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.


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.

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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George Orwell on AIDS reporting

Andrew Sullivan quotes the master, but fails him

Oprah, Kristof also show Orwellian traits, but not the kind he would approve of

Uberpundit Andrew Sullivan was on Travis Smiley’s straight shooting interview show on PBS just now, hawking his new book, The Conservative Soul, and as unpredictable as ever.

Today this ever young conservative critic tells us that he feels that in the forthcoming elections conservatives should lose their seats, and he is even looking forward to it, as it is nothing less than what they deserve for so royally screwing up their time at the top, not to mention fooling him that there were WMDs in Iraq.

That is not too relevant here, of course. What was interesting, however, given his uncritical acceptance of the standard line in HIV∫AIDS, is the quote he then chose from George Orwell:

“One of my heros is George Orwell, and he said: To see what is in front of your nose is a constant struggle.

Refreshing humility, we thought, given the irony of the remark in the light of Sullivan’s determined credulity in the matter of HIV∫AIDS.

The truth about the meds

Andrew then informed Travis that “I was diagnosed with a fatal illness 13 years ago – HIV – and one of the things that came to me was, Tell the truth. Why are we journalists if we don’t tell the truth?”

More irony, perhaps. Still, if he is still taking the meds, as he earlier blogged, he seems to be doing alright. It is becoming clear that some people thrive on these things, or at least, are not particularly affected by them. Only a certain portion of patients are seriously affected, even though, as the recent big HAART study in the Lancet showed, those who are not ill before treatment tend to get AIDS symptoms very much earlier now. In fact, the mean (for those who get symptoms within the year) is two months. That is to say, half of those who get AIDS in the first year get it within two months of starting HAART.

Since they have no symptoms beforehand, it looks very much as if it is HAART that gives them the symptoms. In fact, it is hard to think of any other source.

But lively Andrew seems to be doing OK, as we say, unless he was sweating for some other reason than the heat from the studio lights. The point is that some people can survive HAART well enough, including presumably Magic Johnson, a robust athlete, after all, if he really is taking HAART as he claims in the ads.

What’s important is that this phenomenon shouldn’t be seen as contradicting the fact which has emerged from the Lancet and the JAMA studies this summer, which is that HAART gives people “AIDS”, and eventually kills many of them, doesn’t rescue any more from death now than it did nine years ago, and its success in diminishing the presence of the virus to “undetectable levels” only demonstrates that HIV has nothing to do with “AIDS” symptoms.

More AIDS lore on Oprah

Tomorrow, Oprah Winfrey continues her massive disinformation campaign on HIV∫AIDS with her 21 million viewers. She recently was seen interviewing Senator and future President Barack Obama and congratulating him and his wife on risking the HIV test in Kenya, thus encouraging a million more people (Oprah’s estimate) to fall in line with the CDC goal of testing everyone in the world.

Her program tomorrow will feature six beautiful women who will be said to have unfortunately contracted the virus from incautious liaisons with men who are HIV positive. How this is accomplished will not be investigated, nor will Nancy Padian be featured on the show.

The Hans Christian Anderson of AIDS

Seems to us that Oprah should have Nicholas Kristof on her show next, with or without Andrew Sullivan. Kristof is a world champion swallower of HIV∫AIDS fairy tales, as we have pointed out before, and now occupies a leading role as HIV∫AIDS propagandist. He recently visited Africa and filed a series of heartrending tales based on on-the-spot reporting.

His column The Deep Roots Of AIDS on September 19 was the pinnacle of achievement for the Times’ most expert ladler of HIV∫AIDS lore. Here is what readers learned:

70 years ago, a man in a remote forest in Cameroon “butchered a sick chimpanzee, and the AIDS virus was born”.

What made the chimp sick was SIV, genetically close to the main human variant of HIV.

The first proven case of AIDS dates from 1979 in Kinshasa, Congo, downriver from the forest.

The world can’t tackle global poverty unless we tackle AIDS effectively.

Pascal Nttomba was the breadwinner for 20 in his family, which lived in a nice wooden house in Yokadouma, Cameroon, and sent his children to technical school. Then he became sick, and neither traditional healer nor doctor could save him. ARVs are available only in the cities, as in most of Africa, so Pascal died. Now the family is destitute.

Hermine, 19, is prepared to save it by taking up with a sugar daddy, but this common arrangement in Africa has led to high infection rates among young women.

In a world of voluntary testing none of the family has been tested for HIV, and this “tip toeing approach” is costing millions of lives.

Unless we have routine testing the world is on track for a worldwide death toll of 70 million by 2020.

Unless they opt out, people in high prevalence countries should be tested “whenever they enter the medical system, marry, enter the armed forces, take a job in the civil service or get pregnant”.

This program of testing for all should be part of President Bush’s “fine program against AIDS” which will save 9 million lives and will be “Mr Bush’s best legacy”, and it should be extended with “even more money”.

AIDS is killing 8,000 people every day worldwide, and infecting 14,000 more, so we need a “more aggressive approach” if future Pascals are not to die and future Hermine’s are not to be sold into sexual slavery.

No better encapsulation of every element of the HIV∫AIDS fairy tale than this could possibly be imagined. Every scientific statement is contradicted by the scientific literature. Is Kristof in the employ of NIAID as a ‘consultant’? Is he a dinner buddy of Anthony Fauci or Mathilde Krim? Or does he do his scientific research simply by reading glossy pamphlets from the UNAID and WHO?

We intend to write to him and find out, but only when things have calmed down. At this very moment he is involved in battling to protect his sources for articles he wrote about the anthrax scandal in 2001, which a magistrate has just demanded he produce.

The Deep Roots Of AIDS


September 19, 2006

The Deep Roots Of AIDS


It was about 70 years ago, evidence suggests, that a man somewhere in this remote forest area of southeastern Cameroon butchered a sick chimpanzee — and the AIDS virus was born.

Chimpanzees here carry a strain of simian immunodeficiency virus (the monkey version of H.I.V.) that is genetically close to the main human variant. So the scientific betting is that the virus jumped to humans here and then traveled with human hosts by river south to Kinshasa, Congo, and then eventually to the wider world. The first proven case dates from Kinshasa in 1959.

I’m traveling with Casey Parks, the student who won my contest to accompany me on a reporting trip, and we’ve been talking to people about AIDS here in its possible birthplace because the world can’t address global poverty unless we tackle AIDS effectively — and in places like this, it’s obvious that still isn’t happening.

We met the family of Pascal Nttomba beside the fresh mound in the garden where he was buried two weeks ago. Mr. Nttomba was the breadwinner for the 20 people in the family.

The Nttombas were relatively well off, living in a nice wooden house and sending their children to technical schools to learn vocations that would take them up a notch in the world. But then Pascal became sick.

He could no longer work, and the family used all its savings to try to cure him — first paying a traditional healer and then a doctor. Neither did any good, although the doctor charged more.

In theory, antiretrovirals are available here to control the disease. But they are mostly for middle-class victims in the cities, and as in most of Africa, an ordinary person in a remote area has next to no chance of getting the drugs. And so Pascal died, and now the family is destitute.

”There’s nothing to eat in the house, since this morning,” said his father, Valeré. The women in the family were planning to scour the fields for cassava leaves to cook for dinner. They say they can also go into the forests to look for edible wild plants, but malnutrition looms.

The children in technical school have dropped out, because there is no money. One of them is Hermine, a 19-year-old, who is now at risk of being approached by an older sugar daddy offering gifts in exchange for being his mistress, a common arrangement in Africa that has led to high infection rates among young women.

”I’d do it,” she acknowledged — after all, the family needs money.

The family’s predicament underscores how the virus not only kills people but also further impoverishes the world’s poorest. And while the hardest-hit countries in southern Africa are doing a bit better against AIDS, others in the middle range like Cameroon or India haven’t woken up to the severity of the problem.

An essential challenge is that 90 percent of those with H.I.V. worldwide don’t know it, and you can’t begin to tackle the disease when no one knows who has it. Here, for example, neither Pascal’s wife nor any other member of his family has been tested.

The mantra has been ”voluntary counseling and testing,” but this tip-toeing approach is costing millions of lives.

It’s time to move to routine testing. Sure, that will cause difficulties; despite efforts to safeguard privacy, some who test positive will become pariahs and will be driven from their villages. But the present approach is even worse and is on track for a worldwide death toll of 70 million by 2020.

So unless they specifically opt out, people in high-prevalence countries should be tested whenever they enter the medical system, marry, enter the armed forces, take a job in the civil service, or get pregnant. That should be coupled with a pledge to try to make treatment available to all who test positive.

That emphasis on testing could be incorporated into the extension of President Bush’s fine program against AIDS, which will save some nine million lives and is up for renewal next year. That program, which provided huge increases in spending and will be Mr. Bush’s best legacy, should be extended with even more money, while dropping its obsession with abstinence-only programs.

With AIDS still killing 8,000 people every day worldwide — and infecting 14,000 more — we need to acknowledge that the present strategy isn’t adequate. We need a more aggressive approach, built around greater testing, so that we don’t go through another few decades with the Pascals of Africa dying needlessly and the Hermines selling themselves into sexual bondage.

Times Is Ordered to Reveal Columnist’s Sources


The New York Times

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October 24, 2006

Times Is Ordered to Reveal Columnist’s Sources


WASHINGTON, Oct. 23 — A federal magistrate judge has ordered The New York Times to disclose the identities of three confidential sources used by one of its columnists, Nicholas Kristof, for columns he wrote about the investigation of the deadly anthrax mailings of 2001.

The order, issued Friday by Magistrate Judge Liam O’Grady, requires the newspaper to disclose the identities of the three sources to lawyers for Dr. Steven J. Hatfill, who has brought a defamation suit against The Times. The order was disclosed Monday.

Catherine Mathis, a spokeswoman for The Times, said the newspaper would appeal the ruling.

Dr. Hatfill, a germ warfare specialist who formerly worked in the Army laboratories at Fort Detrick, Md., has asserted that a series of columns by Mr. Kristof about the slow pace of the anthrax investigation defamed him because they suggested he was responsible for the attacks.

Five people died in the attacks. Although the federal authorities identified Dr. Hatfill as a “person of interest” in the case, they have not charged him with any crimes.

At a deposition on July 13, Mr. Kristof declined to name five of his sources for the columns, but two have subsequently agreed to release him from his pledge of confidentiality. Judge O’Grady’s ruling identifies the remaining unnamed sources as two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and a former colleague or friend of Dr. Hatfill at Fort Detrick.

The judge ruled that the laws of Virginia applied and that under that state’s law, reporters have only a qualified privilege to decline to name their sources that may be outweighed by other factors.

He wrote that for Mr. Hatfill to have a chance of meeting his burden of demonstrating that he was defamed by the columns, he “needs an opportunity to question the confidential sources and determine if Mr. Kristof accurately reported information the sources provided.”

Mr. Kristof wrote about a government scientist he initially referred to as Mr. Z, saying he had become the overwhelming focus of the investigation. In August 2002, he wrote that Dr. Hatfill had acknowledged he was Mr. Z. at a news conference in which he said he had been mistreated by the news media.

The lawsuit was originally dismissed by a federal judge in Virginia in 2004. A divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond reinstated the case and the full appeals court, by a 6-to-6 vote, declined to overturn that ruling. The Supreme Court declined to intervene last March.

Judge O’Grady wrote: “The court understands the need for a reporter to be able to credibly pledge confidentiality to his sources. Confidential sources have been an important part of journalism, which is presumably why Virginia recognizes a qualified reporter’s privilege in the first place.”

He said Virginia law required the use of a three-part balancing test as to whether there is a compelling need for the information, whether the information is relevant and whether it may not be obtained any other way.

71 Responses to “George Orwell on AIDS reporting”

  1. nohivmeds Says:

    I can appreciate your friend’s predicament, and your own. I think they are both fairly common among diagnosed men and some of their friends. My friend TD did not want to take the drugs, his parents pretty much made helping him contingent on doing that. He talked a lot about his misgivings about this, and about HIV=AIDS. That was 1994. He died in 1996. All your story proves is that there is deep discomfort with the current HIV paradigm in the gay community. You make my point for me.

    Dan, if you want me to spend the time to go through each of your posts here and pull out all the homophobic statements, I’m capable of doing that. But I think you know that once I do, you’ll simply state I’m misrepresenting your intentions. Someone who speaks so frequently in generalities about “gay men” and the “gay community”, and always speaks negatively about these things, woudl be any decent psychologist, or human’s, prime suspect for harboring internalized homophobia. Calling you a homophobe is saying the same thing, but not as nicely. I apologize for that.

  2. Truthseeker Says:

    Calling you a homophobe is saying the same thing, but not as nicely. I apologize for that.

    Could distinguished commentators agree to avoid insults which are not amusingly phrased, at least?

  3. Dan Says:

    I suspect the reason I’m being labeled a homophobe by NHM has to do with our very different basic views on what being gay even means. Two distinct things that do not equate with gay identity for me are: victim-mentality, and the fetishizing/worshipping of HIV with it’s inherent faith in the church of AIDS. So, yes, if those things are part and parcel of gay identity, then I’m a homophobe.

    I’ve resigned myself to the fact that NHM views me as a homophobe. That’s fine. It’s his opinion, nothing more.

    So, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way (realizing that the accusations will no doubt continue) I can post freely and not spend any time attempting to defend myself from baseless, hollow attempts to slap the “homophobe” label on me.

    Story time…

    I’ve had an on and off relationship for a couple years. “Mike”, up until just two years before he met me, was by all accounts living a heterosexual life. When we met, he was still very new to a lot of ideas concerning gay culture. Oddly enough (or not so oddly), the one thing he did concurrent with accepting his homosexuality was to enroll himself in a program to be monitored and researched for “HIV infection”.

    Of course, when he was living life as a mainstream heterosexual, no such thought crossed his mind.

    This illustrates a point I’ve been making about “AIDS” and gay identity. “AIDS” is practically inseparable from gay mens’ idenitities, whether they’re “positive” or not. As part of Mike’s self-initiation into gay culture, he enrolled himself in an “HIV” program to monitor him.

  4. kevin Says:

    I suspect the reason I’m being labeled a homophobe by NHM has to do with our very different basic views on what being gay even means. Two distinct things that do not equate with gay identity for me are: victim-mentality, and the fetishizing/worshipping of HIV with it’s inherent faith in the church of AIDS. So, yes, if those things are part and parcel of gay identity, then I’m a homophobe.

    Thank you, Dan. I, too, can no longer be an accessory to the crime of queer victimization, to hell with that. I’m already viewed as a dangerous heretic, and probably a homophobe, by those with whom I’ve spoken freely about the subject, and nowhere does the vitriol flow thicker than in the presence of the ever-present happy-go-lucky A&F “community queer.” It’s not homophobic to criticize other queers for refusing to examine their own lives, particularly their faith in HIV. It’s no secret that every thing that serves to create the public image of the “gay community” also serves the dual role of encouraging conformity, as it is in all segregated populations. And for the gay community, HIV is Jesus Christ.

    Furthermore, it’s not homophobic to care enough to be brutally honest about the numerous shortcomings of the gay community, many of which directly contribute to HIV’s perverse reverence. It actually has parallels to the situation where poor, disenfranchised people vote for the most corrupt politicians simple because they reflect the same morality. I’ve decided that I’ll not support any community whose identity revolves around such a lie. Instead, I’ll fight to change it without compromising my integrity as a free-thinking human being. As for the charge of your internalized homophobia, I’d say the opposite is true…that internalized homophobia would make it easier to accept the vicitimization, to live in apathy with the pathetic masses. After all, it’s a difficult life, the life of a heretic, especially a gay heretic. It’s certainly easier not to care, but sometimes the cost of ignorance is too high, and someone has to hold up the mirror, right?.


  5. nohivmeds Says:

    I just don’t think we’re understanding each other at all. If I were a victim in any way, I doubt very much I would have accomplished what I have. How easy do you think it is to be a gay man attempting to get a PhD in Child Psychology, for example? I’m not a victim, I’m not involved in any sort of victim mentality, I don’t feel victimized by anyone, frankly. Not even by folks on this blog.

    Granted, I’ve seen the sort of victim mentality you speak of in the gay community — and the straight community — and in every community that has been oppressed. It’s a sociological given that oppressed groups will oftentimes emulate their oppressors.

    That doesn’t, however, give me or anyone else the right to generalize, and say that all women are operating from a victim mentality, or all gay men, or the gay community in general are suffering from a victim mentality. That’s way too simplistic to be correct.

    It’s not us vs. them. It’s not me vs. you. It’s not black vs. white. It’s not “gays are ignorant victims” or “gays are heros.” I mean, for God’s sake, a modicum of rationality, please. Let’s avoid oversimplification and generalizations — then we’ll actually be on a good path to discuss any issue — whether it’s the role of gay culture in AIDS, Inc. or Libya, or whatever.

  6. Dave Says:

    I appreciate the insights offered by Dan, Kevin and NHM. It is valuable, and, as someone outside this community, I definitely learn a lot.

    Here’s my take:

    1. On the whole, gay men have been the group most victimized by the AIDS establishment. They were the group, stigmatized by HIV, and then scared and bullied into taking AZT monotherapy from 1987-1997.

    2. So, in my view, the main culprits are: (1) the NIH who dictated the bad science, (2) the Pharmaceutical companies, who capitalized on the science, (3)the incompetent media, who uncritically promoted the bad science and (4) the various scientists in the academies who knew better, but turned a blind eye to the bad science.

    After 1997, the bad guys did a skillful job of co-opting some of its victims, and embraced a small, but influential segment of the gay community to assume the role of cultural/social enforcers of the HIV paradigm. Again, this is a small minority of gays. But, they were pretty effective. So, this segment would be no. (5) in the list of bad guys.

    That’s my global macro view.

    I am heartened, though, by the several gay men who have contacted me over the past year — some of whom recently were diagnosed HIV+ — who reject the HIV paradigm. This is a very, positive, healthy development.

    By nature, I’m optimistic. Though I don’t ignore the human wreckage caused by AIDS Inc., I definitely see progress.

  7. nohivmeds Says:

    Hey Dave —

    Thanks for that macro-view. It’s good to back away and look at the broader picture. That helps.

    I just want to say this. I’m really happy I’m gay. I think it’s a lucky thing — I think I have a lot more leeway in society than straight men are generally given, and I’ve taken full advantage of that. I’m not discounting the difficulties in being a sexual minority — I’ve researched and published on that. But there are some amazing benefits. I’ve just never encountered a group of gay men before now on this blog who seem so unhappy being gay. I mean, I don’t adore every gay man I meet — some I downright hate. But I’m happy being gay, and I’ll take the good with the bad in our community.

    And I too am an optimist.

  8. Dan Says:

    As for the charge of your internalized homophobia…

    I’d say to not even consider it. First, it’s not something that’s provable. Second, who cares? The people in your life who really know you are all that’s important.

    Glad to meet you and German Guest here in cyberspace. I think we’re coming from very similar places in this.

  9. Dan Says:

    Quote of quotes:

    internalized homophobia would make it easier to accept the victimization

    Hit the nail on the head there, Kevin.

  10. nohivmeds Says:

    Recommended reading to all who are interested in seeing how internalized homophobia is measured and what it has been empirically related to:

    Williamson, I. R. (2000). Internalized homophobia and health issues affecting lesbians and gay men. Health Education Research, 15 , 97-107.

    Odets, W. (1995). In the shadow of the epidemic: Being HIV-negative in the age of AIDS (Series Q) . Duke University Press.

  11. nohivmeds Says:

    BTW — the article by Williamson is a review of research and discusses several approaches used in the literature to assess internalized homophobia. It has, also, an excellent reference list of additional resources. And as I’ve mentioned previously, Odets’ book is excellent. Really on target regarding the divide in the gay community which some folks here seem concerned with, but haven’t read up on too much.

  12. nohivmeds Says:

    And by the way, Dan, if you happened to read my letter in Harper’s, or taken much science, you would know that scientists aren’t interested in what you call “provable” information. They are interested in disproving alternate hypotheses by testing against the null hypothesis. The word “proof” exists in geometry, but is used exceptionally tentatively, if at all, in science. And once again, as I did previously, I remind you I’m capable of empirically studying your writings here at NAR for evidence of internalized homophobia. If you’d like me to elucidate what the method for that piece of research would be, I’d be happy to.

    (This would rate a RED BORDER if there was one to apply. – Ed.)

  13. Dan Says:

    I remind you I’m capable of empirically studying your writings here at NAR for evidence of internalized homophobia.

    go for it. Have a good time. And your need to label me as a homophobe helps move the discussion forward here how ? I’m interested in hearing what purpose you think that will serve. It’s obviously important to you to label me a homophobe, as you’ve threatened a number of times to dissect posts to supposedly “prove” your case.

    So, after teasing us repeatedly that you’ll show to the world that I’m a homophobe, it’s time for you to put up or shut up. And while you’re at it, tell the folks here why this is so important.

  14. nohivmeds Says:

    Okay Dan. It isn’t important to me — you keep arguing that I should do this study, so here’s what it would entail — and you’ll note that we’ll need three additional people to code data, which means we will need some money to complete it:

    First, I would have to pull every one of your posts and number them.
    If the number was higher than, say, 100 posts, we’d want to draw a random sample rather than examine every post.
    To draw a random sample, from say 300 posts, where we wanted approximately one third in the sample, we would ask a random number generator program to give us a number between 2 and 20. Say we got the number 8.
    We would then go through all the posts, pulling every 8th post until we reached our goal of one third.

    So then we would have our sample.

    Then we would take each post in the sample and number the sentences/phrases in each post. That way, each sentence in the sample would have a unique double-digit identifier (one # is the number we put on the post, the other is the number assigned to the sentence).

    The sentences/phrases would serve as our basic coding units — they would be the raw data.

    Now we would need some help. We would hire two data coders (I could not code the data, because I have a specific hypothesis about you, so I have to remove that bias and get objective coders).

    Each data coder would be asked to examine each sentence and code on the following questions:
    1. Is the sentence about gay men/the gay community/gay culture?
    2. If the sentence is about gay men/the gay community/gay culture, what is the tone of the sentence? (this would be coded as “positive” “critical” or “ambivalent” or “not applicable”).
    3. If the sentence is about gay men/the gay community/gay culture, what is the intensity of the comment (regardless of the tone). This would be a numeric rating, with 1 = not intense, ranging to 5 = Extremely intense.

    The two data coders would apply this coding rubric to all the sentences.

    All sentences on which they agreed in their ratings would be logged into a database. Disagreements between the first two coders would be settled by the review of a third independent coder. The third independent coder would only be given the sentences on which there was disagreement, and would not be told how the sentence had been previously coded.

    Once the disagreements had been rectified by the third independent coder, then those data could join the rest in the database.

    I would then examine the results. There would be several questions we could answer:

    1. What percentage of the sample sentences contained references to gay men/the gay community/gay culture?
    2. Of those sentences, what percentage were “critical” “positive” “ambivalent” (and not applicable) in tone?
    3. Of the sentences coded a “critical”, what was the average intensity rating?

    This is just one way the question could be approached, Dan. I have no need to do this — but it wouldn’t make a bad content analysis, and I suppose might even be publishable. The steps are very simple. Anyone could do it now that I have laid it out. If you can find a source to pay the three independent coders, then the study could be done.

    You asked me to prove scientifically that you had internalized homophobia. You could execute this study yourself. You could even do a small pilot study, taking perhaps 30 randomly selected posts. I think that this is something you need to discover more about on your own, Dan. I made this elaborate posting to show you a way. I don’t need to do the study to feel confident in my impressions. But perhaps you might need to do the study to either reassure yourself, or maybe just explore something about yourself. I hope you do that (the small pilot study). You think I dislike you. You’re wrong about that, Dan.

  15. German Guest Says:

    Nohivmeds, I’m almost tired of reading your posts that do not contribute anything to the discussion here. Write Dan an extensive email or something but pleeeezze, don’t pollute this public forum with postings like the one above. Thank you very much.

  16. nohivmeds Says:

    German Guest — I was responding to Dan’s inquiry. Should I not respond to Dan? I think that would be rude. If you don’t want to read that kind of post, then take it up with Dan. He asked me to study this issue. I responded. If he hadn’t made such a big deal of it, I wouldn’t have bothered responding. See how that works? Your comment would have been more appropriate if it was regarding a post of mine that was not written in response to a request by another person.

  17. Dan Says:


    that was a long-winded way of saying that you’ve got squat.

    Now, if you have any integrity, you won’t be casually labeling folks as “homophobes”. If you do decide to call anybody a homophobe, this thread shows that you’re unable to back up that accusation.

    You’re insincere. I didn’t “ask you to study this issue”. After you repeatedly threatened to somehow , through my postings here, show everybody that I’m a homophobe, I said “go for it”. Not quite the same as asking you to “study this issue”.

    I think we can move on now, away from the accusations of homophobia. You’re full of hot air, NHM. You can’t back up your accusations of homophobia, and you didn’t bother answering the question of what purpose it serves in this forum to label me as a homophobe.

  18. nohivmeds Says:

    Dan. Like I said, if you want to hire 3 independent coders, we can complete the study. I didn’t make an accusation, I made an observation — and as with any topic, we would need to collect DATA to study it. One can’t answer a scientific question, Dan, without DOING THE SCIENCE. So once again, Dan, if you’d like to pay the independent coders, we could do the science.

    And again — I have apologized for calling you a homophobe. I have said that you suffer from internalized homophobia, and that YOU, yourself, could scientifically investigate that, since you don’t believe me, and I showed you exactly how to do that.

    Seems to me the hot air is blowing from your direction.

    And, I would submit, that any discussion of Andrew Sullivan would necessarily include a discussion of internalized homophobia. After all, he is a Conservative Gay Republican. Internalized homophobia is very much topical in this thread.

  19. Dan Says:

    NHM: I didn’t make an accusation, I made an observation

    Dan: If you do decide to call anybody a homophobe, this thread shows that you’re unable to back up that accusation.

    A little experiment. Let’s see how it goes. We’ll substitute “observation” in place of “accusation”.

    If you do decide to call anybody a homophobe, this thread shows that you’re unable to back up that observation.

    Yep. Still works.

  20. Truthseeker Says:

    And, I would submit, that any discussion of Andrew Sullivan would necessarily include a discussion of internalized homophobia. After all, he is a Conservative Gay Republican. Internalized homophobia is very much topical in this thread.

    Dear and most worthy NHM, discussion of Andrew Sullivan’s motives is relevant, agreed, since he is a public figure playing a role of influence in this affair and it can be argued that he should behave in a more intelligent and responsible fashion, and the question is, why he does not.

    Endless analysis of the degree of homophobia or other motivations of distinguished commentators on this blog is not called for, however, since the topic is the science and the politics of the science, and not what distinctly smacks of navel examination camouflaged as projection.

    Many people object to the incessant peddling of defensive narcissism by all too many gays with their ready accusations of homophobia at the drop of a hat even though it may well be only a natural outcome of the minority politics of bigotry suffered, and perfectly understandable. But the ironic result is often homophobia where it was initially absent.

    That is why we have asked repeatedly that accusations of homophobia within this blog be curtailed, as distracting, unprovable, and alienating.

    Externally directed, at far off targets, fine. Ricocheting off the walls of this refuge from insanity, endangering the peace of mind of other participants, risking boredom, not.

    Let the finely wrought wheels of your mind turn on other ways to contribute the munificent benefits of your expertise and long acquaintance with the central problem addressed by this blog, if you will.

  21. nohivmeds Says:

    TS wrote:

    “Endless analysis of the degree of homophobia or other motivations of distinguished commentators on this blog is not called for…”

    I could not agree more, TS. That’s why I laid out a possible content analysis study, to show how it would be done, but did not do it. Dan seems to be confused about this. Since I did not execute the study discussed, because it would not have been appropriate here, he states that this means I am unable to do so and could not provide evidence of his, or of Andrew Sullivan’s homophobia. This is an incorrect assumption and needs to be corrected for the record. I could apply the analysis discussed to either our friend Dan, or to our enemy Andrew.

    But the degree of homophobia is not as relevant as its continued presence amongst gay men, and they way it tends to distort their views — both of the gay community, and of society at large. For Sullivan, it rears its ugly head in his politics, for others, it rears its ugly head in reckless generalities that disallow for the obvious heterogeneity present in any human community. Internalized homophobia emerges in multiple ways, but it is always damaging to the person carrying it, and oftentimes, to those around them. It perhaps is the most relevant concept when discussing Sullivan’s work — a point on which it appears we agree.

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