HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Posts Tagged ‘interests vested in HIV/AIDS’

STOPPING THE HIV/AIDS BANDWAGON—-Part II

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/02/01

My earlier post about this [HOW CAN THE HIV/AIDS BANDWAGON BE STOPPED?, 27 January 2008] brought a gratifying number of useful comments.

There seems to be general agreement that the mainstream scientific community will not spontaneously or willingly change its view on HIV/AIDS, even as the evidence against it continues to mount and anomalies and incongruities accumulate. That’s the lesson of some two decades. This is then a natural starting point for considering strategies that might help toward producing change.

There’s also general agreement over the somewhat related point that it’s not just a matter of what the science does or does not prove, because such a vast array of people and organizations apart from the scientific community benefit in some manner from the present situation. Not that they are willfully selfish or that they deliberately ignore the evidence, it’s a matter of cognitive dissonance, a psychological phenomenon that makes it difficult if not impossible to grasp anything that runs too severely against deeply ingrained beliefs. People came to benefit from the HIV/AIDS industry because they believed HIV/AIDS theory, and they believe they are doing worthwhile things.

Scientists are no less subject to cognitive dissonance than everyone else, and that serves as a partial explanation for the fact that unorthodox claims in science are routinely resisted (see, for example, Hook, “Prematurity in Scientific Discovery”).

For one example among innumerable available ones: Max Planck placed the foundational piece of what became quantum theory, but—like most great innovators—he was initially opposed vigorously by the pooh-bahs of the Establishment. In his memoirs, he made the remark often cited by dissidents in all fields but apparently not known to run-of-the-mill journeymen scientists: “New truths do not triumph by convincing their opponents, they win out because a new generation replaces the old one” (a free translation from German); which has also been paraphrased as “Science progresses funeral by funeral”.

At any rate, it seems evident enough that change as to HIV/AIDS will only come as the result of pressure from social or political forces external to the medical-scientific establishment. Those forces must be sufficiently influential to stand against the colossal combination of interests vested in HIV/AIDS. They must be able to force a public discussion of all the evidence in a way that allows full airing of the variety of interpretations. Where might dissidents turn to enlist such forces?

Obvious places to look are among those who are being most hurt by what’s presently happening. That means anyone who tests HIV-positive or may at some future time test positive. Here everyone is truly at risk, for anyone might be unfortunate enough to have a test administered just after they’ve been vaccinated against flu, or when pregnant, or when they are more likely to test HIV-positive for some other of the many possible reasons. And if someone tests HIV-positive, they will at once be emotionally shattered, and thereupon almost certainly debilitated physically by antiretroviral drugs.

Though everyone is truly at risk in this way, the danger is greater for some people than for others. As a class, gay men are particularly at risk because they tend to be tested more often than most, and they tend to test HIV-positive more often than most; as do drug abusers; as do TB patients; as do hemophiliacs; as do African Americans. Might any of those groups offer the possibility of forceful organized action against HIV/AIDS dogma?

The trouble is, these high-risk people understand no better than the general public what the risk is. They think it’s “HIV/AIDS”. Only after experiencing what goes with testing positive do some people learn that HIV = AIDS is a dreadful illusion that has caused them tangible harm. Some learn it from personal experience of series of inconsistent tests; some learn it through being unable to tolerate the antiretroviral drugs and trying to live without them and finding that to work; some learn it through losing friends and loved ones. But few people even in the highest-risk groups come to question HIV/AIDS dogma before it affects them directly in some way.

So: The endeavor to enlist the people who would most benefit from toppling the paradigm, who are most at risk under current circumstances, presents the same problem as that of convincing the media and the general public; they have to be made to understand what’s wrong with HIV = AIDS before they have a really direct incentive to question the orthodox view. This starts to look like a circular discussion. Anyone who voices the dissident view is automatically dismissed as either crazy or an old fool (both terms recently applied to me by a medical scientist asked by a friend to comment on my book). What’s needed is an emotional, psychological, human-interest hook so powerful that it is at least competitive with the belief that’s been ingrained in almost everyone by the constant media refrain of “HIV, the virus that cause AIDS”. The emotional hook must also be strong enough to shake the general belief that official statements about medicine and science can be relied on.

Are there candidates for such psychologically powerful hooks?

I can think of two: for gay men, the issue of homophobia; for African Americans, the matter of racism.

I can suggest two other possible avenues for change that don’t entail such strong emotional charge but enlist forces in society that have the requisite power:

1. Legal actions. Maybe HIV/AIDS “science” could be forced to defend itself in a court of law where dissident arguments could be aired. Perhaps it might be possible to sue a laboratory that carries out HIV tests, since it presumably certifies—against the manufacturers’ test-kit disclaimers—that those tests detect infection by HIV; or perhaps in some case where an HIV-positive person is charged with endangering sexual partners, a lawyer might find a way to have the scientific issues argued. The Parenzee case represents one such attempt, so far unsuccessful (“Can we learn from Parenzee?”).

2. Perhaps Congress could be persuaded to hold hearings about the utterly disproportionate amount of research funds directed towards HIV/AIDS in comparison to diseases that affect vastly more people, like heart disease, diabetes, cancer:

fair2007.jpg

(data from http://www.fairfoundation.org/factslinks.htm)

Even once the scientific issues are raised publicly, however, there will still remain a matter over which dissidents must come to agree if there is to be truly coherent action: which part of the scientific story should be emphasized as decisive disproof of HIV/AIDS theory? While all dissidents agree that HIV has not been proven to be the cause of AIDS, there are differing views on just about everything else: Does HIV even exist? What caused AIDS? What causes AIDS now? What does a positive HIV-test signify? And more.

I’ve suggested (“Can we learn from Parenzee?“) that the best strategy will be to concentrate on the simplest point, the most readily proved one, the one most readily understandable by the largest range of people. Recent e-mail discussions indicate that the most appropriate point, and one generally acceptable among dissidents, might be the lack of validity of HIV tests for diagnosing infection by HIV. After all, the instructions accompanying test kits (aras.ab.ca/HIVTestInformation.zip at http://aras.ab.ca/test.html) acknowledge that they cannot be used to diagnose infection. Further to that, the data collected in my book show that HIV tests do not track an infectious agent

Posted in HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV risk groups, HIV tests, Legal aspects, prejudice | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

HOW CAN THE HIV/AIDS BANDWAGON BE STOPPED?

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/01/27

I’ve been wondering for several years, and I’ve also been asked quite often, “When will HIV/AIDS theory be abandoned? How will that happen?”

According to Yogi Berra, prediction is very hard, especially about the future. The only solid basis for attempting predictions is to extrapolate from the past and present, which can’t take account of the “unknown unknown”—the totally unforeseeable stuff—waiting to trip up even the most judicious and careful projections.

But when it comes to HIV/AIDS, there aren’t even comparable cases from which to extrapolate. Sure enough, plenty of beliefs in science, and a fortiori in medicine, have been found wanting over the centuries, that’s how understanding has advanced; “scientific revolutions” have overturned, displaced, repudiated long-held beliefs—about atoms, about the Earth’s age, about the relation between chemicals in living and non-living entities, about literally innumerable matters.

However, HIV/AIDS isn’t just a belief in medical science, it’s a huge industry, of direct benefit to many groups and to enormous numbers of people at many levels of society and throughout the world (see “Vested Interests”, p. 212 ff. in The Origins, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory). Researchers benefit from expenditures on HIV/AIDS that are 10 to 100 times more per patient or per death than is spent on diabetes or cardiovascular disease (Fair Allocations in Research Foundation) . Africa gets far more for HIV/AIDS-related matters than for anything else; for instance, while researchers in developed countries make a good-enough grant-living from HIV/AIDS, academics and researchers and their assistants in African countries enjoy largesse that others in those countries couldn’t even dream of having. Drug companies make enormous profits. Researchers and drug companies are able to carry out clinical trials in Africa that would never be approved in developed countries (DRUGS OR FOOD?, 25 December 2007; ARE INTESTINAL WORMS GOOD FOR US? ARE THEY GOOD FOR AFRICANS? FOR AFRICAN CHILDREN?, 30 December 2007). Tens of thousands of organizations are involved in HIV/AIDS, and innumerable individuals—very much including so-called activists—make their living from HIV/AIDS-related activities.

Of course, if the scientific community were to proclaim a consensus that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, others would fall in line. But what might move the scientific community to reach such a consensus? All the funding agencies, all the official institutions international as well as national, all the editors of the most entrenched and prestigious journals and the “peer” reviewers they choose, all the science journalists who have specialized in covering HIV/AIDS, are vested in HIV/AIDS dogma—vested in terms of career, reputation, plain self-interest.

Those are the facts. Documented testimonies are freely available. Scientific papers challenging any aspect of HIV/AIDS dogma are routinely rejected by Nature, Science, Lancet, JAMA, New England Journal of Medicine, etc. “Dissidents” are persecuted shamefully (DISSENTING FROM HIV/AIDS THEORY, 8 December 2007). Thousands of signatories to petitions that HIV/AIDS be rethought understand that they had better keep that belief separate from their work, and some unknown number are even unwilling to have their names publicly known.

So, one cannot reasonably expect that some epidemic of heart-changing by the powers-that-be will transform this situation. If the mainstream scientific consensus is to change, it will have to be pushed by external forces to reconsider the evidence.

This situation prompted me to take special notice of a sentence in a mystery I was reading (Philip Kerr, “The One from the Other”):

“Hard to comprehend, yes. But not so hard to believe.”

The accumulated evidence forces belief, forces one to accept that, indeed, the mainstream medical-scientific community ignores competently presented and substantively supported views that run counter to the contemporary bandwagon. The evidence forces intellectual acceptance of the fact that this is the way things are. But we rebel against that emotionally, because we cannot comprehend, grasp, that medical science is so very different from how we have been conceiving science to be: objective, self-correcting, concerned primarily and only with truth.

That ideal view of science was not obviously misguided up to perhaps the middle of the 20th century, when one could still understand much about scientific activity as the result of an intellectual free market in which individual truth-seekers collaborated and competed. However, roughly since the Second World War, science has increasingly become a matter of knowledge monopolies and research cartels (for a longer discussion, read my essay on 21st-century science).

At a personal level, I find that I cannot comprehend that individuals should be so impervious to evidence or so uninterested in the whole subject. Like other human beings, I tend to judge others by myself. I came to be an HIV skeptic through a particular combination of personal experience and objective evidence. Subsequently, I make naturally the common yet mistaken assumption that others exposed to the same objective evidence would draw the same conclusions. But others don’t have the same background of personal experience that I do, and it is that personal background that explains why I took an interest in the topic in the first place and why I was able to view the evidence in a non-bandwagon manner.

I suggest that I’m fairly typical of HIV/AIDS dissidents in this. Books, articles, blogs, letters to the editor, and more, have been produced by dissidents under the implicit belief that the HIV/AIDS paradigm can be toppled by presenting the evidence against it. We have to comprehend that this is not so.

Certainly it was necessary to make the scientific case. But that has been overwhelming for a long time now, and the question becomes, How can the evidence be used to bring down this bandwagon? What social or political forces can be harnessed that are sufficiently influential to stand against this colossal combination of vested interests? How can those forces be enticed to take a fresh look at beliefs that have become so entrenched? Who would benefit from it?

Posted in Funds for HIV/AIDS, HIV does not cause AIDS | Tagged: , , , , , , | 31 Comments »