HIV/AIDS Skepticism

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

Posts Tagged ‘Wikipedia’

The scourge of Wikipedia

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2017/03/07

Searching my files, I see that Wikipedia has featured quite often on my blogs; the article titles illustrate some of the stimuli:

Knowledge, understanding — but then there’s Wikipedia;  The Wiles of WikiHealth, Wikipedia, and Common Sense; Facebook: As bad as Wikipedia, or worse?Lowest common denominator — Wikipedia and its ilkThe unqualified (= without qualifications) gurus of Wikipedia; Another horror story about Wikipedia; The Fairy-Tale Cult of Wikipedia;  Beware the Internet: Amazon.com “reviews”, Wikipedia, and other sources of misinformation.

Four decades ago, as the Internet was coming into general use, the anticipated benefits and drawbacks were being discussed quite assiduously, at least in academe. Enthusiasts pointed to the advantages of low-cost, rapid publication of research; skeptics wondered what would happen to peer review and quality control. But I am not aware of any voices that foresaw just how abominable things would become as the cost of blathering on-line is virtually zero and there is no control of quality, no fact-checking, no ethical standards, and pervasive anonymity. No one seems to have foreseen the spate of predatory publishing of purportedly scientific research.

It has always been almost impossible to undo the consequences of lies, as too many people believe that the presence of smoke always proves the presence of fire; now, in the Internet age, it has become totally impossible to eradicate the influence of lies because of the speed with which they spread. I have too many friends who pass along stuff that strikes me immediately as unlikely to be true, and that snopes.com reveals to be not true, yet this stuff comes to me no matter how often I ask my friends to check snopes first.

I don’t use Twitter, Snapchat, or any other social media, though I am formally listed in LinkedIn and Facebook after I didn’t want to offend friends who asked me to join. Having tried Facebook and found it nothing but time-wasting obsession with trivia, I tried to disconnect from it. It wasn’t straightforward, but eventually I seemed to have succeeded as a screen assured me that I had successfully closed my account. But the next statement undercut that: I was assured that any time I wanted back in, I could log on with my old password and would fine all my material still there. When Facebook boasts of its huge membership, I wonder how many of those they count belong to my group, people who don’t use it at all and tried to get off.

At any rate, I recognize purely as a outsider how the damage done on the Internet is abetted and exacerbated by Twitter, with its encouragement of thought-bites to shorten attention spans even more, or by something like Snapchat where evidence disappears as soon as the alternative fake news has been disseminated. The contemporary political hullabaloo about fake news and alternative facts brings home that a sadly significant portion of the population exercises no skepticism or critical thought when statements are emotionally congenial.

All this is whistling in the wind, so I was pleased to find a large-circulation British newspaper laying out the faults of Wikipedia in considerable detail: “The making of a Wiki-Lie: Chilling story of one twisted oddball and a handful of anonymous activists who appointed themselves as censors to promote their own warped agenda on a website that’s a byword for inaccuracy”.

Admittedly, the Daily Mail is no TIMES, and some of its content competes with tabloids and the ilk of National Enquirer; and its ire was aroused not by the intellectual damage done by Wikipedia but by a smear that labeled the Daily Mail as an unreliable source — shades of pots and kettles.

The Daily Mail story, credited to Guy Adams, deserves wide dissemination for its valuable analysis that includes detailed biographical information about someone who might well be iconic of trouble-making trolls on the Internet; and for its exposure of how Wikipedia is impervious to correction, is controlled by largely anonymous and often self-appointed “editors”, and is rather scandalously dishonest about its finances: the governing Foundation, which advertises itself as non-profit and solicits for donations on many Wiki pages, has about 280 staff with average salaries of ~$110,000, a former executive director having garnered ~$320,000.

The British Guardian did neither itself nor the public a service by covering the Wikipedia dissing of the Daily Mail by treating Wikipedia as though it were more factually reliable and more ethical than it is: Jasper Jackson, “Wikipedia bans Daily Mail as ‘unreliable’ source” (8 February 2017). People who have tried to get errors corrected on Wikipedia are unlikely to agree that “No matter how hard Wikipedia’s volunteers work, wrong and sometimes defamatory entries will inevitably appear, with editors engaged in a game of whack-a-mole to correct them” (Jasper Jackson, “‘We always look for reliability’: why Wikipedia’s editors cut out the Daily Mail”, 12 February 2017). Some of the editors work to preserve the defamatory stuff. See my blog posts cited above for illustrations.

 

Posted in uncritical media | Tagged: , , | 15 Comments »

Lowest common denominator — Wikipedia and its ilk

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2011/02/25

Peer review and other forms of regulating publication or broadcasting do not guarantee that what gets disseminated is reliable or truthful. On the other hand, the lack of any review guarantees that much untruth and much rubbish and much hate-inspired invective will be distributed; that has been copiously illustrated with innumerable examples on the Internet, for example, in Wikipedia and its ilk. For a book-length discussion of harm done by the Internet, see Elias Aboujaoude, Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality (W. W. Norton, 2011); for a synopsis, see New York Times Book Review, 13 February 2011, p. 17.

The phrase, “lowest common denominator”, originated in mathematics: it’s whatever number can be divided without remainder into the set of numbers under consideration.
In social matters, the phrase was adapted to mean what is shared by a great range of individuals or institutions. In that latter sense, there is often a tinge of associated disdain: what appeals to the masses is often regarded as less worthwhile than what is valued by the experts.
In politics, on questions relating to democracy, disagreements and controversies are of long standing: for instance, should elected “representatives” rubber-stamp the relatively uninformed wishes of their constituents, or should they use their own better informed judgment? Or, should voting be compulsory so that it is truly the “wish of (all) the people” that counts, or should those who can’t be bothered to vote be allowed to self-disenfranchise?
The case for compulsory voting has long been accepted in Australia; a fine is imposed if an eligible voter fails to vote. Perhaps the principle that every voice needs to be heard owes something to Australia’s history, of being founded as a prison colony and settled in the beginning largely by convicts who had served out their terms, people who had learned a very healthy distrust of authority as a result of being convicted and transported for such crimes as stealing a loaf of bread with which to feed their children.
Some benefits of compulsory voting were demonstrated after World War II. The unions were very strong. Union membership was required in many industries. There were many strikes as union leaders tried to achieve all sorts of ends, some of them political rather than in the best everyday interests of unionists as a whole, because several of the most powerful unions — dock workers, for example — were led by avowed Communists. As is quite usual in groups of all sorts, the most fanatical gain ascendancy because they are willing to put in the most sustained effort, by contrast to those of moderate view and temperament whose lives are in better balance and who, for whatever reason — “my vote can’t make a difference”, say — let others take leadership positions. The solution was to have compulsory universal voting by secret ballot in union elections, and the Communists lost control.
An acknowledged failing of the political system in the United States is that party insiders select candidates who are then not found particularly appealing by the electorate as a whole, as illustrated by a succession of conservative gatherings and Republican primaries.

It is therefore only to be expected that the openness of the Internet means that fanatics will gain control whenever there is no effective mechanism for sifting truth from lies. I’ve discussed this in the past in relation to Wikipedia, based in part on what I learned when a friend told me that a “bio” of me had been posted there. We soon found that there is no effective mechanism for getting the truth into Wikipedia if someone is determined to keep lies there. The established mechanisms require one to “negotiate” with anonymous people of ill will and ignorance, with ultimate decisions made by again anonymous individuals of questionable intellectual credentials. In my case, the “bio” is wrong on simple facts and easily checked chronology, despite attempts by several people to have those rectified.
I soon learned to ignore Wikipedia. Those who haven’t learned that it’s untrustworthy have to learn that for themselves. But the matter was brought back to my attention by the recent comment from artwest saying that my website was red-lined in “Web of Truth” (WOT). I had never heard of WOT. Google quickly corrected my ignorance, and I see that WOT is based on the same misguided premise as is Wikipedia, namely that a consensus among the lowest common denominator would bring reliability. What it brings in actuality is the lowest of the low, dogmatists oblivious to evidence and intent only on enforcing their own views.

Caveat lector.

Posted in uncritical media | Tagged: , , | 12 Comments »

Kalichman disclaims and makes AD HOMONYM attacks (Does illiteracy matter? — Kalichman’s Komical Kaper #9)

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/05/14

Among statements in Kalichman’s opus that particularly caused my eyebrows to lift was this one:
“I have also tried to avoid ad homonym attacks by focusing more on what the denialists are saying than who they are” (xv).

What on earth does he mean? Avoiding attacks directed at “homonym”, which means “same name”? Is he trying to say something about guilt by association, like about names that sound German?

But from the context, I fear he meant “ad hominem”, which means “directed at a person”.

Google reveals that there is even a “dictionary” to be found that permits this mis-spelling: the Urban Dictionary — “Urban Dictionary is the dictionary you wrote” — and thereby, of course, aiming for the lowest common denominator, just as insidiously unreliable as Wikipedia, say, or the web sites where students can post their spleen-stimulated “evaluations” of their professors.

Naturally enough, since “you” wrote it, Urban Dictionary provides no etymology to explain how any given word derives from earlier languages. However, a decent high-school education (but that was in another country, and that wench is also dead) left me with a rudimentary awareness of Greek and Latin roots of English words and of commonly used phrases from those dead languages:
“Ad” is Latin, encountered in many commonly used expressions: “ad absurdum”, “ad hoc”, “ad infinitum”, “ad lib”, “ad nauseam” . . . .
“hominem” is also Latin, from the root “homo” (MAN), here in the accusative case following the preposition “ad” (TO as in TOWARD).

By contrast, “homonym” is marked by the “nym” as derived from Greek, as in words with which Kalichman/Newton surely ought to be familiar —  “pseudonym”, “anonymous” — as well as other such common words as “acronym”, “eponymous”, “patronym”.
For “homonym” the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) offers the meanings
“1. a. The same name or word used to denote different things.
b. Philol. Applied to words having the same sound, but differing in meaning: opp. to heteronym and synonym.
c. Taxonomy. A generic name or a binomial that duplicates a name attached to a different plant or animal.
2. A person or thing having the same name as another; a ‘namesake’.
Hence †ho’monymal a., agreeing in name.”

Thus “homo” in “homonym” doesn’t stand for “man”, it stands for “same”, as in “homogeneous”, for example.

The writing of “homonym” instead of “hominem”, as well as the use of a Latin preposition with a Greek noun, displays (1) illiteracy but also (2) carelessness. Nothing like this should appear in a properly edited book from so prominent and well-established a publisher as Springer. There are all too many other places in this book where fact-checking makes itself sadly obvious by its absence, even in such rudimentary matters as checking that material inside quotation marks is actually in the quoted source (Caveat lector! — Kalichman’s less-than-Komical Kaper #7, 3 May 2009).

What’s most substantively wrong here, however, is that the claimed avoidance of “ad homonym” attacks is not at all in evidence in the book’s text, which is actually replete with ad hominem material. Just scanning the text for mentions of my name immediately turns up the following:

“Bauer has never done AIDS research. In fact, he has never done any scientific research. Henry Bauer is a pseudoscientist’s pseudoscientist!” (71)
“Henry Bauer is also one of the world’s leading authorities on the Loch Ness Monster. That is right, the Loch Ness Monster!” (71) [and there again is that Newtonian penchant for exclamation marks]
“it would be hard to believe that he [Bauer] was ever taken seriously by his colleagues given that he had not conducted scientific research and delved deeply into the world of pseudoscience” (72)
“It is not so remarkable that Bauer has contributed to AIDS pseudoscience, given his long and strange career. Bauer had hoped that his book would land him an interview on the Today Show and change the course of AIDS research and treatments. What is most remarkable about Bauer is how rapidly denialism has embraced him and taken up his conclusions. Bauer offers a vivid example of how denialism indiscriminately embraces anything that agrees with it” (74)
“Conservative groups have also embraced AIDS pseudoscientist and Nessie expert Henry Bauer” (141)
“Bauer also has a history of homophobia” (143)

I submit that those statements are about who I am, not about what I’ve said or written about HIV/AIDS. I submit further that they would be judged by most people as derogatory rather than neutral, in other words, ad hominem remarks. Indeed, since several of them are blatantly counterfactual, I think many people might even judge them to be libelous.

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

Some of my friends claim that I have an unfortunate penchant for attempted humor and flippancy on serious matters, and perhaps I’ve let that carry me away here over what might seem substantively trivial matters like the spellings and meanings of words. I promise to get back to pointing to actual substantive falsehoods in Kalichman’s book, like the characteristics of scientists, my German connection, how to test hypotheses, ignorance about science and pseudo-science, and more. I’ll also have more to say about attributing to me what I’ve never said or written.

But using words incorrectly is not so trivial a matter:

Neither can his mind be thought to be in tune,
whose words do jarre;
nor his reason in frame,
whose sentence is preposterous

(Richard Mitchell [“The Underground Grammarian” ] liked that quote so much that it became the motto of his newsletter. All his writings are now available on-line, and I recommend them in the strongest possible terms for clear thinking by an independent mind as well as uproarious commentary on butcherings of the English language, particularly at the hands of social scientists, bureaucrats, university administrators, and the politically correct.)

About ad hominem attacks there are also two pertinent and substantive points to be made:
1. What’s really wrong with resorting to ad hominem statements — personal attacks on people you disagree with — isn’t that they’re uncivil or that they might offend someone, it’s that they are IRRELEVANT to the subject under discussion. It’s a fact of human life that some people whose behavior might be widely regarded as despicable can nevertheless be correct about matters of fact, or science, or economics, or medicine, or anything else; and people who are universally admired for their integrity and regard for others can nevertheless be entirely wrong about matters of fact, or science, or economics, or medicine, or anything else.
Moreover, people who are right about one thing may be wrong on another. I suspect there are people who are wrong about everything, but no one is right about everything.
Ad hominem statements are merely invalid attempts to invoke guilt by association.
2. Why do people resort to making ad hominem attacks? Because they can’t win an argument on the merits of their case. Frustrated and infuriated, the believers lash out at those who reveal that their Emperor is nude.  AIDStruthers can’t cite a set of specific publications to prove that “HIV” tests detect active infection, and they can’t cite a set of specific publications to prove that “HIV” causes AIDS; so they try to “kill the messengers” who bring these facts to public attention.

Posted in experts, HIV skepticism, Legal aspects, prejudice | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 23 Comments »

HIV/AIDS refuted, according to Kalichman! — Kalichman’s very-Komical Kaper #8

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/05/07

Among the many surprising — not to say startling — features of Kalichman’s book, “Denying AIDS”, is his acknowledgment in so many places that “denialists” have refuted HIV/AIDS theory:

“Merely raising these questions refutes AIDS science” (p. 22).
Yes indeed.

“In 2007, more than 20 years since she first refuted AIDS science, Papadopulos-Eleopulos . . . .” (180).
What’s going on here? I thought Kalichman believed HIV to be the cause of AIDS and that he says we’re wrong in denying it. Now here he is, saying it was refuted more than two decades ago!

“John Lauritsen is among the earliest critics of how CDC reported HIV/AIDS statistics. He refutes sexual transmission of HIV . . . .” (184).
And rightly so, of course; as also set out in my book, HIV/AIDS statistics from the CDC do refute the notion that HIV is sexually transmitted.

“most current denialists refute HIV as the cause of AIDS” (12).
Well, of course we continue to  do it, since Papadopulos did it so long ago.

“Denialists refute new facts” (8).
Well, I have to agree; we often refute “facts” claimed by defenders of HIV/AIDS theory. But why is Kalichman giving us credit for it, when he seems to be claiming that we’re wrong?

“Crowe is a signing author on numerous letters and documents refuting HIV/AIDS science” (185).
Yes indeed, there are numerous documents that refute HIV/AIDS “science”.

And so it goes, time after time:
P. 21 — “There are support groups for people who have tested HIV positive and refute their medical diagnosis”. They know they’re not infected, in other words.
P. 38 — “denialism refutes science conducted by thousands of researchers”. Well, not quite, we refute much of the BAD science conducted in HIV/AIDS research.
P. 50 — “this  same  research  finding  refutes  the  effectiveness  of  HIV  treatments”. Yes, undoubtedly, I have to agree.
P. 100 — “The following example refutes the known disease causing pathways of HIV”. Well, I wouldn’t put it quite like that, I’d rather point out that HIV/AIDS researchers have never agreed on exactly how HIV is able to destroy the immune system. But Kalichman’s statement will be understood well enough by most readers: the supposed disease-causing pathways by HIV have been shown not to be disease-causing. No disagreement from us.
P. 128 — “Mbeki refutes the idea that HIV/AIDS is the major killer in Africa”. Absolutely, and he’s not the only one.
P. 140 — “a fringe group emerged that refuted the established views of AIDS, including rejecting that HIV causes AIDS”. Isn’t it inappropriate to call it a fringe group since it was able to refute HIV/AIDS orthodoxy?

But what about “Denialism actively propagates myths, misconceptions, and misinformation to distort and refute reality” (8). Refute reality?! What a nice trick. “Denialism” is powerful indeed.

Or could it be that I’ve been mistaken about the meaning of “refute”?

No, the dictionaries on my shelves (1991 Random House Dictionary; 1992 [3rd ed.] American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language) give the same meaning as I’m familiar with: to prove that something is false, or to prove someone is in error. What’s more, in quite a few other places, Kalichman properly uses “refute” in that sense:
P. 28 — “He [Duesberg] refuted his own work on retroviruses and rejected the concept of oncogenes being sufficient to cause cancer”.
Yes, Duesberg showed that his previous notion had been wrong and modified his view to accommodate the evidence, just as scientists are supposed to do.

P. 32 — “he refutes the idea that oncogenes cause cancer”.
Exactly, the evidence points elsewhere.
P. 48 — “Duesberg would refute the evidence”.
Yes indeed, not only would but did.
P. 49 — “researchers refute this misinterpretation”
P. 76 — “The AIDS pseudosciences reviewed thus far are easily refuted by the medical facts of the disease”.
Huh? What about the refutations by AIDS “denialists” cited above from pp. 8, 12, 21, 22, 38, 50, 100, 128, 140?
P. 85 — “The results flat out refuted Gisselquist”;
and also pp. 136 (“a brief statement designed to refute the claims of Duesberg and the other denialists”), 146, 150.

The Oxford English Dictionary [2nd ed., 1989-97] offers a possible resolution of this conundrum of very different meanings of “refute”:
“    5. trans. Sometimes used erroneously to mean ‘deny, repudiate’.” [Note erroneously]
Something like that erroneous usage was apparently not uncommon 500 years ago:
“    †1. trans. To refuse, reject (a thing or person). Obs[olete]. rare
1513 BRADSHAW St. Werburge I. 1535 Her royall dyademe and shynynge coronall Was fyrst refuted for loue of our sauyoure.”

But it’s really confusing to see the same word used correctly and incorrectly, in about equal proportions, throughout this book.

I suppose Kalichman, and his editors at Copernicus/Springer, might seek support once more from that Urban Dictionary:
“    refute
To disagree, or assert the opposite.
(The original meaning was to DISPROVE something: ‘He refuted their claims by referring to widely accepted experimental results’. But these days journalists who are unwilling or unable to assess the strength of an argument, or to check facts, just write ‘refute’.)
‘The Prime Minister refuted the suggestion that he was a fool, by saying that he wasn’t.’”

Aha! The Urban “Dictionary” collects and seeks to enshrine usages that stem from lazy journalists. Just as reliable and trustworthy as Wikipedia, as I’ve said before.

Posted in HIV skepticism | Tagged: , , , , , | 15 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 »