HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Posts Tagged ‘Max Planck’

Science, media, and Loch Ness “monsters”

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/12/24

In memoriam, Robert H. Rines

Long ago — in the 1930s— “The Loch Ness Monster” became an icon of foolishness,  hoax, tourist-trapping by canny Scots Highlanders, and the like. And so it has remained for some 7 decades for everyone whose knowledge comes only from media sound-bites and shibboleths. The opportunity to become better informed, a potential stimulus to trying to become better informed,  is afforded by the article by Charles Siebert in the New York Times Magazine for 27 December, “The Lives They Lived — Robert Rines: Monster Hunter, 1922-2009”.

I had the privilege of knowing Robert Rines, an extraordinarily accomplished individual; he held patents for inventions in sonar and radar, among other things; first a physicist, later a patent attorney, he was also a musician and composer. He founded the Academy of Applied Science which supported inventors and novel investigations and managed for a federal agency a program to interest young people in science. He founded the Franklin Pierce Law Center. Perhaps above all, he enthused and stimulated untold numbers of people. The many tributes to his life in a range of publications, and the many respectful obituaries after he died on 1 November, attest Rines’s remarkable record of achievements; see for example “Robert H. Rines ’42 — Patent attorney and inventor started MIT the bumpy way” by Sharron Kahn Luttrell, Technology Review, Dec. 2005/Jan. 2006; “Robert H. Rines, Esq. — Pierce Law Founder: A True Renaissance Man”; “Pioneering Loch Ness Monster researcher dies”; obituaries in the Daily Telegraph (UK); in Physics World;  in Huffington Post.

As a potential cure for closed minds, I recommend in particular that last one, by Ben H. Winters, coauthor of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters:
“Sure, the mainstream scientific community felt (and feels) there’s no plesiosaur in Loch Ness; but Rines had seen the damn thing with his own eyes, he trusted his own mind, and by God he was going to get to the bottom of it.
So, yeah, maybe there’s no Loch Ness monster.
Okay, probably there’s no Loch Ness monster.
But it’s worth pausing for a moment to celebrate Robert H. Rines, and the one in a million chance that there is.”

It’s the one in a million chances that have brought genuine progress. Pre-Einstein, for instance, the chances were one in a million or less that Newton’s long-confirmed, long “proved” laws would ever be found wanting. To paraphrase Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, you can spend your life catching and dining on minnows, or you can go after the really big fish, knowing your chances are low but that any success would be a feast for all humanity. Having the courage to risk being wrong makes for progress; as George Bernard Shaw pointed out, progress depends on the unreasonable man. As Jack Good liked to point out, geniuses are cranks who happen to be right and cranks are geniuses who happen to be wrong — they all follow their muse despite the disdain of the multitudes who are too afraid to venture outside what “everyone” believes.

The cranks who happen to be right are often honored only posthumously, for a mainstream consensus defends itself vigorously; as Max Planck pointed out, new ideas take hold only as their opponents die off — science progresses funeral by funeral.

In some part, a mainstream consensus is able to persist so long because media and public seem afraid to look at the evidence for themselves. Once the media have labeled something, that label is likely to stick for a long time; in preparing new stories, time-pressured reporters check newspaper archives and they hesitate to diverge from the received wisdom of the past. So with Loch Ness monsters, the media do not remind the general public that Robert Rines was accomplished enough that he should not have been written off when he became interested in the possible existence of Nessies; the media do not remind the general public that other highly accomplished people had joined in Rines’s searches at Loch Ness, people like Harold Edgerton, inventor of strobe photography and recipient of a Medal of Freedom; Marty Klein, successful entrepreneur, expert in side-scan sonar; Charles Wyckoff, photographic guru at Kodak. The media do not usually accompany mentions of  “The Loch Ness Monster” with reference to the underwater photos of flippers and a long-necked creature that Rines obtained, and which led Nature — at the joint instigation of Rines and the renowned wildlife activist Peter Scott — to publish a scientific name (Rhombopteryx nessiteras) for the creatures.

Nor do the media accompany standard sneers about “cold fusion” with reference to the 15 or so international conferences at which a variety of confirmations of and extrapolations from the Fleischmann-Pons effect have been reported by researchers employed at such places as Los Alamos, the Navy Research Establishment, White Sands, SRI, and official as well as private research institutions in Israel, Italy, Japan, and many other countries as well.

Nor, of course, do the media mention that HIV/AIDS theory has disproved itself in countless ways and has maintained itself only through vested interests and not scientific evidence. I think there really are “Loch Ness monsters” — a reproducing population of large and unidentified critters of some sort in Loch Ness, with cousins probably in Loch Morar and in the oceans; but I’m not quite, 100% sure about it, because you can never prove anything like that 100% unless you have captured a living specimen or found a carcass. But you can definitively, 100%, disprove a theory, and HIV/AIDS theory has been definitively, 100% disproved in a variety of ways. There are innumerable observations that do not fit the concept of a sexually transmitted, immune-system-destroying retrovirus. That evidence is seen, however, only by people not blinded by a mainstream consensus.

Robert Rines is sorely missed, even as we celebrate his achievements and feel grateful for having known him, for the excitement he brought to everything he turned to and the encouragement he gave unstintingly to all who wanted to try something new.

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Posted in experts, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV skepticism, uncritical media | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

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 »