HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

HIV skepticism, Nessies, homophobia, and racism

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/08/25

Some months ago, I had written: “One of the burdens that AIDS Rethinkers and HIV Skeptics impose on one another is that the HIV/AIDS groupies and vigilantes seize every possible opportunity to assert ‘guilt by association’. I’ve felt apologetic for some time that my fellow Rethinkers and Skeptics have been tarred by the brush of being associated with Henry Bauer, who is a believer in Loch Ness monsters (‘Nessies’)” [Henry Bauer and the Loch Ness monsters, 16 February 2009].

I was recently asked by a neutral observer about another guilt-by-association charge directed at me in vigilante blogs, Wikipedia, and no doubt elsewhere as well: that I am racist and that I am or was at one time homophobic. So I’ll explain here where these charges came from, which will demonstrate at the same time how ludicrously unfounded they are.

The cited basis for my alleged homophobia and racism are the memoir, To Rise Above Principle: The Memoirs of an Unreconstructed Dean [Urbana & Chicago: University of Illinois Press 1988, under the pen-name ‘Josef Martin’], and the newsletter (Virginia Scholar) which I edited for 7 years (1993-99) for the Virginia Association of Scholars.

It’s only now that I’ve come to realize what a remarkable coup it had been on my part to have the University of Illinois Press put their imprimatur on homophobic and racist remarks. It may be even more remarkable that the reviews of the book were so favorable, and that not one of them picked up on the homophobia and racism. It was yet another remarkable coup that the Council of Colleges of Arts & Sciences unblushingly invited this racist homophobe to address its Annual Meeting in 1989, and that the American Conference of Academic Deans had him give the keynote speech at its 49th Annual Meeting in 1993, where he even used the occasion to expound his racist views, namely, that every person should be treated as an individual and not as a generic member of some group.

It took two decades after the Dean’s Memoirs were published, and a decade or so after my editorship of the Virginia Scholar, before the homophobic, racist nature of their contents were discerned under an evidently very close reading by an enterprising albeit amateur literary critic, Kenneth W. Witwer, then a graduate student in biology who was minoring in AIDStruth.org. He first announced his discovery in a “review” on amazon.com of my book, The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory, a “review” that was subsequently withdrawn. The same discovery was also inserted into a “bio” about me posted on Wikipedia (see “Beware the Internet: Amazon.com ‘reviews’, Wikipedia, and other sources of misinformation”, 11 April 2009).

Witwer’s discovery is all the more remarkable when one considers the number and nature of the interested parties who had failed for a couple of decades to discern in those texts what he was able to discern. Since the late 1980s, political correctness has held prominent hegemony at my university (Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, a.k.a. “Virginia Tech”), resulting for example in the resignation of the university’s best, most appreciated teacher after being charged with sexual harassment on the basis of a joke told in class that 496 students out 500 did not find inappropriate let alone objectionable [“The trivialization of sexual harassment: Lessons from the Mandelstamm Case”, Academic Questions, 5 (#2, Spring 1992) 55-66; letters and response, ibid., 5 (#4, Fall 1992) 5-6; “Affirmative action at Virginia Tech: The tail that wagged the dog”, ibid., 6 (#1, Winter 1992-93) 72-84]. Yet in that hotbed of political correctness, those homophobic, racist memoirs and newsletters somehow brought no complaints, though the newsletter was widely distributed and the university’s president and provost had each received an author-inscribed copy of the memoirs hot off the press. This homophobic, racist author even continued to receive very satisfactory salary raises and a semester of paid leave (sort of a “sabbatical”) to write two books. Of course, political correctness pervaded and pervades academe as a whole, not only Virginia Tech; one of my favorite illustrations is that when I suggested to that collection of Deans in 1993 that every person should be treated as an individual and not as a generic member of some group, a number of individuals complimented me afterwards on having the courage to say such a thing.

The memoirs have long been out of print, but a PDF has long been freely available at my website. The Virginia Scholar is also freely available. I invite anyone who wants to decide at first hand about my views on affirmative action, homosexuality, race, or anything else to read and judge for themselves.
I was never homophobic, which properly means fearful of or averse towards people who happen to be homosexual. I was, however, guilty of accepting the then-generally-held view that homosexuality is in some way aberrant. When in later years I began to actually think about it, I came to a better conclusion, for reasons that I described in a book review in 2005 (Journal of Scientific Exploration, 19 #3, 419-35)  and cite on my personal website.  That guilt, of having accepted thoughtlessly a societal shibboleth, is comparable, I suggest, to the guilt of those who accept thoughtlessly other societal shibboleths, for example, that “HIV” causes “AIDS”, which is accepted so thoughtlessly that its believers are unable to cite any proof for it.

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

As I’ve remarked ad nauseam, when someone seeks to assassinate characters instead of arguing the substance of an issue, it reveals that those someones are unable to prove their case by substantive argument. All the HIV/AIDS vigilantes and groupies have to do to shut me up is to cite the scientific publications that prove HIV to be the cause of AIDS. They don’t do that because those publications don’t exist, and they acquired their belief not by looking at the evidence but by just accepting “what everyone knows”.

Further, as again I’ve remarked ad nauseam, even the most assassin-worthy characters may nevertheless be right about something. I could be wrong about Nessie, homosexuality, racism, and much else and still be right about HIV/AIDS. The charges are beside the point as well as unfounded.

13 Responses to “HIV skepticism, Nessies, homophobia, and racism”

  1. Joe said

    Speaking as someone who has been openly gay for 30 years, your views on the morality of homosexuality wouldn’t make a whit of difference to my opinion of your writings on hiv. Equally, no-one should be convinced by your critique of the science of hiv just because you share the same moral or political views as they.

    There is so much that is wrong with categories like ‘race’ and ‘gender’ it’s hard to know where to start. Ultimately it all comes down to how those in power treat those with less power (who may be a majority or a minority). There are complex overlapping networks of power, and there are few people indeed who are never in a position where they are being discriminated against or who are never fearful.

    There’s plenty of racism among gay men and plenty of racism between non-white people. And there’s plenty anti-gay sentiment and action within black communities and white communities. The people who want to charge that others are ‘racist’ or ‘homophobic’ are clearly whited sepulchres.

    And for the record some number of gay people want to be considered aberrant. Why else would one use the epithet ‘queer’ as a badge of honour? And many who prefer to describe themselves as ‘gay’ are still very glad they are not straight. In fact, I’d say only a small minority of the gay people I’ve met would say they would prefer to be straight.

  2. Martin said

    Hi Dr. Bauer, I have not read your book “To Rise Above Priniple”. Your post did not say (or I did not notice) what was “homophobic” in that book. When individuals of a group like women, gays, blacks, Jews, Irish or what have you are criticised, does that mean the critic is extending the criticism to the group as a whole?

    I have always had a problem with the term “homophobia”. [What’s meant is] really anti-gay bigotry. “Homophobia” implies that it is a mental disorder (in fact it is listed in the DSM) implying that such behavior is irrational when in fact it is not. Virtually any behavior can be rationalized, i.e. has a reason behind it. Some reasons are considered legitimate (rational)some are considered illegitimate (irrational). These two categories for me are artificial — replace the word rational/irrational with approved/disapproved and now we have a moral rather than psychiatric distinction. I disapprove of the term homophobia because it implies that it is irrational behavior and that it is a mental disorder for which the actor is not responsible (like homosexual panic leading to murder resulting from acute homophobia). We don’t call anti-semitism “Jewophobia” — we hold antisemites responsible for their contemptible behavior for the same reason we should hold anti-gay bigots responsible for theirs. Of course, homophobia is now the de facto term for anti-gay bigotry.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Martin: You can download a PDF of my book; the allegedly homophobic bit is in Chapter 11.
      Your comments raise huge questions, for instance, distinction between attitudes toward individuals and toward groups; and distinction between words and actions. On the first one, my favorite example comes from personal experience as a refugee in Australia. Typical Australian discourse was replete with terms like “Frogs” (Frenchmen), “Wogs” (Italians), “bloody reffos” (refugees), “Chinks” (Chinese), etc., none of them terms of endearment. At the same time, the overwhelming majority of Australians treated us very supportively and kindly. Generalizations, societal shibboleths, in lots and lots of cases did not determine action in individual encounters. So, would one describe Australia in those years as xenophobic? I would rather say uninformed . . .

  3. Theatre Guy Z said

    Though in general, my research of the Re-Thinking movement has not been met with much adversity – a gay friend of mine asked, “Do you think your questioning this is a type of internalized homophobia?” I was stunned. So to question HIV as a gay man meant that I secretly wanted to die by ignoring the virus. This was his instant conclusion – one I imagine Thomas DeLorenzo of the Huffington Post might come to as well. (see: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thomas-delorenzo/since-when-is-the-express_b_268257.html)

    These orthodox AIDS scientists that hurl “racist” and “homophobe” are the same people who knowingly fast tracked the highly poisonous AZT and killed thousands of gay men in the 1980s. They are also the same people who claim persons of African descent have such different, primal, sometimes bizarre sexual practices that they are responsible for virus mutation and for their own mass infection rate.

    It’s a terrifying reality. There is this patronizing, veritable pat on the head, “You poor, uneducated black people…you poor, deviant homosexuals…let’s help you out.”

    I do not believe there is a deliberate will to murder with toxic drugs and misinformation. But I do think there is a general discarding of gays and blacks by those in power – so they get treated like chimps in a science experiment. And sadly, our communities not only accept it, we celebrate it with one bloody red ribbon after another.

  4. Martin,

    To answer the question “Is homophobia associated with homosexual arousal?”, in 1996 Adams, Wright, and Lohr examined two groups of men. One group consisted of homophobic men, the other one of non-homophobic men. The abstract says:

    “The men were exposed to sexually explicit erotic stimuli consisting of heterosexual, male homosexual, and lesbian videotapes, and changes in penile circumference were monitored. … Both groups exhibited increases in penile circumference to the heterosexual and female homosexual videos. Only the homophobic men showed an increase in penile erection to male homosexual stimuli. … Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8772014?dopt=Abstract

    • Martin said

      Hi Sabine, There are few things in society that arouse stronger passions than homoeroticism. So the “scientists” showed a bunch of videos to a group of men that were supposedly straight who were chosen in a non-objective manner (they were given questionnaires on which they could have lied). The results showed (objectively) that the group who had the most “fear” of being gay were probably in fact gay. What a way to bring out insecurities in the “homophobic” group, assuming they were informed at the end of the study — it would not have been good news for them. No wonder Matthew Sheppard was killed — these insecure self-hating pseudo-heterosexuals had to prove to themselves they weren’t gay by murdering one.

  5. Martin said

    Hi Dr. Bauer, Did you see the report about a circumision study that said in effect that it prevented “transmission of HIV” in heterosexual men in Uganda but not male homosexuals in the USA. In the same story, it was reported that circumcision did not prevent the transmission of syphilis. Well! We have pretty good validated detection methods for triponema pallida but not for HIV. Don’t you think anyone would be suspicious of these “studies”? Now a circumcised gay man who is a receiver obviously wouldn’t benefit from circumcision (assuming you believe their testing). It wasn’t mentioned in the AP article (on the web). BTW Washington DC wants to start routine HIV testing — I saw this in the Washington Post today. Sadly by coming up with all this gobbledy-gook, they are in effect trying to justify keeping their jobs. Any thoughts?

    • Henry Bauer said

      Martin: I’ve commented before on the mistaken shibboleth that circumcision prevents “HIV+” status, for example, RWANDA: CIRCUMCISE ALL MEN—EVEN IF IT MEANS MORE HIV INFECTION, 3 February 2008.
      I was also struck by those recent “news” items you refer to, the suggestion that circumcision protects heterosexual men but not gay men, which I would have thought to be so absurd a notion that even HIV/AIDS enthusiasts would give it short shrift. I should have known better.
      At any rate, I’ve been working on a blog entry about it, don’t yet know how to organize it because there’s so much to cover in describing the flaws in the 3 clinical trials that supposedly have provided the proof that African heterosexual men benefit from removal of their foreskin.

      • Louis Hissink said

        Hah,

        Circumcision seemed originally as a procedure to mitigate infection in a desert climate where water for ablution was a principal factor due to its palpable lack.

        That said, I report what my deceased father opined, as a physician and surgeon, that women preferred circumcised men because it took longer for such men to ejaculate, having most of the nerve endings of the glans removed by surgical procedure.

        What is has to do with HIV/AIDS remains scientifically unclear, but morally very.

  6. Louis Hissink said

    Henry,

    I just read your review of Hogan’s Kicking the Sacred Cow and it’s interesting, especially the section on Velikovsky.

    I’m personally ambivalent about Velikovsky, and did make the effort to read what he wrote, or as far as I could with the resources available to me. I also had a copy of Earth in Upheaval for 17 years that I would periodically open and re-read each year (1975 to 1989), and remained a fence sitter. I basically adopted Harry Hess’s position.

    Then I encountered an inconvenient geological fact — I commissioned an Aboriginal Heritage survey of an area of interest to me in terms of mineral exploration, and its results jolted me out of my scientific complacency. Put simply, the Aboriginal Elders, without prompting, told me that at a particular spot their ancestors observed a phenomenon which they linked to a 1100-million-year-old volcanic eruption 150 Km away. These people had no idea of my scientific interest in that spot, and it floored me. How could a nomadic tribal people know about an ancient 1100 Ma geological event?

    I am dealing with the geological Proterozoic period, before “Life” appeared on earth.

    The only scientific conclusion was that our understanding of geological time was wrong, and it was that revelation that prompted me to check out Velikovsky’s ideas. This was 1989 and I was quite unaware of the Velikovsky Affair as it is now known.

    I side with David Stove’s assessment of Velikovsky’s hypothesis that if history is what it is, another force must be operating in the cosmos. There is, it forms the Plasma Model, and is extensively reported on under the auspices of the IEEE.

    I am unfamiliar with Ellenberger’s work but his reliance on the Ice cores from Antartica, as quoted by you in your review of Hogan’s book, is contradicted by the Chinese maps of that continent during the Ming Dynasty. The maps are fact, so the science seems problematical, as is Nessie🙂, in another sense, and yes I agree with you on Nessie — it’s much like the discovery of that small patch of Wollombi Pines in OZ, remnants of older flora in isolated unreachable pockets of the land.

    This means the Antarctic ice-cap is somewhat recent in age and can’t be used by Ellenberger as scientific evidence to refute Velikovsky’s thesis. And that thesis has since been demonstrated as wrong anyway and which you might have been unaware of considering your own analysis of the data extant.

    Like all matters in science, new facts change things but what does not seem to change much is the dogmatic approach to knowledge, which is basically an ability of memory, more than anything else.

    But your err slightly with Velikovsky — he was right, but his insight got garbled in the subsequent ignorant chattering by the scientific intelligentsia.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Louis: I keep being confirmed in my understanding that intelligent and informed people can differ on specific issues 😉

      As to Velikovsky, my views are set out in much more detail in my book, Beyond Velikovsky, than in my Hogan review. I have a whole section on “Was V right or wrong?”
      About WHAT are you saying he was right? I think he was most right about the dogmatism and singlemindedness of scientists, but he was wrong about physical-science matters, as demonstarted most clearly in his little monograph Cosmos without Gravitation.

      I’m not sure what you intend by the Plasma Model, but my own rather tentative view is that the Big-Bang model is wrong and that Alfven’s electromagnetic and plasma model may explain a whole bunch of things; but I haven’t looked into whether Alfven includes the evidence from Arp and others’ data on redshifts, which supports the idea of continuous creation of high-redshift-matter whose redshift then decays.

      As to dogmatism in science as a growing problem, see “Science in the 21st Century: Knowledge Monopolies and Research Cartels”

  7. Hi Martin and Henry,

    Once upon a time in a far away country there was a sorcerer just about to become alive. As it was a very far away country, this adventure took some time. Our fellow fairy tale factory narrates:

    “Sigismund Schlomo Freud was born , May 6,1856 – September 23,1939),”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigmund_Freud
    (accessed 30 August 2009, 05:56 GMT)

    While soon-to-become sorcerer Schlomo stucked there in this far away womb in a very far away country from May 61856 until September 231939, thousands of ghosts were buzzing about stucked-in-the-womb Schlomo, whispering fairy tales into his ears about the ancient tradition of believing in the Unconscious Mind.

    One magic day in September 231939, at dusk little Schlomo began to breathe – and immediately bewitched all Unconscious Minds of all living creatures on Earth. When the next dawn reached the Earth, all knowledge about the ancient tradition of the Unconscious Mind had been wiped out entirely – enabling Schlomo to claim the Unconscious Mind being his own invention.

    According to the Thirteenth Commandment of the ancient tradition of the Unconscious Mind, all human beings are obliged to project onto others all innate character traits that they hate in themselves, and to hunt down and kill all creatures they have projected their hateful traits upon.

    After Schlomo had died from February 576982 until November 872159, his ghosts bewitched a sorceress in another far away country. In July 933666 sorceress Nancy created the Third Sex. Since then three sexes populated the Earth: Women, Gay Men, and Straight Men – Gay Men and Straight Men being entirely different from each other chemically and anatomically.

    After all had been said and done, Schlomo’s and Nancy’s ghosts united in Heaven, celebrated Hieros Gamos, and lived happily ever after.

  8. Tony Lance said

    Not only have I been corresponding with Henry for more than two years, I’ve been a guest in his home. Anyone who says he’s homophobic doesn’t know him. He’s never treated me with anything but kindness and respect.

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