Jan 01 2009

HIV Denier, Christine Maggiore, Dies.

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Comments: 315

Christine Maggiore was a major figure in the HIV denial community – those who deny that the human immunodeficiency virus is the cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Maggiore died at 52 at home on December 26th. At this time there is no official cause of death, but she was treated over the last six months for pneumonia, according to reports.

Maggiore founded Alive & Well, a group dedicated to the notion that HIV does not cause AIDS, in 1993 and since that time has been a fervent advocate of so-called HIV denial. In fact she argued that her own survival as an untreated person with HIV was evidence that HIV does not cause AIDS. It is now recognized, however, that some people have inherent resistance to HIV and researchers are learning more about the genetics of such resistance.

Maggiore’s dedication to HIV denial, however, still had tragic consequences. She decided to breast feed both her children, despite the fact that breast feeding increases the risk of contracting the virus. Her daughter, Eliza, died at the age of 3 apparently from pneumonia that was likely an opportunistic infection due to advanced AIDS. She never had her children tested or treated for HIV.  Her pediatrician, interestingly, was anti-vaccine crank Dr. Jay Gordon. He claims to support the conclusion that HIV causes AIDS, but his website used to contain some squirely comments on HIV that suggested he may have had some denialist sympathies.

Maggiore never acknowledged that her daughter’s death was due to HIV or AIDS. The HIV denial community rallied around her, claiming the death was due to an allergic reaction to amoxicillin. Denial is a powerful thing.

The autopsy report is unequivocal. There was strong evidence that Eliza had an advanced case of AIDS from HIV, including AIDS encephalitis (brain infection). Her cause of death was pneumocystis carinii pneumonia caused by AIDS – this is a common opportunistic infection in AIDS and extremely rare in an immunocompetent individual. The autopsy left no reasonable doubt that Eliza died from complications of AIDS.

But of course there is always room for unreasonable doubt.

The evidence that HIV causes AIDS is now overwhelming. There are always deeper complexities to such questions, but the basic fact the a viral infection causes the clinical syndrome of AIDS is well-established. Treatments aimed at HIV delay the onset of AIDS and have greatly extended the life expectancy of HIV positive patients.

And yet it is apparently a common human cognitive vulnerability that we find conspiracy theories compelling – some people much more than others. The notion that HIV is a big lie perpetrated by Big Pharma and a complicit medical establishment enthralls some. Once inside that world, then all of the complexities that normally attend any complex medical (or historical or scientific) phenomenon can be twisted and made to seem as if they cast doubt on well-established facts. All contradictory evidence can be dismissed as part of a conspiracy, or rationalized away (HIV deniers, for example, argued that pneumonia is common, so why blame Eliza’s case on HIV – ignoring the conclusive evidence from the autopsy). Confirmation bias sets in – and that turns suspicions into unshakable beliefs.

Denialism itself is a special form of pseudoscience.  Denialists are pseudoskeptics – they pretent to apply the principles of skepticism (doubt) but they are dedicated to a final conclusion, and so they twist the process to their desired outcome. For example, denialists wrongly apply criteria, they constantly move the goalpost, they cherry pick evidence as necessary. They behave like any other pseudoscientist, but with the goal of denying a scientific conclusion that is probably true rather than establishing one that is probably not true.

As always, there is a very human dimension to these issues and very personal tragedies. My sympathies are with Maggiore’s family at her untimely death around the holiday season.

But we also must remember that Christine Maggiore put herself at the center of a popular controversy. She put her own unscientific beliefs ahead of the scientific community, with tragic consequences. And in the end she turned her own life story into a cautionary tale about the dangers of pseudoscience.

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315 responses so far

315 Responses to “HIV Denier, Christine Maggiore, Dies.”

  1. Michael Meadonon 01 Jan 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Good stuff Steven. I especially liked “But of course there is always room for unreasonable doubt.”…

    It’s incredible how much damage AIDS denialism has caused, both at the macro and micro scales (as in this woman’s story).

    It really is time to bury the “what’s the harm?” question…

  2. [...] and Neurologica have more background on this tragic [...]

  3. cognitivedissidenton 01 Jan 2009 at 2:45 pm

    I’ve never heard anyone rationally explain the results of Nancy Padian’s study, which followed 175 couples for nearly a decade and witnessed no seroconversions.

    Or why HIV and AIDS are a heterosexual problem in Africa, but not in the west.

    Dissidents offer many plausible explanations for AIDS, understanding that it is a disease on multiple levels that affects different people differently. Mainstream HIV/AIDS theorists can only explain this phenomenon by granting magical status to HIV.

    Christine was a wonderful woman who endured years of torment from thousands upon thousands and her death makes her life fresh in our minds and makes us stronger. We may not win today, but we will defend her honor today and keep her from being mauled by the jackals who sadistically rejoice in her death. And we will win eventually, as truth and love always do.

  4. Steven Novellaon 01 Jan 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Cognitivedissident,

    I plugged in “Nancy Padian” into Google and the first hit was a definitive debunking of the myth you just stated by Nancy Padian herself. http://www.aidstruth.org/new/denialism/misuse/padian

    She writes: “Any attempt to refer to this or other of our publications and studies to bolster the fallacy that HIV is not transmitted heterosexually or homosexually is a gross misrepresentation of the facts and a travesty of the research that I have been involved in for more than a decade.”

    In the study they were looking at the efficacy of using condoms and other preventive techniques to reduce the risk of transmission. Finding this literally took me less than a minute. Further searching supports this analysis.

    HIV is a heterosexual problem in Africa because of the behavior there – prostitution and other sexually transmitted diseases (which increases the risk of spreading HIV) are rampant. And – there is heterosexual transmission in the West. It’s just not as much of a problem as in Africa.

    We do agree on one thing – in the long run the scientific truth will out. I have no fear of that.

  5. Nitpickingon 01 Jan 2009 at 4:57 pm

    People like Duesberg strike me as more damaging and more tragic. Duesberg is legitimately a talented scientist who has made real contributions, but he just can not let go of his original, incorrect hypothesis, even after it’s disproved.

    He’s like the HIV version of Linus Pauling. He was (legitimately) right in his previous cancer research, and he can’t accept that he’s wrong in this case.

  6. Seth Kalichmanon 01 Jan 2009 at 5:19 pm

    The death of Christine Maggiore is tragic just as her life was tragic.

    She was mislead by Peter Duesberg and David Rasnick and other AIDS Denialists. Ultimately she promoted their pseudoscience at her own peril. Many others were harmed by her relentless promoting of false information that confused people about HIV testing and treatment.

    We should respect the decision of an informed person to refuse treatment for any serious medical condition. But the problem with AIDS denialism is that people are making testing and treatment decisions based on misinformation and disinformation spread by AIDS pseudoscientists and conspiracy theorists.

    The sad story of AIDS denialism that enmeshed Christine Maggiore is told in a new book Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy (all Royalties donated to buy HIV medications in Africa) for more information visit http://denyingaids.blogspot.com/

  7. Willon 01 Jan 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Tara Smith also has an entire blog post examining the Padian Paper and its misuse by AIDS Deniers. It is well worth a read.

    http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2006/02/discussion_of_the_padian_paper.php

    And good post Steve! :D

  8. weingon 01 Jan 2009 at 8:24 pm

    I wonder how much AIDS dementia played a role in her denialism. It would appear that the effects of the virus on cognition serve to perpetuate it.

  9. Chris Nobleon 01 Jan 2009 at 8:31 pm

    Can I get Randi’s million dollars now?

    http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2006/02/discussion_of_the_padian_paper.php#comment-18080

    “In a year’s time a new set of “rethinkers” will again claim that Padian’s study proves that HIV is not sexually transmitted.”

    The prospective part of Padians study did not follow 175 couples for six years let alone ten years.

    Heterosexual transmission of HIV is a problem in the US. How was Maggiore infected? Or is her case not important?

  10. cognitivedissidenton 01 Jan 2009 at 10:09 pm

    OK, if you want to be exact, 282 couple-years of follow up and NO HIV transmission. 47 of the 175 couples admitted to inconsistent condom use throughout. Sounds like a frightening virus.

    Padian can claim all she wants that HIV is sexually transmitted, but her study demonstrates otherwise. I can toss a ball up in the air, have it come back down and hit me in the head, and claim there is no such thing as gravity. But I will look like an idiot.

    Ahhh…the old “African behavior” argument. Do you understand how racist you sound when you say things like that. Seriously, think about what you are saying!

    Kevin DeCock said recently that there will be no global heterosexual AIDS epidemic. Try as they might, the AIDS pushers just couldn’t get it to go mainstream! Too bad…would have been a real gravy train!

  11. Steven Novellaon 01 Jan 2009 at 10:33 pm

    The spread of AIDS in Africa is multifactorial, and behavior is an important factor. Some cultures routinely involve multiple sexual partners, VD is common, as is unprotected sex with prostitutes. Poverty is also a huge factor – lack of education and availability of condoms, for example. There may also be a genetic susceptibility in some African populations.

    Playing the “racist” card? That is despicable. You demonstrate very well the tactics of HIV deniers – conspiracy mongering, pseudoscientific, and intellectually dishonest.

  12. HHCon 01 Jan 2009 at 11:12 pm

    AIDS is a changing complex syndrome. I studied case info and worked with forensic hospital/ court clients, not without personal jeopardy. Healthy families could have members with AIDS if the sick members engaged in multiple problem behaviors, illegal drug use, lack of interest in proper nutrition and sleep, street behaviors such as male or female unprotected sex.
    I wonder if the unsafe blood cultural rituals in Asia and Africa. such as female genital cutting could spread viral infection in these areas.

  13. cognitivedissidenton 02 Jan 2009 at 1:46 am

    Intellectually dishonest? How else would you interpret a study that followed 175 couples for years and years and witnessed no seroconversions, despite dozens of the couples not using condoms? Please address this question directly.

    Conspiracy mongering? That’s laughable. Mainstream AIDS is the only one selling anything. A disease to last a lifetime…how wonderful! It really is the logical outcome of capitalism however, so it isn’t all that surprising.

    Psuedoscientific? However you want to dress up your thoughts on Africans, racist psuedoscience is what it is. Would this sum up your thoughts pretty well? From “Population differences in susceptibility to AIDS: an evolutionary analysis” by J. Phillipe Rushton and Anthony F. Bogaert:

    “Previously we have reported population differences in sexual restraint such that, higher socio-economic status > lower socio-economic status, and Mongoloids > Caucasoids > Negroids. This ordering was predicted from a gene-based evolutionary theory of r/R reproductive strategies in which a trade-off occurs between gamete production and social behaviours such as intelligence, law abidingness, and parental care. Here we consider the implications of these analyses for sexual dysfunction, including susceptibility to AIDS. We conclude that relative to Caucasians, populations of Asian ancestry are inclined to a greater frequency of inhibitory disorders such as low sexual excitement and premature ejaculation and to a lower frequency of sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS, while populations of African ancestry are inclined to a greater frequency of uninhibited disorders such as rape and unintended pregnancy and to more sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS.”

    Looks a little different when it’s not you doing the dressing, huh? Enough said. Actually, I’ll leave the last word to Dr. Sam Mhlongo, head of the Dept. of Family Medicine and Primary Health Care at the Medical University of South Africa:

    “Look, there are no death certificates whatsoever. “We have no references for anything. All you have is the media. Television, radio and newspapers agreeing on this. That stuff about the upper classes is really rubbish. I am so-called bourgeois, and I don’t see any of this among the middle class. It’s the poverty-stricken, unemployed, black South Africans who are dying, because of diseases related to poverty.”

  14. theoon 02 Jan 2009 at 3:48 am

    @ cognitivedissident. I love the unconscious irony you bring. Steve merely described a factual behaviour (whether it’s true or not is neither here nor there). He did not imply, explicitly or implicitly, any kind moral value to anyone’s behaviour. If he’d said something along the lines of: “Black heterosexual Africans get HIV / AIDs because they are immoral scum and god hates them,” then you’d be entitled to call him a racist. He didn’t.

    The irony is that you are in fact being racist, by virtue of your assumption about Steve, a white male.

    Even with the so called “racist paper” you cite. The motives of the authors may or may not be racist. If they are, we should look at what they say with great skepticism. But if they uncover the truth of things, however distasteful it may be to you or me, the fact of the matter cannot be racist. (What people do with the facts, especially making the is-ought fallacy, can be however.) Racism is an ethical concept, not a factual one.

    Finally, back to your racism. (Although, this is more like cultural bias.) By citing this paper as “racist,” you implicitly agree that “…low sexual excitement and premature ejaculation..” are bad things, as are “… “…rape and unintended pregnancy..”.

    Who are you to impose your values upon these other cultures, you western cultural imperialist dog.

  15. dlmccaslinon 02 Jan 2009 at 3:55 am

    HIV/AIDS, first and foremost, is not a sexually transmitted disease but a bloodborne pathogen. The reason why HIV has historically been a “gay problem” relates to the way the virus gets into the system.

    The thing that “they” don’t want you to know about is that normal vaginal intercourse and oral intercourse are less likely to spread HIV than any other type of intercourse, including anal and rough sex. Tearing is the key; any kind of sex that results in tearing of the vaginal or anal wall or the penis is more likely to promote the virus. Also, oral intercourse most commonly leads to HIV transmossion when it passes through lesious in the mouth (cold sores, etc.) This actually explains a lot, like the trend of more male-to-female transmission than female-to-male. However, this does not mean that unprotected sex that does not lead to tearing cannot lead to HIV transmission, and you should ALWAYS protect yourself. It is just less likely.

    (The whole “‘they’ don’t want you to know” thing is a bit cheeky. This fact is glossed over a bit in PSAs and education programs. We want you to wear condoms.)

    One reason that HIV transmission among heterosexuals is higher in Africa relates to the rate of other STDs that cause open sores on the genitals.

    The idea that HIV does not cause AIDS is laughable, but the medical establishment has only themselves to blame. Education programs stress a distinction between HIV+ and AIDS. What is the distinction? A CD4 count of 200 or below. (There is also point where the CD4 count drops below a certain percentage of total volume in thich the diagnosis turns to AIDS, but I con’t remember the percentage.) There is no need for an opportunistic infection or even for medical management. Essentially, AIDS is a more severe version of being HIV+, one in which opportunistic infections are more likely (and many OIs relate to avian viruses. I know Steve is no immunologist, but maybe he could fill us in on why that is.)

    I think it’s also difficult for the public to grasp because no one really “dies from” AIDS. We have a list of OIs, and if we detect the virus and an OI we can say things like “died from complications of mycobacterial avium complex due to AIDS” but It’s a disease that allows other diseases to kill you without killing you itself. Of course there are no death certificates that say that AIDS kills a person, because AIDS doesn’t kill people! I recently found out (and was surprised by the fact) that leprosy works in the same way.

    So who the hell am I and how do I know all of this? I am a social worker with an organization with a HOPWA grant (HOPWA is a HUD acronym, Housing Opportunities for People With AIDS). I also send numbers to the state so that we can identify the total number of HIV and AIDS cases, information that is forwarded to the CDC. I’ve spent hours in trainings and reading about AIDS, buth on the clock and in my spare time (because any job is worth doing right).

    Another word of note relating to transmission. Lower viral loads make transmission more difficult. Many people with HIV walk around with a viral load that is undetectable, which means less than 40 parts per million. Those people are less likely to transmit the virus than those with higher viral loads. Again, it doesn’t mean that they can’t transmit, and you should always protect yourself.

  16. Oracon 02 Jan 2009 at 9:34 am

    Playing the “racist” card? That is despicable. You demonstrate very well the tactics of HIV deniers – conspiracy mongering, pseudoscientific, and intellectually dishonest.

    At least you don’t have cooler, a commenter who has infested the comments of my posts about Christine Maggiore, not to mention a truly annoying HIV/AIDS denialist troll named Michael Geiger. You can have them if you want. ;-)

  17. Chris Nobleon 02 Jan 2009 at 10:22 am

    “OK, if you want to be exact, 282 couple-years of follow up and NO HIV transmission. 47 of the 175 couples admitted to inconsistent condom use throughout. Sounds like a frightening virus.”

    Which means that the majority of couples were only followed for about a year. By their last follow up 88.5% were either abstinent or using condoms. The results are entirely consistent with the low average transmission risk for HIV outside of the acute-infection phase.

  18. cognitivedissidenton 02 Jan 2009 at 11:56 am

    In West Africa, these women, all prostitutes, have remained negative for more than five years:

    “[This study involved] a group of repeatedly exposed but persistently seronegative female prostitutes in The Gambia, West Africa…have worked as prostitutes for more than five years, use condoms infrequently with clients and only rarely with their regular partners and have a high incidence of other sexually transmitted diseases” (Rowland-Jones S et al. HIV-specific cytotoxic T-cells in HIV-exposed but uninfected Gambian women. Nat Med. 1995 Jan)

    Weird! What a wacky virus!

    Theo, I don’t think you know what the definition of “racist” is. Step up your game or stay out of the conversation.

    Steve,

    From the Padian study:

    “No transmission occurred among the 25 percent
    of couples who did not use condoms consistently
    at their last follow-up.”

    So the number is 75%, not 88.5%. Instead of continually granting HIV some kind of superpower status, why not reject the HIV hypothesis and consider another? It seems ridiculous at this point. Of course, this would likely not be a very profitable route, nor a very culturally satisfying one.

    Scientists seem to pride themselves on their objectivity, but rarely do you see objectivity in science. The dissident path is a difficult one, but is the only path where real progress might be made for the human race on this issue. It gives me strength to know that questioning minds are out there, right at this moment, beginning to put the pieces together on this and similar issues, despite the prevalence of sites like this one that constantly attempt to abuse the human intellect. It’s only a matter of time.

  19. theoon 02 Jan 2009 at 12:31 pm

    @ cognitivedissident

    You say: “Theo, I don’t think you know what the definition of “racist” is. Step up your game or stay out of the conversation. ”

    Whoa… Touché

    Bam! KaPow! Smackdown! You nailed me!

    Given you seem to be blind to your own cultural biases, have no sense of irony, are content in ignoring points made by me and others, would rather talk at cross-purposes, stack the deck, cherry-pick, browbeat and sanctimoniously impugn motives, your views really don’t surprise me at all.

  20. Mjhavokon 02 Jan 2009 at 12:45 pm

    lmao Theo. Brilliant.

  21. HHCon 02 Jan 2009 at 1:04 pm

    I would suggest being quite cautious when you read studies that prove racist genetics. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that some studies have funding from KKK sources. In 2009, we will miss Dr. Jerry Hirsch, a fine academician and American veteran.

  22. Fifion 02 Jan 2009 at 1:29 pm

    First off, I’m biased about this subject. Two of my closest friends died of AIDS, as did many other really amazing and exceptional people I knew. One friend was a Gay man, the other was a straight woman. They were diagnosed back in the 80s, just after AIDS stopped being called GRID and back when medicine really didn’t know much (they were both told they’d be dead in a year, they both lived for another decade thankfully). There was a hell of a lot of institutional prejudice based in institutional homophobia in medicine regarding AIDS and even doctors got involved in moral panics about AIDS (let’s remember that homosexuality was still viewed as a psychopathology by medicine in the early 80s, it wasn’t until 1987 that the DSM started viewing homosexuality as NOT being a mental illness or psychological disorder of some kind).

    I have friends who are still alive thanks to the advances in understanding and new medicines. I also have a friend who is an AIDS researcher, however I understand how some AIDS denialists got to where they are – particularly in the US where the government is so weird and religious about sexual health and sexuality. And where there’s still so much denial about continuing racism and its connection to class and opportunity (not to mention the mental and emotional toll of living with daily prejudice and the abuse of continual small and big demeaning experiences). It’s really not that unreasonable for African American people or Gay men in the US not to trust the official story or institutional medicine considering the history of medicine vis a vis minorities (much as contemporary doctors would like to bury the past and claim it has nothing to do with today). Unfortunately, the profit motive in American medicine – both historical and contemporary – really undercuts the practice of ethical medicine and public trust in doctors and medicine. As does the history of medicine as a tool of oppression (this is not medicine’s fault or innate to medicine, nor the scientific method that’s at fault, rather it’s how medicine and science have been used as tools historically).

    What I find particularly horrific is how the American government has tied in AIDS aid to Africa with religion and how North American SCAM artists try to exploit African people who are ill for their own profit-driven and ideological ends by conflating malnutrition with AIDS to then claim AIDS doesn’t exist because people improve when given essential nutrients they weren’t getting. I suspect that for AIDS denialists who aren’t science geeks or medically literate, doctors and scientists pretending that the prejudices of not very long ago are no longer relevant and should be ignored are only adding fuel to the denialists fire since it is, in many ways, a form of denial on the part of medicine. There are lots of SCAM artists targetting people living with AIDS or HIV who exploit this history for their own nefarious ends but one reason they’re successful is that institutional racism and homophobia are well within living history (and still occurs on a daily basis).

  23. Fifion 02 Jan 2009 at 1:36 pm

    And, for the record, I consider CognitiveDissident’s posts to display not only willfull ignorance but a deeply seated cultural prejudice that allows them to exploit the suffering of others (and promote idiocy that causes further suffering) purely out of a selfish need to promote their ideology (or whatever supplment or quack cure they profit from selling).

  24. cognitivedissidenton 02 Jan 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Fifi,

    I appreciate your comments, and certainly agree with many of them. This is my point about racism in science, it is entrenched so deeply that many do not realize when they see it or state it.

    How you can have the level of understanding you seem to have and still not be willing to believe that HIV does not exist at all surprises me. For instance, you cite improvements in understanding of HIV and medicine to treat infection. Have you considered that the health care industry has just found a way to create better customers? Is this not the logical conclusion of a profit-driven health care system?

    When looking at a phenomenon such as this one, I am inclined to consider some of the first reports, some of the first hypotheses. The picture became much clearer for me on HIV/AIDS once I read Casper Schmidt’s “The Group Fantasy Origin of AIDS.” An absolutely essential piece in my opinion.

    Given the nature of our economic system, there will always be opportunists looking to exploit any situation for their benefit. But I would count few AIDS dissidents among these. The big money is being made with the meds. These are the real criminals. Any small time shill peddling some nutritional supplement need not be given any status in this debate.

    I truly hope we can figure out a better way. I have seen people on the meds suffering, and it is no way to live.

  25. cognitivedissidenton 02 Jan 2009 at 2:02 pm

    Fifi pushes back the flamethrower and pulls out the pistol! Wouldn’t want to be thought as some kind of apologist for an evil denier huh? Wow.

    Can’t say I’m surprised by the good cop/bad cop routine though. It’s safer over there, huh Fifi?

  26. weingon 02 Jan 2009 at 2:27 pm

    cognitivedissident,
    Why is this so important to you? You can get your proof very easily. If you are a man, go to Africa and look for a man who was recently diagnosed and allow him to penetrate your anus. If you are a woman, just have sex with him and wait. If dementia kicks in you may not realize that you do in fact have the disease but at least you won’t be spreading your nonsense to others for long. There really are not that many people that trust the information they get from people with dementia.

  27. Steven Novellaon 02 Jan 2009 at 2:50 pm

    CogDis gives an excellent example of conspiracy mongering – while denying it. They are simply impugning the motives of those who treat HIV. Any chronic illness that can be medically manged would fulfill CogDis’s criteria for a conspiracy.

    It is also partly the argument from final consequences – the pharmaceutical industry makes money by selling AIDS drugs – therefore AIDS is a pharmaceutical industry conspiracy.

    And for the record – I have absolutely no stake in this issue, beyond my usual dedication to science-based medicine. I do not treat HIV or AIDS, research it, or have any financial stake in the question one way or the other. The casual assumption of conflict of interest on the part of HIV deniers is typical, though.

  28. Fifion 02 Jan 2009 at 2:58 pm

    cognitivedissident – I’m not an ideologue fighting an ideological war from a “side” – which you clearly are – I’m just someone who has experienced both the early social and institutional reaction to AIDS and been deeply involved in both caring for people living with and dying from AIDS and also the exploitation of vulnerable people with AIDS by SCAM artists of all kinds. I’m not anti-medicine, I’m anti-ignorance in all its forms. People like you kill people with your ignorance – and for what? For your own ego satisfaction, it’s disgusting, selfish and no different than the ignorance you claim to decry.

  29. Skeptykon 02 Jan 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Whatever the proximate and ultimate causes of Maggiore’s death, her earnest, sincere, heartfelt, compassion-driven crusade was simply wrong, and has contributed to suffering and death.

    Christine’s good intentions neither validate nor excuse her willful ignorance and her immoral actions. One can be sincere, kind, intelligent and yet still be immoral in some of her actions. It is not moral to encourage people to ignore/reject the fruits of human knowledge in a way that will cause harm. Christine may not have been legally culpable (she was not, AFAIK, a licensed health care therapist), but she was ethically and morally responsible for causing harm.

    Examples – not analogous, but instructive – include many kindly, well-meaning folks who defended slavery with sincere, heartfelt arguments. I have met sweet people who encourage ex-gay “therapy”. Neither their delusion nor their niceness forgive their actions, which cause clear harm. The former group WAS racist, the latter group IS homophobic, and Maggiore WAS immoral, not simply mistaken, in her dangerous denialism.

    cognitivedissident sez: “The dissident path is a difficult one, but is the only path where real progress might be made for the human race on this issue.”

    Breathtakingly arrogant.

  30. cognitivedissidenton 02 Jan 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Steven,

    I made no assumption of conflict of interest. I merely pointed out that the views you hold are grounded in psuedoscience that has racist foundations.

    I’m merely putting the pieces together, and trying to figure out why this bad hypothesis is allowed to thrive. The causes are multi-factoral, and assuming that I cling to one or another is attempting to set me up as a straw man.

    Above all, I’d like to see people stop taking the meds. I’ve seen what these can do to a person, and how they cling to them, and its no way to live. But hoping this will happen without addressing all these other issues is likely wishful thinking. So on with the fight.

  31. Fifion 02 Jan 2009 at 3:12 pm

    I do love how chummy cognitivedissedent was when they thought I was on their side and then hostile when they thought I wasn’t. That’s the problem with ideologues who think it’s about “sides” and there being only an us vs them black/white conversation to be had about complex issues, it’s all about them and validating their egos and desire to be “right” or to make someone else “wrong”. It’s a clear sign someone isn’t really interested in understanding or furthering knowledge but about dominating others ideologically somehow (which extends to people’s bodies as well as their minds).

    It’s worth noting that the DSM was changed in 1987 – after much Queer activism but prior to their being much scientific evidence about the biological basis of homosexuality and the fluidity of sexuality – so science has eventually caught up and the vast majority of people in science and medicine now accept that homosexuality is natural (even if they’re personally uncomfortable with homosexuality). It’s not with a little irony that I’ll point out that it’s Christian Fundamentalists who both promote the idea that AIDS is a “Gay lifestyle” disease and the kinds of abstinence policies that have contributed to the spread of AIDS in Africa (and they’re connected to many businesses that push SCAM). Any Queer person who thinks someone like cognitivedissonence is their friend is a fool!

  32. Fifion 02 Jan 2009 at 3:18 pm

    cognitivedissonence – You’re promoting an ideology. What happens when people give up their meds for SCAM – and quite a few have to follow the kind of pseudoscience you promote, with bad results – is they get sick and die. You have no clue and clearly have no experience with AIDS and want to experiment with peoples’ lives simply for your own ideological ends and due to your own ideological dislike of medicine – it’s disgusting and beyond ignorant, it’s stepping over the line into dangerous to others.

  33. Fifion 02 Jan 2009 at 3:21 pm

    cognitivedissident clearly hasn’t been around long enough (or cared about or for people with AIDS) to have seen what happens when people who are HIV+ don’t take medication. We don’t need to experiment, the early years of AIDS paint a very graphic picture of how untreated AIDS developes and kills.

  34. Fifion 02 Jan 2009 at 3:24 pm

    cognitivedissident – “I have seen people on the meds suffering, and it is no way to live.”

    It’s living, you’d clearly choose death for people who have chosen life for themselves. It’s not about how YOU feel when you see other people suffering or about YOU deciding how and if other people should live. Seriously, get over yourself.

  35. Skeptykon 02 Jan 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Cogdiz sez: “Any small time shill peddling some nutritional supplement need not be given any status in this debate.”

    Would that include Tshabalala-Msimang? Yahya Jammeh?

    Cogdiz sez:
    “Above all, I’d like to see people stop taking the meds.”

    OMFG. Are you sort of new to this whole AIDS thing? We who lost friends in the 80′s have long, sharp memories.

    And yet our thinking did not stop in the 80′s, as have those of so many denialists, who love to quote old research and who seem to think that drug treatment is unchanged over the last couple of decades.

  36. cognitivedissidenton 02 Jan 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Fifi, I never thought you were “on my side”. Quite the contrary. I was choosing the high ground just as you were becoming nervous that your comments might be interpreted as support for a denialist. But I continued to press, hoping you could hold on to your open mind for a few moments. Sadly, you couldn’t, and once again are attempting to pigeon hole me like everyone else.

    Nowhere am I claiming that there is not a problem that is affecting people who find themselves on the low end of the socioeconomic spectrum. I’m just saying that it isn’t a virus. To say that a virus is doing all these different things is highly illogical and irresponsible, and to give toxic drugs to people who are suffering is criminal.

    In my opinion, it was the Christian crusaders who ushered in this era of HIV/AIDS. They have since been cast aside and demonized, but also replaced by a more efficient apparatus that has turned HIV/AIDS into an industry. To lump me in with these folks is ludicrous, and evidence that you are becoming desperate.

  37. Julianon 02 Jan 2009 at 5:12 pm

    But I continued to press, hoping you could hold on to your open mind for a few moments. Sadly, you couldn’t, and once again are attempting to pigeon hole me like everyone else.

    Open mind? What’s open minded about not looking facts in the face? Cog, since you started posting here you have failed to refute any of the evidence for HIV/AIDS. Instead you posted a study that really doesn’t seem to have anything to do with anything.

    Nowhere am I claiming that there is not a problem that is affecting people who find themselves on the low end of the socioeconomic spectrum.

    What’s your response to the wealthy who catch HIV?

    To say that a virus is doing all these different things is highly illogical and irresponsible, and to give toxic drugs to people who are suffering is criminal.

    1) A virus is. (I’ll leave the data to the scientists here.)
    2) Drugs are given to the sick because they’ve been demonstrated to have a positive effect in combating the illness higher then that of a placebo on the majority of individuals it was given to. Drugs do have side affects that can be harmful to an individual but it’s a risk well worth taking when the it’s known that left to its own the devices the illness will be far worse then the effects of the drug, like with AIDS.

    They have since been cast aside and demonized, but also replaced by a more efficient apparatus that has turned HIV/AIDS into an industry.

    AIDS isn’t an industry (I’m sure you’re using a metaphor but it one that doesn’t hold up) and if it were it wouldn’t defeat any of what’s known about HIV. Calling someone a capitalist pig or paying them some other insult is neither here nor there. Stick to the issue.

    I understand that to a conspiracy theorist a possible conflict of interest is insurmountable evidence of a massive cover up but insulting the integrity of the researcher or physician just makes you look like an ass when you fail to back it up. As a rule avoid inflammatory rhetoric if you can’t support it.

    _____

    A bit of a personal observation of Cog’s behavior here. I notice the same thing when arguing with Creationist. They’ll isolate an individual with little experience in Biology (no offense, Fifi.^-^) and continue to taunt and pressure that individual while ignoring the arguments of others.

  38. Chris Nobleon 02 Jan 2009 at 5:42 pm

    “So the number is 75%, not 88.5%. Instead of continually granting HIV some kind of superpower status, why not reject the HIV hypothesis and consider another?”

    Table 3 shows that 74% consistently used condoms and 14.5% were abstinent.
    http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/upload/2006/02/Padian%201997%20paper.pdf

    HIV does not have superpowers. In the asymptomatic stage of infection it is hard to transmit. Simply wearing condoms can reduce the risk further to a point where the epidemic could be stopped in its tracks.

  39. weingon 02 Jan 2009 at 5:51 pm

    cognitivedissonance,
    You can quite easily prove us all wrong about HIV as I’ve noted above. That is called science. You are a coward who doesn’t even believe his own BS. You say you have been taking the “high ground”. Stop smoking dope and get back on the ground.

  40. Fifion 02 Jan 2009 at 6:17 pm

    cognitivedissonance – You have already made it clear that you’re promoting an ideology and have no real life understanding of the history of AIDS and no real caring for people with AIDS. I wrote about the history of medicine and society because I wanted to explain WHY some people come to irrational conclusions about AIDS and feel that they are rational (and within a certain context, things that seem impossible to contemporary doctors seem quite probably to some people on the street). Plenty of rich people get AIDS too, it’s not a disease of poverty as you propose (though poverty can create conditions for all kinds of diseases that are uncommon in other social classes). AIDS has, however, spread in the African American community more rapidly due a number of factors.
    1-the fact that homophobia is even more virulent and omnipresent in African American culture than in general American culture. This has meant that more closeted and married Gay men give their wives and girlfriends AIDS. It also often means people are having riskier sex since they’re not comfortable with their sexuality.
    2-There’s a general prejudice against condom use in African American society that’s more pronounced than in general society.
    3-There’s a history of using medicine to oppress and “scientifically” support racism and, of course, the infamous syphillis study (which is well known in the general African American community). Of course, all things were used to justify racism, sexism and homophobia at the time medicine and science was used in this way so it’s hardly an exception to the social rule or actually responsible for the larger social prejudices (these came mainly from religion). That science was used as a tool of oppression doesn’t mean science is oppressive, it just means it can be used as a tool for many things and to support many different agendas. Apparently you’re more interested in promoting an ideology and alleviating your own discomfort at witnessing the suffering of others than actually alleviating their suffering or their general good.

  41. Fifion 02 Jan 2009 at 6:23 pm

    What makes me and other AIDS activists I know really angry is that people like cognitivedissonance contribute to creating an environment where people don’t practice safe sex, a simple precauation that saves lives. As condom use and safe sex practices have fallen, HIV and AIDS rates have risen within the Gay community. Considering that cognitivedissonannce is being willfully ignorant and a denialist, I hold them partly responsible for those deaths.

  42. cognitivedissidenton 02 Jan 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Oh, Padian successfully scared a couple dozen couples into not even being able to make love to each other, based on the results of an admittedly inaccurate test. What a wonderful accomplishment!

    If only we could get those crazy Africans to throw on some rubbers for God’s sake, that would do it.

    Sigh. This mentality only creates isolation, loneliness, unhappiness, and depression. I’m out.

  43. Fifion 02 Jan 2009 at 7:10 pm

    cognitivedissonance – clearly you’re not even reading what I wrote, I was writing about African American culture not African – they’re not the same thing and for someone who goes on about other people being racist your ignorance about this just shows you don’t have any African or African American friends to school you on one of the many African cultures (it’s not one culture all over Africa) or African-American culture. I didn’t say anyone was crazy, I don’t think African Americans are crazy for holding certain beliefs or thinking the system is stacked against them (I just think they’re aware of the context they live in). I can understand why people in the African-American community hold these beliefs because I talk to people about their beliefs. I just think it’s horrible that these erroneous beliefs lead to people dying unnecesssarily and that people like you exploit them for your own purposes with a total disregard for the human lives and people who pay the price for your willfull ignorance. Sigh. This mentality only creates death and more death.

  44. Michael Meadonon 03 Jan 2009 at 1:22 pm

    I certainly don’t think Steve is in any way racist to suggest behavior is one of the reasons why HIV/AIDS is more common in Africa. I do think, however, it’s important to note that HIV arose on the continent – possibly as early as 1884 according to recent research – and thus became endemic here. Also, Europeans may fortuitously have a lower risk of infection, and Africans may unluckily have a higher risk of infection.

    Does behavior also play a role? Probably, but please oh please remember that Africa is really, really, big and really, really diverse. Saying “Africans do x” is almost always stupid.

  45. Fifion 03 Jan 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Julian – No offense taken, I’m not a biologist and don’t play one on TV either ;-) I’m not completely ignorant of the biology of AIDS though, simply because I’ve been involved since the 80s and follow the research (and I have a friend who’s a researcher). Not to mention having cared for friends who have died of AIDS. That said, I don’t consider myself the best person to explain the biology and I think it’s worthless even bothering to discuss it with Cog since they’re taking an ideological tack on this not a science-based one. I have no idea if this is the case with Cog, but often AIDS denialists are denialists for cultural and personal reasons that have little to do with science (though obviously the controversy around Duesberg lends a certain rogue science romance to being a denialist). SCAM artists also prey upon people living with AIDS much in the same way they do cancer patients and other people with chronic diseases so myths about AIDS are also perpetuated this way.

  46. HHCon 03 Jan 2009 at 8:07 pm

    I referred to my 2008 Oxford English Dictionary to check the word, squirely. It wasn’t there. But squirrelly was there and is probably more appropriate as an adjective to describe Dr. Gordon’s comments.

  47. Brianon 03 Jan 2009 at 10:09 pm

    It seems clear that CogDis is the epitome of the “True Believer”. While I typically have (what I consider) a reasonable level of respect (maybe compassion is the better word) for certain rare “believers”, it seems pretty clear here that this guy/gal is LOST. It seems to me that the irony mentioned previously by Theo is totally lost on this person, and he/she can’t see the “glove of reason” that is smacking him/her in the face.

    @Fifi: Excellent responses on all accounts! Don’t take it to heart if you haven’t made yourself understood to one individual. A large part of being able to “understand” is the true desire to understand (without bias) in the first place. Excellent posts – highly commendable effort on your part.

  48. Jayhoxon 04 Jan 2009 at 12:18 pm

    CogDis,

    Could you please list your credentials? Are you a physician, epidemiologist, nurse or other health care worker? Do you have training and advanced education in biochemistry, statistics, microbiology, immunology, or genetics? If so, to what level: Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD?

    Not that advanced education, training, and experience in these fields are required to have a valid opinion, but it would help us understand where you’re coming from.

    Thanks.

  49. DevilsAdvocateon 04 Jan 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Squirely = Of or like a squire
    Squirrelly = cognitivedissident

  50. tooth fairyon 04 Jan 2009 at 6:52 pm

    dlmccaslin:

    Thanks for your post and Fifi thanks for your tireless pounding of Cog. makes for interesting reading.

  51. cognitivedissidenton 05 Jan 2009 at 1:51 am

    Are you guys done patting each other on the back yet? I’ll wait. Wow, it must be exciting to be on the side of “science”.

    Bottom line? Steven and the rest of you can repeat the same tired lines over and over again, providing no legitimate evidence, merely regurgitating the garbage that you have been spoonfed.

    What you can’t account for is why there is such a strong dissident movement to begin with. You would like to dismiss various dissidents by labeling them this or that, but in the end they just keep springing up all over the place.

    Why is that? Because you can’t fool all the people all the time. Here are some of the things you have to believe to buy into the mainstream version of AIDS:

    A virus popped up in Africa and made its way to the west, where it disproportionately began afflicting gay people and drug addicts.

    It is a sexually transmitted disease that is not really sexually transmittable, unless you are gay or live in Africa.

    There is no test for it but this doesn’t matter, a bunch of tests can just be lumped together and the virus can be assumed to be there.

    Although billions and billions has gone into studying this virus, there is still no vaccine…but its on the way! Any day now!

    Toxic drugs are the cure, sort of…

    A nobel prize winner whose method is used for a “test” and an expert in the field of retroviruses simultaneously lost their minds or decided to destroy their reputations to sell a couple books.

    If Africans would just put on some condoms this whole thing could end

    The list goes on…

    And I’m the crazy one.

    Look, this has been fun and all but this debate will go nowhere, obviously. All I can hope is that I at least planted a seed, somewhere, with someone, and I think there is a pretty good chance I did.

    For me, the pieces really came together when I read “The Group Fantasy Origin of AIDS” by Casper Schmidt. While it may not be a flawless hypothesis, it is certainly better than the mainstream hypothesis and likely better than Duesberg’s, at least far more comprehensive. For the record, I think Mullis’s guesses on HIV and AIDS miss the mark a bit.

    I am truly saddened by what happened to Christine. Many of you might not know this, but an episode of “Law and Order-SVU” based on Christine’s recent history (demonizing her to no end of course) aired just two months before her death, and at the end of the episode…you guessed it…she dies. Crucified on national television. What a wonderful country.

    The world needs more people like her and less like many of you. This doesn’t mean I wish ill on any of you, even though many of you wished ill for Christine. This just means that I’m hoping for change.

  52. Robster FCDon 05 Jan 2009 at 2:13 am

    Yes, Cog, you are the crazy one.

    And Casper Schmidt died from AIDS in 1994. It wasn’t all in his head after all.

  53. Chris Nobleon 05 Jan 2009 at 2:21 am

    For me, the pieces really came together when I read “The Group Fantasy Origin of AIDS” by Casper Schmidt.

    Casper Schmidt died from AIDS in 1994. Perhaps your cognitive dissonance filters haven’t allowed that fact to register. Denying that HIV causes AIDS doesn’t protect you.

    Even today about 25% of all AIDS diagnoses occur when the patient who doesn’t know they are infected with HIV turns up in hospital with a severe opportunistic infection. Not knowing you are infected with HIV doesn’t protect you.

  54. sadunkalon 05 Jan 2009 at 5:33 am

    All the comments, all the posts coming from mainstream skeptics completely miss the point in my opinion. I’m on the side of HIV/AIDS skeptics simply because of what Christine says in this video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Qz57SeuA8k

    I used to be a believer in consensus science, thinking that the scientific method was really being used no matter what. But once I started paying close attention I realized that the scientists are not really ethically superior to politicians in a significant way. I was shocked at how those who raise uncomfortable questions (i.e. about contradictory HIV test results) were dealt with. In many cases the lives of those willing to understand things better were dependent on the information, yet this doesn’t stop any “HIV/AIDS expert” from name-calling/dismissing/attacking them. The orthodox scientific community has been extremely irresponsible since 1983 when it comes to HIV/AIDS. I suggest those who really care to take a harder look at how today’s science is really being done. Is this really what the best minds of science described as ideal, flawless use of the scientific method?

    Alone the word “denier” is an extremely anti-scientific, ignorant, harmful ad hominem. Think about it. Which scientists are your role models and would they ever use such words to describe those with different opinions? “Oh, but they’re in denial” you say? Then I ask for evidence.

    I recommend that the readers rather discuss what Christine says in that video before they meaninglessly try to “defeat” the other side. When there is enough bias, the argument doesn’t matter. Let’s work on our biases instead…

  55. sezwhoon 05 Jan 2009 at 5:43 am

    I hate to troll-feed, but must ask Cognitivedissident this:

    If there were a study which took a number of infertile or subfertile couples (ie couples who had already failed to become pregnant despite multiple episodes of unprotected sex), gave them specific advice on how NOT to become pregnant, studied them for a year during which 88.5% either did not have sex or always used condoms, and at the end of the year you found that none of the women had conceived, would you become a pregancy denialist?

    Just wondering.

  56. Willon 05 Jan 2009 at 6:06 am

    “What you can’t account for is why there is such a strong dissident movement to begin with. You would like to dismiss various dissidents by labeling them this or that, but in the end they just keep springing up all over the place.”

    There doesn’t need to be anything really extraordinary to explain the origin of the AIDS dissidents, as was said in the original post:

    “And yet it is apparently a common human cognitive vulnerability that we find conspiracy theories compelling – some people much more than others. The notion that HIV is a big lie perpetrated by Big Pharma and a complicit medical establishment enthralls some. Once inside that world, then all of the complexities that normally attend any complex medical (or historical or scientific) phenomenon can be twisted and made to seem as if they cast doubt on well-established facts. All contradictory evidence can be dismissed as part of a conspiracy, or rationalized away (HIV deniers, for example, argued that pneumonia is common, so why blame Eliza’s case on HIV – ignoring the conclusive evidence from the autopsy). Confirmation bias sets in – and that turns suspicions into unshakable beliefs.”

  57. Chris Nobleon 05 Jan 2009 at 6:52 am

    Sadun,

    There is nothing long with asking questions as long as you are prepared to listen to the answers.

    You still get “rethinkers” asking why there are no FDA approved HIV tests.

    You’d think they might google “FDA appoved HIV tests”

    The Denialists also don’t just ask rhetorical questions they aslo actively spread misinformation.

    As Denialists do no scientific research on HIV or AIDS their main approach is to misrepresent, misinterpret, and misquote the real scientific literature.

    Michael’s false claims about the “Padian Study” are a classic example. No matter how many times their errors are pointed out to them they always come back and repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

    Denialism is the only fitting description for this behaviour.

  58. sadunkalon 05 Jan 2009 at 7:30 am

    Chris Noble,

    I don’t think you’re completely wrong, but you should avoid generalizations. So let’s say that some of them are “FDA approved test deniers” then, which is probably just a result of outdated information. But that is hardly relevant to real issues.

    The discussion about the Padian study is more complicated then you pretend. It is a fact that none of the entrants seroconverted, statistical significance should be the focus. And before beginning to discuss that paper, I think the reliability of HIV tests should be perfectly clarified.

    The point is if someone who believed that he/she had an invincible, deadly virus for years one day learns that he/she tested negative this time, he/she should have a right to ask questions and even demand answers before he/she keeps listening to the advice of the experts. Or even someone like me should be able to get some answers without being called a “denier “or a “denialist”. I got no reason to deny anything and experiencing such interactions with HIV/AIDS defenders doesn’t help me trust them more.

    Can you tell me that Christine Maggiore’s doubts and questions were approached objectively and answered satisfyingly when she became skeptical?

  59. Chris Nobleon 05 Jan 2009 at 8:41 am

    Sadun,
    If you simply regurgitate the same bullshit that you read on Denialist websites that has been answered hundreds of times before then of course you will be called a Denialist. You fail to realise that although HIV “dissidence” is a new discovery for you I and many others before me have been through the same process over and over again. There is a limit to how many times you can patiently answer questions.

    You keep on talking about science and the scientific method but you show absolutely zero indication that you understand what the words mean.

    What on Earth gives you the idea that you understand the paper that Nancy Padian wrote better than her? You are displaying the combination of arrogance and ignorance that is a fundamental feature of HIV Denialism.

    You even had the hubris to create this blog
    http://network.nature.com/groups/purify/forum/topics

    Despite your pseudoscientific posturing your reasons for becoming a follower of HIV Denial appear to have very little to do with science. Your main argument appears to be that the “orthodoxy” are mean to the poor “rethinkers”.

    Can you give any examples of questions that Christine Maggiore has raised that haven’t been answered? Whether the answer was satisfying for her is not relevant.

  60. Nitpickingon 05 Jan 2009 at 9:52 am

    What’s interesting to me is that so many of CD’s questions have obvious answers which he/she just ignores.

    “A virus popped up in Africa and made its way to the west, where it disproportionately began afflicting gay people and drug addicts.”

    Why is that implausible? Is this the fallacy of argument from personal incredulity?

    “It is a sexually transmitted disease that is not really sexually transmittable, unless you are gay or live in Africa.”

    No one asserts that.

    “There is no test for it but this doesn’t matter, a bunch of tests can just be lumped together and the virus can be assumed to be there.”

    There are several tests. None are perfect, but neither is any other medical test. My father had a broken femur misdiagnosed after x-rays–does that mean that broken bones are just a medical conspiracy?

    “Although billions and billions has gone into studying this virus, there is still no vaccine…but its on the way! Any day now!”

    Leaving aside that no one says “any day now”, so what? We don’t have a vaccine for the common cold, either–do you want to assert that this proves it doesn’t exist, or is really caused by aspirin, or what? It’s a vacuous non-argument.

    “Toxic drugs are the cure, sort of…”

    No one says “cure”, and why would the more accurate formulation of “drugs that have side effects” not be advisable? Again, a vacuous non-argument.

    “A nobel prize winner whose method is used for a “test” and an expert in the field of retroviruses simultaneously lost their minds or decided to destroy their reputations to sell a couple books.”

    Straw man. Duesberg and Mullis’s motives aren’t something the non-deniers speculate about much. The point is that they’re wrong, and that you should stop using two fallacies in one sentence: argument from authority mixes poorly with the straw man.

    “If Africans would just put on some condoms this whole thing could end”

    Well, get better. Why do you find that implausible? Again, argument from personal incredulity.

    In actual studies, condom use does reduce HIV and AIDS spread. Reality trumps your personal preference. In actual studies, antiretrovirals extend the life of AIDS patients. Reality trumps your personal preference. In actual case studies, lab workers scratched with contaminated needles got AIDS, despite never using the drugs you claim cause that disease. Reality ….

  61. weingon 05 Jan 2009 at 10:16 am

    These aholes like cognitive dissonance obviously feel they need more dead people. What a bunch of cowards.

  62. superdaveon 05 Jan 2009 at 10:58 am

    Of all the denialisms, this one baffles me the most. What is the plus side of HIV denial? Simply to live in a slightly less scary world?

  63. cognitivedissidenton 05 Jan 2009 at 12:12 pm

    I think you make a good point sadunkal, and its one that Clark Baker also brought up:

    As a criminal investigator who has completed several thousand
    investigations, I’ve only been criticized and attacked by criminal suspects.
    Good citizens do not attack police officers for doing their jobs.

    So when the pharmaceutical industry attacked me for investigating their
    allegations that Peter Duesberg is guilty of killing millions of Africans, I
    was pretty alarmed. If their allegations were true, why would they not
    want me to investigate their claims and why wouldn’t they welcome my
    independent confirmation?

    If Christine Maggiore, Celia Farber, Peter Duesberg, and others were
    simply crazy, they’d be ignored like flat-earthers and Wiccans.

    What baker and sadunkal are getting at is that dissidents are not born from some desire for “conspiracies” but from the repeated failures of the mainstream hypothesis…and when these failures are then reinforced with abuse when greeted with skepticism…well then it becomes obvious. As for arguments from personal incredulity…what’s wrong with that? Am I supposed to simply turn off my bullshit filter when it comes to certain issues? Must I simply believe things because “scientists” say they are true? I would much sooner trust my own cognition then surrender it to “experts” who have been proven wrong time and time again and at times proven to be liars.

    Chris, have you read Schmidt’s hypothesis? He certainly didn’t feel that it was impossible to die from “AIDS”. Quite the opposite actually. What is missing from Schmidt’s hypothesis is the role of capitalism. Schmidt thought HIV/AIDS would come and go, but once it became big Pharma’s wet dream, one could be certain that they would milk it for all it was worth.

    The plus side of HIV “denial”? No toxic drugs, no death cult, no surrender of will to those who do not have your best interests at heart, who in fact will gain from your suffering. I wonder, what is the plus side of accepting the current HIV/AIDS paradigm?! Failure and death at every turn!

  64. Fifion 05 Jan 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Cog – Actually I’m pro-people and, yes, I do think science is very useful in the practice of medicine. I’m sorry that it’s not magic enugh for you so you’ve decided to just discard it because there is no cure or vaccine yet. Just so you know, my best female friend who died of AIDS was straight – as were many other people I know so clearly you have little experience actually in the trenches caring for people with AIDS or you’d know this. it’s why you’re not a “dissident”and you are a denier, you’re clearly more interested in ideology than people (and your motivation is your own discomfort with the suffering of others and, if you’re a Gay man, perhaps afraid of contracting AIDS yourself so you think you can avoid it by taking supplements and being healthy, which explains the denial – though staying healthy is always a good thing and makes one less susceptible to all kinds of opportunistic infections). One thing I find interesting – and kind of oppressive – is the idea that goes along with much AIDS denialism that Gay people brought it upon themselves by their immoral behavior (it’s not a virus, it’s “the Gay lifestyle”). Now, clearly living a healthy lifestyle is healthier AND there are a lot of psychosocial issues around AIDS (from barebacking parties to people who consciously spread the virus, to people who deny it exists and don’t use condoms or inform their partners, not to mention issues of guilt/shame and non-acceptance that many Queer people have to deal with in a society that is still largely homophobic and stereotypes Queer people – this is not a simple issue in any way, though I understand the desire to make it so).

    The first wave of AIDS hit straight people as well as Gay men – my first friend who was diagnosed in the mid-80s was a straight woman. She contracted HIV through a boyfriend who was hemophiliac and who got it through tainted blood. “Patient Zero” (though it’s now thought the virus may have been active in Africa longer but gone undetected for social and economic reasons) was a flight attendent from the city I live in – he was Gay and no one really used condoms back then.

    One reason AIDS tends to spread more slowly through straight populations that don’t already have issues with weak immune systems due to disease, drug use or malnutrition is that female to male transmission is less common than male to female or male to male. It’s simple biology having to do with exposure, the viruses ability to live outside the body and incubation within the body.

    The other thing that fuels homosexual denial of AIDS is the ideological rejection of the understanding that sex can be dangerous. Homosexual sex has, historically, always had danger associated with it and a furtive quality. Queer liberation was about throwing off the shackles of shame – religious, social, familial and the internalized personal shame of being “wrong” according to parents if that was the case – so admitting that AIDS makes sex dangerous in a fatal way, when combined with all the histrionic religious hellfire and damnation talk so prevalent in the US, is kind of a natural reaction to that shaming in some ways. It’s not rational but it is socially and psychologically understandable that Gay men wanted to hold onto the freedom embodied by the “Gay lifestyle” of open sexuality, casual sex and recreational drug use and celebration. Of course, a party lifestyle doesn’t cause AIDS – as Cog is suggesting – but it does allow all opportunistic infections of all kinds to pass more freely since people aren’t being careful and are putting a load on their immune system.

    It’s worth remembering that AIDS reared its head when both women and Gay men were finally starting to have a bit of social freedom and equality – particularly vis a vis sex. I consider myself extraordinarily lucky to have been a woman who got to experience the very small window where women could enjoy sex without fear of pregnancy or fatal disease (it was only about a 10 year window in all of history!!!).

    Superdave – The “plus” side of denial is that people can pretend it won’t happen to them (and for the sellers of quackery, lots of profit from selling desperate people supplements – if they play their con right they get both the healthy AND the ill – and there’s the lure of celebrity and fame, of course). Of course, if Cog is a Gay man it means he’s more likely to get infected and then to infect others. Denial is a dangerous thing in this case, and not only to the denialist.

  65. Julianon 05 Jan 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Good citizens do not attack police officers for doing their jobs.

    This is just stupid. My High School History teacher was as straight an arrow as you’d ever get but when the topic of law came up she made it a point to remind the class you don’t have to give the police anything. It’s there job to make their case not yours was her refrain. In fact she was a bit touchy about the whole topic.

    So when the pharmaceutical industry attacked me for investigating their allegations that Peter Duesberg is guilty of killing millions of Africans, I was pretty alarmed.

    Attacked how?

    If their allegations were true, why would they not
    want me to investigate their claims and why wouldn’t they welcome my independent confirmation?

    Maybe they don’t see you as an impartial observer.

    If Christine Maggiore, Celia Farber, Peter Duesberg, and others were simply crazy, they’d be ignored like flat-earthers and Wiccans.

    You seem to be assuming that people have some built in ability to determine what’s true and what isn’t. (I would ask if that were true what would be the point of evidence?) Many crazy beliefs are spread through out the world and accepted by people. A good example is Holocaust denial which despite the accumulated evidence that the Holocaust occurred many groups and people continue to deny it.

    What baker and sadunkal are getting at is that dissidents are not born from some desire for “conspiracies” but from the repeated failures of the mainstream hypothesis

    such as?

    Am I supposed to simply turn off my bullshit filter when it comes to certain issues?

    what exactly is a bullshit filter and how does it work? Have their been studies one that prove it’s accuracy? Say, wouldn’t those tests supersede this filter?

    Must I simply believe things because “scientists” say they are true?

    Of course not. You should always base your pinion on the body of data. But you must also be willing to concede limited knowledge in a field when simply looking at from a layman’s perspective. Reflection is, in my opinion, one of the biggest parts of skepticism.

    I would much sooner trust my own cognition then surrender it to “experts” who have been proven wrong time and time again and at times proven to be liars.

    This has nothing to do with anything. You are supposed to be arguing HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. Why have you changed the topic?

    No toxic drugs, no death cult, no surrender of will to those who do not have your best interests at heart, who in fact will gain from your suffering.

    You are making the same ridiculous assertions over and over. You’ve been told before how these drugs benefit the people who take them. You haven’t made any case for HIV being part of some ‘death cult.’ And, if we’re going into people’s motivations, why would someone devote more then a decade of their life to pure schooling, several thousands of dollars and give any chance of being retrained to do something else only to deal with the sick and crippled for their whole lives if their intentions are to make money? Seems to me an MBA would be twice as easy to get with much more pay off.

  66. cognitivedissidenton 05 Jan 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Fifi,

    I really think you should take a look at Schmidt, and also Michael Ellner, who I think is outstanding, if only for the way he stood up to David Crowe here when Crowe was asserting that HIV was possibly some kind of “biological weapon.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKEJEEhhRmA

    Rejecting mainstream HIV/AIDS was easy. Figuring out what was and is really going on is the hard part, because the phenomenon is occurring on so many levels.

    “Patient zero”? Please tell me you don’t buy into that hogwash.

    Also, why are some so interested in knowing if I am gay, or an M.D., PhD, whatever? Labels are demeaning IMHO, more often then not they seem to underestimate, pigeonhole, and diminish. “By their fruits ye shall know them…” to quote an overused passage.

  67. Fifion 05 Jan 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Cog – I looked at and considered Schmidt’s hypothesis when it first came out. Clearly you don’t understand epidemiology at all if you don’t understand that “Patient Zero” is not a term limited to AIDS and is a generally used term when generating timelines of the spread of infectious diseases.

    I’m into knowing if you’re Queer or not and your context because it’s highly relevant when you take a denialist stance on AIDS, and you show no evidence of being interested in the suffering of others (outside how it effects you and your feelings) and I’ve found that AIDS denialists fall into a couple of camps – Gay men who want to deny that AIDS exists because it scares them/restricts behavior/they have personal issues about being Gay and sex, and it’s a form of misled personal activism/empowerment that has more to do with deny an obviously still active personal shame and tends to have deadly consequences for others as well as the person in denial; SCAM peddlers who want to profit from people living with AIDS; anti-medicine types who’ll use anyone or anything for their agenda. There’s another sub-group – people who infect others. Once someone has infected others – either on purpose or accidentally – there’s obviously a desire to believe one hasn’t destroyed someone else’s life through denial or carelessness. I guess one shouldn’t forget the Christians who want to “cure” homosexuals of their Gay lifestyle and homsexuality which they think causes AIDS too. Cog, you clearly have a personal bias, it would behoove you to be honest about it (it has nothing to do with labeling, it has to do with authenticity and honesty about who you are and how that influences your perspective). I’ve been clear about my personal bias – I’ve been actively dealing with and caring for people with AIDS since the early days. I’ve buried more friends than I can count. I read all the stuff you’re promoting here when it first came out. I’m not some newbie to all this, it’s not an ideological or moral issue for me, it’s about people and their lives.

    Well, I’d say that an MD or PhD is a fruit of someone’s labor. And we are the fruit of our genes and family tree. Fruity is good. It’s the nutbars that are the problem.

  68. superdaveon 05 Jan 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Cog—I see you just a person who looks at the facts and for some reason or another is not seeing them as they are. Your level of understanding of this issue seem inversely proportional to the egotism you display in your writing.

    To everyone else. There is some really good information in these comments and I thank you for sharing.

  69. weingon 05 Jan 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Cog,
    The plus side is that you know what to do to prevent the spread of the disease and if you do get the disease, you can pretty much have a normal life span. Your cowardly denialism is particularly pernicious in that you are imposing your ignorance upon others and lead them to suffer. I have no problem with you suffering from your own ignorance. Why should others suffer from it?

  70. sadunkalon 05 Jan 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Chris Noble,

    I ignore your ad hominems.

    >>”What on Earth gives you the idea that you understand the paper that Nancy Padian wrote better than her?”

    It’s not about who understands what better, it’s about objectivity. Here’s what Nancy Padian wrote in that paper:

    “Nevertheless, the absence of seroincident infection over the course of the study cannot be entirely attributed to significant behavior change. No transmission occurred among the 25 percent of couples who did not use condoms consistently at their last follow-up nor among the 47 couples who intermittently practiced unsafe sex during the entire duration of follow-up. This evidence also argues for low infectivity in the absence of either needle sharing and/or cofactors such as concurrent STDs.”

    The infectivity is obviously very low(~0%). I don’t think the “orthodoxy” is being honest about how low it is.

    >>”You even had the hubris to create this blog
    http://network.nature.com/groups/purify/forum/topics

    What’s wrong with that forum? You could’ve posted a reply and point out the flaws you see in my approach. What I instead got was to be called a denialist, sadly unsurprising…

    >>Your main argument appears to be that the “orthodoxy” are mean to the poor “rethinkers”.

    I wouldn’t have put it that way but that’s not my “argument”, that’s my whole problem. That’s what I mean when I say that today’s the science is far from perfect and people don’t even seem to be bothered. There shouldn’t be any sides in science like “rethinkers” vs. “orthodoxy”. If the rethinkers were not excommunicated/censored/attacked, then everyone could have exchanged opinions and reach scientific conclusions in a civilized way. I have no reason to be afraid of HIV/AIDS and I got nothing to win if HIV/AIDS theory is wrong, I only strive for better science since its quality has and always will have an huge influence on the future of humanity.

    >>”Can you give any examples of questions that Christine Maggiore has raised that haven’t been answered? Whether the answer was satisfying for her is not relevant.”

    I can’t quote any questions directly from Christine, but I got a few questions inspired by her and other skeptics:

    Why were people like Duesberg censored and the censorship also censored and tolerated by the scientific community? Why doesn’t anyone but people like Serge Lang speak up? How is that science? Could it be that there are more important things than science for the “HIV/AIDS science”?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tG-3S-AdLA

    I think you know that the “evidence” on AIDSTruth.org and NIH’s website are highly inadequate. Yet these are expected to convince the skeptics. Did the below paper ever receive any scientific response in any journal or was it ignored as much as possible? Where is the evidence indicating that it’s ok to ignore that paper instead of vigorously discussing the points it raises?
    http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v11/n6/abs/nbt0693-696.html

  71. weingon 05 Jan 2009 at 3:43 pm

    sadunkal,
    I’m sorry, I can’t follow your reasoning at all. You clearly don’t know what you are talking about. You must have just graduated from google U. You have no reason to fear HIV? Well neither do I. I don’t engage in those practices that would put me at risk. But I sure as hell won’t tell patients that they can engage in such practices with infected people. Are you saying they can?

  72. sadunkalon 05 Jan 2009 at 4:00 pm

    My point is that it’s simply irrational to label people like me as “denialists” since there is no reason for any “denial”. It should be easier to understand if you take my earlier comment into consideration.

    “Are you saying they can?”

    What makes you ask such a question? Did you see me or people like Christine ever tell others what they can and cannot do?

  73. Willon 05 Jan 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Sadun and Cognitive:

    Just so that we’re all on the same page on the Padian study, you guys have read the 7 page study itself, the clarification by Padian on the AIDS truth site, and Smith’s blog post on the study right? All together its mostly a half hour of reading.

    http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2006/02/discussion_of_the_padian_paper.php

    http://www.aidstruth.org/new/denialism/misuse/padian

  74. weingon 05 Jan 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Sadunkal,
    I don’t know people like you or her. So I want to know. Do you tell people who are engaging in risky behavior with infected persons, that they can continue to do so without contracting the virus? You do know what risky behavior is or do I have to be more graphic?

  75. cognitivedissidenton 05 Jan 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Padian and others can say up is down, does it make it so?

    If you were studying a sexually transmitted disease, and after a number of years of following couples where one partner had the disease and the other didnt catch the disease under any circumstance, what would you think about that disease?

    Instead of considering that HIV might not exist, researchers just assume that it does and continually give it more and more “magical” qualities. This is why HIV research goes nowhere.

  76. Willon 05 Jan 2009 at 4:42 pm

    “Padian and others can say up is down, does it make it so? ”

    Cognitive:

    Have you read the AIDS truth page, and Tara Smith’s blog post on the Padian study? Yes or no. I’m not moving on until you guys answer this simple question.

  77. mindmeon 05 Jan 2009 at 4:54 pm

    ||Padian and others can say up is down, does it make it so? ||

    Hmmm, cog. You cite Padian as evidence but the part of her research that doesn’t jibe with your denialist stance, you dismiss as her obfuscating. Odd you trust her one finding but toss out the rest that doesn’t fit. Based on what justification? Maybe just toss out the whole thing if you’re going to toss out the parts you simply don’t like. But then you wouldn’t have a peer reviewed paper to cherry pick and wave around then.

  78. cognitivedissidenton 05 Jan 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Yes I’ve read the bs from Nancy and Tara, all they do is make assertions backed by no evidence.

    Aren’t you all tossing out the parts you don’t like and picking out the parts you do? It’s quite simple to me…no seroconversions. What else needs to be said?

  79. weingon 05 Jan 2009 at 5:15 pm

    coggie,
    “Padian and others can say up is down, does it make it so? ” Yes it does as long as she is consistent in her use of the terms. You have to read her with her definitions and not yours.

  80. Fifion 05 Jan 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Clearly Cog is fortunate enough to be a latecomer to the AIDS crisis and is choosing to ignore all the hemophiliacs and their partners who contracted AIDS from tainted blood.

    Funny how AIDS only appears in those who do things like directly share bodily fluids via sex, needles or blood transfusions. AIDS isn’t really that easy to transmit, there needs to be not only the HIV virus present but also an entry way for it (such as tearing from anal sex or a cut or sore in the mouth, a woman’s vagina is obviously a rather hospitable place for the virus, as is putting it directly into one’s veins in the case of transmission through needle use.

    What is interesting is that some people do seem to remain asymptomatic – this doesn’t mean HIV isn’t the cause of AIDS, it just means we don’t yet know why some people are asymptomatic. I do understand that to the medically naive this can lead them to erroneous conclusions and the fact that we don’t have a cure seems impossible considering the money we’ve thrown at it (I assume they feel the same way about cancer and any disease there isn’t a cure for!). However, the reality is that we understand a hell of a lot more than we did and are actually making remarkable headway – people are living much longer and better lives. Really, this is all that matters to those of us who actually care about people living with AIDS. We’ve buried too many of our loved ones to not rejoice in just how far we’ve come on so many levels – though we still have a long way to go.

  81. mindmeon 05 Jan 2009 at 5:35 pm

    ||Aren’t you all tossing out the parts you don’t like and picking out the parts you do? It’s quite simple to me…no seroconversions. What else needs to be said?||

    But you’re tossing out the second half of that. No infections for the couples using condoms. To quote the author herself:

    ||A common practice is to quote out of context a sentence from the Abstract of the 1997 paper: “Infectivity for HIV through heterosexual transmission is low”. Anyone who takes the trouble to read and understand the paper should appreciate that it reports on a study of behavioural interventions such as those mentioned above: Specifically, discordant couples were strongly counseled to use condoms and practice safe sex (1,12). That we witnessed no HIV transmissions after the intervention documents the success of the interventions in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV.||

    It’s like you’re trying to read a report on low speed accidents where seat belts are used. The report finds no one dies if they use seat belts. And you just keep repeating “no one died in traffic accidents therefore fatal car accidents don’t happen ever.”

  82. cognitivedissidenton 05 Jan 2009 at 6:00 pm

    errr…the significance of the study is that there were no seroconversions even among the couples who WEREN’T using condoms.

    No one cares that she says infectivity is low. It seemed as if she came up with her infectivity numbers through interview sessions! We are interested in the part that says infectivity is non-existent in the portion of the experiment where actual real world research was conducted.

    Fifi, stop drinking the Kool-Aid. Seriously. It’s been long enough. You read Schmidt. Poison blood, poison sperm, moral decay…its all there.

    People who got transfusions and tested positive (due to the results of some bs antibody test) were likely thrown on the azt and then all sorts of bad things starting happening.

  83. Fifion 05 Jan 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Cog – Your refusal to be honest about what stake you have in this speaks to me of the same kind of denial and slippery logic you’re peddling here about AIDS. Your grasp of the social context – both within the Queer community and of other people dealing with and living with AIDS – is clearly sorely lacking and incredibly unsophisticated (not to mention taken and repeated rote from someone else, not a perspective formed through direct experience, and also racist). I have been very honest and open about how I’ve come to my position on this subject and am clearly capable of being critical of both the medical establishment AND promoters of AIDS denial ideology such as yourself. Just because you drank Schmidt’s cool-AIDS-theory, doesn’t mean that people who disagree with it are indoctrinated by “the other side” or that there are only two sides (see, that’s how I know you’re an ideologue, you only see us vs them and can’t discuss this except through promoting the ideology of others). You see, I’ve only got one side even though I can see many – that one side I’m on is that of people living with AIDS. It’s not about how it hurts my feelings to see people suffering, I got over that so I could look after the people I love. It’s not about ideology, it’s about people. And that makes you dangerous to others.

  84. Fifion 05 Jan 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Cog – “People who got transfusions and tested positive (due to the results of some bs antibody test) were likely thrown on the azt and then all sorts of bad things starting happening.”

    You have no clue do you? You’re just making stuff up as you go along to suit your ideological premise…”probably”? No, that’s not what happened to the people I knew at all. You really do have no real life experience do you? This is all just a fantasy for you where you envision yourself as some kind of rogue AIDS “dissident” based on something written over 20 years ago that you don’t even understand the context of since you obviously have no clue about what was going on around AIDS in 1984!

  85. weingon 05 Jan 2009 at 7:08 pm

    coggie,
    You are just trying to baffle us with your bs and you know it. You don’t even believe the crap you spew or you would have deliberately tried to get yourself infected with HIV via your mouth or anus to prove your point.

  86. Chris Nobleon 05 Jan 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Sadun,
    You have added “objectivity” to the list of words that you use and don’t understand.

    How can you be objective about a scientific issue if you don’t understand the science?

    Why do you insist that thousands of scientists are not being objective if you don’t understand the science?

    Why on Earth would you create a blog on the Nature website which purports to analyse the science of HIV and AIDS when you clearly have absolutely no clue about science, HIV or AIDS.

    The “questions” that you came back with are not about the science. They involve politics. You complain that Duesberg has been censored. There is a difference between having your papers and letters rejected by journals and censorship.

    Duesberg was also given an entire issue of Genetica for the express purposes of allowing the Denialists to have their say. They had their chance to put forward their best arguments and their best arguments weren’t good enough.

    You also complain that nobody takes the Perth Group seriously. This argument presupposes that their arguments have any scientific validity. In science a large proportion of papers are never ever cited again. The only reason that The Perth Group paper you mentioned got past peer review was that Harvey Bialy was the editor of the journal at that time.

    Finally if Duesberg and the Perth Group were being objective, if they were actually interested in scientific debate then you would think they would have resolved their differences bout the existence of HIV by now. They haven’t and hey won’t because neither of them are objective. They just dogmatically stick to the same things they said 20 years ago and refuse to acknowledge any evidence that contradicts their beliefs.

    You appear to be buying into the mythology that the Denialists are poor persecuted latter day Galileos. The exact same gambit is used by Creationists (see the film Expelled for a prime example) anti-vaccination quacks, homeopathy proponents, 911 conspiracy theorists and assorted pseudoscientists. It is no accident that the list of “HIV rethinkers” is full of these same groups. The motivation for HIV Denial has absolutely nothing to do with the science. It’s all about politics.

  87. Fifion 05 Jan 2009 at 7:28 pm

    weing – HIV isn’t nearly as easy to contract as previously thought, which has been a good thing for me and those of us who have cared for loved ones who eventually died of complications from AIDS.

    I think what’s going on is partly a residual effect of the first decade of AIDS, which has been amplified by the whole SCAM (supplement and CAM industry) much in the same way they’ve targetted people with cancer. It’s scary, it’s chronic and/or fatal, the treatments aren’t always pleasant and at a certain point of disease progression it’s hard to delineate what is being caused by the syndrome and what is a side effect. I also think a lot of people are unclear about the difference between a disease and a syndrome, and the fact that it’s not HIV that kills directly (hence it being a syndrome not a disease). Add in that people within the relevant communities aren’t seeing people die in the same way (due to improved treatments) and it confuses a lot of people who haven’t experienced this from the early days. At a certain point, it was entirely reasonable to question the role of HIV and look at alternatives and/or co-factors but now even many denialists who haven’t invested their whole careers in being denialists have come around to accepting the role of HIV (Root-Bernstein, Sonnabend, Gilbert).

    In some incredibly good news for South Africa, not only have they changed their health minister to someone sane but they’ve also appointed their first (and I believe the first in the world) openly Gay Supreme Court judge.

  88. mindmeon 05 Jan 2009 at 7:46 pm

    ||errr…the significance of the study is that there were no seroconversions even among the couples who WEREN’T using condoms. ||

    Well, no. There was transmission. Let’s read the abstract.

    ||Male-to-female transmission was approximately eight-times more efficient than female-to-male transmission and male-to-female per contact infectivity was estimated to be 0.0009 (95% CI 0.0005-0.001). Over time, the authors observed increased condom use (p

  89. Chris Nobleon 05 Jan 2009 at 7:46 pm

    errr…the significance of the study is that there were no seroconversions even among the couples who WEREN’T using condoms.

    Cognitive Dissonance,

    You are being dishonest.

    You are omitting details of the cross-sectional part of the study.
    70 partners of the HIV+ people enrolling in the study had already seroconverted. Padian had dates from when they had last tested negative and eliminated other possible routes of infection. They were not injecting drug users and they were monogamous from the date where they last tested negative.

    This data combined with the number of sexual contacts allowed Padian to obtain an estimate of the average transmission risk per sexual contact.

    In the prospective part of the study the vast majority of the couples were either using condoms or were abstinent. The rest used condoms inconsistently which is not the same as not using condoms at all. The lack of seroconversions after the behavioural changes were achieved is entirely consistent with the low transmission risk during the asymptomatic stage if infection.

  90. Chris Nobleon 05 Jan 2009 at 8:10 pm

    It would have been good if Maggiore had asked questions about quack alternative medicine scams rather than promoting them on her website.

    http://www.aliveandwell.org/html/if_youve_tested/ifyouvetested.html

    It is hypocritical to claim that HIV hasn’t been isolated and at the same time claim that homeopathic remedies have any active ingredient .

    It is hypocritical to talk about chi as if it exists and ignore the evidence that HIV exists.

    It is hypocritical to claim that viral load tests and CD4 counts are meaningless but then to buy into bullshit about “detoxes”. How do you measure these toxins? How do you measure how effective a “detox” is?

    Maggiore’s “rethinking” has nothing to do with science. She was completely credulous about numerous bullshit SCAM modalities. It is all about a primitive gut reaction against “authority”.

  91. HHCon 05 Jan 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Politics does impact medicine, especially when you have care providers with an attitude like Why Bother? with people they feel are worthless. Patient death is extremely rapid from AIDS at these hospitals or facilities.

  92. weingon 05 Jan 2009 at 11:17 pm

    Fifi,
    It’s equivalent to playing Russian Roulette. I really didn’t want to get too graphic but I’m not convinced people like coggie understand the mechanics of transmission.

  93. Nitpickingon 06 Jan 2009 at 8:34 am

    I find it interesting how CD uses the classic crank methodology: when its arguments are refuted, it simply ignores that fact and goes on as if nothing had happened.

    It’s really big on the Argument from Personal Incredulity, which seems to boil down to “The conventional model of AIDS is too complicated for me, so it’s false.” Oversimplification is another hallmark of the crank.

    And fixating on one sentence in one study while ignoring EVERYTHING ELSE PUBLISHED ON THE SUBJECT because it would tend to argue against CD’s position–that’s cranky enough to start an engine.

  94. sadunkalon 06 Jan 2009 at 10:17 am

    Chris Noble,

    I ignore your ad hominems.

    >>”The “questions” that you came back with are not about the science. They involve politics.”

    Very good. Yes, they involve politics, but that’s because the politics were already there from the very beginning. HIV/AIDS science is different from marine biology in that its influenced by world politics, social politics and corporate politics. This has consequences. Scientists should also be aware of this and take measures, or even counteract.

    >>”You complain that Duesberg has been censored. There is a difference between having your papers and letters rejected by journals and censorship.”

    I gave a link to a video above, from 1994. In it the editor of Lancet, Richard Horton, says this:

    “I’m afraid to say that some of my editorial colleagues on other journals have operated censorship, very openly and have admitted they will not publish his point of view. Indeed, they will go as far as they can to publish points of view that directly contradict Dr. Duesberg.”

    Why would an editor of a journal say such things? Can it be that rejecting papers is a form of censorship? Note that R. Horton was also one of the most criticized people in the HIV/AIDS field by Serge Lang:
    http://www.reviewingaids.com/awiki/index.php/Document:Lang

    So imagine what admissions other editors would’ve made if they were less biased and more honest than Horton…

    >>”You also complain that nobody takes the Perth Group seriously. This argument presupposes that their arguments have any scientific validity. In science a large proportion of papers are never ever cited again. The only reason that The Perth Group paper you mentioned got past peer review was that Harvey Bialy was the editor of the journal at that time.”

    So where is the paper showing that their paper is scientifically invalid? Does everyone in the HIV/AIDS field instinctively know that it’s invalid? Why doesn’t anyone ask for clarification? Am I to simply ignore their papers because you say so?

    >> “Finally if Duesberg and the Perth Group were being objective, if they were actually interested in scientific debate then you would think they would have resolved their differences bout the existence of HIV by now.”

    I agree. But it’s complicated, I’ll explain it below. And as unproductive as the situation is, it’s also a sign for health that different scientific views are tolerated among HIV/AIDS skeptics. (Even someone like Montagnier’s insistence on co-factors hasn’t been taken seriously among orthodox scientists since 1990. I hope this will change in the future.)

    >> “They haven’t and hey won’t because neither of them are objective. They just dogmatically stick to the same things they said 20 years ago and refuse to acknowledge any evidence that contradicts their beliefs.”

    As I first got interested in HIV/AIDS dissidence, the first thing I did was to ask Duesberg to comment on the Perth Group’s work, inspired by what I read here:
    http://aids-kritik.de/aids/duesberg-letters/index.html

    I won’t go into details, but Duesberg wrote back only a single email months after; only after I declared that I don’t consider him relevant to HIV/AIDS science anymore, since he won’t take part in discussing or contributing to it. In other words, he ignored me until I attacked him. Then I also pressured Celia Farber a little, which had some undesired consequences.

    Anyway, in the end I didn’t get much from those efforts except that I got to understand things a little better. I later found out what Celia Farber says here:
    http://groups.msn.com/AIDSMythExposed/general.msnw?action=get_message&ID_Message=35143

    BEGIN QUOTE

    “I do not think this is “about science” at all anymore, which is why I remain fairly mute about the Duesberg/Perth divide, which has angered many.

    Also–I can’t seem to get across that I no longer have a venue, that I am not repressing the Perth side of the story, that I would do anything to get every single question on the table and dissected, if I were still able to do so, as a journalist. But blessedly, I am no longer needed, because everybody can talk to each other directly now. Once again, I asked Peter Duesberg (on the phone, today) if he would answer the questions that seem to be tearing the HIV dissident community apart, on the isolation question. He said he would, but that he thinks the questions about isolation would be better put to Tony Fauci. I think that is a very logical answer.

    He said there are thousands of retro-viruses that have been isolated and that they are harmless. I can’t see how I can take this any further and don’t understand why so many people have asked this of me, most especially The Perth Group and their advocates, who write to me with ever increasing levels of hostility. ”

    END QUOTE

    So nowadays I think the main reason Duesberg is unwilling to discuss with Perth Group is because he’s afraid, but rightfully so. Even if people like you may think that it’s justified, Duesberg experienced a very hard downfall; lost grants, students, reputation etc… He kept on going hoping that it will pay off but it never did. At some point he sort of gave up, decided to pull himself back and settled for what he still has got. Nowadays he just wants peace and doesn’t want to have much with any dissidence. He silently supports it, but no so much as to risk what is left to him. If he were to engage in a discussion with the Perth Group things can get easily out of control for him once again and he had enough as far as I can say. That’s how I see it. It can also be interpreted as an indirect bribe/blackmail to Duesberg maybe.

    Most HIV/AIDS skeptics keep silent because of their respect to Duesberg nowadays, but the majority thinks that the Perth Group makes an important point about isolation. Sort of like a baby version of how the entire orthodoxy keeps silent about Robert Gallo, the “discoverer of AIDS”, despite it is well known (at least to those old enough) that he committed fraud which should have ended his career long ago.

    So that’s the most rational explanation I could come up with as to why Duesberg doesn’t debate the Perth Group for now. I don’t think it has much to do with them being dogmatic and unobjective… It’s just life.

    If you really care, then make a list of questions to the Perth Group, publish it on AIDSTruth.org or whatever, and we’ll see if and how they’ll respond. I believe they take time to respond to all serious criticism to their arguments.

    >>”It would have been good if Maggiore had asked questions about quack alternative medicine scams rather than promoting them on her website. …”

    I sort of agree, but I’m not sure if “promote” is the right word. Your link is to a list of quick summary for various alternatives. She doesn’t give any advice, she just presents them to the readers, after that they’re free to choose. Why she isn’t being critical about those is perhaps they’re basically all that is left for treatment if one doesn’t want to take HIV meds. And obviously being critical about HIV/AIDS is a priority in her life because of what she’s been through, plus it has much more significance than things like homeopathy globally.

    So even though I agree that it’s a little hypocritical, I think she was more or less forced to take that path due to her experience with western medicine. Remember that she wasn’t always like that; she used to be a public speaker for AIDS organizations. She used to be a “believer” until she tested negative and started asking questions. I don’t agree with the claim that her rethinking had nothing to do with science.

  95. PaulGon 06 Jan 2009 at 11:05 am

    Hmmm…

    >> HIV/AIDS science is different from marine biology in that its influenced by world politics, social politics and corporate politics.

    Try telling that to a marine biologist concerned with dwindling aquatic populations and species diversity, when the European Union are next working out fishing quotas (world politics).

    Try telling that to the fishermen whose livelihoods and families depend on the income from their trawlers (social politics).

    Try telling that to the political lobbyists from large corporates who want to sell fish products (corporate politics).

    To coin a phrase, “I think you’ll find it’s a bit more complicated than that.”

    The true nature of the relationship between scientific research and politics, is that they are fundamentally and inextricably linked (if only for funding purposes), and that the political masters of a given research programme (whether national politicians or even just academics playing internal political “games”), frequently take “liberties” with the results of research.

    The take-home message is that public statements, video and other reportage just cannot be judged to provide anything in the way of real evidence… of anything, be it academic censorship or scientific credibility.

    The only real evidence in the science of evidence-based medicine, comes from solid, credible, analytical study and in the case of HIV/AIDS, it is simply criminal to deny where that evidence leads.

  96. Oracon 06 Jan 2009 at 11:31 am

    less forced to take that path due to her experience with western medicine. Remember that she wasn’t always like that; she used to be a public speaker for AIDS organizations. She used to be a “believer” until she tested negative and started asking questions. I don’t agree with the claim that her rethinking had nothing to do with science.

    That’s nice, but her “rethinking” was rank pseudoscience.

    But thanks for the classic the “conversion” story, beloved of purveyors of unscientific medical claims. Maggiore was once an unbeliever, an infidel, lost and wandering, but the Great Prophet Duesberg brought her out of the darkness and into the light.

    It’s not for nothing that I’ve likened quackery like HIV/AIDS denialism to a cult religion.

  97. Fifion 06 Jan 2009 at 12:40 pm

    “The only real evidence in the science of evidence-based medicine, comes from solid, credible, analytical study and in the case of HIV/AIDS, it is simply criminal to deny where that evidence leads.”

    Well said, the psychosocial issues of AIDS are interesting but they’re dealing with biology in exactly the political/biased/ideological manner which being politiclized and aware of people aware of body politics decry! (Sorry if that’s a confusing sentence for people outside of cultural theory! Feel free to ask for clarifications if I wander off into jargon inadvertently!) Replacing one ism with another ism isn’t simply accepting nature and people as they are – it’s asserting another ideology upon individuals and their bodies outside of their choice.

    I think the psychosexual and psychosocial issues are inextricably linked with AIDS, it didn’t happen in a vacuum, it happened to people within society. However, it’s not useful to confuse them with biology – biology is nature, culture is nurture (though there’s lots of fuzzy gray matter in between, not to mention a rainbow or two). If anything, for those of us who have been involved in this since the very early days – and have buried many loved ones – the battle has been to create an environment where medicine and caring for people trumps ideology and social prejudices. Denialists like Cog aren’t only physically dangerous to people, they’re unraveling years of hard work done by activists by clinging to texts from 20 years ago by denialists who died of AIDS themselves and promoting unsafe practices that will kill more people (not to mention divert the attention of activists of various kinds from real issues within the Queer community and real rights battles).

  98. Fifion 06 Jan 2009 at 12:53 pm

    One thing I think that’s often glossed over (or people aren’t aware of or haven’t experienced) is the fact that many people look to religion when they know they’re potentially going to die. AIDS is literally a life and death issue, and many people turn to spirituality to make sense of their life and coming death. Now, most Queer people can’t and don’t turn to traditional religions for obvious reasons so the vagueness of woo and SCAM religious beliefs has a double appeal that’s not that far from the Christian morality they probably grew up with (just be a “good” person and nothing “bad” will happen to you, eat “pure” food and you’ll be “pure”, “bad” things happen to us because it’s a punishment or we haven’t “healed” emotionally, all disease is from “toxic” emotions, and son on through the beliefs pushed by SCAM artists to sell nutritional supplements – damn juice pushers, talk about trying to get people to drink the grass flavored Kool-Aid! ;-) . We all wanted there to be some rhyme or reason to the illness that was, quite literally, first envisioned as a plague by everyone involved. I’m not sure that people who haven’t had a dog in the fight since the beginning can actually truly understand the what it was like, we’ve just come too far. It’s a bit like girls who were born in the 70s and 80s don’t really understand what it was like even in countries like the US, Canada and Australia before women’s rights – which is a wonderful thing since it means we’ve achieved part of what we intended. (I’m proud to say I’ve lived through a plague, the change of a millennium, the information revolution/huge social change due to technology that’s equivalent to the invention of the printing press, not to mention women and people of color having equal rights at least in theory – and maybe even the “end of civilization”, though I suspect that we’re blipping more than ending – that’s pretty damn cool really. Oh, and brain science and imaging, which is pretty damn cool in the context of human history!)

  99. cognitivedissidenton 06 Jan 2009 at 1:02 pm

    “It’s not for nothing that I’ve likened quackery like HIV/AIDS denialism to a cult religion.”

    Laughable. Truly laughable. I’ve been recruited by cult-like religions (I’m sure most have at some point), and I can tell you with certainty that AIDS skeptics are nothing like these people. You have formed opinions in your mind based on erroneous assumptions that allow your position to seem more comfortable.

    An eloquent friend of Christine’s referred to her now, in death, as our Bruno. I was unaware of Bruno, but found the charges brought up against him oddly similar to those leveled against AIDS “denialists”:

    * Holding opinions contrary to the Catholic Faith and speaking against it and its ministers.
    * Holding erroneous opinions about the Trinity, about Christ’s divinity and Incarnation.
    * Holding erroneous opinions about Christ.
    * Holding erroneous opinions about Transubstantiation and Mass.
    * Claiming the existence of a plurality of worlds and their eternity.
    * Believing in metempsychosis and in the transmigration of the human soul into brutes.
    * Dealing in magics and divination.
    * Denying the Virginity of Mary.

    False opinions, false claims, denial, witchcraft…do these accusations sound familiar? It seems the HIV/AIDS orthodoxy can’t help but fall into their roles as tyrants.

    This bit comes from Celia Farber:

    My most cathartic moment of 1994 came at a conference sponsored by the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) at which I spoke. The panel was comprised of both dissidents and party-liners. Peter Duesberg, in rare form, had the audience actually laughing at his jokes. Finally, beet red with rage, one of the “AIDS experts”, Warren Winkelstein, leaned forward and scolded Duesberg: “Some of us don’t appreciate you making jokes and laughing about this very serious issue,” he scoffed. At which point Nobel Laureate and PCR inventor Kary Mullis, also on the panel, turned to him and said:

    “Sir, we’re not laughing at the issue, we’re laughing at you.”

    And once we are done grieving for Christine, we will be laughing at you again, even as the noose tightens, even as the fires are lit. And you will turn red and pound your fists with fury but this will only make as laugh louder, and your followers will try to stifle their laughs and bite their lips so as not to grin at the image of your ridiculousness.

    There is a reason why there have been so many comments on this thread. Why don’t you just ignore us, let us go away, gradually figure out on our own that our arguments have no validity and we would certainly die a quick death? Why is because we threaten you. And how quickly you throw up the cloak of compassion, claiming that our skepticism is killing people, people you are desperately trying to save. As Orwell said, “A humanitarian is always a hypocrite.”

    Which leads me to why I am a dissident to begin with. I’m not gay, I have never tested positive for anything, I do have gay friends and one of them was on the meds but I felt uncomfortable reaching out to him, for fear of the kind of reprisals one sees from the likes of you all. The reason I am a dissident is because I refuse to live in a world where pregnant mothers are forced to take azt, for fear that my future wife and child could be among those. I refuse to live in a world where the poor and weak are fooled into ingesting toxic drugs, for fear that my friends could be among them. I refuse to live in a world where women are crucified, for fear that my mother could be among them. In short, I claim no great humanitarian mission. I claim the right to my life, my health, my family and my friends. And I refuse to submit this right to you.

  100. Fifion 06 Jan 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Cog – So, really, this is all about you and your personal self-rightiousness and anti-medicine ideology. You’ve never cared for anyone with AIDS or made any sacrifice in the battle (in fact, you care so little that you weren’t willing to risk talking to, ahem, “friends” about something you consider life and death because it might cause you some mild social discomfort or that they may consider you a dick – talk about being totally gormless and self involved). So, you haven’t even talked to your Gay “friends” about your beliefs but, instead, silently judged them at a distance and claim to be a “dissident” though you’re not part of the community or involved in any real social activism. In fact, your claim you’re doing it for you imagined future wife and child who for some strange reason you assume will have AIDS (you even consider your fantasy wife who may never exist more important than real people’s lives!!!) And, please, stop trying to pretend you’re a feminist or doing this for us women – that’s a bloody nasty little paternalistic and narcissistic attitude that isn’t surprising considering your earlier racism. If anything, since women are more likely to be infected, the beliefs you promote put women at an even higher risk.

    As for the “I refuse to submit to you” – no one is forced to take medication, as the AIDS deniers who don’t and then die of AIDS illustrate. You are very explicitly trying to take away the freedom of others – including children not to be harmed by their parents through neglect or ideologically inspired abuse. The fact that you think that this is all about your personal freedom and desire to see yourself as a rebel and “dissident” is so incredibly narcissistic it’s hard to fathom!

  101. sadunkalon 06 Jan 2009 at 1:24 pm

    PaulG,

    Thanks, but I think you got my point. Replace marine biology with something else that suits you if you wish. Actually I’d still claim that the outside influences are much more powerful for HIV/AIDS science than in marine biology, I believe you’d agree too.

    >> “…public statements, video and other reportage just cannot be judged to provide anything in the way of real evidence… of anything, be it academic censorship or scientific credibility.”

    Do you expect a peer-reviewed paper about censorship to be published in a journal to accept that there was censorship in that journal? Why was that admission not enough for you? Can it be that someone is in denial?

    It is actually fairly easy to silence HIV/AIDS skeptics, just open discussion and funding the relevant research would be enough. Only after evidence for all the different possibilities is gathered makes it sense to trust where that evidence leads you. If you’re only interested in evidence that leads you to where you want to go, then that’s just pseudoscience.

    In short, the alternative theories should be properly discussed and tested.

  102. Fifion 06 Jan 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Personally, as a Queer woman, I’m pretty sick of people like Cog trying to claim victim or activist status for themselves – particularly to promote ideologies that negate all the hard work that real activists (and people living with, and who died of, AIDS) have sacrificed and really fought for. It’s particular insulting and hypocritical when it’s the promotion of a dangerous ideology by someone who doesn’t themselves face the same risks (and repeatedly makes prejudiced assumptions and remarks). Stop trying to use the bodies of my friends to make yourself feel important and “radical” when you’re clearly just reactionary and only care about yourself!

  103. Fifion 06 Jan 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Why the hell should money be given to ideologues for research into unlikely things when there are people actually moving our understanding along who need those funds? Really, my friends should’t have to pay with their lives because you think it’s unfair money goes to the more likely areas of research than rogue theories than doesn’t really have legs to stand on. As noted before, many of the denialists and “don’t know” scientists from the early days of AIDS have now come to accept the role of HIV in AIDS after more research came in. That Duesberg doesn’t, isn’t surprising considering his professional stake and public face (but the fact that he’s become increasingly less vocal does indicate that he’s, at least to himself, becoming aware that the evidence is stacking against him all the time).

    SCAMmers, always trying to steal research money from legitimate researchers!

  104. sadunkalon 06 Jan 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Fifi,

    Even my non-gay, non-HIV+ friends didn’t have any interest in learning about alternative AIDS theories. Some of them just reacted with anger and I learned to shut up. So I can understand why Cog was reluctant to talk to his gay friends about this. The thought of the glorious scientists not getting it right after billions of dollars and 25 years is so horrifying to people that it’s nearly impossible to convince them to watch a single documentary, read a single book, visit a single website etc… Many use the ridiculous excuse “If you open your mind too much, your brain will fall out.” Most “normal” people are simply lazy cowards… They also can’t grasp why I’m so interested in this.

    Anyway, would you prefer Cog not having any interest at all?

    Because I’m afraid caring for their own future is the only thing that motivates people who’re not directly influenced by HIV/AIDS to give a damn about all this.

    Other than that, not all HIV/AIDS skeptics are like him as you know, so talking as if that disqualifies what he says is not that rational in my opinion.

  105. cognitivedissidenton 06 Jan 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Fifi,

    I thought that would be your response, that I was somehow weak or uncaring for not saying something to my friend about how I felt about the meds and HIV/AIDS in general. I approached someone who was closer to him but she also felt uncomfortable broaching the subject. I understand that those suffering from AIDS are just as involved as those promoting the ideology, and that interfering with this process likely would have lead to a vitriolic response, much like the one I have continually gotten from you. I no longer see this person (former colleague at work) but can only hope that he found a better path than the one he was on. He had the classic appearance of one on the meds- gaunt, distended belly, folded skin around the mouth and nose, buffalo hump…and he was constantly missing work because he was “not feeling well”.

  106. sadunkalon 06 Jan 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Fifi,

    I’m afraid it’s nearly impossible to explain to people like you why it could make sense to fund research for testing possibilities other than HIV/AIDS… unless there are open discussions. *

    And you don’t want open discussions because you’re already convinced that it’s a waste of time. So if you’re somehow wrong, which is never impossible, then you can’t fix your error because you trapped yourself in a paradox. I’d suggest that you make some room for doubt in your approach to this.

    *: or unless each individual spends months to read through related documents, to understand the arguments of the skeptical scientists better.

  107. Fifion 06 Jan 2009 at 2:21 pm

    What I said is Cog only cares for him/herself and his/her imaginary future wife and child.

    When I see my friends doing something that endangers their health and well being, I speak to them even if it might incur their wrath. It’s not all about my feelings, it’s about caring for another person enough to take a risk. I don’t shove it down their throats, they’re adults and can make their own decisions.

    SILENCE=DEATH but I guess neither you nor Cog would be familiar with this or willing to raise your voices in anything but self interest. It’s clear that you’re both denialists for your own purposes not out of any caring for or concern for people living with AIDS.

    Cog – It’s nearly impossible to talk to people like you about science and AIDS because for you it’s all about battling ideologies and some us vs them thing where you narcissistically promote yourself as some kind of victim and dissident even though you’re not only victimizing Others but being exactly the kind of oppressor that us women and Queers fought against. All you have is stuff you’ve cherry picked from a past you know nothing about and your own personal fears that in some imaginary future you’ll somehow be personally effected and will have to SUBMIT. You’re nuts and I’d ask you to stop trying to kill us fruits, your squirrelly ways just make it clear it’s all about you and your narcissistic need to pretend you’re actually a rebel not just a boring old reactionary (or quite likely a shill for Big Supp preying upon the ill to line your pockets with gold).

  108. Fifion 06 Jan 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Cog – As I pointed out (and have been openly discussing with you), those of us who have a history, and aren’t just Jonny Come Latelys looking to exploit the suffering of others for our own selfish purposes, dealt with the theories you’re reanimating and promoting here back when they were actually relevant. We’ve been following the studies, the science and our friends for over 20 years.

    No one denies that proper nutrition is involved in staying healthy (do you know what foods are on the okay list and which ones aren’t for someone living with AIDS?) AIDS is an immune system syndrome for goodness sake, of course staying as healthy as possible is important!!! Obviously people who maintain healthy lifestyles live longer (this is generally true of people living with AIDS and people not living with AIDS…duh!). The solution being promoted by the medical establishment is PREVENTION, unfortunately people like you (and George Bush and Christian Fundamentalists) have made this more difficult (particularly putting young, impressionable people in harms way). Really, you’re not much of a “dissident” when you’re aligned with George Bush! *lol*

    I find it amazing that the two of you are here promoting this but don’t even discuss it with your HIV+ and Gay “friends” (if you really even have any, you don’t speak like people who are actually engage for caring with people living with AIDS or the Queer community in any meaningful way). With “friends” like you, the people you call “friends” don’t need enemies!!!

  109. mindmeon 06 Jan 2009 at 2:36 pm

    ||Do you expect a peer-reviewed paper about censorship to be published in a journal to accept that there was censorship in that journal? Why was that admission not enough for you? Can it be that someone is in denial?||

    Maybe not the journal per se, but in medicine it is not unknown for such introspective studies to be published with fairly damning conclusions regarding bias. Scientists and academics really do watch and analyze the journals and researchers for potential bias. I’ve seen studies that examine funding by drug companies (ostensibly the life blood of funding) and whether or not favorable results are published. Consider:

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B7P72-4PF6B7P-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=2a2f21cc6118f01cfc316093753a989b

    ||Results are clear: Pharmaceutical company sponsorship is strongly associated with results that favor the sponsors’ interests.||

    Goodness. How did that ever get published in Contemporary Clinical Trials?

    Aware of any such self criticism existing in CAM or your alternative AIDS “research”?

  110. Fifion 06 Jan 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Yes, I would prefer Cog have no interest at all. At least then he wouldn’t be potentially causing harm. If you’re not going to help, get out of our way!

    Unlike the two of you, I’m capable of being critical of both “sides” (as I have been already in this discussion) because I’m not on an ideological “side” and I have real life experience. You both clearly have no real life experience of the medical establishment and the discussions that have gone on both within science and the Queer community (either back in the early days or now).

    One of you is promoting their website with a bias so obviously has a bias, the other is just in it for themselves and their imaginary fantasy bride. Though, since the “health freedom” meme has been played and that comes directly from weird propagandistic sources with suspect connections, I suspect your both just shills for Big Supplement and perpetuating lies for profit because you simply don’t care if people die as long as you make a buck first.

  111. Fifion 06 Jan 2009 at 3:01 pm

    As for the “avoid open discussion” – others have engaged you both on the science and you’ve been all squirrelly and slippery about that too. I’ve engaged you on the sociopolitical aspects and been very open about my own involvement, I can understand why Cog didn’t want to originally come clean about themself and their context because it makes clear just how much he/she is exploiting the suffering of others for narcissistic ends. Apart from being invested in running a website (apparently in secret since you don’t even talk to your straight friends about your beliefs!), you’ve yet to be open about why you’re here promoting non-evidence based denialist beliefs. If anyone’s not being open, it’s you! *lol*

  112. cognitivedissidenton 06 Jan 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Out of our way! We’ve got unbelievers to crucify! (And believers to sacrifice)

    I can assure you that no one in the skeptic community would stoop to the kind of behavior that the orthodox community has in regards to Christine. HER WISHED FOR DEATH WAS NATIONALLY TELEVISED! Who is causing harm here?!

    This conversation is going nowhere. I should have merely interjected that it was horrific to crucify Christine on television, and then dance on her grave once she succumbed to your madness. You should all take a good hard look at yourselves and what you have become.

  113. Fifion 06 Jan 2009 at 4:00 pm

    No, out of our way we’ve got people to take care of like we’ve been doing for over 20 years. You’re the one on an ideological crusade that has nothing to do with caring for people living with and dying from AIDS (something you don’t do).

    Once again, your us vs them tack just proves that yet again this is about ideology for you (if you’re not just using that to push quackery, which I highly suspect is the case). There’s nothing more shameful or exploitative than how you’re using my friends to further your ideological agenda while not actually contributing to caring for people living with AIDS. Your narcissism is clear, it’s all about YOU and promoting your ideology. You’re also both such cowards that you don’t even talk about your ideas openly within the relevant communities (if you even really even have any Gay friends, I suspect not). The fact that you try to silence Queer voices and exploit us for your ideological/commercial ends is what’s reprehensible – but clearly you care about nobody but yourself and your imaginary bride. I can see why she’s imaginary!!!

  114. mindmeon 06 Jan 2009 at 4:06 pm

    ||Even my non-gay, non-HIV+ friends didn’t have any interest in learning about alternative AIDS theories. Some of them just reacted with anger and I learned to shut up.||

    Have you stopped to consider this is like being surprised why your friends aren’t interested in learning about your alternative theory to celestial mechanics, how the the sun could really be going around a flat earth? Or they simply don’t want to waste time hearing about a young earth theory?

    At some point, a theory is so well proved out, beyond modification of detail, radical 180s are far more likely to be the ravings of kooks and deniers than of thought based on evidence and logic.

    Maybe your ideas about the sun going around the earth are correct but there’s only so much time in the day. You know? Your friends might have better things to do with their time.

  115. weingon 06 Jan 2009 at 4:10 pm

    coggie,
    There is no censorship. Editors have to do their job. If my son tells me Ecuador is in Africa and I tell him he’s wrong, I am not censoring him. I could, like you, set him on the straight and narrow and explain that it is in Europe. LOL.

  116. Fifion 06 Jan 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Ahhh, well, perhaps AIDS deniers just hang out together because no one else wants to be their friend or hang out with them? Perhaps that’s where all this us vs them stuff comes from, being socially rejected and needing to feel one belongs somewhere? Perhaps that’s why Cog keeps trying to assume the victimhood of others? Maybe it’s a way to avoid facing real social rejection by pretending it’s because one is some kind of cool radical dissident? It would certainly explain the attachment to an ideology and inability to face evidence that may have social consequences for them and get them ejected by their denialist peers?

  117. Fifion 06 Jan 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Though, I really do suspect Cog to be a shill for Big Supp.

  118. weingon 06 Jan 2009 at 4:42 pm

    “I can assure you that no one in the skeptic community would stoop to the kind of behavior that the orthodox community has in regards to Christine. HER WISHED FOR DEATH WAS NATIONALLY TELEVISED! Who is causing harm here?!

    This conversation is going nowhere. I should have merely interjected that it was horrific to crucify Christine on television, and then dance on her grave once she succumbed to your madness. You should all take a good hard look at yourselves and what you have become.”

    You mean, she succumbed to her madness. Seeing what happens to people as a consequence of their stupidity is helpful to those that can learn from the example of others. Either learn from the example of others or others will learn from your example.

  119. Fifion 06 Jan 2009 at 4:56 pm

    And let’s point out that Christine made herself into a public figure and wouldn’t have been on television if she didn’t do so. That’s the down side of celebrity, since she sought out the celebrity blaming the media is just a way to divert from the fact that Cog has no coherent argument. In the context of AIDS, I find it very distasteful that they’re trying to use shame and exploiting Christine’s death in this way (particularly since they’re actively engaged in promoting the lies that led to her choosing death – which is, of course, her right – killing her child through negligence is another thing since parent’s don’t have a right to kill their children, even for religious purposes). I also find it distasteful that you do so using religious analogies.

    Cog’s just pissed that Christine’s death from AIDS related pneumonia means one more of their “experts” died from something they denied kills people. It’s bad publicity for supplements and SCAM – funny how reality trumps ideology again and again.

  120. PaulGon 06 Jan 2009 at 5:40 pm

    sadunkal
    “Do you expect a peer-reviewed paper about censorship to be published in a journal to accept that there was censorship in that journal? Why was that admission not enough for you? Can it be that someone is in denial?”

    mindme
    “Maybe not the journal per se, but in medicine it is not unknown for such introspective studies to be published with fairly damning conclusions regarding bias. Scientists and academics really do watch and analyze the journals and researchers for potential bias. I’ve seen studies that examine funding by drug companies (ostensibly the life blood of funding) and whether or not favorable results are published.”

    I don’t really need to reply here do I? Mindme took the words right out from under my keyboard.

    But, sadunkal did say…
    “If you’re only interested in evidence that leads you to where you want to go, then that’s just pseudoscience. In short, the alternative theories should be properly discussed and tested.”

    And I said…
    “it is simply criminal to deny where that evidence leads.”

    Which means “follow where the evidence leads YOU” as opposed to follow only the “evidence that leads where you WANT to go”.

    Alternative theories should only be investigated if they have a foundation in reason and logic, not, in your own words because they are “where you want to go.”

    In this case, reason, logic AND the evidence, lead us to the relationship between HIV and AIDS.

    This is the essence of credible science. Following where evidence, arrived at in an un-biased and replicable manner, leads. This is why we have peer-review and the above outlined methods of controlling for bias in such publications.

    No rational, reasonable, un-biased, logical person, that is capable of understanding the methodology and results of the overwhelming majority of research literature on HIV/AIDS, can realistically deny the relationship between the two.

    This is not an easy thing to say however, much of the current literature on HIV/AIDS is extremely complex. I am a biologist, though not a molecular biologist and neither do I have a clinical background (can I do the joke about playing one on TV?). Thus I grasp what I can with effort, personal research and study. I do this because, like others that have commented so well before me (e.g. Fifi), I have lost more than one close friend to AIDS-related illness.

    There is no shame in being unable to understand complex scientific literature, but it is certainly shameful and, as I have said before, in this case, criminal, to condemn that which you fail to understand. Because to do so, in a wide-reaching public arena, means that you take the responsibility for influencing people’s lives – and quite possibly their deaths.

    Christine Maggiore did that, and has almost certainly been responsible for the loss of human life – not least of which, her own daughter.

    Does that mean that I am saying that HIV/AIDS deniers are not rational, reasonable, un-biased, logical or capable of understanding the literature (without further training)? Yes – at least one of those categories fits each and every one, frequently more than one category.

    And yes, if they present themselves in front of mass media, urging people to reject treatment, this – in my view – is criminal. It is recklessly endangering public health… and let’s not even start on the vaccine/autism crowd!!

  121. Chris Nobleon 06 Jan 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Sadun

    I ignore your stupidity.

    You keep on pretending that you are talking about science but all of your points are about politics.

    The politics were largely injected by the HIV Denialists after they had lost the scientific debate. The courting of Mbeki was pure politics.

    Whining about censorship does fot cover up the fact that Duesberg has presented all of his arguments and he has failed to convince the scientific community. Repeating his stale arguments over and over again wiill not achieve anything. Duesberg knows that he has lost the scientific debate. That’s why he shifted to writing books targetting a lay-audience and more recently appearing on radio talk shows hosted by homeopaths, alternative medicine quacks and conspiracy theorists.

    The papers contradicting the Perth Group paper are in part the very 161 papers that they cite as references. The Perth Group do no research of their own. They would not even know how. Their entire approach consists of scouring the real literature to find papers that they can misrepresent, misinterpret and misquote. This is the same tactic used by creationists. This is the reason why the scientific community ignores them but they find a lay-audience.

    The reason why Duesberg doesn’t try to convince the Perth group that HIV exists is because he recognizes that they are scientifically illiterate kooks and that the exercise is futile. Nevertheless the Perth Group are useful to Duesberg in the same way that young earth creationists are useful to the ID proponents for political purposes.

  122. Chris Nobleon 06 Jan 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Some of the data that Sadun is asking for was published by Ascher et al in 1993

    ASCHER MS, SHEPPARD HW, WINKELSTEIN W, et al.
    DOES DRUG-USE CAUSE AIDS
    NATURE 362 (6416): 103-104 MAR 11 1993

    The authors followed HIV+ and HIV- members of a cohort.
    The HIV+ members got AIDS the HIV- members did not.

    No other factors independently predicted progression to AIDS.

    Did Duesberg concede defeat?
    No.

    He falsely accused the authors of fabricating data. He sent these accusations to scientists around the world in a vicious smear campaign. An independent panel found the charges to be unfounded. Duesberg had misread the paper.

    He then tried to reinterpret the results by “finding” 45 HIV- AIDS cases. This was a complete lie. None of these fitted the CDC AIDS definition.

    I think it was at this point that scientific community stopped paying attention to Duesberg. Duesberg lost all credibility by refusing to accept information that falsified his pet theory.

    No amount of open discussion or research will change Duesberg’s mind.

  123. Chris Nobleon 06 Jan 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Here’s a post I wrote about the evidence that refutes Duesberg in 2007.

    http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2007/06/introduction_to_hiv_and_hiv_de.php#comment-485380

  124. sadunkalon 06 Jan 2009 at 9:52 pm

    PaulG, mindme,

    >>”…in medicine it is not unknown for such introspective studies to be published with fairly damning conclusions regarding bias.”

    I’m aware of such publications. One question I asked was “Why was that admission not enough for you?”. You didn’t gave an answer. I think that the power of the video I posted was more than any published paper can possibly be.

    Other than that this isn’t about whether or not corporate funding results in “bias”, this is directly about whether or not editors operate censorship. How can you possibly write a scientific paper about that? Would the editors admit it if they censor? Are you going to trust what the authors of the censored papers say? Do you have to be a “scientific spy” and secretly observe the life of the editors? Why do you find the admission of an editor of a respected journal not convincing enough?

    >>”Aware of any such self criticism existing in CAM or your alternative AIDS “research”?”

    Don’t worry, there are enough critics, just look around you. :) Besides… ever heard about the Perth/Duesberg divide?

    >>”At some point, a theory is so well proved out, beyond modification of detail…”

    At which point was that exactly? And up until that point the HIV/AIDS theory was completely open to all criticism? You should never be certain to a point where it makes you ignore all questions, and attack those who ask them. Richard Feynman is a great when he talks about the importance of doubt, I recommend checking out his speeches.

    >>”This is the essence of credible science. Following where evidence, arrived at in an un-biased and replicable manner, leads. ”

    That definition doesn’t exactly fit the HIV/AIDS science:

    a) Evidence is not arrived at in an un-biased and replicable manner: See above for a basic example.

    b) Evidence is ignored if it doesn’t support the existing important assumptions, if it makes it through the bias and censorship that is: See the paper I posted from the Perth Group ( http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v11/n6/abs/nbt0693-696.html ) to which Chris Noble appears to be reacted by saying that I should ignore that paper because he says so. Noone bothers to attempt at showing how uncscientific that paper is for some reason… Am I asking for too much? You had 15 years to do it… I’m not even asking for a peer reviewed response published in a journal, just a serious criticism.

  125. wertyson 06 Jan 2009 at 10:02 pm

    Perhaps CogDis and friends can explain how a whole subculture exists within the gay community of ‘bugchasing’, ie those noninfected men who deliberately seek to get themselves infected with HIV. What is interesting is that most of them who try hard actually do get infected, and I am told they sometimes even throe seroconversion parties.

    I have no idea why this phenomenon exists but one of the psychologists I work with is doing a PhD on it. Seems to me that there wouldn’t be a bugchasing phenomenon if HIV was not quite infective…

  126. mindmeon 06 Jan 2009 at 11:02 pm

    ||How can you possibly write a scientific paper about that? ||

    Simply because you don’t know how one might go about writing such a paper doesn’t mean a clever researcher couldn’t.

    There are a lot of third and fourth rate journals that will run nearly anything. I would imagine if a lot of good science, albeit controversial science, was turning up in those journals, it might be a tip off.

  127. Willon 07 Jan 2009 at 1:25 am

    If anyone is interested in learning about the real science of AIDS, I’d recommend the HHMI 2007 Holiday Lectures on AIDS science. Two AIDS researches give 4 lectures. Nicely produced. Cool stuff.

    The dvd can be ordered for free from their site:
    http://www.hhmi.org/catalog/main?action=product&itemId=331

    Sadun and Cog would be welcome to order them as well.

    In b4 “Lol, HHMI is part of the Illuminati Pharmaceutical conspiracy to give us all AIDS”.

  128. CKavaon 07 Jan 2009 at 5:37 am

    Just a quick comment to thank all those and in particular Fifi who took the time to write such clear and coherent posts and highlight the clear hypocrisy and ideological bias from posters such as cog diss.

    Cognitive Dissonance mentioned earlier that he hopes his information plants seeds of doubts in some readers. His posts have had the opposite effect for me. I do however appreciate the links and information supplied throughout the thread by those who have spent longer dealing with this tragic issue and the scientific literature surrounding it.

    It’s clear to anyone who deals with pseudoscience/other forms of denialism that HIV denial uses ALL the standard tactics. I would suggest that a useful exercise for cog diss and others like him would be to read the Holocaust denial material and try and see if they can recognise the flaws in the argument and then to examine the evidence on HIV denial sites again.

  129. weingon 07 Jan 2009 at 6:07 am

    I am not sure about that. Coggie and saddie are idealogues and not scientists. They have certain knowledge and not tentative knowledge. Confirmation bias is such an effective filter that they will not register new data.

  130. Chris Nobleon 07 Jan 2009 at 9:02 am

    Sadun,
    have you gone through and read the references that the Perth Group cite in their papers? Have you checked that they actually support their claims?

    Their papers are ignored because they are pseudoscientific rubbish.

    Originally their idea was that oxidative stress was the general explanation for cancer. When the AIDS epidemic began oxidative stress, suddenly, without any experimental began causing AIDS.

    Then HIV was discovered and strong evidence was published that it was responsible for AIDS. Real scientists would attempt to provide evidence for their own theory. This is not what the Perth Group did. They tried desperately to show that HIV doesn’t exist.

    All of the Perth Group arguments ultimately boil down to one claim that HIV doesn’t exist.

    http://www.theperthgroup.com/LATEST/PerthGroupRebuttalCF.pdf
    If one accepts that “HIV” and “HIV” antibodies exist, then one has no choice but to also accept that Koch’s postulates have been fulfilled which means that HIV is the cause of AIDS.

    Here is an extensive rebuttal of the Perth Group’s claims that HIV doesn’t exist.

    http://web.archive.org/web/20080113032356/http://www.aegis.org/topics/hiv_exist.html

  131. sadunkalon 07 Jan 2009 at 10:51 am

    I would’ve appreciated a little more detailed response -like a single example of pseudoscientific rubbish from that paper- but thanks anyway. I’ll look into it.

    Still, if you want to avoid that the lay-audience takes them seriously in the future, you should take them more seriously first and bother to explain why the expert scientists instantly know that it’s “pseudoscientific rubbish”. Otherwise there’s no reason that people should trust you blindly.

    Currently, I still think that this arguments is perfectly logical and that the Perth Group deserves immediate attention:

    “You can’t use an antibody test to determine the prevalence of a disease unless you know its specificity. No one knows the specificity of the HIV antibody tests. What the experts are doing is using a test of unknown specificity and setting it up as judge and jury over itself. This is the trouble with this so called AIDS science. This is the sophistry used to determine the specificity of the HIV Western blot an unbelievable 99.999%”

    Source: http://www.virusmyth.com/aids/hiv/hcinterviewvt.htm

    Other than that, I think it’s likely that oxidative stress almost always plays a role in serious illnesses, it’s a very broad concept. The Perth Group just connects it with the AIDS phenomenon. Plus, Luc Montagnier also seems to have interest in it even if he won’t openly admit it: http://www.theperthgroup.com/VARIOUS/MontagnierandPG1.htm

    So even if you can’t take Papadopulos/Turner seriously, give Montagnier a chance…

    When the Perth Group states:

    “If one accepts that “HIV” and “HIV” antibodies exist, then one has no choice but to also accept that Koch’s postulates have been fulfilled which means that HIV is the cause of AIDS. ”

    …I don’t know if it’s a correct statement but I think that this statement is motivated by their desire for fome real acknowledgement. They more or less want all dissidents to listen to them and no one else. They want people to follow only their lead or if not, then not even come to them to ask for help. It sounds a little mean, but I suppose they just got sick of Duesberg, I don’t know, just speculating…

    As what I can get from this discussion seems to have reached an end, I once again want to repeat what I said in my first comment, because I’ve seen clear signs of bias from many commentators:

    When there is enough bias, the argument doesn’t matter. Let’s work on our biases instead…

  132. weingon 07 Jan 2009 at 11:07 am

    “Otherwise there’s no reason that people should trust you blindly.”

    There is no reason whatsoever to trust anyone blindly.
    As the great Reagan said; “Trust, but verify.”

  133. Fifion 07 Jan 2009 at 4:39 pm

    sadunkal – The problem is you can’t see your own bias and assume that everyone who doesn’t agree with you is biased. You’re also the one displaying blind trust in the Perth Group and their finding while displaying a very clear lack of understanding about science!

  134. HHCon 07 Jan 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Death is not biased.

  135. Chris Nobleon 07 Jan 2009 at 7:26 pm

    So even if you can’t take Papadopulos/Turner seriously, give Montagnier a chance…

    Don’t try the old Montagnier is a closet Perthian crap.

    Montagnier clearly argues that HIV exists and causes AIDS.

    Oxidative stress is a part of the pathogenesis of many viral diseases including influenza. Only an idiot would then argue that influenzavirus doesn’t exist and that sperm, cigarette smoke and other oxidizing agents cause influenza.

  136. Chris Nobleon 07 Jan 2009 at 8:09 pm

    I would’ve appreciated a little more detailed response -like a single example of pseudoscientific rubbish from that paper- but thanks anyway.

    You contuinuously ignore any details that I give you and return to simply asserting that I am biased and unobjective. Nevertheless here is a quick one.

    30. Voevodin, A. 1992. HIV screening in Russia. Lancet 339:1548.

    David Canzi wrote a response in 1994.

    Consider this excerpt from an article by Papadopulos-Eleopulos in Bio/technology:

    The test recommended is ELISA(29), which cannot be considered specific. In Russia, in 1990, out of 20,000 positive screening tests ‘only 112 were confirmed’ using the WB as a gold standard. In 1991, of approximately 30,000 positive screening tests, only 66 were confirmed(30).

    These statistics make ELISA look really bad, but some important information is missing: How many people were tested using ELISA in order to get 20000 positives in 1990 and 30000 positives in 1991?

    I looked up the reference for these numbers, a letter to the Lancet by Alexander Voevodin. What I found was this: In 1990, of 20.2 million ELISA tests done, 112 were confirmed positive, and 20,000 were false positives. In 1991, of 29.4 million ELISA tests, 66 were confirmed positive and 30,000 were false positives.

    In both 1990 and 1991, a large number of Russians were tested using ELISA, and only 1/1000th of those tested had false positives. If you use a test even this accurate on a population where only about 1 out 200000 people have HIV, you would expect about 200 false positives for every true positive. Voevodin notes this phenomenon at the start of his second paragraph: “Such huge numbers of false positives are
    predictable for mass screening for HIV in low prevalence populations,
    …”

    All the relevant numbers needed to judge the accuracy of ELISA were there in Voevodin’s letter, and the figures show that ELISA is very accurate. Somehow, with the real truth staring them in the face, Papadopulos-Eleopulos and her coauthors managed to omit from their paper just the figures that had to be omitted so that a statistical fallacy could drastically mislead their audience about the accuracy of ELISA.

    Reference:
    Voevodin, A. 1992. HIV screening in Russia. Lancet 339:1548.

    The Perth Group were caught misrepresenting a communication and omitting crucial information. The original communication directly refutes their assertion that HIV tests are non-specific.

  137. sadunkalon 07 Jan 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Hmm… I understand what you mean but I’m not sure if that’s a reasonable accusation. This is an interesting thing to discuss, I think it’s just a matter of perspective:

    The point they’re trying to make is that only ca. 1/250th of those who test positive on ELISA seem to be closer to being true positives. In other words it’s said to give positive results ca. 250 times more than it should be giving, if it were as specific as WB.

    That the percentage of the those who test positive on ELISA are “only” ca. 1/1000th of the entire population is less relevant to the point they’re trying to make. I guess it bothers you that they didn’t point out how “unimportant” those “seemingly high” numbers overall are, but even only 1/1000th matters significantly in a mass testing as shown in that example, then the numbers of false positives go as high as 20.000-30.000… And if you consider that sometimes ELISA alone was(is?) used to claim that people were “HIV positive”, those numbers become even more significant. Because they would mean that only 1 out of ca. 250 of those who were claimed to be infected with a deadly, unstoppable virus would really be infected with it. Thus the sufferings of 249 of them would be the result of a tragic error.

    ELISA is already known and accepted not to be that specific. So they wouldn’t be making up anything, or putting forth a surprising argument even if you believe that they really misrepresented anything, which I don’t think they do. They just don’t mention that part because it’s not that relevant. What they’ve quoted remains accurate.

    In short I think that was a pretty insignificant argument against the scientific credibility of the Perth Group.

  138. sadunkalon 07 Jan 2009 at 11:52 pm

    “Montagnier clearly argues that HIV exists and causes AIDS.

    Oxidative stress is a part of the pathogenesis of many viral diseases including influenza. Only an idiot would then argue that influenzavirus doesn’t exist and that sperm, cigarette smoke and other oxidizing agents cause influenza.”

    Relax… My point was only about the importance of paying attention to co-factors as much as Montagnier does.

    And again, I’ll look into your claims about the Perth Group’s pseudoscience even if you can’t show any direct evidence…

  139. Willon 08 Jan 2009 at 1:56 am

    I really curious what Cog and Sadun think about promoters of psychic phenomenon , homeopaths, holocaust deniers, Intelligent Design creationists (and other creationists), etc.

    All of them claim to be unfairly censored and ignored by bigoted scientists. Is there any validity to their claims, or their claims of censorship?

  140. Chris Nobleon 08 Jan 2009 at 8:41 am

    ELISA is already known and accepted not to be that specific.

    I’ll add specific to the list of words you don’t understand.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensitivity_and_specificity

    FP Note that the PPV is not intrinsic to the test–it depends also on the prevalence. PPV is directly proportional to the prevalence of the disease /condition.

    The prevalence in the population described in the Voevodin letter is 112/20,200,000 = 0.00055%. In such a low prevalence population it is completely unsurprising that a single ELISA will have a low positive predictive value. This is why one or two confirmatory tests are always done.

  141. Chris Nobleon 08 Jan 2009 at 8:43 am

    mangled html!

    ELISA is already known and accepted not to be that specific.

    I’ll add specific to the list of words you don’t understand.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensitivity_and_specificity

    FP = 20,000
    TN = 20,200,000 – 20,000 = 20,180,000

    specificity = TN/(TN+FP) = 20,180,000/20,200,00 = 0.999 or 99.9%

    The Voevodin letter shows that the specificity of a single ELISA is 99.9%. The Perth Group don’t tell you that. Why?

    For a screening test this is highly specific and despite what you read a single ELISA is not used for diagnosis.

    For an ELISA combined with a Western the specificity is even higher.

    FP = 112
    TN = 20,200,000 – 112 = 20,199,888

    specificity = 20,199,888/20,200,000 = 0.99999 = 99.999%

    The Voevodin letter shows the exact opposite of what the Perth Group. The tests are highly specific. The Perth Group are guilty of deliberate deception. They deceived you. QED.

    The valid point that Voevodin makes is that even highly specific tests have a low positive predictive value in low seroprevalence populations.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Positive_predictive_value

    Note that the PPV is not intrinsic to the test–it depends also on the prevalence. PPV is directly proportional to the prevalence of the disease /condition.

    The prevalence in the population described in the Voevodin letter is 112/20,200,000 = 0.00055%. In such a low prevalence population it is completely unsurprising that a single ELISA will have a low positive predictive value. This is why one or two confirmatory tests are always done.

  142. Chris Nobleon 08 Jan 2009 at 9:08 am

    Relax… My point was only about the importance of paying attention to co-factors as much as Montagnier does.

    If you read some of the science rather than the pseudoscience on Denialist websites then you would realise that co-factors are a) actively researched and b) partly understood.

    There are co-factors that affect a) the risk of infection with HIV and b) the rate of progression (or even non-progression) to AIDS.

    None of this changes the reality that HIV causes AIDS. There are co-factors in every disease.

    HIV Denialists don’t just argue that co-factors are involved. They argue that HIV doesn’t exist and/or doesn’t doesn’t cause AIDS.

  143. TsuDhoNimhon 08 Jan 2009 at 9:55 am

    Sadunkal said The thought of the glorious scientists not getting it right after billions of dollars and 25 years is so horrifying

    Uh … not getting what right? Like Fifi, I’ve seen AIDS from it’s beginnings. I saw it from inside the hospital labs where I worked. It has gone, in less than a generation, in less than one person’s professional career, from a “WTF Is that”? oddity to a spreading and highly fatal whatevertheheckitwas to a well-understood and treatable condition.

    That’s damned RIGHT!

    1 – We can identify the virus and its serotypes.
    2 – We can test for antibodies to the virus.
    3 – We can monitor the intensity of the infection by T-cell counts (and I don’t remember T-cells from my 1972 hematology class, so we’ve found out about those too) and other means
    4 – From the rather brutal AZT days we have developed several other therapies that are less likely to cause side effects
    5 – We can now minimize infections in infants born to HIV+ mothers (but only if they believe there is a risk) by treating them immediately pre and post-birth. Women Like Ms. Maggiore are fortunately rare.
    6 – The complex interactions between the virus and the host are being uncovered. This doesn’t happen overnight.

  144. TsuDhoNimhon 08 Jan 2009 at 10:16 am

    Sadunkal, there is a very good reason to run the ELISA, and then follow up with the Western Blot. I’ve run those tests.

    The ELISA is faster, cheaper, and very unlikely to have false negatives. Yes, it has false positives, it is not 100% specific, but missing a HIV+ person is far worse than initially calling a HIV- person “possibly positive”. The Western Blot is more challenging to perform and more expensive, but far more precise.

    By performing the tests in sequence, you get fast screening to weed out the negatives, and a far smaller group of persons who need the precision of the WB test.

  145. Fifion 08 Jan 2009 at 10:25 am

    It’s worth pointing out that Sadunkal has still not been open about his own starting point/context or biases even though he constantly goes on about others having a bias. What’s his dog in this fight? (Though I suspect it’s a cash cow not a dog that he’s fighting for!) For whatever reason, he’s hiding why this is such an important issue to him that he’s here promoting pseudoscience and putting a big effort into trying to promote the idea that safe sex isn’t important (everyone else has been clear about why this is an important issue to them, even Cog). Clearly Sadunkal’s position is homocidal and can only lead to more people dying – so is he a homophobe and racist who wants to promote dangerous practices? How does he benefit from people being sick or believing AIDS doesn’t exist and medication is bad? Is it just about ideology or is there a deeper profit motive behind promoting the ideology? (Anyone who wasn’t attached to Big Supp/SCAM would be equally critical of them exploiting the suffering of people with AIDS if they’re going on about Big Pharma doing so – clearly there’s a bias regarding both pharmaceuticals and SCAM at work here.) He’s obviously not part of a community that has been dealing with this in any real way and he hasn’t been engaged in this for very long – so he’s got no real world experience. He’s also clearly not actually scientificially literate since he can’t discern obvious pseudoscience (and doesn’t seem to even be aware of the actual science, only stuff from pseudoscience sources) and obsfucates when called out on misrepresenting AIDS research and researchers.

    Co-factors are old news to AIDS researchers and doctors (and they very idea of co-factors confirms that HIV+ is a factor). Once again, that’s why AIDS is a syndrome not the HIV disease.

  146. weingon 08 Jan 2009 at 10:26 am

    I was an intern when we started having a rash of young patients with respiratory failure from PCP. We went from knowing nothing to our current state where I have patients diagnosed with AIDS over 10 years ago and are doing fine. That is tremendous progress. The tragedy of Maggiore and her child was due only to her ignorance and arrogance preventing them from getting the proper care. The only treatment is humility and willingness to learn and understand the concepts involved in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease. These concepts are not easy for the lay public to follow, and more so if AIDS dementia comes into play.

  147. Fifion 08 Jan 2009 at 11:11 am

    A big part of the problem is that there are lots of CAM practioners and supplement producers who profit from selling people these lies about AIDS. Some are misguided but many really just care about profit not people – it’s a con and it’s not like straight white men with religious and racist leanings care if Gay men and African-American people die, in fact some would consider that a bonus. (Let’s not forget that, as hard as it is to imagine, there are people in the US who are still that racist and homophic – so much so that public health policy is influenced by it! Which is not to say that there isn’t racism and homophobia elsewhere, just that it has historically and in contemporary times been state sanctioned in the US.)

  148. The Milliganon 08 Jan 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Interestingly, Sadunkal, though comprehensively answered with cogent, clear argument in this forum, has posted some of the garbage above on another blog (without identifying this blog or posting a link back, so that readers could check for responses)…

    http://condeve.blogspot.com/2008/12/another-important-loss-for-human.html

    This appears to suggest that Sadunkal’s comments were met with no adequate response.

    I find this, amongst so much more, smacks of intellectual dishonesty.

  149. The Milliganon 08 Jan 2009 at 12:20 pm

    My apologies, I completely retract what I said about “or posting a link back” (above).

    I should have been more thorough in my link checking. The link is certainly there, but the blog remains unidentified and no mention of any responses.

    I still find this misleading. All of Sadunkal’s posts have been more than adequately answered, but there is a complete refusal to acknowledge any of the points raised by people such as Chris Noble.

    I find it so dificult to understand how, in the face of such obvious, reasoned, logical argument, supported by an overwhelming weight of evidence, that people such as Sad’ can still struggle on with their same, discredited theories.

    Know when to reject the null hypothesis – when the weight of probability tips the scales.

  150. sadunkalon 08 Jan 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Chris Noble,

    Weren’t there times when only an ELISA was considered enough for assuming that the person probably had HIV in Africa? I couldn’t find the direct reference to the updated official definition after the paper below was published:

    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/pagerender.fcgi?artid=1671459&pageindex=3#page

    “For surveillance, any test used in current practice for diagnosing HIV-I and HIV-II infections would be acceptable. …Supplemental testing should not be an issue for surveillance [as the PPV should be high in patients with symptoms.] …”

    (And I’m not even talking about this: http://www.aliveandwellsf.org/articles/gilks_AIDS_definition_africa.pdf )

    What you’re complaining about is only that the Perth Group wrote:

    ” To date, AIDS in Africa is defined on clinical grounds. Recently, the CDC recommended the future inclusion of serological evidence for HIV infection in the African definition of AIDS. The test recommended is ELISA, which cannot be considered specific. ”

    instead of

    ” To date, AIDS in Africa is defined on clinical grounds. Recently, the CDC recommended the future inclusion of serological evidence for HIV infection in the African definition of AIDS. The test recommended is ELISA, which cannot be considered specific in comparison to WB (ca. 250 times less specific). ”

    I don’t think that yours is a fair accusation. I don’t disagree that according to that data ELISA seems to be 99.9% specific on the general population, what I’m saying is that it seems to be also ca. 250 times less specific than WB and supposedly that difference is the one between a false diagnosis and a correct diagnosis. This becomes important in cases of mass testing and I’m not that sure if the PPV of ELISA will increase in a population wither higher prevalence since false positives would probably also occur more often in such a population. In short what the Perth Group is saying that there were definitely many people who were mislabeled in Africa as having “AIDS” unless a combination of WB and ELISA was always used, which was not the case.

    As you know, what TsuDhoNimh says is the position of the orthodox science:

    “The ELISA is faster, cheaper, and very unlikely to have false negatives. Yes, it has false positives, it is not 100% specific, but missing a HIV+ person is far worse than initially calling a HIV- person “possibly positive”. The Western Blot is more challenging to perform and more expensive, but far more precise.

    By performing the tests in sequence, you get fast screening to weed out the negatives, and a far smaller group of persons who need the precision of the WB test.”

    What we’re discussing here is really meaningless, since that sentence from the Perth Group doesn’t contradict any of those assumptions. It’s mainly pointing out the implications of the facts in the real world. And all the time you’re assuming that a positive WB equals infection. I would rather discuss the gold standard problem as evidenced by the quote I chose from Valendar Turner above.

    >>”…co-factors are a) actively researched and b) partly understood.”

    I just desire more focus on them. I doubt they’re perceived as a field with extreme importance and as a priority for research. I think they should be.

  151. sadunkalon 08 Jan 2009 at 12:46 pm

    When I said “And I’m not even talking about this: http://www.aliveandwellsf.org/articles/gilks_AIDS_definition_africa.pdf ” above, I was actually trying to emphasize the part about “Improper Use” in that paper:

    ” Although the clinical case definition was proposed as a
    surveillance tool, its use seems to have been extended
    beyond this. …”

    So it’s not only about surveillance.

  152. Fifion 08 Jan 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Sadukal is a propagandist – as is very clear. Why? Who knows because Sadukal has refused to be open and honest about their own context DESPITE claiming everyone else is biased. It could be homophobia and racism – certainly promoting the idea that HIV isn’t a factor and that condom use is pointless is effectively trying to lure people in at risk populations to an early (and preventable) grave.

    Like those who deny evolution, Sadukal is here doing a ritual performance they hope they’ll be able to pass off as science. (With many dodges and turns – or obsfucation when confronted by Chris Noble who’s doing a wonderful job being patient and explaining the biology.) Or maybe Sadukal’s one the Perth Group – another body that pretends to be doing science but is really about propaganda so promoting themselves on the internet in an attempt to make themselves appear like science or as if they’re taken seriously enough to debate would be right up their alley. That said, thanks to Chris for sticking with the biology side even in the face of sadukal’s total lack of integrity.

  153. sadunkalon 08 Jan 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Fifi,

    I’m ignoring most of what you say because your ridiculous speculations and accusations show only how biased you are and as I earlier said I don’t think arguing makes much sense if there’s so much bias.

  154. Fifion 08 Jan 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Hehe, speaking of bias…. You still haven’t been honest about your own! *lol* Clearly you’ve left those of us interested in why you’re so dedicated to promoting your ideology wondering and no option but to speculate about your motivation and what you gain by doing so.

  155. sadunkalon 08 Jan 2009 at 2:43 pm

    I’m not promoting my ideology I’m just striving for more objective, real science. I think the quality of science matters. For many reasons. I have high hopes for humanity and seeing the current situation doesn’t really make me happy. And I think that I indicated that this is the main reason why I care about this topic in my defense of Cog. I have no financial or emotional interest in HIV not causing AIDS.

  156. sezwhoon 08 Jan 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Sadun, you said:

    I’m not that sure if the PPV of ELISA will increase in a population with higher prevalence since false positives would probably also occur more often in such a population.

    This reveals your ignorance. By definition the PPV automatically rises as seroprevalence rises. The false positivity rate does not and cannot increase.

    I suggest you look up some simple definitions before you try and pass yourself off as a man of “science”

  157. Fifion 08 Jan 2009 at 3:41 pm

    What sezwho says! ;-) Since it’s clear you’re not really here for the science but to promote an ideology (and do a performance of being a man of science) clearly you’re being dishonest about why you’re here. Once again it leaves me wondering if you’re so hateful or greedy that you promote an ideology that leads to suffering and death and if you’re benefiting financially by promoting pseudoscience and denialism about AIDS.

  158. Fifion 08 Jan 2009 at 4:01 pm

    What “unorthodox science” do you base your theories on Sudukal? Sounds a lot like you have a base belief in some form of pseudoscience that makes you hostile to science – so much so that you call science “orthodox science”! What “unorthodox science” do you yourself belief in? Since evidence based science is the “orthodoxy”, what’s your “unorthodox” personal opinion based upon?

  159. sadunkalon 08 Jan 2009 at 4:49 pm

    “By definition the PPV automatically rises as seroprevalence rises. The false positivity rate does not and cannot increase. ”

    I don’t get that. Could you please explain it in more detail? What makes you say that false positivity rate cannot increase? I based my argument on the assumption that risk factors for false positives would probably also be more prevalent in Africa than in Russia.

  160. Chris Nobleon 08 Jan 2009 at 4:59 pm

    I’m not promoting my ideology I’m just striving for more objective, real science. I think the quality of science matters. For many reasons. I have high hopes for humanity and seeing the current situation doesn’t really make me happy. And I think that I indicated that this is the main reason why I care about this topic in my defense of Cog. I have no financial or emotional interest in HIV not causing AIDS.

    You demonstrate that you have no understanding of objective, real science.

    I have no financial or emotional interest in HIV causing AIDS and yet you have no problems calling me unobjective.

    I will speculate about your reasons for supporting HIV Denial even if you regard it as an ad hominem.

    Many of the HIV- HIV Deniers have a strong anti-authoritative personality type with a tendency towards conspiracy theories. You’ll find the same personalities advocating 911 conspiracies, anti-vaccination, German New Medicine and other form of quackery, physic kookery, AGW Denial, Intelligent Design, paranormal woo etc. The idea that they are part of a small group of truth seekers who have special knowledge and that the vast majority including the arrogant orthodox scientists are all stupid sheep is extremely intoxicating for them.

  161. sadunkalon 08 Jan 2009 at 5:20 pm

    My “anti-authoritative personality” is limited towards those authorities which appear to be significantly flawed and I can find enough time to do research about.

    I’m not the one who’s been filled with anger, disgust and frustration towards the other side all these years. I’d claim that it would probably turn your life upside down and damage your psychology if HIV turns out to not be the cause of AIDS, something that directly contradicts what you fought for all these years. What do you imagine would happen if that turns out to be the case? Would you just say “Oh…that’s interesting.” and immediately adapt? I doubt it.

    Anyway to go back to the topic. I guess what sezwho tries to say is what’s being discussed here:

    http://www.musc.edu/dc/icrebm/sensitivity.html

    But there is also this:

    “Everything we discussed so far has assumed that the sensitivity and specificity do not change, as one deals with different groups of people. Sensitivity and specificity, however, CAN CHANGE if the population tested is dramatically different from the population you serve.”

    And that’s what I was talking about.

  162. Chris Nobleon 08 Jan 2009 at 5:34 pm

    I based my argument on the assumption that risk factors for false positives would probably also be more prevalent in Africa than in Russia.

    It is theoretically possible for the false positive rate to be higher in different populations but I see no evidence for this. False positives are rare.

    HIV Denialists will try to convince you that pregnancy causes a high number of false positives. However the Russian population that is described in the Voevodin letter contained approximately 25% pregnant women. Nevertheless the specificity of even single ELISA remained extremely high.

    Compare this to South Africa where the seroprevalence in pregnant women has rapidly climbed from 0% to 20% , 30% etc.

  163. Chris Nobleon 08 Jan 2009 at 5:48 pm

    My “anti-authoritative personality” is limited towards those authorities which appear to be significantly flawed and I can find enough time to do research about.

    Can we have a check list of the “orthodoxies” which appear to you personally to be significantly flawed?

    Anthropogenic Global Warming?
    911?
    Vaccines?
    German New Medicine?
    Homeopathy?
    Evolution?

    So far from what I’ve read I’d give you ticks for HIV, AGW, 911 and GNM.

    http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/2007/06/crank_magnetism_1.php

  164. sadunkalon 08 Jan 2009 at 7:19 pm

    I was going to respond to that question and already wrote a few paragraphs, but then I decided that it was getting a little too unrelated to the title of this blog post. I decided to post something like what you request on my blog, here’s the first draft: http://condeve.blogspot.com/2009/01/my-unorthodoxies-summary.html

    You’re all also welcome to leave a comment and answer my question to you over there: What would happen to you if HIV turns out not to be the cause of AIDS?

    I would prefer to discuss more HIV/AIDS related things here, you said:

    “It is theoretically possible for the false positive rate to be higher in different populations but I see no evidence for this.”

    I’m glad we clarified that. I do not intend look for evidence right now but I predict it could be found. I would instead prefer to focus on the more fundamental issues like the gold standard issue. Taking this into consideration would perhaps be beneficial in that sense: http://www.reviewingaids.com/awiki/index.php/Document:Evolution_of_a_Diagnosis

  165. Fifion 08 Jan 2009 at 11:21 pm

    Nothing would happen to me if it was discovered HIV had nothing to do with AIDS. It’s something I considered in the early days and before the evidence (which you continually ignore) came in – you clearly are a very late-arriving opportunist who only reads denialist lies. The question is what are you so afraid of if you admit that HIV is the underlying cause of AIDS? What will happen to YOU and your agenda? What do you have to gain and lose that you’re so afraid to be honest about? You’re the only one hiding their context while showing a very clear bias. Since you’re clearly in denial of the evidence, you must have a lot to lose if you admit you’ve been misled by the denialists. If it’s purely ego and some delusion that your reactionary and very orthodox (as in religious and conservative) ideas about AIDS and HIV are actually “anti-authoritarian”, then your promotion of a deadly ideology and pseudoscience is even more reprehensible and vain. Though no more reprehensible than if you’re just doing it for the money.

  166. sadunkalon 09 Jan 2009 at 12:19 am

    “…in the early days and before the evidence …”

    Could you be more specific? Which scientific paper/papers convinced you? …that HIV tests are really reliable for example?

  167. cognitivedissidenton 09 Jan 2009 at 3:01 am

    Sadun…You’ll notice the obsession that these people have with your personal life. They want to know EVERYTHING about you. So they can judge you. So they can assert their dominance over you and their superiority to you. Its pretty sick stuff. Should be no surprise that these vampires want your blood…

    I don’t give a damn about someone’s personal life or their credentials. I just look for people who think for themselves, think logically, and keep alert with an open mind. Everything else takes care of itself. Closed minded people, no matter at what stage of their development they decide to no longer cast out their nets, become irrelevant very quickly.

    The people you attempt to discredit are the last of those attempting to revolt against your sick death cult. We see through your cold, calculated lies and are finding life for ourselves, and living it despite your mental and physical oppression.

    “Just look at us. Everything is backwards. Everything is upside-down.
    Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy
    knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the major media destroys
    information, and religion destroys spirituallity.”

    - Michael Ellner & Tom Di Fernando

    Have a listen and take control of your life. Or don’t. Hell it doesn’t matter. As long as you can recognize these people for what they are…liars…you are on the right track.

    http://breakfornews.com/audio/BeautifulTruth090109a.mp3

    I can only hope there are some people out there reading looking for good answers, who don’t just come on this site to throw stones like so many others. Good luck to you, good luck to you all really.

  168. cognitivedissidenton 09 Jan 2009 at 3:19 am

    Oh, and Fifi, you are the one who keeps mentioning supplements. I thought for a little while that vitamins could be helpful for me personally, but now I focus more on improving my health with good food and lots of sunlight and exercise. Taking pills, whether they be toxic AIDS meds or vitamin supplements, probably won’t give you what you are looking for…unless you are looking for death or an uphill battle…which, wertys, many are, which is why we see these gay men attempting to seroconvert. Ian young wrote a good article about this:

    http://www.virusmyth.com/aids/hiv/iycultsero.htm

    I find myself constantly thinking about the quote he references before beginning this piece:

    “Deliver me from blood gatherers, O God, Thou art the God of my health.”

  169. Willon 09 Jan 2009 at 7:11 am

    This debate’s getting pretty dumb. I’m more interested in a few side questions for Sadun and Cog:

    1. What do you guys make it of protestations from, let’s say the proponents of paranormal phenomenon that they’re being censored and unfairly ignored by the biased and closed minded scientific community? What do you make it when other groups, like Creationists make such claims?

    2. Is there any theory or claim which is strongly supported by a group of people but is in fact wrong? And how do you know that they’re wrong? Is there any claim or theory which the skeptical community criticizes and are correct in their criticism?

    3. Is it hypocritical for Maggiore to promote things such as Homeopathy on her website?

    Thanks.

  170. Johnon 09 Jan 2009 at 8:57 am

    “Just look at us. Everything is backwards. Everything is upside-down.
    Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy
    knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the major media destroys
    information, and religion destroys spirituallity.”

    - Michael Ellner & Tom Di Fernando

    Ahahahahahahahaaaa. The “doctors destroy health” claim has been broadsided both here and over at Neurologica and the rest is the same stupid argument applied to other fields.

    “Deliver me from blood gatherers, O God, Thou art the God of my health.”

    I’m off to see the blood-gatherers this very afternoon. They’re nice people, honest. Even give you a cuppa and a biscuit when you’re done.

  171. Johnon 09 Jan 2009 at 8:59 am

    Oops, my post should have read “both here and over at Science-Based Medicine”. Thought I was over there when I wrote it.

  172. weingon 09 Jan 2009 at 10:18 am

    “You’re all also welcome to leave a comment and answer my question to you over there: What would happen to you if HIV turns out not to be the cause of AIDS?”

    Probably the same as happened when H. pylori was found to be the main cause of peptic ulcers and not stress. We would go with the science and treat whatever the cause is.

  173. sadunkalon 09 Jan 2009 at 11:13 am

    “Probably the same as happened when H. pylori was found to be the main cause of peptic ulcers and not stress. We would go with the science and treat whatever the cause is.”

    My question was on a more personal level actually. Many of you called those people who disagree with your conclusions denialists, idots, conspiracy theorists and probably worst of all accused them of deliberately killing people. If it turns out those people were right after all, how would you feel about your actions?

  174. Steven Novellaon 09 Jan 2009 at 11:21 am

    I would happily change my opinion to the evidence. My position is always that current conclusions are tentative and based upon the best interpretation of the evidence. If the evidence changes, or someone comes up with a better interpretation, I’ll go with that. I am dedicated to a method – not a conclusion.

    Also – we criticize logic and methods. HIV deniers are deniers, even if the very unlikely event turns out that HIV does not cause AIDS. They would have been right but largely for the wrong reasons.

    They are conspiracy theorists because they spin conspiracy theories. They are denialists because they use logical fallacies, cherry pick evidence, impugn motives, and generally misunderstand the science because they are dedicated to the denial of HIV. They are denialists because of their methods, not because of their conclusion.

    And to be clear, I don’t believe I have every accused an HIV denier of deliberately killing people. I do think that is the consequence of their false claims, which makes them profoundly irresponsible. It’s more like manslaughter vs murder.

    But – there may be those who are trying to profit from the sale of alternative treatments who embrace HIV denial as a marketing strategy. That is murder. But I don’t have enough evidence to accuse someone specific of this.

  175. Fifion 09 Jan 2009 at 11:32 am

    sadunkal – Well since I’ve actually been involved in helping people living and dying with AIDS for over 20 years; since I am part of Queer culture so actually know how Queer men live, think and act and how guilt and social stigma actually play out from inside Gay male culture not as a judging outsider; since I actually care about people not ideology; I’d accept any new discoveries and breakthroughs as I always have, as something to be celebrated as yet another step towards better understanding. Like H. pylori. I have nothing to be ashamed off since I’m not pushing an ideology and have been helping actual individuals for more than half my life. I’ve done so at expense of my personal life in terms of career and personal life, I consider it time well invested because it’s about caring for people – not promoting an ideology for personal vanity or gain. sadunkal, you’re such a coward and so driven by self interest you don’t even speak up about your wacky ideas in the relevant communities. Ditto Cog. So, if you’re so convinced about it what are you doing trying to puff up your blog view stats by exploiting this topic rather than actually doing somethign real.

    You keep avoiding not only questions of your own context and bias while accusing others, you’ve also ignored my question and just batted it back as a diversionary measure because it’s a good question. So, what happens to you if you admit you’re wrong and you’ve been vigorously promoting ignorance that has lead to many deaths (including the death of Christine, the subject of the original blog post). Why are you so dedicated to being decietful and spreading lies? You’re dedicating a lot of time to it, it must have some payoff for you. I’ve been very clear about what the payoff of taking you on is for me – less deaths inspired by lies of those who don’t give a crap about the Gay community or Queer individuals, or Africans or African-Americans, apart from how they can be exploited for personal vanity and profit.

  176. Fifion 09 Jan 2009 at 11:46 am

    The fact that you seem to make such a big deal out of scientific understanding changing – as if a personal belief would be blown out of the water and be personally devastating – only indicates that you’re projecting your own ideological stance upon science and scientists. The fact that you cling to old studies that have been superceded by newer ones – simply to prop up an ideological stance – indicates yet again that you have no understanding of science.

    Neither you nor Cog strike me as anti-authoritarian, you strike me as powerless people who crave authority and resent expertize because it higlights your own ignorance (which you compound by not being honest about what you don’t know and “thinking” it’s all about what you “think” and your personal opinion). Failed narcissists, if you will. You’ve just latched onto something that appears “rebellious” on the surface but is fundamentally reactionary and antisocial, just like you are. You’re not a critical or original thinker – all you’re doing is representing things that appear on the surface to be “rebelllious”. If you had the brains or the guts you may have become successful sociopaths but since you have neither you have become internet nutters railing about how you have no power (or, once again, you could just be shills for CAM since they’re so integrally involved in selling the most scamming CAM memes and you spend a lot of time here shilling considering you and Cog are people who aren’t personally involved in caring for people with AIDS, part of the effected communities and clearly haven’t been involved in this issue for very long). Whether you’re the player or the played, you’re still a sucka!

  177. sadunkalon 09 Jan 2009 at 11:51 am

    Will,

    >>”1. What do you guys make it of protestations from, let’s say the proponents of paranormal phenomenon that they’re being censored and unfairly ignored by the biased and closed minded scientific community? What do you make it when other groups, like Creationists make such claims?”

    1. Although I didn’t look into it, I believe that the claims of censorship might be justified in many other cases too. I know I have strong opinions about those topics and I wouldn’t want to risk wasting my time on very unlikely possibilities. So I can imagine biased authorities simply ignoring/censoring them. I imagine that’s also mainly the case with HIV/AIDS. But that’s where I disagree with those authorities because I spent a lot of time examining all this. For example a very important paper from the Perth Group I posted here was claimed to be just worthless bad science. When I asked for evidence I was offered only a flimsy excuse by Chris Noble. I bet most of you didn’t even bother to read the paper. I find that problematic. I suspect that most of you base your opinions about probabilities without paying attention to important details or being aware of the whole picture.

    >>”2. Is there any theory or claim which is strongly supported by a group of people but is in fact wrong? And how do you know that they’re wrong?

    There are many examples of misguided consensus from the past. It’s hard to tell which are right and wrong at the present. I think it’s pretty likely that HIV/AIDS science got it wrong simply because no attention at all is being paid to alternative views and important logical questions. I would LOVE to see serious debates about this subject without the need for lawsuits and preferably live on camera since it basically eliminates the possibility of censorship. The only filmed debate I know is from 1994 and in it the HIV/AIDS orthodoxy is far from being able to give reasonable answers to the questions raised by skeptics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFljIcFeLHU

    >> “Is there any claim or theory which the skeptical community criticizes and are correct in their criticism?”

    Do I really need to answer that one?

    >>”3. Is it hypocritical for Maggiore to promote things such as Homeopathy on her website?”

    We already talked about that above and I think my answer was detailed enough.

  178. Fifion 09 Jan 2009 at 11:57 am

    Sadukan – Since you bring up H. Pylori I assume you’ve also infected yourself with HIV to prove your theory and that’s why you’re trying to compare the two as if AIDS and the H Pylori story are actually analogous? You are aware the reason that this was such a fun story that grabbed headlines is because the scientist in question actually infected himself with H. Pylori to prove his theory? If Duesberg actually had the courage of his convictions he’d do so as he’s been challenged by Gallo – so far he’s been hiding behind the fact that people who acknowledge the link between HIV and AIDS won’t participate on ethical grounds. Of course, it’s not like he couldn’t actually BE rebellious and go rogue and do so to prove his point – it would certainly do so (or not) in a spectacular fashion that would grab even more headlines than H. Pylori did! However, Duesberg clearly isn’t that much of a rebel – just a faux “hold me back, hold me back” kinda not so tuff guy.

  179. sadunkalon 09 Jan 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Fifi, you’re wrong on many points. I don’t intend to answer you here since it would take a lot of time and space. Just email me if you really want answers, you can find it on my blogger profile…

  180. cognitivedissidenton 09 Jan 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Will,

    To answer part of your second question, there is a large number of people who believe that HIV was created in a government lab somewhere and distributed via vaccinations or some other method to Africans, gays, and minorities.

    When I first starting thinking about HIV and AIDS and found the conventional explanations ridiculous, I latched on to this theory after reading a book by Leonard Horowitz.

    After encountering evidence from many other skeptics I was thankfully able to rid myself of this damaging idea. People who promote this idea are likely also those who push the alien stuff, the “Alex Jones”-type fear stuff, the reptile stuff, some of your more classic and “tinfoil hat” type conspiracies.

    AIDS skeptics merely believe that a situation arose as a result of persecution of the homosexual and drug using communities that was eventually seized upon by the pharmaceutical and “health” industry, providing them with a steady source of revenue that they will not let go of without a fight. Apologists for these executioners like many of those commenting on this page are a big help to these people, but likely these apologists are not working “for” these industries directly but instead derive some kind of pleasure from being “right”, which in this case means being on the side with the power and resources.

    How many skeptics are profiting from promoting alternative health treatments, healthy lifestyles and thinking for yourself I’ve yet to discover. There are scam artists everywhere but they are usually pretty easy to recognize, and someone who finds their way out of the HIV/AIDS scam (the right door out) likely won’t be fooled by some small time crook peddling some supplement that will cure AIDS.

    The only “cure” for AIDS is a multi-level approach involving mind, body, and spirit that is certainly no easy path. And any path where you are shelling out dough hand over fist or taking a bunch of pills to stay alive is going to be the wrong one.

  181. sadunkalon 09 Jan 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Steven Novella,

    “HIV deniers are deniers, even if the very unlikely event turns out that HIV does not cause AIDS. They would have been right but largely for the wrong reasons.

    They are conspiracy theorists because they spin conspiracy theories. They are denialists because they use logical fallacies, cherry pick evidence, impugn motives, and generally misunderstand the science because they are dedicated to the denial of HIV.”

    I think that’s a very dangerous and unfair generalization. You can also find people who spin conspiracy theories, who use logical fallacies, who cherry pick evidence etc. among those who believe in the HIV/AIDS theory and also inside the skeptical community. But that’s not a reason to discard everyone in it.

    Some “HIV deniers”, believe it or not, have actually rational reasons to keep “denying”, at least from my point of view. If someone would just show me why their arguments are not relevant or important I would immediately shut up and go discuss with HIV skeptics about it. But that didn’t happen so far and I’m afraid there is a discomforting reason for that.

    I’d prefer it if you distinguish between different HIV/AIDS skeptics and interpret their work accordingly. You’re welcome to contribute to this discussion that I think is much needed for example: http://conself.blogspot.com/2009/01/discussion-of-1993-perth-group-paper.html

  182. Fifion 09 Jan 2009 at 1:08 pm

    sadukal – The fact that you won’t answer any of the questions you pose to others – who have been totally open regarding their own contexts and how they came to them – pretty much says it all about how lacking in integrity and transparency you are (aka attempting to hid your own bias). The fact that you’re trying to lure people over to your blog to try to make it appear important and relevant is just self serving (since you came here to argue your point).

  183. Fifion 09 Jan 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Cog – “The only “cure” for AIDS is a multi-level approach involving mind, body, and spirit that is certainly no easy path.”

    And here we have the promotion of CAM and Cog’s claim that CAM can “cure” AIDS (and has “the only approach”). Your premise that people get AIDS because their “spirit” is somehow unhealthy or making them sick is homophobic and assumes all Gay people are “spiritually” or mentally (“mind”) not okay and that’s why they get sick (rather than it being an impersonal virus that doesn’t give a crap how “moral” you are). You’re promoting religious beliefs not ones based in scientific evidence (and quite old ones from the bad old days of pre-scientific medicine when religion held sway).

  184. cognitivedissidenton 09 Jan 2009 at 1:48 pm

    “HIV deniers are deniers, even if the very unlikely event turns out that HIV does not cause AIDS. They would have been right but largely for the wrong reasons.

    They are conspiracy theorists because they spin conspiracy theories. They are denialists because they use logical fallacies, cherry pick evidence, impugn motives, and generally misunderstand the science because they are dedicated to the denial of HIV.”

    If I could comment on what Steven said here, in addition to reiterating what Sadun said I would say that what many are dedicated to is pointing out the numerous logical fallacies in the explanations generally peddled by the establishment, because it is these chains that need to be broken. Mario C says it well here:

    “This ain’t about faith my friend. I even make it a point when someone
    says to me “so let me get this straight; you don’t believe that HIV causes
    AIDS.” ….I ALWAYS correct them and say “well, that’s almost accurate. I
    don’t believe either way. In fact I have no belief at all about AIDS. But I
    will say I have no reason to think that HIV causes AIDS, because there is
    no evidence for it. Likewise I have good reason to hold the opinion that
    AIDS is not infectious. Also I have good reason to think that there is a
    great deal of fraud going on in the industry, there are ample ulterior
    motives as to why such a lame theory could have made it so far for so
    long, and there are plenty of pieces of evidence that go unexamined by
    the establishment and for predictable reasons.”

  185. sezwhoon 09 Jan 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Sadun, you ask people to criticize the scientific content of a position paper by the Perth Group. Chris Noble has already shown here that they selectively misquoted research publications in order to mislead their readers. The Perth Group presumably know what they are doing is directly misquoting or quoting out of context because their reinterpretation of the evidence they quote is always at variance with what the original research actually reveals. Chris gave you one example.

    I’ll give you another.
    At random, I went to a section of the PG paper (Particle Detection, section 3).

    The T-cell and monocyte “HIV infected cultures” contain in addition to particles with the morphologies attributed to HIV, many other “viral particles” unlike any of the “HIV particles”. (106, 111, 113, 114) Non-HIV infected H9 cells, from which most of the published EM have originated as well as other cells used for “HIV isolation”, CEM, C8166, EBV transformed B-cells, and cord blood lymphocytes, express budding virus-like particles albeit they are somewhat different from particles accepted as HIV. (115) The above data raises questions not only in regard to the origin and role of the “non-HIV particles”, but also the “HIV particles”

    Someone reading this would assume that, in the studies which have shown EMs of HIV, the presence of “many other” additional viral particles seen on EM automatically calls into question the validity of the origin of the HIV particles. They would assume that this opinion is one expressed by the researchers themselves, and not that it is just the opinion of the PG. However, it is only the opinion of the PG, and cast’s no doubts whatsoever on the origin of the HIV particles, which are clearly seen on the EMs and whose origin is meticulously explained in the methodology of the papers.

    I looked at one of the articles I could find in full (ref 114)
    http://vir.sgmjournals.org/cgi/reprint/69/10/2455

    The article from 1988 goes into the morphology of both the immature and mature HIV virions in considerable detail. They also describe their finding of smaller virus-type particles they identified which were not HIV particles, and they wondered what they might be, and conjectured they might represent coronaviruses. They do not say there were “many” of these particles. They appear to be a minor and coincidental finding. At no point do they say this finding casts any doubt whatsoever on their well described work on the HIV they were studying. For some reason it is only the PG who are raising this as an issue, without any reason other than they want to use it to cast doubt upon the validity of all the EM work that was done on HIV. This is quite unreasonable and unjustified, and merely leaves people reading the PG review with the impression there is probable cause for doubt on the part of the original researchers as well as the PG commentators regarding the detection of HIV with these methods. There is not.

    This is intellectual dishonesty. Someone reading the PG’s review would be likely to take their carefully crafted version at face value, and not bother going to check the original research. The PG know this. They are involved in a handwaving exercise to pull the wool over people’s eyes. By sounding all “sciencey”, and quoting hundreds of references, they give the impression that theirs is an objective, comprehensive and serious critique of the available evidence. But it is not.

    This was just one reference, taken entirely at random. I am sure there will be countless others littered through the PG review.

  186. cognitivedissidenton 09 Jan 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Fifi,

    What are you talking about? When did I accuse ALL gay people of being this or that?! I’m absolutely certain that there are many, many gay people not participating in this death cult as best they can.

    Saying that AIDS is a sickness of body, mind, and spirit includes everything that we have been talking about up to this point. There is no standard definition of AIDS in the world and I do not seek to create one.

    It is this kind of reductionist thinking that seeks perfect definitions and explanations and constantly throws out the baby with the bathwater. You can wait for “science” to cure HIV and AIDS but I assure you, this will never happen. If I can steal a line from another forum:

    “When sickness is profitable the outcome is predictable. More sickness.”

  187. weingon 09 Jan 2009 at 2:24 pm

    I go with what the evidence indicates. I do not listen to self-styled experts who don’t even understand statistics and are pushing some ideologies rooted in their ignorance.

  188. Fifion 09 Jan 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Cog – You were the one who brought up “cure” and proposed you had one (using CAM clichés that totally ignore the fact that AIDS patients who use medicine – not CAM but medicine – do have their physical and emotional needs taken care of via many avenues, “spirit” is a personal thing that people tend to in their own way depending on their beliefs, mostly it’s just friends loving them even if religion does come into it for them individually) . Please clarify what you think this “cure” you’ve proposed consists of – after all, that’s the soapbox you really covet. Shill away.

    AIDS is a syndrome and HIV is a virus – there’s no moral underpinning to who gets infected and who gets sick. It doesn’t discriminate like you do continuously.

  189. Fifion 09 Jan 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Cog – I find it illustrative of just how clued out you are that you say things like “wait for a cure”. Who’s waiting? You’re the one who’s so passive they don’t even talk to their (quite possibly imaginary) Gay “friends” about the ideas you consider so important and life saving. Those of us who actually care about people are just going about caring about people using the best evidence available. You haven’t presented any vaible evidence or even a coherent hypothesis (even though you claim to know a “cure”) – just vainglorious ideology.

  190. sadunkalon 09 Jan 2009 at 4:45 pm

    sezwho,

    >>”Chris Noble has already shown here that they selectively misquoted research publications…”

    That’s not really true, I thought we clarified that. What they were paying attention to was just different than what Chris Noble prefers to pay attention to. They were selective to make their point, yes, but they didn’t misquote anything.

    >>”Someone reading this would assume that, in the studies which have shown EMs of HIV, the presence of “many other” additional viral particles seen on EM automatically calls into question the validity of the origin of the HIV particles. They would assume that this opinion is one expressed by the researchers themselves, and not that it is just the opinion of the PG.

    >> “At no point do they say this finding casts any doubt whatsoever on their well described work on the HIV they were studying. For some reason it is only the PG who are raising this as an issue, without any reason other than they want to use it to cast doubt upon the validity of all the EM work that was done on HIV. This is quite unreasonable and unjustified, and merely leaves people reading the PG review with the impression there is probable cause for doubt on the part of the original researchers as well as the PG commentators regarding the detection of HIV with these methods. There is not. ”

    I got a problem with that. I don’t think it makes sense. What makes the Perth Group different is that they’re capable of looking at things from a point of view which doesn’t occur to other scientists. If you expect them to follow only the footsteps of those who were before them, if you ignore their views in case they dare to interpret the work of others different than the experimenters did, then you don’t really allow much room for significant progress… at least not for those who’re not directly inside the field in question. The guy who put forth the Pangea Theory had a Ph. D. in astronomy and he dared to interpret the data differently than geologists, sadly it took 40 years until his ideas gained momentum. There are many more examples like that. Sometimes it takes to be an outsider to be objectively more open for new possibilities: http://www.theperthgroup.com/FAQ/question6.html

    In short, your expectation that the authors of the original papers should’ve expressed similar doubts as the PG is not reasonable in my opinion. There are many particles different than “HIV” in the cultures and for some this raises questions.

    Let me add that you guys sound like those conspiracy theorists you so much despise when you accuse Perth Group of deliberate deception. Give these people some credit please…at least pretend that you do for a while so that we can discuss more objectively.

  191. Fifion 09 Jan 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Cog – You continually ignore all the profits CAM and Big Supp make lying about cancer and HIV/AIDS when you go on about profiteering. If it’s all about following the money, you’re not doing a very good job. Cleary you’re just promoting a prejudice and trying to sell the same Alive & Well SCAM the very dead after being unwell Christine did. She had a good (if unfortunate) personal reason to go into denial about having AIDS, so far you’ve offered up imaginary potential future wives with AIDS as your motivation while denying you’re promoting CAM while promoting CAM. You don’t just speak out of both sides of your mouth but out of your ass too.

  192. Fifion 09 Jan 2009 at 4:50 pm

    sadukal – “They were selective to make their point, yes, but they didn’t misquote anything.”

    Misrepresenting evidence and taking things out of context so they appear to mean something other than they do is the height of dishonesty! Apparently you think it’s okay though. Not that his wasn’t abundantly clear already by your attempts to claim various AIDS researchers supported your position even though they’ve clearly said they don’t.

  193. Fifion 09 Jan 2009 at 4:53 pm

    You can beg for people to “give them credit” but that’s something people earn by being credible. It seems you’re actually making an appeal for people to have faith in The Perth Group. This group abuses and misrepresents the work of others, just like you do. You also deserve no “credit” or respect while you ply your faith here.

  194. cognitivedissidenton 09 Jan 2009 at 5:55 pm

    All,

    Sorry for feeding the troll (Fifi). For God sakes rope it in lady!
    Her tactics are so easy to see through it is laughable, so I’m going to cease addressing her remarks.

    One thing I would hope you would notice about most dissidents is that they continually encourage people to think for themselves. Is this advice that one normally gets from their friendly capitalist next door? From the AIDS establishment? Quite the contrary. The establishment wants there to be no doubt in your mind…you take our drugs, or you die. If that’s not putting a gun to your head…

    And they want you to do this based on a shoddy test. Really amazing when you think about it. Consider this anecdote:

    “Two weeks ago, a 3-year-old child in Winston Salem, North Carolina, was struck by a car and rushed to a nearby hospital. Because the child’s skull had been broken and there was a blood spill, the hospital performed an HIV test. As the traumatized mother was sitting at her child’s bedside, a doctor came in and told her the child was HIV-positive. Both parents are negative. The doctor told the mother that she needed to launch an investigation into her entire family and circle of friends because this child had been sexually abused. There was no other way, the doctor said, that the child could be positive. A few days later, the mother demanded a second test. It came back negative. The hospital held a press conference where a remarkable admission was made. In her effort to clear the hospital of any wrongdoing, a hospital spokesperson announced that ‘these HIV tests are not reliable; a lot of factors can skew the tests, like fever or pregnancy. Everybody knows that.’”

    Celia Farber, Impression Magazine, June 21, 1999

  195. weingon 09 Jan 2009 at 6:09 pm

    coggie and sandie,

    What the hell is your stake in all this? You guys aren’t infected, so you can mentally masturbate about your theories of AIDS but they have nothing to do with the reality. My stake is that I have been treating patients for over 26 years and my treatment of AIDS has become rewarding compared to the dark ages at the beginning. If you want to stop mentally masturbating and actually get the disease, you can put your money where your mouth is and go get treated by your Perth group. We can then point you out as examples so that others may learn from your stupidity.

  196. sadunkalon 09 Jan 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Fifi,

    >>”Misrepresenting evidence and taking things out of context so they appear to mean something other than they do is the height of dishonesty!”

    Again, I think it’s just a matter of different perspectives. You’re free to disagree but even if you do so, then at least realize that we’re talking about an insignificant minor detail.

    >>”…your attempts to claim various AIDS researchers supported your position even though they’ve clearly said they don’t.”

    What are you talking about?

    weing,

    You repeatedly bring back the self-experimentation fallacy. It’s a scientifically meaningless ad hominem and doesn’t contribute anything to any discussion. Here, check out the document titled A Check Returned and please stop bringing it up: http://www.reviewingaids.com/awiki/index.php/Document:Lang#The_New_York_Review_Affair

  197. weingon 09 Jan 2009 at 6:33 pm

    sadie,
    Why should I check out crap that hasn’t been shown to help anyone?

  198. Chris Nobleon 09 Jan 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Some “HIV deniers”, believe it or not, have actually rational reasons to keep “denying”, at least from my point of view. If someone would just show me why their arguments are not relevant or important I would immediately shut up and go discuss with HIV skeptics about it. But that didn’t happen so far and I’m afraid there is a discomforting reason for that.

    Sadun, I’ve already given you an example of where the Perth Group misrepresents and misquotes the scientific literature. This is not a an insignificant matter. The example I gave showed that the ELISA is highly specific. The Perth Group deliberately left out crucial information that is necessary to understand the paper. I don’t think you know enough about science to realize how much of a scientific no-no this is.

    It is far from an isolated incident. The entire modus operandi of the Perth Group is to sift through the scientific literature and find isolated snippets that they can string together to build a superficially plausible but meaningless argument targetted towards a lay audience.

    Whenever you read n argument from the Perth Group you should always read the original papers that they cite to see whether they realy support the statements that the Perth Group make. It’s also worthwhile searching the literature to see whether the paper is representative. It is important to read the literature as a whole and not just the cherry picked papers that they select.

    As I stated before the Perth Group’s many arguments, no matter how complex and convoluted, always ultimately come down to the existence of HIV.

    The key to the Perth Group’s argument is that there exists a set of “rules of retroviral isolation” that are necessary in order to prove the existence of a retrovirus.

    They give these two papers as evidence.

    http://www.theperthgroup.com/OTHER/Sinoussi.pdf
    http://www.theperthgroup.com/OTHER/Toplin.pdf

    The lead author of the first paper should be known to you.

    If you read the papers then it should be apparent that the papers are not about proving the existence of a virus. The viruses that they described were already known to exist at the time. They even give examples of viruses that are known to exist but cannot be purified to the standards that the Perth Group insist are necessary.

    If the papers were, as the Perth Group claims, the key papers that set out the rules necessary to prove the existence of retroviruses you would expect them to be frequently cited. They aren’t. I have asked the Perth Group to provide a single example of a retrovirus that has been proven to exist according to the standards they insist are necessary. They can’t give even one.

    The Perth Group had no idea what a retrovirus was before Montagnier and Gallo publshed their key papers. Then they became the world’s authorities on retroviral isolation. Sure. You must realize how stupid this is.

  199. sadunkalon 09 Jan 2009 at 6:50 pm

    I could equally accuse you of misrepresenting/misquoting them since you avoided mentioning that they were talking about HIV testing in Africa where ELISA was recommended to be the only test used and according to the data it gives ca. 250 times more false positives than true positives on the general population.

    You misrepresented what they were trying to represent and thus you’re deceiving people. I don’t think you know enough about science to realize how much of a scientific no-no this is.

  200. weingon 09 Jan 2009 at 7:39 pm

    sadie,

    The only thing I see is that you don’t know what the hell you are talking about. You still haven’t said what’s in it for you. Why is it so important to you that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS? The only reason it’s important to me is that with current knowledge I can help people that I couldn’t in the past. I can also help them prevent the spread of the virus. It works.

  201. TsuDhoNimhon 09 Jan 2009 at 9:15 pm

    Sadunkal said “I think it’s pretty likely that HIV/AIDS science got it wrong simply because no attention at all is being paid to alternative views and important logical questions.”

    If your profile is correct, you are 22 years old. There are people who have been studying HIV and AIDS since before you were born … and until you have read what they read, reconstructed what they saw and did, you are never going to understand it. Much of it was written before you could read.

    There was a lot of discussion about possibilities and alternatives and whatever in the early days … but as more was learned, the range of possibilities shrank to what we have now: HIV is a virus and in most of the people it infects, it damages their immune system (by a well-studied mechanism) until they develops AIDS (Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome) and some pathogen kills them because they can no longer fight it off.

    To turn things around, you would have to disprove all the viral studies, the T-cell studies, explain all the accidental infections, the infected straight transfusion recipients …. the accumulated weight of the evidence about HIV and AIDS from the past 30 years would have to be countered by either something really clear-cut and reproducible (like H. Pylori’s discovery), or disproven study by study.

  202. cognitivedissidenton 09 Jan 2009 at 10:19 pm

    TDN,

    regurgitated nonsense. yawn.

    if there was such good information about HIV, there would be a good test for it and a common response among patients. there isnt either. HIV and AIDS are brought out when and where the designations are convenient. why would there be different definitions and different transmission rates in different places for the same virus? its non-sensical. you get a cold, you get the flu, its obvious what is happening, wherever and whoever you are.

    again, i urge you all to use some common sense. we have becomes so disconnected and so dependent that we often abandon this out of fear. a life of paralyzing fear is no way to live. trust your instincts and seek life!

    Don’t let these old heads bother you Sadun (not implying that you are). You have taken their best shots thus far and come back strong. I wish I had the knowledge and dedication that you have when I was 22. Keep up the good work! And for the rest of you, a little David Bowie:

    These children that you spit on
    As they try to change their worlds
    Are immune to your consultations…
    Where’s your shame?

  203. sezwhoon 10 Jan 2009 at 4:20 am

    I could equally accuse you of misrepresenting/misquoting them since you avoided mentioning that they were talking about HIV testing in Africa where ELISA was recommended to be the only test used and according to the data it gives ca. 250 times more false positives than true positives on the general population.

    Sadun, the point was that The PG used this paper and misrepresented it to suggest ELISAs were not specific in any setting. Chris has shown why yhis is wrong.

    It is true that ELISA may be used as the only test in some health care settings to help diagnose HIV. What do you expect? Do you think Zimbabwe, say, has scientific laboratories with category 4 isolation facilities and technicians who can do expensive Western Blots for confirmation assays at $150 a throw? They haven’t got electricity, money for simple antibiotics, hospital beds or a functioning health service for god’s sake! A single WB would consume the percapita health spend for about 50 people.

    In some countries with a high HIV seroprevalence, a single ELISA will prove to be very specific. You obviously don’t understand the concept of PPV so we won’t try and go there again. In this setting ELISA is way better than nothing. Anyhow, in most countries, a second ELISA is used for confirmation, not a WB. This is a quite validated and acceptable technique – it is the one used throughout Europe, for instance.

  204. weingon 10 Jan 2009 at 6:54 am

    “again, i urge you all to use some common sense. we have becomes so disconnected and so dependent that we often abandon this out of fear. a life of paralyzing fear is no way to live. trust your instincts and seek life!”

    I don’t think you would know common sense if you found it in your soup. What does fear have to do with any of this? Do you fear fire?

  205. sadunkalon 10 Jan 2009 at 9:18 am

    >>”The PG used this paper and misrepresented it to suggest ELISAs were not specific in any setting.”

    That’s exactly where I think you’re distorting what they wrote. I think it’s absolutely fair to say that a test that gives ca. 250 times more false positives than true ones “cannot be considered specific” especially if it is the only test to be used. Do you seriously disagree with that?

    Also, if you read the rest of the paper you’ll see that there is an entire section on the “Specificity of the HIV antibody tests ” where such high numbers of specificity are presented to the reader and discussed. That sentence we’re talking about was in the ” Standardisation of HIV antibody tests” section.

    I find it ridiculous that you guys insist that this somehow shows that the paper is not scientific… Read the paper please:

    http://www.reviewingaids.com/awiki/index.php/Document:Positive_WB_Proof#Specificity_of_the_HIV_antibody_tests

    >> “It is true that ELISA may be used as the only test in some health care settings to help diagnose HIV. What do you expect?”

    I don’t disagree with that logic and neither does the Perth Group, probably. That’s why I said that this discussion is only about an insignificant, minor accusation. But nevertheless, facts are facts and undoubtedly there were many people mislabeled as having HIV, and that’s the point being made in that paper. They don’t even mention that thinking that you have an incurable fatal disease has serious consequences, maybe they hope that you already know that.

    >> “You obviously don’t understand the concept of PPV so we won’t try and go there again.”

    You ignored one important factor you shouldn’t have when you talked about PPV earlier; that the specificity and sensitivity of the tests can change dependent on the population. You failed to acknowledge that criticism of mine or respond to me in any way afterwards. Because of that I have a hard time taking that sentence seriously.

    >> “…a second ELISA is used for confirmation, not a WB. This is a quite validated and acceptable technique – it is the one used throughout Europe, for instance.”

    That really doesn’t sound good.

  206. sezwhoon 10 Jan 2009 at 10:46 am

    That’s exactly where I think you’re distorting what they wrote. I think it’s absolutely fair to say that a test that gives ca. 250 times more false positives than true ones “cannot be considered specific” especially if it is the only test to be used. Do you seriously disagree with that?


    Yes. You are looking at this out of context. the population in which this assessment was done was one with a miniscule HIV prevalence.

    Lets make it simple.
    Take a pregnancy test with 99.9% specificity.
    You decide to test 1 million men (the “low prevalence population)
    1000 test positive.
    You do a confirmatory test (waiting 9 months) and find 1 man actually has a baby (he was a transexual)
    The ratio with your tests is 1000:1 (ie 4 times “worse” than with your ELISA/WB estimation.
    You judge the pregnancy test to be “useless” because it gives 1000 times more false positives than true positives.

    Now see how I can disagree?

    Take the same test.
    You decide to test 1 million people, of whom 10 % are actually pregnant (100 000)
    The pregnancy test result for this 1 m people shows:
    True positive: 99 900
    False positive: 900
    False negative: 100
    True negative: 899 100

    PPV = 99%
    NPV = 99.99%

    In this population, the test has performed very well overall.

    Now substitute the pregancy test with “HIV ELISA” and the population with “10% HIV infected” and you have the same result.

    You ignored one important factor you shouldn’t have when you talked about PPV earlier; that the specificity and sensitivity of the tests can change dependent on the population. You failed to acknowledge that criticism of mine or respond to me in any way afterwards. Because of that I have a hard time taking that sentence seriously.

    No, it was me who said the PPV changes according to the prevalence of the population. You said:

    I’m not that sure if the PPV of ELISA will increase in a population with higher prevalence since false positives would probably also occur more often in such a population.

    Now I hope you understand that prevalence directly influences PPV, so are no longer unsure. The source of your uncertainty is because you have made an unwarranted assumption that in areas with higher HIV prevalence there will also be a corresponding and unexplained rise in the rate of false positives in the background population. This is pure speculation on your part and I would like to see some evidence that:
    (a) it even occurs and to what degree, and
    (b) how it might influence the calculations for PPV shown in my HIV example of 10% prevalence above.

    Go on, show us the figures. Put your money where your mouth is.

  207. sezwhoon 10 Jan 2009 at 10:49 am

    Damn! Why is there no preview buttone with these…

    Sadun, you say:

    That’s exactly where I think you’re distorting what they wrote. I think it’s absolutely fair to say that a test that gives ca. 250 times more false positives than true ones “cannot be considered specific” especially if it is the only test to be used. Do you seriously disagree with that?

    Yes. You are looking at this out of context. the population in which this assessment was done was one with a miniscule HIV prevalence.

    Lets make it simple.
    Take a pregnancy test with 99.9% specificity.
    You decide to test 1 million men (the “low prevalence population)
    1000 test positive.
    You do a confirmatory test (waiting 9 months) and find 1 man actually has a baby (he was a transexual)
    The ratio with your tests is 1000:1 (ie 4 times “worse” than with your ELISA/WB estimation.
    You judge the pregnancy test to be “useless” because it gives 1000 times more false positives than true positives.

    Now see how I can disagree?

    Take the same test.
    You decide to test 1 million people, of whom 10 % are actually pregnant (100 000)
    The pregnancy test result for this 1 m people shows:
    True positive: 99 900
    False positive: 900
    False negative: 100
    True negative: 899 100

    PPV = 99%
    NPV = 99.99%

    In this population, the test has performed very well overall.

    Now substitute the pregancy test with “HIV ELISA” and the population with “10% HIV infected” and you have the same result.

    You ignored one important factor you shouldn’t have when you talked about PPV earlier; that the specificity and sensitivity of the tests can change dependent on the population. You failed to acknowledge that criticism of mine or respond to me in any way afterwards. Because of that I have a hard time taking that sentence seriously.

    No, it was me who said the PPV changes according to the prevalence of the population. You said:

    I’m not that sure if the PPV of ELISA will increase in a population with higher prevalence since false positives would probably also occur more often in such a population.

    Now I hope you understand that prevalence directly influences PPV, so are no longer unsure. The source of your uncertainty is because you have made an unwarranted assumption that in areas with higher HIV prevalence there will also be a corresponding and unexplained rise in the rate of false positives in the background population. This is pure speculation on your part and I would like to see some evidence that:
    (a) it even occurs and to what degree, and
    (b) how it might influence the calculations for PPV shown in my HIV example of 10% prevalence above.

    Go on, show us the figures. Put your money where your mouth is.

  208. Chris Nobleon 10 Jan 2009 at 11:03 am

    That’s exactly where I think you’re distorting what they wrote. I think it’s absolutely fair to say that a test that gives ca. 250 times more false positives than true ones “cannot be considered specific” especially if it is the only test to be used. Do you seriously disagree with that?

    Now you are just being idiotic.

    The Voevodin paper showed that a single ELISA had a specificity of 99.9%. What the f@#$ is that if it isn’t highly specific? Do you know what the specificity of other tests are?

    The ratio of false positives to true positives depends on the prevalence in the population. In the Russian population the prevalence was only 112 out of 20.2 million. This was an incredibly low prevalence, just 0.00055%! It is utterly unsurprising that in such a low prevalence population that ther will be many more false positives than true positives. It is completely dishonest to project this ratio onto the African populations where the prevalence is several orders of magnitude higher.

    If you had any knowledge of the subject you would know that exactly the same issue is seen in other areas where screening tests are used. Routine mammograms are not recommended for 25 year old women exactly because there will be many more false positives than true positives in this population with a low prevalence of breast cancer.

    The only thing that you are demonstrating is a) your ignorance of the science and b) your bias against BigPharmaScience. The exact same pattern is seen in your attitudes towards global warming and 911. The idea that you know more than virologists, epidemiologists, climate scientists and engineers is infinitesimally small.

  209. cognitivedissidenton 10 Jan 2009 at 12:19 pm

    “The idea that you know more than virologists, epidemiologists, climate scientists and engineers is infinitesimally small.”

    More? Agreed. Better…

    Sadun doesn’t get funding or have the same heavy social pressures as these folks do. It is the foundations of science that are flawed, and although the foundations and methods used in science have allowed for the visible advances we see all around us, it is highly debatable as to whether or not these advances have truly benefited us. In the case of HIV and other commonly held myths, which are the natural results of the hierarchical system of knowledge generation that we have in the west and much of the world, the answer is most certainly no.

    9/11, HIV, global warming…nice scary bedtime stories, but its time to grow up. We see you there behind the curtain, and put on some clothes for Chris’sakes!

  210. sadunkalon 10 Jan 2009 at 12:38 pm

    I think this is pretty much pointless and again I think it’s just a matter of perspective. What we know is that the Perth Group wasn’t trying to misguide their readers to give the impression that ELISA is not claimed to be ca. 99.9% specific based on confirmatory WB, since they write that in another section of their paper which you insist on ignoring. That’s basically the end of your accusation.

    Both of you also pretend that the discussion is only about ELISA and that a “confirmation” (a positive WB?) can really confirm the alleged existence of an incurable deadly virus. That’s a major part of the PG paper questioning that assumption, which is still being ignored. You also ignore that ELISA tests were definitely being used for more than just screening purposes. Recently one of you even said that “in most countries, a second ELISA is used for confirmation, not a WB.” I’m not sure if that’s really true but if that doesn’t disturb you I don’t know what to say…

    (A comparison with pregnancy tests on men to defend the alleged insignificance of the small lack of specificity of ELISA is utterly meaningless since men wouldn’t normally get tested for pregnancy and even if they’d do it, they’d do it for fun. They wouldn’t take it seriously and expect a baby. This is SO much unlike a test for HIV/AIDS that I don’t even feel the need to explain why. Get rational. I’ll just repeat that a “HIV positive” label has extremely serious consequences for people.)

    >> “…an unwarranted assumption that in areas with higher HIV prevalence there will also be a corresponding and unexplained rise in the rate of false positives in the background population. This is pure speculation on your part and I would like to see some evidence that:
    (a) it even occurs and to what degree, and
    (b) how it might influence the calculations for PPV shown in my HIV example of 10% prevalence above.”

    I’m not even sure if such a thing as “HIV prevalence” really exists. Your definition of it seems to be that a positive ELISA and WB result equals “HIV”. Let’s assume for a while that “true positives” exist and clarify what causes the “false positives” then. What are your opinions? The paper we’re discussing may give you some hints…

  211. weingon 10 Jan 2009 at 2:40 pm

    coggie and sadie,

    I think a hundred monkeys pounding at keyboard for a day would come out with more sense than you two. Fist of all, the ELISA and WB are used in diagnosing the infection. In treatment we use viral loads. I still don’t know what you two are afraid of. You seem to be trying to reinvent the wheel and are going about it like the 3 stooges.

  212. Fifion 10 Jan 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Heh, I think calling me a “troll” is hilarious (and I’ll leave it up to the blog authors to decide who’s a troll). If you’ll notice, Sadukal continually accuses others of doing exactly what he is doing (Big Pharma when Cog’s shilling for Big SCAM, accusing others of bias but hiding his own context and self-interest, saying that it’s all just a matter of perspective/opinion/all subjective when he claims he’s being evidence base, proseltyzing here while not actually involved with people living with AIDS, etc). He’s here trying to denigrate medicine and promote pseudoscience on an evidence-based medicine blog, which pretty much is the definition of trolling when his overall behavior and obsfucations are taken into account.

  213. Fifion 10 Jan 2009 at 2:55 pm

    And how dare you try to use “shame” to try to silence me Cog – particularly since you admit you haven’t even discussed your wacky theories with your (probably imaginary) Gay “friends” even though you think it’s a life and death matter. SILENCE=DEATH. You should be ashamed of even trying that tactic on a Queer person in the context of AIDS and only someone who has no clue about the reality and history of AIDS would do something so foolish that essentially points out what an ignorant fool and hwo clueless they really are (even though they appropriate the work of a Gay AIDS denialist who died of AIDS which was about shaming – you really are lower than low in how you try to exploit and manipulate people for your own straight guy ends because you claim you’re afraid some wife you may one day have may have AIDS). You really are homophobic and homocidal.

  214. Fifion 10 Jan 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Eh, Sadukal also promotes “New German Medicine” so he’s clearly coming from a very biased CAM and anti-science perspective. No wonder he wouldn’t just be open about that there. He really seems to just want to get some attention for his blog though and to move this discussion there so he can control it and try to make his blog seem relevant. For someone who claims to work in media and communications, he’s either blissfully unaware of how propaganda works (aka an idiot who doesn’t know their own field) or he’s a propagandist himself (aka a con artist). Though I guess being 22 explains why he’s so enraptured by his own “thoughts” and “preferences” as if they’re relevant in the real world or mean something to anyone other than him! (Not that ALL 22 years old do this but one’s with a sense of entitlement and no real world experience tend to.)

  215. Fifion 10 Jan 2009 at 4:12 pm

    I’ve reposted some of Sadun Kal’s blog here so others don’t have to up his page hit to check him out. It seems he may have removed the initial obvious declaration I found regarding his interest in New German Medince since I had to google it to find it a second time.

    http://condeve.blogspot.com/2008/11/new-medicine.html

    Consciousness in Development
    Gathering Information in Support of Action

    Wednesday, November 5, 2008
    The New Medicine
    Actually I don’t know much about it myself, but since there’s so little information about it even on the internet -especially for those who don’t understand german- I decided to mention it here, The New Medicine (aka. German New Medicine):

    “German New Medicine offers a completely new understanding of what we commonly call ”diseases“. By understanding the Five Biological Laws that Dr. Hamer discovered, we liberate ourselves from the fear and panic that often come with the onset of an illness. Truly, a gift to humanity! ”

    Check it out if you’re interested. I found the explanations for diseases pretty logical. It is compatible with what I came to learn and experience about the connection between psychology and physiology; Placebo/Nocebo/Meditation/Hypnosis etc…

    ” Dr. Hamer is the first to prove scientifically that cancer, for example, is not – as previously thought – a senseless proliferation of deadly cancer cells but rather part of a Significant Biological Special Program (SBS) of Nature that has been successfully practiced for millions of years of evolution. ”

    GermanNewMedicine.ca
    NewMedicine.ca
    -Didn’t read this one but seemed like an informative article
    RenoIntegrative.com
    German New Medicine on Youtube

    Eine einfache Einleitung auf Deutsch: http://www.Neue-Mediz.in

    P.S. I accidently stumbled upon this here, doesn’t have much to do with the other new medicine: PBS Show – TheNewMedicine

    It looks like something all physicians should watch whether or not they’re convinced by the arguments of the “German New Medicine”.

    Edit: Oh and I just learned that Michael Crichton died on November 4, of cancer ironically… One can’t help but wonder; what if science was free from human bias and corporate influences..? An unfortunate event really. He was one of the few influential people who spend their time contributing positively to our society. Also George Carlin died this year. At least two valuable people left in 2008, let’s hope that the successors will make their absence less disadvantageous.

    Posted by sadunkal at 10:21 PM
    Labels: 5, adaptation, biological laws, cancer, disease, george carlin, german new medicine, hamer, healing, introduction, michael crichton, nocebo, placebo, supressed science, the new medicine

    http://condeve.blogspot.com/2008/11/new-medicine.html

  216. sadunkalon 10 Jan 2009 at 4:29 pm

    I see that I’m the only one attempting to keep this at least related to HIV/AIDS… I think it’s a little too inappropriate to copy/paste another blog post as a comment to a completely unrelated blog entry. I have no big problem with regular ad hominems -they waste a lot of time but they’re too common to get annoyed by- but with things like this it’s also getting seriously impractical and ridiculous Fifi.

    weing,

    >> “Fist of all, the ELISA and WB are used in diagnosing the infection. In treatment we use viral loads.”

    And…?

  217. sezwhoon 10 Jan 2009 at 4:34 pm

    I’m not even sure if such a thing as “HIV prevalence” really exists. Your definition of it seems to be that a positive ELISA and WB result equals “HIV”. Let’s assume for a while that “true positives” exist and clarify what causes the “false positives” then. What are your opinions? The paper we’re discussing may give you some hints…

    Sadun. Now we have tried to pin you down about HIV test specificities and HIV prevalence, I see you employ the well tried HIV denialist escape route – Deny the subject we have been discussing even “really exists”.

    Ok, let’s assume HIV exists, that the test for it (ELISA) has false positives.
    Please give references for papers demonstrating the frequency which one will encounter these.
    Then we can factor this into the PPV calculation. I’ll do it for you, if you wish, once I see the numbers.

    For example, you may decide to cite a paper showing someone with a connective tissue disease such as SLE tested false positive for HIV. Fair enough.

    But you then need to show how often this would occur in clinical practice, ie if you tested HIV negative SLE patients how many would be false positive? 0.2%? 5% 10%?

    Citations please.

    Then calculate the number of patients in your HIV screening population who are likely to have SLE (hint, it’s not many) and work out if you tested 1 million people, how many false positive HIV tests would result from SLE.

    When you’ve done all that, you will need to show that in areas of high HIV prevalence (yes, I know you are now saying it doesn’t exist, but let’s ignore that for now) there is a higher prevalence of SLE, and work out how many extra false positives this would generate.

    Let’s see the numbers, Sadun.

    Most causes of false positive HIV tests are due to laboratory factors, and are not influenced by the diseases in the tested population. If you think they are influenced to a degree that might throw off a PPV calculation, give us facts/data/numbers or something concrete to go on here, rather than idle speculation.

    Watch out; you might be invited by the PG to contribute to one of their papers next if all you can do is spout uninformed opinion.

  218. sezwhoon 10 Jan 2009 at 4:43 pm

    And another thing.
    Early on in the history of HIV testing there were an unacceptable number of false positives in some populations, some of these being surveys in Africa with high prevalence of malaria and cross-reacting antibodies. So there may be the germ of truth in what you say. But unfortunately for you, these were 1st generation assays. Now, 20 years on, we have 3rd/4th generation assays which are far more reliable, and not prone to these problems.

  219. weingon 10 Jan 2009 at 4:49 pm

    sadie,

    You are hopeless. You know nothing about medicine. German new medicine, what a bunch of crap. It just proves pseudoscience can be found anywhere. Anyone who listens to self-styled expert like you would have to be a greater moron than you.

  220. sezwhoon 10 Jan 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Here is an article on the operational characteristics of rapid antibody tests in an African population. You can check how many false positives they got using several different assays for yourself .
    http://jcm.asm.org/cgi/content/full/42/8/3850?ijkey=cdddffa394a158b92a00e0f3376d93cfdfe678a6

  221. sezwhoon 10 Jan 2009 at 5:24 pm

    There are other examples of poor references in the AIDS denialist literature. I mentioned the case of autoimmune disorders such as SLE which have been reported to cause false positive HIV tests. Some of these reports have appeared in the peer-reviewed literature, such as this one:
    False Positive Tests for HIV in a Woman with Lupus and Renal Failure.
    R. Jindal, M. Solomon, and L. Burrows – NEJMed 29 Apr, 1993, 328:1281

    Of course this was picked up by those eager to show how bad the HIV tests were. Like Christine Johnson, who published a notorious list of all the things that can cause false positive HIV tests in 1996.
    http://www.virusmyth.com/aids/hiv/cjtestfp.htm

    Robert Giraldo used the same reference as late as 2006:
    http://www.robertogiraldo.com/eng/papers/Farber_Reply_April_2006.html

    However, the original case report for the NEJM was withdrawn the year after publication, in 1994. They showed, using further tests, that the woman actually did have HIV, so this was a true positive test result.
    http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/331/13/881-a?ijkey=4620ff152f530093e83e0e76f608880c4bdc9700&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

    This retraction is easily found if one links to the original paper. One can only conclude that in using references to this paper after 1994, the HIV denialists must be:

    1. Deliberately trying to deceive their audience,
    2. So stupid they cannot conduct a literature search, or
    3. Both.

    My money’s on 3.

  222. cognitivedissidenton 10 Jan 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Yes, HIV/AIDS science does seem to be improving. Better ways to detect a virus that doesn’t exist are always being offered, better drugs to kill a virus that doesn’t exist are always being sold. The myth-makers just keep tweaking the story a little bit when it looks as if the audience is not paying attention.

    Kudos to Sadunkal for casting a wide net. I suppose most of you think that no valuable knowledge can be gleaned outside of whatever it is you call “science”. I feel for you, your lives must be tremendously boring.

  223. sadunkalon 10 Jan 2009 at 6:15 pm

    “Let’s see the numbers, Sadun.”

    I didn’t make the proposal “Let’s assume for a while that “true positives” exist” in order to discuss the PPV of ELISA. I said that so that I can use the term “false positive” without feeling like I’m being dishonest to my own views. By asking you your opinions about what causes those “false positives” I was trying to dive deeper into the logic used for believing that these things do really detect a virus. As long as the gold standard used for trying to distinguish a “false” from a “true” result is only a WB, I think it’s meaningless to talk about any PPV.

    Have you noticed the title of the paper I’ve been talking about?

    http://www.reviewingaids.com/awiki/index.php/Document:Positive_WB_Proof

    “Is a Positive Western Blot Proof of HIV Infection?”

    So anyway, maybe you already realized that before reading these. You suggested that “high prevalence of malaria and cross-reacting antibodies” could have caused “false positives”. Even though you criticized the reference used by Christine Johnson for SLE, you also seem to think that it may also cause “false positives”. Do you?

    I think the most critical point is the gold standard issue as I’ve repeated a few times already. I want to focus on that if you don’t mind. All the rest is meaningless until there is clarification about the gold standard.

  224. Chris Nobleon 10 Jan 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Sadun, here ia a simple question.

    Would a test that is 99.9% specific be considered highly specific?

  225. weingon 10 Jan 2009 at 6:45 pm

    coggie,

    You illustrate my last point.

  226. cognitivedissidenton 10 Jan 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Weing,

    I didn’t realize you had made a first point.

  227. Julianon 10 Jan 2009 at 8:56 pm

    It’s pretty obvious cog and sadun are going for the ‘If I stay here long enough, they’ll give up’ gambit.

  228. HHCon 10 Jan 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Thinking AIDS, Cancer, Syphilis, or Bubonic plague are associated with human evolution would then imply that we who have survived to this date are the most biologically fit. This simply is not correct thinking ,i.e. your human life is impervious to disease and that you are a true warrior against the elements.

  229. weingon 10 Jan 2009 at 9:28 pm

    See if they remind you of this:

    Sadie: I know how to multiply.

    Coggie: Really? Prove it.

    Sadie: 3×7=12

    Coggie: Wow! You really do.

  230. sadunkalon 10 Jan 2009 at 11:19 pm

    “Would a test that is 99.9% specific be considered highly specific?”

    I’d say yes. But to determine the specificity you have to really verify it … i.e. by looking directly at what it’s supposed to test for in those who test positive: the gold standard. In this case we’re talking about a retrovirus named “HIV” and the ELISA is claimed to be finding proteins which are specific to this virus. Therefore a close examination of the virus and its antibodies should be the focus when talking about the quality of these antibody tests.

    Plus you should also clearly understand that this isn’t the same as a pregnancy test,. It’s probably the test with the most extreme negative consequences in a person’s life if positive.

  231. Chris Nobleon 11 Jan 2009 at 5:00 am

    I’d say yes. But to determine the specificity you have to really verify it … i.e. by looking directly at what it’s supposed to test for in those who test positive: the gold standard. In this case we’re talking about a retrovirus named “HIV” and the ELISA is claimed to be finding proteins which are specific to this virus. Therefore a close examination of the virus and its antibodies should be the focus when talking about the quality of these antibody tests.

    Again your convoluted argument resolves to the question of the existence of HIV. Why bother arguing about the specificity of the tests if you are simply going to deny that the virus exists?

    I’m sure you would like all of us to run around trying to convince you that the virus exists. It isn’t going to happen. You have shown zero evidence that you understand the science. Your knowledge is restricted to reading Denialist websites. The same is true for your understanding of global warming and the events of 911.

    You are seriously mistaken about the status quo. The onus is not on everyone else to convince you. If the Perth Group were real scientists they would be researching their own theory and trying to convince the scientific community. They aren’t real scientists they are Denialists.

    If you really think that the Perth Group have a point about the existence of HIV why don’t you try to find a single example of a virus that has been proven to exist with the criteria that they insist is essential?

  232. Chris Nobleon 11 Jan 2009 at 6:03 am

    I really think you should take a look at Schmidt, and also Michael Ellner,

    Here’s an example of the “Rev Dr” Michael Ellner practising his type of neurolinguistic programming on an HIV+ person who had the guts to leave the HIV Denialist cult.

    Here are some choice comments from “Rev. Dr.” Ellner that he made to me through my apartment intercom. Through his entire rant, he constantly pressed at the door buzzer. These quotes from Ellner are on tape and on file with the New York City Police and the Anti-Violence Project. They are all real and show that leaving a cult ain’t easy:

    “You’re a lowlife scumbag. You deserve to die of AZT you prick!”

    “I said you deserve to die of AZT poisoning you lowlife!”

    “I want to talk to you in person you scumbag-eye to eye-man to man you little scumbag!”

    “I find out that your a scumbag-a total prick!”

    “I have witnesses that you had a set of keys, you came in and out, you’ve been acting weird, maybe it’s AIDS dementia you scumbag.”

    “You lying prick!”

    “I’ll break your legs you motherfucker. Let me catch you in the office. I’m going to change the locks. Let me catch you in the fucking office you motherfucker let’s see eachother on the street and let’s see what a big man you are!”

    “You don’t have AIDS! You’re a phoney, your a fake! You don’t have anything. You don’t deserve a dime! You’re a liar! What AIDS! You’re a fake!”

    “I’m going to catch you in person motherfucker, let’s see what happens!”

  233. TheBlackCaton 11 Jan 2009 at 6:25 am

    I think we are getting bogged down in details and it might pay to get back to basics here. sadunkal and cognitivedissident, please answer these two questions:

    1. What evidence would be required to convince you that HIV causes AIDS?
    2. What viruses that you accept cause disease have met this standard of evidence?

    If you cannot answer these two fairly basic questions then there is no evidence that could possibly convince you that you are wrong and everyone is just wasting their time.

  234. PaulGon 11 Jan 2009 at 6:54 am

    @The Black Cat

    “everyone is just wasting their time”

    I’m sorry, but long ago on this argument, I came to the conclusion that Cognitive Dissident and Sadunkal could not be convinced by ANYTHING that ANYBODY says here.

    A good few of us that post here have a background in science and the biological sciences in particular. Just look at the arguments presented by Chris Noble and the clear, verifiable citations, referencing valid studies.

    If somebody is not going to even “relax” their position on HIV denial, given the volume of irrefutable material covered above, then, in my opinion, they are not going to be convinced by anything.

    My null hypothesis on this would be that, even if you presented Sadunkal and Cognitive Dissident with evidence – that they demand – there would still be no difference in their position.

    CogDis in particular argues with little logical validation, almost simply in order to “have the last word” on the topic, with the added bonus of irritating the majority on the forum.

    There is no real argument on this topic and the immovable opinions of our two denialists deny all logic. You won’t convince “true believers”.

    But then again… it’s always worth testing a null hypothesis isn’t it?

    So go on people, do what the Niger cattus suggests, tell us what would convince you, revise your opinions in the face of the evidence and we’ll take another look at the null hypothesis.

  235. Fifion 11 Jan 2009 at 11:04 am

    This is a great article about the US religious and governmental involvement in Christian religious evanglicism and AIDS denialism in Africa that also raises questions Obama’s real commitment to science based medicine and how far he’s willing to bend over for the evangelical de jour.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-01-07/the-truth-about-rick-warren-in-africa/full/

    I’d say that the distance between Canadian Stephen Lewis and American Rev. Warren Buffet says a lot about the Canadian and American government’s approach not only to AIDS but to science in general. Though, Stephen Lewis has changed his focus onto women’s rights in Africa (as a foundation for helping deal AIDS).

    http://www.stephenlewisfoundation.org/news_item.cfm?news=946&year=2006

  236. HHCon 11 Jan 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Fifi, are you talking about Warren Buffet from Omaha? He’s a financial wizard and he funds women’s programs and educational training through his sister’s not-for-profit foundation.

  237. HHCon 11 Jan 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Fifi, I think you are actually referring to Reverend Rick Warren.
    I hear he is against gay marriage. But he has an AIDS relief effort going on in Africa.

  238. cognitivedissidenton 11 Jan 2009 at 1:12 pm

    HIV denialism is a cult. Pretty funny stuff. I thought I would post some of the suggestions I have been proffered on another forum:

    From Nik: Wake up…take your meds and live..or else go away and die somewhere else.

    Hanna:The only HIV positive’s who are dying are:

    1) Those who don’t take orthodox medications and
    2) Oh….never mind, there is only one group!

    more from Hanna: You’ll either take HAART and live a normal lifespan or not and die

    Mark MacDonald: Find a nice little quiet corner and wait to die in it

    So take the demonizing somewhere else. Or don’t, it just shows how desperate you are. Instead of truly addressing the opinions of dissidents, you instantly go tabloid. Bravo.

    Take a look at this clip here and tell me who appears to be promoting a cult:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpkQ5OvRNbI

    Wow…that method of argument sounds familiar!

    I love when I hear things like “volume of irrefutable material” quoted by those who promote the orthodoxy. Reminds me of something Kary Mullis said:

    “People who think any scientific fact is indisputable don’t understand about scientific facts”

  239. TheBlackCaton 11 Jan 2009 at 1:34 pm

    @ PaulG: You may be right, but what is going on right now isn’t going to get us anywhere. I think it either bet to find a way to focus the discussion on an approach that at least has the potential to be productive, or to find out no so approach is available to us.

  240. TheBlackCaton 11 Jan 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Oh, and I should add one additional requirement: the evidence must be evidence that it is ethically possible to obtain. So saying “inject someone with purified HIV and show me he or she gets AIDS” is not acceptable since it is grossly unethical and even if it did happen it could never be published in a peer-reviewed journal since no IRB (the group that oversees human experimentation) would ever approve it and no scientific journal will publish human research that is not IRB-approved.

  241. weingon 11 Jan 2009 at 2:00 pm

    I can’t find any reasonable approach for those that don’t know how to reason. Maybe it’s my character flaw, but I find these xylocephalic oligophrenics particularly rebarbative and resort to derision instead.

  242. CKavaon 11 Jan 2009 at 3:58 pm

    I get the strong impression that all the replies of sak and CD are just in order that they can use this discussion as a kind of denialist badge of honour. Along the lines of ‘This one time, I took on all the readers of this pro-orthodoxy, pro-drugs blog. They couldn’t deal with any of my arguments and just had to resort to all sorts of ad hom attacks’. Or maybe that’s just an internal monologue but either way… I don’t see any evidence that sak or CD will actually address the various holes demonstrated in their arguments or respond to any evidence presented that contradicts their beliefs. They will however continue to believe that their reasoning is perfect and that all those who think they are wrong are simply ideologues.

    Encountering denialists is always a bit depressing… every encounter further chips away at my faith that everyone possesses a basic human sense.

  243. cognitivedissidenton 11 Jan 2009 at 4:16 pm

    I’ve got one. Follow a bunch of couples over time where one partner is positive and the other negative. See if one partner gives it to the other.

    Oh that has already been done? And NONE of the partners who tested positive transmitted the disease to the ones who were negative, whether or not they were wearing condoms? I’m sold! HIV obviously exists!

    Try to explain away the Padian study all you want, but it won’t go away. It’s just so simple and obvious.

  244. Fifion 11 Jan 2009 at 4:39 pm

    HCC – Er, thanks, I got my Warrens and Buffets mixed up! Willy, Jimmy…er, care for a margharita? Yes, I did actually mean Rev Rick Warren (pardon the brain fart and thanks for pointing out my mistake!). The very homophopic evangelist who is promotes abstinence in Africa and who burns condoms like they’re books!He seems to be the “new” face of evangelicism in the US. No different than any of the previous ones really, just a young more county and western, good ‘ole boy one than huge pompadour and white suit. Apparently the super creepy Christian homophobes are going to have a lot of power in the new administration again – it doesn’t bode well for science and medicine really if he’s also saying one thing and then putting a newscaster in the job (sorry, a science reporter isn’t qualified for a job of that kind – particularly one who doesn’t even have a reputation as being knowledgable about science and medicine).

  245. Fifion 11 Jan 2009 at 4:49 pm

    CKava – “Encountering denialists is always a bit depressing… every encounter further chips away at my faith that everyone possesses a basic human sense.”

    It’s the lack of common decency that gets me and exploiting the suffering of others for ego and/or financial profit. They go on and on about false positives and accuracy – something I find quite ironic since I’ve actually had the experience of testing false positive (back in the early days). Both Sadukal and Cog have no clue – they go on about things they’ve never experienced and know nothing about here because clearly no one will pay any attention to them anywhere else. Really, they’re less AIDS denialists than AIDS exploiters.

  246. Chris Nobleon 11 Jan 2009 at 5:00 pm

    I’ve got one. Follow a bunch of couples over time where one partner is positive and the other negative. See if one partner gives it to the other.

    http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1086/429411

    Great. Now you will agree that HIV exists, is sexually transmitted and causes AIDS.

  247. TheBlackCaton 11 Jan 2009 at 5:23 pm

    I’ve got one. Follow a bunch of couples over time where one partner is positive and the other negative. See if one partner gives it to the other.

    Sure, lets see what sorts of studies have looked at that issue. I did a google scholar search for “aids couple transmission rate”. Lets look at the first four results:

    http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/331/6/341

    Of the 256 couples who continued to have sexual relations for more than three months after enrollment in the study, only 124 (48.4 percent) used condoms consistently for vaginal and anal intercourse. Among these couples, none of the seronegative partners became infected with HIV, despite a total of about 15,000 episodes of intercourse. Among the 121 couples who used condoms inconsistently, the rate of seroconversion was 4.8 per 100 person-years (95 percent confidence interval, 2.5 to 8.4). Eleven couples refused to answer questions about condom use. The risk of transmission increased with advanced stages of HIV infection in the index partners (P

    http://www.aidsonline.com/pt/re/aids/abstract.00002030-199507000-00012.htm;jsessionid=JqfD7rLsVp7mz9sH9F8yw1fTypnmbpDznjp3h3qtpXLDL9dlgK7y!-1529289070!181195628!8091!-1

    Seroincidence rates among men and women in discordant relationship were 8.7 and 9.2 per 100 person-years (PY), respectively, which was much higher than in concordant seronegative couples (men, 0.82; women, 0.87 per 100 PY).

    http://www.aidsonline.com/pt/re/aids/abstract.00002030-199101000-00009.htm;jsessionid=JqfGPCymD7kNcT1jQ1tJXyTKHQrb9Yk0s2pkNTvGtT7YT9Vs1nbX!2138746202!181195629!8091!-1

    Intensive counselling following notification of HIV-1 serostatus led to low rates of HIV-1 seroconversion (3.1% per 100 person-years of observation) in Zairian married couples with discordant HIV-1 serostatus who voluntarily attended an HIV counselling center.

    http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0140673600043312

    The mean frequency of intercourse was 8·9 per month, which declined with age and HIV-1 viral load. Members of couples reported similar frequencies of intercourse. The overall unadjusted probability of HIV-1 transmission per coital act was 0·0011 (95% CI 0·0008–0·0015). Transmission probabilities increased from 0·0001 per act at viral loads of less than 1700 copies/mL to 0·0023 per act at 38 500 copies/mL or more (p=0·002), and were 0·0041 with genital ulceration versus 0·0011 without (p=0·02). Transmission probabilities per act did not differ significantly by HIV-1 subtypes A and D, sex, STDs, or symptoms of discharge or dysuria in the HIV-1-positive partner.

    So this has been looked at, and people with HIV do give AIDS to their partners. You have one study that yo claim back ups your side, a study that the author has said has been grossly misrepresented. I have four studies, and those were simply the first four that came up in the search. The next one found says the same thing.

  248. Willon 11 Jan 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Cog, you seem to be unaware of any counter arguments to your objections, even though I’ve linked to Smith’s post on the subject. Since you clearly didn’t read it, I’m going to quote some of her key points in regards to the Padian study:

    “What’s missing from their paper is data on the distribution of follow-up of the couples. 282 couple-years of follow-up for 175 couples that are only seen every 6 months ain’t a lot. If all of the couples were followed for at least a year, that alone takes up 175 of the couple-years, and only 3 visits per couple (assuming a visit at enrollment, 6-month followup, and 12-month followup). They note that at least one couple made it the whole 6 year period, but it’s not clear from their paper how many couples had significant follow-up (and the risk factors associated with said couples). This also makes their discussion less impressive. As Hank notes, they say that “no transmission occurred among the 25 percent of couples who did not use condoms consistently at their last follow-up nor among the 47 couples who intermittently practiced unsafe sex during the entire duration of follow-up,” but was this duration 6 months? A year? More? How many sexual encounters occurred during this period? Obviously no one reports every single bit of data, but knowing even the average duration of follow-up would be helpful.”

  249. weingon 11 Jan 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Chris,
    Betcha a nickel he won’t.

  250. sezwhoon 11 Jan 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Well, Cog?
    Care to say why this study does not meet your criteria?

  251. cognitivedissidenton 11 Jan 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Oh I didn’t realize there were other studies showing HIV could be sexually transmitted. Doh! Egg on my face!

    Sigh. The tests are garbage, the theory is garbage, and the science built on this foundation is garbage. I only point out the Padian study because it especially highlights the ridiculousness of continuing to defend this theory.

    Perhaps instead of continually pummeling the disenfranchised of the world with this theory, different options could be explored. From a Celia Farber article:

    Seated next to us on the plane from Kenya back to London was a British gentleman who had been working with a water restoration program in Kenya for six months.

    “That must have been interesting,” I said. “Is the water really bad in Kenya?”

    “Oh, my God,” he said. “You should have seen it when we got there. People were so sick.”

    “Sick?” we said.

    “Mmm. They had the most atrocious diarrhea and vomiting and abdominal pains.”

    I stared at him.

    “How long had this been going on,” I asked.

    “Oh, about ten years.”

    “And did the symptoms subside when you cleaned the water?”

    “Oh, absolutely.”

  252. Willon 11 Jan 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Cog, you’re clearly ignoring the issues.

    1. You clearly defined a set of criteria for acceptance of HIV being a sexually transmitted disease. This criteria was met with the study above.

    2. I pointed out what Tara Smith said in regards to the Padian study, as a possible explanation. You completely ignore it, and just assert that what the Padian study found cannot be explained.

    Respond to these points please.

  253. weingon 11 Jan 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Coggie is full of crap and the only way someone like him could possibly learn is to put him in a Ugandan prison to be on the receptive end of HIV positive inmates. When he turns HIV+ he might realize he could benefit from modern treatment. Then again, like Maggiore, he may not. In which case, good riddance, he won’t be infecting any other people with his ignorance.

  254. TheBlackCaton 11 Jan 2009 at 8:04 pm

    I posted several more publications, apparently awaiting moderation, but it is now clear it was a waste of time. cognitivedissident provided a specific experiment that he said would convince him that HIV caused AIDS. That experiment was provided. He immediately backtracked and refused to change his mind. I see no other way to characterize this other than as a blatant lie. If cognitivedissident is willing to lie to promote his side then I see no further point in continuing this discussion.

  255. PaulGon 11 Jan 2009 at 8:16 pm

    @The Niger cattus

    I completely take your point, but these people just can’t grasp the overwhelming probability illustrated by the evidence.

    CogDis is quite right when he says science doesn’t give 100% certainties, but the balance of probability in this case is about as near as we’re going to get, and these people are STILL denying it.

    I mean (to paraphrase D. Adams), if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, spends much of it’s time on water, has webbed feet, a bill, is a bit smaller than a goose or a swan and tastes great with orange sauce, then you might have to consider that you have a small, aquatic bird of the family Anatidae on your hands…

    and I can’t reject my null hypothesis so far can I?

  256. sadunkalon 11 Jan 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Oh… A lot has been posted since my last visit. Couldn’t read it all right now. I’ll have to distance myself from this delightful exchange for at least a few days due to some other priorities. See you later, probably in a week or so. Cheers and be kind to each other. :)

  257. cognitivedissidenton 11 Jan 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Sarcasm folks! Good God. Can we have no fun at all?

    There are plenty of studies showing HIV is sexually transmitted. But who cares? There is no legitimate test for HIV! Again, I highlighted the Padian study because despite the silly HIV tests, results backing common assertions about HIV could still not be gleaned there.

    Have any of you ever really wondered about HIV? I mean seriously, have you? Was there a point in your life when you might have thought…you know that whole African monkey virus thing might be a crock, seeing as the only people this seems to be killing are poor and gay people, people who are also happen to be wished away by the more dominant elements of society.

    HIV popped up just as the backlash against the sexual revolution was occurring, and a convenient scapegoat in Africa (where conservatives in the IMF and World Bank were slashing social funding left and right) was found. HIV is a moral crusade that has turned into a pharmaceutical gravy train, and although more and more people are figuring this out, those of you who live inside this bubble of academic science sadly continue to back the executioners.

    On another site (that promotes AIDS meds) I have done my best to point out some of the side effects of these medications, because if you were to believe the posters on this site then AIDS meds should be handed out to kids on Halloween. This page offers a good summary of the effects of these medications, and if nothing else, I hope those diagnosed as HIV+ can find better options than this:

    http://www.thebody.com/content/treat/art46570.html

    Should you not feel like following this link, here are some of the side effects of the medication Derek Jarman is taking that he lists in his film “Blue”:

    The side effects of DHPG, the drug for which I have to come into
    hospital to be dripped twice a day, are: Low white blood cell count,
    increased risk of infection, low platelet count which may increase the
    risk of bleeding, low red blood cell count (anaemia), fever, rush, abnormal
    liver function, chills, swelling of the body (oedema), infections, malaise,
    irregular heart beat, high blood pressure (hypertension), low blood
    pressure (hypotension), abnormal thoughts or dreams, loss of balance
    (ataxia), come, confusion, dizziness, headache, nervousness, damage to
    nerves (peristhecia), psychosis, sleepiness (somnolence), shaking,
    nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite (anorexia), diarrhoea, bleeding from the
    stomach or intestine (intestinal haemorrhage), abdominal pain, increased
    number of one type of white blood cell, low blood sugar, shortness of
    breath, hair loss (alopecia), itching (pruritus), hives, blood in the urine,
    abnormal kidney functions, increased blood urea, redness (inflammation),
    pain or irritation (phlebitis).

    So the cure has the same effect as the disease. Hmmm…

  258. cognitivedissidenton 11 Jan 2009 at 8:40 pm

    BTW…”Blue” is a film chronicling Derek Jarman’s death from AIDS in case that was unclear.

  259. TheBlackCaton 11 Jan 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Sarcasm folks! Good God. Can we have no fun at all?

    No, I prefer not to joke around when lives are on the line. If we are right your ideas are killing people. If you are right anti-HIV meds are killing people. Either way there is far too much at stake for joking around.

    @ PaulG: I simply wanted to make a good-faith effort. I had no expectation of it succeeding. I have asked that question to many denialists and have gotten very few straight answers. In the rare cases where I have, like here, the denialist always either backtracks when shown the evidence is already around (like we just saw), tries to change the subject (like we also just saw), or just ignores the posts where the evidence was provided entirely.

    If I ever get a useful answer then I will be extremely excited, but even if I don’t (like here) it still shows that there is nothing that will change the denialist’s mind, that they are not at all concerned with finding out the truth, and that any further discussion is a complete waste of time. That is still an answer of sorts, it is still useful information. If there is no evidence that can convince people that they are wrong then there is no point giving them any evidence. If there is evidence that can convince people that they are wrong then it is important to provide that evidence as soon as possible so as not to waste everyones’ time discussing evidence that won’t change their minds. Either way the information I get from this question is useful for determining the future course of the discussion. That is why I try to always remember to ask it.

  260. weingon 11 Jan 2009 at 11:14 pm

    “So the cure has the same effect as the disease. Hmmm…”
    DHPG is the cure for AIDS? Again you show your total ignorance. You know not of what you speak.

    Felis Niger, you have more patience than I. I salute you.

  261. Chris Nobleon 11 Jan 2009 at 11:39 pm

    There are plenty of studies showing HIV is sexually transmitted. But who cares? There is no legitimate test for HIV!

    So why ask for studies demonstrating that HIV is sexually transmitted when you are just going to ignore them anyway?

    You are being dishonest. You are only interested in scientific studies when you think they support your case. You are not interested when they contradict your beliefs.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

    You need to look at the totality of the evidence
    In Gray’s Rakai cohort only about 4% of the couples were using condoms consistently. In Padian’s Californian cohort ~85% were either using condoms consistently or were abstinent.

    Nobody is saying that antiretrovirals don’t have serious side-effects.

    The side effects of DHPG, the drug for which I have to come into hospital to be dripped twice a day, are….

    As Weing has indicated DHPG is not an anti-HIV drug. It is used to treat CMV infection. DHPG does have serious side effects, but CMV infection is a serious opportunistic infection. I hope that you make the right choice about your health.

  262. cognitivedissidenton 12 Jan 2009 at 2:26 am

    None of those studies contradict my beliefs. They are irrelevant, as they are based on nothing. Again, the Padian study was only brought up because it highlights so well the hoops many of you will jump through to hang on to your theory.

    So if CMV is only a problem in one with a weakened immune system, why give them a drug that would obviously further weaken it? Unless of course (gasp) one was trying to kill this person, which pretty much seems to be SOP in HIV world.

  263. Chris Nobleon 12 Jan 2009 at 3:07 am

    None of those studies contradict my beliefs. They are irrelevant, as they are based on nothing.

    OK. It is perfectly clear now that you are not interested in any scientific studies at all. You are completely immune to any evidence.

    This is a perfect definition of Denialism.

    So if CMV is only a problem in one with a weakened immune system, why give them a drug that would obviously further weaken it?

    CMV kills. Ask David Pasquarelli.

    Do you have any drugs that are capable of stopping CMV that have fewer side-effects?

  264. sezwhoon 12 Jan 2009 at 5:11 am

    Cogdiss, you are, as Chris Noble says, completely immune to any evidence that contradicts your own preconceptions. You have repeatedly shown on this thread that you will dismiss all of the scientific evidence that punches holes in your belief system as “irrelevant”, without even looking at it.

    You do not belong on a science blog. Your faith is entirely ideological and not scientifically based. Just go away, will you? Your amusement value as an exercise in illogical debate has evaporated.

  265. PaulGon 12 Jan 2009 at 6:08 am

    I’m not sure I’d agree with “just go away”, though I can sympathise with the rest!

    Instead, how about just “be open to the scientific method, be willing to accept an established balance of probability and work with it until a better theory presents itself.”

    At present, our denialists – particularly Cog – have shown no willingness to accept such a balance of probability, despite a wealth of valid supporting evidence.

    There’s no arguing with this kind of illogical approach, especially when it appears that they’re taking more interest in a “baiting game” than proper debate. But I wouldn’t be willing to dismiss anyone without trying to educate them either.

    Personally I would recommend a good basic text which critically discusses the scientific method – Ben Goldacre’s “Bad Science” is excellent in this respect.

    Then I’d recommend some basic biology like Hans Schlegel’s “General Microbiology”.

    Understand the science first, understand the methodology, the approach and the basics of the topic.

    It is patently clear that neither of our denialists have grasped the fundamentals and until we help them to do that, they haven’t got the tools to understand the more developed arguments… and I would never dismiss a student, just because they don’t understand a topic.

    However, I will frequently cut a tutorial short when it’s obvious the student hasn’t done the required reading. Of course, at college I have a time limit with terms and/or semesters. Here, we have the luxury of simply waiting until they get an education and come back with a sensible argument.

    Until then Cognitive Dissident and Sadunkal, you are dismissed. Do the required reading and get back to us when you can.

  266. weingon 12 Jan 2009 at 10:00 am

    I think you forget about the arrogance of ignorance. You need humility in order to learn. I doubt if any of those jokers would crack a book in order to learn,

  267. cognitivedissidenton 12 Jan 2009 at 11:03 am

    Well, pertaining to CMV infection…If I view the entire HIV paradigm as fraudulent, and surely much unnecessary garbage has been built on this…

    Basically, I believe in a better way. Right now it is get HIV and die, or take the standard meds, meds which seem to give you AIDS by definition, and die. It’s lose-lose. I’m looking to throw a win in there.

    I’m no doctor, but I know that there are many out there who are finding better treatments for those who have suffered from the impact of this hateful, murderous paradigm.

    Crack a book? I’m a graduate student in biogeography, and have cracked plenty of books in my life. But I also have cracked open plenty of novels too. Perhaps this sort of thing might do some of you some good.

    The problem with you guys is that you have a realm of acceptable thoughts, and a realm of unacceptable thoughts. You have your marching orders and must continue working with them if you want to “advance” in your respective fields. Violating these orders means discharge. But throughout history it has often been those who have disobeyed orders who have made the greatest advances. These people have recognized the inherent flaws in the system into which they were recruited, and found a way to transcend them. In the end they win and everyone else wins. Unfortunately pressures are such that these people are rare.

    It’s not an easy road forward and believe me, I recognize that. Challenging social norms is VERY difficult to do and can often leave one feeling very isolated. This sort of isolation can be overwhelming and is thus avoided by many at all costs. It is my challenge not only to overcome this isolation, but help others to do so as well. It’s not a coincidence that we see people like Duesberg and Mullis operating outside of convention, because it takes truly gifted people to do so.

    Like Sadun, I’m going to step away also. It is obvious that there is nothing constructive happening here and only animosity is being accumulated. This sort of animosity only works to harden positions, and is the enemy of true progress.

  268. weingon 12 Jan 2009 at 11:19 am

    Wow, a graduate student in biogeography makes him an expert in medicine and we should all learn from him. This reminds of throwing away my encyclopedia once I got married. My wife knows everything.

  269. Fifion 12 Jan 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Heh, I love how Cog and Sad say they’re going to “step away” after being bested in every way (and to avoid addressing the evidence) and after everyone else has said they’ll no longer bother with them.

  270. PaulGon 12 Jan 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Bit of a shame really, I thought for a moment we were going to break the 300 posts barrier!

  271. Chris Nobleon 12 Jan 2009 at 6:25 pm

    It’s not a coincidence that we see people like Duesberg and Mullis operating outside of convention, because it takes truly gifted people to do so.

    A point of fact. It is every simple to operate outside of conventions.

    http://www.youstupidrelativist.com/

    It is much harder to be correct at the same time.

    But don’t worry, just stick your fingers in your ears and repeat “I’m a maverick. I’m a maverick. I ‘m a maverick” and the feelings of unease and disquiet will pass.

  272. HHCon 12 Jan 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Dr. Novella’s moderators have been extremely tolerant. Cognitive dissident could have been prevented from posting anything further after he gave us the racist genetics piece.

  273. sadunkalon 14 Jan 2009 at 6:00 am

    I’ll make a short temporary comeback because of that link to the “youstupidrelativist.com”. Chris Noble, although that link distracted me form my other priorities, I’m thankful for it. Have you bothered to understand what Bill Gaede argues? The strict distinction he makes between mathematics and physics is really fascinating, and his critique of attempting to use abstract definitions when talking about real-life physics is well founded and refreshing in my opinion. To be honest he changed the way I see physics with his focus on explanations instead of descriptions. He’s generally in an angry, frustrated mood but his ideas about physical science are amazing! To me at least… I suggest that you people try to spend a few hours to understand what he’s talking about.

  274. Chris Nobleon 14 Jan 2009 at 6:55 am

    Have you bothered to understand what Bill Gaede argues?

    Yes. Bill Gaede is a maverick who thinks outside of the box. He highlights all the anomalies and paradoxes inherent in the orthodox accounts of physics. He is unfairly shunned and censored by the orthodoxy who are just afraid of losing their highly paid jobs and their position of power. The orthodoxy are deeply afraid because they can see their whole worldview crumbling.

    Gaede’s brilliant thesis that light is a rope has never been refuted!
    http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=J-NB5vg7woM&feature=channel

    The old paradigm is falling. I suggest that you devote all of your time to bringing in the new era of Gaedian physics.

    You should immediately write a letter to the editors of Annalen Der Physik and demand that they retract Einstein’s series of 5 papers from1905.

    What are you waiting for?

  275. sadunkalon 14 Jan 2009 at 7:11 am

    You’re a physics expert now, aren’t you? :)
    Well, no… You aren’t. Anyway, I’m not going to start to discuss it here… I just felt the need to express my views about his arguments because I think they’re really significant, I think he deserves attention. And I was also going to post the link to his YouTube channel, but I forgot. So thanks again. :) I might post a few things about him on my blog in the next few months, maybe we can discuss it then. See you later… Feel free to post more links if you got any more gems. :D

  276. Nitpickingon 14 Jan 2009 at 8:49 am

    sad, you do realize that special relativity is perhaps the most-demonstrated theory in physics, and has been right in every prediction it makes about the real world, right? The best-proven one is quantum mechanics, which your favorite crank also dislikes.

    Right. They’re right. Experiments prove it. Just like HIV causing AIDS.

  277. sadunkalon 14 Jan 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Nitpicking, I really hope that you pay attention to how Gaede approaches definitions used in mathematical physics, he makes a lot of sense. Just do yourself a favor and try to understand him.

    “Experiments prove it. Just like HIV causing AIDS.”

    :D Really? Like which experiments? Anyway… I gotta get back to my other priority again, you can ignore that question, I won’t mind. But also don’t be shy if you got a surprising answer.

  278. Julianon 14 Jan 2009 at 1:57 pm

    I think that last post is all the evidence we need that Sadun isn’t actually reading people’s replies.

    Seriously, mate, all your questions have been answered. Multiple times. By different people. And with more respect then an AIDS denialist deserves.

  279. Chris Nobleon 14 Jan 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Sadun,
    this paper is for you, Bill Gaede and the Perth Group
    http://www.apa.org/journals/features/psp7761121.pdf

  280. PaulGon 14 Jan 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Just read the paper on the above link… brilliant Chris, absolutely priceless, wish I’d found it.

  281. sadunkalon 15 Jan 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Although it’s really a cool paper, it’s not related. This is for all of you: http://www.collectedthoughts.com/quote.aspx?id=11372

    Julilan, where are the experiments that prove HIV causes AIDS? I’m willing to discuss them if you can point me out one experiment that even CLAIMS to have proven it. And no, my questions haven’t been adequately answered, I didn’t even ask the really critical ones yet. But Chris Noble sensed that they were coming… We’ll talk about them alright… it’ll be interesting.

  282. sadunkalon 15 Jan 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Actually to make it simpler, we can focus on just the “HIV tests” instead of “HIV”s relation to what’s referred to as “AIDS”. Show me the experiment or the line of experiments starting from the beginning which prove that the “HIV tests” really test for the existence of a specific virus in a person. If anyone can bring up all those alleged experiments then we can look closer at them and figure out what’s going on.

  283. sezwhoon 15 Jan 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Although it’s really a cool paper, it’s not related. This is for all of you: http://www.collectedthoughts.com/quote.aspx?id=11372

    Oh the irony of you quoting Feynman!

    Why not look at another of his tales
    http://www.collectedthoughts.com/quote.aspx?id=11302

    Substitute the Talmud for the Perth Group’s “treatises on virology” and you have a pretty good idea of their approach to conventional science.

  284. TheBlackCaton 15 Jan 2009 at 2:41 pm

    @ sadunkal: This gets back to my original question: what evidence would convince you. I need you to tell us up front before I waste any more time looking for evidence.

    What evidence would convince you that a specific virus is exists in a person? And can you give any examples where this technique has been used to find other viruses?

    Without telling us this it is a waste of time trying to find evidence, because no matter what we provide you can always just say “but it doesn’t prove that there was an actual HIV virus in the person”.

  285. sezwhoon 15 Jan 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Sadun, I echo Blackcat’s call on this one.
    Tell us, and we will oblige.

  286. Chris Nobleon 15 Jan 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Although it’s really a cool paper, it’s not related.

    The whole point of the article is that unskilled people are incapable of recognizing their own limitations. It is unsurprising that you fail to see the relevance of the paper.

    Your enthusiasm for Bill Gaede’s pseudo-scientific nonsense gives most of us a good indication of your scientific literacy.

    Show me the experiment or the line of experiments starting from the beginning which prove that the “HIV tests” really test for the existence of a specific virus in a person.

    Do you honestly expect anyone to believe that after 8 months of reading Denialist websites that you are now an expert on this subject and the ultimate arbiter of the validity of the tests and the existence of HIV?

    Why don’t you give a single example of a virus that has been proven to exist using the criteria that the Perth Group are necessary?

    I’ll give you a helping hand. Here is an ISI Web of Science cited reference search to see which papers cite the two Spectra papers that the Perth Group give as references.

    Sinoussi F, Mendiola L, Chermann JC. Purification and partial differentiation of the particles of murine sarcoma virus (M. MSV) according to their sedimentation rates in sucrose density gradients. Spectra 1973;4:237-243.

    Toplin I. Tumor Virus Purification using Zonal Rotors. Spectra 1973:225-235

    1. Title: A critique of the Montagnier evidence for the HIV/AIDS hypothesis
    Author(s): Papadopulos-Eleopulos E, Turner VF, Papadimitriou J, et al.
    Source: MEDICAL HYPOTHESES Volume: 63 Issue: 4 Pages: 597-601 Published: 2004

    2. Title: HIV antibodies: Further questions and a plea for clarification
    Author(s): PapadopulosEleopulos E, Turner VF, Papadimitriou JM, et al.
    Source: CURRENT MEDICAL RESEARCH AND OPINION Volume: 13 Issue: 10 Pages: 627-634 Published: 1997

    3. Title: IS A POSITIVE WESTERN-BLOT PROOF OF HIV-INFECTION
    Author(s): PAPADOPULOSELEOPULOS E, TURNER VF, PAPADIMITRIOU JM
    Source: BIO-TECHNOLOGY Volume: 11 Issue: 6 Pages: 696-707 Published: JUN 1993

    The only people citing these two papers are the Perth Group. The only people asserting that these papers describe the “rules for retroviral isolation” are the Perth Group. If you actually read the papers you will find that the authors never claim that these experiments are necessary to demonstrate the existence of a retrovirus.

    So. Here is your opportunity to demonstrate that you are skilled and not an example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

  287. HHCon 15 Jan 2009 at 10:15 pm

    Feynman’s science arguments miss the point. The Talmud teaches law and culture. The rabbinic students were simply trying to find modern analogies to refrain from work on the Sabbath. He probably would be just as frustrated if he talked with a modern lawyer who is interested in scientific innovations.
    I glean from these comments this: Do not work on the Sabbath
    if you want to keep it holy; do not work on the front lines of disease if you insist on ignoring medical knowledge. I have seen too many workers at the hospital/facility get the same disease as their patients.

  288. sadunkalon 15 Jan 2009 at 10:39 pm

    >”What evidence would convince you that a specific virus is exists in a person? And can you give any examples where this technique has been used to find other viruses? ”

    I don’t take the quality of research on other viruses for granted and I didn’t look at any other virus in as much depth as I did at “HIV”. But many dissidents claim that that there are better examples, like the “friend leukaemia virus” De Harven worked on: http://hivskeptic.wordpress.com/2008/01/15/hiv-has-never-been-isolated-from-aids-patients/

    If such a clear and pure EM image for a new virus could’ve been acquired directly from the blood of an alleged “AIDS” patient for “HIV”, that would certainly be an impressive starting point. It’s a shame that neither Gallo nor Montagnier succeeded at (or even attempted?) purifying their alleged virus like that… After that basically they’d just have to demonstrate that what they purified is really different from all the other known entities. But some people I know dodge that argument with the claim that “HIV” is different(i.e. a lentivirus with different characteristics) and can’t be purified the same way.

    In the end as far as I’m concerned many other claims of retroviruses may also be mistaken. Plus, I actually find the comparison to other viruses scientifically meaningless. “HIV” could as well been the first virus ever to be questioned this way by skeptics. In that case you’d have nothing to compare it to. It should be one of those logical fallacies that elite skeptics love to point out when th-…oh, here it is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_tradition

    So let’s try and look at “HIV” purely isolated from the rest of virology please. I would suggest we try to agree on certain standards. Since all of you seem to have problems with what the Perth Group proposes, I’ll let you determine “rules for retroviral isolation”. Until we have clear definitions and standards, we’ll just keep talking past each other.

    So what are those rules?

    P.S. I would also love to know why you consider Perth Group’s demands irrational (if you do), but that’s just my curiosity. It’s not THAT relevant to our discussion even though it’s important. Feel free to answer.

    And Mr. Noble, I challenge you to debate Mr. Gaede since you seem to be so certain that he’s clueless. Probably appealing purely to authorities when you make such claims since you’re not a physicist.

  289. Chris Nobleon 16 Jan 2009 at 12:27 am

    De Harven conveniently leaves out many details of the isolation of Friend Leukemia Virus. The process involved multiple passage of tumour or spleen cell extracts into laboratory mice. Can we do the same with humans?

    The Friend Virus Complex is actually a mixture of two different viruses so it is not pure or isolated according to the Perth Group standards.

    So let’s try and look at “HIV” purely isolated from the rest of virology please.

    Huh?

    The Perth Group argument is that there are “rules of retroviral isolation” that are necessary to prove the existence of a retrovirus which were thoroughly discussed at the Pasteur Institute in 1973 and agreed to by retrovirologists.

    The whole argument is that HIV has been treated the same as all other retroviruses. The Perth Group argument is an Appeal to Tradition except that the “tradition” that describe isn’t even real. It is a myth. So don’t accuse me of using a logical fallacy.

    And Mr. Noble, I challenge you to debate Mr. Gaede since you seem to be so certain that he’s clueless.

    Can’t you go and take a few physics classes. The only thing that you are demonstrating in your courageous defense of Gaede is that you are incapable of telling the difference between a crank and a scientist.

    Gaede isn’t even wrong. He is just nuts. Every physics department regularly gets emails from crackpots like this who claim to have found flaws in quantum mechanics or relativity.

    Why don’t you ask Gaede if there are any experiments that do or could support his theory?

    The same question remains. What evidence would convince you that HIV causes AIDS. We’ve already had CognitiveDissonance give his criteria and then run and hide when it was fulfilled.

  290. sadunkalon 16 Jan 2009 at 5:06 am

    >”The Perth Group argument is an Appeal to Tradition except that the “tradition” that describe isn’t even real. It is a myth.”

    I would have no problem with accepting that, but…

    >” So don’t accuse me of using a logical fallacy.”

    …if they use a logical fallacy, does that allow you to do the same?

    Let me pose the question more straight-forward and possibly more offensively this time:

    Are there even any “rules for retroviral isolation”!? If so, where can they be found and what are they? If not, what kind of science is retrovirology!? What do you think?

    > “Why don’t you ask Gaede if there are any experiments that do or could support his theory?”

    Take a look at my quotes from him if you can’t be bothered to read through his work directly from the website you posted: http://condeve.blogspot.com/2009/01/i-think-this-is-very-important.html

  291. Chris Nobleon 16 Jan 2009 at 5:31 am

    Brilliant Sadun,
    You’ve finally convinced me!

    Gaede writes

    Science is not about predictions, falsification, or experimentation.

    How convenient that Gaede’s “light is a rope” makes no predictions, is not falsifiable and has no experimental evidence.

    Science is obviously about making shit up and putting it on YouTube.

    Brilliant Sadun, Brilliant.

  292. sadunkalon 16 Jan 2009 at 6:31 am

    You’re not seriously interested in it. Read it all and then try to argue against it. The ultimate purpose of science is to explain the reality. Agree or disagree?

  293. sadunkalon 16 Jan 2009 at 6:50 am

    Let me explain further: The sentence “Life is not about sleeping, eating and procreating.” doesn’t imply that those are not parts of life or that they’re not important. It just means that there is more to it, probably something more essential. And “more” might mean different things than “making shit up and putting it on YouTube”, like “explaining”: http://youstupidrelativist.com/10Gloss/explanation.html

  294. PaulGon 16 Jan 2009 at 12:12 pm

    So, let me get this straight, if argument (A1) is presented – which is unfalsifiable (which we are entirely unable to dis/prove) – you are expecting people, anybody, not just scientists, to give this as much credence as argument (A2), where the systematic use of scientific methodology can show that the probability of A2 is, say p

  295. PaulGon 16 Jan 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Bl@@dy HTML…

    So, let me get this straight, if argument (A1) is presented – which is unfalsifiable (which we are entirely unable to dis/prove) – you are expecting people, anybody, not just scientists, to give this as much credence as argument (A2), where the systematic use of scientific methodology can show that the probability of A2 is, say p is less than 0.001?

    I can feel a Flying Spaghetti Monster moment coming on here.

  296. DevilsAdvocateon 16 Jan 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Science is so much easier once you throw out all those annoying rules.

  297. weingon 16 Jan 2009 at 3:29 pm

    This sadie guy is obviously a crank. Maybe it’s me, but I’ve read his posts and still do not understand what the hell he’s talking about. I am more into economics and if I read his nonsense, then I won’t have the time to read something more productive or enlightening.

  298. Fifion 16 Jan 2009 at 3:36 pm

    weing – Yeah, totally. The attempts to redirect the conversation to his blog and promote himself seem to be his main reason for being here (along with getting people who are scientifically literate to engage in his pantomime of science so he can pretend to those who are scientifically illiterate take him seriously – no doubt he’s fooling himself too). He lists his profession as Marketing & Communication so he may work for someone in the CAM business since he seesm to bent on promoting pseudoscience that comes from Big SCAM. Whatever the case, he’s a propagandist (though maybe he’s not really aware of this since at 22 I doubt he’s got much real world or professional experience – and if he trained in M&C they soft-pedal and ethically justify their own (often unethical) profession and propagandistic activities to themselves, unlike the more critical look that’s taken in other academic fields).

  299. Fifion 16 Jan 2009 at 3:38 pm

    er, I meant…

    The attempts to redirect the conversation to his blog and promote himself seem to be his main reason for being here (along with getting people who are scientifically literate to engage in his pantomime of science so he can pretend to those who are scientifically illiterate THAT SCIENTISTS take him seriously – no doubt he’s fooling himself too).

  300. sadunkalon 16 Jan 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Paul,

    No, you got it wrong. It’s really not that easy to grasp, that’s why I repeatedly ask that you go and read all the stuff until you understand it. It’s confusing at the beginning because of what we all think we came to know about Science during all these years, but once you understand Gaede, his arguments about defining science and stuff like that become self-evident. That’s what happened for me at least… I didn’t sleep the night I discovered his website and just focused on what the hell he’s trying to say. I don’t regret it.

    Fifi,

    It’s media and communication, like computer animation, visual design, “cartoons”… not marketing. That was another one of those ridiculous claims/speculations of yours. Marketing also interests me in a way I can’t easily explain to you right now though… I wish you’d be able to realize how unscientifically you “scientifically illiterate” people communicate.

  301. sadunkalon 16 Jan 2009 at 4:48 pm

    And DevilsAdvocate, Gaede is only insisting on stricter rules and more scientific definitions. Your attempt to ridicule looks only ignorant, sorry…

    To return to the topic:

    Are there even any “rules for retroviral isolation”?
    If so, where can they be found and what are they?
    If not, what kind of science is retrovirology?

  302. Fifion 16 Jan 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Sadukal – I’m just following your lead in speculating about you in the same manner you speculate about AIDS/HIV. I have little evidence of who you are because you’ve refused to just be open about who you are and your stake vis a vis AIDS and promoting what you do – you know, the kind of stuff that’s basic in a discussion about science so that one may be clear about any personal or professional biases that may enter into the discussion – just like you’ve based your speculations about AIDS/HIV on some very unreliable things that may or may not be evidence. I consider it highly possible that you aren’t who you present yourself as on your blog. Since you buy into “New German Medicine” (but then seemed to quickly take that “interest” off your list once I mentioned it here), it’s pretty clear that you’re being intentionally deceptive and ignorant and aren’t just some innocent fool.

  303. Fifion 16 Jan 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Really, at this point I suspect you’re just trying to keep the thread going so that someone (anyone!) will click on your blog or engage there so that you get some (any!) attention and can control the conversation rather than it being in the open and uncensored environment provided by this blog. It’s hilarious that you consider yourself some kind of rebel promoting radical new thoughts when it’s reactionary, backward, pre-scientific orthodoxies based in religion that you promote.

  304. Chris Nobleon 16 Jan 2009 at 5:06 pm

    No, you got it wrong. It’s really not that easy to grasp, that’s why I repeatedly ask that you go and read all the stuff until you understand it. It’s confusing at the beginning because of what we all think we came to know about Science during all these years, but once you understand Gaede, his arguments about defining science and stuff like that become self-evident. That’s what happened for me at least… I didn’t sleep the night I discovered his website and just focused on what the hell he’s trying to say. I don’t regret it.

    We understand perfectly.

    It must be a wonderful feeling to know that 100% of scientists are completely wrong about science and you and a few select others have access to the TRUTH. This is the appeal of HIV/AIDS denial and other cults.

    It must be a wonderful feeling to know that you can just make shit up and not have to subject it to any experimental tests because it is all “self-evident”.

    An “explanation” that makes no predictions, is not falsifiable, and has no experimental support is not an explanation.

    I hope that you now attempt to convert your fellow HIV Denialists to Gaedian physics. They can stop claiming that HIV/AIDS has been falsified. They can stop demanding experiments. Why ask for an electron micrograph of HIV when the scientists are wrong about electrons.

    Here is what HIV really looks like using Gaedian HIV crochet theory.

    http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=5033925

  305. sadunkalon 16 Jan 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Fifi,

    I asked you to email me if you want real answers, you didn’t. Therefore I concluded that you’re not interested in real answers and I ignore most of what you said. I perceive you mainly as a waste of time right now, sorry if that sounds harsh but I got no reason to believe that you’re here for learning or teaching anything.

    Chris Noble,

    “We understand perfectly.”

    You don’t even want to imagine understanding such things. Your comments are full of straw man and ad hominem arguments.

    Here you people talk about rules, falsifiability, experiments etc. yet when I ask you to define the “rules for retroviral isolation”, none of you even attempt go give an answer. What am I supposed to think? Try to put yourself into my position…

  306. sadunkalon 16 Jan 2009 at 5:46 pm

    And Fifi,

    “…(but then seemed to quickly take that “interest” off your list once I mentioned it here)…”

    Again, what are you talking about? What list?

  307. Fifion 16 Jan 2009 at 6:20 pm

    sadukal – No, I’m just well versed on the history of AIDS and have seen your kind a million times – it was clear from the get-go that you’re an ideologue and interested in pseudoscience not science (as was so ably made clear by Chris again and again) and I see no point in participating in your theatrical ritual of pretend science – aka pseudoscience – that is one of your objectives here). I know, at the tender age of 22, you don’t have much life experience or any real world experience at all with AIDS and all this seems terribly new and radical to you. You probably even believe you’re “anti-authoritarian”, even though you espouse the most reactionary beliefs espoused and promoted by Fundamentalist religious authorities and the likes of George Bush (who, like you, spends his time trying to polish his turds).

    Why would I email you or visit your blog and discuss it there when you’ve failed so spectacularly to make your case here in an open, uncensored forum? Do you have some sEKrIt knowledge? Or do you just want my email so you can sign me up for spam? That seem about your level of sophistication (ie. not very). You’re not even a particularly clever troll!

  308. weingon 16 Jan 2009 at 6:44 pm

    sadie,

    The ancient Greeks philosophized about the nature of reality and speculated about definitions and were able to make progress but they did not do science as we know it and therefore could get only so far. Because of the scientific method and experimentation and not simple speculation we have been making progress in all the sciences. You will not find out more about the physical world without doing experiments.

  309. PaulGon 16 Jan 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Chris – have just ordered the whole array of colours for a display in our staff room I shall call “Pseuds Corner”, in honour of a great UK publication – Private Eye…

    http://www.compulink.co.uk/~stevemann/pseuds.htm

    Sadunkal – I’m afraid I did indeed read Gaedes’ web site, I also did a bit of YouTube watching, also did a bit of ‘phoning around a couple of physicists of my acquaintance, to get a more expert opinion than that of a humble behavioural zoologist (of almost no note).

    So far, this has been, almost the most pointless waste of time in my entire life, with the possible exception of my first girlfriend, but let’s not go there. But what the Hell, all this meant that I wasn’t marking 50 assignments on human and computer interaction.

    The general consensus of my efforts?

    The theories expressed on Gaedes’ web site are to modern scientific thought, what George W. Bush has been to the English language (American or UK).

    Where are Gaedes’ peer-reviewed theories, published in credible journals for researchers worldwide to analyse his calculations? Where even is his systematic review of the literature he denigrates?

    It’s very easy to stand on the sidelines and throw cheap shots. Quite another to put your ideas forward in a credible manner and have them reviewed by peers.

    Of course, by “peer review” we usually mean the process by which an article is investigated by other experts in the field – usually thought of as equals.

    In a search for equals, I suppose we could always give Gaedes’ stuff to a bunch of mental patients that have no idea of basic scientific methodology or even reality… waitagoddamnminute!!!! He did get it peer reviewed!!! Sadunkal read it!!!!

    Damn, knew there was a flaw in that reasoning somewhere!

    Anyway, we did manage to break the 300 posts barrier, even if we have all descended to taking cheap shots (and mine possibly the cheapest – for which you all have my apologies).

    It’s late in the UK, I’m going to bed.

  310. HHCon 16 Jan 2009 at 8:05 pm

    I received Hepatitis B immunizations in the early 1990s. I was told by state physicians and nurses that this was the best protection that we had against HIV. Is this still true?

  311. sadunkalon 16 Jan 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Straw-mans and and ad hominems appear to be the rules of retroviral isolation… It’s depressing… I wish good luck to the human race.

  312. sezwhoon 17 Jan 2009 at 4:16 am

    I received Hepatitis B immunizations in the early 1990s. I was told by state physicians and nurses that this was the best protection that we had against HIV. Is this still true?

    I fear you may have misconstrued what someone said to you. I doubt that so many professionals could have told you something that was untrue.
    What did they say?

  313. HHCon 17 Jan 2009 at 10:42 am

    sezwho : Two state hospital professionals stated this to me and others. Both were anxious for good reasons. I received this information from a male physician and a female nurse who did staff training. I remember the nurse stating that they were counting on the fact that both viruses had similar properties. The male physician wanted to protect his staff and felt he was battling HIV.

  314. HHCon 17 Jan 2009 at 11:20 am

    Back in the early 1980s, I was team meetings at another state hospital where they discussed AIDS would be a future problem for policy-making. They decided to take no action because they felt the mentally retarded population would have less exposure to the virus.

  315. sezwhoon 17 Jan 2009 at 6:11 pm

    If they thought the viruses were “similar” and that hep B vaccine offered cross protection they were singularly uninformed and profoundly ignorant. Even by the mid to late 80s enough was known about HIV to make such speculation utterly baseless.

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