HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Archive for April, 2008

A billion here, a billion there . . . .

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/04/19

Senator Everett Dirksen is credited with the remark, about Congress’s habitual tendency to spend taxpayers’ money on all sorts of projects, that “A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money”. One wonders what he would have said about HIV/AIDS, which gobbles up far more for research per patient death ($180,000) than cancer ($10,000) or cardiovascular disease ($2600) (STOPPING THE HIV/AIDS BANDWAGON—Part II, 1 February 2008; data from http://www.fairfoundation.org/factslinks.htm).

But in addition to billions spent on research, further billions are spent on treatment:

HHS Awards $1.1 Billion for HIV/AIDS Care, Medications

HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt has announced grants of more than $1.1 billion to provide primary care, medications and services for low-income and underinsured people living with HIV/AIDS.

Funded under Part B of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, the grants are awarded to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Also receiving grants are the U.S. Pacific Territories of American Samoa and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; and the Associated Jurisdictions of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Republic of Palau. HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) manages the Ryan White program.

“These Ryan White HIV/AIDS Part B grants help ensure Americans, especially those in rural and underserved communities, affected by HIV/AIDS get access to the care they need through quality health care and support systems,” Secretary Leavitt said. “These grants strengthen community, city and state capacities to care for those with HIV.”

The majority of the funding, $774 million, supports state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs) that provide prescription medications for HIV/AIDS patients. In 2006, close to 158,000 ADAP clients were served through state ADAPs.

Part B awards also include formula base grants that can be used for home and community-based services, insurance continuation, ADAP assistance, and other direct services. Fourteen states will also receive Emerging Community (EC) grants based on the number of AIDS cases over the most recent 5-year period.

“Ryan White Part B awards reflect the urgent need for life-saving medications for those living with HIV/AIDS,” said HRSA Administrator Elizabeth Duke. “Today we are thankful and proud that all ADAP waiting lists have been eliminated.”

Every year, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program helps more than 530,000 people access the care and services they need to live longer, healthier lives. Information on all domestic, Federal HIV/AIDS programs is available at http://www.aids.gov. HRSA, part of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary Federal agency for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable. For more information about HRSA and its programs, visit http://www.hrsa.gov.”

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“Socialized medicine” is a cuss-word (cuss-phrase?) in the United States. There is strenuous opposition to any suggestion of a “one-payer” health-care system. But an exception is made for HIV/AIDS, because the story was successfully sold that it is so dire a threat to everyone. Two decades of a non-spreading “epidemic” have not yet modified that belief.

Posted in Funds for HIV/AIDS, HIV/AIDS numbers | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

HIV: A RACE-DISCRIMINATING SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED VIRUS!

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/04/16

HIV is unique not only as an infection that discriminates by race; it’s unique as a sexually transmitted infection that discriminates by race. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, syphilis seem equally able to infect humans of all racial types. No venereal disease—other than HIV/AIDS—targets primarily one racial group.

This is so incredible, and the matter is so centrally important, that no amount of supporting evidence could be redundant. To de-throne HIV/AIDS theory calls for overkill. So to the data presented in an earlier post (HIV: THE VIRUS THAT DISCRIMINATES BY RACE, 11 April 2008 ), I add some more.

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The UNAIDS statistics for the global distribution of “HIV-infection” rates in 1997 and 2007 are, respectively:
Sub-Saharan Africa, 7.4% and 5.0%
Caribbean, 1.9% and 1.0%
Everywhere else, ≤ 1% in both years
(The decreases from 1997 to 2007 are officially ascribed to recent data being more accurate, not to any actual decline; after all, any decline might raise questions about the incessant propaganda alleging an uncontrollably spreading epidemic)

That unchanging global distribution parallels the proportions of people of African ancestry in those regions: a larger proportion of the Caribbean population is of African ancestry than elsewhere outside Africa.

No other sexually transmitted infection has managed to be quarantined geographically and racially in this way. North Africa, contiguous with sub-Saharan Africa, had a reported rate of 0.3% in 2007. Do people from sub-Saharan Africa not have sex with people in neighboring countries?

At various times and in various parts of the world, sex across racial lines has been taboo, even officially outlawed. The utter futility of such attempts to prevent miscegenation is demonstrated by the large numbers of people of mixed race living all over the world. Yet HIV somehow manages, more successfully than laws or taboos, to overcome sexual attraction across racial lines. HIV just doesn’t much care to be shared sexually with people of non-African (Negroid, sub-Saharan) ancestry.

You might ask, “What about all those gay men in the largely white communities where AIDS first appeared?”
True enough, there’s an apparent exception—though it implies that AIDS and HIV are synonymous whereas they are actually not correlated (chapter 9 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory). But leaving that aside, it would still be not so great an exception after all, because the same racial disparities as to HIV are found among gay men as in low-risk groups (and also among heterosexual clients at STD clinics). According to a CDC Fact Sheet (“HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men”, revised June 2007), gay black men in large cities tested positive 46% of the time whereas gay white men in the same cities tested at the rate of only 21%. (See also Figures 11 & 12, p. 42, in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory)

No interracial sex among gay men in large metropolitan areas?! Apparently, HIV-positive human beings display a sexual fastidiousness as to race that HIV-negative humans do not.

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But it’s not just black and white (double entendre intended). Several anecdotes in the earlier post (HIV: THE VIRUS THAT DISCRIMINATES BY RACE, 11 April 2008 ) noted that people of mixed race test “HIV”-positive at rates that fall between those of their parents’ races; “HIV”-positive behaves, in other words, just like other physical attributes that are proportional to degrees of racial ancestry, skin color for example. Is the tendency to be infected by this sexually transmitted agent inherited in quantitative fashion?

Yet further evidence that “HIV” is race-linked comes from data on other human races; for instance, Asians always test “HIV”-positive much less frequently than whites: about 35% less often, in fact (sources cited at p. 54 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory, for data from the Job Corps, applicants for military service, public testing sites, and young gay men ). The death rates from “HIV disease” for 2000-2004 among Asians are also less than those of non-Hispanic whites, in that case by 70% or more (“HIV DISEASE” IS NOT AN ILLNESS, 19 March 2008).

“HIV” prefers whites over Asians by a substantial amount. I’ve come across no reports that contradict this generalization.

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Data for Hispanics are routinely published in official US documents because Hispanics constitute a minority group eligible for affirmative action, but it is recognized that “Hispanic” is an ethnic and not a racial classification.

Here’s a most remarkable fact. Hispanics in the eastern USA test “HIV”-positive at far higher rates than do Hispanics in the western USA:

“In the Western states, HIV seroprevalence was similar among Hispanics and whites, while in states along the Atlantic Coast, seroprevalence was higher among Hispanics than among whites” (CDC Surveillance Report for 1992, p. 37). This difference, a large one, has been noted among military personnel and among new mothers, in the Job Corps and at various clinics, in low-risk groups as well as among drug abusers (sources cited at p. 71 ff. in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory).

In what way could Hispanics in the East differ from Hispanics in the West?

Racially, of course.

In the Northeast, Hispanics are 40% Puerto Rican and 10% Mexican (3% Cuban, 47% “other”)
In the West, Hispanics are 75% Mexican and 2% Puerto Rican (≤1% Cuban, ≥20% “other”)
Puerto Ricans share a large proportion of relatively recent African ancestry, Mexicans do not.
(Numbers from US Census Bureau, “The Hispanic Population—Census 2000 Brief”)

Once again, people of African ancestry test HIV-positive much more frequently than do people of non-African ancestry.

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US data recognize yet another racial classification, that of Native American. Compared to white Americans as 1.00, the frequency of positive “HIV”-tests among Native Americans averages 1.5 in four studies cited in my book (Table 14, p. 66; also 0.63 for Asians, 2.3 for Hispanics and 5.7 for blacks ). In a 2006 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the ratios come out as 1.23 for Native Americans, 3.3 for Hispanics, 8.5 for blacks. Data for 2005 yield ratios of 1.2 for Native Americans, 0.85 for “Asians & Pacific Islanders”, 3.2 for Hispanics, 8.1 for blacks. Noteworthy perhaps in that latter report is that “Navajo-area American Indians” tested at 0.85 compared to white Americans.

Those data once again mirror racial ancestry since they place Native Americans quite close to Caucasians. The Americas were settled, according to the latest scenario, via four major migrations from Siberia and Asia, between about 10,000 and perhaps as much as 40,000 years ago; there is some evidence also of contacts across the Pacific or from Polynesia. So Native Americans (including Mexicans) are closely related genetically to Asians and Caucasians, with little if any vestiges of African ancestry (which was, however, shared by all Homo sapiens at about 200,000 years ago).

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The evidence is simply overwhelming: from every tested social group, high-risk as well as low-risk; from every part of the world; for both sexes and at all ages—wherever “HIV” tests are reported separately by race in any given sample, the tendency to test “HIV”-positive is paralleled by racial ancestry. Africans test positive most frequently, Asians least frequently, Caucasians in between but relatively close to Asians, and Native Americans quite close to Caucasians.

The geographic distribution of positive “HIV”-tests in the USA—which has not shown appreciable change during the two decades of the AIDS era—can even be calculated from the racial composition of the population in different parts of the country (p. 66 ff. in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory). Try doing that with chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, or syphilis.

“HIV” discriminates by race just as though it were capable of recognizing the DNA sequences in the human genome. The tendency to test “HIV”-positive, for a given state of health, is determined primarily by race and significantly by age and sex. This is not how a sexually transmitted infection behaves.

Posted in HIV absurdities, HIV risk groups, HIV tests, HIV transmission, HIV/AIDS numbers, sexual transmission | Tagged: , , , , , | 10 Comments »

BABIES INFECT MOTHERS; CRAZY THEORY RUINS LIVES

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/04/12

What can one say about tragedies like these?

Kyrgyz Babies Pass HIV to Mothers
OSH, Kyrgyzstan (AP) — Not long ago, she was a wife, mother and teacher. Now Dilfuza Mustafakulova is HIV-positive and has lost her husband and her job. Mustafakulova’s baby son was among 72 children infected with the virus at two Kyrgyz hospitals. Sixteen mothers also have contracted it — in some cases by breast-feeding their children. . . .
The scandal has led to charges of negligence against 14 medical workers in the impoverished former Soviet republic, where investigators suspect the children were infected by tainted blood and the reuse of needles. . . . Although HIV infection from breast-feeding is rare, it is possible, usually when the baby has mouth sores and the mother has lesions on her nipples, according to AIDS experts. Mustafakulova, whose son was 7 months old at the time, said her breasts were cracked and bleeding. . . . Some 1,600 people are infected with HIV in the Central Asian nation of 5 million people, according to official figures — 15 times more than in 2002. AIDS experts estimate the real number is closer to 6,000. The majority of cases stem from intravenous drug use. . . .
Mustafakulova’s troubles began in June, when her son developed a high fever. She took him to the Nookat hospital, where she said doctors put him on an intravenous drip. When he did not get better, she took him to the hospital in Osh, the country’s second-largest city. After more than a month in the hospital, her son still was not well and she was also feeling weak, so they returned to their village . . . . In October, they both tested positive for HIV. . . . It has not been established where the infection originated. Of the 72 children infected, some were treated only in Nookat and others only in Osh, so both hospitals are suspected. ‘Where else could my child and I become infected if I don’t use narcotics and don’t live an immoral life?’ Mustafakulova said during a recent visit to the Rainbow center. ‘This could only be the irresponsibility of doctors.’ She was abandoned by her husband . . . .  No longer welcome in her in-laws’ home, she and her children moved in with her parents. She sold her only possession, a small plot of land, to pay for her son’s medical treatment. . . .  The story of Mustafakulova’s fellow villager, Zarifa Shamshiyeva, is remarkably similar. ”

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On what evidence do the experts rely for the view that mothers can be infected in this way?

Even the higher estimate of 6000 infected in a country of 5 million makes the rate only 1.2 per 1000, which is typical for low-risk populations in non-African countries where there has been no epidemic during the two decades of the AIDS era, despite continual prediction of such epidemics by “AIDS experts”.

Here’s an assignment:

In 2002, only about 100 people were infected.
Most new infections have come via needles.
Construct a plausible scenario to account for how this mechanism brought a 15-fold increase in infections in half-a-dozen years.

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The tragedies here are not only the wrongly diagnosed babies and mothers. What about the doctors and other medical personnel who are being charged with negligence, when they did nothing to bring about this situation?

Four health officials from southern Kyrgyzstan were fired for their alleged roles in the outbreak, including the directors of the two hospitals. The Kyrgyz General Prosecutor’s office has opened a criminal investigation into the incident.”

“Kyrgyz medical workers charged with infecting children with HIV”  [Associated Press, March 20, 2008]
“BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan: Fourteen health professionals in Kyrgyzstan will face trial for allegedly infecting children with HIV”

Posted in experts, HIV absurdities, HIV in children, HIV transmission, HIV/AIDS numbers, Legal aspects | Tagged: , , , | 23 Comments »

HIV: THE VIRUS THAT DISCRIMINATES BY RACE

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/04/11

Everyone has surely heard the refrain, “HIV, the virus that causes AIDS”; it’s almost as though media people can’t say “HIV” without tacking on that assertion. It might be a worthwhile project for a student of Communications or Journalism or Sociology to ferret out when and where this originated: Was it an innocent media attempt to inform, or another ploy devised by PR people like those enlisted by the CDC to sell the idea that “everyone is at risk”? (Bennett & Sharpe, AIDS fight is skewed by federal campaign exaggerating risks, Wall Street Journal, 1 May 1996, pp. A1, 6)

In any case, “HIV, the virus that discriminates by race” would be more profoundly telling about what HIV really is.

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There are diseases whose origins lie in unusual forms (alleles) of certain human genes–cystic fibrosis, say. Some chronic ailments or conditions, perhaps especially those that become prominent in old age, seem to affect more frequently those individuals who have a genetic predisposition–some forms of breast cancer, for instance, or certain cardiovascular conditions. Some such hereditary disorders are race-linked; perhaps the best known one is sickle-cell anemia, which is virtually confined to people of African or of Mediterranean ancestry. Having just one sickle-cell allele is not life-threatening and helps to resist the effects of malaria, while having two is life-threatening; so in regions where malaria was endemic, sickle-cell genes were favored by natural selection.

None of these genetically based conditions is contagious or infectious, of course; genes are not exchanged by bodily contact or via bodily fluids. By contrast, infectious diseases do not discriminate by race: cholera, influenza, measles, pneumonia, syphilis, tuberculosis, etc., do not display the sort of racial disparity that sickle-cell anemia does–a disparity found equally in all social groups and in both sexes at all ages.

No infectious disease shows that sort of racial disparity. All except one retrovirus, that is: the lentivirus (“slow virus”) HIV.

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It’s no secret that HIV/AIDS has become a disease afflicting, in the United States, primarily African-American communities. It’s also no secret that, globally, the only region heavily afflicted by HIV/AIDS is sub-Saharan Africa. HIV/AIDS, in other words, seems to be race-linked like no other infectious condition.

This linkage with race has not been clearly brought out, though, in mainstream publications, possibly because it is inconceivable to minds entrenched in the belief that HIV/AIDS is infectious. Hence there’s a continuing need to reiterate the plain and compelling evidence.

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In the United States, in every group for which the variable of race is reported in connection with HIV tests, African Americans test positive much more frequently than whites; overall, according to a recent review, black males and black females are 7 and 21 times, respectively, more likely to test HIV-positive than are white males and females (Potterat et al., International Journal of STD & AIDS, 19 [2008] 1-3).

However, such population-wide comparisons do not establish conclusively that race is the actual basis for the differential test results, because certain sub-groups might so influence the overall figures as to mask a more significant or causal factor. For example, the overall incarceration rates for black Americans are also much higher than those of white Americans; but disaggregation of the data reveals that this stems predominantly from conditions for younger black males in inner-city locales. Blacks in every social group and at all ages are not more likely to be incarcerated than are whites in the same social groups and ages: black academics or black marines are not more frequently incarcerated than are white academics or white marines. The tendency to be incarcerated is not race-linked in and of itself. For a particular characteristic to be demonstrably race-linked, that characteristic must be found in every social group and at every age. Such is the case with HIV/AIDS.

In the United States, blacks test HIV-positive markedly more often than whites among the following groups (for citation of the original sources in the mainstream literature, see Chapter 5 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory):
— women who have just delivered children
— blood donors
— applicants for military service
— teenage applicants for military service
— soldiers
— sailors
— marines
— Army Reserve personnel
— Job Corps members
— applicants for marriage licenses
— college students
— people at STD clinics
— prisoners
— drug abusers
— gay men
— the populations sampled by the National Health and Nutrition Survey
— female prostitutes, female drug abusers, “female partners of persons at risk”

In other words, blacks test positive more often than whites in high-risk groups (drug abusers, gay men, prostitutes) as well as in low-risk groups.

Furthermore, the rates of new seroconversions to HIV-positive display the same racial disparities as do the overall rates of testing positive.

Moreover, the same racial disparities are shown at all ages (relevant data have been reported for the Job Corps, soldiers, sailors, marines, applicants for military service, gay men).

Race itself is the only common factor in the racial disparities as to HIV.

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If race is genuinely the responsible factor, then the same racial disparities as to HIV should show up also outside the United States. They do.

However, no other country has published HIV-test data as comprehensive, and as routinely classified by race, as the United States has, so the information about racial disparities is more spotty and sparse. Nevertheless, every mention of a racial disparity notes that Africans test positive more frequently than do non-Africans; for example:
— In South Africa, black women at prenatal clinics tested positive 15 times more often than white women, and those of mixed race fell in between. Black blood-donors tested positive 25 or 30 times more often than white donors, and Indian and mixed-race individuals fell in between (sources cited at p. 76, Tables 21 & 22 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory)
— In Britain, the disproportionate impact of HIV on Africans was illustrated by the convening of a National African HIV conference in March, 2008, at Regent’s College Conference Centre, Regent’s Park, London
“Immigrants account for 70% of HIV and TB cases” (Nigell Hawkes, The Times [London], 16 November 2007)
“There are estimated to be over 63,000 adults living with HIV in the UK . . . The majority of these are people who caught the infection abroad and of African origin” (BBC News, 7 December 2007)
— In Sheffield, England, the largest number of HIV cases is from black communities (Star [UK], Kate Lahive, 18 February 2008)
— “Almost a third of those diagnosed with HIV in Ireland last year [2006] were African” (Independent [Ireland], Tom Prendeville, 8 July 2007)
— In New Zealand, a disproportionate number of HIV-positives are refugees from Africa (NZ to foot $1m bill for HIV-positive refugees, New Zealand Herald, 17 March 2008)
— In Mauritius, the HIV-positive rate is “1.8 percent, which is low for the region. On the African mainland, HIV infection rates stand at 16.1 percent in Mozambique and 18.8 percent in South Africa” (Reuters, Roche Bois [Mauritius] 12 November 2007)
The people of Mauritius are not racially sub-Saharan African: the population is 68% Indo-Mauritian, 27% Creole, 3% Sino-Mauritian, 2% Franco-Mauritian.
— “the San people of Botswana and Namibia have mysteriously low HIV infection rates even though these countries are known for their extremely high AIDS mortality statistics” (source cited at p. 171, The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory).
The San, also known as Bushmen of the Kalahari, are not racially sub-Saharan, that is, they are not of Bantu Negroid ancestry.
— “Madagascar has some of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases in the world. However, HIV infection rates for the country remain low, under 1%” (Madagascar’s ticking HIV time bomb, Jonny Hogg, BBC News, Fort Dauphin)
“HIV prevalence rate in . . . Madagascar . . . [is] lower than its neighbouring Southern Africa countries. . . . the national infection rate . . . [is] 0.95 percent . . . . [compared to] four percent prevalence rate for sexually transmitted infections” (MADAGASCAR: New law to fight HIV/AIDS stigma: Madagascar has so far been spared an HIV/AIDS epidemic, unlike its continental neighbours; Antananarivo, 20 August 2007 )
The Malagasy (Madagascans) are not racially sub-Saharan, they are of mixed Malayo-Indonesian and African-Arab ancestry. (Note that this report also contradicts the shibboleth that infection with STDs synergizes becoming HIV-positive.)

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Around the world, then, HIV is found much more often in people of sub-Saharan (Negroid, Bantu) ancestry than among those of white (Caucasian) ancestry. This is so in every social and regional sub-group. Race is the decisive factor.

No other infectious disease discriminates by race in this fashion.

There is a clear choice to be made, how to explain this circumstance:

HIV is uniquely an infectious agent that discriminates by race

OR

“HIV” is not an infection.

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TO BE CONTINUED with more racial statistics, and then something about sociobiology and racism

Posted in HIV and race, HIV risk groups, HIV/AIDS numbers | Tagged: , , | 18 Comments »

CAN EVERYONE BE WRONG ABOUT SOMETHING?

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/04/07

After just a little thought, most people would answer “Yes” to that question, surely. After all, everyone has been wrong about all sorts of things over the ages; the Earth being flat is perhaps the most commonly cited example (though it’s a popular misconception that this was the case as recently as medieval times).

Most people, too, would have to agree that there are some matters over which large chunks of humanity must be wrong. When it comes to God, say, there are a number of competing beliefs, none of which commands majority adherence even though no more than one of them can be correct. Most people would see matters of politics as another and similar illustration. Yet on those very same questions of politics and religion, each group of adherents is firmly convinced that their group—and only their group—has it right while all the others have it wrong. In other words, all manner of minorities believe that the others, who are in a majority, are wrong.

But in this age which is often (self-)described as a scientific age, there’s a widespread  belief that science is somehow exempt from the polarization of opinions that characterizes other spheres of intellectual life, that science possesses some magic ability—namely, the scientific method—to have it always right; and it’s blithely taken for granted that science is synonymous with the established institutions of science and with the views of those who happen to hold leading positions in those institutions.

That circumstance coexists with a general willingness to cite Thomas Kuhn (1962/70) on “paradigm shifts” and “scientific revolutions”, and to get the significance of Kuhn’s work entirely wrong. It’s not that science advances by periodic giant and revolutionary steps; “revolution” here means getting rid of the present order. Kuhn’s insight, buttressed by a pretty good knowledge of the history of science, is that periodically the accepted view of things is overturned, as it’s realized that what was previously believed to be right turns out to be wrong.

Very little known are the works of Bernard Barber (1961) and Gunther Stent (1978), lately revisited in an important, long-overdue discussion (Hook 2002): history of science reveals that corrections of mistaken scientific paradigms are always fiercely resisted up to the very moment that they succumb to a revolution. Just now I came across a discussion of this phenomenon that predates Barber’s classic and focuses in large part on matters of medicine (Stevenson 1958).

By and large, it’s only scientific pioneers who discover this truth of routine resistance to new scientific discoveries, when the pioneer’s peers refuse to consider even well-supported claims that don’t fit the mainstream consensus. Peter Duesberg illustrates the surprise that such pioneers experience when the approbation and high regard they have long enjoyed is suddenly switched off, indeed reversed, because they said something different.

Even when these insights of Barber and Kuhn and Stent and Stevenson are recalled and pointed out, it doesn’t shake the mainstream belief on any given topic; somehow, the conventional wisdom is able to sustain the illogical and intellectually unsustainable view that this time, on this particular issue, one can be absolutely sure that “science”—the mainstream, their own group, the Establishment—has it right beyond any doubt. Added to the certainty expressed by the insiders is that disseminated by the science groupies, herds of dogmatists who reveal themselves on blogs as utterly sure about matters of which they actually have little if any direct knowledge. All they know is that it’s what “science” says and so it must be right. Such dogmatists may be found in academe as elsewhere, and they populate such organizations as the Committee for Scientific Investigation of the Paranormal (CSICOP), which is comprised of more non-scientists than scientists, does no investigating, and is as one-sided in its approach to evidence as those blogs that style themselves as scientific.

Over the years, I’ve come to prize more and more those rare individuals who are able to admit their own fallibility and who strive to mold their beliefs to the best available empirical evidence while remaining aware that what’s now the best available will not remain so. I’ve found such individuals everywhere, even in the ranks of CSICOP. The late Gordon Stein, for example, was active in CSICOP and intent on debunking what deserves to be debunked while refraining from the indiscriminate castigation of every unorthodox opinion in which most CSICOPpers indulge. Just as I know of no one who is always right, so too I’ve not been unfortunate enough to get personally into contact with anyone who is always wrong. (Well . . . maybe I can think of a couple.)

The state of affairs that I’ve described applies, of course, to HIV/AIDS as to many other and many less prominent topics. Dogmatists over HIV/AIDS will readily—or at least ultimately—admit that, of course, science and medicine have sometimes been quite wrong; it just happens, they maintain, that this time and on this issue, there’s just no doubt at all. The evidence, after all, is overwhelming, and the overwhelming majority of qualified and competent doctors and scientists are unanimous about it.

The trouble is, those dogmatists are committing the usual, the typical, the routine error of not applying to their one pet subject the lessons that history offers; and, as the saying goes, “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it”.

It’s not only the lessons from history of science that they forget; it’s also the substantive history of HIV/AIDS itself. “HIV” was never isolated by Gallo from all his AIDS patients, in fact he claimed to have found it in fewer AIDS patients than in association with what used to be called pre-AIDS. As Michelle Cochrane has documented, the shibboleth that the early AIDS victims were “young” and “previously healthy” is wrong on both those counts. As John Lauritsen pointed out long ago, the shibboleth that the early AIDS victims were young, previously healthy “gay men” is also misleading because the common factor was drug abuse, not gay sex. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seem to have forgotten that they have proclaimed year after year for about two decades that about 1 million Americans were “HIV”-positive, as they continue to talk of spreading infections. Some of the most careful and comprehensive studies are ignored whenever they conflict with the accepted view: the Concorde study which showed AZT to be useless at best and CD4 counts to be clinically irrelevant; the Rodriguez study that found no correlation between CD4 counts and “viral load”; the Antiretroviral Collaboration, with data from 22,000 patients, which found that HAART brings “adverse events” on sooner. The significance is ignored of huge masses of data: that HIV tests do not track an infectious agent; that deaths from HIV disease show no sign that the “lifesaving” antiretroviral drugs have extended life; that every bright idea for a vaccine against HIV fails to make good on its promise. And innumerable self-contradictions are swallowed whole, say, that HIV crossed in Africa from monkeys or chimps to humans, did no damage there but made its way to the Western Hemisphere where it produced the first epidemics, whose cause was then somehow transported back to Africa to spread like wildfire there even though it hasn’t in the developed countries where it first appeared. This infectious disease is unique, unprecedented, “everyone” is willing to accept: it discriminates by race, unlike every other infectious disease; it kills preferentially adults in the prime years of life, unlike every other infectious disease; the virus multiplies prodigiously without being detectable, and it mutates at an unprecedented rate while remaining fully pathogenic.

And so on. During these months where I’ve become increasingly irritated by the lack of intellectual integrity displayed by political partisans and pundits, I find myself sadly reminded that intellectual integrity is in short supply everywhere, by no means excluding academe, science, and medicine.

Citations:
Barber, Bernard (1961). Resistance by scientists to scientific discovery. Science, 134: 596-602.
Hook, Ernest B. (ed) (2002). Prematurity in Scientific Discovery: On Resistance and Neglect. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Kuhn, Thomas S. (1962/70). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (1st ed. 1962, enlarged 2nd ed. 1970).
Stent, Gunther (1972). Prematurity and uniqueness in scientific discovery. Scientific American, December, 84-93.
Stevenson, Ian. (1958). Scientists with half-closed minds. Harper’s Magazine, 217: 64-71.

Posted in HIV absurdities, HIV and race, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV skepticism, HIV tests | Tagged: , , , , , , | 10 Comments »