Conspiracy

HIV Skepticism Gets A Day in Court Down Under

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In an Australian criminal appeal involving a man charged with knowingly spreading HIV by having unprotected sex, the question of whether it is scientifically proven that AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease caused by HIV is being aired in court, including testimony from a group of organized HIV skeptics the Perth Group and by Dr. Robert Gallo, the American scientist credited with discovering the virus and its AIDS connection.

See the front page of the "AIDS alternatives" site Alive and Well, the "News and Updates" section, for Austrialian press coverage of the trial and links to Gallo's testimony. The site editors find that testimony damning, as their excerpts from it has him appear to claim that the evidence he gathered when first annoucing HIV had been proven to be the cause of AIDS–40 percent of AIDS patients in his study found with the virus–does not in fact do so.

UPDATE: The larger context of the Gallo testimony, unquoted on Alive and Well's page, shows that what they have him appearing to claim is not exactly what he was trying to claim on the stand. Gallo says "I think we isolated in almost every patient with AIDS that we tried…we didn't get negative results in 70 other people. You may be including the normal controls where it wasn't isolated." Please note: I have not myself read Gallo's original 1986 Nature paper under discussion in writing this blog post.

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  1. I guess the VirusMyth.net folks might be getting a little closer to vindication. Who’d have thunk that an apparent kook like President Mbeki might be right about AIDS?

    The facts show that people with shitty diets and poor hygiene are the overwhelming majority of people who die from AIDS. Shocking that a lack of nutrition and constant exposure to pathogens could lead to a breakdown of the immune system.

  2. I also see that Reason visited this topic in a rather good read back in 1994.

  3. Sorry OT. From http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/6387361.stm

    “Paediatrician Rachel Besser also wrote that dog owners should face mandatory classes on pet control.”

    That sits with me as well as day old kidney pie served up in a dirty ashtray* …

    (*Apologies to “Weird Science.”)

  4. If 99.9 percent of doctors and scientists fall into the HIV-AIDS camp, can’t they come up with a better spokesman than the guy who stole credit for discovering HIV?

  5. Brian Doherty,

    …the American scientist credited with discovering the virus and its AIDS connection.

    The nature of who discovered HIV, etc. is slightly more complicated than that.

  6. Still waiting for Brian Doherty to disclose that VirusMyth.net provided .00000001% of the Reason Foundations funding last year, thereby making his analysis of this issue hopeless tainted.

  7. Can someone explain why almost the entire scientific community would want to push the HIV=AIDS theory if it were so full of holes, as the skeptics suggest?

    JF’s link was a very interesting read — but I just don’t get it. Don’t get me wrong, I am not out to bash the skeptics, I find the topic rather facinating and would like to know more.

  8. Gat,

    I think the theory goes that the early researchers were convinced that the source of AIDS was a virus because the footprint of the disease within a community was similar to a sexually transmitted disease. By the time the spread of the disease diverged from that of a typical STD, too many people had too much invested in the HIV=AIDS story to consider a second look at the hypothesis.

    Look at what has happened to Duesberg–by all accounts he would have been a Nobel winner had he not become the face of HIV deniers– to understand why there are no scientists interested in revisiting the initial hypothesis.

  9. It isn’t really the “entire scientific community”. It’s just the AIDS research community, which is a very tiny subset. Most HIV skeptics are not heavily involved in AIDS research (and if they tried, they wouldn’t get any funding). This is the problem with the politicization of science. ACT UP and others demanded an explaination for AIDS. Gallo and his French counterpart provided it, and everyone ran with it without giving it the critical review it would normally recieve. From there, things just spiraled out of control. In the ultimate irony, nearly all of the original ACT UP San Francisco members are dead, many having been victims of toxic AZT treatments, while the current ACT UP San Francisco chapter is one of the leading advoctes of AIDS skepticism and alternative therapy.

  10. Thanks for the info. It will be interesting to see where this trial goes.

  11. “Can someone explain why almost the entire scientific community would want to push the HIV=AIDS theory if it were so full of holes, as the skeptics suggest?”

    Perhaps for the same reason that the majority of climatologists posit that every second a Hummer H1 is running raises the mean surface temperature by 1 degree celcius.

    Because they have access to facts that the rest of us are just to slope-headed to grasp.

    Also: Doherty, I read the last sentence of your post three times and I still can’t quite make it work in English.

  12. Anyone want to help verify this claim made by the author of the “Alive and Well” site:

    “The argument that HIV causes AIDS must be proved directly, beginning with the isolation of HIV from the uncultured blood or tissues of HIV positive testing individuals and followed by experiments that prove the isolated virus can infect and harm cells. These very basic experiments have not to date been conducted.”

    They haven’t even observed the HIV virus infecting Immune System cells in order to reproduce (which would strongly suggest that it does impede the immune system)? That’s unbelievable (literally).

  13. sigh

    For a nice roundup of the literature demonstrating the evidence for the HIV-AIDS hypothesis, see this:

    http://www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/evidhiv.htm

    Of particular interest are the twin studies, which study the occasions in which an HIV-infected mother gives birth to twins–one twin who is HIV+, the other HIV-. The HIV+ twins historically have developed AIDS, while the HIV- twins have not.

  14. “The argument that HIV causes AIDS must be proved directly, beginning with the isolation of HIV from the uncultured blood or tissues of HIV positive testing individuals and followed by experiments that prove the isolated virus can infect and harm cells. These very basic experiments have not to date been conducted.”

    They haven’t even observed the HIV virus infecting Immune System cells in order to reproduce (which would strongly suggest that it does impede the immune system)? That’s unbelievable (literally).

    That claim IS unbelievable–because it’s simply not true. There have, in fact, been in vitro studies which demonstrate that HIV infects human immune cells.

    http://www.niaid.nih.gov/publications/hivaids/11.htm

  15. Perhaps for the same reason that the majority of climatologists posit that every second a Hummer H1 is running raises the mean surface temperature by 1 degree celcius.

    I can’t believe I’m reading this.

    Science is a evil “librul”/athiest/coporate conspiracy out to defraud the world with made up theories about evolution, climate change, and that a sexually transmitted virus causes AIDS, etc.?

    We have two decades of peer reviewed data and research from reputable scientists and doctors and Reason and it’s readers are going to believe a bunch of Western new age loons and African animists posing as medical experts?

    Millions of people are dying from a horrible disease and you’re turning to quacks because you want to wrap yourself in the cloak of hetrodoxy and faux-skepticism? You people make me want to puke.

  16. Edit: Atheist

  17. All I’m saying is that as long as the government has building inspectors enforcing rules on the strength of the floor in your private property, it’s probably a good idea to be at least a little skeptical about the theory of gravitation. I mean, if this “gravity” thing is so real then why has nobody ever detected a graviton?

    Yet they still have laws regarding the construction of your home, all based on the theory that there is an attractive force that causes things to fall.

  18. I’m not a trusting person. But for a bunch of quacks, the writing at the Alive and Well site seems quite reasonable.

    If there is, somewhere, a careful and non-emotional analysis of the information presented therein I would like to look at that at well. Citing a bunch of papers is not what is needed to counter such misinformation (if it is indeed misinformation) but a simple explanation of why that information is wrong.

    When the author says things like: HIV tests test for the presence of anti-bodies not the virus itself, and that the anti-bodies tested for can be produced in response to a number of non-HIV substances it makes you wonder.

    The one thing I definitely trust is that your average prescription drug causes all kinds of side effects, and that a giant AIDS/HIV cocktail of them could easily make you far sicker, far faster than a virus that reportedly can take decades to even manifest clinical symptoms.

    You’re going to have to do better than explaining how you want to puke when someone questions the establishment. I’m a hardcore libertarian, but I can’t deny that money could be a very corrupting influence even in the hallowed halls of science.

    I’m working on a doctorate myself (Computer Science) so I’m quite aware of how fallable your average Ph.D. can be. We just don’t have time to check up on every little fact established long ago. We often just take established facts as given and move forward.

  19. Dr. T,

    Where your analogy breaks down is that the Theory of Gravitation correctly predicts what would happen to a house with insufficient support. If you go back to the 80’s and read the predictions by the experts on how AIDS was going to spread across the world, you see that they were completely wrong. You know the Scientific Method better than me, but when your hypothosis does not correctly predict the future, doesn’t that require that you at least revisit your hypothesis?

    The HIV=AIDS hypothesis is probably correct, but there are still some grey areas to fill in and until they are filled in, I am going to be at least a little skeptical.

  20. Akira MacKenzie | February 23, 2007, 12:02am | #

    I can’t believe I’m reading this.

    Science is a evil “librul”/athiest/coporate conspiracy out to defraud the world with made up theories about evolution, climate change, and that a sexually transmitted virus causes AIDS, etc.?

    We have two decades of peer reviewed data and research from reputable scientists and doctors and Reason and it’s readers are going to believe a bunch of Western new age loons and African animists posing as medical experts?

    Millions of people are dying from a horrible disease and you’re turning to quacks because you want to wrap yourself in the cloak of hetrodoxy and faux-skepticism? You people make me want to puke.

    yeah!

    what he said.

    And now some criminally promiscuous guy down under is trying to tap the knee jerk contrarians’ work to avoid punishment?

    The suspense is terrible… I hope it’ll last.

  21. Any boxing enthusiast out there notice that Tommy Morrison once a top heavyweight contender, was diagnosed HIV+ ten years ago.

    He is now trying to make a comeback after testing negative in 7 separate tests. He will be fighting for the 1st time in 10 years.

    Does this relate to this discussion? And or have any relevance?

  22. I finished reading that site and I find the information presented therein to be relatively compelling. Her logic is sound. The only question remaining for me is whether or not the scientific and statistical data she cites is accurate. I should also note that she may be wrong on a point or two while being correct overall.

    I’m also curious about her motives. If I understand correctly, the website is actually an online posting of a book (it’s rather altruistic of the author to just give it away; although I note that she seems to have made a video to replace the book as a source of revenue). I’m inclined to believe that her beliefs on the subject are genuine. I think they’d almost have to be to surmount the incredible obstacles to putting together a presentation of this sort (which could endanger lives and, if she were being blatantly dishonest could potentially subject her to prosecution). And of course, she’s not alone.

    And why should anyone be surprised that libertarians are willing to consider such a theory seriously. Look at how the federal government treats the issue of marijuana (and the War on Drugs in general). Couldn’t that be described as a conspiracy of the same type that the author purports is keeping the “truth” about AIDS from coming out? (and by the same type I mean a sort of accidental conspiracy that is practically self-perpetuating once it gets going).

    Anyway, try not to puke at my assessment. If you have anything rational and unemotional to say, go ahead.

  23. Wait. I thought the HIV thing was a CIA plan to destroy gays. WTF?

  24. DaveT, I’m glad you’ve read that now. I had a whole angry post about that ready, but somethings going wonky with the Reason server.

    It would, however, be a ridiculous jump for a libertarian to go from not believing the political speech on marijuana to not believing in the HIV/AIDS causality. There’s never been any sort of scientific consensus of any sort as to the manifest dangers of cannabis, only posturing by political appointees. In fact, most studies prove beneficial results, even though the government has made it policy to suppress these studies.

    Even a broken clock is right twice a day, after all.

  25. He is now trying to make a comeback after testing negative in 7 separate tests. He will be fighting for the 1st time in 10 years.

    I’m sure he paid good money for those negative tests.

  26. You’re definitely right Sean. The differences are vast, but there are few vague similarities that made the comparison worth it to me, in particular the money trail. AIDS is also a relatively new thing as well. Perhaps in years or decades the landscape will look different. What did the scientific landscape concerning Marijuana look like in 1940? And look at what we know about marijuana now, but public and especially political concensus is still against it.

    If I had to stand on the AIDS issue right now, after reading all of that, I would say that prevailing knowledge is most likely correct. However, if I had or knew someone who had HIV, I would definitely consider it reasonable to avoid medication (not because HIV may not cause AIDS, but because of the cost of the medication and the cumulative side effects).

  27. Or perhaps the first positive was wrong. False positives have been known to happen.

    Considering he’s healthy enough to box after 10 years, I think my interpretation is more likely.

  28. “”I’m sure he paid good money for those negative tests””

    I am not entirely sure about all the details, but I think that where he may have paid for the first two tests, he encountered much skepticism and to overcome skepticism of the various boards, he had to submit to different independent tests.

    Hence the 7 tests.

  29. at 1 point in time I had that whole italics thing down. And I was sooo proud of myself.

  30. JB,
    You could be right. And I think that is what he is claiming. If so that is one false positive that truly fucked up his life.

    I remember him wanting to make a comeback a few years ago, and being laughed off stage. And even today with the various independat tests, the idea of him coming back is mocked because of that first positive.

    BTW, he is the guy who plays the bad guy in Rocky V (or whatever the last Rocky was).

    If the dude can make a comeback after all that, being in the poorhouse and 10 years of innacitvity, that would be interesting.

  31. Has anyone – Brian, maybe – actually read Gallo’s transcript?

    What about page 1252 where Gallo speculates as to whether people who deny the link between HIV and AIDS are obsessive or just ignorant?

    Or page 1282 where he says “there is no disease of microbial evidence that there is more evidence for than there is HIV being the cause of AIDS”?

    Maybe it might also be worth looking at p1294 where the judge steps in to underline the fact that Gallo clearly doesn’t agree with the insinuation that his original research was flawed…

    Alive and Well’s quotes from Gallo are unbelievably selective. The idea that “It’s difficult to tell if Gallo was defending HIV or if his testimony is a public admission of guilt” is a barefaced lie.

    And Reason’s willingness to take the site’s mendaciousness at face value is shitty and shoddy.

    A Hit & Run indeed…

  32. Any boxing enthusiast out there notice that Tommy Morrison once a top heavyweight contender, was diagnosed HIV+ ten years ago.

    He is now trying to make a comeback after testing negative in 7 separate tests. He will be fighting for the 1st time in 10 years.

    Look, don’t get me wrong, I think ‘skepticism’ is great.
    But as someone who has actually treated HIV or AIDS positive patients on many occasions and watched the progress of these people before, during and after their therapy, you skeptics here clearly are pretty unfamiliar with the territory.

    The anecdote about the isolated boxer is fascinating, and who knows, perhaps all the virus load flew out of his ear one morning, or he developed nanobots that sucked ’em out. I can’t vouch for every single patient in the world and strange things can happen once in a while.

    But imagine being an HIV doctor and seeing patient A who is HIV +ve, then his partner becomes positive, seroconverts, gets real sick…goes on therapy (including the notorious AZT)….gets better (at least for quite a while).

    Imagine seeing this day in and day out for years on end. The disease in your patient starts when the HIV viral load (confirmed by DNA fingerprinting) gets high, symptoms get better when viral load drops. These guys in Perth tell you that HIV is caused by “malnutrition”. Hmmm. Your practice is in a wealthy inner-city neighbourhood and your last patient would define malnutrition as missing out on aged Bordeaux for two nights running.

    Again, skepticism is fine but ultimately some things are just…real.

  33. Yeah DavidS, what he said.

    Do you agree that the isolation of HIV from only 40% of patients is not proof that HIV causes AIDS?”

    Gallo: “I would say of course, in and of itself, 40% isolation of a new virus, I would not say is the cause

    He is clearly saying that “in and of itself” that is not proof. It doesn’t mean it can’t be part of proof.

    Oddly enough every time I read any of the transcript it’s Lionel Hutz’s voice talking in my head. That happen to anyone else?

  34. Assuming that AIDS-HIV denial is indeed a bunch of looniness, anyone have any idea why it got started?

  35. Then there’s the selective quote from page 1300 where Gallo apparently ‘admits’ that he’s only been able to isolate viruses from 30-40% of diseased patients.

    What’s missing from the Alive and Well account? Only the next page or so of testimony from Gallo where he asserts that any virus, not in its acute phase, is similarly difficult to isolate.

    That passage ends with this pearl:

    “You’re relying on a non-scientist, who works in an emergency room, that hands you an affidavit that you take to court to debate with me, who spends, since 1970 full-time, in retroviruses and showing and studying the disease [and] in the origin of diseases. Be my guest.”

    Hope we’ll get a correction to what must be one of the worst Hit and Run pieces ever…

  36. thoreau wins the thread and proves beyond reasonable doubt the following theory:

    Thoreau’s Law of Thread Posting:
    Whenever you use sarcasm in a thread, at least one moron won’t get it.

  37. What Akira MacKenzie said, February 23, 2007, 12:02am.

    Also what mark said, February 23, 2007, 5:12am.

    I’ve been an openly gay man for many years and active in the gay community. I’ve seen people get sick, get well, and stabilize somewhere in between. The sick people who take anti-retrovirals get better.

    Gee, could that be due to, like, a virus or something? Even government-funded science gets some things right, ya know.

  38. Assuming that AIDS-HIV denial is indeed a bunch of looniness, anyone have any idea why it got started?

    Don’t know dude. Have you seen the holocaust deniers? They are not all a bunch of neo-nazis, there are a bunch of them that are normal people, who for whatever reason have adopted a loony cause.

    Then there are the dudes who claim that the landing on the moon was a hoax. What is in it for those guys?

  39. . . . government has building inspectors enforcing rules on the strength of the floor in your private property, it’s probably a good idea to be at least a little skeptical about the theory of gravitation. I mean, if this “gravity” thing is so real then why has nobody ever detected a graviton? . . .

    T., this story ought to be causing you to question your faith in peer review a little more than this snark would indicate.

    As someone presumably involved in peer review of medical literature, you should be thinking about what this emerging story says about your own work and its potential to be somehow subverted by extrascientific factors.

    To answer your snark seriously, the rules for building sturdy enough floors and bridges pre-date Isaac Newton getting bonked on the head with the apple, much less gravitron theory. And as far as discovering the rules of safe bridge building — that was government employees in employ of the Romans. It was not idealistic young architect Howard Roark, or anybody particularly similar to him. Some of those bridges still stand now in Hawking’s time, just as they did in Newton’s.

    Moving back to how the AIDS inquiry got so futzed up: regardless of the germ theory level cause of AIDS, the first rule of avoiding AIDS seems to be simply: avoid contact with human waste. Obvious sex is relevant, but it is not the only factor that determines how much waste one is ingesting.

    So why are we all hung up on the exact causation chain? Simple: there is a modern tendency to medicalize what is basically a sanitation problem. We don’t want to clean up Africa and have them stop drinking shitty water. Rather, we want to sell them patented drugs (remedies and hopefully someday vaccines) instead, as a substitute for doing this. Instead of allocating resources to getting African feces out of African water, we allocate it to AIDS vaccine & cure research, which research seems to be going nowhere particularly fast.

    When I say “we want to sell them patented drugs,” who do I mean by “we?” I mean the people who employ you Thoreau. I mean the people you are job interviewing with. I mean the people you are striving to someday be.

    Fortunately, in North America, we have convinced people to stop ingesting feces for the most part. Some people can’t help themselves. But Eazy-E helped spread the word. And AIDS is more of an African problem these days, at least so far as new cases go.

    The person who made the greatest contribution to AIDS research, and it is sad because we will never know the person’s name, is the one who coined the phrase “eat shit and die.” That is it in a nutshell, epidemiologically speaking. And this is lost wisdom. Our forebears did a lot more to prevent AIDS in North America than the current research establisment is doing:

    [want to do a quote here about how improved sanitation is the primary factor responsible for getting No. Am. lifespan from 40 up to 75, but Internet keeps going in and out — you’ll have to trust me on that]

    The best “vaccine” against AIDS is flush toilets, sewer lines and wastewater treatment plants. Sadly for Africa, the patents on it have all expired and Johns Hopkins and Merck don’t make it.

    Not only does this play badly for the current scientific establishment, which has an agenda to medicalize and pharmaceuticalize every health issue in sight, but it is also a bummer for libertarians. Free market mechanisms don’t solve sanitation issues, just like they don’t solve environmental issues more generally. There has to be some big-time government coercion at the heart of any real solutions. Maybe the government can mimic markets at the margins as it does with carbon trading, but that isn’t going to spring from the private sector of its own accord.

    I guess the one silver lining is that if one is both a libertarian and an “isolationist,” like me, then shitty water in Africa is none of my concern. You simply suspend trade and immigration with nations that can’t get their water clean. If you do want their oil, then you use the projected profits to build the sewers first and then do the drilling and pumping.

    (Side note to S. Crane: since T. is filtering out my comments like so much waste in the water, but still wants a link to the “good ones,” you can use “copy link address” at the orange hash mark at the top of this long reply to direct him right here with gr8 precision.)

  40. Can we get all of the random Dave’s to go by a nickname of some sort? Yes, yes, I know that you’re all using a letter or some such, but it’s quite confusing.

    How about “Dave’s Not Here, Man” for one of you.

    Maybe “SuperDave” with or without the Osbourne for another of you.

  41. Using Ockham’s Razor to slash parsimony’s throat…

  42. “Assuming that AIDS-HIV denial is indeed a bunch of looniness, anyone have any idea why it got started?”

    I think Duesberg kicked it off in 1987. This is a good account: http://www.sciencemag.org/feature/data/cohen/266-5191-1642a.pdf

    Duesberg claimed – and still claims afaik – that AIDS in the West is caused by illegal drug use (“Gays are the only sexual group that use consistently drugs for sex”).

  43. Can we get all of the random Dave’s to go by a nickname of some sort? Yes, yes, I know that you’re all using a letter or some such, but it’s quite confusing.

    I was talking to “Cavs” the other month here at the HnR and he suggested that I do just that. So I switched my monikker to Sam “The Butcher” Franklin, after the butcher on the Brady Bunch, played to perfection by the wonderful Al Melvin, who I happen to look almost exactly like.

    Long story short, I got so much grief I had to switch back.

  44. Dude Without Dog-

    As I understand it, many of the predictions of AIDS sweeping the world fell short because they didn’t account for significant changes in behavior that have helped reduce the spread. Just like the people who predict some sort of economic doom forget that, if given adequate information and freedom to make decisions, people will usually find a way to adjust and reduce (no, not eliminate, but reduce) the harm: They buy less of whatever is becoming scarce, they tighten belts, they invest in substitutes, whatever.

    Perhaps they also over-estimated the transmission rate per exposure incident.

    Finally, they may have estimated the latency period using data from the third world, and not accounted for the possibility that people with better health care, better nutrition, and better sanitation might last longer before developing symptoms.

    Those sorts of errors do not undermine the basic conclusion that infection with HIV is a necessary condition for AIDS (with the symptoms of AIDS carefully enumerated, so as to avoid confusion with other illnesses).

  45. Oh my God.

    What the hell, people?

  46. Look, joe, as long as there are people like you, government regulators, telling us what we can and can’t dump in water, on the grounds that it might flow across property lines, I think the mathematical theory of hydrodynamics needs to be carefully scrutinized. I mean, there are some PRIVATE organizations putting good money out for a proof that smooth solutions to the Navier-Stokes equations even exist!

    If the private sector is still skeptical on this, how can we base government regulations on the THEORY that water flows in a particular way and carries contaminants?

    Teach the controversy!

    (Aside: There actually is a $1 million prize for anybody who can prove that the equations of hydrodynamics can always be solved. Nobody doubts that water flows, the questions are technical.)

  47. What Joe?

    I mean besides the usual lack of grammar checkng in my post, and Dave W’s book long post about Thoreau.

    Besides that what? This thread isn’t even as whacky as threads usually are.

    I am generally curious about the science here. I have no idea about HIV or AIDS. And though I am trying to figure it out, I don’t really understand what a viruse is. But after this thread I am a little more educated.

  48. “The person who made the greatest contribution to AIDS research, and it is sad because we will never know the person’s name, is the one who coined the phrase “eat shit and die.” That is it in a nutshell, epidemiologically speaking.”

    I’m all for the huge (and cheap) contribution made to public health by sanitation – but that’s a seriously dumb comment.

  49. Fortunately, in North America, we have convinced people to stop ingesting feces for the most part. Some people can’t help themselves. But Eazy-E helped spread the word.

    Eazy-E ate feces?

    HAHAHAHAHA. I got a funny image in my head for the rest of the day.

    Eazy-E sitting at a kitchen table in the hood, with a fork and knife, wearring a bandana and buttoned flannel shirt with a plate of feces in from of him.

    Thank you.

  50. “Again, skepticism is fine but ultimately some things are just…real.”

    The more you look at the history of science, the more you come to understand that nothing stays true for very long. After all, there was plenty of support for Newtonian Mechanics in its day, and geocentricity as well.

    Science is the field of telling stories about why certain things come to be. Sometimes those stories are explanatory, sometimes they are predictive. But ultimately what they are is stories, representations of what we think is going on based on phenonmenal evidence.

    Maybe that the HIV -> AIDS story fails to obtain in some cases suggests that the story needs revision.

  51. DavidS,

    Great article. Thanks. 🙂

  52. junk science allowed in the courtroom. lawyers showing that debating skills are more important than understanding. ignorant amateurs (apologies, mark) making lots of keystrokes in obscure blogs to keep themselves entertained.

    what else is new?

  53. BTW, as the article provided by DavidS illustrates, this is a perfect example of why science is a field just as open to sociological analysis as any other area of human life.

  54. AIDS is not a disease in itself, but an umbrella term for auto-immune problems. People who die from AIDS are actually dying from well-known treatable diseases like TB, Cholera etc. Most of the deaths in NA from AIDS are from cancers and related complaints, all of which can be explained by other causes (STDs, drug use etc.) In Africa, most of the deaths are from the old staples (TB, cholera, and various other tropical fevers).

    Trouble is, you don’t get western aid for boring stuff like clean water, TB drugs etc., but you do get lots of money for AIDS, so guess what gets reported as what?

    There has been no connection shown between the HIV and AIDS which comes close to the level of proof provided for other viral diseases. One of the continuing problems is that tests for HIV are unreliable, and it is quite easy to have multiple tests on the same person giving the same result as tossing a coin.

    None of this means that HIV is not the cause for the AIDS, but there is lots of room for skepticism.

  55. lunatic denier,
    I remember Linguist making a similar point about AIDS reporting in Africa.
    Interesting.
    I have met some white South African mercenaries who tell me that 80% of the black South African army has AIDS. I don’t know what that means, or the reliability of the information.

  56. And there is the problem. If I have TB (which is one of 25 AIDS indicator diseases and will be reported in Africa as AIDS) do I have AIDS? If I then have 4 HIV tests, of which 2 are positive and 2 are negative – do I have AIDS, HIV-AIDS or TB?

    If I take TB drugs and I am cured of that, do I still have AIDS?

    If I am a prostitute in Uganda have TB, but do not have an HIV test of any kind (and there are different kinds which give different results), do I have AIDS?

    What is interesting is that AIDS is the only “disease” that could even invite such discussion.

    I mean – flu is flu and smallpox is smallpox.

  57. “People who die from AIDS are actually dying from well-known treatable diseases like TB, Cholera etc”

    Simply not true.

  58. Dear Reason writers and H&R commentors,

    I am writing you with much concern after having read Australia’s court case to decide whether the alternative theories of AIDS Epidemiology should be presented along with the HIV theory of AIDS. I think we can all agree that it is important for readers to hear multiple viewpoints so they can choose for themselves the theory that makes the most sense to them. I am concerned, however, that readers will only hear one theory of AIDS Epidemiology.

    Let us remember that there are multiple theories of AIDS Epidemiology. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that AIDS is caused by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards HIV is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.

    It is for this reason that I’m writing you today, to formally request that this alternative theory be presented in your magazine and blog, along with the other two theories. In fact, I will go so far as to say, if you do not agree to do this, we will be forced to proceed with legal action. I’m sure you see where we are coming from. If the AIDS Epidemiology theory is not based on faith, but instead another scientific theory, as is claimed, then you must also allow our theory to be presented, as it is also based on science, not on faith.

    Some find that hard to believe, so it may be helpful to tell you a little more about our beliefs. We have evidence that a Flying Spaghetti Monster caused AIDS. None of us, of course, were around to see it, but we have written accounts of it. We have several lengthy volumes explaining all details of His power. Also, you may be surprised to hear that there are over 10 million of us, and growing. We tend to be very secretive, as many people claim our beliefs are not substantiated by observable evidence. What these people don’t understand is that He built the world to make us think the earth is older than it really is. For example, a scientist may perform an HIV test process on a patient. He finds that HIV antigens in the blood of the AIDS patient. But what our scientist does not realize is that every time he makes a measurement, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is there changing the results with His Noodly Appendage. We have numerous texts that describe in detail how this can be possible and the reasons why He does this. He is of course invisible and can pass through normal matter with ease.

    I’m sure you now realize how important it is that your readers are presented this alternate theory. It is absolutely imperative that they realize that observable evidence is at the discretion of a Flying Spaghetti Monster.
    In conclusion, thank you for taking the time to read about our views and beliefs. I hope I was able to convey the importance of promoting this theory to your readers. We will of course be able to train the teachers in this alternate theory. I am eagerly awaiting your response, and hope dearly that no legal action will need to be taken. I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in healthcare practices around the world.

    Sincerely Yours,
    The Theif of Lunches

    Appologies to Bobby Henderson.

  59. The best “vaccine” against AIDS is flush toilets, sewer lines and wastewater treatment plants.

    And I forgot to mention toilet paper and soap. It should be noted that these also have the characteristic of a vaccine in that they work a lot better if everybody in society uses them and not just one person. One “incubator” can probably undo the work of a whole lot of hand washers. Especially if she is hott and likes to make love in the lagoon.

  60. “People who die from AIDS are actually dying from well-known treatable diseases like TB, Cholera etc”

    Simply not true.

    Check the WHO website. You don’t – can’t – die from AIDs; you die from the diseases that overwhelm the weakened auto-immune system. HIV is meant to destroy the auto-immune system.

  61. What!?!?

    Honestly, why do you people buy this crap? No one has ever witnessed HIV infecting live human immune cells in vitro? That’s just not true. See, e.g. http://www.jci.org/cgi/content/full/99/7/1555 (and this is hardly a unique study — people infect T cells with HIV in vitro all the time).

    Once upon a time there was legitimate doubt regarding this issue, because experimental data was sparse. This was mostly a function of our limited tools in the early 80s. For instance, you can’t tag a virus capsid and expect to get any meaningful results about the virus’ behavior, as the capsid never enters a given cell and the tag wouldn’t be replicated anyway. You need active DNA transcription (DNA–>RNA) in a given host cell after infection to witness the infection in vitro, and after the host cell bursts it isn’t easy to seperate the new RNA from the older RNA. For HIV in particular, I understand that the virus doesn’t really replicate absent host cell replication, which requires that we induce replication of T-Cells in vitro, which is apparently a bit of a hassle. To make a long story short, we now have means of dealing with all of the problems once associated with this type of research, so it isn’t a big issue anymore. There is currently an enormous quantity of in vitro and in vivo data on this issue, and all of the current skeptics are either hucksters trying to sell books to non-scientists or stubborn fools who can’t admit that statements they made in the 80s were wrong.

    Oh, and you’re an idiot, lunatic denier. TB tests are used because they’re a very very cheap, fast and simple indicator. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have more reliable tests, it just means that mass testing in developed nations needs to be cheap to be useful. Like the flu, the RNA coding for HIV capsid protiens mutates quickly, making it difficult to detect and tag HIV by ordinary means. Your comparison with the flu is hilarious because it’s just as hard to detect, and flu tests also always rely on indirect indicators, so they’re just as uncertain as HIV tests. Ee have HIV doubters and not flu doubters because HIV research has been obfuscated by (1) religious nuts with sexual hangups, and (2) hucksters selling books to these notoriously gullible religious nuts.

  62. People with AIDS die from all sorts of things – many of them diseases that were largely unknown before 1984. PCP for one.

    Some of these are treatable – many are not. Which is why there is such a clamour to make anti-retrovirals (which suppress HIV) available in the developing world.

    And the best vaccine against AIDS is not toilets or soap.

  63. “Developed” should read “developing” in my second para, and “Ee” should be “We.” Yes, I should have previewed before posting.

  64. And the best vaccine against AIDS is not toilets or soap.

    Name me a better one then.

  65. Did someone say “consensus”?

    Here’s what Crichton has to say about it:

    “I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.

    “Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

    “There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.”

  66. Condoms? Abstinence? Smoking drugs rather than injecting them?

    There’s three…

  67. And I certainly hope no one takes what I said above as an indication that I fail to believe HIV attacks the immune system or that sex with HIV positive people is one way to get HIV.

    My point is something quite different.

  68. Sucking rather than fucking – there’s another.

  69. “And the best vaccine against AIDS is not toilets or soap.”

    Name me a better one then.

    Pizza is just as effective at preventing AIDS, and far, far tastier.

  70. Condoms? Abstinence? Smoking drugs rather than injecting them?

    There’s three…

    I have to admit, those are some pretty powerful ways to decrease your intake (both quantity and variety wise) of human waste.

    I always find it funny when people say that North American gays want gay marriage primarily for insurance benefits or because they are more empowered now. I think you are closer to the unspoken truth DavidS.

  71. Sucking rather than fucking – there’s another.

    Well, now that really depends.

  72. On what? Oral sex is much lower risk than penetrative sex.

  73. Alright, that’s it. I’m done with this thread. Fuck everyone named dave that can’t come up with an original nickname.

  74. ok, I am confused by the argument between the two daves.

  75. No, egon, nobody said “consensus” except Sean, who was talking about cannabis. But thanks for the update on Crichton’s views. He’s a pretty mediocre writer of fiction, and he’s never written anything about HIV, but he’s pretty much the ultimate authority on this topic and everything else. By the way, in my earlier post when I wrote about hucksters trying to sell books…

  76. Chris S,
    Your attitude is pretty standard: the science is done and the debate is over. The only motive for skepticism must be religious lunacy or stupidity.

    I find it a pretty tiresome attitude since it reduces the discussion to a shouting match every time. There are legitimate doubts about the HIV/AIDs theory, but no-one is allowed to air them.

    The starter for this discussion (the court case in Australia) is also pretty instructive. Are there any other examples where transmitting a virus is considered a crime? It seems like HIV is not just a virus

  77. “Fuck everyone named dave that can’t come up with an original nickname.”

    That’s definitely high risk behaviour…

  78. “nobody said “consensus” except Sean”

    So then somebody DID say “consensus”. Look, if you can’t even get that right, everything else you’ve said is suspect.

  79. The case in Australia isn’t instructive of anything. Why does the case indicate that HIV is not just a virus? Because transmitting it is a crime in Australia?!? Do you think criminal law determines the nature of a virus?

    Given your earlier comments, I think you have absolutely zero knowledge of virology. Explain to me why there are “legitimate doubts” and I’ll take you seriously. I’ve cited a paper showing the in vitro infection of T Cells with the HIV virus, and I can probably cite several hundred such papers. Help me out, what am I missing? Clinical in vivo data? Do we need to infect human subjects to convince you? You don’t even seem convinced that HIV is a virus, which absolutely no one doubts, not even the self-styled skeptics.

  80. On what? Oral sex is much lower risk than penetrative sex.

    Like I said above:

    “Moving back to how the AIDS inquiry got so futzed up: regardless of the germ theory level cause of AIDS, the first rule of avoiding AIDS seems to be simply: avoid contact with human waste.”

    To map on to this portion of the discussion:

    It all depends upon how much waste, both quantity and variety wise, is on the thing being touched to the eyes, nose and mouth.

  81. “nobody said “consensus” except Sean”

    So then somebody DID say “consensus”. Look, if you can’t even get that right, everything else you’ve said is suspect.

    Sean was talking about cannabis research, not HIV, just like I wrote above. Please learn to read.

  82. That’s definitely high risk behaviour…

    Exactly. The sheer number of of David/Dave’s means you’re bound to catch something.

  83. “Consensus” is a scientist’s way of saying “This is a waste of time.”

    Has anybody here personally flown up into space and examined the earth from all sides, to verify that it’s round? Well, have you?

    At some point, you have to move on. I’m signing out of this thread.

  84. Lunatic Denier,
    why are people not allowed to air legitimate doubts? I mean what authority prevents the airing of doubts? What happens to someone who airs doubts about the prevailing aids theories?

  85. Side note to dhex: all those artefacts are on purpose. a feature, not a bug. that is part of the reason the product is so unique and excellent. It took me literally years worth of weekends to achieve what you are hearing. it is not an accident or sloppiness.

  86. The australian case (and there was one in Canada as well) is interesting because it tells me that not only is it unacceptable to doubt the HIV/AIDs theory, it may also be illegal to act on that doubt. If I do not accept the causal relationship between a positive HIV test and some fatal condition and have unprotected sex with someone, I am liable to be charged with a serious crime.

    As for our relative understanding of virology, who can say? You are claiming the high ground on that; I suppose I could stamp my foot and countclaim, but there is not much to be gained from that.

    HIV is a retrovirus – no-one questions that. AIDs is a huge problem – no-one questions that. The discussion is about how the two are linked, and there are huge holes in that chain. If there weren’t, progress towards treatment, vaccines etc. would have bene much faster.

    Take another issue: there is much scientific work around the role of viruses in cancer. No-one seems to mind talking about that.

    So why the big upset about questioning all or some of the HIV/AIDs theory?

  87. Your attitude is pretty standard: the science is done and the debate is over. The only motive for skepticism must be religious lunacy or stupidity.

    Well it can’t be stupidity since I don’t see all you HIV deniers lining up for HIV shots to prove that you won’t get sick and die.

    So my vote is for lunacy, religious or otherwise.

  88. “Consensus” is a scientist’s way of saying “This is a waste of time.”

    and “smug hegemony” is a way of saying that a person is way too quick to play that gambit where it is not appropriate.

  89. “Well it can’t be stupidity since I don’t see all you HIV deniers lining up for HIV shots to prove that you won’t get sick and die.”

    Robert Willner did this, live on TV I believe. He died six months later of a heart attack.

    Duesberg apparently wants to, but cannot get approval from his university ethics committee.

  90. “”The discussion is about how the two are linked, and there are huge holes in that chain. If there weren’t, progress towards treatment, vaccines etc. would have bene much faster.“”

    Well they know all about herpies, and the common cold, and they don’t have a cure or a vaxine for either of them.

    (or do they?)

  91. “Duesberg apparently wants to, but cannot get approval from his university ethics committee.”

    In other words, a big pussy.

  92. So why the big upset about questioning all or some of the HIV/AIDs theory?

    Some guy in Australia is trying to use pseudoscience to weasel out of responsibility for his wreckless conduct. Yes, this tends to cause a big upset. And no, punishing this conduct doesn’t muffle debate on this subject anymore than punishing arson limits debate about combustion. You’re free to argue about either issue as long as you’re not putting other people’s lives at risk by testing your unfounded theories on innocent parties.

  93. The only motive for skepticism must be religious lunacy or stupidity.

    Given my well established atheism, I’d say something along the lines of “religious lunacy” and “stupidity” are redundant, but there is another word in this sentence that doesn’t belong here.

    “Skepticism”

    Don’t use the word “skepticism” or any variant thereof, mother fucker. You don’t even come close. James Randi is a skeptic. Dr. Michael Shermer is skeptic. Hell, Penn & Teller are better examples of skeptics than you and your woo woo friends will ever be. Ashholes such as yourself have misused the word “skeptic” in order to lend credence to their bullshit. That comes to an end here and now. We’re taking the term back!

    No, you’re a “denier.” You use fallacy, anecdote, twisted language, and cherry-picked data to make your point. I’ve heard and read similar nonsense spewed from other species of deniers: I’ve heard it from evolution-deniers(i.e. Creationists) who dream up all manner of pseudoscience to disprove what is scientific fact in the name of maintaining fundamentalist dogma. The same can be said of global-warming deniers who are usually hired guns from oil-companies or right-wing ideologues who equate any environmental policy with “communism” at the expense of our ecology. The worst of the lot, of course, are the Holocaust-deniers; antisemites who nitpick the tortured memories of survivors and distort the evidence of history in order to vindicate the evil of Hitler and his cronies.

    From my experience, HIV-deniers have different motivations. Around here, they seem to be contrarians who think ” standing up to the system” and “the man” somehow fulfills libertarianism principle, even when “the man” is right every once and a while. Others are new age loons who have bought into the stupidity of “alternative medicine” from homeopathy to faith healing and want to believe that the big, bad, money-grubbing “medical establishment” has cooked up HIV to sell expensive anti-viral drugs when it could be “cured” by chakras, chiropractors, or crystals. Then there are the scam artists, who prey upon the ignorant (Undeveloped regions, like Africa, are sadly full of such people.) and the fearful (as anyone with a potential fatal disease would be).

    Being anti-establishment, superstitious, or a criminal doesn’t make you a skeptic. Critical thinking makes you a skeptic. Relying on the scientific method, searching for evidence, and having other experts test that evidence again and again to make sure the data fits the hypothesis makes you a skeptic.

    Disbelieving in something because you don’t want to believe in it makes you a denier, not a skeptic. HIV-Deniers have nothing to contribute to fight against AIDS. They spread nothing but ignorance which is in turn helps spread the virus which can only spread suffering.

    I call upon all rational people to take a stand, here and now, against the ignorance and deceit of the HIV-deniers; indeed, deniers of all stripes. Too much is at stake–human lives, scientific integrity, civilization–not to.

  94. Great! Looking forward to Reason pieces defending the scientific basis behind NAMBLA, astrology, and attachment therapy.

    Gonna need a new word for the practitioner of this brand of skepticism: the skeptard.

  95. I can’t believe that no one has even brought up the pirate angle. We KNOW the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists, because we exist, and he created us, so he must exist. We also know that he’s responsible for global warming, because of the decline in pirates.

    Now, HIV first became apparent after the popularization of YMCA. YMCA was made by the village people, who included a Cop, a Construction Worker, a Leather Daddy, an Indian, and some other guy. Notice who’s NOT on the list? A pirate. Clearly the Flying Spaghetti Monster introduced AIDS as a way of promoting pirate awareness.

    But of COURSE the HIV Research Industry won’t allow funding for pirate/healthcare research, any more than the Global Warming Research Industry will allow funding for pirate/climate research. In both cases, it would upset their scientific ‘consensus’. The only way for us to test this theory is to have an impartial discussion between flying spaghetti researchers and the medical community, possibly moderated by various disinterested parties, such as Nobel Laureates or Oscar nominees.

    The medical establishment needs to stop ignoring serious skeptics such as flying spaghetti researchers and other HIV skeptics. They’re just as valid as Evolution skeptics and other outsiders in the scientific community.

  96. Great! Looking forward to Reason pieces defending the scientific basis behind NAMBLA, astrology, and attachment therapy.

    I hate to be the one who has to say it, but:

    For a magazine with “Reason” as its title…

    Gonna need a new word for the practitioner of this brand of skepticism: the skeptard.

    I’m sure the woos have all ready thought that one up and are using it against us.

    “Denier” works so much better.

  97. attachment therapy.

    Is that the new term for using leaches?

  98. Akira,
    Wow! Nice smear job. I like the link to global-warming deniers (corporate drones all), but the holocaust denial bit doesn’t work, since that was a historical fact, not a scientific theory.

    For myself, I am just plain skeptical of any received truth, and when I get rained on with this sort of abuse, it just sharpens my doubts.

    To label people like me as “deniers” is pitiful. I can be wrong, misguided, deceitful, malicious or lots of other bad things, but the term “deniers” reveals more about the accuser than the accused.

    It says: This is the truth. Accept it or be forever damned.

    No wonder any scientific challenge to the “consensus” gets so little air.

  99. I’m probably wasting my time, but what sort of evidence do you guys need here? I’m serious.

  100. For myself, I am just plain skeptical of any received truth, and when I get rained on with this sort of abuse, it just sharpens my doubts.

    So, no evolution for you?

  101. @ Gimme Back My Dog:

    predictions about HIV/AIDS transmission rates are partly independent of whether HIV is the causative agent of AIDS. thoreau also correctly points out that transmission rates are based on assumptions and caveats regarding human behavior, said behavior was modified in response to fears and education regarding HIV transmission, so those predictions did not hold, since the behavior changed so as not to match the assumptions.

    Determination of the microbial agents that cause diseases are based on a set of protocols known as

  102. The more you look at the history of science, the more you come to understand that nothing stays true for very long. After all, there was plenty of support for Newtonian Mechanics in its day, and geocentricity as well.

    Uh, there was never much evidence that proved that geocentricity was true. That’s why things like epicycles and other kludges were added, to make reality fit the model. Newtonian mechanics is still pretty close to accurate on macro levels and velocities well below the speed of light (which are what we deal with).

  103. He is now trying to make a comeback after testing negative in 7 separate tests. He will be fighting for the 1st time in 10 years.

    Does this relate to this discussion? And or have any relevance?

    Screening tests have a relatively high false positive rate – intentionally so, to avoid giving a false negative. So they should always be confirmed. False positive HIV tests are not unheard of.

  104. Didn’t Magic Johnson also go from HIV+ to no longer having any traces of HIV in his system?

    How did he beat it?

  105. Those who advance the idea of HTLV3/HIV’s causing AIDS jumped to the conclusion prematurely IMO. They were lucky (or had good intuition) — they turned out right.

    I was very skeptical of the HIV-AIDS hypothesis until about 1996. Until then the evidence in favor of the hypothesis was poor, and the arguments on general principles against it were strong. After that the evidence in favor piled up heavily, enough to convince me.

  106. Didn’t Magic Johnson also go from HIV+ to no longer having any traces of HIV in his system?

    He didn’t. He might have an undetectable viral load in his bloodstream (which means that there aren’t enough virus particles to pick out on DNA testing), but people with HIV have a waxing and waning concentration of virus in their bloodstream. A great many become completely undetectable for a while. The virus is still there, particularly in other tissues like the lymph nodes and brain, it’s just not in a very high concentration in the blood.

  107. A lot of the Aids Myth support came from people who had tested positive, who didn’t trust the tests and who did not then want to undergo the pretty onerous chemo-therapy that was prescribed. It got uglier when children of HIV positive mothers were forced onto chemo-therapy.

    Some people came to regard the cure as worse than the disease.

    By the way, these people weren’t “deniers”; they were regular folks battling with tough decisions about their own health. They were HIV positive who had no illness or symptoms but were told that they would have to undergo really really tough treatment.

    In some cases, they would have subsequent tests that would show them HIV negative.

    Perhaps they were just a tiny minority, but it sure makes me think hard about it.

  108. Next we’re going to have “skeptics” about the danger of sticking knives through the human body in order to beat a murder rap.

    Look, if anyone doesn’t want to believe in the scientific method, please just go off into the wilderness and totally divorce yourself from all technology and medicine, ok? This ranting about how “science is a conspiracy!” is pretty old hat.

  109. “The best “vaccine” against AIDS is flush toilets, sewer lines and wastewater treatment plants. Sadly for Africa, the patents on it have all expired and Johns Hopkins and Merck don’t make it.”

    These are some seriously ignorant comments. What are you even talking about?

    And how do explain AIDS deaths in the US? Toxic meds? Skyrocketing incidence of “rimming” behavior among gay men?

    Do tell.

  110. “In some cases, they would have subsequent tests that would show them HIV negative.”

    Again — false positives.

  111. In some cases, they would have subsequent tests that would show them HIV negative.

    Perhaps they were just a tiny minority, but it sure makes me think hard about it.

    Does the same logic make you think twice about the existence of pregnancy? I’ve known women who tested positive, but then tested negative — like my wife.

    Let’s not blow poor test results out of proportion.

  112. Actually, that is when my interest started – with a mandatory HIV test for insurance purposes.

    As a side bar, pregnant women generate more false positives than other populations; this is a well-known issue in the AIDs community. The numbers from Africa are a real problem for this and other reasons relating to test reliability, extrapolations etc.

    To come back to the beginning of this, one of the elements of the prosecution must therefore be to establish the reliability of the HIV tests applied to the defendant. Perhaps if the case goes on long enough, he will test the other way?

    If he knew he was HIV positive and then deliberately had unprotected sex, then his malicious intent is clear. But what if he only thought he was HIV positive, but then turned out to be HIV negative after a subsequent test?

  113. Perhaps if the case goes on long enough, he will test the other way?

    If I try to shoot you with a gun, and it misfires, am I still guilty of a crime?

  114. If he knew he was HIV positive and then deliberately had unprotected sex, then his malicious intent is clear. But what if he only thought he was HIV positive, but then turned out to be HIV negative after a subsequent test?

    IANAL, so definitely IANAAL (I Am Not An Australian Lawyer) but in the US, I’m pretty sure that if you think you’re doing something that has a high probability of leading to the death of another person, you’re guilty of attempted murder. For instance, if you grab a gun, point it at someone, and pull the trigger, then find out that it was unloaded, you are still guilty of attempted murder. You thought you could kill them, and tried to do so, so you’re guilty of attempted murder.

  115. …but the holocaust denial bit doesn’t work, since that was a historical fact, not a scientific theory.

    There is no difference between pseudo-science and pseudo-history, fucktard. What part of “pseudo” don’t you understand?

    For myself, I am just plain skeptical of any received truth…

    Yeah, like that whole gravity thing. That, and that whole heliocentric model of the universe, can anyone “prove” that the earth goes around the sun?

    “Facts are tools of the pigs, man! Question authority… maaaan!”

    …and when I get rained on with this sort of abuse, it just sharpens my doubts.

    Spare us your delusions of martyrdom. Just because you someone has the decency to point out that you’re an idiot is not sign that you’re right.

    OK, here’s a little challenge, Lunatic: Find an HIV positive individual and spend the next few months having unprotected sex with them. What’s the matter? Scared? Come on! As you say, AIDS is caused by bad hygiene, drug use, or evil ju ju, right? The HIV virus has nothing to do with it! That’s just the evil “scientific establishment” trying to foist it’s “truth” on you.

    In other words: Put up or shut the fuck up.

  116. EDIT Just because someone…

  117. Akira – it seems as though you’re arguing with a Dave W/Juanita hybrid. What a scary fucking chimera.

    You da man!

    cheers,
    VM

  118. For a nice roundup of the literature demonstrating the evidence for the HIV-AIDS hypothesis, see this:

    http://www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/evidhiv.htm

    Of particular interest are the twin studies, which study the occasions in which an HIV-infected mother gives birth to twins–one twin who is HIV+, the other HIV-. The HIV+ twins historically have developed AIDS, while the HIV- twins have not.

    Although I am of the opinion that good sanitation is the best vaccine and cure for AIDS, I have never really had an opinion on whether HIV causes AIDS. I have always assumed it does, but open to the possibility that it is a correlation without causation.

    Still, I always wondered what would happen if I tried to pick apart one of these claims that says: “Here, people, here is your proof that that HIV causes AIDS.” Going back thru this thd, I found the most interesting comment to be the one I just quoted about the twins. i decided to try to look into what that link really said and how it was supported. My analysis follows, with my words in plain text and the words of the various sources in italics.

    First of all, here is the relevant portion of the niaid link regarding twins:

    The HIV-infected twin develops AIDS while the uninfected twin does not.

    Because twins share an in utero environment and genetic relationships, similarities and differences between them can provide important insight into infectious diseases, including AIDS (Goedert. Acta Paediatr Supp 1997;421:56). Researchers have documented cases of HIV-infected mothers who have given birth to twins, one of whom is HIV-infected and the other not. The HIV-infected children developed AIDS, while the other children remained clinically and immunologically normal (Park et al. J Clin Microbiol 1987;25:1119; Menez-Bautista et al. Am J Dis Child 1986;140:678; Thomas et al. Pediatrics 1990;86:774; Young et al. Pediatr Infect Dis J 1990;9:454; Barlow and Mok. Arch Dis Child 1993;68:507; Guerrero Vazquez et al. An Esp Pediatr 1993;39:445).

    Taking the text of the niaid site at face value, my initial question is: why did they decide to test these specific children and mothers for HIV?

    Was it because one of the twins got a serious disease? If that was the whole reason that the family was HIV tested in the first place, then what happens to twins when one gets a similar serious disease, and they duly test the family for HIV (or more precisely HIV antibodies, but for simplicity I will just refer to that as HIV testing throughout this response), and all the HIV tests come back negative? My fear is that these non-HIV sick children do not make it into the HIV / AIDS statistics at all. My fear is that there is a selection bias in the HIV / AIDS statistics generally where sick people (in this case sick infant twins) without HIV are ignored, which will tend to create and/or strengthen the correlation between HIV and the diseases we identify as AIDS.

    My next step is to look at the primary cites cited in the niaid quote above. However, when I do this I will constantly be wondering: if a twin turned up sick with a similar disease to what the twin in a particular case study had, but the family had all turned up HIV negative, then where would THAT case study be? Would it be published? Would niaid be able to link it if they were HIV deniers, rather than HIV apologists?

    (to be continued)

  119. Moving now to the first cite at the end of the above-quoted niaid text:

    Park et al. J Clin Microbiol 1987;25:1119Transmission of human immunodeficiency virus from parents to only one dizygotic twin.

    Park CL, Streicher H, Rothberg R.

    The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome-related complex was identified in a mother and one of her nonidentical twins. Generalized lymphadenopathy was first noted in the infant at age 17 months, and that of the mother was incidentally discovered 6 months later. The father, who had had homosexual contacts before the conception of the twins, appeared to be in good health. No one in the family had constitutional symptoms or showed signs of opportunistic infection. Both parents and the patient had hypergammaglobulinemia, low T-helper-to-suppressor-cell ratio, and positive serum antibody to human immunodeficiency virus. Attempts to isolate the virus from all family members were unsuccessful. The twin brother was in good health with a normal immunologic profile and negative antibody to human immunodeficiency virus.

    So, as I understand this wonderful prose, one twin turned up with “generalized lymphadenopathy” and then the mother turned up with “Generalized lymphadenopathy” and after that they decided to test both twins and both parents for HIV. It turned out that both parents and the “generalized lymphadenopathy” twin were HIV positive, while the twin not having “generalized lymphadenopathy” did not have HIV.

    So, the next step was to find out what this “generalized lymphadenopathy” disease really is. Not being a doctor I didn’t know. Maybe it was some rare disease that only AIDS patients get. Maybe it was one of those diseases DavidS was talking about above that was virtually unknown before 1984. I knew the WIKIPEDIA could tell me:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persistent_generalized_lymphadenopathy

    It looks like this disease, while immune system related, is not particularly rare, not particularly new, not particularly fatal, not particularly well understood and not something that one only finds in AIDS patients.

    In other words, if this twin and his mother had gotten “generalized lymphadenopathy,” but had tested negative for HIV, then there would be no case study, no article in the journal. Even worse, I strongly suspect that if it was the non-HIV twin and the mother that turned up with “generalized lymphadenopathy,” then the only person tested for HIV would have been the non-HIV twin with lymphadenopathy. In other words, if this had been a family that made it look a bit less like HIV caused “AIDS” (which in this case is lymphadenopathy), then there would be no published case study — no linkable data would have been generated.

    This case study suggests the exact kind of selection bias I was referring to earlyier in this thread. If the data strengthens the HIV-AIDS correlation, then it is tracked and published. Otherwise, no.

    It was now time to move on to the next cite:

    Menez-Bautista et al. Am J Dis Child 1986;140:678Monozygotic twins discordant for the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

    Menez-Bautista R, Fikrig SM, Pahwa S, Sarangadharan MG, Stoneburner RL.

    Monozygotic twin girls discordant for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome were born to parents with antibodies to human T-cell lymphotropic virus type III. One twin had clinical evidence of the syndrome with tests positive for antibody, whereas the other at the age of 3 years was clinically, serologically, and virologically normal.

    This one was tougher because the abstract is so weak and I am too impoverished to spring for the full article (makes my sympathetic to Warren’s case against copyright on the other thd). The abstract said that one of these twins turned up with “clinical evidence of [AIDS].” So they tested the family for HIV (I assume that the test for “antibodies to human T-cell lymphotropic virus type III” they gave the parents is an HIV test, and that the antibody tests they gave the children were also HIV tests — the abstract really could and should be clearer on these points).

    Turns out, surprise, surprise, that the parents and the “clinical evidence of AIDS” child had HIV and the healthy child did not have HIV.

    BUT: what was this “clinical evidence of AIDS?” Was it something like Karposi’s (sp?) sarcoma? Almost certainly not. Children never get that — only practicing homosexuals do. Was it something like the “generalized lymphadenopathy” where the disease is immune system related, but not necessarily HIV correlated? Was it something even more ubiquitous like pneumonia? Was it even anything fatal or particularly serious? I don’t know — the abstract provides no clues.

    But, what I do know is that if this child with “clinical evidence of AIDS” had tested HIV negative, then the “clinical evidence of AIDS” would be called something else and there would be no published case study here for niaid to link to. Just more selection bias.

    *to be continued*

  120. Two cites down, four cites to go. let’s move along:

    Thomas et al. Pediatrics 1990;86:774
    Pediatric acquired immunodeficiency syndrome: an unusually high incidence of twinning.

    Thomas PA, Ralston SJ, Bernard M, Williams R, O’Donnell R.

    New York City Dept of Health, NY.

    Surveillance data on incidence of twins among reported cases of pediatric AIDS in New York City are presented. Most pairs are concordant for HIV infection. Three discordant pairs have been described elsewhere. Possible reasons for the association are discussed, including the most likely explanation that twins show symptoms early and are overrepresented in the early years of surveillance of pediatric AIDS.

    Now the niaid text quoted above is using this cite to support the following contention: “The HIV-infected children developed AIDS, while the other children remained clinically and immunologically normal.” So far as I can tell, this study does nothing to support the contention. Focussing on the discordant pairs (that is, one HIV infant, one non-HIV), it does not say that the HIV twins were sick and the non-HIV ones healthy. It would have to say something like that before it could be considered support for what niaid says.

    However, before leaving this irrelevant cite, I want to focus on the following portion: “twins show symptoms early and are overrepresented in the early years of surveillance of pediatric AIDS.” What does this quote say about selection bias generally when it comes to infants, HIV and AIDS?

    I leave that to the readers (and hopefully one will be grateful and buy me the full article). I am moving on to cite number four:

    Young et al. Pediatr Infect Dis J 1990;9:454Discordant human immunodeficiency virus infection in dizygotic twins detected by polymerase chain reaction.

    Young KK, Nelson RP, Good RA.

    This one is just the title. Niaid certainly isn’t making it easy for me to do its cite checking, for sure.

    From the title it looks like it says they are using “Polymerase chain reactions” to decide whether certain twinned infants are HIV or non-HIV. If so, it certainly doesn’t do anything to support the contention for which niaid puts the cite forward (see discussion of Thomas cite above).

    However, maybe “polymerase chain reactions” are something that are specially AIDS correlated so that you could not even perform a “polymerase chain reaction” based diagnostic test unless AIDS were somehow present. Not being a biochemist, I knew I had to check the WIKIPEDIA:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polymerase_chain_reaction

    It looks like “polymerase chain reaction” is just a descriptor phrase for the standard HIV test. As best as I can guess, niaid cited this cite because the full article shows that sometimes one (dizygotic) twin is HIV and the other non-HIV. Whoopedty! That says nothing about the correlation between HIV and the diseases we call AIDS, which is what niaid is citing it for.

    I did find it interesting, however, to read about the guy who invented the “polymerase chain reaction” test for HIV:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kary_Mullis
    (scroll down to HIV / AIDS portion of his entry.)

    Number 5:

    Barlow and Mok. Arch Dis Child 1993;68:507Dizygotic twins discordant for HIV and hepatitis C virus.

    Barlow KM, Mok JY.

    Regional Infectious Diseases Unit, City Hospital, Edinburgh.

    Twin girls were born at 37 weeks’ gestation to a mother infected by HIV and hepatitis C virus. Twin 1 had symptomatic HIV infection by 9 months but was negative for hepatitis C virus antibody and RNA. Twin 2 became HIV antibody negative by 15 months but was positive for antihepatitis C virus and RNA.

    So, let me get this straight: these twins both started off with HIV (or at least its antibodies) and then didn’t have HIV anymore as they got to be slightly older infants?!?!?!? That seems to contradict the official story.

    And of these two twins who overcame HIV somehow, one also overcame some early, presumably inherited Hep C, while the other one did not overcome her case of Hep C.

    This seems to say that HIV is pretty irrelevant to disease status, in this case the disease being Hep C. from the wikipedia, it is not immediately clear whether it is common and normal for children to get hepatitis C from their mothers, regardless of HIV status of any of the parties. I am guessing that it is.

    Given how unsupportive of its position the last couple of niaid’s cites have been, I can hardly wait to check out the last cite, cite number 6:

    Guerrero Vazquez et al. An Esp Pediatr 1993;39:445[Discordant acquired immunodeficiency syndrome in dizygotic twins]

    [Article in Spanish]

    Guerrero Vazquez J, de Paz Aparicio P, Olmedo Sanlaureano S, Omenaca Teres F, Luengo Casasola JL, Garces Ramos A, Collantes Garcia C.

    Hmmmm — another one in the useless column.

    So what have we learned? I think the main thing we have learned is not to trust niaid. When you look closely at its cites, they either utterly fail to support its contention (that HIV causes the diseases we call “AIDS”) or else they indicate a selection bias where they were made the subject of published reports for precisely the reason that they support the contention that HIV causes what we call AIDS.

    For a skeptic like me, the question is: what is the correlation between HIV and diseases that we do not call AIDS. I don’t see an answer at the niaid link — neither at the couple lines I have now analyzed, not the zillions of lines there I did not pick apart in quite this detail.

    *end*

  121. Akira For President!

  122. Get a grip, Akira. Prof Dusenburg was the man who did more work than anyone on retroviruses and he is one of the chief skeptics. There are many others with respectable scientific credentials who have voiced doubts. Your load grade rants add nothing to this.

  123. should be:

    –For a skeptic like me, the question is: what is the correlation between HIV status and diseases that tat the medical researchers do not denominate as AIDS.–

  124. Being skeptical of the received truth of the general fucktardidness, your posts appear merely as gently humping unicorns in a field of chocolate daisies.

    It is very peaceful. Look. A pink bat. *flutter flutter*

  125. For a skeptic like me, the question is: what is the correlation between HIV and diseases that we do not call AIDS. I don’t see an answer at the niaid link — neither at the couple lines I have now analyzed, not the zillions of lines there I did not pick apart in quite this detail.

    Oh, one study didn’t answer every conceivable question one could ever ask about HIV. That’s enough for me. On the basis of one paper not satisfying everything Dave fucking W wants to know, we are now ready to throw out everything we know about AIDS.

    Fine. If HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, why don’t you go get a blood transfusion from an HIV positive but AIDS negative person. C’mon, it’s harmless! As long as you’ve got good hygene and sanitation, you’ll be able to cure AIDS even if you get it.

  126. OK, If Akira is gonna be Prez, then VM’s gotta be the press secretary.

  127. OK, if we’re going to start planning libertarian administrations then I’m returning to this thread.

    kwais for Defense Secretary.

    Jennifer for Secretary of Education.

    And I don’t think VM should be press secretary. With his mad econometrics skillz he should be Treasury Secretary.

    Cavanaugh for Press Secretary!

  128. If HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, why don’t you go get a blood transfusion from an HIV positive but AIDS negative person. C’mon, it’s harmless! As long as you’ve got good hygene and sanitation, you’ll be able to cure AIDS even if you get it.

    Let’s do a thought experiment. let’s pertend I did that and 5 years passed and I turned up at your doorstep HIV positive, but otherwise as healthy as I otherwise would have been.

    How would you react?

  129. Hi Dr. T:

    thanks for the endorsement. I’ll respectfully turn that position over to Timothy. He’s da man! Mo and JasonL need roles, too – they’re down with finance! I’d like to tag team with Stevo, Mr. Steven Crane, as a “Trio of Touchstones”. Or, maybe, “Yorik, the living years”, Falstaff, and Oberon. Or should Stevo be Puck? But how about that?

    Otherwise, I share your endorsements.

    We’ll have you be in charge of the laser beams for our defense sharks; and you will be the bestest Dept of Energy dismantler. You’ll apply your rules for skepticism and kick ass! Plus we need someone to make sure Jack Bauer keeps getting the good assignments!

  130. and you will be the bestest Dept of Energy dismantler.

    I’ll give the warheads to Jack Bauer’s evil brother for dismantling and simply assume that they are handled in a safe and secure manner. What could possibly go wrong?

  131. Does his brother have a goatee? If not, then all should be well. Just have an overly-elaborate plan and not watch it unfold.

  132. Worse, he’s bald. The biggest stretch of season is that James Cromwell could have fathered two sons who could sit on each other’s shoulders and still be too short to him in the eye.

  133. If he were tall, bald, and with Goatee, does this mean that our own Dhex is Thoreau’s evil brother?

    *starts drinking.

  134. Look at how the federal government treats the issue of marijuana …

    Very dishonestly. The same goes for “second-hand smoke,” obesity, influenza* and who knows what else.

    I mean – flu is flu and smallpox is smallpox.

    *Whackos at the BMJ claim that the CDC grossly over-reports flu deaths (by approx 20X, IIRC) by combining them with pneumonia deaths, then the total is reported as flu deaths. (Conspiracists say it’s to sell flu vaccines).

    ignorant amateurs (apologies, mark) making lots of keystrokes in obscure blogs to keep themselves entertained.

    This ignorant amateur has been following this issue a bit since the mid-80’s, and here’s what seems to fit the facts:
    – AIDS is caused by (the) HIV: necessary but possibly not sufficient.
    – HIV is NOT transmitted by “regular” vaginal intercourse.
    – HIV is transmitted by poor medical practices (Africa and China) and by anal intercourse (anywhere). The latter is what the CDC refer to as “heterosexual transmission.”

  135. Let’s do a thought experiment. let’s pertend I did that and 5 years passed and I turned up at your doorstep HIV positive, but otherwise as healthy as I otherwise would have been.
    The mean incubation time between infection and onset of symptoms in adult men without treatment is around 8 years. Congentital infections generally progress more quickly. Some people go much longer. This is completely consistent with a viral infection, as the progress of a viral infection is dependent both on viral genetics (which are often highly mutable – why you need a new flu shot every year) and the individual’s immune system, which is highly unique (half of the people infected with influenza never show clincal symptoms – this does not mean that influenza is not a viral infection).

  136. – HIV is transmitted by poor medical practices (Africa and China) and by anal intercourse (anywhere). The latter is what the CDC refer to as “heterosexual transmission.”

    1. By “poor medical practices” do you include unclean water, or are you talking more about unclean needles and surgical instruments?

    2. By “latter” did you mean –former–?

    3. Do you think that HIV is transmitted by unclean needles in North America and Europe?

  137. How would you react?

    I’d be surprised and disturbed that you knew where I lived, but unsurprised that you were asymptomatic.

    This is for three reasons. A – the plural of ‘anecdote’ is not ‘data’. B – the incubation period is thought to be anywhere from 1 to 10 years. C – individuals who are infected with a disease but who never develop symptoms are not unheard of, and while IANAV, I have no evidence that HIV should be different in this regard, although the supposed method of attacking the immune system might preclude this – I couldn’t comment on that.

  138. Falstaff

    FAAAAAAAALLLLstaff! The thiiiiiiiirst Slakah!

    FAAAYYAAALLLstaff! The thiiirst slakah!

    The beer that can quench
    Any thirst ANY THIRST!
    The beer you reach for first
    when you need to quench you thiiiiiirsssst!

    FAAAAALLLstaff

    For your obscure Cream reference of the day.

  139. Dave W.

    He meant latter. Cases of non-anal heterosexual transmission of HIV are so few as to be considered zero, statistically. The rather tender rectal area seems to be a nice breeding ground for HIV, though.

    And now, we’re back to feces.

    I note that the comment I made, the very first on this thread, hasn’t even been touched, let alone refuted:

    The facts show that people with shitty diets and poor hygiene are the overwhelming majority of people who die from AIDS. Shocking that a lack of nutrition and constant exposure to pathogens could lead to a breakdown of the immune system.

    That could have something to do with HIV-positive people like Magic Johnson and Tommy Morrison testing positive for HIV and yet over a decade later still showing absolutely no signs, whereas IV drug users and urban homosexuals (and poor people in Africa) tend to show symptoms and die rather quickly.

    Like said a few posts above, HIV is a most likely necessary, but not necessarily sufficient, cause of AIDS.

    I suppose I’m going to get some idiot now asking me why I don’t inject myself with the virus. I’ll preemptively state that statistics don’t mean that even being HIV positive and yet having good nutrition and good hygiene will prevent AIDS, just that having those make it far less likely that AIDS is the death sentence that big Pharma and the “AIDS can affect anyone” crowd want you to believe.

  140. I’d be . . . unsurprised that you were asymptomatic.

    Then why are you trying to convince me to infect myself with the virus if you wouldn’t learn anything from the experience. You know that I only do things when I can make somebody learn.

    I have to admit I am kinda with F. LeMur’s take on things now that I have been reading about the HIV/AIDS correlation all day. Avoiding other people’s feces on the membranes is way key.

  141. He meant latter. Cases of non-anal heterosexual transmission of HIV are so few as to be considered zero, statistically.

    I get it now. I just got confused because I heard that some homosexuals have anal sex, too. I see what F. LeMur meant, though.

  142. AIDS=magic. That’s all there is to it.

  143. I don’t really know what the truth is, but I think what has caused much of the controversy is the way that the HIV causes AIDS camp behaves. They’re a nasty, mean spirited bunch who tend to behave more like religious zealots than scientists. At the marco level, there are serious questions about the HIV means AIDS hypothesis. Nearly every prediction the HIV camp has made over the years has turned out wrong. We have a situation where almost 100% of the AIDS deaths in the West are gay, yet in Africa they are split 50/50 between men and women, and nearly all straight. Why? Simple explaination would be that those Africans aren’t really dying of AIDS but other things, but if you dare suggest that you are shouted down, not with facts, but with shouts. And the original problem, how can a virus target gays in one half of the world and straights in the other, is left unanswered. I don’t think that HIV causes AIDS. Finally, why do some people not get sick at all. Magic is never going to die from AIDS (and reportedly takes very little meds- relying on natural remideis). Tommy Morrison is apparently cured. Why did the AIDS epidemic fizzle out in the US? Plenty of legitamite questiosn. Questions that in any other field, scientists would be falling all over themselves to answer. Yet when it comes to AIDS we just get dirty looks and snide comments.

  144. >how can a virus target gays in one half of the world and straights in the other, is left unanswered.

    HIV transmission is more likely among people who engage in particular behaviors. Gays in the west took sexual promiscuity to new heights. This started in the 60s and was highly ritualized by the 80s.

    In Africa, not too many people identify as “gay,” I’m guessing. And in general, the cultural norms around sexuality are probably less restrictive than in the west. (We are known for our prudery, after all.) Undoubtedly also, sub-standard medical care is a huge factor (reusing needles, pre-HIV blood banking procedures, etc) in the African AIDS epidemic.

    Certainly, changes in sexual behaviors in the west played a part in limiting the size of the epidemic here, but one reason the predicted epidemic of HIV infections among western heterosexuals never happened is because in general, promiscuity is just not as high among them as it is among (male) homosexuals. Seriously, straight men wish they could get the level of no-strings sex that gay men can. (Ironically, gay men sometimes refer to no-strings sex as “risk free.”) On average, women just aren’t as willing to engage in that kind of behavior. They’re not even designed in such a way as to facilitate it. To cite and extreme example, what good would a glory hole be to a straight woman?

    After the initial furor over AIDS subsided, political correctness took over the discourse about it. It wasn’t PC to point out that HIV infection was related to “lifestyle,” (i.e., voluntary sexual behaviors). It was PC to predict we were on the verge of an HIV epidemic among heterosexuals. One couldn’t (and still can’t, really) say that sexual behavior played a significant role in rates of African HIV infection, because that played into racist stereotypes about blacks being genetically hypersexual. To point out that HIV infection is related to behavioral choices was seen as racist and homophobic. And still is, to a pretty large degree. That’s why I am being a chickenshit and posting anonymously, for sure.

  145. correction: what good is a glory hole to any woman.

  146. Yet when it comes to AIDS we just get dirty looks and snide comments.

    A number of people have devoted their entire careers to answering this question. You jump to a baseless conclusion as your answer, and wonder why those people don’t take you seriously. Spend 20 years in the field in Africa, then get back to us.

  147. Folks: This may help clear up some of the gaps in your knowledge about the HIV existentialist matter:

    http://barnesworld.blogs.com/barnes_world/2007/01/rodney_richards.html

  148. Here is a research article from 2003 that is quite interesting. Says that heterosexual transmission likely accounts less for rates of HIV infection in Africa than does substandard medical care.

    It is true that penile-vaginal intercourse is not a very effective transmission mode for HIV. That’s another reason HIV didn’t explode in the heterosexual population in the west, as predicted.

    And regarding heterosexual AIDS in Africa: homosexuality as we know it in the west is very much a western identity/social construction. Here’s a news article that sheds some light on the consequences of being openly gay in Africa:

    http://tinyurl.com/2omhkj

    http://aidscience.com/Articles/AIDScience032.asp

  149. Then why are you trying to convince me to infect myself with the virus if you wouldn’t learn anything from the experience. You know that I only do things when I can make somebody learn.

    Supposing you were to contract AIDS. Would you not then learn? You could instruct yourself.

    Mostly if you were to infect yourself with HIV I would learn that you actually believed the crap you were spewing, rather than just spouting random contrarian crap to teach Thoreau et al some sort of post-industrial lesson in the failings of science.

  150. VM,

    I’ll be Sec. of Education. The new national course curriculum will consist of seven hours of Latin and one hour of electives. 😉

  151. Supposing you were to contract AIDS. Would you not then learn? You could instruct yourself.

    I would consider doing burdensome things to instruct you (probably not an HIV injection, but I will expend time and effort), if there is a chance of teaching you and having you learn.

    If you want a reciprocal courtesy, the burdens fall on you, not me, bub.

  152. No, Jennifer will be Secretary of Education, because she’d either dismantle the public schools or at least make them fun, not boring.

    You can be the ambassador to France.

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