Edited 8-22-08 to contain MORE win
Its going to be a slow blag week. Im trying to cram as many experiments as possible into this last week before school starts again. The last major experiment I want to finish (have to finish) this summer is a ‘pulse–>chase’ to watch how fast each of my chimeras process gp160 into gp120 and gp41. I do this by 1– transfecting cells with my clones, 2– starving the cells of cystine and methionine, 3– giving the cells radioactive food (sulfur-35), 4– waiting a set period of time, and blowing up the cells.
While blowing up radioactive things is one of my most favoritest activities in the universe, there is one drawback to this experiment: the 12 hour time point. I get into the lab 7:30/8 am-ish, set everything up, take my first time point at ~10 am… I have to come back into the lab at 10 pm to get the 12 hour time point.
So slow blag week, as the rest of this week I will be doing a billion pulse–>chases (Im so cool, Im still doing research at 10 pm on Friday and Saturday nights! WIN!).
But I do have a moment to post a few fun emails Ive gotten this week from a couple of HIV Deniers. Read them slowly to really really savor the condescending arrogance:
Hello there Ms. Smith,
I’ve been interested in this whole HIV/AIDS debate lately and became pretty skeptical about the HIV/AIDS theory in the last few months. I came across your blog after I googled this phrase:
“one is looking, they can switch back to the original theme”
You might be interested in checking out the other search result… Anyway what led me to write this email is because I noticed that you also appreciate people like Dawkins and Sagan. It might interest you to know that I started a topic about HIV/AIDS skepticism at the “Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science” page in Facebook. The discussion hasn’t been so productive so far unfortunately.
I really want to clarify this debate as soon as possible, independent from what the truth is. Because there are a lot of skeptics out there like me, who try to figure out by themselves what all this is about. And unless scientists decide to debate this until it all becomes absolutely clear, this vagueness means a huge waste of time for people with doubts. The waste is even bigger if the consensus is incorrect, because then it becomes waste of resources and human lives.
I don’t know if you’ve got a Facebook account but there are also groups/pages in Facebook titled “Rethinking AIDS”. I would like to learn what you people consider as the evidence for the theory that HIV causes AIDS and if it’s something that really -I mean really- refutes the dissident arguments; like the ones in the “Rebuttal to NIH Evidence”, or in the Perth Groups arguments(e.g. “Yin and Yang of HIV”).
Considering how sensitive this issue is, I fear that you’ll write an over-enthusiastic response if you act out of your first reaction to this email. So please try to be as objective as you can in your response. Finally, here are the links I’m talking about:
The discussion topic at the “R. Dawkins Foundation” page:
I’d appreciate it if you don’t reply before you read everything that has been written over there. If you can’t ressist to say anything before reading it all, then please create another topic.
And this is the Rethinking AIDS link in Facebook:
Try to ignore the group’s picture if it’s annoying, it’s not really an official group but it’s the one with most members. And if you could post THE evidence there, I believe we could start a constructive discussion. And who knows maybe you turn out to be the one who ends up changing your views… ?
P.S. By the way, you’re related to Tara Smith by chance..? That would be interesting I suppose…or maybe not…
Hi there! I came across your blog. As someone who has been interested in the HIV/AIDS issue for quite some time, I was wondering if you could give me your opinion.
I came across some information, you can call it from AIDS denialists or whatever, but It seems to pretty much eliminate debate on whether HIV is even a virus never mind contagious and leads to the 30 different diseases associated with it.
Please review this interview and let me know how this information is wrong:
Also please check out this page of quotations from a few Nobel Laureates amongst other noted giants in their fields..
Thank you for your time.
Just a quote from the above URL, you might want to take into consideration.
“I received my PhD in 2002 for my work constructing mathematical models of HIV infection, a field of study I entered in 1996.”
“My work as a mathematical biologist has been built in large part on the paradigm that HIV causes AIDS, and I have since come to realize that there is good evidence that the entire basis for this theory is wrong. AIDS, it seems, is not a disease so much as a sociopolitical construct that few people understand and even fewer question…”
“Why have we as a society been so quick to accept a theory for which so little solid evidence exists? Why do we take proclamations by government institutions like the NIH and the CDC, via newscasters and talk show hosts, entirely on faith? The average citizen has no idea how weak the connection really is between HIV and AIDS, and this is the manner in which scientifically insupportable phrases like ‘the AIDS virus’ or ‘an AIDS test’ have become part of the common vernacular despite no evidence for their accuracy.”
“Over the past ten years, my attitude toward HIV and AIDS has undergone a dramatic shift. This shift was catalyzed by the work I did as a graduate student, analyzing mathematical models of HIV and the immune system. As a mathematician, I found virtually every model I studied to be unrealistic. The biological assumptions on which the models were based varied from author to author, and this made no sense to me…”
“Enough is enough, and I can no longer in any capacity continue to support the paradigm on which my entire career has been built.”
“…But few people know that the criteria for a positive WB [Western Blot HIV test] vary from country to country and even from lab to lab. Put bluntly, a person’s HIV status could well change depending on the testing venue. It is also possible to test ‘WB indeterminate,’ which translates to any one of ‘uninfected,’ ‘possibly infected,’ or even, absurdly, ‘partly infected’ under the current interpretation. This conundrum is confounded by the fact that the proteins comprising the different reactive ‘bands’ on the WB test are all claimed to be specific to HIV, raising the question of how a truly uninfected individual could possess antibodies to even one ‘HIV-specific’ protein.”
“I have come to sincerely believe that these HIV tests do immeasurably more harm than good, due to their astounding lack of specificity and standardization…I cannot buy the idea that any individual needs to have a diagnostic HIV test. A negative test may not be accurate (whatever that means), but a positive one can create utter havoc and destruction in a person’s life – all for a virus that most likely does absolutely nothing. I do not feel it is going too far to say that these tests ought to be banned for diagnostic purposes.”
“The real victims in this mess are those whose lives are turned upside-down by the stigma of an HIV diagnosis…People have lost their jobs, been denied entry into the Armed Forces, been refused residency in and even entry into some countries, even been charged with assault or murder for having consensual sex; babies have been taken from their mothers and had toxic medications forced down their throats. There is no precedent for this type of behavior, as it is all in the name of a completely unproven, fundamentally flawed hypothesis, on the basis of highly suspect, indirect tests for supposed infection with an allegedly deadly virus – a virus that has never been observed to do much of anything.”
“Suffice it to say that the HIV hypothesis of AIDS has offered nothing but predictions – of its spread, of the availability of a vaccine, of a forthcoming animal model, and so on – that have not materialized, and it has not saved a single life.”
“After ten years involved in the academic side of HIV research, as well as in the academic world at large, I truly believe that the blame for the universal, unconditional, faith-based acceptance of such a flawed theory falls squarely on the shoulders of those among us who have actively endorsed a completely unproven hypothesis in the interests of furthering our careers…”
“For over twenty years, the general public has been greatly misled and ill-informed. As someone who has been raised by parents who taught me from a young age never to believe anything just because ‘everyone else accepts it to be true,’ I can no longer just sit by and do nothing, thereby contributing to this craziness. And the craziness has gone on long enough. As humans – as honest academics and scientists – the only thing we can do is allow the truth to come to light.”
Why I Quit HIV http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig7/culshaw1.html
— Rebecca Veronica Culshaw, PhD. Assistant Professor of Mathematics, University of Texas at Tyler. Advisor, Journal of Biological Systems. Studied and published mathematical models of HIV infection for 10 years.
1. Connect your computer to the internet. Sometimes your computer will do this automatically when you double click on the icon for an internet browser (you are probably using ‘Internet Explorer’, which has an ‘e’ for an icon, or AOL, which uses a ‘yellow man’ for an icon). If you are having trouble, youll need to contact your internet service provider for more help.
2. While connected to the internet, type in this webpage address:
Your computer will take you to this webpage if you press ‘enter’ or the ‘Go!’ button near the address bar.
3. You will notice on this ‘webpage’ there is a white box in the upper left corner. This is a ‘search box’. You can type in words you are interested in, and click ‘search this blog’, and it will find blog entries that contain those words. If you are interested in ‘Rebecca Culshaw’, you can ask the internet to search for those words via the ‘search box’. Or, you can try ‘Culshaw’. Or perhaps even ‘blonde dipshit’.
I hope these tips and tricks will aid you on your search for The Truth! You have leveled up one internet!
Yours in Christ–
Author #1 has had a taste of ERV fame– wants moar:
I just read the email I sent again, I still don’t think I made any mistake, or said anything to make fun of, except the humorous parts… ? But I can understand where you’re coming from. I can’t even get my friends interested in this debate, although their profession has nothing to do with HIV. So it’s foolish from me to expect someone as deep in it as you are to be able to examine the debate objectively, I sincerely apologize. And to be honest, if I had listened to your debate with Horrowitz earlier, I wouldn’t have bothered to write that email to you. (Even if he were absolutely wrong about everything he said, you humiliated yourself by trying to humiliate him in my opinion. That’s not something a true scientist who is focused on science would do as far as I know.)
Your fondness of Dawkins and Sagan misguided me to hope that you might be an open minded, objective person after all. But I should have known better… It’s pretty obvious that you were not someone who could have written a respectful response to that stupid email of mine.
I think it’s a shame that some people are led to feel so good about themselves that they become blind to their weaknesses. Everybody keeps adulating each other and as a result, they become so sure of themselves that they dismiss even simple questions instantly, believing since they’re the perfect human beings when it comes to science, contradicting opinions must be a result of ignorance. Here’s a quote from “Broca’s Brain”, might remind you of a scientist’s responsibilities:
“To the extent that scientists have not given Velikovsky the reasoned response his work calls for, we have ourselves been responsible for the propagation of Velikovskian confusion.
In the entire Velikovsky affair, the only aspect worse than the shoddy, ignorant and doctrinaire approach of Velikovsky and many of his supporters was the disgraceful attempt by some who called themselves scientists to suppress his writings. For this, the entire scientific enterprise has suffered.
But scientists are supposed to know better, to realize that ideas will be judged on their merits if we permit free inquiry and vigorous debate.”
-And here’s a quote from a lecture titled “The Value of Science”, by Feynman:
“…In the impetuous youth of humanity, we can make grave errors that can stunt our growth for a long time. This we will do if we say we have the answers now, so young and ignorant as we are. If we suppress all discussion, all criticism, proclaiming “This is the answer, my friends; man is saved!” we will doom humanity for a long time to the chains of authority, confined to the limits of our present imagination. It has been done so many times before.
It is our responsibility as scientists, knowing the great progress which comes from a satisfactory philosophy of ignorance, the great progress which is the fruit of freedom of thought, to proclaim the value of this freedom; to teach how doubt is not to be feared but welcomed and discussed; and to demand this freedom as our duty to all coming generations. ”
If you ever change your mind about that debate invitation, or my support request, you’re welcome to contact me or any other serious skeptic(e.g. David Crowe) for that matter. And you’re also free to publish this email too if you think it’s fun. ?
Hello again Sadun!
Yours in Christ,