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I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing that ever interfered with my learning was my education. I am Freeman Dyson, and I approve of this blog, but would warn the author that life as a heretic is a hard one, since the ignorant and the half informed, let alone those who should know better, will automatically trash their betters who try to enlighten them with independent thinking, as I have found to my sorrow in commenting on "global warming" and its cures.
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Andrew Sullivan sideswipes Harper’s


But the shoot-from-the-hip talking head is misled about his own predicament

It now seems clear that it is not just Larry Kramer whose homework on the rationale of HIV?AIDS has been neglected in favor of partying, politicking, playwriting, appearing on television and on panels and performing rhetorically on the eternal theme “They all want to murder us”. Though very different in stance ebullient Brit Andrew Sullivan’s political instincts have led him to make the same knee-jerk responses as Kramer when he hears that HIV is questioned.

Thus in his “Daily Dish” blog two weeks ago, ironically on April 1, he reveals that it goes without saying that HIV causes AIDS and to think otherwise is a superstition peddled by magazines “like Harper’s”, whatever that phrase means (Saturday, April 1, 2006 Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish – Elites and Medicine 1 Apr 2006 02:01 pm:

One of the most persistent sub-currents out there among people with HIV and AIDS is superstition, or the notion that all drugs are somehow poisonous, or that homeopathic quackery can replace actual science, or that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, and so on. This is particularly widespread among some gays and African-Americans, some of the populations most at risk. You have magazines like Harper’s giving credence to “theories” that HIV is unrelated to AIDS – in 2006!

(show)

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Elites and Medicine

01 Apr 2006 02:01 pm

A reader makes a good point:

“One interesting case study for elitism is medicine. Your familiarity is through experience with HIV; mine, cancer. The point though is the same. There was at first an unresponsive God-like community that made unassailable pronouncements about the science and medicine. Correctly this was rebelled against. But now we have charlatans and healers who have no basis, except anecdotes if that, for their claims. And substantial members of the public believe them over the science. Part of this is because for cases like AIDS and cancer, sometimes science hasn’t an answer yet. Nonetheless, the “everyone’s opinion is equal” attitude is now as destructive as the God-like elitism. Somehow we need a happy medium – acknowledging expertise while demanding that it explain itself. The anti-knowledge forces are not just religious fundamentalists; read some of the anti-medicine nonsense out there.”

I have to agree. One of the most persistent sub-currents out there among people with HIV and AIDS is superstition, or the notion that all drugs are somehow poisonous, or that homoepathic quackery can replace actual science, or that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, and so on. This is particularly widespread among some gays and African-Americans, some of the populations most at risk. You have magazines like Harper’s giving credence to “theories” that HIV is unrelated to AIDS – in 2006! In the early days, you had people like Larry Kramer telling everyone that AZT was poison, despite the fact that it was then and remains today a critical component of many effective anti-HIV cocktails (it was disastrous only as over-dosed mono-therapy). Every day, I get emails telling me to try aspirin or St John’s Wort for HIV. The right response, I think, is not to take what the science establishment says on faith – let alone the public health establishment. The answer is to try and understand the science as best you can, to ask the right questions, to keep asking, to get second opinions. There is an alternative between fundamentalism and relativism, between authority and nihilism. That alternative is curious and empirical skepticism, which must, of course, respect those whose knowledge of any particular subject is inevitably far deeper than our own. That kind of skepticism is important not only for a patient with a life-threatening disease, but also for liberal democracy and liberal learning. We need to recover it.

To this cheeky dismissal of his betters, one can only say, if Andrew is truly interested in demonstrating empirical skepticism perhaps he should make a supreme effort to heave himself out of his pundit’s armchair and hit PubMed on his desktop to find out the difference between superstition and “actual science” as peer-reviewed in leading journals, and the difference between “theories” and professional scientific reviews of those “theories”, if only for his own benefit, since he seems to be so cheerfully taking a standard range of HAART drugs known to have rather unpleasant effects on the body, though not in his case, he tells us.

I’ve been on the new meds for a couple of months now and after a week or so of torpor, have no side-effects that I can speak of. My viral load – i.e. the amount of virus in my bloodstream – went from 141,000 particles per cubic mililiter of blood in late May to 1500 after ten days on June 2 and has now come down to a grand total of 121. Still not good enough. We’re hoping for under 50 at the next count. My CD4 cell count – a sign of the strength of your immune system – has gone back into its normal range. Thank God for the evil pharmaceutical companies. One day, when the history of this period is written, I have a feeling we will look back with astonishment as we recognize that advances in medical science, particularly pharmaceuticals, were arguably one of the most significant developments of this era. And yet the people who pioneered these breakthroughs were … demonized and attacked. Baffling and bizarre. I’m merely grateful the attacks haven’t stopped the research progress.

Here’s the whole post:

(show)

From andrewsullivan.com Daily Dish September 19 2005:

BACK FROM THE DOC: Just an HIV update. I’ve been on

the new meds for a couple of months now and after a

week or so of torpor, have no side-effects that I can

speak of. My viral load – i.e. the amount of virus in

my bloodstream – went from 141,000 particles per cubic

milliliter of blood in late May to 1500 after ten days

on June 2 and has now come down to a grand total of

121. Still not good enough. We’re hoping for under 50

at the next count. My CD4 cell count – a sign of the

strength of your immune system – has gone back into

its normal range. Thank God for the evil

pharmaceutical companies. One day, when the history of

this period is written, I have a feeling we will look

back with astonishment as we recognize that advances

in medical science, particularly pharmaceuticals, were

arguably one of the most significant developments of

this era. And yet the people who pioneered these

breakthroughs were … demonized and attacked.

Baffling and bizarre. I’m merely grateful the attacks

haven’t stopped the research progress. They’ve merely

slowed it. Oh, and I talked my doc into giving me a

pre-emptive treatment of Tamiflu. I won’t use it,

unless the birdshit hits the fan. But I’ll have it

just in case. I’m not relying on Mr Bush. Fool me once

All very impressive, with those specific numbers.

“My viral load – i.e. the amount of virus in my bloodstream – went from 141,000 particles per cubic milliliter of blood in late May to 1500 after ten days on June 2 and has now come down to a grand total of 121. Still not good enough. We’re hoping for under 50 at the next count. My CD4 cell count – a sign of the strength of your immune system – has gone back into its normal range.”

There is something very persuasive about quantitities one can measure so precisely. Gauging precisely with instruments is the essence of good science, after all. You get away from human speculation and nail down the facts with cold, objective measurement.

But maybe Andrew should read Peter Duesberg’s letter in Nature on May 19, 1995 (page 197) and mathematician Frank Bulanouckas’s even more damning letter that follows it and see that all these “virus particles” are not measured accurately by PCR (they cannot be, as Kary Mullis, who won the Nobel for inventing PCR, has said) and probably exceed by as much as 60,000 fold the real count of virus in his blood, so it is not as impressive as readers may think.

Plasma virus levels determined by QC-PCR correlated with, but exceeded by an average of 60,000-fold, virus titers measured by endpoint diln. culture.

That’s from the abstract of the 1993 paper Duesberg quoted in his letter to Nature, which letter read as follows – we quote it in full since it is a classic statement which illuminates the shell game perpetrated by the HIV wide boys with Maddox acting as the muscle:

“HIV an illusion”

Letter from Peter Duesberg and Harvey Bialy, Nature 375: 197, 18 May 1995

SIR-In an editorial in the 19 January issue of Nature, John Maddox invited “Duesberg and his associates” to comment on the “HIV-1 dynamics” papers published the previous week, indicating that these new results should prove an embarrassment to us. Although we do not think that a scientist should be embarrassed for pointing out inconsistencies and paradoxes in a hypothesis that have only been reportedly resolved 10 years later, we nonetheless prepared a fully referenced, approximately 2,000-word critique of the Ho et al.2 and Wei et al.3 papers that we believed met the criteria of “not being longer than it needs to be, and pertaining to the papers at hand” that Maddox set out in his widely read challenge.

Unfortunately, he did not share our view and agreed to publish only a radically shortened version, and only after he had personally “gone over it with a fine-tooth comb” to remove our perceived misrepresentations of the issues. We found these new conditions so totally at variance with the spirit of free and fair scientific debate that we could not agree to them.

Readers of Nature who are interested in these questions, and feel that they do not need to be protected by Maddox from our ill-conceived logic, can find the complete text of our commentary in the monograph supplement to the most recent issue of Genetica4. Here we would point out only that the central claim of the Ho et al.2 and Wei et al.3 papers-that 100,000 HIV virions per ml plasma can be detected in AIDS patients with various nucleic-acid amplification assays is misleading. The senior author of the Wei et al. paper has previously claimed that the PCR method they used overestimates by at least 60,000 times the real titer of infectious HIV5: 100,000/60,000 is 1.7 infectious HIVs per ml, hardly the “virological mayhem” alluded to by Wain-Hobson.6 Further, Ho and a different group of collaborators have just shown7 that more than 10,000 “plasma virions,” detected by the branched-DNA amplification assay used in their Nature paper, correspond to less than one (!) infectious virus per ml. And infectious units, after all, are the only clinically relevant criteria for a viral pathogen.

Finally, in view of Wain-Hobson’s statement6 that “the concordance of their [Wei and Ho’s] data is remarkable,” note that Loveday et al.8 report the use of a PCR-based assay and find only 200 HIV “virion RNAs” per ml of serum of AIDS patients-1,000 times less than Ho and Wei. So much for the “remarkable concordance.”

Peter Duesberg. Harvey Bialy.

(show)

“HIV an illusion”

Letter from Peter Duesberg and Harvey Bialy, Nature 375: 197, 18 May 1995

SIR-In an editorial in the 19 January issue of Nature, John Maddox invited “Duesberg and his associates” to comment on the “HIV-1 dynamics” papers published the previous week, indicating that these new results should prove an embarrassment to us. Although we do not think that a scientist should be embarrassed for pointing out inconsistencies and paradoxes in a hypothesis that have only been reportedly resolved 10 years later, we nonetheless prepared a fully referenced, approximately 2,000-word critique of the Ho et al.2 and Wei et al.3 papers that we believed met the criteria of “not being longer than it needs to be, and pertaining to the papers at hand” that Maddox set out in his widely read challenge.

Unfortunately, he did not share our view and agreed to publish only a radically shortened version, and only after he had personally “gone over it with a fine-tooth comb” to remove our perceived misrepresentations of the issues. We found these new conditions so totally at variance with the spirit of free and fair scientific debate that we could not agree to them.

Readers of Nature who are interested in these questions, and feel that they do not need to be protected by Maddox from our ill-conceived logic, can find the complete text of our commentary in the monograph supplement to the most recent issue of Genetica4. Here we would point out only that the central claim of the Ho et al.2 and Wei et al.3 papers-that 105 HIV virions per ml plasma can be detected in AIDS patients with various nucleic-acid amplification assays is misleading. The senior author of the Wei et al. paper has previously claimed that the PCR method they used overestimates by at least 60,000 times the real titer of infectious HIV5: 100,000/60,000 is 1.7 infectious HIVs per ml, hardly the “virological mayhem” alluded to by Wain-Hobson.6 Further, Ho and a different group of collaborators have just shown7 that more than 10,000 “plasma virions,” detected by the branched-DNA amplification assay used in their Nature paper, correspond to less than one (!) infectious virus per ml. And infectious units, after all, are the only clinically relevant criteria for a viral pathogen.

Finally, in view of Wain-Hobson’s statement6 that “the concordance of their [Wei and Ho’s] data is remarkable,” note that Loveday et al.8 report the use of a PCR-based assay and find only 200 HIV “virion RNAs” per ml of serum of AIDS patients-1,000 times less than Ho and Wei. So much for the “remarkable concordance.”

Peter Duesberg

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology,

University of California,

Berkeley, California 94720, USA

Harvey Bialy

Bio/Technology, New York, New York 10010, USA

Notes and References

1. Maddox, J. Nature 373, 189 (1995).

2. Ho, D. D. et al. Nature 373, 123-126 (1995).

3. Wei. X. et al. Nature 373, 117-122 (1995).

4. Duesberg, P. & Bialy, H. Genetica Suppl. (in the press).

5. Piatak, M. et al. Science 259. 1749-1754 (1993).

6. Wain-Hobson, S. Nature 373, 102 (1995).

7. Cao, Y. et al. New Engl. J. Med. 332, 201-208 (1995).

8. Loveday, C. et al. Lancet 345, 820-824 (1995).

Here is the full abstract from Science in 2000:

(show)

High levels of HIV-1 in plasma during all stages of infection determined by competitive PCR

Piatak, M., Jr.; Saag, M. S.; Yang, L. C.; Clark, S. J.; Kappes, J. C.; Luk, K. C.; Hahn, B. H.; Shaw, G. M.; Lifson, J. D.

Science (Washington, DC, United States) (1993), 259(5102), 1749-54 CODEN: SCIEAS; ISSN: 0036-8075. English.

Quant. competitive polymerase chain reaction (QC-PCR) methods were used to quantify virion-associated human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) RNA in plasma from 66 patients with Centers for Disease Control stage I to IVC1 infection. HIV-1 RNA, ranging from 100 to nearly 22,000,000 copies per mL of plasma (corresponding to 50 to 11,000,000 virions per mL), was readily quantified in all subjects, was significantly associated with disease stage and CD4+ T cell counts, and decreased by as much as 235-fold with resolution of primary infection or institution of antiretroviral therapy. Plasma virus levels determined by QC-PCR correlated with, but exceeded by an average of 60,000-fold, virus titers measured by endpoint diln. culture. Quantitation of HIV-1 in plasma by QC-PCR may be useful in assessing the efficacy of antiretroviral agents, especially in early stage disease when conventional viral markers are often neg.

Comments are closed.

Andrew Sullivan sideswipes Harper’s


But the shoot-from-the-hip talking head is misled about his own predicament

It now seems clear that it is not just Larry Kramer whose homework on the rationale of HIV?AIDS has been neglected in favor of partying, politicking, playwriting, appearing on television and on panels and performing rhetorically on the eternal theme “They all want to murder us”. Though very different in stance ebullient Brit Andrew Sullivan’s political instincts have led him to make the same knee-jerk responses as Kramer when he hears that HIV is questioned.

Thus in his “Daily Dish” blog two weeks ago, ironically on April 1, he reveals that it goes without saying that HIV causes AIDS and to think otherwise is a superstition peddled by magazines “like Harper’s”, whatever that phrase means (Saturday, April 1, 2006 Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish – Elites and Medicine 1 Apr 2006 02:01 pm:

One of the most persistent sub-currents out there among people with HIV and AIDS is superstition, or the notion that all drugs are somehow poisonous, or that homeopathic quackery can replace actual science, or that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, and so on. This is particularly widespread among some gays and African-Americans, some of the populations most at risk. You have magazines like Harper’s giving credence to “theories” that HIV is unrelated to AIDS – in 2006!

(show)

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Elites and Medicine

01 Apr 2006 02:01 pm

A reader makes a good point:

“One interesting case study for elitism is medicine. Your familiarity is through experience with HIV; mine, cancer. The point though is the same. There was at first an unresponsive God-like community that made unassailable pronouncements about the science and medicine. Correctly this was rebelled against. But now we have charlatans and healers who have no basis, except anecdotes if that, for their claims. And substantial members of the public believe them over the science. Part of this is because for cases like AIDS and cancer, sometimes science hasn’t an answer yet. Nonetheless, the “everyone’s opinion is equal” attitude is now as destructive as the God-like elitism. Somehow we need a happy medium – acknowledging expertise while demanding that it explain itself. The anti-knowledge forces are not just religious fundamentalists; read some of the anti-medicine nonsense out there.”

I have to agree. One of the most persistent sub-currents out there among people with HIV and AIDS is superstition, or the notion that all drugs are somehow poisonous, or that homoepathic quackery can replace actual science, or that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, and so on. This is particularly widespread among some gays and African-Americans, some of the populations most at risk. You have magazines like Harper’s giving credence to “theories” that HIV is unrelated to AIDS – in 2006! In the early days, you had people like Larry Kramer telling everyone that AZT was poison, despite the fact that it was then and remains today a critical component of many effective anti-HIV cocktails (it was disastrous only as over-dosed mono-therapy). Every day, I get emails telling me to try aspirin or St John’s Wort for HIV. The right response, I think, is not to take what the science establishment says on faith – let alone the public health establishment. The answer is to try and understand the science as best you can, to ask the right questions, to keep asking, to get second opinions. There is an alternative between fundamentalism and relativism, between authority and nihilism. That alternative is curious and empirical skepticism, which must, of course, respect those whose knowledge of any particular subject is inevitably far deeper than our own. That kind of skepticism is important not only for a patient with a life-threatening disease, but also for liberal democracy and liberal learning. We need to recover it.

To this cheeky dismissal of his betters, one can only say, if Andrew is truly interested in demonstrating empirical skepticism perhaps he should make a supreme effort to heave himself out of his pundit’s armchair and hit PubMed on his desktop to find out the difference between superstition and “actual science” as peer-reviewed in leading journals, and the difference between “theories” and professional scientific reviews of those “theories”, if only for his own benefit, since he seems to be so cheerfully taking a standard range of HAART drugs known to have rather unpleasant effects on the body, though not in his case, he tells us.

I’ve been on the new meds for a couple of months now and after a week or so of torpor, have no side-effects that I can speak of. My viral load – i.e. the amount of virus in my bloodstream – went from 141,000 particles per cubic mililiter of blood in late May to 1500 after ten days on June 2 and has now come down to a grand total of 121. Still not good enough. We’re hoping for under 50 at the next count. My CD4 cell count – a sign of the strength of your immune system – has gone back into its normal range. Thank God for the evil pharmaceutical companies. One day, when the history of this period is written, I have a feeling we will look back with astonishment as we recognize that advances in medical science, particularly pharmaceuticals, were arguably one of the most significant developments of this era. And yet the people who pioneered these breakthroughs were … demonized and attacked. Baffling and bizarre. I’m merely grateful the attacks haven’t stopped the research progress.

Here’s the whole post:

(show)

From andrewsullivan.com Daily Dish September 19 2005:

BACK FROM THE DOC: Just an HIV update. I’ve been on

the new meds for a couple of months now and after a

week or so of torpor, have no side-effects that I can

speak of. My viral load – i.e. the amount of virus in

my bloodstream – went from 141,000 particles per cubic

milliliter of blood in late May to 1500 after ten days

on June 2 and has now come down to a grand total of

121. Still not good enough. We’re hoping for under 50

at the next count. My CD4 cell count – a sign of the

strength of your immune system – has gone back into

its normal range. Thank God for the evil

pharmaceutical companies. One day, when the history of

this period is written, I have a feeling we will look

back with astonishment as we recognize that advances

in medical science, particularly pharmaceuticals, were

arguably one of the most significant developments of

this era. And yet the people who pioneered these

breakthroughs were … demonized and attacked.

Baffling and bizarre. I’m merely grateful the attacks

haven’t stopped the research progress. They’ve merely

slowed it. Oh, and I talked my doc into giving me a

pre-emptive treatment of Tamiflu. I won’t use it,

unless the birdshit hits the fan. But I’ll have it

just in case. I’m not relying on Mr Bush. Fool me once

All very impressive, with those specific numbers.

“My viral load – i.e. the amount of virus in my bloodstream – went from 141,000 particles per cubic milliliter of blood in late May to 1500 after ten days on June 2 and has now come down to a grand total of 121. Still not good enough. We’re hoping for under 50 at the next count. My CD4 cell count – a sign of the strength of your immune system – has gone back into its normal range.”

There is something very persuasive about quantitities one can measure so precisely. Gauging precisely with instruments is the essence of good science, after all. You get away from human speculation and nail down the facts with cold, objective measurement.

But maybe Andrew should read Peter Duesberg’s letter in Nature on May 19, 1995 (page 197) and mathematician Frank Bulanouckas’s even more damning letter that follows it and see that all these “virus particles” are not measured accurately by PCR (they cannot be, as Kary Mullis, who won the Nobel for inventing PCR, has said) and probably exceed by as much as 60,000 fold the real count of virus in his blood, so it is not as impressive as readers may think.

Plasma virus levels determined by QC-PCR correlated with, but exceeded by an average of 60,000-fold, virus titers measured by endpoint diln. culture.

That’s from the abstract of the 1993 paper Duesberg quoted in his letter to Nature, which letter read as follows – we quote it in full since it is a classic statement which illuminates the shell game perpetrated by the HIV wide boys with Maddox acting as the muscle:

“HIV an illusion”

Letter from Peter Duesberg and Harvey Bialy, Nature 375: 197, 18 May 1995

SIR-In an editorial in the 19 January issue of Nature, John Maddox invited “Duesberg and his associates” to comment on the “HIV-1 dynamics” papers published the previous week, indicating that these new results should prove an embarrassment to us. Although we do not think that a scientist should be embarrassed for pointing out inconsistencies and paradoxes in a hypothesis that have only been reportedly resolved 10 years later, we nonetheless prepared a fully referenced, approximately 2,000-word critique of the Ho et al.2 and Wei et al.3 papers that we believed met the criteria of “not being longer than it needs to be, and pertaining to the papers at hand” that Maddox set out in his widely read challenge.

Unfortunately, he did not share our view and agreed to publish only a radically shortened version, and only after he had personally “gone over it with a fine-tooth comb” to remove our perceived misrepresentations of the issues. We found these new conditions so totally at variance with the spirit of free and fair scientific debate that we could not agree to them.

Readers of Nature who are interested in these questions, and feel that they do not need to be protected by Maddox from our ill-conceived logic, can find the complete text of our commentary in the monograph supplement to the most recent issue of Genetica4. Here we would point out only that the central claim of the Ho et al.2 and Wei et al.3 papers-that 100,000 HIV virions per ml plasma can be detected in AIDS patients with various nucleic-acid amplification assays is misleading. The senior author of the Wei et al. paper has previously claimed that the PCR method they used overestimates by at least 60,000 times the real titer of infectious HIV5: 100,000/60,000 is 1.7 infectious HIVs per ml, hardly the “virological mayhem” alluded to by Wain-Hobson.6 Further, Ho and a different group of collaborators have just shown7 that more than 10,000 “plasma virions,” detected by the branched-DNA amplification assay used in their Nature paper, correspond to less than one (!) infectious virus per ml. And infectious units, after all, are the only clinically relevant criteria for a viral pathogen.

Finally, in view of Wain-Hobson’s statement6 that “the concordance of their [Wei and Ho’s] data is remarkable,” note that Loveday et al.8 report the use of a PCR-based assay and find only 200 HIV “virion RNAs” per ml of serum of AIDS patients-1,000 times less than Ho and Wei. So much for the “remarkable concordance.”

Peter Duesberg. Harvey Bialy.

(show)

“HIV an illusion”

Letter from Peter Duesberg and Harvey Bialy, Nature 375: 197, 18 May 1995

SIR-In an editorial in the 19 January issue of Nature, John Maddox invited “Duesberg and his associates” to comment on the “HIV-1 dynamics” papers published the previous week, indicating that these new results should prove an embarrassment to us. Although we do not think that a scientist should be embarrassed for pointing out inconsistencies and paradoxes in a hypothesis that have only been reportedly resolved 10 years later, we nonetheless prepared a fully referenced, approximately 2,000-word critique of the Ho et al.2 and Wei et al.3 papers that we believed met the criteria of “not being longer than it needs to be, and pertaining to the papers at hand” that Maddox set out in his widely read challenge.

Unfortunately, he did not share our view and agreed to publish only a radically shortened version, and only after he had personally “gone over it with a fine-tooth comb” to remove our perceived misrepresentations of the issues. We found these new conditions so totally at variance with the spirit of free and fair scientific debate that we could not agree to them.

Readers of Nature who are interested in these questions, and feel that they do not need to be protected by Maddox from our ill-conceived logic, can find the complete text of our commentary in the monograph supplement to the most recent issue of Genetica4. Here we would point out only that the central claim of the Ho et al.2 and Wei et al.3 papers-that 105 HIV virions per ml plasma can be detected in AIDS patients with various nucleic-acid amplification assays is misleading. The senior author of the Wei et al. paper has previously claimed that the PCR method they used overestimates by at least 60,000 times the real titer of infectious HIV5: 100,000/60,000 is 1.7 infectious HIVs per ml, hardly the “virological mayhem” alluded to by Wain-Hobson.6 Further, Ho and a different group of collaborators have just shown7 that more than 10,000 “plasma virions,” detected by the branched-DNA amplification assay used in their Nature paper, correspond to less than one (!) infectious virus per ml. And infectious units, after all, are the only clinically relevant criteria for a viral pathogen.

Finally, in view of Wain-Hobson’s statement6 that “the concordance of their [Wei and Ho’s] data is remarkable,” note that Loveday et al.8 report the use of a PCR-based assay and find only 200 HIV “virion RNAs” per ml of serum of AIDS patients-1,000 times less than Ho and Wei. So much for the “remarkable concordance.”

Peter Duesberg

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology,

University of California,

Berkeley, California 94720, USA

Harvey Bialy

Bio/Technology, New York, New York 10010, USA

Notes and References

1. Maddox, J. Nature 373, 189 (1995).

2. Ho, D. D. et al. Nature 373, 123-126 (1995).

3. Wei. X. et al. Nature 373, 117-122 (1995).

4. Duesberg, P. & Bialy, H. Genetica Suppl. (in the press).

5. Piatak, M. et al. Science 259. 1749-1754 (1993).

6. Wain-Hobson, S. Nature 373, 102 (1995).

7. Cao, Y. et al. New Engl. J. Med. 332, 201-208 (1995).

8. Loveday, C. et al. Lancet 345, 820-824 (1995).

Here is the full abstract from Science in 2000:

(show)

High levels of HIV-1 in plasma during all stages of infection determined by competitive PCR

Piatak, M., Jr.; Saag, M. S.; Yang, L. C.; Clark, S. J.; Kappes, J. C.; Luk, K. C.; Hahn, B. H.; Shaw, G. M.; Lifson, J. D.

Science (Washington, DC, United States) (1993), 259(5102), 1749-54 CODEN: SCIEAS; ISSN: 0036-8075. English.

Quant. competitive polymerase chain reaction (QC-PCR) methods were used to quantify virion-associated human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) RNA in plasma from 66 patients with Centers for Disease Control stage I to IVC1 infection. HIV-1 RNA, ranging from 100 to nearly 22,000,000 copies per mL of plasma (corresponding to 50 to 11,000,000 virions per mL), was readily quantified in all subjects, was significantly associated with disease stage and CD4+ T cell counts, and decreased by as much as 235-fold with resolution of primary infection or institution of antiretroviral therapy. Plasma virus levels determined by QC-PCR correlated with, but exceeded by an average of 60,000-fold, virus titers measured by endpoint diln. culture. Quantitation of HIV-1 in plasma by QC-PCR may be useful in assessing the efficacy of antiretroviral agents, especially in early stage disease when conventional viral markers are often neg.

46 Responses to “Andrew Sullivan sideswipes Harper’s”

  1. Mark Biernbaum Says:

    Everyone should check out the antiviral discussion on this establishment website. Dr. Bennett is insisting that AZT is not toxic. Obviously he hasn’t seen the packaging by Sigma pharmaceuticals that was included in Duesberg’s 2003 Biosci paper. Truthseeker, perhaps you should log in to his site and direct him to that paper and that picture. I am unable to comment on his site (i.e., locked out for dissenting views).

  2. Mark Biernbaum Says:

    Whoops — here’s the link: AidsMyth

    Interesting that he would argue it’s not toxic when even Sonnabend admits it killed thousands.

  3. truthseeker Says:

    When were you locked out? He hasn’t posted recently, not since December 13. I think he has given up, for some reason. He is worth provoking again, I think, to see if he will admit he has problems. Have you noticed that he chose a name for his site which actually says it all?! Positively Freudian.

    Bennett would be a useful guy if he would read Duesberg ie the scientific literature, instead of chat boards, but he is always arguing (not very convincingly) about the trees, while seemingly blind to the forest. He is also blind to some of the trees. He must have seen an AZT insert, yet he doesn’t seem to read them. All these drugs have forbidding warnings. He is an example of how it is always possible to find some rationale for what you believe, if you are intelligent and motivated. It seems clear that he hasn’t read or understood Duesberg’s papers, even though he talks of “real scientists” and seems to believe that there aren’t any who challenge HIV.

    He has a comment on proof of HIV as a real entity, derived from the fact that it is accurately sequenced:

    “What is most striking is that you can these days predict which drugs HIV is resistant to by sequencing the virus from each individual patient. This feat alone should be impossible if HIV didn’t exist, not least because why would the same mutations always appear with the same drug-resistances? People with HIV these days can change drugs with the knowledge that their HIV is NOT resistant to the new one, whereas in the old days it was mostly trial and error. You can correlate drug resistances to treatment success or failure – again, this makes no sense if the virus is meaningless and the drugs non-specific. This simple, common practise every day in HIV clinics all over the world, disproves the dissident views on so many counts.”

    This assumes treatment “success” is demonstrated, which is the key medical point that the challengers dispute, saying that any beneficial result is short lived and that the long run death rate hasn’t changed in response to ARVs. This is one major point that the challengers have to make clear in a special briefing somewhere. If it exists I haven’t seen it.

    Bennett is English born and bred and he hasn’t been in this country long enough to lose his naivete about how the large organizations in US government and commerce turn their members into pod people who serve organizational interests, rather than the individual human in need of correct treatment.

  4. Gene Semon Says:

    I debated Dr Bennett at Dean Esmay and he certainly appears as an obtuse character with little depth in molecular biology for someone who has a PhD. The above quote demontrates his naive view of evidence and ignorance of the important cellular role in all retroviral transcriptions. He didn’t seem to comprehend HIV is a Conventional Retrovirus, Without an AIDS Gene section of Peter Duesberg’s 1989 PNAS paper, which we debated at length.

  5. Bennett Says:

    Greetings all,

    Funny how you sometimes stumble upon conversations about oneself online…

    I HAVE read Duesberg’s work. I have read “Inventing the AIDS virus” and “Infectious AIDS: have we been mislead?”. I have read all of his literature online and much of his published literature, including some of his early work on Rous Sarcoma Virus.

    I also have a degree which sub-specialised in virology, taught virology for two years at Cambridge, got an MD, a PhD in virology (HIV no less) and have since then undertaken a few clinical trials involving viral vaccines (not HIV) and more basic research in virology.

    So when I say that he’s talking rubbish, I say it with some experience of what he’s talking about :o)

    I chose AIDSMYTH as a name to drag in dissidents (hardcore or would-be) who are Googling for the typical dissident lies and misinformation. The majority of hits to the site come from precisely those kind of searches, as intended. The rest from blogs and discussion boards, a few link-sharing things with other non-dissident sites.

    Duesberg basically says that HIV is like RSV (the Rous Sarcoma Virus, not the other RSV) but ignores the fact that RSV has only three genes where as HIV has 9 (!). HIV is able to infect non-dividing cells, RSV is not. HIV has a protein to regulate gene splicing, RSV does not. HIV has a transactivator, RSV does not. HIV has a protein that stops cells from dividing properly, RSV does not.

    Need I go on? Please, if you’re going to be condescending about how much I’ve read of the literature, you should hunt down some facts yourself!

    I quit posting at Deansworld because Esmay was basically being rude and lying about me. As far as I know he never cut me off, but then I’ve never tried posting there again to test it 😉 He stated that I lied about contacting Duesberg, even though I laid out a timeline of the events and then posted up my emails from the correspondance!

    Survival in the HAART era is far superior to anything prior. To say otherwise is simply to ignore the facts. For sure, some of that will come from better prophylaxis for opportunistic infections, as well as better treatment of the underlying HIV, but not all. The Swiss Cohort Study is very good and I’ve posted data from that group over the years on the misc.health.aids newsgroup. It is but one. I’ve probably used more in the BMJ debate but I can’t remember off-hand.

    The package insert for Aspirin can be scary if you read it well enough. We don’t use it at all in kids because of dangerous CNS effects (Reye’s Syndrome). AZT isn’t nice, for sure, but to say that it was canned because of toxicity is basically lying. It was canned because it wasn’t toxic enough. Plain, simple, true.

    And I apologise for not allowing dissenting views on the site. Within days of it going online I started getting attacked by spam-posts from Dissidents which I simply deleted (with some joy I have to admit). After being blocked from pointing out even basic science (non-HIV related) on various dissident webboards I felt it fair game, and besides, it was never intended as a discussion board, but simply as a resource. An archive of position statements and corrections of the AIDS lies spouted by the Dissidents.

    Since December I have been extremely busy in medicine – in addition to often working an 80-hour week I have been doing volunteer work with disabled kids, writing online medical articles and dabbling in my own software business. From time to time I get to mow the lawn :o) I have also been made aware of another site which is basically trying to do much the same thing (AIDStruth.org) and there isn’t much point in redundancy. I have some unique articles in the works, but simply haven’t had the time to update much on AIDSmyth.

    I will try to pop back here to reply to comments, but as always, I’m just trying to set the record straight. If I don’t, then please don’t feel offended.

    Cheers

    Bennett

  6. Truthseeker Says:

    Cheers, Dr Nick Bennett, the traveler returns briefly it seems, so sit down and have a drink, my dear chap (speaking as a fellow ex-pat here) before getting on with your busy life following the prescriptions of Robert Gallo, Anthony Fauci, David Baltimore, Robin Weiss, Lawrence Altman, and John Maddox, and not the prescriptions of Peter Duesberg, Harvey Bialy, Kary Mullis, Lynn Margulis, Celia Farber, David Crowe, Hank Barnes, Anthony Liversidge and all these other foolhardy people who seem to think that the medication of the suffering of many needs careful review if serious questions are raised in the top scientific literature and go unanswered for the duration.

    Alas, you have explained your own resistance to this fundamental and seemingly inarguable principle by your statements above, haven’t you? You studied and taught virology at Cambridge, where the rightness of everything believed is confirmed by the beauty of the quads and the spires, the rolling lawns and the graceful weeping willows lining the quietly flowing river as one punts along with a beautiful and bright girl languidly reclining at your feet.

    The fact that one gets one’s pole stuck in the mud occasionally and is left hanging in mid air briefly before slowly being dunked in the water to the amusement of the carefully selected girl does not mean that one isn’t in the right place at the right time and all’s not right with the world, and why, it’s soon time for tea and cucumber sandwiches! Anyone who objects to the ideas taught in this ancient center of scholarship must be some sort of interloper from a less privileged world, cheekily and annoyingly finding flies in very smooth butter.

    In such a frame of mind, which doesn’t vanish when one leaves the alma mater, is it even possible to read Duesberg’s papers on line and his books with any real openmindedness? Doesn’t the image of the author have a heavy influence on attention and response? If Duesberg is a bete noire of the HIV∫AIDS brotherhood, and that is your vast working group and all you have ever known, how can one reasonably expect you to have the same receptivity and perception as when it comes from a leading figure in the club? Isn’t the world of ideas territorial and doesn’t it put the same instincts into play as living on land?

    When you are reading virology in this field you will be reading in line with what you know and have experienced as valid and worthwhile for many years, rooted in your youthful education, which doubles its hold over you, and which is part and parcel of your surviving and prospering to this day, doubling it again, and of course you are making it the basis of your service to others ie your ego’s roots in society in that and the other ways, doubling its grip on you once more. This is nothing exceptional, it is the way of the world. But as a scientist and a medical researcher, and a practitioner that has to keep up with the new as well as the adjustment of the old, you have a professional duty to make a special effort to leave the door open for new ideas, even fundamental changes in the way you think and do things, do you not, Bennett?

    Bennett, we have to say that you haven’t show many signs of that kind of attitude as long as we have been reading your steady contributions to the debate. Everything you say and think is a statement of what the mainstream thinks is going on, or how well or badly some objection fits with what you already understand about the realm, and how that all makes sense, and the critique of it doesn’t make sense to you. Before you can wholeheartedly trust your perceptions while reading a page of new information, however, don’t you have to be prepared to change even the frame in which you have been working, so that there is room for it to be changed, rather than merely be adjusted, if it is necessary?

    Don’t you need to show us that at least sometimes if not quite often new ideas can seem valid to you on the surface, and you are flexible enough to assess them carefully and independently, rather than simply take them up and try to reconcile them with the frame you are already using by knocking off the corners or bending them so they fit, or rejecting them altogether? Don’t you have to show that you are psychologically capable of changing your mental framework? As you are aware paradigms galore have changed over the years in science and medicine and all of us have to face up to the fact that our own paradigms are subject to this tendency as much as any others.

    We are stating all this at fully stretched out boring length because we are trying to introduce the idea gently into your mind that your own paradigm in HIV∫AIDS may actually be due for a change, and that you may not be prepared for it, but instead, you are doing what all unscientific supposedly scientific people do, which is to rationalize what we already believe, ie the current paradigm. We are trying to introduce this idea into your mind as a possibility, without arousing automatic resistance which will mean that what we say is immediately rejected.

    No offense, Bennett. But do you recognize what we are saying about the impression that you give, or can you quote examples of where you did credit alternative views in some way that forced you to change your own ideas? If you can’t, perhaps you will take our complaint to heart and not simply think that it is only a matter of assembling counter statements to the critique, or simply a matter of simply handing over that routine task to AIDSTruth.org on the principle that it will present all the counter arguments that apply and that you don’t need to yourself.

    AIDSTruth is already exposed as an absurd site, intellectually speaking, since it has not only used scurrilous political counters like disparagement and disrespect to deal with the critique, but it has resigned from the discussion when its points are compared with the scientific literature and contradicted with references, in the case of the Gallo et al 56 “errors’ claimed in Celia Farber’s Harper’s article. The objections raised contradicted the mainstream literature, not just overlooked some references. Yet their response when all this was pointed out has been a Moorish “we will not debate denialists any further, their points are silly.”

    Do you really want to put yourself in the same boat with such responders? You seem to enjoy being civil and respecting the arguments presented to you by the misguided and uninformed critics of HIV, and patiently stating where they go wrong, according to your way of thinking, usually in their misunderstanding the details of the paradigm, in which you are much better versed, you try to demonstrate, than they are. But unless you change your stance and take the objections raised more seriously, aren’t you being rather similar in disrespecting the intelligence, the knowledge and the attitude of the critics in the same way as the AIDSTruth goon squad, if you will forgive the characterization?

    For example, you state that you have read all the Duesberg works and find them all unconvincing “rubbish”. But these papers are all peer reviewed and the second one as we recall was combed by nine different peer reviewers consulted by the Proceedings of the National Academy editors in covering their own asses (an insult to the member, Duesberg, in this case, since the established rule was that Academy members just had to pass their paper by one colleague for vetting, not an unprecedented and politically motivated nine reviewers) and these nine were extremely anxious to find fault to cover their own asses and tried very hard to do so but failed to find any flaw which wasn’t corrected. Doesn’t tell you something?

    Beyond that, we simply find it hard to believe that a person of your obvious intelligence and urbane perspective can have failed to recognise that the quality of the Duesberg papers is so high that they deserve admiration for their skill and grasp alone, and indeed they have been given such tribute at Harvard by Walter Gilbert in instructing his graduate students in what a high grade challenge to a paradigm looks like.

    Do you see, Bennett, how hard it is to believe that you have really read Duesberg’s papers?

    But have another cup of tea. Oh, you have to go? Well, please pass by later and tell us what your answer is to what we have written here. It can keep. We are not stuck on a paradigm pole in the middle of the Cam, as we believe all the supporters of the paradigm are, clinging to each other as the pole imperceptibly but soon gathering speed slowly keels over and dumps them all in the water. Not including you, we hope, since we have a certain confidence that you will let go early, before the punt slides beyond reclamation. We can wait. God speed and Cheers.

  7. Claus Says:

    ”Duesberg basically says that HIV is like RSV (the Rous Sarcoma Virus, not the other RSV) but ignores the fact that RSV has only three genes where as HIV has 9 (!). HIV is able to infect non-dividing cells, RSV is not. HIV has a protein to regulate gene splicing, RSV does not. HIV has a transactivator, RSV does not. HIV has a protein that stops cells from dividing properly, RSV does not.
    Need I go on?” (Bennett)

    Please do go on Dr. Bennett. In spite of what Truthseeker seems to imply, I think we know all too well that peer-reviews, even 9 or thereabouts hostile ones, don’t guarantee the correctness of the main conclusions of any scientific study, and your sample critique above demonstrates such command of detail that I cannot help but think you must have a thorough rebuttal of Duesberg’s main points somewhere up your sleeve as well.

    I for one would welcome a coherent, well-informed, to the point review of Duesberg’s critique from you as starting point for a real debate of the real issues. With your qualifications and experience you could perhaps stand in for Moore and Gallo, who seem to never be able to find it in their hearts or schedules to oblige the mis-guided in this respect. Of course you’ve made it clear that, like those two distinguished champions of moral truth, you are extremely busy saving lives and therefore may have to excuse yourself before the record is set straight to everybody’s satisfaction. Still you seem to me much more the type of true English gentleman who knows that nothing is ever settled in the first round and therefore – ‘noblesse oblige’ – would continue to take follow-up questions for several rounds – the more so since here is truly an opportunity to save not only lives but souls as well, for I trust it has not escaped your notice that the devil has been recruiting some very persuasive advocates lately. . .

    However, since it’s clearly you who has the upper hand, I’d have to ask you to allow for the fact that, as you know, most dissenters, myself included, are simple unscientifc guys: no penny drops, no automatic chain of logic or familiar associations leads us to draw any further conclusions regarding the ontological, pathological or causative properties of HIV, by being informed that it has 6 genes more than the Rous Sarcoma virus. To accomplish your purpose most efficiently, you’d have to spell out your conclusions in a way that’s unmistakable even for ordinary folks.

  8. Richard T. Says:

    Dr.(?)Bennett,

    You write: “Duesberg basically says that HIV is like RSV (the Rous Sarcoma Virus,….”

    I wonder from whence you derive this idiotic conclusion. RSV is an oncogenic retrovirus that Prof. Duesberg perhaps knows better than any scientist living. Why in the world would he think that that this replication-defective, cancer virus was “basically the same” as replication competent, non-oncogenic virus even though they both have the same genetic complexity of 9000.

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing Mr. Bennett, and using it to try and pull wool over other’s eyes, and to misrepresent someone else’s work is typical of you and your gang.

  9. Michael David Says:

    An accurate statement of what Prof. Duesberg’s thinks about HIV relative to the other 98,000 retroviral sequences contained within the primate germline is detailed in a paper by Belshaw et al. (PNAS, 101:4894, 2004. Perhaps, Mr. Bennett would find himself better educated and more enabled to comment intelligently if he read it.

  10. Bennett Says:

    Well well, lots of replies stirred up I see.

    The simple reply is that I have engaged in online debate with AIDS denialists for over 8 years. I frankly started off naively expecting to change everyone’s mind. It didn’t happen. It seems that if you’re convinced HIV is harmless there’s no helping you. I have “converted” literally a handful over the years, if the emails are anything to go by. More people “on the fence” appreciate my work it seems. So instead I wrote to point out the errors to the newsgroup lurkers. After a while I tired of reposting my old articles from years before (I have literally thousands of posts online) and real life was getting in the way of researching complete replies. You can state “HIV is harmless” in 10 seconds, but can take 3-4 hours pulling the literature to prove otherwise, and then the debater on the other side won’t listen anyway. So why bother. I had better things to do with my time. I have been through more than “several rounds” with the dissidents, and frankly was tired of it all. If you guys aren’t willing or able to look up the newsgroup archives for yourself, where just about every single dissident point has been dismantled over the last 10 years or so.

    I was dragged back into the debate with the Perth Group on the BMJ website, and found out that they weren’t much better than their followers: they refused to accept simple basic science and instead kept referred back to their own flawed “facts” and logic. Eventually, thankfully, the BMJ shut down the debate.

    If you want evidence that I considered the topic serious, I spent several months on the Re-Appraising AIDS discussion email list. Jason Nusbaum came the closest to making me rethink when he stated a bunch of “facts” that would, if true, have rendered the entire HIV/AIDS hypothesis a lie. I researched the papers he sent me, and basically fell over laughing. He had quoted me several papers that showed that HIV was found in 100% of AIDS cases and 0% of non-HIV+ controls. His bottom line was that he “didn’t believe in PCR”. Not that he didn’t believe in viral load RT-PCR (like Mullis) or not even that he didn’t believe in PCR for HIV, but he didn’t believe in PCR at all. Crazy. After much verbal abuse from various other members of the group (including David Crowe as I recall) I left the list before it turned into a massacre for the other readers.

    As such, thanks to dissidents like Jason Nusbaum, I am effectively a born-again AIDS apologist. I have read the dissident literature, and seen through it. [shrugs].

    In addition, if you want some evidence of entertaining alternative views, the BMJ debate shows that I publically accepted several points about AIDS and oxidative stress, albeit not in the form the Perth Group wanted. There is always something to learn, but the simple fact is that some things are true (HIV kills T cells in culture) and some things are lies (AZT was canned as a cancer treatment due to high toxicity). If you remove much of the lies and introduce a few truths, there really is nothing of substance to question whether HIV causes AIDS or not. That’s my bottom line.

    As to why Duesberg should think HIV is no different from RSV, that’s my question entirely. If you read “Inventing…” and “Infectious AIDS…” you’ll see where I’m getting this “idiotic conclusion”.

    My point about the 6 extra genes is simply that Duesberg has argued that HIV has no additional genetic material above RSV that allows it to cause AIDS, and he is lying when he says that (or he is simply ignorant). I agree, Duesberg should know more about RSV that most other scientists out there. But he knows damn all about HIV as he has never worked with it!!!! I think he did some experiments with AZT trying to show how toxic it was, and that’s all. He can say with all impunity “HIV cannot kill cells, as it’s a retrovirus”, but that’s only because RSV doesn’t kill cells and his work was with RSV. I grew HIV for three years and saw it kill cells on a weekly basis. Who is best placed to tell you whether or not HIV kills cells – someone who is theorising based upon his experience with a different virus, or someone who actually worked with the virus?

    I’m not going to be drawn into another debate here – point, counterpoint, countercounterpoint. I probably won’t change your minds, you sure as hell won’t change mine. Will we miss out on learning something from each other? Probably. But you’ve already given me food for thought to redo or write from scratch a better rebuttal of Duesberg’s main points. Like I said, this is old stuff. I have literally hundreds of archived emails and probably thousands of online articles I’ve written to draw upon. They’re not all spam!

    If you’re interested in a semi-coherent rebuttal to Duesberg, written as it happens while on the re-appraising email list (and in it I mention the article Jason Nusbaum sent to me!), you can go to:

    A Big Post

    Take it or leave it – send on some more abuse if it helps :o) At the end of the day I’m just trying to do my bit to educate the masses. I will however try to update the AIDSmyth site with something that approaches answering some of your questions here. That’s only fair.

    Cheers

    Bennett

  11. Michael David Says:

    Mr. Bennett,

    Repeating an inaccurate conclusion two times does not make it any less inaccurate (remind you of using a WB to validate an ELISA?). Never mind. As an excellent example of a slimy invertebrate HIV/AIDS “scientist”, you have avoided my educational reference above. I repeat, if you read it you may not only learn what Belshaw et al. discovered, but simultaneously why Prof. Duesberg thinks HIV is a terribly ordinary retrovirus, quite unlike RSV that is quite special. As a student of virology do you by any chance know how many times Peyton’s cancer virus has been isolated from the wild? I do.

  12. Truthseeker Says:

    a slimy invertebrate HIV/AIDS “scientist”

    Insofar as this is an insult (there must be some slimy invertebrates who are proud to be in that category in nature) it should be rephrased, since the distinguished contributors to this site are so far maintaining a high standard of non-vituperation and we wouldn’t want to disturb that accomplishment, would we?

    We understand the motivation, of course. Mr/Dr Bennett is certainly a trial with his protests of vindication in his copious dealings on the Net. Perhaps we could have a definitive ruling from Bennett on whether he should be addressed as Dr., at least. If not, can we have an explanation as to why he is treating people if he is not medically qualified? Is he just engaged in research, then?

    Bennett’s Prize Specimen

    Here is the “big post” he is referring to, which he placed on that quarrelsome space, the misc.health.aids group on google, where the next message indicates rather low standards of discussion prevail, including such things as threats to “contact Duesberg’s department head”, and a statement that most dissidents refuse to post on the forum for this reason (“Nick, Hold everything. I was serious when I said all bets are off. You may understand the logic of Gary Stein threatening to contact Peter Duesberg’s “department chair” I don’t, and won’t be a party to such an action in any way, size, shape or form. This threat not only defies any rational explanation it sets a tone on these proceedings that is wholly against the notion of free speech within the open forum. What kind of trick did he think Duesberg and I were up to? Perhaps he thought Duesberg was going to pretend he was I and I he? Whatever Gary was thinking it totally destroyed the good that could have come out of this discussion. It also explains why no other reputable dissident will have anything to do with this newsgroup. Sparky”)

    Into this mess Bennett proudly lobs this prize specimen of his thinking:

    =================================================

    Jan 17 2001 – To start the ball rolling, I think I’ll repost my “Big Post” article from some time back, taken from the Re-Appraising AIDS mailing list and addressing the specific criticisms Duesberg has regarding the pathogenicity of HIV.

    It also means that it’ll re-appear in the Deja search engine: the article exists but cannot be accessed via Deja search at the moment.

    Cheers

    Bennett

    ******************

    Pharmac. &Ther. Vol. 55: 201-277, 1992

    AIDS ACQUIRED BY DRUG CONSUMPTION AND OTHER NONCONTAGIOUS RISK FACTORS

    PETER H. DUESBERG

    3. Discrepancies Between AIDS and Infectious Disease

    3.1.Criteria of Infectious and Noninfectious Disease

    Based on common characteristics of all orthodox infectious diseases,

    infectious AIDS would be predicted to:

    (1) Spread randomly between the sexes. This is just as true for venereal as for other infectious diseases (Judson et al., 1980; Haverkos, 1990).

    ******

    Except a new infectious agent that spread into the Western world (which, lets face it, is all Duesberg is talking about) through the homosexual population. Spread to women and heterosexual men would be expected (and was observed) to be slow and incomplete.

    ******

    (2) Cause primary disease within weeks or months after infection, because infectious agents multiply exponentially in susceptible hosts until stopped by immunity. They are self-replicating, and thus fast acting toxins. (Although “slow” viruses are thought to be pathogenic long after

    neutralization by antiviral immunity (Evans, 1989c), slow pathogenicity by a neutralized virus has never been experimentally proven (Section 6.1).)

    ******

    HIV causes an acute seroconversion illness in about 50% of those it infects. This is like most other viral illnesses, since the symptoms are not caused by the virus but instead by the release of cytokines such as IL-2 and the Interferons, which produce constitutional unwellness.

    Also he is assuming that the presence of antibodies to HIV means that they are _neutralising_ antibodies, and yet he makes no effort to prove this. The fact that HIV can be detected even after an antibody response might argue against this, but doesn’t take into account direct cell-to-cell spread. Many viruses persist despite antibody recognition,

    and antibodies do not have to be neutralising, some are in fact pathogenic. (Mitler and Hoffmann: Science 1989) Examples are HSV, EBV, VZV, Hep B. The herpes family integrate into the genome of host cells, and their latency is less well understood than that of HIV. At least we

    know that T cell activation results in HIV expression (the same transcription factors, such as NF Kappa B are used) while for the herpes viruses we don’t even have that handle. Hep B is a reversivirus, related to the retroviruses by its use of reverse transcriptase. It doesn’t integate into the genome. However, it’s persistance is also a mystery –

    there is a vigourous immune response, which results in the liver destruction which gives this virus its name (the virus is not in fact cytotoxic to liver cells). It also produces massive quantities of non-infectious particles, so much so that the viral particles have a special name (Dane particles) to distinguish them from the rest of the

    junk found in the serum. These may act as decoys for the virus against the immune response (ref for most of the above: Fields Virology, or any other virology textbook – Duesberg should have known all this).

    Also, it is known that CD4 counts plummet during this acute stage, from ~1000 to ~500 (the lower end of normal) before picking up again as HIV-specifc immunity appears (Pantaleo et al: NEJM 1993 review). While these levels are not going to result in opportunistic infections appearing, they are a definite sign of things to come.

    *******

    (3) Coincide with a common, active and abundant microbe in all cases of the same disease. (Inactive microbes or microbes at low concentrations are harmless passengers, e.g. lysogenic bacteriophages, endogenous and latent retroviruses (Weiss et al., 1985), latent herpes virus or latent ubiquitous Pneumocystis and Candida infections (Freeman, 1979; Pifer, 1984; Williford Pifer et al., 1988). Hibernation is a proven microbial strategy of survival, which allows indefinite coexistence with the host

    without pathogenicity.)

    ********

    Papers I posted up recently show evidence of HIV virus particles in 100% of AIDS cases and over 99% of those with anti-HIV antibodies (Jackson et al: J Clinical Molecular Biology 1988 and 1990). The low level of HIV in

    the plasma of infected people (often to uncultureable, though not undetectable levels) after the first week/fortnight (Piatak: Science 1993, Pantaleo et al: NEJM 1993 review) suggests that the immune system is actively hindering HIV replication, especially since antibody titres to HIV go up reciprocally. As for abundant microbe –

    tetanus toxin from clostridium tetani bacteria can and does kill in quantities too low to mount an immune response to. This also feeds into the following claim…

    *******

    (4) Coincides with a microbe that lyses or renders nonfunctional more cells than the host can spare or regenerate.

    *******

    And/Or hinders the regeneration of those cells. HIV reduces the CD4 cell survival time and hinders replacement from the thymus. The effect of HIV is reversed by antiviral therapies. (Duoek el al: Nature 1998, Hellerstein et al Nature 1999) HIV is cytotoxic (Yelle et al: Archives of

    Virology 1994, Rasheed et al: Virology 1996, ), and may be

    immunosuppressive even in the absence of active infection (Diamond et al: J immunology 1988, Weinhold et a l: J immunology 1989, Daniel et al: Clinical Experimental Immunology 1993, Liegler and Stites: J AIDS 1994, Theodore et al: J AIDS 1994, Schols and De Clercq: J Virol 1996, etc

    – I haven’t even started on the accessory proteins of HIV). The immune response to the virus will, of course, attack the immune system itself. As such the number of cells the virus actually kills by infection need not be the limit of the immune dysregulation. Direct in vivo evidence of this lack of correlation between cytotoxicity and immune suppression exists in chimps (Wantanabe et al: J Virology 1991). ******

    (5) Generate a predictable pattern of symptoms.

    *******

    Longitudinal studies shown that after ~15 years 90% of those with HIV infection with progress to a stage of gradual immune decline, with increased risk of opportunistic infections, a specific supression of cytotoxic immune responses with (usually) a simutaneous rise in antibodies.

    ********

    Duesberg also moans that HIV cannot possibly be neurotoxic and a cause of AIDS dementia, since the retroviruses he worked on didn’t infect non-dividing cells. He seems to ignore the fact that HIV does infect the non-dividing T cells, an ability later ascribed to the vpr protein found

    in HIV, but not in the simple defective retroviruses he worked on. He also doesn’t know that HIV’s neurotoxicity is due to infection of the CD4+ astrocytes in the brain, and subsequent loss of neuronal support leading to cell death. Again – a non-direct method of disease.

    As such the argument that HIV cannot be the cause of AIDS seems untenable to me, although I have not of course touched on the argument that drug use _can_ cause AIDS. Based on all I have presented so far, since drug use was so widespread among AIDS cases, the two arguments are NOT mutually exclusive.

    >Stop making statements you don’t support. I also find it very very irritating when you continually say you are going to present your arguments later, but never seem to get around to it.

    I’m finding it irritating as well. I seem to find myself replying to odd questions left, right and centre. I have also had little time to seriously read the new literature I’ve been referred to.

    However, yesterday I managed to get hold of one of the papers Jason cited (Piatak, Science 259, 1993) which he claims is evidence against the HIV hypothesis. I don’t know if he has actually read the paper, but in it they find HIV in ALL (100%) of the HIV+ patients studied, from acute

    seroconversion to AIDS. Longitudinal studies of those in their cohort showed high viral loads before seroconversion, long latent periods with little viraemia, and later rises in viral load coinciding with lowering CD4 counts. Those who started AZT treatment during their time in the study had viral load drops, which rose rapidly when therapy was

    stopped. They also suggested that higher viral loads led to faster progression to AIDS, a correlation observed in the MACS as well, and a correlation between a particularly virulent strain of HIV (as judged by in vivo pathogenicity) and early progression in a patient with only moderate

    viral load.

    Jason – I’m sorry, but to tout this paper as evidence that HIV is not found in the majority of AIDS patients does you a disservice. I would like you to explain why I should ignore the PCR detection of HIV RNA in this paper. There are NO sequences in the human genome related to the section of HIV that they amplified up, and they included a control to

    remove the possibility of DNA contamination anyway. You accuse me of not being open-minded, and yet ignored my refs to Jackson’s group – “bias cohorts are not real convincing to me”. The only possible bias is that their control group was seronegative blood donors, and that issue is resolved in Ho et al: NEJM 1989 where they got identical results (ie 100% detection in AIDS and 0% in seronegatives) using homosexuals as controls. Face it – HIV is detectable in all AIDS cases – you must at least accept that. They also showed that HIV infection went through three definite stages (see also

    http://www.niaid.nih.gov/publications/hivaids/all.htm figure 4). In summary with the evidence above about mechanisms for CD4 cell killing, dysfunction, and dysregulation why should I change my stance on AIDS?

    ===================================================

    Well, there it is Bennett’s best page. Is there anything here worth discussing?

    OK we’ll have a crack at it. After all, Bennett has produced this as his best core explication of why he has complete confidence now all over again in the paradigm, and still cannot understand why he has had so little success reassuring skeptics in all his extensive posting on the Web. Here goes, though we reserve the right to correct what we say if it seems necessary later, since this material is mostly already dispensed with in our mind, and we are just repeating ourselves, just as Bennett seems to feel about his own efforts.

    But Bennett has played a large enough part in this Web drama for it to be interesting to see if he still has to be taken seriously, or whether he is what he seems to us, perhaps unfairly, a victim of the AIDS meme, which immobilizes its prey with one sting and prevents the brain from ever contemplating the paradigm from the outside, the backside or any other more revealing aspect than the inside.

    So what can be usefully said about this, which according to Bennett is currently his best explanation as to why he believes HIV causes AIDS?

    1) In the first place, it concerns Duesberg 1992 paper suggesting that drugs and other non contagious causes better explain “AIDS” than HIV does. It does not deal with Duesberg’s 2003 paper for Journal of Biosciences, Duesberg, P., Koehnlein, C. and Rasnick, D. (2003) The Chemical Bases of the Various AIDS Epidemics: Recreational Drugs, Anti-viral Chemotherapy and Malnutrition. (J. Biosci. 28: 383-412), which gathers the whole caboodle in an update which covers all meaningful objections. How unimpressive!

    2) Duesberg says AIDS caused by an infectious agent should spread randomly between the sexes, and it doesn’t, so Bennett replies that an epidemic behaviorally focused on gays would not spread very fast or completely among women or heterosexual men. Fair enough – in the short run. In the long run you would expect an infectious epidemic to spread through the heterosexual community, and since it hasn’t in twenty years, can we have an explanation, Mr Bennett?

    3) Duesberg says an infectious virus should cause primary disease within weeks or months after infection, because infectious agents multiply exponentially in susceptible hosts until stopped by immunity: slow pathogenicity by a neutralized virus has never been experimentally proven.

    Bennett agrees that HIV is a fast acting virus “causing acute illness in about 50% of cases”, but says that the neutralizing antibodies may not be neutralizing, Duesberg hasn’t proved they are, many viruses persist after antibody response, direct cell to cell spread is possible, and some antibodies are pathogenic. We don’t entirely understand herpes latency, which involves integrating into the genome of the cell like HIV, nor Hep B persistence, which also uses reverse transcriptase, despite a vigorous immune response which destroys the liver. Hep B produces massive quantities of noninfectious “Dane” particles perhaps as decoys for the immune response – “Duesberg should have known all this.” Then “also, it is known that CD4 counts plummet during this acute stage, from ~1000 to ~500 (the lower end of normal) before picking up again as HIV-specifc immunity appears …. While these levels are not going to result in opportunistic infections appearing, they are a definite sign of things to come.”

    Aw come on, this is just burbling early discussion phase speculative possibilities which only emphasize how even now nothing is known to even partly explain the eternal “conundrum” – the mechanism of how your favorite bug is decimating the world.

    Richard, this honestly looks to us as if the AIDS meme has gripped your mind like an eagle picking up a rabbit – why is it necessary to go to other examples of viruses to back your suppositions about HIV? Even if you found one that stood on its head and sang America The Beautiful it wouldn’t affect the plain facts about HIV, which is there is no sign of it actually doing any of this stuff you claim. Its “persistance” is minimal, and if CD4 counts plummet during the acute stage, it may not be post hoc, propter hoc, but exactly the reverse – when the immune system finally wears out, HIV makes a little comeback. After up to 15 years of dormancy, you had better produce even a speculative mechanism for the change, even if you imagine there somehow are enough genes to accomplish it. We have our speculation as to how it happens, which accords with common sense – its the final cumulative impact of drugs in gays. You don’t even have a speculative clue what the trigger is, when it comes right down to it.

    “A definite sign of things to come?” Is this the same ‘definitely’ as in HIV is definitely the cause of AIDS, and it is definitely wrong to question it, and it definitely will be proved someday, and we will definitely have a vaccine for it?

    As for that “Duesberg should have known all this”, please, give us a break. In an unmatched feat, he mastered the entire topic so well the hostile peer reviewers couldn’t crack what he said – perhaps they should have called you in? He doesn’t have time to waste explaining why other viruses aren’t relevant argument if there is nothing on square one, which is the square where you look for any reason to think HIV does anything in the first place.

    4) Duesberg says that disease symptoms coincide with a common, active and abundant microbe in all cases of the same disease, and inactive microbes are always harmless passengers .

    Bennett pipes up and says HIV virus particles have been detected in 100% of AIDS cases and over 99% of those with anti-HIV antibodies and the low level of HIV in infected people after the first week/fortnight suggests that the immune system is actively hindering HIV replication, especially since antibody titres to HIV go up reciprocally. (He appears to think this contradicts Duesberg!) Not all microbes that kill need large quantities to do it – the tetanus toxin does it without triggering an immune response to the bacteria, for example.

    Bennett, the first point is precisely what Duesberg says, and the second is a different situation where a toxin does the damage, not the reproducing entity, the bacterium itself.

    (5) Duesberg says that disease coincides with a microbe that lyses or renders nonfunctional more cells than the host can spare or regenerate. Bennett says HIV works by reducing the CD4 survival time and hindering replacement from the thymus. HIV kills cells directly and beyond that will dysregulate the immune system even more (chimps show this), will suppress the immune system even without active infection, and will cause the immune system to attack itself, and the effect is reversed by anti retroviral therapies.

    Perhaps, Bennett, but none of this is demonstrated, despite the papers you quote. If HIV kills cells it sure doesn’t do it in the cultures in which it is transported to labs. The only suggestion even worth dealing with is that it causes cells in vitro to stick together and thus die, but this is not observed in the body.

    (6) Disease causing microbes will generate a predictable pattern of symptoms, says Duesberg, but HIV doesn’t. Bennett counters that after ~15 years 90% of those with HIV infection will progress to gradual immune decline, with increased risk of opportunistic infections, a specific supression of cytotoxic immune responses with (usually) a simutaneous rise in antibodies. He also counters Duesberg’s suggestion that HIV couldn’t be neurotoxic and cause dementia, by saying Duesberg is unfamiliar with retroviruses that infect non-dividing cells, and so ignores the theory of how HIV does it.

    Bennett, this is just an unlikely claim, that the 15 year change is caused by HIV, with no evidence or proof. Saying it results from things that accumulate with time ie drug effects, malnutrition, medical drugs – makes so much more sense than to say HIV suddenly acquires magically murderous powers. As for HIV invading the brain, the mechanism you suggest looks like just another Ptolemaeic epicycle enabling you to cling to your punt pole as the boat slips away under you, as far as we are concerned.

    What does all this add up to? To Bennett it adds up to “saying the argument that HIV cannot be the cause of AIDS seems untenable”, although he concedes that drug use may also cause AIDS, since “based on all I have presented so far, and since drug use was so widespread among AIDS cases, the two arguments are NOT mutually exclusive.”

    “I have also had little time to seriously read the new literature I’ve been referred to, he continues. “However, yesterday I managed to get hold of one of the papers Jason cited which he claims is evidence against the HIV hypothesis. I don’t know if he has actually read the paper, but in it they find HIV in ALL (100%) of the HIV+ patients studied, from acute seroconversion to AIDS. Longitudinal studies of those in their cohort showed high viral loads before seroconversion, long latent periods with little viraemia, and later rises in viral load coinciding with lowering CD4 counts.”

    Well, as we say, nothing to take exception to in that!

    But he goes on to say that “those who started AZT treatment during their time in the study had viral load drops, which rose rapidly when therapy was stopped. …Higher viral loads led to faster progression to AIDS… and a correlation between a particularly virulent strain of HIV (as judged by in vivo pathogenicity) and early progression in a patient with only moderate viral load…..

    “Face it – HIV is detectable in all AIDS cases – you must at least accept that. They also showed that HIV infection went through three definite stages (see also

    http://www.niaid.nih.gov/publications/hivaids/all.htm figure 4). In summary with the evidence above about mechanisms for CD4 cell killing, dysfunction, and dysregulation why should I change my stance on AIDS?

    So AZT saves people, Bennett, and so do antiretrovirals, and there are HIV mechanisms for CD4 killing, dysfunction and dysregulation – and all is right with the paradigm, and all positive people should take their expensive drugs, and ignore the side effects, and be thankful for GlaxoSAmithKline, whose second quarter profit has just increased 14%, to $2.44 billion, and ignore the arguments and the credentials and the numbers of the host of intelligent people who have concluded over the years that Duesberg is quite right, that HIV is a chimera and always has been and will be?

    On the basis of what you say above, which seems almost entirely questionable, and out of touch with the current literature?

    Sorry, we can’t join you, even in further debate. You are simply not making any constructive suggestions that would bridge the gaps between skeptics and believers. You are just repeating the trivial escape maneuvers of those who cannot face up to the obvious. That there are more flaws and fewer explanations in this paradigm than any in history. And you are not adding to the possible explanations.

  13. Claus Says:

    Dr. Bennett

    I certainly respect your wishes, seeing that you’ve already written so prolifically with no result – I guess you and Duesberg share that feeling if nothing else.

    I will make do with what you’ve already posted here and elsewhere, including that about the 6 extra genes. I assure you I take it seriously and will attempt to get straight answers from my scientifically better founded (but, alas, not funded) fellow insurgents, if I feel legitimate points may have been raised.

    In the future though, if you do not wish to get dragged into anything, perhaps you shouldn’t start it. Or do you feel (noblesse oblige) you have to answer every post that mentions you anywhere on the net?

    Repectfully

  14. Michael David Says:

    Holding horses….Are you the same Nick Bennett who posted this on DW over one year ago?

    Nick Bennett (www):
    Russell – NP. Believe me when I say I’m impressed at the analysis you did, and I think I’m ahead on the learning-something-from-someone-else scale.

    Cheers

    Bennett

    How can you expect anyone to take your seriously when you endorse utter nonsense like that?

  15. Bennett Says:

    Michael – I simply didn’t have time to hunt down your reference. I find it amusing that you jump to the conclusion that I am some kind of “slimy invertebrate HIV/AIDS scientist” based on being slighted in this way. It does explain why you are so quick to jump to the conclusion that the HIV/AIDS hypothesis is wrong based on the dissident lies. You are quite right, repeating a falsehood doesn’t make it correct – that is why Duesberg, the Perth Group and others all need to be corrected. If you can prove that I lied here, feel free :o)

    To honor your request I have taken a quick peek at it this morning.

    It refers to HERV’s. Endogenous retroviruses. Your point being…? With the sequcencing of the entire human genome it’s now possible to look for HIV-like sequences within it. And the result. Nada. Nothing. HIV is not endogenous – but then we knew that already based on the fact that you can only find it in a subset of cells even in infected people! If it were germline and you looked for it using a DNA probe (as has been done) you would find it everywhere.

    Duesberg thought that HIV was transmitted vertically, mother to child. The problem with that little hypothesis is that simply kids that are infected with HIV at birth die before they get a chance to pass on the genes themselves! Young and old age are very poor prognostic indicators for HIV infection. Life-expectancy is much better in the HAART era (I’ve teen teenagers alive today born with HIV) but still, to argue that a childhood killer is only passed on vertically only highlights Duesberg’s lack of medical education.

    For a real-life example, see the tragic story of Eliza Jane Scoville.

    Truthseeker – if you go to my aidsmyth blog you will see what I am. I am a double-doctor. I have a PhD in HIV and I am an MD. I passed the medical exams in England and in the USA and I’m currently in a residency program in the US in pediatrics. I have helped with several clinical trials (non-HIV related) and intend to go into pediatric infectious disease. I do have my own outpatient general peds clinic as part of the program.

    If you were serious about getting to the bottom of the HIV/AIDS paradigm them doing some kind of literature search would be appropriate, and that can start with a simple google of the guy you’re talking to!

    Secondly, the Big Post was not my “best effort”, it’s simply one of the first attempts I have made at tackling just a chunk (albeit a large chunk) of the Duesberg lies and misinformation. I have a more comprehensive post at the BMJ site which details exactly how HIV causes AIDS based on all the available literature at the time. I consider that one far better. It is also on my site.

    You say:

    “Aw come on, this is just burbling early discussion phase speculative possibilities which only emphasize how even now nothing is known to even partly explain the eternal “conundrum” – the mechanism of how your favorite bug is decimating the world.

    Nick, this honestly looks to us as if the AIDS meme has gripped your mind like an eagle picking up a rabbit – why is it necessary to go to other examples of viruses to back your suppositions about HIV?”

    You have missed my point. Firstly, this wasn’t intended to be an article to explain HIV’s pathogenicity – it was simply to point out the flaws in the argument as to why HIV cannot be pathogenic. Secondly, the reason why I go to other viruses is that Duesberg is so damn concrete. He is basically saying “HIV cannot be doing this, because no other virus does that” and yet there is a fistful of examples of other viruses doing just about everything HIV does! Why doesn’t Duesberg know this? If he does know this, why does he ignore it? Why does he say that HIV is unique when it is mundane?

    Do you see what I am getting at? Duesberg is selectively interpreting and stating the science, to appeal to the layman. He uses simple, concrete memes that are quite simply wrong. Lies. Misinformation. I do not understand why. I see my role at correcting those lies. No, I do not understand why this crud got through peer-review, and neither do most of the virologist world. Duesberg’s views have been called everything from misguided to murderous by scientists far more experienced that myself. The problem is one with the peer review system, where one can pick your own reviewers (!) and where expertise in one field (RSV) can swing personal opinions enough to let an article in. I certainly know of high-ranking scientists getting articles published of a quality that would NOT be acceptible for a PhD candidate to submit. Their reputation is enough.

    You go on (eventually) to say:

    “So AZT saves people, Bennett, and so do antiretrovirals, and there are HIV mechanisms for CD4 killing, dysfunction and dysregulation – and all is right with the paradigm, and all positive people should take their expensive drugs, and ignore the side effects, and be thankful for GlaxoSAmithKline, whose second quarter profit has just increased 14%, to $2.44 billion, and ignore the arguments and the credentials and the numbers of the host of intelligent people who have concluded over the years that Duesberg is quite right, that HIV is a chimera and always has been and will be?”

    Can you point anywhere where I have said that? I have said in public debate:

    “AZT is being used because it’s mitochondrial toxicity (indisputable) and oxidative ability (extremely disputable) are outweighed by the benefits of preventing transmission of HIV, and future death due to infection. ”

    I have also said:

    “treatment is recommended to be initiated at two consecutive counts of 350 or less in the UK, in the absence of an AIDS-defining illness” i.e. not for every HIV+ person.

    “HIV/AIDS experts do NOT advocate antiretrovirals rather than specific drugs tailored to the current infections – this statement alone should alert the intelligent reader to the fact that the Perth Group are putting words into people’s mouths, the Strawman argument all over again. In fact, the standard of care as I am aware of it is to CEASE the antiretrovirals in very severe cases, and in all situations treat specifically for the current opportunistic infection.”

    And most tellingly perhaps:

    “However, why is it that the HIV antivirals are so apparently _disproportionately_ expensive compared to other drugs? I don’t believe that the R&D costs can explain this – the difference is so great (like an order of magnitude at least) compared to other antimicrobials, and drugs like the statins, ACEI’s and diuretics, that this seems to tell only half the story, if that. On the other hand, I find the concept of price-fixing by the pharm companies (ie “they’ll pay whatever we charge”) abhorent and unbelievable, in that I don’t _want_ to believe it. Are they preying on a captive patient population? Is the answer as simple as “yes, the costs really are that great”? I don’t know.

    I can see, almost, both sides to the problem, but what I don’t see are easy explainations of what is really going on. It can’t hurt to ask questions. ”

    So am I really a slimey HIV/AIDS scientist after all, or are you all jumping to conclusions?

    In closing, since we do appear to be closing, the MHA newsgroup has largely been so quarrelsome because of the dissidents. They have either been rude (Fred, Sparky) or stubborn and rude (Iconoclaster) or just stubborn. In the months where we have had very little dissident activity MHA used to be quite a good place to get recent information and ideas. I haven’t posted there properly in some time – it’s not worth it.

    Claus – Do I reply to every conversation on the web about me? Heheh, as if I would have the time. No, but I found it ironic that I was trying to find a post I’d made about Duesberg and stumbled onto this link instead. I then found the old urge to correct misinformation rising up, so here it is.

    At the end of the day, HIV will continue to infect and kill people and the best we can do is delay death with imperfect medications. This is a shitty situation. Vaccine efforts are slowly making progress, based in part on knowledge gained from rare individuals who can resist infection or prolong progression. Political and social problems in many part of the world are hampering efforts to change things. The situation in some areas is so bad that the risk of transmitting HIV through breastfeeding is NOT AS BAD as the risk of acquiring a killer gut bug from drinking dirty water used to make infant formula. Should the priority there be to spend millions on drugs that won’t be taken, or a few hundred on digging a well?

    And Michael – frankly, if you find anything online anywhere about HIV/AIDS, and Nick Bennett (or “Cheers, Bennett”) is associated with it, it’s likely to be me. Feel free to compare my behavior at DW with that of the bizarre Bialy… You’ll also find it interesting that most (all, as far as I know) of the AIDS orthodoxy post using their real names, often with academic affiliations. The dissidents frequently (but not always for sure) use pseudonyms and hide their background. One I recently discovered seems to be harboring a personal vendetta against an orthodox scientist because he is, in fact, a lawyer who lost a case because of expert-witness testimony from this scientist. At the time I was debating with him he seemed a nice enough guy. You never can tell.

    Think about this – Duesberg has attracted a following that includes, allegedly, several educated scientists. Some appear to have been added to “the list” without their consent (I expect more on this to come out over the next year or so…). Some are definitely misquoted. Some may be misguided. There are far, far more independant scientists saying just the opposite.

    Why should I believe what Duesberg says when (a) he is in the minority (b) he is theorising about something outside his field (c) the arguments he uses to make his point are wrong, and many can be proven wrong using just an undergraduate textbook?! Just tell me that, and ask yourself – “why do I find it easier to believe that Duesberg is right versus everyone else?”

    Cheers

    Bennett

  16. SA Says:

    Bennett, you sound knowledgeable and sincere. So, help me out and see if you can explain a couple of things for me:

    1. Why did Serge Lang (before he died), and now Mark Craddock and Rebecca Culshaw conclude that creating a mathematical model using differential equations for HIV pathogenesis which assumes HIV is the sole cause of AIDS, seems to have failed so miserably?

    2. Why did the estimable Dr. Zvi Grossman, after 20 years of research, say that HIV pathogenesis remains a “conundrum?”

    3. If, as you point out, certain individuals helpful to vaccine studies seem to posess a genotype that helps them avoid progression to AIDS, then how can HIV be the sole cause of AIDS, when it is clear that the organism-to-host-genotype interaction is vital? To me that implies that it ain’t as simple as good old HIV alone.

    I’m not a mathematician, but obviously, I am concerned when things don’t appear to add up, and respectable people like Lange, Craddock, Culshaw and Grossman admit openly that establishing, after 20 years, a definitive idea regarding HIV pathogenesis has not exactly succeeded? I assume you consider Grossman a colleague and at the very least, respect the opinions of Lange. So, forget Duesberg for now, and address these quandaries.

    I’m not trying to bait you at all — honestly — I’m interested in your input here. Those of us who are HIV+ see these estimable people raise real concerns. Don’t you think it would be foolish of us to ignore them? After all, we’re marked — HIV+ — and we want to survive this.

  17. Michael David Says:

    Bennett,

    So you admit to being the NB who endorsed the nonsense at DW last year. I repeat, how could anyone take you the least bit seriously?

    The rest of what you wrote me is not worth reply, and you obviously do not know the answer to my simple question about the isolation of RSV from the wild.

    Bialy may indeed be bizarre, but he is way smart and has been around the block more than twice, unlike some who post here with possibly bogus credentials.

  18. HankBarnes Says:

    Hey Bennett!

    I always liked your stuff (even though I don’t buy a lot of it). You stated above that AZT’s benefit outweighs its risks, but it seems to me that you omitted several risks.

    1. Does AZT kill leukocytes in humans?

    2. Aren’t there several animal studies showing that AZT is a transplacental carcinogen?

    Why is it justifiable to omit several well-known risks of AZT when balancing them against purported benefits?

    Cheers, Barnes

  19. Bennett Says:

    Michael, if by “nonsense” you mean the crap that Bialy spouted, then I didn’t endorse that at all. As for the analysis – I was impressed because the kind of analysis that this particular person did was more than I was prepared to sit down and do! Russell put forward a far more plausible logic for the data (the real data, not the stuff Bialy/Duesberg invented).

    The rest of what I wrote to you is a simple, laymans reason why HIV cannot possibly be vertically transmitted like a HERV. If you choose to ignore it, then that’s your loss. I forgive ignorance, as people can’t help it if they haven’t been taught everything. If however they ARE taught what they are asking about, and still choose to remain ignorant, then I pity them, and frankly won’t waste my time. Willful ignorance is inexcusable.

    Good lord sir, how many times has RSV been isolated fromt the wild? No, I don’t know off hand. But I can look it up. The simple answer is probably far fewer times than HIV 😀 I would have to spend my vacation in a libary to access the older papers most likely. Do you know?

    “Possibly bogus credentials” Tut tut, now you wave the conspiracy flag. Search e-medicine.com for articles written/edited by me in pediatric infectious disease: pneumonia, Rocky-Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, brucellosis, nocardiosis, Mono, enterovirus, gonorrhea and several others. My CV might be posted there as well I think. You’ll see that I have the UK equivalent of the American MD – MB/BChir. You can also look up my analysis of Eliza-Jane Scoville’s death online which says who I am. I certainly forwarded my CV to Dean of Dean’s World, who then gave my work email to Bialy who proceeded to mail-bomb me with abuse.

    I personally found the following quotes about Bialy the most amusing (not my own I hasten to add).

    “He has already convinced me that Harvey Bialy is actually a paid shill of the AIDS inc pharmacartel trying to make dissidents look like incoherent babbling fools.”

    “Duesberg says: “retroviruses do not kill cells”.

    Nick Bennett: Here is a list of retroviruses that have been demonstrated in experiments to kill cells

    Harvey Bialy: Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe”

    “I think it is obvious to most people that Bialy never had any intention of responding to any responses to his set of six questions. In fact most of the questions were really statements in disguise. His only apparent intention was to present the “questions” beat his chest and then pronounce “look nobody can answer my questions”.”

    “I believe some people have already tried to explain this to Bialy whose intelligent response was nbsadbkawhfiuahliuah aghijuhh or something to that effect.”

    “I’ve never seen anybody try to win a debate by drooling before, so I thank you for bringing me this unique experience.

    It’s like watching a blind-folded fat kid try and hit a pinata with a wet noodle: amusing, but sad.”

    And some quotes from Bialy:

    “if the very littlest imaginable liniest possible absolutely nada of any partcular wee bit of NOTHING itself came up to you and said hello, some of u gyzandgaLz wldnt whayt a ny nanosec be4 you started skreaming, nail em up, now. ”

    “do you gots it now. this is NOT a fing online chat. this is the BLOGOSPHERE nitwit.”

    “comment from the peanut gallery: somebody writing your script now too dd not-benedetti?

    how you suddenly get so insider like knowledgeable abt nvp and AFRIKA white man?”

    “look you bored wannabee tv nvp/yes-not-doc ass-piring asp/ u kan zit all you vant end snoozle your noozle and even whacky yr shlong but no disembodied mind will notice you again until you begin to show some respect for the holy trinty of MIND”

    No, I do not have the experience of Bialy, but I have debated the dissidents for over 8 years and found NOT ONE PLAUSIBLE, SUPPORTABLE REASON why HIV does not cause AIDS. Either the facts are invented or the logic is clueless. As regards your hero Bialy: well, you can verify all of the quotes above for yourself at Dean’s World.

    SA – feel free to email me privately. njb35@cantab.net I will also try to answer various points brought up here on aidsmyth.blogspot.com. As far as answering concerns, I would recommend ploughing the archives of misc.heath.aids, AIDStruth.org and AIDSmyth.blogspot.com.

    Cheers

    Bennett (I never seem to be able to make a clean departure from these things…)

  20. Michael David Says:

    Bennett,

    You are tiresome, as well as dense and unbelievably more stupid than I thought.

    1. Of course the nonsense you endorsed and endorse again is what Russell spouted. You still think it a good analysis? Case closed.

    2. And I already told you I know the answer to my simple question about RSV isolation. If you can answer it you will at least display some knowledge. However, given how you cannot reason (or read), I doubt that you will see the point of the number whenever you do find it out.

    As for your cherry-picking of Bialy’s and other’s quotes: I have read the condensed version of the marathon at DW (as have thousands of others) so pulling crap out of context is not impressive. Besides, I granted you he was a bizzaro.

    And if you don’t have fun at these sites, why do you keep writing to them? You are convincing no one, ever, except of how your credentials must be bogus, no matter what you publish.

  21. Claus Says:

    Dr. Bennett

    Since I was the first to guess that you’re not able to make a clean departure, do I, and Truthseeker, who replied in good faith to your ‘first’, not deserve your ‘best’ freshly updated critique of Duesberg’s main points now you’ve been at it with several BIG POSTS already – including indeed some of Dr. B’s more coherent moments?

  22. Michael Says:

    Hello Mr. Bennett.

    I am not about to refer to you as a doctor.

    Russell has more holes in his work than a rusty colander. Russell has proven nothing and neither have you.

    Both of you, as well as all of your other well paid AIDS Inc. cohorts, have yet to bring anything out of the realm of a mere possibility and into the realm of proven science. Real science is about proving your claims. And with something such as the theory of HIV, that would be regarded as very deadly and requiring toxic, deadly, or disfiguring medications be dispensed, it would require substantial proof far beyond the overwhelming doubt that is doing nothing but growing. Until you or Russell, or anyone else in AIDS Inc. shows clear proof that HIV is the cause of AIDS, and that it is sexually transmissable, you will go down in history as just another snake oil peddler whom went merrily skipping through life scaring unwitting people to death and dispensing poison to help them along.

    Science is not about disproving bogus theories to be wrong Mr. Bennett. It is about proving correct theories to be true. All theories are bogus and presumed wrong, until proven correct. Anyone whom claims them as truth before they are proven, is not standing on any foundation of reality or science. Bialy does not need to disprove HIV causes AIDS. He is standing in a place of reality until you prove him wrong with substantial proof of your claims. You and yours need to prove HIV does cause AIDS. You need to prove it is sexually transmitted.

    Simply claiming it, as in “HIV, the Virus that Causes AIDS” slogan, does not make it so. Flimsy evidence such as Russell, or Gallo, or your own, that even those of us without a background in science can poke a hundred holes in, does not make it so. Holding up hundreds of thousands that have died due to toxic drug poisoning, drug side effects, including Eliza Jane, malnutrition and dozens of other contributing factors, and telling us they died of HIV causing AIDS, does not make it so.

    You and your cohorts have not been able to do so in 25 years. No seminal paper, no vaccine to show Kochs postulates to be unnecessary, nothing but a lot of hot air and unproven claims. You better clue in to this years motto for this years XIV AIDS Conference Mr. Bennett: TIME TO DELIVER!

    By the way, you certainly seem to be obsessed by Dr. Bialy. Do you ever discuss him with your shrink? Or are you too busy with your other neuroses?

    Bialy does not need to prove you wrong. You need to prove him wrong.

    Duesberg does not need to prove Gallo wrong. Gallo has never proven himself right!

    You have me convinced that you are a hazard to your patients, Mr. Bennett. And you are living proof of the decline of education and science and medicine. You better cover your ass Mr. Bennett. As the general public wakes up from this nightmare, Hatchet day is coming Mr. Bennett, and 23 out of 26 doctors found guilty at a trial at Nuremburg 60 years ago, is going to seem small potatoes compared to what is in store for the wonderful and well meaning doctors and promoters of AIDS Inc. Humankind will naturally want some heads to roll to appease its anger at its own ignorance for having fallen under the spell of Gallo, Fauci, Russell, Ho, Moore, and other small fry such as you!

    TIME TO DELIVER indeed Mr. Bennett!

    Before we de-liver you!

  23. SA Says:

    I can’t believe I’m saying this — but stranger things have happened. The tone in these emails to Dr. Bennett has been unkind to say the least. We can’t hope to have productive debate while name-calling and ad hominem attacks continue. Let’s assume, just for the sake of argument, that not one of us has the whole picture worked out. Bennett seems willing to bring his perspective –why pounce on him like a pride of lions? I know — it’s crazy — me, asking for niceness and sanity — but like I said, stranger things have happened.

    I had a prof during my grad studies who said there are four categories of knowledge:
    1. That which we know that we know (the smallest category)
    2. That which we know that we don’t know (the next smallest)
    3. That which we don’t know that we know (larger yet, but still small), and
    4. That which we don’t even know we don’t know (clearly the largest, and overwhelmingly so)

    My philosophy says it’s best to proceed with #4 in mind. Can we do it?

  24. Truthseeker Says:

    My philosophy says it’s best to proceed with #4 in mind. Can we do it?

    Silly, SA. Bennett likes stirring up trouble. Right, Bennett? Pop in, spout a little #4 (“That which we don’t even know we don’t know”), sprinkle a little snow (standard unjustified HIV escapist technical lore), tie a few shoelaces together (confuse clear general critiques with supposedly contradictory details), then fast exit, Gotta go to work, saving lives being a doc, kowtowed to by all, pump up my confidence to overflow again, back later when and if I can, Cheers Bennett.

    Bennett, face up to reality, you are lost in group fantasy embedded in the system and inflated by institutional confidence, not a construct rooted in valid scientific analysis but a grotesque theoretical beanstalk which has grown utterly wild because of the impossibility of proving a negative combined with severe censorship of review in the media and now even in the scientific literature.

    Your failure to genuinely reexamine the core belief you are medicating by is an unwitting act of such social and medical irresponsibility that you will ultimately find yourself shamed by the knowledge that you have fostered illness and death rather than ministered against it. That is, if it is not just an act of plain folly, because you are constitutionally not up to a major paradigm discussion, because you can’t see the political wood for the scientific trees.

    The simple answer is probably far fewer times than HIV 😀 I would have to spend my vacation in a libary to access the older papers most likely. Do you know?

    Bennett, this revelation is rather embarrassing. You are unaware of PubMed, which allows you to access 16 million papers from any paid terminal? It will yield abstracts from any computer at all.

    I personally found the following quotes about Bialy the most amusing (not my own I hasten to add).

    Still haven’t got the point? Bialy is so intelligently, consistently expert on this stuff he can afford to play the fool to avoid boredom.

    No, I do not have the experience of Bialy, but I have debated the dissidents for over 8 years and found NOT ONE PLAUSIBLE, SUPPORTABLE REASON why HIV does not cause AIDS.

    What an admission! This is what will now be referred to as the Bennett syndrome.

    SA – feel free to email me privately. njb35@cantab.net I will also try to answer various points brought up here on aidsmyth.blogspot.com.

    You suggest answering difficulties in what you have raised in another forum or privately? You suggest answering concerns by referring to AIDStruth.org, the center of incompetent, inadequate and non-scientific review rebuttal now?

    This is not a forum for evading arguments by fleeing to another site, Bennett. Make a clean departure unless you are willing to stand your ground here.

    Currently, you state repeatedly that you have no idea why there is a long running and well credentialed review of HIV=AIDS, attracting thousands of supporters and a score of often excellent books exposing the blatant inconsistencies of the paradigm despite the heavy censorship blocking media coverage for two decades. That is why we ask you to deal with the basic big objections to the paradigm without making petty remarks. For example,

    Duesberg thought that HIV was transmitted vertically, mother to child. The problem with that little hypothesis is that simply kids that are infected with HIV at birth die before they get a chance to pass on the genes themselves!

    If they did die that fast from HIV this would be an impossible evolutionary strategy for HIV, that is true. But they don’t die from HIV. And you know that Duesberg’s statement is correct because there is no other way HIV could survive. The alternatives of negligible sexual transmission, unclean needles and blood transfusions are inadequate, even if prehistoric man had used the last two.

    For a real-life example, see the tragic story of Eliza Jane Scoville.

    An example that confirms you are infected by the AIDS meme. Anyone else can see plainly what the cause of her death was. It was not HIV. Period.

    Truthseeker – if you go to my aidsmyth blog you will see what I am. I am a double doctor.

    The point is you don’t live up to the advance billing. But a PhD in HIV? By definition an admission of failure to think. Did none of the insurmountable difficulties of this paradigm occur to you as a student? You read Gallo’s 1984 papers and didn’t question them?

    What this obstacle course of unthinking acquisition of textbook knowledge suggests is the source of your overconfidence, since your critical powers were disengaged throughout, or you would have failed to proceed.

    If you were serious about getting to the bottom of the HIV/AIDS paradigm them doing some kind of literature search would be appropriate, and that can start with a simple google of the guy you’re talking to!

    This is the man who has to wait until his holidays before he has time to find a paper in the library! Sorry for my lack of interest in your credentials after my initial check when you popped into DW and we corresponded in email. Your claims are treated on their merits, as you would wish, prsumably.

    I have a more comprehensive post at the BMJ site which details exactly how HIV causes AIDS based on all the available literature at the time. I consider that one far better. It is also on my site.

    We are spared here, then? The Lord be praised. Haven’t you got the message, Bennett, yet? Everyone is quite familiar with all the reasons that believers have for their faith. The issue is whether they can answer the overwhelming objections to every aspect of it.

    Firstly, this wasn’t intended to be an article to explain HIV’s pathogenicity – it was simply to point out the flaws in the argument as to why HIV cannot be pathogenic.

    There is no clinching argument as to why HIV cannot be pathogenic, we agree. Anything is possible, however unlikely. For all we know, it might somersault three times and sing God Save the Queen if jiggered correctly by Dr Bennett. We are saying that there is no evidence for HIV’s supposed, claimed pathogenicity in the human system. Not even underwhelming evidence. None at all. Period.

    Secondly, … there is a fistful of examples of other viruses doing just about everything HIV does!

    Name a single retrovirus that does anything pathogenic.

    Why doesn’t Duesberg know this? If he does know this, why does he ignore it? Why does he say that HIV is unique when it is mundane?

    He says it is mundane, and not unique, and inert as far as the immune system is concerned, How much more sense do you want him to write before you stop turning it into nonsense?

    Do you see what I am getting at? Duesberg is selectively interpreting and stating the science, to appeal to the layman. He uses simple, concrete memes that are quite simply wrong. Lies. Misinformation. I do not understand why. I see my role at correcting those lies.

    What did Marilyn Quayle say to Dan Quayle after making love? ‘Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy!’ Sorry , Bennett. You’re no Peter Duesberg. Memes are ideas which catch on and spread regardless of truth or falsehood, Bennett. Duesberg deals in correct ideas. They are not lies. They are not misinformation. They would not have passed muster if they were, nor would they have endured without direct challenge (as promised) in the same journals.

    No, I do not understand why this crud got through peer-review, and neither do most of the virologist world. Duesberg’s views have been called everything from misguided to murderous by scientists far more experienced that myself.

    You reveal your own babe-in-the-woods credulity and unworldliness with those silly sentences, Bennett. You are out of your depth in science power politics, especially in America, the most competitive society in the world, and the richest arena for scientists, with billions in the pot. You have no idea what is at stake. You’re obviously a decent, sheltered English gentleman by upbringing, Bennett, as I have told you before, and you are declaring yourself with these lines to be in medical science the equivalent of a sucker that any three card monte player could clean out in minutes. And these guys who are leading you by the nose are the top of a very steep pyramid, the toughest in the business. They are not gentlemen, Bennett.

    The problem is one with the peer review system, where one can pick your own reviewers (!) and where expertise in one field (RSV) can swing personal opinions enough to let an article in. I certainly know of high-ranking scientists getting articles published of a quality that would NOT be acceptible for a PhD candidate to submit. Their reputation is enough.

    The peer review situation was the reverse for Duesberg’s critique, silly boy. It was back stabbing, not back scratching. Ten times the usual critical intensity. Which signifies what, Bennett? That’s right. Quality tested and quality guaranteed.

    Why not take ONE HOUR Bennett to consider for once in your life what is going on when scientists call another one’s views “dangerous” or “murderous”. They are NOT idealists with the good of humanity at heart.

    You go on (eventually) to say: “So AZT saves people, Bennett, and so do antiretrovirals, and there are HIV mechanisms for CD4 killing, dysfunction and dysregulation – and all is right with the paradigm, and all positive people should take their expensive drugs, and ignore the side effects, and be thankful for GlaxoSAmithKline, whose second quarter profit has just increased 14%, to $2.44 billion, and ignore the arguments and the credentials and the numbers of the host of intelligent people who have concluded over the years that Duesberg is quite right, that HIV is a chimera and always has been and will be?” Can you point anywhere where I have said that?

    Merely stating the conventional wisdom you subscribe to, I thought. You don’t recognize it?

    I have said in public debate (that AZT is toxic and probably oxidative bur prevents HIV transmission and prevents future death from infection) and also that (it should be initiated at counts of 350 or less) and that (ARVs treatnment should cease in very severe cases) and that you (suspect they overcharge for HIV ARVs and that pricefixing by the pharm companies is “abhorrent and unbelievable” but you haven’t quite decided whethe they are preying on a captive population).

    Good for you, Bennett you show your true skeptic colors once you encounter factors that you can see in front of your own eyes such as the toxicity of the drugs and ruthless commercialism of the drug companies. All you have to do now is look again and see how the medical and scientific system is part of the same culture, even though it is less obvious about it.

    I can see, almost, both sides to the problem, but what I don’t see are easy explainations of what is really going on. It can’t hurt to ask questions. So am I really a slimey HIV/AIDS scientist after all, or are you all jumping to conclusions?

    Good. We interpret this as the slow process of realizing something is wrong, but your background has not taught you to recognize it. When the blind man is given sight for the first time by a surgeon, it takes some time for the brain to learn how to organize the information intelligibly. No disrespect, Bennett. You have a fellow Englishman here who had a sheltered upbringing in a large country mansion with the full complement of tea in the garden, rabbit holes, and looking glasses. He too went out in the world as an innocent and slowly realized that the world was not as he was led to believe by his private school upbringing. Most people are not brought up with enough privilege that they dont have to fight for it. They are not going to behave like gentlemen. Only a few top scientists are going to behave like Duesberg. Very few, and the breed is probably as anachronistic as the dodo now.

    At the end of the day, HIV will continue to infect and kill people and the best we can do is delay death with imperfect medications. This is a shitty situation. Vaccine efforts are slowly making progress, based in part on knowledge gained from rare individuals who can resist infection or prolong progression.

    Oh, oh, a relapse! Wake up sleepyhead, you are letting the AIDS meme steal over your brain again!

    Should the priority there be to spend millions on drugs that won’t be taken, or a few hundred on digging a well?

    Attaboy. Try “useless, expensive drugs that only make people ill who need basic sustenance and clean conditions to thrive”.

    You’ll also find it interesting that most (all, as far as I know) of the AIDS orthodoxy post using their real names, often with academic affiliations. The dissidents frequently (but not always for sure) use pseudonyms and hide their background.

    Wake up, Bennett, wake up. As we noted earlier, reprisals against dissidents include calling X’s employer to tip him off that X is a nutcase that challenges the medical and scientific authorities (happened a few days ago). Do you not realize even now, Bennett, that challenging HIV means career paralysis in media as well as science, because Fauci at the NIAID publicly ordered a blackout twenty years ago, and imposes it severely still. Do you know any of the history of this affair?

    Read this blog if you want to know what is really going on. That is it’s raison d’etre.

    Think about this – Duesberg has attracted a following that includes, allegedly, several educated scientists. Some appear to have been added to “the list” without their consent (I expect more on this to come out over the next year or so…). Some are definitely misquoted. Some may be misguided. There are far, far more independant scientists saying just the opposite.

    Baby steps, Bennett, baby steps in catching up with the politics. Good science is not a democracy. Bad science is a tyranny in HIV?AIDS. The list contains several very top scientists, but given the reprisals that threaten, it is very significant that any are on it at all. For the vast crowd of “independent” scientists who support HIV, on the other hand, there is nothing but advantage, Bennett. As you must know by now, you are already viewed with favor for your efforts, as the opening act for John Moore.

    Why should I believe what Duesberg says when (a) he is in the minority (b) he is theorising about something outside his field (c) the arguments he uses to make his point are wrong, and many can be proven wrong using just an undergraduate textbook?!

    Because good science is not a democracy, because he was a retrovirologist member of the National Academy on his way to the Nobel before his enduring review of Robert Gallo’s bad idea suddenly scotched his popularity, because his arguments are correct, and because textbooks are not exactly the best source on the topic.

    Just tell me that, and ask yourself – “why do I find it easier to believe that Duesberg is right versus everyone else?”

    Of course it is harder to believe that Duesberg is right than everybody else is right. After all, HIV rules, the New York Times says so, every major scientific institution agrees, almost every government. That is the nature of a paradigm before its fall, especially now that science is a competitive profession, rather than a vocation, for most of its recruits.

    Think about why the DOS and Windows OS triumphed, when they were inferior to Apple. What was the advantage that overruled its crappiness? It’s known as network utility. The usefulness of something used to communicate when everyone else has it too. The network utility of HIV is ten thousand times greater than of not-HIV.

    Enough said.

  25. McKiernan Says:

    We are saying that there is no evidence for HIV’s supposed, claimed pathogenicity in the human system. Not even underwhelming evidence. None at all. Period.

    Oh, yeah.

    So why does the human body produce antibodies against HIV ?

  26. SA Says:

    Well, I tried and failed, TS. I asked if we might have dialog without attack, and your response to NB clearly indicates that you are unwilling to do that (look carefully, it was not Claus who gave you #4 — this indicates how seriously rushed and not particularly well-thought through your response was. Not to mention it’s length).

    Can we all take a deep breath for a second?

    Let me reiterate #4, and I imagine I’ll be doing this often (probably to everyone’s consternation, but then, that appears to be my role here):
    The largest category of knowlegde are those things that we don’t even know we don’t know.

    That is true of me, you TS, Dr. Bennett, Harvey Bialy — everybody — the man or woman on the street. It is an incontrovertible logical truth. It was a very dear concept to Einstein, by the way.

    If we do proceed with that in mind, then so much more could be learned and accomplished here. I’m willing to make a bet, TS. Put my four categories of knowledge to you friend Peter Duesberg. I bet he will endorse the logic of my analysis — after all, he is a great scientist — and it is the best scientific minds who always remember category #4.

  27. Dan Says:

    Do we believe in the paradigm or do we not believe?

    This is what it’s all about.

    A friend of mine who was “diagnosed HIV-positive” about six years ago, when confronted with just a few of the paradigm deal-breakers (one is really all it takes) realized he had been duped.

    He doesn’t engage in endless hand-wringing, or seeking to know the “unknowns”. Those “unknowns” only exist in the mind of someone who is invested in the paradigm. For my friend, a deal-breaker is just that.

    This thing can be incredibly simple. Have the paradigm promoters proven their case? No. Then there is no paradigm.

  28. Truthseeker Says:

    (look carefully, it was not Claus who gave you #4 — this indicates how seriously rushed and not particularly well-thought through your response was. Not to mention it’s length

    Thanks, SA, corrected in the comment. But we stand by everything else written in that post. You object to the length? Bennett deserved a full reply. But if you prefer a short one, it would be

    This thing can be incredibly simple. Have the paradigm promoters proven their case? No. Then there is no paradigm.

    Thanks Dan.

    SA, smart people cut to the chase in the end. There is nothing in what Gallo announced in 1984. As one who suffered through your trust, we are sorry you were fooled. Sorry also that now you have to try to escape the emotional consequences of that disaster by appealing to science and its careful method, which you should have applied in the first place. You made the mistake of trusting people who were rationalizing nonsense, as Bennett does You are still making their mistake, it appears, and so are they. So is Bennett.

    But who is to blame? Not you, and not Bennett. When trust is misplaced, it is shameful to the trustee, not the trusting. Trust is the fuel of civilization. You are far superior to the people who have misdirected you, as a social being. You don’t have to justify trusting them. They have to justify abusing your trust.

  29. SA Says:

    You are both fools, I’m afraid. And it’s quite clear you are not scientists. It’s not a simple matter of rejecting one paradigm and picking another. Ever hear of Thomas Kuhn? Know what a paradigm is?

    Anyway — here’s a little something a dissident scientist (whose identity I’ll keep secret so that he/she won’t suffer your silly attacks) wrote to me recently:

    “Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos actually made one of the best comments, on a purely philosophical level, several years ago in her Continuum interview. The interviewer asked something to the effect, “But surely if you have all these clues to something, that’s pretty good evidence it’s what you think it is?” and Eleni replied by saying (again I paraphrase), “No, because what if the true answer is something you never expected or could never even have imagined? Then you will be so blinded by what you do expect that you will miss the true answer.” I truly, truly believe that the truth about aids is going to be something that surprises all of us, dissidents and orthodox alike, on some level.”

  30. SA Says:

    It’s too bad that so few people who post (and write) here are not ready to be surprised, like Eleni. It’s certainly why I haven’t fit in at all. I’m always ready for a good surprise. Einstein said that the best thing about science was the mysterious. I couldn’t agree more. Nothing mysterious going on here though, so not much science either. Best wishes, all the same. Gotta go do some actual science now.

  31. Truthseeker Says:

    I’m always ready for a good surprise. Einstein said that the best thing about science was the mysterious. I couldn’t agree more. Nothing mysterious going on here though, so not much science either. Best wishes, all the same. Gotta go do some actual science now.

    Well, SA, we can certainly understand that the Harper’s article was a surprise for you, since you don’t seem to have applied your scientist’s logic to your predicament before that point. But was it a “good surprise”, that you were “ready for”, as “always”? Apparently not. Apparently it has left you desperately seeking an out, claiming that the truth must be more mysterious that the scientists who have reviewed the paradigm in the literature have concluded.

    There is nothing mysterious about HIV?AIDS if you accept that novel wisdom based on the paradigm is completely ill founded, and reassess the symptoms from a conventional point of view. That is why the critique is so persuasive. What is the difficulty that you believe is not resolved by conventional medicine?

    Everyone here is familiar now with your expectation that the true cause of AIDS will be something mysterious that will excuse you from not seeing through the scientific nonsense that you bought for years. Perhaps you are right. Perhaps the true cause of AIDS is a tiny wombat in the form of a stealth bomber that has not yet been detected by science.

    But can you spare us any more reiteration of your basic point? This is designed as a venue for intelligent skeptics, not for those who find explanations in the unknown when they are provided by the known.

    Also, you may accuse posters of folly but not of being fools. Any ad hominem attacks are unscientific and are banned from this board. After all, you are now imitating Bennett in your signoffs, and he is never anything but delightfully civil in his urbane and untroubled confidence in the paradigm that we dispute.

    Unfortunately, he seems to have retired from the fray. The advantage of good manners is that we can now conclude this is because he cannot defend his points, and not because he was personally attacked in an untoward manner.

  32. Michael Says:

    Hello SA, and McK,

    Just asking for your individual personal opinions, no facts, just your humble opinions.

    After all that you both have already been exposed to on both sides of the paradigm, just how much do you personally believe that HIV is the cause of AIDS, and just how much do you personally believe that HIV is sexually transmissable?

    A scale of 1 to 10 would be fine, such as you believe there is a 9 out of 10 chance that HIV causes AIDS is true, or a one out of 10 chance that it is true. Or do you believe it is 50/50? Or give me a percentage from 0 to 100 percent as to what you think the probability of HIV being sexually transmissable.

    Just how strong are your current beliefs?

  33. SA Says:

    Michael,
    Science is not a question of belief, it’s a question of evidence. However, since this seems to be some sort of membership test — my read of the “evidence” is that it is not very compelling. It seems impossible to me that HIV could cause AIDS alone — and at the same time, I don’t really care for the definition of AIDS, so the question seems stupid to begin with — I mean, what is AIDS?

    Alternative perspectives on the question that I have read make critical points that cannot be ignored regarding the evidence the establishment profers. At the same time, I do not believe that sexual transmission of something (not necessarily HIV) has been ruled out based on the existing data. You asked a question as if there was only ONE question, when, in truth, there are many, many questions that need to be answered and that contribute to the overall quesiton you posed. I know you know that. So obviously, this is a membership test.

    Bottom line, I agree with my friend’s paraphrasing of Eleni’s comment. I’m open. I’m open it to being nothing that any of us ever enivisioned. That’s my job as a scientist. To recognize the limits of the current data to satisfactorialy answer the questions posed. If you can’t deal with that, I’m really sorry. But I am in full agreement with Eleni’s philosophical approach.

  34. McKiernan Says:

    Michael,

    The first 100 – 200 members of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus all died prematurely of AIDS or AIDS related clinical conditions, the majority of whom never had had a treatment choice advailable that included AZT or retroviral medications. That never happened before.

    HIV is a blood-borne pathogen that is intracellular due to its viral nature. It is not an innocent bystander nor a non-pathogen as the body will produce antibodies to it both in humans and chimpanzes. It is not user friendly. And it is a contagion.

    There is another intracellular pathogen that is responsible for a disease process called leprosy. It as well hasn’t met all of the classical Koch’s postulates. It is extremely hard to get. In fact, if Professor Culshaw examined the mathematical model in the USA, a possibility of 100 cases per year in a population of 235 million would result in a declaration that mycobacterium leprosae doesn’t exist or there isn’t enough of it is around to cause disease. And that would be a candidate for an article on Lew what’s-his-names website.

    Has anyone ever seen a patient with leprosy ? Yes, McK has
    seen many and he can attest that indeed leprosy is a reality. That’s the way, he feels about HIV/AIDS. It is a reality. It cannot be passed off to taking some super-duper-vitamins, drink pure water and have a few coffee enema’s south of the border. And yogurt and tofu doesn’t seem to help.

    The dissident promise to jettison HIV from any paradigm for the purposes of bashing big Pharma, offering a “poppers” theory, promoting the vitamin industry or alternative medicine industry falls woefully short of scientific explanation.

    NAR seems to have placed his opinions in a lockbox from which no new information is permitted if it doesn’t match Duesberg/Perth/Bialy/Liversidge data bases.

    McK doesn’t buy that proposition. And by the way to quote someone else:

    Those infected with HIV develop AIDS; those who are not infected with HIV do not develop AIDS.

    Well, it does seem that way.

  35. Michael Says:

    Mckiernan, I notice that you and SA seem to enjoy proclaiming assumptions to be facts. Do you not yet know the difference between an assumption and a fact?

    Above you wrote:

    Oh, yeah? So why does the human body produce antibodies against HIV ?

    Is this now another absolute truth because you or someone else proclaimed it to be true?

    Are you claiming that any or all of these supposed antibodies are solely exclusive in all of nature to HIV and only to HIV?

    Are you claiming the targeted proteins found in HIV tests are completely specific to HIV and are to be found absolutely nowhere else in nature?

    Which proteins targeted by the HIV antibody tests that you are assuming are specifically HIV proteins actually are HIV specific?

    What evidence do you have to prove your statement that the antibodies you claim are specific against HIV are indeed antibodies specifically against HIV?

    Perhaps you have some proof that some of these proteins are not some ubiquitous cellular protein or macrophage polymer debris but are actually viral?

    If you have some proof of these as being antibodies to HIV, as you proclaim they are, please do share it with us?

    See the following for just a bit of evidence of au contraire:

    Many scientists have reported anti-actin autobodies.(see,15 years of AIDS; Hassig A et al, The continuous failure in the prevention and treatment of AIDS is rooted in the misinterpretation of an inflammatory autoimmune process as a lethal, viral venereal disease First published in Continuum Magazine, London). JOHNSON et al., in 1965, were the first to report on anti-actin-autoantibodies. They described autoantibodies directed against smooth muscle cells. In 1994 BERMAS et al. showed that both sera from patients with lupus erythematosus and from mice suffering from the same illness react with glycoprotein 120 and peptides of the postulated HIV-1 envelope. They further proved that control sera of healthy individuals and patients with other autoimmune diseases contain small amounts of the same autoantibodies. Last but not least, they showed that autoantibodies reacting with glycoprotein 120 do not possess antinuclear specificity (ref; Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos et al, Is a Positive Western Blot Proof of HIV Infection? Bio/Technology Vol.11 June 1993).

    The serological diagnosis of HIV infection is usually made on the basis of the detection of circulating antibodies specific for viral antigens gp41, gp120 and gp160. A confirmed positive test (i.e. one or two ELISA tests, followed by a Western Blot) indicates that a person has been exposed to the virus and has mounted an immunologic response (serum antibodies). gp41, gp120 and gp160 but the evidence points to the fact that the claim that such antibodies were “specifically directed at HTLVCR proteins” is false. It is consistent with the observation supported by scientific tests the viral antigens in the Gallo Isolate are actin polymers produced by cells or white blood cells in oxidative stress and consistent with the free radical theory of AIDS that oxidative stress produces a broad range of symptoms and illnesses and that includes suppression of the immune system or immunodeficiency.

  36. McKiernan Says:

    It is consistent with the observation supported by scientific tests the viral antigens in the Gallo Isolate are actin polymers produced by cells or white blood cells in oxidative stress and consistent with the free radical theory of AIDS that oxidative stress produces a broad range of symptoms and illnesses and that includes suppression of the immune system or immunodeficiency.

    Michael,

    That’s all bullshit. The only disease that counts is the one in a human body be it your friend or patient. So why did you ask for a personal opinion and then lie in wait to dump some other stuff in the combox. I don’t know SA, do not know any protracted opinions he may have, nor am I in sync with his commentary.

    You asked a question, I answered. So can you address the issues in the reply directly above your last. Wouldn’t that demonstrate some intellectual honesty on your part ?

    Thank you

  37. Michael Says:

    McKiernan

    You state more assumptions as facts.

    The first 100 – 200 members of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus all died prematurely of AIDS or AIDS related clinical conditions, the majority of whom never had had a treatment choice advailable that included AZT or retroviral medications.

    You seem to be intimately knowledgeable of what these men in San Francisco died from, and proclaim again as a fact that they died of AIDS (which is a category definition and not an actual disease) or Aids related clinical conditions (very broad in spectrum and again you do not tell us what they actually died from). No one has ever died of AIDS, they died of specific causes. This is as lame of a claim as telling us about your friend that died in a year.

    Please do share with us the exact causes of death of even a handfull of these men, so that we may be as convinced as you, as none of the above causes of death that you mentioned are an exact cause of death! And please be sure to include which of the deaths were on AZT. Until you do, you are again stating assumptions not facts.

    HIV is a blood-borne pathogen that is intracellular due to its viral nature.

    Science by proclamation and assumption again, until you back that up with evidence.

    It is not an innocent bystander nor a non-pathogen as the body will produce antibodies to it both in humans and chimpanzes.

    That is another interesting assumption, as many chimps given HIV do not display antibodies to it, and absolutely none get sick from it although they get absolutely every other disease that humans can get. And again, how is it that you know so factually what the antibodies are antibodies to? Please do share.

    And it is a contagion.

    Please share with us your proof of proclamation of fact of contagion.

    McKiernan, you continue to share lots of assumptions, but no proof. Lots of proclamations, but nothing to substantiate it with.

  38. Michael Says:

    You still have yet to give me the answer to my question. I asked for a simple percentage of belief or a scale of 1 to 10. I did not ask for your declarations nor your assumptions, nor your proclamations!

  39. McKiernan Says:

    That is another interesting assumption, as many chimps given HIV do not display antibodies to it, and absolutely none get sick from it although they get absolutely every other disease that humans can get.

    “HIV PRODUCTIVELY INFECTS CHIMPS. THUS IT DOES CROSS
    THE SPECIES BARRIER.” Harvey Bialy January 6, 2005

  40. Truthseeker Says:

    NAR seems to have placed his opinions in a lockbox from which no new information is permitted if it doesn’t match Duesberg/Perth/Bialy/Liversidge data bases.

    Love the way that the standard bearers of HIV?AIDS tend to accuse the critics of their own sins! In this case, censorship, which in its unprecedented extent and use of force massively exceeds in this field all other instances of repression in paradigm wars in science, as far as we know.

    NAR does not censor any proven expert knowledge from this site, which is dedicated to separating fact from supposition in this area, using the scientific literature as a reference, since there is none better, however much it is flawed by the humans who produce it.

    Given the fact that censorship and politics have distorted this field worse than a funfair mirror, we are forced to distinguish between bad HIV?AIDS papers and good HIV?AIDS literature, which is rather hard to do a priori, but can be done by drawing on all the literature library extant with computers (PubMed etc at NYU) and comparing papers with claims, papers with conventional science, and papers with common sense.

    Anybody is welcome to do the same and report here what they find. All that make major contributions to the discussion are given recognition and even prizes from our tiny bag of awards.

    However, we have to insist that even in Comments as high a standard of accuracy as possible must be maintained, and we cannot accept that Duesberg/Perth/Bialy/Liversidge meets that standard, since two of these names should not be mentioned in the same breath as the other two. We will only allow it to stand because of the immense encouragement it offers to the undeserving two to be placed on the same pedestal as their superiors.

    Those infected with HIV develop AIDS; those who are not infected with HIV do not develop AIDS.

    McK, we have the utmost respect for your imperturbable consistency, especially in producing endless anecdotal reasons for maintaining an open mind, but the problem is that anecdotes only provoke and suggest, they do not answer. If your tale of the Gay Men’s Chorus meant what you imply, it would be part of the literature. If it is, can we have the reference?

    Meanwhile your line above is such a square one point in this ongoing debate, which is now at about square 43, that it makes the heart sink. Are you honestly saying that you do not understand how this could happen if HIV was not “the cause of AIDS”?

    If so, please read this blog from the beginning and also Peter Duesberg’s papers at his site before proceeding. We value your voice but it is urgent that you get your data base up to speed if you are to make your best contribution.

    Any flaws you find in the Duesberg material please advise, since a complaint should be forwarded immediately to the editor of Science, Nature, PNAS, Cancer Research or any other journal involved that they have published a fact or reasoning which you, McK, have detected is wrong, and many people have been misled as a consequence in evaluating HIV as the cause of AIDS.

  41. Michael Says:

    Great! Some showed evidence of possible infection in some. Show me anywhere that some of these chimpanzees have ever gotten immune deficiency from it. Go ahead, search the studies, but you won’t find it! Chimpanzees, not monkeys, get sick from absolutely every other human disease, as they are the nearest relative to man, except for one disease. Three guesses which one does not make them sick McKiernan!

    Here is a quote from Dr. Bialy:

    (link)Harvey Bialy (mail) (www):
    Monomer,

    I wondered when you would wade in with your copy and paste brand of scholarship. You get an F too. Didn’t I write that simian AIDS was not relevant to an answer. Koch’s postulates were not raised as an issue in these questions.I go through the logic of question 1 for you again: HIV researchers confidently infected chimpanzees with HIV since 1984 or so thinking that because the virus infects them so well (no species barrier problems) and since every other human pathogenic virus when infected into chimps causes an equivalent human disease, they were really quite surprised that until today no chimps get sick with AIDS or even AIDS-like diseases. Hence the reasons for the far fetched simian models (please read the paper I referenced to learn why these models are not like human AIDS in the least). The most reasonable explanation for this big anomaly is that HIV is NOT a human pathogen either.

  42. McKiernan Says:

    Michael,

    You seem to have moved the goal posts, lad. Your request was:

    Just asking for your individual personal opinions, no facts, just your humble opinions.

  43. Truthseeker Says:

    just how much do you personally believe that HIV is the cause of AIDS, and just how much do you personally believe that HIV is sexually transmissable? A scale of 1 to 10 would be fine

    So, McK, your opinion? 10 and 10? If so, or, if less, why?

  44. Dan Says:

    It’s not a simple matter of rejecting one paradigm and picking another

    Nobody’s picking another paradigm. We’re simply rejecting that which is unproven and doing what we should be doing…living life without it, much in the way we did before this thing was created.

  45. Richard Jefferys Says:

    Show me anywhere that some of these chimpanzees have ever gotten immune deficiency from it. Go ahead, search the studies, but you won’t find it!!

    J Infect Dis. 2000 Oct;182(4):1051-62. Epub 2000 Sep 8.

    Progressive infection in a subset of HIV-1-positive chimpanzees.

    O’Neil SP, Novembre FJ, Hill AB, Suwyn C, Hart CE, Evans-Strickfaden T, Anderson DC, deRosayro J, Herndon JG, Saucier M, McClure HM.

    Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center, Atlanta, GA 30329, USA.

    Chimpanzees are susceptible to infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1; however, infected animals usually maintain normal numbers of CD4(+) T lymphocytes and do not develop immunodeficiency. We have examined 10 chronically infected HIV-1-positive chimpanzees for evidence of progressive infection. In addition to 1 animal that developed AIDS, 3 chimpanzees exhibit evidence of progressive HIV infection. All progressors have low CD4(+) T cell counts (less than 200 cells/microL), severe CD4:CD8 inversion, and marked reduction in interleukin-2 receptor expression by CD4(+) T cells. In comparison with HIV-positive nonprogressor chimpanzees, progressors have higher plasma and lymphoid virus loads, greater CD38 expression in CD8(+)/HLA-DR(+) T cells, and greater serum concentrations of soluble tumor necrosis factor type II receptors and beta2-microglobulin, all markers of HIV progression in humans. These observations show that progressive HIV-1 infection can occur in chimpanzees and suggest that the pathogenesis of progressive infection in this species resembles that in humans.

    J Virol. 1998 Jun;72(6):4623-32.

    Loss of CD4+ T cells in human immunodeficiency virus type 1-infected chimpanzees is associated with increased lymphocyte apoptosis.

    Davis IC, Girard M, Fultz PN.
    Department of Comparative Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35294, USA.

    Supportive evidence that apoptosis contributes to loss of CD4+ lymphocytes in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected humans comes from an apparent lack of abnormal apoptosis in apathogenic lentivirus infections of nonhuman primates, including HIV-1 infection of chimpanzees. Two female chimpanzees were inoculated, one cervically and the other intravenously, with HIV-1 derived from the LAI/LAV-1b strain, which was isolated from a chimpanzee infected with the virus for 8 years. Within 6 weeks of infection, both recipient chimpanzees developed a progressive loss of CD4+ T cells which correlated with persistently high viral burdens and increased levels of CD4+ T-cell apoptosis both in vitro and in vivo. Lymph nodes from both animals also revealed evidence of immune hyperactivation. Intermediate levels of T-cell apoptosis in both peripheral blood and lymph nodes were seen in a third chimpanzee that had been infected with the LAI/LAV-1b strain for 9 years; this animal has maintained depressed CD4/CD8 T-cell ratios for the last 3 years. Similar analyses of cells from 4 uninfected animals and 10 other HIV-1-infected chimpanzees without loss of CD4+ cells revealed no difference in levels of apoptosis in these two control groups. These results demonstrate a correlation between immune hyperactivation, T-cell apoptosis, and chronic loss of CD4+ T cells in HIV-1-infected chimpanzees, providing additional evidence that apoptosis is an important factor in T-cell loss in AIDS. Furthermore, the results show that some HIV-1 strains are pathogenic for chimpanzees and that this species is not inherently resistant to HIV-1-induced disease.

  46. Michael David Says:

    Dick,

    These are pitiful as even an activist should be able to see from the abstracts. How many chimps have been infected? For how long? Give it up fella. Chimps are not susceptible to AIDS after experimental infection with HIV.

    Deal with it.

    Bennett,

    You have been silent for a while, but if you do return perhaps you will explain to me why the US Army finds the infection rates of recruits between the ages of 17-19 mirror exactly the CDC estimates for the general population, i.e. app. 3/1000 (equally divided boys and girls just like Africa)? Are they IV drug users? Maybe they are sex club addicts? Or maybe they were perinatally infected? Nah…can’t be, all HIV infected babies die before puberty. Is a conundrum no?

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