HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Progress in science requires suspension of disbelief

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2010/04/29

Jon Meacham’s review of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years (New York Times Book Review, 4 April 2010, 14-5)  contained these thought-provoking sentences:

Faith requires a willing suspension of disbelief.
But that is a different thing from the suspension of reason.

Dogmatic atheists, who are typically also dogmatic scientific materialists, disbelieve anything that they do not know how to explain in straightforward terms within the limits of contemporary scientific knowledge; and they describe as irrational anyone who confesses a belief, a faith, that appears incompatible with their own scientistic world-view. There are, however, many religious people who happen also to be competent scientists and who have written cogently about the compatibility of reason and religious faith — Kenneth Miller, say, or John Polkinghorne. They manage to be rational about their faith and about other matters while suspending the scientistic dismissal of anything that doesn’t seem to fit the current mainstream scientific consensus — which they, being historically informed as well as intelligent, understand to be tentative and temporary, as all scientific knowledge is.

The epithets of irrational and unscientific are hurled not only at religious believers, of course, but also against people who study such unproven topics as extrasensory perception or the possible existence of UFOs or Loch Ness monsters or yetis, and also against those of us who deny that HIV causes AIDS. But it is we who are the rational ones, because we are informed by history in the knowledge that scientific mainstream consensuses have always changed; and we understand that it is absurd to treat opposing a consensus as automatically wrong.

It becomes wearisome to continue to recall examples, which are legion, of counter-mainstream contentions that turned out to win the later day:
— The Earth DOES move.
— There ARE disease-causing germs, and it’s good to wash your hands before delivering a baby.
— Energy DOES travel in discrete quanta.
— The supposedly mythical Kraken DOES exist: it’s the giant squid.
— Children ARE, in unfortunate numbers, physically maltreated by their parents or caretakers.
— Rocks DO fall from the skies.
— Ulcers ARE caused by bacteria.
— Kuru and mad-cow diseases are NOT caused by “slow viruses”.
— Acupuncture sometimes works, and NOT via the placebo response.
— “Civilized” folk, not only Australian aborigines, ARE likely to suffer when subjected to bone-pointing or the like.
— And innumerable others.

It is irrational to hold that any contemporary belief held by some majority of researchers is automatically true. It is irrational and uninformed to criticize people just because they disagree with a mainstream consensus. The devil is always in the details, and those who wish to support any mainstream consensus can only do so rationally by invoking the specific evidence that is supposed to support that consensus.

It is rational to take seriously evidence that seems to contradict any given mainstream consensus.

Of course, that a mainstream consensus is almost bound to be wrong over the long haul — that’s how science and human understanding progress, after all — does not make it automatically or demonstrably wrong in the short run, just because some phenomena remain inexplicable. But it is irrational to exclude the possibility whereas it is rational to explore the evidence pro and con.

In the case of HIV/AIDS, the evidence pro is thin at best, which is why, plausibly, the HIV/AIDS dogmatists and their groupies persistently fail to cite it and resort to name-calling and reiteration of :everyone knows”, “no one doubts”, “hundreds of thousands of papers”, etc.
On the other hand, the evidence con is copious and strong.

So the rational ones are the Duesbergs, the Perthians, the Lauritsens, the Culshaws, and the many others of that ilk.
The irrational ones are the Faucis, Gallos, and their groupies, who attempt to explain away contradiction after contradiction:
— vaccines that enhance instead of countering “infection”;
— antiretroviral drugs that cannot kill their supposed target when they are present in microbicides;
— putative retroviruses that mutate to the extent that there is no prototype or archetype while maintaining pathogenicity;
— a sexually transmitted agent that brings enormous epidemics while being almost impossible to transmit via sexual intercourse;
— an infectious agent that cannot survive for long outside physiological conditions and yet is said able to produce epidemics via unsterilized needles in regions where the agent’s prevalence is minuscule;
— an agent transmitted via breast milk, but not if babies are fed exclusively with breast milk. And so on and so forth.

21 Responses to “Progress in science requires suspension of disbelief”

  1. Manuel Fernandes said

    Good afternoon Dr. Bauer,

    Can you please give me your theory regarding the following:

    Why “viral loads” – whatever they are actually measuring – decline when HAART is commenced, and then begin to increase when the treatment is halted.

    Why there is a perfect correlation between an HIV-positive test and a VL test.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Manuel Fernandes:
      Where do you get that information?
      Viral load does not always decline on HAART: that’s what the Treatment Guidelines refer to as “virologic failure”.
      Nor is there a perfect correlation between HIV tests and viral load. Indeed, when the tests were invented, it turned out that virus could not be found even by culture in 40-50% of HIV-positive cases.

      • Manuel Fernandes said

        I have tracked the users from forums.poz.com and all of their labs log demonstrate that.

      • Henry Bauer said

        Manuel Fernandes:
        I hope you are not seriously suggesting a forum as authoritative? Are you really claiming to have looked at the logs of all labs that have had anything to do with HAART? Which labs? Isn’t it clinical data that’s called for?

      • SkepticThough said

        Don’t waste your time with this “Manuel Fernandez” impostor, the words and syntax reek of that awful DeShong psycho. Does that guy even have a life? He seems to have nothing better to do but plaster his garbage all over the Internet constantly with these sorry little avatars.

      • Henry Bauer said

        SkepticThough:
        Thanks. I’m a slow learner. I keep bending over backwards to assume that silly questions are genuine.

  2. Francis said

    Manuel, there is another anomaly in that up to 20% of HIV-negative people, have measurable “viral loads to HIV” on PCR. As for HAART decreasing viral loads, as Dr Bauer stated in some cases it simply doesn’t. And in those that it does, is it any wonder that a drug designed to stop DNA and RNA replicaton at a cellular level would display the characteristic of showing no RNA on a HIV PCR test? If anyone bothered to check, you’d find a zero load for anything as they are effective life-cessation chemicals.

  3. mo79uk said

    This reminds me of when Lord (Prof.) Robert Winston rightly criticised Prof. Richard Dawkins for turning religious people away from science – as if the two are utterly incompatible, and conveniently glossing over the contributions from Islam, for example.
    I’m not particularly religious but there’s just so much to this universe that I really cannot refute the possibility of higher being(s) in some form. What I like about many religious people is that they are believers not truthers. The difference is indeed subtle but the latter is completely closed-minded.
    Even if religions prove to be wrong I’m certain the cultural framework of them has helped to develop science.
    Every person should have doubts about, and as Duesberg’s site points out “The important thing is to not stop questioning.” Einstein.

  4. ale said

    Hi people. did somebody see this news? http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100422153925.htm
    then.. this disease instead of AIDS must been called…for example.. Iirs (imprecise immune response syndrome)?. Sorry for my English, is not very good🙂
    Regards, Doctor Bauer.

  5. Theodore M. Van Oosbree said

    Dr. Bauer:
    You might enjoy “Galileo Was Wrong; The Church Was Right” by Robert Sungenis and Robert Bennett. I was especially struck by quotations from the “leading lights” of cosmology, Einstein, Hubble, etc., who all acknowledged that earth as the center of the universe was cosmologically possible. They all state in one way or another that they rejected that theory “a priori” because of the philosophical implications of an earth-centered universe.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Theodore M. van O.: I think there is no way to determine whether the universe has a center, and if so, where it might be.

  6. Tim Hunt said

    An HIV campaigner Clint Walters has just died of a heart attack age 31 otherwise fit and healthy which I’m willing to bet was caused by his HAART medication(no pun intended).

    I’m willing to bet his beliefs were unshakable to promote HAART.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Tim Hunt:
      Plausible, yes. Certain, no. We really need careful autopsies as well as death certificates.

  7. Frank said

    A friend sent a link to a new book by Steven Shapin:

    Never Pure: Historical Studies of Science as if It Was Produced by People with Bodies, Situated in Time, Space, Culture, and Society, and Struggling for Credibility and Authority

    One Amazon reviewer squeaks “Anti-science agenda?” Those who kneel to scientism are terrified by anything that illuminates the history of their faith!

  8. ale said

    Hi D.Bauer. Do you know if patients of idiopathic lymphocytopenia cd4 have been treated with HAART and if so … increased lymphocytes?. Thanks and regards from Spain..

    • Henry Bauer said

      ale:
      I have not hard of any treatment being used for ICL; but it would be illogical to use an antiretroviral (HAART) when the condition’s cause is unknown (“idiopathic”)

  9. ale said

    yes Doctor Bauer, but if HAART worked in patients with ICL raising the CD4 count like in many seropositive, may be evidence that really the ICL and aids are the same phenomenon and hiv has nothing to do with the disease, what do you think?

    • Henry Bauer said

      ale:
      Aha, I see what you were driving at. But from the mainstream viewpoint, there would be no point in trying the experiment.

      • Martin said

        Hi Dr. Bauer, ICL and HIV infection is really a distinction without a difference. Dr. Duesberg knew this as well. Since there really was no way for anyone to really demonstrate that the “AIDS” patient was authentically infected with HIV – the “objective” tests available ELISA and the “confirmatory” Western Blot only presumed to demonstrate infection.

      • Henry Bauer said

        Martin:
        Yes indeed. The definition of ICL is identical with the original (pre-HIV) definition of AIDS.

  10. ale said

    yes, I agree. Thanks Henry.

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