HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Posts Tagged ‘David Rasnick’

Answering Cranks — THANK YOU, PERTH!

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/12/04

I think it was Bertrand Russell, or perhaps it was Bernard Shaw, who wrote a classic piece about the frustrations of trying to engage in substantive discussion with a crank. The essay has been cited quite often by accomplished science writers like Jeremy Bernstein. The frustration is that it takes far longer to deconstruct the crank’s claims that it takes the crank to make them. The crank pours out undocumented assertions that are wrong not only in detail but that are wrong-headed in general principle, and each assertion then requires general background discourse to establish the correct principles as well as detail-specific answers; and all needs careful documentation and attention to nuance if the contretemps is to be not just a shouting match of opposing assertions.

Since HIV/AIDS theory is pseudoscience (Science Studies 102: Burden of proof, HIV/AIDS “science”, pseudo-science, 22 July 2008;  HIV/AIDS and parapsychology: science or pseudo-science?, 30 December 2008; Trying to think about the Unthinkable, 2 January 2009; Mainstream pseudo-science good, alternative pseudo-science bad, 25 February 2009; Circumcision pseudo-science, 2 September 2009), its proponents are cranks (crackpots, pseudoscientists), and frustration is a common experience for AIDS Rethinkers. The most vociferous of the HIV/AIDS vigilantes, say Jeanne Bergman or Seth Kalichman, show that they know nothing of history of science or philosophy of science or sociology of science, and have not even done any science themselves (unless one grants their idiosyncratic claim that economics or law or psychology are sciences). So their detailed statements are embedded in discourse that is ignorant of the very nature of science, and that needs correction before one even begins to address their detailed claims.

The HIV/AIDS groupies and vigilantes have been increasingly on the defensive after Medical Hypotheses accepted, and posted as in press on the journal’s website in July, a couple of articles striking at the very heart of HIV/AIDS blunders: the fact that the sovereign nation of Italy maintains its health without recognizing HIV as a dangerous infection or AIDS as an illness caused by it (Ruggiero et al.) and that an article in JAIDS found it necessary to multiply by a factor of 25 the deaths from AIDS in South Africa (Duesberg et al.) in order to maintain the fictions that AIDS is devastating Africa and that antiretroviral drugs save lives when delivered indiscriminately to “HIV-positive” individuals.

At the same time, The House of Numbers (documentary film by Brent Leung) as making the rounds of film festivals, gathering honors and plaudits as it showed through direct on-camera interviews the vacuity of HIV/AIDS theories and the disagreements among HIV/AIDS gurus over the most elementary aspects of the whole business.

The first response was a joint letter by some of the interviewed gurus disclaiming what they were seen to have said: just as convincing as Nancy Padian’s repeated assertions over the years that her observation of zero transmission of HIV was not evidence of no transmission. In other words, the first responses was the claim that a goodly number of the leading HIV/AIDS experts are unable to say what they mean.

Luc Montagnier’s remarks were, it was alleged, (1) taken out of context; (2) suffered from Montagnier’s lack of command of English; (3) reflected trapping through leading questions from the interviewer (though Montagnier himself did not sign the letter). The claim of taken out of context would seem to have dissolved when Leung posted an unedited clip of the relevant portion of the interview in honor of World AIDS Day.

The chief attempt to discredit the film appears to be a website devoted entirely to that task. When I learned of it and looked at it, I left again almost immediately because my intellectual stomach turned in revolt at seeing the assertions has Bergman posted in typically crank fashion, undocumented, wrong in detail and wrongheaded in its ignorance of the very nature of science in particular and disciplined logical argument in general.

But no matter how time-consuming and unrewarding it may be to develop properly supported answers to such crankish stuff, it serves as a valuable resource to which other Rethinkers can refer as they try to spread the truth, one acquaintance or friend or student at a time. So we should be exceedingly grateful to the Perth Group who have posted impeccably argued and documented material that demolishes utterly the Bergmanian flim-flam.
The first installment of the deconstruction exposes the dirty little secret that HIV/AIDS theorists nowadays regard immune activation and not immune-cell depletion as what goes wrong in “AIDS”, which among other things explains why antiretroviral treatment, if or when it “reconstitutes” the immune system also brings on AIDS diseases (the phenomenon swept under the carpet by being named, Immune Restoration Syndrome). The Perthers also make mincemeat of Bergman’s attempt to discount the role played by animal models in HIV/AIDS publications (I was about to write “research”).
The second installment of the deconstruction exposes Bergman’s incompetence to write about scientific matters. There is a useful list of the Perth Group’s seminal articles questioning HIV/AIDS theory, some e-mails illustrating J P Moore’s unwillingness to engage in substantive scientific discourse, and a reminder that Montagnier has been talking about oxidative stress for quite some time but without acknowledging the much earlier proposal by the Perth Group of which he had been fully aware. The way in which HIV/AIDS virologists have taken in vain the term “isolation” is described in convincing detail, together with the filmed evidence that David Baltimore, Robin Weiss, and other experts do not appear to be aware that “HIV” has never in fact been isolated in the proper meaning of the word. The claimed evidence for sexual transmission of HIV is demonstrated to be non-existent.
Perhaps the worst of Bergman’s assertions is that of 99.9% accuracy for a two-test protocol of ELISA plus Western Blot. Since she cites no source, one cannot contradict the source; but Perth does the job nicely even without that. Lacking a gold standard, “accuracy” or specificity cannot be known; and there is no gold standard for “HIV” tests (Weiss &Cowan, cited in “HIV” tests are self-fulfilling prophecies, 10 May 2009).

Thank you, Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos, Valendar F. Turner, John M Papadimitriou, David Causer. Well done! Yet another of your invaluable contributions to the Rethinking literature.

Posted in experts, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV skepticism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

The Family of Rethinking AIDS

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/11/15

[Here’s a pdf of this post]

 

RA2009, the conference held by Rethinking AIDS (RA) in Oakland, 6-8 November, was an extraordinary success in every possible way. It exceeded wildly any reasonable expectations.

That’s not just my opinion. The RA Board meeting on Sunday evening, the later get-together for speakers at the Duesberg’s, various “au revoir”s on Sunday, all assured me that my own feelings were fully shared by many others. In the last few days, e-mails and Facebook threads and the like have further underscored how many of us remain incredulous over the blessing of having participated in this unforgettable bit of human history. RA2009 was a success not just from a scientific or intellectual point of view but also in its demonstration of deeply shared commitment and in the exhilaration felt at such unstinted commonality of purpose among so large a contingent of people representing the full spectrum of humankind.

We will be digesting the experience for a long time to come, but one insight came to me already on the Monday morning after the meeting. As I woke up, my mind was buzzing “The Family of Man!” Subconsciously while asleep, I had evidently encapsulated, this extraordinary occasion by a reminder of the book of photographs titled “The Family of Man” which had brought enthusiastic encomiums 50 years ago for its stunning photographs of people of all ages from around the world, portraying the universality of human experience that underlies superficial differences.
(I’ve been unable so far to lay my hands on the copy of the book that’s somewhere on my disorganized shelves, so I refreshed my memory from a copy  in the university library. Though the book had been published more than half a century ago, there are still 4 or 5 copies of it in the open library stacks, not in the remote storage area used for material that’s rarely accessed; and a couple of those copies are currently out on loan. The book’s sales have been in the millions. It had its source in a photographic exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art arranged by Edward Steichen in 1955, of more than 500 pictures by more than 250 photographers from dozens of countries.)

At any rate, RA2009 achieved what Steichen’s exhibition of the Family of Man had aimed for. People of all ages and backgrounds mingled and shared civilly — more than that, empathetically, in passionately demonstrated mutual good will. I’ve never before seen so many tears of empathy shed so freely and appropriately. I startle easily from sound or touch, yet while I was listening intently to a talk, when a hand suddenly descended on my shoulder, it didn’t startle, it somehow conveyed companionable reassurance. I’ve never before experienced an occasion where intellect, emotion, and spirit were so much in harmony.

Registered for the conference had been in total about 150 people from every inhabited continent. In age we ranged to my knowledge from 19 to 77, and there may well have been some outside that range. Personalities ranged from shy and retiring to effusively outgoing, from deadpan to demonstrative. Appearances ranged from old-fashioned coat-and-tie conservatism to every type of contemporary exuberance including cosmetic adornments, from stunning examples of elegant Italian style to illustrations of Hollywood grunge and sloppiness. Skin colors ranged over the spectrum. There were traditional families present and there were gay people, some announcing that preference in obvious ways and others not. There were people revealing in private or in public their “HIV-positive” status, and there were physicians who attend without discrimination equally to “HIV-positive” individuals as to others — with the vital exception that they have a special understanding, an empathy, and an awareness of when to use and when not to resort to antiretroviral medication. There were people who have suffered in dreadful, tangible ways from being “HIV-positive” (and not only because of physical iatrogenic damage), and there were friends and relatives of people who have so suffered; and there were others again, like me, who came to Rethinking for intellectual, abstract reasons and came to understand and feel only later the human aspect, the personal impact of the colossal human tragedies that HIV/AIDS theory has brought. There were writers and scientists and students and people from all sorts of work experience. There were several shades of “libertarians” and of “conservatives” and of “liberals”. There could not be a more convincing demonstration that the endless diversity among human beings need be no barrier to productive commitment to a shared purpose.

I had previously met in person only two of those present, but I had exchanged e-mails, phone calls, and written material with several dozen whom I had come to regard as valued colleagues. After just a few minutes or a few words face to face, e-mail acquaintances have become firm personal friends — something that others too experienced, as remarked in e-mails, on blogs, and elsewhere in recent days. We discovered ourselves to be members of a very large and very close-knit FAMILY.

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Much about the program bears discussion, and the proceedings will be disseminated and analyzed and critiqued in a variety of venues and ways for quite some time. Here I want to make just a few observations.

The most powerful presentations, by common agreement, were those by individuals who have most directly experienced horrors stemming from HIV/AIDS madness. The Nagel family, featured in the film House of Numbers, were at the conference throughout and made themselves available for comments and questions after the film’s showing; how can words capture the miracle of meeting Lindsey, now healthy and beautiful because her courageous parents had defied and evaded the AZT mafia? Celia Farber’s images-with-music in memory of Christine Maggiore brought a standing ovation. Karri Stokely and Tony Lance shared to the full their experiences — 11 years of devastating “side” effects of antiretrovirals for Karri, for Tony the isolation experienced by a gay Rethinker who lost to AZT some hundred friends and acquaintances. Karri and Tony honored us greatly by allowing us to learn from their lives, sharing details frankly in public that most people might hesitate to discuss even with their doctors or their priests.

All the formal and informal proceedings showed people at their sincere best: honest, open, trusting, uninhibited. No bullshit. I was struck by the contrast with the mainstreamers appearing in House of Numbers, who display the robotic hypocrisy of automata who emit only what they have been trained to emit in their designated social roles — nothing original, nothing from personal experience, everything abstracted from human reality by dishonest euphemisms like Kuritzkes’s comment that  “in retrospect the dose we started with, with AZT, was a dangerous and poorly tolerated dose.” What a way to talk about something that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and done untold permanent damage to God only knows how many more — which Kuritzkes surely knows at least subconsciously, for otherwise not even so evasive an admission would have come from him. “In retrospect”?! Many ignored voices were protesting the toxicity from the beginning and throughout.

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So RA2009 was a resounding success. No forethought or planning could have ensured that, but it also could not have happened had not the opportunity been created through splendid organizational groundwork by Siggi Duesberg, insightful first-rate program arrangements by David Rasnick, and necessary fundraising as well as instigation by David Crowe. Exemplifying the unplanned is what occurred at the banquet. Crowe had arranged for a few toasts; what could not have been foreseen was the stampede to the microphone by the many people who wanted to make explicit their gratitude for the occasion, their particular role in Rethinking, their own thoughts and feelings. I’ve been at many occasions where everyone has been positively urged to join in like this, usually to little or no effect; I’ve never seen so widespread and spontaneous a desire to share publicly.

It’s only natural that in recalling this occasion we will wonder just what made it so remarkable. Cynics might even suggest that it wasn’t really unique, just that those in attendance hadn’t much experience of similar get-togethers. For me personally, no such explanation could hold water. I’ve been to innumerable professional conferences on chemistry and history of science or science studies, where there has sometimes been excitement over specific items or topics, but nothing like the communal atmosphere and impact of RA2009. I’ve been to meetings where a single purpose was passionately shared — the wish to preserve academic standards and integrity — but we were always a noticeably homogeneous crowd of largely white, male, senior professors. I’ve participated in several other organizations of contrarian bent, for example several of the International Conferences on the Unity of the Sciences which brought together people of all stripes and disciplines and beliefs from all over the world, but the actual proceedings were in small groups and little different from academic seminars; enjoyable as interdisciplinary discussions freed from the blinders of the traditional fields of knowledge but no more than that. The Society for Scientific Exploration was established precisely to enable disciplined discussion of matters ignored or shunned by the mainstream disciplines, and its meetings have some of the characteristics that RA2009 displayed — wide range of intellectual backgrounds, joint experience of struggling against mainstream dogma, the making of friends through shared endeavor — but, again, not the extraordinary symbiosis of intellect, emotion, spirit, and very specific common purpose evident at RA2009. In the proper meaning of that much-misused word, RA2009 was UNIQUE in a very meaningful way.

We come away from RA2009 with renewed determination, as well as with a number of new ideas and plans for constructive action (plans for actions DEstructive of HIV/AIDS theory and practice). I found myself wondering what might have happened if some mainstreamers had been in attendance; surely their baseless and mistaken beliefs would have become somewhat unsettled, at the very least subconsciously.

I am by nature less than an optimist, and my instinctive reaction to optimistic plans and forecasts is “Yes, well, maybe, … BUT ….”. Nevertheless, RA2009 convinces me that we cannot be stopped, and that we will not be stopped.

Yes, we can.

Yes, we will.

Posted in HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV skepticism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments »

Public Health Service of Italy accepts work of Ruggiero et al.

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/09/28

On 12 July 2009, this blog published a press release reporting the acceptance (on 3 June) by the journal Medical Hypotheses of an article by Professor Ruggiero and co-workers at the University of Florence pointing out that official policies of the Italian Ministry of Health implied a lack of necessary connection between HIV and AIDS [“Official Italian data: no causal connection between HIV and AIDS”, 12 July 2009].

Consternation ensued among HIV/AIDS vigilantes that so well established, indeed distinguished a research group had produced such a publication. AIDStruthers and other vigilantes organized a letter-writing campaign urging Elsevier — the current publisher of Medical Hypotheses — to withdraw this article which had already been posted on the journal’s website as “in press”. At the same time the letter-writing HIV/AIDS campaigners urged the withdrawal of an article by Duesberg et al. that had been accepted by Medical Hypotheses on 11 June, which pointed out that official South African statistics recorded AIDS deaths at about 12,000 annually while an article in JAIDS had alleged 25 times that number; Duesberg et al. noted too that JAIDS had refused to publish their rebuttal of the flawed article.

The HIV/AIDS vigilantes also sent letters to the National Library of Medicine urging that MEDLINE no longer abstract Medical Hypotheses.

Elsevier’s stated reasons why articles in press might nevertheless be withdrawn include “potentially libelous” content and “potential threat to global public health”. I invite anyone and everyone to judge for themselves whether either of those potentialities exists in those articles, and moreover to ponder what is common to those articles other than questioning HIV/AIDS theory on the basis of substantive evidence; and what about the articles warrants withdrawal after acceptance, by comparison to the 200+ articles still posted at the Medical Hypotheses website as “in press”.

Professor Ruggiero has now been able to point out that the Italian Ministry of Health has actually found helpful the work that he and his students have published, since they have revised some of their policies accordingly. Moreover, the Italian Public Health Service has officially recognized the work by making dissertations available from its website.

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From Professor Ruggiero:

“The theses of Drs. Simone Scarpelli, Matteo Prayer Galletti, and Elda Muca, previously discussed and approved by the University of Firenze, Italy, received official recognition by the Italian Public Health Service and they are now available at the Center for Study and Research on Drug Abuse and AIDS, a Department of the Public Health Service.
It is worth noting that the thesis of Dr. Matteo P. Galletti (now available at request at http://www.cesda.net, in Italian with an English abstract) was the starting point of the article in Medical Hypotheses (M. Ruggiero, M. P. Galletti, S. Pacini, T. Punzi, G. Morucci, M. Gulisano, “Aids denialism at the ministry of health” (doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2009.06.002), as stated in the article.
We are grateful to the Region of Tuscany and the Department of drug abuse of the Public Health Service for providing official recognition to the results.”

Screen shots of the relevant Web pages are attached below: click them (or double-click, depends on browser) for a full-size image. There is at the end a downloadable pdf of this blog post.

PHS10SeptPHS14SeptGallettiURLGallettiText

PHS1PHS2PHS3

Here is a PDF of this blog post.

Public Health Service of Italy accepts work of Ruggiero et al.

On 12 July 2009, this blog published a press release reporting the acceptance (on 3 June) by the journal Medical Hypotheses of an article by Professor Ruggiero and co-workers at the University of Florence pointing out that official policies of the Italian Ministry of Health implied a lack of necessary connection between HIV and AIDS [“Official Italian data: no causal connection between HIV and AIDS”, 12 July 2009].

Consternation ensued among HIV/AIDS vigilantes that so well established, indeed distinguished a research group had produced such a publication. AIDStruthers and other vigilantes organized a letter-writing campaign urging Elsevier — the current publisher of Medical Hypotheses — to withdraw this article which had already been posted on the journal’s website as “in press”. At the same time the letter-writing HIV/AIDS campaigners urged the withdrawal of an article that had been accepted by Medical Hypotheses on 11 June, by Duesberg et al., which pointed out that official South African statistics recorded AIDS deaths at about 12,000 annually while an article in JAIDS had alleged 25 times that number; Duesberg et al. noted too that JAIDS had refused to publish their rebuttal of the flawed article.

The HIV/AIDS vigilantes also sent letters to the National Library of Medicine urging that MEDLINE no longer abstract Medical Hypotheses.

Elsevier’s stated reasons why articles in press might nevertheless be withdrawn include “potentially libelous” content and “potential threat to global public health”. Professor Ruggiero has now been able to point out that the Italian Ministry of Health has actually found helpful the work that he and his students have published, since they have revised some of their policies accordingly. Moreover, the Italian Public Health Service has officially recognized the work by making dissertations available from its website.

From Professor Ruggiero:

“The theses of Drs. Simone Scarpelli, Matteo Prayer Galletti, and Elda Muca, previously discussed and approved by the University of Firenze, Italy, received official recognition by the Italian Public Health Service and they are now available at the Center for Study and Research on Drug Abuse and AIDS (www.cesda.net), a Department of the Public Health Service.

It is worth noting that the thesis of Dr. Matteo P. Galletti (now available at request at http://www.cesda.net, in Italian with an English abstract) was the starting point of the article in Medical Hypotheses (M. Ruggiero, M. P. Galletti, S. Pacini, T. Punzi, G. Morucci, M. Gulisano, “Aids denialism at the ministry of health” (doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2009.06.002), as stated in the article.

We are grateful to the Region of Tuscany and the Department of drug abuse of the Public Health Service for providing official recognition to the results.”

Screen shots of the relevant Web pages are attached below. The difficulty of sizing these for the blog while retaining clarity made it desirable to extract screen shots of the relevant items. Reproductions of the full web pages follow, and finally there is a downloadable pdf of this blog post in which the full web pages are in legible form.


Here is a PDF of this blog post.

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Categories:  HIV does not cause AIDS,  HIV skepticism,  Legal aspects

Tags Italian Public Health Service, Marco Ruggiero, University of Florence, Italian Ministry of Health, Medical Hypotheses, Elsevier, Elsevier withdraws already accepted articles, HIV/AIDS vigilantes pressure Elsevier, HIV/AIDS vigilantes pressure National Library of Medicine, AID deaths in South Africa, Simone Scarpelli, Matteo Prayer Galletti, Elda Muca, S. Pacini, T. Punzi, G. Morucci, M. Gulisano, Joshua M. Nicholson, David Rasnick, Christian Fiala

Posted in HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV skepticism, Legal aspects | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

The Social Psychology of “Denialist” Scientists — Kalichman’s Komical Kaper #2, part 2

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/03/18

Scientists, we are instructed by Kalichman, are “by their nature and training systematic and objective” (p. 112; see “Kalichman’s Komical Kaper #2: The Social Psychology of Scientists”, 14 March 2009). That raises a seemingly obvious question:

How or why did some “systematic and objective” scientists become “AIDS denialists”?

I find no explanation for this in Kalichman’s book, even though he places quite a few of us in that category. For example, there’s Kelly Brennan-Jones, like Kalichman a psychologist and therefore also a scientist, and one for whom Kalichman had much respect and from whom he had solicited a book review: “I knew her work dating back to my years in graduate school. I knew Kelly Brennan-Jones was trained at a superlative university by some of the best social psychologists in the country” (p. xiii).

But, it turns out, Brennan-Jones differs with Kalichman about HIV/AIDS.
“My reaction was one of absolute outrage. I mean I was really angry. I was in an emotional upheaval. I surprised everyone around me, including myself, by my seemingly irrational reaction. How could someone I knew to be intelligent, well-trained as a scientist at a respectable university and in a position of influence over college students endorse a book that everyone surely knows is outdated, biased, and of little more value than that worthy of a doorstop?” (p. xiii).

Thus Kalichman describes how he himself lapsed from systemic objectivity and became irrational (though only “seemingly” so, whatever that means), but he doesn’t give a convincing explanation for why it happened. Surely that a fellow psychologist differs with him over a scientific issue can’t be the explanation — if it were, then psychologists would be in a continual state of irrational anger and outrage, given that there are disagreements over so many quite fundamental issues in psychology and psychotherapy. Nor does Kalichman suggest what might have pushed the respected Brennan-Jones, senior to Kalichman though perhaps no more distinguished, out of her customary systematic objectivity — if indeed that’s the case; Kalichman nowhere establishes that there’s anything non-objective about doubting HIV/AIDS theory, he just takes it for granted. He doesn’t even enlighten us about what convinced him personally of that. But consider the matter from Kalichman’s viewpoint for the moment; doesn’t that immediately raise the question, why did Brennan-Jones, an outstanding, systematic, objective scientist for many years, lose those attributes?

The same conundrum applies to others whom Kalichman takes to task as “denialists”. There’s Peter Duesberg, pioneer acclaimed retrovirologist, who isolated the first oncogene in 1970 and was elected to the National Academy in 1986 (p. 175) — yet who almost immediately thereafter lost the scientific attributes he had exemplified during a quarter century of highly distinguished research.

Then there’s David Rasnick (pp. 176-77), competent enough to have worked on proteases (albeit only in rats), who also apparently lost his scientific marbles in middle age or later.

Dr. Matthias Rath is not included among “denialist” scientists in Kalichman’s Appendix B, but he is referred to throughout the book as a German vitamin entrepreneur and “AIDS denialist”. It fails to be mentioned that Rath had worked closely with one of the 20th century’s leading scientists, Linus Pauling. Apparently Rath, a PhD scientist, also somehow lost his systematic objectivity in middle age or thereabouts.

Harvey Bialy had been systematically objective enough to garner a PhD in molecular biology from Berkeley. Kalichman (p. 177) appears to think he wasn’t that great a scientist, though, since he published only 27 articles and was merely an editor for a while at one the leading medical-scientific journals. At any rate, at some stage Bialy, too, apparently lost any remaining systematic objectivity and lapsed into denialism.

Then there’s the sad case of Kary Mullis (pp. 177-8), a Nobel Laureate who happens to be also an “AIDS denialist”, having evidently lost his Nobel-quality systematic objectivity at some time or other. One of the things responsible for that fall from grace, no doubt, was that Mullis persistently asked everyone he encountered to please give him citations to the specific publications that prove HIV to be the cause of AIDS; and he never received a responsive answer. Perhaps that’s enough to drive anyone out of systematic objectivity.

And so it continues. Charles Geshekter (pp. 178-9) had been a systematic, objective social scientist (historian) until he contracted denialism. Claus Koehnlein (p. 179) too — though he had been only a practicing physician, not a researcher, not a scientist, so perhaps he never had been systematically objective. The Perth Group (pp. 179-80) has several doctors and scientists who were infected with denialism around mid-career. There’s also Etienne de Harven (p. 180), formerly of the University of Toronto and the Sloan-Kettering Institute. Roberto Giraldo, who might never have been very systematically objective because his medical degree was only from South America and he had been merely a medical technologist in New York (p. 181). Mohammed Al-Bayati (p. 181), PhD from the University of California at Davis, somehow became unsystematic and unobjective at some time thereafter. Lynn Margulis (pp. 181-2), who was elected to the National Academy in 1983, is rightly famous for having discovered the mechanism of symbiosis by which evolution advances in leaps rather than by infinitesimally slow natural selection from genetic mutations; however, she too suffered a breakdown of systematic objectivity as the years went by.

And then (p. 182) there are a couple of mathematicians, Serge Lang and Rebecca Culshaw. Of course, the majority view is that mathematics isn’t a science, neither “hard” nor soft, and so maybe mathematicians lack systematic objectivity to begin with. On the other hand, it’s also a majority view that mathematics is the most rigorously logical enterprise of all — all of pure mathematics is the following of axioms to their logical conclusions.

We know, too, that the denialist scientists named in Kalichman’s book are the merest tip of a proverbial iceberg, because there are hundreds more PhDs and MDs among AIDS Rethinkers.

And yet, despite having all these examples to work with, Kalichman offers no explanation for how or why scientists morph from systematic objectivity into wacky denialism.

To fill this vacuum (vacuity?) left by Kalichman, I’ll venture a suggestion.

The clue, I think — as with HIV/AIDS itself — is the matter of age. One of the curiosities of “HIV” is that it “infects” chiefly individuals who are in the prime of adult life, 35-45 years. (And, curiously enough, as I’ve remarked in several blog posts, after a “latent period” of healthy life averaging 10 years, followed by many years of “living with HIV/AIDS” while being kept alive by antiretroviral drugs, they still die chiefly at ages 35-45).

We have a rather similarly curious situation with “AIDS denialism”: It strikes people at relatively advanced ages and typically after decades of healthy systematic objectivity.

However, if one looks more carefully into the histories of these sufferers from denialism, one can often detect some early warning signs of a tendency to deviate from the systematic objectivity of their colleagues and to strike out in new directions, to have different ideas, to be creative and innovative; but this only becomes extreme decades later, when it blossoms into full-blown AIDS denialism.

Evidently, AIDS denialism in scientists, like AIDS in people at large, is brought on by a very slow-working infection that becomes manifest and serious only a decade or more later. Obviously the cause of denialism is, as with AIDS, a lentivirus.

“HIV”, of course, is the type specimen of the species “pathogenic lentivirus”, since the earlier and very first lentivirus, which causes kuru, turned out to be a prion and not a virus at all. We know that one mode of transmission of “HIV” is from mother to child. We further know that there is a genetic predisposition to contract “HIV”, in particular, African genes predispose to contracting “HIV”.

By analogy, we can expect that the “denialist” lentivirus is also sometimes passed on from mother to child, or at least “within families” like HTLV-I and II (p. 114 in Gallo, Virus Hunting, 1991) — there is a correlation between the intellectual qualities of parents and children, after all. And there’s also a genetic predisposition to AIDS denialism: Germanic genes predispose to denialism, according to Kalichman (pp. 54, 145; there’ll be more about this in “The German Connection —Kalichman’s not-so-Komical Kaper #3”).

Kalichman has identified other characteristics of denialists as well. Most notably, they are suspicious people and conspiracy theorists (e.g., p. 13 ff. & chapter 4). But this raises the same problem as denialism itself: Why did so many now-denialist scientists contract these conditions only after decades of unexceptionable, even distinguished research?
Obviously, again, it’s that lentivirus. As “HIV” is capable of explaining every form of deviance from physical health, so the denialist lentivirus is capable of explaining every form of deviance from mental health.

AIDS scientists and AIDStruthers have had no success in protecting against the denialist lentivirus through education. Indeed, as the prominent AIDS scientists praising Kalichman’s work have testified, denialism has become a major threat to public health. Since we know that there’s a genetic predisposition to it, perhaps it will turn out that gene therapy (disabling or modifying Germanic genes) is the only really effective means of prevention — just as with HIV, where abstinence, condoms, microbicides, and vaccines have all failed miserably (“HIV gene therapy trial promising”).

Posted in experts, HIV and race, HIV in children, HIV transmission, HIV varies with age, vaccines | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments »