Science Guardian

Truth, beauty and paradigm power in science and society

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

News, views and reviews measured against professional literature in peer reviewed journals (adjusted for design flaws and bias), well researched books, authoritative encyclopedias (not the bowdlerized Wiki entries on controversial topics) and the investigative reporting and skeptical studies of courageous original thinkers among academics, philosophers, researchers, scholars, authors, filmmakers and journalists.

Supporting the right of exceptional minds to free speech, publication, media coverage and funding against the crowd prejudice, leadership resistance, monetary influences and internal professional politics of the paradigm wars of cancer, HIV(not)AIDS, evolution, global warming, cosmology, particle physics, macroeconomics, information technology, religions and cults, health, medicine, diet and nutrition.



Halton C. Arp wki/obit/txt/vds/txt/txt/bk/bk, Henry Bauer txt/blg/ blg/bks/bk/txt/bk/vd, John Beard bk, Harvey Bialy bk/bk/txt/txt/rdo/vd, John Bockris bio/txt/ltr/bk, Donald W. Braben, Peter Breggin ste/fb/col/bks, Darin Brown txt/txt/txt/txt/txt/vd, Giordano Bruno bk/bio/bio, Frank R. Buianouckas, Stanislav Burzynski mov, Erwin Chargaff bio/bk/bio/prs, James Chin bk/vd, Nicolaus Copernicus bk, Mark Craddock, Francis Crick vd, Paul Crutzen, Marie Curie, Rebecca Culshaw txt/bk, Roger Cunningham, Charles Darwin txts/bk, Erasmus Darwin txt//bk/txt/hse/bks, Peter Duesberg ste/ste/bk/txt/vd/vd, Freeman Dyson, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman bio, John Fewster, Rosalind Franklin, Bernard Forscher tx, Galileo Galilei, Walter Gilbert vd, Goethe bio/bk/bio, Nicolas Gonzalez tlk/rec/stetxt/txt, Patricia Goodson txt/bk/bk, Alec Gordon, James Hansen, Etienne de Harven bk/txt/vd, Alfred Hassig intw/txt, Robert G. Houston txt, Steven Jonas vd, Edward Jenner txt, Benjamin Jesty, Adrian Kent vd, Thomas Kuhn, Fred Kummerow, Stefan Lanka txt/txt/vd, Serge Lang, John Lauritsen vd, Paul Lauterbur vd, Mark Leggett, Richard Lindzen, James Lovelock, Andrew Maniotis, Lynn Margulis, Barbara McClintock, Christi Meyer vd, George Miklos, Marco Mamone Capria, Peter Medawar, Luc Montagnier txt/txt/vd, Kary Mullis, Linus Pauling prs/vd/vd, Eric Penrose, Roger Penrose vd, Max Planck, Rainer Plaga, David Rasnick bio/vd/bk, Robert Root-Bernstein vd, Sherwood Rowland, Otto Rossler, Harry Rubin, Marco Ruggiero txt/txt/intw/vd, Bertrand Russell Carl Sagan vd, Erwin Schrodinger, Fred Singer, Barbara Starfield txt, Gordon Stewart txt/txt, Richard Strohman, Thomas Szasz, Nicola Tesla bio/bio, Charles Thomas intw/vd, Frank Tipler, James Watson vd/vd, Alfred Wegener vd, Edward O. Wilson vd.


Jad Adams bk, Marci Angell bk/txt/txt/txt, Clark Baker ste/txt/rdo/vd, James Blodgett, Tony Brown vd, Hiram Caton txt/txt/txt/bk/ste, Jonathan Collin ste , Marcus Cohen, David Crowe vd, Margaret Cuomo, Stephen Davis BK/BK,/rdo, Michael Ellner vd, Elizabeth Ely txt/txt/ste, Epicurus, Dean Esmay, Celia Farber bio/txt/txt/txt/vd, Jonathan Fishbein txt/txt/wk, T.C.Fry, Michael Fumento, Max Gerson txt, Charles Geshekter vd, Michael Geiger, Roberto Giraldo, David Healy txt, Bob Herbert, Mike Hersee ste/rdo, Neville Hodgkinson txt /vd, James P. Hogan, Richard Horton bio/vd/vd, Christopher Hitchens, Eric Johnson, Claus Jensen vd, Phillip Johnson, Coleman Jones vds, William Donald Kelley, Ernst T. Krebs Sr txt, Ernst T. Krebs Jr. txt,/bio/txt/txt/ltr, Paul Krugman, Brett Leung MOV/ste/txt/txt/tx+vd/txt, Katie Leishman, Anthony Liversidge blg/intv/intv/txt/txts/txt/intv/txt/vd/vd, Bruce Livesey txt, James W. Loewen, Frank Lusardi, Nathaniel Lehrman vd, Christine Maggiore bk/ste/rec/rdo/vd, Rouben Mamoulian txt/txt/txt/txt/txt/doc/flm/flm, Noreen Martin vd, Robert Maver txt/itw, Eric Merola MOV, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Michael Moore bio/MOV/MOV/MOV, Gordon Moran, Ralph Nader bk, Ralph Moss txt/blg/ste/bks, Gary Null /txt/rdo/vd, Dan Olmsted wki, Toby Ord vd, Charles Ortleb bk/txt/bk/intw/flm, Neenyah Ostrom bk, Dennis Overbye, Mehmet Dr Oz vd, Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos ste/vd, Maria Papagiannidou bk, Thomas Piketty bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk, Robert Pollin txt/vd/bk, Jon Rappoport bio/bk/bk/ste/bk/bk/vd, Janine Roberts bk/bk, Luis Sancho vd, Liam Scheff ste/txt/bk/bk/rdio/vd, John Scythes, Casper Schmidt txt/txt, Joan Shenton vd/vd, Joseph Sonnabend vd, John Stauber, David Steele, Joseph Stiglitz bk/txt, Will Storr rdo Wolfgang Streeck, James P. Tankersley ste, Gary Taubes vd, Mwizenge S. Tembo, John Tierney vd, Michael Tracey, Valendar Turner rec, Jesse Ventura bk, Michael Verney-Elliott bio/vds/vd, Voltaire, Walter Wagner, Andrew Weil vd, David Weinberger bio/bk/blg/blg/BK/bk/pds, Robert Willner bk/txt/txt/vd, Howard Zinn.

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

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

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

Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it. - Samuel Johnson

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

He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. – John Stuart Mill

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform. – Mark Twain

Although science has led to the generally high living standards that most of the industrialized world enjoys today, the astounding discoveries underpinning them were made by a tiny number of courageous, out-of-step, visionary, determined, and passionate scientists working to their own agenda and radically challenging the status quo. – Donald W. Braben

An old error is always more popular than a new truth. — German Proverb

I am Richard Feynman and I approve of this blog

When even the brightest mind in our world has been trained up from childhood in a superstition of any kind, it will never be possible for that mind, in its maturity, to examine sincerely, dispassionately, and conscientiously any evidence or any circumstance which shall seem to cast a doubt upon the validity of that superstition. I doubt if I could do it myself. – Mark Twain

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his income depends on his not understanding it. – Upton Sinclair

A clash of doctrines is not a disaster, but an opportunity. - Alfred North Whitehead

Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it. – Samuel Johnson

Man’s mind cannot grasp the causes of events in their completeness, but the desire to find those causes is implanted in man’s soul. And without considering the multiplicity and complexity of the conditions any one of which taken separately may seem to be the cause, he snatches at the first approximation to a cause that seems to him intelligible and says: “This is the cause!” – Leo Tolstoy

The evolution of the world tends to show the absolute importance of the category of the individual apart from the crowd. - Soren Kierkegaard

Who does not know the truth is simply a fool, yet who knows the truth and calls it a lie is a criminal. – Bertold Brecht

How easily the learned give up the evidence of their senses to preserve the coherence of ideas in their imagination. – Adam Smith

Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned. – Mark Twain

The mind likes a strange idea as little as the body likes a strange protein and resists it with similar energy. If we watch ourselves honestly, we shall often find that we have begun to argue against a new idea even before it has been completely stated. – Arthur Koestler

Whenever the human race assembles to a number exceeding four, it cannot stand free speech. – Mark Twain

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. - Adam Smith

There isn’t anything so grotesque or so incredible that the average human being can’t believe it. – Mark Twain

He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. – John Stuart Mill

It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere. – Voltaire

People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.- Blaise Pascal.

Illusion is the first of all pleasures. – Voltaire

The applause of a single human being is of great consequence. – Samuel Johnson

(Click for more Unusual Quotations on Science and Human Nature)

Important: This site is best viewed in LARGE FONT, and in Firefox for image title visibility (place cursor on pics to reveal comments) and layout display. Click the title of any post to get only that post and its Comments for printing. All posts guaranteed fact checked according to reference level cited, typically the original journal studies. Full guide to site purpose, layout and how to print posts out is in the lower blue section at the bottom of the home page.
---Admin AL/E/ILMK---

Gay paper reports on Harpers article as HIV challenge

First print reaction focuses on Duesberg and HIV debate

It’s worth noting that the first article in print about the Harpers piece, Denialism in Harper’s Faulted in Gay City News, focuses on the challenge to HIV?AIDS ideology rather than the abandonment of scientific standards in the trials that the article puts upfront.

To our mind this reflects the vulnerability of this aspect of HIV?AIDS. The issue, and Duesberg’s name, tend to be a lightning rod for defensive anxiety because of the unconscious (or conscious) knowledge that the fundamental assumption is so easily questioned, yet so vital. As PCR Nobelist Kary Mullis is fond of pointing out, there is no paper in science that anyone can point to which demonstrates the basic assumption that HIV causes AIDS.

If the assumption is wrong then the entire scientific, social and institutional structure falls. The field of HIV?AIDS is rather like the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center before September 11, liable to collapse into total disintegration if this one idea is exploded. Every paper and every activity in the field is based upon the premise that HIV is the cause of AIDS.

Remove it successfully and we face a collapse of catastrophic proportions in every dimension, from the internal psychic confidence of all involved to institutional prestige and authority across all government and media. The size of the collapse is one reason to think that it will never happen.

This is the fundamental reason why HIV?AIDS skeptics till now have seemed like dogs barking at the moon. The Harpers article is probably the last best chance they have to make a difference. Will it prove a tipping point? We don’t know, of course, but for some reason we think it will.

This may be the beginning of the end of the ability of the leaders of HIV?AIDS to prevent full public discussion of the foundation of their field. Harpers is just too respectable a magazine to put down with the usual disparagement and dismissal by the scientists in the field, ;let alone the activists. Now it is the HIV activists who will look ineffectual as they try to throw mud at the moon.

Denialism in Harper’s Faulted


Gay City News Volume 5, Number 9 | March 2 – 8, 2006


HIV Denialism in Harper’s Faulted

Researchers worldwide castigate magazine for giving credence to view virus unrelated to AIDS


AIDS groups around the globe are condemning a Harper’s magazine article that features leading AIDS denialists and makes a sweeping attack on AIDS research based on two clinical trials.

AIDS denialism directly kills a lot of people, said Nathan Geffen, policy coordinator at the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa. It’s disgraceful and it needs to be stopped.

Geffen was among roughly 40 AIDS activists, researchers, and clinicians who sent an open letter to the monthly magazine denouncing the article that ran in its March issue. They have demanded a retraction, an apology, and that their documentation of the errors in the piece be published on the Harper’s Web site and in the magazine.

So far it’s well over 50 and counting, Geffen said, about his count of the article’s flaws. We’re not talking about trivial errors.

The story was written by Celia Farber, a journalist who has authored many pieces that have drawn on the views of researchers and activists who believe that HIV is not the cause of AIDS. Her work has appeared in Spin, USA Today, Gear, and other leading mainstream publications. She did not respond to a phone message seeking comment or an e-mail sent to her on behalf of Gay City News from a Harper’s editor.

Farber is on the board of the Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV-AIDS Hypothesis, a group that includes AIDS denialists among its members, though her views are less clear. In a 2000 interview with Poz magazine she said, Does HIV cause AIDS? I’ve never said that it does or it does not. I’m not really equipped to know. But when I look around and see legions of respectable scientists arguing that it does not, then I cannot see why I shouldn’t report it. It’s not only news, it’s great human drama.

In part, the piece investigated two clinical trials, one in the U.S. and the second in Uganda, that weighed the efficacy and safety of nevirapine, an anti-HIV drug, in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Both studies gave the drug to pregnant women.

The U.S. trial recruited 38 women, but it was shut down after several women experienced serious side effects and one woman died. The Uganda trial, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a U.S. health agency, was criticized for sloppy record-keeping and mismanagement, but its conclusion that the drug is safe and effective has been endorsed by U.S. agencies that investigated the trial.

The story also described the mistreatment of an NIH employee after he blew the whistle on the Uganda trial.

Farber wrote that while the two trials should raise questions about the safety of nevirapine and the conduct of drug trials, the so-called community AIDS activists were sprung like cuckoo birds from grandfather clocks at the appointed hour to affirm the unwavering AIDS catechism: AIDS drugs save lives. To suggest otherwise is to endanger millions of African babies.

The piece also cited Dr. Peter Duesberg, a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California at Berkeley, and Dr. Kary B. Mullis, a chemist who shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in chemistry for inventing the polymerase chain reaction. Both men have long denied that HIV is the cause of AIDS and, the piece asserted, Duesberg has effectively been blackballed in the scientific community.

Roger D. Hodge, the Harper’s deputy editor and editor of the Farber story, told Gay City News that the story was not about whether HIV is the cause of AIDS, but concerned the mismanagement of drug studies and the censoring of debate.

It’s not as if this is happening in isolation, he said. There has been scandal after scandal after scandal… It’s not as if human experimentation doesn’t have it problems… Celia has covered the story for a long time. Part of the story is that a certain kind of name-calling, a certain kind of moral blackmail, takes the place of scientific debate. People like Peter Duesberg have been persecuted for trying to have a scientific debate. Hodge said the story was carefully vetted.

It was very, very thoroughly fact-checked over the course of three months, he said. A lot of what people are describing as errors are differences of opinion about the data.

Asked whether he believed that the HIV virus was the cause of AIDS, Hodge, who will become the magazine’s editor within a month, said, I don’t feel like I am qualified to judge it. Am I a partisan? My general position is I am very skeptical about absolutist arguments, so I want to hear the entire argument. More argument is better.

The open letter called the article pseudo-science and dangerous because of its potential to convince people in desperate need of antiretroviral medicines not to take them, with life-threatening consequences.

Farber is sympathetic to, and has herself long perpetuated, the factually incorrect views that HIV is not the cause of AIDS and that the risks of antiretrovirals outweigh their benefits, the letter read.

The view that HIV causes AIDS is supported by what most people would see as overwhelming evidence and that is the consensus among scientists and researchers. While AIDS drugs can have unpleasant side effects, they have maintained the lives and health of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people with HIV.

AIDS denialism can have serious consequences, Geffen said.

The only reason that AIDS denialism is so rampant in South Africa is because it has the support of the president and the health minister, he said, referring to Thabo Mbeki and his controversial top health adviser, Dr. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang.

Geffen said that some denialists were actively recruiting South Africans to participate in studies meant to prove the effectiveness of vitamins against HIV.

What they are doing is they are convincing people, very sick people with AIDS, not to take AIDS drugs and take vitamins instead, he said. It’s unbelievable that they are getting away with this. We are going to court to try and stop them.

Julie Davids, executive director of the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP), said that denialists had not had a significant impact in the US.

I think so much of what happens with HIV, whether it’s prevention or care, there are so many factors that can weigh in on whether someone can access care, I don’t think the Harper’s article is going to have an impact, she said.

CHAMP was among the signatories on the open letter. For Davids, the article was about a misplaced desire to challenge accepted wisdom and be entertaining.

I understand that Harper’s wants to be outrageous and feel like they are doing things that others won’t, she said. I just have to ask why they would print an article that they know includes dramatic misinformation…There is an admiral role for challenging suspect consensus that’s not what this story is. It’s full of holes.



Email the editor

About Advertising

We also publish:


Reader Services

Email our editor | Report Distribution Problems

Browse our archives

Gay City News is published by

Community Media LLC.

Gay City News | 487 Greenwich St., Suite 6A | New York, NY 10013

Phone: 646-452-2500 | Fax: 646-452-2501


4 Responses to “Gay paper reports on Harpers article as HIV challenge”

  1. Karen L L Says:

    But, if HIV is not the cause of AIDS, then, what is?? Because HIV-Negative AIDS patients are not prescribed any toxic antiretroviral medications. Nobody even acknowledges our idiopathic illnesses, never mind to care enough to want to drug us…I believe that to systemically diagnosis millions of ailing, med-free, immunosuppressed CFS patients — will be to answer the next-most, sequentially-logical question: What is the cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)?Orthodoxy: HIV/AIDSAIDS Myth: HIV?AIDSProposal: CFS->

  2. David Crowe Says:

    It is particularly ironic that Robert Gallo should be the lead author of the attack on Celia Farber, given John Crewdson’s book. Just the title alone, Science fictions: A scientific mystery, a massive cover-up, and the dark legacy of Robert Gallo gives a taste of what you’ll find if you read it. He just can’t help himself from attempting to sabotage Duesberg’s character by rather childish remarks such as “how [Duesberg] is (or is not) regarded by other cancer researchers nowadays”. Oh, I get it Bob (you don’t mind if I’m familiar, do you?), what you really mean is that most cancer researchers shun him. Well, maybe they do, they have their stock options to worry about, and being associated with someone who thinks outside the box doesn’t get you respect by those who know exactly where the boundaries of proper thought lie.Let me just address the first contention, that HIV tests are highly accurate. Several mainstream scientists have mentioned the inconvenient fact that there is no “gold standard” for HIV antibody tests. This has been known for a long time. Cleary, in JAMA in 1987, wrote “for HIV infection, there is no independent, unequivocal way of identifying a group of individuals who are all assuredly infected or uninfected”. I could give you 22 other references on this subject, but I don’t want to bore you.And then there’s the problem of PPV (Positive Predictive Value). If you have a test that’s 99% accurate, when used on a population where 1 out of 10,000 people are truly positive, will result in 1 true positive in 10,000 people and 100 false positives. Pregnant women who aren’t drug addicts are a very low risk population. It’s quite conceivable that all HIV tests in this group are false positives.The implication often is that if a single ELISA test has a 99% chance of being accurate (1 out of 100 risk of a false positive) that a second ELISA reduces the risk to 1 out of 10,000, and if the Western Blot has a similar accuracy, the risk is reduce to 1 out of 1 million. But basic probability or statistics tells us that this is only true if the events are independent of each other. And this is certainly not true when running the same type of test multiple times.Even the repeatability of HIV tests should be called into question. I have not seen any recent papers that have reported all the data about discarded positive tests (e.g. first ELISA positive, followed by two negative tests). In early papers this was sometimes reported.For example, Houn et al reported in Ann Clin Lab Sci in 1987 that 0.8% of blood donors tested by the CDC were positive on their first ELISA, but only 0.25% on the second. Out of these, only 31% were “strongly reactive”. Out of the doubly-positive group 86% were Western Blot positive and 58% were culture positive.But now, things have advanced, there is a protocol and people can only exit the protocol as positive or negative or (rarely) indeterminate. The messy intermediate results aren’t reported and it’s as if they don’t exist. The test protocol becomes “The HIV Test” but it’s black and white (or occasionally grey) results are just an illusion.

  3. Truthseeker Says:

    “But, if HIV is not the cause of AIDS, then, what is??”Karen, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is another syndrome, which may or may not have more reality to it than AIDS. But it is an illness, if it exists as something differentiated from other ailments. It then presents the same problem, what is the cause of CFS?It is not relevant to the reality of AIDS or its cause or cure, unless you wish to say that it is one of the AIDS ailments. Perhaps it shares the ame cause, and cure. But it is not going to cause AIDS. One illness does not cause another illness. The cause of an illness causes whatever symptoms it causes, and they are named as an illness, or a syndrome if they are a bunch of illnesses or syptoms.That is our understanding, at any rate. We have no idea when an illness becomes a syndrome. Presumably the idea is that a cause provokes a bunch of symptoms which are then called a syndrome at some arbitrary point. But it seems pretty clear that unless CFS is the same thing as AIDS, its cause and its treatment are a separate issue. Certainly CFS -> AIDS doesn’t make much sense as a statement of cause, but we suppose it could mean that CFS is AIDS lite. But it is hard to see how thinking about that could be fruitful. Almost certainly AIDS is a result of taking too much of the wrong stuff into the body, and not enough of the right stuff, nutritionally speaking. Presumably CFS has the same origin and potential treatment. If that is what you mean, fair enough. But our purpose on this blog is to evaluate the claim for AIDS, its nature, its cause and its cure. If that helps throw light on the reality, cause and cure of CFS, that is a benefit too, and we are happy to provie it.

  4. Truthseeker Says:

    The possibility that a positive test is incorrectDavid, thanks for your comment, which very usefully draws attention to the key point that many overlook or dont ever encounter, which is that the error rate in HIV tests even of high accuracy has to be very great in populations where the occurrence of HIV – the incidence or prevalence, we are too lazy to look up which – is very low.Since the presence of HIV in the US population is only 1 in 250, one can work out what a 99% accurate test would find. We suppose it would get 5 wrong results in 500 tests, ie five positives, and the true figure would be two. So even in the US the number of false positives from random tests would be 3 in 5, or 60 per cent, even if the test is 99% accurate. An possibly the tests are less accurate than 99%, we imagine. If the true accuracy is 98%, then that would be ten wrong results in 500 tests, so only 1 in 5 positive tests would be correct. It is a pretty daunting thought that so many people are being plagued by wrong results, and suffer the impact of liver damaging drugs without any justification even if the darn theory was right, which looks about as likely as the possibility of riding a bicycle to the moon. Of course, the situation improves if they are retested, but so many seem to be tested only once. If we understand correctly, Christine Maggiore only tested positive once, then was negative in later tests. And Joyce Stafford was only tested once, according to Celia Farber’s article, if we recall correctly. (Will check later).

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Bad Behavior has blocked 1290 access attempts in the last 7 days.