AIDS and the SB question of the week

As y'all may or may not be aware, the XVI International AIDS Conference begins this weekend in Toronto. For those of you who read Seed magazine, you've seen that the current issue focuses on "AIDS at 25," and they also have an online summary here. As a matter of fact, myself, a Seed journalist, and a freelance science writer will be blogging the conference at a temporary blog this coming week; myself remotely from Iowa, and the others live from Toronto. So while AIDS will be at the forefront of this blog for a few days, I also have some posts on tap about other issues in infectious disease and microbiology.

But, to kick off the pre-conference blogging, this week's Ask a ScienceBlogger is:

To what extent do you worry about AIDS, either with respect to yourself, your children, or the world at large?...

Obviously, AIDS is something I write about with some regularity on here, so it's certainly something that interests and concerns me. I'm not particularly concerned for myself, since I live a pretty vanilla life (and always have), and therefore I'm unlikely to be exposed to the virus. My children are still young, and hopefully have quite awhile before they even begin to think about the sex or drugs that may bring them into contact with HIV. I hope that they'll listen to me when I talk to them about those topics, and that they'll make wise choices when it comes to their lives and their bodies. So currently, I'm not concerned about them either.

I am, of course, worried about "the world at large." Anyone in public health should, by definition, be concerned about the health of those around us, be it in our local community or the larger world we share. And while AIDS is certainly an international problem, it's also a local problem. Some commenters have jeeringly referred to the "Iowa AIDS epidemic," but we do have HIV/AIDS here in the state. Transmission of HIV has also been compounded by the state's problem with methamphetamine, as users may share needles and engage in high-risk sexual practices.

Of course, the best way to deal with any of this is via prevention, and I worry about the state of sexual education in the United States and elsewhere. Sex ed is a hot-button issue in many areas, and abstinence-only programs are demanded by some parents who prefer that their children aren't exposed to messages about sex or sexually-transmitted infections at school. However, studies have shown that these programs simply don't work, and leave teens not only as likely to have sex as their peers who attended more encompassing sex education classes, but also lacking the knowledge about safer sex that the other students received.

Likewise in Africa and other countries that receive funding from the United States to teach abstinence-only sex ed. In many countries, even if the girls remain abstinent until marriage, their husbands (frequently older and more sexually experienced) will not be, leaving these girls at risk for infection with HIV or other pathogens. Poverty also leads some girls to prostitution, and a recent study has shown that something as minor to us as a paying for a $6 school uniform and simply discussing these topics in class can have a dramatic effect on rates of unprotected sex.

So, yes, I worry. But I am ever optimistic.

More like this

The US government spends millions domestically and billions internationally on abstinence-only education with the intent of lowering the transmission of STIs such as HIV and limiting unwanted pregnancies. Yet abstinence-only education is demonstrably ineffective. The alternative called abstinence…
In response to a report put out by Rep. Henry Waxman that detailed a wide range of innacuracies and falsehoods in many of the abstinence-only curricula being used in states around the country, and being heavily funded by the Bush administration, the so-cons are furiously trying to defend such…
It is clearly true that those who abstain in sexual intercourse are not at risk of becoming pregnant (with apologies to the Virgin Mary). There is less of a protection against sexually transmitted diseases because there are other ways to have sex besides having intercourse with a partner of the…
Two former US Surgeons General have announced that the United States has unacceptable levels of title="sexually transmitted diseases">STDs and that abstinence-only education has not helped. Note that the Presidents " href="">Record…

Who? Me? Worry?

AIDS is joke. It's degenerated into a money-making scheme by the pharmaceutical companies.

Dear Sir; Concerning AIDS, Darwin, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Collective problem solving methods,the new the old and change(It's directions):
I studied molcular biology many years. When I first read Darwin as an undergraduate,the topic was new and I learned from it. Later in graduate school I learned about protein structure-the genetic code -and last about reverse transcripttion. These things paint a coherent picture from which modern scientists can ask questions and research issues.
If one starts from another perspective in his questions, how could the complex world come about from evolution-it also seems unfathomable to have happened but to project on verylarge time scales. Creationists do have to do this . Intelligent designers have to find some comflict with this molecular evolution scheme.
I myself do not think nature is intelligently designed(joking). If one thinks linguistically and defines all things as content container-all the routes to all our behaviors in the same container with all of the possible choices in life - even if you wish to call the content (our behaviors -total daily activities and choices-infinite then the container is infnite. . A container is a container-if you say there is something beyond it -what is-is still part of the container as defined. What then can we say, but that our current views we have constructed from the ground up to be exactly objective,from study, though we are a part of the container itself. yet we are somehow unable to incorporate the two together-ourselves and the universe-external world. Somewhere, along the way inout progressions,though, we must make an adjustment in our orientations when our objectivity becomes obsessive. This has not happened and we are all suffering an especially violitous situation when we are experimenting with nature in the labs fields and medical places-we may have added things up past a line where the real world is. As I ask myself how this could happen? answers are extracted from philosophy and the physical sciences and can be summated with the fact that we employ a third objective, third party or point of reference that exists as neutral . We might agree on things -if its' the same for you it might be the same for me -and maybe it's the same for everyone-but with the asssumption that no two people or things are the same. Nietzsche relates this idea two centuries ago and even early Greek and Roman writings testify that that no mans' experience is the same as another's nor can be discerned from observation-the waters he tread are unknown but to himself. Nature appears to be intelligently designed, because we are intelligent and also have no way to say how intelligence evolved, and there is no way to know from the bits and pieces analysis of science.
What are we then practicing -in the absence- of a big picture or truthful guiding philosophy -in biology/physics/medicine in nearly all aspects of our societies- -but actions based on historically inherited instinct -mankind in conflict with nature, the stranger, that at its' roots, are his objective thoughts about himself and the world, viewing nature as separate from himself applied in the name of scientific objectivity. As all history records, as the Arians exported themselves around the world they committed terrible acts when ever beyond their home territorries in the midst of new strangers-evil acts in the eyes of his victums , but only bad appearing when engaged in conflicts within their normal company with known enemies.
The bottom line is that we have crossed-transcended a neutral division in our scientific pursuits to be functioning on an instinct of itself. This implies with assumptions of likeness or equality of things,that we are tresspassing, crossing borders we did know exist,where assumed equalities and samenessess are really differences. Our activities are themselves autoimmunogenic in nature.
As an example, if Einsteins equation is correct, but there is no third party to say that the speed of light is a constant-i.e every point in the universe is unequal tothe other, then we do not know what we released when we dropped the bombs on Japan-and may -even if we regret it from from a simple ethical perspective of the human suffering incurred, changed all points in space. We do not see ourselves yet in anyway as Arians with the same ( and equal at its' very base) instinctual approach to our problems?
In nature atomic energy can accumulate naturally but never reaches a critical mass because the water evaporates first-nature cannot tolerate release of energy from the glue that holds the atom together. In
the designed bomb doors from which the water could have vented we anchored in place.
We still do not know better today in our biology efforts when we seek to change things-dark areas in our knowledge which could change our (very honest and truthfull appearing) asseements, as we are constructing by addition our own painting of nature, are chronically avoided in our instinctual trespassing as we havent even the slightest footing much less scientific connection to establish a route. In current directions, recognition and acknowledgement of mistakes will be arrived at last and not first.
This is a difficult fact for the most consciencious to accept. In what would appear as a few hours to the year, in mankinds social development, with the applications of a few bold discoveries and intellectual deductions(Newton-Einstein), we are busy dissasembling ourselves in an exactly intelligent manner as we question "this looks exactly intelligently designed-fit".
I can express this view, which seems intelligent, also to me, because I know the lesson -it is in part of the content of our environments -in old movies, science fiction, in the moralities and dangers of life taught us. yet we do not recognize it. What is the difference in hurting an animal for prey-food -even out of cruelity vs. destroying it for the purposes of communicating how their biology works. Just animals -are not just animals when treated this way for that purpose. I was once in that position, used mice as an undergraduate (as an aid where I knew little of the research) and a little bit in graduate school for my thesis - though I ultimatley purchased salmon sperm DNA from the fishing industry-drug companies. And lived a very pressured, degree oriented life with the same orientations and directions as anyone currently engaged in research, with an atruism about improving the life of others. From my current perspective, twenty years later, never having gained employment, living very indigently, nearly starved of the same life I lead then, it looks very obvious, the nature and causes of a changing immunological trouble world wide. Is not at the molecular level or especially sexual, but of border and line crossing, hot heads and hotheaded acts, both in thought and action, that how we spend our time-our past ime is tomorrows time-yesterday filters in to our sleep, filters into our dreams, how we live, accept, and indulge in a society flooded with technologies making life easier, the environment easy to change to suit ourselves: blind to a known lesson, philosophy, that goes in any direction the same(to dark or light)-but paints not the same hologram in eiter direction-a shrinking one of a reverse path one way vs a growing one .
Cannot anyone,scientist or otherwise, come to know this fact..Charity starts at home and so does science where it started-'if for you maybe for we'-but it cannot be added nor projected any further to an absolute, constructions of numbers as science are always insufficient to paint a total view.Nature can be anonomously cruel-an existing fact that we cannot change by "seeking" to change nature -the thought in itself is automunogenic-and breeding a real exisitng worldwide, material pathology, that can only take a reflection and a change in habit to surmount., http;//

By Marvin E. Kirsh (not verified) on 12 Aug 2006 #permalink

Marvin, I appreciate your effort and insights,

But after such a long passage, I have yet to grasp at what message you are tyring to get across,

From my reading of your writings, I think you are trying to say that there is a purpose for every being in existance, and you do not ascribe to both evolution and intelligent design and the religious faith in an ominpotent Almighty (??), but reality (??)

Well, as for nature being cruel, I am aware that Buddhist have an even simpler take on life, of which existance is suffering, hence struggling to survive , and while Buddhist believe that all beings in existance, including humans, come from nature (or perhaps with evolutionary ties with nature), humans are equipped with the mental ability ( intelligence ) if you may, to comprehend both suffering and a greater purpose in life , and its the same mental capabilities that we can use (a choice) to do greater good for fellow human beings, or wreak havoc for selfish gains.

For a Buddhist perhaps, there's a choice to seek enlightenment (in philosophical terms : to rid oneself of worldly attachments) or to be attached to worldly problems yet seek to aid others in ways we can. Science and knowledge is one way we can ameliorate the suffering of the world, i.e. diseases, poverty, hunger, environmental, and I think thats what the majority of scientist tries to do. Its certainly a better option than doing nothing whatsover in this cruel cruel world...

Well, I guess that is what you are trying to convey, that we should seek a good cause/purpose in the pursuit of knowledge or any livelihood. Humanist.

Reply to viji : Thank you for you thoughts and reply. I do not ascribe to evolution, intelligent design?, but I do not disbelieve in the progression of changes and speculated means described. In terms of a theological view point I find no division in the world scientifically between anklind, all living things, and the rest of the world. As men/women tend to be object oriented, they creaste a divide between material objects, matter, and themselves. From this divide grows another in the controversary over creation vs evolution. I do no think it is possible for things that grow like trees, the species familires, to have come from innert things that are uniform. Does nbot fit the laws of science or common sense.I think matter itself has someof the properties of living things -that it undergoes change-evolves. in history we have stopped at this question with suitable statistical approximations of the behavior of the elements. What is described is life being born from a line. With this view the topic of creation vs science loses practicality- everything(matter life etc) is just there-is-who knows where it came from?. Todays scientific problems evolve from cultural aspects 10 the inclusion of a diety in terms of a descriptive constant(the speed of light) that is proposed valid for all frames of reference-from what reference point?. We do even have a way to say-no man can know the perceptions of another but via communication. Light communicates also-sound communicates. All process communicate something to something else. By assumomg the speed of light a constant we incoporate ideas of a an external diety to anything. This I like to define as as part of the communication of the author of the notion. Mathematics another subsidiary part. However regardless of the validity of the theory, all is nothing but descriptive communications. This gives us a feeling of emptyness and chaos when we lean away from mathematical logic in describing things that are far beyond daily experience and perception. Men(who laid most if not all of the scientific foundations of the modern world) are also far worse with respect to this than women, who , if inclined to study science find very little inspiration, or route to a quick redefinition and perspective of things exceedingly complex involving the whole body of collected knowledge. In a marriage dispute would a wife imclude god as a third party in a dispute-only at church maybe if the dispute had any foundations related there.
Thus as an alternate to our securities in mathematics, instead we can have a series of related things more describable as communicating reflecting things. In my letter I had hoped to point this out to as many as possible, that we should arrive at this notion, before we apply changes to nature and that current world immunilogical problems are directly descended from our behaviors and instincts which are infiltrated throughout our science dictionaries. Fo4 instance, in a marital dispute, if god were included in the practicalities and details (i.e in a Woody Allen movie at the movie marque"Ihave marshall mcCullen(author of the Medium is the message) right here"who is produced as a witness), could not the activites be described as emotionally oriented-(if not using the name of Marshll McCullen in vain) Do you think all the dishes would be washed well,the house kept in order in the midst of such a dispute(I am presenting in analogy to our current science practices.) The house could grow a disease reflective of falsely applying things -an autoimmunological disease-weakened defenses-a virus analogous to Marshal McCullen being present at all conceptions and affairs. My opinion is thaT City Hall is allocating funds constantly to fight a disease caused by its' own over indulgences-in a viscious circle-like a drug addiction. We cant be involved in the affairs of the third world-be present-evolution demands a period of isolation and separation-our technologies there in addition though looking good are only very short term resolutions for them. Einstein may be very popular there and they 'd have no visible discriminatory abilites to possible deleterious effects of technology. Energy, energy, energy, ... like a man in a midlife crises exhausting himself prematurely on the choice of thousands of women.

By marvin e. kirsh (not verified) on 13 Aug 2006 #permalink

Sex is hereditary. Kids whose parents had sex generally have sex. Kids whose parents never had sex, by and large, don't exist. These non-existent kids do not have sex. Never. Clearly, those that preach abstinence-only should teach by example.

Response to viji. I wished to add just a second note concerning my comments. That the things i refer to,though we consider ourselves very enlighted annd modern, and though we have all the facts already within our grasps, we still proceed forwards in an idle or continuance(in the same direction) like fashion from some forces upon us.People can drown when they already know how to swim if the ocean is deep enough. I wanted to point out that my comments are about what we are not consciously aware of-instinct and history related -that the only real additins and changes possible are of those type of things requiring apersonal rather than scientific insight which follows second. I do no think we ought to pass up an opportunity to learn from the observation of a wave that looks far over our heads.

Marvin, I respect your views in the matters of everyday life, and I should point out I have differing views, but nonetheless the impetus of our healthy communication are similarly focused on the betterment of our fellow mankind and living beings

Indeed, the realities of life require understanding at a personal level, and I would say even person's working the science require some form of sacrifice and commitment on the personal level. Put it simply, if we consider science as our way fo trying to comprehend, learn, and improve on the realities of life, then you may even consider learning from our experiences and lessons from history as a form of science.

In my opinion, I think that science have always been unjustly accussed of being materialistic. Our understanding of the worldly order of things are still in its infancy, and because there is much in the realm of the unknown, the only visible products of science is technology - and more often than not - because of mankind's insatiable "wants" - technology has been deemed short-term and materialistic even destructive. But if we ponder on the significance of science a step further, without science (the art of learning), we would not have progressed beyond our animalistic origins, much less do we have concepts such as cultures, law, morality, and religion. We wouldn't even have the book from which we record and communicate in the form of holy scriptures.

As a person involved in science, I wouldn't agree with your contentions that science embodies emptyness and chaos when science is used to describe realities of daily life. For example, meteorological science allows us to understand and predict natural calamities - helping save lives and limiting its destruction - rather then ascribing it to any supernatural source (leading to unnecessary reactions such as human sacrifices or putting blame on witch craft). Evolutionary biology allow us to understand and counter the evolution of resistance to treatments both in cancerous cells and infectious agents. Communication technologies draws different peoples and cultures together and avert misundestandings that had typically led to massive human conflicts and suffering. etc. etc. That is why science is a way for the betterment of humankind.

I am unclear of your stand on the HIV-AIDS issue, but from my reading of a passge in your response, you seem to hint AIDS as autoimmulogical (which science has already proved not), and you imply that affairs of the 3rd world (which I think you mean countries outside the USA) is none of your concern, and while you agree our current breakthroughs, control measures, and treatments are effective, you pointed out that our current knowledge is short term and cannot resolve the disease, yet you seem to not support funding the science (town hall....). So what do you suggest is the resolution of this human afflication?

As for evolution vs creation, I am not going to elaborate as this is not my field of study. I think both sides of the divide are in some instances guilty of extremism. But I can emphatise with the need for debate our the issue, that is (1) scientist are worried with the certain aspects that is part and parcel of extreme creation thought, which is the unwillingness to accept any observation, scientific or otherwise, that not in agreement to the holy scriptures, and thus the direct opposite of the scientific method. (2) while religious parties are worried that as the population becomes more anept to science, people will stop having faith in religion, and lose the binding moral obligations espoused by religious teaching and revert to animalistic behaviour.

Well, the religious authorities have kept even headed over the issue, separating religion from science, as an appreciation to the importance of both in the betterment of humankind. I can't understand why the American counterparts are not able to work in a similar rational fashion.

Evolution and mans origins in the animal kingdom doesn't worry me. I adhere to certain Buddhist aspects as guidance in my day-to-day life, and I find that Buddhism doesn't have problem with evolution. Especially when in my daily work in science, the obeservations point to evolution.

Buddhist thought also mentions of humanity's humble beginnings, and our gradual development into what we are today, and of continual change. According to Budhhist taught what distinct us from other living things is that we are equppied with a mind that enables us to learn and comprehend natural phenomenon, to comprehend both suffering and a greater purpose in life , and a choice use our enormous mental capabilities to do greater good or for selfish gains. Very akin evolution.

Whats attractive to me about Buddhism is that, although we are given a set of Buddhist reasoning, religious texts, moral teachings and practices, we are taught to question and not to accept any of these teachings until we have tried it out and experienced the outcome by ourselves. And even the teachings of the Buddha should be tested before you accept it. Therefore the common descriptions of the Buddha as a teacher rather than a prophet, and Buddhism as a way of living (method) rather than holy commandments. Akin the scientific method.

Another famous sermon from the Buddha to lay followers is that "Why should we ask questions about our origins or our purpose of existance, when the knowledge of such serves little purpose in our daily lives or in the struggle to free ourselves from the suffering of worldly existance". When his disciples persist in asking him the same question, the Buddha was hesitant, saying that his disciples were not prepared for the knowledge and that such knowledge would present more doubts than answers that can become obstacles in their training. As they insisted he did divulged limited information as recorded in the Buddhist scriptures, examples like the Buddha said that there are more than one sun in the universe, there are more world systems than the one on Earth, and there are more than one plane of existance, and that the universe is a cycle of destruction and rebirth ... etc etc. As the Buddha correctly predicted, his disciples are ever more confused. I was amazed with the similarities of these Buddhist records to some of our curent observations in science, but that is just speculation, I'll have to explore that for myself before accepting Buddha's saying or science theories as facts.

What I wish to point out is that, the questions of human origin or the beginning of the universe is just another of our worldly desires, one of curiousity. In my opinion, these question should not impact on how I live my life. However, I support the scientific study in such fields, because the product of such a study can potentially benefit humankind, like how evolution has taught us about how microorganisms develop resistance to treatments.

The bottomline is, why must evolution versus creation be such an overblown issue? Science does not seek to disprove religious faith or undermine morality BUT trying to understand natural phenomenon, while religion's focus is to provide a set of ethical and moral guidelines as a way of living, THEN why must religion struggle to dictate science and its study of natural phenomenon.

I am keen to use my mental abilities to forward humanity's understanding and knowledge in medical science and in some way contribute to reduce the suffering of fellow humans. Although in Buddhist terms, the ultimate aim is to seek enlightenment by ridding worldly worries and attachments, Buddhist also have a choice to remain attached while aiming for loving kindness to fellow humans, and that's my choice.

Dear viji: Pertaining to your letter of reply Ihave a few thoughts.

1) I would welcome a debate of these topics for the purposes of a mutual enlightenment>

2) You misread my comment containing the words "emptiness and chaois". I find science interesting and fulfilling. Is read out of context. My letters are not intended as a critique of the current; I intend an addition to our thinking. I am not even one millionth of one percent against the alleviation of hguman suffering through study and application. I do say that practices in the third world are the problem-I believe it is the youngest influencing the oldest (America-the third world respectively) that is the problem.

My basic assertion is that these calamities of AIDS, SARS, etc are not natural occuring mishaps-i.e a direction in evolution-perturbation we must conquer to proceed. I am asserting that we cause the problems I catagorize as all the result of tresspassing. We have tresspassed on the atom-it's cohering forces to build a bomb to tresspass on a supposed threat. We have tresspassed on the the cell-changeing its' makeup and genetic functioning-we trespassed on the environment to build (damaging)exhaust yielding transportation and energy, we are constantly visiting and tresspassing on other societies-we tresspass on space leaving huge piles of junk in orbit. We again tresspass with scientific applications attempting to resolve problems that we do not know the cause of (tresspassing). We our selves heated up space and the earth beyond normal changes which we cannot discern in this situation.(nor could we detect without science).
In argument ..if the problem is tresspassing, is this not something we learn and practice at home. Could it not be possible that this whole issue is a home problem itself. With a little addition and insight-we can say all problems are of our immediate environments and it is not wise to penetrate other places beyond the nietche. In analogy to applying a long strong arm from our own spheres toother places. picture the nietche as a sphere-our homes in which our activities(unknowingly inthe deepest underastanding)) create a problem in the spheres and nietches elsewhere ,and then proceeding to extend ourselves into other nietches with science remedies. if the cause of AIDES is actual sexual penetration, isnt that in analogy what we are doing, anbd probably the intitial cause.
I am not saying that we are not separating church and science, but that the actual
line between the two is not conceived (is this something we conceive or perceive?) very neutrally and that the stark reality of it can can create a feeling of emptiness and chaois with respect to the orderly definitions we have created. In my last letter I tried to discuss point of reference-ther is only one (million multiple distinct unique and no singular constant(physical constant or entity) to cling to.) To view things this way requires a reorientation-that my be difficult at first to see bothh theoretical perpsectives in the same image, glace, thought.
In my opinion the world problem is very critical. n you last line your had asked what we should do about it. With tresspassing as the major theme, we should stop tresspassing and count our losses,give blessing if we have anything left at all. With respect to science-it must be kept clean with this new perspective..that we do not make changes in nature-sacrafice animals for that purpose-setoff expolosions by trapping water, changing the cell especially the nucleus, sacrcificing the environment for materials and energy to acomplish all these feats.
I am not against drugs,the curent design means and tests especially with animals are not good. Immune diseases problems could subside if comply with these new ideas. We have to know all the cards and this cannot be discerned when we are multiply causing the problems, agravating the problems , and agravating them again trying to create cures. my firm belief is that aspirin is the only real medical discovery this century, penicillin second-but antibiotic resistance from its abuse is a growing problem.
A lab is sort of part of a home as a home is a home, that we must keep in order. I can relate to all that i discus maybe from both perspectives and raslize that the compulsions and urges to project ourselves other places is very astrong-to create ;large scale plans and applications. Especially when,i think City HaLL(my words for government)monetarily and othewise fuels both cause and effect(the disease problem and the research to cure it).
I had also a though I think I ommitted from my last letter...that new revelations..personal revelations..self enlightenment ..are the only routes to betterment..a laboratory provides onyl scientific insights-personal insights must come first before science improves. and my point is that an entire world built from its part perceptions, can a new (collective)personal insight and revelation, that does not really require much argument,simply the language and time to communicate it. Is this no the real goal of all scholarship-to find out ourselves and mistakes for an enlightenment. it appears to me that mankind was born inclined to such errors in his seekout the unknown infinite with thoughts to conquer in advance to his own good reasonsed housekeeping and understandings. In the thoughts i am trying to communicate there is no special divide-as in the cell its' nucleus-inside and out-the atom ,its' nucleus and wall. There is a real onenes to things that has escaped all of us,as we look out beyond our first steps at home (ironiocally our steps at home are all there is).
When a wall is changing is is best to have a sabbath at that time-as a joke if you think a stockbroker might be scared if he actually saw a moving wall, .i think science,technology, governments and wars have gone a step further beyond a moving wall, it's properties, aspects of motion etc. to have created the bottomless pit, invisible immuno-terror(ible) blackhole moving wall giant, we will start seeing also when at night we should be at home asleep.


By Marvin Kirsh (not verified) on 14 Aug 2006 #permalink


I see you have rested well, and are now fully awake!

I absolutely love the sharing of your thoughts and I treasure your words above.

Namaste! ;)


My bad if I have misread you message.

I am not responding in any way to court debate or critique views but to present my own

I am fully aware the need for personal insights and commitment before proceeding with the study of science, and indeed the process inherent of science and the outcome - scientific findings, also provide an avenue for new insights and perspectives, which, in my view, should not be considered solely achiveable within the domain of religion or philosophy. Simply, the dedication of putting hours upon hours of energy and effort in return for little personal gain (relative) demands unwavering willpower and faith in the expectations coming out from a line of scientific research.

I disagree with your concept of "tresspassing" as it is impossible and fruitless to define constitute a "trespass" If by your definition that human trespass as perturbations of nature by human activities, even building a simple shelter or tending a small plot of land for food is considered trespass. And in that sense, human should cease to exist as per solution what we perceive as ills

As with HIV and SARS, it is misleading to say that these are products of our trespasses as clearly such organisms are unique to this time in history and has never been present before in nature. I think the correct way to put it is that our current living conditions (huge human populations living in close proximity) have provided a fertile environment and a new niche for pre-existing microbes to evolve and become a human-afflicting infectious agent.

personally, I find the use of animals in forwarding our understanding in medicine and science distasteful, but that is the only method we have, and we are developing animal free models, but till such methods are available, we have to make do with the current available methods, otherwise we would have to sit and be idle to what challenges nature present us. Ethical use and animal welfare have been put in place to curb or at least reduce the chance of animal suffering and exploitation.

and the list goes on and on from transportation, agriculture, stem cells, space exploration, etc. etc. there is really no clear delineation on how, when, and where human disturbance seem to contribute to the many problems we have today. Simply, unless the human race cease to exist, the only way for humans to survive is to explore new approaches, learn from past mistakes, be vigilant of potential mistakes in our current approaches, and formulate from these experiences checks and balances to avert problems. Putting the head in the sand by withdrawing to certain set limits aren;t going to solve problems, since we cannot even agree to what degree we should limit ourselves in order to not "trespass"

The core messages of your letter continues to elude me and I request for you to further elaborate

I'll summarise my understanding of your letter:
You assert that all of humanity's woes are humanity's own doing.

And you seem to suggest that the USA should not care about the rest of the world because its none of it's concern?

And you suggest we give up and do nothing about it? Well, I becuase you say we should limit ourselves to not "trespass" which I find vague, because it imply that we cannot do anything at all?

Please keep our sentences crisp and clear,

This part totally eludes me

In the thoughts i am trying to communicate there is no special divide-as in the cell its' nucleus-inside and out-the atom ,its' nucleus and wall. There is a real onenes to things that has escaped all of us,as we look out beyond our first steps at home (ironiocally our steps at home are all there is).
When a wall is changing is is best to have a sabbath at that time-as a joke if you think a stockbroker might be scared if he actually saw a moving wall, .i think science,technology, governments and wars have gone a step further beyond a moving wall, it's properties, aspects of motion etc. to have created the bottomless pit, invisible immuno-terror(ible) blackhole moving wall giant, we will start seeing also when at night we should be at home asleep.

I apologise for not getting what you are trying to say. But in short, I'll like to state that most sceintific projects (esp the ones that need to fight for funding) needs to present a case of significance to the advancement of knowledge for the betterment of humankind before any approval by the funding body. Therefore almost all research sets out with the specific aim at improving the situation. The outcome of any research can have both good and bad implications, but its how we choose to use this knowledge that matters, and NOT faulting the inception knowledge and technology in any problems we encounter.

Dear viji: I read your second to last letter on Buddism after the reply following to the letter before and the last entry just previous to this reply. i will attempt to reply to both. I have a great deal of interest in Buddism-have avoided it because I smoke cigarettes and do not want to give them up immediately. I encounter them on occasion at the University I have just started a masters degree in Philosophy.. I mentioned I have a previous Ph.D in Biochemistry. (I am accustomed to mostly A's in my courses and am now on financial aid probation to have all B's next year instead of the C- D three incompletes and withdraw of last year.) I find Buddists a lot more gentler, quieter in spirit, clearer thinking, than those at the churches I also encounter.
Ihave tried to be very careful in my writing not to finger point or crticise excessively:not only does it accomplish nothing:there is really no finger to point and criticism that could come freely, easily from a more sarcastic than myself does not set an example, nor does reflect any ability at all to stand in the shoes of another. Sarcastic rhetoric infiltrates this half of the world-a critical eye has evolved into a means of complaint and in some cases entertainment profits-"those jerks in Washington etc." "I could do a better job" (unless you had yourself to cope with). And I comprehend that your reading of my letters can be comprehended with some of the sarcasm of your ordinary life/science endeavors-If I read correectly, but then again also my letters are also very ambiguous at places.
I am not excessively hip on America. Have not though been very many places. Remembering when I walked the hiways I was constantly detained by police without any charges, spending atleast a million dollars of public funds to accomplish nothing. In Mexico, I was also approached-had no needle marks-was treated with respect though dressed very poorly, even empty bags of garbage were retuned to my pockets which they dusted off slightly. This is very different from handcuffs, weeks in confinement , over and over again. Inmecio they do no thave a million dollars to waste. Here in America this allocated money is treated like water-up to the discretion of local authorities . A world of difference-one place the police job to apprehend crooks and the other an armed social services department with a billion dollars.
What terrible waste!
I do not think humanity is the cause of the worlds ills. Some people(other than yourself) could view humanity as the world, excluding all the animals,plants, bacteria,etc. I can read reflection on this topic easily as we both are problem-solution oriented -educated at basically the same university. Humanity is an equal part of the rest - if we describe the biosphere as one then without humanity we are talking about what does not exist(world without humanity)-if it does not exist first we would not be here to talk about it and second we might as well discuss flying people with eight foot wings -this would be a waste of energy-a symptom of something else-an indirect alternate topic.
My writing is about whether we have our wisdoms first and our practices second on our current topic. I do believe that we do as we have never attained a basic wisdom about the alien and unknown or realized our own destructive potentials though they have been written about, dissected for atleast two centuries , but never rising to a state of general awareness. This wisdom reduces not simply to morality-humaneness, but as in your reference to Budda,things that a person must understand and develop on his own-for his own strength of character and the evolution of an independant, thinking discerning will. A person mentally imprisoned to the applied values of others is basically worthless-he must arrive at his own views and ideas. Dictatorships and tyranny ariseon earth when for a common good a public has too much discord. Therefore all thinking does emminate(or grow towards) from a root of 'the common good". Americans are the most spend thrift people on this earth-they occupy a land of the greatest resources-and their consumption per person is many fold greater than the rest of the earth-they also do not have the excesses they assume-demand a general populace life of convenience beyond even the highest possible expectations for all bu the greatest of wealth in any other land. We are not slightly fruggle withthe great wealth of the land we simply inherited. A penny pinching attitude to that of a resource miser be a better plan for the future,inthe event we run out. So far from my view we are constantly engineering a huge hunk of concrete-moving minerals this way,redirecting rivers that way;who couldnt not expect a flood as a response from mother nature eventually.-regardless of what our data tells us what caused the floods or our ability to predict them. I f you add it up-it's all give me, give me, rather than accept what I have. Shoring up a city-building a wall with the science we have accomplished is very different from seed the clouds with sulfur, trying to change the weather. Making people more comfortable in a hospital, pain killers, surgery, is very different from trying to change a disease of heredity-trying to change the metabolism of a cell. Although it is not seen very clearly, the latter is very sinful-greedy, does not benefit the common good. Building a wall to defend(whether or not you refer to cell defenses) is no the same as offensive imposed change. I could go into an argument about how really we do not know the slightest of the vast directed dedicated forces of evolution and is so complex (especially from our limited observations and data) regardless of how stupid appearing the notion might be to a scientist-we do not know the forwards from reverse paths of things.The forwards path is life-the world itself though we create a linguistic divide in definition between the two) anbd the reverse path is derived simply from the record of change we keep. At one time it was supposed we could construct a whole organism from DNA, but found out later that we needed intact cells as well. Now we are mixing up the DNAS from species to "learn' This is the worst destructive act in history. Life simply has its' seed as movement-as does all the universe. the act of copulation is the seed of birth-I do no think even invitro fertilizations will remain fertile to survive after a period of time-conceive to produce children. We are -the world is more like a hologram-though it cannot be seen that way in daily life-We msut creat mental lines and divisions to survive. In christrianity no man can completly fulfill the requirements and still occcupy space, he must though always seek to improve-confess, better himself-leave a better learning behind him for his eternal life. An eternal divide is always present between his daily living and his leaving. I know this sounds funny-the words I use. But the notion is that we are gifted with life-should honor it-words from the past in the scriptures build on this wisdom with story-allegory, which i am sure is not interpreted corectly in modern day as we cannot travel in time to know the lives,the shoes of the people of which it is written-is as unknowable as real time travel and has no meaning as a discussion of a world without people has no meaning. If nature has a path we perceive, there is DNA with a steping record, if living things have DNA, the elements build a tree, that I believe adds up to zero like the control in an experiment or DNA a sameness with the motion of reproduction. I do not think we should tamper with it. Its growth and existence is exactly on course with the forces and pressure that bear on it-is in the most efficient state and course for its existence. If you take the hologram I discuss and think about people, countries, wars, disease and science everything we do have the same label on it-room science-space for living- with an accompanying confusion in morality about history, expansion and how we attain this space. Why cannot we call all science -room science-room-space study, I cannot find another basic definition. Ac christians we should honor our living room -it is a gift. Where then does science diverge-or is not the same as religion. It is. As you asked why is there argument and a divide-there is no real existing "room" to have one. In example-no third neutral party. If you think very carefully light traveling from all places of one person to an observer cannot be at the same speed-all the distances are not the same-describes a lack of motion to say itis a constant. Now dig deeply into modern science -it is built of physics theory with a constant. To keep things in order we apply a constant instead of allowing a mental chaos-the trend, with this practice, is towards a lack of volume. In immunumology saying a constant implies atleast the progression of a zero distance between observers-as if physically connected. All this has an under current-as I mentioned the word tresspassing previously, of the word "glue". Glue of the atom -glue of life. From this word we can take a linguisitc trip with other related words-dwelling ...housing room, room- fixation-soreness- hotheadedness-weight-mass-gravity.Maybe in our environments from the distant past,clouds our vision-some of these things I point out are actually not very complex, but not thought about as if substituted by belief-false belief.. But we do not need to yield to it once we are aware of it. i am not saying we need to give up science but we need a new morality,lines draw..for our own good(common good). We need find and adhere to new lines and moralities inorder to see the problem clearly and to if and how our own doing affects the course and evolution of disease.

PS-I need a grant myself-for my smoky little room,bed that always grows needle I have to sleep on-a vacation-day at the beach.

By marvin e. kirsh (not verified) on 14 Aug 2006 #permalink

For those of you who may have missed the unprecedented news, it seems that the war on AIDS promises to be the longest war ever in recorded history - it could even last for several decades, even 30-40 years....! Mon Dieu!!

It was in an Agence France Presse report on 08.13.06 by Richard Ingham.â¨â¨"We are entering a new phase in the global response," said Peter Piot. "We have got some initial successes, or rather results, but we are facing a move from crisis management to a long-term sustainable response," he said. â¨â¨"One and a half million people are on antiretroviral therapy in the developing world," Piot said. "And hopefully there will be far more. Twenty, 30 or 40 years from now, we still want them to be alive. Who's going to pay for that?"â¨â¨"By any measure, we still have a catastrophe, a crisis. But if now these initial results lead to complacency, that would be a disaster, and we know that keeping anything on the political agenda is difficult," Piot said.â¨â¨In other words, $500 million a year or $50 billion a year just won't be enough to stop or roll back this Dante's Inferno, Black Plague, War of the Worlds, Triple-Holocaust and Global Conflagration all rolled into one.......

Mon dieu!!! Okay, everybody back to work now and leave those nattering AIDS dogmatist fools to amuse themselves to death in Toronto...... next stop for their Gravy Train.....Mexico City/2008 for more of the same.

One and a half million people are on antiretroviral therapy in the developing world," Piot said. "And hopefully there will be far more. ...

These guys are far out and it must be said: who needs Aids denialists now that the Aids apologists are so frantically digging their own grave?

hopefully there will be far more

Piot names the wishful thinking of all Aids apologists who's lives depend on the HIV=Aids=Death equation.

"One and a half million people are on antiretroviral therapy in the developing world," Piot said. "And hopefully there will be far more."

These guys are far out and it must be said: who needs Aids denialists now that the Aids apologists are so frantically digging their own grave?

hopefully there will be far more

Piot names the wishful thinking of all Aids apologists who's lives depend on the HIV=Aids=Death equation.

Yeah. It sucks when difficult problems take a long time to solve.

If only everything was as easy Polio. That one only took 110 years from the first medical report...

HIV=Aids is not a difficult problem to solve. It's very easy: HIV<>Aids

But the blockhead Aids apologists want to have it their way because the holy mantra HIV, the virus that causes Aids is too tightly woven into their lives.


I think that is the key-yightly woven into our-their lives.--People do make major changes in life without some certainty for a new path-direction-or that the old path is deadly. Finger pointing complaining do not help especially when they are standard components of the situation requiring change.
if you look at the changes of or HIV structure in relation to normal sequences(I am basically not familiar with this and read in many years but) you will find what looks like the viscious methods of the virus,even adopted probelm solving of those with-they start to think like it-dying mind solving problems in akin to agent killing it.
A standard component of the viril situation eg. relates to viril (bad)function.

if you look around the earth also-imif=ght have tha advantage here that i know more of it- the nature of social-economic-political obstructions=peoples corners and damnations-There is actually a whole lot less attributable to poor emotion, poor intellect, willingness, than to the separations, communication failures that come from tresspassing, and glue tampering(lives missing-apart-grand perspectives missing).. In summary the virus -world likes like ,in its activity- the world problems grown into a virus. Though sounding freaky-there may even be ocassions -when certain treatments started to fail-vaccinations that had been promosing failed-the virus assumes another identity=simultaneously occuring with changes in big things discussed above(involving the movements of men and their tresspasses damnations and greedy seeking that can resolve to a singular thing(if lucky) some how driving connecting to all these other things. I do not know if you could imagine a person frustration-knowing these facts-possibly able effect a change-being refused the means via the same actions of thw same disease symptoms in the behavoirs learning judgements of others whose help he seeks or is dependant on for his means.

By marvin e. kirsh (not verified) on 17 Aug 2006 #permalink

viji-jspreen- As Ihave a lot of personal mental ssociations and witness to my topics that do not surfuce to the address of commmon sense -burried deep in my reflections-that have simple replies: I think to add a couple of additional notes.

The world problems and peoples behaviors are always related in my discussion to the saying the world happens ten feet around-although I do have evidence and data extraneous to this diameter-it is always consistent:

I have found that the exact pathological source from the past leading to today troubles to be foot and mouth disease-anthrax. alot of sarcastic comments can be made related to :"his foot in his mouuth etc", but we should not over look or rule out ;beyond these language uses- there are very serious and heavy scientific associations that are not apparent. In example "what's on the radio?" -"the radio game", and whats the winning name on the radio game-"the radio game? is a little hyptnotising-can get a little redundant to where even our language is threaten-but i am alright. The angle of view can be beyond human capabilities but is the product of addition of separate events-has a theme that requires a reorientation of perspective so that the problem is directly in front to our witness and refelctive capabilities. As i have been writing above-about the non-existence of third party witnesses in science -without this fact in our science and endeavors it is possible for humans to add up the world beyond its actual number count to lead a bove and beyond us. if this is coupled to human activities, this is what happened-part of the aids virus is endogeneous and needs to be -go exist-and part is extrsneous.
The connection with anthrax-is "foot and mouth"(head and limb-but inthis case I discuss it is foot and mouth) the root topics of the means ofour tresspasses-a disease never conquered -and viscious cycles involving the old world where its roots are -ways of both defense-offense-and the utilization of nature to do things. In the old world a course could be use to invade and destroy the occupants of a city. ivolves a march-stepping on with the foot, vibrational energy of nature and speech, as well as its content. I am very convinced that thisis the source of modern day ailments. A source only when it in volves additions ina tree like manner in likeness to the growths of nature-but in opposite that it takes-a man involved not know the whole sum and can exceed himself to be fatal in general. Heavily reflects its presence inthe adoption of slang-changes in language slanted that have criminal usage- that are a meansure almost of light and darkeness-thehope is that a purity of communiucation remains. (as an example i get very agitated and disturbed at for instance"proposeal in canada tokmake english the standard language instead of french, when it is the english languag where mostof this is happening. The consolidations in Europe for monetary uniformity totally provides a haven fore these language ab users.(is a tresspassing as i describ4ed-a divergence fromour roots) and also angering insulting that anyone existsing has anough knowledge and the audactiy to propose to alter the world as it evolved (in what appears itself as a package deal-and i would not be surprised if the aids virus packaging doesnt resemble some aspects of this).
All these things involve criminals with criminal intent (and as always -are schemeing witha paln-and usually have sowemthing to say-an explanation involving the surval of paties-many are not aware of grandiose effects-eg the monetary in Europe-soem are -sometimes there a re masterpalnners unknown to the rest-but as it reflects a darkor light world it is easily apparent all are ignorant of their actions. if one had a very broad view of this , even-especiallya person without advanced education-and especially with little moralor regard for life-could see this scheme and think "data on evolution right fromnature itself-exactly genuine-and use -abuse what is in effect millions of people witha way to utilize the whole event-move its components as if a laboratory-threaten thousands of people easily dependingon the progression of his activities to their criminal exposure, to utilize corpses to do things.-at a key board soemwhere -or not at a key board?aware or unaware where his unknown facts come from.
So far the only traces I see are in movies entertainment and press writing -not in science data-but a consolidation of mans knowledge fro an altewrior purpose -to generalize it for every one in their daily live-stillinthe sma setting that we rule nature -a know it all like attitude-i wrote about above-written to exist at the time of Nietzsche)).

part two of my discussion-back to medicine and aids. Is it possible to shoot a disease? I am not talking about a transmitter but a criminal cause wlked himself so far off the earth that light from the flashlight of a good hand can substitute for bullets(in my case can revive to living sometimes with light by drawing a design-goes further if the steesses to nature are very great-A scheming criminal could even buch up around such a source to obstruct his light(how Ihave nearly flunked out of philosophy and life and actions appear tottally distracted to be attributed to mental illness(smeof these criminals have a very comical outlook and it is usually not those types on my "hit" list(which is mostly blank with not even hardly a description on the list-but light and the earth not lie and seeks those who have treasoned all-themselves their own families etc))).
Foot and mouth is very old in the third world_I do not know if it preceeds the leukemias of which i have found traces around and msotly correct a physcial turning that soemhow grows to string through all the places involved-can show up in surgeries as a mysterious pressure of unknown origin-or external elements in the flesh of the patients. A recent article in nature drew my instant attention -on th e application of a pulling force to chromatinc increases its twists and reduces its length.
These things i do and discuss are not really science-a remedy possible to restore things to normal-like a disease receeding(there are those in this activity I describe who think to obstruct this for data (for their own purposes -something else elsewhere threateneing them to see this as a means to include their survival)...that marks especially in language usage not be made or left to regrow. Aside from the foot and mouth disease, leulemias and aides--Ithink the cureent trouble also includes physical marks left behind from medical treatments on things that whenand if they find a way to retore and rejeuvenate-are so delicate -must be left to their own. Westerners have a habit of of inflicting a minor second insult meant to heal also with a strengthening ..come to acomplish the opposite.

This decline of mankind via disease i think has a specific sequence and order I have not determined-but I think foot and mouth preceeds the rest as a stepping stone like a stairway that leads off the earth. I also think the origins still exist-history would have preserved them -but I fear also -like trapping water to make an abomb-microwaving remaining parts of a space shuttle-etc. for analysis..etc. The simply crime and suffering imposed upon myself in the name of all this-time that cannot be replaced.(all an exact measure of the progression of the trouble)

The prognosis is stil not good -if even the causes of these factors are remedied. A reduced lifetime and impairment.

By marvin e. kirsh (not verified) on 17 Aug 2006 #permalink