HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Kalichman and Nazis — K’s anything-but-Komical self-revealing Kaper (#12)

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/06/07

Like several other fanatical believers in HIV/AIDS theory (for instance, Gallo et al. [2006], Cameron [2005]), Kalichman insists that there’s a meaningful similarity between “HIV/AIDS denialism” and “Holocaust denialism” (pp. 8-12); for example (p. 9):
“the link to Holocaust denialism means that the word is emotionally charged. Still, I defend my use of the term because I believe it best describes the rejection of objective reality to sustain a flawed, hurtful, and ultimately dangerous belief system”.

What’s basically wrong with this is the failure to demonstrate that “HIV/AIDS denialists” actually reject objective reality, or that we have a “belief system”, or that this supposed “belief system” is flawed, hurtful, or dangerous.  Kalichman’s approach exemplifies the attempt to ascribe guilt by association, asserting that’s what’s wrong with A is also wrong with B without presenting actual evidence that they share any common characteristics; he just says they do.

Kalichman, like Cameron, Gallo, and other HIV/AIDS vigilantes, has no interest in arguing such a case on the basis of evidence — because, of course, he can’t. The whole and only purpose of using terms like “denialism”, and invoking Holocaust denialism as a type specimen, is to arouse moral outrage and to brand AIDS Rethinkers and HIV Skeptics as unfit for intellectual discourse about the substantive issues. And that, as I’ve remarked several times, is attempted because the HIV/AIDS believers can’t answer our questions and can’t support their case with convincing evidence.

The bees in Kalichman’s bonnet include Nazis as well as Holocaust denialism. He makes the extraordinary claim that AIDS Rethinkers and HIV Skeptics call AIDS scientists Nazis:
“As expected [Kalichman doesn’t say by whom or why], denialists refer to AIDS scientists and medical specialists as Nazis, the mafia, and murderers” (p. 10); “AIDS scientists are typically portrayed as evil doers or even Nazis pitted again truth seekers” (101); “denialists are insulting our integrity and the value of our life’s work. Referring to AIDS scientists as conspirators, frauds, Nazis and child killers” (113); “a rather bizarre and unique feature of HIV/AIDS denialism is its repeated reference to AIDS scientists as Nazis” (143).

However, Kalichman offers only one documented example of denialists using the term “Nazis” in reference to HIV/AIDS vigilantes, namely, South African attorney Anthony Brink (pp. 144-45). Kalichman here accuses President Mbeki of it too, but fails to provide a needed reference — such an utterance seems uncharacteristic of Mbeki. Thus Kalichman commits the “single study fallacy”, which he incorrectly accuses others of committing.

Brink’s tirade could be plausibly excused (“to understand is to excuse”) as provoked by the incessant and intemperate “into the streets” tactics of HIV/AIDS “activists” in South Africa, but I personally have no more wish to excuse or condone it  than I excuse or condone application of the term “Holocaust denialists” to Rethinkers. Both are equally invalid intellectually and are used solely for polemic purpose. I invite Kalichman, too, to reject deployment of “Holocaust denialism” for the same reason that one objects to comparisons with Nazis.

Note too that the Brink piece is a self-published work, as Kalichman notes. One of the drawbacks of such publication is that one doesn’t get the benefit of an independent view and independent advice from an editor, and so one isn’t forced to second and third thoughts about what one writes. Kalichman doesn’t have that excuse for his “Holocaust” remarks, since he specifically acknowledges the excellence of the editorial help he received, and I can’t imagine that an even half-way competent editor would not have queried Kalichman about so egregiously offensive an assertion.

So one is forced to the sad conclusion that Kalichman makes the Holocaust reference after having considered it carefully.  However, his ignorance on such matters is quite extraordinary:

“The great irony of the denialists’ Nazi allusions to AIDS scientists, of course, is that they base their argument on the views of a group of German men born during the years of Nazism while making Nazi references to AIDS scientists, who are often Jews” (145).

I’ve already pointed out that Kalichman has provided no evidence — indeed, NEGATIVE evidence — that “Germans” are represented among AIDS Rethinkers in above-chance proportion [“The German Connection, contd.: How not to test an hypothesis (Kalichman’s Komical Kaper #3, part 2)”, 25 March 2009]. Now he implies something even more ludicrous, that just being born during the Nazi era somehow predisposes to “denialism”. A fortiori, he offers no evidence at all that Jews are “often” to be found among AIDS scientists — in other words, that Jews are found among AIDS scientists in greater proportion than among AIDS Rethinkers or among scientists in general.

If only that were the worst of it, making wild generalizations without a shred of supporting data. What will in addition be sadly evident to people who do know something about these things — Germans, Jews, Nazis, Holocausts — is that Kalichman evidently himself believes what the Nazis initiated and believed:  that one could not and cannot be at the same time a German and a Jew.

In point of fact, by the early 20th century Jews had assimilated into German culture more seamlessly than they had in any other European country. One of the huge tragedies of the Hitler era for so many German Jews was to be ejected from and rejected by what they had regarded for generations as their homeland, their fatherland, the nation for which they and their forebears had fought in wars, the nation they thought they belonged to just as fully as their Catholic or Protestant fellow countrymen.

Now Kalichman reveals the same baseless, racist belief, that Germans and Jews are two different breeds, the “denialists” and the “scientists”. He just takes the opposite tack to the Nazis, this time the Germans are the bad guys and the Jews are the good guys. But the dichotomy Kalichman embraces is identically the same dichotomy as the Nazis introduced.

Kalichman thinks about Germans and Jews in the same way as the Nazis did. That’s what he states in his book.

—————————————-

Cameron 2005. Witness to AIDS.
Gallo et al. 2006. Errors in Celia Farber’s March 2006 article in Harper’s Magazine; final version, 22 March; http://www.aegis.org/files/tac/2006/errorsinfarberarticle.html

6 Responses to “Kalichman and Nazis — K’s anything-but-Komical self-revealing Kaper (#12)”

  1. mo79uk said

    Kalichman evidently used the comparison for biased, dramatic effect.
    To compare holocaust denialism with AIDS denialism makes it much more tabloid appealing (as it is calling AIDS activisits Nazis). It makes his readers instantly shocked than say comparing it with disproven world-is-flat denialism.

    As you pointed out, however, there is a wealth of evidence that the holocaust happened but no damning evidence that HIV exists; Kalichman can’t punch at the scientific level.
    Even so, in my opinion (and I’m categorically not a holocaust denier) there’s nothing wrong with examining the details of the holocaust to maintain if nothing but clarity, in the same way that the HIV/AIDS hypothesis has nothing to lose by having it’s foundations shook if only to strengthen it.

    Although the people behind the latter do have something to lose until they can both isolate a virus that may not exist, and treat something it may not do.

  2. Martin said

    Hi Dr. Bauer,

    Robert Gallo does not impress me as a “fanatical believer” in HIV/AIDS theory (really still a hypothesis). Gallo, more than most, is in a position as the originator of the hypothesis that HIV is the cause of AIDS (transubstantiated in 1984 to fact) of having the knowledge and background to criticize HIV/AIDS science and understand better than most Duesberg’s original misgivings. Whether or not Gallo is really an incompetent scientist is not really important and I don’t believe he is really incompetent (unlike Seth Kalichman). Robert Gallo (and many others) had much to lose by agreeing with Duesberg — the HIV/AIDS establishment would have evaporated. Because of that, Robert Gallo is a liar, in my opinion criminally responsible for the scam. It might be argued that Kalichman is a liar as well — but he appears to me as nothing more than a lackey. Kalichman’s academic credentials (if taken seriously) serve to obscure the observation that he is nothing more than an ignorant buffoon — a nebbish desperately trying to be accepted as a schlemiel or better. The fact that you have devoted so much space to Kalichman in your blog demonstrates that Kalichman achieved that goal. From Leo Rosten’s “The Joys of Yiddish”, a schlemeil is the one who knocks the dishes off the table, the nebbish is the one who picks them up.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Martin:

      I have only private speculation about what makes Gallo or Kalichman tick. As to performance, John Crewdson’s “Science Fictions” makes a strong case for Gallo’s lack of high competence, and an even stronger case for an unprofessional environment in the labs he controlled.

      My first inclination had beento ignore Kalichman’s book, just as I early on stopped looking at Aetiology or other blogs featuring similarly dogmatic and uncivilized anti-Rethinking and lack of interest in substantive discussion. But since I was told that I was mentioned so much in the book, and it is published by Springer and isn’t as ignorably ephemeral as the Internet stuff, I felt obliged to read it. Then I picked out the most egregious errors to point to. You may not be able to appreciate just how glad I am to have gotten the last resulting prepared post out of the way. I wrote them all some time ago and dribbled them out so as to give me time for other things — my present top priority is re-working a book MS that I had left aside when I realized that the “HIV” demographics proved that “HIV” isn’t infectious.

  3. cooler said

    Also another tactic of the orthodoxy is to spam a URL, almost always Aidstruth or the NIH fact sheet. Every time they use this I tell them that spamming a website is not evidence. Can you imagine if a defense lawyer at trial was told to provide evidence to the court and the lawyer responded by telling the judge and jury to go to myclientisnotguilty.com and refused to cite specific evidence? He/she would get laughed out of the courtroom. Can you imagine a student in a class asked to write a short report, and just turned in a URL instead? This is basic high school academics, when you believe something you put it in your own words and cite references, telling people to go to a website is just laughable.

    A good question that I always ask that never gets a response is “Please cite and briefly describe the overwhelming scientific evidence that proved HIV was fatal disease that justified AZT’s release in 1987, please don’t spam a website, this would get you laughed out of any courtroom.”

    Works like a charm, I have never really received a adequate response to this question, and it quickly ends all the name calling on their part.

  4. MacDonald said

    Kalichman might appear as nothing more than a lackey, but if so, this lackey has been vested with the powers, praise and access of his masters to an extraordinary extent.

    What this blog series has done, and why I have sought to contribute throughout, is to provide a unique real-time look at how HIV/AIDS “science” works; how intellectual mediocrities and academic garbage are swept up and propelled into the pages of Nature, appearances at prominent conferences, news, interviews, high positions; how the lowest coward is instantly exalted, celebrated and decorated in the highest circles as a grizzled champion of Science, as soon as he declares himself its crusader.

    Make no mistake, Kalichman’s trash has made the study of AIDS Denialism, the pathologising of dissent, a respectable academic topic, exactly because of the enthusiasm, the dignifying solemnity with which it has been received. I’ll say it again,

    it is the ongoing process through which Kalichman’s inanities have been dignified that have made this extended blog series so worthwhile, not Kalichman himself

    Kalichman is in this sense not an insignificant historical figure.
    Earlier attempts have been made by people like Moore, Wainberg, Nattrass; and “outsiders” such as Tara Smith, Mark Hoofnagle (who?!) and Richard Wilson have also been celebrated because they provide a much needed sheen of independence and cross-disciplinary objectivity, but Kalichman was the one they had been waiting for. A bona fide professional, a real deal AIDS Psychologist in collaboration with a respected publishing house. Perfect! Kalichman and Springer could have published 200 blank pages and still gotten a favourable “review” in Nature and a medal of merit from TAC.

    It beggars belief that some readers here can still think that, in this game of politics, access and history writing, the Kalichman Saga is not worthy of careful, ongoing scrutiny and exposition. John Yoo was also a relative nobody who just happened to be willing to write a justifying torture memo. Some people might think it couldn’t hurt to analyse the document and the circumstances anyway.

  5. Stephen said

    I am not sure anyone cares, but Kalichman is up to his old tricks and German shticks on thebody.com website http://www.thebody.com/content/art52090.html?ic=700100
    He has an excessively long interview there. Comments are favorable. They actually believe the junk he is selling.

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