HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Posts Tagged ‘Society for Scientific Exploration’

The Family of Rethinking AIDS

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/11/15

[Here’s a pdf of this post]

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, we can.

Yes, we will.

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

Doing science means exploring

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/06/10

End of last month I was at the 28th Annual Meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration, and enjoyed it thoroughly, as I always do. Partly it’s the intellectual comradeship with so many interesting people from very varied backgrounds; partly it’s hearing about intriguing matters that I knew nothing about before.

For me, two invited speakers, not yet members of the Society, were highlights at this meeting. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study (531 customer reviews on amazon.com with an average rating of 4+/5 stars!), presented stunning evidence of the health benefits of eating less than the amounts of animal fats that are typical in current American diets. It was also interesting to learn that he had successfully received grants throughout his career for cancer-related nutritional studies, when his actual interests and studies and findings had far wider significance for diets and nutrition in general; but “nutrition” is not a highly regarded field by those who distribute research funds. No sooner does one hear that then it becomes obvious enough. Where in the hierarchy within universities, for example, are Departments of Nutrition? So research funds are hard to get if you just want to study what people should eat and why.

A second high point was Jay Gunkelman on electrical measurements of brain activity, Quantitative EEG . Direct (d.c.) voltage levels modify the alternating (a.c.) voltages measured by EEG machines, and combinations of the two measurements permit sensitive and accurate control of anesthesia as well as offering data for intriguing insights into consciousness. For example, there has been some success in diagnosing among patients in a coma which ones might be candidates for successful reviving.

There were other interesting talks too, of course; and some not so interesting ones as well as some bad ones. I always think of it as analogous to the experience of ballet fans or opera buffs or book lovers or playgoers: You take in a lot of ordinary stuff, and put up with a certain amount of bad stuff, because occasionally you have so marvelously irreplaceable an experience.

The Society for Scientific Exploration was founded initially by distinguished astronomers, engineers, physicists and others to provide a disciplined forum for topics that the scientific mainstream ignored totally: UFOs, psychic phenomena, cryptozoology (Bigfoot, Loch Ness monsters) were the Big Three, but of course there are many others as well. The determination that the discussions be rigorously scientific led to stringent requirements for membership: PhD or equivalent, tenured university position or equivalent, respectable record of peer-reviewed publications in a mainstream field. I liked to joke that these requirements were supposed to keep out the kooks, when I knew quite a few kooks with all these qualifications. But in practice the respect for and insistence on evidence and logic has been very high, particularly in the Society’s Journal. At conferences, as in mainstream conferences, more speculative pieces are welcome. Moreover, membership is actually open to anyone who is interested, the original restrictive criteria having been limited essentially to voting rights, and there are now about 3 times as many Associate and Student members as there are voting ones.

As the years have passed, the Society has been discovered by scientists and others working in mainstream occupations who happened in some way to be so “out-of-the-box” that they could not get useful critiques from the usual mainstream sources. So we heard from Thomas Gold, the distinguished astrophysicist, about his at-last-accepted-after-much-rejection idea that the sense of hearing depends on an active and not a passive process; and about his not-yet-accepted ideas about the non-biological origin of the Earth’s oil and suggesting that life on Earth started deep down, not in the mainstream-accepted warm soupy pools at the surface. Other fascinating topics at conferences and in the Journal include ball lightning, correlations of birth dates with subsequent professional success, biological rhythms, and many more. There have also been discussions of the history and sociology and philosophy of science, especially the role of unorthodox ventures in the progress of science. One of the most appreciated features of the Journal of Scientific Exploration is the Book Review Section which covers an enormous range of intellectually fascinating material.

Of course there have also been many discussions of evidence relating to extrasensory perception, survival after death, the basis for UFO accounts, possibly artificial objects on Mars, and others where my own personal inclination has been to regard the evidence as in some way misleading or misinterpreted. Nevertheless, it has been enlightening, mind-expanding, a wonderful learning experience to find intelligent, sensible people of high conventional accomplishment who take a  serious interest in matters that I would never have looked at, had I not come to know and respect these people. It has been a rare and salutary education to recognize that everyone, myself included, may turn out to be mistaken even on something about which they have been very sure. Human beings are fallible, gaining new and deeper understanding of the world is difficult, science can only proceed by trial and error. But unless we explore beyond the boundaries of what is currently believed, we can only remain stuck with what we now understand — which no one, I trust, regards as eternally satisfactory.

Individuals like Colin Campbell or Thomas Gold who happen on the Society by chance often describe it in the most glowing terms, typically as the sort of organization that represents what genuine science ought to be, by contrast to the rather ossified and bureaucratic arrangements that have become the norm in mainstream venues. One of the other aspects that typically charms is the opportunity to interact in a meaningful way with people highly knowledgeable in so wide a variety of fields: such disciplines as sociology, music, history, literature as well as the “harder” scientific and engineering ones.

I look forward eagerly to next year’s meeting, even as it is still 11 months away. In the meantime, I am already relishing the opportunity this November to meet in person so many AIDS Rethinkers whom I have long admired from a distance.

Posted in HIV does not cause AIDS | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 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 »

Another talk scheduled

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/06/14

On Wednesday next, 18th June, 11 am to noon Eastern time, I’ll be talking again with George Whitehurst Berry at HEARITONLIINE: click on the pink box, top right, “HEAR IT ONLINE! Listen to CRASH!…”.

The program is now set for the Annual Meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration, Boulder CO, 26-28 June, where I’ll be talking about the “Disproof of HIV/AIDS Theory”, which draws on data in my blog post of 19 March 2008, “HIV DISEASE” IS NOT AN ILLNESS; I’m scheduled for 9-9.20 am Saturday 28th.

Posted in HIV does not cause AIDS | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

TALKS SCHEDULED: HIV does NOT cause AIDS

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/06/05

On Monday next, 9th June, 11 am to noon Eastern time, I’ll be talking with George Whitehurst Berry about my book

The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory

and additional evidence that “HIV” is not the cause of AIDS. The talk can be heard at hearitonline: click on the pink box, top right, “HEAR IT ONLINE! Listen to CRASH!…”.

I plan to mention the data on deaths from “HIV disease” and from HIV tests that show

(1) There is no sign of life-extending effect of antiretroviral treatment

(2) There is no sign of a “latent period” between “HIV infection” and symptoms of AIDS followed by death.

Those data are in my blog post of 19 March 2008, “HIV DISEASE” IS NOT AN ILLNESS, and form the basis a forthcoming talk, “Disproof of HIV/AIDS Theory”, at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration, Boulder CO, 26-28 June.

Posted in antiretroviral drugs, HIV does not cause AIDS | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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