HIV/AIDS Skepticism

Pointing to evidence that HIV is not the necessary and sufficient cause of AIDS

Archive for May, 2009

Kalichman disrespects Bauer; Bauer blows his own trumpet — Kalichman’s Komical Kaper #11

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/05/31

Perhaps the most jaw-dropping statement Kalichman makes about me, because it’s so easily shown to be utterly false, is that “Bauer has never done any scientific research” (p. 71, similar on pp. 72 and 182-3).

I had initially presumed — incorrectly, apparently — that Kalichman had read my book before criticizing what he claims to find in it. As it turns out, he places in quotation marks things I never said or wrote, and attributes to my book a “single-study fallacy” in making a comparison between HIV and AIDS that I never made (Kalichman re-writes Bauer’s book — Kalichman’s disgracefully un-Komical Kaper #10).  As to my record of scientific research see p. 7, in my Preface:

“After two decades of teaching chemistry, carrying out research specifically in electrochemistry, I joined the fledgling field of ‘science studies,’ or ‘science and technology studies,’ which was emerging in the 1970s as an interdisciplinary venture among engineers, scientists, historians of science, sociologists of science, philosophers of science, political scientists, and others” [emphasis added].

Not only is it stated plainly there; had Kalichman wanted to know about my professional doings, nothing prevented him from getting a copy of my vita. It’s not a confidential document, I’ve often sent out various versions of it when acting as consultant or dissertation evaluator or reviewer of credentials or when invited to give a talk somewhere. Kalichman describes having visited with Duesberg, so why would he not make direct contact with me and get accurate information? For some reason, while he was writing the book, Kalichman was trying to keep his identity and doings hidden from me, presenting himself as “Joe Newton” (Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll-Kalichman and Mr. Hyde-Newton — Chapter 1, 4 April 2009; How not to create a persona: Kalichman’s Komical Kaper #4, 29 March 2009; Introducing Seth Kalichman (Kalichman’s Komical Kaper #1), 8 March 2009); but he could have had “Joe”, or Kalichman’s actual graduate student Lisa Eaton, ask for my c.v.;  say, on the pretense that they wanted to arrange a talk for me under the auspices of a graduate-student group.

At any rate, I remain frankly and utterly without a good explanation for this blatantly false assertion by Kalichman; although, I confess, I’ve come to think that Kalichman is wont to just make up stuff, or perhaps to rely on a very faulty memory, or to “see” what he wishes to see rather than what’s actually there. At the end of this post, I’ll list a few details of my scientific research. I won’t count my scholarly work in Science Studies as scientific research, despite the fact that some of it is original and that I’ve published a respectable amount in that genre (half-a-dozen books, a few book chapters, a dozen or more articles). However, like most people, I think Science Studies is a social science and not a “hard” science. But surely no one would deny that research in electrochemistry is scientific research; or would they?

In an earlier post (“Kalichman’s Komical Kaper #2: The Social Psychology of Scientists”, 14 March 2009), I noted that Kalichman, a social psychologist, does regard himself generically as a scientist. Could it be, I wonder, that he overlooked my electrochemical research in a sort of Freudian slip prompted by subconscious jealousy? There is, after all, the well-recognized phenomenon of “physics envy” on the part of some social scientists who are jealous of the status that “hard” sciences like physics and chemistry have and that the “soft” social sciences don’t. The latter are “multi-paradigmatic”, a euphemism for the fact that there is no discipline-wide paradigm subscribed to by all; rather, there are differing schools of thought about fundamental issues. In psychology, for example, there is the inescapable problem of mind-body, or mind-brain interactions, where some take a materialistic view and others don’t. There is no universally-agreed-to governing paradigm on which to base explanations, and there are sometimes even differences over methods and over the validity of “facts” within any given field in social science. By contrast, chemistry, physics, and the other “hard” sciences are able to call on a structure of fundamental theory with associated explanatory powers that is shared among all researchers (in between the occasional scientific revolutions, that is). Since the social sciences cannot erect or sustain for any length of time a firm body of theory to which all practitioners pay obeisance, “physics envy” even has substantive grounds — sort of.  For discussion of differences between “hard” and “social” sciences, and for pointing out how wrong-headed it is to try to model the social sciences on the hard sciences, see for example Jock Abra, Should Psychology be a Science? (1998); Stanislav Andreski, Social Sciences as Sorcery (1972); Ernest Gellner, “The scientific status of the social sciences”, International Social Science Journal, XXXVI (1984): 567 586; Alexander Rosenberg, Philosophy of Social Science (1988; revised 2nd. ed., 1995).

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

This may be flippancy plus a bit of sarcasm at Kalichman’s expense, but it’s also more than that. The psychology of intellectual activity is an integral part of science studies. One cannot understand what happens in scientific or scholarly activity without recognizing roles played by biases, conflicts of interest, and the like, which do express themselves in phenomena like physics envy.

On a personal note, I’ve also had a long interest in matters psychological. I grew up in an environment where Freudian ideas were common parlance, in part perhaps because my paternal grandmother had once been governess to Sigmund Freud’s children — my father was named after one of Freud’s sons, the family stayed in intermittent touch with Anna Freud, and I even got to shake the old man’s hand in London when we were on our way to Australia. I still find enlightening much of what Freud wrote about slips of the tongue and the interpretation of dreams, and I think his views about early childhood influences made it seem reasonable to me that homosexuality might be a psychologically determined or fostered condition — a view that Kalichman calls “homophobia”, though he acknowledges (p. 183) that I’ve claimed to be recovering from it.

At any rate, “physics envy” is a phenomenon that can be discerned in those schools of thought in the social sciences that  believe they can only be “scientific” by being mathematical, reproducible, as much like physics as possible; which to my mind is an aberration, since every field of study has to develop methods and general approaches suited to the particular subject matter being investigated.

Back to the matter of Kalichman’s assertion that I’ve never done scientific research. My full c.v. is available here. While I was still teaching (to the end of 1999) I had to keep it up-to-date, and I still add articles and books as they are published. Some of the highlights as to scientific research are these:
I published or co-published in electrochemistry 85 research articles, 12 reviews of specific research topics, and a research monograph. I was research mentor to 15 graduate students, 4 of them doctoral. Two of the latter are full professors with distinguished research records of their own. I received research grants from a number of sources including the National Science Foundation. In 1969 I was the principal investigator on a Themis Project grant that ran for 6 years and was worth $200,000 in the first year alone, which 40 years ago was notable. I was listed in American Men & Women of Science as of 1971; was Visiting Professor, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, 1974; received University of Kentucky Research Foundation Award, 1974; invited Sydney S. Negus Memorial Lecturer, Virginia Academy of Science, 1984.
And so on; I participated in the usual array of workshops, conferences, invited seminars, etc.

I remain astounded, uncomprehending, why Kalichman would make the plain statement that I’ve never done scientific research, and I can’t find a good excuse for his statement. As Tony Lance pointed out, you just have to Google my name and “electrochemistry” to find a couple of hundred citations of my research.

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

:-)  At several places in Appendix B of “Denying AIDS”, Kalichman’s potted bios of “denialists”, he seems to make positive statements about some of us, no doubt to underscore the evenhandedness and objectivity that is “by nature and training” an attribute of scientists, of whom he is one. Thus he cites one of my colleagues (not named, of course) to the effect that I was “an able administrator and dean”. But was that intended as a compliment or as another snide disparagement? Researchers in the hard sciences typically grant little respect to administrators. There’s the saying, after all, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach; and the rest go into administration”. Indeed, when I asked people to serve as references in my applications for administrative jobs, one of my most revered mentors expressed horror and the hope that, for my own good, I would remain a researcher.  :-)

Posted in experts, prejudice | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments »

African politician has brilliant idea to stop HIV

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/05/27

“Debate over branding HIV positive
From correspondents in Johannesburg | May 27, 2009
Article from:  Agence France-Presse

SWAZI residents were asked overnight to debate a politician’s call for HIV positive citizens to be branded on the buttocks, which has sparked an uproar in the small mountain kingdom.

The Times of Swaziland asked for feedback on best ways to combat HIV and rights to freedom of speech after Timothy Myeni told fellow politicians that all Swazis should be tested for HIV and their backsides marked if infected.

‘I have a solution to this virus. The solution will come from a law that will make it compulsory to test for HIV. Once you test positive, you should be branded on the buttocks,’ the member of parliament said last week.

‘Before having sex with anyone, people will then check the buttocks of their partners before proceeding with their mission,’ the newspaper reported him saying.
. . . .
Mr Miyeni, who leads a popular gospel group, has stuck to his call for compulsory HIV testing but apologised for the buttocks branding suggestion.

‘I am very sorry for saying HIV positive people should be branded, I did not know it would turn out like this. I have seen that the suggestion was very offensive and many think I was discriminating, so I withdraw my statement,’ he said last week.”
***************

Maybe the Treatment Action Group in South Africa will criticize former President Mbeki not only for not feeding poisons to HIV-positive people but also for not thinking of this terrific idea for stopping the spread of HIV once and for all.

Posted in HIV absurdities, HIV transmission, sexual transmission | Tagged: , , | 8 Comments »

Kalichman re-writes Bauer’s book — Kalichman’s disgracefully un-Komical Kaper #10

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/05/26

Ad hominem attacks are one well-recognized and standard recourse for people who cannot win an argument on the merits of their case. A second well-recognized and standard recourse is to try to demolish an opponent’s case by attacking something that the opponent never claimed, said, or wrote — it’s called attacking a straw man. Kalichman has done that in a number of places, for instance when he invented the criterion that scientific work of a certain age could be ignored, and that books citing such work were therefore suspect, and that only the last 5 years of research proved HIV to be the cause of AIDS (“Proving HIV/AIDS — Kalichman’s blunders, in a nutshell”, 11 March 2009).

To attack the case I make in my book, The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory, Kalichman does nothing but put up straw men. His apparently favorite criticism, since it’s reiterated several times, is that I compared or predicted AIDS numbers with or from HIV data of 10 years earlier, and for different populations to boot:

P. 72: “Bauer compares HIV testing data from military recruits in the 1980s, who represented young people from across the United States but were not even remotely representative of people at risk for HIV/AIDS, to US AIDS cases a decade later.”
P. 103: “This version of the single study fallacy is the entire basis for Henry Bauer’s analysis of HIV testing data to prove that HIV cannot cause AIDS. He uses a single study of HIV testing with US military recruits to predict AIDS cases ten years later.”

Here’s an offer open to anyone, very much including Kalichman, his editors at Copernicus/Springer, the eminent HIV/AIDS scientists who furnished complimentary blurbs for the dust-jacket of Kalichman’s book, and the groupies who posted glowing reviews on amazon.com:
I will send a free (no S&H charges!), personally signed, copy of any of my books to the first person who can find in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory (McFarland 2007) what Kalichman claims, in the above citations, to be there. The offer is of a brand-new copy of any of my books that’s still in print, or the best copy I can find at abebooks.com if the book is out of print. For a complete list of my books besides the one on HIV/AIDS, see the “Other Books” page on this blog.

Anyone who has actually read my book — or, for that matter, has even just leafed through Part I — knows that I collate published “HIV”-test data covering about two decades and featuring many population sub-groups. I used every data-set in the CDC’s annual HIV/AIDS Surveillance Reports and in addition a great number of articles reporting “HIV” tests. As I said in the book, I eventually stopped looking for additional data when the trends that had become obvious were just being confirmed and underscored as I located further reports.

The overall comparisons I make between “HIV” and “AIDS” are summarized in Chapter 9, “HIV and AIDS are not correlated”, with sections pointing out cases of “HIV”-negative “AIDS”, of long-term healthy “HIV-positive” individuals, and that “HIV” and “AIDS” have changed differently for males and females, and differently for blacks and whites, over the course of two decades.

As to comparing different populations, Figure 3, p. 28, shows the geographic distribution of “HIV-positive” among military recruits for 1985-86, separately for 1985-87, and separately again for 1993-97; and these are compared — and shown to be very similar — to geographic distributions for new mothers (1988-90; separately, 1994; separately, 1995); Job Corps members (1987-90, 1993-97); blood donors (1986-87); all CDC public testing sites (1995-98).

The most specific comparison between “HIV” cases and “AIDS” cases (Figure 27 and associated text, pp. 110-12) is not one that I constructed. I make a critique of the correlation claimed by CDC personnel between military applicants, 1985-87, with cumulative AIDS cases through 1987 in the general population (Curran et al., “Epidemiology of HIV infection and AIDS in the United States”, Science 239 [1988] 610–16). But even this is not with AIDS cases 10 years later than some set of “HIV” data. Still, that’s the closest thing I’ve found in my book that might perhaps be what Kalichman refers to: the comparison was not made by me, I criticized it, and it doesn’t compare 1980s “HIV” with “AIDS” ten years later.

If I’m wrong about this, feel free to claim your reward of an autographed book.

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

It would be awfully wearisome to list all of the things that Kalichman attacks in my book and which aren’t there. The egregious example just described in wearisome detail, and the misquotations described in an earlier post (Caveat lector! — Kalichman’s less-than-Komical Kaper #7, 3 May 2009), should suffice, I hope, to make readers of Kalichman’s book wary of believing anything he says about my work; every one of his statements needs to be checked against what’s actually in my book.

Posted in prejudice | Tagged: , , | 12 Comments »

Are some antiretroviral drugs addictive?

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/05/25

A little while ago there were reports that Africans were smoking antiretroviral drugs, as though that offered “highs” and could be addictive.

Clark Baker has written a fascinating discussion with evidence that Sustiva a.k.a. Efavirenz might indeed be addictive:

http://exlibhollywood.blogspot.com/2009/05/has-sustiva-solved-hiv-mystery.html

Posted in antiretroviral drugs | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Fear-mongering works, and surveys re-discover the obvious

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/05/24

To laugh or to cry?

Blacks more worried about HIV than Whites
WASHINGTON (NNPA) – Blacks are six times more likely to be very concerned about becoming infected with HIV than Whites, a new report by the Kaiser Family Foundation has disclosed.” ”

Question: “Bearing in mind the different ways people can be infected with HIV, how concerned are you personally about becoming infected with HIV?”
38% of Blacks but only 6% of Whites said that they were “very concerned”.
13% of Blacks but only 10% of Whites said that they were “somewhat concerned”.
When the “very concerned” and “somewhat concerned” responses were combined,
51% of Blacks but only 16 % of Whites expressed a high degree of fear.

Congratulations to the survey gurus.
“Very concerned” and “somewhat concerned” are such precise terms that every respondent must surely have interpreted them in the same way.
Brilliant, to add “very concerned” to “somewhat concerned” and find they add up to “high degree of fear”.

Is there any correlation, between how concerned Blacks feel as compared to Whites, and the incessant propaganda pouring out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that HIV/AIDS in the United States has become a disease of Black communities?

Is there any correlation between blacks being 6 times as likely as whites to be worried and the data bombarding them from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the effect that blacks are 7-20 times as likely as whites to test “HIV-positive”?

“Blacks view HIV/AIDS far more seriously than any other group.”
Why would they? Just because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps telling them they are the ones at risk?

“The Black community has been devastated by HIV/AIDS. Although the Census Bureau reports that Blacks make up only 12 percent of the U.S. population, they represent about half of all new AIDS cases.”
Why one Earth would they worry about that?

Or about the other facts reported:
Black women account for 61% of all new HIV infections among women.
46% of Black gay men were HIV-positive compared to 21% of White gay men.
Black teenagers are 16% of those aged 13 to 19 but represent 69% of all new AIDS cases among teens.

“This is a tribute to the amazing job Black media is doing keeping HIV/AIDS on the radar in Black communities,” Phill Wilson, CEO of the Black AIDS Institute, said.
Yes indeed.
Keep them worrying.

“Misconceptions still persist about transmission of HIV, the report noted. For example, 27 percent of those questioned incorrectly thought that HIV could be transmitted by sharing a drinking glass, another 17 percent wrongly thought the virus could be passed along by touching a toilet seat and 14 percent mistakenly believed that they could become infected by being in a swimming pool with someone HIV-positive.”
Well, what would YOU believe? That your kinspeople are having unsafe sex and shooting drugs, or that they are getting infected despite their precautions?

“The report shows that we must do a better job of educating the public,” said C. Virginia Fields, president of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS. “People need to know the basic facts about this devastating epidemic.”
No. You’re doing just fine. You’ve got them properly worried.

And the legend of the down-low is still thriving:
“Trystin K. Francis, an openly gay resident of Washington, D.C., says he has been approached by married men in malls and department stores.
‘This one man was with his wife or girlfriend and I was by myself. When he got away from her, it’s like, “Hey, how are you? Can I get your number? Can I call you?” It’s the weirdest feeling.’
He added, ‘If you went to a gay club to observe what was going on, you’d be surprised by how many men are in there that look straight and probably have a girlfriend. The girlfriend is probably thinking he is probably out with the boys, it’s poker night, or they’re going to a sports bar when, in fact, they are going out to this club. Their boyfriend or husband is at a gay club getting phone numbers from men and possibly bringing some of these men around you. I’ve talked to friends over the years who have said, “I’ve met the wife, I’ve met the kids, I’ve babysat the kids and she didn’t know and I’m not saying anything.”
—- “Black Women Contract HIV/AIDS Mostly Through Heterosexual Activity”, George E. Curry, 5/20/2009, The Seattle Medium — Part of the BlackPressUSA Network

Posted in experts, HIV absurdities, HIV and race, HIV risk groups, HIV transmission, HIV/AIDS numbers, sexual transmission, uncritical media | Tagged: , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 113 other followers