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Author Topic: Does HIV cause AIDS? No, seriously...
WarrsawPact
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http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1104400869.shtml
"HIV Skepticism"

This would certainly be a kick in the pants for everything I've been told about AIDS. Any thoughts?

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kelcimer
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Very interesting. It's criminal that stones have been left unturned.
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noah
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Interesting, but he seems to not understand what AIDS is (not that I am a scientist). As I see it, AIDS is a condition in which you have a virus which weakens your immune system, and then you get various other diseases because your immune system is so weak. However, you could still get these diseases if your immune system was healthy - AIDS just makes it more likely.
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KidA
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This was a theory I heard a lot of in the mid-90's. I also knew some people in the San Francisco gay community who believed that HIV medication actually made you more sick.

I don't beleive it. HIV has been studied so much, by so many people, and the way it acts on the cellular level has been very well-documented.

[ December 30, 2004, 09:04 PM: Message edited by: KidA ]

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Zyne
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The flashing Tony Blair ad is very creepy.
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Adam Lassek
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It's always good to be skeptical of claims like this, but the behavior of the scientific community towards these charges has been very troubling.

Look at Peter Duesberg, he's mentioned in the article. This guy had his career ended merely for voicing his opinion. That's not the behavior of a community with nothing to hide.

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Dagonee
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Gary Null is one of the "HIV<>AIDS" people. This article was published in 2000.

One of the reasons the view was associated with homophobia was because he focused on a lifestyle cause of AIDS in the early 90's.

Dagonee

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LetterRip
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noah,

yep, pretty much. AIDS is 'Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome ', having a compromized immune system can be caused by other things than HIV. (Ie Chemotherapy). There are a few known genetic diseases that result in a compromised immune system.

This article gives a very brief explanation of why HIV is believed to be the cause of AIDS.

quote:
Why is there overwhelming scientific consensus that HIV causes AIDS?
Before HIV infection became widespread in the human population, AIDS-like syndromes occurred extremely rarely, and almost exclusively in individuals with known causes of immune suppression, such as chemotherapy and underlying cancers of certain types. A marked increase in unusual infections and cancers characteristic of severe immune suppression was first recognized in the early 1980s in homosexual men who had been otherwise healthy and had no recognized cause for immune suppression. An infectious cause of AIDS was suggested by geographic clustering of cases, links among cases by sexual contact, mother-to-infant transmission, and transmission by blood transfusion. Isolation of the HIV from patients with AIDS strongly suggested that this virus was the cause of AIDS. Since the early 1980s, HIV and AIDS have been repeatedly linked in time, place and population group; the appearance of HIV in the blood supply has preceded or coincided with the occurrence of AIDS cases in every country and region where AIDS has been noted. Individuals of all ages from many risk groups – including men who have sex with men, infants born to HIV-infected mothers, heterosexual women and men, hemophiliacs, recipients of blood and blood products, healthcare workers and others occupationally exposed to HIV-tainted blood, and male and female injection drug users – have all developed AIDS with only one common denominator: infection with HIV.

HIV destroys CD4+ T cells, which are crucial to the normal function of the human immune system. In fact, depletion of CD4+ T cells in HIV-infected individuals is an extremely powerful predictor of the development of AIDS. Studies of thousands of individuals have revealed that most HIV-infected people carry the virus for years before enough damage is done to the immune system for AIDS to develop; however, with time, a near-perfect correlation has been found between infection with HIV and the subsequent development of AIDS. Recently developed, sensitive tests have shown a strong correlation between the amount of HIV in the blood and the subsequent decline in CD4+ T cell numbers and development of AIDS. Furthermore, reducing the amount of virus in the body with anti-HIV drugs can slow this immune destruction.

http://aids.about.com/cs/opposingviews/a/connection_p.htm

Regarding the article you linked,

quote:
Gallo had a habit of behaving like a pompous, self-important ass, but managed to make himself a multimillionaire selling kits to test for the antibody to the virus in humans (not the virus itself, just the antibody to it).
Uh... this is how pretty much every viral detection infection test works. Detecting antibodies is fairly straight forward, and the antibodies should only be created if the individual has been exposed.

quote:
Science isn't supposed to work that way. If someone, especially a qualified person, questions a hypothesis, you don't attack them. You ask whether they're asking intelligent, reasonable, well-informed questions.
It is fairly clear that this author hasn't come close to reading even basic science pieces on the subject. When you read popular press crap, it always comes across as some sort of david goliath confrontation, of crass emotional dramas, etc. Generally what happens is that the idea is considered and found to not equally well explain the evidence.

I'm familiar with Duesberg's hypothesis (essentially that AIDS was due to usage of drugs).

Duesberg did get some grief, but not for having an alternative hypothesis. The reason scientists of any stripe generally get grief is when they do media circuses, toss out half baked theories with a great deal of certitude (and little or no evidnece), and spend their time disparaging other scientists.

As to AZT, I'm not familar with the drug. There are many drugs that are for treating deadly diseases such as HIV or assorted cancers that are at best only marginally better than not taking anything.

Now if you like you can criticise the defintion of AIDS as being overly broad. It is possible to have a suppressed immune system, to have HIV, and yet the suppressed immune system to not have been caused by the HIV. It is possible to develop a particular disease while being infected with HIV and it not be 'caused' by the HIV, ie the individual without HIV would have otherwise have developed the disease.

However, using the word 'cause' is really just a sort of shorthand to save yourself a dozen words or so, and to have to avoid a long explanation to lay persons when the distinction is subtle enough that it would generally just result in confusing them. Ie instead of cause, we could say 'this disease or cluster of diseases are of rare occurence among the general population, and are generally correllated only with immune suppression, the pressence of HIV is indicative the disease has occurred because of immune suppression caused by the HIV virus and thus we are assigning it as a case of AIDS even though there is a extremely small chance that the development of this rare disease or diseases is due to some other cause'.

So technically speaking some of the cases attributed to AIDS are misdiagnosis, statistically speaking the odds of the individual having developed the the disease, having been infected with HIV and not having the disease develop due to a suppressed immune system caused by HIV are so vanishingly small, that in practice there are probably very few individuals misdiagnosed as having AIDS when the actually have HIV and the other disease is just 'coinicident'.

Regarding people not taking anti-retrovirals, etc. and still living.

First, some people are immune to HIV. So being infected does not mean you definitely will die. Also, I don't doubt that there are retrovirals that are of questionable value. Also the rate of development of HIV varies a great deal among individuals, and there exposure to infectious diseaes will vary a lot to. So, exceptions are not surprising in the least.

LetterRip

[ December 30, 2004, 10:40 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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JLMyers
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Very interesting article. I can't believe this long after its discovery we know so little about it. And questioning is part of the scientific process and should be encouraged not shouted down or ignored.

KE

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LetterRip
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Okay,

here are some answers to his questions, I don't have time to answer them all...

quote:
Is it not true that, while in the early 1990s almost no one in the medical community would admit it, we now know that there are people who have been HIV-positive for many years (at this point, some for over 20 years) who are in robust health and take no medication for it whatsoever?
?? No one would admit it? It was certainly hypothesised that there were HIV immune individuals, indeed it was expected. However determining immunity isn't very straight forward. Until you can track the individual long enough or know why they would be immune, claiming them immune is premature. The best you can say is 'possibly immune', until the discovery such as HIV resistant mutations were found.

quote:
If so, and if you were presented with a patient who's been HIV+ but healthy for decades and then came down with cervical cancer, would you feel that an AIDS diagnosis and a prescription for an AIDS cocktail was justified? Why exactly? Are there any tests you'd perform beyond the HIV test and the already-established tests for cervical cancer before drawing that conclusion? If so what are they, and what results would you look for?
It really depends on the level of HIV present. If they've had HIV but recently had a spike in its growth, then it is quite possibly AIDS related. If no change in HIV levels has happened, and they have otherwise been consistently healthy, and capable of recovering from infection, haven't had any other health changes etc., then odds are it is not HIV related.

quote:
Has anyone bothered to fund research to study these people?
There have been a small number of individuals who have genetic mutations that make them immune to HIV. I'm not sure if people who have quit taking the particular drug have been studied specifically, but immune individuals have been studied.

quote:
Is it not true that some of the AIDS "cocktail" drugs are in fact quite dangerous, and might well kill a healthy patient?
Yep, they are quite nasty stuff. Also not all patients respond the same way.

quote:
Given everything now theorized about decades-long dormancy periods and the possibilities some grant that a patient might be an AIDS "carrier" but personally immune, is it medically possible that a patient might be HIV+ and have some AIDS symptoms and not have AIDS?
Yes, but as noted above if it is a rare disease than it is unlikely.

quote:
Are there any rigorous diagnostic standards for telling one type of patient from the other? If so, what are they?
Not that I'm aware of, but degree of HIV infection and the type of coexisting disease is going to be the key issue.

quote:
Do you think that people who find this suspicious are being irrational?
I think they are probably just ill informed. Immune dysfunction and thus the subsequent symptoms can be caused by things other than HIV. So, unsurprisingly other immune disfunctions will present similarly. Just as all sorts of infections result in a fever, coughing, etc. Doesn't mean that influenza doesn't exist.

LetterRip

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Adam Lassek
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quote:
However, using the word 'cause' is really just a sort of shorthand to save yourself a dozen words or so, and to have to avoid a long explanation to lay persons when the distinction is subtle enough that it would generally just result in confusing them.
Do you know anything about virology? The term 'cause' has a very specific meaning: it means the virus in question has fulfilled Koch's Postulates.

Even Gallo himself, who was originally thought to have discovered HIV, says it doesn't fullfill them:
quote:
Gallo agrees that HIV does not meet the requirements of Koch's postulates, the rules framed by the German bacteriologist Robert Koch a century ago to pin down the cause of a disease. Gallo reasons they must be out of date. It is hard to see why, since they are rules of logic, hardly more than common sense. Koch only suggested that if possible, a suspected cause has to be found in every case of the disease, and then, when taken out and injected into a healthy animal, produce the disease again.

Koch's ghost haunts Gallo, who actually invents a whole new Koch postulate in order to prove Koch wrong - that "in every case where we find the germ, we find the disease." None of the standard reference works list this rule, and it seems unlikely that Koch, who discovered the tuberculosis bacillus, didn't appreciate that it inhabits many more people than come down with the disease (in fact, probably most of us carry it).

Source.

In searching for articles on this, I seem to find as many people saying HIV has fulfilled Koch's Postulates as those saying it hasn't. The Postulates are just simple logic--how can there be so much controversy?

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Richard Dey
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As I lived it (I know John Lauritsen who publicized Dr Duesburg's work), part of the problem was rumor, part of the problem was the press. First and foremost, 'AIDS' is not a virus; it is a retrovirus. It can't do much directly. As everybody knows, it is cumulative. One can't die of AIDS; one dies with AIDS. Lauritsen, a Harvard man with a talent for drawing controversy, was for years convinced that the deaths were due to amyl-nitrate usage. Now, I hear, there's another something out there. And don't get me going on green monkeys [Frown] . So far as anybody KNOWS, the retrovirus came into the US with a Canadian steward, he had gotten it from an Francophone African taxidriver who had brought it from Africa to Canada. The 1973 case in Britain has also been (loosely) traced to Africa. Afros freak out over this as if somebody were accusing them of sin or something! But, short of any other introductions, look how everybody winds up going to bed with everybody. Ginsburg tracked a 'daisy chain' of sex acts all the way back to Walt Whitman! (I shook the hand of a man who shook the hand of Abraham Lincoln -- but I suppose that's not as interesting.)
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LetterRip
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Adam,

quote:
Do you know anything about virology? The term 'cause' has a very specific meaning: it means the virus in question has fulfilled Koch's Postulates.

Yes I am familar with virology. First, read the date on the page you quote, 1991. Secondly,

quote:
This postulate got abandoned by Koch himself in his later work on cholera, in which the microbe was extremely difficult to demonstrate in more than a fraction of ill people. But it was never found in well people, and the ill people clearly all had the same thing, so Koch proceeded statistically, guessing that his tests were not sensitive enough. And of course he did come up with the correct answer by this process. Today we'd have a hard time, using Koch's rules, showing even that strep causes "sore throat."

Indeed, if Koch (as first formulated) is a guide to skepticism, the fact that strep is found only in a fraction of sore throats, and is sometimes found in well throats, too, should lead to skepticism that it causes ANY disease at all. Fortunately, more complicated statistics than those Koch first used save us from making fools of ourselves here.

http://yarchive.net/med/koch_postulates.html

However, even being aware of the limitations of Koch's Postulates, the 3rd and 4th were fulfilled in 1997, as noted here.

quote:
Regarding postulate one, PCR testing allows researchers to document cell-associated proviral HIV in persons with AIDS who have been tested (proviral DNA detection is a research test, not one of the common FDA-approved viral load tests). Prior to this technology, HIV was often difficult to find. In addition, combining PCR testing with the common viral load tests has documented the presence of HIV genes as RNA freely floating in the blood plasma, outside of cells, in persons with a positive antibody test not taking anti-HIV medication. (Viral load testing looks for virus; the ELISA and Western blot tests look for antibodies to HIV.)

Regarding postulate two, improvements in laboratory culture techniques have allowed the growth of HIV in vitro (in laboratory models) from blood samples obtained from persons with AIDS who have undergone such testing and from almost all persons with a positive antibody test without AIDS who have undergone such testing.

The last two postulates stipulate that inoculating the organism into an animal model (i.e., exposing or infecting the animal) leads to the same disease and that the organism is recoverable from that animal. The evidence satisfying these postulates was established in 1997, when Francis J. Novembre, PhD, and colleagues from Emory University in Atlanta, GA, published in the Journal of Virology that a chimpanzee inoculated with HIV ten years earlier had developed an AIDS-defining OI. Prior to the OI, the HIV RNA viral load had increased (partially documenting recovery of the organism from the animal model) and the CD4 cell count had decreased in the chimpanzee. Cultures of blood from the animal also were positive for HIV, establishing recoverability of the organism. Subsequently, blood from that chimp was transfused into a second, healthy chimpanzee. This second chimpanzee later had an increase in the HIV viral load and a decrease in the CD4 cell count.

Prior to this 1997 report, fulfillment of Koch's third and fourth postulates was lacking. Interestingly, the incubation period for clinical AIDS in this chimpanzee, with whom humans share 98% gene homology (structural similarity), was essentially equivalent to the average incubation period in humans--ten years. This finding and publication were reported in the September 1997 issue of BETA.

http://www.aegis.com/pubs/beta/2000/BE000403.html

quote:
In searching for articles on this, I seem to find as many people saying HIV has fulfilled Koch's Postulates as those saying it hasn't. The Postulates are just simple logic--how can there be so much controversy?
Not really any controversy, just a matter of the skeptics not keeping upto date. 1987 was approximately when the criticism regarding lack of fulfillment of Koch's Postulate was raised by Duesberg, at that time I believe Gallo could recover HIV from about a third of individuals believed to have AIDS.

LetterRip

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Adam Lassek
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Here's what bothers me. If HIV has fulfilled Koch's Postulates in 1997, why did Margaret Heckler, Secretary of Health and Human Services, sponsor a press conference for Robert Gallo, who announced that it caused AIDS in 1984? Are you telling me the entire scientific community assumed that HIV was proven to cause AIDS for thirteen years without proof? This just isn't as simple as you imply. Something doesn't smell right. Especially when dissenting voices from credible sources have been silenced so mercilously.

EDIT: NIH even tried to bribe Duesberg to shut him up.

[ December 31, 2004, 02:09 AM: Message edited by: Adam Lassek ]

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Adam Lassek
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LR, the article you cited states:
quote:

HIV destroys CD4+ T cells, which are crucial to the normal function of the human immune system. In fact, depletion of CD4+ T cells in HIV-infected individuals is an extremely powerful predictor of the development of AIDS.

But this is not necessarily true.

quote:
Even if patients have diseases unrelated to immunodeficiency, the HIV-AIDS hypothesis asserts that HIV affects the immune system in some fashion, for instance by destroying T-cells, thus making a person more liable to develop these other diseases. However the available evidence does not show that HIV destroys T-cells:

(a) There exist studies which show the existence of patients who test HIV-positive, who have diseases such as Kaposi's sarcoma, dementia, wasting disease, but who have a normal T-cell count, and have no immunodeficiency. There exist similar studies when the patients are HIV-negative. Duesberg gives examples of both in his article (Pharmac. Ther. p. 228, referring to half a dozen independent studies, listed in the bibliography). He concludes: "Thus, the assumption that all AIDS diseases are caused by immunodeficiency is erroneous."

(b) As for HIV killing T-cells in laboratory cultures, Duesberg draws attention to the fact that T-cells are notoriously difficult to maintain alive, whether infected with HIV or not. He gives scholarly references to the effect that they are not more difficult to maintain alive in the presence of HIV than in the absence of HIV (Pharmac. Ther. p. 229). In addition, HIV is mass produced for the HIV antibody blood test in permanently self reproducing T-cells, in many laboratories and companies.


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LetterRip
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Adam,

quote:
f HIV has fulfilled Koch's Postulates in 1997, why did Margaret Heckler, Secretary of Health and Human Services, sponsor a press conference for Robert Gallo, who announced that it caused AIDS in 1984? Are you telling me the entire scientific community assumed that HIV was proven to cause AIDS for thirteen years without proof?
Did you not read the first source I provided? The four postulates are not neccessary, they are merely useful. 'Cause' was adequately established long before 1997. I only mentioned that the four postulates have in fact been fulfilled, since if you have the misinformed belief that it is a requirement, then by your own logic you must accept HIV as the 'cause of AIDS'.

To my knowledge, Duesberg has never offered an alternative hypothesis that had better explanatory power than HIV.

If Duesburg has any strength of conviction of his claim that HIV is harmless, I'm surprized he hasn't injected himself with this 'harmless' substance as proof. If he believes that he is clearly right, and that those claiming HIV are clearly wrong, it would be a simple and powerfully convincing proof of his claim.

LetterRip

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LetterRip
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Adam,

please state/link your source when quoting, ie your excerpt is from Serge Lang a math professor at Yale, in his book "Challenges" (quoted at Duesbergs site in this link http://www.duesberg.com/viewpoints/hivcase-1.html )

As to your statement,

quote:
But this is not necessarily true.
What part of your subsequent quote relates to your statement? Nothing in the subsequent quote disputes the predicitive power of HIV for AIDS.


Also reqarding the quote,

quote:
He concludes: "Thus, the assumption that all AIDS diseases are caused by immunodeficiency is erroneous."
This only at best shows that all things classified as AIDS are not neccessarily AIDS. Not exactly a huge shock, given that misclassification for disease in general is very high. Also, Duesberg apparently uses his own definition of AIDS to arrive at his numbers, according to the source I linked

quote:
There are not "many" HIV negative AIDS
victims (Duesberg's lists of thousands make use of his own private looser defintion for AIDS). A recent careful search of several hundred thousand AIDS cases revealed only 100 who were HIV-negative by every test. Guess what? These people don't look like the rest of the AIDS epidemic in other ways. They have low IgA levels. Often they have too-low CD8 levels. They don't use illegal drugs, AZT, or clotting factor, and they aren't gay men. They didn't get transfusions, and their sexual partners aren't infected. Nobody knows what these people have, but it doesn't look very "acquired." In any case, epidemiologically there is little justification for lumping them in as AIDS, even though formally they do fit the CDC definition.

Regarding the reference used for the above quote it is

Pharmacology & Therapeutics 55: 201-277, 1992
http://www.duesberg.com/papers/ch62.html

I'll have to dig up the specific claim and paper, although in vivo cell longevity has made large strides since 1992 so it is doubtful that even if the claim was reasonable at the time, that it has modern relevance.

LetterRip

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Lewkowski
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Science has fallen on hard times. Either your with the program, or your a disgrace. Its very dissapointing.

I'm not saying that the guy's science is good, it might be bad. But focus on what he's saying and not the person. Scientists don't seem to do that often now a days.

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LetterRip
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Lewkowski,

quote:
Science has fallen on hard times. Either your with the program, or your a disgrace. Its very dissapointing.
I'm curious what basis you have for this statement? It seems to me that those offering up laments about the 'state of science' are generally not particularly well informed about it.

quote:
But focus on what he's saying and not the person. Scientists don't seem to do that often now a days.
The personal attacks are usually initiated by the 'anti establishment' individuals who make irresponsible claims to the media. The vast majority of scientists act in a mature and responsible way.

LetterRip

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RickyB
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Questioning the accepted scientific therories should indeed be encouraged.

However, from what I've seen of these "HIV doesn't cause AIDS and it's all a lie" people, is that they all (all the ones I've seen) tend to behave like trolls - scream and rant that any attempt to prove them wrong is a cover-up, that they're being shut up, that the establishment is out to get them etc. All the ones I've seen have also struck me as rather homophobic.

In addition, this is a bit like the Jewish orthodox joke about people who doubt the veracity of the bible: "Moses never lived, and was in fact only a myth. He had a cousin, though, also named Moses - HE's the one who wrote the Torah".

In other words, if the virus called HIV doesn't cause the syndrome known as AIDS, what does? It's not like there's any huge incentive for barking up the wrong tree here. Whoever discovers a cure for AIDS will make billions.

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Adam Lassek
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quote:
'Cause' was adequately established long before 1997. I only mentioned that the four postulates have in fact been fulfilled, since if you have the misinformed belief that it is a requirement, then by your own logic you must accept HIV as the 'cause of AIDS'.
Okay. I'm willing to believe this, if you can provide a source to the scientific study that established this before the 1984 press release. Because there are a lot of people who would like to see it, particularly Nobel Prize winner Kary Mullis. Apparently even Montagnier refused to give a straight answer.

quote:
If Duesburg has any strength of conviction of his claim that HIV is harmless, I'm surprized he hasn't injected himself with this 'harmless' substance as proof. If he believes that he is clearly right, and that those claiming HIV are clearly wrong, it would be a simple and powerfully convincing proof of his claim.
I found the answer to this question quite easily:
quote:
Q16: The best way I know to prove the HIV hypothesis wrong is to infect otherwise perfectly healthy people with HIV, don't give them any treatment, and see what happens. I know this type of research has been done with animals. Since you can't experiment on other people, why don't you infect yourself? Maybe you can recruit some followers and have a "population" for a real experiment.

A16: I have considered, even offered, this directly. Here are the problems:

1) In the US, it is not possible to work with HIV without the approval of the National Institutes of Health and the university. Thus I would need an NIH peer-approved grant to do this. Without such a contract I would risk my lab and job.

2) In addition, if 10 years after injecting myself I would still be without symptoms, the HIV-AIDS orthodoxy would call me a bluff unless I had had a grant that allowed for appropriate controls. I have submitted 9 grant applications to study AIDS, including doing the study you mention, but none was approved.

3) In the US there are 1 million HIV-positive persons without any symptoms, and in the world there are an estimated 34 million. Monitoring a few hundred of these for AIDS and non-viral AIDS risks would be a statistically much more relevant experiment than if one person injected himself. But surprisingly such studies are not done. Why not? Guess!

From Duesberg's FAQ
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TCB
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I hope that people will keep in mind that one of the most common motifs of pseudoscience is the claim that a powerful establishment is suppressing scientific work.

Even in OSC's latest essay he claimed that "the scientific community has a vested interest in shutting down innovation." But this statement is contradicted by each of the innumerable scientific innovations of the recent past. We can conclude that either (1) the scientific community desires to suppress innovation, but is hilariously inept at it, or (2) there is no such irrational desire.

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Adam Lassek
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quote:
What part of your subsequent quote relates to your statement? Nothing in the subsequent quote disputes the predicitive power of HIV for AIDS.
Explain how you're coming to that conclusion. The article said that depletion of CD4+ T-cells was a predictor of AIDS. But if it's true that there are documented cases of people testing HIV positive, and having KS, dementia or wasting disease (so they have AIDS) but with normal T-cell counts, then that statement doesn't hold up. And if it's also true that T-cells are as difficult to keep alive in the lab with the presence of HIV than without, then studies "proving" that HIV destroys T-cells may not prove anything.

By the way, why would HIV destroy cells? It's a retrovirus.

quote:
Also, Duesberg apparently uses his own definition of AIDS to arrive at his numbers, according to the source I linked
It seems the definition of AIDS is pretty much up for grabs, since there is no official definition, and what definition there is changes completely depending on what continent you're on.
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Adam Lassek
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quote:
I hope that people will keep in mind that one of the most common motifs of pseudoscience is the claim that a powerful establishment is suppressing scientific work.
I'm inclined to believe claims of establishment supression after seeing the mountain of evidence to support it.

Kicking the Sacred Cow is a good read. Hogan paints a very vivid picture of just how hard it is to be a nonconformist in the scientific community.

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Adam Lassek
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quote:
However, from what I've seen of these "HIV doesn't cause AIDS and it's all a lie" people, is that they all (all the ones I've seen) tend to behave like trolls - scream and rant that any attempt to prove them wrong is a cover-up, that they're being shut up, that the establishment is out to get them etc. All the ones I've seen have also struck me as rather homophobic.
Tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorists notwithstanding, Peter Duesberg is no troll. This guy is responsible for discovering that cancer isn't viral, and he also discovered the retrovirus. He put his career on the line in order to voice his opinion, and even if he's proven wrong you have to respect that.

He's not alone in saying this, either.

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LetterRip
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Adam,

quote:
Okay. I'm willing to believe this,
It is really irrelevant what you are willing to believe.

quote:
if you can provide a source to the scientific study that established this before the 1984 press release.
Why would that be needed? What do you mean by 'established'? The burden of proof for an announcement by a public health agency is quite a bit different from absolute proof.

quote:
Because there are a lot of people who would like to see it, particularly Nobel Prize winner Kary Mullis. Apparently even Montagnier refused to give a straight answer.
Are you desperate to give legitimacy to an idea by associating some individuals with it who have made important scientific contributions? The only thing needed to give legitimacy is that the idea has better explanatory power than the current hypothesis. Alas, it doesn't not by a 'country mile'.

quote:
I found the answer to this question quite easily.
And his answer appears to be BS. There are a number of countries where this could be done, so NIH approval is a complete red herring. The HIV dose could be extremely high so that results would be very rapid in coming, so his claim of as much as 10 years is a joke, results would be evident in much less than a year. Regarding the statistics of monitoring non AIDS HIV+ individuals. So called 'Long Term Non Progressors' have been monitored. Guess what, they develop AIDS, except for the very rare lucky few who have turned out to have a genetic mutation that leaves them resistant to HIV. If he is deeply worried about losing his lab, he can make a bet with a pharaceutical company that the research proposals he has made that have been rejected.

Perhaps I'll email him, and offer to find a sponsor for such an experiment.

quote:
Explain how you're coming to that conclusion. The article said that depletion of CD4+ T-cells was a predictor of AIDS.
Which it is.

quote:
But if it's true that there are documented cases of people testing HIV positive, and having KS, dementia or wasting disease (so they have AIDS) but with normal T-cell counts, then that statement doesn't hold up.
Please show your source for the above. However, being HIV positive AND having one of the diseases that is indicative of AIDS does not mean the individual has AIDS. The HIV AIDS hypothesis does not state that such diseases will ONLY occur due to the presence of HIV, just that disseases that are experienced specifically with immunosuppression are much more likely to occur due to HIV induced immune suppression.

So, in summary, all incidences of rare diseases that are associated with HIV infection that occur when an individual is HIV+ are not neccessarily AIDS. However, the ability of the disease to occur in the presence of HIV without being AIDS does not mean that HIV does not cause AIDS.

As an analogy, say you have a poison that reliably causes a heart attack at a specified dosage. An individual who has a sub critical dosage has a heart attack not caused by the poison. It does not then follow that the poison doesn't cause heart attacks because an individual had a heart attack without taking enough poison to cause it.

You are trying to use the logic of contrapositive where it doesn't apply.

Ie you are doing, A implies B, in some instance A did not imply B, the two statements contradict, therefore one must be wrong, and thus you conclude A does not imply B.

Whereas the actually logic is 'A usually implies B', in some instance(s) A did not imply B. The statements are consistent and thus both can be true.

LetterRip

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Adam Lassek
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quote:
Why would that be needed? What do you mean by 'established'? The burden of proof for an announcement by a public health agency is quite a bit different from absolute proof.
Because getting up in front of the country and telling them you know what causes a disease when you really don't have proof is irresponsible, LR. After they made that announcement, all research into AIDS that didn't involve HIV ended. You don't say one thing causes another if you can't prove it. That's not science. That's all I'm asking for, proof. You're actually telling me I don't need proof? That I should just take your word for it? That's not how this forum works. I still want to know what scientific, peer-reviewed study proved the causal relationship of HIV to AIDS prior to Gallo telling the country that it did. If such a study exists, who wrote it and where can I find it?

quote:
Are you desperate to give legitimacy to an idea by associating some individuals with it who have made important scientific contributions?
No, I'm pointing out that respected members of the scientific community have voiced doubts. This isn't a bunch of cranks with tinfoil hats, as much as you seem to want to marginalize their opinion.

quote:
And his answer appears to be BS. There are a number of countries where this could be done, so NIH approval is a complete red herring.
Oh yeah, no big deal. He only has to pack up his lab and leave the country. Not a ringing endorsement of America's scientific community. Why doesn't NIH just humor him? Giving Duesberg enough rope to hang himself is a much better way to end the debate than denying him funding and attempted bribery.

quote:
Regarding the statistics of monitoring non AIDS HIV+ individuals. So called 'Long Term Non Progressors' have been monitored. Guess what, they develop AIDS, except for the very rare lucky few who have turned out to have a genetic mutation that leaves them resistant to HIV.
I'm not taking your word for it. Give me something that supports your claim.

I asked you to explain why the quote I posted doesn't dispute using T-cell count as an AIDS predictor. Apparently explaining yourself isn't worth your time. Why should anyone respect your opinion when you make comments like "it is" when asked for more information?

I don't have a major in microbiology. I'm learning as I go, and I'm willing to learn. But your attitude here is not helping. Belligerant statements like "It is really irrelevant what you are willing to believe" don't help your case.

quote:
Please show your source for the above.
The Case of HIV and AIDS. Sorry for not posting earlier.

quote:
being HIV positive AND having one of the diseases that is indicative of AIDS does not mean the individual has AIDS.
That is the CDC definition of AIDS, as I understand it. Is there an official definition you can point me to?

quote:
The HIV AIDS hypothesis does not state that such diseases will ONLY occur due to the presence of HIV
Never said that it did. If you have KS, dementia, tuburculosis or whatever but test HIV negative you don't have AIDS. But if you test HIV positive and you have one of those diseases, you'll be classified as having AIDS. This doesn't seem adequate to prove a causal relationship to me. What if your immune system contained the HIV but your immune system became weakened from another sickness and the HIV viruses took advantage of that?

[ January 01, 2005, 02:49 AM: Message edited by: Adam Lassek ]

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vulture
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam Lassek:
Never said that it did. If you have KS, dementia, tuburculosis or whatever but test HIV negative you don't have AIDS. But if you test HIV positive and you have one of those diseases, you'll be classified as having AIDS. This doesn't seem adequate to prove a causal relationship to me. What if your immune system contained the HIV but your immune system became weakened from another sickness and the HIV viruses took advantage of that?

The numbers are important. If for example (and these numbers are purely made up by me with no idea about reality here) you discover that for every 1,000,000 people with HIV and AIDS you can find 10 people with HIV (for a long time) and no AIDS sympotms, and 20 or so with AIDS sympotoms but no HIV, you would have data entirely consistent with HIV causing AIDS (especially if all 10 of the HIV, no AIDS cases all share the same rare mutation, and an incidence of 20 people with AIDS like sympotms is expected from other syndromes or diseases).

And as LR has repeatedly said, it is quite possible to contract HIV, not develop AIDS, yet still contract diseases which are sympomatic of AIDS. The question is again one of numbers: is the incidence rate of e.g tuberculosis in HIV patients how haven't developed AIDS (yet) consistent with the incidence rate of tuberculosis amongst the non HIV-positive population under similar sanitary / lifestyle conditions?

If you find in 99.99% of cases that the apparent causal link between HIV and AIDS holds up, and in 0.01% of cases something unusual appears to be happening, then I'd say the link is on pretty solid ground.

If you only focus on the 0.01% then you might well become convinced something screwy was going on. That's actually the normal modus operandi for fringe science, creationism etc. Focus on the rare, complex anomolies, and pretend they are the norm.

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LetterRip
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quote:
Because getting up in front of the country and telling them you know what causes a disease when you really don't have proof is irresponsible, LR.
My question was, what Kind of proof? The announcement by Heckler was that Gallo had found the 'probable cause' of AIDS. This article by Gallo gives a brief overview of what they knew, when they knew it, as well as what prompted the announcement, etc.

http://www.aidscience.org/science/298_5599_1728.html

replace the underscores with a ( and ) to make the link work correctly.

Here is an excerpt, but the article is interesting.

quote:
Theories of the cause of AIDS abounded, but Curran was already thinking of an infectious etiology, most likely a new virus (13). Max Essex reminded us that the feline leukemia retrovirus not only causes leukemia, but that its variants could also cause immune disorders. We knew that the risks for HTLV-1 infection included blood exposure, sexual contact, and birth to a mother with the disease, and also that HTLV-1 targeted CD4+ T cells. The same risk factors were described for AIDS, and combined with clinical evidence that CD4+ T cells were abnormal in AIDS patients and epidemiological hints that AIDS may have originated in equatorial Africa, this led us to propose that AIDS might be caused by a new retrovirus of the HTLV family. In May 1982, using protocols similar to those for isolating HTLV-1, we tested blood cells from AIDS patients for cross-reactivity with HTLV proteins and for HTLV-like DNA sequences. But by early 1983, we had found HTLV-related DNA sequences in only 2 of 33 AIDS patients and had obtained virus isolates with equal infrequency.

It was in 1973 that I first met Luc Montagnier of the Pasteur Institute (14). In January 1983, Montagnier and his colleague Jean-Claude Chermann were beginning to study blood cell cultures from patients with suspected AIDS. They told me of their first positive result: the culturing of a virus from the peripheral blood cells of a patient with lymphadenopathy. They were able to identify the virus as a new human retrovirus, but were unable to characterize it in detail. Essex and I suggested to Montagnier and Chermann that we submit our findings jointly, and three reports from the two groups were published in May 1983. Montagnier and Chermann had not named the virus, but later called it LAV (lymphadenopathy-associated virus, isolated from patient BRU).

There was still another "curve ball" to come. In February 1983, a clinician (Jacques Leibowitch) arrived from Paris with cell samples from AIDS patients. One of these samples came from a man (CC) who had received blood transfusions in Haiti. My co-worker Mika Popovic succeeded in growing CD4+ T cells from the sample. These T cells were highly positive for RT, and electron microscopy revealed that they contained two viral forms, which we called "mature" and "aberrant," believing that they were from the same virus. The virus from these T cells cross-reacted with antibodies to HTLV core proteins, yet unlike HTLV, it killed target T cells. Using more sophisticated methods, we quickly discovered that these T cells contained two distinct retroviruses: HTLV-1 and the aberrant form, later defined as HIV. We had assumed that we could only find HTLV-like viruses in 5 to 10% of our AIDS patients because our assays were not sensitive enough, and had not considered the possibility that our HTLV-positive cells were in fact infected with two separate retroviruses.

In our May 1983 paper, we had not separated and adequately cultured a retrovirus that was free of HTLV. Thus, the paper by the Montagnier/Chermann group is unequivocally the first reported true isolation of HIV from a patient with lymphadenopathy. However, the cause of AIDS was still unknown. By the summer of 1983, our group had obtained evidence for a retrovirus related to HTLV in many patients with AIDS and pre-AIDS. With a more detailed molecular analysis of the virus from patient CC, we concluded that the HTLV-positive results in samples from 5 to 10% of AIDS patients were due to a double infection with HTLV and a new human retrovirus. Moreover, the early 1983 experience with sample CC proved that the new retrovirus could be grown in continuous culture (something that Montagnier and Chermann believed impossible because, even to this day, their LAV/BRU virus cannot be cultured).

In late 1983, Popovic and my technician Betsy Reed-Connole had a second breakthrough: They grew several viral isolates in CD4+ T cells in continuous culture. Several of these viral isolates--RF (1983), IIIB (1983), and MN (early 1984)--became standard tools for AIDS researchers and crucially enabled development of a blood test. In March 1984, we submitted four papers to Science (15) and shortly thereafter one to Lancet (16). In these papers, we described isolates of the new retrovirus, methods for its continuous production, analyses of its proteins, and evidence that it was the cause of AIDS. The rapid development of a blood test not only safeguarded the blood supply, but also allowed public health officials to follow the course of the disease in infected individuals before they developed full-blown AIDS. The blood test also yielded a grim vision of the future--although sera from hemophiliacs in Japan all tested negative in early 1984, by the end of that year, 20% of the sera were positive for HIV because the hemophiliacs had been treated with HIV-tainted blood products from the United States.

As I said, I don't know what, to you, constitutes 'proof'. Thus far you seem unconvinced that there is proof even today that HIV causes AIDS.

quote:
After they made that announcement, all research into AIDS that didn't involve HIV ended.
Ummm no. Many researcher slogged on trying out there own theories. Unfortunately publication of theories that don't pan out isn't very common even today. So you see an explosion of HIV research and results, not because of any conspiracy, but because the reasoning and evidence was so compelling that many other researchers started investigating as well.

quote:
That's all I'm asking for, proof.
If all you wanted was proof, a simple request would have sufficed.

quote:
No, I'm pointing out that respected members of the scientific community have voiced doubts.
Voicing doubts is meaningless. An alternative hypothesis, an experiment, results, and then synthesis and interpretation. Even just a valid hypothesis would be a good start.

quote:
This isn't a bunch of cranks with tinfoil hats, as much as you seem to want to marginalize their opinion.
See, it was an 'arguement by authority' after all. 'respected scientists with opinions'. There is no need to 'marginalize' their opinion. It is every bit as good as the cranks in tinfoil hats, or the dog catchers, etc. You seem to have this view that because they are 'respected scientists' I should give some special status to their opinions.

I would happily give special status for evidence they present, ie I'm much less likely to be suspicious that whatever conclusion they've drawn is merely by say screwing up data collection, not understanding what they've read, etc.

But an opinion without evidence, even an opinion held by a 'respected scientist' is not of any particular value. Especially when the opinion is on something that the respected scientist is not doing current research in.

If it were a bunch of cranks with tinfoil hats, but they had an interesting alternative hypothesis, then great. Or cranks that could poke interesting holes in the theory.

quote:
Oh yeah, no big deal. He only has to pack up his lab and leave the country.
Why would he have to pack up his lab? A two or three day vacation hardly seems cause.

quote:
Not a ringing endorsement of America's scientific community.
What isn't?

quote:
Giving Duesberg enough rope to hang himself is a much better way to end the debate than denying him funding and attempted bribery.
He made the allegation regarding bribery and then refused to substantiate it. We have no idea if it even happened, let alone if the individual were acting on any sort of authority, etc. You seem willing to accept claims without proof when it suits your preconcieved notions.

Regarding 'denying him funding', are you claiming he has recieved no NIH funding, or are you claiming that there are particular research that is worthy of funding that hasn't been funded by NIH? Or something else?

quote:
I asked you to explain why the quote I posted doesn't dispute using T-cell count as an AIDS predictor. Apparently explaining yourself isn't worth your time. Why should anyone respect your opinion when you make comments like "it is" when asked for more information?
Your quote doesn't dispute my statement.

If I say A is a reliable predictor of B, you say B sometimes occurs without being predicted by A. That doesn't falisfy the first statement. So I reasserted the first statement, and then addressed your second statement, and explained why it does not contradict the first statement.

quote:
Never said that it did. If you have KS, dementia, tuburculosis or whatever but test HIV negative you don't have AIDS. But if you test HIV positive and you have one of those diseases, you'll be classified as having AIDS.
Here is the 1993 classification method,

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00018871.htm

Basically low CD4 T-Cell count and HIV+ although certain diseases are also used. What you should probably be aware of is that the classification of AIDS is being used as a surveilance tool. Also, again in the acronym AIDS the S stands for Syndrome. I believe that the usage of disease based classification is maintained so that it can be useful with WHO tracking efforts where CD4 counts might be less readily available. (I'd be all for CDC switching to HIV+ with low CD4 and/or high viral load).

LetterRip

[ January 01, 2005, 01:10 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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Lewkowski
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"I'm curious what basis you have for this statement? It seems to me that those offering up laments about the 'state of science' are generally not particularly well informed about it."

When I've done research for a global warming paper I found a lot of attacks on the scientists who were saying that it was natural or the kinds of measurements were off. Attacks like "They are just being paid money by giant companies"

And then there are various discussions on this board and others where I've seen claims of attempts to suppress scientific work for political reasons.

Maybe its always been going on, but I always thought science was more about learning and such 50-60 years ago then it is today.

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Richard Dey
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For years there was a weekly publication dedicated to what constituted an AIDS diagnosis; it came out weekly because it changed weekly. It provoked a great deal of skepticism, but did not slow down T-cell research at Dana Farberm e.g. On the other hand, can the public be blamed for dragging their purses when the 'disease' could not be specified? and there were plenty of research funds granted to bogus outfits too. One point that Duesberg had always made is that he was cut off, as noted per supra.
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TCB
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I've heard many people criticize the entire institution of science as being driven by politics and ego lately. These people seem to be generalizing based on a few of the most highly publicized, political areas of science -- evolution, global warming, nuclear power, and AIDS, for example.

Keep in mind that science is as broad a field as there is, and almost all of it is non-political.

I would just hate to see scientists join teachers, journalists, and lawyers as members of a profession disdained by conservatives.

[ January 01, 2005, 06:23 PM: Message edited by: TCB ]

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Everard
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Too late. Its already happened.
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WarrsawPact
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As far as most "conservatives" are concerned -- so I've seen -- it's not that the profession itself is a problem. It's the results, and that goes for everyone. The fact that a lot of things coming out of institutions of education (like the NEA) and journalism and law firms cause people to raise their BS flags and ask who's smoking what does not mean that all teachers are terrible. Most of us have had a few really notable good teachers in our lives. I know of several highly ethical, non-looting lawyers. I've even seen some very good impartial journalism in my day.

However, when the profession starts turning out a significant number of bad apples, it becomes unpopualr very fast with people who happen to be tight with their money. If they send their kids to school and they see half their kid's classmates come out semi-literate by the eighth grade, they begin to question the system. And it's easy to come up with a handful of stories of ridiculous litigation, so lawyers are an easy target. Journalism only asks for it, especially when newspapers fail to get rid of clearly bad apples within their own publications. A few people can make a whole organization look VERY bad if they realize no one's holding their leash and become so outspoken that they become symbols of the organizations they shouldn't really be representing.

So when scientists start making grant money when they support a particular point of view and they don't sufficiently back it up, they're easy targets -- especially if they happen to be tied to already questionable institutinos like big universities. (Note: I hate using the world "should," but here goes:) The popular image of what science *should be* just doesn't match up to what many institutions are living up to. Shouldn't there be more dissent? Should ANYone even mention "science" and "consensus" in the same breath? Should anyone advocate a far-reaching (even global!) course of action if they can't predict even within a basic degree of certainty what the effects would be? There needs to be a solid foundation.

Instead, there is this conception going around that dissenters (rather than being appreciated and taken into consideration) are widely getting hostile reactions. It's all too easy to call publicatinos like "Scientific American" hypocritical when they release a headline saying, "Science defends itself against the Skeptical Environmentalist." By which they meant Bjorn Lomborg, who wrote the book "The Skeptical Environmentalist."
Science defends itself against skepticism? Doesn't that strike anyone as a bit contradictory to what science is supposed to be about? And who claims to represent "science"? Amazingly enough, two of the people SA chose to represent "science" were people directly mentioned in Bjorn Lomborg's book. And they did a bad job of it, too.

And I'm not just talking global warming (or global climate change or whatever it's being called now) here. Politicized issues are only the most talked-about, not the only ones guilty.

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TCB
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Warrsaw said:
quote:
Politicized issues are only the most talked-about, not the only ones guilty.
What basis do you have for this? You say that scientific dissent is met with hostility, but I've never seen any evidence of this in my scientific research. Furthermore, it's not at all uncommon in scientific journals for an author to comment on whether his results support or contradict another researchers conclusions.

Lastly, as I said earlier in this thread, modern science has been staggeringly successful in improving our lives and solving problems. How could a system in which dissent is discouraged and creativity and insight suppressed produce such fantastic results?

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LetterRip
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WarsawPact,

quote:
It's all too easy to call publicatinos like "Scientific American" hypocritical when they release a headline saying, "Science defends itself against the Skeptical Environmentalist." By which they meant Bjorn Lomborg, who wrote the book "The Skeptical Environmentalist."
I haven't had time to finish my book, but the huge number of errors, the gross misrepresentation, and the extreme 'selectivity' in sources, SAs statement wasn't too far off the mark.

quote:
Science defends itself against skepticism?
Not skepticism, which is encouraged, but misrepresantation and misinterpretation. Just because most of the population isn't competent enough in science to see [The Skeptical Environmentalists] holes, and most scientists don't bother to take the time to exhausitively report them (which is unfortunate), doesn't mean the book was not poorly done.

quote:
Amazingly enough, two of the people SA chose to represent "science" were people directly mentioned in Bjorn Lomborg's book.
Yes, well, in general when scientists and their work are attacked, they are allowed to respond. Also, those individuals are some of the foremost experts in those fields, so it is a bit unsurprising that they would be responding.

quote:
And they did a bad job of it, too.
Read the responses to his 'response'.

Response 1

Response 2

Based on my own research, I can say that Lomborg either did not read many of the papers which he claims to cite, or had such a poor understanding of them that he grossly misrepresented their content and conclusions, or deliberately misled his readership.

This applys to sections on population, food, water, energy, economics, and the information regarding projections related to global warming. Also he frequently completely omitted important papers that were available online at the time of publication. He also claimed that the important analysis was at a 'global level' but frequently switched to country level issues, especially when global level gave inconvenient results.

Here are some quickie examples - population - used 200 year projection lines and used that to draw conclusions. (A huge no no, as anyone vaguely familiar with population projection literature would know) food - completely misrepresents the comparative China grain demand projections, he either did not read the paper he claims to cite, or had such a poor understanding of it that it would constitute gross incompetence. Water - totally misrepresents costs (ie utterly ignores that a significant cost driver of desalinization is the piping and storage, not the desal. plant). Economics - pretty much completely ignores the issue that most of what he relies on uses a discount rate of 5%, whereas for 50 year projections (which is what most of the papers deal with) it is not considered an appropriate rate. When dealing with any death related economic issue, uses a fixed rate value of life. This is extremely problematic especially since, he heavily argues that evaluations should be based on PPP (Purchasing Power Parity). Since throughout the book he has PPP increasing for most of the nations the PPP cost of the lost life has to vary also. The combination of poor choice of discount rate and a fixed value on life can easily lead to ridiculously large swings in the costs given.

He tends to make 2-3 huge errors per section, errors that would often times completely reverse his conclusions.

LetterRip

[ January 02, 2005, 01:33 AM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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WarrsawPact
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Listenn, I'm not saying Bjorn was totally correct or even that his work was good. I'm saying that science has a long history of harboring insular groups that will engage in circle jerks like:

*asserting that women are inferior and coming up with a million justifications
*asserting that races exist and that people of different races are inferior with a million justifications
*asserting that we were about to enter a new ice age
*asserting that the superior white race was being outbred by the colored masses and that it was our duty to protect the civilized bloodlines

Is all science like that today? No.
Are scientists totally free of insular, grant-seeking behavior? No.
Is science better and less insular than it used to be? By all means, yes!
But it's not the ideal it's cracked up to be.

TCB - Not all dissent is met with hostility, but when a big group decides it believes something and someone has the audacity to disagree, the reaction is often defensive. If someone has come up with a theory and built their whole career around it and someone else comes along with a better model years later, it's common that they try to tar the new model. Some change in the scientific community has come despite the kicking and screaming of bodies of scientists. Not being a scientist myself, I can't think of any off the top of my head. My anthro professor told me that over a year ago and had a few examples but I've forgotten them.

And LR, none of these scientists can claim to be able to predict the future of the climate with any certainty. If someone's model had been on the mark over the last five years, you'd have heard about it by now. There are a number of phenomena that the main scientific establishment just has no friggin' clue about, like why some regions are cooling down even as others are warming up, or why part of Antarctica is sliding into the ocean while much of it is cooling down and taking on more ice. And is anyone going to say "whoops!" about how wrong we were about DDT?

I admit I don't have a deep base of knowledge about the environment, and so it would be easy to sway me one way or the other, but it doesn't look to me like scientists today have anything near the final answer on the environment -- or human populatino growth -- or natural resources. They've been wrong time and tiem again about these things despite a wide degree of consensus. People undoubtedly thoguht that since they had coem so far sicne the fifties, scientists had the state of the world down pat back in the seventies. But today they look like fools -- global ice age imminent? World population will balloon to HOW much? Oil will totally run out WHEN? I think that twenty years from now we're going to see a lot of the same.

It doesn't seem to me that they have nearly enough certainty about how the world works, anyway, to advocate something like *drastic* cutbacks in CO2 emissions. Can you iamgine if scientists in the 70's had gotten their way on everything? They may have contributed a lot to the world, but they were still wrong about an awful lot.
Can anyone in the scientiic community claim to predict how each region of the world's environment will look in fifteen years with any degree of certainty? If not, why are we making plans for fifty years from now?

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vulture
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quote:
Can you iamgine if scientists in the 70's had gotten their way on everything? They may have contributed a lot to the world, but they were still wrong about an awful lot.
Can anyone in the scientiic community claim to predict how each region of the world's environment will look in fifteen years with any degree of certainty? If not, why are we making plans for fifty years from now?

And who found out that some of those 70's scientific positions were wrong? More 70'2 scientists (sometimes the same ones) continuing to do research and find more evidence, and changing their theories when it became clear that they weren't describing what was going on well enough.

And we make plans for the future despite not knowing what is going to happen (why invest in a pension for 40 years time when you certainly can't predict the state of the economy in each country of the world in 10 years time with any great accuracy) because otherwise we would do nothing. You make plans based on the best informaton available at the time. You alter them as new information becomes avaiable. If you wait until you have an acurate forecast, you've probably left it far too late 1000 times in the past already.

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TCB
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If people's indictment of science is that it's initially skeptical of radical new theories, then they won't receive much argument. As an aside, it's ironic that this charge seems to be leveled mostly by conservatives.

Warrsaw, you said you can't think of any examples of this, so I'll give one. Quantum mechanics was a drastic new interpretation of the world, mathematically difficult and philosophically inscrutable. Many physicists were initially reluctant to accept it, but there could be no denying the huge body of data supporting it. If you look at a timeline of the history of quantum mechanics, you will see that there is about a 10-year lag between the publication of groundbreaking papers and the winning of the Nobel Prize for those papers, which we can probably agree indicates establishment acceptance.

Of course, what I call "initial skepticism" others call "hostility." They both amount to the same thing -- demands for further proof. In the end, however, new ideas will win acceptance if data supports them, even if it takes a little time.

As for these allegations of ad hominem arguments against scientists who don't believe in evolution or that global warming is caused by carbon dioxide emissions, I'll repeat my viewpoint that these highly political areas of science aren't at all reflective of science as a whole.

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vulture -
So you'd support an effort, no matter how costly, to reduce CO2 emissions, even though those same scientists might in ten years find out that maybe it wasn't so necessary or even effective after all?

quote:
And we make plans for the future despite not knowing what is going to happen (why invest in a pension for 40 years time when you certainly can't predict the state of the economy in each country of the world in 10 years time with any great accuracy) because otherwise we would do nothing.
People who invest over that long are making a bet, usually one they have some control in (say, a house). I wouldn't invest in a house that would nearly bankrupt me if it had the nasty habit of lifting off on rockets and ending up in a random location every twenty years.

TCB -
quote:
If people's indictment of science is that it's initially skeptical of radical new theories, then they won't receive much argument.
I concede that point. But it's not just the radical new theories; it's also one person questioning the assumptions of someone else's studies, or pointing out contradictory evidence. Poking at sacred cows by simply questioning the wisdom of a certain method, especially if the whole foundation is not terribly well-understood or it fails to describe why several major things are not acting as expected.

quote:
As an aside, it's ironic that this charge seems to be leveled mostly by conservatives.
Explain. Without any blanket generalizations that would offend more than half of self-identified conservatives, if you will.

And as regards quantum mechanics: that's *mostly* skepticism. Hostility is what mostly happened to people who questioned eugenics. The more politics intrudes, the worse it gets, but there is in each field a little bit of politics at least, a little bit of dogma.
quote:
Of course, what I call "initial skepticism" others call "hostility." They both amount to the same thing -- demands for further proof.
Would you call the response to Bjorn Lomborg in so many communities and publciations "skepticism"? Lomborg himself was attacked, fairly ruthlessly. Lawsuits were filed against him. They weren't asking for further proof -- they didn't want to hear anything more out of him... I think the best offer was maybe a one-page reply to an 11-page tirade against him?

quote:
As for these allegations of ad hominem arguments against scientists who don't believe in evolution or that global warming is caused by carbon dioxide emissions, I'll repeat my viewpoint that these highly political areas of science aren't at all reflective of science as a whole.
I think you're *mostly* right. But politics creeps in even at the most obscure levels.
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