Pathetic Statistics from HIV/AIDS Denialists

While I was on vacation, I got some email from Chris Noble pointing me towards a discussion with some thoroughly innumerate HIV-AIDS denialists. It's really quite shocking what passes for a reasonable argument among true believers.

The initial stupid statement is from one of Duesberg's papers, [AIDS Acquired by Drug Consumption and Other Noncontagious Risk Factors][duesberg], and it's quite a whopper. During a discussion of the infection rates shown by HIV tests of military recruits, he says:

>(a) "AIDS tests" from applicants to the U.S. Army and the U.S. Job
>Corps indicate that between 0.03% (Burke et al.,1990) and 0.3% (St
>Louis et al.,1991) of the 17- to 19-year-old applicants are HIV-infected
>but healthy. Since there are about 90 million Americans under the age
>of 20, there must be between 27,000 and 270,000(0.03%-0.3% of 90
>million) HIV carriers. In Central Africa there are even more, since 1-2%
>of healthy children are HIV-positive (Quinn et al.,1986).
>
>Most, if not all, of these adolescents must have acquired HIV from
>perinatal infection for the following reasons: sexual transmission of
>HIV depends on an average of 1000 sexual contacts, and only 1in 250
>Americans carries HIV (Table 1). Thus, all positive teenagers would
>have had to achieve an absurd 1000 contacts with a positive partner, or
>an even more absurd 250,000 sexual contacts with random Americans
>to acquire HIV by sexual transmission. It follows that probably all of
>the healthy adolescent HIV carriers were perinatally infected, as for
>example the 22-year-old Kimberly Bergalis (Section 3.5.16).

Now, I would think that *anyone* who reads an allegedly scientific paper like this would be capable of seeing the spectacular stupidity in this quotation. But for the sake of pedantry, I'll explain it using small words.

If the odds of, say, winning the lottery are 1 in 1 million, that does *not* mean that if I won the lottery, that means I must have played it one million times. Nor does it mean that the average lottery winner played the lottery one million times. It means that out of every one million times *anyone* plays the lottery, *one* person will be expected to win.

To jump that back to Duesberg, what he's saying is: if the transmission rate of HIV/AIDS is 1 in 1000, then the average infected person would need to have had sex with an infected partner 1000 times.

Nope, that's not how math works. Not even close.

Suppose we have 1000 people who are infected with HIV, and who are having unprotected sex. *If* we follow Duesberg's lead, and assume that the transmission rate is a constant 0.1%, then what we would expect is that if each of those 1000 people had sex with one partner one time, we would see one new infected individual - and that individual would have had unprotected sex with the infected partner only one time.

This isn't rocket science folks. This is damned simple, high-school level statistics.

Where things get even sadder is looking at the discussion that followed when Chris posted something similar to the above explanation. Some of the ridiculous contortions that people go through in order to avoid admitting that the great Peter Duesberg said something stupid is just astounding. For example, consider [this][truthseeker] from a poster calling himself "Truthseeker":

>If Duesberg had said that, he would indeed be foolish. The foolishness,
>however, is yours, since you misintepret his reasoning. He said, as you note
>
>>Most, if not all, of these adolescents must have acquired HIV from perinatal
>>infection for the following reasons: sexual transmission of HIV depends on an
>>average of 1000 sexual contacts, and only 1 in 250 Americans carries HIV
>>(Table 1). Thus, all positive teenagers would have had to achieve an absurd
>>1000 contacts with a positive partner, or an even more absurd 250,000 sexual
>>contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.
>
>This states the average transmission requires 1000 contacts, not every
>transmission. With such a low transmission rate and with so few Americans
>positive - you have to engage with 250 partners on average to get an average
>certainty of 100% for transmission, if the transmission rate was 1. Since it is
>1 in 1000, the number you have to get through on average is 250,000. Some might
>do it immediately, some might fail entirely even at 250,000. But the average
>indicates that all positive teenagers would have had to get through on average
>250,000 partner-bouts.

Truthseeker is making exactly the same mistake as Duesberg. The difference is that he's just had it explained to him using a simple metaphor, and he's trying to spin a way around the fact that *Duesberg screwed up*.

But it gets even worse. A poster named Claus responded with [this][claus] indignant response to Chris's use of a metaphor about plane crashes:

>CN,
>
>You would fare so much better if you could just stay with the science
>points and refrain from your ad Duesbergs for more than 2 sentences at
>a time. You know there's a proverb where I come from that says 'thief thinks
>every man steals'. I've never seen anybody persisting the way you do in
>calling other people 'liars', 'dishonest' and the likes in spite of the
>fact that the only one shown to be repeatedly and wilfully dishonest
>here is you.
>
>Unlike yourself Duesberg doesn't deal with matters on a case-by-case only basis
>in order to illustrate his statistical points. precisely as TS says, this shows
>that you're the one who's not doing the statistics, only the misleading.
>
>In statistics, for an illustration to have any meaning, one must assume that
>it's representative of an in the context significant statistical average no?
>Or perphaps in CN's estimed opinion statistics is all about that once in a
>while when somebody does win in the lottery?

Gotta interject here... Yeah, statistics *is* about that once in a while when someone wins the lottery, or when someone catches HIV, or when someone dies in a plane crash. It's about measuring things by looking at aggregate numbers for a population. *Any* unlikely event follows the same pattern, whether it's catching HIV, winning the lottery, or dying in a plane crash, and that's one of the things that statistics is specifically designed to talk about: that fundamental probabilistic pattern.

>But never mind we'll let CN have the point; the case in question was that odd
>one out, and Duesberg was guilty of the gambler's fallacy. ok? You scored one
>on Duesberg, happy now? Good. So here's the real statistical point abstracted,
>if you will, from the whole that's made up by all single cases, then applied to
>the single case in question:
>
>>Thus, all positive teenagers would have had to achieve an absurd 1000 contacts
>>with a positive partner, or an even more absurd 250,000 sexual contacts with
>>random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission.
>
>This is the statistical truth, which is what everybody but CN is interested in.

Nope, this is *not* statistical truth. This is an elementary statistical error which even a moron should be able to recognize.

>Reminder: Whenever somebody shows a pattern of pedantically reverting to single
>cases and/or persons, insisting on interpreting them out of all context, it's
>because they want to divert your attention from real issues and blind you to
>the overall picture.

Reminder: whenever someone shows a pattern of pedantically reverting to a single statistic, insisting on interpreting it in an entirely invalid context, it's because they want to divert your attention from real issues and blind you to the overall picture.

The 250,000 average sexual contacts is a classic big-numbers thing: it's so valuable to be able to come up with an absurd number that people will immediately reject, and assign it to your opponents argument. They *can't* let this go, no matter how stupid it is, no matter how obviously wrong. Because it's so important to them to be able to say "According to *their own statistics*, the HIV believers are saying that the average teenage army recruit has had sex 250,000 times!". As long as they can keep up the *pretense* of a debate around the validity of that statistic, they can keep on using it. So no matter how stupid, they'll keep defending the line.

[duesberg]: www.duesberg.com/papers/1992%20HIVAIDS.pdf
[truthseeker]: http://www.newaidsreview.org/posts/1155530746.shtml#1487
[claus]: http://www.newaidsreview.org/posts/1155530746.shtml#1496

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Well... Okay, then what would a valid analysis of the numbers indicate?

Assuming the articles sources weren't afflicted by similar bad logic, we have that between 0.03% and 0.3% of the (presumably all healthy, as I doubt anyone with full-blown AIDS is applying to the USMC) applicants to the USMC present as HIV positive. Meanwhile, a stat. that is used (without background source) is that 0.4% of the population as a whole is HIV-positive. (the vast, vast majority of those without any symptoms)

So where does this lead us? Frankly, I don't know. If we assume that prior to being tested, each teenager's number of partners and number of unprotected intercourse occasions/partner followed a poisson distribution, then in theory one could come up with estimates for both the number of partners and number of encounters/partner. (Though the two estimates might depend on each other)

However, I don't think I could. At this point I'd reach for the discrete computer simulation and just let it crunch.

the point of my tree is that with the assumptions Duesberg makes, it's not likely anyone could get HIV, let alone AIDS. thus, his assumption of independence is not correct.

for example, assuming that indeed the risk of HIV given random unprotected couplings in a U.S.-like population is 1 in 250000, the inverse cumulative probability of a binomial model seeking the number of couplings needed to have a 0.9 chance of acquiring HIV suggests 100000.

unbridled assumptions of independence will necessarily make the risk estimates smaller.

At this point I'd reach for the discrete computer simulation and just let it crunch.

that won't work unless the prevalence of HIV among preferred sexual partners is modelled. it's just not correct that everyone in the population has as much likelihood of coupling with a particular person as any other, even correcting for gender preferences. is there an epidemiologist in the house? ;-)

BTW, the emphasis has been on Duesberg's misuse of statistics, which is bad enough, but it's important to understand why he's doing that. he's trying to do an argument that not only isn't HIV not related to AIDS, it isn't even a coherent disease. that's his motive. in short, he's trying to do a "climate change denier" kind of thing on HIV and AIDS.

The statistics weren't the only thing to bring up the HUH??

The dates of the publications were ~1990, which would mean that if there were mother-fetal transmission, it would have had to occur in the early '70's. The first cases of the "gay plague" were several years after that. In addition, if there was maternal-to-fetal transmission, then the surviving mothers of those tested positive would be HIV+. Was that checked?

By natural cynic (not verified) on 04 Sep 2006 #permalink

cynic:

The thing you need to remember is that Duesberg claims that HIV is completely unrelated to AIDS - and that in fact, that what we call AIDS is not actually a single disease, but in fact a wide variety of unrelated illnesses. According to Duesberg, HIV is a harmless virus that's carried by a large portion of the population. So what he's trying to argue is that the idea of HIV as a sexually transmitted disease makes no sense; that the number of individuals who carry HIV in the general population is the same as the number of people with AIDS and HIV; and that therefore it makes no sense to say that HIV causes AIDS.

The problem that Duesberg has is, the data does not back up his argument. To come up with any statistical argument for the idea that HIV doesn't cause AIDS requires inserting a variety of bizzare and incorrect assumptions; and then misrepresenting the conclusions. So that's exactly what he did.

ezkept:

The point of *Duesberg's* argument is basically what your tree demonstrates. He's trying to argue that the idea of AIDS as an infectious disease caused by HIV makes no sense. So he wants to put together an argument that shows that HIV as an infectious agent can't explain the statistics that we see for HIV+ individuals.

MarkCC,

... basically what your tree demonstrates ...

yup, i agree. i was just trying to point out that the mistake in statistics is his model for the transmission mechanism, not the odds of contracting HIV if one buys his setup. he improperly assumes statistical independence.

i've also addressed this separately and elsewhere with a different goal in mind.

Well... Okay, then what would a valid analysis of the numbers indicate?

I can provide a more valid analysis.

If the risk per random sexual encounter is r then average number of sexual of random sexual contacts necessary for a proportion p of the 17-19 year old military recruits to be infected can be approximated by:

n = log(1-p)/log(1-r)

A Taylor expansion of log(1-a) gives -a - a^2/2 - a^3/3 ... which if a << 1 is approximately -a.

Duesberg gives r to be 1/250000 = 4e-6
Literature provides the value of 0.26/1000 for the prevalence rate of 17-19 year old military recruits.

hence

n = a/p = 0.00026/4e-6 = 65

Duesbergs answer is 1/4e-6 = 250,000

The two differ by 1/0.00026 = 3846.15

Duesberg's "solution" effectively assmues that 0.00026 of the population had all the sexual contacts and 0.99974 of the population had none.

Can anyone see any major flaws in this presentation other than the false assumptions that Duesberg makes about HIV prevalence being randomly distributed etc.?

By Chris Noble (not verified) on 04 Sep 2006 #permalink

Actually, Duesberg's argument is that the 744 HIV+ 17-19 year old military recruits (out of 2.8 million) could not possibly have acquired HIV through sexual contacts. Therefore most if not all of them acquired HIV from their mothers. Therefore HIV relies on perinatal transmission for survival. Viruses that rely on perinatal transmission cannot be 100% fatal. Therefore HIV cannot be 100% fatal.

The faulty statistics is just the first in a chain of questionable logic.

Duesberg has to ignore the observation that HIV in the US is largely restricted to specific risk groups and it is therefore highly improabable that a significant proportion of these acquired HIV perinatally.

Duesberg also has to ignore the experimental observations that perinatal transmission of HIV is only about 25-50% efficient.
The basic reproduction number for perinatal transmission would be the efficiency of transmission time the average number of daughters per woman. For HIV to survive through perinatal transmission every HIV+ woman would have to on average have 1 or more HIV infected daughters. Thus on average HIV+ women would have to have between 2 and 4 daughters that survive to child bearing age. Even in the baby-boom after world war two this has not been true in the US.

Actually now that I think of it doesn't Duesberg's logic tell us that each HIV+ army recruit must have been born between 2 to 4 times?

By Chris Noble (not verified) on 04 Sep 2006 #permalink

Hey everybody. I'm doing a doctoral thesis at the University of Michigan in modeling HIV epidemiology and I would also like to throw in a couple of things into the mix about HIV transmission that I've observed from simulation studies.

First of all, the average probability of transmission per sex act is just that, an average. Empirical studies have shown that the probability varies widely over the course of an infection with the highest probabilities of transmission being at the very beginning and very end of the infection. This is important (w.r.t. the endemic prevalence rather then the epidemic dynamics in this case) when we relax some of the unrealistic assumptions concerning sexual mixing. Sexual networks are not random, and, random graphs are not even a good approximation of real sexual networks. Certain risk factors such as transient risk taking behavior, concomitant partnerships, and selective mixing can act to bring together newly infected individuals (and hence very infectious) with susceptibles more frequently then would be expected by random chance. Modeling such factors is essential to understanding the spread of HIV.

Duesberg's bad stats are only part of the picture here. There is a broader issue of making claims about the behavior of complex, non-linear systems based on simple statistics and very strong modeling assumptions will almost always (at least in epidemiology) lead to bad science, bad predictions, and bad public health.

By Ethan Romero (not verified) on 04 Sep 2006 #permalink

Ekzept,

I assumed that the proportion of uninfected people after n sexual contacts per person is given

(1-r)^n where r is the transmission risk

Hence we want to solve for n when (1-r)^n = (1-p) where p is the prevalence of HIV.

Taking the log of both sides and rearranging gives n = log(1-p)/log(1-r) ~= p/r for small p and r.

The above calculations make the same false assumptions used by Duesberg that the transmission risk is constant over time and for different individuals rathe than an average and that HIV prevalence is random and that there is no clustering in sexual networks. It is not intended to be an accurate model of reality only more valid than Duesberg's nonsense.

Any realistic calculation must be by necessity much more complex. Unfortunately simplistic nonsense is more attractive than complex reality to innumerate HIV "rethinkers".

By Chris Noble (not verified) on 04 Sep 2006 #permalink

Great post. I'm wondering though at the utility of continuing to address denialist arguments at the scienceblogs. The problem, as I see it, is that denialists can pull things right out of their ass, and the poor scientists at the science blogs have to spend an incredible amount of effor debunking it every single time. I think the ratio is about 10:1, that is, it probably takes about 10x as much work and time for Mark to a thorough destruction of a bad argument than it takes for the denialist to just make something up. While this is valuable from an educational perspective, that is the people reading the response learn something even if the denialist never will, I'm wondering if there might be a better shorthand for dealing with this problem generally like you do when dismissing ad hominem or ad populum arguments.

I posted this response over on Orac's blog already, but I think you might forgive me for doing a lazy cut/paste job for the rest.

Generally speaking, I think the scienceblogs should recognize a commonality between these AIDS denialists and global warming/evolution denialists.

Again and again the discussions end up being the same, it's like a syndrome, and I think we should refer to all these guys as a group. They always use the same tactics, they pull quotes out of context, they fudge math/stats, they outright refuse to acknowledge contradictory data, and they never have any evidence of their ideas in peer-revied journals. They should be called "denialists" and we should treat all their arguments in essentially the same way.

I guess I'm saying I don't understand why when these trolls visit the scienceblogs we don't just clump them into this denialist group, and dismiss them out of hand. We could say that the scienceblogs exist to inform the public by debate and shouldn't be elitist or exclusionary, but do debates with denialists actually accomplish anything? It's not like there is any piece of evidence that will convince them to change their minds, that is part of the damned syndrome. In fact, a great starting point with the denialists is to demand from the outset exactly what data it is that will convince them they are incorrect, because if they truly are arriving at their opinions based on facts, if the facts contradict them they should be willing to change their minds.

I get the feeling that most denialists when posed this question, no matter what they are refusing to believe, will either be unable to answer it, or will suggest an unverifiable experiment or impossible situation. At that point, the argument is already over, and they've lost.

Great post. I'm wondering though at the utility of continuing to address denialist arguments at the scienceblogs.

I think the point is that it several orders of magnitude better than continuing to debate "rethinkers" on their own forums where apparently nothing is proven until they admit they are wrong.

It provides a record that future "rethinkers" can be referred to in the future rather than going through the whole rigmarole again and again.

These "rethinker" arguments are like undead zombies roaming the earth long after they have been killed.

Peter Duesberg is in a different category because he has used his membership of the NAS, his reputation and contacts with editors to get his work published in peer-reviewed journals.

His supporters argue that because his papers are published in peer-reviewed journals and have never been refuted (they have) that his arguments must be good. This is completely hypocritical because they have no qualms about rejecting the vast majority of peer-reviewed literature.

By Chris Noble (not verified) on 04 Sep 2006 #permalink

What worries me about Duesberg, more so than his criminal abuse of statistics, is the fact that he is on the Presidential Aids Advisory Council in South Africa where he seems to have greatly influenced government policy towards the AIDS pandemic in my country. According to the Actuarial Society of South Africa, there are between 5 and 7 million HIV+ people in SA, with an average of 600 people per day dying due to AIDS related causes. Currently our Minister of Health, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang is promoting a diet of olive oil, beetroot, lemons and garlic as an alternative to anti-retroviral drug therapy. Duesberg's malignant influence has proved to be lethal to thousands of South Africans.

"Actually now that I think of it doesn't Duesberg's logic tell us that each HIV+ army recruit must have been born between 2 to 4 times?"

My first reaction is to model HIV infections according to both the main model and Duesberg, and show that the main is consistent while as you imply Duesbergs trivially isn't. Perhaps even a simplified model is enough to give a reasonable answer to which model describes reality.

Duesberg has put his career on the line. He also makes a point of the absence of a working HIV vaccine - it seems to be a sort of virus-in-the-gaps argument. Since there seems to be at least one working vaccine passing first test, it could be a matter of time only before he is neutralised from doing more harm.

The morals are worrying. That a single man can put money before the very probable risk that he is preventing saving thousands from harm is not surprising, but that people want to follow the lone nut is. I remember the sad clip about the HIV denying mother who didn't save her 3 year old girl by trying the nutrition ideas of Duesberg instead of antivirals.

By Torbjörn Larsson (not verified) on 05 Sep 2006 #permalink
Great post. I'm wondering though at the utility of continuing to address denialist arguments at the scienceblogs.

I think the point is that it several orders of magnitude better than continuing to debate "rethinkers" on their own forums where apparently nothing is proven until they admit they are wrong.

I suspect that probably the majority of people who read these blogs are lurkers, readers who'd like to know what the rebuttles to these arguments are. I think its important to reach them too, to let them know exactly the (many!) flaws in the denialist's sheild. Granted, changing the mind of a denialists themselves is well neigh impossible, just as changing the mind of a creationist is. They will contort and distort arguments ad nauseam in order to maintain their firmly held beliefs - for example giving uncritical acceptance to any scientific paper that they think supports their views, but vehemently rejecting any that doesn't under the flimsiest of rationalle. Still, there is a bigger audience out there to reach.

I'm not a mathematician by any means, but think of it this issue this way. How many flips of a fair coin do I need to get heads? On average it happens at a probability of 0.5. So if we had 1000 people, each flipping a coin, then we'd expect 500 heads (plus or minus a few, if this experiment is repeated again and again, most of time you'd get a number close to 500, but not exactly 500). But that doesn't mean I need to flip a coin twice to ensure a heads. It could happen on the first flip (p = 0.50); or even after flipping twice, it might not happen at all (p of not getting any heads after 2 flips = 0.25).

This is mostly OT, but IIRC there has been a couple of posts on the Loom that has put a beautiful but tenous spin on this.

1. Simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs) are common, but typically not as deadly as HIV. Why? Zimmer cited articles that proposes that it is since some human T-cells are much more aggressive than monkeys. Monkeys typically don't get much autoimmune sicknesses such as MS or arthritis.

The idea is that our T-cells attack the HIV retrovirus early and aggressive, so it becomes incorporated in mainly T-cells. (Which BTW is another of Duesberg's discussion points.) In monkeys, SIVs reach more cell types and eventually becomes transcribed into the germline. And the theory is that the more distributed spread helps the immune system to wager a more appropriate response that doesn't induce AIDS.

2. Why are human T-cells more aggressive? Zimmer finds papers that suggests humans lack a certain sugar derivative expressed on cells surfaces among others. They help define cells as "own" cells. Those T-cell types who would otherwise use it seems to be the aggressive ones.

3. Why doesn't humans express that sugar derivative? It seems simians lack this specifically in the brain. Perhaps it is harmful in brain neurons, so some mechanism prevents its expression there. And along the way humans, with our developing big brain, got a mutation that put another stop for the sugar derivative in the whole body metabolism too. Perhaps good for ensuring brain function and possibly for metabolic economy, but seemingly bad for immune response.

The pieces in above picture are all tentative and tenous so I don't expect the image to survive. And it has little bearing on HIV/AIDS denial. Meanwhile it is fun to think about.

BTW, genomics rocks! Apparently we normally have 1-2 kg fungi, bacterias and viruses in our bodies, mainly in the intestines. Since their genome are typically smaller, it means that about 2-4 % percent of genes in our organism are human. And of those one can see about 90 - 100 000 RNA retrovirus gene insertions, which apparently makes about half our entire human genome virus originated.

That genomic material has been reused of course. For example, there are signs that the genes that mediates the immune system interaction between female and fetus is retrovirus in origin. So viruses helped make the mammal placenta possible.

But is still makes about 1-2 % of our healthy bodies genes original animalian. I find it astounding.

By Torbjörn Larsson (not verified) on 05 Sep 2006 #permalink

At these small population proportions any number of other transmission mechanisms for HIV can be significant as well. How many recruits have shot up in the past for example?

It provides a record that future "rethinkers" can be referred to in the future rather than going through the whole rigmarole again and again.

and it is useful, because the entries and even comments can be linked from elsewhere. it may be that discussants at forums fawning over Duesberg don't pay much attention to Good Math, Bad Math or other science blogs, but, like the talk.origins archives or technical periodicals, they'll hopefully always be there to cite.

BTW, Chris, thanks for your explanation. yes, the model is better than anything Duesberg promoted if only because the numbers are more realistic. still, it's hard to see the connection between this "discount rate" model and some kind of physical communicability. i mean, what happens if the relaxation process continues to 65? 66? 100?

of course, i know you were not proposing a serious model, just a counterexample of a model which has just as much sense to it as Duesberg-derived ones and, to boot, fits the data better.

Eric, your comment is greatly disturbing to me. i mean, it's one thing to an academic with credentials to pursue a crazy idea and publish it, even if misguided. it's quite something else and reprehensible to be in a position to act upon it without relying upon scientific consensus to guide policy.

another thing about scientific models: per the pattern, if we collectively understand a subject it should indeed be possible to construct different models for it and arrive at similar estimates.

If one out of 250 people are HIV+ and the risk of HIV transmission is 1 out of 1000 (based on the work of Nancy Padian, a mainstream AIDS researcher, not Duesberg) then the risk of an HIV-negative person becoming HIV-positive after having sex with one person of unknown status is 1 out of 250,000. It's easier to work with the opposite, the probability of an HIV-negative person not becoming infected: 249,999 out of 250,000. Based on this factor, what's the chances of 1000 HIV negative people all remaining HIV-negative after each having sex with one person of unknown status?
Well, surely this is (249999/250000)^1000 = 0.996. Again, taking the reverse, the chances of one or more of 1000 HIV-negative people becoming infected after each having sex with one person of unknown status is about 0.4%.

If 1 out of 250 people in the total population are HIV positive then 1 out of 250 applicants to the U.S. Army and the U.S. Job Corps out to be HIV positive. All that BS about transmission probabilities and number of partners is meaningless as it is already incorporated into the 1 out of 250 number

If one out of 250 people are HIV+ and the risk of HIV transmission is 1 out of 1000 (based on the work of Nancy Padian, a mainstream AIDS researcher, not Duesberg) then the risk of an HIV-negative person becoming HIV-positive after having sex with one person of unknown status is 1 out of 250,000.

Nancy Padian has also specifically stated that the transmission risk also depends on the stage of infection. Risk is not constant over time and is not constant for different people.

Likewise HIV prevalence is not uniformly distributed throughout the population. It is largely confined to specific risk groups. This should preclude any idea that HIV is spread predominantly by perinatal transmission.

The implicit assumption that HIV is uniformly distributed leads to another statistical error by Duesberg in the same partner.

Statistically, it can be shown that the incidence of HIV-infections among the dentist's clients reflects, almost to the decimal point, the national incidence of the virus in the U.S. The national incidence of HIV-positives among all Americans is 0.4% (1 out of 250) (Table 1), the incidence of HIV-positives among 1100 patients of the Florida dentist was 0.4% (4 to 5 out of 1100) and the incidence among 15,795 patients from 32 HIV-positive doctors, determined by the CDC for the Bergalis case, was 0.5% (84 out of 15,795). Thus the incidence of HIV in patients from HIV-positive doctors reflects the national incidence of HIV. This suggests noniatrogenic and, most likely, perinatal infection as the source of HIV in these patients, particularly in the case of the virgin Bergalis (Section 3.5.2). In addition, it identifies a rich source of insurance income for 0.4% of American patients of HIV-positive doctors!

You might expect 4-5 of a random sample of Americans to be HIV+ but you would not expect any of them to be a white heterosexual female with little or no sexual risks.

Well, surely this is (249999/250000)^1000 = 0.996.

The probability 0f 2,813,185 17-19 year olds all having exactly one sexual contact and none of them becoming infected is 0.0013%.

The expected number of seroconversions after each of them having one contact is 11.25.

The actual number of seropositives was 744 so you would need about 65 sex contacts on average.

This all assumes that out of 2,813,185 military recruits none of them had ever had sex with homosexual men and that none of them were injecting drugs users or members of other risk groups.

By Chris Noble (not verified) on 05 Sep 2006 #permalink

Chris, the actual number of sexual contacts necessary is even lower than that, considering that about half of all AIDS cases in the US originate in anal sex, for which the probability of infection is 1 in 200, not 1 in 1,000.

My knowledge of statistics is rudimentary at best, but even I can see that if claims like Duesberg's are taken seriously, many more HIV/AIDS-related deaths will follow. The fact that so many people is South Africa die as a result of similar claims, is in my opinion a major crime against humanity. Eric, I'm so sorry for what you're country is going through. How inhumane! Words fail me...

I'm a glutton for punishment: I plowed through the whole thread in question at NAR. My impressions- firstly, to Chris Noble: kudos for your near-saintly patience with the dembskiesque dancing and insults there. Are you sure you're not on the payroll of Big Pharma?

Secondly- not only are these guys like the climate-change deniers, but also like all kinds of "true believers", who start out with some conclusion and twist the world to fit: for instance, the Bible code guys ( http://www.truebiblecode.com/ ), who have predicted the nuking of New York eleven times this year, and are sure they've got the bugs out of their methods for the twelfth date (this weekend).

The true believers in Duesberg have grudgingly admitted that their Founder may have made a weensy mathematical error, but insist that His castle still stands, even though one brick has been removed. What they don't seem to grasp, is not only that (as trrll pointed out there) one might be moved to doubt the word of a biologist whose math is so faulty, but that his entire argument on the transmission of HIV (as far as I understood it) is statistically based, and that if the statistics are wrongheaded, the whole deck of cards collapses.

I had a similar exchange at the Bible Code site: one believer "proved" the divine inspiration of the Bible by a mathematical argument (the "heptadic" structure of the Gospel of Mark, first advanced by Ivan Panin- see http://www.newaidsreview.org/ ). When confronted with the spuriousness of Panin's "structure", the believer basically said: "Well, the Bible is divinely inspired anyway, just because." The same reasoning prevails among Dembskiites, Holocaust deniers, and crop circle believers.

Oops, wrong url for Ivan Panin: I should have had http://cs.anu.edu.au/~bdm/dilugim/panin_mark.html . By the way, the big number he waved around to prove the Bible was 54,116,956,037,952,111,668,959,660,849 to 1, supposedly the odds against the repeating patterns of seven in Mark being the result of chance. Reminds me of the big numbers quoted to disprove the evolution of, say, hemoglobin: 574 amino acids in the right order- how can that be the result of chance?

Of course, the evolution of hemoglobin was not the result of chance, and neither was Panin's "heptaditic" Bible: both were built, a baby step at a time; the one by natural selection, the other by Panin's cherrypicking from numerous different texts, until the structure he had in mind reconstructed the "true" text of Mark. I wonder if Dembski and Duesberg have read Panin...

"If the odds of, say, winning the lottery are 1 in 1 million, that does not mean that if I won the lottery, that means I must have played it one million times."

I think you really mean the probability of winning, not the odds. Odds = p/(1-p), so in this case (since p is very small) the odds and the probability are essentially the same. But still, better to use the correct terminology. Not a big deal.

I don't know a whole lot about this whole "HIV denialist" issue (though it seems a little weird to use this kind of language to discuss a virus), but there are a couple of mathematical oddities in this post, also.

It seems like you're pulling out a quote that Duesberg wrote to illustrate a point and attempting to call it a "mathematical model" when all it is is a numerical illustration of (what appears to be) an absurdity. But this isn't really a big deal.

The following quote does contain a rather glaring error that other commenters seem to have slid right over:

"To jump that back to Duesberg, what he's saying is: if the transmission rate of HIV/AIDS is 1 in 1000, then the average infected person would need to have had sex with an infected partner 1000 times.

Nope, that's not how math works. Not even close.

Suppose we have 1000 people who are infected with HIV, and who are having unprotected sex. If we follow Duesberg's lead, and assume that the transmission rate is a constant 0.1%, then what we would expect is that if each of those 1000 people had sex with one partner one time, we would see one new infected individual - and that individual would have had unprotected sex with the infected partner only one time.

This isn't rocket science folks. This is damned simple, high-school level statistics."

Maybe it's time for a bit of undergraduate statistics. Your "1000 people having sex with one partner one time" is a binomial experiment. Let's say you flip n coins all at the same time, each of the coins has probability p of turning up "heads". The expected number of heads for all n coins is n*p. In the "1000 couples" experiment, n=1000 and the "expected value" of infections is n*p=1, meaning that p=0.001.

Okay. Associated with every binomial (n,p) random variable is a Bernoulli random variable with parameter p. You can think of the Bernoulli random variable as flipping one coin, having probability p of turning up heads, once. The binomial (n,p) random variable is the sum of n Bernoulli (p) random variables. You can think of this as doing the Bernoulli experiment n (=1000) times in succession, and the math doesn't care if it's 1000 couples at once or one couple 1000 times in a row.

Even if you want to focus on following the one couple, it's correct to say that the average person would *expect* to have unprotected sex 1000 times before getting infected, using this probability of 0.001. Why is this? Well, associated with this Bernoulli (p) random variable is a geometric (p) random variable. Think of the geometric random variable as flipping a coin until you get a "head", and counting the number of flips needed. The expected value (mean) number of flips, or instances of unprotected sex *until* getting infected is 1/p=1000. (the number of times you would expect to have sex *without* getting infected is (1-p)/p = 999.)

This may be a simplistic "model", but you're picking on it not for its oversimplistic assumptions (I'm not talking about anyone else's criticisms, Mark, just *yours*), but rather for its poor mathematics. You picked on Duesberg's interpretation of the model as saying that the average person has to have sex 1000 times with an infected partner before getting infected themselves. But Duesberg's interpretation is entirely correct. If, according to this model, the transmission probability is 0.001, then "how math works" is that you can expect 1000 contacts to be necessary to become infected (on average).

I've spent too much time already today reading your goodmath/badmath site and have seen quite a bit of bad math promulgated by the blogger pretending to be a watchdog of others' mathematical gaffes. I read your comment that you weren't going to respond to me anymore, from which I infer that you prefer to dish it out rather than to take it. That's fine, and as you point out this is just a blog, but for Pete's sake if you're going to be throwing stones, don't put up a glass house.

By Randy Lahey (not verified) on 11 Sep 2006 #permalink

OK, I thought this thread had died, and wasn't going to say anything.

But it seems alive. This is part of what I do for a living. I can't resist.

Modeling disease transmission is HARD. The model that is being discussed is preposterously simple, for lots of reasons

1) Infectivity is NOT constant over the course of the infection.

2) The chance of getting AIDS is not the same for all sexual acts. Anal sex is much riskier than vaginal. Vaginal is much riskier than oral.

Sex with a condom is much less risky than without, but not risk-free, largely because a LOT of people don't put on condoms right (some folks are drunk or high when doing it....)

3) The chance of getting AIDS from an infected partner depends on many characteristics, including one's one sex and some other sexually transmitted infections

4) The model takes no account of networking. That is, people do NOT have sex with random individuals. You are much more likely to have sex with someone who is the same race, similar income, and so on. Given that heterosexuality is dominant, you are more likely to have sex with someone of hte opposite sex. If you are a woman, you are more likely to have sex with soemone older. If a man, someone younger.

5) The number of partners people have is oddly distributed. Indeed, none of the standard statistical distributions fit it at all well. About the best is a one-inflated negative binomial.

That's just a start.

I just submitted a grant proposal to NIH to use latent space models to track the spread of infections through a network of people. This is complex stuff.

Modeling disease transmission is HARD. The model that is being discussed is preposterously simple, for lots of reasons.

Duesberg is aware of most if not all of these factors. He himself argues that HIV should be most easily transmitted during the intitial acute infection.

Unfortunately Duesberg's target audience do not want difficult mathematics, they want simplistic hand-waving arguments.

By Chris Noble (not verified) on 11 Sep 2006 #permalink

Randy:

I said I wouldn't respond to your annoying criticisms in the topology posts.

My criticism of Duesberg is quite simple, and Duesberg's own words are inexcusable. He *explicitly* says that if the probability of getting AIDS from a single instance of unprotected sex is 0.001, then *the average individual* who caught AIDS from unprotected sex should have had unprotected sex 1000 times. His own words: "Thus, all positive teenagers would have had to achieve an absurd 1000 contacts with a positive partner, or an even more absurd 250,000 sexual contacts with random Americans to acquire HIV by sexual transmission."

That's nonsense. *You* know it's nonsense. *Duesberg* knows it's nonsense.

If the probability of infection is 0.001, then it takes *an average of 1000 sexual contacts to infect one individual*. That is an entirely different statement from *an average infected individual had 1000 sexual contacts*. You know that. And either Duesberg knows that, or he's a raging incompetent.

Oh my god, Randy, you're incredibly wrong.

Mark shows exactly what's wrong in the last paragraph of his response. It's a fallacy committed all too often by anti-evolutionists as well. You take a probability and assume that exactly one person (or molecule) has to fulfill it, ignoring the fact that you have lots of people working on it at once.

.001 chance of passing the infection means that, if you have 1000 infected individuals, 1 of them will pass it to their partner, on average.

Dude, you even got your math wrong earlier in the post, though you seem to like throwing around big math words. Did it contribute anything to your post to mention "Bernoulli variable"? Nope, but it sure makes it sound fancy!

There is a big difference between how many times someone has to have sex *on average* to get infected, and how many times someone should *expect* to have sex before being infected. The latter, which you attempted to show, is properly calculated with n=log(.5)/log(.999), which is nearly 700 times. 1000 is the average because the outliers (people who go a *long* time without being infected) pull the average up.

Way to drag out the undergrad statistics...

Mark,

It seems to me that the point this guy (Duesberg) was trying to make is that the .001 is too low, producing "nonsense". Someone mentioned that just because the probability is 1/1000000 of winning the lottery doesn't mean that the 'average' lottery winner has played one million times, which is quite true, as the number of times one can play the lottery is cut off quite short of that. Then again there aren't a whole lot of lottery winners, are there? You seem to want to play this game to say that his 'model' (if indeed that is what he intended -- it appears from the quote, quite short, that he may just be making an aside comment not constructing and analyzing a model, I honestly don't know) does not work. I said from the beginning I wasn't referring to the validity or lack thereof of his model (though that is what a lot of the responses seem to be about anyway). But you didn't criticize his model, you criticized his math, saying that "math does not work this way". Math does indeed work this way, as the mean of the geometric random variable is 1/p.

Xanthir, way to pull out the median instead of the mean. I'm impressed by your attempt at obfuscation, 'dude'.

It seems that I have stepped into some sort of holy war, which since this is a disease "largely restricted to specific risk groups" (see Chris Noble above) is not that interesting to me. Have fun folks,

Randy

By Randy Lahey (not verified) on 11 Sep 2006 #permalink

It seems to me that the point this guy (Duesberg) was trying to make is that the .001 is too low, producing "nonsense". Someone mentioned that just because the probability is 1/1000000 of winning the lottery doesn't mean that the 'average' lottery winner has played one million times, which is quite true, as the number of times one can play the lottery is cut off quite short of that. Then again there aren't a whole lot of lottery winners, are there?

Well, considering the lottery is a weekly thing here in Texas, and the prize is won most weeks, and most states have their own lottery, and the lottery has been played for many years... I'd say there are quite a number of lottery winners.

You seem to want to play this game to say that his 'model' (if indeed that is what he intended -- it appears from the quote, quite short, that he may just be making an aside comment not constructing and analyzing a model, I honestly don't know) does not work. I said from the beginning I wasn't referring to the validity or lack thereof of his model (though that is what a lot of the responses seem to be about anyway). But you didn't criticize his model, you criticized his math, saying that "math does not work this way". Math does indeed work this way, as the mean of the geometric random variable is 1/p.

Yes, math works this way, if you have only one uninfected person having sex with all of the infected people. If, as it actually happens, you have many people having sex, then no, Duesburg's statement is 100% wrong. If 1000 infected people each have sex with an uninfected person, then on average 1 person will be infected with only sexual contact. That's how populations work. Duesburg is purposely ignoring that and pretending that it's only a single person having all the sex.

Xanthir, way to pull out the median instead of the mean. I'm impressed by your attempt at obfuscation, 'dude'.

Hey, I just corrected your math. I used your exact words when I was stating my point. You said something that was, quite simply, wrong. If you being a bit of a jerk about Mark's attempt at teaching people was okay, then me being at-least-not-impolite in correcting you must be just fine.

It seems that I have stepped into some sort of holy war, which since this is a disease "largely restricted to specific risk groups" (see Chris Noble above) is not that interesting to me.

Well, if by "holy war", you mean, "two guys with a lot of time on their hands trying to make sure that people understand what the hell they're talking about when they use math in arguments about a politically and morally-charged subject", then yes, you have stepped into a holy war.

If, on the other hand, one takes "holy war" to mean what it usually does, then that's some quite nice hyperbolizing you're doing there.

People, I just can't get it man.

They have a problem called HIV. It's said to cause disease. People die. They find drugs. They try the drugs but the drugs don't really work and they have to admit: "30,000,000 treated, 0 cured." Patients who go on treatment more often than not feel worse after than before.

Here's a guy. He says: "Hey, I think I can see a way out! HIV is not the right interpretation of the observed phenomena. Listen, I can explain."

And the people, what do they do? Do they say: "Hey, that sounds good! Explain, we'll listen"? No! They say: "Fuck off you dummy! Dissident! Denialist! We won't listen to your crap".

Mad scientists. Wizard's pupils. Bunch of assholes all of you. Endless discussions about statistics when the evidence is crystal clear for the first non-indoctrinated brain.

Forget about HIV. Close your laboratories for a couple of days, stay home and think before you act again.

If you really care as much as you say you do when you talk about your lifesaving drugs, here's some hints you might try to include in your research program:

Hungry people you give em eat.
Thirsty people you give 'em drink.
Lonely people you give 'em warmth.
Chased people you give 'em shelter.

Put some generous love and care in the syringe.
Results will be baffling, guaranteed.

But then again, why care? Why should we give a fuck?
We prefer to drive a Porche to giving money to some starving Niggers. Even more so if they buy our drugs saying "Thank you for everythin' you do for us, Sir".

jspreen:

*If* things were the way you claim, you *might* be right. But they aren't.

You say you've seen people get worse on the current AIDS drugs. Well, I've seen people get better. Cured? No. Better? Yes. And the overwhelming bulk of evidence - from trials of the drugs, and from documented experience with them - is that *most* people get *much* better on anti-retrovirals.

The fact that we don't have a *cure* for AIDS isn't all that surprising, given that we've never yet discovered a cure for *any* viral disease. The best we can do with viruses is try to alleviate symptoms and boost the body's natural immune response to fight off the virus, using things like vaccines. (I was stuck mostly in bed for two weeks this summer, because I caught coxsackie virus from my kids. Went to the doctor, because I thought it was a sinus infection. What did she do? Send me home and tell me to drink lots of liquids and take tylenol. Because we don't have medications to cure viruses.)

Personally, when I see a sick person, what I want to do is whatever I can to help make them better. The evidence shows that the drugs we have are *much* better than nothing. And the evidence *against* the drugs consists of garbage like the Duesberg analysis that I attacked in this post.

If the *truth* is that HIV can't cause AIDS, then someone like Duesberg ought to be able to make the argument *without* resorting to statistical lies. As it is, when I look at the HIV denialists, what I see isn't pretty. Based on Duesberg's paper, I'm forced to conclude one of two things. Either he's incompetent, or he's deliberately misrepresenting the facts (because *no one* competent in epidemiology could make such an incorrect accident by mistake). Either way, why should I trust him? And when I read work by other denialists, I keep on experiencing the same thing: things that are either dreadful errors (implying incompetence on the part of the writer), or lies (implying dishonesty).

The fact that we don't have a *cure* for AIDS isn't all that surprising, ...

True. The fact that you don't have a cure for AIDS is not surprising at all. You can't cure something if you look at it the wrong way. HIV=Aids=Death is a lie and as such it is a deadly lie.
The only cure that works is "Hey, I figured it all out! It's a lie! Forget about it and it's gone! All you're left with are the same good ol' diseases we already had before the Gallo gang hit home in 1983."

..., given that we've never yet discovered a cure for *any* viral disease.

Of course. You'll never discover a cure for any viral disease because not one single disease is caused by a virus. One century of research, not one cure. You give the evidence yourself so why do you use your brains and THINK!

That's at least a thing you could try to do now that you've said that : Quote Personally, when I see a sick person, what I want to do is whatever I can to help make them better. Unquote

But you cannot think. You can only see "evidence". Evidence that you want to see because it's the only evidence you've been able to figure out. Nobody is taught to use his own brains. The only thing we're taught is to bark with the pack.

Duesberg maybe wrong every once in a while. As we all are. Nobody knows teh thruth on anything. But at least Duesberg is not a nerd in the herd.

True. The fact that you don't have a cure for AIDS is not surprising at all. You can't cure something if you look at it the wrong way. HIV=Aids=Death is a lie and as such it is a deadly lie.

Got some evidence for that?

Of course. You'll never discover a cure for any viral disease because not one single disease is caused by a virus. One century of research, not one cure. You give the evidence yourself so why do you use your brains and THINK!

Um, okay. Yes, that is one interpretation. It's a wrong one, of course. There's, um, LARGE bodies of evidence that show beyond any reasonable doubt that viruses *do* cause disease. It's fun to assert things without evidence, though. Wee! It's just like being a scientist without all that pesky work!

But you cannot think. You can only see "evidence". Evidence that you want to see because it's the only evidence you've been able to figure out. Nobody is taught to use his own brains. The only thing we're taught is to bark with the pack.

Nice pop psychology there. It makes me feel better to assume that I'm intrinsicially superior to everyone else as well. There's nothign that makes me happier than pretending that I have some secret that all those smarty-pants scientists can't see!

Duesberg maybe wrong every once in a while. As we all are. Nobody knows teh thruth on anything. But at least Duesberg is not a nerd in the herd.

Yes, he's human. Thank you. Are you saying that the fact that he makes errors (large ones) makes him more trustworthy? That doesn't seem to make sense.

Or is the fact that he's not a "nerd" make him more trustworthy? Boy, you must really hate the Tri-Lambdas, huh? Wow, living in a society where the smarty-pants are always wrong must be really rewarding! Did Duesburg throw the touchdown pass during the homecoming game, too?

...jspreen, nothing you said has any backing, and much of it is completely irrelevant. I recognize you from Tara's blog, actually - I don't know why it didn't click immediately. Here's a question for you, which has been asked in some form of you and all the other virus deniers: If a child's friend had chickenpox (which is caused, I'm sorry, I mean thought by doctors to be caused by a virus), and your child went to play with him during the contagious phase of the disease, would you expect your child to come down with chickenpox as well?

There's certainly no bacteria linked to chickenpox, but you can find a particular type of virus in every chickenpox sufferer. Heck, if you'd ever had chickpox in your life, you can get a spinal tap and find chickenpox virus. You *won't* find that in people who've never had it.

I don't bring in children for any shock value or anything, chickenpox is just on my mind since my brother was hit with shingles last week. If it matters, substitute adults in; children and chickenpox are just linked.

By Xanthir, FCD (not verified) on 12 Sep 2006 #permalink

...jspreen, nothing you said has any backing, and much of it is completely irrelevant.

As long as you keep repeating this kind of hollow prases,there's no way we could ever even hope to have an interesting discussion. What I say has extremely solid backing to me but it simply doesn't count for the herd nerds.
We cannot discuss because of all the nonsense evidence you see everywhere and all I can do is do my best to make you the laughing stock of the century. You, the people who defend deadly viruses against so-called denialists instead of attacking them together with people who think differently.

jspreen:

It's really interesting to watch the you preaching about "herd-nerds" etc. But you don't both to cite *any* evidence. Not a single shred. You just babble about how all of the evidence for HIV and viruses is "nonsense evidence", but you can't be bothered to say what's wrong with it.

Tell me, jspreen, how does the flu vaccine work? Why did I have the flu *every* year until I got my first flu shot, and haven't had a flu since? Why is it that smallpox, which was an absolutely ubiquitous and horrific plague just a few years ago has *completely* disappeared? and in every place around the world, it stayed endemic *until* the virus-based vaccine arrived, and then it disappeared practically overnight?

jspreen reminds me of boney, that guy who implied that the fact that I play D&D makes his logical fallacies and misrepresentations disappear.

What I say has extremely solid backing to me but it simply doesn't count for the herd nerds.

Truth is not relative or subjective. Something is either backed up, or it isn't. There's no "for me" involved in it. We all share the same reality. If we don't, then you might as well head back into la-la land, since a subjective reality would mean that knowledge is impossible.

So, what backup do you have? Remember: Anecdotes don't count for much: They don't control for other explanations, and they're inherently cherrypicking.

We cannot discuss because of all the nonsense evidence you see everywhere and all I can do is do my best to make you the laughing stock of the century.

By invoking newage (rhymes with sewage) principles of universal inconsistency?

You, the people who defend deadly viruses against so-called denialists instead of attacking them together with people who think differently.

Magical thinking hasn't proven effective, despite being around for millenia. So, why should we entertain magical thought?

You, the people who defend deadly viruses against so-called denialists instead of attacking them together with people who think differently.

Well, we defend the *idea* of viruses from people like you, since if we *listened* to you we'd just let people die, rather than actually finding ways to treat, and perhaps one day cure, viral infections.

As long as you keep repeating this kind of hollow prases,there's no way we could ever even hope to have an interesting discussion. What I say has extremely solid backing to me but it simply doesn't count for the herd nerds.

It has solid backing to you, hm? What, precisely, is this backing? I don't even care about the justifications (they don't matter, since Truth is Truth is Truth, no matter how we justify it), just tell me what this evidence *is*. As always, double-blind controlled stuides are preferred, though it's understandably difficult to get such things in the medical field.

It's one thing to *say* you have evidence, it's another to produce it. Simply believing something doesn't make it true. As Bronze Dog said, magical thinking sure hasn't done much over the past few millenia. Rational thought, on the other hand, has advanced society to levels undreamed of, in much less time.

Mark: Here's a fun (read: depressing) bit of info. The MMR vaccine was first done in the UK in 1988 (previously it did not guard against mumps). It was given to children approximately 1 year old, and again a few years later. In 2004-2005, there was a major outbreak of mumps in the UK and Ireland, with over 50 thousand cases reported in 2005 alone. In the years leading up to that, the yearly average was 200-300 cases, with a low of 94 in 1996. Guess what age range was the most strongly affected? If you guessed "the people that barely missed the MMR vaccine because they were too old", you would be right! The majority of cases were teens and young adults, aged 19-23.

Cites:
http://www.cdc.gov/MMWR/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5507a1.htm

By Xanthir, FCD (not verified) on 12 Sep 2006 #permalink

Tell me, jspreen, how does the flu vaccine work?

It doesn't work.

Why did I have the flu *every* year until I got my first flu shot, and haven't had a flu since?

If you have a flu every year around the same period, you'll find out why if you remember what very unpleasant event happened to you slightly before the first time your flu appeared.Your flu shot has nothing to do with the fact that your flu doesn't occur anymore.

So, what backup do you have?
You don't want to know but maybe others are interested. They can start to do some googling with Dr. Ryke Geerd Hamer and Prof. Antoine Béchamp.

But then again, this all sounds totally stupid. We're just a bunch of cells held together by chemical reactions. Traumatic events have nothing to do with diseases.

Cells and chemistry, that's all there is, man! You see a beautiful woman and you fall in love. Chemistry!!

js
---
http://www.nightsofarmour.com

""So, what backup do you have?""
""You don't want to know but maybe others are interested. They can start to do some googling with Dr. Ryke Geerd Hamer and Prof. Antoine Béchamp.""

I would really like to meet you jspreen because if you really believe the crap that Hamer spouts then I've got this bridge I would like to sell!

I would really like to meet you jspreen

Yeah, good idea. Let's meet. I'll explain Hamer's New Medicine to you and you'll be a newborn man. You'll even forget all about the bridge you'd like to sell.

jspreen:

Fascinating how you completely ingored my question about the eradication of smallpox. What happened, did people all over the world suddenly stop having psychological traumas of a particular kind at the *exact* same time that the smallpox vaccine became available in their location?

It's also quite funny how I suddenly stopped having psychological traumas every winter, when absolutely nothing about my life had changed, *except* that my doctor recommended I get a flu shot.

It;s also quite funny how polio in America has virtually disappeared since vaccines became available. And how live virus polio vaccines sometimes (rarely, but sometimes) trigger an active case of polio, but dead virus vaccine polio *never* do, even though the oral live vaccine is less traumatic than the the injected dead.

Also quite fascinating is how meningitis in newborns virtually *disappears* if we test the mother for group B step, and give her antibiotics before delivery if she's positive. Does having a bag hanging on the IV rack somehow reduce the trauma of birth for the baby?

Mark.....you are so patient with this guy (I was gonna use another word). Is THAT a characteristic of geeks? :-) Actually, I think it may be, at least when discussing technical matters.

The fact that some people still take Duesberg seriously calls for explanations from psychology, not math, in my opinion. The math and the epidemiology are abundantly clear: Duesberg is wrong. So, why do some people still believe? Well, some people just have a need to believe that everything is a conspiracy. Some people have a need to believe that the accepted wisdom is always wrong. These people are fond of citing examples where the accepted wisdom WAS wrong, and drawing analogies between their own heroes and such people as Galileo or Einstein, who debunked the accepted wisdom of their times. But, while it's true that 'they laughed at Gailileo', it's also true that they laughed at Bozo the clown.

jspreen: Fascinating how you completely ingored my question about the eradication of smallpox.

Well, if you find it fascinating, you're welcome. I think it has nothing fascinating to it. You ask me a question, not because you're interested in hearing my answer, but because you are sure that with your question I'm in checkmate. Why would I give you an answer you can't listen to? We'd be still on it in 2035.
Have it your way, buddy. I couldn't care less what your believes are. I'm not talking to you but to an eventual passer-by who may hear a bell ring while reading my fascinating messages and then says to himself:
"That guy is really far out. I'm gonna have a look at http://www.nightsofarmour.com"

jspreen:

Splendid example of responding with bluster in order to avoid the fact that you *can't answer the question*.

What happened to smallpox? Why did it disappear? If it wasn't the vaccine, *why* did it disappear all over the world *exactly* when the vaccine was introduced?

Smallpox. Polio. Flu. Meningitis. Mumps. All of these have been mentioned in our posts as being virus-caused diseases that can be treated with vaccinations. Can you explain them away? I can make a laundry list of vaccination-treatable diseases, and the associated infection numbers before and after vaccination for them became widespread.

The only 'trauma' that stopped happening was being exposed to a virus without the vaccination. Yeah, when we remove that 'trauma', people stop getting the disease! What a wonder!

Seriously, just give some content. If you don't, we'll assume you don't have any. All we want is some reason why, for example, smallpox is virtually GONE from the world after we started vaccinating for it. Same with polio - you no longer see it in developed nations AT ALL.

If you were right, jspreen, then there would be certain consequences. Either specific types of trauma cause specific types of disease, or trauma simply causes some sort of disease, without any real selection.

In the former case, can you tell us precisely what collective trauma dissapeared at the same time as smallpox? Polio? What trauma dissapears at the same time as a flu vaccine shot?

In the latter, where any trauma can cause any disease, what happened that made trauma *stop* causing smallpox or polio at the same time that we started immunizing against it? Same with flu shots.

Apply the same questions to meningitis. To mumps. To ANY disease causes by viruses that we can immunize against.

The simple answer is, there's isn't one. There was no psych trauma that suddenly dissapeared at the same time as widespread polio vaccinations. There is nothing special about trauma that changed and made it stop causing smallpox. There's nothing that explains why a flu vaccine works, except that the flu is caused by a virus, and immunization teaches your body how to fight it!

To belabor the point a bit further, there are certain criteria that anything must meet if you want to say that it causes a disease. 1) The agent (whether it's a bacteria, virus, or psychological trauma) must be present in all of the infected people. 2) The agent must *not* be present in all of the non-infected people. 3) If the agent is isolated and introduced to a non-infected person, they develop the infection.

These simple rules help make sure that you are finding the correct infectious agent. It prevents you from making false positives, and ensures that, yes, it does indeed infect people in controlled situations. Can psychological trauma meet these three criteria? Do you have studies that show this? Can you point us to these studies? Even the names of the researchers or their studies would be fine.

If you can't or won't, that's fine. It just means that you're wrong. We're quite convinced of that anyway, but being good rational thinkers, we're always open to evidence of the opposite viewpoint!

By Xanthir, FCD (not verified) on 13 Sep 2006 #permalink

If you can't or won't, that's fine. It just means that you're wrong. We're quite convinced of that anyway, but being good rational thinkers, we're always open to evidence of the opposite viewpoint!

No, you're not. Being quite convinced that I'm wrong before hand, you read anything I can write with a sarcastic smile on your face thinking of all the evidence that proves I'm wrong.

I don't discuss with people who listen to me with a sarcastic smile on their face. I discuss with people who are sincerly interested. All the others, I tell them two or three jokes about themselves to ridiculize the way they approach all those things they cannot possibly grab with their indoctrinated brains and who use words like "Denialists".

Polio ? I don't know why it disappeared. But I have some ideas that might or might not be correct.
For instance, polio disapperared in the sixties but it seems to have appeared out of thin air in the fifties. Some say because of pesticides like DDT that were prohibited in the sixties. Others say the cause of polio might be WWII traumas.
Each of these two ideas can explain quite well why polio has disapeared in the sixties and why it would also have disappeared without vaccination. But that doesn't make them the right explanation.

It's all quite complicated and I could write another 100 pages on the topic. Why would I do that? You're not even reading anymore.

If you do, go and visit http://www.nightsofarmour.com

Read everything three times. Think about what you read for a month. Then we can talk. Maybe.

JS

The simple answer is, there's isn't one. There was no psych trauma that suddenly dissapeared at the same time as widespread polio vaccinations. There is nothing special about trauma that changed and made it stop causing smallpox. There's nothing that explains why a flu vaccine works, except that the flu is caused by a virus, and immunization teaches your body how to fight it!

You know it all so why talk? Shoot the vaccines into your veins, I couldn't care less.

Just don't force me to let people shoot the crap into my child's body.

No, you're not. Being quite convinced that I'm wrong before hand, you read anything I can write with a sarcastic smile on your face thinking of all the evidence that proves I'm wrong.

So, are you thinking of rebutting the evidence that proves you wrong? If the evidence says you're wrong, chances are, (gasp) you're wrong! We're convinced your wrong because the evidence says so.

I don't discuss with people who listen to me with a sarcastic smile on their face.

Then make sure you avoid becoming a target of sarcasm. Present good evidence. It's that simple. Dump the subjectivist reality mindgames, and I'll dump my attitude.

I discuss with people who are sincerly interested. All the others, I tell them two or three jokes about themselves to ridiculize the way they approach all those things they cannot possibly grab with their indoctrinated brains and who use words like "Denialists".

My irony meter just overloaded. Of course, your ridicule doesn't work if it involves straw men and wildly inaccurate analogies. You have to understand the scientific method in order to ridicule it.

Polio ? I don't know why it disappeared. But I have some ideas that might or might not be correct.
For instance, polio disapperared in the sixties but it seems to have appeared out of thin air in the fifties. Some say because of pesticides like DDT that were prohibited in the sixties. Others say the cause of polio might be WWII traumas.
Each of these two ideas can explain quite well why polio has disapeared in the sixties and why it would also have disappeared without vaccination. But that doesn't make them the right explanation.

We aren't sophists. Thought experiments don't measure up to actual data. Come back when you have some.

It's all quite complicated and I could write another 100 pages on the topic. Why would I do that? You're not even reading anymore.

I gave you a chance, and you blew it playing mindgames. "Evidence first, woo later."

If you do, go and visit http://www.nightsofarmour.com

Read everything three times. Think about what you read for a month. Then we can talk. Maybe.

Perhaps you'd like to save me some time and point to the evidence on there, rather than a front page.

You know it all so why talk? Shoot the vaccines into your veins, I couldn't care less.

Just don't force me to let people shoot the crap into my child's body.

I call child abuse: You're risking your kid's life on an unsupportable hypothesis.

You do realize that measles deaths came back to the UK when vaccinations rates fell thanks to thimerosal-autism propaganda?

Do you have some other factor you want to attribute this to, so that you can add to the massive, massive pile of coincidences you're expecting us to believe?

For instance, polio disapperared in the sixties but it seems to have appeared out of thin air in the fifties. Some say because of pesticides like DDT that were prohibited in the sixties. Others say the cause of polio might be WWII traumas.

During the fourties and fifties there were major polio epidemics. Polio, however, was first discovered and classifed in 1794. The first major polio epidemic in the US occured in 1894.

There's this thing you can do when you argue with someone, it's called fact checking. Internet arguments aren't like face-to-face arguments; you have time to go look stuff up. I found plenty of information about polio's history simply by googling "polio history".

That tinyamount of effort disproved at least one thing you said (that polio suddenly appeared in the fifties), and immediately showed that both of the hypotheses that you advanced for polio (DDT, WW2) were wrong. They're not even close to right - it's not like you simply misspoke, or used non-technical language that is somewhat ambiguous. If 15 seconds of internet research can show that the first two things that come to your mind are 100% wrong, then that probably means that your theory is in trouble.

I don't discuss with people who listen to me with a sarcastic smile on their face. I discuss with people who are sincerly interested. All the others, I tell them two or three jokes about themselves to ridiculize the way they approach all those things they cannot possibly grab with their indoctrinated brains and who use words like "Denialists".

That's too bad, because us rational thinkers are exactly the ones you want to convince. We can argue convincingly for your point, once we are convinced that you are right, rather than simply saying, "I don't like talking to people who don't already think that I'm right."

By Xanthir, FCD (not verified) on 14 Sep 2006 #permalink

jspreen:

Once again, you just ignore the compelling evidence in favor of viruses and vaccines, instead choosing to rant about how no one will listen to you.

Show me your evidence. Or if not me, then show at least *some* evidence for more open-minded readers to see that you've got *anything* beyond assertions and conjecture.

Why did smallpox disappear? Smallpox was a disease that appeared all over the world, consistently, for over 1000 years. It *suddenly* disappeared, overnight, whenever and wherever the vaccine became available. If it was unrelated to the virus, and vaccines don't do anything, then *why has smallpox completely disappeared?

(And I'll just note here: Polio did *not* appear out of thin air in the fifties. There are well-documented epidemics of polio from the 19th century, and pretty good evidence that Polio was a known disease in the time of the Roman empire.)

FWIW, FDR got polio in 1921. Was that caused by WW2 trauma?

If it was caused by Depression-era trauma or something, why didn't we have major epidemics of polio then?

Oh, and the site I got my dates off of is:
http://www.cloudnet.com/%7Eedrbsass/poliotimeline.htm
Again, you can just google for "polio history" and get plenty more information about it.

By Xanthir, FCD (not verified) on 14 Sep 2006 #permalink

The first major polio epidemic in the US occured in 1894.

Yeah. And it stopped. Without vaccination.

Once again. Inform yourself. All your crap evidence, I've heard it for 50 years. School, university, same message all over the place. I know your "evidence". You have no idea about mine. Evidence, that is, if there is evidence for anything.

Go to http://www.nightsofarmour.com and equivalent sites. Try to find books. Read. Think.

Yeah. And it stopped. Without vaccination.

You say that as if it's unexpected for epidemics to die down. Diseases do that: Sometimes they kill their hosts too fast, or emergency sanitation and/or quarantine measures temporarily contain it.

Once again. Inform yourself. All your crap evidence, I've heard it for 50 years. School, university, same message all over the place. I know your "evidence". You have no idea about mine. Evidence, that is, if there is evidence for anything.

You do realize that if something's true, it'll remain in place for a long time. People still teach about the roundness of Earth, for instance.

The fact of the matter is that you don't seem to know anything about the evidence. You were too busy to look up the history of Polio online. What does that say about you?

As for your site, why don't you stop giving us a front page with links to unscientific rants, and show us links to the pages with actual evidence? Last time someone directed me to the front page of a website, I was completely unable to find any reference to double-blind control studies.

What makes it worse is that I couldn't even find a search engine on that page. How am I supposed to find something worthy of evaluation, there?

Once again. Inform yourself. All your crap evidence, I've heard it for 50 years. School, university, same message all over the place. I know your "evidence". You have no idea about mine. Evidence, that is, if there is evidence for anything.

You keep ranting about how all of the evidence about viruses is "crap", and how you have evidence to disprove it. And yet, despite repeated requests, you absolutely refuse to reveal even the *least scrap* of that alleged evidence, in favor of just insulting the people who question you.

And tellingly, you still refuse to answer the very first question I asked you, and that I've repeated in every single response.

What happened to smallpox? If it wasn't caused by a virus, then why did it suddenly disappear all over the world in perfect correlation with the introduction of smallpox vaccine?

He is giving that front page, but the last time someone did that to me, all the evidence he was claiming on the site was 404: Never turned up in the search engine. All the "evidence" there was cherry-picked testimonials.

What happened to smallpox? If it wasn't caused by a virus, then why did it suddenly disappear all over the world in perfect correlation with the introduction of smallpox vaccine?

Why? It's so simple. It's a joke from the guy upstairs. Just to see how many times you will repeat the same question.

If that answer doesn't suit you, just tell me. I can think of one million other explanations that perfectly fit to your enigma.

jspreen:

I'll take that as an admission that you have absolutely *no* explanation for smallpox, and absolutely no evidence for your theory. Because no matter how many times I politely ask the same reasonable question, you refuse to answer it.

For those in our viewing audience tonight, jspreen has just conceded defeat. An attempt at humor rather than providing a simple answer to a simple (and very important to the argument) question is equivalent to saying, "I give up."

Thank you, and good night.

By Xanthir, FCD (not verified) on 15 Sep 2006 #permalink

On a further note, pay attention to the fact that jspreen's answer directly says that God made smallpox dissapear exactly when we started vaccinating against it as a joke to make us wrongly believe that vaccination works. You heard that right, apparently God is an evil trickster who misleads medical doctors so that they never discover the true cures to anything, and billions languish in unnecessary suffering.

Thank you, jspreen, for removing whatever credibility you might have had. I could only wish we could come up with arguments against you denialists as well as you yourself produce for us.

By Xanthir, FCD (not verified) on 15 Sep 2006 #permalink

I think he needs to pay attention to the whole Flying Spaghetti Monster thing: If you ignore the evidence and attribute everything to coincidence of unverifiable sources, it means anyone can come up with any ridiculous explanation, and it'll be equally valid.

Congrats, jspreen, you've all but admitted that you're as scientific as the non-science of Intelligent Design, which, by the way, is below even astrology.

Because no matter how many times I politely ask the same reasonable question, you refuse to answer it.

Of course. Giving the way you treat Prof. Duesberg I would be a very silly person to hope for one second that you'd be seriously interested in trying to find out anything that might go against your beliefs.
By the way, I know nothing about smallpox, I don't even know what it stands for in French. Vérole, varicelle? I could look it up, tell you what causes it according to my interpretation of diseases and explain why I think it's impossible that something like a vaccination made it disappear.

Why should I do that? You don't want to know and you'll explain away all my arguments.
Everything can be explained away. Once you believe in something, you can only see the "evidence" that confirms your beliefs and you will ignore any observation that goes against it.

Double-blind controlled studies? Perfect bullshit when you have decided beforehand what results you want to obtain. Double-blind control can only work if you're absolutely objective otherwise even the design of the study is already wrong.
D-BCS won't work unless you are able admit before hand "I know nothing". Which you cannot do. For instance, you know for sure that vaccination protects against smallpox.

Ever heard of Charles Hoy Fort? I love the way he observes the universe. Here, from the book of the damned:

_____________

Chapter One
All sciences begin with attempts to define.
Nothing ever has been defined.
Because there is nothing to define.
Darwin wrote "The Origin of Species."
He was never able to tell what he meant by a "species."
It is not possible to define.
Nothing has ever been finally found out.
Because there is nothing final to find out.

Chapter Three
In mere impressionism we take our stand. We have no positive tests nor standards. Realism in art: realism in science -- they pass away. In 1859, the thing to do was to accept Darwinism; now many biologists are revolting and trying to conceive of something else. The thing to do was to accept it in its day, but Darwinism of course was never proved:
The fittest survive.
What is meant by the fittest?
Not the strongest; not the cleverest --
Weakness and stupidity everywhere survive.
There is no way of determining fitness except in that a thing does survive.
"Fitness," then, is only another name for "survival."
Darwinism:
That survivors survive.
_____________

JS
---
http://www.nightsofarmour.com

Of course. Giving the way you treat Prof. Duesberg I would be a very silly person to hope for one second that you'd be seriously interested in trying to find out anything that might go against your beliefs.
By the way, I know nothing about smallpox, I don't even know what it stands for in French. Vérole, varicelle? I could look it up, tell you what causes it according to my interpretation of diseases and explain why I think it's impossible that something like a vaccination made it disappear.

Why should I do that? You don't want to know and you'll explain away all my arguments.
Everything can be explained away. Once you believe in something, you can only see the "evidence" that confirms your beliefs and you will ignore any observation that goes against it.

Or, in other words, "I don't have any proof, and you guys are mean to ask me for it. And your mothers dress you funny."

Double-blind controlled studies? Perfect bullshit when you have decided beforehand what results you want to obtain. Double-blind control can only work if you're absolutely objective otherwise even the design of the study is already wrong.
D-BCS won't work unless you are able admit before hand "I know nothing". Which you cannot do. For instance, you know for sure that vaccination protects against smallpox.

Do you know what a DBCS is? I'd guess not. For the benefits of the viewing audience, a DBCS is a controlled study where neither the subjects nor the testers know who recieves what. Everything is kept secret from anyone who is studied or does the studying. Only the organizers of the test, who do not directly interact with anyone in the test, know what's going on.

For example, if you were to do a DBCS to determine if the smallpox vaccine worked, you might take a group of people and randomly split them into two groups. Each group is given a shot, exposed to smallpox, and the monitored to see if they develop it. One of the groups received a smallpox vaccination, one received a saline injection (this latter group is the 'control' part - it tells you what the 'baseline' is, so you can actually see how much the other groups are better/worse). Neither the study members nor the doctors conducting the study have any idea whether the syringes that are used have saline or vaccine in them - perhaps each is simply given a serial number which you can look up to tell you. So, there is no possible way for the study group to tell that they *should* get better or not, and there is no way for the doctors who study them to tell either. This way, everyone involved is 'blind', and can't rely on preconceptions of what they expect to happen. They must instead only observe what is in front of them. This is the "double-blind" part.

Afterwards, the people who *do* know which patient got which injection can pull all this information together and study it. A well-made DBCS eliminates most forms of bias (due to the double-blinding), and ensures that any improvement seen is actually more than would have naturally happened (due to the control part).

And just to take a quick quote from the author you cite:

The fittest survive.
What is meant by the fittest?
Not the strongest; not the cleverest --
Weakness and stupidity everywhere survive.
There is no way of determining fitness except in that a thing does survive.
"Fitness," then, is only another name for "survival."
Darwinism:
That survivors survive.

Nope. Darwin never said "survival of the fittest". It is used to explain his theory, however. Darwinian evolution (which is only one form of evolution - there are many that all operate at the same time) tells us that the fittest reproduce. Whoever survives, gets to make children. The stronger, fitter ones typically get to make *more* children. Thus, overall, more children will be born from fit parents than from unfit, and the next generation should be ever-so-slightly more fit than the last. Over thousands of generations this adds up, and you see evolution in action.

Oh, and it's good to see that you doubt evolution as well, jspreen. It's always annoying when someone completely irrational believes in something rational, because you just know they probably believe in it for the wrong reasons.

I probably shouldn't have made this last post, but I couldn't help it. Jspreen, you're completely irrational, and unable to provide us with a single shred of evidence for any of your assertions. We, on the other hand, can disprove anything you've said with a few minutes looking on Google. There really is no need to debate with you anymore; anyone keeping score at home knows by now that your position is ridiculous, or at the very least that you're a horrible spokesman for it. I eventually had to stop responding to a numerologist in another thread, because he simply would not respond to any questions either. So, goodbye.

By Xanthir, FCD (not verified) on 16 Sep 2006 #permalink

Do you know what a DBCS is? I'd guess not. For the benefits of the viewing audience, a DBCS is a controlled study where neither the subjects nor the testers know who recieves what. Everything is kept secret from anyone who is studied or does the studying. Only the organizers of the test, who do not directly interact with anyone in the test, know what's going on.

Why don't you see where everything will go wrong anyway? The organizers know. The ones who submit the final publication of results, they know. They will leave out what doesn't suit them or not publish at all.

I'll tell you what. You give me 10 different preparations with which I will prepare syringes of which you know nothing. Some of them might contain a vaccine, or they might not. You'll receive syringes marked "A", others marked "B" and a third group marked "C". They may all contain the same thing, or be different. One, two, three or zero groups may contain the vaccine. You won't try to analyse the contents. You do your tests and you give me the results. Then I will unveil "A", "B" and "C" and we will send the results to the editor.

Why don't you see where everything will go wrong anyway? The organizers know. The ones who submit the final publication of results, they know. They will leave out what doesn't suit them or not publish at all.

... ... ...

So what you're saying is, let's just assume that the actual publishers of the studies are lying conspirators, who will do anything to further the 'virus hypothesis' at the expense of millions of people's lives.

Yeah.

By Xanthir, FCD (not verified) on 18 Sep 2006 #permalink

who will do anything to further the 'virus hypothesis'

I can't tell who's behind the who but yes, some 'whos' will do absolutely antything to further the ridiculous 'virus hypothesis'. Some, not many. Most of the guys who keep the myth alive are just a bunch of blockheads, hillbillies and nerds who'll never get any further than repeat the learned lessons so they get their pay check.

What? Did I write what? I wrote that you are a nerd? You must be kidding! I wouldn't do that! My, you've been in university and all, I would never say a thing like that! On the contrary, I know for sure that you know many things. I bet you even know that a virus mesuring a couple of Angtröms can be stronger than a grown-up man.

Ha, ha, ha!

You dummy.

Because no matter how many times I politely ask the same reasonable question, you refuse to answer it.

Of course. Giving the way you treat Prof. Duesberg I would be a very silly person to hope for one second that you'd be seriously interested in trying to find out anything that might go against your beliefs.

How did I mistreat Professor Duesberg? By pointing out that he repeatedly makes indefensibly stupid statements? The statement that he made about the number of sexual partners required to become infected by HIV was absolutely incorrect; and worse than just being incorrect, it was incorrect in an incredibly foolish way.

As for your claim that "I would never be interested in anything that goes against my beliefs"; that's actually not true. As I've mentioned in some other posts, I suffer from some pretty awful GI problems. To treat them, I'm taking a lot of medication with unpleasant side effects. Odds are, the bundle of drugs that I take is eventually going to do me some harm; but at the moment, my choice is pretty much to spend my time in intolerable incapacitating pain; or take the meds.

I would *dearly* love to see some alternative. I very much *want* to find an alternative. And I've spent considerable amounts of time searching for an alternative. But what I've found has been close to nothing. The only thing that all my searching turned up is peppermint tea. Peppermint is a natural anti-spasmodic; when things get really bad, instead of increasing the amount of the variable-dose part of my medication, if I drink a couple of cups of peppermint tea, that will usually help without the terrible headaches that I get if I increase the dose of nitrates. (Along the way, I also learned about the wonders of ginger: in real live double-blind tests, ginger works better as a motion sickness cure than prescription drugs.)

So I would *love* to be convinced that my GI trouble is ultimately psychological in origin, and that by resolving some fundamental personal conflict, that I could make the pain go away.

The catch is, I'm not willing to try something new, and put myself through the kind of pain that I'm going to suffer if I stop my medications, unless I'm convinced that there's a real chance that it'll work. Been there, done that, it sucked.

So - as I always say about any alt-med thing; give me some evidence. Show me the data that supports your theory. Show me how it explains the observable facts. If you can't do that, why should I take your theory seriously? If every question about your theory, every request for actual information about how it explains anything is met with no response but mockery, then how can I assume that you've actually got anything real?

By the way, I know nothing about smallpox, I don't even know what it stands for in French. Vérole, varicelle? I could look it up, tell you what causes it according to my interpretation of diseases and explain why I think it's impossible that something like a vaccination made it disappear.

Sure. You don't know the name of the *only* formerly globally pandemic disease to be totally eradicated during the 20th century. How can you expect to be taken seriously? Either you're astonishingly ignorant, or you're being deliberately deceitful. (Less than five seconds using google, french for smallpox = "la petite verole"; the disease was originally formally described and named by a french doctor; the english name is a direct translation of the name he used.)

Why should I do that? You don't want to know and you'll explain away all my arguments.
Everything can be explained away. Once you believe in something, you can only see the "evidence" that confirms your beliefs and you will ignore any observation that goes against it.

I *do* want to know. And evidence is evidence; the beauty of it is that it exists whether or not we like it.

The fact that smallpox disappeared in perfect synchrony with the availability of smallpox vaccine is indisputable. The *reason* why that happened could be explained by some mechanism other than the vaccine - the *evidence* is the data about the way the rate of the disease fell to 0 wherever vaccine was used; the *causal link* between the data and the explanation are disputable. That's why I keep asking you about smallpox: it's a *very* powerful piece of evidence in favor of the viral cause of smallpox; for your theory to be taken seriously, it needs to be able to explain indisputable facts like the disappearance of smallpox as well as the current theory.

And evidence is evidence; the beauty of it is that it exists whether or not we like it.

Wrong. Evidence exists because you leave out everything that disproves it.

I *do* want to know.

Really? Then read! For instance:

http://wildchildmagazine.com/display.php?id=368â©=en

BTW: Thanks you insisted so much on smallpox. I really couldn't bother but you made me give it a closer look. I learned one or two new things and remembered others things I knew before but simply forgot.

JS
---
http://www.nightsofarmour.com

jspreen:

You need to make up your mind just what your theory *is*. Your original claim is that viruses don't and can't cause disease. The link you just provided argues that smallpox vaccinations are horrible because they *cause* viral infections.

It's an interesting theory, although I'm don't find it particularly convincing. But it doesn't support *your* argument at all. If *your* argument is correct, then the argument you linked to must not be correct; if the vaccination argument you linked to is correct, then *your* theory must not be correct. You can't have it both ways: either viruses make people sick, or they don't.

Even with respect to the Smallpox vaccinations, the page you linked to doesn't support you. We know that Smallpox was a common disease all over the world for several thousand years. It's completely gone now. Arguing that the vaccinations didn't cause its disappearance is one thing. It's certainly an important step. But it doesn't prove *your* argument. What I keep asking you is: if viruses don't cause disease, but instead diseases are symptoms of psychological traumas, then *why* did smallpox disappear? Note that I'm not asking *did the vaccines do it*; I'm asking *what's your explanation for why it disappeared?*

Alternatively, if you don't want to talk about smallpox, how about some evidence for your theory that viruses do not cause disease? That's the real question. Show real evidence that disease is always caused by psychological trauma, and not viruses.

(I'm not clear on whether or not you believe bacteria can cause illness; do you also reject the idea of bacterial infections, or just viral ones?)

A reference to a book named "'Pasteur Exposed: The False Foundations of Modern Medicine,' by Ethel Douglas Hume", and a section speaking out against a compulsory vaccination law England passed in 1853. Holy smokes. I was complaining in the other thread about HIV deniers basing attacks on research from 1994, and here this page is trying to discredit figures from the 1870s.

jspreen:
You need to make up your mind just what your theory *is*. Your original claim is that viruses don't and can't cause disease.

I have made up my mind years ago. My theory of diseases is the one according to Hamer's New Medicine. You can find more on it on my web site and many other sites.

If you have some time to spend, you might want to read my article "Can anybody explain what's going on please" to have a better idea of my convictions.

Viruses and bacteria are only active in the second phase of a disease and thus can not really be considered as the cause of pathology. Something else precedes. For instance, not Koch bacilli are the cause of lung TBC, but the previous lung cancer. Cancer of the lung alveoli is caused by a "Fear of death" DHS. In fact diseases always come by the pair.

In my previous message I linked to that particular page because you keep mentioning a virus as the cause of smallpox. It's not. That's one of the reasons that vaccination never worked and will never work. As is clearly shown in the link I mention, although the arguments are not the ones I would mention.

JS
--
http://www.nightsofarmour.com

jspreen:

You're *still* missing the point.

You want to convince me to reject the idea that viruses cause disease. To me, two of the most compelling evidences about viral diseases are the contagion patterns; and the disappearance of diseases after vaccination.

It's very well documented that smallpox was an extremely common disease for *at least* 2000 years. And then, suddenly, in the second half of the 20th century, as vaccination programs spread around the world, Smallpox disappeared - to the point where there hasn't been a single case of it, anywhere in the world, since 1977!

That's an amazing fact. A disease that was so common for so long suddenly disappeared. The viral-cause theory has a very good explanation for that: the perfect correlation of the decline in smallpox infection rates with introduction of vaccine.

Your theory is that some psychological trauma (DHS) causes disease; each disease is caused by a specific type of trauma. So in your theory, that would mean that whatever kind of trauma/DHS caused smallpox for the last 2000 years disappeared during the 20th century. Why? How does your theory explain the *total* disappearance of whatever DHS caused smallpox?

If you don't like discussing smallpox, then feel free to pick another disease that has declined dramatically in recent years.

Tuberculosis used to be extremely common; it's become quite rare. You assert that TB is caused by a trauma involving fear of death. Do you have any evidence that the fear of death people felt by people somehow changed?

Or polio: why has there not been a single naturally acquired case of polio in the Americas since 1994; and the decline and disappearance followed the pattern of vaccination. What kind of DHS causes polio, and why has it declined?

You say you're not really interested in smallpox yet you keep coming back to it. I couldn't care less but OK, let's hang on for another post.

You write:
And then, suddenly, in the second half of the 20th century, as vaccination programs spread around the world, Smallpox disappeared

This is bloody nonsense. Smallpox vaccination has been going on for about two centuries. Get informed and read, for instance: http://educate-yourself.org/vcd/smallpoxbringingdeadbacktolife21nov02.s…

Here's a citation

What most people don't know is that just after the US began vaccinating for smallpox (1902) England stopped (!!!). By 1907 England finally got the message: no more compulsory smallpox vaccination. Holland, same thing in 1928. Australia - 1925 (Anderson, p 10) [7]
How long did it take the US to figure out that the smallpox vaccine not only didn't work, but was dangerous and often fatal as well? We finally stopped vaccinating in 1971, the last holdout in the world.

Seems as if massive smallpox ceized since compulsory vaccination was abandoned.

I do hate to contradict you jspreen but I and all the other kids in Great Britain received smallpox vaccinations along with those for TB and a fair number of other things as well in the 1950s and 60s so it would appear that your source is at best misleading and at worst simply wrong.

It's fascinating to watch how you continually avoid real questions, in favor of jumping off to the side.

I keep asking you *what does your theory say caused smallpox*, and *why according to your theory did it disappear*.

If your theory is correct, then *the vaccine should not be able to cause smallpox*. Your claim is that what we call infectious agents do *not* cause disease *at all*; instead, disease is caused by psychological traumas. Why would the smallpox vaccine (a single shot, indistinguishable from any other shot), cause smallpox according to your theory?

Incidentally, I am aware of the fact that vaccination in various forms was used before; but there was no universal worldwide effort to see that everyone was vaccinated, and thus eradicate the disease.

In fact, the fascinating history of smallpox vaccination is one of the interesting things which would seem to contradict your theory.

Smallpox vaccines of one kind or another were developed *independently* in China (around 200BC), India (around the same time as China), Turkey (roughly 500AD), pre-revolutionary America (18th century), and Europe (18th century). In each of those places, people came up with the idea and observed a *reduction* in the death rate from Smallpox. Why would *all* of these people continue to practice the same allegedly *deadly* practice, if it didn't have any benefit?

If you look at the history of medicine, you find some amazingly bizzare things that people did - bleeding, purging, sticking needles and knives in random places, eating all manner of horrible poisonous substances. But what's interesting is that each of the bizzare practices tended to only really be prevalent in *one* place, among *one* group of people. When you find something that numerous groups of people in different places, with no contact with one another, you'll generally find that there was something to it. For example, you can find records of many different groups of people chewing or making infusions from willow bark as a cure for various ailments. Willow bark contains aspirin.

I keep asking you *what does your theory say caused smallpox*, and *why according to your theory did it disappear*.

I already said that I know nothing about smallpox. I don't know what the symptoms are and thus cannot propose any likely biological (not psychological) conflict.
Anyway, there must be at least 1554876546548751 questions I cannot possibly answer and maybe "What causes smallpox?" and "Why did it disappear" are two of them. To be honest, I don't think it has disappeared at all but simply rebaptised.

Anyway, in the past smallpox seems to have appeared from time to time as an epidemic so even if it really had disappeared today, we should logically wait for another century at least before we start to shout victory.

Anyway. Some posts ago I wrote:
If you do, go and visit http://www.nightsofarmour.com
Read everything three times. Think about what you read for a month. Then we can talk. Maybe.

You read nothing so that month hasn't even started yet. You try to prove that I'm wrong without reading what I propose you to read. If the fact that I don't always have a perfect answer to some of your questions is proof enough for you that I'm wrong, then I'm not interested in having a discussion. Ask me anything you want about malaria, I wouldn't know what causes it. Hamer doesn't know either. So many questions have not been answered (yet). But instead of trying to find out together, people do everything they can to put guys like Hamer behind bars.

You think vaccination is the answer to smallpox, chemo the answer to cancer, ARVs and AZT to AIDS, and you won't let go? Have it your way. I'll go back to making jokes about dummies who believe everything they're told.

Hey, what about the announced avian flu pandemic? After all, if you are right, smallpox mostly happened way in the past and today it's gone, so it's not easy to figure out what really happenend if one doubts the official version. The avian flu hype is nowadays, so it should be a lot easier to find out what's going on.

Wow, what a long-winded argument. Seems that at base what is being debated here is what we should consider to be the best approach to treating disease: personal positive outlook or more objective treatment (vaccines, drugs, etc.). But isn't the truth likely that both approaches are highly important?

For the record, I find jspreen's absolute disrespect for the scientific method to be quite damning. However, I do see my aforementioned wider debate at least implied by his poorly represented outlook.

Luckily, we have modern statistical methods and records of treatment to show that modern medicine certainly does work. Diseases didn't disappear often before modern medicine, no matter how happy or enlightend a society was, or how positive their outlook was. Now, they do. We've killed some diseases entirely, and drastically reduced the incidence of most others. And we do this because our theory of disease is basically correct.

Being happy and unstressed is certainly important, but it is so for measurable medical reasons. Stress depresses our immune system, making us more susceptible to disease. Keeping people happy, fulfilled, and well-fed makes them much healthier. But that's not because psychological outlook is magically important.

By Xanthir, FCD (not verified) on 06 Sep 2007 #permalink

I didn't think you would, Norm - I'm familiar enough with your outlook on some things. I just wanted to make it clear exactly what was being said. A lot of what I write is for the benefit of the observer, not the participant in the conversation. ^_^

By Xanthir, FCD (not verified) on 06 Sep 2007 #permalink

minor issue compared to all th other nonsense, but did anybody notice this:

"...of the 17- to 19-year-old applicants are HIV-infected but healthy. Since there are about 90 million Americans under the age of 20..."

You know I hear alot of issues thrown out but I don't hear the real problem with HIV! People will unfortunatly always get HIV because they are human. Even a condom is not 100% accurate. We are bombarded by all the things they claim to know yet we are told the only sure bet is no sex. Well thats not going to happen and if it did we would be extinct in a few mllenia! People are, for lack of a better term, animals too. Sex is as much an istinct as anything else. You can use a condom but eventually you will not use one! Sex is better without one and at some point one won't be used. Even oral sex has it's risk! People are scared to death. At some point they just say the heck with it and worry until the next HIV test. No wonder life is so stressful. It is stressed because your not having sex and stressed when you do have sex. The point is an effective treatement with permanent long term effects is the only answer. A cure or vaccine is preferable. If not HIV will only get worse over the generations. Sure you will have lulls and highs in the numbers but over all it will increase. Perhaps genetic engineering can help but what ever the answer one must be found. Just saying no never has worked and never will work. Good Day, Mark.