The CASES AGAINST HIV: Strategies for Halting the Bandwagon
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/07/29
Rethinkers have written many books and articles and have expounded and argued on many blogs, e-mail lists, and discussion groups. The great majority of all this has been ANTI the mainstream assertions: pointing to flaws in mainstream claims; arguing that no retrovirus could do what HIV is supposed to do; emphasizing that “HIV” has never been isolated and that “HIV” tests have never been validated; debunking claims as to the purported benefits of antiretroviral drugs; and so on.
It occurs to me that this mode of arguing AGAINST something has disadvantages both substantive and rhetorical.
A major substantive disadvantage is that it typically requires much more effort to debunk a claim than to make the claim in the first place. For instance, articles asserting benefits for antiretroviral treatments incorporate a large number of assumptions, a variety of mathematical techniques and elaborate models, and many inadequacies in the data. Explaining what’s questionable in all of those is an Herculean labor—at the end of which one has only shown that the particular article is not convincing. That doesn’t do much to shake HIV/AIDS dogma.
A major rhetorical disadvantage of arguing AGAINST something is that one adopts an essentially defensive posture. Thereby rethinkers allow the mainstream to choose the battlegrounds, the specific topics, and these also determine to a certain extent the weapons that come to be used. Bystanders and observers surely note (at least subliminally) that rethinkers are REACTING, and will assume, naturally enough, that the mainstream has posited a case that seems able to withstand assaults.
As I continue to look for the potentially most convincing case that HIV/AIDS theory is wrong, I suggest that there are a number of other possible modes of arguing that might be more effective than the debunking of detailed aspects of mainstream claims.
1. Make a positive case about HIV and AIDS.
Rather than argue what HIV is not, and what AIDS is not, expound what AIDS IS, and what “HIV” IS. I don’t mean to say, of course, that rethinkers have not done those things. They have, in many ways and in many places, but typically late in the discussion and in the context of debunking mainstream assertions and presenting alternatives. What I have in mind now is an ab initio story about the several different types of “AIDS” and about what “HIV” is.
2. Enlist the power of laughter.
Emphasize the range of unbelievable things that HIV/AIDS theorists require people to believe: more breast-feeding leads to less transmission of “HIV”; married women are more at risk of incurring a sexually transmitted infection than are single women, even prostitutes; “HIV” is spread by quite different mechanisms in different regions of the world; those who share needles are less frequently HIV-positive than those who do not share needles; and so on.
There will always be room, of course, for criticizing mainstream claims that are not obviously and absurdly unbelievable, but I suggest that here too one can distinguish more than one mode (points 3 and 4 below):
3. Point to essential things that are absent from the mainstream case.
We have no electron micrographs of authentic virions of “HIV” extracted direct from AIDS victims or HIV-positive people.
We don’t know how “HIV” destroys the immune system.
We have been unable to discover what properties an anti-HIV vaccine would need to have.
4. Flaws in mainstream claims.
This category includes the mass of material that I described as the outset, and that—it now seems to me— is a less potentially convincing mode of arguing than the first three. One need only read some of the to-and-fro on those blogs in which rethinkers and mainstreamers have at one another, or the lengthy exchange in the on-line British Medical Journal, to recognize that arguing over those particular points cannot bring resolution, because the evidence on those particular matters permits of opposing interpretations—not equally plausible ones, admittedly, but we need final and conclusive evidence, not high or low plausibility.
I chose to moderate this blog in hopes of keeping strictly to substantive issues, and the occasional interventions from mainstreamers illustrate the point I’m trying to make. The questions, whether HAART benefits or doesn’t, and if it does benefit then to what extent, and how to factor in toxic “side”-effects, are sufficiently complex that no agreement is going to be possible when people approach the questions with fundamentally opposed preconceptions; see, for example, More HIV/AIDS GIGO (garbage in and out): “HIV” and risk of death, 12 July 2008. “Fulano/Mengano de Tal” (a. k. a. John/What’sis-name Doe) and I had some further private exchanges about claimed HAART benefits and the particular article that I had originally criticized, until I suggested that we should rather discuss first the more basic issue: Does/do he/she/they agree that the cumulative record of HIV tests in the United States, surveyed and analyzed in my book, demonstrates that what is being detected is not a contagious or infectious thing? If he/she/they does/do not agree, why not?
I have heard no more.
An ad hominem review of my book by one of the AIDStruth vigilantes was soon withdrawn again from amazon.com.
The only mainstream journal to review the book noted that it “can be used as a mirror for some of the major failings of HIV epidemiology during the first quarter century of its existence . . . HIV/ AIDS researchers and health workers . . . should take a hard look at the weak quality of evidence supporting the views of HIV propagation appearing in their pages . . . richly documented . . . asking good questions and . . . detailing how ‘competent and qualified people who questioned the orthodoxy have been largely excluded from the leading journals’ . . . and, consequently, the media . . . Readers should ask the HIV/AIDS establishment, especially the health agencies entrusted with monitoring and intervening in HIV epidemics, why they have settled for evidence from a lesser god when the stakes for getting the picture right are so high. Bauer, Epstein and Chin ought to be thanked for providing us with such a (regretfully unflattering) mirror. Our task ought to be to recognize the serious weaknesses in the available evidence and to insist on rigorous studies that can supply the strong, direct evidence needed for epidemiologic validity”. (The review also had some criticisms, of course, to which I responded in a letter published by the journal).
The mainstream’s strategy evidently is to ignore wherever possible any positive cases made for rethinking. Where they cannot ignore, as with Celia Farber’s article in Harper’s, they respond with character assassination and undocumented counter-arguments. They simply cannot answer such positive cases as those raised by the death of Joyce Ann Hafford or the epidemiology of “HIV” tests in the United States.
The four points set out above represent scientific or intellectual cases against HIV. There are also cases to be made against HIV on grounds of human costs, both individual and social ones. These human costs might be called “collateral damage” from the mainstream’s paradigmatic war against HIV/AIDS.
5. The individual human case against HIV/AIDS is what an “HIV-positive” diagnosis does to the person concerned—psychologically via the nocebo effect as well as physically if the individual accepts antiretroviral treatment.
6. The social case against HIV/AIDS has two parts:
(a) What the individual’s plight does to others: family, friends, groups.
(b) The enormous amounts of mis-spent money, which dwarf expenditures on much more widespread health-care deficiencies in both the developed and the developing regions of the world—things like cancer or heart disease in the former, malnutrition or malaria or TB (and more) in the latter.
There is yet another human cost which, just like most of the claimed benefits of antiretroviral treatment [HIV/AIDS SCAM: Have antiretroviral drugs saved 3 million life-years?, 6 July 2008], has not yet accrued and is yet to be experienced:
7. The frightful burdens of guilt and remorse that will be the lot of “AIDS activists” and AIDS organizations and HIV/AIDS researchers when finally they have to cope with the realization that they have horribly hurt innumerable people. That the mainstreamers and their groupies have done harm unwittingly, unknowingly, sometimes only indirectly, will be no source of comfort to them.