HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Posts Tagged ‘Rebecca Culshaw’

Elsevier publishes another HIV-denialist article

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2010/01/13

“[T]here is extensive evidence that certain micronutrient deficiencies are associated with faster disease progression or increased mortality risk, and that dietary supplements . . . can prolong survival in HIV/AIDS. . . .
one aspect stands out in importance: the potential relationship to oxidative stress. . . . the antioxidant role of selenium in glutathione peroxidases . . . .
a daily supplement of 200 μg of selenium alone stopped progression of HIV-1 viral load increases, and lead [sic] to  improved  CD4  counts. . . . selenium status was reported to be 10 times  more  significant  than  CD4  cell  count  as  a  predictor  of   mortality. . . .
HIV infection is typically characterized by a dramatic decline in glutathione levels . . . [which] suggests an abnormal degree of biological oxidation, manifesting as elimination of cysteine sulfur as sulfate. A key feature of HIV disease is an apparent ‘antioxidant defect’ . . . [which] can be aggravated by co-factors such as malnutrition, co-infection with other microorganisms, and the use of various oxidant   drugs, such as nitrites. . . .
Intermediates of oxidative tryptophan metabolism have also been implicated in neurotoxicity, potentially contributing to AIDS dementia. . . .
oxidative   stress   can   induce niacin/NAD+ depletion. . . .
The oxidative stress-induced niacin sink (OSINS) model for HIV pathogenesis. . . . links oxidative stress and selenium to the observed tryptophan abnormalities and immunosuppression in HIV/AIDS. . . . [and] provides a mechanism whereby oxidative stress associated with HIV infection can contribute to immunosuppression via tryptophan deletion, as well as neurotoxicity via toxic tryptophan metabolites and ATP depletion. . . .
But whatever the source of oxidative stress, there would be a net effect towards niacin depletion and compensatory tryptophan oxidation. . . .
the need for certain nutrients in HIV infection may be largely secondary to an underlying defect that could be largely rectified by another nutrient, with antioxidants being the most fundamental to an effective regimen. . . .
whatever underlies or contributes to the antioxidant defect and increased oxidative stress . . . leads also to intracellular niacin depletion, and thereby to tryptophan depletion, with an end result of immunosuppression . . . and also T-cell loss” [emphases added].

It might seem natural to infer that this was written by the Perth Group, who have argued for upwards of two decades that “AIDS” results from oxidative stress, possibly with co-authorship by Rebecca Culshaw, who described the crucial role of glutathione, and by Harold Foster, who has long argued the central role of selenium, not to mention Matthias Rath, who has long spoken up for the value of micronutrients in treating AIDS patients.
But no. What’s more, none of those earlier publications are mentioned in this article by Ethan Will Taylor, “The oxidative stress-induced niacin sink (OSINS) model for HIV pathogenesis”, published on-line in Toxicology (Received 1 July 2009 — Received in revised form 10 October 2009 — Accepted 15 October 2009 — On-line at PubMed 24 October  [Epub ahead of print, PMID: 19857540, ).

(The review is described as “Hypothesis”, suggesting it might equally have been accepted by another Elsevier journal, Medical Hypotheses, were it not that the latter seems nowadays to bar anything that questions HIV/AIDS orthodoxy.)

At any rate, this article talks about “HIV-associated” oxidative stress and the benefits of nutritional supplements in “HIV-infected” people without demonstrating that “HIV” is actually involved. Essentially the same network of reactions and feedback applies in any situation of oxidative stress, as noted in the article: “whatever the source of oxidative stress . . . whatever underlies or contributes to the antioxidant defect and increased oxidative stress”. The only suggested involvement of HIV in the network of reactions is via a postulated stimulation of IDO (indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase) by tat and nef proteins and an increased level of interferon γ ascribed to viral infection and immune activation.

If it could be shown that under generalized oxidative stress, substances are released that are capable of yielding an “HIV-positive” response, that would combine with this comprehensive review of the literature to make oxidative stress an entirely plausible cause of AIDS, a worthy alternative to the HIV/AIDS hypothesis.

In point of fact, it is already well and long known that “HIV-positive” is a condition that can be brought on by a large range of conditions and infections: hypergammaglobulinemia, tuberculosis, or vaccination against flu, and dozens more documented by Christine Johnson (“Whose antibodies are they anyway? Factors known to cause  false positive HIV antibody test results”, Continuum, #3, Sept./Oct. 1996, p.4, anti-tetanus shots (Saag et al., Nature Med 1996;2:625-9 and Gonnelli et al., Lancet 1991;337:731), and even pregnancy (Taha et al., AIDS 1998;12:197-203; Gray et al., Am J Obstet Gynecol 2001;185:1209-17; Gray et al., Lancet 2005;366:1182-8). Drug abusers very often test “HIV-positive”. That the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention included increasing numbers of conditions as “AIDS-defining” after “HIV-positive” became a criterion reflects the fact that many illnesses induce oxidative stress and the resulting “HIV-positive” status.

Here is a simple way of Rethinking AIDS:
There are two hypotheses.
1. AIDS is caused by a previously unknown retrovirus that first infected gay men simultaneously in several large metropolitan areas in the United States even though it had first crossed into humans in Africa. No vaccine or microbicide against it has been found after more than two decades of concentrated effort. Transmitted sexually, it is however very difficult to transmit, which is why it has remained within the original risk groups of promiscuous drug-abusing gay men and other drug abusers, except in Africa where 20-40% of the adult population has several sexual partners simultaneously and changes them frequently (James Chin, The AIDS Pandemic); however, the retrovirus has never actually been observed, in prospective studies, to be transmitted sexually. It kills T-cells by some unknown but certainly indirect as well as obscure mechanism. Though transmitted by breastfeeding, it is transmitted less, the greater the degree of exclusive breastfeeding. The presence of antibodies denotes active infection even when no actual virus can be detected. Some significant proportion of those infected remain healthy, even as no reason for this immunity has been discovered. One of the three original salient AIDS diseases supposedly caused by this retrovirus, Kaposi’s sarcoma, turns out not to be caused by it after all. Antibodies to the retrovirus appear after vaccination against flu, or after an anti-tetanus shot, and in a host of illnesses as well as natural conditions of some physiological stress like pregnancy. In an appreciable number of AIDS cases, no antibodies or retrovirus could be found, but this could be explained away as another new disease, idiopathic CD4-T-cell lymphopenia. Drugs that kill the virus do not correlate with restoration of the immune system nor with improved health. Indeed, purported restoration of the immune system with these drugs brings on another new ailment, “immune restoration syndrome”, a worsening of clinical condition with symptoms that mimic AIDS. The retrovirus mutates at unprecedented speed, so that infected individuals harbor not a single variant but a swarm of variants; and all variants and strains appear to be pathogenic to similar extents. Antiretroviral treatment is by toxic drugs whose side effects are so severe that non-compliance by patients has been observed or estimated at nearly 50%. Deaths from AIDS continue to occur in the same age-range as before, roughly mid-30s to late 40s. Although the retrovirus is latent for an average of a decade before causing illness, the age of first infection, of first AIDS diagnosis, and of death are all in that same age range.
2. AIDS is caused by oxidative stress. Proof: dietary supplements of antioxidants and essential minerals and vitamins restore health and extend life without dangerous side effects.

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Posted in Alternative AIDS treatments, HIV absurdities, HIV as stress, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV skepticism, HIV tests, HIV transmission, sexual transmission, vaccines | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 45 Comments »

“Newton” ghost-writes Kalichman’s book — Chapter 4 of Jekyll-Kalichman-Hyde-Newton

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/04/23

At the end of Chapter 3, we left “Joe Newton” shedding crocodile tears over the report that Rebecca Culshaw had lost her job. On a later occasion, he was perhaps hoping that her fate and similar experiences of others  might cause me to worry about my own position:
10 October 2008, Newton to Bauer:
“It is true what you say about Dr. Duesberg and his being treated badly.
How about you Dr. Bauer? How have your colleagues treated you? I mean with your interests in scientific explorations and all. Do they call you a pseudoscientist and other such names? I know you have been a Dean, do your colleagues respect you? I figure you must have a back like a duck to repel all that water.”

I enjoyed needling a little:
“Very decently. There aren’t any Wainbergs or Moores around here. I’ve given talks at the local medical school, to student groups, at departmental seminars, about my scholarly interests in Loch Ness, anomalies in general, HIV/AIDS, never a hint of trouble.
Maybe it’s partly owing to what I noticed when I moved from Michigan to Kentucky, and perhaps even more so in Virginia: there’s a tradition of courtesy that is not so generally found in the north and northeastern US.”

“Newton” was relieved: “I am glad to hear that. Really.”
[“Really” was another of “Newton’s” trademarks. For obviously good reason, he knew or suspected that people were unlikely to believe what he said.]

**********************

The more “Newton” lied, the more lying became habitual also to his creator, Kalichman. So when it came to writing a book, Kalichman-Newton attributed, to those he was writing about, things they had never said. Many parts of “Denying AIDS” are plagiarized from the  e-mails “Newton” exchanged with “denialists”; or rather, from the e-mails that “Newton” sent to “denialists”, for the book attributes to us things that we didn’t say but “he” did. For example, Kalichman-Newton espied a connection between views on cancer, AIDS, and the environment:
“Newton” to Crowe:
“I noticed you are founding memebr of the Green Party…. That is so  cool. I see the connection between your views on the cancer, AIDS and  the environment. You are a naturalist, yes?
It seems true for Dr. Duesberg as well…. environemental causes of  AIDS and Cancer.
So neat to make these connections.”

But Crowe made no such connection:
“I’m a founding member of the Green Party … in the province of  Alberta only. . . .  I’m not really a naturalist, although I’m very interested in the  natural world. . . .”

Nevertheless, the point appears in “Denying AIDS” (e.g., p. 30 ff.), where Duesberg’s views on aneuploidy as cause of cancer and HIV as not the cause of AIDS are somehow traced to an overarching belief in environmental causes (!!!, Kalichman-Newton would doubtless add).

“Newton” tried desperately to get someone to agree with his discovery that AIDS dissidence could be traced to German roots:
The book that just came off press [Engelbrecht & Köhnlein, “Virus Mania”] looks interesting…but I have  never heard of the author. A German journalist? I note some time back  that most dissidents are German…even D. Bauer was born in Austria!  I am wondering what the German connection is?? Is Dr. Duesberg that  influential?” (to Crowe)

and later, when Christian Fiala published a comment about inflated HIV/AIDS numbers from WHO:
“At 9:05 PM -0400 7/8/08, Joseph Newton wrote:
Mr. Crowe
Did you see this?
Why is the first letter that is supportive from Austria?? What is  this Gernan – Austrian thing and Dissidence?
Best to you
JCN”

Crowe didn’t take the bait, yet “Newton’s” wacky “dissidence is German-associated” idea found its way into Kalichman’s “Denying AIDS” (pp. 54, 145;  see “The German Connection: Kalichman’s not-so-Komical Kaper #3”, 21 March 2009 ).

Again, my eyebrows shot toward the roof when I read (p. 74):
“Bauer had hoped that his book would land him an interview on the Today Show and change the course of AIDS research and treatments.”
Anyone who knows me even slightly would not recognize me as the fellow Kalichman writes about. If I were to dream about interviews on TV, it would be in terms of Bill Moyer, Gwen Ifill, maybe Tavis Smiley — a conversation, in other words, with intelligent people, not pseudo-substantive “entertainment” get-togethers interrupted every 5 minutes by commercial breaks (I was frankly shocked that President Obama was willing to sit through a couple of commercial breaks when talking with Jay Leno). At any rate, something like the Today Show would be a nightmare for me, not a hope or a dream; and if I were ever persuaded to do it, it would be a grit-teeth-and-endure-it experience. I don’t even recall whether I’ve ever watched the Today Show, Good Morning America, or others of that ilk; and if I did, it was because someone like Obama was on. So where did Kalichman get that from? Why, from “Newton’s” suggestions to Bauer:
14 October 2007, Newton to Bauer:
“Dr. Bauer, …
Why has there not been BIG media on your book? I would think there should be.
Has Peter Duesberg had contact with you? . . . . He could probably get you on the Today Show and Fox News!
If I knew of a way to help I surely would.”

and 3 February 2008:
“…I have been watching for you on the Today Show…but I guess they have not zeroed in on you yet!…”

15 October:
“I have been wondering what your goals are? I mean what would you like to see happen as a result of your book? I suspect you do not expect the orthodoxy to reverse course and refute the idea that HIV causes AIDS? It also does not sound like you expect your book to vindicate Peter Deusberg and salvage his image.
What would you like to see happen??”

****************

After a while, having learned that Crowe had traced Newton to Kalichman, I grew tired of the cat-and-mouse and hinted as much by making my responses shorter and curter, and by giving Newton-Hyde-Kalichman the opportunity to realize his ineptness. He had (10 October 2008, 12:40:03 PM) shed his crocodile tears for Culshaw:
“I just learned that Rebecca Culshaw has lost her job. I saw a web posting saying something about how she has terminated.”

Naturally I asked (10:30:48 PM): “I hadn’t seen this, do you have a URL?”

OOPS! Of course he didn’t, as I well knew, for I have Google Alerts that would pick up anything like that. All Kalichman knew was that J P Moore had been harassing high-level administrators to fire Rebecca Culshaw, Andy Maniotis, and perhaps others as well (“Questioning HIV/AIDS: Morally Reprehensible or Scientifically Warranted?”, J. Amer. Physicians & Surgeons, 12 [#4, Winter 2007] 116- 120). So, “Newton” replied lamely (11:04:47 PM):
“I cannot find the URL now. But it was pretty clear that she did not get her tenure and was asked to depart.”

Likely story. Graduate student “Newton” finds something on the Web but can’t find it again a few hours later.

*****************

Chapter 5 will  describe how Kalichman actually became “Newton” in physical reality, not merely as a pseudonym.

Posted in experts, HIV skepticism, Legal aspects, prejudice | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Beware the Internet: Amazon.com “reviews”, Wikipedia, and other sources of misinformation

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/04/11

A recent Colbert Report (TV Comedy Channel)  featured Steven Johnson and his book, “The Invention of Air”. Practicing one-upmanship, Colbert described a fictitious work whose title he appeared to make up on the spur of the moment. Johnson responded at once, “And tomorrow there’ll be a Wikipedia entry for it”.

I was pleased by this indication that the unreliability of Wikipedia has attained shibboleth status in the conventional wisdom of the popular culture. We teachers have long been troubled by the willingness of students, writing “research” papers or projects, to rely naively on material they gather off the Web. There have been serious discussions among academics for well over a decade, how to meld the desirable openness of the Internet with the quality control that serious work requires, but there’s no solution in sight. Quality control takes time and effort, and the Internet is free, and no one has devised a process by which Internet journals or other Web publications that generate trivial income can find the wherewithal to effect quality control.

The idealists who first created the embryonic Internet were research scientists who never imagined that the disinterested sharing of honest information among researchers, for which they created this medium, would almost at once be exploited by spammers, scammers, and hackers. I suspect that those who created Facebook and the like didn’t intend it to be used for purposes of identity theft. I imagine those who created blogging software didn’t do so in order to allow frustrated ne’er-do-wells to vent their spleen at their betters. Still, that’s what often happens. I imagine Amazon.com intended informative reviews of books to be posted, not character assassinations; and surely the creator of Wikipedia thought that it would attract idealistic, disinterested individuals wanting to share their authentic knowledge and understanding. However, in the words of Robbie Burns,

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain . . . .

A year or two ago, a friend I had acquired in the 1980s through a mutual interest in the Velikovsky Affair had sent me this e-mail:
“Henry,
FYI, you have a ‘stub’ entry in Wikipedia which begins ‘Henry H. Bauer is editor of the fringe science publication Journal of Scientific Exploration.’
Then lists your educational background, employment, and your 1986 and 2001 books, with links to your publications and personal webpage. . . .
It invites someone to add some ‘beef’ to this ‘stub’.
Just so’s you know,  L—-“

Around the same time, some of my colleagues in the Society for Scientific Exploration voiced concern over how the Society and its Journal (which I edited from 2000 until the end of 2007) was being characterized on Wikipedia. Fairly quickly we learned that it’s futile to attempt corrections if even a single person is determined to keep the entry to their liking, deleting or changing one’s corrections almost as soon as they are made. The procedures that purportedly safeguard Wikipedia against malicious entries simply aren’t up to the job of bringing objective and fair consideration, most especially where unorthodox views or anti-mainstream claims are concerned; no reasonable arbitration or compromise is feasible when one side comprises fanatical propagandists for their “truth”, for whom “all’s fair…”, “anything goes”.

As Steven Johnson indicated on the Colbert Report, Wikipedia is just another illustration that there’s no quality assurance on the Internet; nor could there be, given its great virtue of universal accessibility. Anyone who uses Wikipedia must surely learn quite quickly that there’s no quality control. There are two obvious corollaries:
1. You trust what’s in Wikipedia (or on the Internet in general) at your peril.
2. To correct mis-information in Wikipedia or on the Internet is literally impossible. Even should you succeed, after tortuous interactions with biased people, in modifying incorrect Wikipedia entries to be merely pervaded by bias and innuendo rather than gross factual errors, the same people who are determined to spread mischievous mis-information can just place what’s removed from Wikipedia on their own websites, on blogs, in discussion groups — and, just like at Wikipedia, they can do so anonymously.

So I stopped paying attention to my “biography”, or that of the Society for Scientific Exploration, or any such entry, in Wikipedia. (Which is not to say that everything in Wikipedia is bad, of course. On non-controversial matters the entries can be unexceptionable. The trouble is, unless you’re already familiar with a subject, you won’t know that a very different story might exist, that there exists a controversy not mentioned in Wikipedia.)

Another place for mischief on the Internet is Amazon.com. Anyone can post “reviews” of books. I think the first time I realized this was with the intemperate reaction from HIV/AIDS vigilantes to Rebecca Culshaw’s fine book, “Science Sold Out”. In particular, there was a long rant from AIDStruther Kenneth W. Witwer, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins; Witwer’s piece was quite striking in describing as mis-statements of fact what are demonstrably accurate statements of fact, for example, that “HIV prevalence in the US has remained constant since at least 1985” — the accuracy of that statement of Culshaw’s can be checked by anyone who cares to look at the original sources (several of which are cited at p.1 of my own book).

The same Witwer later posted an equally calumnious “review” of my book. Unfortunately I didn’t make a copy of it at the time, and it was later withdrawn. But around the same time, my friend alerted me that my Wikipedia entry had now been made even more derogatory, and he copied me on his e-mail to someone who is interested in these matters:

“J—,  Subject editor on Wikipedia is a very ornery dude who insists on phrasing everything in Henry Bauer’s entry as negatively as possible.
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_H._Bauer&gt;
He insists, among other things, on calling J. Sci. Explor. ‘a fringe science publication’ after I changed it to something like ‘a scholarly, refereed journal that published material mostly ignored by mainstream science’.
… Got any suggestions for how to deal with this obstinacy and mean-spiritedness?
The NIH URLs used to rebut the claim that HIV does not cause AIDS are b.s., worthless propaganda, unsigned, and unsourced. How to deal with these as sub-prime sources?  The editors who are opposing Bauer seem to think that medicine is infallible as though it never made any mistakes on the cause of ulcers or cholesterol causing heart disease….
L—-”

When I checked “my” revised “biography”, I found much the same calumny there as had been in Witwer’s “review” on Amazon.com.

I suppose each one of us has to learn about this sort of thing for himself, but perhaps this blog post may be of some use to those who haven’t encountered such Internet untruths themselves or haven’t thought about it. I started drafting what I’m now writing after receiving an e-mail from someone who has been studying the HIV/AIDS arguments as an academic project and as an outside observer:

“Dear Professor Bauer,
It seems I have just been causing more trouble.
I have tried to defend you on Wikipedia, despite kind warnings from one “ludwigs2” that the more I accomplish, the more the ‘anti-fringe’ crowd will push back (in this long thread).
Before, your article stated that ‘Bauer hypothesises that African Americans are more likely to test HIV-positive because of supposed genetic mutations’, to which I objected because I thought that ‘mutations’ should be replaced by ‘adaptations’, and that your reasoning and your words in support of this view should also be presented. After all, one wouldn’t say that dark skin is due to a ‘genetic mutation’. Now, that part is unchanged, but additionally the article says ‘Bauer claims that African Americans are more sexually promiscuous and use more illegal drugs than other groups, but says sex and drug use are not involved in AIDS since, according to him, Native Americans are also sexually promiscuous and have high drug use but do not often test positive for HIV (p.64)’ which is even more egregious in my view, since it neglects to state that you were associating both groups with risky behaviour via poverty, and besides which my impression of that passage on p. 64 of your book was that it was a hypothetical line of reasoning which you contradict elsewhere. . . .
Best wishes and sorry for what is happening on Wikipedia,
F——–”

Well, yes, that stuff about promiscuity and drug abuse that, I’m told, is (or was for a time) in Wikipedia is the very opposite of what I argue in my book, the earlier articles, and my blog posts. Still, the Wikipedia entry gives the title of my book, so interested people can look into it for themselves, and there are links to my personal website and to several of my publications; anyone who cares to use those links and go to those source can easily get accurate information. As for the calumny directed at me by people who are afraid to attach their names to it (which includes the administrators or subject editors at Wikipedia), I said a little about it in “Defenders of the HIV/AIDS Faith: Why Anonymous?”, 6 November 2008:
“But why would AIDStruth groupies and other supporters of mainstream views be unwilling to communicate openly and honestly? What are they afraid of? Do they sense subconsciously that they have no substantive grounds to stand on and that they must fight by innuendo and attempted character assassination? Why are they ashamed to let others know who they are?”

But perhaps it’s even more astounding when people like Kenneth W. Witwer (and Seth Kalichman, J P Moore, Mark Wainberg) are apparently NOT ashamed of openly and publicly directing abuse at those whose arguments they cannot counter.

Posted in HIV skepticism, Legal aspects, prejudice, uncritical media | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 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 »

TELLING TRUE STORIES ABOUT HIV/AIDS

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/05/12

How to entice into “rethinking AIDS”, into questioning the conventional wisdom, people who have been thoroughly brainwashed by the constant repetition of “HIV, the virus that causes AIDS”?

A large part of the problem is that the rethinkers’ case is not readily made in a convincing way via self-evident sound-bites. “The ‘HIV’ tests don’t detect a virus”, or “ ‘HIV’ tests have never been proven to be specific for ‘HIV’”, while perfectly true, are based on evidence that is too technical for most people to feel comfortable with; to appreciate the strength of the case against HIV/AIDS theory, to appreciate that those mainstream-contradicting sound-bites are really true, requires prolonged immersion in much data. Even the most concise as well as documented overview, say, Christine Maggiore’s excellent What If Everything You Thought You Knew About AIDS Was Wrong?, or Rebecca Culshaw’s similarly concise yet also comprehensive Science Sold Out: Does HIV Really Cause AIDS?, are hardly bed-time reading. A promising alternative approach is through “fiction”.

There’s a long and respectable history of literary fiction that aims to acquaint readers with important facts. (Most good literature teaches at least indirectly about people and about human life, of course, but I’m now referring to deliberately didactic treatments of specific issues.) Sinclair Lewis in Martin Arrowsmith conveyed important truths about medical practice and medical research and commercial conflicts of interest. Upton Sinclair revealed through novels some ugly truths about the meat-packing industry (The Jungle), the oil industry (Oil), and others, and his Lanny Budd series can serve as a descriptive political history of the era of Nazism, the Second World War, and its aftermath. Most recently, Michael Crichton exposed the lacunae and fault lines in the current obsession with man-caused global warming in State of Fear.

HIV/AIDS seems a natural candidate for this sort of treatment, and Stephen Davis has put his hand, head, and heart into the endeavor. His first novel, Wrongful Death: The AIDS Trial, was published in 2006; the second, Are You Positive?, appeared this year.

Both books feature legal trials, and are thereby consistent with my growing suspicion that HIV/AIDS theory will only be overturned when the mainstream is forced, in a court of law, to reveal the extent to which the theory is like an Emperor wearing no clothes at all.

Wrongful Death tells the story of a class-action suit brought by relatives of those who died needlessly because “HIV-positive” people were treated with AZT. The novel was exceptionally timely, given that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was just then recommending that “HIV”-testing should become routine. If that were to happen, then a few perfectly healthy people in every thousand would be misguidedly told that they harbor a deadly virus and should begin taking drugs whose “side” effects make the rate of “adherence to treatment” quite low and which ultimately reward compliant adherence with serious illness and often death.

Davis follows, for legal reasons, the convention of claiming fictional character for the protagonists (except for a few well-known public figures), but readers at all familiar with HIV/AIDS matters will recognize many of the characters, most of whose names are faithful to the initials of their real-life models. The story is told in quite a straightforward manner, an appropriate vehicle for acquainting readers with the facts in a steady succession of digestible pieces. Though the story is straightforwardly told, there are also a couple of ingenious twists in the plot.

Are You Positive? features a trial that has, unfortunately, some real-life precedents: an HIV-positive man on trial for transmitting the virus to a sexual partner. As in the earlier book, the real-life models of some protagonists are recognizable, including by their initials. The evidence is unfolded at digestible pace: the lack of validity of “HIV” tests, the racial bias of the tests, the particular likelihood that TB patients and pregnant women will test “HIV-positive”. The recommendation that everyone be tested is mentioned, and the gruesome story of the orphans used as guinea pigs in clinical trials. The Padian study revealing lack of sexual transmission is dissected expertly. Gallo’s scientific failings are described accurately, as well as his self-incriminating testimony in the Parenzee trial in Adelaide (Australia). The role of conflicts of interest in the HIV/AIDS industry is brought out. An Appendix has a recommended “Informed Consent” form that people should require their doctors to sign if they are being asked to take an HIV test.

The story is told very accurately indeed in this novel. Because I already knew that every detail is correct, I found it emotionally difficult reading–I know of a dozen people languishing in jail for the crime of making love while testing “positive” for a supposedly active infection that the tests cannot actually establish, and there are surely many more in jail of whom I am not aware. HIV/AIDS-naïve readers, however, may not experience that emotional burden as they are led slowly to doubt what the conventional wisdom insists on.

My respect for these books and their author was only increased when, toward the end, I found cited one of my favorite epigrams, one I had used myself for years as the motto of a newsletter I once edited:

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

Both these books are paperbacks published via automated “on demand” printing. Their material quality is comparable with such productions from large publishers, but in their lack of typographical errors they are far superior to most contemporary works, including in hard covers from long-established and respected presses.

Rethinkers ought to consider giving these books to their friends and acquaintances who scoff at the possibility that the mainstream could be wrong about HIV/AIDS. Leading HIV/AIDS-naïve people through salient details of the evidence in measured and linear succession is likely to make it easier for them to begin to shake off unthinking acceptance of the conventional wisdom than trying to argue all the scientific issues in concentrated form. Wrongful Death cites hundreds of supporting published sources; Are You Positive? relegates them to the website. In both cases, you can assure those to whom you give these books that the cited evidence is solidly supported in the mainstream literature and that the cited sources represent fairly the totality of what has been published and what is known.

Posted in antiretroviral drugs, HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV tests, Legal aspects, sexual transmission | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »