HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Scientifically illiterate science pundit: Ben Goldacre

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/01/18

My previous post, “Scientific illiteracy, the media, science pundits, governments, and HIV/AIDS” (15 January 2009),  had taken on a life of its own after starting out as a comment on Goldacre’s error-filled piece about Christine Maggiore. Now back to Goldacre.

Scientific literacy means to have learned the salient findings of history of science and related fields, for example, that a mainstream consensus is sometimes wrong, especially when it comes to novel matters. Scientific literates know that one cannot accept a mainstream consensus without further ado. Scientific literates know that if a mainstream consensus is challenged by competent people, one then needs to burrow fairly deeply into the actual evidence before reaching an eventual judgment about where the best case probably lies, with the mainstream or with the challengers.

Science pundits who talk about pseudo-science should know that the problem of defining pseudo-science has never been solved. They should know that philosophy of science concluded, after decades of intense effort, that there are no logical definitions or formal descriptions by which “real” science can be distinguished in principle from non-science, or false science, or pseudo-science. Those who label a subject “pseudo-science” should know that some topics so labeled later became accredited parts of mainstream science, while some matters long regarded as “scientific” were later relegated to the rubbish heap (see Science or Pseudoscience: Magnetic Healing, Psychic Phenomena, and Other Heterodoxies).

It requires detailed and comprehensive knowledge of each specific controversial claim to reach a reasonably informed estimate as to whether it’s likely to be lauded or dismissed in the scientific future. Scientifically literate pundits who do have such detailed knowledge, and who are also without vested self-interest pro or con, are unlikely to call something pseudo-science if distinguished scientists claim to discern some merit in it; at most they might spell out why it seems possible, or perhaps even likely, that these competent people have gone wrong this time. Above all, a genuinely informed science pundit will hesitate for a long time before making an assertion that presupposes 100% certainty — and 100% certainty is asserted when something is called pseudo-science.

Ben Goldacre carries the mantle of science pundit for a newspaper widely regarded as respectable and perhaps even generally reliable (Guardian, UK). I admit, though, that I hadn’t heard of him before his recent piece about Christine Maggiore appeared. It’s a shoddy, uninformed disgrace to journalism which exposes Goldacre as a scientific illiterate.

Goldacre transgresses what ought to be a sine qua non of science punditry and responsible journalism by feigning knowledge that he doesn’t possess. His ignorance about Maggiore is illustrated in the very first paragraph when he describes her as “lauded in the American media”. Perhaps he has never come across the Los Angeles Times, published in Christine’s home town, where she has been roundly maligned, indeed persecuted. All the information is readily available online,  including a complete file of the material about Maggiore and her daughter in the Los Angeles Times.

The second paragraph by Goldacre describes Maggiore as HIV-positive, when anyone who has even a passing acquaintance with her experience knows that she suffered a succession of positive, negative, and inconclusive tests, the very experience that led her to look into what’s actually known about HIV/AIDS. In the same paragraph, Goldacre asserts about breastfeeding that it “has been shown that this increases the risk of maternal transmission” — when the very opposite happens to be the case, to the considerable and ongoing consternation of mainstream researchers (“More HIV, less infection: the breastfeeding conundrum”, 21 November 2007).

About Maggiore’s daughter, Goldacre is sure enough right, that “The coroner attributed the death   to Aids” [sic, British usage], but he fails to mention that this coroner was long infamous for incompetence or corruption or both, that he made the “AIDS” diagnosis in a way that suggests it was only because he had come to know who the mother was, and that there is a still-pending law-suit against the coroner for disseminating his conclusion without proper evidential basis.

“Maggiore’s views on HIV were driven by the work of Peter Duesberg” is also untrue. Parroting the description of Duesberg as an “AIDS denier” illustrates how Goldacre simply repeats sound-bites unthinkingly: Duesberg has never denied that AIDS exists, in fact he has offered explanations for what brought it about. Nor has Duesberg done “very well with journalists”. Neville Hodgkinson did not learn from Duesberg, he discovered for himself in Africa that HIV/AIDS there is a colossal mistake; Hodgkinson was instructed by people like the Krynens, who had gone to Africa as conventional AIDS charity workers and then discovered at first hand that HIV/AIDS theory is wrong.

One can, I suppose, excuse a Pommie (Englishman) who calls Nature “probably the world’s most important academic journal”, but a scientifically literate pundit would not do so, recalling perhaps the words of Nobelist Paul Lauterbur that the history of science could be written in terms of paper rejected by Nature [“Nobel Prizes illustrate how research is done and evaluated”, 21 October 2008].

Goldacre is not alone, of course, in accepting results from a “demographic modelling study” as being so reliable as to be worth disseminating further; but, again, no self-respecting scientifically literate person should do so.

The peroration of Goldacre’s screed is, “Hundreds of thousands of lives, perhaps millions, have been lost because of a stupid idea, promoted by stupid people.”

No scientific literate would confuse being wrong on a matter of medical science with being stupid; by Goldacre’s criterion, he himself is stupid many times over. Nor would any thoughtful person label someone as stupid just because that person had an idea that might be called stupid; Goldacre’s clear implication is that he has never himself had an idea that might be called stupid, suggesting an infallibility nothing short of Pope-like or God-like.

I simply repeat Goldacre’s last two sentences, for they can be properly applied to the people who, in the face of all the evidence to the contrary, continue to insist on HIV/AIDS theory:
“To the best of my knowledge, not one has either apologised or clarified their stance. Just don’t let anyone tell you pseudoscience is harmless.”

Indeed, much harm has been done in the name of the pseudo-science of HIV/AIDS [“HIV/AIDS and parapsychology: science or pseudo-science?”, 30 December 2008].

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

The only justification for disseminating what columnists, experts, pundits have to say is that the rest of us might learn something that we would be unlikely to know already. Goldacre merely repeats sound-bites, mis-information, and mis-interpretations that have made the rounds for a long time. He’s not doing his job.

22 Responses to “Scientifically illiterate science pundit: Ben Goldacre”

  1. Martin said

    Hi Dr. Bauer, I learned a cute aphorism years ago: What’s the difference between dumb and stupid? Dumb can be fixed.

    The pejorative, AIDS Denialist, I believe, is not someone who doesn’t believe AIDS (what ever it is) exists, it is a term that blankets anyone who questions the consensus arguments that AIDS is contagious, caused by HIV, ARV’s are life-saving, etc. Peter Duesberg was attacked almost immediately after he wrote the Cancer Research paper in 1987 — he would have upset the AIDS applecart had his opinion been widely disseminated as credible. Tod Schweigen (death by silence) had been imposed on Dr. Duesberg in what John Lauritsen called the AIDS War.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Martin:

      Nice aphorism. It indicates that the HIV/AIDS dogmatists and vigilantes are not dumb, since they seem incapable of being fixed by the evidence.

      You’re right, of course, about how the term “AIDS denialist” is applied by the not-dumb-ones. I was using the occasion to point out how inappropriate a term it is, especially since they want it to ape “Holocaust denialism”. We don’t deny that “AIDS” exists, but Irving et al. do deny that the Holocaust took place (even if some of them are willing to admit that some much smaller number died, more or less as a result of collateral damage, not owing to any organized scheme).

  2. Joe said

    Henry, I’m glad to see you take Goldacre to task. Somehow in reading about Christine’s sad demise in the past week, I read his predictable article.

    You are right to show that as a journalist responsible for reporting on the distinction between science and pseudo-science, Goldacre hasn’t got a clue. I would lay money on it that he didn’t study philosophy at university, and hasn’t read Imre Lakatos, Thomas Kuhn or even Popper. My first degree and my PhD were both in philosophy, and it is a long time since I read those works, but the ideas they propound are not difficult to grasp.

    Then I don’t expect any kind of learnedness or quality thinking from journalists (with a few exceptions). Most journalists don’t even have sufficient discernment (or sufficient knowledge of English) to distinguish between ‘refute/reject’, or ‘envy/jealousy’. That they can get away with such ignorance when language is the fundamental tool they are working with shows that the rot is set deep. Either their work is not read critically by their superiors, or their superiors are just as ignorant. There are daily groans in our house at the shoddy thinking and writing that journalists spout.

    The inadequacy in their use of words is symptomatic of their lack of critical thinking. Witness the fact that none of them saw the current financial crisis coming, when for years I heard ordinary people stating that the bubble in housing and credit was unsustainable, and for years professional investors like Warren Buffett were warning about the damage that the new financial instruments would cause. An event such as this economic crisis (which affects so many more people around the westernized world than AIDS does) was still something that journalists couldn’t see coming because of their blinkers and their refusal to engage in critical thought.

    In particular I’ve seen in the past how blinkered and biased Guardian ‘journalists’ are in technological matters (an area where I have more knowledge and experience than many of them). Unfortunately most people read newspapers in order to have their existing prejudices/opinions confirmed (hence the people who read the same newspaper year after year because they perceive the paper’s politics to align with their own). As William James said: “A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices”. To that end ‘news’ and ‘journalism’ as entertainment. In a more cynical light, one could conclude that the news outlets are knowingly keeping the population uninformed.

    There are some notable exceptions who are keeping the ideal of journalism alive. Celia Farber springs to mind. All one can hope is that history will justify the positions taken by people like you and Celia. Her receipt of an award by the Semmelweis society is a glimmer that history will eventually see things very differently than contemporary society. But then when I talk to ‘educated’ people about Semmelweis, they’ve never heard of him.

    And for anyone reading this who doesn’t know my history. I have several close friends diagnosed with AIDS. Some have been on ARVs for 6 years or so, and are apparently doing well (as well as anyone taking pharmaceutical medicines every day for years on end). But I still think Ben Goldacre is wrong about AIDS, is wrong about pseudo-science and is wrong about Christine Maggiore. And Henry’s analysis of science and pseudo-science is spot on.

    The evidence suggests to me that ‘the HIV test’ is a poor test, that the cause of AIDS is unknown, and that there may not be a single cause of AIDS, but that ARVs have some medicinal benefits for some people (whilst also having serious side-effects). I know of no acceptable explanation as to why ‘combination therapy’ works but monotherapy doesn’t.

    I am glad that my friends are doing well, and I don’t advocate they stop taking ARVs because I have no idea whether their health will deteriorate or not. I remain unconvinced that the cause of illness in all of them was HIV. As Neville Hodgkinson says, there has been ‘premature consensus’.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Joe:

      So many good points. Re the connection between words and thought, good writing and good thinking, I enjoyed for many years the Underground Grammarian (Richard Mitchell), who loved to quote this from Ben Jonson:

      “Neither can his mind be thought to be in tune, whose words do jarre, nor his reason in frame, whose sentence is preposterous”

      And, yes, there are some fine journalists, and I felt a bit guilty about not saying so in that piece. Sharon Begley for one, whom I mentioned in an earlier post; and quite a few other notable exceptions, as you say.

      I think the HIV tests are at the center of the whole business. They don’t detect an infectious pathogenic retrovirus. Imagining that they do has been responsible for all the tragedies.

      The central human issue, however, is what should people do who are “HIV-positive”, and especially those who are advised to take antiretroviral drugs, and perhaps most critically those who are now taking them, especially if they seem to be doing well on them. The brother of one of my friends is in that situation, and I have no useful advice for them. In Germany, I would suggest that people consult Juliane Sacher or Claus Koehnlein, or in Austria Christian Fiala, or near Washington DC, Matt Irwin, all of them practicing doctors who don’t accept the HIV/AIDS dogma but who — certainly Sacher has explicitly said so — do use antiretroviral drugs when nothing else seems to work, albeit she does so for strictly limited periods: see sacher2006english.pdf in “Alternative treatments for AIDS”. Sacher points out among other things that CD4 counts in the blood are not an appropriate criterion for immunedeficiency in general or “AIDS” in particular; but it seems that even in countries that don’t adopt the criterion of <200 = AIDS, antiretroviral treatment may still be advised when counts are that low.

      It’s also worth mentioning in that context that Michael Callen, with full-blown AIDS in the early 1980s, lived for a dozen years with treatment only of manifest conditions, no antiretroviral drugs. A number of people, many of them women, have written about being on antiretroviral drugs for years, feeling awful, and then quitting and remaining without illness and feeling much better.

      As to why combination therapy “works” whereas monotherapy didn’t, I think a more than plausible reason is that lower doses of three substances whose toxic effects differ somewhat are less harmful than high doses of any single one.

      I think “premature consensus” was the sub-title of Root-Bernstein’s 1993 book, though Hodgkinson may well have used the term as well.

  3. Marcel said

    Very good essay, Henry. Except for the last sentence: “He’s not doing his job.”

    Goldacre is indeed doing his job in exemplary fashion. He’s being a propagandist for the rich and powerful medical industry, an industry that contributes quite large ad revenues to the media. That’s Goldacre’s job. That’s the job of practically all journalists today (at least those who are employed).

    As long as we’re mythbusting here, let’s bust a myth that some of us are still deluded by: that journalists are fighters for the public interest and illuminators of truth. That’s just hilarious.

    The real job of modern journalists is to provide a supportive environment for advertising. As John M. Phelan, Founding Director of the McGannon Communication Research Center and Professor of Communications and Media Studies, Fordham University, put it:

    “More importantly, most influential media are dependent on advertising income. They therefore reinforce, in non-advertising copy or time, the subtexts of conformity, narrow immediate gratifications, and non-critical acceptance of established institutions. This is called offering a supportive environment for advertising, which the advertisers have come to expect.”

    • Henry Bauer said

      Marcel:

      I wish I could disagree.
      I’ll quibble to this extent, that there remain some media people who don’t refrain from asking unpopular questions and giving exposure to anti-orthodox views. But, as Andy Rooney said on “60 Minutes” a year or so ago, “advertising has ruined television”. One of the sadder (to me) illustrations is that even some of the pundits I regard as insightful and aiming for integrity behave like snake-oil salesmen by doing things like saying a few words in the midst of long advertising interruptions, presumably to lull the audience into thinking the program is starting again, and saying “We’ll be right back” just before the concluding commercials, coming “back” only to say goodbye. I rarely watch anything live any more, I record for fast-forwarding during the commercials, and thereby save not only annoyance but anywhere between 25% and 50% of the time needed to watch the program.

  4. Marcel said

    Years ago, when I lived in a small city in Thailand, there was a local magazine aimed at expats that carried ads from local businesses. I often noticed that, if a restaurant had placed an ad in the magazine, there would invariably be an enthusiastic review of the restaurant in the same issue, often on the same page. This was an unsophisticated attempt at creating a supportive environment for advertising.

    Our media in the west are far more sophisticated and subtle. Media such as the Guardian, NY Times, LA Times, NBC, CBS, BBC or whoever, have learned to be more crafty about creating their supportive environments. They know that if it’s too obvious, people will see through it. So, maybe there wasn’t an ad from the medical industry in the same issue of the Guardian that carried Ben Goldacre’s essay. But, doubtless the drug money comes in, on a regular basis, as it does to most of our western media by the bushelful.

    Eventually, when they get a smart advertising advisor, that local Thailand magazine will learn that it’s better to save the favorable review for the following issue, than to put it in the same issue.

    As for our western mass media, they will occasionally report information critical of the medical industry, in order to create the illusion that the media are independent and fighting for the public’s right to know. But such criticism will always be of relatively minor issues, with much bigger transgressions of the medical industry deliberately ignored.

    Or, a classic example that we see all the time now. Somebody dies, allegedly from an herbal medicine of some kind, and it’s front page news. But hundreds of thousands of people die every year from prescribed medical drugs, and you rarely see stories about this in the media.

    Just the other day I saw this story:

    Child dies because parents fail to vaccinate – Examiner.com – Jan 25, 2009
    An unvaccinated child has died from a preventable disease – Discover Magazine

    But do the media run a story when a child dies or is permanently injured due to a vaccination, which happens thousands of times every year? Not to my knowledge.

    Let me amend that last point. The media might run a story if a parent or group of parents brought a lawsuit against those medical professionals who vaccinated their children, who died or developed autism shortly thereafter.

    But the story would dump on the parents, and quote experts who say that the parents views are crazy and not supported by science, and that the children’s deaths or disabilities are a coincidence.

    The story would cite studies that have been conducted by the NIH or CDC or Institute of Medicine that say that there is no evidence that vaccinations cause Autism, SIDS or any other problem.

    But the journalists would studiously fail to point out that, if any scientist conducting such a study were to implicate vaccination in childrens’ deaths and disabilities, he would most likely be fired, called a crackpot and blacklisted from the research industry. That kind of insight is not fit to print.

  5. Ed Moran said

    Goldacre has been accused of being in the pocket of Big Pharma and, by inference, writing to order.

    Big accusation: no proof offered. Naughty, very naughty.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Ed Moran:

      It may be partly a matter of semantics, at least I hope so. At any rate, I took Marcel to be saying that there’s an inevitable conflict of interest because advertising is the lifeblood of the media, so media personnel who take too critical a view of doings of big advertisers are not likely to be kept on for very long; and they know it, so — with the best will in the world — they are likely to trim their sails somewhat to the prevailing winds. The end result is much the same.

      I think it can be difficult to sustain nuances between conspiracy theory — intentional action with malice aforethought, in other words — and descriptions of social forces without loaded language. Or so it has seemed to me especially when reading sociological discourse, where “how things happen” seems often to be written about in “cause-and-effect” terms.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Ed Moran:

      I read Marcel to be saying that media personnel understand that big advertisers provide the lifeblood for the media and that people who don’t respect that are not likely to thrive in their media careers. In other words, there’s a clear conflict of interest nowadays because all media depend critically on advertising revenue.

      It’s not easy to maintain a semantic distinction between conspiracy theorizing — accusations of acting with conscious malice aforethought — and plain descriptions of consequences of conflicts of interest. Reading sociological discourse, it’s often seemed to me that “how things happen” is written about in terms that suggest “deliberate cause and effect”.

  6. notreallydavid said

    Joe,

    Besides his first degree in medicine, Ben Goldacre has a masters degree in philosophy. He is consistently hostile to the pharmaceutical industry in his writings.

    Regards,
    notreallydavid

  7. danimal said

    Sorry — kinda new and confused here.
    I spent the afternoon reading most of Ben Goldacre’s “Bad Science” book. Having a stats background,I found it lacking in details, and I especially was disappointed that it didn’t cover the saturated-fat/cholesterol causes heart-disease debate. My most second frustration was with the Aids denialist chapter in which he basically attacks the actions of Matthias Roth. I was looking for the “bad science” found in Aids Denialist literature but he skipped over it. It was like he assumed it had to be true.

    So I just went to
    http://www.badscience.net/2009/09/medical-hypotheses-fails-the-aids-test/

    Sorry, I don’t know if this has been addressed somewhere else.

    Ben brings up this point emphatically, his main point of contention in the entire article, so I dunno how serious this mistake by Duesberg is or whether it even is a mistake or just somebody looking for minutiae.
    QUOTE
    Rasnick and Duesberg discuss antiretroviral medications, which have side effects, but which have stopped Aids being a death sentence, and attack the notion that their benefits outweigh the toxicity: “contrary to these claims”, they say, “hundreds of American and British researchers jointly published a collaborative analysis in The Lancet in 2006, concluding that treatment of AIDS patients with anti-viral drugs has ‘‘not translated into a decrease in mortality” [30].”
    This is a simple, flat, unambiguous misrepresentation of the Lancet paper to which they refer. Antiretroviral medications have repeatedly been shown to save lives in systematic reviews of large numbers of well-conducted randomised controlled trials. The Lancet paper they reference simply surveys the first decade of patients who received HAART –– modern combinations of multiple antiretroviral medications –– to see if things have improved, and they have not. Patients receiving HAART in 2003 did no better than patients receiving HAART in 1995. This doesn’t mean that HAART is no better than placebo. It means outcomes for people on HAART didn’t improve over an 8-year period of their use.ENDQUOTE

    Anyway, I just wanna see a back-and-forth debate between these two sides in some comments showcasing controlled randomised studies to see who’s full of sh*t (instead of the one-sided bickering I’ve been seeing so far). So far, after going thru Ben’s book, and Ben’s site, I haven’t seen much counterpunches to the denialist side. Plus it sucks I can’t freely post without logging in to wordpress at his site.

    • Henry Bauer said

      danimal:
      If HAART doesn’t do better now than when it was first tried, despite the continually “improved” cocktails and newer drugs and combinations, then it doesn’t do any good.
      It reduced mortality by about 50% “overnight” in 1995-96 not because it’s any good but because it substituted for the earlier, even more toxic monotherapy with high doses of AZT and the like.
      For several years now, the official NIH Treatment Guidelines have acknowleged that the majority of “serious adverse events” among patients on HAART are non-AIDS events: in other words, HAART is killing more people than AIDS is.

      • Daniel A. Clinton, RN, BSN said

        I also think it’s important to note the CDC’s definition change of AIDS in 1993 which expanded the definition (yet again) to include all HIV positive patients who ever had a CD4 count below 200. The change enabled patients who never exhibited signs of immune deficiency to be diagnosed with an Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) without even being sick, and more than 50% of all AIDS diagnoses since then have been based on the CD4 criteria. Naturally AIDS patients will live longer if clinical evidence of immune deficiency is no longer needed to be diagnosed for AIDS.
        I often see people reference the fact that the new cocktail of ARVs was introduced in 1996 and that mortality went down in that same year as “proof” that ARVs save lives. Clearly, these people fail to understand how science works, and they are too daft to notice the lack of randomized placebo-controlled studies that are actually capable of establishing causation.

      • Henry Bauer said

        Daniel:
        Yes, toxic drugs will kill people less rapidly, the healthier they are before taking the drugs.
        There was a sharp drop in mortality WITHIN A YEAR of replacing monotherapy with cocktails. Such a rapid drop cannot be from life-extending by the cocktails, it can only result from stopping a highly toxic treatment; see “Living with HIV; Dying from What?” (10 December 2008)

      • Daniel A. Clinton, RN, BSN said

        We are in agreement. AZT was obviously and predictably unsurvivable, as correctly predicted by Peter Duesberg in 1987. It is terrifying to me that AZT ever made it onto the market, especially based on the results of one overwhelmingly flawed randomized controlled study. How a drug that caused bone marrow suppression to the point where 30% of the patients required blood transfusions simply to stay alive over the course of the 24 week study (that was stopped early) could have been approved and widely prescribed speaks only to the ineptitude of our governmental regulatory agencies and the mindlessness of most medical doctors who do whatever they are told to do by professional medical organizations. It is even more absurd when you realize that the alleged survival benefit was solely attributable to the difference in blood transfusion rates between the two groups, and that the mortality benefit was quickly lost when followed over 42 weeks. But ever since that trial it has been claimed that randomized placebo-controlled studies would be unethical, and so most healthcare providers just keep doing whatever they are told is “evidence-based practice” completely unaware that there are absolutely no data to show that antiretroviral drugs offer a statistically-significant mortality benefit.

    • Tony said

      They state that dissidents misrepresent the paper, but here is what the authors of the paper say right in the abstract: “INTERPRETATION: Virological response after starting HAART improved over calendar years, but such improvement has not translated into a decrease in mortality.” But let’s try to read this narrowly: perhaps it simply says “HIV-1 RNA levels decreased but this did not translate into decreased mortality.” At a minimum, it would seem this says “using HIV-1 RNA as a measure of the efficacy of HAART does not appear to be rationally based.” This is consistent with my reading of the literature, as well. Of course, if HIV-1 RNA levels are not a prognostic indicator of success, then why use them for measuring the efficacy of treatment?

    • mo79uk said

      I’ve noticed that Ben Goldacre traditionally goes gung-ho on soft targets like Gillian McKeith (a nutritionist with a dubious qualification) and doesn’t really persist with many of the issues that could threaten his career — I mean that’s why he’s the UK’s best known TV Dr. at the moment while Duesberg is a pariah, and Uffe Ravnskov of THINCS had his cholesterol-questioning book burned live on TV.

      While I personally agree with Goldacre on one major thing, that the evidence of MMR causing autism is scant, it seems that his own personal reason for the defensive stance is that his father is Prof. Michael Goldacre whose work helped to keep MMR afloat. Can’t be seen backstabbing daddy now, can we?

      A discussion of Goldacre Jr. can be found here.
      http://avilian.co.uk/2010/08/what’s-behind-ben-goldacre/

      • danimal said

        wow didn’t know Goldacre was on television; makes me trust him a lot less like Dr. Oz who can’t help Oprah attain a stable weight.

        Thank you for your responses. I’m still a newbie and will be for a while. Could someone comment on or point me to a history of debates that were planned but didn’t happen, or ones that did happen between the top proponents of each side. I haven’t looked that hard but I haven’t seen any public debates yet or any thing useful that didnt’ consist of mainly ad hominem attacks. I usually see the two sides isolated, with each sides followers so devoted to the guru.

      • Henry Bauer said

        danimal:
        I don’t know of any debates that took place.
        A recent canceled one in Britain was to have been about the documentary House of Numbers.
        Gordon Stewart has quite often been invited to appear on radio or TV only to have the invitation withdrawn, see p. 231 of my book. Other people have had similar experiences, I can’t for the moment recall the exact references.

      • danimal said

        Henry, have you proposed a public challenge to debate anyone yet? I think that would be good to have on record if ppl decline or cancel on you

      • Henry Bauer said

        danimal:
        I haven’t done that, bu there’s quite a record of such challenges and of dissidents being avoided in debate, sometimes at short notice: re filming of House of Numbers in London, BBC interviews with Gordon Stewart, and others. I was invited to talk about HIV/AIDS dissidence on the George Noory Show, but then he kept introducing other topics.

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