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Duesberg’s math incorrect, say bloggers


Are HIV dissenters refusing to admit imperfection?

What is correct formulation, then?

Interesting comment sparked today by our humungous Comment thread after the Larry Altman’s Guide to AIDS Conferences post on the Good Math Bad Math blog comment and thread Pathetic Statistics from HIV/AIDS Denialists by Mark Chu-Carroll, which Tara Smith points to in Aetiology in her post today on AIDS denial and creationism–common thread of bad statistics.

Tara C. Smith (she of the beautiful and bounteous physique as displayed prominently on every page of her in consequence always delightful blog) is an epidemiologist who deplores HIV∫AIDS rethinkers as setting a very bad example in their reasoning in many respects:

Regular readers are very familiar with my refrain that many science deniers use the same tactics: bad arguments, quote-mining, appeals to authority, castigation of originators of respective theories, etc. etc. Another common thread is the complete bastardization of statistical analysis.

Not sure what “castigation of originators of respective theories means”, but her decisive rejection of HIV∫AIDS rethinking has been a feature of her blog for some time. Now she is pleased to find that HIV∫AIDS rethinkers may have perpetrated an incorrect mathematical formulation, and that Mark has jumped on it after Chris Noble, in the wake of the discussion here, alerted him.

The basic point is that Duesberg is said to be wrong and statistically naive to have said “Thus, all positive teenagers would have had to achieve an absurd 1000 contacts with a positive partner, or an even more absurd 250,000 sexual contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.”

The blogger, Mark C. Chu-Carroll, self-described as “a Computer Scientist working as a researcher in a corporate lab. My professional interests run towards how to build programming languages and tools that allow groups of people to work together to build large software systems’, writes:

“While I was on vacation, I got some email from Chris Noble pointing me towards a discussion with some thoroughly innumerate HIV-AIDS denialists. It’s really quite shocking what passes for a reasonable argument among true believers.

“The initial stupid statement is from one of Duesberg’s papers, AIDS Acquired by Drug Consumption and Other Noncontagious Risk Factors, and it’s quite a whopper. During a discussion of the infection rates shown by HIV tests of military recruits,” he says:

(a) “AIDS tests” from applicants to the U.S. Army and the U.S. Job Corps indicate that between 0.03% (Burke et al.,1990) and 0.3% (St Louis et al.,1991) of the 17- to 19-year-old applicants are HIV-infected but healthy. Since there are about 90 million Americans under the age of 20, there must be between 27,000 and 270,000(0.03%-0.3% of 90 million) HIV carriers. In Central Africa there are even more, since 1-2% of healthy children are HIV-positive (Quinn et al.,1986).

Most, if not all, of these adolescents must have acquired HIV from perinatal infection for the following reasons: sexual transmission of HIV depends on an average of 1000 sexual contacts, and only 1 in 250 Americans carries HIV (Table 1). Thus, all positive teenagers would have had to achieve an absurd 1000 contacts with a positive partner, or an even more absurd 250,000 sexual contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission. It follows that probably all of the healthy adolescent HIV carriers were perinatally infected, as for example the 22-year-old Kimberly Bergalis (Section 3.5.16).”

Computer Scientist Mark continues: “Now, I would think that anyone who reads an allegedly scientific paper like this would be capable of seeing the spectacular stupidity in this quotation. But for the sake of pedantry, I’ll explain it using small words.”

Special note: Here (click “show” below) follows a step by step analysis of what Computer Scientist Mark and Blog Commentator Noble argued was incorrect about the phrase highlighted in bold.

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[TS interjects: Thanks, Mark, for the promise to use small words, since we are glad to see spectacularly bad math corrected, but find probability one of the deeper mysteries of life. But let’s remember that even though the math may be wrong, perhaps because the phrasing is incorrect, the basic point, that sexual transmission is too rare to support an epidemic, may still stand. If it does, the error is not particularly important, though it may be imperfect math/stats. Duesberg is not a mathematician. However, it was presumably questioned and checked by his friendly colleagues and by the peer reviewers so you are certainly exposing a lot of people as having missed a “spectacular error”.]

“If the odds of, say, winning the lottery are 1 in 1 million, that does not mean that if I won the lottery, that means I must have played it one million times. Nor does it mean that the average lottery winner played the lottery one million times. It means that out of every one million times anyone plays the lottery, one person will be expected to win.

[TS: Obviously correct, and well phrased. But is it a match for what Duesberg said?]

“To jump that back to Duesberg, what he’s saying is: if the transmission rate of HIV/AIDS is 1 in 1000, then the average infected person would need to have had sex with an infected partner 1000 times.

[TS: OK, but let’s be clear. He is saying that on average an infected person must have been exposed 1000 times to an infected partner. Is that not true? Apparently you don’t think so, so let’s see.]

“Nope, that’s not how math works. Not even close.

Suppose we have 1000 people who are infected with HIV, and who are having unprotected sex. If we follow Duesberg’s lead, and assume that the transmission rate is a constant 0.1%, then what we would expect is that if each of those 1000 people had sex with one partner one time, we would see one new infected individual – and that individual would have had unprotected sex with the infected partner only one time.

This isn’t rocket science folks. This is damned simple, high-school level statistics. “

[TS: Certainly seems likely to be true. If 1000 people all screwed once with a positive partner, with a 1 in 1000 chance, one should become positive. Now is this meaningfully different from the above, or simply a variation on the way of looking at the problem? How long would it take for all the 1000 people to become positive? Presumably for ALL of them to become positive, it would take 1000 screws each, before the last one converted. Obviously if they stopped when they became positive, only the last one would need 1000 screws. But if they didn’t know and just kept on screwing, wouldn’t it take 1000 screws for all? And if the chances of their partner being positive was 1 in 250, wouldn’t it take 250,000 screws in all?

Isn’t that what Duesberg is saying? That for any number in the population to become positive, taken as a whole every one of them would have to screw 1000 times until the very last one was infected by a positive partner. And if there are Y positives in the population Z to start with, then it would need 1000 (Z/Y) screws – in this case, 250,000?]

Mark continues with an evisceration of TS’s evidently moronic try at refuting his friend Chris Noble:

“Where things get even sadder is looking at the discussion that followed when Chris posted something similar to the above explanation. Some of the ridiculous contortions that people go through in order to avoid admitting that the great Peter Duesberg said something stupid is just astounding. For example, consider this from a poster calling himself “Truthseeker”:

If Duesberg had said that, he would indeed be foolish. The foolishness, however, is yours, since you misintepret his reasoning. He said, as you note

Most, if not all, of these adolescents must have acquired HIV from perinatal infection for the following reasons: sexual transmission of HIV depends on an average of 1000 sexual contacts, and only 1 in 250 Americans carries HIV (Table 1). Thus, all positive teenagers would have had to achieve an absurd 1000 contacts with a positive partner, or an even more absurd 250,000 sexual contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.”

[TS: This states the average transmission requires 1000 contacts, not every transmission. With such a low transmission rate and with so few Americans positive – you have to engage with 250 partners on average to get an average certainty of 100% for transmission, if the transmission rate was 1. Since it is 1 in 1000, the number you have to get through on average is 250,000. Some might do it immediately, some might fail entirely even at 250,000. But the average indicates that all positive teenagers would have had to get through on average 250,000 partner-bouts.

But Mark evidently thinks this is wrong. Darned if we can see it!]

“Truthseeker is making exactly the same mistake as Duesberg. The difference is that he’s just had it explained to him using a simple metaphor, and he’s trying to spin a way around the fact that Duesberg screwed up.

[TS: This is disappointing, since we had hoped Mark was going to explain where we went wrong. Does it imply that we were right? Surely not. But he doesn’t actually SAY we were wrong. Phew! We got off lightly, with not even a “moron” in the dismissal.

But were we right? He implies we are not. But what is wrong with what we said? That is what we need to know.

Perhaps Duesberg’s “all” is wrong too, as in” Thus, all positive teenagers would have had to achieve an absurd 1000 contacts with a positive partner, or an even more absurd 250,000 sexual contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.” Perhaps “all” should be “typical”.

What would the correct statement have been, then? Mark doesn’t say. The trouble is any way we look at it, it looks OK to us. We vaguely remember looking at this striking statement in the draft of Duesberg’s article, and double checking to see if it was true, and deciding it was. Apparently this was an error, but we still cannot see why.

Surely it is true to say, “Thus, since there is a 1 in 1000 chance of transmission, any positive teenager would have had to achieve an absurd average 1000 contacts with a positive partner to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.”

Isn’t it then true to say, if there are only 1 in 250 in the population at large who are positive, “Or an even more absurd average 250,000 sexual contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.

Whatever, we cannot fathom the error, and nor can a consultant who is not a mathematician but pronounced the statement in his opinion “flawless”.]

Mark continues: “But it gets even worse. A poster named Claus responded with this indignant response to Chris’s use of a metaphor about plane crashes:

CN,

You would fare so much better if you could just stay with the science points and refrain from your ad Duesbergs for more than 2 sentences at a time. You know there’s a proverb where I come from that says ‘thief thinks every man steals’. I’ve never seen anybody persisting the way you do in calling other people ‘liars’, ‘dishonest’ and the likes in spite of the fact that the only one shown to be repeatedly and wilfully dishonest here is you.

Unlike yourself Duesberg doesn’t deal with matters on a case-by-case only basis in order to illustrate his statistical points. precisely as TS says, this shows that you’re the one who’s not doing the statistics, only the misleading.

In statistics, for an illustration to have any meaning, one must assume that it’s representative of an in the context significant statistical average no? Or perphaps in CN’s esteemed opinion statistics is all about that once in a while when somebody does win in the lottery?

Mark says “Gotta interject here… Yeah, statistics is about that once in a while when someone wins the lottery, or when someone catches HIV, or when someone dies in a plane crash. It’s about measuring things by looking at aggregate numbers for a population. Any unlikely event follows the same pattern, whether it’s catching HIV, winning the lottery, or dying in a plane crash, and that’s one of the things that statistics is specifically designed to talk about: that fundamental probabilistic pattern.”

But never mind we’ll let CN have the point; the case in question was that odd one out, and Duesberg was guilty of the gambler’s fallacy. ok? You scored one on Duesberg, happy now? Good. So here’s the real statistical point abstracted, if you will, from the whole that’s made up by all single cases, then applied to the single case in question:

Thus, all positive teenagers would have had to achieve an absurd 1000 contacts with a positive partner, or an even more absurd 250,000 sexual contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.

This is the statistical truth, which is what everybody but CN is interested in.

Mark rejects this out of hand:

“Nope, this is not statistical truth. This is an elementary statistical error which even a moron should be able to recognize.”

Reminder: Whenever somebody shows a pattern of pedantically reverting to single cases and/or persons, insisting on interpreting them out of all context, it’s because they want to divert your attention from real issues and blind you to the overall picture.

Mark: “Reminder: whenever someone shows a pattern of pedantically reverting to a single statistic, insisting on interpreting it in an entirely invalid context, it’s because they want to divert your attention from real issues and blind you to the overall picture.

“The 250,000 average sexual contacts is a classic big-numbers thing: it’s so valuable to be able to come up with an absurd number that people will immediately reject, and assign it to your opponents argument. They can’t let this go, no matter how stupid it is, no matter how obviously wrong. Because it’s so important to them to be able to say “According to their own statistics, the HIV believers are saying that the average teenage army recruit has had sex 250,000 times!”. As long as they can keep up the pretense of a debate around the validity of that statistic, they can keep on using it. So no matter how stupid, they’ll keep defending the line.”

[TS: OK, Mark, but what is the correct statement and why?

The Comments don’t seem to reveal the answer so far:

Comments

see probability tree for putative rate of infection given rate assumptions.

caution! unrealistic!

Posted by: ekzept | September 4, 2006 02:31 PM

Well… Okay, then what would a valid analysis of the numbers indicate?

Assuming the articles sources weren’t afflicted by similar bad logic, we have that between 0.03% and 0.3% of the (presumably all healthy, as I doubt anyone with full-blown AIDS is applying to the USMC) applicants to the USMC present as HIV positive. Meanwhile, a stat. that is used (without background source) is that 0.4% of the population as a whole is HIV-positive. (the vast, vast majority of those without any symptoms)

So where does this lead us? Frankly, I don’t know. If we assume that prior to being tested, each teenager’s number of partners and number of unprotected intercourse occasions/partner followed a poisson distribution, then in theory one could come up with estimates for both the number of partners and number of encounters/partner. (Though the two estimates might depend on each other)

However, I don’t think I could. At this point I’d reach for the discrete computer simulation and just let it crunch.

Posted by: Daniel Martin | September 4, 2006 04:10 PM

the point of my tree is that with the assumptions Duesberg makes, it’s not likely anyone could get HIV, let alone AIDS. thus, his assumption of independence is not correct.

for example, assuming that indeed the risk of HIV given random unprotected couplings in a U.S.-like population is 1 in 250000, the inverse cumulative probability of a binomial model seeking the number of couplings needed to have a 0.9 chance of acquiring HIV suggests 100000.

unbridled assumptions of independence will necessarily make the risk estimates smaller.

Posted by: ekzept | September 4, 2006 04:50 PM

At this point I’d reach for the discrete computer simulation and just let it crunch.

that won’t work unless the prevalence of HIV among preferred sexual partners is modelled. it’s just not correct that everyone in the population has as much likelihood of coupling with a particular person as any other, even correcting for gender preferences. is there an epidemiologist in the house? 😉

Posted by: ekzept | September 4, 2006 04:56 PM

BTW, the emphasis has been on Duesberg’s misuse of statistics, which is bad enough, but it’s important to understand why he’s doing that. he’s trying to do an argument that not only isn’t HIV not related to AIDS, it isn’t even a coherent disease. that’s his motive. in short, he’s trying to do a “climate change denier” kind of thing on HIV and AIDS.

Posted by: ekzept | September 4, 2006 04:59 PM

One poster does say what everyone knowledgeable, such as Bialy or Brown, on our thread seemed to say, that a correct statement isn’t possible.

Well… Okay, then what would a valid analysis of the numbers indicate?

Assuming the articles sources weren’t afflicted by similar bad logic, we have that between 0.03% and 0.3% of the (presumably all healthy, as I doubt anyone with full-blown AIDS is applying to the USMC) applicants to the USMC present as HIV positive. Meanwhile, a stat. that is used (without background source) is that 0.4% of the population as a whole is HIV-positive. (the vast, vast majority of those without any symptoms)

So where does this lead us? Frankly, I don’t know. If we assume that prior to being tested, each teenager’s number of partners and number of unprotected intercourse occasions/partner followed a poisson distribution, then in theory one could come up with estimates for both the number of partners and number of encounters/partner. (Though the two estimates might depend on each other)

However, I don’t think I could. At this point I’d reach for the discrete computer simulation and just let it crunch.

Posted by: Daniel Martin

We conclude for the moment that Duesberg may have been wrong in his formulation of the low odds that any one person would achieve a positive status with heterosexual sex, but that the mathematically inclined don’t have a simple corrected formulation, and that the force of his important point remains the same: the chances of heterosexual transmission are too low to support an epidemic, let alone a pandemic.

If this is true, it seems silly not to have a simple correct formulation of the risk. This post will be updated if this puzzle is properly solved.

UPDATE 1 Sep 5 3.11 pm: A couple of interesting points stand out from Aetiology in the Comments following Tara Smith post:

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None of the “rethinkers” have really admitted to the mathematical mistake inherent in the Duesberg Fallacy. Most of them still insist that in some way Duesberg is still correct. The few that have sufficient mathematical training choose not to comment on this issue. They neither admit to the error nor attempt to refute anything that I stated. -Chris Noble

Also

But I was making an entirely different point – that 1 in 15 or 1 in 1000 makes a huge difference in whether the virus could account for a pandemic. Huge.”

———-

Really? Here’s some assumptions: 1 in 250 americans has HIV. 1 million people. If 1 in 10 of them has unprotected sex on a given day, that is 100,000 people. So, 100 people would get HIV every day, based on a 1/1000 infection rate. In 1000 days, you have 100,000 new cases, which is a lot. Is this end of the world stuff? No. A serious health problem? A good sized city getting a mortal disease every 3 years? Yeah. – Seth Manapio

But a “pandemic”? No. Even with those assumptions, giving you the complete benefit of the doubt…

35 million African AIDS cases… hmmmmmm. I’ll leave the facts about HIV causing AIDS to those who know the science. Just don’t try to sell me on the fact that what’s happening is primarily due to sexual transmission. Duesberg was COMPLETELY WRONG in his use of the statistics as Tara says. But the statistics STILL show that there is no AIDS pandemic caused primarily through sexual transmission. – End Times

The line of reasoning followed by Seth Manapio is interesting. There is apparently more potential for an epidemic that one might suppose. Using the same logic, in the US, supposing every one of the million positives engaged in one sex act with a negative. If as the mathematicians say, a chance of 1 in 1000 means that for every 1000 bouts, one transfer of HIV will take place, this means that a million would result in 1,000 more positives. Ignoring the fact that some of the million are in high risk groups, this might mean that at the rate of sex twice a week, you could get 2,000 a week, or 100,000 a year.

This offers the outside chance of an epidemic, it seems, although the assumptions are rather optimistic. For rethinkers to deny the possibility outright, it may be necessary to emphasize that Padian in fact found no transmission at all in more than a score of couples who took no methodical precautions over six years. The 1 in 1000 rate was purely a tipping of Nancy Padian’s hat to the paradigm, in the form of retrospective calculation of supposed HIV transfer earlier in couples included in the trials. The actual data showed no HIV transmission whatsoever.

Some other points worth noting:

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None of the “rethinkers” have really admitted to the mathematical mistake inherent in the Duesberg Fallacy. Most of them still insist that in some way Duesberg is still correct. The few that have sufficient mathematical training choose not to comment on this issue. They neither admit to the error nor attempt to refute anything that I stated. -Chris Noble

But if you accept that it would take 1 in 1,000 sexual encounters with an HIV+ person in order to pass on HIV, while any ONE CASE would indeed only need come from ONE single sexual encounter, it would be mathematically improbable to have a wide-spread epidemic.

This isn’t rocket science either. You would need a thousand million incidents of HIV- persons having unprotected sex with HIV+ partners in order to have just a million new cases of HIV. Now think of the “35 million African AIDS cases” and see if the math works for sexual transmission at the root of the plague. – End Times

Additionally, the 1 in 1000 stat hasn’t been found in all studies. Others have found it to be much higher in Africa, as much as 1 in 80 encounters. Additionally, I’ve mentioned before that it can increase due to other factors as well, such as co-infection with herpes virus, which increases the odds by as much as a factor of 5.- Tara C. Smith

If you want to start claiming at the actual math in Africa is actually about 1 in 15 when you factor in herpes, then we have a whole different argument that would probably start with some pretty strong challeges to those numbers, but nonetheless is, again, a wholey different subject.

A world-wide epidemic based on 1 in 1000 is astronomically improbable.- End Times

I’m not arguing the actual numbers at all. It doesn’t matter what the actual figure is, whether it’s 1 in 15 or 1 in 1000. What matters is the way Duesberg applies that: that you’d have to actually go *through* 15 parters, or 1000 partners, in order to become infected. That is the problem with it. -Tara Smith

You are absolutely right if the only point you want to make is that Duesberg’s math was wrong.

But I was making an entirely different point – that 1 in 15 or 1 in 1000 makes a huge difference in whether the virus could account for a pandemic. Huge.

Steve’s well-taken insights about stats and evolution don’t apply to this. If it was 1 in thousand 20 years ago and is 1 in 1000 today, it has little chance of creating a pandemic. I can say this with confidence, even while fully accepting that anyone could have unprotected sex one time and contract HIV.

Posted by: End Times |

Duesberg also makes completely false assumptions. He assumes that all of the HIV+ 17-19 year old military recruits acquired HIV through heterosexual contacts. This is unlikely to be true. Other acts have much higher risks and would be likely to account for a large proportion of seroconversions. Duesberg also assumes that HIV prevalence is randomly distributed through the entire population. It isn’t. It is largely confined to specific risk groups such as men who have sex with men and injecting drug users. Teenagers that also belong to these risk groups are a) going to experience higher risks per contact and b) see a much higher prevalence of HIV than the ~1/250 national average.

Of course “rethinkers” will debate these issues but the totally damning thing in this case is that the maths in itself is totally and utterly wrong. There is no weasel room for “rethinkers”.

Posted by: Chris Noble

As Chris Noble points out, in the real world, people do not have sex with random samples of the general population. Truck drivers in Africa with untreated STDs who regularly have unprotected sex with truck-stop prostitutes, and a men who very frequently have unprotected receptive anal sex with numerous men in bath-houses, are at very high risk of infection. HIV infection does not spread randomly through the general population but is correlated with a number of other factors, such as those in my examples. Furthermore, as more people become infected the probability of transmission increases exponentially, and as more people receive treatment and live longer the more chance they have of spreading infection.

Posted by: DeanOr

But I was making an entirely different point – that 1 in 15 or 1 in 1000 makes a huge difference in whether the virus could account for a pandemic. Huge.”

———-

Really? Here’s some assumptions: 1 in 250 americans has HIV. 1 million people. If 1 in 10 of them has unprotected sex on a given day, that is 100,000 people. So, 100 people would get HIV every day, based on a 1/1000 infection rate. In 1000 days, you have 100,000 new cases, which is a lot. Is this end of the world stuff? No. A serious health problem? A good sized city getting a mortal disease every 3 years? Yeah. – Seth Manapio

But a “pandemic”? No. Even with those assumptions, giving you the complete benefit of the doubt…

35 million African AIDS cases… hmmmmmm. I’ll leave the facts about HIV causing AIDS to those who know the science. Just don’t try to sell me on the fact that what’s happening is primarily due to sexual transmission. Duesberg was COMPLETELY WRONG in his use of the statistics as Tara says. But the statistics STILL show that there is no AIDS pandemic caused primarily through sexual transmission. – End Times

I just had an amusing thought.

Perinatal transmission is 25-50% efficient. If as Duesberg claims the 17-19 year old military recruits all acquired HIV perinatally then they must have on average been born 2 to 4 times according to his “logic”. – Chris Noble

Just don’t try to sell me on the fact that what’s happening is primarily due to sexual transmission.

Well, that’s a rather separate topic. In fact, we know it’s not primarily sexually transmitted in some areas of the world. The maps here, for instance, emphasize that the epidemic in China and Russia is due largely to IV drug use, while in India and Africa it’s largely sexually transmitted. It’s difficult to make any generalizations about the epidemiology from one place to another.

Posted by: Tara C. Smith

Isn’t a “pandemic” just an outbreak of a disease that is new, infectious and capable of spreading sustainably throughout the population? If so, HIV/AIDS seems to qualify, even at 1/1000 transmission rates with infected people having one sexual encounter every 10 days… an absurdly low number, considering that 1/3 of americans have sex twice a week or more and we would expect a disproportianately high number of HIV positive people to fall within this group.

But yes, I would agree that if you see transmission rates far higher than expected from sexual transmission, it is probable that either there are other vectors at work or else there is a novel variant of the pathogen that is more easily transmitted. Is this a controversial point? – Seth Manapio

IF HIV is passed, genome to genome, then the relatively stable number of nationwide cases of HIV infection would be explainable based on a 25-50% rate with an average of about 3 births per mother (a little higher than the national average. About what you might expect in poorer families).

Just a thought for discussion. – End Times |

No, you need somewhere on average of around 3 daughters per mother all of whom live long enough to have children.

Men don’t give birth.

At 3 daughters per mother the population would triple every generation! – Chris Noble |

t is also rather ironic that the link that Bialy gives for this claim:

Retroviruses (of which HIV is a classic example) are normally transmitted in the wild through perinatal routes (that is from mother to child), making them endemic rather than epidemic microbes

contains this sentence:

Since the virus is not endemic in the U.S., it is transmitted more often by parenteral exposures associated with risk behavior (see below) than perinatally. – Chris Noble |

SOLUTION to the Problem Found (Sept 7 Thu 10.08 AM)

After extended discussion in the Comments to this post, Robert Houston contributed the definitive correction to Duesberg, which revealed that the objections of Chris Noble and Mark Chu-Carroll while correct were trivial and had no effect on the argument advanced by Duesberg. The implication of the stats for heterosexual transmission were as absurd as ever.

Here is the conclusion from in Comments:

Final conclusion: No great error, and the significance stays the same.

Robert Houston has demonstrated that it is indeed not a very great statistical error, and not one which changes the thrust of Duesberg’s point, which is that whichever way you look at it, Duesberg, Noble or Houston, the amount of sex necessary to make sexual transmission a primary route of transmission is absurd.

This is his correction to Duesberg’s paragraph:

“Sexual transmission of HIV depends on an average of 1000 sexual contacts and only 1 in 250 Americans carries HIV… Thus all positive teenagers represent the achievement (by the teenager or his group) of an absurd average of 1000 contacts with a positive partner or an even more absurd 250,000 contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.”

In Comments, Noble’s ineffective response indicated he was unable to quarrel with this, Houston’s correct reformulation of Duesberg’s point.

Houston’s reasoning:

The chances of one person contracting HIV from random sex is still 1 in 250,000. In fact, if you take into account Nancy Padian’s study five years later (1997) the chances for negative males to catch HIV in a contact with a positive female are properly 1 in 9000, not 1 in 1000, so the number of random contacts would have to be 2,250,000, which is indeed “even more absurd”, in Duesberg’s phrase.

Noble correctly noticed that the 1 in 3000 positive recruit was part of a group of 3000 that included 2999 negatives, and the chance of contracting the Virus from random contacts had to be spread over the whole group, so the average number of random contacts needed per recruit would not be 250,000 but 250,000/3000 = 83.

The restatement is the outcome of the simple four assertions Houston made:

1) Given Duesberg’s assumptions, the chances for a particular individual to contract HIV heterosexually remain 1:250,000.

2) The chance for such transmission to occur to anyone in a group at the proportion found in teenage recruits (0.00034 or 1/3000) would be one in 250,000/3000 or 1 in 83.

3) Each HIV positive case would still represent an average of 250,000 contacts occurring in the group.

4) But the group average of 83 contacts per member would yield one positive case (83 x 3000 = 250,000).

Does not change absurdity Duesberg referred to

The only significant issue is whether this is still an absurd level of sexual contacts. Is it unexceptional that recruits into the Army aged under 20, by definition, – ie 17.5-19.9 years – could get through an average 83 encounters before being inducted?

If it is not absurd but a reasonable assumption, then heterosexual transmission of HIV might be a significant factor in the spread of the Virus, and perinatal transmission wouldn’t be the only conventional (not high risk ie not IV drug use with dirty needles or gay sex) route indicated.

Well, fairly obviously the absurdity is still there, analysis will show. With the 1997 Nancy Padian correction of 2,250,000 contacts the whole group needs to yield one new positive, that means 750 encounters per male, average. Absurd on the face of it for any 17-19 year old.

Using the original assumption of 1 in 1000 risk for female to male, the 250,000 total contacts needed for one positive and the 2999 that accompany him, or 83 contacts per male, all 3000 of them, might seem more or less possible at a huge stretch as average experience at 18. However, the US Job Corps study quoted by Duesberg in the same paragraph showed a ten times higher rate among their recruits, who were disadvantaged youths, ie mostly blacks and Hispanics. Among them the rate of HIV positivity was 1/300 (actually 1/270), ten times as much as the 1/3000 of the Army recruits, which would require an average 830 total sex encounters per male.

Since there is also information that one third of youths at 18 are or were virgins, or to be more precise 35%, you have to add 50% to the total, which would make it 1277 sex encounters. This is equivalent to saying that the average 18 year old recruit had 13 years of happy marriage under his belt (that would be twice a week or 100 per year).

Not very likely, in fact, quite impossible. In fact highly absurd. Especially when you look at Padian and find the 1/1000 risk applies to women, and the risk for men infected by women is 1/9000. So Padian would add nine times more sex bouts for men, as opposed to women, which comes out as 11,492 each – 115 years of happy marriage for each active adolescent!

At the age of 18, that is to say, they would need 115 years of sexual experiences at the outstanding happy level of twice a week.

Supporters of the paradigm attempt to argue that the 2005 Uganda study by Wawer et al changes this picture for Africa at least by showing a higher risk of transmission of 1/833, but the male use of condoms in the study was negligible, and there is no information as to whether the 1/833 risk estimate is for male or female.

So the level of sexual experience demanded to account for the positives at this young age is still absurdly high and it is clear that perinatal transmission has to be the overwhelmingly important vector for HIV transmission, with added contributions from IV drug use and gay sex. This was Duesberg’s point, precisely, still supported by the figures he used, and even more glaringly by the updated figures from later studies (Padian 1997 etc).

In a nutshell, the figures for black and Hispanic recruits to the Job Corps are ten times higher than for whites, and one third are virgins. So the rate of sexual activity required to account for the 1/300 black recruits found to be positive at 18 would be 12 times a week – from birth.

AS Duesberg worked out, the idea that sexual transmission accounted for most of these positives, rather than perinatal transmission (with a few from IV drug use and gay sex, of course) is indeed absurd.

An unwitting tribute to Duesberg’s quality

So what can the insulting Web mathematicians really claim as an error in Duesberg’s mistaken phrasing? Not much, beyond a misstatement of the probabilities which overreached in making his point more striking than it deserved. But it remains irrefutable, and there is no change relevant to the great debate.

So if anything the strenuous efforts over years by small players who have limited understanding of the entire debate to shoot holes in Duesberg’s massively constructed critique are exposed by themselves as especially ineffective by their behavior in this case. For apparently his errors are so rare that they must crow, insult and wax ecstatic over a trivial correction which doesn’t change Duesberg’s point one iota.

Even mathematicians can be caught

Indeed, even the probability correction that has to be made – and a comment poster reveals that the point was granted by Duesberg six months ago – doesn’t provide anything to crow about. This may be elementary statistics and probability, but it isn’t obvious, and there is no reason to be childishly scathing and triumphant, as Mark the Computer Scientist is, and some of the posters in Comments below. Puzzles like this have caught droves of otherwise smart people. The correct apprehension of risk and probability is famously one of the least intuitive perceptions for most people.

Fo example, the notorious problem of the Monty Hall game show, where two closed doors hide a worthless prize, such as an apple, and the third closed door hides a Lamborghini. The contestant chooses a door and the game show host Monty flings open one of the other doors to reveal an apple.

Monty then asks the contestant if he/she wants to change the door they picked for the other closed door, as if that might change their chances. Would you change?

The reasoning on the right answer is simple and obvious once you think about the problem enough, but droves of people got it wrong when the New York Times featured the puzzle on the front page a decade ago, after the woman with the highest IQ in the world, Marilyn vos Savant put it in her Parade column, and tons of people got it wrong there too.

Among the university professors scolding her for innumeracy were mathematicians, so we suggest that readers here don’t automatically credit Duesberg’s Web critics, especially the ones who are snotty, which quite often goes with a mistake, amusingly enough.

210 Responses to “Duesberg’s math incorrect, say bloggers”

  1. Chris Noble Says:

    You appear to be stating that the issue will only be resolved once you have understood the mathematics.

    That could take a while.

    Why don’t you ask Darin Brown, Dan Fendel, or Rebecca Culshaw to tutor you.

    I’ll try once more with a counter example.

    Take 100 HIV+ pregnant women. Given a perinatal transmission efficiency of 25-50% you would expect 25-50 HIV infected children (excluding twins etc). What is the average number of times that each child is born? Duesberg’s “logic” would tell you that each HIV infected baby is born on average between 2 to 4 times.

    p(random sex) = 1/250,000

    Duesberg logic gives average 250000 contacts

    p(perinatal) = 1/2 to 1/4

    Duesberg logic gives average 2 to 4 births per child

  2. pat Says:

    Chris,
    according to the logic you give Duesberg credit for it seems that you are saying that all children born to hiv infected mothers WILL BE HIV+ because they were each born 2-4 times. Does Duesberg say that? You really try hard to make him look dummer than a doorknob. I doubt he’s that stupid.

  3. Truthseeker Says:

    Chris, you commented as follows re the phrase “…Duesberg’s statistical formulation which doesn’t seem to have been fully solved…” We will answer with reason not expertise, since the idea is to make it very clear to the non-expert, which includes us. Hope you can do likewise, as you usually do.

    You commented as follows:

    Just what is that isn’t resolved?

    I’ll attempt just once more to illustrate the mathematical fallacy at the heart of Duesberg’s argument.

    If the probability of winning the lottery is 1 in a million then indeed you would expect that on average for every winning ticket another 999,999 non-winning tickets will have been sold. Duesberg’s argument assumes that these 999,999 non-winning tickets must have been bought by the same person that bought the winning ticket and that nobody else bought any tickets at all.

    Likewise if we accept Duesberg’s figures then on average for every random heterosexual contact where HIV is transmitted we would expect 249,999 where no transmission occurred. Duesberg’s argument assumes that the 744 HIV+ 17-19 year old military recruits must of each had on average 250,000 random heterosexual contacts and that the remaining 2,812,441 HIV- 17-19 year old military recruits had each had exactly zero heterosexual contacts.

    Just what would resolve the issue for you?

    9.4.2006 9:14pm

    Our step by step reply is as follows:

    First you say, I’ll attempt just once more to illustrate the mathematical fallacy at the heart of Duesberg’s argument.

    If the probability of winning the lottery is 1 in a million then indeed you would expect that on average for every winning ticket another 999,999 non-winning tickets will have been sold. Duesberg’s argument assumes that these 999,999 non-winning tickets must have been bought by the same person that bought the winning ticket and that nobody else bought any tickets at all.

    How so? It looks like a good analogy but is it perfect? Each ticket in a lottery is bought only once, and each has a 1 to 999,999 chance of being the winner. That picture is simpler and somewhat different from a bunch of millions of people all interacting screwing each other, or not doing so, isn’t it? For each single screwer in any one interaction, the predicament is equivalent, perhaps – he can buy a ticket (screw a positive or a negative) and his chances of “winning” are 1 in 1000 if he screws a positive. If random, chances are much lower. 250 times lower, one would have thought. But you say it would be wrong to translate this into Duesberg’s formulation.

    Well, for the group as a whole, according to Mark’s mathematics you get a win each time for each 1000 people encountering a positive, but for some individuals surely it takes longer than others. The average time ie number of people one has to sleep with it takes to “win” ie become positive is what we are discussing, which is what Duesberg tried to formulate. Presumably it all averages out at about 500 bouts, not a 1000, as Duesberg assumes, unless the 1 in 1000 means an average 1000 bouts, as he said. You can tell us which.

    But why do we have to have an analogy anyway? It just sidetracks into whether the analogy is perfect, doesn’t it? Can’t you just point out the flaw if any directly?

    Then you say that Likewise if we accept Duesberg’s figures then on average for every random heterosexual contact where HIV is transmitted we would expect 249,999 where no transmission occurred.

    OK if you accept his formulation (the figures are not his, after all, they come from the CDC, Padian and the Army, which is important, since they may be the source of error) but you say it is wrong. What is wrong with his formulation? That is what is at issue.

    Well, now you say what is wrong with his formulation:

    Duesberg’s argument assumes that the 744 HIV+ 17-19 year old military recruits must of (sic) each had an average 250,000 random heterosexual contacts and that the remaining 2,812,441 HIV- 17-19 year old military recruits had each had exactly zero heterosexual contacts.

    How so? Hard to see how this is true, even if Duesberg statement is not correct as originally stated. Duesberg only stated that IF the ratios are correct then ALL the positives collectively would have had to have had an unlikely AVERAGE of 1000 (500?) contacts each with a positive contact, and since only 1 in 250 individuals are positive, then ALL would had to have had an AVERAGE of 250,000 contacts, which is impossible.

    This may be a slight mistatement, we agree. But we don’t see it is terribly, mathematically, egregiously wrong. What perhaps he should have written is that IF the figures are as stated then COLLECTIVELY ALL the positives would have had to have had an unlikely AVERAGE of 1000 (500?) contacts each with a positive individual, and since positive individuals were 1 in 250, then ALL would have had to have had an AVERAGE of 250,000 (125,000?) contacts, which is impossible.

    So if this is true, he exaggerated with an incorrect formulation, but how much of an exaggeration? In line with Mark’ s statement you must agree that the positive recruits must have had however many contacts got them all to be positive, and these must have ranged between one and 1000 for each of them. The average must be somewhere in there, probably around 500, right? Not much of a difference if it is only 500. Is that correct?

    As for those millions who did not become positive, this group must have had zero heterosexual contact, you say, in the second part of your restatement of Duesberg. But is this true? There are surely plenty who did not become positive, but were active sexually. Surely nothing much can be said about what they were up to. Possibly some never encountered a positive individual in their sexual contacts (likely, since only 1 in 250 people are positive). Possibly many never had sex with a member of the opposite sex at all.

    Just what would resolve the issue for you?

    Forgive the above if it seems wrong to you, and you can say why. But in answer to your question, all this discussion about how Duesberg got it wrongly stated is only resolved, seems to us, if you can say what his formulation should have been, and show why. What would resolve the issue for us would be that. You stating what his formulation should have been. Just as we requested you state what the rate of perinatal transmission should be to maintain prevalence in a population, which we believe you have also never answered.

    Beyond that, to make it relevant to the whole debate you would have to show that the correct formulation means that there is a possibility of a sexually transmitted heterosexual epidemic/pandemic, and it does not, as Duesberg suggested, rule it out. As far as we know, any correct formulation rules out a sexual epidemic/pandemic.

    Quite honestly, as far as the HIV debate goes, since analysis of the Padian study shows she got NO transmission among many couples NOT using condoms or other precautions over six years, if you do show that a pandemic is possible after all with a revised formulation using the official numbers, then we would have to say that the official figures are probably wrong for the rate of transmission or the prevalence of HIV or both.

    For if there is anything utterly obvious now it is that heterosexual transmission of HIV antibodies in the presence of undetectable virus is as improbable as reason indicates it should be. Reason shows it, studies show it, history shows it in the US. In Africa, studies show it as well – the higher rates claimed are still not enough, and the death rates of South Africa indicate there is no pandemic there either, despite all the excitement.

    Sorry if this seems to prejudge that issue.

  4. Chris Noble Says:

    AL,
    If you want a simple formula then the average number of sexual contacts necessary for a proportion p to seroconvert given a per contact risk of p is given by

    n = p/r

    From the literature figures p = 0.00026 for 17-19 year old military recruits.

    If we use Duesberg’s figure of 1/250000 for r then we get

    n = 0.00026*250000 = 65

    Duesberg incorrectly gives n = 250000

    He is out by a factor of 0.00026

    Let’s test this with the lottery analogy. Mathematics is useful because it doesn’t matter whether you are talking about aplles or oranges the maths is the same. 2 apples + 2 apples = 4 apples. 2 oranges + 2 oranges = 4 oranges.

    Let’s say the probability of winning the lottery is 1/1000.

    How many tickets on average per person would be necessary for 0.1% of the population to win.

    n = 0.001/0.001 = 1

    Duesberg’s logic would give you 1000 which is obviously false.

    The efficiency of perinatal transmission necessary to sustain an endemic infection can be described by this equation.

    reproduction number = perinatal efficiency * average number of daughters per mother.

    For a virus to survive the reproduction number must be greater than or equal to 1 ie every HIV+ women must have on average at least 1 HIV+ daughter.

    For a perinatal efficiency of 50% every mother must on average have at least 2 daughters (4 children on average) that survive long enough to have children of their own.
    This would also mean a doubling of the population every generation.

    For a perinatal efficiency of 25% every mother must on average have at least 4 daughters (8 children on average) that survive long enough to have children of their own.
    This would also mean a quadrupling of the population every generation.

    The current average number of daughters per mother is a bit over 1. Therefore for a virus to survive by perinatal transmission the efficiency must be close 100%.

    But as Duesberg states in his articles the observed rate is between 25-50%.

    Without any evidence to the contrary it is just circular logic to argue that perinatal transmission must be close to 100% because we already know that HIV is sustained by perinatal transmission.

  5. Chris Noble Says:

    Chris,
    according to the logic you give Duesberg credit for it seems that you are saying that all children born to hiv infected mothers WILL BE HIV+ because they were each born 2-4 times. Does Duesberg say that? You really try hard to make him look dummer than a doorknob. I doubt he’s that stupid.

    No, that is not what I said.

    Given a risk per birth of r = 1/2 to 1/4 you would expect between a half and a quarter of children born to HIV+ mothers to be perinatally infected.

    All babies are born once and once only.

    Duesberg’s formula is n = 1/r.

    He uses this to get n = 1/(1/250000) = 250000

    If we apply exactly the same equation to perinatal transmission we between n = 2 and n = 4

    The exact same logic means that each HIV infected baby must have been born on average between 2 to 4 times.

    The point of this analogy is to demonstrate that Duesberg’s logic leads to absurd consequences

  6. Truthseeker Says:

    Chris it is too late in NYC (5.20 am) to repeat and specify ad infinitum or work it out from what you have written, though we’ll certainly look tomorrow. Would you mind giving a simple answer to two simple questions?

    1) If Duesberg did not write the correct formulation, WHAT IS IT? Use the same figures/ratios. What should he have written?

    2) Kindly specify the rate of perinatal transmission that would support a constant prevalence of X in the population.

    This is NOT a query about the absurd consequences of the Duesberg formulation or any other answer you think is wrong, though I appreciate that is your main impulse for some reason.

    It is a request for you to state what you think is the correct answer to both queries.

    Thanks.

  7. Chris Noble Says:

    1) The (more) correct formula is n = p/r where p = 0.03% (Duesberg) = 0.0003 and r = 1/250000 (Duesberg) hence n = 75 and not 250,000

    2) The rate of perinatal transmission necessary to maintain a constant prevalence rate is 100%

    AL, isn’t it a central tenet of “rethinker” philosophy that it isn’t necessary to provide the correct answer in order to criticise the “orthodox” formulation?

  8. plunge Says:

    “Duesberg is not a mathematician.”

    But he works in a discipline in which basic knowledge of this sort of simple math is simply essential, and I find it hard to believe that he would be this ignorant unintentionally.

    Let’s be clear: there is no simple equation for transmission rates beyond something like 1 out of 1000 sexual encounters becaue after that point, things get very very complicated to model and you can’t just abstract away all the particulars anymore. But as a straight ahead argument, Duesberg’s argument is grossly misleading.

    I don’t see what’s so hard about this. His claim that the postiive people must have sex 1000s of times: that they must have had sex more than once even, is based on completely misinterpreting what probability means. Remember: there are millions of sexual encounters going on all the time. Some small percentage of those are between HIV- and HIV+ people, but the original pool is big enough so that this still is something that happens fairly often. Of those, each one has a chance of 1 out of 1000 (and probably far more likely than that) of converting an HIV- to a HIV+. But note what ISN’T being said. We AREN’T saying that each of those once HIV- is having 1000 encounters before getting HIV. We are saying that there are many many many sexual encounters and 1 out of 1000 of them result in a new HIV+ case, leading, on the aggregate, to many new HIV+ people over time. How many depends on the number of sexual encounters between HIV+ and HIV- folks, but it does NOT rely on those people always being the SAME small group having sex over and over (though, as it happens, many partners will be had more than once per relationship). Those individual cases need not have had sex even more than that ONE time, for goodness sakes. 1000 different sexual encounters leads to 1 new case.

    Is that too slow? I have no idea, but it’s certainly ironic that one major complaint I’ve come accross from denialists i that HIV is spreading too slowly. Apparrently, now itss both spreading too slowly and also too quickly.

  9. Dan Says:

    In the U.S., the number of fatal traffic accidents for a year is nearly identical to the number of people “diagnosed HIV positive”.

    I think it’s a very safe assumption to say that more people are on the road in some form every day than are having sex with those who are “HIV positive”.

    It certainly looks like it’s FAR more likely for a person in the U.S. to be killed in a traffic accident than it is for them to become “HIV positive”. We don’t need the math and statistic nerds to point this one out for us.

    Duesberg’s math – right or wrong…I don’t care. Being on the road is much more of a threat than “HIV infection”.

  10. pat Says:

    They can keep their HIV/AIDS as long as they need to but they must agree to take their rightful place in the desease and death roster of humanity, somewhere bellow traffic accidents and then reduce their funding accordingly. The danger here is when the real bug killer comes around there will be no one left but cynics to ignore the boy who cried wolf so many times. With the cost of health care nowadays I can barely afford to live.

  11. Michael Says:

    Either way, whether Duesberg’s math is wrong in this instance, or even if Chris Noble and Plunge are correct, it does not reflect the real life situation of only 750,000 currently actually diagnosed as HIV positive, 250,000 that don’t take any meds and still thrive, and the CDC proclaiming year after year for more than 20 years that one million people are HIV positive and that the threat extends to the heterosexual population.

    The Western world hetero threat is nearly non-existant unless one is a drug addict or has other explainable issues going on.

    None of any of these HIV math models explains reality. Reality is more easily and simply explained on individual case basis, usually with other factors other than HIV, and therefore all of them must most probably in reality, be mistaken.

    All of the perinatal claims are based on a supposition that the tests are accurate, when there has been no actual isolation from the actual people who are tested, only highly suspect and questionable antibody tests.

    Seems to me to be something very ill about anyone’s claim that HIV is perinatal without checking mothers and grandmothers, or that it is sexually transmitted, especially as the HIV tests are so error prone and non-specific, and something even more ill with claiming “HIV is the cause of AIDS”. Pun intended.

    If Chris and Plunge were correct, there would be no flat line of HIV positive diagnosis for more than 20 years.

    One would think we would get more bang for our buck than the flakiness we currently deal with, considering the more than $200 billion dollars that have been thrown into this massive sink and stinkhole!

    And by the way Mr. Plunge or whoever you are, using the word “denialist” is rude and wrong. It would be just as easy for the rethinker camp to call you the denialist flat earther creationist holocaust denier from our perspective.

  12. Truthseeker Says:

    1) The (more) correct formula is n = p/r where p = 0.03% (Duesberg) = 0.0003 and r = 1/250000 (Duesberg) hence n = 75 and not 250,000

    So what should he have said? Why is it so hard for you to simply write out what you think the correct formulation (not formula) should be?

    What is X and Y in “Thus, all positive teenagers would have had to achieve X contacts with a positive partner, or Y sexual contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.”? Sould any of the words be changed – eg “all”? Should the word “average” or “typical” be inserted somewhere?

    Apparently (judging from your formula sentence above) Y = 75. Does X = 1000, 500 or what rough figure if we cannot be exact? If X = 1000, Y = 75 is surely absurd. If 75 is correct, what is X? Since it must be much less, it will be absurdly low, it seems.

    Anyhow, what is the correct sentence formulation now in your view?

    2) The rate of perinatal transmission necessary to maintain a constant prevalence rate is 100%

    OK thanks. If this is an indisputable arithmetic fact, then 25% to 50% won’t do it, is that right? So random sex is doing the rest, or anyway, has done it over the aeons when IV drugs were not used. That is your argument?

    One tries to imagine the sociology of that scenario. All through history, mothers have transmitted HIV to their daughters at 25-50%, and the balance has been made up by premarital and extra marital sex, is that right?

    Wouldn’t it be more likely that the 25%-50% figure is wrong, and that stats which yielded it should be reviewed? (Don’t tell us you believe that HIV is a new virus which jumped the species barrier from monkeys in Central Africa, please!)

    AL, isn’t it a central tenet of “rethinker” philosophy that it isn’t necessary to provide the correct answer in order to criticise the “orthodox” formulation?

    Thanks for using the word “rethinker”, Chris, instead of “denialist”. Very civil. As to what rethinkers hold, God knows. In general they seem a quarrelsome, overly opinionated bunch, with whom we try to have as little to do as possible. One or two are reasonable, including several delightful ones which post here (you know who you are:-). But then most people on the Web seem to indulge infantile impulses to quarrel rather than work out a shared solution and find the truth together, so this is just par for the course.

    So we don’t subscribe to a rethinker pattern, no. Our value is good science and good scientists, who put science before self interest. We believe in the Socratic method. Establish what it is that your discussant is saying, and then see if it makes sense when examined with his/her cooperation. That is why we say, criticise anything you like any way you like, sure, but if you have the correction, give it. It simplifies discussion immensely.

    On a personal note, you seem to us of late to have a strong desire to knock over Duesberg and expose his feet of clay, but perhaps this is just your reaction to what you find is the rethinkers’ tendency to find no fault in him, when you see flaws in what he writes. We know Duesberg well enough and can assure you that he has one sterling quality which may speak for the accuracy of what he concludes more than any other (we think it does). That is, he welcomes any worthwhile objection to what he thinks, as a way of advancing, and clarifying, and strengthening his own reasoning, even if the objection is invalid. This forms a striking and telling contrast with the attitude of the self-admitted Chief Censor in HIV/AIDS, the handsome and dapper Anthony Fauci.

    Apart from the annoying tendency you see in rethinkers to worship Duesberg, is there any other reason why you have spent so much time over the years picking holes in the statements of rethinkers on the Web? Why did you apparently – just our general impression, may be wrong – from the beginning decide that everything Duesberg and many others wrote must be wrong? Apart from overlooking the high quality of his style and reasoning, which one doesn’t have to worship him to appreciate, and which is far higher than his opponents, this also seems to ignore the enduring ability of the paradigm to excite books and critiques year after year all over the world to an extent never seen before in scientific history.

    This is a paradigm which has failed to justify itself effectively for 26 years, Chris, and that is so flawed that even people who can’t spell can argue effectively against it. Why are you still working on the assumption that it is largely indisputable, and that picking at the edges of rethinker statements is a worthwhile activity for you? Is it simply that you find it amusing to excite the natives?

    We ask merely for information, as always. To put it in very practical terms, if your son or daughter or the child of your friend scored positive on the HIV test, would you allow him/her to be treated in the conventional manner with the standard “life saving drugs”? Or would you finally have second thoughts?

    Perhaps you are well aware of the fault lines in the paradigm, but are simply interested in testing the logic of the rethinkers to improve general understanding, as McK appears to do, is that it?

  13. Dan Says:

    Pat,
    I’m being very generous in my comparison of “HIV infection” and traffic fatalities. To make the comparison, we have to suspend reality momentarily and pretend that HIV tests are actually HIV tests.

    Then, we need to ascertain if so-called “HIV infection” leads to an ever-evolving, reinventing itself more than Madonna “AIDS”. After that, maybe we can all decide where to put “it” on the death and disease roster of humanity.

  14. pat Says:

    Dan
    Agreed. Before it can take any place the science first needs to be solid. It is however safe to assume that after 25 years of down-revisions that it ranks LOW on the priority list.

  15. Oigen Says:

    Surely Duesberg was just being a tad facetious with his “All teenage boys would……..HIV by sexual transmission” conclusion where to me he was really only mocking the HIV=AIDS=CERTAIN DEATH malarkey. Anybody with a modicum of common sense can see that. Maybe replacing “all teenage boys would” with “some teenage boys could” would placate the protagonists and their mathematical statistical genii who are on about wayward maths, although I doubt it.

    Bottom line…….. The odds of contracting the phantom HIV, if it exists at all as a pathogen, through sexual activity is not much better than winning your state or provincial lottery.

  16. trrll Says:

    Duesberg is not a mathematician. However, it was presumably questioned and checked by his friendly colleagues and by the peer reviewers so you are certainly exposing a lot of people as having missed a “spectacular error”

    It is a spectacular blunder, though, one that no halfway competent biologist—or indeed, anybody who got a decent grade in college statistics—should make. In fact, I didn’t believe it at first, until I looked up the paper.

    Duesberg’s error is a basic one, and one that every student in a statistics course is cautioned against. Essentially, what he has done is to ignore all of the people who had sex and were lucky enough not to contract HIV, and attribute all of their sexual contacts to the small minority who did contract HIV.

    How this slipped through peer review, I don’t know, but it is worth noting that the article in question is a review, not a research paper. Unfortunately, reviews do not always receive the sort of careful scrutiny that research papers get. Also, Duesberg was still something of a big name back in ’92, even though people were starting to think that he was being unreasonable in hanging onto a pet hypothesis when all of the evidence was going the other way, so I can easily imagine a reviewer taking his word for it and not taking the trouble to check for basic mathematical errors.

    It does make me wonder about Duesberg’s mental competence, though. As I said, this is a very elementary mistake.

  17. Truthseeker Says:

    1000 different sexual encounters leads to 1 new case.

    Let’s remember, “plunge” (what kind of moniker is that? Could we beg you to change to soemthing human, at least :-), that even the 1 in 1000 is merely Nancy Padian’s tipping of her hat to the belief in HIV transmission between heterosexuals. It was a retrospective surmise, without direct evidence. The data collected showed NO transmission, period. None.

    So really this whole discussion is moot, thanks to Nancy Padian, who will get a special tribute post imminently, even though she tries to get out of the implication of her own conclusion by claiming transmission is higher in Africa.

    That is what is silly about this whole discussion, but we think it is mathematically interesting, at least.

  18. Truthseeker Says:

    It does make me wonder about Duesberg’s mental competence, though. As I said, this is a very elementary mistake.

    Isn’t the electronic screen wonderful? Whereas normally people woudn’t make rude remarks for fear of getting a swift punch on the nose, here we have trrll (another not very human moniker, another plea for something easier to relate to – is it a variation on “troll”, do you suppose?) saying that Duesberg is somewhat mentally incompetent.

    The writer breezily dismisses the Duesberg “error” as schooboyish, in the same manner as Mark Chu-Carroll, who also rushes to call Duesberg names from the safety of his keyboard (“spectacular stupidity”). Don’t these people ever get out of the house?

    Duesberg’s error is a basic one, and one that every student in a statistics course is cautioned against. Essentially, what he has done is to ignore all of the people who had sex and were lucky enough not to contract HIV, and attribute all of their sexual contacts to the small minority who did contract HIV.

    Breezy dismissal in passing, as if trrll would have seen it instantly. Perhaps so, but this merely reflects familiarity with this small page of the field, not some superior intelligence on the part of trrll, since plenty of bright people seem to have accepted Duesberg’s statement without objection. It is funny how quickly people feel superior in intelligence when they have merely studied a problem properly and thus see it clearly, whereas others haven’t, and overlook a pitfall.

    Anyhow, is this what Duesberg did? He said “Thus, all positive teenagers would have had to achieve an absurd 1000 contacts with a positive partner, or an even more absurd 250,000 sexual contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.” The first part is not true, because some will do it earlier, in fact 1/1000 will become positive the first time contact, as we are told by the mathematicians. But what is the mean? Is it 500 contacts?. If the mean is 500 contacts, wouldn’t it be the same as saying “Thus, the typical teenager would have had to achieve an average of an absurd 500 contacts with a positive partner”? If so (we are waiting on Chris Noble for his formulation to see what the right phrasing is) is this so different in import from what Duesberg wrote?

    Then if the actual prevalence of HIV is 1 in 250, wouldn’t it be right to multiply the average number of contacts by some factor, and isn’t 250 plausible? We are waiting on Chris Noble to tell us the answer, ie the right formulation that Duesberg should have used, and can’t say that we can immediately see that your description of the Duesberg error is correct.

    But heck, that may be because we are mathematically dim, and you are not 🙂

  19. trrll Says:

    Anyhow, is this what Duesberg did? He said “Thus, all positive teenagers would have had to achieve an absurd 1000 contacts with a positive partner, or an even more absurd 250,000 sexual contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.”

    Yes, it is exactly what he did. If 1000 people have sex once with a positive partner, and one of them turns up with HIV (which would be the case on the average if the risk were 1 in 1000), Duesberg’s reasoning would lead one to conclude that that one person must have had all the sex, and none of the others had any sex at all. As I said, this is a very elementary blunder, one that every biology student is specifically cautioned against when he takes basic statistics. For an experienced, respected biologist to make such an error is almost incomprehensible. But there is a pattern that has occurred enough times in science that it has become disturbingly familiar. When an eminent scientist, late in life, develops a fixed idea, and hangs onto it dogmatically despite mounting evidence to the contrary, it is hard not to wonder if there might be a neurological basis for such behavior. Making a trivial statistical blunder certainly reinforces that suspicion. The only other explanation I can think of is that Duesberg didn’t actually write the paper himself, and was slipshod in editing it. People do sometimes pass the job of writing a review down to a student or postdoc, but they are supposed to get co-authorship; in this case Duesberg is the sole author.

  20. Truthseeker Says:

    For an experienced, respected biologist to make such an error is almost incomprehensible.

    This is absurd. It is a trivial error, as you say, in a realm that is not his. Consider the fact that the already distinguished academic you refer to was forced to take up mastering the whole field better than the dozens of peers and thousands of critics such as yourself in order to prove he wasn’t making a foolish mistake. Now you detect what you say is a blunder that is trivial for anyone like yourself to pick out. Duesberg is not a statistician, but believe me he has detected a thousand such faults in the studies he has been forced to defend himself against.

    Duesberg wrote his papers himself, with lesser contributions from coauthors. Superficial scorn from people like yourself forced him to do so to a very high level of accuracy.

    Duesberg’s reasoning would lead one to conclude that that one person must have had all the sex, and none of the others had any sex at all.

    He mistated that “all positive teenagers would have had to achieve an absurd 1000 contacts with a positive partner” when he should have said “the typical positive teenager would have had to achieve an absurd average 1000 (500?) contacts with a positive partner”, is that right? If right, all he did was overlook that some might convert straightaway, and some would take longer.

    Our question to you is the same as to Noble. If you think our reformulation is wrong, please give the correct formulation.

  21. Laura Says:

    Truthseeker said:

    So really this whole discussion is moot, thanks to Nancy Padian, who will get a special tribute post imminently, even though she tries to get out of the implication of her own conclusion by claiming transmission is higher in Africa.

    How can you rely on one study for absolute certainty on heterosexual transmission? Keep in mind that women make up the fastest growing group of HIV+ in the US and Africa.

  22. Laura Says:

    Just to clarify I am not saying women make up the largest group of HIV+ just that the number of infected is rising faster than the other affected groups which suggests heterosexual transmission is plausible.

  23. Truthseeker Says:

    There are varying degrees of certainty throughout the house of cards that is HIV∫AIDS, Laura, and the expansion of women who are HIV+ in the US and Africa is not at the top of the pile. Nancy Padian’s study is at the top, thought this doesn’t make it certain, given the difficulties of getting such work done based on standing on the rest of the house of cards.

    Does it not occur to you that the African stats are such a mess that they probably reflect an epidemic of real and imagined HIV testing than a genuine spread of positivity and disease, which HIV does not cause anyway, after all – or had you missed that message?

    There comes a point where one cannot trust the literature itself, however useful it is in pointing out that the paradigm claims do not even match it. If you wish to, Good Luck.

    The problem with Web discussion is that it is carried on by people who typically cannot see the wood for the trees, which they love to count and photograph. But the wood if they could rise above it they would see is a dream floating high above the earth, with no mooring.

    The dream was set free by Bob Gallo, and life was breathed into it by Margaret Heckler, in the form of Federal approval and freely flowing funds, and now vast numbers believe in it, because they live amid the trees, and cannot see beyond them.

    Anyone who discusses this on the Web who doesn’t see that is wasting your time or trying to educate you as to the reality of the game. We are the latter. Don’t waste your time with the former, unless your objective is to get a share of the financial pie.

    That is the one thing that is all too real about HIV∫AIDS. Why else, apart from censorship, do you think that the many intelligent people in the world who can see what is going on – the smart people who can see the wood – don’t say so?

    Follow the money trail in science, Laura, as well as in everything else. That means not treating the gospel of HIV∫AIDS as gospel, but as a funding proposal.

    In this case it is finding the market can be expanded by fastening on poor female blacks.

    Excuse the reality check.

  24. Michael Says:

    Laura.
    The number of people testing is rising which exactly offsets and equates to what you are percieving as the number of HIV positives rising. More of the population testing more often = more tests to show positive, whether they are accurate or not. Right now, the big push is in the black community where many preachers are preaching from the pulpit to go get an HIV test, cause a bunch of your dirty husbands are on the down low. Please remember that the Oraquick was showing 25 percent false positives just 10 months ago and was booted from some clinics in SF, NY, and LA. The backup Elisa is just as flakey with several different standards and subjective standards for different risk groups. The tests seem to be determined to be positive or not in very subjective ways.

    In other words, if 1 out of a thousand tests go positive, and a city or state performs 10,000 tests, then you get 10 positives. If the city or state doubles the tests given to 20,000 tests, your number of positives doubles to 20 positives as well.

    Seatle went through this a year and a half ago and their newspapers ran that the epidemic was spreading out of control, until the head of their health dept said no it is not spreading, they simply increased testing by the same percentage of increased positive test results.

  25. McKiernan Says:

    Michael,

    Question:

    Were you an hiv + mother would you request that your children be tested for seropositivity at some time during their childhood or their childhood illnesses ?

  26. Laura Says:

    I make no money from AIDS Inc. nor do I intend to pursue a career in virology or public health. Given that I have no alterior motive for by beliefs, and I do know people who are HIV+ so please don’t assume I don’t care.

    I do not deny that increased testing may be involved in the increase in positive tests. But, I don’t think Padian is the final word either. Needless to say my posts are as likely to change your minds as your stating Padian is the ultimate authority on heterosexual transmission will change mine.Therefore I will not give up on supporting condom use anytime soon. Anyways this discussion has been interesting but I shall move on.

  27. Michael Says:

    Hello McKiernan.

    I personallly would not suggest anyone including my own child ever get tested for HIV, even if I were an HIV positive diagnosed mother. If one has a child diagnosed as positive, they can be mandated by the state as to whatever medications a doctor deems appropriate. Some mothers have even had their children yanked from them for refusing AZT for healthy children that simply tested positive. I would suggest that people are properly diagnosed and treated only for exactly whatever illness they have. For instance, if someone has pneumonia, treat only for pneumonia. If CMV, treat only the CMV, if thrush, treat only the thrush.

  28. Michael Says:

    Laura,

    Please check out the following link to an article in a Seatle newspaper, titled:

    THE AIDS SCARE THAT WASN’T/Seattle Weekly

  29. Michael Says:

    The most interesting line from the Seattle piece was the following:

    At this point, the real mystery might be why, with risky sex and STDs apparently on the rise, there appears to be no commensurate jump in HIV infections.

    Doesn’t say much for the sexual transmission does it?

  30. Truthseeker Says:

    Needless to say my posts are as likely to change your minds as your stating Padian is the ultimate authority on heterosexual transmission will change mine.

    Any of your posts which quote the credible scientific literature and prove a point will convert us, Laura. This is not an “I’m OK You’re OK” site or “I won’t Change Your Mind and you won’t change Mine” site. We just hope that you will allow us the same privilege.

    Stick around and convert us.

  31. trrll Says:

    This is absurd. It is a trivial error, as you say, in a realm that is not his.

    You misunderstand. By trivial, I don’t mean small; indeed, it is wrong by many orders of magnitude. For any biologist, this is a trivial error in the sense that 2+2=4000 is a trivial error—i.e. a basic error that anybody with even basic knowledge would know better than to commit. And yes, basic statistics is part of the field of biology. It is not some subtle error that requires a statistician to recognize.

    He mistated that “all positive teenagers would have had to achieve an absurd 1000 contacts with a positive partner” when he should have said “the typical positive teenager would have had to achieve an absurd average 1000 (500?) contacts with a positive partner”, is that right?

    No, it is completely wrong. You are simply restating the same grossly incorrect conclusion in a slightly different way. A mathematically correct statement would be,

    “To account for a prevalence of HIV infection of 0.3% to 0.03% (the numbers given by Duesberg) and assuming a risk per encounter with a positive partner of 1 in 1000, a teenager (positive or negative) would have had to achieve an average of 0.3-3 contacts with a positive partner.”

    Noble has already explained how to calculate the answer, although he did it for total sexual contacts rather than contacts with an infected partner. Here’s it is again from Noble’s post on Good Math, Bad Math

    If the risk per random sexual encounter is r then average number of sexual of random sexual contacts necessary for a proportion p of the 17-19 year old military recruits to be infected can be approximated by:

    n = log(1-p)/log(1-r)

  32. Laura Says:

    Argh I really should leave but I keep getting drawn back in.

    Truthseeker, I am not looking for approval I just don’t see how one study can prove much of anything. You claim the other studies support your findings I will just have to keep reading to find out. I must admit I am not exactly sure what you would find as credible as it seems like you have already dismissed most of the research available. However I am not above considering any possibility with evidence.

    Michael,
    Interesting article I see your point.

    I really do need to lay off the computer though as it has become a bit distracting. I will continue to post if I find anuthing of interest.

  33. Chris Noble Says:

    So what should he have said? Why is it so hard for you to simply write out what you think the correct formulation (not formula) should be?

    What is X and Y in “Thus, all positive teenagers would have had to achieve X contacts with a positive partner, or Y sexual contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.”? Sould any of the words be changed – eg “all”? Should the word “average” or “typical” be inserted somewhere?

    Apparently (judging from your formula sentence above) Y = 75. Does X = 1000, 500 or what rough figure if we cannot be exact? If X = 1000, Y = 75 is surely absurd. If 75 is correct, what is X? Since it must be much less, it will be absurdly low, it seems.

    Unfortunately there is no way to simply turn Duesberg’s statement into something that makes sense. It is inherently false. Most importantly it does not specify the seroprevalence in the population which is necessary for the calculation.

    If we use the seroprevalence in 17-19 year old army recruits that Duesberg uses 0.03% then we could more correctly state

    “Thus, on average each teenager would have had to achieve an average (absurd) 0.3 contacts with a positive partner, or (an even more absurd) 75 sexual contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.”

    The formulation is still decptive because it is implying an incorrect notion of necessity. The simplistic calculations despite being more correct than Duesberg’s are still far too simplistic to give any valid description of reality.

    Duesberg also gives only two possibilities. Either the teeangers were infected perinatally or they were infected through heterosexual sex.

    OK thanks. If this is an indisputable arithmetic fact, then 25% to 50% won’t do it, is that right? So random sex is doing the rest, or anyway, has done it over the aeons when IV drugs were not used. That is your argument?

    There is no aeons. There is no evidence that HIV has been present in the US before the 50s. All available evidence demonstrates that HIV is a new virus. The same pattern has been seen in Europe and in Asia.

    One tries to imagine the sociology of that scenario. All through history, mothers have transmitted HIV to their daughters at 25-50%, and the balance has been made up by premarital and extra marital sex, is that right?

    As I said there has been no long history of HIV infection. A better example would be HTLV-I and HTLV-II which are endemic in some regions of Japan. The perinatal transmission rate for HTLV-I and HTLV-II are somewhat lower than for HIV and is less than 25%. So at most perinatal transmission can account for 25% of infections the rest are from sexual transmission. And, no, it is not by necessity premarital or extramarital sex because the husband could be infected.

    In regions other than Japan these same viruses are epidemic and the vast majority of infections are due to other risk behaviours such as sharing needles.

    Wouldn’t it be more likely that the 25%-50% figure is wrong, and that stats which yielded it should be reviewed?

    You mean we should ignore experimental evidence in order to save a totally half-baked argument that HIV cannot cause AIDS because it relies on perinatal transmission for survival. You are trying to mold reality to fit your theory rather than the reverse.

    (Don’t tell us you believe that HIV is a new virus which jumped the species barrier from monkeys in Central Africa, please!)

    This is an fallacy called the argument from personal incredulity. Unfortunately for you, phylogenetic analysis firmly demonstrates that HIV-1 and HIV-2 are closely related to differetnt SIVs that are present in Africa. We cam also use experimentally determined evolution rates to estimate how long ago the branching occured that produced the SIVs that are present today in Africa and HIV-1 and HIV-2.

    This isn’t “HIV” science is just standard science that is used all the time. WE have sequenced the genomes of both humans and chimpanzees for example.

    There is also another group of people who use the same logical fallacy to argue against evolution “Don’t tell us you believe that humans are descended from monkeys!”.

    Actually, I would be interested in hearing Duesberg’s opinion on the phylogenetic analysis of HIVs and SIVs. It would be a good test of his scientific integrity.

  34. thasymachos Says:

    The mistake that CS Mark and Noble make is that they translate from “average of 1000 contacts per transmission” to “1 in 1000 chance of transmission per contact”. You can’t do this in statistics. I’ll give an example: it takes an average of 30 turns of a screwdriver to drive a screw. Does anyone really believe there is a 1 in 30 chance that the screw is driven on the first turn of the screwdriver? You have to know the distribution behind the mean.

  35. trrll Says:

    The mistake that CS Mark and Noble make is that they translate from “average of 1000 contacts per transmission” to “1 in 1000 chance of transmission per contact”. You can’t do this in statistics. I’ll give an example: it takes an average of 30 turns of a screwdriver to drive a screw. Does anyone really believe there is a 1 in 30 chance that the screw is driven on the first turn of the screwdriver? You have to know the distribution behind the mean.

    You are clutching at straws. A screw can be a little bit turned. But getting infected with a virus is like getting pregnant, not like turning a screw. You can’t be a little bit infected. So with binary events like getting pregnant or getting infected with a virus, “average of 1000 contacts per transmission” is indeed equivalent to “1 in 1000 chance of transmission per contact.”

    I’ve commented that Duesberg’s error should be obvious to anybody with even a basic knowledge of statistics. But it is really even more obvious than that. It is only bias that leads you to see Duesberg’s statement as remotely plausible. If I take it out of the realm of HIV/AIDS into an unbiased context, I imagine that you will immediately see the error:

    Let’s say that the chance of winning a lottery is 1 in 250,000. How many tickets does the average lottery winner buy?

    I imagine that you would immediately recognize that I was being ridiculous if I insisted that the answer had to be 250,000. Yet this is exactly equivalent to what Duesberg is doing.

  36. Chris Noble Says:

    The mistake that CS Mark and Noble make is that they translate from “average of 1000 contacts per transmission” to “1 in 1000 chance of transmission per contact”.

    For a start this is Duesberg’s assumption not ours.

    If you meant that some contacts will have a greater risk than others then you are entirely correct. Obviously the risk of becoming pregnant per sexual contact various over the period of a month. Likewise the probability of transmitting herpes simplex varies according to the amout of virus being shed. In just the same way transmission risk for HIV depends on numerous factors but just like herpes viral load is a dominat factor. Viral load is highest during the initial acute infection and is normally comparitively low during the asymptomatic stage before increasing again with AIDS.

    Transmission risk is typically much higher during initial acute infection. It should also be noted that studies that have attempted to estimate the transmission risk of HIV have used monogamous discordant couples where the HIV+ partner is not in the acute infection stage.

    In reality of course monogamous couples do not cause epidemics. People that have multiple partners during the acute infection stage shortly after being infected are very likely to infect 1 or more people.

    Duesberg’s and for that matter all “rethinker” statistics that I have seen wrongly assume that the risk per contact is a fixed number.

    By contrast models produced by real epidemiologists use a distribution of transmission risks, a distribution of number of sexual partners and a distribution of number of sexual contacts per month etc.

    What I have done, and others have done more clearly, is to demonstrate that even if we accept Duesberg’s false assumptions that his mathematics is hopelessly incorrect.

  37. Truthseeker Says:

    You misunderstand. By trivial, I don’t mean small; indeed, it is wrong by many orders of magnitude.

    That’s what we understood you to mean, trrll – that it is glaring. (“Now you detect what you say is a blunder that is trivial for anyone like yourself to pick out. “)

    A mathematically correct statement would be,

    “To account for a prevalence of HIV infection of 0.3% to 0.03% (the numbers given by Duesberg) and assuming a risk per encounter with a positive partner of 1 in 1000, a teenager (positive or negative) would have had to achieve an average of 0.3-3 contacts with a positive partner.”

    Is this correct? In the first place, he was referring to positive teenagers, not positive and negative teenagers, so unless the rate is the same for both, which seems unlikely, since presumably many negative teenagers must have maintained negative status by not screwing at all, we need to state it for the positive group alone.

    Also, it seems such a radical restatement. Instead of a sentence which implies the chances of becoming positive are laughably small, you give one in which the chances are extremely high. Chris, do you accept this formulation? You say that it is impossible to rewrite Duesberg acceptably, then you rewrite it as (based on the seroprevalence of 0.03%) as

    “Thus, on average each teenager would have had to achieve an average (absurd) 0.3 contacts with a positive partner, or (an even more absurd) 75 sexual contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.”

    In the first place, 75 is very different from 3. 0.3% would give 7.5, though. In the second place you say this formulation is simplistic and inherently false, anyway. So what is the correct formulation? Is it trrll’s? Meanwhile, you write of Duesberg’s formulation that “Most importantly it does not specify the seroprevalence in the population which is necessary for the calculation.” But he states it as 1 in 250 derived from the one million prevalence claimed by the CDC for the general population, which is 1/250 (later 1/275 and now 1/300) is it not? In the Army recruits, he states it as 0.3% to 0.03%, according to trrll. So your reformulation should read

    Thus, on average each teenager would have had to achieve an average 3-0.3 contacts with a positive partner, or 75 – 7.5 sexual contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.”

    Have to say that there just seems something fishy about your simple mathematics, something that smells wrong, though it is hard to say what. What thasymachos says rung a bell with us, since the 1 in a 1000 transmission risk certainly implies that one has to work rather hard to transfer the virus, ie any discordant couple has to do something extra to do what Padian seems to have found is in fact it is virtually impossible if the positive partner is not very recently infected.

    This implies to us that your idea (which we met often in Washington this summer at the HIVNET meeting, where it was used to design trials and interpret the results) that it is simply a lottery, just a matter of arithmetical chance whether it happened or not, and that it could happen the first time, and that with 1000 couples screwing once you could expect one transfer of HIV (positivity), may be false. Maybe the simple statistical formulation is false because the 1 in a 1000 transmission rate is not a valid statement of risk randomly distributed, involving no other variables, but a statement of the difficulty of transfer, with many variables, which is a different kind of animal.

    So your dismissal of thasymachos – who says

    The mistake that CS Mark and Noble make is that they translate from “average of 1000 contacts per transmission” to “1 in 1000 chance of transmission per contact”. You can’t do this in statistics. I’ll give an example: it takes an average of 30 turns of a screwdriver to drive a screw. Does anyone really believe there is a 1 in 30 chance that the screw is driven on the first turn of the screwdriver? You have to know the distribution behind the mean.

    in the following terms

    You are clutching at straws. A screw can be a little bit turned. But getting infected with a virus is like getting pregnant, not like turning a screw. You can’t be a little bit infected. So with binary events like getting pregnant or getting infected with a virus, “average of 1000 contacts per transmission” is indeed equivalent to “1 in 1000 chance of transmission per contact.”

    seems reasonable at first sight but may be invalid. A discordant coupling outside the period of recent infection is not going to transfer HIV unless it is prolonged, inventive, and perhaps involves some direct blood to blood contact, or whatever. In other words, one screw is not the same as another, and the 1 in 1000 rate is not equivalent to a lottery or a roulette wheel where if the thing is run honestly the risk/reward chances remain the same with every ticket purchase or spin.

    Now thasymachos is not saying that, exactly, but what he/she says seems valid in the same way. You need to turn the screwdriver 30 times, and one turn will never produce a fully inserted screw (excuse the pun).

    Even if Nancy Padian and others hadn’t firmly established that transmission is so negligible that we have to account for a sexually driven epidemic or pandemic in some other way, as the papers of Gisselquist have been struggling to do for some time, one just knows that there is something wrong with your constant analogies wih lotteries. Sex is not equivalent to buying a lottery ticket. There is inherent variability and complications in each episode.

    Thus Chris your comments immediately above seem welcome and completely appropriate, as you note that transmission probably only occurs during the initial phase of acute infection, that allowance has to be made for all kinds of variable factors, that monogamous couples do not cause epidemics, etc. These add up to recognizing that heterosexual transmission outside the subjects that have just caught the Virus is simply unlikely to cause any epidemic, as Gisselquist has recognized in his mainstream papers. Even in Africa, where condoms are not popular.

    As to Duesberg and the rethinkers’ (thank you again for the word!) habit of simplifying generalities, this seems to us to be merely a way of summarizing the flaws in the picture, and not misleading readers. What rethinkers are concerned with is the fact that the bare bones of the paradigm don’t support the flesh. To say that Duesberg’s exaggeration of the essence of the matter is mathematically invalid is fine, but to say that the bare bones mathematics shows that sexual transmission is sufficient to maintain prevalence seems to fall into the same trap of oversimplification. Concluding that HIV is endemic and has been perinatally transmitted over aeons, and has only recently been multiplied in risk groups by unprecedented behavior, is the only way of making the paradigm consistent with the literature.

    However it is not oversimplification to say that the steady state prevalence in the US doesn’t match a rising and falling AIDS case curve. There we have generalities which have to match up if the paradigm is to make sense, and they don’t. Such evidence that there is no sexual HIV∫AIDS epidemic anywhere is all over the map. If your mathematics based on 1 in 1000 risk says it is possible, that the rate of transmission is perfectly sufficient, then where is the epidemic in the US and all its normal features? How do you account for the African picture, which doesn’t match a pandemic picture either, except in the imagination of proponents? Look at all the backpeddling on statistics, as the outcome fails to match the predictions, just as it did in the States.

    As to your belief in monkeys in Central Africa suddenly transmitting HIV to humans (who screwed them? who ate them?) thirty or fifty years ago and the whole thing blossoming (through Randy Shilt’s airline steward) into a fatal epidemic that is sweeping the world, and all the other credit you give stories which involve a raft of absurd assumptions, we have a 9/11 conspiracy theory to sell you too.

    But please correct our understanding of your mathematics, and the correct verbal formulation, if you wish.

  38. john_fr Says:

    Truthseeker and Noble :

    Is this correct? In the first place, he was referring to positive teenagers, not positive and negative teenagers,

    Your assertion is quite correct, Truthseeker, according to the CDC themselves :

    CDC

  39. trrll Says:

    Is this correct? In the first place, he was referring to positive teenagers, not positive and negative teenagers, so unless the rate is the same for both, which seems unlikely, since presumably many negative teenagers must have maintained negative status by not screwing at all, we need to state it for the positive group alone.

    It is an average. So some will not have had sex at all, some will have had a lot of sex. Some will have had sex hundreds of times with an infected partner and never gotten infected. Some will have had sex once with an infected partner and gotten infected. The number I gave you is the average over the entire population. Note that this is not inconsistent with those who have more sex being at greater risk, nor with positive teenagers having a greater average number of contacts than negative teenagers. It is not possible, without further information, to come up with any kind of valid estimate of how many times the average positive teenager (as opposed to the average teenager) had sex. For Duesberg to suggest that it is possible to do such a calculation is itself a very serious error.

    I notice that you skipped the lottery example, which is mathematically equivalent: If the chances of winning the lottery are one in 250,000, does that mean that the average lottery winner must have bought 250,000 tickets?

    I think your intuition will tell you that there is something wrong with this conclusion, even if you’ve never taken a course in probability or statistics in your life. It might even tell you that there is not enough information provided to tell you how many lottery tickets the average winner bought. But even then, you’d know that the figure of 250,000 is almost certainly wrong.

    The fact that you and others would not merely accept this obvious error by Duesberg, but even argue when Chris Noble pointed it out rather clearly, should illuminate to you the extent to which your reasoning has been impaired by your strong desire for Duesberg’s conclusions to be true. But I suspect that it won’t.

    You are clutching at straws. A screw can be a little bit turned. But getting infected with a virus is like getting pregnant, not like turning a screw. You can’t be a little bit infected. So with binary events like getting pregnant or getting infected with a virus, “average of 1000 contacts per transmission” is indeed equivalent to “1 in 1000 chance of transmission per contact.”

    seems reasonable at first sight but may be invalid. A discordant coupling outside the period of recent infection is not going to transfer HIV unless it is prolonged, inventive, and perhaps involves some direct blood to blood contact, or whatever. In other words, one screw is not the same as another, and the 1 in 1000 rate is not equivalent to a lottery or a roulette wheel where if the thing is run honestly the risk/reward chances remain the same with every ticket purchase or spin.

    No, the risk of transmission is not constant throughout the period of infection, and a real calculation of risk (as opposed to Duesberg’s nonsensical one) would have to take that into account, as well as a lot of other factors). But you cannot rescue Duesberg’s argument this way, even if you want to assume (without any indication in Duesberg’s text) that he has in mind some kind of model in which the risk per sexual encounter increases with each infected person you had sex with, because Duesberg turns around and makes around and makes exactly the same error with the 1 in 250 of infected individuals in the population. Are you seriously going to argue that you are more likely to get infected by having sex with an infected person if that person is the 10th you have had sex with than if that person is the fifth?

  40. nohivmeds Says:

    I’ll say it again — Duesberg knows about this error, as we exchanged a series of emails about it about 6 months ago, in which he concurred that this was an error. Certainly, now would be a good time for him to do that publicly.

  41. nohivmeds Says:

    I also made the Board of Rethinking AIDS aware of this area in another series of emails, so the many denials and defenses going on here are ridiculous. Everyone involved in Rethinking AIDS knows that I identified a statistical error in Duesberg’s 91 paper. Enough of this. He made an error. So what? Is he the first non-statistician to make a statistical error? Does it change the core of his argument?

  42. Michael Says:

    trrll,

    the lottery example, which is mathematically equivalent: If the chances of winning the lottery are one in 250,000, does that mean that the average lottery winner must have bought 250,000 tickets?

    I don’t quite understand how your lottery example is equivalent, as in a lottery, there is only and exactly one prize given to only and exactly one winner. In a supposed epidemic, there is an unlimited number of prizes to be given to an unlimited number of winners an unlimited number of times. Your comparison to a lottery winner does not compare.

    Not only does it not compare, it also is irrelevant as to what is seen in the real world as far as HIV is concerned.

    In “real life” it seems that to have any reasonable chance of being a lucky winner of HIV in Western Culture, one needs to first of all be subjectively placed in the category of high risk winners, as low risk winning results are tossed away as being false winners.

    One must be a promiscuous drug addled gay guy or be African American, or be a self destructive drug addict with an obvious death wish to contract the virus. And one needs to be quite self destructive or take immuno suppressive drugs and AZT to actually acquire and immune deficiency or any illness or disease.

    In Africa, to be a prize winner of the African HIV/AIDS lotto, one only needs to be a poor malnourished Black heterosexual who drinks sewage infested water and contracts tuberculosis, as TB is 80% of the so called AIDS disease in South Africa.

    To be a white heterosexual in America is usually to be overall disqualified from winning, even if the white hetero has the same bands of lucky numbers on their confirmatory Western Blot HIV test as a gay man, as the results are declared to be a false winner if one is in any low risk category of the supposed winning categories and a definite winner if one is gay, black, or a known drug user. Obviously this HIV lottery is fixed! And racist and homophobic! I would not doubt that it is a lot like the people who wish to keep it going.

    None of this math crap over this one silly statement by Duesberg even remotely proves Duesbergs beliefs about HIV not being the cause of AIDS to be wrong, and it shows that Chris was foolish to use this as any sort of evidence that Duesbergs theory of non-hiv causes of AIDS was in any way shape or form mistaken.

    The entire discussion is one of stupidity because none of you has in any way shape or form described reality. It is nothing but a distraction from the discussion of the causation of what is called AIDS.

    Chris,

    obviously this one single statement from Duesberg, can not be accurately re-stated even by you or your fellow sycophants who also have no knowledge of biology. Was this your best shot at toppling Duesberg or what? Is this all you got Chris? Is this really your best shot at disproving the rethinkers foundation that HIV is NOT the cause of AIDS?

    Truthseeker,

    The fact is, these people have no knowledge whatsoever of how the tests are given, how they are interpreted, or how it is that a diagnosis of HIV is given out in the real world in the first place. They have no knowledge of how the specificity or should I say lack of it, of the tests, affects the test results. They have no knowledge of the subjective nature of interpreting the tests. They have no knowledge of virology, and no knowledge of biology, yet they are continuing to flog a dead and meaningless horse in their fruitless attempt to show Duesberg’s science as mistaken.

    This entire silly episode of 100 or more posts, over something as ultimately meaningless as the subject at hand, shows just how pathetic any evidence to discredit Peter Duesberg really is. Not even David Baltimore or Temin could disprove Duesberg’s retrovirologic or biologic arguments, but these stats and math dummies think they are going to refute and unseat Duesberg by arguing endlessly about a statement that they themselves cannot more correctly restate any way they twist or turn it.

    What a joke!

  43. nohivmeds Says:

    No, Michael — what is really sad is that you care so much about some statistical error Duesberg made! Really! When he and I discussed it, we agreed it made no impact on the seriousness and relevance of his arguments. The sad thing is that you need him to a perfect person, and he just happens to be a brilliant scientist who admittedly doesn’t like mucking around with statistics (he referred to the stats section of his paper as “all that jazz.”) Here’s the bottom line, Michael and everyone — it’s fine if he’s not perfect — no one is, and this in no way diminishes the importance of his work. Which he knows perfectly well — too bad you don’t.

  44. Michael Says:

    I realize that the statement by me:

    One must be a promiscuous drug addled gay guy or be African American, or be a self destructive drug addict with an obvious death wish to contract the virus. And one needs to be quite self destructive or take immuno suppressive drugs and AZT to actually acquire and immune deficiency or any illness or disease.

    is not one of accuracy and is an over generalization, as there are many who fall into different categories of being diagnosed as HIV positive and also of obtaining what is considered to be “AIDS defining conditions. Many HIV negatives who are not self destructive also acquire some of these diseases, and many who are perfectly healthy and not self destructive are given the diagnosis of HIV positive. Although it overwhelmingly increases the odds to simply be gay or black, as to how the subjective test results are read.

    The point being, that the vast majority of AIDS deaths were in drug and lifestyle categories, and the vast majority of HIV positive diagnosis is given to those in groups who are subjectively labeled as “high risk”, even when the individual was not or did not partake in high risk activities.

    And all of this, points to how bizarre the diagnosis of HIV or AIDS actually is.

  45. Michael Says:

    Nohivmeds,

    I agree with you fully that the statement is incorrect any way one words it, and I agree with you fully that it makes absolutely no difference whatsoever. As I said, the discussion is a joke.

    And I do not need Peter Duesberg to be without any error or fault. I am fine with Peter Duesberg just the way he is, a man of impeccably high integrity, and a man that could be termed a “Scientists’ scientist”. And a very human, and lovable man at that.

  46. Michael Says:

    Actually, my own experience with people such as Chris Noble, who were extremely overly vocal and obsessive about HIV causing AIDS, as Chris has been over the last several years, has showed me something very interesting about the psyche of many people like this.

    It is usually based in deep seated fears and as such is a projection of inner fears onto others.

    My experience has been that the most vocal defenders who were not protecting themselves due to being involved in the science of HIV, have time and again shown themselves to be either closeted or uncloseted gay men, whose projection of fear of HIV or AIDS, covers up their own propensity for homosexual encounters, but they use their fear of disease as a way of fighting off the urge to engage in homosexual trysts that they have an almost overwhelming craving to engage in. As a matter of fact, many of the HIV/AIDS obsessed, have been not only closeted gay men, but people struggling with inner homosexual sex addiction issues as well.

    I can’t help but wonder if Chris falls into this category, as I suspect he does. Otherwise, what is his motivation over the last several years, as I sincerely doubt he is all that driven by any form of compassion or desire to help people. A Mother Theresa he obviously is not.

    If he squealed like a stuck pig when he read the above statements, then we will be even more inclined to believe it is true. What do you say Chris, did this discussion strike a deep chord in you that takes you almost straight to rage and denial of inner motivations?

  47. trrll Says:

    I don’t quite understand how your lottery example is equivalent, as in a lottery, there is only and exactly one prize given to only and exactly one winner.

    Lotteries can be run in various ways. Many types of lotteries, such as the tear-card state lottery entries sold at convenience stores in some states, offer a fixed probability of winning rather than a single prize. Obviously, my example is for one with a fixed probability of winning. If it makes you more comfortable, think about a slot machine with a fixed 1 in 250,000 chance of winning whatever money is in the machine. Can you conclude that the average winner has played the machine 250,000 times?

    Not only does it not compare, it also is irrelevant as to what is seen in the real world as far as HIV is concerned.

    I am specifically discussing the mathematical validity of Duesberg’s argument, to the extent of using his numbers, whether they are right or wrong. I do believe that there are other errors in Duesberg’s argument and numbers in terms of relevance to the real world, but they are minor in comparison. To me, what is particularly interesting is the uncritical acceptance of an argument that is obviously, flagrantly wrong (even to the point of ad hominem attacks on people who pointed out explained the error). It seems to me that there is likely to be little point in discussing the much more complex issues of HIV and AIDS in the real world with people who are incapable of acknowledging a basic mathematical error even when it is clearly explained to them.

  48. Truthseeker Says:

    I think your intuition will tell you that there is something wrong with this conclusion, even if you’ve never taken a course in probability or statistics in your life. It might even tell you that there is not enough information provided to tell you how many lottery tickets the average winner bought. But even then, you’d know that the figure of 250,000 is almost certainly wrong.

    Obviously what you say is true in that case, but what intuition tells us is that the analogy is spurious in that a lottery is an oversimplification of the problem. Duesberg in effect oversimplified his point and slipped up, overstating the improbability of contracting HIV through sex with a striking statement that turns out to be an incorrect statistical formulation. But your correction and exposure of his error by analogy also seems to involve oversimplification, as Chris has noted and now Michael. And the idea that it vitiates everything Duesberg has said in countless reams of text over the years is just plain silly.

    The only point of the whole thing as far as correcting Duesberg goes is whether the correct formulation indicates heterosexual transmission is very rare or not, when every other indication is that it is very rare if it occurs at all. As far as we can judge your reformulation makes it appear too easy. Therefore we conclude there is something wrong with your reformulation, or that it may be correct mathematics but is oversimplified and omit variables in the real world. Otherwise, where’s the heterosexual epidemic, where are the transmissions in Padian, etc etc?

    The fact that you and others would not merely accept this obvious error by Duesberg, but even argue when Chris Noble pointed it out rather clearly, should illuminate to you the extent to which your reasoning has been impaired by your strong desire for Duesberg’s conclusions to be true. But I suspect that it won’t.

    Don’t be silly. We absolutely have a completely impartial interest in accuracy, seeking the truth on behalf of everyone who might fall into the hands of a system that wishes to administer highly noxious medications on the basis of this paradigm. Such medication needs a LOT of justification, and to date it completely lacks any except that which is the product of the imaginations of paradigm apologists. We have no more “desire” for Duesberg’s conclusions to be true than those they discomfit. They are truths highly inconvenient for everybody. If Duesberg was wrong it would be very relieving for all who take his point, in many ways. If anything, it seems that you and others have a delight in proving Duesberg wrong even on a formulation error without consequence. If you think it has great consequences, then explain what they are. Meanwhile, the obvious delight in proving a critic of the mainstream wrong suggests non scholarly and unscientific motivations which are inappropriate in an issue of great practical consequences, many of them vile (eg forcing mothers to feed their children dangerous drugs on the basis of a superstition eviscerated in the literature even by mainstream papers).

    I’ll say it again — Duesberg knows about this error, as we exchanged a series of emails about it about 6 months ago, in which he concurred that this was an error. Certainly, now would be a good time for him to do that publicly.

    Duesberg presumably has something better to do in life and in science than worry about blogheads, so why don’t you simply quote him on this thread, if you have his acknowledgement or correction.

    Does it change the core of his argument?

    No it doesn’t, which is a point which should be rammed home as often as possible until the overexcited blogheads get it. Though perhaps it should be recognized that their overexcitement over Duesberg being proved to have made a slip is a tribute to his stature in their eyes, as well as evidence of their lack of perspective.

  49. Michael Says:

    Truthseeker,

    I think an interesting story would be on the psychology of the various types of most passionate defenders of HIV/AIDS. It is actually very interesting to note what the inner motivations are of the people involved. Whether it is a scientist whose career and reputation or funding is at stake, or someone using the issue as an inner projection of their own fear or masking a greater fear of giving in to their own sexual compulsions compulsions. As I have said, I personally know quite a number of people who scream and yell about how real HIV is and that it is the cause of AIDS, when they themselves suffer from the paranoia of it, and project it on everyone around them and use it to keep a check on their own propensity for acting out their own overwhelming feelings of craving and desire for sexual encounters. For a lot of people, it seems they are only able to keep their own sexual desires in check is by “being afraid, being very very afraid”.

  50. Truthseeker Says:

    For a lot of people, it seems they are only able to keep their own sexual desires in check is by “being afraid, being very very afraid”.

    This and your previous Comment suggest that the motivation for many HIV defenders is sexual confusion, is that it? Does this mean we should consider whether John Moore and Mark Wainberg are closet gays? Perhaps they are not even closeted, we wouldn’t know.

    Such a debate might be too unscientific and speculative for this blog, which tries to follow in the tradition of Serge Lang and his insistence on keeping motivations out of it, since it involves guessing at motivations without much evidence, but the issue of people’s motivations for defending the indefensible with such ardor is certainly important. Mark Biernbaum the psychologist would be a good person to comment.

    Clearly the motivations of religion are involved, including zeal, and where religion is concerned, sexual guilt is not far behind. Wasn’t it Emerson who said, “Everywhere the history of religion betrays a tendency to enthusiasm”?

  51. McKiernan Says:

    Michael,

    Not to add a second sidebar to the proceedings but another inquiry re:

    I personally would not suggest anyone including my own child ever get tested for HIV, even if I were an HIV positive diagnosed mother.

    Just a hypothetical.

    Are there any circumstances under which you as an hiv + mother would inform a physician treating your ill child, that you were hiv+ ?

  52. trrll Says:

    Obviously what you say is true in that case, but what intuition tells us is that the analogy is spurious in that a lottery is an oversimplification of the problem.

    It is not an oversimplification of Duesberg’s argument. The only difference is that in Duesberg’s argument it is 1 in 250,000 chance of catching HIV from an encounter with a random sexual partner, and in my example it is 1 in 250,000 chance of winning the lottery. Mathematically, it is absolutely identical. So the question that you need to answer is: What is it that makes the fallacy obvious when phrased in the neutral context of a lottery, but not when it is phrased in the context of HIV/AIDS?

    I agree that the model of HIV transmission presented in Duesberg’s argument is oversimplified in multiple ways, but that seems me to be distinct from the question of why rationality fails, and fails so drastically that even after multiple explanations of the error, many people were holding fast to the insistence that Duesberg was correct, or in your case, that it was only a minor issue of wording.

    We have no more “desire” for Duesberg’s conclusions to be true than those they discomfit.

    Then what is your explanation for why you were able to recognize the error when phrased in the neutral context of a lottery, but not when offered in support of an “HIV revisionist” position?

  53. nohivmeds Says:

    trrll –

    Honestly, you should be able to answer your own question, “why does rationality fail?” I wouldn’t call it a failure of rationality. I think that many people have a great deal invested in Dr. Duesberg’s work, and being that these folks are labelled things like “murderers” by AIDS, Inc., they tend to be kind of sensitive if you attack the person whose work means so much to them.

    It’s not some failure of rationality at all – it’s a sign of investment and consideration and veneration for Dr. Duesberg’s work and struggle. Whatever you think of his work, it must be acknowledged that despite tremendous adversity over the years, he has continued to proffer a cogent alternative argument. And that argument does not rest on the misinterpretation of a single statistic.

  54. trrll Says:

    It’s not some failure of rationality at all – it’s a sign of investment and consideration and veneration for Dr. Duesberg’s work and struggle.

    It is one thing to respect somebody’s achievements. It is another thing to be so blinded by them that you are unable to perceive even the most obvious of errors.

  55. Michael Says:

    Truthseeker,

    For scientists such as Moore and Wainberg, there is definitely an issue of protecting egoic investment in a career path, funding, fear of prosecution for damages done by drugs they have had a major part in promoting, etc. Although there is also the possibility of a double jeopardy with some of these guys of restraining ones own homosexual propensities or sexual cravings as well.

    A piece could definitely be done from a pschologists point of view, and I think Mark would have some insights as well, and we might want to put the question out to other psychologists to join in and discuss the issue with us as well.

  56. Truthseeker Says:

    Then what is your explanation for why you were able to recognize the error when phrased in the neutral context of a lottery, but not when offered in support of an “HIV revisionist” position?

    Because your humble servant is reliant on thinking everything through before committing to agreement with anyone on anything, and puzzles of probability are beyond our immediate grasp most of the time, for some reason (no training or study, for one.) They are sometimes counter intuitive. Therefore we ask for conceptual phrasing if available, rather than mathematical.

    The fact we were able to recognize your lottery simile rapidly is because you phrased it in a simple way that even your humble untutored servant can understand, which is more a tribute to your powers of expression than our intelligence in such matters, which is lower even than in other fields. This blog does not claim that the blogger is brighter than the bloggees, merely that we have studied the literature and claims of the paradigm promoters, compared them with the critique, met almost everybody involved, and paid attention for years – from 1966, when the secret puppet master of the rethinkers, Dr Harvey S. Bialy, tipped us off as to the existence of Peter Duesberg, who turned out to be the quicksilver wit and reliable intelligence he is now said to be by everybody who knows him, a lion hearted, honest, genuinely brilliant fellow and an ornament to science in an era where most of the scientists who quarrel with him are sheep or wolves, as you apparently do not appreciate, being a clever fellow yourself but unable or unwilling to discern the human factor and its consequences from your ivory tower, if we guess right – unless you are a fellow traveler yourself, and in the field. We doubt that though, since your math seems in good order and the statistical design of so many studies in HIV∫AIDS is in need of expert advice, as is well known.

    We don’t care if you disparage Duesberg, since the opinions of know-nothings (in this context only, we hasten to say) are of no interest to us or him, we suppose. Perhaps he does care, since he is a decent human being, in which case we deplore it because it interferes with his work, which is saner and more fruitful in an area of great concern – cancer – than any of these charlatans you are please to hitch your wagon to, scientifically. But we don’t care. Why would we? The ignorant on the Web are despicable when they are arrogant. To imagine that Duesberg is admired by us or any of his supporters because they have mistakenly invested so much emotionally in him as their leader is just flipping the tendency which marks the mainstream. One sure does feel friendly towards him because of his good personal qualities and for his public spiritedness in the face of shallow derision, and vicious financial retribution, that is true. But this is natural feeling, not bias or self interest. Perhaps you like people like David Baltimore, Mark Wainberg, or John Moore? If so we would be interested to hear why. But we doubt you know many of the people involved. Because if you have shown one virtue we admire, it is a love for accuracy. And that is the marked preference of Duesberg, Bialy and everyone else we know on the rethinker side.

  57. Michael Says:

    trrll,

    When you said:

    It is one thing to respect somebody’s achievements. It is another thing to be so blinded by them that you are unable to perceive even the most obvious of errors.

    were you referring to the mistake of following Robert Gallo’s original assumption that HIV was the cause of AIDS, even after his original study was released showing that only a mere 36% of his AIDS patients tested positive on his HIV test?

    or following Gallo, even after he was found to have used Montagnier’s LAV and claimed it was his own?

    or following Gallo, even after he claimed his H-9 was his own invention even though it was actually HUT-78 that was invented by someone else?

    or following Gallo, even after he had twice before called certain other retroviruses the cause of diseases, which proved to be false?

    or following Gallo, even after he was found guilty of scientific misconduct?

    or following Gallo, even after he was booted from the NIH?

    Or perhaps you were referring to the mistake of following David Ho on his “Hit Hard and Hit Early”, “Its the Virus Dummy” philosophies that time has disproven.

    Or are you talking about following the belief in HIV being sexually transmissable even after Nancy Padian’s six year study of 370 or so HIV sero-opposites resulted in zero transmission of HIV.

    Or are you talking about following Sam Broder and the likes of Dr. Douglas Richman, even after their high dosage AZT had ended the lives of more than 300,000 Americans?

    Poor little trrll, which blinding are you referring to?

    (nice handle by the way trrll, quite appropriate)

  58. nohivmeds Says:

    Sorry trrll, but the “obvious error” you speak of really does nothing at all to undermine Duesberg’s arguments — and that, I think, is what really is upsetting you and Tara and the rest. Well — sorry. The work is durable and important enough to withstand a bad stat. How ridiculous to reduce it to that! Ridiculous and futile, as it is not reducible to that. It is much larger and more impressive than you’re willing to allow. Get over your “obvious error” and look at the substance of the argument beyond the number game. And Michael, if you could please stop calling me out, I’d appreciate it.

  59. Dan Says:

    Right on, Michael!

    Now I finally understand why they’re making the proverbial mountain out of a molehill on Duesberg’s use of statistics.

    They’ve got nothing but miserable failure on their side, deadly failure at that. So, to try and puff themselves up, they pick apart anything Duesberg says with a nit-comb, trying to find anything, no matter how small to try and incriminate him with.

  60. Chris Noble Says:

    I’ll say it again — Duesberg knows about this error, as we exchanged a series of emails about it about 6 months ago, in which he concurred that this was an error. Certainly, now would be a good time for him to do that publicly.

    But this is what you wrote before which is still incredibly stupid.

    For those still confused about “requisite” numbers — in his 1991 paper, PD incorrectly used the odds ratio of 1 in 1000 transmission opportunities by saying it “required” at least 1000 transmission opporunities. This was wrong, and I have discussed it with him, and he has concurred. 1000 is the AVERAGE number of transmission opportunities necessary, not the requisite number. This means that it could take over 1000 transmission opportunities or less than 1000 transmission opportunties. But 1000 is the AVERAGE. Everyone knows, I assume, what an AVERAGE is.

    As I have repeatedly clarified the above explanation is still just as flawed as Duesberg’s original formulation. Thus you had not explained the error to Duesberg. Perhaps you still don’t comprehend it yet.

    Duesberg’s insistence that HIV is predominantly spread by perinatal transmission is one of his central arguments. He clings to it despite all available evidence to the contrary. Can anyone point to any population anywhere in the world where perinatal transmission is the predominant means in which HIV is transmitted?

    Duesberg goes through all sorts of ridiculous contortions in a vain attempt to preserve this idea that HIV depends on perinatal transmission for survival. He makes totally ludicrous conclusions such that a dramatic rise in seroprevalence starting at the age of sexual maturity is evidence for a higher efficiency of perinatal transmission. How can any rational person read this and not think that Duesberg is being irrational?

  61. nohivmeds Says:

    Well, CN, I think it’s been admitted to. The secret is out. A stat error! Egad. Again — this one number does not in any way invalidate the argument. If you want to attempt to invalidate the argument, then bring the argument, CN. Your post reads like a perturbed lady-luncher: “ridiculou” ” contortions” ” ludicrous”, “dramatic” — lots of adjectives, CN-Lady, little substance. Bring it on. And the stat is now done — no more statistics. You face the argument now.

  62. nohivmeds Says:

    Unless you, CN, would be so “ridiculous” and “dramatic” to assert that Duesberg’s entire commentary rests on this one little statistic. No, not even CN would be that “ludicrous” or “vain!”

  63. Chris Noble Says:

    Now I finally understand why they’re making the proverbial mountain out of a molehill on Duesberg’s use of statistics.

    They’ve got nothing but miserable failure on their side, deadly failure at that. So, to try and puff themselves up, they pick apart anything Duesberg says with a nit-comb, trying to find anything, no matter how small to try and incriminate him with.

    No, you twit. Duesberg’s articles are full of mistakes errors, halftruths, misrepresentations, selective reporting, errors of omission and plain stupid arguments.

    My point was to choose one error that is a) incredibly stupid b) wrong in and of itself with no need of extensive knowledge of the field and c) completely indefensible and then see whether any of you would admit that it was wrong.

    You didn’t. All of you refused to admit to any significant error on Duesberg’s part. The most any of you did was to add the caveat “average” which still did not address the fundamental and irrefutable flaw in Duesberg’s pathetic attempt at statistics.

    Why go on to any of Duesberg’s other fallacious arguments if you won’t admit to one that is blatantly false?

  64. nohivmeds Says:

    CN — I believe you’re ignoring me. I agreed with the error throughout – check the record. Now you”re generalizing — and rather “ridiculously” I might add. The only thing that is pathetic here is your extreme fear that Duesberg might be right. Yes — CN — that’s what drives your pathetic little attacks — what if Duesberg’s right? Well, CN — take that problem and work it out with your therapist. We’re interested in dissecting the AIDS meme here — not interacting with it, and certainly not being called a “twit” by it! My CN, what a fine lady you are!

  65. Michael Says:

    Did you guys see some of the terrible posts on Hanks blog, that I am pretty sure were aimed at Chris Noble:

    Gluttony, Evolution, and Obesity!

    I don’t think those replies were actually from Chris.

    Simply Terrible!

  66. Chris Noble Says:

    I agreed with the error throughout – check the record.

    No the record shows that you failed to comprehend the error.

    This means that it could take over 1000 transmission opportunities or less than 1000 transmission opportunties. But 1000 is the AVERAGE.

    How many times do I have to explain it to you?

    If 1000 HIV- people all had sex with 1000 HIV+ people given a constant risk of 1/1000 you would expect 1 person to be infected. The average number of contacts per person is 1 and not 1000.

    If you keep on denying this then you really are a twit.

  67. McKiernan Says:

    Michael,

    Are you going to answer the question ?

    Are there any circumstances under which you as an hiv + mother would inform a physician treating your ill child, that you were hiv+ ?

  68. Michael Says:

    And somebody might want to tell Math Wiz Mark Chucaroll, or is that Carrol ChuMark, that although many of us rethinkers are innumerate to some math stats, we are not illiterate nor blind to the overwhelmingly impeccable words otherwise written by Mr. Duesberg, nor are we illiterate or blind to the implications of the obfuscation of truth in the words, or the lack of simple reasoning of the HIV/AIDS establishment in concluding that HIV is the cause of AIDS. This is including the mathematically and biologically and retrovirically challenged studies of the HIV/AIDS establishment, most especially, the original drivel of proven scientific fraud Robert Gallo, of whom I would assume CN has a lifesize pin-up poster over his bed and another by his computer, and perhaps even a blow-up doll kept under his bed.

  69. Michael Says:

    God McK, you are so needy sometimes.

    No I would not inform just any old moron of a mainstream doctor that my child had tested positive, unless I felt he or she were well informed on the rethinker side of the issue. But I might give the kid a badge to wear to school!

    Now go back to watching your old movies and let us know if you come up with any more cool movie analogies, before I talk Truthseeker into sticking you with a damned badge proclaiming your mother is positive beside all of your posts.

  70. nohivmeds Says:

    No one is denying it CN – get it? Fini!

  71. McKiernan Says:

    Michael,

    No I would not inform just any old moron of a mainstream doctor that my child had tested positive, unless I felt he or she were well informed on the rethinker side of the issue. But I might give the kid a badge to wear to school!

    Thank you for your answer. But the question wasn’t that your child was hiv + but that you , the mother was hiv+ .

    We’ll assume you decline to inform any attending physician that you, the mom is hiv + with respect to any attending physician re: your child.

    Next, question,

    The child cannot go to school to wear a badge because the child unfortunately passed away. And the question is:

    Would you demand a post-mortem hiv test which you in fact would not allow under circumstances except for rethinker ideation prior to childs passing ?

  72. Dan Says:

    Chris,

    I can’t even find the words to describe how bored I become while reading through you Duesberg-obsessed rants.

    I don’t give a whit if Duesberg made a statistical error. It’s a complete non-issue for me. What Duesberg says or doesn’t say or even how he says it, just plain doesn’t matter. He’s not MY guru, savior, or god. I was questioning this thing years before I heard Peter Duesberg’s name. I agree with him that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. Beyond that, there are many things that he says that don’t jibe for me. Having said THAT…

    Duesberg gets a great amount of respect from me for all that he’s done and sacrificed to expose this unnecessary medical tragedy.

  73. Dan Says:

    All of you refused to admit to any significant error on Duesberg’s part. The most any of you did was to add the caveat “average” which still did not address the fundamental and irrefutable flaw in Duesberg’s pathetic attempt at statistics.

    Why go on to any of Duesberg’s other fallacious arguments if you won’t admit to one that is blatantly false?

    Once again, Chris, I’m going to agree with you (to an extent). Duesberg isn’t infallible. And “we” should have no trouble admitting such. As you can see by my posts, I just don’t care enough whether or not he makes mistakes. I don’t need Duesberg.

    Unfortunately, truthseeker has devoted a whole thread for you to obsess over Peter Duesberg. To what end, I’m not sure. Maybe if you’re given a soapbox, you’ll get it out of your system? Doubt it.

  74. Robert Houston Says:

    It wasn’t Duesberg’s math but his wording that needed a bit of revision. Given his assumptions, the chances for a particular individual to contract HIV heterosexually remain 1:250,000. The chance for such transmission to occur to anyone in a group at the proportion found by D. S. Burke et al (JAMA 1990) in teenage recruits (0.00034 or 1/3000) would be one in 250,000/3000 or 1 in 83. Each HIV positive case would still represent an average of 250,000 contacts occurring in the group. But the group average of 83 contacts per member would yield one positive case in 3000 (83 x 3000 = 250,000). The revised wording of the passage in Duesberg’s 1992 paper would thus be (changes in bold):

    “Sexual transmission of HIV depends on an average of 1000 sexual contacts and only 1 in 250 Americans carries HIV… Thus all positive teenagers would represent the achievement (by the teenager or his group) of an absurd average of 1000 contacts with a positive partner or an even more absurd 250,000 contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.”

    As in a lottery, the achievement of the numbers needed occurs in the group as a whole to generate the single “winner.” By the way, lotteries are required to give the odds of winning in terms of the chance for a particular individual to win (e.g., one in a million); it’s considered misleading to give the odds in terms of the group (e.g., “3 to one odds of winning!”).

  75. Laura Says:

    Michael,
    I have a hypothetical question for you too. Let’s just say that back in 1984 Gallo was discredited and the HIV theory was thrown out Duesberg was right. So instead of studying the virus they blamed the entire problem on drug use and malnutrition and all the money spent was diverted to the obesity virus. During the crazy obesity epedemic the world is fighting, all the same people still die from opportunistic infections without ARV’s. I am not raising the death toll either the number of deaths and healthy HIV+ are still the same. The only difference is that solely lifestyle and not the virus are blamed for the syndrome now known as AIDS. Wouldn’t you still be mad? Wouldn’t you still be claiming genocide and homophobia for ignoring the problem?

    This is not to argue that either side is correct. I am simply questioning motives because in my hypothetical we would be in the same predicament we are in now just without the AIDs meme. Would you really view the scientific community any differently? I don’t think you would becuase people are still suffering. Your thoughts?

  76. Chris Noble Says:

    “Sexual transmission of HIV depends on an average of 1000 sexual contacts and only 1 in 250 Americans carries HIV… Thus all positive teanagers would represent the achievement by his group of an absurd average of 1000 contacts with a positive partner or an even more absurd average 250,000 contacts with random Amercians to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.”

    The stupidity continues!

    Why do you people keep on insisting that Duesberg is somehow correct? If we twist his words enough then it will be valid!

    The whole point of Duesberg’s foray into mathematics was to come up with a really, really big number 250,000 and then say nobody ever has 250,000 sexual contacts therefore none of them got infected through sex.

    You can dress it up as much as you want but that is the argument in a nutshell.

  77. Michael Says:

    McK. We are giving suppositions to questions and answers without any sense of the whole picture of unique and full set of circumstances. What exactly did the child pass away from? It could not have been anything induced by HIV, as HIV is not shown to induce any disease or illness.

    I personally would not see any point in any post mortem HIV test, nor even in a post mortem at all for that matter, other than to fulfill the requirements of the state or perhaps my own curiosity. And then, I can not even be sure I would believe the person who has done the post mortem. A lot of post mortem is a guessing game when it comes to determining exact causes of death. The last time a coroner did an autopsy on a dear friend and loved one not quite two years ago, the coroner called me after an intensive post mortem to tell me he really could not find a cause of death, and wanted to know if I could offer any help. I recommended he fill in the blank with “Apathy and failure to take the next required step to maintain life”. Kind of covers all of the bases, like forgetting to take the next breath, or being too pre-occupied to bother to make a phone call for assistance. But the experience left me a bit stunned. Kind of makes me scratch my head and wonder what we even pay these people for.

    And, if my child has passed away, what difference would it possibly make to me as to why. Whatever the why, it would not change the fact. There is nothing I nor anyone else could do to bring someone back to life. Vengeance against whatever the percieved reason fails to accomplish any worthy task or benefit anyone.

    And add into this equation the fact that I have some deep seated spiritual beliefs regarding life and death, that quite transcend only the physical aspects, and I suppose my take on it would be quite different than most peoples.

    But, if I may ask McK, what is your point, if any?

  78. Chris Noble Says:

    It could not have been anything induced by HIV, as HIV is not shown to induce any disease or illness.

    In other words you won’t accept any evidence that HIV causes AIDS because you already know that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS.

  79. Truthseeker Says:

    Unfortunately, truthseeker has devoted a whole thread for you to obsess over Peter Duesberg. To what end, I’m not sure. Maybe if you’re given a soapbox, you’ll get it out of your system? Doubt it.

    Well, that would be our expectation, but this altercation is more flaming than discussion, perhaps understandably, and the kind of gentleman’s agreement which is the aim of any thread on NAR – whose unstated motto is ‘Truth is a cooperative venture’ – seems rather distant if no one can admit to error comfortably. Why can’t we all agree that everybody makes mistakes, including NAR, Chris Noble, trrll, noHIVmeds etc (those monikers are mistakes in themselves, seems to us – why would one want to hide one’s name if one was making all these intelligent posts?)

    As far as we are concerned, this post has usefully revealed that Duesberg’s rather charmingly striking way of making a point was a mistaken formulation.

    Can we all agree on that now, or is there some hidden flaw in what Noble/trrll have established?

    Can we also agree that

    1) Noble has scored a success which means that one should perhaps respect what he says in other respects until those points are sorted out too?

    2) A certain panicky refusal to admit that he is right has been revealed in the responses of some It’s not HIV! rethinkers.

    3) Such panic is unnecessary since Duesberg has built an intellectual structure of argument and evidence as strong and immovable as a medieval fortress, from which the removal of this one error would be like removing one brick.

    4) Chris Noble has revealed that those who are familiar with the fortress tend to think Duesberg is right

    5) That there is nothing wrong with that assumption since it is true 99.99% of the time, and 100% of the time on major points ie the wood not the trees.

    6) That rethinkers should have the confidence to welcome and entertain Chris Noble’s critique or any other critic’s questioning just as they expect and demand that HIV believers deal with their objections and corections instead of censoring them.

    7) That such discussion should be conducted in a cooperative spirit with mutual respect even if posters privately believe that they are in the Smart club and their opponents are in the ‘Dummer than a Doorknob’ club, which appears to be the attitude of many here, often justifiably.

    8) That all cooperative discussion achieves far more progress in persuading others than scorn and ad hominem remarks

    9) That the objective of the debate is to establish agreement on valid conclusions on the validity of the paradigm drawn from reason and evidence and not merely have fun annoying other parties by scoring cheap points to disturb their perceived smugness and bias.

    10) That this is how the discussion should be because a good many people’s lives and happiness are at stake on the outcome of our metareview of the progress or lack of it to date in HIV∫AIDS in which the conventional wisdom is to insist that millions of people otherwise unaware of their predicament should take vile and eventually fatal drugs to combat the effects of a virus that is undetectable in their system once it is replaced by antibodies to it.

    Does anyone have any objection to any of these points, other than the fact that blogs generally do not meet these standards? Could this blog be an exception and still be interesting?

    He makes totally ludicrous conclusions such that a dramatic rise in seroprevalence starting at the age of sexual maturity is evidence for a higher efficiency of perinatal transmission. How can any rational person read this and not think that Duesberg is being irrational?

    Yes we recall seeing ths point somewhere but cannot find the quote immediately. But Chris, assuming you can abandon your constant emphasis on Duesberg’s unreason long enough to look at this objectively, if the point appears irrational it may be a) another slip unnoticed by the reviewers of the or b) have something to it that you don’t yet appreciate. So may we ask, what is the exact quote and reference, why do you think Duesberg misstated, and what do you think the correct statement would be? It sounds to us as if you think any such rise would simply reflect the onset of sexual activity, but isn’t it rather early to say that? Sexual maturity still comes several years before sexual conusmmation for most kids, as far as we know.

    Apologies to you and others who are familiar with this point already.

  80. trrll Says:

    That there is nothing wrong with that assumption since it is true 99.99% of the time, and 100% of the time on major points ie the wood not the trees.

    I can’t agree with this. Argument from authority is always a bad thing. Everybody makes mistakes (although I still find it difficult to imagine a scientist in his right mind making one this basic). You should never let your trust in a supposed authority blind you to the extent that you lose your grasp on common sense. And I think that you should be seriously asking yourself the following question: “If I took Duesberg’s word on this, and it turned out to be, not merely wrong, but flagrantly wrong, is it possible that some of the other stuff that I accepted as correct is also wrong?”

  81. trrll Says:

    nohivmeds-

    I’m still not sure if you actually understand the error. Just for the record, do you now acknowledge that the following statement is wrong:

    This means that it could take over 1000 transmission opportunities or less than 1000 transmission opportunties. But 1000 is the AVERAGE.

    Do you now realize that 1000 is not even the AVERAGE number of contacts for the average positive teenager?

  82. Michael Says:

    Hell Laura.

    You presented an interesting supposition. I would not claim genocide, if drugs and lifestyle were admitted as the cause of death, as there is no one harming the individual but their own self when it comes to drug addiction and lifestyle choices. As a matter of fact, many in the government and at the CDC were stupified when the decision was made to back Gallo’s claim of a virus as causing AIDS. The very day of Gallo’s pronouncement, several people at the CDC were writing up an annoucement declaring that AIDS was determined to be drug and lifestyle caused.

    It has been well known in our society for many generations that drug addiction as well as alcohol addiction are deadly to those unable or unwilling to escape from their seduction. All life choices do have consequences.

    If you think I am quite vocal about the HIV/AIDS causation issue, I am twice as vocal about encouraging addicts to seek treatment through the twelve step programs, and I have been for 20 years. I often advertise rethinker viewpoints in the local gay media, and I ALWAYS encourage seeking treatment for drug/alcohol addiction, emotional problems, self esteem issues, as well as avoiding a victim role and taking full responsibility for one’s own health, etc, as I see these issues at the core of gay mens health. Taking full responsibility for ones health and choices, instead of taking no self responsibility and giving government or doctors responsibility for ones own health, is, to me, the key to obtaining and keeping good health.

    When an entire group of members of a minority such as black or gay, gives the responsibility for their own health over to the government or system of doctors and modern healthcare/pharma companies, instead of being completely responsible for their own individual health, and the government or health system/pharmaco’s and doctors respond to this with an assuming of that responsibility, and follow their assumation of responsibility with an even more harmful, iatrogenic death assisting response such as the high dose AZT or useless and toxic AIDS drugs, then it becomes genocide. After all, the government, etc assumed a responsibility to protect and serve, and offered instead to use a toxic and non-beneficial and even more harmful remedy or remedies. The government/health system/doctors/pharmaceutical companies are fully responsible for their part in it as they choose to respond with an even more toxic non-remedy. After all, they have willingly accepted a responsibility that was not theirs to accept and responded to it with an even more harmful remedy. A lesson here for all of society who are willing to learn it instead of repeat it.

    On one hand, I percieve that there really are no victims here, only scared and unwitting volunteers, but volunteers none the less, who surrendered their own responsibility for their own health and turned it over to make government and the health system and doctors to be responsible for them.

    This does not mean we simply excuse the failure of government, health systems, and doctors to safeguard these people from the government’s/health systems/doctors own ignorance. It is only by appropriately channeling of responsibility to ALL parties that we can all learn and grow as a society and keep ourselves and our children’s children safe and healthy and keep our government and healthcare, medical and pharmaceutical systems under sufficient oversight, scrutiny, and checks and balances to see that they enhance our lives instead of unwittingly threaten them.

    I am fairly certain that if the majority of HIV was white heterosexuals who were taking these HIV drugs, these drugs would never have been brought to market, nor would they have stayed on the market. The only reason they have stayed is most likely for the fact that gays can not sue a pharmaceutical company for the loss of their lover. If they could have, HIV/AIDS would have ended 20 years ago, in a storm of lawsuits against Burroughs Wellcome, and the cause of AIDS would have definitely been attributed to illicit drug use and lifestyles.

  83. Chris Noble Says:

    Yes we recall seeing ths point somewhere but cannot find the quote immediately. But Chris, assuming you can abandon your constant emphasis on Duesberg’s unreason long enough to look at this objectively, if the point appears irrational it may be a) another slip unnoticed by the reviewers of the or b) have something to it that you don’t yet appreciate. So may we ask, what is the exact quote and reference, why do you think Duesberg misstated, and what do you think the correct statement would be? It sounds offhand as if you think any such rise would simply reflect the onset of sexual activity, but isn’t it rather early to say that? Sexual maturity still comes several years before sexual conusmmation for most kids, as far as we know.

    I discussed this here

    http://www.newaidsreview.org/posts/1155530746.shtml#1603

    Duesberg’s argument apart from assuming his own conclusion just makes no sense at all.

    25-50% of children born to HIV+ mothers show a continued antibody response to HIV even after the disappearance of maternal antibodies.

    In the military recruits the HIV seroprevalence rose by almost a factor of ten from the 17-19 year old group to the 25-29 year old group.

    This is a much greater rise than could be accounted for by Duesberg’s postulate that 50-75% of children born to HIV+ mothers are latently infected with HIV but don’t develop antibodies until they reach the age where they become sexually active.

    See also:

    The real efficiency of perinatal transmission must be
    higher than the antibody-tests suggest, because in a fraction of recipi-ents HIV only becomes immunogenic when its hosts are of an advanced age (Quinn et al., 1986; St Louis et al., 1991). During the antibody-neg-ative phase, latent HIV can be detected by the polymerase chain reac-tion (Rogers et al., 1989, European Collaborative Study, 1991). This is also true for other perinatally transmitted human (Blattner, 1990; Dues-berg, 1991a)

    The Blattner reference is this monograph

    Blattner, W.A. (ed.) (1990) Human Retrovirology: HTLV. Raven Press, New Yor

    I read the relevant chapters and Duesberg is not making an honest representation of them. The conclusion is that HTLV is spread by sexual transmission and that the observed efficiency of perinatal transmission is insufficient to be able to account for the survival of these viruses.

    There are also several papers written after 1990 that have calrified these issues

  84. Truthseeker Says:

    The revised wording of the passage in Duesberg’s 1992 paper would thus be:

    “Sexual transmission of HIV depends on an average of 1000 sexual contacts and only 1 in 250 Americans carries HIV… Thus all positive teanagers would represent the achievement by his group of an absurd average of 1000 contacts with a positive partner or an even more absurd average 250,000 contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.”

    So wrote Houston. Aha, maybe we have a case after all!

    But not according to Chris Noble. He replies:

    The stupidity continues!

    Why do you people keep on insisting that Duesberg is somehow correct? If we twist his words enough then it will be valid!

    The whole point of Duesberg’s foray into mathematics was to come up with a really, really big number 250,000 and then say nobody ever has 250,000 sexual contacts therefore none of them got infected through sex.

    You can dress it up as much as you want but that is the argument in a nutshell.

    Not good enough, Chris, you have to state what precisely you object to. For example, judging from what you wrote you may be reading what Houston wrote in the wrong way. What does he mean when he writes “by his group”? He is saying that the teenager’s group has 250,000 contacts, not that one person has 250,000. For one person his number seems to be 63, not that far from yours.

    The following is what he wrote in explanation. Which statement do you disagree with of these four?

    1) Given Duesberg’s assumptions, the chances for a particular individual to contract HIV heterosexually remain 1:250,000.

    2) The chance for such transmission to occur to anyone in a group at the proportion found in teenage recruits (0.00034 or 1/3000) would be one in 250,000/3000 or 1 in 83.

    3) Each HIV positive case would still represent an average of 250,000 contacts occurring in the the group.

    4) But the group average of 83 contacts per member would yield one positive case (83 x 3000 = 250,000).

    Is 1) wrong? That would be good enough to make Duesberg’s point that sexual transmission is too low to sustain heterosexual prevalence, it seems. What is wrong with it?

  85. Laura Says:

    Michael,
    Thank you for the thoughtful response. I agree people need to take an active role in their healthcare and should not leave it totally in the hands of the medical establishment. I also commend you on your support of people to get treatment for addictions and any psychological issues they may have as this is extremely important for overall health.

    However, I also think that if the money was not spent on AIDS research that it would be spent somewhere and not necessarily on something beneficial. That is why I used Hank’s obesity virus to contrast the situation in Africa.Basically to see your thoughts on the government not addressing that issue were it to be assumed to be a primary cause.

    I think your point on gays not being able to sue is important as well. I see no problem with allowing gay marriage or civil unions or whatever they want to call it. Although I would hope their families would have sought damages if the deaths are as tragic as you report.

    Anyways I have decided to take a step back and not come to any definite conclusions. I have no desire to get involved in the fighting match over the statistics. Ultimately I would just like a resolution so people would not be affected by AIDs regardless of its cause any longer.

    I would hope that in this day and age race and sexual orientation would not be an issue in the matter but perhaps I am being to idealistic in that regard. Since I do know people effected I may have overlooked that issue of the debate. I have no intention of offending anyone.

  86. Truthseeker Says:

    I can’t agree with this. Argument from authority is always a bad thing. Everybody makes mistakes (although I still find it difficult to imagine a scientist in his right mind making one this basic). You should never let your trust in a supposed authority blind you to the extent that you lose your grasp on common sense. And I think that you should be seriously asking yourself the following question: “If I took Duesberg’s word on this, and it turned out to be, not merely wrong, but flagrantly wrong, is it possible that some of the other stuff that I accepted as correct is also wrong?”

    This is your mistake. You assume that our judgment that Duesberg is right 99.999 % of the time is based on some kind of faith in his “authority”. It is based on following his arguments and checking his references, including early on many hours with him prsonally, and seeing that his stuff checks out time and time again when people challenge it, not that the latter is very often good enough to study. In your case, you may have won a point. Good for you. What is the import of your success? Only that heterosexual transmission is not mathematically ruled out on the figures we are given to work with as Duesberg had implied. So much else rules it out that the implication is that one of the figures must be a little wrong.

    Quite honestly you don’t demonstrate that much original thought yourself so far here. Have you really considered this whole issue, or simply the tiny amount of mathematics involved? If the latter, why do you assume that Duesberg is invalid without going over his papers to make sure you understand the counter paradigm he has offered, which to those who have looked at both paradigm and counterparadigm famously looks convincingly free of all the contradictions of traditional science and common sense boasted by the paradigm.

    The main problem is that those who should look properly at both cannot be bothered to or have a very good reason not to. If you haven’t, you certainly have no good a priori reason to reject a case that has survived so much prejudice, hostility and censorship for so long.

    The only possible reason one can imagine that you might do so is the very intellectual sin you accuse us of – trusting authority without examination. Tell us this is not so.

  87. Chris Noble Says:

    An average of 65 or 83 contacts is no longer absurd so it is decpetive to still be writing an “absurd average 250,000” contacts even if you rewrite it in the convoluted way that Robert did.

    Duesberg also makes a number of ridiculous assumptions. He assumes that all contacts are heterosexual and that none of the 774 HIV+ 17-19 year old military recruits acquired HIV from other risk behaviour such as sharing needles.

    Added to that we know that HIV is not randomly distributed. People that have a greater than average number of sexual partners are also likely to have partners that have a large number of partners. Simply using averages is not valid because some of the parameters are not independent.

    The actual number of average sexual contacts per person is going to come out a lot less than 65 or 83.

    Duesberg also goes into contortions to explain the steady increase in seroprevalence with age something which is very good evidence that these people did not acquire HIV perinatally.

    Added to that the observed efficiency of perinatal transmission is to low to account for the survival of the pathogen.

    When children that are perinatally infected with HIV are followed over time we see a very high mortality with very few surviving to 17 years.

    Duesberg’s highly contrived arguments cannot refute the hard evidence.

    It’s a bit like the apocryphal case of scientists proving that bumble-bees can’t fly when we can see bumble-bees flying.

    The vast majority of people infected with HIV in the US and every where else for that matter have not been infected perinatally.

  88. Chris Noble Says:

    You assume that our judgment that Duesberg is right 99.999 % of the time is based on some kind of faith in his “authority”. It is based on following his arguments and checking his references, including early on many hours with him prsonally, and seeing that his stuff checks out time and time again when people challenge it, not that the latter is very often good enough to study.

    But you don’t check his references. Nor do the vast majority of “rethinkers”.

    I just gave some more that do not support his claims.

  89. Truthseeker Says:

    But you don’t check his references. Nor do the vast majority of “rethinkers”.

    Duesberg’s references are often the basis of what we write. Necessarily.

    Would you please respond to the q which of those 4 explanatory sentences of Houston’s do you object to? All? Any?

    TIA.

  90. Chris Noble Says:

    If anybody is still arguing that HIV is predominantly spread by perinatal transmission then they should read this paper.

    JAIDS Volume 41(4), 1 April 2006, pp 504-508

    Mortality in HIV-Infected and Uninfected Children of HIV-Infected and Uninfected Mothers in Rural Uganda

  91. Michael Says:

    Laura,

    Also note that Viox caused heart attacks in just a very few thousand mostly older and middle aged white HETEROsexuals. As soon as this was pointed out, by just a couple of doctors, the drug came off the market, was banned by the FDA, and the lawsuits are now flying.

    Compare this to the response of government and medicine to AZT. More than 300,000 members of a minority group are dead who were using it in high doses over 10 years. No-one paying any attention when people, including medical doctors and scientists, called for a halt and a re-evaluation of its use. Even a National Academy of science member and a Nobel Laureate was early on yelling out that the drug caused gruesome death, not just a few heart attacks, but gruesome death, and was killing the patients, who for the overwhelming majority were a highly discriminated against, societally loathed, and misunderstood group of gay men, and killed them in an average of 8 months to 2 years of AZT usage. The drug caused horrifying deaths of slow wasting, diarrhea, dementia, anemia, liver failure, blood poisoning, etc. Yet the use of high dosage AZT continued for 10 years! Even though many people including doctors were screaming out about it!

    And what was done to put a check on it? Nothing. The Academy of Science member had his funding stripped away from him. He was censored from publishing in scientific journals. The use of the poisonous drug went on in high dosage use for 10 years and is still being used and still poisoning people, though in a lesser amount and slower. The gay community has been so terrorized by the fear of AIDS that they will for the most part do anything they are told to do, and take anything they are told to take. There has only been a tiny fraction of lawsuits, mostly by heterosexuals, and all settled out of court, for damages done by AZT.

    Yet, there are many many gay people who have never used any of the drugs and survived their HIV diagnosis in glowing health for often more than 20 years. No studies were even begun on these long term non progressors until just recently! And now, only under the assumption that it is some mysterious factor within their own bodies, not simply avoiding AZT and other AIDS drugs, that keeps them healthy. The gay community was, and still is, completely deceived and for a good part in denial, that AZT was not the direct cause of the vast majority of AIDS deaths. The gays go along with it when they are told instead that the newer medications are just better and more safe and effective, and that the reason they are not dying anymore like flys is due to the new drugs, as if that is the real reason why they are not dying off like flys nowadays.

    And the gay community is still, to this day, too overwhelmingly paralyzed by fear of death by HIV to question any of it. And the government, health systems and practitioners, and pharmaceutical companies, are just as happy to keep them paralyzed by fear, and the media helps out all it can by printing any and every little tidbit of drivel about “HIV, The Virus That Causes AIDS”.

    And gays are still also paralyzed by self loathing and guilt over their sexuality, which is still thrust upon them by their families and society and religious institutions and government.

    And then top it off with a population at large, whom are obviously too dumbfounded if and when they do stumble upon discovering this information that the rethinkers present, to possibly allow themselves to believe that any of it could be true, and therefore, continue to do nothing to adress the issue, and do nothing to demand a full inquiry, even of their own beliefs.

    Why would this be Laura? Would it be because it is so inconceivable even to all of the thousands and millions of people that have heard some of the dissident views, that our highly esteemed doctors and scientists and health care systems, and pharmaceutical companies could have possibly gotten something this big, so wrong? Excuse me, but That amazes me. I can’t help but wonder if the rest of the world could probably follow along in these rethinker debates for another 20 years, along with Tara, Robster, End Times, Chris Noble, and along with thousands and millions of others, and still,- not,- get it. Amazing.

    I can not help but perceiving people such as these, including Tara, Chris Noble, and all of the vocal defenders of HIV/AIDS advocacy, once they too have been informed of the issues, and all of the thousands of others just like them, as still being guilty, most likely through the mechanism of fear and guilt and especially denial, of sponsoring genocide, as anyone who hears about the rethinkers issues and does not immediately research them to verify the information, and is not vocally demanding a full inquiry upon finding the rethinkers position to be fair and based overall in facts, is in my opinion, sponsoring genocide themselves.

    Yeh Chris, that is right, I personally hold you, and especially you, as being counted among the top sheep, of being fully guilty of the very same things that you project upon Peter Duesberg as being guilty of. Your rants against Duesberg which are all over the internet in the last few years, are nothing more than a projection of your own self and a projection of your own guilt and fear. Especially you Chris, as you are one of the bigger mouths on a subject that you are completely biased and incapable of being objective about. I hold you up as a blinded by fear and guilt and denial, co-sponsor of death and genocide! And also, as you are most probably an emotionally unstable and closeted gay sex addict to boot. And I would hope you one day seek treatment for your obvious emotional illnesses as such.

  92. Michael Says:

    Chris writes:

    If anybody is still arguing that HIV is predominantly spread by perinatal transmission then they should read this paper.

    JAIDS Volume 41(4), 1 April 2006, pp 504-508

    Mortality in HIV-Infected and Uninfected Children of HIV-Infected and Uninfected Mothers in Rural Uganda

    as if we are not aware that the HIV tests given to these people were fully lacking, and biased, and do not in any way shape or form account for the 60 plus factors known to show false positive test results.

    Chris, show us a real study of transmission and verification of HIV status, not one bought and paid for by AIDS Incorporporated.

  93. Michael Says:

    Chris,

    And also be sure to show us a study that lists the actual confirmed causes of death, and any extenuating co-factors, instead of attributing every case of malaria and tuberculosis to to HIV and calling it AIDS. This is not Richard Jefferys you are speaking to on this site, and we are well informed of the lack of validity and the skips in logic and most of the various tricks to show whatever results the study was attempting to prove.

  94. john_fr Says:

    from the abstract:

    Of the 4604 pregnant women, 16.9% were HIV, and the proportion of children infected was 20.9%.

    Nice, it vindicates the assertions of Gisselquist &al.
    poor children!!!

    Besides, the mathematics show that the probability that two totally independent events occur is equal to the product of the two probabilities.

    in french

    Are these events independant? (the estimated per act risk for acquisition of seropositivity and the prevalence of seropositivity) How can you prove that, Michael, or the contrary, Chris?

    If they are independent, it is unmistakable that the probabilté of a seroconversion during an random sexual act is very weak, and close to the figure given by Peter Duesberg.

  95. john_fr Says:

    in english

  96. Chris Noble Says:

    as if we are not aware that the HIV tests given to these people were fully lacking, and biased, and do not in any way shape or form account for the 60 plus factors known to show false positive test results.

    Chris, show us a real study of transmission and verification of HIV status, not one bought and paid for by AIDS Incorporporated.

    You haven’t read the paper have you?

    How open minded of you to form opinions before you even read the paper.

    Look at Fig 1.

    Can you come up with any viable hypothesis to explain why HIV+ (nucleic acid detection) babies show such a dramatic higher mortality compared to those born HIV-.

    With a 50% mortality at 24 months how can perinatal transmission account for the survival of HIV?

  97. Chris Noble Says:

    Nice, it vindicates the assertions of Gisselquist &al.
    poor children!!!

    Read the paper.

    Of the 725 HIV+ mothers in our sample, HIV PCR tests were available for 374 infants (51.6%). Of these infants, 372 were tested between birth and 6 weeks, and of those negative at 6 weeks, 94 were retested between 6 weeks and 24 months of age to assess breast-feeding HIV transmission. The proportion of children infected during the intrauterine and/or intrapartum period was 16.4% (61 of 372 babies), and during the breast-feeding period, the rate was 16.0% (61 of 372 babies). The total proportion of children infected with HIV at birth and breast-feeding was 20.9% (78 of 374 babies)

    It was 20.9% of children born to HIV+ mothers not 20.9% of all children.

  98. McDonald Says:

    Ha-ha Michael,

    Quite right you are about this study.

    The authors were so eager to get to the sales part they couldn’t wait for the conclusion before they started pushing. So eager in fact that they suggest babies already dead are in need of ARVS:

    A total of 67.6% of HIV-infected children with viral loads above the median died by the age of 2 years and are in need of early antiretroviral therapy (ART).

    ‘Early therapy’? Perhaps ‘retrocative’ would be more suitable.
    And just 2 lines lower the more tempered version, making sure we don’t forget the ‘early’ part or the specific target group:

    Conclusions: More than half of HIV-infected infants died at less than 2 years of age. Therefore, ART may need to be initiated earlier in HIV-infected African children.

    Are these the kind of ‘rational’ statements we should prefer over Duesberg’s ‘stupid’ maths?

    TS, Why don’t you create a thread to dissect AT LENGTH the grammar of the above statement, as well as the motives and mental health of those who pass it through a peer-review? I ‘m sure we’ll all learn at least as much from it as from the present one.

    PS, Is it true what I’ve seen that Dr. Noble thinks HIV arrived here on a meteor?

  99. john_fr Says:

    With a 50% mortality at 24 months how can perinatal transmission account for the survival of HIV?

    For me, who follow the modell of the Perthgroup, it is not strange.

    The real “transmission” is the one of the poor health of the mother. This poor health (oxidative stress) lead to high value of antibodies, above the cut’off, and of “viral” DNA.

  100. Martin Kessler Says:

    I am of the opinion that arguing over Duesberg’s questionable statistical mathematics is a little like a theological argument over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. How many of the so-called “HIV antibody positive” people have had the HIV actually isolated from their bodies? I’ll bet zero. Or a percentage so low that would be statistically non-significant.

    All these doctors and scientists have been moving in lock-step with the big pharmaceutical corporations coercing the “HIV antibody-positive” souls to take poisonous drugs that give them the symptoms and signs that would be considered AIDS defining diseases.

    Duesberg may have made a statistical error but that does not defeat the thrust of his arguments about risk groups, drugs, nutrition and African “AIDS”.

  101. Oigen Says:

    Maybe if Duesberg had written………..
    “Thus, most positive teenagers would have had to achieve an absurd 1000 contacts with random partners, or an even more absurd 250,000 sexual contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.”
    ………. then the notion of having to engage in “absurd” numbers of sex acts for transmission to me is not so outlandish

    The math dudes here are just hung up on Duesberg’s language and are simply nit picking. Sounds like desperation to me. Looks like it’s becoming harder for the protagonists to prop up the HIV scam by the day. For me if the WHO or the CDC or whoever says that in copious surveys one out of a thousand people in the US of A are found to have the dreaded SCHIV (SoCalledHIV) then his conclusions are essentially correct despite how he worded it. And that is it is not impossible to have to engage in “absurd” numbers of sex acts with a group of a thousand with such a prevalence to encounter the one in the group that is POS. Simple odds probabilities to me. No need to haul out logarithms, exponentials and what have you to show that.

  102. Michael Says:

    Hey Chris. The Jaids study you just presented was done in the area known as Rakai. Rakai is a border area with well known high border traffic. The area is a cesspool of filth and starvation and poverty. Googling Rakai comes up with the following choice tidbits:

    income: less than $1 a day
    92% have no electricity
    no access to clean water
    77% live on dirt floors

    And jerks like Chris think the problem is HIV.

    Farmers reported that ten years ago they had more livestock than today about 70 percent of all households had cattle. The livestock decline is in line with the findings of the land utilization survey conducted in Rakai and Masaka. Over the last four years cattle have decreased by 32 percent, goats by 13 and poultry by 11 percent The reasons for this have been a decline in grazing land because of the resurgence of large ranches and the consequent reduction in size of landholdings. Moreover, animals have been devastated by tick, pest and worm infestations because farmers can no longer afford acaricides and drugs to combat them. Wild cats are the main predators of chickens, and their numbers are on the rise because of the considerable number of plantations and fields turning to bush as a result of a lack of people to take care of them. Also with pastoral farming, there has been a tendency for herd sizes to diminish. One of the reasons for this was an outbreak of the serious disease contagious bovine pleuropneumonia. Even if they keep small livestock, it is not used for home consumption but sold to raise a little cash, and as a consequence their nutritional status declines. Chickens and eggs are usually not kept for home consumption, but are sold to raise some income.

    People like Chris look at the resulting problems and diseases that are due to filth starvation and poverty and calls them HIV and AIDS.

    People like me call it filth starvation and poverty and hopelessness that needs to be addressed along with actual illnesses needing to be properly diagnosed and treated with the appropriate treatments, not treated with ART.

    We also differ on the subject of solutions. People like Chris would suggest giving them all nevirapine, AZT or some other toxic drug for dinner and to make sure they swallow their pills and wash them down with some sewage infested and microbe infested water, and ignore the need for clean water and food to eat.

    People like me call that genocide! Why don’t you go suck down some AZT and nevirapine yourself Chris! And be sure to wash it down with some sewer water.

    I would not even use your crap JAIDS study from Rakai for toilet paper, Chris.

  103. Dan Says:

    Michael,

    you might not be giving Chris enough credit. You say: And jerks like Chris think the problem is HIV.

    Perhaps Chris is smarter than this. Maybe he really doesn’t think that the problem is HIV. I’m willing to believe that he’s intelligent enough to understand that there’s more going on than “HIV”.

    This is why his arguments are hollow to me. He’s obviously an intelligent person. But he continues down a myopic path that never strays an iota from the paradigm.

    Chris promotes the paradigm religiously. He doesn’t even bother to make it look like he may think for himself by giving away an occasional token point to the rethinkers. Chris, you may want to try this tactic, it will give you some credibility, just like the way you’re trying to get the rethinkers to admit that Duesberg isn’t infallible. Once in a while, you should admit that you’ve erred (at least for the sake of appearances).

  104. Michael Says:

    Unfortunately, Dan,

    Chris is obviously a very egocentric person with some deep psyche pathologies. He also thrives on negative attention. Obviously, he had some early childhood problems of being ignored unless he behaved badly or ranted. Then he got some attention, even if it was negative. Negative attention to a child raised this way feels better than no attention at all, and becomes a lifelong anti-social habit if not addressed.

    Furthermore, he has a very strong ego, that repeats this behavior ad nauseum. He is quite incapable of ever admitting to an error, as to do so, would cause him to feel an extreme shame of “not being good enough”. To Chris, to admit to any error is equivalent to dying. Something to be feared, loathed and run away from whatever the cost. He has also experienced these feelings of being inadequate throughout his life, and recreates situations in which he feels this way about himself over and over again.

    Hence, you have a mid 50’s man, who is still only an associate professor at a very low level university, striving for recognition and to one day be “good enough” to be able to live even with himself. If he writes just one more paper, or accomplishes one more accomplishment, then he believes he will be good enough, only no matter what he does or accomplishes, he still feels that childhood feeling of being completely inadequate. It also most likely causes him to loathe and attack with vengeance, those he percieves to be his betters, such as Peter Duesberg.

    The pathology of Chris is fairly obvious to anyone educated in psychology. It is obvious to many of us that Chris suffers from undealt with feelings of extreme shame and guilt and fear. He projects this constantly onto others.

    And unfortunately, even Chris himself can not help it. He is the way he is: miserable, unhappy, self loathing and a fear filled, frustrated and angry man who lashes out at others.

    Chris, I feel for you, I really do, but the only one that can help you or seek help for you, is you yourself, and that would require an admission first of all to yourself, that there is something not quite right going on with you emotionally.

    My only reason for writing this, and pushing many of the buttons that Chris wears on his forehead, are in hopes that pushing enough of his buttons, he too, will finally realize that he is not an emotionally very well adjusted person, and hopefully he will admit it to himself, and seek the help that he needs. Until he does, he will only continue to recreate his regrettable childhood feelings.

  105. Laura Says:

    Michael,

    I think you may have missed my real point. I said I am not trying to pass judgement.

    You questioned researchers motives on many levels from greed to deep personal issues, and sterotypes. You also are looking back in hindsight holding the views you have now. Forget those views for just one minute to answer this question. Lets just say hypothetically there never was and AID’s meme. Drugs were never used people just died because of sterotypical assumptions that they participated in risky sex and drug use even thought they didn’t. Would you really not be mad? Would the situation be that different? Instead of toxic drugs the problem was just forgotten ignored?

    Honestly I think you would still feel upset. Granted it may not be genocide because people were not given toxic drugs but is ignoring the problem any better?

    My point is to say that in the greater context the people you accuse of being murderers are just trying to help solve the problem. Perhaps it isn’t all greed maybe they actually have good intentions. You may not agree with there methods but that does not make them bad. In my opinion it is better that they tried to find a solution rather than sweep it under the rug based on sterotypical behavior. We may have not gotten it right yet but it could be a stepping stone towards a real solution.

    As for Vioxx it is true there are tons of lawsuits and I agreed with you that the gay marriage issue could have led to further investigation into the treatment of AIDS. However it is a totally different situation arthritis has never been linked to heart attacks so when people started having them doctors noticed. Second arthritis is not a terminal illness so why would someone be willing to assume the risk of heart attack for a condition that is not fatal. Most wouldn’t. People believe AIDS kills so since there is no other alternative treatment people assume these extra risks in hope of saving lives. Not unlike cancer treatment in order to survive people take toxic drugs to kill the cancer in hopes it will cure or extend life but who would take that risk for achey hands?

  106. nohivmeds Says:

    Michael wrote:

    My only reason for writing this, and pushing many of the buttons that Chris wears on his forehead, are in hopes that pushing enough of his buttons, he too, will finally realize that he is not an emotionally very well adjusted person, and hopefully he will admit it to himself, and seek the help that he needs. Until he does, he will only continue to recreate his regrettable childhood feelings.

    How benevolent of you, Michael. I’m sure Chris is very grateful for your analysis WHICH HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SUBSTANTIVE TOPIC BEING DISCUSSED! Do you think you could — say for a week — stop commenting on the hidden conflicts you assume animate the lives of people you don’t even know? Now that, really, is “ridiculous.” In other, nicer words — could you skip the personal stuff and stay on HIV?AIDS? Both you and Dan have grown into playground bullies on this blog, and it’s not cool.

  107. McDonald Says:

    NHM,

    I beg your pardon but what ‘substantive topic?’ As far as I can see, in between his sharp analyses of CN, to whom I’m sure this is not the first experience with being bullied, Michael is the one who’s delivered most of whatever ‘substance’ is found in this thread.

  108. nohivmeds Says:

    Now why would you post that? TS has contributed substance, as has Laura, as have both Chris and trrll. That’s exactly my point, McDonald — obviously, you’re not really getting it. Personal attacks are not substance. Get it now?

  109. Michael Says:

    Laura,

    I think that anytime anyone is suffering, we all suffer. I am not really clear on your supposition as you are not supplying me with a full enough picture. If not destruction of the body’s immune system from drug abuse or overuse of antibiotics from repeated std infections, intense emotional problems, or the shutdown of immune systems simply due to bodily reactions to acute fear and stress, than what is it that I should assume these people had died from? Almost all of the HIV/AIDS deaths are quite explainable without HIV, once one knows the full particulars emotionally, physically, nutritionally, etc, of why how any one person has died. At least this is my experience. You are putting up a supposition without enough information for me to get a grip on what you are presenting or getting to. Death and illness just does not pop up out of nowhere. There are causes of death, and causes of the causes of death, and sometimes yes, there are even unseen unobservable causes of death, but causes none the less. So what is it that you propose these supposed people who did not use drugs, etc, had died from? The gay bird flu, or what?

  110. nohivmeds Says:

    Laura,
    Not all AIDS deaths of people I knew were simple or explainable, just so you know. And I knew the particulars quite well in these circumstances. And this is my experience, and it is different than Michael’s and just as true. For example, I had a good friend who never did drugs, was not promiscuous (actually slept with only 3 people his entire life) and died of AIDS. He was a happy, well-adjusted guy.

  111. nohivmeds Says:

    I guess he had gay bird flu then. glad to finally know.

  112. nohivmeds Says:

    And Laura was right on when she wrote:

    “My point is to say that in the greater context the people you accuse of being murderers are just trying to help solve the problem. Perhaps it isn’t all greed maybe they actually have good intentions. You may not agree with there methods but that does not make them bad. In my opinion it is better that they tried to find a solution rather than sweep it under the rug based on sterotypical behavior. We may have not gotten it right yet but it could be a stepping stone towards a real solution.”

    I agree with this, Laura. Rebecca Culshaw would be an example of a person who was working in HIV?AIDS to try to help. She decided that the HIV theory was not working for her and left, but she has said many, many times that the vast majority of people she worked with and met were motivated by a true desire to help. Not all of them are like John Moore. In fact, I would guess that most people working in HIV?AIDS are well-motivated. And my guess is that you’d be right about Michael still needing to be mad as well! : )

  113. Truthseeker Says:

    Duesberg may have made a statistical error but that does not defeat the thrust of his arguments about risk groups, drugs, nutrition and African “AIDS”.

    Precisely. Final conclusion: No great error, and the significance stays the same.

    Thanks, Martin, as Robert Houston has demonstrated, it is indeed not a very great statistical error, and not one which changes the thrust of his point, which is that whichever way you look at it, Duesberg, Noble or Houston, the amount of sex necessary to make sexual transmission a primary route of transmission is absurd.

    This is what he posted last night, adjusted for spelling and typos without any change in the meaning:

    “Sexual transmission of HIV depends on an average of 1000 sexual contacts and only 1 in 250 Americans carries HIV… Thus all positive teenagers represent the achievement (by the teenager or his group) of an absurd average of 1000 contacts with a positive partner or an even more absurd 250,000 contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.”

    As Noble’s ineffective response to Robert Houston later above indicated, and his lack of response to our request to specify any problems with Houston’s assumptions, he is unable to quarrel with this, Houston’s correct reformulation of Duesberg’s point. The chances of one person contracting HIV from random sex is still 1 in 250,000. In fact, if you take into account Nancy Padian’s study five years later (1997) the chances for negative males to catch HIV in a contact with a positive female are properly 1 in 9000, not 1 in 1000, so the number of random contacts would have to be 2,250,000, which is indeed “even more absurd”, in Duesberg’s phrase.

    All Noble did was to correctly notice that the 1 in 3000 positive recruit was part of a group of 3000 that included 2999 negatives, and the chance of contracting the Virus from random contacts had to be spread over the whole group, so the average number of random contacts needed per recruit would not be 250,000 but 250,000/3000 = 83 (for some reason Noble miscalculated this figure as 75).

    As Robert correctly adjusts the Duesberg phrase, his restatement is the outcome of the simple four assertions he made, none of which Noble is able to quarrel with:

    1) Given Duesberg’s assumptions, the chances for a particular individual to contract HIV heterosexually remain 1:250,000.

    2) The chance for such transmission to occur to anyone in a group at the proportion found in teenage recruits (0.00034 or 1/3000) would be one in 250,000/3000 or 1 in 83.

    3) Each HIV positive case would still represent an average of 250,000 contacts occurring in the group.

    4) But the group average of 83 contacts per member would yield one positive case (83 x 3000 = 250,000).

    OK. So is this still absurd, the idea that recruits into the Army aged under 20 – ie 17.5-19.9 years – could get through an average 83 encounters before being inducted?

    If it is not absurd but a reasonable assumption, then heterosexual transmission of HIV could be a significant factor in the spread of the Virus, and perinatal transmission wouldn’t be the only conventional (not high risk ie not IV drug use with dirty needles or gay sex) route indicated.

    But the absurdity is still there, a moment’s analysis will show. The Nancy Padian corrected 2,250,000 contacts the whole group needs to yield one new positive means 750 encounters per male, average. Absurd for any 17-19 year old.

    But even using the original assumption of 1 in 1000 risk for female to male, the 250,000 total contacts needed for one positive and the 2999 that accompany him, or 83 contacts per male, all 3000 of them, is way out of line with national figures for sex at 18, which are less than 5 acts per male.

    So the level of sexual experience needed at this young age is still absurdly high – average 83! – and it is clear that perinatal transmission has to be the overwhelmingly important vector for HIV transmission, with added contributions from IV drug us and gay sex. This was Duesberg ‘s point, precisely, and it is still supported by the figures he used, and even more glaringly so by the updated figures from later studies (Padian 1997 etc).

    So what can Chris Noble claim? Not much, nothing relevant to the great debate, a small wording error on the part of Duesberg.

    So if anything Chris and others’ strenuous efforts over years to shoot holes in Duesberg’s massively constructed critique is exposed as especially ineffective if errors are so rare that he and his colleagues must wax ecstatic over such a trivial correction.

    End of story.

  114. Dan Says:

    but she has said many, many times that the vast majority of people she worked with and met were motivated by a true desire to help. Not all of them are like John Moore. In fact, I would guess that most people working in HIV?AIDS are well-motivated.

    I agree!! We need more Rebecca Culshaws out there who are motivated to help but are finding that things aren’t adding up, and question those things that make them go “hmmm”.

  115. nohivmeds Says:

    Right on, Dan. Rebecca often says, and it is easily observed, that there are still huge questions to be answered about all of this. Good questioners are always welcome!

  116. Laura Says:

    Michael,

    My point is simply that you seem to use sterotypes in the same way you blame others for. I am not claiming any certainty for the loss of life just that taking HIV out of the picture does not mean anyone would be better served.

    How can you be sure that if it wasn’t blamed on HIV that anyone would pay attention to the situation or any less would die? You have stated that diagnoses is dependent on risk factors and association with a certain group if there was not a virus nobody would be talking or making any diagnosis. Per your accusations of genocide I would suspect they would be written off as drug users whether they use or not. Is that a better result? I am sure the government and big pharma could find plenty of other ways to spend the money.

    I do not mean to imply that we have found the solution, or, or that other factor may play a role in the disease. Just that perhaps you are projecting your frustrations as well and that perhaps you would still be frustrated even if the AIDs meme never came about.

  117. Michael Says:

    nohivmeds,

    You said:

    For example, I had a good friend who never did drugs, was not promiscuous (actually slept with only 3 people his entire life) and died of AIDS.

    I feel for you and for your loss of your friend, but AIDS is not a cause of death. No-one has ever died of “AIDS”. You are wrong to say he died of AIDS, and no such thing is ever put on a death certificate. AIDS is not even a symptomatic disease, it is a syndrome.

    Your saying that your friend died of AIDS, also, to me, contributes to the obfuscation of the very real causes of death faced by our gay community and does not help in any way to move any understanding of the health and emotional issues of gay men forward.

    Your friend did not die of “AIDS”, he died of something specific. Perhaps the cause of death was accurately determined in a post mortem, perhaps it was not. Perhaps if you find out what the exact cause of death was, you might be able to be more objective in an understanding of the contributing factors, which could have been related to many other things besides drug use or promiscuous sex. What treatments did he recieve? What was the impact of his emotions? Fear is well known to shut down the immune system. Did he unwittingly help to scare himself to death?

    What if any issues did your friend have going on emotionally? Was he accepted and loved by his parents, or dealing with the painful rejection that many of our fellow gays suffered?

    Are you unable or unwilling to look at the emotional and psychological factors that also contribute quite significantly to illness?

    Hopefully you can get beyond your own emotionality and grief, and deal with the real issues from a place of more objectivity. And if not, oh well, that is your problem, not mine.

  118. McDonald Says:

    Actually NHM now I really don’t get it.

    First you call Michael’s analyses of Dr. Noble’s motives ‘personal attacks’, then you tell me “personal attacks are not substance get it now?” Whereupon you immediately launch into generalizations about the motivations of all who work in AIDS science, but, rather unfairly it seems, excludes Dr. Moore. What can be more personal than that? And how do you know Moore is not deep down motivated by a desire to do good?
    In the very same post you even encourage guesswork from Laura as to Michael’s psychological motives for writing what he does. . . Nope I definitely don’t follow your logic.

  119. Laura Says:

    McDonald,
    I am not trying to suggest that Michael is not well adjusted or that he has bad motives. I am just saying that without the AIDS meme (whether it causes disease or not) we may not be better off.

  120. trrll Says:

    Quite honestly you don’t demonstrate that much original thought yourself so far here. Have you really considered this whole issue, or simply the tiny amount of mathematics involved? If the latter, why do you assume that Duesberg is invalid without going over his papers to make sure you understand the counter paradigm he has offered, which to those who have looked at both paradigm and counterparadigm famously looks convincingly free of all the contradictions of traditional science and common sense boasted by the paradigm.

    I think that I may have a somewhat different perspective because, although not personally involved in AIDS/HIV research or treatment, I’ve followed the issue with concern since the beginning when it was just an ominous cluster of Kaposi’s sarcoma among gay men. “AIDS rethinkers” like to portray Duesberg as being ignored and suppressed by the “AIDS establishment,” but I can remember when Duesberg was taken seriously by many scientists. I read some of Duesberg’s early papers, and thought that he made some good points.

    And I saw more and more of the predictions of the virus hypothesis confirmed, and more and more of Duesberg’s objections answered: evidence of a mechanism whereby HIV could damage the immune system, demonstration of infection of immune cells in tissue culture, evidence that HIV was present and active during the latent period of the disease, evidence that related viruses could cause immune damage in other species, evidence of needle-stick HIV infection progressing to AIDS, improved epidemiology consistent with the viral hypothesis, evidence of improved prognosis of HIV infection and reduced AIDS deaths following the introduction of improved anti-retroviral therapy specifically designed to attack HIV, etc., etc. The predictions of Duesberg’s hypothesis just didn’t seem to be holding up.

    And for each piece of accumulating evidence supporting the viral model, Duesberg always had a criticism, or an excuse. But what counts with scientists is the ability of a hypothesis to predict results, not to explain them away after the fact. One by one, scientists were convinced by the accumulation of evidence supporting the predicitons of the viral hypothesis, until eventually all that was left on Duesberg’s side was Duesberg himself and a handful of holdouts. Moreover, as time went on, Duesberg’s objections to the viral hypothesis began to sound more dogmatic and less and less rational. I don’t think that I am alone in suspecting that Duesberg has sustained some kind of neurological damage. The flagrant mathematical error that we are discussing in this thread is hardly the only example of bad reasoning that I’ve seen on Duesberg’s part, or even the worst, but it is the clearest—one that any unbiased person should be able to perceive at once, at least when it is pointed out to them.

    Given the level of resistance to acknowledging this flagrant error (and the level of abuse directed at Chris Noble for pointing it out), it hardly seems to me worthwhile to get involved in discussing related issues. I think that anybody who can rationalize their way around an argument this bad can rationalize just about anything.

  121. trrll Says:

    “Sexual transmission of HIV depends on an average of 1000 sexual contacts and only 1 in 250 Americans carries HIV… Thus all positive teenagers would represent the achievement (by the teenager or his group) of an absurd average of 1000 contacts with a positive partner or an even more absurd 250,000 contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.”

    I’d say that this reformulation makes the transition from an honest (if stupid) mistake to actually dishonest. It tries to give the impression that 250,000 sexual contacts by a group is “absurd.” But of course, a total of 250,000 sexual contacts among a large group is not at all absurd or unlikely, and Noble has already pointed out that the average number of sexual contacts per individual is not unreasonable. So this reformulation uses a large number in a deceptive manner to imply that individuals would have to be having an absurd amount of sex, even though the author knows perfectly well that this is not true.

  122. Truthseeker Says:

    Moreover, as time went on, Duesberg’s objections to the viral hypothesis began to sound more dogmatic and less and less rational. I don’t think that I am alone in suspecting that Duesberg has sustained some kind of neurological damage.

    Thank you, trrll, for a classic statement on why you believe Duesberg to be wrong, and possibly neurologically damaged, the explanation that occurs to you as to why he continues. But Duesberg has shown no sign whatsoever of mental incompetence or even any decline whatsoever in his intellectual capacity, as was clear only a couple of months ago when he gave a presentation in New York City to rethinkers and journalists.

    evidence of a mechanism whereby HIV could damage the immune system, demonstration of infection of immune cells in tissue culture, evidence that HIV was present and active during the latent period of the disease, evidence that related viruses could cause immune damage in other species, evidence of needle-stick HIV infection progressing to AIDS, improved epidemiology consistent with the viral hypothesis, evidence of improved prognosis of HIV infection and reduced AIDS deaths following the introduction of improved anti-retroviral therapy specifically designed to attack HIV, etc., etc. The predictions of Duesberg’s hypothesis just didn’t seem to be holding up.

    This is a list of beliefs that have been completely exploded by the critics. Just as your supposition that Duesberg is losing his marbles doesn’t match the evidence, which includes his widely admired recent work in cancer, the list of your reasons to think that he is wrong and that HIV causes AIDS do not match the literature, that is the problem. But clearly you have credited a number of major claims which together add up to a conviction that Duesberg has been debunked, and your ideas have been knitted together in a consistent framework which probably acts to prejudice you against the continuing counter arguments and evidence.

    To us however your list is one of misconceptions based on not examining the claims more carefully. All we can suggest is that you look more closely at the mainstream literature to see if the claims are valid. Regrettably there is much literature in HIV∫AIDS which does not stand up to inspection. We have to be realistic as to the political and psychological forces which distort scientific discussion when a paradigm is as successful in terms of money and influence as the HIV∫AIDS hypothesis is.

    We also have to say we get the impression you are just not realistic in your view of the practical obstacles to challenging such an immovable mountain, which is the rock of security for so many who live on its slopes. You seem to think that the poor wording and slip of understanding of Duesberg in this specialist example is a symptom of fundamental foolishness and unreliability.

    You may wish to expand your view to allow for the incredible burden of research and checking which Duesberg undertook in his public spirited and scientific impulse to stick to the best interpretation of the evidence, rather than feed at the overflowing trough. Most people who are not prejudiced against him for correcting the mainstream position on which they stand so comfortably admire his extraordinary sacrifice on behalf of the public good, even though they regret the loss of his maximum contribution to science, which the fundamentally wasteful effort has cost him and the country.

    Judging from your post we are not wasting our time responding to a troll, contrary to your moniker, but we have to say that closemindedness is ubiquitous among the paradigm supporters we have encountered, since they have long decided that the critique must be wrong. However, the same one sidedness is not so often seen among the critics, who delight in taking on all comers. This is an indication of working minds, don’t you think? And confidence in the beliefs that come from thinking things through rather than relying on authority. In fact Duesberg’s virtues have always included interest in any significant contradiction of his conclusions, though he certainly doesn’t wish to spend his time correcting points he has already dealt with countless times.

    You may like to compare the quality of intellect shown by Duesberg’s writings with his rivals, without, for a moment, considering the different points of view. You may notice that he addresses issues from a higher and broader mental perspective than his enemies, such Anthony Fauci, for example. This is a question of intellectual power and wit. If you can see it, you have to wonder why you believe the lesser minds on this issue, which is an intellectual debate.

  123. nohivmeds Says:

    Michael — we can bicker about what my friend “died” of, but no he did not have any “emotional issues” (do you realize that is not an actual psychological term?), nor like I said did he ever do drugs, and I gave you the total number of people he slept with. He was in a long-term relationship (12 years) when he died. I believe the death certificate said PCP.

    There are LOTS of examples of guys just like my friend who didn’t die of “AIDS”. LOTS and LOTS, Michael. Guess it was just that crazy gay bird flu.

    And McDonald — asking people not to defame others, and praising the motivations of others are just about as opposite as you can get. Your post makes no sense at all. Are you perhaps Michael’s “friend?”

  124. nohivmeds Says:

    And just to be totally fair — Laura — I think it best we stay away from guessing about the motivations behind other people’s postings — it is easy to “guess” why Michael does or says what he does and says — same with me, same with you — but we should all endeavor to stay away from doing that, because it’s both unproductive and stupid. We don’t know each other at all, so making guesses about that kind of stuff, really, is just silly.

    In that vein — I apologize for asking if McDonald is someone special to Michael. My bad. Sorry.

  125. Michael Says:

    Nhm,

    One thing I have noticed in life, is that often we like to believe that we do know someone else, especially friends and family, very well. Perhaps we even believe that we know them inside and out. Later, we are often quite surprised to find other information, and find we really did not know them so well after all.

    One example, is of someone very close to me. At the age of 42, this person found out that completely unbeknownst to him, his 2 older sisters had been repeatedly sexually molested by his own father for years and years, from their childhood to their teens. Now he certainly grew up in the same house, and was quite close to both of his sisters and often had long talks with them both through the years. However, it was not until his oldest sister had an emotional breakdown at the age of 46, that the information came out about the sexual abuse stuff. He too, thought he knew all of these people well. After all, they were his dear sisters that he was very close to, and the father that raised him. He grew up in the same house and slept in the next bedroom between his sisters and his parents until he was 18. Turned out, he did not really know them so well at all. He did not know their inner being, or their inner torments, or their experiences. Even now that all of that abuse stuff finally came out, his sisters and father still surprise him with aspects of them that he was completely unaware of. And this is with his direct family.

    The point: We often know even much less about our friends, even though we mistakenly assume that we do know them quite well.

    As for your friend that died of PCP, was your friend promptly and properly treated for PCP?

    Was he on any of the HIV meds?

    There is something here that is not quite adding up, and you are quite correct about that, but I don’t have enough information on him and, I do not believe that you have the complete picture either.

    Any way I, or you, could interview his 12 year lover? We might be able to make some better sense of it after.

  126. McDonald Says:

    Laura,

    I think all the new terminology is making you a bit dizzy, and understandably so. But Claus has already given you one of the 3 pillars of certainty to hold onto in this mess, namely go with the tallest party.

    The second is, the AIDS meme DEFINITELY causes disease and we’d DEFINITELY be a whole lot better off without it.

    The third, and I think so far last, tower in your bastion of sanity, Dr. Noble has steadily built, brick for tedious brick, with only your safety in mind over the course of his last couple hundred posts:

    Suppose we have 1000 people who are infected with HIV, and who are having unprotected sex. If we follow Duesberg’s lead, and assume that the transmission rate is a constant 0.1%, then what we would expect is that if each of those 1000 people had sex with one partner one time, we would see one new infected individual – and that individual would have had unprotected sex with the infected partner only one time.

    In other words, the average infected person only has sex ONCE!!

    So whenever you feel that one time acomin’, dear girl, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!

  127. Laura Says:

    Sorry if I offended anyone that was not my intent.

  128. Michael Says:

    Laura, no need to apologize. You have to crack egg(heads) to make a good omelette. Although you can’t do much with them when they are overly scrambled or half baked to begin with!

  129. trrll Says:

    All we can suggest is that you look more closely at the mainstream literature to see if the claims are valid. Regrettably there is much literature in HIV∫AIDS which does not stand up to inspection.

    I’ve looked at quite a bit of the literature. I’d say that it stands up fairly well. However, there is hardly any paper, on any topic, in the biological literature that is absolutely without flaw, or whose arguments and conclusions are as ironclad even as Chris Noble’s explanation of why Duesberg’s calculations are grossly in error. So assuming that you’ve approached the literature with the same level of bias that you exhibited on the present topic, I’m not surprised that you find it all “flawed.” Scientists, of course, tend to look at the weight of the evidence, and whose predictions best fit the new findings.

    One thing that is clear is that, like myself, many scientists at one point took Duesberg’s concerns seriously, but like myself, most of them have been gradually persuaded that he is wrong. Nobody forced us to that conclusion. If you look at the scientific literature, you will see that Duesberg has been afforded many, many opportunities to publish his ideas. What you see today is not an enforced orthodoxy, but a scientific consensus, arrived at independently by individual scientists, scientists without a vested interest either way. How can you explain the fact that your own impression of the literature is so much at variance with the conclusions reached by the biological community? Are you really so much smarter than the scientific community?

    Just from reading the present debate, it is clear that this troubles a number of people in this discussion. There have been a remarkable number of posts suggesting improper, disreputable, bigoted, pecuniary, or downright malign motives for those think that Duesberg is wrong. I’ve never heard anybody in the scientific community attributing selfish or evil motives to Duesberg, even though, if he is wrong, as most of us believe he is, he has probably indirectly contributed to thousands of deaths worldwide. Scientists give Duesberg credit for being sincere, if misguided, even though they believe that his inability to recognize and acknowledge his own errors has exacerbated a worldwide humanitarian disaster.

    So why is it that scientists read the same literature and come to the opposite conclusion from you? Probably because they are so not blinded by bias that they have lost their ability to think logically, and when they read a nonsensical argument like the one this thread is about, they immediately say, “Wait a minute! That’s crazy!” rather than contorting their minds trying to find some sort of way to reword it or spin it to make it into anything other than a stupid mistake.

  130. McKiernan Says:

    Laura,

    Some men and some women are genuinely much, much too gentle to live among the wolves of the blogosphere. HIV debates in the cyberspace arena of incoherency, lowered standards, and psychodramatic disfunctionalisms are evidenced in most comment sectors near the end of a post topic.

    Like vultures that do not actually kill their own prey, they lie in wait, circling to find some meat to devour be it their antagonists or their protagonists. Seemingly they feel enriched by that process no matter whose toes they feel comfortable in stepping on.

    As McK has viewed this thread, I find Laura, YOU do not have to apologize for who you are. It is the very thrust of your comments that drives their desire for more carrion.

    Unfortunately, whatever truth you may attempt to convey the
    scavengers will have missed it, because it was not their kind of prey.

  131. Michael Says:

    Truthseeker,

    I really do, after reading this last screed by trrll, think that a discussion of psychology is in order. It would hopefully shed some light on the inability of many people to see the rethinker side from any unbiased consideration, and would explain why two intelligent people can see the exact opposite in any given issue.

    Very human issues of life perception come into play here. Victim level consciousness seemingly runs amok in believing HIV is the cause of AIDS, while those who, as you said, look from a broader perspective, see much more going on. The very perception of seeing one’s problems as external or “out there”, as in “that virus” that is going to attack me if I let down my guard, is quite prominent. I have sincerely noticed a complete difference in psychology of both sides of the issue.

    I notice that those in the rethinker camp are far more likely to look within when faced with illness or other situations.

    The very turning over or abdication of responsibility for one’s own health, is common to all ‘victim level’ psychologies. And it never ceases to amaze, that those on the victim level are completely incapable of viewing it from any other viewpoint but where they are at in a very subconcious way.

    The idea of being 100% responsible for one’s own health is repulsive and too terrifying for someone on victim level to face or even contemplate, as their own fears drive them quickly back to the victim type of externalized problem perception. Not only that, but these victims who see all of their problems as external, also require an external cure or fix, such as a pill, to get them through. It really is fascinating to watch.

    And obviously no-one on the lower levels of consciousness is capable of having the self awareness to experientially realize and understand ones own power of mind, and that “what is held in mind, consciously or subconsciously, has the tendency to manifest in the physical realm”. The self responsibility for this is also terrifying to the unaware, and hence, reaffirms the belief that all circumstance are manifested externally.

    Psych, and even quantum physics, are sciences as well, and all of lifes mysteries do not exist only on a physical realm of simple zero’s or ones, or simple chemical properties. I do feel it has a very valid place if one is examining the “science” of any issue.

    Those trapped in lower mind levels are completely incapable of seeing this.

    I think a deeper understanding of all of this, can do much for the rethinkers to keep their own peace of mind and sanity in a world so seemingly insane with the vast majority of people trapped in the nonintegrous levels of lower mind perception.

    And for all of you yo-yo’s that just read this, and think there is something either good or bad about lower or higher mind, your discomfort is simply a reflection of the level of mind you are on, as higher mind does not percieve in terms of good/bad or right/wrong. It only sees from perspectives of what enhances life, and what detracts from it.

    buddha said it well when he stated:

    “A mind that sees in terms of good and bad is a corrupt mind.”

  132. Michael Says:

    McKiernan,

    what you said above about vultures and carrion to Laura, sounds to me, more like a personal problem of your own creation, though you are welcome to blame the rest of us if it helps you to live with yourself, as you avoid self responsibility for responses to many of the things you have said in these threads, and the ways you yourself have chosen to word your posts.

  133. Robert Houston Says:

    Thanks, “Trrll”, for that series of patronizing pomposities. It shows, for starters, that you’ve never read a paper by Duesberg and know little about his scientific critique of HIV=AIDS, nor about the hundreds of other scientists who have supported him, including at least two Nobel laureates, and who have also critiqued the absurdities of the still unproven HIV hypothesis. This and your previous comment also reveal an unfamiliarity with the current state of AIDS research, which has largely abandoned its orginal premises, e.g., that HIV caused AIDS through direct cytopathicity, that the mechanism of HIV is known, that HIV would cause AIDS in two years (now said to be 10-15 years), that AIDS would spread like wildfire heterosexually in America, that high-dose AZT was a lifesaver (now known to have killed thousands), etc, etc.

    Your claim that the predictions of the HIV believers were borne out is utter wishful thinking, completely contradicted by the facts. So, for your much needed enlightenment, may I suggest that you confront the 17 false claims of the HIV theory, each of which has been disproven. These are enumerated in Table 4 of Duesberg’s 2003 paper (p. 390). (Click HERE to see it.)

    Most scientists have fallen in line with HIV$AIDS for an obvious reason: the seven billion dollars a year in AIDS funding devoted exclusively to support of the HIV theory, plus the sociopolitical requirement of allegiance to the HIV dogma as the precondition of respectability and advancement.

  134. McDonald Says:

    Whoopss Laura,

    Mr. Mck’s renewed elaborations on his theory of “The Poem Functioning As A Mirror Where One Sees Only The Reflection Of Self”, as usual upset my digestive system and aroused me in the most unpleasant manner from drowsy self-satisfaction.

    But it’s an ill wind that blows no good, and I see now that I may, in part at least, have occasioned your last mysterious remark. I assure you, therefore, that my post to NHM was directed solely at NHM and did not implicate you in any way. The post that was directed at you was all good humoured and definitely not a reproach. In addition it was all true.

    I ask you to not take offense if, in the course of delivering my message as vividly as possible, I played a bit on your suppposed gender and age.
    McK. I’m sure also regrets insinuating you would be ‘too gentle to live among wolves’. He has for some reason, probably better left unexplored, never shown the same measure of concern for meek Michael or anybody else here, man or woman.

  135. trrll Says:

    Most scientists have fallen in line with HIV$AIDS for an obvious reason: the seven billion dollars a year in AIDS finding devoted exclusively to support of the HIV theory, plus the sociopolitical requirement of allegiance to the HIV dogma as the precondition of respectability and advancement.

    Ah, yes. It is necessary to come up with some kind of disreputable motive to explain why the biological community has so overwhelmingly rejected Duesberg’s ideas, hence the accusation of pecuniary motive. Which ignores the fact that most of the biological community that has overwhelmingly rejected Duesberg’s notions does not receive AIDS funding, nor is their advancement dependent upon which side of the debate they happen to land on. I don’t do AIDS research. When I’ve been up for promotion, nobody has ever even asked me what my opinion is on the issue. Like most scientists, I’ve reached my opinion independently by reading the scientific literature (and yes, that includes Duesberg).

    By the way, very few people go into biological research with any expectation of making a lot of money. It simply is not a high paying profession, particularly in view of the hours involved. Virtually everybody I know in science was drawn into the field out of intellectual interest or a desire to be of service to mankind. Yes, a few high profile individuals get seduced by fame, and even fewer luck into some kind of profitable discovery and get wealthy, but they are outliers—the vast majority of scientists are toiling relatively anonymously in laboratories working long hours for unexceptional pay. And nobody wins prizes for confirming what people think they already know. The people who achieve scientific renown are the ones who challenge the standard beliefs, and do what Duesberg has failed to do—martial the experimental evidence to convince the scientific community that they are right. Yes, academic scientists are always looking for funding—but funding to do what? Not funding to buy mansions, but funding to keep their research going, so they can work even more long hours for modest pay. The only reason that they are willing to do this is because they are working on something that they genuinely believe in. But of course, you can’t accept that idea of what really motivates scientists, because if you do, you’d be forced to consider the possibility that they’ve rejected Duesberg’s ideas because they honestly believe that the data do not support them.

  136. nohivmeds Says:

    trrll wrote:

    “But of course, you can’t accept that idea of what really motivates scientists, because if you do, you’d be forced to consider the possibility that they’ve rejected Duesberg’s ideas because they honestly believe that the data do not support them.”

    trrll, you should stop generalizing. I believe that Laura and I have made it clear that we believe that most people involved in HIV?AIDS research are motivated by the intention to help. When you generalize about the readers and posters to this board, you lose. There are a lot of unique opinions here, actually, if you’d bother to notice.

    Certainly several people gave you a run for your money on Duesberg’s work, and I would imagine that they strongly support that work after careful consideration -which you show no respect for at all. Intelligent people can disagree about a set of “evidence.” It happens all the time in science. And there are even people posting here who do not support Duesberg’s views per se, but admire his pointing out of some of the serious questiong regarding HIV?AIDS.

    We don’t need any discussion of psychology here — individuals’ motivations for their posts are irrelevent. We need simply to take each individual at their word and grant them the simple respect granted to any person who has an opinion.

  137. nohivmeds Says:

    Of course, if we were to discuss psychology, I would definitely nominate Michael to be the groups’ first analysand, since he is so keen on it all.

  138. nohivmeds Says:

    And “analysand” means “the one being analyzed,” of course.

  139. nohivmeds Says:

    Michael has authored some really stellar analyses of me, for example. Maybe we could also dig some of those up. Plus all the analyzing he did on Chris in this strand. Michael — I say this as a friend — no one is interested in these analyses. They sound — well, ridiculous. Let people be. Look: if I can turn over a new leaf and be nice, you can drop your fascination with guessing at the motivations of people you know nothing at all about.

  140. Alex Fain Says:

    Trrll: Will you please explain how Duesberg “has probably indirectly contributed to thousands of deaths worldwide?” I think you may be giving him too much credit. I also hope that you and your colleagues are right, but I find it hard to believe that all HIV?AIDS dissident ideas and critiques–and not just Duesberg’s– are bogus. While I’m thinking about all of this, I ask myself: Do I believe people who speak out against a “consensus” and lose much in the process (funding, credibility, etc.) over those who have every reason to follow the crowd? Is the crowd truly correct in this case that we’re just plain wrong despite that crowd being spineless and snotty and, dare I say, maybe a little corrupt and deceitful? Or in this case are the dissenters right even though they can embarrass themselves with their behavior at times and they seem attract every alternative health idea under the sun? I just wanted you to know that your consensus affects my life and many others’ sometimes in very dramatic ways, so, I repeat, I hope you and your colleagues are right.

  141. Truthseeker Says:

    “Trrll”, are you a bird? Surely if you are a scientist of some kind you can manage a more adult and personable moniker.

    One poster calls you pompous, and another says you are stuck at a certain level of mental operation. All we know is that your points are irritating because they are not the seasoned kind, and yet you claim to have followed the debate from the beginning, when you “thought that Duesberg had some good points.” Well, no, we think we can see that you really haven’t followed the debate with any of the attention it takes to keep up with what is going on, because every sentence you write is old hat and informationally challenged. You are too decent and trusting a soul, and take too much for granted, which reflects well on your moral character but not on your realism.

    No, we can’t prove it. Specifically, all we can say is

    I’ve looked at quite a bit of the literature. I’d say that it stands up fairly well. However, there is hardly any paper, on any topic, in the biological literature that is absolutely without flaw, or whose arguments and conclusions are as ironclad even as Chris Noble’s explanation of why Duesberg’s calculations are grossly in error.

    This is the pomposity referred to by Houston, no doubt. You adopt a pose of casual mastery of the scene, acknowledging that the literature is imperfect, but say it stands up fairly well. Well, sir, you are a bright and good scientist, clearly, but here you evidently flatter yourself out of your innocence of the real facts of the matter, which are somewhat hidden. What you reveal is that you have not paid sufficient attention and you have no idea what is going on, and you instinctively trust others to be as decent and methodical as you are. You are a good man, but you are misled.

    So assuming that you’ve approached the literature with the same level of bias that you exhibited on the present topic, I’m not surprised that you find it all “flawed.” Scientists, of course, tend to look at the weight of the evidence, and whose predictions best fit the new findings.

    This detection of bias on our part in treating this topic is the work of your imagination, since we have nothing to be biased about, do we? The challenge to Duesberg’s phrasing and understanding of probability was examined impartially, the blogheads who exhibited their own limitations by overrating the significance of the error were given full rein, and what we hope will be the final correction of both was posted. Where is the partiality that we showed? Is any recognition of Duesberg’s keen mind and singular logical and literary achievement partial, in your view? You sound so judicious. Why the bias in this?

    One thing that is clear is that, like myself, many scientists at one point took Duesberg’s concerns seriously, but like myself, most of them have been gradually persuaded that he is wrong. Nobody forced us to that conclusion.

    Yes, we are familiar with this widespread reaction – you drifted to the conclusion that he must be wrong as the counter claims piled up and he was blocked from publication in the Proceedings and in Nature, even from replying to calumny about his own ideas, and subjected to foolish misinterpretation by a dim reporter in Science, and therefore you judged that he has been proved wrong.

    This is a familiar process which to our knowledge has carried many scientists along like rafts on the river of time, since they are busy people like yourself and do not have the time to give the debate the attention it requires, so do not see behind the propaganda dispensed by NIAID and its fellow travelers, or understand the impact of its admitted media censorship. But what do you know of these things? Apparently, not much.

    Yet you have the brilliance to judge a better scientist a thousand times better informed on this topic than yourself the loser in debate. Can you not imagine how much better tested and tempered and worked out Duesberg’s perceptions must be on this topic when he has been tried and punished so determinedly for so long? Apparently you can’t. Apparently you view yourself somehow his equal in the matter. But this is more like a chess player following a world championship game by listening on the radio in the shower. Pretty impressive to your wife, but unlikely to catch all the strategy.

    If you look at the scientific literature, you will see that Duesberg has been afforded many, many opportunities to publish his ideas.

    Is this the thought of an intelligent man, which you clearly are? Can you not recognize the relative inattention and lack of information you are working with, and how unlikely some of these beliefs of yours are? Pick up Harvey Bialy’s book to see otherwise. Read this blog to see otherwise. Examine your own experience to see otherwise. You have no idea whatsoever what has been going on.

    What you see today is not an enforced orthodoxy, but a scientific consensus, arrived at independently by individual scientists, scientists without a vested interest either way. How can you explain the fact that your own impression of the literature is so much at variance with the conclusions reached by the biological community? Are you really so much smarter than the scientific community?

    Not smarter, just taking the trouble to be better informed, and to devote the time and attention to the issue that it demands. The scientific consensus you believe in so comfortably is merely the group opinion formed by thousands of people coasting along following the lead of the few in the field who do know what is going on, and take advantage with grossly self serving claims, which they carefully protect from close inspection by outsiders. If you have ever been to meetings in this area you would know that different ideas are about as welcome as dog turd on the carpet.

    Just from reading the present debate, it is clear that this troubles a number of people in this discussion. There have been a remarkable number of posts suggesting improper, disreputable, bigoted, pecuniary, or downright malign motives for those think that Duesberg is wrong. I’ve never heard anybody in the scientific community attributing selfish or evil motives to Duesberg, even though, if he is wrong, as most of us believe he is, he has probably indirectly contributed to thousands of deaths worldwide. Scientists give Duesberg credit for being sincere, if misguided, even though they believe that his inability to recognize and acknowledge his own errors has exacerbated a worldwide humanitarian disaster.

    Eeyore again! Lovable, friendly but silly Eeyore. If the wrong idea in this field will endanger thousands of lives, that would be the biggest reason of all to make sure it is operating under the arc lights of unfettered review, not to argue that a critique might be too persuasive and “endanger lives”, which is the line that betrays fear of paradigm upset, not confidence.

    Honest confidence would welcome criticism as easy meat for redoubled validation of the ruling wisdom. Can’t you see that? Of course you can, but you don’t, because your mind is not working as you believe it is. And that is the problem with the area. People do not see when their minds are not working. They assume that the ideas they reject automatically as not fitting in with their mental franework are bad ones which they have thoughtfully rejected, but they are rejected reflexively by the brain in a process well revealed by fMRI.

    And yes indeed the confidence in Duesberg’s honesty even among his enemies should tell you something, also. His enemies cannot pretend that Duesberg is selfish or evil because he is well known to be impeccable in his scientific and social behavior, apart from making friendly cracks at the expense of the slow witted. Only the dregs at the bottom of the moral and scientific barrel dare make claims that Duesberg is knowingly endangering the multitudes by arguing against large doses of eventually fatal drugs for an invented danger, which people like yourself have so inattentively been persuaded to support.

    So why is it that scientists read the same literature and come to the opposite conclusion from you? Probably because they are so not blinded by bias that they have lost their ability to think logically, and when they read a nonsensical argument like the one this thread is about, they immediately say, “Wait a minute! That’s crazy!” rather than contorting their minds trying to find some sort of way to reword it or spin it to make it into anything other than a stupid mistake.

    This thread is about a nonsensical argument? You display your inattention yet again, and this time to material in front of your nose. We disagree. It matters on the Web whether the narrowly informed armchair critics that the Web has empowered are able to score an important point off Duesberg, and thus call him “stupid” and not to be taken seriously. It is a topic worth paying attention to briefly, because the fire should be put out. Otherwise the even more inexpert and uninformed who seek enlightenment on the Web may well be influenced, and this site exists to act as an antidote to the smearing, false claims, prejudice and other censorship which block debate in this arena.

    Sorry to say but your own visibly shallow opinion that rethinkers are not thinking, but the mainstream is, is a prime example of the not-thinking that you deplore. If there is anyone who is more likely to cry “Wait a minute! That’s crazy!” it is someone who objectively reads the current literature on AIDS. There are more inconsistencies and outrages to common sense and conventional science in it than any paradigm in history. One time we listed some of the absurdities that the mainstream HIV believers must accept in order to cling to their faith, and we will do it again if you would like, as a post.

    Here is the list we put in a conference talk in 2001, which stands up pretty well today, though we can already think of additions:

    As Duesberg has repeatedly pointed out, to believe in AIDS, we have to

    1) believe in a infectious viral disease where the virus’s rate of infection (1 in 500 sexual contacts) is outdone by the rate of human impregnation (1 in 10);

    2) a cell killing retrovirus, when otherwise retroviruses never kill cells;

    3) indeed, a virus provided to labs in immortal cultures of the same T cells it is said to kill off;

    4) a fatal virus that cannot easily be found in most patients, even dying ones, only antibodies to it;

    5) a disease where patients merely with antibodies can nevertheless die of the disease;

    6) a disease whose nature varies from place to place, being almost exclusively a homosexual and drug user ailment in North America and Europe, but heterosexual elsewhere;

    7) a disease that correlates with drug use in North America and Europe, yet is alleviated or prevented by a bowl full of other damaging and lethal drugs, never proved to be directly helpful;

    8) a disease whose mechanism, including an up-to-twenty-year delay in onset, is as yet quite unexplained;

    9) a cell killing disease that also causes cell multiplying cancer, with no trace of the virus in the cancer;

    10) and a disease said to be a killer epidemic in Haiti and South Africa, with no significant change in overall mortality, and long endemic in sub-Saharan Africa, where a population explosion has nonetheless added 250 million people in two decades.

    11) an an epidemic mapped in Africa by the World Health Organization almost entirely without the benefit of AIDS tests, which themselves are problematic;

    12) a viral epidemic uniquely without initial exponential growth or bell-shaped rise and fall;

    13) a viral epidemic which has not found immunity anywhere;

    14) a killer disease where no doctor, nurse or researcher working with it has caught the disease;

    15) an infectious disease with risk group, lifestyle, and malnutrition specific symptoms;

    16) a disease whose every symptom is shared with other diseases–in fact, a disease which would in every case be counted as those other diseases except for the supposed

    presence of antibodies to the “virus that causes AIDS”;

    17) a viral epidemic without a sign of a promising vaccine despite the best funded army of researchers in history;

    18) a viral disease which quickly achieves the antibodies of vaccination of its own accord;

    19) a virus transmitted 25-50% through birth which has produced no epidemic among children.

    20) a viral hypothesis which is undeniable yet needs protection with officially announced censorship of discussion.

    Yes, these could be added to (we just added #20) and we’ll do it in a post. Meanwhile, you can answer any of them for us if you like: why do you believe in such unlikely nonsense without really good proof, which as you should know does not exist yet anywhere?

    All one can say in answer to your fond belief in the validity of your own vision of the field as led by reason and informed by objective evidence is read Serge Lang’s “Challenges”, a book which lifts the veil on this and other skulduggery in science, such as Baltimore’s Affair, by reproducing real correspondence, and will let you know what more competitive and ruthless scientific leaders than yourself have been up to.

    Honorable men such as you are unfortunately slow to suspect that others are up to real mischief, because they judge others by their own honorable selves.

  142. Truthseeker Says:

    By the way, trrll, we have green bordered your posts because they are unusually articulate expressions of the shared view of so many scientists outside HIV∫AIDS. In this respect, they are highly valued. But of course they are worrying – with your powers of expression, you will influence many!

  143. Truthseeker Says:

    NOTICE TO ALL: No convincing objections having been raised from Down Under or anywhere else to Robert Houston’s reformulation of the Duesberg sentence, we have posted it as the “SOLUTION” to the mathematical objection at the end of the blog post above.

    Any objections to the evaluation of the various contributions made by the different parties can be posted in further Comments. But at the present time we view the result of this World Cup Game as 1-1. One for a successful objection to what Duesberg wrote, and One for the minimal rephrasing necessary which retained exactly the same point as the original, and made the same contribution to Duesberg’s argument.

  144. Laura Says:

    The post that was directed at you was all good humoured and definitely not a reproach. In addition it was all true.

    I did not take offense to your comments nor was I apologizing for who I am. Just saying that the reasoning behind my post was not meant to judge anyone or assume motives, and if anyone thought it was I apologize.

    My point was if the virus was never blamed, and AID’s was labeled a lifestyle illness 20 years ago I fear people would not strive to find a solution. Historically psychological illnesses have never been taken as seriously as a pathogen . Personally I think that would still be an unsatisfactory result.

  145. noreen martin Says:

    The math of Duesberg, Padian and others may not totally agree. However, one thing is for sure, the HIV+ and Aids cases are not in the age group which is known to have the most STD’s in the states. In fact, the 13-24 year old are third and fourth on the list depending upon such factors as sex and race. The math doesn’t add up with approximately 14,000 new, Aids cases per year. Compare this to all other STD’s which the numbers are tremendously and steadily growing. So much for an Aids epidemic, sexual or otherwise.

    I would add #21 to the excellent list above:
    People are surviving Hiv and Aids and without toxic medications.

  146. kevin Says:

    Yes, academic scientists are always looking for funding—but funding to do what? Not funding to buy mansions, but funding to keep their research going, so they can work even more long hours for modest pay.

    I am a long-time lurker here, but I feel compelled to make a brief comment regarding the commentary made by “trrll” on the topic of scientific research and funding. The above quote and much of that clever diatribe is misleading. Most professions do not pay well enough to buy mansions, but people still wind up in those careers for a variety of reasons. No reason for a maudlin defense of the “poor scientist” and his uncommon motivational purity.

    While I agree with the notion that personal motivations should not be used to evaluate the merit of scientific claims, the fact remains that the business of doing scientific research requires adequate resources. Resources aren’t allocated on purely objective terms. Adequately funded research exists mostly in academic institutions and anyone who has ever been a part of that club knows how political academia can be. Unfortunately, resource allocation more often than not depends on your place in the prevailing political hierarchy, both in particular academic institutions as well as society, at large. The HIV/AIDS meme is no different. In fact, it is a classic example. Duesberg lost funding for all his research endeavors as a result of his speaking out against the budding HIV/AIDS establishment.

    Thus, it is incredibly naive to think that there aren’t significant ramifications for researchers who request funding based on a hypothesis that conflicts with the status quo. Allocation of monies for all research endeavors is becoming increasingly profit-driven, particularly when that research directly affects the bottom-line of the companies funding the research. This is an unacceptable conflict of interest for all scientists. To deny that is irresponsible. You may feel that your research is deserving, while at the same time, it is in line with the status quo, but you, as a scientist might want to consider what it might be like to conduct research from the less powerful position of dissent—a position that is typically under-funded regardless of what is at stake. The implications regarding the outcomes produced by HIV research are tragically immense.

    Science has always been social, though history has proven that societies are best served when that aspect is sufficiently suppressed. Most scientists would agree with that statement, I believe. What I find hard to believe is that those same scientists actively contribute to the defamation of objective science when it comes to funding—the social competent that has the most potential to erode the integrity of all modern scientific research by making personal motivations a necessary component of the evaluation process.

    Kevin

  147. Truthseeker Says:

    Great post Kevin – but you may wish to correct the last sentence.

    Where Noble? We want to ask him how he reconciles saying that HIV needs 100% perinatal transmission to keep prevalence constant in a population, and his report that in Japan HTLV-1 and HTLV-11 somehow manage it with a rate of 25%.

    (Thanks to a certain professional AIDS meme extractor who is currently too shy or perhaps fastidious to respond in Comments himself at the moment).

  148. trrll Says:

    I’d say that the “resolution” certainly wins points for desperation. That anybody would take it seriously is itself an excellent illustration of the intensity of bias on this site.

    But even using the original assumption of 1 in 1000 risk for female to male, the 250,000 total contacts needed for one positive and the 2999 that accompany him, or 83 contacts per male, all 3000 of them, is still way out of line with national figures for sex at 18, which are less than 5 acts per male.

    Where on earth did these “national figures” come from? To anybody who actually remembers being that age, and certainly to anybody who knows any teenagers, the notion that the average boy at age 18 would have had sex only 5 times is indeed absurd.

    This review cites the following statistics, which suggests that the average teenage boy probably hits 83 in a couple of years or so.

    There is some evidence that the frequency of intercourse rose from the 1960s to the 1970s (Trussell and Westoff, 1980) and may have declined in the 1980s. Among teenage males 17-19 living in metropolitan areas the rate fell from 59.8 times per year in 1979 to 39.0 in 1988 (Sonenstein, Pleck, and Ku, 1990, but then among all males ages 17.5-19, it rose from 30 to 49 times per year between 1988 and 1991 (Ku, Sonenstein, and Pleck, 1993).

    So 83 is not a particularly big number, and most certainly not an absurd one. But of course, trying to calculate an exact number with a calculation this crude is fundamentally stupid. It’s one thing if you are trying, as Duesberg is, to show that the required rate of sexual activity is inhumanly high by many orders of magnitude. If the number really was 250,000 per person, as Duesberg claimed, it doesn’t really matter that his calculation makes no allowance for the distribution of partners, for variation in infectivity over the course of infection, for the fact that most people have sex with the same partner repeatedly instead of having sex randomly, for the possibility that rates of sexual activity might be higher within a subpopulation that also has higher rates of infection (such as gay men, perhaps), etc., etc. Such factors might easily throw the numbers off by 10-fold one way or another, but so what? 25,000 is just as absurd as 250,000. On the other hand, when dealing with small numbers, you need to be more exact. Even if 85 were absurdly high (and as we saw, it is not), the correct number, taking all factors into account, could just as well be 8.5. Again, this is the sort of thing that should be immediately obvious to anybody who is not completely blinded by bias.

  149. kevin Says:

    Great post Kevin – but you may wish to correct the last sentence.

    Thanks…is there a way to edit a post after it has been submitted, other than offer a second post describing the typo? I usually prefer to just let the reader reconcile the typo in that case, unless clarity of expression is impossible to discern.

  150. nohivmeds Says:

    And trrll “trrll”d:

    “Again, this is the sort of thing that should be immediately obvious to anybody who is not completely blinded by bias.”

    And again trrll, we remind you that several people here had already conceded an error INCLUDING DUESBERG before you began this inane never-ending statemetn of your own incredulousness, which — to be frank, seems a big overdone.

    The evidence for a heterosexual epidemic of HIV is VERY VERY TENUOUS AND VERY VERY POOR as you yourself essentially point out when you talk about the difficulty of making these numeric estimates with so many of the relevant parameters unknown or poorly estimated.

    In conclusion: NO ONE CARES ANY MORE ABOUT THE LITTLE MATH PROBLEM

    And just in case you didn’t catch that, let me say it this way:
    THAT MATH PROBLEM — NO ONE CARES ANYMORE ABOUT IT.

  151. nohivmeds Says:

    Oh and trrll:

    As I understand it, there’s a lovely discussion of math over at Aetiology that I think you would be much more comfortable with. I say, go for it! We’ll miss you, but we’ll endure.

  152. trrll Says:

    “Again, this is the sort of thing that should be immediately obvious to anybody who is not completely blinded by bias.”

    And again trrll, we remind you that several people here had already conceded an error INCLUDING DUESBERG before you began this inane never-ending statement of your own incredulousness, which — to be frank, seems a big overdone.

    But in this case, I’m not talking about Duesberg’s error, I’m talking about the error on this site of thinking that the problem is “cured” by merely inserting “for his group,” or of thinking that 83 sexual acts is an “absurd” number for a man in his late teens.

    For that matter, I’m not entirely convinced that Duesberg has already conceded the real error. This claim, as far as I can tell, was made by nohivmeds, who wrote the following:

    For those still confused about “requisite” numbers — in his 1991 paper, PD incorrectly used the odds ratio of 1 in 1000 transmission opportunities by saying it “required” at least 1000 transmission opporunities. This was wrong, and I have discussed it with him, and he has concurred. 1000 is the AVERAGE number of transmission opportunities necessary, not the requisite number. This means that it could take over 1000 transmission opportunities or less than 1000 transmission opportunties. But 1000 is the AVERAGE. Everyone knows, I assume, what an AVERAGE is.

    Well, that’s still wrong—spectacularly wrong. So if that is an accurate report of what Duesberg said—that the error was simply in saying that it required each positive individual to have had 1000 sexual contacts with positive individuals instead of an “average of 1000,” the Duesberg still hasn’t recognized or conceded the error, or realized that based on his own assumptions, the AVERAGE number of positive contacts per individual (not per positive individual, which cannot be determined at all from his assumptions) is 6 or less.

  153. trrll Says:

    And oh, nohivmeds, thanks for the recommendation for Aetiology, but I already read it regularly. It is certainly one of the most sensibly medically oriented sites on the web. I also have a high opinion of Good Math, Bad Math, which does a great job of pillorying mathematical idiocy and dishonesty, as well as providing great tutorials on many interesting math topics, and Respectful Insolence, another very level-headed medically oriented site.

  154. HankBarnes Says:

    Hey Boys,

    Interesting thread y’all got going here: Revenge of the Math geeks!

    Here’s my favorite nugget from Mr. Trrll:

    And I saw more and more of the predictions of the virus hypothesis confirmed

    “We hope to have a vaccine [against AIDS] ready for testing in about two years.”

    –Heckler, M. M. Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human services, Washington DC, Statement regarding AIDS, April 23, 1984.

    How’d that “prediction” work out?:)

    Hank Barnes

  155. Robert Houston Says:

    “Trrll” has provided a link to a useful review of Sexual Behavior in America. It’s apparent that the figures TS was citing were actually for number of past sexual partners (“…national figures for sex at 18, which are less than 5 acts per male”).

    The review also provides the rates for non-HIV STDs as having affected one in 6 or 7 adults (14% to 17%). By contrast, HIV has been contracted by only 1 in 3000 teenagers (0.03%) and only 1 in 250 (0.4%) Americans overall. Real STDs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia transmit in every 2 unprotected sexual contacts. It is truly absurd to regard HIV as a serious STD when its efficiency of transmission is about 500 times less.

    Duesberg is to be commended for having pointed out the real reason there has been so little heterosexual spread of HIV. His figures correctly stated the risk of transmission per random heterosexual act as 1:250,000. Although this can generate a few rare cases here and there, it does not an epidemic make.

  156. nohivmeds Says:

    trrll — yeah, right. you’re so very concerned about errors made on this site — I’m sorry, but if you were, then you would have stopped this many, many postings ago when the moderator of this site, TS, also admitted to the error. You’re just here to “trrll” in, and I can guarantee you, that you will be ignored from this point forward. I’ve said it, Duesberg has said it, TS has said it, others have said it. You seem to have a hearing problem.

    AGAIN — THE MATH DISCUSSION IS OVER NOW.

    Did you see the new strand? If not, check it out. You might find it interesting.
    As per Aetiology — we were all discussing over there the fact that in the last couple of years, a major review in JAMA found that close to 40% of papers in the biosciences had stat problems. Just look at Ho’s data from 1995-1995 for a really prime example that at least was corrected in the literature.

    OH–AND AGAIN — THE MATH DISCUSSION IS OVER NOW.

    sad, sad, little trrlling trrll. If you know other places to play maths, you should, friend! i say “go for it!”

  157. nohivmeds Says:

    and trrll, darling, just to clear things up so you can sleep better at night, when i said:

    “But 1000 is the AVERAGE” —

    I of course meant the average ODDS RATIO. Not the average # of potential transmissions. I was loathe to even bother with this earlier, but as you’ve now repeated and misrepresented my intentions i think 4 times (OCD), i thought we’d put it to sleep.

    and again – there are so many wonderful places to play maths and so many bad stats to discover. again, i would really encourage you to pour over Ho’s lovely math models from 95-96. And then tell us how great they are. Oh — you can’t do that — because others in the field have already pointed out that they were spectacularly wrong! Whoops. Guess Zvi Grossman was right – it’s a real “conundrum.” you know Zvi? Great guy. Top in the field.

  158. Truthseeker Says:

    Thanks…is there a way to edit a post after it has been submitted, other than offer a second post describing the typo?

    Kevin, just post the change and we’ll fix it for you, or email us. Competent should be component? The whole sentence is baffling, even then. Otherwise rather a good post. Out comes the green border machine – when the last sentence makes sense.

    In conclusion: NO ONE CARES ANY MORE ABOUT THE LITTLE MATH PROBLEM

    Trrll, we can only apologize for this outbourst of philistinism. The little math problem is of great interest to us, and whoever doesn’t find it interesting is welcome to go play on Aetiology or some other place themselves. No room here for narcissists who think that because something doesn’t interest them it shouldn’t be discussed, at least for those who say so out loud like schoolyard bullies. We welcome all you have to say, trrll, particularly if you would like to adopt some more respectable moniker. However, we wonder how many times we have to deny bias to convince you. What are the wonderful rewards of backing Duesberg, we wonder, compared to the riches, prestige, social virtue, and invitations that attach to infection by the AIDS meme? No we urge you to post even more convincing points to allow us to reconsider our whole impartial posture, because we feel as if we were orphans with our noses pressed agaiunst the window watching the party, and we would like someone to come outside and invite us in.

    Good catch with the 5. You make it look as if it may be wrong. We’ll check – we were going on verbal assurance from a reliable source.

    If the figures are what you say they are, they must be a very happy generation. But let’s face it, as the grouches here say, the evidence that heterosexual transmission is negligible is overwhelming, to use a favorite Fauci word. So their impatience has a good reason. But we feel that just because a mathematical puzzle is irrelevant doesn’t mean it in uninteresting. There is nothing more iteresting that math puzzles and they usually have no use at all. That is half their charm.

  159. kevin Says:

    Kevin, just post the change and we’ll fix it for you, or email us. Competent should be component? The whole sentence is baffling, even then. Otherwise rather a good post. Out comes the green border machine – when the last sentence makes sense.

    I was typing it during my lunch break at work, and I began to run short on time. The last sentence could be changed to the following, to better capture my meaning:

    What I find hard to believe is that those same scientists actively contribute to the degradation of objective science in that they are all too willing to accept funding that has strings attached, whether implied or explicit.

    Thanks for offer to correct and for this blog. I agree that a continuing discussion of Duesberg’s error is a dead horse. He’s acknowledged it and that was necessary, but correctly understanding his misapplication of a statistic does not change the import of his many contributions to this debate. Without his initial doggedness, it may have taken even longer for this discussion to get to this point. Many people are beginning to understand that the science supporting the HIV link is specious and unworthy.

  160. nohivmeds Says:

    Hi Kevin — thanks for backing me up on the end of Duesberg’s Math Error. TS, they do say it takes a narcissist to know one. Let’s see if we can’t deal with the real meat of the debate — which I would argue, and I think you would agree TS, as Kevin does, is the real issue at stake. The math error, now discussed to the point of no return, is not the central issue. Duesberg’s critique is. I agree with Kevin that it would be great to move on. And in general — narcissists are very contrary — so you wouldn’t see them agreeing with much of anyone. What was that point I made earlier about avoiding guessing at the psychology of others? I can’t quite recall — but I’m sure you can find it, ever-resourceful TS.

  161. trrll Says:

    nohivmeds:

    you’re so very concerned about errors made on this site — I’m sorry, but if you were, then you would have stopped this many, many postings ago when the moderator of this site, TS, also admitted to the error.

    Yes, well, I thought that the issue was settled, but then he turned around and declared that Duesberg’s comment was somehow vindicated by inserting “in his group” (which in my opinion merely changes it from incorrect to deceptive) and larding it with an estimate of the number of sexual encounters expected from a 19 year old that was so ludicrously, obviously incorrect that it provided an even more dramatic illustration of my point of how the level of bias among many of the participants on this site (and I should note that the moderator is far from the most biased) is so extreme that many participants will enthusiastically embrace any argument, no matter how nonsensical, that supports their preconceptions.

    Did you see the new strand? If not, check it out. You might find it interesting.
    As per Aetiology — we were all discussing over there the fact that in the last couple of years, a major review in JAMA found that close to 40% of papers in the biosciences had stat problems. Just look at Ho’s data from 1995-1995 for a really prime example that at least was corrected in the literature.

    Yes, I frequently run across statistics problems in papers, generally fairly subtle ones. But this is the first time that I have run across one this extreme, or this elementary, in a published paper. We are, after all, talking about an error of over 3 orders of magnitude. In fact, I literally did not believe it until I looked it up for myself.

    I of course meant the average ODDS RATIO.

    So you meant to type “ODDS RATIO” and instead you typed “AVERAGE.” 3 times. In all caps. That’s quite a typo. By the way, is there such a thing as an odds ratio that is not an average? Besides, the figure was obviously an odds ratio. The issue was not that it was an odds ratio, but that he was using it incorrectly, and drawing a grossly incorrect conclusion that individuals would have to be having an “absurd” amount of sex, by several orders of magnitude.

    truthseeker:

    We welcome all you have to say, trrll, particularly if you would like to adopt some more respectable moniker.

    I find it odd that somebody who has adopted a rather self-congratulatory nom de plume seems to so frequently criticize and even ridicule other people’s user names. I don’t really see that it’s anybody’s business, but since this is the 3rd or 4th time you’ve complained about it, I’ll tell you that it is my first name with vowels removed. Most people pronounce my name incorrectly (or at least, differently from the way my parents intended). Spelled this way, it actually sounds more like the way I pronounce my name. It’s a username I’ve used in other discussions, I like it, and I’m not inclined to change it.

  162. nohivmeds Says:

    yes, trrll, theoretically, there are many odds ratios that are not averages — that’s the point, dearheart — the odds ratio under discussion comes from a distribution of potential odds ratios — all of which are NOT the average.

    Now, I would propose this. You have wasted 5 posts on my verbiage about odds ratios — why not just email me to continue the useless discussion and them we won’t have to bother others with it.

    TS’s sudden obsession with everyone using their real name is just that — sudden. See some of his older posts for endless discussions on why he wouldn’t use his name nor demand that others do either. It’s quite a 180 he’s made on the topic, and all very well-documented.

    If Duesberg’s is the most extreme math error you have ever come across then you clearly have NOT read any of Ho’s papers from 95-96. Now THOSE were math errors! Thankfully, they’ve been corrected, but in comparison to Duesberg’s error, which might be akin to a puddle, those errors by Ho were more like an ocean!

    Anyway — a challenge for you then — find an “error” in Duesberg that’s not related to stats. That WOULD be interesting. But I wonder if you can actually do it. I don’t guess that you can.

  163. Truthseeker Says:

    And in general — narcissists are very contrary — so you

    wouldn’t see them agreeing with much of anyone. What was that point I made earlier about avoiding guessing at the psychology of others? I can’t quite recall — but I’m sure you can find it, ever-resourceful TS.

    Sorry, didn’t mean to say that narcissism was a sin as such. What else would motivate this blog, for example, other than a weak desire to help the uninformed and thoughtless from drinking the Kool Aid offered by spurious authority? No one else admires our posts as much as we do, rest assured. However, we deplore those who would loudly censor the talk of others because their own interest is exhausted. Change the channel, no one is forcing you to read trrll.

    However, we acknowledge there is a danger that his posts may prove sterile if they continue to be unresponsive to others’ points. But then, if you think about it, the only raison d’etre for this blog is the existence of vast hordes of scientists who cannot or will not take an obvious point.

    I’ll tell you that it is my first name with vowels removed. Most people pronounce my name incorrectly (or at least, differently from the way my parents intended). Spelled this way, it actually sounds more like the way I pronounce my name. It’s a username I’ve used in other discussions, I like it, and I’m not inclined to change it.

    Sorry, didn’t realize it was an old moniker that you were fond of, since after all it encodes your own name. There has been a deplorable history here of people posting under different names for reasons known only to themselves, and the choice of names is irritatingly impersonal, as is the way of the vast lower reaches of the WWW. We pray for the day when it grows up and people let go of the early tradition where they imitate computers and return to

    cherishing the few remaining signs of human qualities still visible on the Web and in general in American society. Our own moniker Truthseeker is intended to signal the extremely high human purpose of this blog while avoiding the party list checkboard Nazis, as explained below the Comment box.

    Otherwise we would post with our own name blatantly attached, sure. What is the point of doing worthwhile work without getting credit or pay for it?

    However this continual sticking to the idea that Duesberg’s mistake is important is beginning to lower the stadards of this blog. The chances of any Army recruit or you getting infected by a sexual contact with a positive female are 1 in 2,250,000.

    Wake up.

  164. Truthseeker Says:

    If you were black, with a ten times higher HIV positive rate among recruits to the Job Corps referred to by Duesberg in the same paragraph, then at 1 in 2,250,000 the average number of contacts would have to have been 7500.

    Apparently you believe that the black recruits to the Job Corps have been screwing since birth 8 times a week.

    In the Army the rate was three times higher than overall, 1 in 1000, that would be 2.4 times a week since birth, or since puberty at say 12, seven years 13-19 at 2,250 total 321 a year. Once a day, more or less.

    Impressive.

  165. Truthseeker Says:

    In the Job Corps, 12 times a week since birth, in fact, since 1/3 of recruits at 18 are virgins, according to your own reference.

    Wow!

    32 times a week or 4.5 times a day for the years 13-19, also Wow!

  166. trrll Says:

    However this continual sticking to the idea that Duesberg’s mistake is important is beginning to lower the standards of this blog. The chances of any Army recruit or you getting infected by a sexual contact with a positive female are 1 in 2,250,000.

    Oh, so now you want to apply a “Padian” correction so that you can use a transmission rate even smaller than Duesberg cites in search of even bigger numbers? No person who was not blinded by bias would even consider turning to this small study, which was not even designed to determine the rate of transmission among discordant couples, for accurate numbers. I won’t bother to go into all of the reasons why the study cannot be used in this way, since Tara already did such a clear job of explaining it on Aetiology. Then again, considering how hard it was to get anybody around here to recognize an obvious mathematical error even after multiple very clear explanations, I guess that I shouldn’t be surprised that you are still using it. Of course, you wouldn’t cite a study that was actually designed to measure rates of transmission, because the numbers it gives are more in line with the 1 in 1000 figure, and considerably higher at some points in the infection:

    The average rate of HIV transmission was 0.0082/coital act (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.0039-0.0150) within 2.5 months after seroconversion of the index partner; 0.0015/coital act within 6-15 months after seroconversion of the index partner (95% CI, 0.0002-0.0055); 0.0007/coital act (95% CI, 0.0005-0.0010) among HIV-prevalent index partners; and 0.0028/coital act (95% CI, 0.00150.0041) 6-25 months before the death of the index partner.

  167. trrll Says:

    If you were black, with a ten times higher HIV positive rate among recruits to the Job Corps referred to by Duesberg in the same paragraph, then at 1 in 2,250,000 the average number of contacts would have to have been 7500.

    Unless of course, black people were more likely to have sex with others of the same race, and hence were being exposed to the virus at a higher frequency. But nooo…that’s utterly inconceivable…no reason to even consider it.

  168. nohivmeds Says:

    Wow — those transmission rates are really scary arent’t they? I mean, gosh, the risk of .00007 is one I would lose sleep over! What a scary virus! trrll, you make our argument for us — your transmission rates on serve illustrated how very unlikely transmission actually is. Thanks for saying what we have been saying — with some lovely numbers (and confidence intervals too! fancy!)

  169. HankBarnes Says:

    Trrll writes:

    Oh, so now you want to apply a “Padian” correction so that you can use a transmission rate even smaller than Duesberg cites in search of even bigger numbers? No person who was not blinded by bias would even consider turning to this small study

    Eh, did someone say small study?

    Lemme quote Padian:

    “To our knowledge, our study is the largest and longest study of heterosexual transmission of HIV in the United States.” (Padian, pg 354.)

    I hope not to reopen all this high falutin’ mathematical calculations, but according to Padian:

    “We observed no seroconversions after entry into the study.” (Padian, pg 354.)

    No editorial, no commentary, no conclusion: Just 2 facts.

    Enjoy!

    Barnes

  170. McKiernan Says:

    “To our knowledge, our study is the largest and longest study of heterosexual transmission of HIV in the United States.”

    Yawn. 169 people didn’t convert. Anyone sick, with active infection, died, didn’t cooperate or were not findable or under treatment were dropped. Of the one group quote mined by Barnes those couples represented 39.5 % of the total in the program.

    Like Padian was the only study ever, Yawn.

  171. McKiernan Says:

    Between 1985 through 2003, the US Army (current population 1.4 million) conducted 12 million hiv tests.

    Since it has had a policy of discharging or denying active duty for hiv + recruits, it was found 4024 of the 12 million tests were hiv +.

    This means in most instances seroconversion occurred while on active duty, and it didn’t come from mommy.

  172. truthseeker Says:

    Amusing post on Barnesworld listing the logical fallacies which are the lynchpins of the resistance to HIV∫AIDS review. Hank being a lawyer, we trust he has nailed all of them.

    Unfortunately, they will fly free, and we will meet them again everywhere, as usual, including here, no doubt.

  173. Truthseeker Says:

    Unless of course, black people were more likely to have sex with others of the same race, and hence were being exposed to the virus at a higher frequency. But nooo…that’s utterly inconceivable…no reason to even consider it

    Inconceivable? No. Likely to make a damn bit of difference? No. Nancy found men likely to get HIV antibodies (no discernible virus, remember, except at the beginning? how you can credit this stuff if you are a scientist is beyond me) from their partners at a 1/9000 rate, and even that was a retrospective estimate not real data. Real data was ZERO.

    In other words, the Padian finding was that there is ZERO transmission, period. So go ahead, trrll, you’re safe whatever you do, unless you are gay, when the chances seem to be minimal too – 1/400 if we recall correctly, it being too late to bother with this nonsense any more tonight.

    HIV even if there was any sign of it doing anything at all to trouble anybody is not something you can catch in sex, period. Get with the program, trrll. All this stuff has been obvious for years. You haven’t noticed? Just peer outside the lab window. See any heterosexual AIDS?

    You don’t even know Padian was the biggest and longest study? Surprising, since you nailed us on the 5 being number of partners not acts. Once again, your posting seems to confirm that you are virtuous and brilliant, but still somewhat uninformed. Might you adopt a more openminded posture until this is dealt with, by reading this blog, for example? We have attempted to make it amusing, but you may find that distasteful. We hope not.

    Cheers for now.

  174. trrll Says:

    You don’t even know Padian was the biggest and longest study?

    But “biggest” and “longest” don’t count for much unless the study is designed to determine transmission rates, which it wasn’t. Again, I’m not going to bother to go into this in detail, since Tara explained it so well at her site, and as a professional epidemiologist, probably better than I can (then again, you guys were unable to understand what I thought were very clear explanations of Duesberg’s math error by a professional mathematician and a professional statistician). I notice that you provide no basis for rejecting the Wawer study, which happens to be in agreement with multiple studies of transmission frequency. But by repeating the mantra “bigger and longest,” you relieve yourself of the need to actually think about the design of the study, or the need to consider the multiple other studies that found much higher risk. From a commentary on the Wawer study:

    The authors identified 235 couples for study. On the basis of the number of coital acts reported by both partners, they estimated the probability of HIV transmission from a subject with early infection (an average of 2.5 months after seroconversion) as 8.2 cases/1000 coital acts, with established infection as 715 cases/10,000 coital acts, and with advanced (unrestrained and untreated) infection as 2.8 cases/1000 coital acts. Furthermore, the risk ascribed to patients with early infection is likely an underestimate, given that the data collected did not allow for the detection of subjects with (preseroconversion) acute HIV infection, who are likely to have the highest blood and genital-tract HIV burden [13] and who may have STIs as well [9, 14, 15]. The authors estimate that the risk for HIV transmission from patients with acute infection might be as high as 1 case/50 coital actsgreater than the transmission risk associated with deep needlestick injuries [16].

    These results strongly support earlier modeling predictions. Using blood and semen samples harvested from patients at different stages of disease, Chakraborty et al. [4] constructed a probabilistic model of HIV transmission. According to this model, the very high viral burden in semen that has been demonstrated in patients with acute HIV infection should result in an 810-fold increase in the risk of male-to-female transmission [13] (figure 1A). Coinfection with “classic” STI pathogens [17, 18] and high-risk behavior in acutely infected patients [19] would also amplify transmission in sexual networks [20] (figure 1B). As early as 1994, Koopman et al. [20] and Jacquez et al. [21] used population modeling to argue that the spread of HIV from patients with early, transient hyperinfectiousness could contribute disproportionately to the epidemic.

    But of course, it’s all about getting that big number to support your preconceived notions. I think Mark put it very well on Good Math, Bad Math:

    The 250,000 average sexual contacts is a classic big-numbers thing: it’s so valuable to be able to come up with an absurd number that people will immediately reject, and assign it to your opponent’s argument. They can’t let this go, no matter how stupid it is, no matter how obviously wrong.

  175. HankBarnes Says:

    Our friend, Trrll writes:

    But “biggest” and “longest” don’t count for much unless the study is designed to determine transmission rates, which it wasn’t

    Trrll, read the first line of the abstract of Padian:

    To examine rates of and risk factors for heterosexual transmission of HIV, the authors conducted a prospective study of infected individuals and their heterosexual partners who have been recruited since 1985.”

    This is fun — like playing wack-a-mole:)

    Barnes

  176. McKiernan Says:

    Heterosexual transmission of HIV

    Nancy Padian, PhD
    University of California, San Francisco

    HIV is unquestionably transmitted through heterosexual intercourse. Indeed, heterosexual intercourse is now responsible for 70-80% of all HIV transmissions worldwide (2). The current likelihood of male to female infection after a single exposure to HIV is 0.01-0.32% (2, 3), and the current likelihood of female to male infection after a single exposure is 0.01-0.1% (2). These estimates are mostly derived from studies in the developed world. However, a man or a woman can become HIV-positive after just one sexual contact

    A common practice is to quote out of context a sentence from the Abstract of the 1997 paper: “Infectivity for HIV through heterosexual transmission is low”. Anyone who takes the trouble to read and understand the paper should appreciate that it reports on a study of behavioral interventions such as those mentioned above: Specifically, discordant couples were strongly counseled to use condoms and practice safe sex (1,12). That we witnessed no HIV transmissions after the intervention documents the success of the interventions in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV. The sentence in the Abstract reflects this success — nothing more, nothing less. Any attempt to refer to this or other of our publications and studies to bolster the fallacy that HIV is not transmitted heterosexually or homosexually is a gross misrepresentation of the facts and a travesty of the research that I have been involved in for more than a decade.

    Nancy Padian

    So do you read everything Hank or just the parts you like.

  177. HankBarnes Says:

    The part I like, is the finding of “no seroconversions.”

    That’s kinda the most salient finding, no? Feebly, Padian tries to attribute this to the wonders of condom use (100% success rate!)

    Of course, this doesn’t square with her other critical finding in her paper:

    “Nevertheless, the absence of seroincident infection over the course of the study cannot be entirely attributed to significant behavior change. No transmission occured among the 25 percent of couples who did not use condoms consistently at their last follow-up nor among the 47 couples who intermittently practiced unsafe sex during the entire duration of follow-up” (Padian, pg 356.)

    1. So, folks who “consistenly” wore condoms=> no seroconversions

    2. But, folks, who “inconsistently” wore condoms => no seroconversions.

    No matter how you, Trll, or Padian herself tries to spin pretzel logic, No. 2 remains the problem for you guys.

    Barnes

  178. Truthseeker Says:

    But “biggest” and “longest” don’t count for much unless the study is designed to determine transmission rates, which it wasn’t.

    Wacked like a mole, trrll. Batted on the nose like a purblind underground resident peeping into the light. Exposed as arrant misstatement, to put it kindly. So might you now at long last – at long last, Dr Trrll – consider that you yourself, virtuous and brilliant though you may be, are wasting your time and ours by taking for granted what is at issue, and arguing from a presumption that what is being examined is already decided (by you), and having been thus exposed as making flat contradictory statements which themselves are contraindicated by the first line of the abstract you owe us and yourself one!?

    Do you not owe us an apology for your attitude, which not only withholds your virtue and brilliance from an open minded engagement with the information we bring you, but actively shuts it out, as if you have ordered the guards to kill the messenger who brings news of the perfidy and disloyalty of your allies, who have led you by the nose into error, and guided you into scientific sin, the sin of making assumptions on no basis whatsoever, except the hollow claims of scientists who are far less worthy than yourself in every respect? Is it not time for humility and realism, instead of rote arrogance, as in “Again, I’m not going to bother to go into this in detail”? Is it not time to move your arrogance from “since Tara explained it so well at her site, and as a professional epidemiologist, probably better than I can (then again, you guys were unable to understand what I thought were very clear explanations of Duesberg’s math error by a professional mathematician and a professional statistician)” to “heck, maybe the cutie pie Tara is trained in epidemiology but not in thinking anew so well, so perhaps I ought to do my own, since the entire debate concerns the possibly spurious authority of credentials, where claims of trustworthy expertise may have been vitiated by sharp intellectual practices and the confidence tricks of men who are willing to play three card monte with the data, as beautifully illustrated by Robert “I Was The Most Referenced Scientist” Gallo’s original masterwork, the papers then unreviewed and unpublished which demonstrated that HIV did not cause AIDS but somehow were magically transformed in a press conference by Margaret “Hey Ronald Just Trying To Help Out” Heckler into “HIV is the Cause of AIDS and American Science has Triumphed Again, and the gays can now calm down, we have solved the problem and we will have a vaccine in two years, next alarm please”.

    Trrll, as you read this you are no doubt sitting with your breakfast coffee. Would you do us a favor and raise the cup to your nose – and smell it? But pray don’t stop posting. We enjoy your collegial loyalty to your fellow scientists and value the expression of your reliable membership of the club of decent hardworking folk who wouldn’t know a scam if it smelled like twenty year old fish. We deplore the behavior of disgruntled dissenters, mere outsiders and jumped up know-nothings who don’t understand the complexities of science in practice, where those in the know freely admit the messy process of massaging the data into some semblance of order for the officials and excutives who fund it and exploit it. What right have these “rethinking” amateurs to make a fuss and disturb the system of organized scientific enterprise which has brought us Viagra where before we had only Spanish fly?

    We join you in deploring these ingrates who profess to be idealists trying to save lives when they don’t know their rear end from their elbow. Damned meddlers. Member of the National Academy, you say? Oh that was before he went off the rails. Just like Pauling, these people go a little haywire in their later years. Nobel prize? Stop it, please, that guy is a surfer. Sold his idea for $300 million? Hmmm that we have to respect. Did he get any of it? $10,000? Well, that’s probably all he deserved. Darned flake.

  179. trrll Says:

    But “biggest” and “longest” don’t count for much unless the study is designed to determine transmission rates, which it wasn’t

    Trrll, read the first line of the abstract of Padian:

    “To examine rates of and risk factors for heterosexual transmission of HIV, the authors conducted a prospective study of infected individuals and their heterosexual partners who have been recruited since 1985.”

    This is fun — like playing wack-a-mole:)

    As McKiernan points out, Dr. Padian has already “whacked down” this particular misinterpretation of the first line of her abstract. I’ll simply comment that scientists are fairly careful about their use of language; as used by scientists, “examine” is a particularly conservative phrasing. If Dr Padian actually believed that her study was suitable to accurately measure the transmission rate, she would have used a word along the lines of “determine” or “measure.”

    heck, maybe the cutie pie Tara is trained in epidemiology but not in thinking anew so well, so perhaps I ought to do my own, since the entire debate concerns the possibly spurious authority of credentials, where claims of trustworthy expertise may have been vitiated by sharp intellectual practices and the confidence tricks of men who are willing to play three card monte with the data

    To those of us in academia, credentials carry very little weight, because most of the people we know have them. We evaluate opinions based on logic and data, not credentials (and for that reason I’d prefer not to be referred to in this sort of forum as “Dr.”). I’ve been impressed by Tara Smith’s reasoning, which, far more than her credentials, convinces me that she is well trained in epidemiology. I read the Padian paper, and she is spot on. If anybody hasn’t read her analysis, I encourage you to do so. Moreover, as far as I can tell, she is not involved in HIV research at all, and has nothing to gain professionally or scientifically by supporting one side or another. She is simply evaluating the evidence based upon her training as an epidemiologist. By the way, calling somebody that you are disagreeing by a term of endearment is a cheap, dismissive tactic at any time, and when done by a man to a woman, it is also sexist.

    As a side note, “largest” does not mean “large.” I have a high regard for the power of longitudinal studies, because they are less susceptible to subtle statistical biases. But a good longitudinal study is hard to do. For adequate statistical power, it typically requires more participants than other study designs. For a longitudinal study, “large” generally means numbers in excess of a thousand. Moreover, great care has to be taken to make sure that few if any subjects drop out of the study. Retrospective studies such as the Warner study I cited previously generally have greater statistical power and do not require as many subjects. By the way, I notice that nobody is interested in talking about other studies, such as the Warner one, that tend to be (roughly) in line with the 1 in 1000 number cited by Duesberg. This behavior of obsessing over one bit of evidence that can be distorted to support your preconceptions, while ignoring everything else, strikes me as a pretty definitive indication of bias.

  180. HankBarnes Says:

    Trrll,

    You are a trip!

    1. First, you claim Padian was a “small” study. Wack!

    2. Next, you claim it was not designed to determine RATES of transmission. Wack!

    3. And, now, you’re taking refuge in McKiernan and hiding behind the skirts of Tara Smith? Wow, how the arrogant have fallen:) What’s next — a Jimmy Swaggart “I have sinned” moment, with tears and self-flaggelation?

    Face it buddy, the failure to find any seroconversions in the “largest” American epidemiological study of its kind, is a remarkable finding. Indeed, a finding that negates the conventional orthodoxy that sex=death.

    Barnes

  181. Michael Says:

    trrll,

    When you finished up your last post with the words:

    This behavior of obsessing over one bit of evidence that can be distorted to support your preconceptions, while ignoring everything else, strikes me as a pretty definitive indication of bias.

    were you referring to your and Chris Nobles obsession for Peter Duesbergs one statement of “Thus, all positive teenagers would have had to achieve an absurd 1000 contacts with a positive partner, or an even more absurd 250,000 sexual contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.”

    Seems to me, that you have both been fairly obsessed by this. Is this to be construed of your own admission of BIAS?

  182. Claus Says:

    What amuses those of us with a bit of culture to go with the maths is how not so bold phrasings from within the micro-cosmos of the scientific study context, such as ‘suggests’ ‘seems’ ‘could’ ‘should (according to/based on)’ ‘likely (under)estimate’, ‘current likelihood’, somehow always manage to morph into statements of absolute cetainty as soon as we reach the level of general conclusions for public and political consumption.

    Witness Padian:

    HIV is unquestionably transmitted through heterosexual intercourse. Indeed, heterosexual intercourse is now responsible for 70-80% of all HIV transmissions worldwide

    All of a sudden all the timid little ‘could’ ‘should’ ‘likely estimate according to’ qualifications are replaced by strong, guns-at-the-ready words like ‘unquestionable’, ‘indeed’, ‘IS‘.

    In fact the language is now so a-prori certain of itself, that one wonders why they bothered doing a study in the first place, since, as Padian says herself,

    Any attempt to refer to this or other of our publications and studies to bolster the fallacy that HIV is not transmitted heterosexually or homosexually is a gross misrepresentation of the facts.

    This censure reduces her own 10 year study to not much more than the conclusion that if you put up a latex barrier the semen is not likely to establish physical contact with its natural destination. Good to know eh? I mean just imagine how this brand new knowledge could be applied against unwanted pregnancies.

    Do you understand now, Mr. McK? – it’s all there in Padians own words and Moore’s editing. This paper reports only on a ‘study of behavioral interventions’. ‘The sentence in the Abstract reflects only on this – nothing else’, because Padian’s or any other study are no longer allowed – verboten, no trespassing, here there be dragons -to reflect on anything ‘else’.

    Have you ever wondered what’s out there in the forest wilderness beyond the Calf Path Sir K? Of course you have, so let me tell you: there be dragons and outlaws and suchlike deviltry. That’s why Padian and Moore kindly advise you to stay the course. For your own good.

  183. McKiernan Says:

    Claus,

    McK is not the defense attorney, he sits on the jury waiting to be convinced. Not enough beef on the bones, to convince the jury just yet.

    BTW, Michael David and I agreed that HIV is a blood-borne pathogen and transferable as in just like the CDC.

    An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

    I know that I shall meet my fate
    Somewhere among the clouds above:
    Those that I fight I do not hate,
    Those that I guard I do not love:

    My country is Kiltartan Cross,
    My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,
    No likely end could bring them loss
    Or leave them happier than before.

    Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
    Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
    A lonely impulse of delight
    Drove to this tumult in the clouds;

    I balanced all, brought all to mind,
    The years to come seemed waste of breath,
    A waste of breath the years behind
    In balance with this life, this death.

    William Butler Yeats

  184. Claus Says:

    Aha! so McK. sits on the jury. Quite a cozy vantage point from which to remark on the proceedings – except of course a real juror doesn’t remark or bring forward exhibits. That’s the job of the defence attorney.

    And hey, if you don’t understand it’s ok, just say so or not. But you don’t have to quote poetry at me. You know that’s unfair.

  185. trrll Says:

    were you referring to your and Chris Nobles obsession for Peter Duesbergs one statement of “Thus, all positive teenagers would have had to achieve an absurd 1000 contacts with a positive partner, or an even more absurd 250,000 sexual contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.”

    Seems to me, that you have both been fairly obsessed by this. Is this to be construed of your own admission of BIAS?

    I’m frankly surprised that this discussion has continued so long. I think that pretty much any reasonable person, upon hearing Chris’s or Mark’s explanation, would have immediately recognized and acknowledged that they were correct, that would have been the end of the matter, and everybody would have moved on to other issues. What I’ve found remarkable, and what has kept this discussion going, is willingness of many participants to embrace any argument, no matter how obviously ridiculous, that would enable them to avoid accepting that Duesberg made a large and rather elementary error. I’ve been amazed by the increasingly desperate efforts to find some way to spin or rephrase the error in a way that it’s not really an error, to minimize the importance of the error to Duesberg’s argument, to insist that the many orders of magnitude lower level of sexual activity indicated by a correct calculation is still “absurd,” or to find some other numbers that can be plugged into the calculation to preserve Duesberg’s claim that transmission would require people to be having an “absurd” amount of sex.

  186. McKiernan Says:

    Aha! so McK. sits on the jury. Quite a cozy vantage point from which to remark on the proceedings – except of course a real juror doesn’t remark or bring forward exhibits. That’s the job of the defence attorney.

    Obviously, Claus you’re unfamiliar with blog-law juries. If we gots evidence, we waves it, not waives it. Its called combox nullification.

    Hahahahahahahahahaha

  187. nohivmeds Says:

    Frankly, the entire argument here can be summed up in the question:

    Is HIV sexually transmitted?

    The answer? We’ll, to be honest, the best answer would be: We don’t know.

    Why? Well, we’ve never attempted to “transmit” HIV in humans the way we do in monkeys, for instance, because it would not be considered ethical — and of course that is the only way to “prove” its infectivity.

    So, we are left with epidemiological studies which, I add strenuously, deal only in CORRELATIONAL data, not causation. (Whatever Tara’s argument is, it depends entirely on correlation).

    Also, focusing on the results of one such epidemiological study to answer the question above (like the obsession over Padian) is stupid. A meta-analysis is really what is needed — where one mathematically combines the results of all epidemiological studies that have been done, including Padian’s, to derive best overall odds estimates. If that study has been done, I’m unaware of it.

    However, even that meta-analysis could not offer a firm answer to the original question, because again, it would be based entirely on correlational data.

    So, I think the bottom line is that arguments can and will be made on both sides of this debate. And both arguments can be made logically and defensibly. Unfortunately, that really is the most definitive thing that can be said scientifically regarding sexual transmission of HIV.

  188. Claus Says:

    Ok McK you got me – for once. I’m obviously too old (fashioned) to keep up with all these new developments. Just proves I need to retire to Hank’s when a dear old geezer like you can fake me out.

  189. McKiernan Says:

    Claus,

    Stick around. There is actual some real dialogue here at NAR.

    Barnes makes announcements and waits for the bobble heads to agree and then mumble a few words about Serge, the great.

    As Yogi Berra said, you don’t have to win everyday, just two out of three.

    On the other hand, I’m only winning maybe one out of three here at NAR.

    And I don’t have pre-printed talking points.

  190. Truthseeker Says:

    By the way, calling somebody that you are disagreeing by a term of endearment is a cheap, dismissive tactic at any time, and when done by a man to a woman, it is also sexist.

    Believe the word was cutie, which is not a term of endearment, or a put down – we have no experience of beauty that does not go with intelligence, since we live in New York City – but an appreciation of the assets so appetizingly displayed in Tara’s entirely delightful self-posted portrait on her front page.

    If it sexist to appreciate that, so be it, although we wonder in what spirit it is displayed if not for that. Are you, sir, so immune to the wholesome attributes laid out in such a prominent fashion that you worry about being sexist if you acknowledge them? Are you perhaps gay? That would also go then with the historical tendency for too many gays to ignore objections to the HIV=AIDS thesis for political and psychological reasons we have noted earlier, and even die rather than credit rethinkers and second guess their own doctors.

    This is such a powerful bias that one of the posters here we notice, having publicly recognized the force of the critique in Harper’s seven months ago, is still talking about how we cannot really say whether HIV is transmissible or not without a metareview. Here we have a perfectly good study which shows zero transmission either way between men and women and a ton of other corroborative evidence and STILL we have “We Cannot Be Sure” which we can only translate, with respect, as “We Were Not Fooled 100%, Surely”.

    McK you seem to have referred to Nancy Padian’s Apologia on
    AIDSTruth when you quoted what you represented as being from her study abstract, is that not so? Clearly it is time for a post on Padian to plant a stake through the heart of this Zombie, this idea that somehow it doesn’t effectively disprove significant transmission. Until we can do that all we can do in answer to this and other resistance to Padian and to your own familiar pose as judicious juror is quote from our interview with Frank Bacon:

    Some, in their discourse, desire rather commendation of wit, in being able to hold all arguments, than of judgment, in discerning what is true; as if it were a praise, to know what might be said, and not, what should be thought.

  191. Truthseeker Says:

    Duesberg made a large and rather elementary error. I’ve been amazed by the increasingly desperate efforts to find some way to spin or rephrase the error in a way that it’s not really an error, to minimize the importance of the error to Duesberg’s argument, to insist that the many orders of magnitude lower level of sexual activity indicated by a correct calculation is still “absurd,” or to find some other numbers that can be plugged into the calculation to preserve Duesberg’s claim that transmission would require people to be having an “absurd” amount of sex.

    Trrll, thank you for keeping this topic alive, when we thought it had been exhausted. At this rate this column of Comments will ring the 400 bell also.

    Yes, Duesberg made a large and rather elementary error, in his attempt to make a lively phrasing of the absurdity of the claim, and it is acknowledged by all concerned, but we do not seem sufficiently appalled at this evidence of Duesberg’s fallibility, in your eyes, it seems.

    The reason for this, trrll, is that a) the mistake is in the area of probability, which has plenty of pitfalls for even professional mathematicians, as the Monty problem shows, b) the mistake when corrected does not affect the argument that the claim of heterosexual spread is highly absurd c) rephrased it still shows how highly absurd – impossible in fact – the claim is, and d) the Duesberg correction fits all the other evidence and the claim doesn’t.

    This is all laid out in the post addendum, under the heading SOLUTION. If you have any specific objections to this, what are they? if you don’t, stop continuing to make assertions which have now been falsified, just as the Duesberg formulation – but NOT claim – was. Reasserted, with a revised formulation, the claim is still that HIV heterosexual transmission cannot be the engine behind the positive status of the Army and Job Corps recruits. Duesberg said it was absurd, his formulation was wrong, the formulation is corrected, the numbers have been updated, the claim is still totally absurd. Sorry about that, if it disappoints you. We would have thought you would be excited by the result, as a smart, responsible, mainstream scientist.

    Or do we have to quote Frank “I founded Western Science’s Inductive Method” Bacon again:

    Alas, some have certain common places, and themes, wherein they are good and want variety; which kind of poverty is for the most part tedious, and when it is once perceived, ridiculous.

  192. nohivmeds Says:

    Truthseeker (unfortunately) wrote:

    “Are you perhaps gay? That would also go then with the historical tendency for too many gays to ignore objections to the HIV=AIDS thesis for political and psychological reasons we have noted earlier, and even die rather than credit rethinkers and second guess their own doctors.”

    TS, would it be too much to ask for you to not to pretend to understand the psychology of those in that situation? After all, you make it abundantly clear you are not gay, so exactly how do you empathize in such a way that allows you to draw such conclusions? Let’s be honest, you know nothing about it. So, best to let it be rather than draw presumptious conclusions.

  193. Chris Noble Says:

    Why? Well, we’ve never attempted to “transmit” HIV in humans the way we do in monkeys, for instance, because it would not be considered ethical — and of course that is the only way to “prove” its infectivity.

    So, we are left with epidemiological studies which, I add strenuously, deal only in CORRELATIONAL data, not causation. (Whatever Tara’s argument is, it depends entirely on correlation).

    Not quite. There are several well described case histories where transmission is described.

    http://tinyurl.com/mm7lv

    The evidence in this case is incontrovertible. One male managed to infect 3 females during a short period of time.

    You’ll have to watch the movie to count the number of sex acts but it was not “absurd”.

    The important feature in this case is that the male index case was in the acute infection stage and was much more infectious than studies of long term monogamous couples would indicate.

  194. Truthseeker Says:

    TS, would it be too much to ask for you to not to pretend to understand the psychology of those in that situation? After all, you make it abundantly clear you are not gay, so exactly how do you empathize in such a way that allows you to draw such conclusions? Let’s be honest, you know nothing about it. So, best to let it be rather than draw presumptious conclusions.

    With all due respect, all, we do not empathize at all except insofar as we try to imagine why people should run enmasse straight over a cliff just because a doctor tells them so, and ignore huge notices held up by reputable people on the sidelines saying “Science says Otherwise!” So we empathize with whatever vulnerability we can imagine would make people behave irrationally in that way, but we do not speak for them and have never tried to. If anything we speak at them. asking them to say what more they need to know to stop doing it. All they ever reply is that they must trust their doctors.

    If you know any better, say so. But don’t treat it as sacred territory off limits to heathens. Science addresses all possibilities, even with limited evidence. You know more than we do, so perhaps you should address it, since it is the political key to what has happened for twenty two years, as we see it. MYOB doesn’t apply.

    You’ll have to watch the movie to count the number of sex acts but it was not “absurd”.

    The important feature in this case is that the male index case was in the acute infection stage and was much more infectious than studies of long term monogamous couples would indicate.

    Those two together tell the whole story, don’t they, Chris?

  195. Chris Noble Says:

    Those two together tell the whole story, don’t they, Chris?

    Is that meant to be a thoughtful response?

    Epidemics are not caused by monogamous couples.

    People that have multiple partners during the acute infection stage are likely to infect several people. In this case the index male infected 23% of his sexual partners over the course of a few days.

    This did not happen over 10 years but just a few days!

    Any statistical analysis that does not take into account the observed variation in transmission risk over the course of the infection is simply nonsense.

  196. Truthseeker Says:

    Any statistical analysis that does not take into account the observed variation in transmission risk over the course of the infection is simply nonsense

    Precisely.

  197. Chris Noble Says:

    Precisely.

    Chris removes small pieces of keyboard imbedded in his forehead

    So, Duesberg’s analysis is nonsense?
    Why did you go through such contortions in a vain attempt to defend it?

  198. Claus Says:

    CN,

    Your latest outrageousness is definitely incontrovertible evidence that you and Dr. Knobless posting at Hank’s blog are one and the same.

  199. Chris Noble Says:

    Your latest outrageousness is definitely incontrovertible evidence that you and Dr. Knobless posting at Hank’s blog are one and the same.

    How so?

    I have been arguing from the very start that Duesberg ignores the variation in the transmission risk during the different stages of HIV infection in his “statistical” analysis.

    Now AL agrees that any “statistical” analysis that does not include this variation is nonsense.

  200. Truthseeker Says:

    Chris removes small pieces of keyboard imbedded in his forehead

    Sure that these haven’t penetrated the brain? If it is a new fact to you that HIV is present in more copious quantities at the start of infection, and therefore would be more infectious until antibodies overcome it, it is certainly not to Duesberg or anybody else, including Myron Cohen et al, who like to emphasize this with a natty slide which they produce at every opportunity to fudge the clear implication of the MIDDLE part of the graph that in the “latent” stage HIV is present at such low levels it could not infect a flea. So check the studies you refer to to see what stage the participants are at before saying this is an issue. And consider how many of an unspecified group are in which category, if that is the case.

    Now AL agrees that any “statistical” analysis that does not include this variation is nonsense.

    Right. So check your analysis. Please.

  201. Chris Noble Says:

    Duesberg assumes in his “statistical” analysis that the transmission risk is a constant 1/1000.

    It isn’t constant. In acute infection it is much higher.

    Any model that uses a constant transmission risk is seriously flawed.

    The estimates of HIV transmission risk such as the Padian study have monogamous couples where the infected partner is not in the acute infection period.

  202. john Says:

    The estimates of HIV transmission risk such as the Padian study have monogamous couples where the infected partner is not in the acute infection period.

    But, Chris, where are the studies, which show what happens in the acute period?

    If you look at the paper from CDC (January 2005), you have the references for their data :

    Donegan E, Stuart M, Niland JC, et al. Infection with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) among recipients of antibody—positive blood donations. Ann Intern Med 1990;113:733—9.

    Kaplan EH, Heimer R. HIV incidence among New Haven needle exchange participants: updated estimates from syringe tracking and testing data. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 1995;10:175—6.

    European Study Group on Heterosexual Transmission of HIV. Comparison of female to male and male to female transmission of HIV in 563 stable couples. BMJ 1992;304:809—13.

    Varghese B, Maher JE, Peterman TA, Branson BM, Steketee RW. Reducing the risk of sexual HIV transmission: quantifying the per-act risk for HIV on the basis of choice of partner, sex act, and condom use. Sex Transm Dis 2002;29:38—43.

    Bell DM. Occupational risk of human immunodeficiency virus infection in healthcare workers: an overview. Am J Med 1997;102:9—15.

    Leynaert B, Downs AM, De Vincenzi I; European Study Group on Heterosexual Transmission of HIV. Heterosexual transmission of HIV: variability of infectivity throughout the course of infection. Am J Epidemiol 1998;148:88—96.

  203. Chris Noble Says:

    But, Chris, where are the studies, which show what happens in the acute period?

    Trrll has already mentioned this paper

    The Journal of Infectious Diseases 2005;191:1403-1409

    http://www.newaidsreview.org/posts/1157412418.shtml#1917

    The paper I cited is probably a better indication of infectivity during acute infection

    http://tinyurl.com/mm7lv

  204. john Says:

    But your URL doesn’t work, Chris

  205. john-2 Says:

    When Claus wrote above to Dr. Noble as follows:

    Your latest outrageousness is definitely incontrovertible evidence that you and Dr. Knobless posting at Hank’s blog are one and the same.
    9.11.2006 2:36am

    and the learned AIDS prof. doggie who is so quick to dump on his betters, replied in all seriousness, How so? , he gave every evidence of having read the words of Dr. Knobless as carefully he those of Dr. Bialy at the AIDS Wiki page.

    Since i am john-2 , I will provide a pointer to the relevant material, and a choice quote to introduce the whole affair.

    “As a further example of invertebrate, modern-day HIV/AIDS scientific thinking, I have just now (in my turn-by-turn, systematic and parsimonious tour of the blogs) seen that there is a post-middle aged, assistant professor of education and statistics at a tiny university in the middle of nowhere Australia, who thinks that human beings follow bacterial population dynamics and that maintaining a quasi-genetic marker (like a retrovirus) requires a 100% efficient perinatal route. My my.

    Posted by: George | September 05, 2006 at 08:11 AM

    If perhaps it is I to whom George makes reference, all I can say is there you go again with your ad hominems. I am not an invertebrate, nitwit, as the vast majority of people are either human or murine as I explained at great length somewhere else.

    And further, not content with spewing your denialist rot wherever you can thanks to the open-source software that has *infected* the once, at least partially, controllable internet, you now must cast your vile aspersions at an entire geographical location, namely the placement of my university, which is *not* in the middle of nowhere Australia, (never mind where exactly), although it is close (as we measure things down here, never mind where) to where the famous Murchison meteorite landed some decades ago, containing the almost as famous dextro as well as levorotary amino acid, from which HIV – and all other totally alien organisms, like the bird flu virus – are quite plausibly evolved.

    Posted by: Knobless Oblige | September 05, 2006 at 10:15 AM

    These and other very educational comments can be found HERE, Christopher.

    Care to comment less obliquely now? Maybe you have something to say to George or Hank or Knobless even?

    You seem not to be able to shut up, and to always have nonsense to type when you do. So this should be right yup your back alley prof. ass.

  206. Chris Noble Says:

    But your URL doesn’t work, Chris

    Go to pubmed
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=PubMed

    and type in this number

    PMID: 16549978

    This is the article

    AIDS. 2006 Apr 4;20(6):923-8

    Molecular analysis of HIV strains from a cluster of worker infections in the adult film industry, Los Angeles 2004.

    Brooks JT, Robbins KE, Youngpairoj AS, Rotblatt H, Kerndt PR, Taylor MM, Daar ES, Kalish ML.

    Note that sequences from the index case and the three people infected were 100% identical.

    The timeline of infection is known to an extremely high precision.

  207. Robert Houston Says:

    According to the paper cited by Chris Noble on “infections in the adult film industry” (AIDS 20:923-8, 2006), the male actor tested HIV negative before the 26 day period in which filming occurred. Thus, he performed in the weeks before a neutralizing antibody response was fully established. The paper states that “the sequences of the HIV strains from the male index case and two of the infected women were 100% similar.” Thus, the strain from the third woman evidently was not, and may have come from another source (e.g., another partner or IV drug abuse). The authors point out that HIV transmission risk for this cluster they investigated “was greater for at least three reasons”, one of which was the nature of the film:

    “…notably, in the case of these infections there was a substantially increased risk of trauma to the anorectum (i.e. double-anal penetration).”

    Not to be indelicate, but the film involved backdoor relations with two gentlemen at the same time! This is an extemely unusual type of activity, even for the adult film industry, and thus the results cannot be generalized.

    The other study that Mr. Noble cited regarding “rates of HIV-1 transmission…in Rakai, Uganda” (M. Wawer et al. J In. Dis 191:1403-0, 2005) was a retrospective analysis of discordant couples (one partner HIV+), none of whom used condoms consistently and 80% of them not at all. Yet the text states, “The overall rate of HIV transmission per coital act was 0.0012” – that’s only one in 830. The overall rate was an average that included the short early period of greater infectivity (which was 0.0082/act, or 1/122). After those early few weeks, the rate sank to 0.0007/coital act, or only 1/1400 – even without condoms!

    Although some couples will transmit at such a low rate of 1:1400, on average this would require about 14 years of marriage without condoms. As Gisselquist et al. (Int J STD AIS 13:657-66, 2002) have pointed out regarding such low rates, “with these estimates, the HIV epidemic…does not reproduce, much less expand – through heterosexual transmission.”

  208. Chris Noble Says:

    Thus, the strain from the third woman evidently was not, and may have come from another source (e.g., another partner or IV drug abuse).

    Blood samples from the third woman were not available and were not analysed.

    The sole non-occupational contact of the third woman (contact no. 3, Fig. 1) tested HIV negative 60 days after her last potential sexual exposure to HIV. The epidemiological investigation of this infection cluster concluded that the three women were infected through occupational exposure.

    Not to be indelicate, but the film involved backdoor relations with two gentlemen at the same time! This is an extemely unusual type of activity, even for the adult film industry, and thus the results cannot be generalized.

    I never claimed that this was representative only that transmission risk is not constant. It varies with stage of infection and as Robert highlights also type of activity. Duesberg’s assumption of a fixed constant transmission risk is invalid.

    Finally, the transmissibility of HIV is greatest within the first months after infection during and near the time of seroconversion. Epidemiological studies in Africa have observed a 12-fold higher risk per coital act for heterosexual transmission within the first 5 months after initial infection [23]. Mathematical models using US data estimate that the higher loads of HIV in semen observed during seroconversion increase the risk eight to 10-fold that a man acutely infected with HIV and free of other sexually transmitted diseases (STD) will transmit the virus to his female partner, infecting 7 24% of susceptible female partners during the first 2 months after infection [24].

    23. Wawer MJ, Gray RH, Sewankambo NK, Serwadda D, Li X, Laeyendecker O, et al. Rates of HIV-1 transmission per coital act, by stage of HIV-1 infection, in Rakai. Uganda J Infect Dis 2005; 191:1403 1409.

    24. Pilcher CD, Tien HC, Eron JJ, Vernazza PL, Leu S, Stewart PL, et al. Brief but efficient: acute HIV infection and the sexual transmission of HIV. J Infect Dis 2004; 189:1785 1792.

    From the last study:CONCLUSIONS: Empirical biological data strongly support the hypothesis that sexual transmission by acutely infected individuals has a disproportionate effect on the spread of HIV-1 infection. Acute hyperinfectiousness may, in part, explain the current pandemic in heterosexual individuals.

    Any analysis that does not take into account the high transmission risk during acute infection is not valid.

    I should also point out for Robert’s benefit that Gisselquist argue that mother-to-child transmission of HIV is unable to explain the epidemic particularly in Africa. So I have to wonder why he brings up this article in a thread where Duesberg supporters are desperately trying to defend this assumption.

  209. john-2 Says:

    Noble,

    I do now think that you and Knobless are indeed the same person as your inanities are now equal to or greater than his own.

    Why don’t you ask Undergrad Gal/Boy for some help. You need it.

  210. Claus Says:

    What you have to wonder about Prof. ass Noble is

    1. Why you chose to bring up this particular study to
    point out what everybody has agreed already about statistics, and which is much more damaging to your side of the argument, or did the pieces of keyboard in your forehead prevent you from picking up on the smirk on TS’s face as he happily conceded the point the tenth time just above?

    2. Why you chose to bring up this particular study as ‘a better example’ of early infectivity transmission, when in fact it’s an example of unusual transmission as results of unusual behaviour, involving continuous stress and trauma over a period of 3 weeks – as Robert Houston, as well as the study’s authors pointed out to you.

    3. Why you chose to bring up a study, where you’re obviously so eager to get to the juicy parts, that you didn’t count right how many female subjects were left – math genius.

    4. Why you chose to bring up a study which assumes what you use it to show, namely that sexual transmission of HIV is the only possibility. Or did you get so excited by the whole thing that you didn’t notice the research team, just like your pervy self, were ONLY interested in the subjects’ sexual history up to moment of infection.

    5. Why you’re now so far out, you start censoring people here, if they cite any study where the authors don’t agree 100% with Duesberg. Doesn’t leave us a lot of studies to discus does it Dumbo?

    As has been pointed out in many places, the only hypothesis that adequately answers all these questions is that you are indeed Knobless

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