Facts versus Faith (cognitive dissonance again)
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2010/11/18
In my last post I ascribed to cognitive dissonance the inability of mainstream researchers to grasp fully the plain fact that HAART has been demonstrably responsible for a range of quite-often-fatal “side” effects including organ failure (of heart, kidney, and lung in particular) as well as life-long mitochondrial dysfunction, lipodystrophy, bone loss, and bone-marrow damage. (And that is doubtless an incomplete list.)
Another major example of cognitive dissonance is the inability to grasp what the demographics of “HIV” tests demonstrate: namely, that what is measured is not an infectious agent. For instance, people of relatively recent African ancestry invariably test “HIV-positive” more often than others, by not much less than an order of magnitude and often more, when matched for any other demographic variable. (“Relatively recent”, because all modern-sapiens human beings are of African ancestry if one goes back far enough, say more than 100,000 years or so.)
Writing about this, I was led to think back on how difficult it had been for me to see what these demographics meant, even though I had already come to disbelieve that HIV could be the cause of AIDS. If it was difficult for someone who didn’t fully believe HIV/AIDS theory to grasp the heretical significance of the demographics, how extraordinarily difficult must it be for true believers? Thinking along those lines may enable one to appreciate, I think, the power that cognitive dissonance wields.
My first encounter with HIV/AIDS dissidence had been the 1994 Ellison-Duesberg book. Over the years I then read a few other dissident works, finding the viewpoints plausible though not conclusively compelling; for example, I was impressed by Root-Bernstein’s multifactorial hypothesis that included “HIV” as a co-factor.
I began to read intensively about the question only after I had found in Harvey Bialy’s book an assertion about HIV tests that simply could not be correct under the mainstream view. Up to that time, I had not questioned the existence of HIV, its infectiousness, or its detection by HIV tests. I had had no occasion to question those: my introduction to the matter had been through the work of Duesberg, universally accepted as expert retrovirologist, who differed from the mainstream over whether or not HIV caused AIDS, not over its existence or its being a retrovirus. Almost all the dissident material I later encountered also concentrated on that issue of causation, not on what “HIV” tests detected or on the nature of “HIV”.
Bialy quoted a mainstream source to the effect that when the Army began to test potential recruits in the mid-1980s, it found in teenagers all over the country much the same prevalence among females as among males. But that could not be the case, if — as the mainstream view would have it — HIV had entered the USA during the mid-1970s in gay communities in two or three large cities: it could not have spread to teenage females all over the country within 10 years.
Chapter 1 of my book describes how I checked Bialy’s source and then collected as much additional data as I could on the results of HIV tests. That chapter does not describe, however, the state of my mind and emotions during that time. I couldn’t believe what the demographics showed, but equally couldn’t see what was wrong with the data. I tried to get help from other people, not very successfully. This long piece which I wrote as part of that attempt may convey my months-long state of emotional and intellectual turmoil; it shows how difficult it was for me to accept what the data pointed to, how hard I tried to reach some non-heretical interpretation. So pity the true believer faced with the ample conclusive evidence that disproves HIV/AIDS theory.
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The foregoing was set off by an article by Adimora et al., “Ending the epidemic of heterosexual HIV transmission among African Americans” (American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 37  468-71). It makes rather desperate attempts to come to terms with — really, to evade the significance of — the evident fact that recent African ancestry in itself is a reason for testing “HIV-positive”.
Adimora et al. recognize that African Americans test “HIV-positive” at rates similar to those found among people of African ancestry elsewhere (in the Caribbean as well as in southern Africa itself), and that the differences are independent of behavioral and social variables:
“estimates of HIV prevalence among African Americans are strikingly similar to, and in some cases exceed, population-based estimates of HIV seroprevalence . . . reported by several countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. . . . Although individual-level sexual behaviors contribute to the disparity in HIV prevalence, observed differences in individual behaviors do not fully explain the marked racial differences in HIV infection prevalence. . . . HIV prevalence among African Americans exceeds that of whites, typically substantially, even in comparisons stratified by education, poverty index, marital status, age at first sexual intercourse, lifetime number of sex partners, history of male homosexual activity, illicit drug use, injection drug use, and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) antibody positivity” [emphases added]. In other words,
no economic, social, or behavioral variables explain
the racial disparities in “HIV” status.
Race itself remains as the only correlate.
It may not be immediately obvious why this conclusion should be unthinkable. After all, the Food and Drug Administration has been comfortable with approving heart medication specifically for African Americans. Crestor acknowledges that Asians should be prescribed lower doses than others.
Perhaps the difference lies in the fundamental faith that “HIV” is infectious? Yet it has long been accepted that people of African and Mediterranean ancestry are prone to harbor genes for sickle-cell anemia because those are protective against the effects of malaria, an infectious disease.
All those, however, are physical, physiological, correlates of race. And utterly ingrained in HIV/AIDS believers is the axiom that “HIV” is spread primarily by sexual practices, in other words because of particular types of behavior.
Now, this belief condemns HIV/AIDS theory and practice to restate common racist stereotypes about black sexuality: inherently black behavior leads to being “HIV-positive”. Political correctness then requires this racist viewpoint to be camouflaged by placing the blame for this postulated different racial behavior not on those who behave this way but on their victimization by others; or, as Adimora et al. phrase it, “structural violence”:
“a social system characterized by inequalities in power and life chances of sufficient magnitude to restrict a group of people from realizing their full potential 23 and put them ‘in harm’s way.’ 24 The system is structural because it is ‘embedded in the political and economic organization of our social world’ and ‘violent because it causes injury to people (typically, not those responsible for perpetuating such inequalities)’ 24”.
The effects of structural violence include the higher prevalence of sexually transmitted disease among African Americans and “poverty, the low male-to-female sex ratio, de facto racial segregation, and disproportionate incarceration”.
The central flaw in all this is that the racial disparities in rates of “HIV-positive” remain when those postulated effects of structural violence have been taken into account, as Adimora et al. themselves acknowledged: the disparities are NOT owing to differences in “education, poverty index, marital status, age at first sexual intercourse, lifetime number of sex partners, history of male homosexual activity, illicit drug use, injection drug use, and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) antibody positivity”, all the variables that would reveal effects of structural violence.
Another way of parsing the rationalizing by Adimora et al. is this: African Americans always test “HIV-positive” more often than whites. This cannot be owing to the fact of their race, it must be owing to the discrimination they have always suffered. Therefore their sexual behavior and its consequences are not under their individual control.
Of course this too cannot be stated plainly because it’s demeaning, so it is expressed in sociologese jargon that plays around with such abstractions and generalities as “structural violence”. Nevertheless, the meaning remains: The long record of discrimination and unjust treatment has caused contemporary African Americans to be helplessly sexually irresponsible and helplessly promiscuous — irrespective of education, poverty, etc.
What Adimora et al. cannot do by any contortions of semantic obfuscation is to make their argument logically sound, nor can they rescue HIV/AIDS theory from its inherently racist character.