HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Archive for March, 2009

STOP PRESS: 40% DECREASE in HIV in Washington DC

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/03/18

Those who don’t remember the past are doomed to repeat it, goes the well-known saying. Those whose memories are short are in quite a pickle; and that includes our media and the HIV/AIDS advocates who feed the media. Their preoccupation with NEW NEWS and WORRYING NEWS is coupled with lack of memory, perhaps because in the rush to hit the headlines or to ask for more funding, respectively, there just isn’t time to look even at yesteryear’s “news”.

And so it happens that the reading or listening public is misled over and over again:
“HIV/AIDS rate in D.C. hits 3 percent”, Newsday trumpeted on 17 March  , benefiting from information fed by that respectable source, the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service. This worrisome news was picked up, of course, everywhere: the New York Times (“all the news that’s fit to print”); Washington’s City Paper, of course:
How Does D.C.’s HIV Rate Compare to Other Cities? ‘. . . twice as high as New York City and five times as high as Detroit,’ . . . . wasn’t aware of a city with a higher infection rate”;
and the D.C.’s Examiner:
HIV/AIDS rate hits 3 percent in D.C. . . .  most prevalent among black men, whose infection rate more than doubles that of Hispanic males. It is most common in 40- to 49-year-olds, and it is found in every Washington neighborhood” [emphases added];
Radio is not to be left behind:
“HIV/AIDS Rate Higher in DC than West Africa” on Air America,
and of course this news is disseminated across the world, for example in Germany:
Aids wird in Washington zu schwerer Epidemie — Eine Aids-Epidemie in der US-Hauptstadt Washington hat inzwischen Ausmaße wie in einem Entwicklungsland angenommen” (AIDS becomes heavy epidemic on Washington — USA’s capital city as affected as a developing nation).

The main thing wrong here is “hits”, that insidious little word which implies that the rate has been increasing, and which is therefore the reason why it’s news. But more is wrong further into the story:
“’Our rates are higher than West Africa,’ said Shannon Hader, director of the District’s HIV/AIDS Administration who once led the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s work in Zimbabwe. ‘They’re on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya.’”
Well, of course the rates are higher than in some parts of Africa, because the rates in Africa vary from 0.1% or less in the north to >20% in most of the very south [Deconstructing HIV/AIDS in “Sub-Saharan Africa” and “The Caribbean”, 21 April 2008].
The warrant for “hits”, implying an increase, is that “The District’s report found a 22 percent increase in HIV and AIDS cases from the 12,428 reported at the end of 2006”. But an increase in NUMBERS doesn’t translate necessarily into an increase in RATE, it may just mean that more people have been tested. And in fact that’s the case here, and, as so often,

an “epidemic” of “HIV infection”
is actually an EPIDEMIC OF TESTING
.

Ignorance of the past is exemplified here by the report, from January 2008,  that “One in 20 Washington, D.C., residents is HIV-positive” . One in 20 equals 5%. Fifteen months later, the media trumpet the alarming “news” that the rate has “hit” 3%. They should rather have been celebrating the 40% decrease from 5 percent to only 3 percent in not much over a year.

With the media, it’s a lack of familiarity with the data and the history of these press releases. With officialdom, it’s that every string must be pulled to remind everyone how serious the situation is and how desperately the pertinent agencies, offices, and workers need continual infusion of funds.

Bernie Madoff  skimmed about $65 billion. The HIV/AIDS hysteria has cost several times that much over the years. To my knowledge, Madoff may have caused a very small number of deaths directly through suicide of those he fleeced and indirectly through impoverishing others with consequent ill effects on their health; but HIV/AIDS dogma has killed hundreds of thousands of people directly by means of AZT and its successors — all because the people who should do so, haven’t looked properly at the data.

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

Ever since “HIV” testing began, it’s been known that publicly identified gay men test “HIV-positive” at very high rates. It’s also been known that rates of testing “HIV-positive” vary PREDICTABLY with racial ancestry: blacks test higher than any other group, by factors usually no lower than about 5 and often by factors as high as 20 (black women compared to white women) or even 100 (black female blood donors compared to white female blood donors in South Africa). It’s also been reported in every study that looks at population density that rates of testing “HIV-positive” are about 4 times as high in large metropolitan areas as in rural ones.

Data supporting the assertions just made are cited in profusion in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory (McFarland 2007). This blog has recalled and augmented those data many times, for example, “HIV/AIDS theory is inescapably racist”, 19 May 2008 and others linked from there.

Washington DC is a large metropolitan area, overwhelmingly black, with the relatively high concentration of gay men found in most large cities. That’s why Washington DC has now, AND  ALWAYS  HAS  HAD, an overall rate of “HIV-positive” that’s higher by a factor of about 5 than the overall rate for the United States (~0.6%). The report that “HIV” is found in every part of Washington (highlighted phrase in one of the quotes above) already should warn any thinking person that this is not a sexually transmitted infection. The other highlighted phrase in the same quote, “most common in 40- to 49-year-olds [black males]”, is simply yet another confirmation of points I’ve made often:  males always test “HIV-positive” more often than females, typically by factors of 2 or 3; and, in every group, people test “HIV-positive” most often in the prime years of adulthood — overall 35-45, but the peak positive-testing age is higher for blacks and for males than for others (for example, “Least susceptible = most affected?! More HIV/AIDS nonsense”, 22 February 2009 ), hence 40-49 for black males rather than 35-45 for the US population as a whole.

There’s nothing unusual or alarming about “HIV” in Washington, or anywhere else. Or, rather, what’s alarming is that “HIV-positive” is taken, without further ado, as denoting active infection by a fatal pathogen; which leads to “treatment” with substances that are at the very least unpleasant in their “side” effects, more often somewhat debilitating, and at worst lethal.

Posted in experts, Funds for HIV/AIDS, HIV and race, HIV risk groups, HIV skepticism, HIV tests, HIV varies with age, HIV/AIDS numbers, M/F ratios, sexual transmission, uncritical media | Tagged: , , | 53 Comments »

The Social Psychology of “Denialist” Scientists — Kalichman’s Komical Kaper #2, part 2

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/03/18

Scientists, we are instructed by Kalichman, are “by their nature and training systematic and objective” (p. 112; see “Kalichman’s Komical Kaper #2: The Social Psychology of Scientists”, 14 March 2009). That raises a seemingly obvious question:

How or why did some “systematic and objective” scientists become “AIDS denialists”?

I find no explanation for this in Kalichman’s book, even though he places quite a few of us in that category. For example, there’s Kelly Brennan-Jones, like Kalichman a psychologist and therefore also a scientist, and one for whom Kalichman had much respect and from whom he had solicited a book review: “I knew her work dating back to my years in graduate school. I knew Kelly Brennan-Jones was trained at a superlative university by some of the best social psychologists in the country” (p. xiii).

But, it turns out, Brennan-Jones differs with Kalichman about HIV/AIDS.
“My reaction was one of absolute outrage. I mean I was really angry. I was in an emotional upheaval. I surprised everyone around me, including myself, by my seemingly irrational reaction. How could someone I knew to be intelligent, well-trained as a scientist at a respectable university and in a position of influence over college students endorse a book that everyone surely knows is outdated, biased, and of little more value than that worthy of a doorstop?” (p. xiii).

Thus Kalichman describes how he himself lapsed from systemic objectivity and became irrational (though only “seemingly” so, whatever that means), but he doesn’t give a convincing explanation for why it happened. Surely that a fellow psychologist differs with him over a scientific issue can’t be the explanation — if it were, then psychologists would be in a continual state of irrational anger and outrage, given that there are disagreements over so many quite fundamental issues in psychology and psychotherapy. Nor does Kalichman suggest what might have pushed the respected Brennan-Jones, senior to Kalichman though perhaps no more distinguished, out of her customary systematic objectivity — if indeed that’s the case; Kalichman nowhere establishes that there’s anything non-objective about doubting HIV/AIDS theory, he just takes it for granted. He doesn’t even enlighten us about what convinced him personally of that. But consider the matter from Kalichman’s viewpoint for the moment; doesn’t that immediately raise the question, why did Brennan-Jones, an outstanding, systematic, objective scientist for many years, lose those attributes?

The same conundrum applies to others whom Kalichman takes to task as “denialists”. There’s Peter Duesberg, pioneer acclaimed retrovirologist, who isolated the first oncogene in 1970 and was elected to the National Academy in 1986 (p. 175) — yet who almost immediately thereafter lost the scientific attributes he had exemplified during a quarter century of highly distinguished research.

Then there’s David Rasnick (pp. 176-77), competent enough to have worked on proteases (albeit only in rats), who also apparently lost his scientific marbles in middle age or later.

Dr. Matthias Rath is not included among “denialist” scientists in Kalichman’s Appendix B, but he is referred to throughout the book as a German vitamin entrepreneur and “AIDS denialist”. It fails to be mentioned that Rath had worked closely with one of the 20th century’s leading scientists, Linus Pauling. Apparently Rath, a PhD scientist, also somehow lost his systematic objectivity in middle age or thereabouts.

Harvey Bialy had been systematically objective enough to garner a PhD in molecular biology from Berkeley. Kalichman (p. 177) appears to think he wasn’t that great a scientist, though, since he published only 27 articles and was merely an editor for a while at one the leading medical-scientific journals. At any rate, at some stage Bialy, too, apparently lost any remaining systematic objectivity and lapsed into denialism.

Then there’s the sad case of Kary Mullis (pp. 177-8), a Nobel Laureate who happens to be also an “AIDS denialist”, having evidently lost his Nobel-quality systematic objectivity at some time or other. One of the things responsible for that fall from grace, no doubt, was that Mullis persistently asked everyone he encountered to please give him citations to the specific publications that prove HIV to be the cause of AIDS; and he never received a responsive answer. Perhaps that’s enough to drive anyone out of systematic objectivity.

And so it continues. Charles Geshekter (pp. 178-9) had been a systematic, objective social scientist (historian) until he contracted denialism. Claus Koehnlein (p. 179) too — though he had been only a practicing physician, not a researcher, not a scientist, so perhaps he never had been systematically objective. The Perth Group (pp. 179-80) has several doctors and scientists who were infected with denialism around mid-career. There’s also Etienne de Harven (p. 180), formerly of the University of Toronto and the Sloan-Kettering Institute. Roberto Giraldo, who might never have been very systematically objective because his medical degree was only from South America and he had been merely a medical technologist in New York (p. 181). Mohammed Al-Bayati (p. 181), PhD from the University of California at Davis, somehow became unsystematic and unobjective at some time thereafter. Lynn Margulis (pp. 181-2), who was elected to the National Academy in 1983, is rightly famous for having discovered the mechanism of symbiosis by which evolution advances in leaps rather than by infinitesimally slow natural selection from genetic mutations; however, she too suffered a breakdown of systematic objectivity as the years went by.

And then (p. 182) there are a couple of mathematicians, Serge Lang and Rebecca Culshaw. Of course, the majority view is that mathematics isn’t a science, neither “hard” nor soft, and so maybe mathematicians lack systematic objectivity to begin with. On the other hand, it’s also a majority view that mathematics is the most rigorously logical enterprise of all — all of pure mathematics is the following of axioms to their logical conclusions.

We know, too, that the denialist scientists named in Kalichman’s book are the merest tip of a proverbial iceberg, because there are hundreds more PhDs and MDs among AIDS Rethinkers.

And yet, despite having all these examples to work with, Kalichman offers no explanation for how or why scientists morph from systematic objectivity into wacky denialism.

To fill this vacuum (vacuity?) left by Kalichman, I’ll venture a suggestion.

The clue, I think — as with HIV/AIDS itself — is the matter of age. One of the curiosities of “HIV” is that it “infects” chiefly individuals who are in the prime of adult life, 35-45 years. (And, curiously enough, as I’ve remarked in several blog posts, after a “latent period” of healthy life averaging 10 years, followed by many years of “living with HIV/AIDS” while being kept alive by antiretroviral drugs, they still die chiefly at ages 35-45).

We have a rather similarly curious situation with “AIDS denialism”: It strikes people at relatively advanced ages and typically after decades of healthy systematic objectivity.

However, if one looks more carefully into the histories of these sufferers from denialism, one can often detect some early warning signs of a tendency to deviate from the systematic objectivity of their colleagues and to strike out in new directions, to have different ideas, to be creative and innovative; but this only becomes extreme decades later, when it blossoms into full-blown AIDS denialism.

Evidently, AIDS denialism in scientists, like AIDS in people at large, is brought on by a very slow-working infection that becomes manifest and serious only a decade or more later. Obviously the cause of denialism is, as with AIDS, a lentivirus.

“HIV”, of course, is the type specimen of the species “pathogenic lentivirus”, since the earlier and very first lentivirus, which causes kuru, turned out to be a prion and not a virus at all. We know that one mode of transmission of “HIV” is from mother to child. We further know that there is a genetic predisposition to contract “HIV”, in particular, African genes predispose to contracting “HIV”.

By analogy, we can expect that the “denialist” lentivirus is also sometimes passed on from mother to child, or at least “within families” like HTLV-I and II (p. 114 in Gallo, Virus Hunting, 1991) — there is a correlation between the intellectual qualities of parents and children, after all. And there’s also a genetic predisposition to AIDS denialism: Germanic genes predispose to denialism, according to Kalichman (pp. 54, 145; there’ll be more about this in “The German Connection —Kalichman’s not-so-Komical Kaper #3”).

Kalichman has identified other characteristics of denialists as well. Most notably, they are suspicious people and conspiracy theorists (e.g., p. 13 ff. & chapter 4). But this raises the same problem as denialism itself: Why did so many now-denialist scientists contract these conditions only after decades of unexceptionable, even distinguished research?
Obviously, again, it’s that lentivirus. As “HIV” is capable of explaining every form of deviance from physical health, so the denialist lentivirus is capable of explaining every form of deviance from mental health.

AIDS scientists and AIDStruthers have had no success in protecting against the denialist lentivirus through education. Indeed, as the prominent AIDS scientists praising Kalichman’s work have testified, denialism has become a major threat to public health. Since we know that there’s a genetic predisposition to it, perhaps it will turn out that gene therapy (disabling or modifying Germanic genes) is the only really effective means of prevention — just as with HIV, where abstinence, condoms, microbicides, and vaccines have all failed miserably (“HIV gene therapy trial promising”).

Posted in experts, HIV and race, HIV in children, HIV transmission, HIV varies with age, vaccines | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments »

Kalichman’s Komical Kaper #2: The Social Psychology of Scientists

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/03/14

My first view of the text of Kalichman’s book came after the grapevine had reported its availability on-line at Scribd (“a social publishing site, where tens of millions of people share original writings and documents. Scribd’s vision is to liberate the written word”):

“Dear Henry,
I just stumbled upon what appears to be Kalichman’s entire book available online for free.  Do you have it yet?  If not get it here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/11369143/Denying-Aids-Conspiracy-Theories-Pseudoscience-and-Human-Tragedy
I’m only ending the Duesberg chapter, but ohee vey. Since I’ve read just about everything related to the controversy going back to 1987, perhaps 300 times more than Kalichman, and I find myself recalling information he misses, ignores, or avoids, or doesn’t know about in almost every paragraph.  And of course he’s constantly scolding dissenters for denying the Emperor has clothes, but always avoids the core scientific issues by never referencing the proof that the Emperor has clothes.  Perhaps what is needed is to critique every page, paragraph by paragraph, in another book to highlight his… I don’t have the word to describe it yet. I’m speechless except I’m not.  I’m laughing except I’m not. . . .
It is truly amazing how even highly educated people’s critical thinking skills can be so narrow and illogical… I find myself asking if he is now the Rush Limbaugh of AIDS scientism? . . .  Anyway, reading it is kinda crazy making though. . . . what he seems to be doing is pathologizing dissent, like a flawed therapist that already has decided on a diagnosis based on influential hear-say before seeing the client, and is interpreting everything from the client in a way to validate the pre-determined inference while believing he is being impartial. . . .
I almost ended by saying ‘You’re going to have fun with this one’, but based on my own feelings about it that’s probably being much too glib.”
[The writer is formally credentialed in psychology]

Someone else had suggested that I write a review of the book; and before having seen the text, I had agreed to do so. However, after the text became available at Scribd, the grapevine also informed me that I was the third most frequently castigated “denialist” in the book. Scanning the text for mentions of my name confirmed that I and my writings are referred to frequently as well as incorrectly (to put it mildly); so conflict of interest makes it impossible for me to write a review. Anyway, I wouldn’t know where to begin, for every page delivers raised eyebrows, groans, unbelieving chuckles or outright guffaws, aroused by mis-stated facts about HIV/AIDS,  by displays of ignorance about science and much else, and by attributing to my book things that are simply not there. Some of the statements are simply hilarious, for instance:

“Scientists are by their nature and training systematic and objective” (p. 112).

That semantic puerilism is what one might expect to find — perhaps! — in an easy reader for children in primary school who are being slowly eased into the more sophisticated understanding for which they are not yet quite ready. Certainly one wouldn’t encounter it in any article or book in philosophy of science, sociology of science, history of science, psychology of science, or the like. It’s not the sort of thing one would hear, either, from people who have had even cursory contact with real-life scientists. So I doubt that it’s necessary for almost anyone that I deconstruct this assertion — except, it seems, for the sake of Seth C Kalichman.

Could it really be so, that scientists are selected (or self-selected) from the mass of other human beings because they are genetically or by early upbringing (“by their nature”) destined to be systematic and objective?
Are there scientists who would be able to explain just how the training they received through graduate school and post-doctoral stints was designed to make them (even more?) systematic and objective?
Beyond that, is there anyone who could explain how, or would suggest that, any human being can attain objectivity, whether by “nature” or by “training”?

Surely only someone who knows nothing of human psychology or sociology or social psychology could venture such an assertion. Or, surely only someone who knows nothing of science or of scientists or of human psychology or sociology could make such assertion.

Oops!

The author, it turns out, is a psychologist. Seth C Kalichman is even a social psychologist, at the University of Connecticut!

What’s more, Kalichman fancies himself to be a scientist:
“Realizing that all AIDS scientists should take action . . . , I decided . . . . Like nearly every AIDS scientist, . . . . I often felt more like a journalist than a scientist” (xiv); “What is it about denialists that can push a scientist out of objectivity into a fit of rage. In the Preface to this book I described my own emotional outrage . . . (113); “For the part of the AIDS scientists, we must become better at communicating with people other than our fellow scientists” (161).

Evidently, Kalichman — admittedly, like so many of us — tends to judge others by what he knows about himself. He evidently knows he’s a scientist. Apparently he also knows that he is by “nature and training systematic and objective”. Therefore he assumes that all other scientists are also “by their nature and training systematic and objective” (unless, of course, they happen to be “AIDS denialists” as well as scientists).

Posted in experts, HIV absurdities, prejudice | Tagged: , , , , , , | 30 Comments »

Proving HIV/AIDS — Kalichman’s blunders, in a nutshell

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/03/11

“Contemporaneousness
Defined as being current or of the present, science should be evaluated in light of its contemporaneousness. Today, AIDS science moves at a faster pace than any other area of medical research, with the possible exception of cancer. To understand AIDS one should not have to look back further than the past few years. For the consumer-reader, if a scientific article was published before 2000, I would say it can be considered dated, perhaps even ignored. Books published since 2000 should also be inspected for the age of their sources. Any writing in the area of AIDS that relies on sources from the 1980s should be suspect. Of the more than 116,000 scientific articles listed in the PubMed database concerning the HIV disease process, or HIV pathogenesis, over 31,000 have been published in the past 5 years. AIDS scientists are basing their conclusion that HIV causes AIDS on these current studies and these same researchers conclude that HIV treatments slow the progression of HIV to AIDS” (pp. 157-8 in “Denying AIDS” by Seth C Kalichman; emphasis added).

As I worked my way laboriously through Kalichman’s opus, I jotted notes for a dozen or more blog posts about egregiously mistaken or uproariously funny bits; but I thought I should finish reading the whole thing before doing more with those jottings. I was rewarded toward the end of the last chapter (#6; there’s also an Epilogue and a couple of Appendixes) by the just-cited paragraph, which illustrates in a convenient nutshell several of the notable failings in Kalichman’s book.

This passage has to do with how science progresses and how the significance of publications changes over time. A great deal of attention has been given to these matters in science studies: history, sociology, philosophy, etc., of science. Kalichman evidently believes himself qualified to hold forth on these, yet just about everything he says about them reveals ignorance or misunderstanding. That’s one major, central, crucial failing of this book, which is, after all, supposed to be not about “AIDS science” but about those who question its conclusions, about “AIDS denialism” and the “denialists”; and that is obviously a phenomenon to be understood via psychology of science, sociology of science, contemporary history of science, and the like, i.e., science studies.

Sure enough, as Kalichman implies, most research articles do rapidly become “dated”; but that doesn’t mean they can be ignored. Not everything claimed more than 5 years ago is now regarded as wrong. Science progresses through a process of “knowledge filtering”, whereby mistakes are stripped away and the less-mistaken stuff survives (though hardly forever, of course). For a fuller discussion, see my book, Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific Method,  which has been adopted quite often in courses in science studies since its publication in 1992. (The metaphor I introduced, of “the knowledge filter”, has been widely and approvingly cited, and I’m still quite often asked for permission to reproduce parts of the book in other works or in course packets.)

Kalichman maintains that “science should be evaluated in light of its contemporaneousness”, in the sense that recent work should be relied on more than earlier stuff. That’s precisely the opposite of the correct view. No new claim should be given much credence until other researchers have shown that it can be safely relied on to guide further studies — and elsewhere, Kalichman acknowledges that: “Even the most compelling research studies require further analysis and independent replication before scientists themselves draw firm conclusions” (159). Yes indeed: as I’ve often said, REAL SCIENCE ISN’T NEWS [Scientific illiteracy, the media, science pundits, governments, and HIV/AIDS, 15 January 2009].

So ignorance of science studies while holding forth about it is one failing illustrated by the cited passage. A related failing is to mislead about the significance of earlier versus later publications, as just pointed out. That also illustrates yet another type of failing, that the book says opposite things at different places (only recent work should be attended to but recent work shouldn’t be attended to until it’s been thoroughly tested by later work).

A further type of failing in the book is lack of clarity, or ambiguity of meaning, illustrated by the initial sentence above, “Defined as being current or of the present, science should be evaluated in light of its contemporaneousness.” Does he mean BECAUSE science is defined as being current, or IF science is defined as being current? In the second case, what is then said would follow automatically from the definition — but that definition is blatantly wrong, as just discussed; search far and wide throughout the attempts by philosophers and others to define “science”, you won’t find “contemporaneousness” enshrined as a necessary criterion. If however Kalichman means the first, “BECAUSE”, then he’s just plain wrong at the outset and the rest of the paragraph can be ignored without further ado.

There are innumerable other places in the book — I’ll be pointing to some in later blog posts — where it’s simply not possible to be sure what is meant. Perhaps the author was a victim of the post-modernist post-Dewey educational fad holding that grammar, spelling, and syntax are unimportant just so long as the meaning can be discerned — whereas, of course, meaning can be discerned only to the extent that words are used and spelled “correctly”, i.e., in accord with traditionally hallowed usages described by grammar, syntax, and dictionary spellings (which change, admittedly, but very slowly and by effective consensus, not at the whim of every individual).

Another general failing of the book is the proliferation of at-best-doubtful assertions without the benefit of supporting examples or citations. Is AIDS science really moving ahead “at a faster pace than any other area of medical research, with the possible exception of cancer”? The fact that attempts to invent anti-“HIV” microbicides and vaccines continue to fail, for reasons that remain not understood, would seem to make the assertion unlikely. The fact that it remains not understood, after a quarter of a century, by what mechanism “HIV” is supposed to destroy the immune system,  lends further reason to doubt Kalichman’s unsupported assertion. At the very least, one looks for evidential support for this unequivocal claim, yet there is none.

Kalichman also invents an unsupported generalization whenever it suits his purpose: “Books published since 2000 should also be inspected for the age of their sources. Any writing in the area of AIDS that relies on sources from the 1980s should be suspect.”
As just one falsifying counter-instance, take Michelle Cochrane’s invaluable study of the actual medical records, dated in the early 1980s, of the first AIDS patients in San Francisco (“When AIDS Began — San Francisco and the Making of an Epidemic”, Routledge, 2004). In any case, how could it be irrelevant that the manifest illnesses in early 1980s “AIDS” are different from the illnesses manifested in “AIDS” nowadays? Is it not noteworthy that HIV/AIDS theoreticians have never offered a convincing explanation of that?

The phrase highlighted in the quoted passage illustrates in itself several of these failings, and it shows why thoughtful readers will be unable to fathom what Kalichman’s overarching message might be. If he’s right in his unsupported assertion that “AIDS scientists are basing their conclusion that HIV causes AIDS on these current studies”, what was wrong with the 85,000 (116,000-31,000) articles published more than 5 years ago? Why were they apparently not adequate to prove that HIV causes AIDS? But if they were not adequate, why did the “overwhelming consensus” of “AIDS scientists” insist that they were adequate and roundly criticize the Rethinkers who denied it?
On the other hand, if those earlier articles were adequate, why do AIDS scientists have to rely on the more recent ones? And, by the way, did they have to wait for all of those 31,000 articles that they rely on as proof? If so, what was in the most recently published one of those that provided the last necessary link, the lynchpin, the keystone without which the proof would not hold up?

Well, leave aside that little quibble and let’s just accept that Kalichman is right, and only the last 5 years of AIDS publications have proved that HIV causes AIDS. That also means “AIDS denialism” was warranted up to 5 years ago. But “denialists” have been roundly criticized for much longer than 5 years. Therefore those who were criticizing Rethinkers were wrong to do so, weren’t they? “AIDS scientists” should instead have been citing the papers they believed to constitute proof — though apparently only tentative proof — instead of waving their hands about “overwhelming consensus” and the like. Indeed, until 5 years ago, no good scientist should have been sure that HIV causes AIDS, it seems.

Furthermore, if Kalichman is right here, then the “HIV” tests are based on mistaken premises. They’ve all been based on 1980s work, after all, and have been used since 1985 under the belief that “HIV” causes “AIDS”. If we didn’t know that for sure until 5 years ago, then the tests were being used in unwarranted fashion for two decades.

On the other hand, if Kalichman is wrong, and the proof that “HIV” causes “AIDS” can be found in those older 85,000 articles, then what basis does he have for denigrating writings that cite them?

There’s the rub and the crux of a pervasive failing in this book. Kalichman wants to — must! — find reasons for discounting what is said by “AIDS denialists”. He can’t contradict effectively the substance of what’s in Rebecca Culshaw’s book, or in Duesberg’s, or in mine, so he looks for a hook to hang his criticism on. Since our references cover a range of time, Aha! — he can seize on the fact that many of our citations are from before 2000.
But what’s wrong with that?
On the face of it, most people would say, nothing much, if anything: we’re just citing stuff that’s withstood the test of time, of replication, of further studies. So Kalichman invents — pulls out of his hat, so to speak — a criterion of “contemporaneousness” as putative support for his criticism. Another way of describing it: he constructs straw men to attack. The purported criterion or generalization has no basis other than Kalichman’s need for it.

Pondering nonsense like the cited paragraph, and in particular the highlighted phrase, let’s not neglect to recall that this book was vetted and lauded by such leading AIDS scientists as James Curran, Helen Gayle, and Michael Merson [Kalichman on “Denying AIDS”: an answer to Job’s prayer, 5 March 2009].  It’s leading AIDS scientists like those who constitute the contemporary “overwhelming consensus”. If they were wrong up to 5 years about it having been proved beyond doubt that HIV causes AIDS, what reason do we have to trust that they’re right now, during the last 5 years?

Posted in experts, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV skepticism, HIV tests | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Eliza Jane lawsuit settled

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/03/09

Although terms of the settlement haven’t been released, when a government agency at any level settles a lawsuit by paying out money, it’s a reasonable inference that the plaintiffs won on the significant points.

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

CALIFORNIA BRIEFING
L.A. County settles suit on autopsy of HIV skeptics’ daughter
March 6, 2009

LOS ANGELES COUNTY

Suit settled on autopsy of HIV skeptics’ child

Los Angeles County has reached a $15,000 legal settlement with the husband of Christine Maggiore, the late activist who rejected medical opinions that HIV causes AIDS.

Maggiore and her husband, Robin Scovill, sued the county two years ago for allegedly violating their late 3-year-old daughter’s civil rights by releasing an autopsy report that listed her cause of death as AIDS-related pneumonia. Eliza Jane Scovill had never been tested for HIV, and the couple argued that her death was not AIDS-related. They hired a private pathologist who said she had died of an allergic reaction to the antibiotic amoxicillin.

The lawsuit demanded up to $10,000 for each violation of Eliza Jane’s right to privacy, plus unspecified damages. Lawyers for the county and Scovill reached an agreement Feb. 26. Neither side returned phone calls on the matter Thursday.

Maggiore was diagnosed with HIV in 1992 and died at her Van Nuys home Dec. 27, 2008, at age 52. She promoted her views in a book, “What If Everything You Thought You Knew About AIDS Was Wrong?”

Maggiore gave birth to Eliza Jane and her older son, Charlie, at home and breast-fed both, although research indicates breast-feeding increases the risk of HIV transmission. Maggiore also opposed the use of AZT, a drug that studies have shown reduces the risk of HIV transmission from pregnant mothers to their babies. After Eliza Jane’s death, Los Angeles police investigated whether Maggiore and Scovill were criminally negligent in not testing the girl for HIV, but prosecutors decided against filing charges, noting that Maggiore had sought medical advice.

— Molly Hennessy-Fiske

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