HIV-1, HIV Denial, and boxing: Round 2

So I was just alerted by a reader that the Montreal Gazette just published a rebuttal to the HIV Denial POS they published a few days ago.

Dr. Norbert Gilmore takes an angle I like: Practicality.

We deal with it all the time with wooers– its easy for HIV Deniers or Creationists or anti-vaxers to say something stupid, but its infinitely more time consuming for scientists to respond to the falsehoods.

An easy short-cut for us is practicality.

I use it when dealing with Creationists, specifically. “Fine. Lets grant the premise that everything scientists say about evolution is a lie. Why does it work? Why do we get results when we use the concept of evolution as the foundation for our experiments? Why do we learn new information? Why do we solve problems? If evolution is a lie, its a lie that gives us results. If Creationism is true, its a truth that provides us with nothing except a warm fuzzy feeling that a cruel, inept deity exists.”

Dr. Gilmore uses it for HIV.

Today, the most convincing argument that HIV causes AIDS is that anti-HIV medications -often called antiretrovirals or ARVs – are prolonging the lives of millions of HIV-infected people. The number of HIVinfected people progressing to the life-threatening immunodeficiency that is full-blown AIDS living in Canada or anywhere else has plummeted wherever these medications are being widely used. Blood is now safe thanks to HIV screening tests. Just as impressive is that babies are born uninfected when their mothers are effectively treated. And many of the millions who are taking ARVs are no longer dying or ill but, instead, are returning to work, having babies, and planning a long life.

HIV-1 infection is not the horror it once was. But much like anti-vax woo, because it is not the horror it once was, they have the luxury of being Deniers.

I have a soft-spot for boxers. I have no idea why. So I was kinda hoping that the jackass that wrote the Denial article was taking Tommy Morrisons words/ideas too far. That maybe Morrison wasnt really a Denier, but maybe just in denial, or something…

Yeah… no… Morrison showed up in the comments. I actually reported them and asked the Montreal Gazette to verify (you cant just post on ERV as Dawkins or PZ and expect me not to verify). If someone is posting as Morrison, and these are not his views, Morrison deserves to have them taken down (or at least the name altered). If these are verified as coming from Morrison… christ…

Tommy The Duke Morrison
4:26 PM on February 9, 2011

Prof.Gilmore -
As a “researcher and physician for 30 years”…perhaps you can fulfill 2 simple requests that I have:
1)Proof that HIV VIRUS exists by sending me the Scientific Papers and isolation of the active HIV VIRUS itself along with photos of the HIV VIRUS in the human body
2)The actual ACTIVE HIV VIRUS TEST that 100% confirms the presence or absence of the HIV VIRUS in the human body.I am LIVING PROOF Prof.Gilmore – are you?
I’d rather have scientific “proof” …rather than to quote your rebuttle “accept that I am infected”.
Look forward to receiving #1 and #2.
God Bless.
Tommy The Duke Morrison.
FIGHTER.

Tommy The Duke Morrison
4:32 PM on February 9, 2011

In 1996 I was “verbally told” I had a contageous virus named HIV -got kicked out of my sport. Cost me over $38.5million 15 years ago.
I think I have paid a heavy price to see proof of existense of the Virus and want the active HIV VIRUS test to prove/disprove I am contageous in the boxing ring.
I am sure others can relate to my story.
I am in the best shape of my life…almost 16 years later after being given a death sentence.
Why is it that when people have a “virus” (like flu) they go to their doctor with “sick symptoms” -they get a VIRUS TEST to detect the virus-they then get medication-they get better….and yet: with HIV VIRUS…
a perfectly healthy person goes in for a boxing license or even a DMV license…gets a test that does not detect the HIV VIRUS…is made to go on medication (because if they don’t they are in denial)…the medication side-effects turn out to be the symptoms of the so called HIV? Why do the HIV tests on the market not detect the VIR

Tommy The Duke Morrison
6:16 PM on February 9, 2011

Prof. Gilmore :
You mention that you do not want to address any “distorted presentation of the science and history of HIV.”
I agree totally..So let’s address . Scienific truths through evidence, and as you rightly state “not by what politicians, journalists, or even individual scientists might “declare.” ” and let’s use the quality of science to prove/disprove any existence of HIV VIRUS first before the development of any kind of “HIV” treatments and that way we can all once and for all erase the current “distorted presentation of the science and history of HIV” .
I do send a clear message out : “ask to see the HIV VIRUS…ask to take the HIV VIRUS TEST”..that detects 100% percent the presence or absence of the HIV VIRUS.
I chose to not take any medication. It made me sick. I chose to exercise..keep fit..eat healthy..and continue to be a Faithful Servant to God. “Everything Hidden In Darkness Will Come To The Light”.

Christ. Whos fault is this? Morrisons, of course. We all have to take personal responsibility for our actions and our knowledge, Im not dismissing that. And the Deniers, of course too. Disgusting pieces of shit that consciously distort information and ‘teach’ that information to others, for god knows what reason.

But who else?

Scientists? Should we write about this stuff more? More outreach? Are we doing okay now, but not enough 10 years ago?

Physicians? Most people trust their physicians and do whatever the hell they say to do– But why does Morrison not know what his tests results meant? What doesnt he know what the drugs he was on did? Why did his physicians not explain this to him?

Comments

  1. #1 Prometheus
    February 10, 2011

    “I chose to not take any medication. It made me sick. I chose to exercise..keep fit..eat healthy..and continue to be a Faithful Servant to God. “Everything Hidden In Darkness Will Come To The Light”.”

    I suspect the first “everything” will be a Kaposi’s sarcoma with Faithful Service to God following a personal introduction.

    I get so bone tired of Christo-Machismo willful ignorance. Unfortunately this meathead will not get to read his obituary,

    “Tommy ‘The Duke’ Morrison, FIGHTER and Christ Warrior died of a combination of Caps Lock, toxoplasmosis and bravado after disregarding all medical advice.

    The tragedy has been traced to ‘The Duke’ being sneezed upon by a pet canary named Miss Sparkles.”

  2. #2 Matt Platte
    February 10, 2011

    I reckon the physicians *did* explain the tests, the results, the drugs, etc., to him. He just didn’t like the answer. The answer did not fit his narcissistic script so the answer is rejected. Despite his words, he’s *not* looking for more/new/better information, he’s looking for applause.

  3. #3 flutz
    February 10, 2011

    In 1998 tommy morrison gave an interview with espn’s tom friend in an article called “the mismatch” The article was written in 1998 and posted on espns website in 2008, morrison was 29 when he gave the interview and 42 now.

    In the interview he claims to think hiv is a scam and that his t cell count was at 18 in 1998 and was told hed die any day, and that he has full blown aids back then. He says hes never had any pills (except for a few months while forced to in jail) Well he tested positive several times in 1996,david was his doctor, had full blown AIDS in 1998 and now says hes negative……..I guess morrison has a right to be skeptical since everything he was told by experts was wrong, i mean he should have been dead in 1998 according top them.

  4. #4 Chromosome Crawl
    February 10, 2011

    I’m confused about exactly which type of test he’s looking for. Western Blot? P24 antigen? Viral load? CD subset count, HIV Reservoirs, genotype, chemokine receptor, PSGT? Let me guess. He also isn’t big on evolution and would have trouble with gravitational theory except for the fact that he’s not flown off of the planet yet. I have a test he may want to look into, given his boxing/head trauma history — how about finding out your ApoE genotype, I’ll lay money it’s E4E4!

  5. #5 Snout
    February 10, 2011

    Morrison has been involved in the denialist cult for some years now, on and off. He’s currently mainly involved with the David Crowe/Clark Baker/Celia Farber/Liam Scheff/Terry Michael sub-clique within the cult, who are using his situation for one of their regular PR campaigns.

    Morrison’s story keeps changing into mutually contradictory positions over time. Initially he claimed that his HIV diagnosis was the result of false positive results, then he claimed that HIV was actually harmless, and then that it didn’t exist. His primary motivation isn’t the science – he simply wants to be able to box again, and is parroting the increasingly batty denialist talking points fed to him by their PR machine. They’re using him.

  6. #6 Azkyroth
    February 10, 2011

    Physicians? Most people trust their physicians and do whatever the hell they say to do– But why does Morrison not know what his tests results meant? What doesnt he know what the drugs he was on did? Why did his physicians not explain this to him?

    Potentially the same way my ex never quite grasped things I explained to her repeatedly, from the simple (“it is NOT NECESSARY to have the ‘Air Conditioning’ switch turned on while running the defroster in winter, or when not running the ventilation system at all, and is very likely wasting a substantial amount – and cost – of fuel since it probably controls whether the car runs the compressor for the air conditioner which increases the load on the engine when it’s running whether you put the air to good use or not,” to the simple-yet-profound, like “when you know the truth will make someone upset, and you lie about it, you’re going to get found out eventually, and then people will not only be upset about the original thing but pissed off about being lied to, because people don’t LIKE that.”

    Explanations don’t do any good if the person on the other end won’t fucking listen.

  7. #7 Alan Kellogg
    February 11, 2011

    Some things—such as climate change, evolution, and even the sasquatch— are denied because they are so inconvenient. This includes HIV as the cause of AIDS. AIDS means people have to make changes in their lives, and that inconveniences them. I take a list of meds for my maladies, and that inconveniences me. But it doesn’t mean I’m going to deny I need to take my Prozac and Zyprexa, because my mood heads south when I don’t.

    Sometimes somebody gets lucky, but not everybody or even a majority of people can count on luck working or them. Sometimes life is plain inconvenient and you have to make adjustments.

  8. #8 gf1
    February 11, 2011

    Maybe the people who paid to have Morrison repeatedly hit in the head bear some responsibility too. Probably not the ideal preparation for having to deal with such an emotionally fraught experience.

  9. #9 W. Kevin Vicklund
    February 11, 2011

    He got on the pills a bit after that, flutz. From the March 31, 2003 article in ESPN the Magazine:

    What’s different now is that he wears a pager, a pager set to ring every morning and evening at 8:30. And when it buzzes, Tommy walks dutifully toward a blue rectangular case and takes his HIV pills. “Been on ‘em for three years now,” he says.

    It’s a combination therapy similar to the one Magic Johnson is on. Morrison takes Trizivir, Viramune and an antibiotic called Bactrim in the morning, and Trizivir and Viramune with a multi-vitamin in the evening. He’s still dismissive of HIV, calling it “no more of a nuisance than diabetes,” but he never skips a dose.

    However, it appears I have inappropriately maligned Morrison. A couple years ago, the cooler troll brought up Morrison on Aetiology. I impugned Morrison’s credibility because of the apparent change in his story from 2003 to 2008 re: taking the pills. Since flutz is correct (and I verified), it was actually 1998 that he said he had never taken the pills, allowing both stories to be correct in that respect. Thank you, flutz, for allowing me to set the record straight.

  10. #10 Caudoviral
    February 11, 2011

    The HIV epidemic showcases a great many examples of people balking from the truth due to inconvenience, both at the personal and national level. And for all that we have scientists and physicians on one side doing the best to spread the truth, it seems that there will always be a pushback from the other side. Sometimes even from brilliant, credentialed people who should know better: e.g. Deusberg.

    Because the opposition exists (no matter how tiny, nonsensicle, and misguided it is), scared, pathetic people will flock to it. Because the name of the game isn’t understanding the truth but rather consoling themselves and lying to themselves to get what they want.

  11. #11 Prometheus
    February 11, 2011

    gf1@#8

    “Maybe the people who paid to have Morrison repeatedly hit in the head bear some responsibility too. Probably not the ideal preparation for having to deal with such an emotionally fraught experience.”

    Considering he is also a unabashed racist and a convicted felon(drugs and weapons) I am rather indifferent to his emotional state and of the opinion that he has been insufficiently hit in the head.

    I wonder if, in light of his doubts regarding the efficacy of science, he would let me hit him in the head with a Rhino 5000 high impact hydraulic hammer. It involves physics, engineering, electricity, metallurgy and stuff that couldn’t possibly work…right?

    Sorry that’s just me. I’m a hater.

    Fortunately, his level of trust in the ever lovin’ lord and belief that HIV cannot be heterosexually transmitted is not shared by wife #2 who insisted on Bedford HIV SPAR IVF before she would let him fertilize her.

    Guess who prays to god but rows towards shore?

  12. #12 Kemanorel
    February 11, 2011

    Lets grant the premise that everything scientists say about evolution is a lie. Why does it work? Why do we get results when we use the concept of evolution as the foundation for our experiments? Why do we learn new information? Why do we solve problems? If evolution is a lie, its a lie that gives us results. If Creationism is true, its a truth that provides us with nothing except a warm fuzzy feeling that a cruel, inept deity exists.”

    I’m stealing this.

  13. #13 Poodle Stomper
    February 11, 2011

    I’m also stealing that *points above*.

    My question then is this: If Morrison was basically in crap health in ’98 (as far as his numbers indicated) and then went on ARVs in ’99 or 2000(?), when did he go back off of them?

    (Also, nice to see you around again, Snout).

  14. #14 William Wallace
    February 12, 2011

    Lets grant the premise that everything scientists say about evolution is a lie. Why does it work? Why do we get results when we use the concept of evolution as the foundation for our experiments? Why do we learn new information? Why do we solve problems?

    While I don’t personally deny HIV (don’t really care about HIV), it is a fallacy to indicate that results consistent with a theory demonstrate the truthfulness of that theory. As Dr. Jackson taught ERV in a debate, science has instances useful and productive models that are known to be false, but are taught and used anyway simply because they produce results. In addition to Dr. Jackson’s more recent example, and mine (the noise model of quantization error), see also Ptolemy’ useful geocentric model that continued to be used, continued to produce useful results, despite being utterly and demonstrably untrue. See also black swan, Karl Popper on scientific method and what science actually produces (preview: it’s not truth).

    Regarding evolution, it doesn’t work as demonstrably well at making predictions about the future as other established theories in hard sciences do. For example, you cannot predict what raccoons will look like in 10,000 or 100,000 generations, whether or not some of the descendants will evolve into a new species, and, if so, what new traits that species will posses.

    Queue the University of Google name callers who will, if history is any indicator, toss out “popper chopping” or some other witty but otherwise vacuous retorts. Much easier than actually responding to a point made, and it is more effective at swaying the credulous.

  15. #15 William Wallace
    February 12, 2011

    LOL, “cue”. Gotta get it right, because the evolution/gay marriage/abortion/msnbc crowd loves a spelling mistake. I think I also missed an “of”–apologies.

  16. #16 ragarth
    February 12, 2011

    If this guy has a boxing match anywhere near me, I’ll be attending with a sign saying “Morrison’s HIV positive and risking the life of his opponent and anyone in the front rows”

  17. #17 William Wallace
    February 12, 2011

    If this guy has a boxing match anywhere near me, I’ll be attending with a sign saying “Morrison’s HIV positive and risking the life of his opponent and anyone in the front rows”

    Just goes to show you, if you take enough left turns, you’ll go full circle. See Ryan White.

  18. #18 titmouse
    February 12, 2011

    Hi William Wallace,

    Saying an explanatory model “works” isn’t the same as affirming the consequent.

    Explanatory models are not hypotheses that must be tested before they can be accepted (contingent upon further data, of course). Rather, they are broad, abstract statements that describe a body of research findings over time.

    BTW, you are one of the many allusions to Scottish themes that I encounter as I scout the webs for clues regarding anti-science collectives. It’s curious. Don’t know what to make of it.

  19. #19 William Wallace
    February 13, 2011

    Hi TM,

    Saying an explanatory model “works” isn’t the same as affirming the consequent.

    I still agree.

    However, ERV’s subsequent rhetorical questions–which I also quoted, indicates a desire to demonstrate that evolution must be true.

    Regarding your Scottish association, it reminds me: James Maxwell was Scottish; Charles Darwin was English.

    Maxwell’s theories were and still are productive; Darwin’s ideas inspire riveting PBS documentaries illustrated by artists with vivid imaginations. Both have their places in history and popular culture, I suppose, but I prefer the Scottish.

    BTW, the “anti-science” and “collective” phraseology was, I think, ironic.

  20. #20 Tommykey
    February 13, 2011

    Regarding evolution, it doesn’t work as demonstrably well at making predictions about the future as other established theories in hard sciences do. For example, you cannot predict what raccoons will look like in 10,000 or 100,000 generations, whether or not some of the descendants will evolve into a new species, and, if so, what new traits that species will posses.

    No, but you can construct models of what effects different changes in their environment can lead to changes in the species. For example, we already know that when animals take up residence in caves, their descendants lose their eyes and their skin becomes pale white because they live in an environment with little or no light.

    Evolution is also predictive in explaining what intermediate forms we can expect for creatures that exist today. Take a whale. Since it is a mammal and the fossil record does not show any marine mammals before a certain time period, if evolution is true, then we should expect that we can find fossils for mammals that lived partly in the water, which we do find.

  21. #21 titmouse
    February 13, 2011

    Blue woad on a man strong enough to wield a broadsword is rather sexy. If an anti-science Jacobite were sufficiently charming I’m sure I could overlook a little broken logic for the pleasure of his company.

    Sadly, Mr. Wallace, you lack the generosity of spirit that I associate with Highland chieftains. You want to paint the person across the table from you as small-minded, ugly, and evil.

    I think James Clerk Maxwell would have frowned at your attempt to misrepresent science as a special interest group. Anyone, no matter their tribe or politics, would discover the same equations as he, just by following the rules of evidence and logic as well as he did.

    An aggregation of independent, thinking voices is not the same as a mob who can’t reason correctly all saying the same thing at once.

  22. #22 William Wallace
    February 14, 2011

    Mr. TM:

    I don’t follow. Many if not most branches of theoretical and pragmatic science have special interest groups, in the sense of a learned community set up to promote advancement in their field, through formal meetings, peer reviewed publications, and the like.

    Science does not encompass, I think, activists who are wielding and extending favorite theories as metaphysical clubs in the political, religious, and social arenas, to advance points of view conceived a priori. This would be advocacy, not science.

  23. #23 W. Kevin Vicklund
    February 14, 2011

    Translation from Billy Ball-less into English:

    Scientists should just roll over and let “activists who are wielding and extending favorite theories as metaphysical clubs in the political, religious, and social arenas, to advance points of view conceived a priori” carry the discourse without a peep of dissent. Scientists should be unfeeling robots who quietly produce results and should never attempt to correct those who misrepresent their work or ignore it entirely. Most importantly, scientists should never, ever advance points of view conceived a posteriori from their work.

  24. #24 titmouse
    February 14, 2011

    Mr. Wallace,

    Imagine you want to build a dam someplace. You request bids from some engineering firms. The proposals you receive all share similarities regarding the basic structure and size of the dam. There’s more variability regarding labor costs and time estimations.

    You would have more confidence in the proposed size and structure of the dam than you would in the labor costs, right? The consensus is pretty reassuring.

    Of course the situation would be very different if all the engineers worked for the same company. Likewise in science, results from two separate labs are generally more trustworthy than results from two parties working in the same lab, or from one party doing the same experiment twice.

    And getting back to the dam example, you yourself could double-check the basis for the engineer’s estimations. Just like any math problem, the engineer should be able to show you step by step how he arrived at his numbers.

    Same thing with science. Although it might take some time to master the relevant foundational material, research papers are written so that others can double-check the work.

    In short, science is a system for *minimizing* the need to simply take a person at his word.

    You really should take the opinion of a bunch of independent scientists from around the world more seriously than what your pastor tells you.

  25. #25 William Wallace
    February 14, 2011

    Although it might take some time to master the relevant foundational material, research papers are written so that others can double-check the work.

    I’d argue that research papers are almost always written so the author(s) can make a name for themselves; and, usually, to share a line of thinking, results, etc. But that is beside the point.

    Your point, I think, is that consensus is reassuring. Sure it is. But consensus and truth are two different things.

    You really should take the opinion of a bunch of independent scientists from around the world more seriously than what your pastor tells you.

    I think you’re treading in deep water here, but maybe not. Let’s see: What is it that my pastor told me that I take more seriously than “independent scientists” (by which, I suppose you mean polemicists like ERV or PZ now, or T.H. Huxley in Darwin’s time).

    Let me ask you: Who was the greater scientist: Darwin, or Maxwell? Previously, you stated “Anyone, no matter their tribe or politics, would discover the same equations as he, just by following the rules of evidence and logic as well as he did” so I am afraid you’ll answer incorrectly. But supposing I am wrong, and you answer correctly, the next questions are: if a poll were conducted among people picked from the population at random, who would come out of the poll deemed the greater scientist? And why is that?

    My answer is marketing/propaganda, and repetition, with a dash of scientific and historical illiteracy.

  26. #26 minimalist
    February 14, 2011

    I’d argue that research papers are almost always written so the author(s) can make a name for themselves; and, usually, to share a line of thinking, results, etc. But that is beside the point.

    Of course, blathering shit you can’t possibly support is always “besides the point”, isn’t it? Let’s you make dumb assertions without the legwork of backing them up. The good old, Glenn Beck-”I’m just sayin’” defense.

    “independent scientists” (by which, I suppose you mean polemicists like ERV or PZ now, or T.H. Huxley in Darwin’s time).

    Hahahaha, pathetic dodge.

    Good to see you’re still in fine form, Wally. Still a sniveling little weasel.

  27. #27 William Wallace
    February 14, 2011

    Minimalist

    Let’s you make dumb assertions without the legwork of backing them up.

    Go ahead, correct me if I am wrong. For example, give me the long list of papers published under noms de plume.

    The good old, Glenn Beck

    Glenn Beck. LOL. I don’t know you. But if you fit the stereotype, my guess is your longest encounter with Glenn Beck was watching some MSNBC degenerate play a clip from his show. Not that I am a fan of his, but at least I’ve actually listened to him unedited before deciding.

  28. #28 titmouse
    February 15, 2011

    I’m no Einstein but I did manage to derive E=MC2 from Maxwell’s equations. Everyone in my physics class had to figure out how to do that.

    So I went beyond Maxwell. But couldn’t have done it without him.

    What I’m trying to say is, when the science is done right, doesn’t matter who the scientist is. Doesn’t matter who is greater, lesser, sexier, richer, more popular, whatever.

    Quick: who came up with the quadratic equation?

    Answer: nobody cares, amirite?

    If you can reproduce the original results of some study without help from the original scientist, you don’t need him. You can forget his or her name, if you want.

  29. #29 William Wallace
    February 15, 2011

    TM, I think you mean “who came up with the quadratic formula?” The quadratic formula is literally child’s play in comparison to Maxwell’s equations.

    Otherwise, I agree with you 80%.

    Where we disagree is that some achievements in science are true intellectual leaps. Neither you nor I may be impressed when an overrated naturalist notices that descendants have traits similar to their antecessors. Many mothers throughout history have noticed Little Johnny has his paternal grandfather’s overbite and his mother’s nose.

    But I am impressed with Kepler’s three laws of planetary motion (since there were so many people looking at the problem, but only Kepler saw elliptical orbits and non-uniform speeds). I am impressed with Maxwell’s equations, which, while being beautiful and elegant, are anything but obvious to me. Nor was it obvious to his contemporaries.

    According to one biographer, “Maxwell’s ideas were so different from anything that had gone before that most of his contemporaries were bemused; even some admirers thought he was indulging in wild fantasy.” Later, Einstein and Max Planck gave due respect, as did Richard Feynman, who wrote: “From a long view of the history of mankind–seen from, say, ten thousand years from now–there can be little doubt that the most significant event of the nineteenth century will be judged as Maxwell’s discovery of the laws of electrodynamics”.

    And, even with evidence that Maxwell’s equations work, or that Einstein’s equations work, when I was an undergraduate, and argued with my physics professor showing him designs I had come up with in high school to exceed the speed of light, he simply encouraged me to keep looking at it, and still gave me an A based on my test and homework scores, regardless of my spirited debate after class.

    Contrast that to some biology professors who don’t care if a student can merely explain the theory of macro evolution, they also want the student to declare fealty to it, to freely declare its truthfulness.

    And that, my friend, is the difference between science and religion.

  30. #30 minimalist
    February 15, 2011

    Glenn Beck. LOL. I don’t know you. But if you fit the stereotype, my guess is your longest encounter with Glenn Beck was watching some MSNBC degenerate play a clip from his show. Not that I am a fan of his, but at least I’ve actually listened to him unedited before deciding.

    Time is precious, Wally. If I were to give fair, leisurely consideration to every nutcase who demonstrably, repeatedly spews idiotic easily-disproven bullshit, I might actually treat you with a modicum of respect.

  31. #31 William Wallace
    February 16, 2011

    Time is precious, Wally.

    Translation: You lost, and you’re going home, crying to mother.

    Typical behavior after the bully gets stomped down.

  32. #32 minimalist
    February 16, 2011

    Only thing I lost is about 20 seconds. And maybe a few brain cells reading your posts.

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