HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Disproving HIV/AIDS theory

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2018/02/06

After an old friend, a notably successful scientist, had read my book, The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory (McFarland, 2007), he remarked that the trouble was that it would lead to undermining trust in science overall.

But he was assuming, as do so many scientists, and so many of us who have been promoting HIV/AIDS dissent and AIDS Rethinking, that it is the facts of the matter that count; that evidence and factual reality are bound to carry the day in public discourse and public policies. That is simply not so nowadays.

Perhaps it was not so far from the truth in times past, when there was a “basic” or “pure” science carried on by relatively disinterested truth-seekers who were able to command sufficient research resources that came without strings attached.

Was that a purely mythical past?

Not really. During my student days and early faculty jobs at an Australian university, technical facilities were automatically available to the faculty: glass-blowing and other technical needs were provided by permanently employed service people; routinely used chemicals were on hand; reasonable sums of money were provided for purchase of more exotic items; publication was supported by secretarial staff, and of course in those times one’s articles were published in journals that did not demand “page charges” or other fees. We studied what interested us, what we thought would be fruitful, not what others told us to study.

That was half a century ago. There was competition, of course, but it was within civilized bounds. Peer reviewers could make bad decisions, perhaps partly under the influence of bias, but there was not much attempted suppression of rivals just for the sake of personal advancement, and outright fraud was rare indeed. We studied and practiced science pretty much as idealists. A fellow academic of my generation told me about 20 years ago that he still had his graduate students read Sinclair Lewis’s Arrowsmith for its early-20th-century message of honesty, integrity, disinterestedness.

Younger people will doubtless read the above with incredulity. Nowadays a career in scientific research begins by working on what the scientific consensus considers appropriate. One spends a significant number of years in postdoctoral and other temporary positions waiting for the rare tenure-track slot to open up, competing then with other hopefuls who are also supported by long publication lists and records of research support; or perhaps one goes into “applied” research in industry or government. In any case, the research that gets done and then published is determined by the prevailing scientific consensus, not by the individual inspiration and ingenuity of an intellectual entrepreneur. In 1980, the recipient of a prize for scientific work described the subterfuge needed to get research support for anything novel, unconventional (Richard A. Muller, “Innovation and scientific funding”, Science, 209 [1980]: 880‑883).

No mechanism exists for mainstream science to rethink accepted ideas. Rather, everything works against dissent from contemporary theory. When it comes to HIV/AIDS, a simple thought-experiment will illustrate the point:

Try to imagine how Anthony Fauci, Robert Gallo, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention could possibly manage face-saving explanations for how and why HIV doesn’t really, after all, cause AIDS; how the Food and Drug Administration would find excuses for all its approvals of toxic antiretroviral drugs. Imagine the reactions of all the researchers who had avidly pursued mindless “research”, and all the science groupies and researchers who had defended wrong theory and maligned and persecuted the “denialists” who now turned out to have been right all along. Think about what would be said and done by the Gates Foundation and all the other charities and non-profits who had diligently worked to provide health care for people being made sick not by disease but by medication.

It seems to me simply inconceivable that “the scientific consensus” and its agents could ever retract about HIV/AIDS.

So the task of disproving HIV/AIDS theory is not a matter of offering contradictory facts, which have in any case been available in profusion for decades (The Case against HIV The task is first to persuade society that “science” can get it wrong, even and in particular on a matter that affects such huge numbers of people and huge expenditures by governments and by non-profits and charities.

Society as a whole needs to be disabused of mistaken beliefs about science, in other words. My old friend had it backwards: until unquestioned faith in science is replaced by sensible skepticism and a demand that evidence for claims be openly presented and defended against skeptics, evidence-based criticisms of HIV/AIDS theory will not gain even a foothold in the conventional wisdom, the popular media, the mainstream discourse.

On my other blog, I’ve just posted a detailed discussion of the salient points:

What has been so damaging is not so much sheer ignorance as beliefs that are wrong (Dangerous knowledge).

Wrong views about the history of science are rampant throughout society; especially how drastically different today’s science is from the idealized popular view of it — which, as I opined above, was actually not that unrealistic only about half-a-century ago (Dangerous knowledge II: Wrong knowledge about the history of science).

The popular belief is wrong, that science is infallible and made so by “the scientific method”. The fact is that the scientific consensus always defends itself vigorously even when it happens to be wrong (Dangerous knowledge III: Wrong knowledge about science).

There exists a vicious cycle: HIV/AIDS dissent (and dissent from any contemporary scientific consensus) is dismissed out of hand because science couldn’t possibly be wrong about so important a matter; but until it is realized that the scientific consensus on many contemporary issues is flawed, dissent in any given case will be dismissed out of hand, preventing the accumulation of the evidence that science nowadays is pervasively untrustworthy (Dangerous knowledge IV: The vicious cycle of wrong knowledge).


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