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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blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.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.
Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

The progress of science is strewn, like an ancient desert trail, with the bleached skeletons of discarded theories which once seemed to possess eternal life. - Arthur Koestler

One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison. – Bertrand Russell

A sudden bold and unexpected question doth many times surprise a man and lay him open. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

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‘Denialists’ Deplored

Tara and Steven assess HIV?AIDS criticism on the Internet and find it hollow, misleading and a danger to the community

We admire Tara, but is this scientific argument – or toadying propaganda?

With the Internet as with truth, time will tell

According to an item at Science Daily, HIV Denialists Spread Misinformation Online: Consequences Could Be Deadly, one great danger of the Web is that it allows critics of the science of HIV?AIDS full rein, and they have taken advantage of this license to undermine the faith of patients and the public at large in the validity of the globally established paradigm.

Science Daily is reporting the essay published last week on line at the Library of Science, HIV Denial in the Internet Era. The message of this broadside against critical reviewers of the HIV?AIDS paradigm is the same as John P. Moore of Weill Cornell’s Deadly Quackery, the scientifically embarrassing Times Op-Ed piece last June: Don’t question accepted wisdom, it might alarm the clients.

HIV deniers accuse scientists of quashing dissent regarding the cause of AIDS, and not allowing so-called ‘alternative’ theories to be heard. However, this claim could be applied to any well-established scientific theory that is being challenged by politically motivated pseudoscientific notions, for example, creationist challenges to evolution. Further, as HIV denial can plausibly reduce compliance with safe sex practices and anti-HIV drugs, potentially costing lives, this motivates the scientific and health care communities to exclude HIV denial from any public forum. (As one editorial has bluntly phrased it, HIV denial is ‘deadly quackery’ [24]. Because HIV denial is not scientifically legitimate, such exclusion is justified, but it further fuels the deniers’ claims of oppression.

Or, please join us in assuming that what is being questioned is true without question, so that high level review can be politically repressed as “pseudoscience” rather than answered with science, and there will be no danger that patients question the need to take extremely dangerous drugs.

The only problem with this line of paradigm defense, of course, is that the serious paradigm debunking has in fact occurred in peer reviewed scientific literature at the highest level, and has gone unanswered there at the same, peer reviewed level, in the same journals. Instead, the defense team has abandoned ship and gone to lower levels, where peer review does not handicap bad argument and misleading assertions, where “fact sheets” can be quoted in response to peer-reviewed critique, and where lay critics can be answered with politically charged prejudice (“dangerous” “pseudoscience”) and smearing (“not scientifically legitimate” “denialist” (similar to Holocaust denialists) “conspiracy theorists” motivated by “profit”) and so on.

A notable blogger

tarasmith.jpgThe authors of the complaint are two, the first being none other than Tara Smith, the youthful epidemiologist blogger who at her scienceblogs site, Aetiology, has maintained a reflex scorn for HIV critics (“deniers”) based on her under researched (because very little is without question in the paradigm literature now) support of the conventional wisdom, a handicap which is understandable since assistant professor Tara has a very busy life as well as covering a wide range of topics on her lively blog.

Her main contribution to HIV?AIDS enlightenment has been to host several long threads where second level supporters of both sides of the debate have battled it out, typically on the level of the trees rather than the forest. Sorry to say all this has had little effect in clarifying the issue for the average reader, since the discussion is handicapped by the prejudice of the hostess, and more informed thinkers tend to avoid such arenas, as we do.

As a bonus attraction, visits to the site were long enhanced by the sight of Tara’s svelte portrait in form fitting costume, and the latest one is just as pretty as the first one she posted for a long time, though perhaps less like a bathing suit (we hope our appreciation of this first portrait here was not responsible for the replacement). We have reproduced it above, at the start of the mention of this attractive scientist.

tara-smith.jpgHowever, the meeting this last weekend of science bloggers corralled at Seed Magazine’s ScienceBlogs site yielded some more realistic pictures of Tara and others from the beer drinking gatherings involved, and here is the best one we could find (left). Others are at A Blog Around the Clock, Neurophilosophy and Pharyngula. Readers with an interest in such research will see if intelligence correlates with beauty in the science blogging world.

More mudslinging at HIV critics

Meanwhile, back to the more serious topic of the lengthy diatribe against “AIDS denialists” penned by Smith and another writer for the Library of Science. Her co-author is Steven P. Novella, who is with the Department of Neurology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America.

Intelligent readers will read HIV Denialists Spread Misinformation Online: Consequences Could Be Deadly through for themselves and immediately see that it is nothing more than a John P. Moore type piece of prejudicial propaganda, a rote recitation of all the reasons why established wisdom endorsed by long established and trusted institutions relied upon by the media and the public, not to mention almost all scientists, physicians, health workers, policymakers and government officials around the globe, should not be questioned by independent critics, especially those without professional expertise in the science concerned, retrovirology and its two human diseases alleged so far, even if the scientific literature at the top level contains an ever growing pile of rejecting reviews and studies which contradict the basic tenets of the paradigm and its medical approach.

While being presented with a reasonably good historical update readers will note that the authors in deploring the dissenting view present no good scientific arguments of their own and reference inaccurate sources as often as they reference accurate sources for their point of view (Christine Maggiore’s child was not HIV positive). In all these politics and generalities, the points made against the group they attacked can just as easily be used to condemn the writers, which we will show when we return to expand this post. (Note: We have moved this to a new post, since another Scienceblogs blogger, Orac, has in his riposte supporting the Tara essay as Essential Reading on HIV Denialism and an “essential primer on the dangerous pseudoscience and quackery that is HIV/AIDS denialism” accused us of making feeble points in reply, so we feel we had better pull up our socks and put our best foot forward, given the respect we have for Scienceblog bloggers, even though apparently none of them have read the literature on the topic (the Proceedings of the National Academy does not publish ‘pseudoscience’, Orac!)).

Its chief value lies in the fact that it will inform readers of the existence of substantial criticism of HIV?AIDS and that some will be provoked into checking the full list of references for themselves, including as it happens this blog, New AIDS Review, which is referenced.

The Net’s biggest danger – long run embarrassment

It is true that the Net is a wonderful thing, allowing all voices to speak out, from the illiterate and juvenile to the scholarly and thoughtful, some of them bringing to the attention of the public good information which would otherwise be kept from view. But there are other, less obvious perils.

In the long run, Tara Smith and Steven Novella will learn the biggest danger of the Internet, which will eventually emerge as its dominant long run characteristic: its permanence.

Every single half baked, under researched opinion everybody writes on the world’s bulletin board will be there twenty years from now, when time itself will have ensured that any nonsense one ventures too precipitately for the wrong reasons will be exposed for all to see, as clear as the day it was scribbled, hanging like dirty laundry in the sun.

Let’s hope for their sake that all the signs in the scientific literature that Tara and her friend Steven are ignoring are somehow proven to be wrong, as they like to assume, apparently without examining them carefully enough. Since they all point in the same direction, to the eventual defeat of a paradigm which never genuinely flew, scientifically speaking, even at the beginning, this seems unlikely. More likely is their embarrassment, as grownups, at what they wrote as babes in the woods.

Right or wrong, their piece with its absurd reasoning is shameful enough at this very moment. Anyone in science who argues against examining any assumption is no scientist worthy of the name. Maybe the editors at the Library of Science should read their own front page, which displays this quote:

I thoroughly support universal free access to research. The wonderful thing about ideas is more people being exposed to more ideas leads to still more ideas.” — Dr. Richard Smith, former Editor of the British Medical Journal, member of the PLoS Board of Directors

What they are, and reveal themselves to be, is…political babes in the wood. Unless … of course, they may be knowing babes whose secret motivation, hidden even from themselves, is toadying. But we wouldn’t know, and have no further data to prove it.

Uninformed opinionating

Not that Tara Smith sets a very good example for informed opinion at the best of times, judging from her other posts. For example, she attacked the New York popularizer of nutrient and dietary research, Gary Null, for selling magnetic trousers and other products which interest people who think magnetism has good effects on their systems.

Calling this a “despicable” moneymaking “scam”, Tara shows no sign of being informed on any of the research on magnetic fields and their effects on biological activity conducted over the past thirty years, which have resulted in entire books on the topic. These studies have found some effects, for instance, on the digestion of proteins by the proteolytic enzyme trypsin, which is more active in a polarized magnetic field , as we recall.

Well, we’ve certainly seen HIV deniers advocate a number of quack cures to replace antiretroviral drugs, including megadoses of vitamins and the aforementioned potato cure, so it probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone that Null also espouses some, erm, rather “wacky” ideas regarding what makes one healthy. But some of these were new even to me; more after the jump.

Let me first note that none of these are specifically recommended for HIV. Rather, Null is anti- lots of mainstream medical science, of which HIV/AIDS is just a part. So rather than the evil drugs pushed upon unsuspecting, naive Americans, what does Null recommend for healthy living?

Magnetic pants. And magnetic bras–a bargain at only $72. If you really want to splurge, how about a king-sized magnetic mattress pad for $400 more? Or try his “new and improved!” Brainy caps, only $50 for a month’s supply. And don’t forget your pets!

Once again, I find it hard to believe the hypocrisy of HIV deniers, including Null himself, who decry the “profits” supposedly made by all these “unethical” HIV researchers, and yet go and make money off of scams like magnetic pants. Despicable.

Whether trousers (or magnetic bras) would work any biological magic beyond the placebo effect we do not know (we too very much doubt it, since it is hard to imagine how the fields could be polarized), but it would be better if Tara would do a little research before shooting from the hip, if she is going to indulge her common reflex prejudice that something she has never heard of must lack any basis in research just because it sounds wacky.

We happen to know that Gary Null has in the past gone to some lengths to check out the potential of various novel notions by having research experiments done, and when these failed to find any effect, accepted the results.

It is this kind of self righteous opinionating, based on mistaking a familiarity with the conventional wisdom of one’s elders and better for being genuinely informed on a disputed topic, which renders so much Web commentary empty and foolish, and HIV Denial in the Internet Era is a classic of this kind.

We sympathize with the critics of HIV∫AIDS in having to dodge this mudslinging, when all they have ever asked for is that responsible people should learn to read the scientific literature or have it independently analyzed for them before assuming that all is well in HIV∫AIDS science just because HIV researchers tell them so.

Instead they have these blog dogs snapping at their heels, imagining they are barking in defense of the citadel of true science when all they are doing is getting in the way of its proper operation, which is to double check assumptions when contradictions multiply.

The full article, HIV Denial in the Internet Era, is as follows:
PLoS Medicine

A peer-reviewed, open-access journal published by the Public Library of Science

The Policy Forum allows health policy makers around the world to discuss challenges and opportunities for improving health care in their societies.
HIV Denial in the Internet Era

Tara C. Smith*, Steven P. Novella

Funding: Tara C Smith received research start-up funding from the University of Iowa, but received no specific funding for this article.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Citation: Smith TC, Novella SP (2007) HIV Denial in the Internet Era. PLoS Med 4(8): e256 doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040256

Published: August 21, 2007

Copyright: © 2007 Smith and Novella. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Tara C. Smith (to whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: tara-smith@uiowa.edu) is with the Department of Epidemiology, University of Iowa College of Public Health, Iowa City, Iowa, United States of America. Steven P. Novella is with the Department of Neurology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America.

HIV Denial in the Internet Era

It may seem remarkable that, 23 years after the identification of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), there is still denial that the virus is the cause of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). This denial was highlighted on an international level in 2000, when South African president Thabo Mbeki convened a group of panelists to discuss the cause of AIDS, acknowledging that he remained unconvinced that HIV was the cause [1]. His ideas were derived at least partly from material he found on the Internet [2]. Though Mbeki agreed later that year to step back from the debate [3], he subsequently suggested a re-analysis of health spending with a decreased emphasis on HIV/AIDS [4].

HIV denial has taken root in the general population and has shown its potential to frustrate public education efforts and adversely affect public funding for AIDS research and prevention programs. For example, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) was for many years on the front lines of AIDS education and activism. But now a San Francisco chapter of the group has joined the denialist movement, stating on its Web site that “HIV does not cause AIDS… HIV antibody tests are flawed and dangerous…AIDS drugs are poison” (http://www.actupsf.com/aids/index.htm). In 2000 the chapter wrote letters to every member of Congress asking them to stop funding research into HIV [5]. ACT UP San Francisco’s position has been condemned by other ACT UP chapters, such as ACT UP Philadelphia and ACT UP East Bay (http://www.actupny.org/indexfolder/actupgg.html). Rock stars have weighed in on the topic. Members of the group “The Foo Fighters” provided music for a soundtrack of the recent documentary, “The Other Side of AIDS” (http://www.theothersideofaids.com/), which questions whether HIV is the cause of AIDS. The band has spread its message that HIV does not cause AIDS at concerts [6], and it lists the HIV denial group “Alive and Well” as a worthy cause on its Web site (http://www.foofighters.com/community_cause.html).

As these challenges to mainstream theories have largely occurred outside of the scientific literature, many physicians and researchers have had the luxury of ignoring them as fringe beliefs and therefore inconsequential. Indeed, the Internet has served as a fertile and un-refereed medium to spread these denialist beliefs. The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis (“Reappraising AIDS”) noted, “Thanks to the ascendance of the internet, we are now able to reinvigorate our informational campaign” [7]. The Internet is an effective tool for targeting young people, and for spreading misinformation within a group at high risk for HIV infection.

Two excellent online fact sheets have been prepared to counter many of the most commonly used arguments to deny HIV causation of AIDS [8,9]; as such, we will not discuss these in this article. Instead, we will review the current intellectual strategies used by the HIV denial movement. Although other forms of science denial will not be specifically discussed, the characteristics described below apply to many other forms of popular denial, including denial of evolution, mental illness, and the Holocaust.

Three Prominent Deniers and Denial Groups

One of the prominent HIV denial groups currently is Christine Maggiore’s “Alive and Well” (formerly “HEAL,” Health Education AIDS Liaison) (http://www.aliveandwell.org/). Maggiore’s life story is at the center of this group. Diagnosed with HIV in 1992, Maggiore claims she has since been symptom-free for the past 14 years without the use of antiretroviral drugs, including protease inhibitors [10]. She has risen to prominence, and been embroiled in controversy, in recent years after giving birth to and openly breast-feeding her two children, Charles and Eliza Jane. She had neither child tested for HIV, and did not take antiretroviral medication during her pregnancy or subsequent breast-feeding [11]. Eliza Jane died in September 2005 of HIV-related pneumonia [12], though Maggiore remains unconvinced that HIV had any role in her daughter’s death [13], and continues to preach her message to other HIV-positive mothers.

Peter Duesberg initiated the HIV denial movement with a 1987 article suggesting that HIV does not cause AIDS [14]. While he is no longer on the front lines of this movement, the arguments put forth by others trace back to his publications.

Celia Farber is a journalist who has spent much of her career covering HIV. Farber is the author of a recent Harper’s article repeating Duesberg’s claims that HIV does not cause AIDS [15], and has recently authored a book on “the shadowy story of AIDS science” [16].

There are serious inconsistencies within the broad HIV denial movement, and the individuals mentioned above are only the tip of the iceberg. HIV denial groups diverge even on the most basic tenet: does HIV exist at all? Nevertheless, disagreements within the movement are overlooked for the sake of presenting a unified front.
Conspiracy Theories and Selective Distrust of Scientific Authority

That HIV is the primary cause of AIDS is the strongly held consensus opinion of the scientific community, based upon over two decades of robust research. Deniers must therefore reject this consensus, either by denigrating the notion of scientific authority in general, or by arguing that the mainstream HIV community is intellectually compromised. It is therefore not surprising that much of the newer denial literature reflects a basic distrust of authority and of the institutions of science and medicine. In her book, Christine Maggiore thanks her father Robert, “who taught me to question authority and stand up for what’s right” [10]. Similarly, mathematical modeler Dr. Rebecca Culshaw, another HIV denier, states: “As someone who has been raised by parents who taught me from a young age never to believe anything just because ‘everyone else accepts it to be true,’ I can no longer just sit by and do nothing, thereby contributing to this craziness” [17].

Distrusting mainstream medical practitioners, many HIV deniers turn to “alternative” medicine in search of treatment. One such practitioner, Dr. Mohammed Al-Bayati, suggests that “toxins” and drug use, rather than HIV, cause AIDS [18]. Dr Al-Bayati personally profits from his HIV denialism: for $100 per hour, Al-Bayati will consult “on health issues related to AIDS, adverse reactions to vaccines and medications, exposure to chemicals in the home, environment or workplace” (http://www.toxi-health.com/). Similarly, German vitamin supplier and HIV denier Matthias Rath not only pushed his vitamins as a treatment for AIDS [19], but his spokesman refused to be interviewed by Nature Medicine about the case because he claimed the journal is “funded to the hilt with drug money” [20].

Deniers argue that because scientists receive grant money, fame, and prestige as a result of their research, it is in their best interest to maintain the status quo [15]. This type of thinking is convenient for deniers as it allows them to choose which authorities to believe and which ones to dismiss as part of a grand conspiracy. In addition to being selective, their logic is also internally inconsistent. For example, they dismiss studies that support the HIV hypothesis as being biased by “drug money,” while they accept uncritically the testimony of HIV deniers who have a heavy financial stake in their alternative treatment modalities.
Portraying Science as Faith and Consensus as Dogma

Since the ideas proposed by deniers do not meet rigorous scientific standards, they cannot hope to compete against the mainstream theories. They cannot raise the level of their beliefs up to the standards of mainstream science; therefore they attempt to lower the status of the denied science down to the level of religious faith, characterizing scientific consensus as scientific dogma [21]. As one HIV denier quoted in Maggiore’s book [10] remarked,
“There is classical science, the way it’s supposed to work, and then there’s religion. I regained my sanity when I realized that AIDS science was a religious discourse. The one thing I will go to my grave not understanding is why everyone was so quick to accept everything the government said as truth. Especially the central myth: the cause of AIDS is known.”

Others suggest that the entire spectrum of modern medicine is a religion [22].

Deniers also paint themselves as skeptics working to break down a misguided and deeply rooted belief. They argue that when mainstream scientists speak out against the scientific “orthodoxy,” they are persecuted and dismissed. For example, HIV deniers make much of the demise of Peter Duesberg’s career, claiming that when he began speaking out against HIV as the cause of AIDS, he was “ignored and discredited” because of his dissidence [23]. South African President Mbeki went even further, stating: “In an earlier period in human history, these [dissidents] would be heretics that would be burnt at the stake!” [1].

HIV deniers accuse scientists of quashing dissent regarding the cause of AIDS, and not allowing so-called “alternative” theories to be heard. However, this claim could be applied to any well-established scientific theory that is being challenged by politically motivated pseudoscientific notions—for example, creationist challenges to evolution. Further, as HIV denial can plausibly reduce compliance with safe sex practices and anti-HIV drugs, potentially costing lives, this motivates the scientific and health care communities to exclude HIV denial from any public forum. (As one editorial has bluntly phrased it, HIV denial is “deadly quackery”) [24]. Because HIV denial is not scientifically legitimate, such exclusion is justified, but it further fuels the deniers’ claims of oppression.
Expert Opinion and the Promise of Forthcoming Scientific Acceptance

Although the HIV deniers condemn scientific authority and consensus, they have nevertheless worked to assemble their own lists of scientists and other professionals who support their ideas. As a result, the deniers claim that they are just on the cusp of broader acceptance in the scientific community and that they remain an underdog due to the “established orthodoxy” represented by scientists who believe that HIV causes AIDS.

In an effort to support its claim that an increasing number of scientists do not believe that HIV causes AIDS, Reappraising AIDS has published a list of signatories agreeing to the following statement:

“It is widely believed by the general public that a retrovirus called HIV causes the group [of] diseases called AIDS. Many biochemical scientists now question this hypothesis. We propose that a thorough reappraisal of the existing evidence for and against this hypothesis be conducted by a suitable independent group. We further propose that critical epidemiological studies be devised and undertaken” [25].

These signatories do not, however, suggest who the “suitable independent” group should be, since, presumably, many scientists have already been “indoctrinated” into believing that HIV causes AIDS. (Indeed, many of the signatories to this statement lack any qualifications in virology, epidemiology, or even basic biology.) They also ignore thousands of epidemiological studies that have already been published in the scientific literature. And the signatories fail to provide a convincing case that there is widespread acceptance in the scientific community for their marginal position.

Nevertheless, Farber wrote in a 1992 article that “more and more scientists are beginning to question the hypothesis that HIV single-handedly creates the chaos in the immune system that leads to AIDS” [26]. Similarly, a March 2006 article appearing on the AIDS denial Web site “New AIDS Review” claims that, in reference to the theory that HIV causes AIDS: “…the fabric of this theoretical mantle is threadbare to the point of disintegration” [27]. Mainstream scientists, of course, do not believe in the imminent demise of the HIV theory; instead they continue to produce novel research on preventing and treating HIV and publish thousands of papers every year on the topic.

Further, deniers exploit the sense of fair play present in most scientists, and also in the general public, especially in open and democratic societies. Calling for a fair discussion of dissenting views, independent analysis of evidence, and openness to alternatives is likely to garner support, regardless of the context. But it is misleading for the HIV denial movement to suggest that there is any real doubt about the cause of AIDS.
Pushing Back the Goalpost

Of all the characteristics of deniers, repeatedly nudging back the goalpost—or the threshold of evidence required for acceptance of a theory—is often the most telling. The strategy behind goalpost-moving is simple: always demand more evidence than can currently be provided. If the evidence is then provided at a later date, simply change the demand to require even more evidence, or refuse to accept the kind of evidence that is being offered.

In the 1980s, HIV deniers argued that drug therapy for AIDS was ineffective, did not significantly prolong survival, and in fact was toxic and damaged the immune system [28]. However, after the introduction of a cocktail of newer and more effective agents in the 1990s, survival rates did impressively increase [29]. HIV deniers no longer accept this criterion as evidence for drug effectiveness, and therefore the HIV theory of AIDS. Even stacks of papers and books published on the subject are not enough. Christine Maggiore writes in her book, “Since 1984, more than 100,000 papers have been published on HIV. None of these papers, singly or collectively, has been able to reasonably demonstrate or effectively prove that HIV can cause AIDS” [10].

HIV deniers also arbitrarily reject categories of evidence, even though they are generally accepted across scientific disciplines. For example, they deny inferential evidence that HIV causes AIDS, including data examining the closely related simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) in genomic and animal studies [30]. Likewise they reject correlation as insufficient to establish causation [28]. However, multiple independent correlations pointing to the same causation—in this case that HIV causes AIDS—is a legitimate and generally accepted form of epidemiological evidence used to establish causation. The same type of evidence, for example, has been used to establish that smoking causes certain types of lung cancer.
What Are Their Alternatives?

After so much criticism levied upon the prevailing theories by deniers, one might think they would have something to offer to replace HIV as the cause of AIDS. However, the alternatives they offer are much more speculative than the mainstream theories they decry as lacking evidence. Further, their arguments amount to little more than another logical fallacy, the false dichotomy: they assume that overturning the prevailing theory will prove their theory correct, by default.

Interestingly, alternative hypotheses for AIDS causation depend on where the patient lives. In Africa, HIV deniers attribute AIDS to a combination of malnutrition and poor sanitation, i.e., they believe that AIDS is simply a relabeling of old diseases. In America and other wealthy countries, they claim AIDS is caused by drug use and promiscuity. Duesberg has long been an advocate of the idea that the use of “poppers,” or amyl nitrate, is a cause of AIDS in the gay community [31]. With the identification of AIDS in individuals who have never used poppers, this hypothesis has been widened by HIV deniers to implicate a number of recreational drugs (cocaine, crack, heroin, methamphetamines) as well as prescription drugs such as antibiotics and steroids in the etiology of AIDS. HIV deniers have criticized the idea that immunosuppression due to infection with HIV could result in all of the different infections that characterize AIDS, and yet they support the idea that poppers or other drugs—including many that have not been shown to cause severe immune deficiencies—could cause AIDS. In the past decade, the very drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS have come under fire by HIV deniers, who have suggested that the medicines themselves are a cause of AIDS (http://www.aliveandwell.org/) .
Conclusion

Because these denialist assertions are made in books and on the Internet rather than in the scientific literature, many scientists are either unaware of the existence of organized denial groups, or believe they can safely ignore them as the discredited fringe. And indeed, most of the HIV deniers’ arguments were answered long ago by scientists. However, many members of the general public do not have the scientific background to critique the assertions put forth by these groups, and not only accept them but continue to propagate them. A recent editorial in Nature Medicine [32] stresses the need to counteract AIDS misinformation spread by the deniers.

While the descriptions of HIV denialism above refer to relatively organized campaigns, there are other less orchestrated examples of such denialism. A recent study, for example, showed that a large percentage of African Americans are suspicious of mainstream AIDS theories due to a general distrust of government authorities [33]. Arguments by denial groups may have played a role in the formation of their opinion. Indeed, the effect of denial groups on public perception of HIV infection is an area ripe for careful research, as this denial can have lethal consequences. In the recent study, stronger conspiracy beliefs were significantly associated with more negative attitudes towards using condoms and with inconsistent condom use, independent of selected sociodemographic characteristics, partner variables, sexually transmitted disease history, perceived risk, and psychosocial factors [33].

How much of this lingering denial is the fault of scientists and the media for originally proclaiming AIDS a universal “death sentence”? Even though this idea may no longer appear in the scientific literature, it remains a public perception of the disease. It is difficult to strike the correct balance between providing information conveying on one hand the severity of the disease, and on the other optimism about treatment and advances in understanding HIV pathogenesis (including research about individuals who may indeed be somewhat resistant to the virus). Oversimplifying AIDS science to the public lends itself to exploitation by AIDS deniers who remain “alive and well” years after diagnosis with HIV. Yet these concerns must be balanced with the desire to convey the proper gravity of the situation and motivate those who are known to be HIV positive to seek treatment: a difficult line to walk.

This balancing act, in fact, deserves increasing attention from medical scientists in the age of the Internet and a broadening gap between the practice of science and public understanding of science. Successful public health education requires the presentation of a clear and simple message supported by a solid consensus of the medical community. Yet the reality behind the scenes is often quite different. Every medical field has its legitimate controversies and complexities, and the process of science is often messy. Denial groups exploit the gap between public education and scientific reality.

Further, countering the misinformation of HIV deniers needs to be conducted in the broader societal context of countering anti-science and pseudoscience. The strategies of HIV deniers, like many other denialist movements, seek to undermine the very philosophy of science itself, to distort public understanding of the scientific process, and to sow distrust of scientific institutions. Unscientific alternative medical modalities have made significant inroads into the institutions of health care through political means, despite a continued lack of scientific legitimacy: vaccines are characterized as dangerous instead of life-saving; psychiatry is mocked by celebrities and others in the public eye. Meanwhile, many leaders in science and business are concerned that the United States is losing its edge as a scientific powerhouse.

There remains a deep problem of overall scientific illiteracy in this country and others, creating fertile soil for those who wish to spread scientific misinformation [34]. The scientific community must collectively defend and promote the role of science in society, and combat the growing problem of scientific illiteracy. We must all strive to do our part to make science accessible to the general public, and to explain the process by which scientific evidence is gathered, analyzed, and eventually accepted, and academic institutions should provide greater incentive for their researchers to expend the time and effort to do so. A solid understanding of the scientific method may not eliminate science denial, but it may act as a buffer against the further spread of such denialist beliefs.
Example of a typical slogan from an HIV denialist group
References

1. Sidley P (2000) Mbeki appoints team to look at cause of AIDS. BMJ 320: 1291. Find this article online
2. Mbeki T (1999) Address to the National Council of Provinces, Cape Town. Available: http://www.dfa.gov.za/docs/speeches/1999/mbek1028.htm. Accessed 16 July 2007.
3. Cherry M (2000) Mbeki agrees to step back from AIDS debate. Nature 407: 822. Find this article online
4. Sidley P (2001) Mbeki plays down AIDS and orders a rethink on spending. BMJ 323: 650. Find this article online
5. Wohlfeiler D, Lew S, Wilson H (2000) Enough of ACT UP S.F. acting out. San Francisco Chronicle. Available: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/09/21/ED83985.DTL. Accessed 16 July 2007.
6. Talvi S (2000) Foo Fighters, HIV deniers. Mother Jones. Available: http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2000/02/foo.html. Accessed 16 July 2007.
7. Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV-AIDS Hypothesis Available: http://www.virusmyth.net/aids/reappraising. Accessed 14 November 2006.
8. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (2003) The evidence that HIV causes AIDS. Available: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/evidhiv.htm. Accessed 17 July 2007.
9. AIDS Truth (2007) Debunking AIDS denialist myths. Available: http://www.aidstruth.org/debunking-denialist-myths.php. Accessed 17 July 2007.
10. Maggiore C (1997) What if everything you thought you knew about AIDS was wrong? Studio City (CA): Health Education AIDS Liaison. 126 p.
11. Gerhard S (2001) HIV-positive women birthing outside the system. Mothering Magazine. Available: http://www.healtoronto.com/mothering1001a.html. Accessed 17 July 2007.
12. Ribe J (2005) Autopsy report of Eliza Jane Scovill. Available: http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/comment/maggiorecoroner.pdf. Accessed 17 July 2007.
13. ABC News (2005) Did HIV-positive mom’s beliefs put her children at risk? Available: http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/print?id=1386737. Accessed 17 July 2007.
14. Duesberg P (1987) Retroviruses as carcinogens and pathogens: Expectations and reality. Cancer Research 47: 1199–1220. Find this article online
15. Farber C (2006) Out of control: AIDS and the corruption of medical science. Harper’s Magazine. Available: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2006/03/0080961. Accessed 17 July 2007.
16. Farber C (2006) Serious adverse events: An uncensored history of AIDS Hoboken (NJ): Melville House. 345 p.
17. Culshaw R (2006) Why I quit HIV. Available: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig7/culshaw1.html. Accessed 17 July 2007.
18. Al-Bayati M (1999) Get all the facts: HIV does not cause AIDS Dixon (CA): Toxi-Health International. 200 p.
19. Dr. Rath Health Foundation (2005) The end of the AIDS epidemic is in sight!. Available: http://www4.dr-rath-foundation.org/THE_FOUNDATION/press_release20050615.htm. Accessed 17 July 2007.
20. Watson J (2006) Scientists, activists sue South Africa’s AIDS ‘denialists’ Nat Med 12: 6. Find this article online
21. Wright M (2000) The contradictions and paradoxes of AIDS orthodoxy. Available: http://www.virusmyth.net/aids/data/mwparadox.htm. Accessed 17 July 2007.
22. Clerc O (2001) Modern medicine: A neo-Christian religion. The hidden influence of beliefs and fears. Continuum Magazine. Available: http://www.virusmyth.net/aids/continuum/article3.htm. Accessed 17 July 2007.
23. Duesberg P (1995) Infectious AIDS: Have we been misled? Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.
24. Moore J, Nattrass N (2006) Deadly quackery. The New York Times. Available: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/04/opinion/04moore.html. Accessed 17 July 2007.
25. [No authors listed] (1993) List of scientists skeptical of HIV causation of AIDS. Available: http://www.virusmyth.net/aids/group.htm. Accessed 17 July 2007.
26. Farber C (1992) Fatal distraction. Spin Magazine. Available: http://www.virusmyth.net/aids/data/cffatal.htm. Accessed 17 July 2007.
27. [No authors listed] (2006) Harpers astonishes the world with the extent of AIDS skulduggery. Available: http://www.paradigmoverthrow.com/blog/harpers-astonishes-the-world-with-the-extent-of-aids-skulduggery.htm. Accessed 17 July 2007.
28. Duesberg P (1989) Human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome: Correlation but not causation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 86: 755–764. Find this article online
29. Holtgrave D (2005) Causes of the decline in AIDS deaths, United States, 1995–2002: prevention, treatment or both? Int J STD AIDS 16: 777–781. Find this article online
30. Harrison-Chirimuuta R (1997) Is AIDS African? Available: http://www.virusmyth.net/aids/data/rcdisson.htm. Accessed 17 July 2007.
31. Duesberg P (1992) AIDS acquired by drug consumption and other noncontagious risk factors. Pharmacol Ther 55: 201–277. Find this article online
32. [No authors listed] (2006) Denying science. Nat Med 12: 369. Find this article online
33. Bogart L, Thorburn S (2005) Are HIV/AIDS conspiracy beliefs a barrier to HIV prevention among African Americans? J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 38: 213–218. Find this article online
34. National Science Board (2004) Science and technology: Public attitudes and understanding. Available: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind04/c7/c7s2.htm. Accessed 17 July 2007.

All journal content, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

37 Responses to “‘Denialists’ Deplored”

  1. patrick moore Says:

    Tara once famously sarted a thread titled “the boredom of debating denialists”. Firstly I would like to say that she doesnt “debate”; debating is beneath her it seems judging by this piece which offers nothing but character qualifiers. Her favorite “argument” being the danger the denialists pose to humain brains and health worldwide. Tara does not believe that people are qualified to make personal health decisions on their own and should defer to her and JP Moore’s et al.’s “fact sheets” (to her and some, HIV destroys T cells and that is a “fact” while to other HIV scientists it is merely a theory; an elusive mechanism yet to be observed much less understood). If Tara even remotely had a point and that the HIV/AIDS theory is compelling and beyond a doubt then surely she would argue from a position of knowledge and restraint but seeing the state of affairs in the politics of AIDS then it is little wonder that she has very little else to go by other than resorting to gratuitous ad hominem attacks )which most in this debate are guilty of btw). Tara doesn’t “debate”; she’s a humanoid ape that likes to sling feces from the heights of her own cage.

  2. Truthseeker Says:

    from the heights of her own cage.

    Oh dear, mudslinging at the mudslinger – well, possibly appropriate enough, since the NAR Impolitesse software has allowed it. But why “heights”? Tara is surely a mere foot soldier in the paradigm defense team, and her cage not very high up.

    ((Let’s say, however, if you will forgive us, that this site tries to maintain conventional standards of gentlemanly conduct and we hope that commentators will restrain their understandable outrage at the low intellectual standards of Ms Smith’s public utterances and not indulge too often in graphic outbursts picturing fine wholesome and fetching young ladies as caged apes, but rather, make excellent points against her performance as a commentator on the seriously dangerous (as in life threatening if not sorted out) HIV∫AIDS dispute, as the bulk of the post above demonstrates very well. – Ed.))

  3. Respectful Insolence Says:

    Essential reading on HIV/AIDS denialism…

    Fellow SB’er Tara Smith, and academic neurologist Steve Novella have written an essential primer on the dangerous pseudoscience and quackery that is HIV/AIDS denialism. It’s published in PLoS and is entitled HIV Denial in the Internet Era. It makes a…

    ((This poster is directing us towards a respectfully insolent post on this topic at the blog of one “Orac”, well named “Respectful Insolence”, which is at this url, which he failed to include successfully in his comment: Essential reading on HIV/AIDS denialism, in which the “humble pseudonymous surgeon/scientist with an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent’s posterior about his miscellaneous verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few will” (a modest self-description we rather like) praises the text referred to in the post, HIV Denial in the Internet Era as exemplary, and excoriates our post above as lacking substance in its repudiation of this reading as essential drivel, non scientific and subject to the same strictures it tries to use against HIV∫AIDS dissent. In other words, in typical shoot from the hip, fellow ‘scibling ‘ (Scienceblogs) blogger fashion Orac fails to read the post properly, since as we noted we would deal with its actual points when we returned to it, having better things to occupy us in the meantime. The resulting low level of this kind of exchange on the Net (bloggers who don’t read or research their posts well before writing them, bloggers who are wet behind the ears and have no idea what is really going on in the politics of science itself, bloggers who assume false modesty without exhibiting real and suitable humility, is the despair of all those who wish science well and like to see writing which shows the blogger understands how politics distorts it, instead of acting as the yapping lapdogs of those peddling false ideas successfully to the ignorant policy makers, officials, science reporters and health workers and assuring them that ‘overwhelming evidence’ backs the ruling paradigm, but please don’t read the literature, let us interpret it for you, in the secure knowledge that bloggers such as Orac will never read it well enough to detect what is up. But who is to say this is not inevitable in a world where those in the know are unlikely to waste their time writing blogs when they could be making real money? – Ed.))

  4. Truthseeker Says:

    PS. Contrary to a bleating lamb in Orac’s Comments section, named Viggen, the above comment was not overwritten in any way by the Ed. note. (“Orac, did you see that they over-wrote most of your comment at the Science Guardian? Remarkable and childish character slaughter on the part of the denialists.”)

    The comment is interesting, though, as an exhibit of how inaccurate and how prejudiced readers on blog comments tend to be. With the sterling exception of those on this exceptional blog, of course, whose distinguished minds contribute a great deal to the better understanding of paradigm science that we seek.

  5. MacDonald Says:

    PS. Contrary to a bleating lamb in Orac’s Comments section, named Viggen, the above comment was not overwritten in any way by the Ed. note.

    Well there’s no accounting for taste – which is just as well since it allows geeks like the NAR readers to insert our useless genes in coming generations of increasingly decadent humankind.

    this site tries to maintain conventional standards of gentlemanly conduct and we hope that commentators will restrain their understandable outrage at the low intellectual standards of Ms Smith’s public utterances and not indulge too often in graphic outbursts picturing fine wholesome and fetching young ladies as caged apes

    How does the host cell picture the fetching young ladies then? One suspects that it’s the reference to faeces slinging that produces unpleasant ripples in his tranquil daydreamings anent the comeliness of swimsuits vs. low-necked T-shirts (substitute for evening gown one deduces from the party pic. prominently featured and commented upon above) in the sublimated beauty pageant that is the scientific blogosphere to every true English-style gentleman these, in all probability last, days

  6. yello Says:

    Looks like it’s not just Orac’s.The grand don of the SB has touted the arcticle.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/08/denialists_exposed.php

  7. Truthseeker Says:

    PS. Contrary to a bleating lamb in Orac’s Comments section, named Viggen, the above comment was not overwritten in any way by the Ed. note.

    Well there’s no accounting for taste – which is just as well since it allows geeks like the NAR readers to insert our useless genes in coming generations of increasingly decadent humankind.

    Does this make any sense at all? We ask merely for information.

  8. MacDonald Says:

    Haha, Yello, that’s right. Seems Pharyngula wants a piece of the denialist action on their censored blog… Have they really been beaten so badly in the open forums they now need a new exclusive play pen?

    Have you noticed how the level of discussion immediately “soars” when the “unscientific denialists” aren’t contributing? I especially like how much they got out of “denialists portray science as faith”. I don’t think that is part of a single denialist argument ever published. Quite the contrary. But of course strawmen are often the most fun to shoot at.

    But these self-important words from Tara, whose substandard profile in the picture above notwithstanding unfathomably is still deemed worthy by our host of having her physiognomy commented upon – as I said, there is no accounting for taste – also ranks high among my all-time favourites:

    Well, the manuscript actually started discussing parallels between HIV and evolution denial…we still hope to publish that somewhere, but we need to rework it now that this part has been published

    She actually refers to this shite as if it were scientific or literary pieces that need rework for “publishing”. Man, how much reworking on how many draft versions of the manuscripts does it take, even for a faeces slinging macaque, to crib a few paragraphs from AIDStruth.orgy?

  9. MacDonald Says:

    mmm… to direct attention to a much more fascinating topic, that superior print journalism standard sentence construction in third paragraph from bottom might benefit from insertion of a comma between “notwithstanding” and “unfathomably”, and the deletion of th word “is” between “unfathomably” and “still”.

    This correction made for fear of more “does this make any sense?” comments from the host when speaking euphemistically of things relating to the union of the sexes and the propagation of the species occasionally resulting once fear of the little retro-fellow is overcome to such a degree that the Berlin Latex Wall separating the two halves of Plato’s orginal whole has been torn down in reckless, death defying abandon.

  10. Truthseeker Says:

    This correction made for fear of more “does this make any sense?” comments from the host when speaking euphemistically of things relating to the union of the sexes

    The two paras quoted – the Truth para and the Mac para – have absolutely no connection of any kind visible to man or ape, so we assume that Mac has flouted this all important principle (when quoting A, the B following refers to A). We are forced to assume that the penalty of being forced for even a second to contemplate the drivel that is the topic of this largely redundant post, whose only point is to instruct newcomers, has driven Mac to drink, drugs or both.

    That we understand. We are not sure that we ourselves have the intestinal fortitude to inspect the other example quoted.

  11. hhbauer Says:

    I’m so glad that you intend to make a proper commentary on the Tara-Smith-Steven-Novella piece. I trust you will keep in mind the PLoSMedicine “Criteria for Publication” which include
    –Rigorous methodology with conclusions justified by the evidence presented
    –Adherence to the highest ethical standards

    Smith’s credentials are in microbiology and epidemiology, Novella’s in neurology. Their article, however, does not deal with topics in those fields; it deals with questions of public understanding of science, popularization of science, role of consensus within science, role of dissenting views in science, and the like, whose discussion calls for at least elementary familiarity with standard knowledge within history, sociology, and philosophy of science and the like. Already their first sentence shows that they are sadly ignorant of those matters; in Science Studies 101, one quickly learns from the histories of science and medicine that consensus in science is a temporary matter, the open question being merely, how long before these views have to be modified or altogether replaced?
    Smith and Novella are far from alone, of course, as science PhD’s and MD’s who feel competent to pontificate about philosophy of science, public policy relating to medicine, and so forth. That they are not alone makes their piece no more worthy of attention, however. They have clearly trangressed the PLoSMedicine criterion of “Rigorous methodology with conclusions justified by the evidence presented” since their piece shows no evidence that they understand the methods and background knowledge of the pertinent disciplines.
    As to “Adherence to the highest ethical standards”, one might expect rather careful checking of information, and the piece is sadly delinquent in that respect as well. Let me mention just the reference to Christine Maggiore, which does not accurately describe her condition–series of positive, negative, and inconclusive tests–and accepts as fact the allegation about Eliza Jane that was not part of the initial autopsy and that was made later by a coroner whose trustworthiness has been called into question in a number of earlier cases. Historians of science and sociologists of science take it for granted that people to be written about are interviewed, if they are still alive, since that alerts immediately as to claims that might be seriously disputed or inadequately supported by evidence. Yet Smith and Novella feel free to ascribe to denialists actions and motives that have no basis in fact, for example, “disagreements within the movement are overlooked for the sake of presenting a unified front”.

    It would take something longer than the original article to point out all its deficiencies.

  12. Truthseeker Says:

    Henry thank you for that. Yes, we are half way through a deconstruction of this exhibition of ignorance as to what good science is all about, and what good science has produced in the case of HIV∫AIDS review, and we were flagging. since prolonged exposure to stupidity paraded in confident supposition that it is enlightenment wears out the Spirit of Illumination by starving her of all reason to continue, except perhaps in the cause of saving newcomers from the temporary impression that this tract might be deserved condemnation of rascally “deniers” peddling pseudoscience and flouting the high standards of Smith-Novella, an impression which is not likely to survive much beyond the third paragraph in the mind of any intelligent reader, even if uninformed, but is apparently precisely the conclusion of her fellow ‘Sciblings’ at SEED’s Scienceblogs, her fellow beer drinkers in New York City last weekend.

    So even though the task is utterly redundant here, where the participants are uniformly intelligent and well aware what is science and what is not, and do not need to be instructed on the blindness of others to these principles, we press on, in growing horror at the standard of education which produces such philosophical inanities in otherwise smart young people. After all, Yale used to be a good college, although as Serge Lang showed it had its limitations when it came to teaching its students how to think about official pronouncements. Unfortunately, Novella seems to be an example of what he was talking about.

    But then, as we found when we visited Yale for Lang’s memorial day where his fellow mathematicians spoke, none of them had sufficient awareness of and respect for the extremely high standards of accuracy he aimed for in public debate. They all assumed he was wrong about HIV=AIDS, when in fact he made the errors in the paradigm and its data clearer than anybody, if only they would have bothered to read what he wrote.

    The question as always is why. Why do institutions, and minds in institutions, close, even when its an admired and familiar colleague who presents a novelty which flouts shared assumptions? Surely because to an institution, or its members, it seems as if you are sawing off the very branch of the tree of knowledge that they are sitting on.

    In a way, institutions are social trees, and their branches are their shared assumptions, however unexamined they might be. Lang was, as he used to joke, not as President Johnson described J. Edgar Hoover, “inside pissing out, which is better than having him outside pissing in”, but “inside pissing in”.

  13. drpsduke Says:

    http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2007/06/introduction_to_hiv_and_hiv_de.php#c542652

    To:
    Robert C. Gallo, MD August 22, 2007
    Director and Professor
    Institute of Human Virology
    University of Maryland
    School of Medicine
    725 W. Lombard Street
    Suite S307

    Dear Bob,

    The subject of “HIV/AIDS” is very controversial and complex, but it is an issue of extreme importance from social, economic, scientific, medical, political, cultural, and many other perspectives. The very welfare of entire nations depends on getting at the truth regarding all aspects of AIDS science and medicine, as well as correcting perceptions regarding the history of AIDS science and medicine that may be incorrect. It has always been, and will continue to be my aim to present the truth, regardless of my harsh criticisms of AIDS science and AIDS medical policies, which I agree, are not at issue here, and which we have agreed not to discuss at this time.

    Therefore, after our several discussions, and a review of all the material you sent to me in recent weeks, you have made me aware that the information regarding specific details regarding the initial collaboration between your group and Montagnier’s group has been factually in error.

    Therefore, the following information and any reference I have made about it:

    1. The legal records from the patent dispute, before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences, Montagnier et al. v. Gallo et al., Interference No. 101, 574;

    2. The documentary record from the Office of Scientific Integrity investigation into the Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology at the National Cancer Institute;

    3. The documentary record from the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Committee on Energy and Commerce, chaired by the Honorable John Dingell (D-Mich);

    4. The investigation by the U.S. Attorney for District of Maryland into the case, where she wrote:

    “..we recognize that this case transcends the normal type of criminal case in that the conduct of these two scientists [Gallo and Popovic] reflects upon the integrity of the scientific process, the National Cancer Institute, and indeed the conduct of the government as a whole.” (Battaglia Letter, dated 1/10/94).

    5. The articles in Science: (Culliton, Inside the Gallo Probe, Science. 1990 Jun
    22;248(4962):1494-8); (Hamilton, What next in the Gallo case, Science 1991 Nov
    15;254(5034):944-5);

    6. The numerous articles by John Crewdson in the Chicago Tribune on this issue (“Researchers Dismiss an AIDS Virus Discovery,” Crewdson 2/18/88; “Rival Scientists Question Research on AIDS Lesions,” Crewdson 6/9/94; “U.S. Inquiry Discredits Gallo on AIDS Patent,” Crewdson 6/19/94; “U.S. May Yield on AIDS Royalties,” Crewdson 6/26/94,) that claimed such things as:

    (From John Crewdson: Gallo Case, Truth Termed A Casualty Report: Science Subverted in AIDS Dispute; Chicago Tribune (CT) – SUNDAY, January 1, 1992 from the Dingell Report):

    “The violence to principles of responsible, ethical science was just as profound. At a crucial point early in the (Gallo laboratory’s) HIV research, international politics and the technocrats committed to those politics virtually took over that research, claiming the laboratory’s putative accomplishments as accomplishments of the United States administration and by extension, the United States itself.”

    “Once done, the (Gallo laboratory’s) interests became the government’s interests; defending the (Gallo laboratory) scientists’ reputations and claimed accomplishments became necessary for defending the honor of the United States. The defense thus became a consuming effort for significant portions of the U.S. government.”

    “The result was a costly, prolonged defense of the indefensible in which the (Gallo laboratory’s) “science” became an integral element of the U.S. government’s public relations/advocacy efforts. The consequences for HIV research were severely damaging, leading, in part, to a corpus of scientific papers polluted with systematic exaggerations and outright falsehoods of unprecedented proportions.”

    7. The book by John Crewdson, entitled “Science Fictions” (Littler Brown, 2002);

    8. The numerous articles in the New York Times (“American Co-Discoverer of H.I.V. is Investigated Anew,” Hilts 3/2/92; “Federal Inquiry Finds Misconduct by a Discoverer of the AIDS Virus,” Hilts 12/31/92; “Science and Law Clash Over Fraud-Case Appeals,” Hilts 11/8/93; “Key Patent on AIDS to Favor French,” Hilts 7/12/94).

    needs to be revised to reflect the information provided in the documents you provided to me, including:

    1. The final HHS Office of Research Integrity ruling which began with the statement “After all the sound and fury…[there was no wrong doing on the part of Gallo, or his collaborators];”

    2. Dingell’s own disavowal to the wild report of one non-scientist;

    3. The New England Journal of Medicine on the history of the finding written jointly by Gallo and Montagnier;
    Gallo RC., Montagnier LM. The discovery of HIV as the cause of AIDS. NEJM Vol. 349:2283-2285, December 2003;

    4. Evidence that Gallo’s group had obtained 48 bona-fide isolates of bona-fide AIDS patients that exhibited the molecular signature they believed was “HIV” (as opposed to only the several isolates from ill-defined or ARC patients (with pre-AIDS) as was characterized by the Pasteur group using primary cultures in their 1983 paper.

    5. The book, “Dissecting A Discovery, by Nikolas Kotaratos, 2006.

    In addition, I feel that it is important for me to state, and for all to be made aware of the fact that you told me directly on the phone that you shepherded through the 1983 paper of Montagnier’s group after it was rejected. This single fact, more than any documentation, signifies to me, and should signify to any other scientist or lab director who reviews and publishes the work of others, that you only could have acted in a way in the collaboration with the Montagnier group, that would have been consistent with a sincere and open exchange of scientific information and hypotheses.

    For these reasons, please accept my regret that I have passed along incomplete and incorrect information regarding your collaboration with the French group, and here I correct this inaccuracy.

    It my belief that many of the harsh and bitter controversies regarding the science, politics, financial interests, and medical policies associated with the entire issue and history of acquired immune deficiency might have been avoided if the openness that characterized your collaboration with the Montagnier group had been known, and had been made widely available, discussed, openly debated, and absorbed by the scientific community two decades ago.

    Sincerely,

    Andrew Maniotis, Ph.D.
    Program Director in the Cell and Developmental Biology of Cancer
    Department of Pathology, and Bioengineering
    College of Medicine Research Building
    909 South Wolcott Ave.,
    University of Illinois at Chicago
    Chicago, IL 60607
    Email: amanioti@uic.edu

    Posted by: Andrew Maniotis | August 23, 2007 04:36 PM

  14. Truthseeker Says:

    Andrew Maniotis is responding to a threat of a lawsuit by Bob Gallo by acknowledging the material Gallo has sent him to supposedly vindicate his reputation against the information Maniotis was using as references, which accounts for the somewhat vague nature of this document, since it is probably not clear what Gallo wants to deny exactly.

    We don’t have any inside knowledge yet as to the specifics of the case, but it doesn’t seem to affect the issue of the scientific problems with the paradigm that Gallo is responsible for.

  15. MacDonald Says:

    Very perceptive of you, Mr. blog host – although, to be fair, Drpsduke has managed to produce something slightly more suggestive than the genetic sequence of his grandmother’s Persian rug this time. I absolutely expect it is the lone swallow that doesn’t make a summer, as they say in the Northeast.

  16. Hank Says:

    Hi there,

    We’re a popular online science 2.0 community ( quantcast rating: http://www.quantcast.com/scientificblogging.com ) and I am doing an article, including an interview with Dr. Smith, on this subject ( the science aspects ) and would like to have some thoughts from someone comparable on the opposing side willing to be publicly quoted. Please send me an email, hankatscientificbloggingdotcom ( no affiliation with scienceblogs, scienceblog,blogscience, blogsci,sciencebase, etc. ) if interested.

    Terrific article, though I am not sure how comments on her age and/or appearance in bikini-ish garb are germaine. Poor Novella got short shrift visually as the middle aged male, huh? Maybe I should include a picture of him in my article, in fairness?

  17. Truthseeker Says:

    Didn’t have a picture of Novella owing to sheer laziness brought on by contemplating the existence of these types. How does science let them in? Used to be a vocation. Alas, it seems that it is nothing but a trade now for most.

    Wait for the other shoe to drop. Your compliment has me going again after being overcome by nausea.

  18. MacDonald Says:

    Perhaps “Hank” could specify exactly which kind of “thoughts” it is he wants?

    If it’s alternative explanations for the phenomena experienced, there’s a couple. Have they been checked and proven in 200,000 peer reviewed papers? No obviously not. And if the obvious in obviously is not obvious to Mr. Hank, he is obviously not a scientist nor interested testing the hypothesis in question. So why doesn’t he either go ahead and facilitate a real debate, or take his hatchet jobs elsewhere?

  19. Truthseeker Says:

    MacD, we beg you to please stop your incessant negative postings, especially ones at the expense of new arrivals, they are discouraging to the already discouraged general effort of the blog host to ram a modicum of truth through the solid stone walls of ignorance, given that the doors are closed to new ideas of the debunking kind.

    ((Truthseeker soon apologized to MacD for this Spirit of Therapy Buddy misevaluation and the following, see below. – Ed.))

    We have investigated Hank’s splendid scienceblogging site and though we have only skimmed the surface and read only one post, his latest, all the way through, it is all darn good and imbued with scientific expertise and genuine curiosity of the constructive kind, plus a kind of intellectual grace that is the polar opposite of the mewlings of Sciencebloggers at that group site, which SEED magazine hosts, which explains why it is has that appalling amateurish beer drinking frat quality where thoughtfulness is not even one thread in the fabric, and the idea of mainstream science being wrong is beyond consideration, since it conflicts with being teacher’s pet.

    Hank’s scienceblogging site is of a different order, and it is refreshing to know that it exists.

    By the way, Andrew Maniotis seems to have triggered Gallo’s ire by something he said on a Gary Null video posted on YouTube, which has now been taken down. All we can say is that if it was something that drew on Crewdson’s book, surely logic indicates that since Gallo didn’t manage to deter the publication or distribution of that embarrassing survey of his work even with what we are sure was the threat of a lawsuit, why does it have to be retracted now? The answer of course, may be that no one in science who does not have a major and privileged position can afford to have Gallo or Moore or anybody else making a ruckus about any realism they might have applied to HIV∫AIDS, since the world assumes that that universally propagandized ideology is solid mainstream established inviolate science, with the imprimatur of 100% consensus, since the long and entirely unrefuted review which damns it has been relegated to the Web, having been barred from science journals and the media by editors who don’t know much if anything about any debate.

    The success of the political rout of HIV∫AIDS paradigm criticism is the great scandal of this field, and only one blogger currently is foolish enough to point this out, which is why we should be supported with positive remarks and large sums of money, a point which so far seems to be lost on most visitors to this site. We salute the rare exceptions, and hope to cultivate more if we can work out how to put a PayPal button on every page to collect contributions and fines, which will cost every breach of etiquette detected by the resident software Impolitesse one dollar.

  20. Truthseeker Says:

    MacD, we apologize profusely for doubting the laser-radar accuracy of your perceptions, which turned out to be spot on. Hank is a very pleasant writer who is so research challenged as to be effectively inert, intellectually speaking.

    We bow to your extraordinary capacity to see these things immediately rather than peer through the haze of rosy coloration that surrounds newcomers in the myopic gaze of the genial host.

  21. MacDonald Says:

    I think have collected most of the facts surrounding Hank’s week long so called journalistic and scientific investigation of dissidents. Hank’s carefully prepared “interview” apparently consists of one single question: “Do critics of the HIV/AIDS theory have a scientific alternative to the approach taken by the mainstream”

    Prof. Henry Bauer, who, amazingly was kind enough to engage on these conditions, directed Hank to Duesberg’s well known “drugs/malnutrition-AIDS” hypothesis.

    He also directed him to all the epidemiological evidence collected in his own recent book on the Origins, Persistence and Failings of HIV Theory.

    Hank chose to disregard both parts of the answer, claiming that what Prof. Bauer was offering was a sociological critique. Hank was looking for somebody to rival Ms. Tara Smith’s credentials (see his post above for this vaguely specified request) and Bauer, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry & Science Studies Dean Emeritus of Arts & Sciences, author of several books and articles, among many other accomplishments, was not deemed to be in young Ms. Smith’s league!!

    As far as I understand, Hank has now specified to the host of this blog that he wanted an epidemiologist, a pathologist or Duesberg in person. This ridiculously high regard for the relatively unaccomplished Ms. Smith, thinking her a match for Duesberg on the HIV issue, has to be seen in light of the fact that Hank was initially attracted to Ms. Smith by her recent article on “denialists” regarding which Prof. Bauer correctly noted above:

    Smith’s credentials are in microbiology and epidemiology, Novella’s in neurology. Their article, however, does not deal with topics in those fields; it deals with questions of public understanding of science, popularization of science, role of consensus within science, role of dissenting views in science, and the like, whose discussion calls for at least elementary familiarity with standard knowledge within history, sociology, and philosophy of science and the like.

    But Hank was apparently so impressed that he decided to interview Ms. Smith on the “science aspects” as well, which is what disqualified Prof. Bauer, according to Hank himself . . . .

    However, when one reads Hank’s finished otherwise unremarkable interview with Ms. Smith, one immediately notes the conspicuous absence of. . . yep you guessed it, the “science aspects”. There’s one basic question on how the tests work – that’s it. Almost all the rest is. . . yep you guessed it again, what Hank broadly calls “sociological critique”.

    The very scientific rationale for this disposition is as stated by Hank in his article:

    you don’t often get to be a professor of epidemiology or a neurologist at the Yale University School of Medicine without knowing what you are talking about, so even opinion pieces by experts carry real weight.

    In other words one’s opinion on “why there is any debate at all” or, say, the moral fiber of Christine Maggiore carries more weight a priori if one is an epidemiologist or a neuropathologist than if one is a professor of Chemistry and Science Studies.

    Although Hank, in his answer to Newaidsreview’s humorous comments, feigns incomprehension as to what role bikini-ish garbs may play in all this, one can only suspect his inexplicable overestimation of Ms. Smith has something to do with her imagined appearance in or out of said garb.

    In contrast, Hank, a self-professed newcomer to this debate, was so unimpressed with both Prof. Bauer and our dear blog host that he thought it good journalistic form to stop asking after the single question specified in the beginning. Instead he chose himselfto deliver the very answers he was supposed to be in earnest search of. Thus, through Hank’s private lectures in the scientific process and philosophy, Prof. Bauer and Truthseeker have learned that there is no evidence that HIV/AIDS is all a huge drug company conspiracy (don’t you just love that fair and unbiased word, “conspiracy”?); rather it’s a “work in progress”, hurried because “people are dying”. And furthermore, all HIV critics ever do is cast doubt on medical science, and that’s not good enough, neither for science nor for Hank’s readers.
    Newcomer Hank has reached this profound insight although no real interview or exchange has yet occurred between him and the experts on the dissident side, and in spite of all the evidence he has already been given to the contrary. Very scientific!

    In the end, Hank simply went on to write his article without representation from the dissident side, according to himself because he was upset Duesberg had kept him waiting…

    Well, good riddance as they say. As a matter of fact I had already arranged for Hank to get an interview with Dr. Andrew Maniotis, Program Director in the Cell and Developmental Biology of Cancer unit of the Department of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology, and Bioengineering, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, since, as everybody who is not a newcomer to this debate will know the combination of credentials represented by him and Prof. Bauer is ideal for dissecting HIV science.

    However, I called Maniotis off days ago, since I’ve been in this game long enough to recognize it when a common punk enters my “laser-radar” field of perception. I apologize both to Dr. Maniotis and Prof. Bauer for having made them waste their time.

    http://www.scientificblogging.com/hank/the_least_known_war_in_science_does_hiv_cause_aids

  22. MacDonald Says:

    PS. Not much harm done. Hank’s one reader wasn’t nearly as impressed with Tara Smith’s scientific genius as the not only research challenged but also severely lacking in taste wanna be columnist:

    Anyone who disagrees with Tara on anything will always be categorised a denialist … I’m sure Tara is delightful, and clearly passionate about her subject. Just got a little too much denialist angst (at least for my taste) … It’s about quality of life:
    We haven’t yet learnt how to save or replace teeth, we condemn people to live with ‘dentures’
    We seem to move on to the next thing thinking we’ve cured something yet sometimes it feels we’ve cured nothing at all, we are just creating a society dependant on more and motre cocktails of more drugs … is that really the aim or purpose of medical research.
    More focus should be placed on what can be ‘cured’. Treatment or treating a condition is such an inexact science, and saving life the alleged ‘dictum’ of medical science such a relative term – saving life to live what kind of life exactly – with some major mental or physical impediment. The reality is that to the patient the saved life is often more like a life ‘sentence’ – often a sentence without parole or reprieve – doctors, surgeons and researchers should take that on board.
    (Torchwood)

    . . . .

    Contrast again with Hank’s level:

    So you had already gone to her blog too? I am, it seems, the only person who had to be told she has a column on scienceblogs.com. A lot of people seem to know and read her, so she must be doing something right, yes?

    yeah sure – punk!

  23. Truthseeker Says:

    Actually Hank is a teddy bear, and the more he wanders and wonders in his amiable bafflement and confusion, the more we grow fond of him.

    His column is a classic of its kind, replete with a enormously reassuring spirit of all’s well with the world, and in this spirit of trust it is true that none of this really matters at all, the cause of AIDS is quite irrelevant really, what we have to do is get on and cure it, that is the important thing.

    Hank’s weirdly wonderful confidence in a sort of Reader’s Digest world of science is largely supported by an inability to take in new data of any kind, which confers a placid monumental stability in his world view which we should all try to learn from.

    This is what children hanker for, and we have always regretted its loss once we grew up. Hank for some reason never has lost it.

    Any time we feel worried or concerned about life or its little challenges, we will go to Hank’s writings. He has shown us where to find the literary equivalent of Therapy Buddy.

  24. Nick Naylor Says:

    Nice, very nice TS – a home run. Congratulations for a post that elicited a beautiful response from Professor Bauer and brings all of us up-to-date in these particularly important fronts of the debate, which some “dissidents” are whining over because they can’t see the “forest” either. What does it reduce to? I say distinguishing propaganda from “scientific consensus”, a subject many of us believe to be quite important in these perilous times.

    I think the modern invention of total war between nations is a “meme” that’s taken over the minds of high-level researchers in molecular biology. Given everywhere-extant misplaced funding priorities, they must deploy Tara Smith and her ilk for necessary support and defense of their “disciplinary matrix” that’s obviously going nowhere. Thus, without the HIV gravy train, most of these geniuses would have no other way to earn a living.

    Since “science wars” is an established frame in social-construction-of-science studies, my guess is that historians will see this period’s battles exactly in the way you’ve stated. I would say we should no longer insult Tara et al as pod-people or “bots” – since employment in general requires this type of behavior from the young-uns “lower-in-the-food chain” – but wish them all long lives to enable them to experience embarrassment in their retrospective reflections on their current “newbyism”. This assumes they finally know the subject – scientific method – when contemplating what they wrote in ignorance of history and philosophy of science.

    Best regards,
    Gene

  25. Truthseeker Says:

    Thanks Gene, very encouraging. We are even tempted not to spoil the effect by finishing off our tedious post, just being completed after being severely delayed by the necessity of holding this tract at arm’s length with a pair of tongs to avoid nausea, aiming to knock down every single silly conformist paragraph of this masterwork like pop up target clowns in a fun fair, since for the intelligent people here we can see that the corrections will be almost as trite as Tara and Steven’s “worked up” and wondrous socio-philosophical-historical science criticism masterpiece.

    But we must remember that most people have never even heard of a more sensible way of looking at things until they happen upon this site or the more important ones at Duesberg.com, David Crowe’s in Alberta or Rethinking Aids’. Anyone here who hasn’t read these please click them in the right hand column on the SG/NAR front page.

    Not that anybody conventional with no knowledge of science will take much interest in this topic even when they hear it from the horse’s mouth ie when we tell them personally, at length. They will express fascinated interest with the novelty of it, since they have never heard of it before,and then ask their friends at Rockefeller about it, get reassurance there is nothing in it, and inform us, while still having read absolutely nothing about it, including this blog, that they regret to say they “are in the other camp”, as if being told by someone familiar who is a high up in the field what’s correct makes them an instant scientific expert themselves! Which, since it is the preferred research method of most scientists outside their own field, we suppose it does.

    This literally happened to us the other day. We might even quote the email if we can find it. It brought home to us a factor that we will try never to forget – that most knowledge in a global glut of information is borrowed knowledge.

    Most book reviews substitute for the book for most readers, we suspect. They read the review and think they have read the book. This is quite wrong, but how would they ever know?

    Not sure how this observation is consistent with the fact that this blog has no influence at all, but perhaps it is because it lacks a proper launch platform ie is not a blog hosted by the New York Times or SEED Magazine, which would give it authority with the likes of Tara and Hank Campbell.

    The editor and his right hand man at SEED are in their very early twenties, by the way, and are terrified of getting on the wrong side of Laurie Garrett, who used to write a column for them and may still do so for all we know. Once when they planned to cover Duesberg, she flounced out of the conference room and swore she would never write for them again if they did. The editor Adam Bly rushed after her or called her later in a panic and had to give her two free tickets to the US Open final before she was mollified.

    But we have told this story before.

  26. Nick Naylor Says:

    Indeed TS, Laurie Garrett is our favorite power-journalist promoted to Senior Fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations. No doubt for a superficial predictive value of her coming plagues theory. Establishing your bonafides at predicting plagues, of course, is easy when there’s a WHO computer program that can be used to provide “statistics” for gullible journalists.

    And what else is new; we at this site are persona non grata for speaking truth to power.

  27. yello Says:

    Y’ello

    Not trying to be an ass, but I’m not sure your “cuddly Teddy Bear” will allow my comments for long.So I will paste them here for eternity.(If you don’t mind)

    hello Mister Hank,

    Tara “may” have been interested in HIV/AIDS science since the death of Christine Maggiore’s daughter by an allergic reaction to amoxillin; but this thread at Hank Barnes’s “You Bet your Life” suggest a longer period of thought on this subject.

    http://barnesworld.blogs.com/barnes_world/2006/03/index.html

    Oh, btw, why do I say Ms. Maggiore’s daughter died of a reaction to amoxillin?Well, her son and husband both test negative to HIV.Her dead daughter’s HIV test has never been revealed, except for a bullshit p24 test which means nothing, as this protein is found in loads of HIV- people ranging from folks infected with bacteria to Multiple Sclerosis sufferers.

    Why do I post this?Because Ms. Maggoire used to be excoriated as an HIV NEGATIVE individual who used her “mistaken” false HIV+ test to reap a benefit of money or whatever from gullible real HIV+ peoples.Ms. Maggoire admitted to testing positive,negative,indeterminate,negative and positive if I recall correctly.It was determined by a multitude of her detractors that she was a lying bitch who wasn’t REALLY positive for HIV but pretending to be so.That fufilled their vagued indeterminate reasoning for her supposed power trip over “real” HIV positives.

    As this simple text in the Barnes and Noble’s review of her book shows….

    “Martha Howard, MD, A reviewer, 09/08/2005
    Christine Maggiore is HIV NEGATIVE
    I can’t believe I am the first to point this out. Hasn’t anyone wondered why Christine Maggiore refuses to submit to the National Institutes of Health or the Center for Disease Conrol for HIV testing (using ELISA, Western Blot, PCR)? She was the victim of false positive ELISA testing over a decade ago (not that unusual) and, worse, a physician who disclosed her test results without the mandatory Western Blot confirmation. Subsequently learning of her HIV NEGATIVE status, Christine has taken the conspiracy theory ball and run, run, run away with it. Believe me friends, Maggiore is HIV NEGATIVE – which explains consistent claims that she and her children are ‘ridiculously healthy’ – most young HIV negative women are ridiculously healthy too. She is a charlatan who has desperately harmed the lives of HIV positive people by outright lies. They believed in her – by example. If she were healthy after so many years of HIV infection, then HIV=AIDS was a lie (a wonderful fantasy, I know). No lie folks. If left untreated, HIV is lethal. For an HIV NEGATIVE woman such as Christine Maggiore to claim that HIV is harmless certainly lacks conviction!”

    Here is the link(and no, this cunt was _NOT_ the first to “point this out”)

    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9780967415307&itm=6

    There used to be multitudes of similiar reviews among the more than +70 Amazon.com had that included beliefs in Ms. Maggoire’s negative status until shortly after her daughter’s death to amoxillin toxicity.
    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Where are they now?!?!?!?

  28. Truthseeker Says:

    Excellent points, y’ello, and we absolutely approve of the language. But since Hank Campbell is demonstrably incapable of taking in new data of any kind, judging from his performance in encountering this issue, we fear your effort to enlighten him are in vain. But your very good points are valuable reading for every other person whose neurons have not fused into a single concrete block, which appears to be the fate suffered by many people we encounter in this game, such as Hank and the other fool referred to above who had several friends at Rockefeller.

    Is it too cynical and realistic to say that for most people belief is not a matter of thought but emotions? Those who like to think may forget this, since we generously judge others by ourselves. As Robert Houston has remarked, consensus in science is a social phenomenon, not a scientific one, which is the main reason why apple polishers such as Tara are morons to defend consensus as if it was authoritative. Excuse the language, but Germaine Greer referred to Princess Diana as a “devious moron” on the occasion of her memorial this week and we found this extremely refreshing. There is no reason why women who take part in public affairs should not be subject to robust criticism.

    Perhaps we have lost our usual sympathetic patience with slow witted females who are also attractive (Hi, Miss South Carolina!) after having inspected far too closely this week Tara Smith’s contribution to the advance in understanding of science, philosophy and politics, her expert analysis of the “denialists” which has resulted in such enlightenment to all. The problem with this stuff is that x lines of widely disseminated drivel require 10x lines of not so widely read reply to set it straight, which is surely one reason why the absurd paradigm flies on imperviously.

  29. MacDonald Says:

    I see from Therapy Buddy Hank’s exchange with Yello that he still thinks he has interviewed Tara Smith on the science aspects. Jeeezz!

    But at least Therapy Buddy’s self-perception is now clear; he considers himself the Bill O’Reilly of the internet. If you don’t jump on his invitation to come on the show immediately it’s your tough luck; you’re missing out on a top rated show:

    If this article is being examined by experts I am surprised they aren’t talking about it here, given our prominence and their access to a much larger audience. 10,000 people read this article and more do every day. (Therapy Buddy)

    The reason Hank thinks his article is being examined by experts is because Yello informed him that if he’d care to check NAR, he would discover that Prof. Bauer and Dr. Maniotis had already agreed to help him. In some kind of megalomaniac twist of translation Therapy Buddy interpreted this to mean that his ignorant garbage was being “examined” by these people. Somebody please tell me if I should laugh or cry?!

    Mr. Hank, the only ones who have glanced briefly at the puke you call an article are myself and Truthseeker, and only because we got personally involved with it after you posted here, bragging about your prominence and asking for help. We haven’t “examined” your shite, neither is any “expert”, dissident or otherwise, the least bit interested in your existence. I know I couldn’t burst you bubble if I tried, but hasn’t it occurred to you that not a single out the 10,000 and growing readers you claim has shown any interest in commenting on the little tete a tete between you and Ms. Smith?

    Doesn’t that tell you something Bubble Boy?

    Finally, here’s the ultimate reassurance to TS from his very own Therapy Buddy

    I can’t think of a single instance where science truth did not win in the end. Data is data and nothing drives scientists crazier than being deceived. If data comes out that proves HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, or even that the cures are worse than the virus, I am pretty sure a compassionate person like Smith will be first in line taking up the new position.

    I guess we can all go home now and wait for the compassion driven Tara’s signal.

  30. Douglas Says:

    I hope you don’t take offense, but this column is at best a distraction and worse a deadly bore. I’ve had a difficult time keeping up with it lately.

    I think that if I can’t tolerate it, then others may feel the same and desert.

    Here is a post of mine made at Aids Myth Rethinkers Worldwide forum which I think may alert us to the need to take action:

    We are under attack! And I don’t mean in the expected manner such as debate or name calling and ad hominem slander. No, it has escalated to full scale warfare. Everything and anything is fair, apparently. The latest is “disinformation” (n. deliberately false information leaked by a government, a to confuse another nation’s intelligence operations).

    I went to do a seach on Google, AOL, and Internet Explorer and put in the key words New AIDS Review and came up with a website under http://www.aboutus.org

    It appears to be a completely false website representing itself as a base for Dissidents. If you go there, try entering domain names in their search bar such as David Crowe, New Aids Review, DuesBerg, Mullis, etc. These, in turn, will lead to still other fictitious web sites which spew more disinformation. The opposition is throwing out enough garbage to contaminate the waters and muddy the facts.

    Last night when I attempted to enter a Dissident’s website via search engine, I was blocked by a security warning which filled the screen and cautioned me that I was entering a dangerous website and, if I would proceed, I may be complicit in criminal activity. I tried another dissident web site and got the same blockage sign.

    I disabled my security, so I wouldn’t run into the same blockaid again. I’ll have to test this further to find out if this is still a problem

    One last thing, when entering here via search engine, the second indented summary notes “Sorry the website is open today only to registered participants”. This appears to be an internal directive from Aimoo which I’ve never come across until now. Registering wouldn’t be a bad idea though.

    I would suggest, in any case, you bookmark this website and enter directly:

    http://www.aimoo.com/forum/freeboard.cfm?id=477113

    or via http://www.AidsMyth.addr.com forum

  31. Truthseeker Says:

    The above Comment doesn’t seem to check out at all. Since the author is apparently from AidsMyth.com (“Aids Information without Aids hysteria – AidsMyth.com is an independent web resource free from the influence of pharma-corporate vested interests) it seems odd that he should suffer from hysteria at crossed Web circuits, but if anyone clicks his http://www.aboutus.org link he/she will if our experience is any guide just end up at AboutUs, which is a Wiki for some kind of community in Portland which has not been able to explain itself in the several months we have glanced at it but appears to be trying to provide information about some shared concern of its members, many of whom use bikes and scooters, judging from the photo in their AboutUsWeblog.org blog.

    Entering “New AIDS Review” in their search line seems to result in a list of any number of connections with the individual words such as Newmattressreview.com which when clicked just takes you to an entry on their Wiki where they have pasted some stolen paragraph about how to buy a mattress, from some other Web site. All in all, they are just some kind of info site which is in its very early stages and run by people too stupid to put their purpose at the top, who are filling their new Wiki with borrowed material while it gets up and running. Since stating our purpose at the top is one of the few things New AIDS Review has achieved from the beginning, we feel well qualified to chastise Douglas for entering into a panic when he suffered whatever Web crossed wires he experienced but we are pretty sure if there is a Web counter attack beyond AIDSTruth.org coming from the WeLoveHIV goon squad, it will not be through AboutUs.

    We are willing to be corrected though, since Douglas’s comment on Therapy Buddy’s column –

    “I hope you don’t take offense, but this column is at best a distraction and worse a deadly bore. I’ve had a difficult time keeping up with it lately”

    is surely 100% accurate (we will go there and read it for the first time and see) judging from the fact that the laborious decionstruction of Tara-Steve we are about to post seems exactly that from beginning to end.

    The witless reactions of the average otherwise intelligent citizen of science and the world to the news that the global HIV paradigm is the Worldcom of science are a marvel to behold, but really not worth poring over, except as specimens of how the average human being can rationalize absurdity defensively when presented with confounding data a lot more expertly than US Senators caught making propositions in men’s lavatory stalls in large airports.

    Douglas is wise to ignore Hank’s Therapy Buddy blog if he wishes to maintain his sanity.

    (PS Here is AboutUS’s explanation of why they should be used:

    Being a featured wiki page is a great way to get exposure for the websites, people, communities and portals that you care about.

    By building a great wiki page, not only do you put that page on the radar to be featured, but it helps to inform people about the services or information available, furthers web presence, engages the current user base to join the open conversation about those services or information, and is just a great way to join the conversation that is the AboutUs community at large.

    Featured wiki pages benefit from being listed on our home page by the addition of an even greater global audience, as well as potentially helping with placement on search engines like Google, adding valuable ranking. Beyond that, building up a good page on AboutUs is so easy to do, in no time at all you’ll have something to be proud of, and (hopefully) had a little fun along the way.

  32. Truthseeker Says:

    I can’t think of a single instance where science truth did not win in the end. Data is data and nothing drives scientists crazier than being deceived. If data comes out that proves HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, or even that the cures are worse than the virus, I am pretty sure a compassionate person like Smith will be first in line taking up the new position.

    Here’s the relevant discussion at Therapy Buddy for reference, in case it disappears. If there is more somewhere else, please inform. It seems to have petered out rapidly. We do agree that the above paragraph is a priceless, classic exhibit. Thank you so much for pointing it out, MacDonald. We are beginning to need our Therapy Buddy, and here he is!


    hello Mister Hank, Tara
    Submitted by yello on 31 August 2007 – 4:51am.
    1
    peers

    hello Mister Hank,

    Tara “may” have been interested in HIV/AIDS science since the death of Christine Maggiore’s daughter by an allergic reaction to amoxillin; but this thread at Hank Barnes’s “You Bet your Life” suggest a longer period of thought on this subject.

    http://barnesworld.blogs.com/barnes_world/2006/03/index.html

    Oh, btw, why do I say Ms. Maggiore’s daughter died of a reaction to amoxillin? Well, her son and husband both test negative to HIV. Her dead daughter’s HIV test has never been revealed, except for a bullshit p24 test which means nothing, as this protein is found in loads of HIV- people ranging from folks infected with bacteria to Multiple Sclerosis sufferers.

    Why do I post this?Because Ms. Maggiore used to be excoriated as an HIV NEGATIVE individual who used her “mistaken” false HIV+ test to reap a benefit of money or whatever from gullible real HIV+ peoples. Ms. Maggoire admitted to testing positive, negative, indeterminate, negative and positive if I recall correctly. It was determined by a multitude of her detractors that she was a lying bitch who wasn’t REALLY positive for HIV but pretending to be so. That fulfilled their vague indeterminate reasoning for her supposed power trip over “real” HIV positives.

    As this simple text in the Barnes and Noble’s review of her book shows….

    “Martha Howard, MD, A reviewer, 09/08/2005
    Christine Maggiore is HIV NEGATIVE
    I can’t believe I am the first to point this out. Hasn’t anyone wondered why Christine Maggiore refuses to submit to the National Institutes of Health or the Center for Disease Conrol for HIV testing (using ELISA, Western Blot, PCR)? She was the victim of false positive ELISA testing over a decade ago (not that unusual) and, worse, a physician who disclosed her test results without the mandatory Western Blot confirmation. Subsequently learning of her HIV NEGATIVE status, Christine has taken the conspiracy theory ball and run, run, run away with it. Believe me friends, Maggiore is HIV NEGATIVE – which explains consistent claims that she and her children are ‘ridiculously healthy’ – most young HIV negative women are ridiculously healthy too. She is a charlatan who has desperately harmed the lives of HIV positive people by outright lies. They believed in her – by example. If she were healthy after so many years of HIV infection, then HIV=AIDS was a lie (a wonderful fantasy, I know). No lie folks. If left untreated, HIV is lethal. For an HIV NEGATIVE woman such as Christine Maggiore to claim that HIV is harmless certainly lacks conviction!”

    Here is the link(and no, this cunt was _NOT_ the first to “point this out”)

    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9780967415307&itm=6

    There used to be multitudes of similiar reviews among the more than +70 Amazon.com had that included beliefs in Ms. Maggoire’s negative status until shortly after her daughter’s death to amoxillin toxicity.
    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Where are they now?!?!?!?

    Hi yello, Like I mentioned,
    Submitted by Hank on 31 August 2007 – 11:16am.

    Hi yello,

    Like I mentioned, I had quite literally no idea this was even an issue before I saw the editorial and I appreciate that Dr. Smith was gracious enough to take some time and answer questions about the science aspects of this.

    The other things you mention are cultural – HIV ‘denial’ is controversial and all controversial opinions have a tough time getting mainstream traction – because of flawed science or tyranny of the majority I am not qualified to say.

    I can’t think of a single instance where science truth did not win in the end. Data is data and nothing drives scientists crazier than being deceived. If data comes out that proves HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, or even that the cures are worse than the virus, I am pretty sure a compassionate person like Smith will be first in line taking up the new position.

    The most prominent scientist I could find on the skeptic side was Dr. Duesberg and I’d love to interview him also and get the other side. We have two of our professors – and it’s Stanford v Berkeley, which has lots and lots of cultural sub-currents! :-) – debating on opposite sides of an issue today and a good discussion is always healthy for science.

    Hank, go over to
    Submitted by yello on 31 August 2007 – 9:53pm.
    1
    peers

    Hank, go over to Newaidsreview and check out the comments section of “Denialists Deplored”.

    You had two fairly high level folks ready to be interviewed, both with qualifications in excess of Dr. Smith.

    Hi Yello, I tried to get
    Submitted by Hank on 1 September 2007 – 11:04am.
    1
    peers

    Hi Yello,

    I tried to get someone from a few of the organizations and Dr. Duesberg, because they are on the front lines of this in the same way Smith is. I did receive an answer from Dr. Bauer ( and put a link to his book, his website and I used the quote he told me to use ) but his field isn’t epidemiology or pathology and we’re a science site and no experts came forth then.

    If this article is being examined by experts I am surprised they aren’t talking about it here, given our prominence and their access to a much larger audience. 10,000 people read this article and more do every day.

    NAR certainly has no complaints about the title of the blog entry page – The Least Known War In Science: Does HIV Cause AIDS? – and we feel that in a way this column stands as useful evidence of the state of ignorance of people who are involved in science and consider themselves well informed, and the power of the explicit and hidden force of censorship involved, starting with the New York Times, supposedly the Paper of Record.

    It is the New York Times who have to take the lion’s share of the blame for the global panic. in our view. If Nicholas Wade, Larry Altman and others had bothered to catch up with the arguments of Duesberg in the early days, instead of going with their misleading and crooked sources, we wouldn’t have the problem.

    This failure of the Times has cost many lives. The editors and reporters have marked the dying days of that institution’s greatness by abusing the trust of their readers, such as Therapy Buddy Nick Campbell, who had a right to assume they were being properly informed by people doing a professional job.

    What is really undermining on the Web is the counter attack on anti establishment comments on sites like Amazon, which like to lose it down a black hole if they can when no one is looking, if it is true that they have wiped copious interesting stuff filed as customer reviews of her book, What if Everything You Know About AIDS is Wrong? . Possibly it has been moved to a chat thread such as Christine Maggiore Daughter Died of AIDS-related Causes!, or some other section of the What if everything you thought you knew about AIDS was wrong? forum

  33. yello Says:

    Mr. Truthseeker Sir,

    I’ve looked at the links to Amazon, and _every_ single negative review which stated that Mrs. Maggiore-Scovill was a scheming, lying, “ridiculously healthy”, HIV- with an “Incomplete”,”Mistaken” diagnosis, has been removed. Suspiciously, the majority of negative reviews are post-2005 while there is an ample, balanced, abundance of positive reviews from 2000 onwards. I”ve seen two “neutral” reviews with a very similar addendum…Hmmm.

    I will no longer post at “Teddy Bear’s”; I can’t stand the willing, blind, agreement with the rest of the sheeple.I will say I agree that Mr. Hank over-estimates himself in believing an audience of 10,000 religiously follows him.

    Btw, I apologise for me language, I just get so angry in this age of Incarnation, the death of some +300,000 gay men, the whoring of Rock Hudson(HIV- btw), Ryan White and so many others and the total Evil being done in Africa.

  34. Truthseeker Says:

    The use of language appropriate to the subject discussed is never blocked by Impolitesse software, even at the highest setting. In fact in this case the use of the c word seemed refreshingly accurate, as is all truthtelling, which appears to be your forte, y’ello.

    Sometime a flamethrower is the quick way to clean out a barn full of snakes, spiders and cobwebs. Just try not to burn the place down entirely.

    BTW the treatment of dissidents at Daily Kos reflects the counter attack of discomfited believers writ large, MacD has pointed out, see here at AIDSMythExposed, where a poster complains they are removing posts wholesale.

    Last night we came across this quote from Eric Idle talking about The Life of Brian, and how rabbis had hit the streets when it was released until they realized the bit they objected to had been cut out.

    “To question people’s strong belief system is very threatening to them. They depend of a strong belief system because they need that support, and so to question it is very threatening to them.”

    It ain’t rocket science. It’s simple politics. To undermine a small belief you have to affirm a larger belief which you show conflicts with it.

    Since HIV=AIDS is now such a large belief, of the order of a minor religion, it makes things rather difficult.

    What is the larger belief to crush it with? In the case of Daily Kos, it has to be something to do with liberal and democrat, presumably.

    Perhaps HIV=AIDS has to be painted as the tyrannical repression, exploitation and genocide of self-deluded gays and ignorant blacks by money making drug interests, sold out activists, mistaken doctors, untrustworthy mad scientists, homophobic Republicans, opportunistic reputation laundering politicians and fellow traveling heartless hacks who don’t understand the science they cover.

    No, probably won’t work. Too close to the truth to be believable.

  35. MacDonald Says:

    Re. the Daily Kos and Douglas’s conspiracy story above (the convenient solution to which is to direct traffic through his own sites) this one seems to be a legitimate concern as well:

    This demonstrates the ease with which content can be pulled off of youtube by anonymous parties with a little bit of legal muscle behind them:

    (To the producers / HIV=AIDS – Fact or Fraud from Google about disappearing video links)

    We understand your concern. In order to further assist you in this process, please first follow the process, which is set forth by the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Provide a written communication (by fax or regular mail; not by email, except by prior agreement) that sets forth the items specified below. As part of the DMCA process, we will forward this communication to the person who sent us the copyright complaint about your video.

    To expedite our ability to process your complaint, please use the
    following format (including section numbers):

    1. Identify the specific titles and URLs of material that Google has
    removed or to which Google has disabled access.

    2. Provide your name, address, telephone number, email address.

    3. Include the following statement: “I swear, under penalty of perjury, that I have a good faith belief that each video identified above was removed or disabled as a result of a mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled.”

    4. Include the following statement: “I consent to the jurisdiction of the U.S. federal district court of the Northern District of California or, if my address is outside the United States, to the jurisdiction of any U.S. federal district court in which the service provider may be found. I will accept service of process from the person who provided the copyright infringement notice at issue, or from an agent of such person.”

    5. Sign the paper.

    6. Send the written communication to the following address:

    Google, Inc.
    Attn: Video Support, Copyright Complaints
    1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
    Mountain View, CA 94043

    or fax to:
    (650)-963-3299, Attn: Video Support, DMCA Complaint

    Sincerely,

    The Google Team

    Note, according to the producer,

    1) The video is simply pulled off without asking the producer’s point of view. He is in other
    words guilty as charged unless and until he fights and wins his case. (Again according to this). If he choses to fight, it’s under threat of getting into even more trouble, which should discourage anyone who doesn’t have his own legal team at the ready.

    2) “The person” who claimed violation of copyright remains anonymous through it all, whereas the producers have to hand over all their info for Google to even look at the case. The result is of course that people who don’t have the stomach or the deep pockets for this game will have to give up in advance never knowing who targeted them from the shadows or if it was legitimate.

    http://groups.msn.com/aidsmythexposed/general.msnw?action=get_message&mview=0&ID_Message=30962&LastModified=4675637670736982901

  36. Douglas Says:

    Please excuse my above post. I think it was just an over reaction to the problems I have encounted over the last couple of weeks with my two computers. The PC had a life and death struggle with a virus and the lap top, operating on Vista, takes some getting use to.

    The coupling of AOL search and Symantec Security on the Vista lap top resulted in a security block on every dissident domain I entered–calling it a fradulent web page and warning that to proceed would make one criminally vulnerable. I tested it today and found that it blocked every web page I attempted to enter, dissident or not.

    I’ve not been a big fan of AOL ever since they merged with Time-Warner. I certainly don’t trust them now. Censorship could easily occur.

    Regarding fake websites, there are many anti- “Denialist” ones which in order to try to discredit the dissidents, spew outrageous accusations and show a poor grasp of the facts. It is easy to fall into these pits if someone is not looking.

    Overall, the evolution of computers show that they are not necessarily getting better, only more complicated. Such is life.

  37. Truthseeker Says:

    MacDonald, what you have found out is chilling and morally degraded. Clearly YouTube now cannot be relied on as a responsible and safe place to post material to inform the public about any scam or exploitation, since according to your revelation they will pull it at a moment’s notice from the miscreant and few will wish to pursue the matter on such an uneven playing field. How seldom lawyers act to preserve social justice. All they seem to do is serve their clients. It seems that like businessmen, they don’t think of their effect on social ends at all. Guess they don’t have time when they are only paid $300 an hour.

    Overall, the evolution of computers show that they are not necessarily getting better, only more complicated. Such is life.

    Douglas, we thought that was the problem, and you have our sympathy. AOL is the last thing to use as an ISP, it seems clear, because their software is so atrocious even Time Life executives refused to switch to it when they were taken over by AOL in one of the worst business moves in history. But then Windows is not much better itself, and nowadays Mac is getting just as bad. It used to be that if you simply took care to make as few changes and additions to a system as possible, you were relatively well off, but now even Mac OSX will break or glue up in many ways even if in a very raw state. We keep three machines going at all times, sometimes four, and have two back up machines. Still we find that hours are wasted in smoothing out or fixing their operation. We still prefer Mac, but by a short lead now. Just one example of how badly things are done nowadays is that iPhoto will rotate a photo but much of the time it will not stay rotated when put on the Web. All the Apple techies say when you point this out is Oh how interesting. Well you had better use Photoshop.

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