Science Studies 102: Burden of proof, HIV/AIDS “science”, pseudo-science
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/07/22
For a long time, the central question in philosophy of science was to find objective, specific, and practically applicable criteria for deciding whether a claim or investigation warrants designation as “science”; without that, one cannot legitimately class anything as “not science” or “pseudo-science”. Tried and found wanting were notions of “scientific method”, falsifiability, progressiveness or regressiveness of research programs, as well as other, less well known attempts. Perhaps the definitive history and debunking of these attempts is by Larry Laudan (1).
Nevertheless, the epithet “pseudo-science” continues to be bandied about in controversies over such matters as human-caused global warming, psychic phenomena, HIV/AIDS, Loch Ness monsters—wherever dogmatists are 100% sure of their beliefs, they like to describe the opposing position as pseudo-science.
The history of such arguments teaches that they are finally settled only by evidence specific to the particular claims, not by application of abstract notions like scientific method or falsifiability (2); for no matter how plausible some abstract criterion may seem at first sight, in practice illustrations of it can be found on both sides of the imagined divide between science and pseudo-science.
Take the matter of burden of proof (3). Defenders of mainstream paradigms like to portray those who put forward unorthodox claims as saying, “Prove me wrong”, when actually the onus is on the dissenters to prove their claims right; but in practice, one can find mainstreamers themselves setting the challenge, “Prove us wrong”, instead of providing the necessary proof that the mainstream view is sound.
Immanuel Velikovsky’s “Worlds in Collision” had received great public acclaim in the 1950s, and the Velikovskian cult gained widespread support even among prominent humanists and social scientists (4), despite the huge implausibility of his claims: that a comet ejected from Jupiter had nearly collided with Earth and Mars, producing such Biblical events as the parting of the Red Sea and the fall of Jericho’s walls before settling eventually into its present position as the planet Venus.
“Throughout Velikovsky’s writing runs the subtly misleading attitude that the onus is on his critics to prove him wrong. Whenever he states — as he often does — that his case is unshaken and has not been disproved, the unwary listener or reader is led to expect that some clear disproof is called for, and that in its absence Velikovsky’s reconstruction stands as plausible or even valid. But in all fields of knowledge the onus of proof rests on the new proposition” (5).
Yet when it comes to HIV/AIDS, it is the orthodoxy that states, “Prove us wrong”, and that refuses to accept the onus of proof. Mainstream discourse is salted and peppered with statements to the effect that “the evidence that HIV causes AIDS is overwhelming” (6), yet the mainstream has never established, for example:
1. That a positive HIV-test marks the presence of active infection (7).
Whole virions of HIV have never been isolated direct from an HIV-positive individual. Indeed, a prize of $50,000 awaits anyone who uncovers a scientific publication in which such isolation has been demonstrated (8).
2. That HIV-positive portends progress to AIDS, and all AIDS patients are HIV-positive.
To the contrary: It has long been known that there are thousands (at least) of “long-term non-progressors” or “elite controllers”, HIV-positive individuals who have not become ill, some of them “positive” since the early 1980s. It has also been known since the early 1990s that there are many clinically diagnosed AIDS patients who have never tested HIV-positive, causing the mainstream to invent the new condition of “ICL” (9).
3. What mechanism it is by which HIV destroys the immune system (11).
4. What properties a vaccine needs to have to protect against infection (12).
As noted before [Science Studies 101: Why is HIV/AIDS “science” so unreliable?, 18 July 2008], the repeated publication of mainstream HIV/AIDS claims without adequate proof represents a failure of peer review that began in the late 1980s when Duesberg’s critiques were ignored. The initial claim that Gallo had discovered the “probable” viral cause of AIDS became accepted by default, it was never followed by definitive published proof; a prize of ₤50,000 awaits whoever produces proof of isolation of virions from AIDS patients (13).
By contrast, HIV/AIDS rethinkers and skeptics have accepted the onus of proof by publishing positive evidence to the effect that
1. A retrovirus cannot do what HIV is charged with doing (14).
2. Illnesses developing in “AIDS” patients who abuse drugs are specific to the particular drug; signifying that it is the drug that produces the illness and the frequently positive HIV-test in drug abusers (15).
3. Kaposi’s sarcoma in gay men in the United States results predominantly from persistent inhalation of nitrite “poppers” (16).
4. Official data show that the tendency to test HIV-positive has the characteristics of an endemic physiological property, not of a spreading infection (10).
5. Officially reported deaths from “HIV disease” since 1987 demonstrate that antiretroviral drugs have had no life-extending effect (17). AIDS patients treated by alternative modalities have lower mortality than those treated with antiretroviral drugs (18).
6. Officially reported death statistics together with officially reported data on HIV “infection” demonstrate that the 10-year latent period supposed to intervene between “infection” and illness does not exist (17).
1. Larry Laudan, “The demise of the demarcation problem”, pp. 111-27 in Physics, Philosophy and Psychoanalysis, ed. R. S. Cohen & L. Laudan, Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1983
2. Henry H. Bauer, Science or Pseudoscience: Magnetic Healing, Psychic Phenomena, and Other Heterodoxies, University of Illinois Press, 2001
3. pp. 220-1 in reference 2
4. Henry H. Bauer, Beyond Velikovsky, University of Illinois Press, 1984
5. P. 171 in reference 4
6. For instance, read the testimonies of the expert witnesses in the Parenzee case.
7. “The birth of antibodies equal infection”, Appendix II (pp. 333-40) in Celia Farber, Serious Adverse Events, Melville House, 2006
8. May 2007: Alive & Well $50,000 Fact Finder Award—Find one study, save countless lives
9. See “ICL” in index of reference 10 for details and sources
10. Henry H. Bauer, The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory, McFarland, 2007
12. “Is it time to give up the search for an Aids vaccine? After 25 years and billions of pounds, leading scientists are now forced to ask this question”, 24 April 2008, by Steve Connor and Chris Green, Independent.co.uk
13. The Michael Verney-Elliott Memorial Prize: £50,000 reward for the existence of ‘HIV’; letter of 29 March 2008
14. Peter H. Duesberg, Retroviruses as carcinogens and pathogens: expectations and reality, Cancer Research 47 (1987) 1199–220; Human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome: correlation but not causation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 86 (1989) 755–64.
15. Duesberg, P., Koehnlein, C. and Rasnick, D. The Chemical Bases of the Various AIDS Epidemics: Recreational Drugs, Anti-viral Chemotherapy and Malnutrition, Journal of Bioscience 28 (2003) 383-412
16. John Lauritsen and Hank Wilson, Death Rush: Poppers & AIDS, Pagan Press, 1986
17. “HIV DISEASE” IS NOT AN ILLNESS, 19 March 2008; “Disproof of HIV/AIDS theory” [Society for Scientific Exploration, Annual Meeting, Boulder CO, June 2008]; http://aras.ab.ca/index.php at News for June 30; “Incongruous age distributions of HIV infections and deaths from HIV disease: Where is the latent period between HIV infection and AIDS?” in press, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons
18. Only 3 of 36 (12%) of Dr. Köhnlein’s AIDS patients died under alternative treatment compared to about 63% of all AIDS patients in Germany, most of whom were treated with antiretroviral drugs; pp. 401-2, Table 8, in reference 15
This entry was posted on 2008/07/22 at 11:52 am and is filed under antiretroviral drugs, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV skepticism, HIV tests, HIV transmission, vaccines. Tagged: burden of proof, elite controllers, idiopathic CD4-T-cell lymphopenia, KS and poppers, long-term non-progressors, no latent period in HIV/AIDS, prize for proof HIV exists, prize for proof of HIV/AIDS, prize for proof that HIV tests detect virus, pseudo-science, science studies, Velikovsky. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.