets to try to create the dangerous illusion that HIV tests are inaccurate and flawed when this is nothing but a standard lie drawn from the AIDS denialist playbook. For accurate information on what HIV diagnostic testing truly involves, consult AIDS Truth, the CDC, NIH or other legitimate sources of accurate information on HIV/AIDS.

Jesaka responds:

Are you criticizing the National Institutes of Health, and the National Library of medicine?
This was an abstract taken from an AIDS Conference presented by the Institute of Microbiology in Bologna Italy. This is not dissident information. This is information from the mainstream, only able to find if you have a research and due dilligence background. Funny how quickly you ridicule your own institutions, and your own scientists, (particularly in regards to this movie), and just about anything that dares to expose how little you actually know besides the standard line that you are fed.

If you had seen this movie you would be well aware that the bulk of this film is by Highly qualified scientists in the mainstream realm of the industry. People such as Duesburg and other dissidents were lucky to have more than a small soundbite. Which is what makes this movie so compelling, and how it has managed to even open my eyes in this mix we call HIV science, and particularly HIV dissidence. I believe nothing I have not researched and validated in the mainstream.

I truly suggest you see this film before you ridicule the science being presenting in it. In all actuality you are ridiculing your very own institutions, & scientists, the evidence in this film was presented by Members of the CDC, the WHO, and Luc Montagnier was absolutely stunning in his dissertation, of the whole film those three received far more airtime than anyone else!

Do see this film.

John Moore again:

Baker, the “exliberal”, a disgraced cop with a history that is exposed on AIDS Truth, errs yet again in saying that the scientists’ statement on House of Numbers was written “hours before” the film was first screened. In fact it was written many DAYS before the first PUBLIC screening. It clearly states that the signatories had not seen the film. However, the trailer was available on the film’s website, and that alone reveals the film’s agenda. The film was also shown to AIDS denialists in private screenings before the first public presentation, a courtesy not shown to the scientists who actually appeared in it. Various denialists blogged gleefully about the film’s contents before the public release, including Liz Ely who referred to it as “our film”. Cumulatively, that was more than enough information to guide a statement. And those scientists who have since seen the film have made the point that the statement was over-cautious and too mild in tone.

I also have never seen Leni Riefenstahl’s documentaries that idolize Hitler and promote the Nazi agenda. But that doesn’t prevent me from stating, based on generally available information as to their contents, that those films contain abhorrent propaganda that glorifies a culture of death and personal destruction. The analogy to House of Numbers seems most apt from multiple perspectives….

Ely also refers to the documentary by AIDS denialist Liam Scheff that made it onto the BBC web site and that claimed that HIV-infected foster children in New York City were abused in the early 1990s by being enrolled in clinical trials of AIDS drugs. What Ely omits is that the BBC investigated the making of the documentary after the facts were brought to its attention, and concluded that the documentary must be removed from its website because of its inaccuracies and biased content. Moreover, investigations within New York City (and reported in the NY Times, inter alia) have rejected the denialist claims of “abuse, torture” etc at the foster home. As always, the claims made by the AIDS denialists, whether through their PR person or more randomly, are lies and distortions. These people lose every time they try to get investigations into their claims, because their claims lack merit and are not based on the facts. In that regard, they truly are no different from the moon landing hoaxers, just more lethal in that they cause real people to die real deaths.

From Billie Kidd:

” …They currently have a movie out — House of Numbers — a documentary that dismisses all of the currently held science in HIV and its treatments, continuing the conversation that HIV does not cause AIDS. Many prominent scientists were interviewed for this movie — and quoted severely out of context.”

How ridiculous. “The denialists” don’t have a movie out. “We” are not movie producers. The movie doesn’t “dismiss all of the currently held science in HIV…” It’s a documentary comprised of interviews with people on all sides of the issue including the co-discoverers of “HIV,” MDs who work with AIDS patients, bureaucrats, journalists, activists, HIV positive individuals, etc. If, by listening to these people, you start to think AIDS statistics are “cooked” and the drugs are dangerous and a positive diagnosis may have nothing to do with being “infected,” then the movie did it’s job. This is not a dismissal, it is a conversation. Why are you so afraid of that? Why do you cling so tightly to your pre-conceived (programmed) “beliefs” about HIV anyway? Wouldn’t you rather see this issue from all angles?

The claim that the scientists were quoted “severely out of context” comes either from your imagination or from that idiotic letter posted on AIDStruth, written by people featured in the film BEFORE any of them had seen it. It makes you realize these people jump to conclusions before having all the necessary info. Y’know, kinda like they did with HIV in the first place.

Exliberal:

I’m so pleased that John Moore has weighed in.
Dr. Moore was one of the clairvoyant signatories whose press release attacked House of Numbers hours BEFORE it debuted (or was seen by him or any audience) – an act not inconsistent with the way research papers assume that HIV attacks cells and causes AIDS. I doubt that he’s ever seen HIV or the movie.
Moore’s outrage stems not from having been misquoted (he cites nothing) but because his own statements conflict with the statements of the other pharmaceut­ically-fun­ded clown-scientists. If you’ve ever wanted a reason to laugh sleazy PhDs who sell their integrity to multi-billion dollar corporations, House of Numbers promises 90 minutes of goons like Moore who are not accustomed to getting caught in lies or looking like idiots. Moore alone is the price of admission.

John Moore:

There is no difference between AIDS denialists, the 9/11 conspiracy nuts, the Obama Birthers, the moon landing hoaxers, believers in the Loch Ness Monster, Holocaust deniers and other conspiracy/fringe groups. All of these groups use the same tactics, to sow misinformation and fool the gullible. Indeed, there’s considerable overlap between the membership of these various groups. Once a nut, always a nut. There’s material on the AIDS denialists, who and what they are, how they operate and the deceit they disseminate, on AIDS Truth.

Also, the real name of the person posting on this thread as “exliberal” is Clark Baker, a notorious AIDS denialist. Anyone interested in finding out what lies behind his comment should go and take a look at the material about him that’s posted on AIDS Truth, and judge accordingly the worth of what he writes here and elsewhere. Seth Kalichman’s writings on the internet also contain important and valuable information on all of these issues, as does his recent book on the subject.

Tom DeLorenzo has written an important article. I’m one of the scientists who was viciously deceived by Brent Leung into participating in this film. Just as Sasha Baron Cohen did when making ‘Borat’, Leung disguised his true agenda and motives when setting up his interviews, and then edited the film to make many of the participants appear to be ignorant, contradictory, confused, antagonistic and unprofessional (when of course they are no such thing). That’s what a film editor can do when he sets out to deceive and dupe viewers and thereby promote a preconceived agenda. Unfortunately, whereas ‘Borat’ is a comedy, Leung’s film could have tragic consequences, by increasing the chances of yet more people making poor choices and thereby killing themselves or others via HIV infection. Over 330,000 South Africans died during the past decade as a result of the policies of the Mbeki regime, policies that were created by the same AIDS denialists that Leung lionizes in his film and against the advice of the scientists he misrepresents.

A statement of protest from the scientists who appeared in the film is posted on AIDS Truth, an information source about HIV/AIDS that counters the actions of the AIDS denialists.

So, Brent Leung has emulated Leni Riefenstahl by making a propaganda film that glorifies his friends and advances their perverse political agenda, using the tactics of Sasha Boron Cohen to put it all together. What a movie, what a man, what a shame.

Exliberal:

Having conducted thousands of criminal and civil investigations since 1980, I’m not surprised when paid activists like DeLorenzo accuse others of fear and ignorance. Activists are, by their very nature, closed-minded about any evidence that challenges their theocracy. This essay is so rife with false information that it would be pointless to unravel. Like Pope Urban’s astronomers, DeLorenzo would rather call Galileo ignorant and threaten him with death than peek through his telescope.
To see what DeLorenzo is terrified of, simply Google “Gallo’s Egg” to read my preliminary investigation.

Exliberal to DeLorenzo:

Your bio speaks for itself. I know – I live and work in Hollywood. Face it – if you suddenly questioned the science behind HIV drugs and endured the withdrawal symptoms from the addictive properties of Efaverenz, you would be attacked the same way that Pope Urban attacked Galileo – and for exactly the same reasons. C’mon Thomas, read my reports and ask me questions about the evidence I present… or are you, like Pope Urban’s brilliant astronomers, terrified to look through Galileo’s heretical telescope?
If I’m wrong, my evidence should not terrify you. If I’m right, you have the opportunity to save thousands of lives and billions of dollars in wasted research. If you are convinced by science, you will not be afraid of my evidence. If convinced by the HIV religion, you indict yourself.

In terms of information, this exchange of brickbats may be more amusing than enlightening to onlookers who haven’t encountered these characters before (Exliberal is Clark Baker, the tough minded ex detective who was asked by the Semmelweiss Society, some of whose members objected to the granting of its annual prize to Peter Duesberg and Celia Farber, leading scientific and journalistic reviewers of the paradigm that HIV is the cause of AIDS, to investigate and became rapidly convinced that HIV/AIDS was the biggest conspiracy against the public he had ever encountered, and has since made it his life’s work to bring it down, see Gallo’s Egg).

However, they may contrast the earnest politeness of the skeptics with the insults purveyed by John Moore, researcher into HIV microbicides inserted into macaques at Cornell.

Moore’s tendency to hurl accusations to which he himself is vulnerable, and to prefer rudeness to reason, remind us of domestic bickering and powerfully suggest that he is too fond of his enemies to be taken at face value, just as his writings in obscure professional journals seem to less than wholly supportive of the beliefs he publicly professes.

Perhaps this is why Dr Moore is so vociferous and extreme in his attempts to silence review of the HIV paradigm.

Brent Leung challenges Lorenzo, Moore to prove any bias in his film

In a statement carried on the blog of Jeff Rivera, entertainment reporter at Huffington Post, on August 28, film maker Leung rejected Moore’s and Lorenzo’s accusation that he was in any way prejudiced in favor of those that “deny” HIV causes AIDS, and challenged Moore to show where any statement by any scientist was “taken out of context” in House of Numbers:

Filmmaker, Brent Leung responds to Huffpo Blogger, Thomas DeLorenzo criticisms of his film, House of Numbers, when he says, “As director/producer of the film criticized in Thomas DeLorenzo’s piece titled, “Since when Is the Expression of Fear and Ignorance a Basic American Right?”, I’d like to take the opportunity to clarify a number of the piece’s misguided points. DeLorenzo has written a dangerously misinformed piece on my film, House of Numbers, and has done so with no regard for the facts. He is expressing his opinions on a film he has never seen and refuses to see (an admission he made via phone with our Associate Producer on August 25). How interesting that he deems it acceptable to bash content with which he is not familiar, outside of personal spats with a former partner who may or may not have been accurately defending his cause.

To juxtapose his comments with a critic for the LA Times who viewed the movie, “Leung manages to present a barrage of intriguing theories debunking our generally accepted beliefs and misperceptions about how HIV/AIDS is acquired, tested, diagnosed, defined and treated…” He goes on to write, “There’s no denying, however, the value of exploring such game-changing topics as how HIV-infection numbers are cooked for monetary and political gain; how the effects of global poverty may have led to so many AIDS-related deaths; how such widely used AIDS drugs as AZT have, themselves, often proved fatal; and whether HIV really exists.”

Since Mr. DeLorenzo never requested an interview with me or did his due diligence I would like to clear the air on a few things and state some hard facts.

1. I am not a denialist. Posing questions is very different than denying something. Using that word and comparing it to holocaust denialists is nonsense — pure ad hominem which serves to only polarize a reasonable debate. As presented in the film, I traveled the globe speaking with scientists, activists, clinicians, journalists and patients asking questions. My main goal? To educate myself and others, and to generate discussion on important questions that have not yet been answered. After completing my journey, I now have even more unanswered questions than I did when I started.

2. The film does not state HIV does not cause AIDS, as is claimed by DeLorenzo. It rather investigates whether the virus exists, as some claim, and if it leads to immune deficiency disease. These topics alone are not the focus, as the film also investigates HIV testing, accuracy of global WHO/UNAIDS statistics, the human element, past and current drug treatments and the search for a cure. The film also explores what exactly the word AIDS means and how it impacts us.

3. Mr. DeLorenzo writes, “Many prominent scientists were interviewed for this movie — and quoted severely out of context.” I would ask Mr. DeLorenzo to please state specifically for the record what was “severely taken out of context” — especially since he has yet to view the film. A blogger published in a credible news outlet such as the Huffington Post should have a detailed list of examples when making accusations like this. I would also welcome any scientists (especially John P. Moore who continues to assert claims against me) in the film who makes such grievances to submit what specifically they believe to be out of context and why.

This excited even more comments, 170 at the time of writing, with more from Moore etc until they are finally outlasted by the critics.

All interested in the possibility that a grand error has been maintained for a quarter century in HIV/AIDS should read this thread, which demonstrates better than we can why the film should be seen.

Huge thread parades Moore diversionary tactics until exhausted

Here are some of the best brickbats thrown in this exchange, until finally HIV critics are left in command of the field as Dr Moore is called away, possibly by responsibilities attached to his research into potential HIV microbicides by testing them on macaques at Cornell Medical Center in New York City, so far unavailing after five years funded by half a million dollars from Bristol Myers-Squibb, who have now it appears decided to turn off the spigot:

TeeDUMP:

I find it so interesting that TeeDUK and John Moore refuse to address the points in the film. Well, I guess I should not since they have not seen it. Let them yammer on all they want about paper changes etc…. The fact remains the movie House of Numbers brings up amazing points, contradictions, and truths never revealed to the public. These truths and debates are what TeeDUK and Moore are trying so hard to censor the public from. So from now anytime they post off topic I am going to bring it right back. Let’s talk about House of Numbers. Let’s talk about the points raised and why all the mainstream scientists can’t agree on anything.

Let’s talk about all the people that died from AZT. Let’s talk about the scientific community owning up to that, and let’s talk about a settlement for the people and their families that died. Then let’s talk about the slower toxic drugs used today and how dangerous they are. Let’s talk about MOntagnier saying an “Infected” poor african being able to “clear” the infection with a good immune system. THis is what we are here to talk about.

William Manning:

The important thing to remember is that the sole objective is to cure AIDS and reduce the suffering of AIDS patients. To do this, one cannot be dogmatic. One cannot be married to any particular theory. One needs to be flexible in his scientific approach to this massive problem. One must review the facts, and challenge the theories, even if it leads down paths that are uncomfortable.

Something is, in fact, disrupting the normal functioning immune system of AIDS patients. More likely than not, a “positive” on a HIV test is a pretty good prediction of a health challenge — it just doesn’t mean that a retrovirus is the sole or primary reason for the damage. The tests are so non-specific, so subjective, and so poorly administered, that they should drop the “HIV” part and just call them “generic antibody tests”. The results therefrom must be taken with a great deal of caution. We must remove the hideous stigma of “HIV positive” the worst appellation ever conceived in science.

In sum, the tests are poor and the drug regimen is highly toxic. Many scientists know this, but are afraid to speak out. They don’t wanna buck the herd, are used to handling the inevitable slandering by Dr. Moore and his ilk.

Brent Leung’s film is a breath of fresh air on this tough issue. Go see this movie.

TeeDUK:

I guess out of frustration that their House of Cards is not holding up so well, the denialist spambots have arrived. For those with the good fortune to have not encountered these sorts of threads before, you can find endless variations of them on the internet going back to the days of usenet in the early 90s. The arguments vary little, although the level of dishonesty inevitably had to increase after the advent of combination antiretroviral therapy in the late 90s. That’s why you find Duesberg, Rasnick and Koehnlein outright misquoting the Frank Palella NEJM study in their 2003 Indian Journal of Biosciences paper; given the data it contained, what choice did they have?

Science proceeds based on data and the reproducibility of that data. It’s contained here:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez and not in video interviews. If you search PubMed for the denialist “scientists” featured in House of Numbers, you’ll find plenty of letters to editors, opinion pieces, “reviews.” Some in mainstream journals like Lancet and JID. They’ve not been prevented from sharing their opinions with their scientific peers. But there’s no primary data. They seem to have money to spend on books, websites, lawsuits and movies. But none to do any research to prove the same claims they’ve been making for the last two decades. So they spend their time trying to make their arguments to the general public, because their scientific peers know all too well what utter horseshit they’re promoting.

Petros Arguriou:

“One of the characteristics of the AIDS denialists is their unwillingness, or inability, to understand the scientific process. In science and medicine, little weight is put on the anecdote compared to what happens in a larger population” (John P. Moore).

This is a fitting description of some scientific fields. Unfortunately, it is insufficient. What you call anecdote and others call anomaly is essential to scientific breakthroughs and revolutions. It was
“anomalous” precession of the perihelion of Mercury that gave ground to General Relativity, it was the black body radiation problem that in part led to quantum physics.
In science, when things dont behave the way we expect them to, it usualy means that we got them all wrong. And the HIV theory is full of anomalies, anecdotes, exceptions, unique features, varibilities, rarities and flunctuations. As Hildreth says “But so many aspects of retroviral biology have not been reconciled, including HIV”.
Beware of the exosomes John. Kill them while you still can. It smells like paradigm shift.

William Manning:

Again, let’s return to Brent Leung’s movie, “House of Numbers.”

This is a glorious documentary, because it contains on the record, video-taped interviews by AIDS stalwarts, Robert Gallo, John Moore (persistent commentator herein), Luc Montagnier (Nobel Prize winner), Kary Mullis (Nobel Prize winner), David Baltimore (Nobel Prize winner) and a host of other important figures in the AIDS establishment.

Dr. Moore has only a small interview (befitting his scientific achievements), but Gallo, Baltimore and these other activists/­scientists come off as contradictory, unstable, babbling fools. They don’t know what they are saying. It’s like shining a flashlight on a horde of rats — they scatter in different directions and contradict each other at the drop of a hat. It’s as if they have never considered that AIDS is a mult-factorial, multi-causal syndrome.

Steve Nagel (another commentator here), his wife and daughter give a lovely portrayal of how dangerous AZT was and how hard they had to fight to get Lindsey off the drug, despite the pressure from AIDS doctors.

Go see this movie and judge for yourself. Don’t take my word for it or anyone else’s.

TeeDUMP:

How can 99.99% of the world’s scientists be wrong? – Part 1

This apparently disarming question has an apparently disarming answer. Which is “Why not?” The history of science is replete with examples where the majority of scientists have been proven wrong. Especially in medicine. One need look no further than the opposition experienced by William Harvey [(circulation of the blood), Ignaz Semmelweiss (antisepsis before the discovery of bacteria), Louis Pasteur (fermentation versus spontaneous generation), James Lind and Gilbert Blane (scurvy is a deficiency disease, Joseph Goldberger (pellagra not an infectious disease).

However on closer examination the question is sophistry. Only a minority of the world’s scientists work on HIV or AIDS. Of these most are cloistered in specialist fields where of necessity particular matters of significance are accepted in good faith as fact. For example, scientists working on the “HIV” genome do not question the origin of the DNA molecules they research.

How can 99.99% of the world’s scientists be wrong? – Part 2

Just as laboratory technicians performing antibody tests never question the origin of the proteins in their test kits. And it goes without saying that no protagonist questions the existence of HIV. (The same acceptance in good faith applies to the vast majority of medical practitioners as well as health planners, politicians, patients and relatives. This is not a criticism since no one has time to check up on every facet of every disease that afflicts mankind). When it comes to the question “What is the proof that HIV cause AIDS?” in reality there are only a relatively small number of scientists who would be regarded by all the other scientists in the field as competent to explain and defend the HIV theory. In fact the numbers of such scientists may not be that greatly different from the number who argue there is no proof that HIV causes AIDS. In this regard the Durban Declaration makes interesting reading. As does our response although unfortunately Nature, which helped promote this consensus document, chose not to publish our rejoinder. For a superb essay on this topic see Anthony Brink’s “Debating AZT”.

In the world of HIV John Moore is nothing compared to Luc Montagnier. I will address his 3 part “story” with what I witnessed when I saw the film, though I will not be as verbose.

Luc Montagnier did say a healthy person can clear the virus with a good immune system. What Moore does not realize, since he failed to watch the film, is the director then asked him point blank if an infected person, a poor infected african can clear the virus by building up their immune system. Montagnier says yes. Wait, that means a chronic infection has been established, that means they are infected, and Montagnier is saying they can clear HIV.

See, John Moore can write all he wants. The story does not change and will not because when Moore responds to this, which he will, he will be assuming everything about Montagniers comment without actually clarifying with the source (montagnier himself) why he said that.

Realize John Moore is all about drugs. Anything that’s threatens that business threatens him. As his friend Martin Delaney said in the film, Big Pharma like AIDS treatment because it is for life. If we follow Montagnier’s views Moore and Pharma would be out of business.

William Manning:

“One of the characteristics of the AIDS denialists is their unwillingness, or inability, to understand the scientific process.”

One of the characteristics of AIDS scientists is their unwillingness, or inability, to accurately represent the views of their critics.

The “scientific process” is a vague term. You might mean “scientific method.” This involves formulating a hypothesis and testing it through scientific experimentation. Since, science is supposed to be provisional, ie, new facts alter pre-conceived theories, most normal scientists are open to fact-based challenges and new interpretations of old data. First and foremost, a good scientific theory must be falsifiable and a good scientist must be willing to let his pet theory be falsified (if the facts warrant).

So, Dr. Moore, what evidence would falsify the viral theory of AIDS?

JohnPMoore:

Nothing. The causative role of HIV in AIDS is an established fact. Just like the laws of gravity and motion, evolution, the causative role of variola major in smallpox and other such fundamental truths. One of the reasons we refuse to debate AIDS denialists is that there’s simply nothing to debate. It annoys them, because they like to believe there is, but that’s just just tough.

Insulin:

HIV is an invention to market junk science products. Thanks to an industry hack like John Moore the bogus test is being exposed in this discussion.. The issue is not the test given to Linsey as being accurate or not. The test given to everyone is in fact always 100% inaccurate. There has never been a scientifically valid isolaton of HIV. The reason is very factual – HIV does not exist. If medicine was a science instead not a monoply industry this abuse and exploitation would never have happened. The scam of lab artifact procedures creating artificial reactions has been exposed and caught red handed. The red is blood of the victims. The only science behing any HIV test is the science of economics. That is the same science which as been responsible for poisoning to death hundreds of thousands of people with the deadly aids RX drug toxins masquerading as medicine….
The Hiv / Aids junk science theology is a small part of the overall epidemic of medical quackery that characterizes modern medicine.

Robert Mendelson MD, in his book Confessions of a Medical Heretic reveals that modern medicine exists on blind faith and if medicine was examined on a rational evidence basis 95% of the medical system would disappear overnight.

In the article ” The Ethics of Ignorance” Journal of medical ethics, 1992 – Dr Richard Smith, editor of the BMJ – tears the phony mask of science off the beast and exposes the quack disease mongering medical business. Smiths article begins with a quote by Marcel Proust “Even the wisest of doctors are relying on scientific truths the errors of which will be recognized within a few years time” Medical knowledge is supposed to be based on studies. Reviewing 4000 studies shows 1% conform to acceptable standards of science. The studies themselves are 99% junk designed to promote defective products and subsidize disease mongering industries­.Treatment­s when examined for evidence to justify their use were found to be 85% without any proof. And of the 15% that had proof, no brainers like repairing broken bones and treating burns were the majorities.

Not only is Hiv Aids nonsense the great majority of medicine is quackery. House of Numbers is a must see for anyone who realizes what a threat to health the medical industrial complex is to life.

Some posts question Brent Leung’s independence of mind since the film was funded by supporters of review. John Moore is fond of this red herring, since it allows him to compare Leung with Leni Riefenstahl who made films that glorified Hitler and Nazism:

Prezbucky:

This assumption that investors influence the editorial content or research/reporting of a documentary is not necessarily correct. It MIGHT be correct, but it is not necessarily so, and to insinuate this is to make a hideous leap of abstraction: because the money to fund the film came from So-And-So, Brent was pushed to twist the interviews to show this anti-establishment viewpoint. In the newspaper business, the business side and editorial side are kept separate: the ad guys worry about the bottom line while the news/ed side have their own agenda. The two generally do not mix. Maybe that’s a better analogy for the relationship between Brent and his investor(s).

TeeDUK:

So if someone claimed to make a film about AIDS denial with no preconceived ideas, and it was funded by the pharmaceutical industry and there were photos of David Ho on set and assisting in the filming, what do you think the response from AIDS deniers would be?

JohnPMoore:

As I’ve noted previously, I’ve never actually read ‘Mein Kampf” but I don’t see that as an obstacle to concluding that it describes a biased, abhorrent view of the world, or commenting on it.

More than enough responsible and reliable people have sat through the film and then circulated summaries of the contents for it to be very clear what Leung’s agenda is, and how he twisted the scientists’ interviews to fit his preconceived agenda. Several scientists know what they are shown to say in the film, and are fully familiar with the true context in which they made those comments. Invariably, Leung edited down a much longer conversation to catch the sound bite he wanted, a sound bite he shows out of its proper context. This is the same kind of deception he used to obtain the interviews in the first place. Brent Leung, the Borat of the science documentary.

And of course the identities of his principal funders is of critical importance. The idea that the film was paid for by multiple small donations is laughable. This is a multi-million dollar film produced over a several year period with scenes shot in at least four continents. It was paid for by a wealthy backer(s), to advance the same agenda these people have supported financially for many years. Leung won’t disclose their names, because doing so would instantly blow open the deception that he conducted an objective investigation.

Dr Duke:

It is not impossible to perform research without bias. Nor is it impossible to make a documentary without bias. However, it is possible to pay someone to do biased research or to produce a biased documentary.

I am sure it is possible to make a convincing documentary arguing that the moon landings were faked. However, it is possible to do research and find out FOR SURE whether or not the moon landings were faked, and to arrive at the truth of the matter, even if one began with a biased view. Claims that Brent Leung entered this project as a “blank slate” looking only to find the truth, are difficult to believe, given that a GOOGLE search shows that he previously worked for Leonard Horowitz and Boyd Graves, both of which also have very different “alternative theories”, equally studied and disproven, about HIV and AIDS. Brent has clearly spent his life looking for an alternative to the truth, rather than looking for the truth.

ElizaL:

Mr. Petros, I feel sorry for you.

The point is, no AIDS denialist is willing to show where their money is coming from. Who is funding films, “investigations,” websites, etc? None of these things are free.

Until we know who is funding this absurd effort, we must of course believe you are being funded by Big Pharma competitors. Since Mr. Leung and Clark Baker refuse to reveal who are their backers, they have forfeited. The debate is now over, and there is no need to go off on a tangent.

Why should we listen to anyone who obviously has a conflict of interest? The debate is over, and I’m sure we are all glad to move on.

JohnPMoore:

Let’s just reiterate the critical point about Leung’s financial backers. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that the millions of dollars needed to make his film came from the same man who has bankrolled Peter Duesberg for years; who funds the annual AIDS denialist conference; who paid for the Scovill-family movie. If that were the case, Leung could never argue that he went out to produce an unbiased, objective investigation of HIV/AIDS. What’s the phrase? “He who pies the piper calls the tune”.

Let’s put it another way: Suppose Leung had been paid by Big Pharma to produce a film extolling the virtues of ARVs. If he disguised his funding source and it all came out later, he and his sponsors would be very embarrassed wouldn’t they? And the AIDS denialists would refuse to see the film and denigrate it as Big Pharma Trash Talk. Does anyone seriously doubt that would be their reaction? I don’t think so……

It’s all about the money, follow the trail of dollars and the movie’s agenda becomes even clearer. The AIDS denialists refer to the film on their blogs as “their movie” for a reason: It is….

Why won’t Leung publicly disclose the identities of his financial backers? This was not a film funded by $50 donations, it required millions of dollars to make. Who put up the money? Leung refuses to reveal this, because he knows full well that doing so would blow the whistle once and for all on why the film was made and to whose benefit. Leung claims the film is an unbiased, objective investigation into HIV/AIDS. Well, if that were true, it would not matter who bankrolled it, would it?…
The AIDS denialists have embraced this film for a reason; they paid for it. They referred to it on their Blogs, before the first showing, as “their film”, and they still do. Accordingly, it’s not necessary to see it to know what it’s all about, In no way is it an honest questioning of the unknown; it’s the AIDS denialist standard playbook placed on celluloid. In denying this, Leung is yet again being deceptive. Or are his supporters just wrong in how they regard his film?

Leni Riefenstahl made films that glorify Hiler and Nazism, portraying these evils with a positive spin and a glossy veneer. I expect that few modern Americans have actually seen this films, and I certainly haven’t. But who among us would refrain from criticizing the words and images shown in them, based on what’s well known about their content and the film-maker’s agenda? And likewise ‘Mein Kampf’. The point is that it’s NOT always necessary to view a film or read a book to know that it contains an abhorrent misrepresentation of the truth, and to express that opinion.

Leung is not entitled to anything more from me and other AIDS professionals than our withering contempt for how he behaved towards us, and our condemnation of the agenda displayed in his film…
Brent Leung sat in my office on two occasions over a year apart, and was utterly deceptive each time about what his film was intended to be about, why he was making it and what he believed. At no time did he ever reveal his agenda and who his financial backers were (and still won’t). He was very good at this deception, as he played the same trick successfully on many other professional scientists who were also duped into appearing in the film. Our problem is that we are used to dealing with people who display honesty and personal integrity, so we perhaps do not always recognize duplicity for what it is.

Several AIDS professionals have now seen the film, and they all agree that the duplicity and deception has carried over into the editing process, so that AIDS scientists are displayed in the worst possible light, while Leung’s AIDS denialist friends appear with a positive spin. That’s what selective editing is all about when one has a preconceived agenda. Leung’s links to the lunatic fringe of the AIDS world go back to the early 2000s when he worked with a man (now dead of AIDS) who believed HIV was made by the US government to kill black people. Now, he works with other idiots who believe HIV does not actually exist at all.

The difficulty for Moore is that his research till recently (when the grant ran out) has been funded with $500,000 from Bristol Myers-Squibb. But the point is specious in any case. The fact is that in the modern world of high expenses for any project from film to lab work little happens without funding from patrons interested in the outcome. Only blogs can be produced without outside help and as this one has shown, maintaining them at a high rate of posting is almost impossible for independent individuals.

There is also another very good reason why those who back HIV critics do not want their names quoted, even if their only motive is to restore free speech in science:

Exliberal:

Why won’t Leung produce the names of his financial backers? Because they don’t want goons like you to attack them the same way you attack ANYONE who questions your behavior. I detailed exactly how you and your pharmaceut­ically-fun­ded attack dogs attack people in my initial investigation…
http://exlibhollywood.blogspot.com/2008/07/gallos-egg.html
Except for a few courageous investigators like Leung, no one wants your Klan-like attacks burning crosses on their lawns, nor do they want to receive emails like this from you:
http://www.cwbpi.com/AIDS/goons/Moore/JPMoore27Jan07.pdf

Randy43:

A little background on these incompetent AIDS virologists:

In 1970, Baltimore and Temin found an enzyme named “reverse transcriptase” in chicken embryos. This was a mere quirk, without any clinical relevance. But these guys erroneously thought these viruses (retroviruses) would cause cancers in humans.

In 1971, Nixon declared War on Cancer. The main focus was these “human cancer viruses”. They got billions in funding, but made no progress. It was strictly a diversion, because Nixon was afraid to take on his cronies in the tobacco and chemical industries.

In 1978, Government scientist, Robert Gallo claimed he found the first human cancer virus, HL-23, that caused leukemia. But it was a laboratory contaminated mixture of gibbon, monkey and baboon viruses. Gallo was humiliated.

In 1980, Gallo claimed he really found the first human cancer virus, HTLV, but it only causes rare leukemia of Japanese who happen to live near Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The clinical relevance is nil.

In 1982, Gallo claimed he found a second cancer virus, HTLV -2, but has since admitted it causes no disease.

In 1984, Gallo found a third of his special viruses, HTLV-3, which purportedly caused Kaposi Sarcoma, in gay young men, who were heavy drug users. This caused a panic in America, known as the AIDS scare, but somehow never infected the general population. This virus was re-named “HIV,” the war on cancer was dropped, but hysteria and red ribbons took it place. Those are the facts….
I find it amusing that the the “reviewer” DeLorenzo, and the 2 staunch defenders here, Moore and Teeduk –HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE.

I did. The movie is fantastic, up there with a Michael Moore expose on shady government dealings or corporate greed. Here, you have incompetent, fraudulent government scientists like Robert Gallo making stuff up in his lab, or stealing cultures from Luc Montagnier and then suing each other over lucrative patent rights. Few people know about the sordid history of AIDS.

These AIDS researchers are clueless. The beauty of the film is that Leung somehow got them to speak candidly about how much they don’t know, and how much they hate each other. Donald Francis from the CDC straight out calls Gallo a liar. Neil Constantine flat out says the HIV tests are meaningless. Robin Weiss, this British stooge, says the Western Blot is meaningless, too.

If you’ve ever taken an HIV test or had a loved one take one, you really should see this movie.

JohnPMoore:

The AIDS denialists, as a group, share much in common with other internet-based conspiracy theorists, such as Flat Earthers, Obama Birthers, Moon Landing Hoaxers, 9/11 Truthers and Holocaust Deniers (indeed several prominent AIDS denialists pop up on the internet as members of these various other groups, and one is a self-acknowledged “world authority” on Nessie with a side-speciality in Alien Crop Circles). All these conspiracy groups are based on fantasies that have no basis in the real world. And yet the members of these groups believe that they and only they know “the truth”, a truth that the real world attempts to suppress as being politically or financially inconvenient. Because “belief” is the dominant mindset of the conspiracy group members, no facts, historic or scientific, can dissuade them from their views. An analogy would be trying to persuade a Fundamentalist Christian, Moslem or Jew that God/Allah/Jahweh does not exist. One cannot succeed, so one does not try. That’s the nature of the “Belief” system.

But where the AIDS denialists diverge from the Moon Landing Hoaxers and other harmless crazy people is that the views the AIDS denialists promote and and do lead to the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people. It is to try to prevent such wanton destruction that I and many of my colleagues do what we can to counter them, including by criticizing the film they paid for and promote.

Randy43:

Dr. Moore’s post is filled with falsehoods. None of his comments have anything to do with actual science.

Flat-Earthers: I’ve never met someone who believes the earth was flat. I thought that debate was settled centuries ago between the Church and Gallileo.

Obama Birthers: Some disgruntled Republicans are whining that Obama may have not been born in Hawaii. This is sour grape politics.

Moon-Landing Hoaxers: I’ve never met anyone who disputes whether Neil Armstrong and Buzz Alrdrin ever landed on the moon. Do these people exist?

9/11 Truthers: A large group of people highly dissatisfied by former President Bush have suggested that the twin towers suicide mission orchestrated by Bin Laden was an “inside job”. Michael Moore prepared a movie about it. While I think Bush was a terrible president for many reasons, I don’t think he orchestrated the planes destroying the World Trade Center.

Holocause Deniers: There’s a few inconsequential goofballs who think that the Holocaust of European Jewry didn’t really happen. I find this an offensive position beyond belief, but I’ve never heard anyone of any prominence advocate this. Perhaps, Moore has heard these views expressed by skinheads on Youtube.

The point is Moore is a PROMINENT AIDS RESEARCHER. He is a tenured professor at Cornel University. Is it fathomable that any grown man, let alone a scientist, would spend his efforts on the internet trying to slander those who enjoyed Leung’s movie?

dsinla:

John, ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!
Your response is nothing but hot air. I believe Mr. Leung set out a challenge for you, one you failed to meet. Name a place and a time that you and Brent can meet and let’s have a public forum with the international press and get this out. Let’s see in front of the scientific world if he took out out of context. He has almost 300 hours of footage, much of which addressed hard science. I think the press would love to hear about this.

Mr. Leung deceived you. No one deceived anyone and you know that to be a fact. You are the only one whining. None of the other scientists have contacted Brent saying they were taken out of context accept you.

You and your buddies said some things you shouldn’t, you were honest, and now you are caught with your pants down. You can ramble on about editing all you want, but you still cannot cite one example where someone was taken out of context. I want to know where you were taken out of context and I am not going to stop bugging you until you accept this challenge. Brent used your words in context. Have you seen the film? Why don’t you see it before you attack it.

Do you know what ad hominem means? I think you should look it up. Stop being a child in your ivory tower and respond with facts, not accusations and opinions

JohnPMoore:

The words of anonymous internet posters, and AIDS denialists, don’t “bug” me and I don’t respond to “challenges” from such sources. So, as the phrase goes, “knock yourself out”.

And much more, as accusations of ignorance, crackpotism, financial conflicts, homophobia, racism, Extreme Rightism, Ultra Leftism, quarrelsomeness and lack of credentials are flung at the HIV paradigm critics, and complaints of tyranny, inconsistency, irrationality, close mindedness, smearing, dehumanization, financial conflicts and evasiveness are flung back.

Along with this, various details of HIV/AIDS lore are produced by the defenders to persuade readers that the paradigm is the sophisticated belief, and that doubt is naive and ignorant of the precise science. Among these are the claim that CMV retinitis and colitis only occurs in HIV infected people, that visceral Kaposi’s Sarcoma is more likely in an HIV positive person:

TeeDUK:

To suggest that there are “questions” about the cause of AIDS is just mindblowingly ignorant. HIV infection causes a progressive loss of immunity to pathogens that then get the opportunity to cause serious disease, like CMV retinitis which causes blindness – there had been 22 cases documented in the entire world circa 1976 before HIV. There is no other disease or setting where there is a protracted, progressive loss of immunity to CMV, resulting in CMV diseases like retinitis and colitis. It does not happen in recreational drug users, it does not happen in malnourished people, it does not happen in poor people, it does not happen in hemophiliacs, it does not happen in gay men who have been exposed to a lot of sperm (yes, that is one denialist theory of AIDS), it does not happen in stressed people. Unless they are HIV infected.

Did Brent Leung really go through two years of making a film that’s supposed to be an investigation and never learn this?…

You’re seriously suggesting that an HIV-negative person with KS is as likely to develop visceral KS as an HIV-infected person?

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11994760

All the visceral KS cases in this study were in people with HIV, none in the elderly HIV-negative individuals….

Nick Bennett:

HIV-KS is far more aggressive than any other form of KS, even that form associated with transplant immune suppression (which is itself different from the Mediterranean and African endemic forms of KS – the only thing they have in common is the HHV8 virus). TeeDuk has already supplied a reference, but it’s common knowledge to anyone who works with HIV/AIDS. Amazingly KS can be treated by removing the immune-suppression anti-rejection drugs in kidney transplant recipients…and by treating HIV with antiretrovirals.

As to Montagnier’s admission that a healthy immune system can easily defeat HIV, the practiced TeeDUK claims this is no revelation:

Luc Montaigner’s quote about resisting HIV infection was “severely taken out of context” by Mr. Leung, seemingly because he had no idea of the extensive scientific literature on highly exposed uninfected individuals that Montaigner was referring to. This is from the fllm’s press release:

“Perhaps one of the most revelatory parts of the film is an interview with Professor Luc Montagnier MD, 2008 Nobel Prize winner for discovering the HIV virus. He states his belief that, “we can be exposed to HIV many times without being chronically infected. Our immune system will get rid of the virus within a few weeks, if you have a good immune system.” Montagnier adds that he thinks an impoverished person living in Africa or Asia can clear the virus simply by building up their weakened immune system.”

“Revelatory”? Do a Google search for “HIV exposed uninfected.”

On the issue of whether the virus actually exists (the great Australian Red Herring generated by HIV skeptics in Perth) William Manning offers this wisdom:

The question isn’t whether the virus exists. The question is whether the virus can be ordinarily found in AIDS patients. Studying genetic soups from cancerous t-cell lines, mixed in with blood of AIDS patients, stimulated with various mitogens to find “viruses” may be complex laboratory work, but that is not what is happening in real-life patients.

Detecting antibodies is not detecting viruses.

Detecting DNA fragments thru PCR amplification is not detecting viruses.

The simple question is, Can you take some blood from an HIV Positive person and actually culture the dreaded virus? And, What is the titre (small) of the virus in the blood sample?

If the answer is “No” and “Too low to detect” — well, then why are you attributing a terrible illnesses to it?

One fact that emerges is that John Moore has still not yet troubled to see the film.

William Manning:

Dr. Moore refuses to actually see the film, so he does not know what is depicted therein. Yet, he lambasts the movie anyway.

That’s all you need to know about HIV scientists — they are quick to form conclusions without sufficient facts.

On the false issue of whether Leung had an “agenda” to expose HIV as illfounded science, Exliberal comments sharply:

JP – If you told the truth, what difference would it make if Leung had an agenda?
From the onset, you’ve been invited to cite EXACTLY where and how Leung misrepresented you. NONE of you have cited ONE EXAMPLE of a misrepresentation. If and when you do, I will ask Leung to post the complete and unedited interviews for all to decide for themselves.
HON is powerful not because Leung cuts and pastes, but because he has exposed all of you for what you are. That’s why you attack Leung PERSONALLY rather than making any legitimate claim. That conmen hate investigators is no mystery.
In your 2007 email to Michael Geiger you wrote, “This IS a war, there ARE no rules, and we WILL crush you, one at a time, completely and utterly (at least the more influential ones; foot-soldiers like you aren’t worth bothering with).”
http://www.cwbpi.com/AIDS/goons/Moore/JPMoore27Jan07.pdf
If the research behind HIV is proven, why must you “crush and make war” upon those who ask questions like Leung? Why does Cornell University allow goons like you to use their computers to “attack, crush and make war” upon ordinary citizens?
Your incoherent rage corroborates the importance of this film.

The exchange ends with Moore and his cronies seemingly trumped by informed Leung supporters making strong statements in praise of the film and urging all readers to see it and support the review of HIV/AIDS claims:

Jesaka Irwin:

Very well said. This too is how I viewed the film. It was amazing and objective. The information you recieve are from sources that are hard to ignore. They are the very sources that the world seeks its information from. The WHO. The CDC. Microbiologists, Virologists, and some of the most accredited in the field like Luc Montagnier. I have researched much of the information therein, and strongly believe that it is something that needs to be discussed, debated, and reviewed. That is all many have asked for who have seen first hand over many continents how certain things don’t add up, How in the third world, many things are ignored, simpler resolutions, and more vital needs. Like clean drinking water, nutrition. (I spent 3 years in Africa part with a rural tribe) In the First World it is most definitely something different than it is in Africa. (The Sickest people I have encountered always had a history that seemingly contributed to that decline either disease or drug) In Researching the Black Box drugs that were fast tracked by the FDA, ARVS …Many are DNA chain terminators, that severely damage the mitochondrial DNA. (your cellular energy system) These things are vital to health. Particularly in regards to developing life, as many of these drugs are being pushed upon pregnant women who are in good health. I think a healthy reassessment is definitely in order.

Exliberal:

Thomas DeLorenzo’s attack on House of Numbers received praise from John Moore and other pharma-goons for the same reason that so-called researchers praised the investigation into HIV and Robert Gallo that was written and published by part-time security guard and filter salesman Nick Kontaratos:
http://exlibhollywood.blogspot.com/2009/05/doctors-without-boundaries.html
This is a continuing pattern that has only made film festival audiences across North America ask even more questions. If HIV and AIDS is a settled science, why do 30-year career criminal investigators like me have so much trouble locating proof that HIV exists, attacks cells and causes AIDS? Why do billion dollar drug companies spend millions of dollars on people like John Moore and DeLorenzo to attack things they’ve never seen?
House of Numbers is powerful not because Mr. Leung has fabricated anything, but because the documentary allows so-called researchers like John Moore to indict themselves.

William Manning:

Thank you, Mr. Leung, both for your sober, well-written response and for the great movie you have made.

The problem with AIDS is that is has been hijacked by the pharmaceutical industry. In order to sell drugs, you first have to sell fear and disease. The more fear and disease you sell, the more drugs you can sell, the more research dollars you can get from our government.

Yes, of course, penicillan works well. Ditto for aspirin, pain killers, insulin, etc, etc.

The problem is when talented PR men from NY try to conjure up NEW diseases in order to sell more toxic drugs.

Example: There now is a diseas called “Restless Leg Syndrome”. They are already selling powerful drugs to treat it.

The pharmaceutical industry is very powerful. They greatly supported Bush when he was president, now they are supporting Obama’s health care reform, because they have already cut a sweetheart deal.

AIDS started out with good noble science — find the infectious cause that was hurting people, mostly gay men. Break thru the rampant homophobia of the time.

We cured polio with 2 vaccines; we haven’t cured AIDS with 29 major drugs and over $100 Billion dollars spent. Where is the vaccine?

Mr. Leung, you have provided a valuable service in showing how unreliable the HIV tests are, how the definition of AIDS has changed 4 or 5 times, how toxic and deadly AZT and the rest of the drugs are. I highly recommend this movie.

Duesberg’ suffers disgraceful treatment at Elsevier

On another front, Moore’s strenuous preference for censorship of HIV review has had greater success.

HIV/AIDS defenders have managed to persuade the publishers of Medical Hypotheses to remove Duesberg’s defense against the egregiously libelous accusations leveled at him last year in “Estimating the lost benefits of antiretroviral drug use in South Africa”, an article by Harvard researchers claiming that he and his supporters in refuting HIV as the cause of AIDS are therefore responsible for 330,000 of premature deaths in South Africa.

This discouraging example of the censoring of a valuable rebuttal to false mainstream HIV/AIDS claims will be detailed in the next post. We mention it here as yet another indication that defenders of HIV/AIDS science have to resort to political means to avoid exposure of their ill founded claims, when they otherwise lack justification.

Here is the abstract from the article, HIV-AIDS hypothesis out of touch with South African AIDS – A new perspective by Peter H. Duesberg, Joshua M. Nicholson, David Rasnick, Christian Fiala, Henry H. Bauer, received by Medical Hypotheses June 9 2009, accepted 11 June 2009, and available on line for a month before suddenly vanishing without warning last week:

A recent study by Chigwedere et al., ‘‘Estimating the lost benefits of antiretroviral drug use in South Africa”, claims that during the period from 2000 to 2005 about 330,000 South African AIDS-deaths were caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) per year that could have been prevented by available anti-HIV drugs. The study blamed those who question the hypothesis that HIV is the cause of AIDS, particularly former South African President Thabo Mbeki and one of us, for not preventing these deaths by anti-HIV treatments such as the DNA chain-terminator AZT and the HIV DNA inhibitor Nevirapine.

Here we ask, (1) What evidence exists for the huge losses of South African lives from HIV claimed by the Chigwedere study? (2) What evidence exists that South Africans would have bene?ted from anti-HIV drugs? We found that vital statistics from South Africa reported only 1 ‘‘HIV-death” per 1000 HIV antibody-positives per year (or 12,000 per 12 million HIV antibody-positives) between 2000 and 2005,
whereas Chigwedere et al. estimated losses of around 330,000 lives from HIV per year. Moreover, the US Census Bureau and South Africa reported that the South African population had increased by 3 million during the period from 2000 to 2005 instead of suffering losses, growing from 44.5 to 47.5 million, even though 25% to 30% were positive for antibodies against HIV. A similar discrepancy was found between claims for a reportedly devastating HIV epidemic in Uganda and a simultaneous massive growth of the Ugandan population. Likewise, the total Sub-Saharan population doubled from 400 millions in 1980 to 800 millions in 2007 during the African HIV epidemics. We conclude that the claims that HIV has caused huge losses of African lives are unconfirmed and that HIV is not sufficient or even necessary to cause the previously known diseases, now called AIDS in the presence of antibody against HIV. Further we call into question the claim that HIV antibody-positives would bene?t from anti-HIV drugs, because these drugs are inevitably toxic and because there is as yet no proof that HIV causes AIDS.

Unfortunately, the whole pdf is no longer available as it was on this page, where a legend now reads:

> This Article-in-Press has been withdrawn pending the results of an investigation.
>
> The editorial policy of Medical Hypotheses makes it clear that the journal considers “radical, speculative, and non-mainstream scientific ideas”, and articles will only be acceptable if they are “coherent and clearly expressed.” However, we have received serious expressions of concern about the quality of this article, which contains highly controversial opinions about the causes of AIDS, opinions that could potentially be damaging to global public health. Concern has also been expressed that the article contains potentially libelous material.
>
> Given these important signals of concern, we judge it correct to investigate the circumstances in which this article came to be published online. When the investigation and review have been completed we will issue a further statement. Until that time, the article has been removed from all Elsevier databases.
>
> The Publisher apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.

Of course, what the publisher should apologize for is cooperating with the assumption that mainstream science and medicine is beyond revision and replacement.

Duesberg’s and others letters in connection with this new outrage will be detailed in our next post. Meanwhile, we can note that Duesberg will present the paper personally at the Rethinking AIDS conference 2009 on November 6-8 in Oakland, California, just across the bay from San Francisco.

A better way to purify water – use the sun (SODIS)

August 21st, 2009

Dangerous water put in plastic bottles and on roofs in Africa is safe to drink, and tastes better than boiled

Franziska Bosshard confirms that sunlight kills bacteria, but not how

Simplicity and truth triumph in Ron Rivera’s pottery, too, contrary to NIAID policy

Franziska Bosshard has proved the tropical sun can sterilize water and save countless livesFranziska Bosshard at EAWAG Aquatic Research in Switzerland has been investigating the extraordinarily simple way villagers in Kenya have been making their otherwise dangerous drinking water healthy. The villagers pour it into plastic bottles (glass works too) and lay them on the grass roofs of their huts for about six hours in the bright sunlight.

They have done this for eleven years with great success – the fluid, though it is still a rather alarming light brown in color, tastes better than when the water is boiled, they say, and according to Deutsche Welle TV, children have been found in the local clinic to be much less susceptible to water borne disease.

This muddy looking liquid is what the Kenyan water still looks like after it has been treated in the sun, though luckily this particularly glassful is not in fact Kenyan water, but something more familiar, a Baltimore "Southside", which consists of a shot of Bacardi 151 or other rum, four shots of expensive mix and ice.Water quality and drought plague Kenya where the tap water is generally not safe to drink even though Nairobi is Masai for “place of cool waters”. (On the positive side, it is worth mentioning in passing that Kenya is a bird watcher’s paradise, with 1,137 species and 60 bird dense areas where 100 species a day can be counted.)

Bosshard’s group has found that the sunlight does indeed break down offensive bacteria and in about four and a half hours exposure to ultraviolet light in the range 300-400 nm (which appears to be the main agent) they are permanently destroyed, unable to repair themselves when the water is stored.

Franziska Bosshard, nominated SG Scientist of the YearThe inactivation process taking place during exposure of microbial cells to sun and artificial light is now being investigated in our research group. First experiments with Escherichia coli showed that the primary damage of the cells affects transport processes on the cell’s cytoplasmic membrane. Hence, the inactivation mechanism seems to be distinctly different from that caused by UVC light where primarily DNA is damaged. Since a single method cannot give adequate information on the way a cell is injured and finally dying, we are employing a range of different methods to study cell inactivation by sunlight; this includes traditional plating, ATP-content of cells, and several flow cytometry-based methods that can give information at the single cell level.

So far Bosshard has been unable to find out exactly why this occurs, in terms of mechanism. Nonetheless, we nominate her for Environmental Health Scientist of the Year, for confirming that this incredibly simple and cost-free life saving process is scientifically valid.

Given that 2 billion people in the world have no toilets and simply “go” outside somewhere and that diarrhea kills as many as two million children annually, this validation should help save countless lives. Unsafe water and sanitation cause 80 per cent of all sickness and disease, according to this rock-it-up video (soundtrack is Beck “Time Bomb”) from charity:water on YouTube (where it plays smoothly, though not for us at the charity:water site, otherwise the best designed popular Web appeal on this number one global crisis), and 1.1 billion people have no access to safe drinking water:

Scott Harrison finds soul in wells

Of course, there are limitations in the method – chemicals remain, quantity is limited, and two full days are needed if the weather is cloudy – and obviously the best answer is a new well, as the sparkling fresh and clear liquid images in this video, World Water Day Video from charity: water suggest. A contribution of $20 will bring this elixir of life to one person for two decades, promises charity:water. Scott Harrison says raising money for wells in Africa saved his soul as well, and is just as much fun as promoting nightlcubsFounder Scott Harrison, 33, a night club promoter in NYC who decided at 28 he was living a soulless life, has raised with cool graphics and put-yourself-in-their-place ads (showing New Yorkers collecting brackish drinking water from Central Park) $10 million in three years for 1400 well projects at $5000 each. As he says, “Water changes everything!”

However, the Kenyan method at $5000 less than a well is an excellent start, which demands nothing but bright sun and a plastic bottle.

Its simplicity surpasses Ron Rivera and his pottery device which filters enough water daily for a family of six who might otherwise have to drink directly from the polluted rivers and streams of the less developed world. But Ron’s water is clear, we assume, and not light beige, as is the Kenyan water even after treatment by the sun.

Ron Rivera’s pottery

Ron Rivera invented a simple pottery filter to clean waterThe last New York Times Magazine of 2008, an indispensable annual edition called Lives They Lived, which celebrates the achievements of worthwhile lives that had ended in the year, gave Ron a page, describing how he had died Sept. 3 in Managua, Nicaragua, after contracting falciparum malaria, the most dangerous form, while traveling the world promoting his simple contraption and the factories needed to build it.

Ironically, the same week featured Oprah Winfrey taking a group of American children to Africa where they were horrified and tearful at the sight of the filthy water drunk by the village children they visit, yet there was no mention of this simple solution.

Then one day in October 1998, Hurricane Mitch hit Central America, flooding roads and triggering mudslides, killing an estimated 11,000 people. At home in Managua, knowing how readily bacterial disease follows on the heels of disaster, Rivera remembered an object he encountered years earlier in Ecuador, a simple terra cotta pot that looked like the sort of thing in which the rest of us — the earth’s less vulnerable — might plant our springtime geraniums. Made of clay mixed with some grist — usually sawdust or ground rice husk that would burn off later in the kiln — and then shaped carefully, this pot had thousands of micropores. And those pores, along with a coating of antibacterial silver solution, allowed it to perform a small but significant miracle: removing 98 to 100 percent of the bacteria from contaminated water, making it safe to drink.

Child taking water from Ron Rivera filtering potConvinced that he could help indigenous potters mass-produce clay-pot water filters for their own communities if the process for making them could be standardized, Rivera began to experiment, calculating the optimal size and clay composition. He then designed a mold for the filter and a special clay press that was operated with a tire jack, which he figured was one of earth’s more universally available bits of technology. Rather than applying for a patent, Rivera posted his work, in painstaking detail, on the Internet. The filter, which costs roughly $15 to make, rests inside a lidded five-gallon plastic bucket with a spigot. It purifies enough daily water for a family of six.

Other sites, however, eg Design for the Other 90, say that a Guatamalen chemist designed an earlier version:

Originally designed by Dr. Fernando Mazareigos, a Guatemalan chemist, the Ceramic Water Filter combines the filtration capability of ceramic material with the anti-bacteriological qualities of colloidal silver. This filter has basic, yet impressive, impact on the lives of the rural poor, dramatically decreasing diarrhea, days of school or work missed due to illness, and medical expenses. A sociologist and potter, Ron Rivera of Potters for Peace redesigned the filter to standardize mass production in sixteen small production facilities in fourteen different countries. It is estimated that over 500,000 people have used the filter.

In other words, there are simple but effective solutions available for the worst plague in the world, filthy water, if only a hundredth of the budget of the absurd and egregiously misguided war on World AIDS was redirected to a proper goal.

With villagers in the Himalayas increasingly out of snow, glaciers and water, however, global warming is bringing on the threat of no water at all in places around the planet, so no doubt the rich will be preoccupied with that next, while the poor languish in neglect except for the rapid delivery of a bounty of misery inducing drugs, courtesy of global celebrities Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, etc.

Reference: Solar disinfection (SODIS) and subsequent dark storage of Salmonella typhimurium and Shigella flexneri monitored by flow cytometry

Scientific publications on SODIS

Arthur Schopenhauer speaks on Obama, religion and writing

August 19th, 2009

Famed pessimist who refused to marry holds forth

The secret of good writing

Interesting interview ends with insult to the English

Arthur in a good frame of mind at the start of our interview, possibly recalling how delightful it was to be very rich and to see through the wiles of the mother of his child so that he was able to avoid the degrading effect of actual marriage to her, which he told her was only Nature's trickery and a way of ensuring that they would end up disliking each other Since, as constant readers of this obscure blog know, we have a hotline to heaven, we contacted the great philosopher and observer of human behavior Arthur Schopenhauer to ask him to make a few observations on the recent Presidential Election and his views on the Obama performance and potential to date, while we wait to see the outcome of health reform, and whether the entrenched profit interests which have ruined the performance and social justice of the nation’s medical system can stymie its repair once again.

Schopenhauer is one of our favorite philosophers because he generally ignored the accumulation of philosophical expertise from the past and thought for himself with a minimum of technical jargon. He was also someone who appreciated the worthlessness of any writer who wrote for gain, an extreme position we admit, but nonetheless still true if interpreted correctly.

Given his desire for fame was somewhat frustrated during his lifetime. we were glad to find the great man in a good mood now that posterity has recognized his genius, or rather, now that he is even further beyond worldly concerns than he was when alive.

He patiently answered our inquiries without once complaining that the answer was obvious. All quotes are verbatim from Schopenhauer’s writings except for linking phrases.

Science Guardian: So can we find out what you felt about the Obama candidacy and victory in seeking the moral and political leadership of the world?

Arthur Schopenhauer: A great departure from the norm. Because the great majority of men are in the highest degree egoistic, inconsiderate, deceitful, sometimes even malicious, and equipped moreover with very mediocre intelligence, there exists the need for a completely unaccountable power, concentrated in one man and standing above even justice and the law, before which everything bows and is regarded as a being of a higher order, a sovereign by the grace of God. Only thus can mankind in the long run be curbed and ruled.

Science Guardian: Good Heavens! So you believe along with us in the semi-celestial stature of our new political Savior, whose arrival seemed to us to be more than the result of mere vote counting, but in some way a development that sprang from the hands of the Gods? There was a need for someone who could transcend his age and act for the good of all and our descendants.

You asked for change but won't let me do itArthur Schopenhauer: If you want to earn the gratitude of your own age you must keep in step with it. But if you do you will produce nothing great. If you have something great in view you must address yourself to posterity: and then, to be sure, you will probably remain unknown to your contemporaries; you will be like a man compelled to spend his life on a desert island and there toiling to erect a memorial so that future seafarers shall know he once existed.

Science Guardian: That’s certainly comforting to many crackpots and eccentric geniuses, though it doesn’t tell them which is which. So you must be predicting failure for Obama, since he has become a world celebrity in two short years? Yet also it seems that from your logic it follows that if he stops worrying about votes and takes a firm stand for great policy changes he will achieve something great and lasting.

Arthur Schopenhauer: If he is a true genius he will win through. Talent works for money and fame: the motive which moves genius nto productivity is, on the other hand, less easy to determine. It isn’t money, for genius seldom gets any. It isn’t fame: fame is too uncertain and, more closely considered, of too little worth. Nor is it strictly for its own pleasure, for the great exercise involved almost outweighs the pleasure. It is rather an instinct of a unique sort by virtue of which the individual possessed of genius is impelled to express what he has seen and felt in enduring works without being conscious of any further motivation. It takes place, by and large, with the same sort of necessity as a tree brings forth fruit, and demands no more of the world that a soil on which the individual can flourish.

Science Guardian: By those high standards surely then no politician can succeed both in winning office and achieving great things. Or are you simply saying that if Obama compromises to get his legislation through, then he is doomed to mediocrity?

But on the other we might take Obama’s great oratory as a sign that his heart is in the right place, and that it consists of ideas he genuinely believes in which he wants to bring into being?

Arthur Schopenhauer: He who writes carelessly makes first and foremost the confession that he himself does not place any great value on his thoughts. For the enthusiasm which inspires the unflagging endurance necessary for discovering the clearest, most forceful and most attractive form of expressing our thoughts is begotten only by the conviction of their weightiness and truth – -just as we employ silver or golden caskets only for sacred things or priceless works of art.

Science Guardian: Interesting. So the average US politician and his abominable prose is condemned out of his own mouth as not meaning what he or she says, or he or she would take more care with language… And Obama is the man to listen to, with his great eloquence, and the one who should do great things.

To be honest, we have not found reading up on every little move in politics in the US to be very fruitful, so we don’t pay too much attention to the verbiage emanating from politicians. But Obama has struck us as very often clarifying the issues in ways no one can and does, although we are not forgetting that some voices on the right set out to muddy the democratic waters on purpose.

Schopenhauer as a young manArthur Schopenhauer: The art of not reading is a very important one. It consists in not taking an interest in whatever may be engaging the general public at any particular time. When some political or ecclesiastical pamphlet, or novel, or poem is making a great commotion, remember that he who writes for fools always finds a large public.

Science Guardian: But we still like reading books, which we find often contain the meat of the matter these days which is not to be found in newspapers or other media.

Arthur Schopenhauer: A precondition for reading good books is not reading bad ones, for life is short.


Schopenhauer on how to distinguish a good writer

Science Guardian: We always think that Norman Mailer made the key distinction, that there were writers who wrote to influence others by manipulation – for example, the hordes writing self-help books and romance novels – and the writers who write from inside themselves, expressing their own inner vision and putting it honestly in front of others to influence them only if they recognize the truth of it as well. He said the only ones which deserved the title writer were the latter.

Arthur Schopenhauer: I entirely agree with this Mailer, whoever he is. There are above all two kinds of writer: those who write for the sake of what they have to say and those who write for the sake of writing.

The former have had ideas of experience which seem to them worth communicating; the latter need money and that is why they write – for money. They think for the purpose of writing. You can recognise them by the fact that they spin out their ideas to the greatest possible extent, that their ideas are half true, obscure, forced and vacillating, and that they usually prefer the twilight so as to appear what they are not, which is why their writings lack definiteness and clarity. You can soon see that they are writing simply in order to cover paper: and as soon as you do see it you should throw the book down, for time is precious.

Money and writers

Science Guardian: But surely writers have to be paid, don’t they? Samuel Johnson, the English dictionary maker, once observed that no man but a blockhead wrote except for money.

Arthur Schopenhauer: I don’t agree with him. Payment and reserved copyright are at bottom the ruin of literature. Only he who writes entirely for the sake of what he has to say writes anything worth writing.

It is as if there were a curse on money: every writer writes badly as soon as he starts writing for gain. The greatest works of the greatest men all belong to a time when they had to write them for nothing or for very small payment: so that here too the Spanish proverb holds good: Honra y provencho no caben en un saco. Honor and money don’t belong in the same purse.

Even among the small number of writers who actually think seriously before they start writing, there are extremely few who think about the subject itself: the rest merely think about books, about what others have said about the subject. They require, that is to say, the close and powerful stimulation of ideas produced by other people in order to think at all. These ideas are then their immediate theme, so that they remain constantly under their influence and consequently never attain to true originality. The above mentioned minority, on the other hand, are stimulated to think about the subject itself, so that their thinking is directly immediately to this. Among them are to be discovered those writers who endure and become immortal. Only he who takes what he writes directly out of his own head is worth reading.

Science Guardian: You seem to be describing the majority of blogs in the first group. So the outlook for great writing on the Web and its blogs is not bright, but at least the authors won’t starve?

Arthur Schopenhauer: What is the Web? I have not heard of such a thing.

Science Guardian: We’ll send you a descriptive package and what we call a laptop to view it with, and hope that you have some way of connecting with the Internet up there. All will be explained if that works.

Schopenhauer takes a short walk when Mexican workers interrupt the SG interviewExcuse us for a moment, the renovators of the house next door are making a merciless racket since it is 8 am in the morning, and they want to ensure that we are woken up. We believe you objected to excessive noise when you lived in Frankfurt.

Arthur Schopenhauer: In that case it was whips. Nothing gives me so clear a grasp of the stupidity and thoughtlessness of mankind as the tolerance of the cracking of whips. This sudden, sharp crack which paralyses the brain, destroys all meditation, and murders thought, must cause pain to any one who has anything like an idea in his head… With all respect for the most holy doctrine of utility, I do not see why a fellow who is removing a load of sand or manure should obtain the privilege of killing in the bud the thoughts that are springing up in the heads of about ten thousand people successively.

Science Guardian: Believe me, there are many in New York City, where large trucks noisily collect the rubbish in the street every morning at ungodly hours like 7am, who would agree with you fervently.

Now that the Mexicans next door are sure we are wide awake, they have calmed down, so let’s proceed.

Schopenhauer’s tolerant view of religion

Can we change the topic for now and ask you about the current phenomenon where in science current ruling beliefs seem to be turning into religions, where if you question them you are sanctioned and excommunicated? Surely religion is by definition the enemy of independent minds, and thus the enemy of science? Not to mention that the ideas it enshrines in dogma are mostly absurd.

Arthur Schopenhauer: Well, hold on a moment, if you are referring to religion in general. You have got to take religion with a grain of salt. You’ve got to see that the needs of ordinary people have to be met in a way they can understand. Religion is the only means of introducing some notion of the high significance of life into the uncultivated heads of the masses, deep sunk as they are in mean pursuits and menial drudgery, and of making it palpable to them.

Man, taken by and large, has by nature no mind for anything but the satisfaction of his physical needs and desires, and when these are satisfied for a little entertainment and recreation. Philosophers and founders of religions come into the world to shake him out of his stupefaction and to point to the lofty meaning of existence: philosophers for the few, the emancipated, founders of religion for the many, for mankind as a whole.

Philosophy isn’t for everyone – as your friend Plato said and you shouldn’t forget. Religion is the metaphysics of the people, which they absolutely must be allowed to keep: and that means you have to show an outward respect for it, since to discredit it is to take it away from them.

Just as there is folk-poetry and, in the proverbs, folk-wisdom, so there has to be folk-metaphysics: for men have an absolute need for an interpretation of life, and it has to be one they are capable of understanding. That is why it is always clothed in allegory; and, as far as its practical effect as a guide to behavior and its effect on morale as a means of consolation and comfort in suffering and death are concerned, it does as much perhaps as truth itself would do if we possessed it.

Don’t worry yourself about the baroque and apparently paradoxical forms it assumes: for you, with your learning and culture, have no idea how tortuous and roundabout a route is required to take profound truths to the mass of the people, with their lack of them.

The people have no direct access to truth; the various religions are simply schemata by which they grasp it and picture it, but with which it is inseparably linked. Therefore, my dear chap, I hope you’ll forgive me for saying that to ridicule them is to be both narrow minded and unjust.

Science Guardian: Well, thank you for the compliment of saying we are above this nonsense ourselves. But isn’t the reaction of religion to heresy, involving stakes and fire and torture and banishment, the worst, most unreasonable and unscientific example for science to follow?

As you yourself once said, isn’t it “as narrow minded and unjust to demand that there should exist no other metaphysics except this one cut to the requirements of the people’s wants and capacities? that its teachings and doctrine should mark the limit of inquiry and be the guide and model for all thinking, so that the metaphysics of the few and emancipated, as you call them, must amount to nothing but a confirmation, fortification and illumination of your metaphysics of the people? that the highest powers of the human mind should thus lie unused and undeveloped, should indeed be nipped in the bud, in case their activities might happen to run counter to your folk-metaphysics? and do the pretensions of religion amount to anything less than this? Is it proper and becoming in that which is intolerance and pitilessness itself to preach tolerance and pity? ”

Sometimes people have to pay a dreadful price to maintain a different point of view on accepted notions, don’t they?

Arthur Schopenhauer: I call on heretic courts and inquisitions, religious wars and crusades, Socrates’ poison cup and 52 year old Giordano Bruno’s 1600 and 34 year old Lucillo Vanini’s 1619 blazing pyres to bear witness!

Even if that kind of thing doesn’t go on nowadays, what could stand more in the way of genuine philosophy, of honest inquiry after truth, which is the noblest calling of noblest men, than that conventional metaphysics to which the state has granted a monopoly, and whose propositions are hammered into everyone’s head in his childhood so earnestly and so deeply and firmly that, unless it is of a miraculous degree of elasticity, it retains their impress for ever, so that his or her capacity for thinking for himself and for making unprejudiced judgments – a capacity which is in any case far from strong – is once and for all paralyzed and ruined?

Science Guardian: That is what is dangerous about religion, surely. It tries to defeat independence of mind in childhood, which then may last for life.

Schopenhauer as a youthArthur Schopenhauer: Yes, indeed. It is common knowledge that religions don’t want conviction, on the basis of reasons, but faith, on the basis of revelation. And the capacity for faith is at its strongest in childhood: which is why religions apply themselves before all else to getting these tender years into their possession.

It is in this way, even more than by threats and stories of miracles, that the doctrines of faith strike roots: for if, in earliest childhood, a man has certain principles and doctrines repeatedly recited to him with abnormal solemnity and with an air of supreme earnestness such as he has never before beheld, and at the same time the possibility of doubt is never so much as touched on, or if it is only in order to describe it as the first step toward eternal perdition, then the impression produced will be so profound that in almost every case the man will be almost as incapable of doubting his doctrine as of doubting his own existence, so that hardly one in a thousand will then possess the firmness of mind seriously and honestly to ask himself: is this true?

Science Guardian: So you praise independence of mind from all this guff?

Arthur Schopenhauer: The expression esprits forts, strong minds, applied to those who do still possess it, is more fitting than those who use it know. But for the remainder, however, there is nothing so absurd or revolting that they will not firmly believe it once they have been inoculated with it in this fashion.

If, for example, the killing of a heretic or an unbeliever were declared to be an essential condition for salvation, then almost every one of them would make doing so one of the main objectives of his life and in death the memory of the deed would provide consolation and strength; as indeed, almost every Spaniard in fact used to consider an auto da fe a most pious and God pleasing act; to which we have a counterpart in India in the religious fellowship of the Thugs.

This the English suppressed while I was alive on Earth by numerous executions: its members gave proof of their religiousness and of their worship of their goddess Kali by treacherously murdering their friends and travelling companions whenever the occasion offered and making away with their possessions, under the firm illusion that they were doing something praiseworthy and promoting their eternal salvation. The power of religious dogmas imprinted in early years is such that they are capable of stifling conscience and finally all pity and humanity.

Science Guardian: Sounds as if you agree with John Adams that religion is a pernicious influence and that if it were removed from the Earth the world would be a happier place.

Arthur Schopenhauer: If you want to see with your own eyes and from close to what early inoculation with faith can do, look at the English, nature has favored them before all other nations and furnished them with more understanding, judgment and firmness of character than all the rest; yet they have been degraded lower than all the rest, indeed been rendered almost contemptible, by their stupid church superstition, which infiltrates all their capabilities like an idea fixe, a downright monomania. The only reason for this is that education is in the hands of the clergy, who take care so to imprint all the articles of faith in earliest youth that it produces a kind of partial paralysis of the brain, which then gives rise to that lifelong imbecile bigotry through which even people otherwise in the highest degree intelligent degrade themselves and make a quite misleading impression on the rest of the world.

Science Guardian:(nervously) Well, we are English or were before we moved to the US so we are not sure whether you are right in that. The English really do not often take religion very seriously at all now, and most of them don’t go to church any more.

But perhaps we have tired you out and we should resume this conversation at another time.

Thank you very much for your participation in what is surely a historic interchange between this world and the next.

Dr Love – Schopenhauer and Love (video by Alain de Botton)


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