One final word on all the HIV stuff for now then I’m taking a break to get in some more interesting subject matter. I’ve started responding to this comment, but it’s getting lengthy so I’m going to start it as a new post below the fold.

Matt,

Regarding being a “left vs. right” issue, who’s characterized them as such? Indeed, I mentioned in an interview here that AIDS denial runs the political spectrum. And just because it’s a “prevailing paradigm” doesn’t mean it’s incorrect, or that the left should for some reason rally against it. Aren’t progressives supposed to value logic and evidence, in addition to healthy skepticism?

I mean, come on, does anyone truly think that HIV=AIDS skeptics derive some kind of perverse pleasure from the knowledge that Africans are wasting away, or have some kind of agenda to annihilate gay people?

Where has that been said? Rather, it’s those like Harvey and Bethell that accuse those who agree that HIV causes AIDS of being racist and having an agenda to depopulate Africa.

And incidentally, if I were trying to portray myself as open-minded or progressive, I’d take great pains to distance myself from “Quackwatch” and “Dr.” Stephen Barrett. This site is, much like the initiative to Nevirapinize Africa, a wholly Bush-endorsed, right-wing venture.

Again, irony. Wouldn’t that be part of the formula you’re railing against in your post?

You’re arguing against the wrong side here, Matt. Please look over the recent posts here on this. Who is it that’s “shoving questions aside?” I and others have been happy to address any question, but what we’ve received are insults and outright threats. Dr. Bialy has even formulated a response I’m supposed to post here in order for his attacks to stop, so who’s the one stifling dissent?

Finally, yes, I will continue to use the phrase “denialist.” “Dissident” gives them an aura of credibility that I do not believe they deserve. They were given a chance here to answer questions, to show their point of view, and what was given were grevious misunderstandings or outright misrepresentations of the scientific literature (note Hank’s repeated assertions that the Padian study followed couples for 10 years, for instance). When they were confronted, they moved goalposts or simply left the discussion. When they were asked for evidence, little was provided, and when it was, it was up to 20 years old, with no research in the interim.

No one denies there are unanswered questions in HIV research–as there are in every field in science. What the denialists suggest is that we’ll never be able to answer them, and we should switch to an even more unproven paradigm, such as drug use. Again, this is reminiscent of the IDers and their assertion that “evolution is dead” and ID should now take over.

Here in Toronto where I live, a lot of people (both straight and gay) are quite open to some of the dissident points of view. Smart, inquisitive, creative, well read, primarily left-leaning people.

And therein lies some of my concern. I understand that those on the left prefer to rally for the underdog; to buck the mainstream; to examine alternatives. I’m all for that. But when does this skepticism lead to outright denial? I argue that HIV causation of AIDS has met the burden of evidence and then some. Perhaps you noted that none of the people who argued against HIV causation of AIDS were willing to explain what *would* be enough evidence for them to accept the theory; IMO, this is telling. And just because I believe the burden of proof has been met doesn’t mean we have all the info, and it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible that it’s wrong. Scientists admit this all the time–do you see the folks like Harvey admit that possibility? I sure haven’t.

Comments

  1. #1 steve s
    March 8, 2006

    If the HIV denialists were willing to be injected with HIV virus, which they claim is harmless (IIRC), would it be unethical to let them?

  2. #2 Hank Barnes
    March 8, 2006

    I argue that HIV causation of AIDS has met the burden of evidence and then some.

    Yet, you continually fail to cite the peer-reviewed, published paper where this was first done. Why don’t you direct Matt to the paper, so he can read it?

  3. #3 Dale
    March 8, 2006

    I note that at least some of the HIV denialists who are willing to be injected with HIV virus add the caveat that it be purified HIV virus; purified according to specifications that, practically speaking, would be extremely difficult or impossible to meet. In other words, it’s an idle threat.

    Having said that, I don’t suppose that anyone could stop a person who deliberately sought to infect themselves with HIV from doing so but I would consider it unethical to encourage or facilitate such an action.

  4. #4 Tara
    March 8, 2006

    Yet, you continually fail to cite the peer-reviewed, published paper where this was first done. Why don’t you direct Matt to the paper, so he can read it?

    As I’ve explained to you multiple times, Hank, because tehre is not a single paper–it’s a spectrum of papers. Why don’t you tell us what would cause you to accept the causation?

  5. #5 Hank Barnes
    March 8, 2006

    Dr. Smith,

    Why not name 2 or 3 of these “spectrum” of papers, so that we can read them, and not rely on your uninformed conclusions? (Please don’t cite the silly, anonymous NIH internet paper that isn’t even peer-reviewed.)

    Also, have you actually read these papers or do you just presume that said papers likely exist?

    Why don’t you tell us what would cause you to accept the causation?

    I’d be glad to, in fact, I’ve done it multiple times.

    Extract HIV particles from 10 different AIDS patients, culture them in 10 different labs, inject said virus into 10 different rats, see if the 10 rats lose CD4 cells and develop AIDS defining diseases.

    If they do, ya may have struck pay dirt. Then, I will have to join the club that believes HIV causes AIDS.

    Pretty simple, Tara. Has this ever been done? If not, Why not?

    Hank Barnes

    p.s. Anticipating your response (There’s no animal model for HIV!), I suggest the problem with my simple experiment, is not the rats, but the first part. I doubt you can even extract active HIV from AIDS patients, which should raise some serious eyebrows from any clear-thinking person reading this.

  6. #6 Dave S.
    March 8, 2006

    Tara says:

    As I’ve explained to you multiple times, Hank, because tehre is not a single paper–it’s a spectrum of papers. Why don’t you tell us what would cause you to accept the causation?

    It’s rather like asking which piece of the jigsaw puzzle first reveals the picture. The answer is, there is no “one piece” that does that, it’s the sum of all them that does.

    Can anyone say what the first paper was that showed the link between cholera and contaminated water? What about influenza and inhaled particles, where’s the first paper to make that link?

  7. #7 Hank Barnes
    March 8, 2006

    Dave S,

    The answer is, there is no “one piece” that does that, it’s the sum of all them that does.

    Total, unbelievable evasion. Embarrasing.

    How is that even falsifiable? Your best learned answer is, it does, because in the aggregate it does?” Wow.

    If I made the assertion that H. pylori caused ulcers, I would cite this man Barry Marshall and I would cite this paper and some of its internal references.

    Then we would have a legitimate discussion as to whether H. pylori causes ulcers or not.

    All you guys do is ignore the literature, make excuses and call people, “Denialists”.

    Hank Barnes

  8. #8 Hank Barnes
    March 8, 2006

    For an example of a real scientist, working with HIV, studying it, reading the literature, asking probing questions, I suggest you read Dr. Rebecca Culshaw (another Science Babe!), from University of Texas.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig7/culshaw1.html

    Hank Barnes

  9. #9 Francis
    March 8, 2006

    Hank:

    from the prior thread:
    WEISS RA
    HOW DOES HIV CAUSE AIDS
    SCIENCE 260 (5112): 1273-1279 MAY 28 1993

    LIFSON JD, PIATAK M, SAAG MS, et al.
    HIV AND AIDS – RESPONSE
    SCIENCE 260 (5115): 1705-1706 JUN 18 1993

    Sabin CA, Pasi KJ, Phillips AN, et al.
    Comparison of immunodeficiency and AIDS defining conditions in HIV negative and HIV positive men with haemophilia A
    BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL 312 (7025): 207-210 JAN 27

    OBrien SJ, Goedert JJ
    HIV causes AIDS: Koch’s postulates fulfilled
    CURRENT OPINION IN IMMUNOLOGY 8 (5): 613-618 OCT 1996

    SULLIVAN JS, LEARMONT J, LUMLEY T, et al.
    A DIRECT ASSOCIATION BETWEEN HIV AND AIDS IN BLOOD-TRANSFUSION DONORS AND RECIPIENTS AIDS RESEARCH AND HUMAN RETROVIRUSES 11 (10): 1147-1148 OCT 1995

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

    HOFFMANN GW
    A RESPONSE TO DUESBERG,P.H. WITH REFERENCE TO AN IDIOTYPIC NETWORK MODEL OF AIDS IMMUNOPATHOGENESIS RESEARCH IN IMMUNOLOGY 141 (8): 701-709 OCT 1990

    KURTH R
    DOES HIV CAUSE AIDS – AN UPDATED RESPONSE TO DUESBERG THEORIES INTERVIROLOGY 31 (6): 301-314 NOV-DEC 1990

    WEISS RA, JAFFE HW
    DUESBERG, HIV AND AIDS
    NATURE 345 (6277): 659-660 JUN 21 1

    JACKSON JB, KWOK SY, SNINSKY JJ, et al.
    HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS TYPE-1 DETECTED IN ALL SEROPOSITIVE SYMPTOMATIC AND ASYMPTOMATIC INDIVIDUALS
    JOURNAL OF CLINICAL MICROBIOLOGY 28 (1): 16-19 JAN 1990

    ASCHER MS, SHEPPARD HW
    AIDS AS IMMUNE-SYSTEM ACTIVATION – A MODEL FOR PATHOGENESIS
    CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL IMMUNOLOGY 73 (2): 165-167 AUG 1988

    OBrien TR, Blattner WA, Waters D, et al.
    Serum HIV-1 RNA levels and time to development of AIDS in the multicenter hemophilia cohort study
    JAMA-JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION 276 (2): 105-110 JUL 10 1996

    ASCHER MS, SHEPPARD HW, WINKELSTEIN W
    AIDS DATA – RESPONSE
    SCIENCE 268 (5209): 351-352 APR 21 1995

    HORTON R
    WILL DUESBERG NOW CONCEDE DEFEAT
    LANCET 346 (8976): 656-656 SEP 9 1995

    FOX CH, HOOVER S, CURRALL VR, et al.
    HIV IN INFECTED LYMPH-NODES
    NATURE 370 (6487): 256-256 JUL 28 1994

    HORTON R
    DO DRUGS CAUSE AIDS
    LANCET 341 (8846): 686-686 MAR 13 1993

    MADDOX J
    HAS DUESBERG A RIGHT OF REPLY
    NATURE 363 (6425): 109-109 MAY 13 1993

    Sabin CA, Phillips AN, Lee CA
    Arguments contradict the ”foreign protein-zidovudine” hypothesis – Response
    BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL 312 (7025): 211-212 JAN 27 199

    SCHECHTER MT, CRAIB KJP, GELMON KA, et al.
    HIV-1 AND THE ETIOLOGY OF AIDS
    LANCET 341 (8846): 658-659 MAR 13 1993

    BAGASRA O, HAUPTMAN SP, LISCHNER HW, et al.
    DETECTION OF HUMAN-IMMUNODEFICIENCY-VIRUS TYPE-1 PROVIRUS IN MONONUCLEAR-CELLS BY INSITU POLYMERASE CHAIN-REACTION
    NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE 326 (21): 1385-1391 MAY 21 1992

    Sarid R, Olsen SJ, Moore PS
    Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus: Epidemiology, virology, and molecular biology
    ADVANCES IN VIRUS RESEARCH 52: 139-232 1999

    EIGEN M
    THE AIDS DEBATE
    NATURWISSENSCHAFTEN 76 (8): 341-350 AUG 1989

    MOSS AR, OSMOND D, BACCHETTI P
    THE CAUSE OF AIDS
    SCIENCE 242 (4881): 997-997 NOV 18 1988

    Please feel free to answer any of the following questions:

    1. Are you professionally competent to analyze these papers?

    2. Science, unlike law, does not have one body whose proclamations by definition establish the definitive answer. (Compare NIH to US Sup. Ct.) Why, therefore, do you need a definitive first paper?

    3. There is such a thing as being right for the wrong reasons. There is also such a thing as having beliefs not sufficiently supported by evidence. If the definitive (for some relevant definition of the word definitive) proof that HIV causes AIDS was developed last week, what difference does that make?

    4. Do you agree that the current therapy protocols extend lives? If so, how are they working? What are the protocols attacking?

    cheers,

  10. #10 Hank Barnes
    March 8, 2006

    Francis,

    Nice cut & paste from Chris Noble. I’ll bet $100 bucks, you’ve read none of them.

    Answers:

    1. Yes
    2. Because most papers beg the question that HIV causes AIDS. Also nice “lawyerly” insert of word “definitive”.
    3. Stupid question. HIV was stated to be the “cause” 20 years ago. It wasn’t “proven” last week.
    4. No. Poorly. Your cells.

  11. #11 FrancisD
    March 8, 2006

    *blinks* – apparently there’s someone else by my name here.

    Can anyone say what the first paper was that showed the link between cholera and contaminated water? What about influenza and inhaled particles, where’s the first paper to make that link?

    I’d certainly cite John Snow for cholera (although Filippo Pacini might be worth a nod).

  12. #12 Dale
    March 8, 2006

    Hank writes: If I made the assertion that H. pylori caused ulcers, I would cite this man Barry Marshall and I would cite this paper and some of its internal references.

    So the paper you would cite is one written 18 years after the original papers first describing an association between H. pylori and ulcers was noted. The HIV/AIDS document on the NIH website (last updated ~ 18 years after Gallo’s original paper) and its internal citations should fit your requirements nicely.

  13. #13 Francis
    March 8, 2006

    Hank:

    for the record, i was responding to your post of 1:47 pm where you said: “Why not name 2 or 3 of these “spectrum” of papers, so that we can read them, and not rely on your uninformed conclusions? (Please don’t cite the silly, anonymous NIH internet paper that isn’t even peer-reviewed.)”

    since you’re competent, jump right in. I’m willing to have an open mind. How are these 23 papers wrong?

    While anecdote does not equal data, I will nevertheless point out that I went to a bunch of funerals for young men through the late 80′s and mid-90′s, and have not done so recently. Yet not all my gay friends are dead. And the data I’ve seen supports my personal experience: something killed a lot of people over a 15-20 year period in this country and that killer seems to have been reined in.

    So, let’s start from first principles.

    A. Was there excess mortality in the population of young men in the 80′s and 90′s?
    B. Are we still seeing excess mortality today?
    C. If not, why not?

    moving beyond first principles, and returning to my earlier point, what difference does it make if scientists’ beliefs in the 80′s and 90′s regarding the link between HIV and AIDS was unsupported by evidence?

    If we’re trying to save lives, isn’t the relevant question whether the science today supports that link?

    cheers,

  14. #14 Hank Barnes
    March 8, 2006

    Hi Dale!

    Sorry you got banned at Dean’s:( Despite our differences, I’ve enjoyed our ongoing debates.

    the NIH website

    Who’s the author? Was it peer-reviewed? In what journal can I find it?

    (last updated ~ 18 years after Gallo’s original paper)

    Hey, glacial progress! You mention: “Gallo’s original paper,” — would you care to elucidate, or is this more of hide the ball?

    To recap:

    Q: What is the first paper that demonstrated the causal connection between HIV and AIDS?

    A1: There is no paper. There is a spectrum of papers
    A2: That paper is irrelevant
    A3: Here’s a buncha papers I cut and pasted, but didn’t read.
    A4: Go find the seminal papers re cholera and influenza
    A5: Go examine the gov’t website circa 1995
    A6: fleeting reference to Gallo’s original paper

    Are there any more dodges, evasions, excuses or obfuscations?

  15. #15 Rob
    March 8, 2006

    You may wish to consider the large number of persons with hemophilia who live with (or have died from) AIDS. For the vast majority of those thousands of persons, i.e., excluding those few with shared membership in other “risk categories,” their only path to the disease was through infection with a pathogen present in blood products. Many were children who certainly did not have any lifestyle factors that would confound the possible source of their infection. Once appropriate anti-viral sterilization was introduced for those same blood products, no additional cases have occurred.

  16. #16 Dale
    March 8, 2006

    Hi Hank!

    The NIH website fact sheet on HIV/AIDS does not identify an author, nor was it peer-reviewed, although most of the articles it cites were. I note that in their 2003 J.Biosci paper Dr. Duesberg et al cite CDC and/or WHO documents (also having no authors) more than ten times. If citing documents printed or posted under the auspices of large organizations is good enough for Peter Duesberg, it’s good enough for me.

    Gallo’s original papers are of course the 1984 Science papers. Flawed though they were, they certainly started the research ball rolling. I would describe them more as the first papers suggesting a causal connection between HIV and AIDS. The demonstrations came later.

  17. #17 Shygetz
    March 8, 2006

    Hank,

    Do you have any reason to assert that he hasn’t read any of those papers? If so, please state it. If not, withdraw your unfounded statements.

    Does is matter if an NIH paper is unauthored and un-peer reviewed? No one is asking that you use that as an authority; rather, it is a source for finding the primary citations. If you want a peer-reviewed source, look at any of the refutations of Duesberg published previously (and previously cited in these threads) and use that as a jumping-off point for primary source investigation. Bring up specific papers and critique them competently (as was done with your use of the Padian paper), if you want serious, scholarly discussion.

  18. #18 Francis
    March 8, 2006

    fwiw, i’ve read the abstracts. as i don’t have a pubmed account, i haven’t read the full articles. given the discussion on Padian, i’m reluctant to argue from the abstracts. however, it appears to me that there are multiple strands of evidence, neatly condensed at NIH’s website, supporting the HIV->AIDS argument. I have yet to hear a coherent argument disproving any one of those threads, not to mention all of them.

    so, Hank, to pick one thread which appeared quite persuasive to me, please discuss the changes in rates and causes of mortality, if any, in those relying on blood banks.

  19. #19 McKiernan
    March 8, 2006

    Hank,

    I believe this best represents your views. Correct me if I am in error. Your comment from another blogsite recently :

    “Hi, I’m Hank and I’m a Denialist ! :)

    One of things I’ve learned in science, is that smart guys bluff a lot. They will use terminology and minutiae to make them sound smart, all the while talking out their arse.
    To cut through this muck, you ask 2 questions: 1. If you believe that HIV causes AIDS (and most people do), tell me what peer-reviewed paper in the scientific literature demonstrated this to you? 2. And, what evidence would falsify this view?

    If a scientist or even a lay person, (a) cannot answer these simple questions, then (b) calls you a denialist, and takes umbrage just by the mere asking, then you have learned 2 important things:

    a. He is bluffing. b. He is merely repeating views that he has uncritically accepted and digested, based on faith, not evidence.

    For the record, I do not “deny” that HIV causes AIDS. I don’t know if HIV causes sufficient T4-cell depletion to cause AIDS, and I don’t know if Dr. Duesberg’s provocative theory is correct.”

    Question, Bialy and Duesberg tell us the hiv viruses have no pathogenicity, no infection, and no sexual or blood-borne transmission. Do you agree with them that hiv is not infectious ?

  20. #20 Hank Barnes
    March 8, 2006

    Francis,

    Ok, my friend, you sound reasonable. I too lost a few colleagues to AIDS in the 1980′s. Very sad.

    I’ll be happy to start a dialogue with you. Read this short recent piece by Dr. Don Miller, and tell me what you think. Then, we can go from there.

    Dale,

    Gallo’s original papers are of course the 1984 Science papers. Flawed though they were, they certainly started the research ball rolling

    Why not tell these fine folks here how they were flawed?

    I thought somebody would have offered up the Durban Declaration as the definite statement by the virus crowd. I guess not.

    One paper cited by the Durban Declaration for proof of viral causation is O’Brien et al. (1996) Current Opinion in Immunology, 8, 613-618.

    This was the paper that supposedly “proved” that Koch’s Postulates were satisfied. Dr. Bialy has a remarkable chapter on the behind-the-scenes wrangling of the “O’Brien paper in his book. I quote at length, (and hope he doesn’t sue me!):)

    In the fall of 1994, when all his grants had become unworthy of funding, students were warned not to seek his mentorship, he was no longer considered qualified to offer graduate-level classes, and he had gone from chairman of the seminar committee to organizer of the yearly departmental picnic, I received a telephone call from Peter [Duesberg]I have always remembered as “A Night at the Opera,” even though its humor was as far from the Marx Brothers as imaginable.

    In substance, Peter tells me the following: The other afternoon, I hear from my old buddy Steve O’Brien. He is on his way to China on some NIH business and is in the Bay Area for only a brief time. But he has tickets for the SF Opera that night–curiously enough, Susa’s Dangerous Liasons–and wants to invite me to discuss old times and some important matters. The intrigue is irresistible, so I take an old tux from the closet and we meet. Coincidentally, the silver-bearded J. Michael [Bishop, Nobel Laureate, I think] is also in attendance, and waves hello. Afterwards we go out for a quiet drink, and just like in the movies, Steve surreptitiously pulls out a folded manuscript from the inside of his own tuxedo pocket, and sotto voce says, “This has already been accepted at Nature. All you have to do is sign.”

    The manuscript is one that we have already encountered–
    “HIV Causes AIDS: Koch’s Postulates Fulfilled”–except this time the authors were Peter H. Duesberg, Stephen O’Brien, and William Blattner.

    Peter told him that he would carefully read the proffered offer at redemption and get back with his response. I said to Peter something like, “Cheer up. It means you are still making big waves and they are so intellectually bankrupt, this is the option of last resort.” It did about as much to cheer him as it did me, although any notions we might have retained about the way AIDS science was supposed to operate were in tatters long before this epiphany.

    Peter spent more than a few hours rewriting the essay, which was nothing more than a recycling of the well-worn epidemiological arguments we have already examined; his efforts included altering the title to something more appropriate to the facts. And he did this with the urgency that O’Brien had conveyed on his way to the mysterious East. After several international phone calls and faxed revisions between the two, on October 11, Peter received the following:

    “I want to bring a personal reflection to your attention
    because it influenced my decision to approach you with the
    intention to sign the essay. I was outlining to my post-doc
    in China the other day some more blatant examples of fraud
    in science. As I was explaining to him how the scientific
    community had been thoroughly duped by [here a list of
    prominent names, including some we have encountered in
    the previous pages, has been deleted on advice of the pub-lisher's counsel], I realized that there was one striking
    exception, Peter Duesberg. Your skepticism about oncogenes
    made skeptics and better scientists of us all, even the
    20 plus National Academy Members that oncogenes regalized.

    But to be honest, Peter, your campaign that HIV does not cause AIDS is not so compelling and I am afraid wrong,
    just wrong. I am sorry if you think my assessment harsh,
    but having said that I believe that you should consider
    signing the article for your own good.”

    The piece, of course, never appeared in Nature. Minus the Duesberg recantation it was just another restating of the already multiply asserted but never proved. It did, however, resurface,essentially unaltered from the draft Peter had rejected, in the much more obscure journal Current Opinion in Immunology in 1996. Blattner’s name had also disappeared, yet the published version included a note that Peter had declined joint authorship, which must have completely bewildered anyone who bothered to read the article carefully enough to notice.

    Nonetheless, in this disingenuous guise, O’Brien’s publication became a key citation in The Durban Declaration and thus managed to sneak into Nature via the back door in July of 2000.

    Interesting how science works, no?

    Hank Barnes

  21. #21 Francis
    March 8, 2006

    HB: I’m fighting way above my weight class here, but I take the following points away from the Miller paper plus the Padian paper discussion.

    1. HIV exists. It passes from person to person most easily when a fluid (semen and blood are best) is injected (there’s probably a better word) into the recipient’s bloodstream. HIV passes rarely from male to female in straight sex and extremely rarely from female to male in straight sex. The transmissability rate may vary depending on the particular HIV subtype and on where the donor is in the infection cycle.

    2. HIV is apparently difficult to find in T cells and does not kill T cells in vitro.

    Now, as best I can tell, point 2 is where the rubber meets the road, because it’s not on point. The real question, from my amateur perspective, is whether HIV infects the cells which make T cells. After all, the essential hypothesis is that HIV so depletes certain aspects of the immune system such that opportunistic infections become killers. So if we cannot find HIV in the cells which manufacture certain kinds of T cells, then I think the standard theory is in trouble.

    Let me put my limited understanding in the following syllogism (corrections welcomed):

    1. Cell A manufactures Cell T4.
    2. HIV infects Cell A.
    3. Cell A makes much less Cell T4.
    4. Absence of Cell T4 leads to weird diseases.
    5. Patient dies.

    As I read it (and again I welcome correction), the Miller paper did not look “upstream” at the impact of HIV on the host cell.

  22. #22 David Lowenfels
    March 8, 2006

    Francis wrote:

    “A. Was there excess mortality in the population of young men in the 80′s and 90′s?
    B. Are we still seeing excess mortality today?
    C. If not, why not?”

    A: Yes of course.
    B: No.
    C: I believe the reason is a cultural/behavioral phenomenon. For starters, major decline in popularity of nitrate inhalants, implementation of safer sex behaviors leading to lower oxidative burden (known STDs and their immunotoxic pharma treatments)

    “moving beyond first principles, and returning to my earlier point, what difference does it make if scientists’ beliefs in the 80′s and 90′s regarding the link between HIV and AIDS was unsupported by evidence?”

    This is a ridiculous question.
    One must examine the political atmosphere at the time as well as the personal motivations of those involved: Gallo’s careerist greed and prior embarassments (HL23V), the conservative anti-gay/anti-sexual Reagan administration also seeking re-election in 1985, the failed virus-cancer research of the 70′s leaving lots of big-wig retrovirologists with fancy lab skills and mortgages to pay, etc.

    “If we’re trying to save lives, isn’t the relevant question whether the science today supports that link?”

    No because there are alternative hypotheses (oxidative stress / immune overload) which explain the apparent phenomena better than the HIV theory.

    Someone else wrote about Hemophilacs. This has been addressed by the Perth Group and others.
    Unpurified blood extracts cause inflammatory/hepatic autoimmune disorders that lead to seropositivity. Mortality rate of people who receive unpurified blood products is high anyways, no need for HIV.

  23. #23 T.M.
    March 8, 2006

    If you believe that HIV causes AIDS (and most people do), tell me what peer-reviewed paper in the scientific literature demonstrated this to you?

    I am mostly familiar with the phylogenetic work done on HIV virus populations in different people. Of course considering only the phylogeny, a harmless virus could still be transmitted, but it does show something is transmitted quite nicely.

    Refs to several cases here:
    http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JID/journal/issues/v182n3/000154/000154.text.html#rf1

    One of which is the classic ‘Florida dentist’ case.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=1589796&dopt=Abstract

    http://www.annals.org/cgi/content/full/121/11/886?ijkey=c6da688c756f62b8ab58cef3f3b247aa59810203

    “After identification of an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) patient who had no known risk factors for HIV infection but who had undergone an invasive procedure performed by a dentist with AIDS, six other patients of this dentist were found to be HIV-infected”

    It was the symptoms of _AIDS_ in both doctor and one patient that led to the discovery of HIV transmission, not the other way around. Now if the patient’s AIDS symptoms were coincidental, why did she happen to be one of the seven who also got the HIV virus? (Several of these have later died, but medication can’t be blamed for the first one, at least)

  24. #24 Hank Barnes
    March 8, 2006

    Not bad, Francis!

    Sheesh, I’d take your “amateur perspsective” over these professional obsfuscations any day of the week:)

    One thing, though. The thymus gland, a lymphoid organ situated behind the sternum is where lymphocytes (a class of white blood cells) become T cells, including the T4 Cells. Depletion of T4 Cells is the hallmark of AIDS.

    Notwithstanding the above, you’ve hit the nail on 2 points:

    The real question, from my amateur perspective, is whether HIV infects the cells which make T cells. and

    So if we cannot find HIV in the cells which manufacture certain kinds of T cells, then I think the standard theory is in trouble

    Exactly right. The first theory was that HIV infect T-4 cells and kills them directly, called lysis.

    Now, that’s been debunked, because the “experts” cannot even detect culturable virus from the T4 Cells of AIDS patients

    Plan B Theory is apoptosis, which is more ad hoc b.s. That posits that HIV magically, convinces T4 Cells to commit “suicide” (I’m not making this up), through some phantom mechanism.

    The bottom line, is nobody knows the mechanism by which HIV purportedly kills T4 Cells — they just ferociously insist that it does — even when it is barely even present.

    Why does this matter? Because from 1987 -1996, the only treatment for AIDS patients, was AZT, an old cancer chemo drug from the 1960s. It was given in 1500 mg doses daily for life

    Of course, cancer chemo is notoriously immunosuppressive, meaning it kills all types of white blood cells.

    So, in essence, the medical establishment treated people with immune deficiencies, with a highly toxic drug that caused immune deficiency.

    When AZT (mercifully) became diluted by the infamous “cocktail,” deaths from AIDS decreased — but credit was given to the new class of drugs, rather than the reduction of AZT.

    Not to go Rod Serling on you, but this has all the markings of an iatrogenic epidemic, caused by bad scientists and bad doctors.

    Hank

  25. #25 McKiernan
    March 8, 2006

    Barnes,

    Your words were:

    “For the record, I do not “deny” that HIV causes AIDS. I don’t know if HIV causes sufficient T4-cell depletion to cause AIDS, and I don’t know if Dr. Duesberg’s provocative theory is correct.”

    Your ability to move the goalpost and create a few more is quite incredible. I repeat my question:

    Given that we already know the Bialy and Duesberg positions that inform us that hiv viruses have no pathogenicity, no infection, and no sexual or blood-borne transmission. Do YOU agree with them that hiv is not infectious ?

  26. #26 McKiernan
    March 8, 2006

    Speaking of going Rod Serling, the Don Miller Jr.MD article link to which Barnes links that supports a molecular biologist from Berkeley born 1936 and scientifically places him in a discussion with Ptolemy (85-165) Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC), Copernicus (1473-1543), Pope Clement VII (1523-34),Pope Paul III (1468-1549),Galileo (1546-1642)and the Milky Way Galaxy (eons)is astonishing from a peer-review science perspective.

  27. #27 Francis
    March 8, 2006

    HB: I’m afraid I didn’t follow your last post. You wrote: “nobody knows the mechanism by which HIV purportedly kills T4 Cells” But if HIV is preventing the T4 cells from coming into being in the first place, then HIV doesn’t need to kill the T4 directly.

    If I poison a queen bee so that she gives birth to fewer and fewer worker bees over time (but those which are born are normal), I don’t need to kill the worker bees. The hive will die of starvation / invasion / other causes even though there’s nothing wrong with the worker bees except that there’s not enough of them.

    cheers,

  28. #28 Hank Barnes
    March 8, 2006

    McKiernan,

    Who gives a %@$% what your questions are? You follow me around Dean’s world and now I guess here. I have two simple tests: I converse with person X if: (a) he knows something about the topic or (b) doesn’t know much, but is interested to learn.

    You flunk both. Go bugger off, and let me have a productive dialogue with Francis, who, at a minimum, seems inclined to want to understand this complicated issue.

    Barnes

  29. #29 Hank Barnes
    March 8, 2006

    But if HIV is preventing the T4 cells from coming into being in the first place, then HIV doesn’t need to kill the T4 directly.

    Interesting hypothesis. So, how would we test that? Would we do a biopsy of the thymus (before it whittles away) to see if abundant numbers of infectious HIV are present?

    Also, Do any other viruses kill cells this way? Recall HIV has a paltry 9000 nucleotides, only a handful of proteins. It really doesn’t have much.

    I haven’t come across that hypothesis, so I’d be happy to read a paper on it. Seems like a stretch, though.

    Hank

  30. #30 Dale
    March 8, 2006

    Francis,

    HIV can kill T-cells. Not all T-cells because not all T-cells have the appropriate receptors and co-receptors that allow them to be infected by HIV viruses. Also, not all HIV viruses kill T cells because viruses isolated from different patients at different times may be genetically different, but many of them do.

  31. #31 Tara
    March 8, 2006

    Hank, have you even read anything about what you call this “phantom” mechanism, as you describe it? Here’s one paper on it, complete with mechanisms. Care to explain how it’s just “ad hoc b.s.” ?

  32. #32 Francis
    March 8, 2006

    Tara: v. interesting paper. I got about 1/4 of the summary, which imho ain’t bad for a JD.

    HB: this paper — http://www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/howhiv.htm — has a lengthy section about HIV infecting lymph nodes in a way that defeats the body’s own immune system. It seems to support my understanding.

  33. #33 moioci
    March 8, 2006

    Hank Barnes said:

    “I doubt you can even extract active HIV from AIDS patients, which should raise some serious eyebrows from any clear-thinking person reading this.”

    Where then do you suppose researchers get their samples of HIV?

  34. #34 Ivan
    March 8, 2006

    Hank- Why are rats your animal for the definitve experiment? Why would that one piece prove it for you?
    Theres no evidence that HIV infects rats. I would be surprised if it had any effect.

    Ivan

  35. #35 T.M.
    March 9, 2006

    How do you interpret the known large-scale and small-scale HIV phylogenies if not by horizontal transmission? I don’t care if I don’t know what the virus particle looks like, could be like the Enterprise-D for all I know, but the genome is spreading somehow.

    PS. Nice unintentional irony over at Dean’s world
    http://www.deanesmay.com/questioning_the_hiv_or_aids_establishment/

    In Monday’s post, he laments for “Young PhDs who are afraid to say what they really think”

    In today’s post: “Imagine yourself, a young person who recently received your doctorate, having decided that a large group of people in your field, with multiple publications to their names and infinitely more credentials than you have, are to be casually slandered as “morons”… Apparently, academic dissenters will not tolerate such behavior anymore from a “young snot punk”.

    Sorry to bring this up here, but his blog doesn’t allow new commenters. But really. Everyone who thinks young PhDs should be able to say what they really think, should be ashamed of themselves if they support someone trying to get a young PhD fired because of a blog discussion.

  36. #36 B. Spitzer
    March 9, 2006

    Hi Tara,

    I just wanted to thank you for standing up against the HIV denialists. My main interest is in the battle against creationism, but it sounds as though dealing with some of the HIV denialists is just as unpleasant and thankless as dealing with creationism.

    Three cheers for the scientists who try to keep the world of science sane for the rest of us.

  37. #37 MissPrism
    March 9, 2006

    I agree with B. Spitzer – thanks for standing up against the Intelligent Smiting Theorists!

  38. #38 Scott Kirwin
    March 9, 2006

    B. Spitzer, Miss Prism

    Sorry to pee on your parade but “HIV Denialists” and creationists have nothing in common other than they hold minority opinions.

    Since minority opinions sometimes become majority opinions (I’m thinking plate tectonics theory and global warming, both theories that started out as minority opinions that later became paradigms) we have to keep an open mind to them. However since most minority opinions are usually wrong or lack supporting evidence, we can’t embrace them all.

    You have to pick the wheat from the chaff – which means you have to think critically. Evolution has been proven over and over again, and has years upon years of evidence supporting it. HIV Theory has been around for a generation.

    If it’s still around in a century, then Science will have triumphed and men like Duesberg and Bialy will go the way of Lamarck.

    Just don’t mix your apples and oranges, ‘kay?

  39. #39 Kristjan Wager
    March 9, 2006

    Sorry to pee on your parade but “HIV Denialists” and creationists have nothing in common other than they hold minority opinions.

    As have been ably proven in the comment section of this blog, AIDS deniers argue the same way as the Intelligent Design crowd, so I would indeed say that they have quite a lot in common with the Intelligent Design Creationists.

  40. #40 Scott Kirwin
    March 9, 2006

    Kristjan
    AIDS deniers argue the same way as the Intelligent Design crowd…

    Just how is that?

  41. #41 T.M.
    March 9, 2006

    AIDS deniers argue the same way as the Intelligent Design crowd…
    Just how is that?

    One example in the “denial” thread: “Scientist X is going AGAINST the establishment, so s/he has nothing to gain by this, and must therefore be less biased.”

  42. #42 Scott Kirwin
    March 9, 2006

    T.M.
    That’s crap. I see liberals argue that way all the time against Bush/Terrorism/etc. It’s a lazy way to debate – and one that’s not used solely by ID’ers and HIV Denialists.

    Most people don’t know how to argue. They inject themselves too much into the debate, resort to fallacies, then quickly devolve into flaming. Nearly all forget that their “enemies” are living human beings with feelings and their own intelligence (and biases).

    I understand the frustration you must have with AIDS denialists. To you it is SO OBVIOUS that HIV causes AIDS that the people who argue otherwise MUST BE damaged somehow. I sympathize because I have been in knock-down drag out fights with Creationists and ID’ers, to the point where I’ve had to leave the topic for days because I was so angry.

    The problem I have is: I am convinced my friend Jeff in St. Louis and my friend Luhembe in Tanzania died of something: I’m just not 100% sure they were killed by HIV. Do I believe in some kind of conspiracy? Nope. I hate conspiracies. I am pretty damned sure that Oswald killed Kennedy and acted alone, and that aliens have NOT in fact crashed in Roswell NM.

    That said, I have seen some pretty compelling arguments that HIV does NOT cause AIDS. Arguments help me in my search to learn which side is right and in the end, discover what killed those men before their time.

  43. #43 T.M.
    March 9, 2006

    That’s crap. I see liberals argue that way all the time against Bush/Terrorism/etc. It’s a lazy way to debate – and one that’s not used solely by ID’ers and HIV Denialists.

    Do you mean my claim was crap or that the way to argue is crap regardless of who uses it? :)

    I was referring to the actual claims re: Dr. Culshaw in the “Speaking of AIDS denial” thread. I didn’t mean that all “denialists” argue that way all the time, but it certainly seems to pop up now and then, re: Duesberg & others.

    Of course, it’s just another example of the “They laughed at Galileo, but they also laughed at Bozo the clown” phenomenon, so we should keep in mind that we can’t always reliably separate the Galileos and the clowns beforehand :)

  44. #44 Hank Barnes
    March 9, 2006

    Tara,

    Hank, have you even read anything about what you call this “phantom” mechanism, as you describe it? Here’s one paper on it, complete with mechanisms. Care to explain how it’s just “ad hoc b.s.”

    Stop trying to distract us with this “drive by” cite that you probably didn’t know even existed, until Yesterday!

    The definitive argument by your side, the Durban Declaration
    cites as its primary argument, the O’Brien paper above, right? (See reference 5)

    That is the best the 500 experts have come up with to provide proof of a viral “aetiology” for AIDS, right?

    So, can you for once please focus on that, without all this static and obfuscation? Questions: (1)Is the O’Brien paper an acceptable scientific paper or not? (2)Does it prove, based on scientific evidence, that HIV satisfied Koch’s Postulates or not? (3) And, how do the shenanigans by O’Brien, detailed extensively by Bialy in his book, factor into 1 & 2?

    Answer this please without the waffle. Then, we can return back on track for a fruitful discussion.

    Hank Barnes

  45. #45 Tara
    March 9, 2006

    Just replying to your silly arguments, Hank. And talk about “static and obfuscation.” Why are you bringing up the Durban declaration? That was almost 6 years ago–the paper I cited is 2004. Did you read it? Still want to claim “phantom mechanism?” That’s the great thing about science–it keeps progressing.

  46. #46 Hank Barnes
    March 9, 2006

    Why are you bringing up the Durban declaration? That was almost 6 years ago–

    What does the year have to do with anything? Darwin wrote “Origins” 130 years ago, still a good source book, no? Einstein wrote his paper on Relativity 100 years ago, right?

    If you hadn’t noticed, a lotta great seminal scientific works were developed well before the Brittany Spears era descended on the academy.

    But are you honestly telling us that you’ve haven’t read the Durban Declaration?!!? A simple Yes or No, will suffice. I really hope it is a Yes.

    HBarnes

  47. #47 Dale
    March 9, 2006

    Hank,
    I don’t know why you insist that the Durban Declaration is the “definitive” argument nor why you insist that the arguments made in it depend primarily on the O’Brien paper. Neither the Durban Declaration nor the O’Brien paper are primary data sources although both cite primary sources. They are opinion papers, much as Dr. Duesberg’s papers on AIDS are opinion papers.

  48. #48 Guitar Eddie
    March 9, 2006

    “What does the year have to do with anything? Darwin wrote “Origins” 130 years ago, still a good source book, no? Einstein wrote his paper on Relativity 100 years ago, right?”

    The point is, man, that science has advanced quite a bit since Darwin wrote “Origins” and Einstein wrote his paper on Relativity. Some things have been confirmed and others have not. Nobody is saying that these works are any less valid. Every field of study starts someplace.

    “If you hadn’t noticed, a lotta great seminal scientific works were developed well before the Brittany Spears era descended on the academy.”

    Yeah. And what has that to do with the price of tea in China, Hank? That’s somewhat non sequiter, don’t you think?

    It’s interesting that you accuse Tara of being evasive while you bring red herrings like the Durban Declaration.

    Are you sure you are college educated? You sound more like a high school sophist.

    GE

  49. #49 Hank Barnes
    March 9, 2006

    Drat!

    I was trying get Dr. Smith to answer an important question before my nemesis (Dale) and her stooge-like flunkie (GE) interceded!

    Why don’t you boys run along, and let the good Professor, answer this very, simple basic question:

    Have you or have you not read the Durban Declaration?

    Hank

  50. #50 Chris Noble
    March 9, 2006

    Scott Kirwin writes:

    AIDS deniers argue the same way as the Intelligent Design crowd…
    Just how is that?

    Look at table 4 in http://www.duesberg.com/papers/chemical-bases.html

    Duesberg writes down “predictions” of the HIV/AIDS hypothesis and then goes on to tell us the “facts”.

    Except the only person saying that the HIV/AIDS hypothesis predicts these “predictions” is Duesberg. Ask someone working in the field if these “predictions” are really predictions of the theory and you will get a different story.

    Does that remind you of anyone? Creationists?

    Duesberg is using a classic strawman approach. It is very simple.

    Evolution predicts A
    The reality is B
    Therefore evolution is false.

    It appeals to a lay audience but is never going to convince scientists working in the field.

  51. #51 Hank Barnes
    March 9, 2006

    Chris,

    Duesberg writes down “predictions” of the HIV/AIDS hypothesis and then goes on to tell us the “facts”.

    This is a fair critique, except for one small detail. You omit any of the offending predictions. So, which predictions are wrong?

    Ask someone working in the field if these “predictions” are really predictions of the theory and you will get a different story.

    Fair enough, although I don’t know if you are “working in the field”, I’ll ask you:

    What predictions does (did) the HIV/AIDS hypothesis make?

    Now, we are finally getting somewhere.

    Hank Barnes

  52. #52 Chris Noble
    March 9, 2006

    Hank barnes writes:

    This is a fair critique, except for one small detail. You omit any of the offending predictions. So, which predictions are wrong?

    Which “predictions” are correct? You tell me.

    Here is just one of the “predictions” that are incorrect.

    Viral AIDS – like all viral/microbial epidemics in the past (41 43) should spread randomly in a population

    Just go to the CDC webpage and read it.

    You’ll find that gonorrhea infects African Americans at 19 times the rate per population of whites. You’ll find that syphilis infects men at 6 times the rate of women.

    Do all viral/microbial epidemics spread randomly?
    Does the Treponema pallidum/syphilis theory predict that syphilis should infect an equal number of men and women?
    Does the Neisseria gonorrhoeae/gonorrhea theory predict that gonorrhea will equally infect all ethnic groups?

    So Hank, can you tell us how – Viral AIDS – like all viral/microbial epidemics in the past (41 43) should spread randomly in a population – is a prediction of the HIV/AIDS theory?

  53. #53 Scott Kirwin
    March 9, 2006

    Chris
    Creationists aren’t the only ones who use the Strawman. In fact, I could argue that by equating the denialists with Creationists you are in fact trying to turn them into a strawman yourself!

    Criticize the Denialists by their arguments; don’t try to make them into what they are not. They are scientists after all who just might be right.

    I have seen men like Bialy and Duesberg painted as modern day Flat-Earthers. I am a skeptic of the first order who writes my own online journal The Razor, named after the best intellectual tool ever invented: Occam’s Razor.

    Accepted paradigms have been overthrown, but being conservative by nature I take Sagan’s advice that “extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof” and yet to see such proof from Duesberg et al. However I haven’t been able to put them down either, so I’m on the fence.

  54. #54 Darin Brown
    March 9, 2006

    Tara, I’m going to bring you back to the main topic you seem to avoiding:

    *Have you read the Durban Declaration? Do you realise how important this document was/is in establishing the consensus on HIV/AIDS?

    *Are you aware of the O’Brien (Current Opinion in Immunology) paper cited in the Declaration? Have you read it?

    *Are you aware that the O’Brien paper was cited as proof that HIV kills T-cells and the evidence of HIV being “clear-cut, exhaustive and unambiguous?”

    *Are you aware of the history of that paper as given in Bialy’s book? Do you dispute it? Are you saying Bialy is lying about this incident?

    *If this was such a landmark paper (O’Brien) why was it published in some 2-bit journal, instead of Nature of Science or Cell??

  55. #55 Hank Barnes
    March 9, 2006

    Chris,

    So, you are offended by Dr. Duesberg’s prediction No. 14:

    Viral AIDS – like all viral/microbial epidemics in the past (41 43) should spread randomly in a population.

    He did cite 2 authorities for this:

    1.Bregman et al. (1990) Farr’s Law applied to AIDS projections. JAMA 263:50-57

    2. Fenner et al. (1974) The Biology of Animal Viruses (NY Academic Press).

    Didya write angry letters to Bregman and Fenner for misleading us all these years? And, by the way, since when does a gov’t website trump peer-reviewed literature?

    It seems to me, as a general rule, viruses, particularly sexually-transmitted diseases, spread equally between the sexes. Yet, in the US, AIDS hits 85% men, 15% women. Does this not bother you at all?

    Hank Barnes

    p.s. If Dr. Duesberg’s predictions are not good, what are YOUR predictions, that would falsify the causal connection between HIV and AIDS?

  56. #56 Chris Noble
    March 9, 2006

    Hank Barnes writes:

    He did cite 2 authorities for this:

    1.Bregman et al. (1990) Farr’s Law applied to AIDS projections. JAMA 263:50-57

    2. Fenner et al. (1974) The Biology of Animal Viruses (NY Academic Press).

    Didya write angry letters to Bregman and Fenner for misleading us all these years? And, by the way, since when does a gov’t website trump peer-reviewed literature?

    Have you bothered to read the articles that Duesberg cites to see whether they support his Laws of Epidemiology?

    Reality trumps theory. Are you denying that syphilis and gonorrhea show the non-random distribution?

    The only person that claims that there is some sort of Law of Epidemiology that states that all infectious diseases equally infect both sexes and all ethnic groups is Duesberg. His purpose is quite clear. He is putting it forward as a reason why AIDS cannot be an infectious disease. If we were to accept this as a valid argument we must also accept that the same argument demonstrates that syphilis and gonorrhea are not infectious diseases.

    I notice that you failed to answer any direct questions I made.

    So Hank, can you tell us how – Viral AIDS – like all viral/microbial epidemics in the past (41 43) should spread randomly in a population – is a prediction of the HIV/AIDS theory?

    Is this a prediction of the HIV/AIDS theory? Yes or No?

  57. #57 Chris Noble
    March 9, 2006

    Scott Kirwin writes:

    Criticize the Denialists by their arguments; don’t try to make them into what they are not. They are scientists after all who just might be right.

    This is exactly what I have just done. I looked at Duesberg’s latest paper in which you would expect to find some of his best arguments for his contention that AIDS is not an infectious disease and that HIV cannot possibly cause AIDS. Instead I find this table of “predictions” that aren’t predictions and “facts” that aren’t facts.

    This is why I find Duesberg so unconvincing. If he has good arguments why resort to putting forward strawman “predictions” of the HIV/AIDS theory?

  58. #58 HIV Fence-Sitter
    March 9, 2006

    Question: has Barnes or Bialy ever offered to be injected with an HIV isolate?

  59. #59 Chris Noble
    March 9, 2006

    Hank,
    I just read Bregman et al. (1990) Farr’s Law applied to AIDS projections. JAMA 263:50-57.

    Nowhere does it make any statement vaguely corresponding to all viral/microbial epidemics in the past (41 43) should spread randomly in a population.

    I don’t think it is Bregman that is responsible for misleading us. Duesberg is.

  60. #60 Richard
    March 9, 2006

    The madness continues. I think you have done an amazingly patient job, Tara, in providing a forum in which the denialists could clearly demonstrate the nature of their arguments. It is just so bizarre to see this clinging to the idea that a failure to understand HIV pathogenesis says something about whether the virus causes disease. Everything in science should work like H. Pylori! Show me the paper! It’s also incredible that they’ve continued to get away with their suggestion that somehow drugs and malnutrition cause AIDS, when there is nothing – nada, zero – in the literature showing that either can cause immunodeficiency that is in any way comparable to the immunodeficiency induced by HIV. And the email from Matt strikes me as telling in what it assumes, as you note in your response to it.

  61. #61 Darin Brown
    March 10, 2006

    Not to beat a dead horse, Tara, but I’m really looking forward to your responses on the Durban Declaration and the O’Brien paper, regarding the questions above. This really was a major statement from the orthodoxy — the whole point of it was to stifle the fact that real debate was about to occur. And this O’Brien article, with its checkered history and publication in some obscure journal — this is one of the best citations they can muster? I don’t get it. Why couldn’t they find something a bit better?

  62. #62 Tara
    March 10, 2006

    Darin et al.,

    Yes, of course I’ve read the Durbin declaration, but you’re making way too much of it. It’s a synthesis, a position statement–the real evidence is in the literature, and that’s why the HIV hypothesis was accepted–not because of the Durbin declaration. The only people who still fawn over it are y’all.

    Regarding the O’Brien paper, I only have Harvey’s word about its past, so, well, I’ll just say I don’t know about that. (No, I’m not saying he’s lying–I’d just like to hear another side of it, being a good skeptic and all).

    Re “two-bit journal.” Where did you get that from, Darin? You wouldn’t be just uncritically repeating what others told you, would you? Surely you did your research, checked it out? The “Current Opinion” journals are huge in their fields. As noted here for Current Opinion in Immunology where the O’Brien paper was published:

    This successful format has made Current Opinion in Immunology one of the most highly regarded and highly cited review journals in the field (ISI Impact factor2003, 12.1) [2004: 11.565]

    Admittedly, not as good as Nature’s 30 IF in 2003, but if you compare it to other top journals where many HIV papers are published (such as Journal of Virology: 5.225, Infection and Immunity: 3.875, Journal of Infectious Diseases: 4.481), COI is huge in its field–to call it an “obscure journal” is beyond laughable. You’ve been misled again by your colleagues, Darin.

  63. #63 Darin Brown
    March 10, 2006

    Tara, assume Bialy is recalling all the incidents truthfully and accurately. Assuming that, I have one question:

    *If the O’Brien paper had already been accepted at Nature, why did it get demoted to a lower-level journal? Most biologists would give their right arm to have something published in Nature. And it was *already accepted*. What possible reason did they have for switching journals?

    I think I know the answer.

  64. #64 Darin Brown
    March 10, 2006

    One last question:

    It’s a synthesis, a position statement–the real evidence is in the literature, and that’s why the HIV hypothesis was accepted–not because of the Durbin declaration.

    *If the evidence in the literature is so incredibly obvious, so “clear-cut, exhaustive, highest standards of science, etc.” why was there a need to make the Declaration in the first place? Certainly the orthodoxy should have been completely confident in debating the dissidents in public in South Africa, and the Declaration should have been superfluous.

  65. #65 Chris Noble
    March 10, 2006

    Current Opinion in Immunology is an obscure journal with an impact factor of ~12.

    Duesberg published his latest in Journal of Biosciences it has an impact factor of 1.1 in 2004 up from 0.7 in 2003.

    There are many good papers in this journal but it is way down the list of journals to submit a good paper to. If your paper gets rejected from 3 other journals then try Journal of Biosciences.

    This is of course not a valid argument against Duesberg’s paper. You have to read it to judge it.

    On that note I have just come back from the library from reading the chapter on epidemiology in Fenner F, McAuslan B R, Mims C A, Sambrook J and White D O 1974 The biology of animal viruses (New York: Academic Press). Nowhere does it say anything vaguely corresponding to all viral/microbial epidemics in the past (41 43) should spread randomly in a population.

    That’s another example of duesberg’s cites not supporting his assertion

  66. #66 Tara
    March 10, 2006

    Darin, I’ll assume no such thing. Unlike Bethell and others, I prefer not to try to read minds.

    *If the evidence in the literature is so incredibly obvious, so “clear-cut, exhaustive, highest standards of science, etc.” why was there a need to make the Declaration in the first place? Certainly the orthodoxy should have been completely confident in debating the dissidents in public in South Africa, and the Declaration should have been superfluous.

    Because the “dissidents” make silly statements, such as “more and more scientists are beginning to doubt HIV causation of AIDS.” It’s simply nice to present a unified front, and make a summary of the literature to boot. I’ve participated in similar statements for evolutionary theory as well (noted here) to counter such statements.

  67. #67 Ivan
    March 10, 2006

    Tara- Exactly!

    your patience thoughout all these denialist threads has been quite simply amazing. Well done.

    Ivan

  68. #68 Chris Noble
    March 10, 2006

    Darin Brown writes:

    *If the evidence in the literature is so incredibly obvious, so “clear-cut, exhaustive, highest standards of science, etc.” why was there a need to make the Declaration in the first place? Certainly the orthodoxy should have been completely confident in debating the dissidents in public in South Africa, and the Declaration should have been superfluous.

    Why is there a need for Project Steve if the evidence for evolution is so incredibly obvious?

  69. #69 Chris Noble
    March 10, 2006

    The Perth Group have read the scientific evidence and concluded that HIV does not cause AIDS because it has not been proven to exist. Instead AIDS is in fact caused by oxidative stress from large amounts of semen.

    Duesberg has read the scientific literature and argues that HIV does exist and because it is a normal retrovirus it cannot cause AIDS. Instead AIDS is caused by recreational drugs.

    Al-Bayati has read the scientific evidence and argues that AIDS is caused by corticosteroids.

    All of these people claim to have objectively read the literature and yet reach widely different and sometimes mutually exclusive conclusions. How is this possible?

    If they are open-minded objective scientists why can’t they manage to convince each other? Why haven’t they managed to reach a consensus? Surely after 20 years the Perth Group would have managed to convince Duesberg that their ideas are correct. Or vice-versa.

    They are prepared to admit they are wrong aren’t they?

  70. #70 T.M.
    March 10, 2006

    I’ll post this new ref in this thread as well. It would be interesting to hear comments.

    The Mechanism of HIV-1 core assembly: insights from three-dimensional reconstructions of authentic virions.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16407061

  71. #71 Dave S.
    March 10, 2006

    Hank Barnes writes:

    What does the year have to do with anything? Darwin wrote “Origins” 130 years ago, still a good source book, no?

    Actually, no.

    It’s historically of tremendous importance of course, and the broad brush strokes of his theory are still correct. But nobody today would seriously use Darwin’s book as a modern source of information on current evolutionary theory. Evolution has moved vast distances since then. Even entire fields like genetics and molecular biology have cropped up.

    Science is a process, and it never stops on one paper or book and says, “There, that settles it, now we’re done.”

    Einstein wrote his paper on Relativity 100 years ago, right?

    Yes, and since Einstein published in the Annalen der Physik in 1905, that field has also advanced a great deal.

    If you hadn’t noticed, a lotta great seminal scientific works were developed well before the Brittany Spears era descended on the academy.

    Well Einstein didn’t let the fact that Newton had already published his Principia Mathematica stop him from putting forth his own advancements.

  72. #72 Richard
    March 10, 2006

    Re: epidemiology nonsense, here’s Wolf Szmuness on hepatitis B circa 1975:

    “The following factors have been found to be closely associated with the risk of hepatitis B; geography, sex, age at testing, age at primary infection, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, occupation, sharing a household with a carrier, sexual promiscuity, and immunologic responsiveness.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=1108668&query_hl=1&itool=pubmed_docsum

    Interestingly, hepatitis B also has a reverse transcriptase enzyme that it uses during its life cycle so several reverse transcriptase inhibitors (such as 3TC) are active against it, and hep B resistance to 3TC involves a mutation in exactly the same spot in the RT gene as is seen with HIV. Funny that.

    And in terms of the irrelevance of cytopathicity, which denialists continue to obsess about, here is a highly relevant quote from an immunologist not involved in HIV research who studies T cell activation and differentiation:

    “Crucially, cells progressively become more unstable with each cycle of activation and rest, and less likely to survive further re-stimulation.”

    http://webrheum.bham.ac.uk/staff/mikesalmon/salmonm.html

    The canonical immunological feature of HIV infection is a progressive shift in the balance between short-lived activated T cells and long-lived resting T cells:
    http://www.jci.org/cgi/content/full/112/6/956

  73. #73 Pinko Punko
    March 11, 2006

    Denialists have no understanding of how science functions AT ALL. Yes, there is sloppy work, and yes people can have agendas, but given that research is a competitive arena, it is just not plausible that research will continue to ignore the fact that somehow HIV might not cause AIDS. It is just ludicrous, and the denialists must rely on a huge conspiracy theory. Of course peeps like Hank would just say “well, look at a, b, and c where scientists were wrong”. That is just misdirection, in those cases being wrong most likely was due to what is always the case, holes in our knowledge, holes that were almost uniformly filled by the normal pursuit of science, NOT by crackpot “dissenters”- but by actual researchers within the actual fields of study.

    Big surprise. Big big surprise. How do you like them apples, Hank!

  74. #74 Richard
    March 11, 2006

    In terms of the epidemiology issue, here is Wolf Szmuness on Hepatitis B circa 1975:

    “The following factors have been found to be closely associated with the risk of hepatitis B; geography, sex, age at testing, age at primary infection, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, occupation, sharing a household with a carrier, sexual promiscuity, and immunologic responsiveness.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=1108668&query_hl=5&itool=pubmed_docsum

    Interestingly, hepatitis B also possesses a reverse transcriptase enzyme that it uses in an intermediate step of its life cycle. Hence several antiretroviral reverse transcriptase inhibitors are also active against hepatitis B (e.g. 3TC). The mutation in the RT gene that causes hep B resistance to 3TC occurs at exactly the same position as the RT mutation in HIV that causes 3TC resistance.

  75. #75 Erik 12345
    March 11, 2006

    Like other commenters, I’d like to thank Tara Smith for having the energy to address the HIV denial. Thanks!

  76. #76 Chris Noble
    March 12, 2006

    The book that Duesberg cites as a reference for his claims that infectious diseases always spread randomly does not support his claim.

    Fenner F, McAuslan B R, Mims C A, Sambrook J and White D O 1974 The biology of animal viruses.

    Worse than that it has a chapter on persistent infections including examples of both latent and chronic infections. This directly contradicts Duesberg’s assertion that viruses cause disease straight away or not at all.

    It also has a chapter on viral infections causing immune suppression! This is in 1974.

    What sort of mind cites this book in order to support his claims that HIV cannot possibly cause AIDS?

    The book also has a chapter on the evolutionary aspects of the interaction between myxoma virus and rabbits.

    It is also worth noting that when the myxoma virus was introduced into rabbits in Australia to control the plague some people argued that this virus was responsible for an outbreak of encephalitis that occured at the same time. The scientists including Macfarlane Burnett argued that it was completely harmless to humans. They were challenged to inject themselves. Fenner, Macfarlane Burnet, and Clunies Ross all injected themselves with a massive dose of myxoma virus.

  77. #77 Chris Noble
    March 12, 2006

    On the subject of all infectious diseases spreading non-randomly and the lack of evidence for this assertion I had a look at the Tool for the Truth

    It states:
    Based on common characteristics of all orthodox infectious diseases, infectious AIDS would be predicted to:
    (1) Spread randomly between the sexes. This is just as true for venereal as for other infectious diseases (Judson et al., 1980; Haverkos, 1990).

    The first reference is found here Judson et al., 1980

    The paper shows that gonorrhea and syphilis are non randomly distributed. Both have significantly higher prevalence in homosexual men compared to heterosexual men and a higher prevalence in Afrian Americans compared to whites.

    The paper in no way supports Duesberg’s claim.

    This is just one more example of Duesberg citing papers that don’t support his claims. It is also from the paper which Bialy claims refutes the damning accusation that Duesberg “misquotes and draws inferences that are not appropriate from the data in the papers he cites”.

    Citing a paper that demonstrates non-random distributions of gonorrhea, syphilis and hepatitis B to support a claim that all orthodox infectious diseases are randomly spread between the sexes is dishonest and remarkably stupid.

    Added to that the current statistics for syphilis in the US show a much higher male to female ratio than that for new AIDS diagnoses.

  78. #78 jeff sullivan
    March 13, 2006

    Chris,

    Does it matter that Duesberg was stating that new infectious diseases are random? Are syphilis and other classic std’s old diseases? What about random spread in Africa? Are we that much different than them?

  79. #79 windy
    March 14, 2006

    Does it matter that Duesberg was stating that new infectious diseases are random?

    Of course it matters, if he claimed that this proves HIV is not infectious.

    Plus in science there’s this whole “it would be nice if all your references say what you claim they say” thing.

  80. #80 McKiernan
    March 14, 2006

    Duesberg points out the US/European model of AIDs is non-random (males)and the African model of AIDs is random (males and females). A pathogenic virus knows no such social distinctions. So there is a disconnect in the infectious model of HIV.

  81. #81 B. Spitzer
    March 14, 2006

    “A pathogenic virus knows no such social distinctions.”

    We are talking about a sexually transmitted disease, aren’t we? If patterns of sexual behavior in one society are different from the patterns of sexual behavior in another, we would *expect* to see differences in the patterns of transmission.

    Patterns of sexual behavior and needle sharing are likely to be quite different in the industrialized Western countries than they are in Africa. Furthermore, while a sexually transmitted disease should first appear in the most sexually active part of a population (young males, typically), the transmission dynamics will change as the spread of the disease continues and it enters the “mainstream” of the population; for example, we expect to see more infections of women as the epidemic progresses.

    The use of different models of transmission for US/Europe than for Africa is not “a disconnect”. It’s the application of common sense. It’s the same disease, but the context in which the disease is spreading is quite different. And– I should add– the spread of the disease is different in ***exactly the way that we would expect it to be different*** if it’s a sexually-transmitted virus.

  82. #82 Hank Barnes
    March 14, 2006

    We are talking about a sexually transmitted disease, aren’t we?

    Well, that’s the assumption, but the assumption, in my view is wrong.

    We already discussed Padian, at length, the longest and largest American epidemiological study of heterosexual transmission of HIV — in San Francisco, ground zero of the so-called epidemic. And it found “no seroconversions.” (Padian, pg 354.)

    In Africa, we have the thoughtful and meticulous work of
    Dr. Gisselquist. The good doctor writes in the peer-reviewed literature, that heterosexual transmission simply does not account for the number of AIDS cases in Africa.

    This makes sense, too. Sexual reproduction is 1 of 2 critical components of evolution. It strikes me as bizarre that after 5 million years of human sexual reproduction, in 1984, we have a buncha US “virus hunters,” who find a heretofore dormant retrovirus, and then boldly proclaim that such virus will kill us all, thru sex.

    The sex=death paradigm is simply foolish. It doesn’t add up, in my view. Read Gisselquist, though, and decide for yourself.

    Barnes

  83. #83 Scott Kirwin
    March 14, 2006

    Gisselquists paper doesn’t directly challenge the HIV hypothesis, although it does suggest that unsafe medical practices instead of sexual transmission are the cause of Africa’s AIDS epidemic.

  84. #84 windy
    March 14, 2006

    …boldly proclaim that such virus will kill us all, thru sex.

    It’s unlikely that any virus would “kill us all”, but why would viruses play nice and avoid one of the most obvious ways of getting from host to host?

    Gisselquist’s study finds “HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa not explained by sexual or vertical transmission.” Why so, if it’s a dormant retrovirus?

  85. #85 Chris Noble
    March 14, 2006

    Jeff Sullivan writes:

    Does it matter that Duesberg was stating that new infectious diseases are random? Are syphilis and other classic std’s old diseases? What about random spread in Africa? Are we that much different than them?

    Of course it matters what Duesberg argues. You can’t just say “HIV cannot cause AIDS”. You have to provide reasons. Good reasons.

    The problem with the arguments that Duesberg presents is that if Duesberg were honest he would also have to apply then to other infectious diseases. Why doesn’t Duesberg argue that syphilis and gonorrhea are not infectious diseases.

    Infectious diseases have risk factors for transmission. These risk factors are non-random. The risk factor for malaria, the anopheles mosquito, is non-randomly distributed.

    The risk factors for transmission of gonorrhea are non-randomly spread. Homosexual men have a much higher risk. This can lead to very non-random distributions.

    The risk factors for the transmission of HIV are non-random. Number of sexual partners varies. It is not just behavioural factors that can vary but also other factors that are socio-economic. Viral load is a major factor that determines transmission risk. People with HIV in Africa tend to have higher viral loads due to other health factors and are therefore more infectious. Genital ulcers are also another factor that influences transmission risk. People in western countries generally have better health. As Hank kindly pointed out iatrogenic transmission of HIV is also a factor in Africa. Iatrogenic transmission in western countries is now very rare after blood products were screened for HIV.

    The important factor is the basic reproduction number. If on average every person infected with HIV infects less that one person then the prevalence will decline. If the reproduction number is greater than one the prevalence will increase exponentially. It is an inherently non-linear relationship between risk factors and the size of the epidemic.

    In most western countries the reproduction number for healthy heterosexual non-injecting-drug-users is less than 1. This doesn’t mean that people are not at risk but that the probability of a wide spread epidemic in this sub-population is very low.
    In various gay sub-groups in the early 80s the reproduction number was greater than 1. Behavioural change in the late 80s and early 90s reduced the reproduction number in this subpopulation

    In sub-Saharan Africa the reproduction number for HIV in the general population is greater than 1. This does not mean they are so different from us.

    I hope that helps.
    I await the flood of Denialists calling me homophobic and racist.

  86. #86 Chris Noble
    March 15, 2006

    Hank,
    stop misrepresenting Padian.

    A good question to ask yourself is if I asked Padian whether this was a fair representation of her study would she agree?

    You are going nowhere fast with Gisselquist. Gisselquist does not deny that HIV is spread sexually. The only argument is the proportion of HIV spread by dirty needles and that spread by sex.

    Gisselquist claims that the majority of HIV in sub-Saharan African is spread by dirty needles. The vast majority of other researchers argue that the proportion is much less.

    Gisselquist uses data from the 80s in his studies.

    Newer data does not support his assertions.

    http://tinyurl.com/nyghv
    http://tinyurl.com/l77ps

    Most people agree that dirty needles have contributed to the epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa and that these issues need to be addressed.

    Single-use disposable syringes are now widely available. I hope that this continues and the iatrogenic spread of AIDS can be reduced to zero.

    Chris Noble

  87. #87 Chris Noble
    March 17, 2006

    I should also point out to Hank that if there really is effectively no infectious HIV in the blood then it should be impossible for dirty needles to transmit HIV.

    Duesberg’s arguemts should apply to all forms of transmission. Indeed if HIV is suppressed by anti-retrovirals then MTCT of HIV can be reduced to almost zero. This is what has occurred in the US.

  88. #88 Rob2
    March 28, 2006

    A while ago Hank asked three questions about a document on the NIH website:

    “Who’s the author? Was it peer-reviewed? In what journal can I find it?”

    The second and third questions have already been answered by Dale and Shygetz.

    Now here’s at least a partial answer to question one, written by Professor John P. Moore earlier this month:

    “this web-site was not prepared under political supervision by administration appointees or bureaucrats; it was prepared by scientists, under the direction of scientists, with multiple external inputs; it has no political connotations”

    Incidentally I seem to have accidentally stolen someone else’s user name. Any posts made before 25th March definitely belong to a different Rob, but the most recent posts are all mine I think. Apologies for the confusion. In future I’ll call myself Rob2.

  89. #89 Bob Funkhouser
    April 3, 2006

    A website was created three weeks ago to present the scientific relationship between HIV and AIDS, and to respond to AIDS denialist assertions.

    As a co-developer of the site, I would be interested in hearing what people discussing this issue think of the website and if you have any suggestions for additional content.

    The site is: http://www.aidstruth.org

    You can contat me at: funkhouser@lanl.gov

    Thanks, Bob