Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

I am Richard Feynman and I approve of this blog

Qualified outsiders and maverick insiders are often right about the need to replace received wisdom in science and society, as the history of the Nobel prize shows. This blog exists to back the best of them in their uphill assault on the massively entrenched edifice of resistance to and prejudice against reviewing, let alone revising, ruling ideas. In support of such qualified dissenters and courageous heretics we search for scientific paradigms and other established beliefs which may be maintained only by the power and politics of the status quo, comparing them with academic research and the published experimental and investigative record.

We especially defend and support the funding of honest, accomplished, independent minded and often heroic scientists, inventors and other original thinkers and their right to free speech and publication against the censorship, mudslinging, false arguments, ad hominem propaganda, overwhelming crowd prejudice and internal science politics of the paradigm wars of cancer, AIDS, evolution, global warming, cosmology, particle physics, macroeconomics, health and medicine, diet and nutrition.

HONOR ROLL OF SCIENTIFIC TRUTHSEEKERS

Henry Bauer, Peter Breggin , Harvey Bialy, Giordano Bruno, Erwin Chargaff, Nicolaus Copernicus, Francis Crick, Paul Crutzen, Marie Curie, Rebecca Culshaw, Freeman Dyson, Peter Duesberg, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, John Fewster, Galileo Galilei, Alec Gordon, James Hansen, Edward Jenner, Benjamin Jesty, Michio Kaku, Adrian Kent, Ernst Krebs, Thomas Kuhn, Serge Lang, John Lauritsen, Mark Leggett, Richard Lindzen, Lynn Margulis, Barbara McClintock, George Miklos, Marco Mamone Capria, Peter Medawar, Kary Mullis, Linus Pauling, Eric Penrose, Max Planck, Rainer Plaga, David Rasnick, Sherwood Rowland, Carl Sagan, Otto Rossler, Fred Singer, Thomas Szasz, Alfred Wegener, Edward O. Wilson, James Watson.
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Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

Skepticism is dangerous. That’s exactly its function, in my view. It is the business of skepticism to be dangerous. And that’s why there is a great reluctance to teach it in schools. That’s why you don’t find a general fluency in skepticism in the media. On the other hand, how will we negotiate a very perilous future if we don’t have the elementary intellectual tools to ask searching questions of those nominally in charge, especially in a democracy? – Carl Sagan (The Burden of Skepticism, keynote address to CSICOP Annual Conference, Pasadena, April 3/4, 1982).

It is really important to underscore that everything we’re talking about tonight could be utter nonsense. – Brian Greene (NYU panel on Hidden Dimensions June 5 2010, World Science Festival)

I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing ever interfered with my learning was my education. My name as you already perceive without a doubt is George Bernard Shaw, and I certainly approve of this blog, in that its guiding spirit appears to be blasphemous in regard to the High Church doctrines of science, and it flouts the censorship of the powers that be, and as I have famously remarked, all great truths begin as blasphemy, and the first duty of the truthteller is to fight censorship, and while I notice that its seriousness of purpose is often alleviated by a satirical irony which sometimes borders on the facetious, this is all to the good, for as I have also famously remarked, if you wish to be a dissenter, make certain that you frame your ideas in jest, otherwise they will seek to kill you.  My own method was always to take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then to say it with the utmost levity. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine) One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways. – Bertrand Russell, Conquest of Happiness (1930) ch. 9

(Click for more Unusual Quotations on Science and Belief)

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Catfight on the Web

Bad behavior reaches the Wiki as Cornell researcher secretly counterattacks Bialy

Fun and games in the schoolyard shows human flaws at work, and whose case is vulnerable

John P. Moore, implacable foe of HIV∫AIDS reviewersCornell’s John P. Moore, chief public defender of the absurdities of the HIV∫AIDS paradigm on the Web, seems to have become obsessed with leading paradigm critic Harvey Bialy recently.

The thorn in the side of Moore, the youngish, red haired star of HIV∫AIDS research, who currently spends his research time daubing the privates of macaques with putative HIV microbicides, is Bialy’s notoriously savage email.

Moore has been relentlessly tormented by the brilliant but unrestrained HIV∫AIDS critic’s extreme version of this Web weapon, whereby Bialy combines a flair for discomfiting recipients with sharp points and bad news with blistering vulgarities. The scathing and intemperately phrased email is witty enough that we are sure that Bialy must constantly undermine Moore’s confidence in the science he promotes, and his defensive actions seem to indicate this.

In fact recently Moore has thought of two ways to get back at Bialy, both of them even less dignified than Bialy’s notorious email, and much more malicious and public.

We have decided to carry news of these personal excesses here because onlookers will find the public cockfight not only entertaining but informative on our main topic, since it is the only direct public clash between the two sides of the HIV∫AIDS debate at the top tier level that has occurred in two decades.

The scrap is educational because it suggests in its dynamic who is confidently right on the underlying issue, the validity of the paradigm itself. It also will teach the naive that science is done by people who may have large flaws, usually expertly concealed by the top players.

Certainly these two champions on opposite sides of the HIV fence are well matched, or as some might say, thoroughly deserve each other. Both are combative and outspoken, and good at delivering sarcastic jibes, though Bialy is the sharper needler. Both have a tendency to stoop to conquer, Bialy with his flamethrower multicopied email and Moore with his delight in exposing private correspondence to public view on his paradigm promoting website, AIDSTruth.org.

With his latest moves Moore has lowered the bar even further, we would say.

Moore edits the Wiki

First, he has been exposed in a schoolboyish attempt to malign Bialy in public by entering the Wikipedia under a pseudonym and editing the Bialy biography, adding a large number of phrases severely detracting from the otherwise excellent impression that biography makes on readers.

For as his Wiki biography normally records, Bialy has much to his credit in his singular career in science editing and scholarship, including being the founding scientific editor of Nature/Biotechnology, where he proved to be the only editor in the science journal establishment with the courage, honesty and perspicacity to support Peter Duesberg of Berkeley in his public criticism of the HIV∫AIDS theory in the early years of the eventually stifled public debate.

Since it added a number of changes which disparaged these acccomplishents, naturally Moore’s underhand but obvious corruption of the Wiki entry, once Bialy complained of it, was swiftly removed by the administrators. Moore must have expected this, so we assume he meant the initiative only as a temporary schoolboy prank in an irresponsible but jocular spirit harking back to his Downing College, Cambridge years, and occasional reading of Private Eye, a hallowed name in English satirical journalism which spends its time ‘debagging’ (pulling down the trousers of) the financially and politically powerful, pompous and personally foolish in England’s higher circles. (Asked if this is indeed the spirit in which he acted, Moore hasn’t yet responded to our query.)

Bialy’s sense of humor, bred at Bard College, where he graduated first in his class, did not rise to the occasion, however, and Moore received a scorcher of an email which was also forwarded along with Harvey Bialy’s mild complaint filed with the Dean of Cornell suggesting he should curb the antics of his junior colleague.

We certainly support Bialy in his reasonable objection to this character assassination, not least because Moore had the amusing but possibly dangerous effrontery to adopt our own moniker, TruthseekerNYC, as his sign in name at the Wiki, where it is now reprimanded in public. It was not our doing, in case anyone ever thought so.

This cheeky disguise to conceal his authorship of the libel was instantly blown by Dr Bialy, who seems to have known without asking that we would never perpetrate such mischief even if we had reason to, which we don’t. As all readers of this blog know we believe in treating the Web as a permanent repository of truth, of the same stature as print, even if this futuristic policy is shared by all too few at present. One good reason is that Google’s memory is eternal.

Here for reference is the correct Wiki bio of the distinguished Bialy, a uniquely fierce proponent of truth in science of the old school, whose book is all the credentials any reader will ever need to check for his intelligence, scientific acumen and reliability in reporting. (Where is John Moore’s book, one may well ask? We look forward to that apologia, which will undoubtedly be a rich entertainment in rationalizing nonscience, especially if the entire HIV∫AIDS scheme has finally collapsed in the meantime.)

Harvey Bialy
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Harvey Bialy is an American molecular biologist and AIDS dissident. He was one of the original signatories to the letter establishing the Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV-AIDS Hypothesis,[1] the editor of its first newsletter,[2] and was a member of the controversial South African Presidential AIDS Advisory Panel convened by Thabo Mbeki in 2000.[3]

Bialy was a resident scholar of the Institute of Biotechnology (IBT) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Cuernavaca between 1996 and 2006, where he also founded and directed the Virtual Library of Biotechnology for the Americas. At the beginning of 2007, he left both positions.

Bialy graduated first in his class from Bard College in 1966, and was awarded a Ph.D. in molecular biology in 1970 by the University of California, Berkeley. He joined the journal Nature Biotechnology (part of the Nature family of publications) as its scientific editor in 1984,[4] and edited its peer-reviewed content from 1984–1996. He has coauthored significant papers in molecular genetics — among them the first to show that phage genes can subvert host functions [5],[6] and numerous editorials and commentaries on contemporary issues in biotechnology in Nature Biotechnology and other journals.

Bialy was the co-recipient (with Prof. Stanley Falkow, Stanford University) of a grant from the Charles Merill Trust to study antibiotic resistant pathogens in Nigeria in 1978. He received a World Health Organization grant to study the epidemiology and genetics of antibiotic resistant enteric pathogens in Nigeria in 1982. He worked as a visiting researcher or research fellow at several universities in the United States, and Africa throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He was advisor to the Center for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering in Havana, Cuba from 1986–1996.

Bialy authored Oncogenes, Aneuploidy, and AIDS (ISBN 1556435312), a book about the scientific life of fellow molecular biologist Peter Duesberg, with special emphasis on Duesberg’s aneuploidy theory of cancer and on the politics of modern science. A Spanish-language translation by Roberto P. Stock, a senior investigator at the IBT, was published by the UNAM Press in 2005 (ISBN 9703225993), and contains an introduction by the IBT’s previous director.

He is also an artist and poet. Some of his work can be seen at his website “bialy/s”.

Here is the email Bialy was forced to write to the Dean after the attempted desecration by Moore of this entry, an email which has been disseminated by the author to key members of the HIV∫AIDS reformist clique, and is thus a public document, its reproduction given permission by the author, a model rule the notorious Dr. Moore might well follow:

(To AL) the slanderous edit to my wikipedia page copied below was produced by “TRUTHSEEKERNYC” …. you are free to do with these emails anything you wish.

gezay gezunct

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: bialy harvey < Date: Apr 5, 2007 7:33 AM Subject: Fwd: you really are 10 years old To: kasmith at Cornell, Dean at Cornell Cc: "John P. Moore, PhD" < I really am sorry to disturb you with this, but I think the nutso prof has gone around several new bends and you really might wish to put some real pressure on him to cease and desist before he disgraces your otherwise fine institution any further. The slander below was posted by him on my Wikpedia biography page, as a 'corrected' biography. It was so outrageous that even the generally unfriendly Wiki moderator removed it on the instant almost, although it remains on the page's archives, with a warning to the 'truthseekernyc' that it was in serious violation of several Wikipedia policies. I cannot really believe you let him near any students. I make no apologies at all for the 'offensive' language of my own, which is a pale shadow compared to what he wrote. Harvey ---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: bialy harvey Date: Apr 5, 2007 7:08 AM Subject: you really are 10 years old To: "John P. Moore, PhD" Cc: Darin Brown < you actually thought this slander you penned would stand? … you are one of the most pathetic pieces of dreck i have ever encounterd..and i have encountered more than few. if i ever am face to face with you, i will kick your faggot brit butt from one wall to another. Harvey Bialy is an American molecular biologist and AIDS denialist. He was one of the original signatories to the letter establishing the Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV-AIDS Hypothesis,[1] the editor of its first newsletter,[2]. The leadership of this organization now regard him as a mere gadfly who detracts from their cause through his sheer silliness. He has been a member of the South African Presidential AIDS Advisory Panel, from April 2000 – present. [citation needed]. On that Panel, he demonstrated that he was unable to comprehend even the most basic aspects of the science of HIV infection and AIDS, botching his responsibilities to the President and the South African nation by acting unscientifically and irresponsibly. Bialy was a resident scholar of the Institute of Biotechnology (IBT) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Cuernavaca between 1996 and 2006, where he also founded and directed the Virtual Library of Biotechnology for the Americas. At the beginning of 2007, he left both positions because the UNAM authorities demanded his resignation on the grounds that he was bringing shame and dishonor to the good name of a respected university.Bialy graduated first in his class from Bard College in 1966, and was awarded a Ph.D. in molecular biology in 1970 by the University of California, Berkeley. He is the founding scientific editor of Bio/technology (part of the Nature family of publications), and edited its peer-reviewed content from 1983–1996. Nature Biotechnology then insisted he sever his links to the journal, because his unscientific views on AIDS were bringing discredit to the journal in professional scientific circles. He has coauthored (middle authorships only) papers in molecular genetics — among them being the first to show that phage genes can subvert host functions [3] [4], and numerous editorials and commentaries on contemporary issues in biotechnology in Nature Biotechnology and other journals. Bialy is now retired from academic life, and spends his time editing a conspiracy theory based website on which he posts ghost written articles under pseudonyms and generally makes a fool of himself. The time he devotes to this site reflects the fact that he has nothing better to do nowadays as no mainstream scientists and journalists now take him seriously. One look at the site is enough to prove that the editor lacks credibility and credentials. Bialy authored Oncogenes, Aneuploidy, and AIDS (ISBN 1556435312), a book about the scientific life of fellow molecular biologist Peter Duesberg, with special emphasis on Duesberg's aneuploidy theory of cancer and on the politics of modern science. The book has sold minimally and is generally regarded as nothing more than a pathetic hagiography of a scientific renegade who wasted his career by adopting idiotic positions on first, cancer, then latterly HIV and AIDS. Bialy was one of the few people to be suckered into adopting similar positions. He is also an artist and poet, these works being put together under the influence of the psychoactive drugs that he habitually uses. Some of his work can be seen at his website "bialy/s". Quotes None that make any sense to any serious scientist.

With this perfidious though not unfunny move now blocked, we are dismayed to report that John “Macaque” Moore (the juvenile spirit of this catfight is catching, sorry, to any reader of Private Eye) has gone even further, and prominently posted a pdf file of certain of Bialy’s typically rude emails to Mark Biernbaum, a distinguished commentator here at NAR, on his “AIDSTruthiness” site (as it is familiarly known to the HIV∫AIDS revisionists), claiming they are “homophobic”. Whether they are or not, readers can judge for themselves. But the communications were back channel and privileged, and surely he has no business making them public. Of course, Bialy’s mass copying of ultrarude emails is almost as bad, and subject to the same moral stricture.

But it is not as if Bialy is another Don Imus, announcing to millions that the Rutgers female basketball team are “nappy headed ho’s,”
the current PC outrage for which the NBC shock jock has been suspended for a fortnight. The use of the offending words in Bialy’s case was in a mood of private and personal irritability and no more meant as a public statement than the insults of a marital spat. They should not have been posted in Comments here by the target, Mark himself, which is where Moore found them, and we are sorry for that.

The real cause of bad behavior

What’s going on? Why are grown men behaving like schoolboys because they are at loggerheads on an intellectual theory which they should be debating in the pages of serious science journals? One reason is the signal unwillingness of defenders like Moore to debate anything at all in reevaluating the HIV∫AIDS pardigm.

All the other significant defenders of the faith senior to Moore have long followed a policy of ignoring HIV∫AIDS critics as completely as they possibly can. In fact, with Moore so loudly playing the role of chief public defender of the science of HIV∫AIDS, we are pretty sure that the editorially active microbicide researcher is an embarrassment to Dr Anthony Fauci of NIAID and his HIV promotion cohorts at WHO and elsewhere, though he has yet to be reprimanded for it, according to his initial emails to us.

For Moore has over the past year, with his new web site, Op Ed piece in the Times last year, trouble making attacks on objective journalists at the Toronto AIDS Conference and public battles with Bialy ruptured their stunningly successful policy long in place of resolutely ignoring the critics of the paradigm that pays for their expensive suits and other perks of leadership in science politics, a strategy which has proved successful over 22 years in reducing media interest in AIDS “denialists” to almost zero. Until, that is, Moore stirred up a hornet’s nest on the Web by publishing his crudely stated and highly misleading Op-Ed piece in the New York Times last year, Deadly Quackery, and started the AIDTruth.org site, which holds up the HIV∫AIDS critics’ names, claims, writings and references to ridicule – and for all to see and check out.

Moore’s hatchet job in the Times

Here for reference is the Deadly Quackery piece with the false claims in it highlighted in bold:

Deadly Quackery
By JOHN MOORE and NICOLI NATTRASS

H.I.V. causes AIDS. This is not a controversial claim but an established fact, based on more than 20 years of solid science. It is as certain as the descent of humans from apes and the falling of dropped objects to the ground.

So why reiterate the obvious? Because lately, a bizarre theory has gained ground — one that claims that H.I.V. is harmless, and that the antiretroviral drugs that curb the growth of the virus cause rather than treat AIDS. Such talk sounds to most of us like quackery, but the theory has emerged as a genuine menace to public health in the United States and, particularly, in South Africa.

The theory, which we call AIDS denialism, has gained such currency with President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa that his administration is reluctant to expand access to antiretroviral drugs. Despite generous allocations from the country’s Treasury and substantial assistance from foreign donors, only a quarter of those needing antiretrovirals receive them. This response is poor by the standards of middle-income countries, but it is especially troublesome in South Africa, which has more H.I.V.-positive people than any other country.

American AIDS denialists are partly to blame for South Africa’s backsliding AIDS policy. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, the health minister, has described antiretrovirals as poisons. She is supported in these views by Roberto Giraldo, a New York hospital technologist who says AIDS is caused by deficiencies in the diet, and who served on President Mbeki’s AIDS advisory panel in 2000. The minister promotes nutritional alternatives like lemons, garlic and olive oil to treat H.I.V. infection. Several prominent South Africans have died of AIDS after opting to change their diets instead of taking antiretrovirals.

Another American AIDS denialist, David Rasnick, a regular letter-writer to South African newspapers, absurdly claims that H.I.V. cannot be transmitted between heterosexuals. Mr. Rasnick now works in South Africa for a multinational vitamin company, the Rath Foundation, conducting clinical trials in which AIDS patients are encouraged to take multivitamins instead of antiretrovirals.

In the past, South Africa’s Medicines Control Council acted swiftly to curb such abuses, and the Medical Research Council condemned AIDS denialism. But recent high-level political appointments of administration supporters to both bodies have neutered their influence. In South Africa, AIDS denialism now underpins a lucrative nutritional supplements industry that has the tacit, and sometimes active, support of the Mbeki administration.

By courting the AIDS denialists, President Mbeki has increased their stature in the United States. He lent credibility to Christine Maggiore, a Californian who campaigns against using antiretrovirals to prevent transmission of H.I.V. from mothers to children, when he was photographed meeting her. Two years later, Ms. Maggiore gave birth to an H.I.V.-infected daughter, Eliza Jane, who acquired an AIDS-related infection last year and died at age 3.

Mother-to-child H.I.V. transmission is now rare in the United States, thanks to the widespread use of preventive therapy and the activities of organizations like the National Institutes of Health and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Sadly, this is not so in South Africa, where many children are born infected and then face short, painful lives. The health and lives of American children are also still under threat: a small clique of AIDS denialists is trying to block the provision of antiretrovirals to H.I.V.-infected children in the New York City foster care system.

Until recently, AIDS researchers and activists in the United States tended to regard the denialists with derision, assuming they would fade away. Unfortunately, this has not happened. Harper’s Magazine recently published an article by Celia Farber promoting the denialist view. There is a real risk that a new generation of Americans could be persuaded that H.I.V. either doesn’t exist or is harmless, that safe sex isn’t important and that they don’t need to protect their children from this deadly virus. A resurgence of denialism in the United States would have far reaching effects on the global AIDS pandemic, just as it already has in South Africa.

The AIDS denialists use pseudoscience and non-peer-reviewed Internet postings to bolster their false claims about H.I.V. The real facts about this virus have been uncovered by scientists supported by the National Institutes of Health, the British and South African Medical Research Councils, the Pasteur Institute and many other national research organizations. The public should seek AIDS truth from the latter sources.

It is sad when selling magazines and vitamin supplements is considered more important than promoting public health and scientific truth. The truth is that H.I.V. does exist, that it causes AIDS and that antiretroviral drugs can prevent H.I.V. transmission and death from AIDS. To deny these facts is not just wrong — it’s deadly.

John Moore is a professor of microbiology and immunology at Cornell University. Nicoli Nattrass is the director of the AIDS and Society Research Unit at the University of Cape Town.

A letter from the South African Ambassador in Washington followed the Deadly Quackery piece as follows, indicating a regrettable level of official acquiescence to the pressure exerted on Mbeki by AIDS Inc to deliver AIDS drugs to South Africans counted as ill from HIV. No corrective letters were published by the Times to counter Moore’s misleading statements, such as the false claim that Christine Maggiore’s lost child was HIV positive, which corrupt about half the editorial, as indicated in bold above:

June 11, 2006
South Africa and AIDS

To the Editor:

Re ”Deadly Quackery,” by John Moore and Nicoli Nattrass (Op-Ed, June 4):

The South African government’s comprehensive H.I.V. and AIDS program has three principal objectives. One, prevent the transmission of H.I.V. Two, when transmission occurs, delay for as long as possible the onset of AIDS-defining illness. Three, care for patients whose infections have progressed to AIDS-defining illness.

Once an H.I.V.-positive person has a CD4 cell count of 200 per cubic millimeter of blood or exhibits Stage 4 AIDS-defining illness as defined by the World Health Organization, he or she is eligible for antiretroviral treatment at public expense. By the end of March, at least 134,473 people were receiving free treatment at 231 facilities around the country. Government has allocated more than $500 million to procure antiretroviral drugs through the end of 2007.

A recent report by Health Systems Trust, an independent group that monitors the health care delivery in South Africa, found that our progress in delivering antiretroviral treatment ”has probably been swifter than in any comparable country.”

How symptomatic is this of leadership in denial about AIDS, its causation or the efficacy of antiretroviral treatment?

Barbara Masekela
Ambassador of South Africa
Washington, June 6, 2006

Moore as a closet dissident

HIV∫AIDS critics must like Moore for his arrogant confidence since it highlights the mismatch between the claims he repeats and the literature of the field, which denies them, and they should thank him for his site, which is now one of the most useful HIV∫AIDS criticism destinations on the Web, which has hardly any traffic but deserves more.

Not only does it present many of the claims of the critics to the faithful and the curious, but it shows off the weakness of the best replies that can be managed by the paradigm supporters. We also like it because it suggests that Moore’s naive enthusiasm for his belief is genuine. Clearly he has no inkling that he is on the wrong track, and acts from conviction.

Of course, there is a faintly vindictive flavor to his strikingly hostile treatment of paradigm critics which seems unnecessary, but at least Moore in advocating media censorship of countervailing views is not as bad as his Canadian partner, Mark Wainberg of Montreal, who says publicly that HIV∫AIDS critics should be jailed and evidently would prefer they were executed for the threat they pose to delivery of “life saving drugs”.

Bialy’s nuclear missives

And to one very small extent separate from his reflex support of the conventional wisdom in HIV∫AIDS, Moore may be right. Harvey Bialy, despite his searingly brilliant guide to HIV∫AIDS scientific skullduggery (“Oncogenes, Aneuploidy and AIDS: A Scientific Life and Times of Peter H. Duesberg”, North Atlantic, 2004), is something of a concern to the critics of HIV∫AIDS, his comrades in arms, primarily because he insists on sending his red hot emails to them and everyone else who ignores his wishes or contradicts his beliefs, emails which in terms of the language used are literary napalm.

Just as Moore suspects, Bialy’s colleagues among critics of the paradigm worry that Bialy’s credibility will be reduced, as so will theirs by association, just as Moore hopes, by the public exposure of his linguistic lashings. They do not expect outsiders unfamiliar with the accuracy of Bialy’s scholarship and his artistic bent to suppose, as we like to do, that his scathingly belligerent manner in email is a personal foible used freely to reinforce the intellectual points he makes, in a manner which artistically speaking is intended to match film director Alfred Hitchcock’s habit of placing a chase scene in a concert hall, with a gun toting villain playing hide and seek with the hero in the orchestra as a classical opera is performed. The contrast adds to the drama and excitement of the scene, ensuring it gets the attention it deserves, just as Bialy’s email tone always does.

Moore has been a prime recipient of these scorchers, some of them included in exchanges posted on You Bet Your Life, the critical science blog that Bialy edits with an iron hand and with little compromise with scientific ignorance, since it is aimed at PhDs that know what is going on. Some of these readers are inside the HIV∫AIDS field, and speak out anonymously on the blog. Naturally the renowned Cornell HIV microbicide researcher feels discomfited by Bialy’s lack of politesse exposing him to ridicule among his colleagues and students and so he has come up with his two below the belt counterblows in their ongoing standoff.

Internal demons loosed on the Web

As laborious recorders of the human comedy, we don’t blame either of these gentlemen for their excesses, for they seem to us to be victims of a very widespread phenomenon, the corruption of standards by the peculiarly intimate anonymity of writing on the Web. Everyone who does it has to constantly watch themselves to keep from going over a line in the sand between frank honesty and antisocial exposure of impulses normally kept in check when talking face to face. Excessive swearing and schoolboy jibes are two of the biggest of these subterranean demons which burst out if not checked.

That Moore is prepared to break the rules of decency, and Bialy ready to break the code of civility, in the cause of what they perceive as justice and truth is just one more example to us of how the Web works to reduce politesse to zero and expose character failings in even the brightest of men, unless inbred maternal training is strong, especially in naïve academics who are relatively new to posting on screen.

Anyone who checks out many message boards know that these built in moral restraints are often missing except at the highest levels of education and the food chain. We are mildly surprised, however, to find a Downing College, Cambridge graduate behaving in such a reckless manner, let alone one now attached to Cornell. Perhaps the Dean will rein him in as Bialy has suggested.

Proposals for rules of conduct

But the Web has that effect, it is clear. Email and Web posting is subject to the psychological distortion of the blank screen, which as a kind of live vacuum empty of answering body language or voice tones seems to suck out of people their innermost devils, the id without the superego, the adolescent within the adult.

The problem is so widespread that initiatives are springing up all over to resolve it. On Monday the Times had a front page story, A Call for Manners in the World of Nasty Blogs about Jimmy Wales, the Wikipedia founder, and others trying to come up with a code of conduct. The piece indicates how upsetting bad email and Web behavior can be.

The conversational free-for-all on the Internet known as the blogosphere can be a prickly and unpleasant place. Now, a few high-profile figures in high-tech are proposing a blogger code of conduct to clean up the quality of online discourse.

Last week, Tim O’Reilly, a conference promoter and book publisher who is credited with coining the term Web 2.0, began working with Jimmy Wales, creator of the communal online encyclopedia Wikipedia, to create a set of guidelines to shape online discussion and debate.

Chief among the recommendations is that bloggers consider banning anonymous comments left by visitors to their pages and be able to delete threatening or libelous comments without facing cries of censorship….

Mr. Wales and Mr. O’Reilly were inspired to act after a firestorm erupted late last month in the insular community of dedicated technology bloggers. In an online shouting match that was widely reported, Kathy Sierra, a high-tech book author from Boulder County, Colo., and a friend of Mr. O’Reilly, reported getting death threats that stemmed in part from a dispute over whether it was acceptable to delete the impolitic comments left by visitors to someone’s personal Web site.

Distraught over the threats and manipulated photos of her that were posted on other critical sites — including one that depicted her head next to a noose — Ms. Sierra canceled a speaking appearance at a trade show and asked the local police for help in finding the source of the threats. She also said that she was considering giving up blogging altogether.

In an interview, she dismissed the argument that cyberbullying is so common that she should overlook it. “I can’t believe how many people are saying to me, ‘Get a life, this is the Internet,’ ” she said. “If that’s the case, how will we ever recognize a real threat?”

The New York Times

April 9, 2007
A Call for Manners in the World of Nasty Blogs
By BRAD STONE

Correction Appended

Is it too late to bring civility to the Web?

The conversational free-for-all on the Internet known as the blogosphere can be a prickly and unpleasant place. Now, a few high-profile figures in high-tech are proposing a blogger code of conduct to clean up the quality of online discourse.

Last week, Tim O’Reilly, a conference promoter and book publisher who is credited with coining the term Web 2.0, began working with Jimmy Wales, creator of the communal online encyclopedia Wikipedia, to create a set of guidelines to shape online discussion and debate.

Chief among the recommendations is that bloggers consider banning anonymous comments left by visitors to their pages and be able to delete threatening or libelous comments without facing cries of censorship.

A recent outbreak of antagonism among several prominent bloggers “gives us an opportunity to change the level of expectations that people have about what’s acceptable online,” said Mr. O’Reilly, who posted the preliminary recommendations last week on his company blog (radar.oreilly.com). Mr. Wales then put the proposed guidelines on his company’s site (blogging.wikia.com), and is now soliciting comments in the hope of creating consensus around what constitutes civil behavior online.

Mr. O’Reilly and Mr. Wales talk about creating several sets of guidelines for conduct and seals of approval represented by logos. For example, anonymous writing might be acceptable in one set; in another, it would be discouraged. Under a third set of guidelines, bloggers would pledge to get a second source for any gossip or breaking news they write about.

Bloggers could then pick a set of principles and post the corresponding badge on their page, to indicate to readers what kind of behavior and dialogue they will engage in and tolerate. The whole system would be voluntary, relying on the community to police itself.

“If it’s a carefully constructed set of principles, it could carry a lot of weight even if not everyone agrees,” Mr. Wales said.

The code of conduct already has some early supporters, including David Weinberger, a well-known blogger (hyperorg.com/blogger) and a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. “The aim of the code is not to homogenize the Web, but to make clearer the informal rules that are already in place anyway,” he said.

But as with every other electrically charged topic on the Web, finding common ground will be a serious challenge. Some online writers wonder how anyone could persuade even a fraction of the millions of bloggers to embrace one set of standards. Others say that the code smacks of restrictions on free speech.

Mr. Wales and Mr. O’Reilly were inspired to act after a firestorm erupted late last month in the insular community of dedicated technology bloggers. In an online shouting match that was widely reported, Kathy Sierra, a high-tech book author from Boulder County, Colo., and a friend of Mr. O’Reilly, reported getting death threats that stemmed in part from a dispute over whether it was acceptable to delete the impolitic comments left by visitors to someone’s personal Web site.

Distraught over the threats and manipulated photos of her that were posted on other critical sites — including one that depicted her head next to a noose — Ms. Sierra canceled a speaking appearance at a trade show and asked the local police for help in finding the source of the threats. She also said that she was considering giving up blogging altogether.

In an interview, she dismissed the argument that cyberbullying is so common that she should overlook it. “I can’t believe how many people are saying to me, ‘Get a life, this is the Internet,’ ” she said. “If that’s the case, how will we ever recognize a real threat?”

Ms. Sierra said she supported the new efforts to improve civility on the Web. The police investigation into her case is pending.

Menacing behavior is certainly not unique to the Internet. But since the Web offers the option of anonymity with no accountability, online conversations are often more prone to decay into ugliness than those in other media.

Nowadays, those conversations often take place on blogs. At last count, there were 70 million of them, with more than 1.4 million entries being added daily, according to Technorati, a blog-indexing company. For the last decade, these Web journals have offered writers a way to amplify their voices and engage with friends and readers.

But the same factors that make those unfiltered conversations so compelling, and impossible to replicate in the offline world, also allow them to spin out of control.

As many female bloggers can attest, women are often targets. Heather Armstrong, a blogger in Salt Lake City who writes publicly about her family (dooce.com), stopped accepting unmoderated comments on her blog two years ago after she found that conversations among visitors consistently devolved into vitriol.

Since last October, she has also had to deal with an anonymous blogger who maintains a separate site that parodies her writing and has included photos of Ms. Armstrong’s daughter, copied from her site.

Ms. Armstrong tries not to give the site public attention, but concedes that, “At first, it was really difficult to deal with.”

Women are not the only targets of nastiness. For the last four years, Richard Silverstein has advocated for Israeli-Palestinian peace on a blog (richardsilverstein.com) that he maintains from Seattle.

People who disagree with his politics frequently leave harassing comments on his site. But the situation reached a new low last month, when an anonymous opponent started a blog in Mr. Silverstein’s name that included photos of Mr. Silverstein in a pornographic context.

“I’ve been assaulted and harassed online for four years,” he said. “Most of it I can take in stride. But you just never get used to that level of hatred.”

One public bid to improve the quality of dialogue on the Web came more than a year ago when Mena Trott, a co-founder of the blogging software company Six Apart, proposed elevating civility on the Internet in a speech she gave at a French blog conference. At the event, organizers had placed a large screen on the stage showing instant electronic responses to the speeches from audience members and those who were listening in online.

As Ms. Trott spoke about improving online conduct, a heckler filled the screen with personal insults. Ms Trott recalled “losing it” during the speech.

Ms. Trott has scaled back her public writing and now writes a blog for a limited audience of friends and family. “You can’t force people to be civil, but you can force yourself into a situation where anonymous trolls are not in your life as much,” she said.

The preliminary recommendations posted by Mr. Wales and Mr. O’Reilly are based in part on a code developed by BlogHer, a network for women designed to give them blogging tools and to guide readers to their pages.

“Any community that does not make it clear what they are doing, why they are doing it, and who is welcome to join the conversation is at risk of finding it difficult to help guide the conversation later,” said Lisa Stone, who created the guidelines and the BlogHer network in 2006 with Elisa Camahort and Jory Des Jardins.

A subtext of both sets of rules is that bloggers are responsible for everything that appears on their own pages, including comments left by visitors. They say that bloggers should also have the right to delete such comments if they find them profane or abusive.

That may sound obvious, but many Internet veterans believe that blogs are part of a larger public sphere, and that deleting a visitor’s comment amounts to an assault on their right to free speech. It is too early to gauge support for the proposal, but some online commentators are resisting.

Robert Scoble, a popular technology blogger who stopped blogging for a week in solidarity with Kathy Sierra after her ordeal became public, says the proposed rules “make me feel uncomfortable.” He adds, “As a writer, it makes me feel like I live in Iran.”

Mr. O’Reilly said the guidelines were not about censorship. “That is one of the mistakes a lot of people make — believing that uncensored speech is the most free, when in fact, managed civil dialogue is actually the freer speech,” he said. “Free speech is enhanced by civility.”

Correction: April 11, 2007

A picture caption on Monday with a front-page article about a proposal for a blogger code of conduct misstated a Web site that has developed a set of standards. It is BlogHer.org, not BlogHer.com.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

There is also a new book out, Send: The Essential Guide for Office and Home. A sort of Strunk and White for the e-sphere worked out by David Shipley, the Op-Ed editor of the Times, and Will Schwalbe, editor in chief of Hyperion Books, it offers a new email etiquette for those sufficiently socially challenged to need one. One of their rules is “Never forward without permission, and assume everything you write will be forwarded,” which is certainly apt in this case.

Science’s human factor

Is this washing of grubby laundry in public relevant to whether the paradigm should be replaced? After all, the credibility of both men is called into question by juvenile behavior, even though Moore’s habits of Web warfare are more public, disgraceful, antisocial and irrelevant to the paradigm dispute than Bialy’s napalm email.

We think it is telling in two ways, both counting against Moore rather than Bialy. In the first place, if Moore wishes to silence Bialy, how come he has no better argument to undermine him with? The fact that he stoops to ad hominem attack, holding Bialy up to ridicule on AIDStruth.org and accusing him of homophobia, suggests he wants to put Bialy out of business without having the science to do so.

Of course, there is nothing new in that. The response to Peter Duesberg has always been more ad hominem than serious debate, with his original two broadsides against the HIV∫AIDS cruise liner never answered directly. The articles were published in two top journals, Cancer Research and the Proceedings of the National Academy, and replied to with a pregnant silence that has lasted to this day, as far as those two journals are concerned, even though Robert Gallo originally promised to reply in the Proceedings.

Moore’s use of underhand Web tactics is not new. One truth damaging action adopted early on by Moore in response to Harvey Bialy’s book condemning HIV∫AIDS and current cancer oncogene science consisted of rounding up cronies to post all out pans of the dangerously accurate book on Amazon. This might be taken as just the flip side of the author rounding up friends to post positive reviews, except that the negative ones arranged by Moore betrayed little familiarity with the book’s contents.

But then Moore’s idea of resolving the HIV∫AIDS paradigm issue has very little truthseeking spirit in it, as he has made clear in an email to HEAL activist Michael Geiger. Moore told him that as far as he was concerned, the HIV∫AIDS critics deserved nothing less than all out “war”.

This IS a war, there ARE no rules, and we WILL crush you, one at a time, completely and utterly (at least the more influential ones; foot-soldiers like you aren’t worth bothering with).

The other important point these high jinks will teach the outsider is that science is practiced by undignified and often immature humans and not by gods, and its theoretical course is determined like any other human activity by the character and disposition of the men and women involved, who are pulled by and serve many more interests than simply the vocation of researching the truth about reality.

In the case of the long suffocated HIV∫AIDS scientific discussion, where the truth lies is indicated clearly by that one huge factor: the avoidance of paradigm debate by the powers that be. Moore has been publicly challenged to a debate by Bialy and has shown no sign at all of picking up the gauntlet. In his response to critics Moore has never agreed to public debate, a characteristic goal of genuine truthseekers.

Clearly the efforts of John Moore to detract from the public reputation of Harvey Bialy as a supreme critic along with Peter Duesberg of the science he (Moore) clings to, a supremacy established by Bialy’s book, and his long record of hyperintelligent writings in Nature Biotechnology editorials, articles and reviews, are really no more than yet another indication of how anxious the HIV∫AIDS paradigm defense squad are to avoid direct intellectual confrontation.

It is unlikely to work among those familiar with Bialy’s record.

Biernbaum blows up Moore

Meanwhile, we should emphasize that while we do not share the opinion that the Bialy missives quoted on AIDSTruth are homophobic, we understand that others may be more sensitive to the issue and think otherwise. By this we mean of course the addressee, Mark Biernbaum, a psychologist who is clearly more sensitive than we are to such implications, and perhaps rightly so, since our main concern is to keep that debate off this blog as too complicated and non-scientific.

But one irony of the whole affair is that at one point recently John Moore made the mistake of trying to curry favor with Biernbaum by telling him he (Moore) for one was definitely not homophobic. In answer he got shot out of the water three times in an email sequence which may be counted as a bigger come uppance than anything achieved to date by Bialy.

This is how it went (reprinted with permission from Biernbaum though so far without permission from John Moore, who is however sufficiently compromised by his own email privacy violations that we think it fair in this case just to wait and see if he objects, since there is nothing compromising to him in his email that we can find, other than the inaccuracies:

Apr 2, 2007.

John P. Moore, PhD wrote:

Relax, Mark, you’re in good company – I routinely get emails from several AIDS denialists complaining about Bialy’s conduct and dissociating themselves from it. The RA group leadership regards him (quite rightly) as one of our sides’ greatest assets…. Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for us, they can’t find a way to shut him up and stop handing us cheap ammunition. All we have to do is steer journalists, neutrals, and vulnerable HIV-infected people to the YBYL site… pointing out that its stock in trade is personal insults and no more than that, and our case is proven, with no effort on our part…….. And that drags the whole AIDS denialist movement down into the gutter with him, even the people who behave with a degree of personal dignity (although poor scientific judgement). Go figure why I continue to feed him material to post……

So, I wouldn’t waste my time having a spat with this madman if I were you – he’s inconsequential to your side, and quite an asset to us. I think it’s the mind-altering drugs he uses that’s really to blame – he was probably fairly intelligent once, but there’s a limit to the amount of chemicals any brain can tolerate. But long may he thrive!

You, on the other hand, should look to your own best interests and seek the best possible health care and advice at the earliest possible opportunity.

John

Mark Biernbaum writes back:

Thanks, John. If by the “best possible healthcare” you mean an “HIV doctor,” a “CD4 count” a “viral load test” and some chemotherapies, I think I’ll pass. I’m willing to bet that I’ll outlive you, John, without availing myself of any of those things. To be perfectly frank, I cannot discern a difference between you and Harvey Bialy. You two just seem like opposite sides of the same rotten, homophobic mirror. It’s my opinion that gay men should avoid both sides of that mirror like the plague that is supposedly upon us.

Best wishes,
Mark

John Moore PhD replies:

Mark,
I sense there is absolutely no point in attempting to persuade you on the science, but I will clarify one specific point you make below, as it’s personal. I am most certainly NOT a homophobe. That’s the kind of stock in trade insult that Bialy delivers, based on no knowledge, no information, and without any thought. Many of the people who operate the AIDSTruth site are gay men, some are not, and it really doesn’t matter who has what sexual orientation or why – so, by all means think of me what you wish, but try to keep your views based on the facts (or at least don’t make assumptions).
Regards
John

Mark Biernbaum:

John,

I’m so relieved to know that some of your best friends are gay. Could you do me a favor then, and stop telling them they’re going to die? Also, perhaps stop the chemotherapy? Then I’d believe you. Otherwise — the facts indicate that you are indeed, a homophobe. And I’m sure, being as smart as you are, that there are many self-loathing gays out there — some of your best friends, perhaps.

John P. Moore, PhD:

All my friends, gay and straight, are perfectly comfortable in what they are and are not – I hope that one day you too find some inner peace.

And don’t forget that the majority of HIV-infected people worldwide nowadays are NOT gay men, and that heterosexual transmission is now the most prevalent route of infection. AIDS scientists work to help everyone, irrespective of gender and sexual orientation.
Regards,
John

Mark Biernbaum:

How could I forget about all of those Africans, John. If HIV was their only problem — or really any problem, I would just be thrilled. But I direct my international charitable donations to organizations that build clean water systems and sanitation and provide food for those who have none, rather than expensive cytological medications.

Your world-wide epidemic is a farce. I’m very sad that the homophobia that started this all has been transported around the world. It’s really a terrible thing.

So it is ironic that Mark Biernbaum now finds himself in the curious position of being championed by the very same John Moore, now joining him in accusing Bialy of the homophobia that Mark in our experience sees everywhere, including (falsely) on this blog from time to time.

The tendency of this accusation to stick indiscriminately to anyone and everyone who does not watch their Ps and Cs with utmost attention, like bits of static styrofoam filler from a UPS parcel, is why we at NAR prefer not to open this particular Pandora’s box, that is all. But we certainly appreciate Mark Biernbaum’s three bullseyes, scored despite John Moore’s remarkably polite responses (after his initial diatribe), which set a high standard all should follow.

Here for reference are the top six rules that we at NAR think are best for email:

1. Always rewrite the heading.

2. Always begin and finish with proper salutations.

3. Never forward anything without permission from the Sender.

4. Never use profanity.

5. Never joke without indicating it somehow.

6. Never insult.

All suggestions welcome.

12 Responses to “Catfight on the Web”

  1. Mark Biernbaum Says:

    You’re more than a decent armchair psychologist, Mr. Guardian. It would be nice if things were more polite on the web, but I can’t see that happening — human nature being rather base at its core. The internet removes the demand characteristics inherent in face to face conversation. Inhibitions are released, and people say the darndest, rotten things. It is somewhat unnerving to see some of the rotten things written to me posted by John Moore, but I think, for once, he makes a decent point. Your email rule list is lovely, but won’t make a difference, unless we are all magically transported to a world without our baser instincts. And yes, I do see homophobia everywhere. You are correct. Indeed, it is everywhere, and that has nothing to do with my Ps or my Cs. Glad to see a new post from you. You’re always pleasant to disagree with.

  2. truthseeker Says:

    Thanks Mark, and apologies to all for not running this WordPress well so far, since the explanations are lacking or hidden from the average mortal. Still haven’t worked out how to post images, which you would think they would make crystal clear. Anyone familiar with WordPress please advise. Any commenter kept from posting by any glitch please advise also by email to al@scienceguardian.com. Much obliged.

  3. Mouth of the Yellow River Says:

    Ni Hao! Kannichi Wa!

    Re: “Chief among the recommendations is that bloggers consider banning anonymous comments left by visitors to their pages…”

    Anonymity is the greatest gift to free speech to date. The problem is when it is not uniformly applied in respect to both initiating authors, responders and all discussants. Anonymity on both ends would promote concentration and evaluation of the intrinsic intellectual value of the message without distraction of the primitive animalistic elements of egomanic competition among individuals as personality, credentials, place in the pecking order, etc. of the messenger. The Sierra and responders ballyhoo would be moot if she were anonymous from the start as well as her responders; neither could be identified or impacted physically or personally, only their messages would be at play.

    Opposite of O’Reilly’s suggestions, I suggest that anonymity should be a requirement for all responses on any forum as a start. Acceptance of anonymity of authorship of publication at this stage of homo sapiens evolution is quite a challenge, but will eventually be necessary to completely divorce the message from the messenger.

    Scientific publications may be the first place for the experiment since conclusions derived from the scientific method are argued to be less influenced by the vagaries of empirical opinion and interpretation based on sensory observations, genetic driven autonomic instinct, faith, superstition, etc.

    MOTYR

  4. truthseeker Says:

    “Acceptance of anonymity of authorship of publication at this stage of homo sapiens evolution is quite a challenge, but will eventually be necessary to completely divorce the message from the messenger.”

    An intriguing suggestion, MOTYR, but isn’t the whole problem of the Net the fact that it identifies the nature and specificatons of respondents with too much vagueness, thus removing some of the key signals of tone and credibility that we need to properly interpret the messages people write? Anonymous would mean that paranoia would run riot, unchecked by ameliorating data. The alternative extreme of forcing all to give their proper name, rank and expertise might make everything more solid, don’t you think?

    Of course people could lie in that situation too.

  5. Mark Biernbaum Says:

    I have a feeling we all know who Mouth is — Mouth, if I’m right — and we will know in just one more comment from you (linguistic pattern checking program available at my place for qualitative discourse analysis), then you blew any chances of being anonymous a long time ago when you decided to use your real name on another website, and a pseudonym here. Your argument for anonymity and its relation free speech is what we psychologists like to refer to as “intellectualization.” In other words – some bull story that you arrive at to escape the truth.

    TS – Right on.

  6. Mark Biernbaum Says:

    Well, I guess I shouldn’t waste my time — or my name — here. That’s really the bottom line, isn’t it?

  7. truthseeker Says:

    Please, no ad hominem messages on this new and vulnerable incarnation of the only HIV∫AIDS truthseeking site on the Web where such distinguished contributors are willing to pen their valuable thoughts in the reliable expectation that the few intelligent players in this arena will respond without unscientific comments and other distractions of a personal nature.

    And all suggestions that posting here by any distinguished contributor is a “waste of time” are banned.

  8. Mark Biernbaum Says:

    I just realized that you edited my exchange with Moore (his ad hominem is missing entirely). And then I found out from our nefarious friend that you had him remove your name from the document at AIDSTruth (so being polite can get you something you want, it seems — kudos). People ought to take you more seriously. You’re very clever, playing both sides so well. I shall have to be much more circumspect, it appears, in my communications with you in the future.

  9. truthseeker Says:

    “I just realized that you edited my exchange with Moore (his ad hominem is missing entirely). And then I found out from our nefarious friend that you had him remove your name from the document at AIDSTruth”

    This is why we prefer to keep out of your disputes, Mark, with apologies. There is no rhyme and reason to your attacks except your permanent accusations of homophobia, which is not a scientific topic or a political one which affects the issue discussed here in any complicated way. Perhaps homophobia drives some people’s desire the keep the paradigm intact that ensures gay men grow ill and die. But whatever you have “just realised” is a mystery as far as we are concerned. The ad hominem attack on Bialy is right there at the beginning of the email exchange between you and Moore quoted at the bottom of the article. If that is what you mean, perhaps you ought to read it again, though as far as we are concerned it probably ought to be removed, since inattentive readers might think the calumny is correct.

    As far as Moore removing our email address from his quoted email copied to others, this was certainly interesting and shows that he is like most people willing to act civilly towards those who respect him in public as a web host, nothing more. But it is a point for his side, no doubt about that. Let’s note however he still carries a completely misleading description of this blog as a “conspiracy theory” one, which it is not, and he does this even though we have requested he write a better and more truthful descriptio on his so called “AIDStruth” site, given its name after all.

    But we don’t really mind since we do view the coordinated effort to parry and bury the peer reviewed articles in top journals by Peter Duesberg and colleagues completely rejecting the HIV∫AIDS paradigm, a campaign exposed when NIH memos were revealed to the public, and a strategy announced by Anthony Fauci head of NIAID in the AAAS newsletter to threaten any reporter that raised the topic with not having his or her calls returned, as a conspiracy of sorts.

    The fact that the NIAID thus barred the New York Times and Frontline on PBS from covering the topic, as well as every other newspaper reporter and TV program, is quite clear from this and all other reports we have in hand. Such censorship of a paradigm review which flouts the public’s right to know has not been contradicted effectively in the literature, and which year by year is confirmed in the mainstream studies which fail to confirm and indeed entirely contradict conventional wisdom in HIV∫AIDS, certainly deserves of the label conspiracy, since it is otherwise not announced or reported by the officials and scientists coordinating it and carrying it out, even though mostly through blind cooperation.

  10. Mark Biernbaum Says:

    TS: There is no rhyme and reason to your attacks except your permanent accusations of homophobia, which is not a scientific topic or a political one which affects the issue discussed here in any complicated way.

    Have we not discussed Schmidt’s paper here? Is the focus of that paper on how homophobia created this monstrous mess? Perhaps you were being too hasty when you wrote the above sentence, which is clearly misinformed and incorrect.

    And might I suggest Google Scholar search on “homophobia,” which is indeed both a scientific and political topic?

    Why do I bother? I’ll answer. I won’t bother any further. Are you getting more than 20 hits per day now? Make it 19.

  11. truthseeker Says:

    Mark, thank you for your umpteenth retirement from posting anti-anti-gay comments here, since with all due respect to your expertise in that sensitive area, it is hard for us to find something relevant about your constant harping on homophobia, especially if you do not read what in posted our replies properly. We merely said that there is nothing complicated about the contribution of homophobia to the politics and science of HIV∫AIDS.

    Any intelligent person not obsessed with where to find homophobia in every nook and cranny of public debate on any issue can immediately see how homophobia has contributed to distorting this discussion, and doesn’t need the further distraction of endless debate especially one involving this very ad hominem complaint.

    Let’s spell it out.

    1) The idea that a virus caused AIDS was immediately popular with gays because it let them off the hook of having to blame their own self-damaging behavior which ruined their immune systems and health from

    a) the impact of sexual performance enhancing drugs including carcinogenic nitrites

    b) obsessive cleaning which stripped their systems of the bacterial defenses which ensure proper digestion of elements needed to support a properly functioning immune system and

    c) neglect of proper nourishment in the pursuit of late night erotic life styles which also starves the immune system of key elements and their crucial balance

    2) Blaming a virus enabled fund raising from the public coffers and private charities to expand to disproportionate levels since

    a) the public at large was supposedly threatened, and thus alarmed, and their legislators willing to pay for defensive measures

    b) a virus can be researched by scientists in expensive labs in the expectation of a vaccine or other practical medical measures

    c) bureaucrats, legislators, scientists and any other parties who resist this trend can be called “homophobic”

    3) Anyone who blames the epidemic of immune breakdown in this country and in Europe on gay behavior can be called “homophobic.”

    4) Mention and discussion of AIDS can proceed in public life without totally disgusting heterosexuals (particularly homophobic ones) with having to contemplate gay practices all of the time, since most of it can be safely abstracted in the mind to the scientific level of discussion involving diagrams of knobby sea mines, cultures, technically specified blood tests, etc.

    Is that OK? Do we have to discuss it any further? Is there any reason to bring the topic up here and accuse people of homophobia? Can we get back to the science and its politics? That is the topic of this blog.

    You are a magnificently sensitive and generous soul who seems to turn into a manipulative agitator whenever you bring this topic up, so why do it? Doesn’t it occur to you that the issue of whether something is politically correct or not is all too likely to reduce rather rapidly into a way to score cheap sanctimonious points at the expense of the productive discussion, which just gets halted until people either leave or calm down?

    We have no idea whether people who insulted you are genuinely anti-gay or not, but we suspect that they are not but have thrown anti gay insults at you because you emphasise the topic so much, just as bears will chase backpackers who run away from them.

    We want to solve the political problem of AIDS for real, by exposing the fact that the scientific literature continually contradicts the claims of the HIV∫AIDS ideology, and a discussion of how and how much homophobia plays a part still seem to us best conducted on a board for gay politics and not on a blog addressing how and why science has gone wrong in this respect, unless you have some brilliant perception (other than suggesting Robert Gallo and many other scientists are homophobic, which is probably true) which rises above the analysis of Caspar Schmidt which was only notable because it was prescient, not because it was complicated.

    But perhaps you have a more profound perception relevant to putting the science back on the rails.

    As far as the readership of this blog goes, moving the server disconnects from the search spiders so there will be a lull before numbers climb back again to 700 and above a day.

  12. Dan Says:

    As far as I’m concerned, “AIDS” is the greatest evidence of homophobia ironically (or not so ironically) expressed by homosexuals themselves. But..I think we’ve definitely beaten to death the topic of homophobia on this blog. I’m generally in agreement with TS on this topic. It’s done. If anybody wants to spend time screaming “homophobe”…let them, and ignore them. It’s a waste of time here.

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