Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

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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.

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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blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.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

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Positive feedback – Harpers/Farber gains appreciative salutes

Calm voices amid the tumult

Not all is venom and panic among the Web comment Celia Farber’s “Out of Control: AIDS and the Corruption of Medical Science” has received on line. Some intelligent response has been posted at the POZ site.

By “intelligent” we mean responses in which the reputation and record of Harpers, and the quality and objectivity of Farber, and some knowledge of the ongoing debate and its validity, and interest in the case on both sides, weigh in the balance, and the article is respected as a valid contribution to the public discourse, and not reacted to in ways which suggest that the reader has been immunized against it by preconception and prejudice.

Worth quoting in full is this from Thomas, an uncertain but alert HIV positive man:

I have been immensely interested to observe the explosion of anti-Harper’s and anti-Celia Farber rhetoric in the wake of the article published in Harper’s March edition.

Since my HIV+ diagnosis nearly 4 years ago I have attempted to educate myself as thoroughly as possible about all aspects of the ‘virus’. Simultaneously I have endeavoured to maintain good health and succeeded in boosting my CD4 count considerably, all without recourse to AIDS medications.

I have tried to remain unbiased and clinical in my approach. However, in light of my research so far, my greatest fear is the prospect of my excellent doctor telling me it is time to start taking AIDS meds.

Surely there can be no question about the extreme toxicity of AIDS medications. Your magazine, like just about all papers, websites etc, not to mention the actual pill bottles, dealing with the topic, repeatedly alert their readers to the potentially horrendous side effects which may result from taking the meds. Those of us who must make a choice can be forgiven for hesitating.

Obviously there is a huge disparity between the opposing beliefs about HIV/AIDS. What I find so alarming is an apparent unwillingness to scientifically disprove the arguments of the opposition, by those so ardently spreading the good news on behalf of the big, mega buck pharmaceutical companies. Instead of keep telling us the medical industry has it right, why not prove it scientifically. Or is that perhaps too difficult?

My suspicions, miniscule at the time of my seroconversion, have simply increased to a hardened distrust, or at the least a healthy scepticism of any claims now being churned out by the medical industry. It seems hardly a month passes without yet another disclosure of invalidated or even fraudulent medical research and doctors/scientists being exposed as get rich crooks reaping vast profits/prestige from their unchecked and often ‘swept under the carpet’, antics. True, not all are specific to HIV/AIDS issues but it is a sorry fact that we live in a world where monetary reward is all too often the biggest motivator sweeping aside the ethical integrity once assumed to be second nature to men of science.

In conclusion, I am delighted Harper’s chose to publish Celia Farber’s article and commend their courage. One hopes perhaps it will alert more people to the dark side of medicine and encourage a proper agenda for establishing the facts about AIDS/HIV rather than the fictions. Currently I feel I am little more than a sacrificial lab rat in the avaricious eyes of pharma business, whose raison d’etre, let us not forget, is to make money for its shareholders.

In other words, having been made aware that there is something disputed in HIV?AIDS, Thomas is prepared to learn what it is and make up his own mind. The fact that so many do not react with this plain rationality is an indication of how little education has benefited them, if education is viewed as an attempt to train people to use their own minds on a topic, rather than a preparation for corporate employment.

Others may argue that the ability and inclination to think for oneself is inborn, however, so education can make very little difference. Given how rare it is in our own daily experience, we are inclined to the genetic view also. We suspect that the religious instinct is what curbs it in most people, and that that is rooted in tribalism, which is an entirely irrational drive in the modern context, as suicide bombers demonstrate daily.

The next letter from David is also worth quoting in full for the same reason, that it celebrates objective thinking as a way to assess the merits of the article:

It seems to me that the main point of Celia Farber’s Harper’s article was not to prove that HIV does not cause AIDS, but that the nexus between corporate profits and politics have resulted in science being kicked to the curb. According to her story, standard scientific standards have not and are not being applied in the research to identify the ultimate cause/cure of the disease. I’m disapppointed, but I guess not so surprised, that the reaction to the story on your website, with few exceptions, consists of ad hominem attacks, impugning Ms. Farber’s professionalism or demonizing her as the moral equivalent of Charles Davenport or Lyndon LaRouche.

There seems to be no reasoned, articulate or rational response to the debatable points raised in her story, which I found to be meticulously researched and documented. And I’m not even sure I agree with anything she wrote. But I do agree with this: Scientists are obligated to take theories to task, and to determine whether the empirical data support a given hypothesis.

If the dogmatic supporters of the current HIV=AIDS theory are so confident in their position, why don’t they engage the Celia Farber’s and Peter Duesberg’s of the world and prove them wrong once and for all? What are they afraid of?

The very nature of science and academia demands rigorous debate. Is logical positivism to be the next victim of AIDS?

The next letter from Mark Biernbaum is also in support of Harpers/Farber, on the grounds that one has to be aware of interests and motivations in politics and public debate, and that POZ is funded by drug money, in that its ads are mostly for drugs.

This is an unhappy truth, worth pointing to in discussing attitudes, but irrelevant to the real debate on whether the scientific basis for HIV?AIDS ideology is valid. Certainly it has to be voiced as a counter to similar calumny heaped by others on Farber/Harpers, but on either side, discussion of people’s motives is something which ideally ought to be kept out of the debate.

One of the great contributions of Serge Lang of Yale was to make this point, and personify its application. In all the Files he sent, there was not a word of speculation about someone’s motives, however misleading he thought their statements were, and however resistant they were to correcting the record.

I ask you this, who exactly should HIV+ people trust—your magazine and website, when it is obvious that you would be unable to publish without the money provided by pharmaceutical firms for advertising, or an award-winning investigative journalist who has uncovered extremely serious scientific flaws in several studies of HIV meds? Celia Farber is not dependent on advertising income from Astra Zeneca and others to support her work—you are. Your knee-jerk reaction to her exceptional essay is not only typical, but exceptionally damaging. Did you even read the article? Did you even note that 2300 scientists support a re-evaluation of the HIV=AIDS hypothesis? Don’t you think your readers deserve such a reevaluation? All Celia Farber is doing is trying to save lives. As a talented journalist, do you think she’s won kudos for bucking the establishment? Hardly. She could have, a long time ago when she began reporting on AIDS in Spin, abandoned this work and moved on to something that might have proven less controversial. She didn’t move on exactly because she and 2300 scientists and others have more than adequate reason to demand a reevaluation of the HIV=AIDS hypothesis. Before you cast her off as a “yellow” journalist, why not try doing what journalists are supposed to do, and vet her sources? I dare you to, and feel safe in doing so, because I know you won’t sacrifice the big money pharmaceutical firms provide for your publication. Anyone looking at an issue of POZ could easily tell that there is no way you would still be publishing if it weren’t for advertising revenues from big Pharma. It’s very sad, but you’ve completely forgotten why you exist. I’m grateful to Celia Farber, Peter Duesberg, and the 2300 other scientists who have demanded the HIV=AIDS hypothesis be reevaluated. You might also want to ask yourself, regarding friends and lovers who have died in the last 5 years, what they died of. In my case, every friend I’ve lost in the last 5 years has died of liver failure due to med toxicity. I suppose it would be ridiculous to expect real journalism from a magazine owned by the pharmaceutical industry.

POZ Farber Feedback:

(show)

Farber Feedback

What are your thoughts about Celia Farber’s story in the March issue of Harper’s magazine? Email them to us at news@poz.com.

Here’s some of the feedback so far:

> to Harper’s from Thomas Gegeny, Center for AIDS Information & Advocacy

Celia Farber’s article “Out of Control: AIDS and the corruption of medical science” (March issue) left me absolutely numb. While Farber’s report justifiably exposed an undeniable case of medical negligence in the care of Joyce Ann Hafford, the author manipulates that heart-wrenching story into a launch-pad for communicating unfathomable inaccuracies with a blatant disregard of substantial medical and scientific data. To call Farber’s blend of fact with fiction a “report” (as you listed it) surely is as much a disservice to your readership as it is an insult to the field of journalism. For Farber, and a small but vocal group of others, the controversy is whether Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and their underdog is Dr. Peter Duesberg.

Much of Duesberg’s rationale argues that numerous people have been identified to have AIDS but without having HIV. Is it possible for conditions of human immunodeficiency to have causes other than HIV? Most certainly. Still, Duesbergian followers like Farber somehow see this as proof that HIV is not the cause of AIDS.

In actuality, they’d be better served if they abandoned the concept of “AIDS” all together. The idea of AIDS is in many ways a vague designation from the 1980s when the cause of this advanced disease stage was not well understood and yet the condition was commonly documented, especially although not exclusively among gay men. Almost a quarter century later, we now know that a person’s course of HIV disease may vary depending on host immune and genetic factors, viral genetics, nutrition, treatment, and other factors. In fact, with proper care and treatment, progression to AIDS is no longer an inevitability of HIV infection.

Farber quotes “Koch’s postulates” as one line of reasoning for why HIV does not cause AIDS. Koch’s postulates were written in the late 1890s and have proven useful in establishing a cause-and-effect relationship between bacteria (or other microorganisms) and infectious diseases. But viruses are not cellular organisms (often being referred to as “complicated molecules” or “infectious particles”) and rely on “taking over” host cells to reproduce. To use Koch’s postulates as a litmus test for assessing HIV as a causal agent for developing AIDS is shortsighted and misleading. HIV infection is characterized by a complicated viral pathogenesis resulting in immune dysfunction and chronic inflammation. Over time, the host immune system gradually wears out, resulting in compromised immunity. Science has really just begun to characterize how complex the interactions and balance mechanisms of the immune system really are.

Duesberg’s theories state that “AIDS is a chemical syndrome” caused by heavy drug use or HIV medications themselves—except in developing nations, where it is caused by malnutrition and endemic diseases. This position is utterly disconnected from (and perhaps purposefully ignorant of) the last 2 decades of HIV research and scientific discovery. While drug use, malnutrition, and coinfection with other diseases can affect the progression of HIV disease, they do not substitute for the immune effects observed in the setting of HIV infection. Twelve million orphans in Africa can attest that their parents are dead, leaving grandparents or others to care for the children. How can malnutrition and “endemic diseases” be so selective for the sexually active generations in society, leaving behind the elderly and the young?

But in the Harper’s article, Farber’s well-crafted storytelling takes Duesberg’s arguments to a new level. Reading Farber’s recounts of the first AZT studies (where much-too-high doses were tested in the sickest of patients) is like reading history completely out of context. Her sweeping generalizations (“The failure of . . . researchers to properly control their study with a placebo group . . . . is perhaps the outstanding characteristic of AIDS research in general.”) show a lack of understanding of modern-day clinical trial design, now quite commonplace in fields such as Duesberg’s own area, cancer. Blanket statements such as “With all other viral diseases, by the way, the presence of antibodies signals immunity from the disease” are simply untrue, especially in the context of chronic infections (for example, various herpesvirus infections).

Farber points out how another Duesberg theory (that a genetic condition known as aneuploidy may play an important role in cancer) has begun to attract the attention of his peers, as if this is a sure signal that everything Duesberg must now be legitimate. But history is filled with important scientists, doctors, philosophers, and others whose work was marked as much by their strokes of genius as their incorrect conclusions. Farber also mentions a petition from the “Group for Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV-AIDS Hypothesis,” which has been signed by 2,300 people (“mostly scientists and doctors”). Of course knowledge about HIV infection and AIDS is still incomplete, and doctors and scientists may have specific reasons for signing such a petition based on gaps in the knowledge to date. I suppose a similar argument could be made for those 514 individuals who have signed a petition of dissent from Darwin’s theory of evolution (as reported in The New York Times on February 21, 2006).

Certainly, a great deal of the article covers the HIVNET 012 study and employment problems between the National Institutes of Health and Jonathan Fishbein (who does believe that HIV causes AIDS). The HIVNET 012 study was beset with data-collection problems at several research centers (in infrastructure-poor, developing countries desperate to participate in research that could save lives). In her effort to move beyond the now-stale credo of “AZT kills” that uses examples almost 20 years old, Farber fervorously latches onto the HIVNET story as a more modern example of the dangers of HIV research today. The truth couldn’t be further from her grasp, as many thousands of patients have benefited from clinical HIV research and continue to do so. Dismissing these benefits, while implying that the many thousands of intelligent and dedicated scientific and clinical researchers worldwide are somehow all either in collusion on a lie or too simpleminded to know the “real truth” is perhaps Farber’s greatest trick of all.

> to POZ from Derek Chalcraft:

I have been immensely interested to observe the explosion of anti-Harper’s and anti-Celia Farber rhetoric in the wake of the article published in Harper’s March edition.

Since my HIV+ diagnosis nearly 4 years ago I have attempted to educate myself as thoroughly as possible about all aspects of the ‘virus’. Simultaneously I have endeavoured to maintain good health and succeeded in boosting my CD4 count considerably, all without recourse to AIDS medications.

I have tried to remain unbiased and clinical in my approach. However, in light of my research so far, my greatest fear is the prospect of my excellent doctor telling me it is time to start taking AIDS meds.

Surely there can be no question about the extreme toxicity of AIDS medications. Your magazine, like just about all papers, websites etc, not to mention the actual pill bottles, dealing with the topic, repeatedly alert their readers to the potentially horrendous side effects which may result from taking the meds. Those of us who must make a choice can be forgiven for hesitating.

Obviously there is a huge disparity between the opposing beliefs about HIV/AIDS. What I find so alarming is an apparent unwillingness to scientifically disprove the arguments of the opposition, by those so ardently spreading the good news on behalf of the big, mega buck pharmaceutical companies. Instead of keep telling us the medical industry has it right, why not prove it scientifically. Or is that perhaps too difficult?

My suspicions, miniscule at the time of my seroconversion, have simply increased to a hardened distrust, or at the least a healthy scepticism of any claims now being churned out by the medical industry. It seems hardly a month passes without yet another disclosure of invalidated or even fraudulent medical research and doctors/scientists being exposed as get rich crooks reaping vast profits/prestige from their unchecked and often ‘swept under the carpet’, antics. True, not all are specific to HIV/AIDS issues but it is a sorry fact that we live in a world where monetary reward is all too often the biggest motivator sweeping aside the ethical integrity once assumed to be second nature to men of science.

In conclusion, I am delighted Harper’s chose to publish Celia Farber’s article and commend their courage. One hopes perhaps it will alert more people to the dark side of medicine and encourage a proper agenda for establishing the facts about AIDS/HIV rather than the fictions. Currently I feel I am little more than a sacrificial lab rat in the avaricious eyes of pharma business, whose raison d’etre, let us not forget, is to make money for its shareholders.

> to POZ from David Stearns:

It seems to me that the main point of Celia Farber’s Harper’s article was not to prove that HIV does not cause AIDS, but that the nexus between corporate profits and politics have resulted in science being kicked to the curb. According to her story, standard scientific standards have not and are not being applied in the research to identify the ultimate cause/cure of the disease. I’m disapppointed, but I guess not so surprised, that the reaction to the story on your website, with few exceptions, consists of ad hominem attacks, impugning Ms. Farber’s professionalism or demonizing her as the moral equivalent of Charles Davenport or Lyndon LaRouche.

There seems to be no reasoned, articulate or rational response to the debatable points raised in her story, which I found to be meticulously researched and documented. And I’m not even sure I agree with anything she wrote. But I do agree with this: Scientists are obligated to take theories to task, and to determine whether the empirical data support a given hypothesis.

If the dogmatic supporters of the current HIV=AIDS theory are so confident in their position, why don’t they engage the Celia Farber’s and Peter Duesberg’s of the world and prove them wrong once and for all? What are they afraid of?

The very nature of science and academia demands rigorous debate. Is logical positivism to be the next victim of AIDS?

>to POZ from Mark A. Biernbaum, PhD:

I ask you this, who exactly should HIV+ people trust—your magazine and website, when it is obvious that you would be unable to publish without the money provided by pharmaceutical firms for advertising, or an award-winning investigative journalist who has uncovered extremely serious scientific flaws in several studies of HIV meds? Celia Farber is not dependent on advertising income from Astra Zeneca and others to support her work—you are. Your knee-jerk reaction to her exceptional essay is not only typical, but exceptionally damaging. Did you even read the article? Did you even note that 2300 scientists support a re-evaluation of the HIV=AIDS hypothesis? Don’t you think your readers deserve such a reevaluation? All Celia Farber is doing is trying to save lives. As a talented journalist, do you think she’s won kudos for bucking the establishment? Hardly. She could have, a long time ago when she began reporting on AIDS in Spin, abandoned this work and moved on to something that might have proven less controversial. She didn’t move on exactly because she and 2300 scientists and others have more than adequate reason to demand a reevaluation of the HIV=AIDS hypothesis. Before you cast her off as a “yellow” journalist, why not try doing what journalists are supposed to do, and vet her sources? I dare you to, and feel safe in doing so, because I know you won’t sacrifice the big money pharmaceutical firms provide for your publication. Anyone looking at an issue of POZ could easily tell that there is no way you would still be publishing if it weren’t for advertising revenues from big Pharma. It’s very sad, but you’ve completely forgotten why you exist. I’m grateful to Celia Farber, Peter Duesberg, and the 2300 other scientists who have demanded the HIV=AIDS hypothesis be reevaluated. You might also want to ask yourself, regarding friends and lovers who have died in the last 5 years, what they died of. In my case, every friend I’ve lost in the last 5 years has died of liver failure due to med toxicity. I suppose it would be ridiculous to expect real journalism from a magazine owned by the pharmaceutical industry.

> to Harper’s from the AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition (ATAC):

Despite the plethora of evidence to the contrary, the notion that HIV does not cause AIDS continues to find a wide audience—thanks, in part, to the writing of Celia Farber—with potential negative impact on HIV-infected individuals and on public health efforts to control the epidemic. For years, Ms. Farber has been spinning yarn of half-truths, bent on proving that antiretroviral therapy is a big, fat, greed-driven lie that has needlessly left people living with this phantom disease victimized and brutalized. What she consistently fails to report are the reams of data indicating that such treatment has not only had a profound effect on the length and quality of HIV-positive people’s lives, but has also greatly reduced mother-to-child transmission rates throughout the world.

We do not overlook the side effects some people face. Those in clinical trials willingly offered up the last remnants of their precious health and lives—the ultimate sacrifice—in pursuit of therapies to save themselves and others. The commitment of these brave study volunteers, including those participating in the HIVNET 012 trial, has prolonged the lives of many and continues to bear fruit, albeit sometimes bitter.

The end result of Ms. Farber’s agenda couldn’t be clearer. People may be dissuaded from being tested for HIV, or they may discount the threat of HIV and continue to engage in risky sexual behavior and needle sharing. If public health messages on HIV prevention are diluted by the misconception that HIV is not responsible for AIDS, otherwise preventable cases of HIV infection and AIDS may occur, adding to the global tragedy of the epidemic.

Decades of research concludes that AIDS is characterized by the progressive loss of the CD4+ cells—a subset of disease-fighting white blood cells—leading to severe immunosuppression and opportunistic complications that rarely occur in persons with intact immune function. Although the precise mechanisms leading to the destruction of the immune system have not been fully delineated, abundant epidemiologic, virologic, and immunologic data support the conclusion that infection with HIV is the underlying cause of AIDS.

HIV and AIDS have been repeatedly linked in time, place and population group; the appearance of HIV in the blood supply has preceded or coincided with the occurrence of AIDS cases in every country and region where AIDS has been noted. Individuals as different as gay/bisexual men, elderly transfusion recipients, married women, injection drug-users, and infants have all developed AIDS with only one common denominator: infection with HIV. Laboratory workers accidentally exposed to highly concentrated HIV and health care workers exposed to HIV-infected blood have developed immunosuppression and AIDS with no other risk factor for immune dysfunction (which, evidently, permitted the conclusion that HIV was the cause of AIDS in accordance with Koch’s postulates). Researchers also have demonstrated a correlation between the amount of HIV in the body and progression of the aberrant immunologic processes seen in people with AIDS.

ATAC is a national coalition of AIDS activists, many living with HIV/AIDS, working together to end the AIDS epidemic by advancing research on HIV/AIDS.

> from Howard Grossman, executive director of the American Academy of HIV Medicine, in an email newsletter to AAHIVM members:

* WARNING: The March issue of Harper’s Magazine Contains A Troubling Article *

Once again, Celia Farber, one of the chief mouthpieces of the HIV Denialist cabal, rehashes old information about HIVNET 012 and the NIH flap over Jonathan Fishbein. In her typical hyperbolic, inflammatory prose she demonizes doctors, researchers, the FDA, the NIH and everyone else as a way of reiterating the tired HIV Denialist creed. In a self-referential circle, whose experts include everyone from Peter Duesberg to the AP’s John Solomon, all the usual claims are made about HIV medications causing mayhem and death, while everyone except her heroes is a pawn of big pharma.

No need to read this example of yellow journalism at its worst, of which Harper’s should be ashamed, but we thought you should have a heads-up that it’s on the stands and guaranteed to scare patients who have not seen it before.

> to Harper’s from Gregg Gonsalves:

I have been a long-time Harper’s Magazine reader. I am sorry that the March 2006 issue is the very last that I will read.

With Celia Farber’s article “Out of Control: AIDS and the Corruption of Medical Science,” your magazine has managed to destroy its 156 year-old reputation in 15 pages.

Farber is a well-known AIDS denialist and publishing her work is akin to giving the folks at the Discovery Institute a place to expound upon the “science” of intelligent design, Charles Davenport a venue to educate us about the racial inferiority of the Negro or Lyndon LaRouche a platform to warn us about aliens, bio-duplication, and nudity.

If Harpers was some fringe publication or supermarket tabloid then we could all laugh at Farber’s weird conspiracy theories and pseudo-science. The sad thing is that unlike the hoaxes perpetuated on the New Republic by Stephen Glass several years ago, Ms. Farber’s reputation as a crank is widespread. Thus, it seems that your editors, after careful research and despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, decided that Ms. Farber was a serious journalist with a real story to be told.

If you choose to report falsehoods as truths when it comes to HIV/AIDS, how can I trust the veracity of the rest of what appears in your pages?

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