HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Scientists as idiots savants (Science Studies 200)

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2010/02/28

What do scientists actually do? What do they produce?

Consider, for example, the titles of the articles in volume 53, issue #2, February 2010, of JAIDS (Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes). How relevant are they to the question of interest to AIDS Rethinkers and the public at large, which is whether HIV causes AIDS?

— Urgent need for coordination in adopting standardized antiretroviral adherence performance indicators
— Pairwise comparison of isogenic HIV-1 viruses: R5 phenotype replicates more efficiently than X4 phenotype in primary CD4+ T cells expressing physiological levels of CXCR4
— Prediction of HIV Type 1 Subtype C tropism by genotypic algorithms built from Subtype B viruses
— Maternal antiretroviral use during pregnancy and infant congenital anomalies: The NISDI Perinatal Study
— Insulin sensitivity in multiple pathways is differently affected during Zidovudine/Lamivudine-containing compared with NRTI-sparing combination antiretroviral therapy
— Pooled nucleic acid testing to identify antiretroviral treatment failure during HIV infection
— Short-term bone loss in HIV-infected premenopausal women
— Pharmacokinetic interaction of Ritonavir-boosted Elvitegravir and Maraviroc
— Durability of initial antiretroviral therapy in a resource-constrained setting and the potential need for Zidovudine weight-based dosing
— Hepatitis C and the risk of kidney disease and mortality in veterans with HIV
— Bisexuality, sexual risk taking, and HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men accessing voluntary counseling and testing services in Mumbai, India
— Trends in HIV prevalence, estimated HIV incidence, and risk behavior among men who have sex with men in Bangkok, Thailand, 2003-2007
— Indian men’s use of commercial sex workers: Prevalence, condom use, and related gender attitudes
— The association between alcohol consumption and prevalent cardiovascular diseases among HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected men
— Sustainability of first-line antiretroviral regimens: Findings from a large HIV treatment program in Western Kenya
— Comparison of early CD4 T-Cell count in HIV-1 seroconverters in Cote d’Ivoire and France: The ANRS PRIMO-CI and SEROCO cohorts
— Incident depression symptoms are associated with poorer HAART adherence: A longitudinal analysis from the nutrition for healthy living study
— Prevalence and correlates of HIV infection among male injection drug users in detention in Tehran, Iran
— HIV infection: An independent risk factor of peripheral arterial disease
— Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in HIV-infected persons: Epidemiology and the role of nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
— Reply to “Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease among HIV-Infected persons”

This little exercise is intended to illustrate what should be perhaps the first axiom of scientific literacy: Nowadays scientists qua scientists are idiots savants. They are focused professionally on just one very specific and highly technical matter that is almost immeasurably distant from the wider context that matters to everyone else. Popular coverage of science, TV documentaries, magazine and newspaper pieces make it appear as though scientists were grappling continually and always with LARGE questions: the overall story of human evolution, perhaps, or how species become extinct, or how vaccines were invented, and so on and so forth. But the overwhelming proportion of scientists spend their time on esoteric little aspects of obscure little details, and they step into quite other shoes and perform in quite other roles if they are ever brought to speak to the public at large.

Specialization nowadays has reached the degree that the old saw* becomes almost literally true — scientists get to know more and more about less and less, until they know almost everything about almost nothing while knowing essentially nothing about everything else. A minor but instructive example: Medical professionals engaged for several decades in attempts at gene therapy did not keep up with the progressive understanding of genetics and development which has revealed that the initial basis for attempting gene therapy is not valid, because the Central Dogma of “one gene, one protein” was wrong — see for example the review by Ast, “The alternative genome”, Scientific American, April 2005, pp. 58-65. “Genes” are not permanent units of heredity, they are functional assemblages of sub-units that get activated and deactivated by signals from elsewhere, and those signals must be timed and coordinated with exquisite precision.

The very success of science has entailed that achieving ever deeper understanding means that research has to focus on increasingly infinitesimal detail. Scientific research means looking intensely at properties of the markings on individual leaves; which may eventually lead to a better understanding of the leaves; which might eventually contribute to a better understanding of tree growth; which is still a very long distance from knowing much about the forest, let alone the landscape.

In doing research, scientists simply accept as unquestioned the theoretical framework of the prevailing mainstream consensus. HIV/AIDS researchers have no time, no incentive, no reason to wonder whether HIV really causes AIDS — that’s simply a given for them. If it weren’t, then they wouldn’t be HIV/AIDS researchers: they might be scholars of “science and technology studies” (historians, sociologists, philosophers of science, political scientists, and so on), or they might be “HIV-positive” people whose health and lives depend on how the big question is answered.

Suggest to an HIV/AIDS researcher that HIV might not be the cause of AIDS, and you are questioning the very basis of his professional life and implying that he might not be able to trust his colleagues, his guild, his “science”. That’s why those Rethinkers and Skeptics who have approached even friends of theirs who happen to be HIV/AIDS researchers have received very cold, unfriendly, dismissive responses. It is quite literally UNTHINKABLE for an HIV/AIDS researcher that HIV might not be the cause of AIDS.
It’s also unthinkable for the great majority of biologists who are not HIV/AIDS researchers themselves, for they automatically trust their colleagues in other specialties of biology or medicine to be right about their particular specialty, just as they themselves expect to be trusted about their own specialty.
And it’s unthinkable for most scientists that any area of science or medicine could be so visibly and drastically wrong on so major an issue as HIV/AIDS.

Science is a vast mosaic of overlapping specialties glued together by mutual trust. Centuries of modern science appear to the conventional wisdom as a triumphant progress to better understanding of more and more about the natural world. That the progress has actually come by many trials and much error is known only to specialist historians and others. Even for them, this awareness of continual correction of errors, and of the occasional startling “scientific revolutions”, is no preparation for the possibility that HIV is not the cause of AIDS, for history offers no instance of a mistake comparable in its huge, widespread human and financial cost. Lives lost to “AIDS” in one way or another, and resources expended on “HIV/AIDS”, are of a magnitude usually associated with wars, not with a medical-scientific blunder (of which there have been many of lesser magnitude).

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

This underscores what Clark Baker, among others, has been saying to Rethinkers for some time: Overturning HIV/AIDS theory will not result from scientific discussions, it can come only through political and social activism. The wider society must decide to force HIV/AIDS theorists to defend their faith under public cross-examination. HIV/AIDS researchers will reconsider the fundamental basis of their work only if forced to do so by irresistible outside pressure.

I’m not saying that the scientific issues are unimportant. They are nowadays of little concern only because all the necessary evidence is already at hand, in the mainstream literature, to demonstrate that “HIV” tests do not detect infection by an HIV retrovirus, that testing “HIV-positive” is not an inevitable prelude to illness, that “HIV-positive” is not in general a sexually transmitted condition; and so on. I am saying that the necessary task is to find some way of presenting that scientific evidence to the media and to the public and to socially and politically influential people in sufficiently concise yet convincing manner that they are forced to think the unthinkable, namely, to question the official mainstream consensus even when there is no precedent for such questioning.

One barrier to such a scenario is scientific illiteracy. Scientists as well as non-scientists are functionally illiterate when it comes to understanding the proper role of science in public affairs and how science should be organized to serve the wider society. That’s how scientific literacy and illiteracy should be defined, in terms of the place of science in human affairs. It’s quite unnecessary for everyone to know what molecules are, or enzymes, but it’s essential in a democratic society that everyone have an understanding of the degree to which experts, including scientists, can be taken at their professional word.

Here are some basics of scientific literacy:
There is no scientific method that guarantees objectivity (H. H. Bauer, Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific Method, University of Illinois Press, 1992).
Science is the search for consensual knowledge — consensual among fallible, non-objective human beings (John Ziman, Public Knowledge: An Essay Concerning the Social Dimension of Science, Cambridge University Press, 1968; and others culminating in Real Science—What It Is, and What It Means, 2000).
Like other human beings, scientists don’t readily change their views in the face of contradictory evidence. Resistance to new discovery by scientists is endemic. Major advances that modify or overturn an established scientific consensus have always been strenuously resisted, even as afterwards the resistance is forgotten and the formerly resisted ones are pronounced heroes — sometimes posthumously (Bernard Barber, “Resistance by scientists to scientific discovery”, Science, 134 [1961] 596-602; Gunther Stent, “Prematurity and uniqueness in scientific discovery”, Scientific American, December 1972, 84-93; Ernest B. Hook (ed)., Prematurity in Scientific Discovery: On Resistance and Neglect, University of California Press, 2002).
The overwhelming majority of scientists nowadays are craftsmen, tinkerers, journeymen. Many are mediocre even in terms of their professional talents. To think of Einstein, Darwin, Freud, and the like as exemplifying scientists is like thinking of Eisenhower, Macarthur, Marshall, and the like as exemplifying soldiers (H. H. Bauer, Beyond Velikovsky: The History of a Public Controversy, University of Illinois Press 1984, 1999, pp. 303-6).
The great achievers are typically idiots savants. Nobel-winning scientists usually make very poor administrators or advisers on anything outside their narrow specialty. Nobelist Varmus as head of the National Institutes of Health dropped conflict of interest regulations that led to scandalous behavior by senior scientists (David Willman, series in Los Angeles Times, December 2003). Nobelist Chu as Energy Secretary has already displayed qualities of dogmatic belief and single-mindedness that high-achieving scientists need but that are dysfunctional for administrators who need to be flexible, open-minded, pragmatic, willing to compromise. The enormously successful atom-bomb project had as its director Robert Oppenheimer, a highly knowledgeable physicist but not the highest achiever within physics. (I should enter the caveat that some Nobelists are quite sensible, even wise, for example economists Herbert Simon and James Buchanan.)
In research, one accepts the prevailing theoretical framework as the working hypothesis and tries to build on it. That becomes functionally equivalent to believing that theoretical framework to be true. Anomalous phenomena are shoved aside for later attention, or reasons are found for ignoring them as flawed, or ad hoc modifications are added to the basic theory to accommodate them, no matter how illogically or awkwardly — like Ptolemy’s “wheels within wheels within wheels” to preserve the Earth-centered view of the heavens. The accepted theory is abandoned only as a last resort under a tsunami of contradictions. (T. S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, University of Chicago Press, 1962/1970; Imre Lakatos, “History of Science and its Rational Reconstruction”, in Method and Appraisal in the Physical Sciences, ed. Colin Howson, 1-40, Cambridge University Press, 1976).

A couple of things about science are relatively new and have so far not become generally recognized even within the interdisciplinary field of science studies:
The normal resistance to counter-mainstream views has become actual suppression in an increasing array of fields (H. H. Bauer, “HIV/AIDS in historical context”; “Suppression of science within science”; “The new world order in science”; “21st century science: Knowledge monopolies and research cartels”).
Before HIV/AIDS, no scientific theory was so wrong as well as so influential in medical practice as to bring direct physical harm to hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of people, also causing unknowable amounts of psychological, social, and fiscal damage. That this is unprecedented makes it all the more difficult for the media and the public and the policy makers, let alone HIV/AIDS researchers themselves, to see it. (Human-caused global-warming theory is just as ill-based scientifically, but it hasn’t caused the same human suffering.)

So, again, what’s needed is to find facts sufficiently obvious to non-specialists, sufficiently incontrovertible, and of sufficient human impact, “human interest”, that the media cannot avoid taking notice and the politicians cannot continue to remain in blissful ignorance. Somehow HIV/AIDS dogma must be forced publicly to reveal and defend its supposed evidentiary basis.

———————————————–
* I thought I’d read somewhere, perhaps in Gulliver’s Travels, the insight that specialization leads to knowing more and more about less and less; but a search through readily available reference-sources (Bartlett, Hoyt, Bergen Evans, GOOGLE) turned up only “An expert is someone who knows more and more about less and less, until eventually he knows everything about nothing” in a Murphy’s Laws collection, though the first clause is attributed in several places to Nicholas Murray Butler; also “An old complaint about the narrowing of interest of the medical specialist defines him as a person who gradually comes to learn more and more about less and less” (editorial comment, Psychiatric Quarterly, 23 [1949] 567). But I’m still inclined to think that Jonathan Swift, or perhaps George Bernard Shaw, said something along those lines.

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22 Responses to “Scientists as idiots savants (Science Studies 200)”

  1. “Suggest to an HIV/AIDS researcher that HIV might not be the cause of AIDS……It is quite literally UNTHINKABLE for an HIV/AIDS researcher that HIV might not be the cause of AIDS.”

    Forget researchers and biologists for a moment, Henry. What about the vast myriad of lost-in-space apologists with no other line of reasoning? Actually one need not be a researcher, an apologist or “AIDS” activist. All one has to be is someone who professes to have lost someone to AIDS, and bingo, it now becomes incomprehensible to their indoctrinated UNTHINKABLE mind-set that there’s no proof to any of it.

    You’re 100% right about pointing out that it’s only through political and social cross-examination that any progress can be made. It’s about supporting the likes of Katherine Albrecht, George Whitehurst Berry , Niki Guluci, Robert Scott Bell, Lew Rockwell, Dean Esmay and a whole host of others, who stand behind the convictions of you, I and our fellow dissenters. I think what Clark’s been suggesting is that we step up our game.

  2. Norman B. said

    When a visiting dignitary expressed concern to President Truman that State Department “experts” might undermine his foreign policy, Truman replied, “An expert is someone who is afraid of anything new, because then he wouldn’t be an expert anymore.”

    • Henry Bauer said

      Norman B.: Very nice quote, thanks!

      • Martin said

        Hi Dr. Bauer, How appropriate that quote is from Truman! The anger I got from that virologist that was sitting near me that I had related in an earlier post confirms what you said in this post. The list of funded “AIDS research” topics you listed would be better in the “Annals of Improbable Research”, a science humor publication. One of the funniest articles in that publication was about how spinning of the dreidle and the way it landed was proof that God was left-handed.

      • Henry Bauer said

        Martin: Admittedly this degree of specialization generates titles of articles and of grant proposals that are ready grounds for humor. But the point I’m trying to make goes further. This is simply how science must be done in an increasing range of fields, because it takes such intricate detailed work to unravel what’s going on. I wanted only to point out that scientists are typically engaged in work that is very far removed from the larger questions. In high-energy particle physics, a one-page article may nowadays have hundreds of authors, because it requires teams of specialists from so many aspects of engineering and physics to even prepare all the apparatus. Eventually, answers to large questions may indeed emerge, but few if any of the authors of such papers spend much time considering the larger question: it is simply moot until years of fiddling have finally produced a result — which may, of course, be inconclusive.
        I wanted to explain only why it is so highly unlikely that AIDS Rethinkers could entice or persuade HIV/AIDS researchers to think about all the contradictions and absurdities that Rethinkers have described. Moreover, HIV/AIDS researchers have not, on the whole, come to their belief that HIV causes AIDS by ever looking into the original literature on which that belief is supposedly based; they picked the belief up in the course of their education and training, just as chemists learn about the Periodic Table, for example, through discussion of its triumphs and uses, not through surveying all the possible forms of such a Table or through discussions of whether “exceptions” to inferences from that Table have any deeper significance.
        Scientists grapple with larger issues only when a field is in its infancy. Once a consensus has formed, researchers want to move further, which means accepting the consensus just as though it were true. I think Kuhn’s description is widely applicable: once “established”, theories are not questioned again until there have accumulated an overwhelming array of things that the theory cannot explain and that cannot be explained away. With HIV/AIDS, so far researchers have been able to explain things away — to their own satisfaction — by ad hoc moves like inventing “idiopathic CD4-T-cell lymphopenia” (AIDS without HIV); “immune restoration syndrome” (antiretroviral drugs make patients’ conditions worse); incredible rates of mutation without losing infectious or pathogenic properties; and many more, as you know. So long as research funds keep flowing, HIV/AIDS researchers are happy to treat such matters as grounds for further research, not grounds for questioning the very basis of their work.

      • mo79uk said

        Gallo’s original paper has essentially become a holy text. I bet those who’ve submitted themselves to HIV/AIDS research often find a picture of the virus ingrained in their morning toast.

      • Yes, Mo. Can you smell it burning too? http://i46.tinypic.com/bi57qq.jpg

      • mo79uk said

        Lol! :)

  3. Edward Kamau said

    So, again, what’s needed is to find facts sufficiently obvious to non-specialists, sufficiently incontrovertible, and of sufficient human impact, “human interest”, that the media cannot avoid taking notice and the politicians cannot continue to remain in blissful ignorance.

    Those facts already exist in the public record. In the end I think what will bring HIV/AIDS down is imperial over-reach. In its quest for constantly increasing, power, and dominance over society, the AIDS establishment will do something really stupid and provoke the rise of a powerful opposing coalition. That and opposition to the AIDS establishment from outside the US.

    emk

    • Henry Bauer said

      Edward Kamau: “something really stupid”…. How abut “Test everybody and give all HIV+ people ARVs immediately”?
      But there has been no widespread outrage at this suggestion.

      • Edward Kamau said

        Yep, sometimes it seems like a race to see just how much stupidity society is willing to buy at ever rising prices. I’m not sure, ” give everybody ARVs” in their breakfast cereal would rise to the needed levels, particularly here in the US. The Cult of the White Coats, a truly fundamentalist religion, has taken over mainstream American thinking. After all, many — perhaps most — people here see no problem with vaccinating 9-yr-old girls against a virus that may or may not cause any disease forty years later.

        I often think that Africa holds the key to bringing the whole thing down. There is an enormous undercurrent of suspicion, disbelief and distrust of official AIDS positions and claims across many African societies. I think that’s what panicked the AIDS establishment so much in South Africa in 2000, when they were challenged by Mbeki.

        I’ve been told by a prominent AIDS activist in Ghana that neither the government nor the church of which he is part is willing to support his work with HIV+ people. He has to look for foreign funding.

        I know there is a large dose of AIDS skepticism amongst local officials in places like Kenya. But nobody really talks about this publicly or on the record, because it means 1. public ridicule, 2. loss of job/career, 3. loss of funding for program/country.

        Fear and greed are what hold those systems in line. But the fuel is there, all it will take is a spark to start the fire.

        emk

    • Timewalker said

      @ Edward Kamau: Did you see these two videos? These Africans aren’t stupid. They know something is up. But they’re largely poor, powerless, and hungry.

      I often wonder what would happen if these testing initiatives targeted affluent, white, straight men. I wonder if the flaws and inconsistencies in the HIV=AIDS narrative wouldn’t suddenly become more apparent. A big part of the effectiveness of these campaigns is they’re seen as compassionate largesse bestowed upon marginalized populations.

      • Edward Kamau said

        TimeWalker: the link you posted above is broken. But yes Africans aren’t stupid. I’m one of them and I well remember the course it took. Most people were initially quite skeptical about HIV/AIDS and many “conspiracy” theories became popular. In particular about HIV being a tailor-made virus in some US lab designed to target Africans. After everything the West had been telling Africans about overpopulation, it was not entirely unreasonable for people to view with suspicion the sudden appearance of a virus capable of decimating the population.

        That underlying suspicion remains. Plus people have noticed that their populations were not decimated. Uganda and Botswana are still around. But AIDS in Africa is also a lucrative “business”. It’s a conduit for foreign funding to local groups. Start up something to do with AIDS and you can get all the foreign funding you want.

        emk

      • Henry Bauer said

        Edward Kamau: The role of foreign funds in making “HIV/AIDS” advantageous for Africans is described in considerable detail by Neville Hodgkinson in “AIDS: The Failure of Contemporary Science”. Long out of print but many copies still available through that excellent resource for used books, http://www.abebooks.com/

  4. Theodore Van Oosbree said

    The situation is much worse than Dr. Bauer thinks. Einstein, Darwin and Freud have all been subjected to devastating criticism. Their theories are no sounder than the HIV/Aids hypothesis.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Theodore Van Oosbree: With respect, I disagree. NOTHING about HIV/AIDS theory is even close to correct. Einstein was certainly right about what he got the Nobel Prize for, namely, explaining the photoelectric effect and Brownian motion; and his E=mc(squared) has been proved right in serious practice (nuclear energy, atomic reactors, bombs). Darwin still seems to be largely right, that a major mechanism of evolution is natural selection. Freud was right, I think, about the importance of unconscious mechanisms, and I think his explanations are very useful as to interpretation of at least some dreams and some “slips of the tongue” — Freudian slips; and the technique of free association continues to be widely used, presumably because it is effective in a significant proportion of cases.
      No one, in my view, has ever been right about EVERYTHING. But these 3 deserve their honored place in history. HIV/AIDS will also have a place in history: as the first instance of a dreadfully wrong theory adopted so widely as to cause untold human misery.

      • Martin said

        Hi Dr. Bauer, That’s very funny. Einstein and Darwin theories are scientific theories and have practical value and predictive capabilities. How Oosbree can say that about those great scientists is quite puzzling. Freud on the other hand, had no scientific theories he even said so. His “invention” of type of conversation with the trade name of psychoanalysis has always been of dubious value — it has been shown that people change when they want to change and that time is just as effective as conversation.

      • Henry Bauer said

        Martin: I think much about human psychology cannot be “one size fits all”. I think it depends on the type of conversation, on who is at the other end, what the problems are, etc., etc. Not many people still subscribe to Freud’s precise theories about mechanisms and causes, but free association to uncover subsconscious things remains widely thought to be often useful.

  5. Timewalker said

    @ Edward Kamau: My apologies. I guess they moved it. Here’s a link directly to the YouTube of the first of two videos. It’s an interview with an African doctor talking about things like how all the funding goes to HIV instead of the diseases that are really ravaging the population like malaria, how only HIV+ children are getting food and water and the HIV- ones have to be turned away, how the ARVs destroy the organs… Very interesting.

  6. Star Z said

    AIDS inc has put more effort into making the dogma accessible than rethinkers have in presenting their point of view. There is a path of least resistence in reversing the dogmatised. Demographics is 14yr old social studies, many understand this plus it is math, the universal language. Once people realise that in 1986 they said everyone out of the reach of ARVS would be dead by now but are not they will wonder. If someone understands the demographics and the absurdity of predictions made, and thus all AIDS=death dogma, they can question other things. They will seek out explanations for all those shortcomings- transmition, drug effectiveness, test issues etc. If someone can see there is no death, no epidemic, they will doubt the dogma and at that point they are receptive. I found dissidence here and have since questioned more. I find even begining with Padian does not work, as straight forward as the abstract is, the fact that drugs kill does not mean HIV wont, tests are dodgy so what?- they say. Starting with scientific papers will not work, speaking to survivors might, but that is just one person. Finding that a whole continent hasnt died but has successfully procreated- had sex, had children that thrive, even as drug supplies have remained poor, seems to atleast raise an eyebrow in the uninitiated. NGOs are the real danger because they incentivise testing and subsidise positive patients. The selective need to know basis of AIDS inc makes them quite effective and diabolical agents.

  7. It’s “unthinkable” that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS — that is, thought just can’t touch it. It’s not subject to reason.

    So why attack it that way? (Henry Bauer is a scientist and is perfectly right in pointing out these things . . . but nobody at risk showed up to be convinced.)

    Even more basic, no one has really nailed down what AIDS “is.” It’s a moving target. And then they pretend to diagnose it, count it, measure it, treat it, and “fight” it.

    I’m more and more convinced that people’s stubbornness in fighting something that’s invisible and shifting — AS IF it were a real thing, standing still — comes from their refusal to admit what it really is they’re fighting.

    They’re fighting a feeling: grief over that dying friend, the fear that their whole worldview could come crashing down, the suspicion that technology might not save them. A friend of mine once observed that the “War on Terror” would never be won because it’s a war on a FEELING, and you can’t fight feelings with bombs and guns in a desert somewhere. You can’t fight feelings of fear and alienation with “antivirals,” either.

    After all, if they were just challenged about a thing they can’t actually count or observe, what would the big deal be? But if you challenge their worldview, look out.

    People will die themselves before they let their worldview die; letting a worldview die is Armageddon itself. Therefore, if you “die of AIDS,” you died so that the whole game might keep going. Larry Kramer admitted that once: he told Celia Farber that all those guys died of AZT and other experimental drugs so that others might live. But if it was some sort of public-at-large clinical trial, where are the data? He’s talking poetically, not scientifically: human sacrifice, religious belief.

    People don’t go all nuts over their right to die in clinical trials; they only do that when they believe in something far bigger, a complete, drinking-of-the-Kool-Aid moment of transcendence and self-sacrifice.

    Remember that scene in “Cats,” where the old cat comes down on a flying saucer and touches paw with another cat below? All the tourists in the audience start bawling, and I say “Huh?” — because I have no idea what it’s even about. I ask them, and they don’t either. It was just such a beautiful moment of God touching paw! Never mind that cats don’t fly around in UFOs. . . .

  8. In reading Henry’s list again, I’m reminded of something Woody Allen wrote, a mock opera libretto. They’re all dancing in preparation for the hunt until Prince Vladimir or somebody says, “What hunt?”

    I suggest Henry look into the sexual studies our taxpayer dollars pay for if he wants a good laugh. The Traditional Values Coalition used to have a pretty good list, and AmFAR blasted them for being right-wing nuts who embarrassed about sex. Conservatives, yes, but gosh, who really wants to pay for something like, “Measurements of Sexual Arousal in Lesbians While Watching Porn,” let alone call it “HIV research”? Given that sexual transmission of a virus nobody has even seen is pretty well disproved by now, somebody lost sight of the big picture somewhere.

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