HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Posts Tagged ‘peer review’

Race, HIV/AIDS, peer review

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2014/02/16

Reading recently a critique of peer review reminded me of the experience I had with the DuBois Review: Social Science Research on Race [1], and it also reminded me that I continue to regard the race-associated epidemiology of “HIV” as a salient Achilles’ Heel of HIV/AIDS theory.

The mainstream has completely avoided, refused, to face an inescapable dilemma: If HIV/AIDS theory is correct, that “HIV” spreads primarily by sexual intercourse and secondarily via infected needles, then adults who become “HIV-positive” did so in one of those ways. If an identifiable social or ethnic or racial group is always “HIV-positive” more than other groups, then the members of that group are more carelessly sexually promiscuous or more addicted to drug-injecting than are other human beings.
People of African ancestry test “HIV-positive” at a higher rate than others, always and everywhere [2] — in Africa, in the Caribbean, in Europe, in the USA. In the latter, most noteworthy is that Hispanics on the East Coast, who are largely of African ancestry, test “HIV-positive” at rates comparable to those of African-Americans, whereas West-Coast Hispanics, who are predominantly Central and South American, test “HIV-positive” at the much lower rates found among Native Americans. So African ancestry determines being “HIV-positive” even within a socially defined cultural or ethnic or language group like American Hispanics.

Therefore, if HIV/AIDS theory were correct, then African ancestry would significantly determine behavior that includes a much higher rate of careless promiscuity or drug-injecting addiction than is seen in people of non-African ancestry. “Much higher” might better be “extraordinarily higher”: a factor of more than 20 in Africa [2], and in the USA a factor of 20 for black females compared to white females and 7 for black males compared to white males [3]. Furthermore, since the observed or calculated rate of sexual transmission of “HIV” is so low, a phenomenal rate of promiscuity would be called for: 20-40% of adults having something like a dozen sexual partners concurrently and changing them about annually [4].

Never before has sexual behavior been ascribed by mainstream science to genetic determination in this fashion. Nor has any other behavioral characteristic ever been acknowledged to be so genetically determined and race-associated. Indeed, the very notion of behavior being significantly influenced by genetic factors (“sociobiology”, “evolutionary psychology”) remains highly controversial. HIV/AIDS theory is at odds with the mainstream consensus on the relationship between genes and behavior, moreover in a way that is consistent with now-largely-repudiated racial stereotypes.

I was taken aback, therefore, when the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention insisted to me that racial disparities in testing “HIV-positive” could be explained on behavioral grounds (p. 75 in 2]). In any case, the conundrum is quite plain, irrespective of theories about genetic determination of behavior:
Either African ancestry determines extraordinarily careless promiscuity of an extraordinarily high rate, possibly also an inconceivably high rate of sharing infected needles, or HIV/AIDS theory is plain wrong.

I continue to believe that this ought to be of prime significance to African-Americans. Official explanations try to skirt the issue and thereby make no sense, for example [3]:
“The greater number of people living with HIV in African American communities and the fact that African Americans tend to have sex with partners of the same race/ethnicity means that they face a greater risk of HIV infection with each new sexual encounter” — In other words, a classic tautology: there’s more HIV because there’s more HIV. But why are more African Americans “living with HIV” in the first place?
“African American communities have higher rates of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) compared with other racial/ethnic communities in the United States. Having an STI can significantly increase the chance of getting or transmitting HIV” — First, it is simply not true that African Americans always and everywhere have higher rates of STIs. Second, it is simply not true that rates of STI incidence correlate with rates of “HIV-positive” (p. 31 ff. in [2]), and anyway the racial disparities in testing “HIV-positive” are seen even among people who have STIs (Figure 12, p. 42 in [2]). Third, even if STIs and “HIV” did correlate, the same conundrum would apply of apparent racial determination of carelessly promiscuous sexual behavior.
“The poverty rate is higher among African Americans — 28% — than for any other race. The socioeconomic issues associated with poverty — including limited access to high-quality health care, housing, and HIV prevention education — directly and indirectly increase the risk for HIV infection” — This is waffling, no real explanation, simply bullshit [5]. In Africa, “HIV-positive” rates are greater among the higher economic strata of Africans [6].

Current official statements and practices emphasize that “HIV/AIDS” has become largely a problem for African-Americans and their communities. That is damaging in several ways: increasing the pressure on black Americans to be tested and thereafter subjected to toxic antiretroviral drugs; causing untold harm to people and their families who happen to test “HIV-positive”, for which there are innumerable possible causes (see The Case against HIV); and providing apparent support for racist stereotypes;

Half-a-dozen years ago, such considerations led me to submit a manuscript posing this conundrum or dilemma to what would seem the most obviously appropriate journal, the DuBois Review: Social Science Research on Race. I’ve already described briefly the fate of that MS. [1]. I said there that the journal did not give me permission to reproduce the reviewers’ comments verbatim, but looking back on the e-mail correspondence, I see that they did not refuse permission, they simply did not respond to my query. Furthermore, the reviewers’ comments were not marked confidential, neither was my e-mail correspondence with the journal. So I’ve decided that the full story might interest some of my readers, and I post here copies of my manuscript, of the reviewers’ comments, and of my correspondence with the journal.

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[1] Pp. 49-50 in Dogmatism in Science and Medicine: How Dominant Theories Monopolize Research and Stifle the Search for Truth
[2] The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory
[3] Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, “HIV among African Americans”, February 2013, February 2014
[4] James Chin, The AIDS Pandemic, Radcliffe, 2007, p. 64
[5] Harry G. Frankfurt, On Bullshit, Princeton University Press, 2005
[6] Theo Smart, “Structural Factors — PEPFAR: Greater wealth, not poverty, associated with higher HIV prevalence in Africa, according to survey”, nam-aidsmap, 2 August 2006

Posted in HIV and race, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV risk groups, HIV skepticism, HIV tests, HIV transmission, prejudice, sexual transmission, uncritical media | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

The fallacy of pre-publication peer review

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2011/05/17

An alternative title for this piece might be,
“The mainstream conspiracy of peer review”

Somehow it has become the conventional wisdom, within and without the scientific community, that the reliability and quality of science is safeguarded when grants are awarded only after vetting by established experts and research outcomes are published only after approval from established experts.
To the contrary: The important testing of scientific claims occurs only after publication of those claims, whereas pre-publication peer-review serves more effectively to censor truly original advances than to improve the quality of the research literature.
Those points of fact have been known, though, chiefly within history and sociology and philosophy of science and science & technology studies (STS). Few working scientists know anything of those fields, and they labor happily under such illusions as the misguided belief that there’s a universal “scientific method”  that guarantees objectivity and reliability.
The barrier that peer review under mainstream auspices sets against truly innovative work is discovered typically by the individuals who find their ground-breaking advances scorned, censored, rejected, and then rediscovered only after perhaps a very long time, occasionally posthumously. (Stigler’s Law, an illustration of itself,  holds that a discovery is named after the last person to discover it, not the first.) Sociologist Bernard Barber fifty years ago already described the “Resistance by scientists to scientific discovery” (Science, 134 [1961] 596-602). Biologist Gunther Stent four decades ago coined the term “prematurity” to describe scientific breakthroughs that were too far ahead of the mainstream’s conventional views to be accepted (“Prematurity and uniqueness in scientific discovery”, Scientific American, December 1972, 84-93). It took further decades before even the STS communities focused in organized fashion on these insights (Ernest B. Hook (ed)., Prematurity in Scientific Discovery: On Resistance and Neglect, University of California Press, 2002).
Journal editors are in prime position to recognize the wet blanket of banally routine attitudes that peer review throws over original, counter-mainstream claims. Thus Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, wrote:
“Peer review . . . is simply a way to collect opinions from experts in the field. Peer review tells us about the acceptability, not the credibility, of a new finding” (Health Wars: On the Global Front Lines of Modern Medicine, New York Review Books, 2003: 306).
A full discussion of these matters has been published by Richard Smith, former editor of the British Medical Journal (“Classical peer review: an empty gun”, Breast Cancer Research 2010, 12 [suppl. 4] S13). Smith points out that all the studies of the consequences and effects of peer review as normally practiced have found no evidence for its vaunted benefits:
— “At present, little empirical evidence is available to support the use of editorial peer review as a mechanism to ensure quality of biomedical research”.
— Peer review does not prevent the publication of unimportant banalities that clutter up the literature and lower its quality: “Many studies are never cited once, most disappear within a few years, and very few have real, continuing importance”.
That has long been known, of course, to competent observers in STS, see for example J. R. & S. Cole, Social Stratification in Science , University of Chicago Press, 1973: 228; Henry W. Menard, Science: Growth and Change, Harvard University Press 1971: 99; Derek J. de Solla Price, Little Science, Big Science . . . And Beyond, Columbia University Press 1963/1986, Chapter 2).
It is not surprising, then, that John Ziman estimated that perhaps 90% of research articles in physics journals turn out to be erroneous in some way and thus not worth citing (Reliable Knowledge, Cambridge University Press, 1978, p. 40).
That much of the scientific community as well as science journalists and public pundits about science have remained ignorant of all this is illustrated by the brouhaha of astonishment that came when John Ioannidis showed that much of the medical literature is simply false [“Why most published research findings are false”, PLoS Med, 2005, 2:e124], often because “the standard of statistics in medical journals is very poor” [D. G. Altman, “Poor-quality medical research: what can journals do?” JAMA 287 (2002) 2765-7; “The scandal of poor medical research”, BMJ 308 (1994) 283-4]; so that “less than 1% of the studies in most journals” is “both scientifically sound and important for clinicians” [Haynes, “Where’s the meat in clinical journals?”, ACP Journal Club 119 (1993) A22-3]. Drummond Rennie, an editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association, remarked that “There seems to be no study too fragmented, no hypothesis too trivial, no literature citation too biased or too egotistical, no design too warped, no methodology too bungled, no presentation of results too inaccurate, too obscure, and too contradictory, no analysis too self-serving, no argument too circular, no conclusions too trifling or too unjustified, and no grammar and syntax too offensive for a paper to end up in print”. As I pointed out recently,  the purpose of publishing “research” articles is to pad vitae and lay the ground for getting more grants.
— Pre-publication peer review lacks benefit since it doesn’t ensure quality. It causes damage by censoring important work. Even with journeyman studies that add something potentially useful to the literature, the costs incurred by peer reviewing are not commensurate with any value added by the peer-review process.
— By contrast, peer review does prevent publication of work vindicated later, perhaps much later, as an important advance. Smith fails to cite Barber, however, who may have been the first to offer a host of specific illustrations. Smith does, however, point to the evidence that bias strongly influences reviewers’ opinions, and that abuses occur, not only the willful criticizing of those whose views are not the same as those of the reviewer but even such actual dishonesty as the misappropriation by reviewers of supposedly confidential material.

Smith sums it all up thus: “The problem with filtering before publishing, peer review, is that it is an ineffective, slow, expensive, biased, inefficient, anti-innovatory, and easily abused lottery: the important is just as likely to be filtered out as the unimportant. The sooner we can let the ‘real’ peer review of post-publication peer review get to work the better”.

Richard Smith cites David Horrobin’s critique of peer review, though he fails to mention Horrobin’s founding of Medical Hypotheses, the journal that practiced what Smith and Rennie and Horton preach — until ignorant administrators at Elsevier bowed to pressure from HIV/AIDS vigilantes (€L$€VI€R and the NEW “Medical Hypotheses”).  Smith himself was editor of the short-lived Cases Journal (~2008-2010) whose rationale and practices were similar to those of Medical Hypotheses.

*                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *

The degree to which bias, self-interest and vested interests have corrupted science and medicine is illustrated by the fact that editors of leading journals write about the deficiencies of peer review but do not even try to change the system, despite the fact that they are in prime position to do so. Rather they actively collaborate, and entrench the system’s deficiencies: a group of Lancet editors ratified Elsevier’s censorship of Medical Hypotheses, and Horton’s Lancet has itself censored evidence-based critiques of HIV/AIDS theory by Gordon Stewart.
I have myself been editor of a peer-reviewed journal, and I understand the wide latitude that editors have in their choice of reviewers, in holding reviewers to standards of objectivity, and in bringing even counter-mainstream views to wider notice by publishing them together with reviewers’ demurrals. It isn’t necessary for editors of leading journals to just follow the implicit orders of the mainstream’s conventional wisdom; more shame to them for doing so even as they recognize that they shouldn’t. It’s possible to do better. I’ve found, for instance, that the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons  practices pre-publication peer review in a manner that is useful rather than burdensome: the editor demands that reviewers respond promptly, chooses alternatives when reviewers are tardy or unresponsive, and holds reviewers to evidence-based commentary that helps authors to improve their manuscripts.
However, the almost universal hegemony exerted by current counter-productive practices is illustrated by the fact that Richard Smith’s exposure of the fallacy of pre-publication peer-review was published in Breast Cancer Research rather than where it belongs, in Nature or Science or The Lancet or JAMA or the New England Journal of Medicine, since it is of concern to everyone involved in research and practice in science and medicine.

The hold that current corrupt practices have over academe and medicine and science is further illustrated by the avalanche of books by informed insiders denouncing the corruption — to no visible avail or effect. One is reminded of the continual expressions of horror at the corrupt state of intercollegiate athletics, expressions from the very people whose positions — as university presidents or as members of the Knight Commission  — would seem to make it possible for them to actually do something about it. Instead, the most prominent critical voices are those of university presidents who are safely retired.

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Acknowledgment:
Richard Smith’s article was drawn to my attention by (no relation) Dave Smith, who has himself blogged about the problems with peer review  and the piece by Richard Smith

Posted in experts, uncritical media | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

The mote in someone else’s eye

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2010/10/11

how wilt thou say to thy brother,
Let me pull the mote out of thine eye;
and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
— Matthew 7:3

Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, has written a number of unexceptionable, insightful essays about the limitations of peer review and the need for open discussion of scientific matters, for example:

Peer review . . . is simply a way to collect opinions from experts in the field.
Peer review tells us about the acceptability, not the credibility, of a new finding
(Health Wars: On the Global Front Lines of Modern Medicine
New York Review Books, 2003, p. 306)

In the same book Horton dismisses HIV/AIDS dissidence in unequivocal terms — evidently basing his faith in orthodox HIV/AIDS theory on the opinions of experts. And as editor of The Lancet, Horton approved the rejection on several occasions since 2005 of short pieces by Gordon Stewart that referred to unquestioned data about HIV and AIDS confirming the accuracy of Stewart’s projections from the 1980s and the wildly wrong nature of official projections. (Stewart has known Horton well enough to be on first-name terms. Nevertheless, the rejections came in the usual bland non-substantive boilerplate, e.g. asserting that the submission contained nothing new).

In  a more recent piece in The Guardian, Horton points out that the Climategate affair  demonstrates a need for something like a revolution in the way science deals with matters of public interest:
1.    “Simply accepting a scientist’s assurance that data are accurate and reliable is no longer enough. Scientists will have to make their data available for independent audit.”
2.    “[S]cientists must redefine who is a legitimate critic and who isn’t. . . .  some critics ask tough and illuminating questions, exposing important errors and elisions. These critics have an important part to play in shaping scientific debate and dialogue.”
3.    Scientists should resist the public’s wish for certainty, not pander to it. “Uncertainty may be uncomfortable, but its admission builds trust. It demonstrates integrity. One of science’s great strengths is its quantification of doubt.”
4.    “[S]cientists need to take peer review off its pedestal. As an editor, I know that rigorous peer review is indispensable. But I also know that it is widely misunderstood. Peer review is not the absolute or final arbiter of scientific quality. It does not test the validity of a piece of research. It does not guarantee truth. . . . the prevailing myths need to be debunked. . . . If we treat peer review as a sacred academic cow, we will continue to let the public down again and again.”
5.    “A scientist’s training will need to include ways of engaging citizen scientists constructively, making their data more widely available, putting uncertainty at the forefront of their work, and managing public expectations about what science can do.”

Nevertheless, Horton accepts that Climategate does not cast doubt on the dogma that global warming is caused by human generation of carbon dioxide; even though there were “failures, evasions, misleading actions, unjustifiable delays, and pervasive unhelpfulness” by the climate scientists at East Anglia University.
Thereby Horton fails to acknowledge, presumably fails to understand that the results that emerge from scientific activity are only reliable to the degree that they are not “failures, evasions, misleading actions, unjustifiable delays, and pervasive unhelpfulness”, which in the Climategate case included a refusal to furnish raw data and assertions that the raw data had not been retained — which in itself would constitute an extraordinary breach of accepted and acceptable procedures.

I bring Horton in neither to praise nor to bury him, but as a striking and humbling illustration that we are all capable of discerning others’ blind spots and misperceptions and intellectual biases while remaining unaware of our own. Even as we understand generalities, we fail to apply them to specific topics on which we hold firm views.
When scientists or scientific associations provide advice to policy makers, it is their obligation not to press their own convictions but rather to make plain the range of existing competent views, emphasizing that science does not deal in absolute truths and that policies must be made with that understanding of fundamental uncertainty. For a comprehensive discussion, see for example The Honest Broker by Roger A. Pielke, Jr. (Cambridge University Press, 2007).
When not acting as an adviser, of course, it is perfectly proper for each of us to argue vigorously for our views: so long as we do so by presenting the evidence on which we base those views and so long as we do not indulge in polemic irrelevancies like personal attacks or trying to invoke guilt by association (e.g., Bauer is a pseudoscientist’s pseudoscientist who believes in Loch Ness monsters, and a homophobe who opposes affirmative action — see writings of Seth Kalichman and of anonymous contributors to Wikipedia).

The only sensible, potentially productive way to move toward better understanding is to engage in unfettered, evidence-based, public discussion. That not only serves the public good, it can help each of us to realize it when we are going astray, when we have fallen into dogmatism, when we have drawn unwarranted conclusions, when we’re simply wrong.
When that happens, embarrassment is perfectly natural; but it can be eased by recalling that to err is human.
It’s much easier to acknowledge being wrong and to accept correction from friends. That’s a further reason to eschew polemic tactics like invoking guilt by association and making personal attacks: those make it all the more difficult for the other side to appreciate the strength of your argument; it’s counter-productive; the difference of views becomes a personal battle instead of a substantive impersonal scientific argument.
When people do invoke guilt by association and do make personal attacks, a reasonable inference, of course, is that they cannot support their views by sufficiently convincing evidence.

Posted in experts, HIV skepticism, prejudice | Tagged: , , | 9 Comments »

Left hand, right hand — Elsevier remains ignorant about science

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2010/06/25

Peer reviewers base their judgment on what they (believe they) know. People are asked to serve as peer reviewers because they have achieved solidly within the framework of the contemporary consensus. Peer review always favors the status quo and rejects the most promising novelties (examples galore in Bernard Barber, Resistance by scientists to scientific discovery, Science, 134 [1961] 596–602).

David Horrobin founded Medical Hypotheses to publish interesting novelties that could not pass peer review.

Elsevier fired Editor Bruce Charlton for publishing what could not pass “peer” review because those “peers” are dogmatists of HIV/AIDS theory.

Now Elsevier has issued the non-sequitur, oxymoronic announcement that it is going to maintain Horrobin’s vision by instituting peer review at Medical Hypotheses under a new editor.

It would be laughable, were it not so tragic, with tragic consequences for untold numbers of human beings, that so much of what passes for science, medical science, scientific publication, and science punditry is similarly lacking the most fundamental understanding of the character of everything to do with research, publication, and scientific activity in general.

New editor for Medical Hypotheses
. . .
First, we will retain the ethos, heritage and unique characteristics of the journal as they were proposed at inception, . . . . Second, we will engage a medically qualified editorial board to get members more involved in the review system to help ensure radical new ideas and speculations in medicine are given open-minded consideration while ensuring scientific merit.”

However, “most of the board planned to resign in response to Elsevier’s changes to the journal”: because they understand that “open-minded consideration” and “ensuring scientific merit” constitute an oxymoron when the judgment of scientific merit is to be made by people whose views are based on the prevailing mainstream consensus. And when the judgment is not based on that, then articles will be published like those withdrawn by Elsevier in response to protests from upholders of the mainstream consensus.

The new editor simply cannot do what he pledges to do, no matter how much he may imagine that he can. It’s just another case of imagining that “Saying so, makes it so”.

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Not only Elsevier or its new editor don’t understand science, of course. Neither do the editors of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences nor the authors of an article just published in that august periodical. It reports “research” finding that “Those who  believe  in  anthropogenic  climate  change  rank, on average, much higher in the scientific pecking order than do those who take issue with the idea” (“Critics are far less prominent than supporters”, Eli Kintisch, Science 328: 1622).
Aha! How extraordinary! Another of those rare cases of dog bites man; or of the finding that friends are friendlier toward each other than they are toward their opponents.

Posted in experts, uncritical media | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Big Science & commercial science publishing = corruption of peer review & science

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2010/05/17

The conventional wisdom about science is half-a-century or more out of date. Up to roughly World War II, it was not too wide of the mark to see scientific activity as driven by the curiosity of dedicated individuals who collaborated and competed to tease out a comprehensive understanding of the natural world. No one chose a career in science as a way to wealth, because it wasn’t. By and large, mutual critiquing was based on evidence and logic, and controversies became resolved reasonably soon after the evidence became objectively compelling. Personal unpleasantries did arise, notably in disputes about priority of discovery, but they were between individuals and their close cohorts, not the guardians of a mainstream dogma branding dissenters as denialists, pseudoscientists, or criminals who should be jailed. Of course there was always resistance to new ideas, but it involved ignoring the intellectual challenge rather than seeking to kill the messengers. In the late 1930s, sociologist Robert Merton described the scientific landscape as displaying an ethos (nowadays referred to as the Mertonian Norms) in which scientists were producing a public good, sharing their work openly, conscious of and accepting the universality of scientific knowledge, and working disinterestedly to advance science rather than their own private, personal interests.

World War II brought science and its applications into high public importance: the Manhattan Project that created atomic bombs, radar that crucially helped Britain against Nazi air strikes, sonar that was invaluable in combating submarines, penicillin that revolutionized the treatment of bacterial infections, and much else. Science became prominent in political and social policy-making as never before, and scientific advice came to influence significant portions of national budgets. Governments distributed largesse to produce more scientists and more science. Universities found ways to benefit from the largesse. Business and industry also found ways to profit from this burgeoning growth of research activity.

So science became transformed from a public good to a thoroughgoingly for-profit enterprise. Scientists increasingly owed fealty to patrons, sponsors, employers, and the aims of research focused increasingly on what would be profitable, preferably in the short term, instead of on what would most advance human understanding. Scientific publication exploded and its costs rose; journals, traditionally controlled by scientific societies, came increasingly to be taken over or established by commercial publishers. As with commercial publishing in general, there was consolidation and striving for higher profits. Libraries were increasingly unable to cope with the rising costs. Before World War II, manuscripts for publication were judged without regard to fiscal matters, but nowadays costs are a salient factor. Journals of such non-profit associations as the American Chemical Society began to levy “page charges”: authors were asked to pay if their manuscripts were accepted for publication, initially perhaps $50 per page (I seem to recall), but that would seem a remarkable bargain nowadays where the charges are typically ≥$100 per printed page. Because publications constitute a researcher’s career portfolio, the stakes are high and researchers scramble for means to pay page charges, usually via research grants that allow page charges as legitimate costs of research. Entrepreneurs have realized that they can profit by putting out publications whose costs plus overhead (= profit for publisher and publisher’s employees) are borne by the authors themselves or by their research grants, and new publications are springing up at a great rate, primarily to make financial profit for the entrepreneurs and career profits for the publishing authors. It is to the advantage of authors, editors, and publishers of these for-profit ventures to put out as great a volume of material as possible, so quality has gone by the board and “peer review” tends to allow through anything that fits the prevailing viewpoint, no matter how banal, insignificant, useless. Scientific publication has become what used to be called “vanity publishing” not so long ago: Among the general public, and also to some extent in the humanities and social sciences, people who wanted to have their books published but could not meet the standards of existing publishers could pay the costs themselves. The natural inference about such “self publication” judged it as of inferior merit (though a small percentage of such works lived to prove the publishers wrong who had rejected the manuscripts). The contemporary bubble of paid-for, profit-centered scientific publication constitutes nothing short of vanity publishing.

Hand in hand with rushing to produce anything that doesn’t rock the boat goes a fierce determination to exclude anything that threatens the bandwagon and gravy train. Peer review, like other aspects of science, has become thoroughgoingly corrupted by the change from “little science” to “Big Science”, which means commercial science, for-profit science. It has become routine for editors to choose manuscript reviewers with a view to getting the advice they want, namely, something that will not rock the profitable mainstream boat. Don’t try to publish anything that questions HIV/AIDS theory, or Big-Bang theory, or human-caused global warming theory, or Darwinian evolution, or string theory, or an asteroid cause of dinosaur extinctions, or any other prevailing contemporary consensus.

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The foregoing repeats much of what I talked about at the Oakland Rethinking AIDS Conference,  but I do so not to repeat myself but as an introduction to recommending a pertinent series of essays by Suzan Mazur. They are based on interviews with scientists and observers of science who have specific experiences to recount of the corruption of peer review. I was alerted to these by an interview of Suzan Mazur on the Jeff Farias Show (“Danger! Big Science Peer Review“).
Links there lead to these other excellent and pertinent items:
The Peer Review “Fig Leaf”: Vera Hassner Sharav, 2010/04/01
Free Science Peer Review From Cultish Conspiracy, 2010/02/03
David Noble: Peer Review, Where Are The Scholars?, 2010/02/26
Margulis: Peer Review Or “Cycle Of Submission”?, 2010/01/05
Jeff Farias Show: Altenberg 16 – Evolution Exposé, 2009/11/26
The Altenberg 16: An Exposé Of The Evolution Industry,  2009/08/26

Posted in experts, HIV does not cause AIDS, uncritical media | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »