Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

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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.

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

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Saving the chimps from scientists


Joy of liberated chimps shows up witless abuse of power by researchers

Suggests lethal motivations in HIV∫AIDS drug research are similar

Strong men may weep and rage at the Nature segment on Chimpanzees: An Unnatural History running on PBS stations this week in New York.

According to this poetic video lament by filmmaker Allison Argo, scientific researchers who work with chimps behave with less sensitivity than chimps themselves. They have neither the imagination nor the principles to treat their charges as they deserve, ie as 99.5 per cent genetically human, and deserving of equal rights if not in all respects, then in 99.5 per cent respects.

Up at Fauna Foundation [outside Montreal], a female chimpanzee named Pepper was grooming my arm and she clearly wanted me to take my watch off because it was in the way. So I took my watch off and she had it so fast! It was in the cage, and I thought, “Oh well, that’s the end of the watch. I really liked that watch, too.” She grasped it in her foot, since they can use their feet like hands. So she held it in her foot and groomed me for about 10 minutes. And then when she was finished, she very gently took it out of her foot and handed it out to me. And I was just amazed. It was so considerate, sensitive. She understood that it was something that was mine, something that I liked.

Just how ruinously our brothers and sisters under the hairy skin are treated in America is made only too miserably clear. In labs they are or have been the subject of damaging experimentation without consent, often permanently harmful and sometimes useless. They were shot up into space, injected with disease, surgically messed with and strapped into seats to test seat belts at high speeds.

Small cages were their living quarters in between these heroic services to mankind, solitary confinement for creatures with strong social needs, probably stronger than the scientists who neglected them.

In circuses or show business, all their teeth would be removed.

After their scientific or show business careers are over, they are transferred to retirement homes funded by the Federal government which are no better than solitary in Alcatraz. Typical quarters are or were steel cages indoors without even visual access to their fellow chimps living next door behind the concrete dividers (Click on pics to enlarge hugely).

Kissing a chimp with HIV

In this moving documentary, some women are introduced who, unlike the typical chimp researcher, have that part of the brain functioning that can empathize with chimps as deserving of humane treatment as much as any other intelligent, thoughtful, inventive, passionate, family oriented and loving creature – a group which apparently does not include many of the researchers, though one girl looking after them in a lab does feel a sharp pang when she can’t give them the attention they obviously implore.

The women are trying to move their retirees to the outdoors by building an island or otherwise releasing them into grass and trees. One hitch is that one collection of chimps is among the 200 or so that were “injected with HIV” in the early days of AIDS. The research was carried out because chimps are genetically so close to humans that they are thought to be ideal subjects for such experimentation.

The effort was abandoned, the documentary explains, because the chimps didn’t get AIDS. There is no answer to the obvious question, why then didn’t the researchers conclude that HIV didn’t cause AIDS in humans?

So now one sympathetic woman has a bunch of chimps “with HIV” in hand, and heavy resistance on the part of the townspeople where she runs her chimp home to the idea of building an island for them in case they somehow escape and give everyone the AIDS which they do not have themselves.

There is one exception, a gentleman who at first is scared stiff of catching AIDS from the chimps but gets to know one and is totally transformed in attitude, kissing the chimp fearlessly and saying his feelings about people are as changed as his feelings about chimps:

“Now there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for Tommy…I used to be a redneck type. I’ve changed immensely. It’s unbelievable how I have changed in my attitude towards people as well as chimps. They are so forgiving. They have hearts bigger than us. There’s no way I could forgive like they forgive. And we’re supposed to be human and smarter. But I don’t know if we are smarter.”

In their bones, do they know it’s false?

In their behavior, he and the woman who rescued the chimps “with HIV” are certainly smarter than the scientists who research HIV∫AIDS, which is odd. The woman who was the retired chimps’ savior in this case, when warned that the chimps “had HIV”, did not panic and abandon the project. Her immediate reaction was “I have to save these chimps.”

A: I didn’t have a choice. The day that I went to the lab and met the chimps, I decided I would be taking whomever I met. I was introduced to two groups of chimps –15 in total, 7 of which were infected with HIV. There was no way I was going to discriminate. I met the chimps and I decided that, even if they were HIV positive, it didn’t matter. It wasn’t even a question in my mind. We would overcome the obstacles.Q: Safety Precautions with HIV + Chimps?

A: We did everything we needed to do in terms of learning about HIV. We had healthcare workers come in to educate our staff about working with the chimps. And we knew that the two primary methods for contracting the disease were intercourse and exchange of needles. But we are at the same risk as doctors, police officers, and healthcare workers– we’re not really at a greater risk. Plus, we knew who had the virus. The chimps had been labeled and they were behind bars.

Why their instincts are so much more accurate than thousands of HIV researchers is not explained. As far as the ordinary viewer is concerned, they simply demonstrate that HIV is not infectious enough to worry about in daily contact, as we have long been told by the NIAID. But the man’s original worries about “mosquito bites” remain valid, as far as we are told here. Perhaps we are meant to assume that it shows that love overcomes fear, and magically preserves the lover from harm.

To us, however, it suggests an inherent wisdom in the fact that people tend to stop worrying about the threat of HIV over time. The CDC and Oprah of course recognize this phenomenon in their constant search for new ways to alarm the populace. But is it too hopeful to imagine that this public torpor is more than natural apathy, and that it reflects an instinct for detecting BS on the subconscious level that operates regardless of what the conscious mind accepts?

After decades, grass, trees and pond

Eventually the townspeople come around and the island is built. Then the chimps are released, to enter a brave new world of grass and trees some may not have experienced for decades if barely at all at the beginning of their lives.

There is no more moving segment in all of Nature documentaries. One chimp is so unused to grass that even when he emerges to the outdoors, he won’t leave the concrete and goes back indoors to the familiar limits of his cage after a while. But the others slowly expand into knucklewalking and then romping into the meadows, where they sit and gaze at the world they were meant to live in, but hardly did.

One won’t come in at dusk and elects to stay out all night enjoying the space and the plant life and gazing at the water in the lake and the moon.

Another, Tommy, evidently dimly remembering his very early life before capture in the wild, immediately climbs a tree to a considerable height and stays there, happily transported into the opposite extreme from the concrete and steel box where he has been imprisoned and experimentally tormented for most of his life, without even the consolation of affection and company.

Absurd to care about inferior species?

Of course, this is all sodden sentiment and impractical, we acknowledge that. Just as doctors and surgeons couldn’t function unless they turned coldblooded enough not to be queasy about cutting into flesh, dead or alive, or if they did not turn off empathy for the sick and suffering human beings they have to deal with in such overwhelming numbers, so experimenters trying to find a way to cure human ills cannot worry overmuch about the welfare of the beings they have to use as test subjects.

Otherwise they would never do their experiments, and save large numbers of human beings from suffering and dying. And of course we all know any human life is worth far more than the life of any mere 99.5% human chimp, however much they might resemble us in their need for affection, company, family and variety of life.

After all, could chimps appreciate television, Madonna, a MacDonald’s triple decker cheeseburger, or the importance of face lifts? These refinements of civilization are far above the ceiling of their unsophisticated chimp mentality.

On the other hand, what would it have cost to provide chimps that we sent into space or that suffered us cutting out their spinal discs some decent group living accommodation, instead of cooping them up in steel cages all alone? What kind of people are these researchers that have so few principles or perceptions they cannot relate to animals that are so close to them in appearance and behavior, let alone genes?

Presumably, they are the same kind of people that experimented without permission on the children of a certain orphanage in New York. Or who thought it was fine to feed AZT at doses up to 1800 mg to gays in the late eighties, since, after all, they ignorantly demanded release of the drug, didn’t they, before the safety trials were over, in ACTUP demonstrations outside the FDA?

Every human being has to make up his or her mind as to what their life is worth, compared to a chimp. Probably very few of us would give up our own lives for a chimp. Nor would many of us rather die than sacrifice chimps in the cause of prolonging our lives, however insignificant we may be in the grand scheme of things.

But it seems likely that many of us will breathe a sigh of guilty relief when medicine moves on to designing medicines for each individual’s set of genes, and therefore doesn’t need to experiment on our closest relatives any more.

Meanwhile, the disgrace remains that we did not treat them properly when they were test subjects or afterwards, when they had given up most of their lives for us to find out, for example (perhaps the worst example) if safety belts work at high speed, or what happens when they don’t.

Update Nov 22 Wednesday

Of course, scientists are not alone in their cruelty to sentient experimental animals. For the record, the Army’s treatment of pigs is the most horrific we have ever heard of. It was described in passing in a front page article in the Times on Thurs Nov 2. We advise those who love pigs to stop reading at this point:

Petty Officer Kirby began to list the schools he had attended to be ready for this moment. Some he had paid for himself, he said, to be extra-prepared.In one course, an advanced trauma treatment program he had taken before deploying, he said, the instructors gave each corpsman an anesthetized pig.

”The idea is to work with live tissue,” he said. ”You get a pig and you keep it alive. And every time I did something to help him, they would wound him again. So you see what shock does, and what happens when more wounds are received by a wounded creature.”

”My pig?” he said. ”They shot him twice in the face with a 9-millimeter pistol, and then six times with an AK-47 and then twice with a 12-gauge shotgun. And then he was set on fire.”

”I kept him alive for 15 hours,” he said. ”That was my pig.”

”That was my pig,” he said.

(show)
November 2, 2006

Medic Tends a Fallen Marine, With Skill, Prayer and Anger

By C. J. CHIVERS

Petty Officer Third Class Dustin E. Kirby clutched the injured marine’s empty helmet. His hands were coated in blood. Sweat ran down his face, which he was trying to keep straight but kept twisting into a snarl.

He held up the helmet and flipped it, exposing the inside. It was lined with blood and splinters of bone.

”The round hit him,” he said, pausing to point at a tiny hole that aligned roughly with a man’s temple. ”Right here.”

Petty Officer Kirby, 22, is a Navy corpsman, the trauma medic assigned to Second Mobile Assault Platoon of Weapons Company, Second Battalion, Eighth Marines. Everyone calls him Doc. He had just finished treating a marine who had been shot by an Iraqi sniper.

”It was 7.62 millimeter,” he continued. ”Armor piercing.”

He reached into his pocket and retrieved the bullet, which he had found. ”The impact with the Kevlar stopped most of it,” he said. ”But it tore through, hit his head, went through and came out.”

He put the bullet in his breast pocket, to give to an intelligence team later. Sweat kept rolling off his face, mixed with tears. His voice was almost cracking, but he managed to control it and keep it deep. ”When I got there, there wasn’t much I could do,” he said.

Then he nodded. He seemed to be talking to himself. ”I kept him breathing,” he said.

He looked at Lance Cpl. Matias Tafoya, his driver, and raised his voice. It was almost a shout. ”When I told you that I do not let people die on me, I meant it,” he said. ”I meant it.”

He scanned the Iraqi houses, perhaps 150 yards away, on the other side of a fetid green canal. Marines were all around, pressed to the ground, peering from behind machine-gun turrets or bracing against their armored vehicles, aiming rifles at where they thought the sniper was.

The sniper had made a single shot just as the marines were leaving a rural settlement on the western edge of Karma, a city near Falluja in Anbar Province.

The marines had been searching several houses on this side of the canal, where they found five Kalashnikov assault rifles and bomb components, and were getting back into their vehicles when everyone heard the shot. It was a single loud crack.

No one was precisely sure where it had come from. Everyone knew precisely where it hit. It struck a marine who was peering out of the first vehicle’s gun turret. He collapsed.

Petty Officer Kirby rushed to him and found him breathing. He bandaged the marine’s head as the vehicle lurched away. Soon he helped load the wounded marine into a helicopter, which touched down beside the convoy within 12 minutes of the shot.

Once the helicopter lifted away, he ran back to his vehicle, ready to treat anyone else. He was thinking about the marine he had already treated.

”If I had gone with him,” he said, and glanced to where the helicopter had flown away, over the line of date palms at the end of a field. His voice softened. ”But I’m not with him,” he said.

He turned, faced a reporter and spoke loudly again. ”In situations and times like this, I am bound to start yelling and shouting furiously,” he said. ”Don’t think I am losing my mind.”

He held his bloody hands before his face, to examine them. They were shaking. He made fists so tight his veins bulged. His forearms started to bounce.

”His name was Lance Cpl. Colin Smith,” he said. ”He said a prayer today right before we came out, too.”

”Every time before we go out, we say a prayer,” he said. ”It is a prayer for serenity. It says a lot about things that do pertain to us in this kind of environment.”

The only sounds were Doc’s voice and the vehicle’s engine thrumming.

He recited the prayer. There was a few moments of silence. ”It’s a platoon kind of thing, if you know what I mean,” he said.

He listened to his radio headset and looked at Lance Corporal Tafoya, relaying word of the marines’ movements. ”Right now the grunts are performing a hard hit on a house,” he said. He turned back to the subject of Lance Corporal Smith, 19.

”The best news I can throw at anybody right now, and that I am throwing to myself as often as I can, is that his eyes were O.K.,” he said. ”They were both responsive. And he was breathing. And he had a pulse.”

He listened to his radio. ”Two houses they’ve hit so far have both been swept and cleared.”

He looked at the reporter beside him. ”Do you pray?” he asked. ”Do that. I’d appreciate it.”

After a few minutes he started talking again. ”You see, having a good platoon, one that you know real well, it’s both a gift and a curse. And Smith? Smith has been with me since I was”

He stopped. ”He was my roommate before we left,” he said.

He refilled his lungs and raised his voice. ”His dad was his best friend,” he said. ”He’s got the cutest little blond girlfriend, and she freaks out every time we call because she’s so happy to hear from him.”

He sat quietly again. A few minutes passed. ”The first casualty we had here — his name was James Hirlston — he was his good friend.”

”Hirlston got shot in the head, too,” he said.

He said something about Iraqi snipers that could not be printed here.

Then he was back to the subject of Lance Corporal Smith.

”I really thank God that he was breathing when I got to him, because it means that I can do something with him,” he said. ”It helps. People ask you, ‘What are you doing? What are you doing?’ It helps, because if he’s breathing, you’re doing something.”

There had been many Iraqi civilians outside a few minutes before the sniper made his shot. Most of them had disappeared. Now an Iraqi woman walked calmly between the sniper and the marines, as if nothing had happened.

She passed down the street.

Petty Officer Kirby began to list the schools he had attended to be ready for this moment. Some he had paid for himself, he said, to be extra-prepared.

In one course, an advanced trauma treatment program he had taken before deploying, he said, the instructors gave each corpsman an anesthetized pig.

”The idea is to work with live tissue,” he said. ”You get a pig and you keep it alive. And every time I did something to help him, they would wound him again. So you see what shock does, and what happens when more wounds are received by a wounded creature.”

”My pig?” he said. ”They shot him twice in the face with a 9-millimeter pistol, and then six times with an AK-47 and then twice with a 12-gauge shotgun. And then he was set on fire.”

”I kept him alive for 15 hours,” he said. ”That was my pig.”

”That was my pig,” he said.

He paused. ”Smith is my friend.”

He looked at his bloody hands. ”You got some water?” he said. ”I want some water. I just want to wash my wedding band.”

He listened to the tactical radio. The platoon was sweeping houses but could not find the sniper.

The company started to move. It stopped at another house. The marines were questioning five Iraqi men. Doc watched from the road, waiting for the next call.

”I would like to say that I am a good man,” he said. ”But seeing this now, what happened to Smith, I want to hurt people. You know what I mean?”

The marines had not fired a shot.

They took one of the men into custody, mounted their vehicles and drove back to Outpost Omar, their companybase, passing knots of Iraqi civilians on the way. The civilians looked at them coldly.

Inside the wire, First Lt. Scott R. Burlison, the company commander, gathered the group and told them that Lance Corporal Smith was alive and in surgery. He was critical, but stable. They hoped to fly him to Germany.

Doc had scrubbed himself clean. A big marine stepped forward with a small Bible, and the platoon huddled. He began with Psalm 91, verses 5 and 11.

”Thou shall not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day,” said the big marine, Lance Cpl. Daniel B. Nicholson. ”For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”

Then he asked for the Lord to look after Lance Corporal Smith and whatever was ahead, and to take care of everyone who was still in the platoon.

”Help us Lord,” he said. ”We need your help. It’s the only way we’re going to get through this.”

Doc stood in the corner, his arm looped over a marine. ”Amen,” he said. There were some hugs, and then the marines and their Doc went back to their bunks and their guns.

* Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

549 Responses to “Saving the chimps from scientists”

  1. Dave Says:

    If her mother had tested positive it would have been reported .

    Nice dodge. You don’t know whether she was tested or not.

    The probability that Kimberly Bergalis was infected perinatally is vanishingly small .

    Perhaps. But is the probability that she was infected by her dentist double-plus vanishingly small, since such transmission has never happened before or since?

  2. MacDonald Says:

    While the titre of HIV in serum is much lower than that for the Friend Virus Complex in inbred mice HIV is present in much higher quantity in lymph tissue. There are many electronmicrographs of HIV virions in lymph tissue directly from AIDS patients. Staining methods that are specific to HIV antigens or HIV RNA are also used to demonstrate the presence and localisation of HIV in lymph nodes.

    tsktsk, Chris Just because and you take the Lanka position on animal viruses, it doesn’t give you license to dodge the question and repeat your unsubstantiated bs.

    I’m sure the titre is MUCH higher in lymph nodes, I’m sure there are staining methods VERY specific to HIV and even more specific to HIV RNA. Howevever, the question was not what colour the soup turns when you pee on it, but how you, Dr Noble, and whoever else helps you with your entirely unreferenced homework, know it’s HIV you’re localizing? – although I notice you’re not isolating it anymore, just “localizing” and photographing?

    I guess you are in a position to help NHM after all then. Perhaps you can “localize” and photograph some of the high titre virions in his lymph nodes, like he asked you to do earlier.

  3. Truthseeker Says:

    Personal insults are banned on this blog, especially when directed at the blogger. The software removes them automatically, and if they continue, blocks the poster for a cool off period of 24 hours.

    Again, TS — wrong. I’d never heard a word about you, Celia, Peter, anyone — until Harper’s. All it did was confirm my suspicions. You’ve crossed a line. As if you have any right to question me, my scientific credentials, my ideas.
    When exactly was the last time you published in peer-reviewed journal? Never? Oh, but some of your best friends do? Ah, well then, that settles it. You must be more expert in science than my full-ride PhD.

    OK we give up NHM, you refuse to be publicly grateful to either Duesberg or Celia or anyone else for anticipating your own revelation that HIV∫AIDS is a boondoggle, or contributing to it, even though it is a position you are not yet committed to, and you came to that not yet firm conclusion all by yourself, and Celia’s Harpers article and the sacrifices it took to get there, and Duesberg’s efforts over two decades, and everyone else’s, are nothing to say Thank you for. Even though you have rushed to the defense of Celia as she says in a way which demonstrated the words that you cannot write.

    Also, you agree that Duesberg may be a good scientist but you do not want us to go overboard in crediting him.

    Is that correct? If so, good. We won’t raise the topic again, especially since you continually misinterpret what we say, and say we have no right to question “you” or “your ideas”, and reply with a respect fight.

    Your scientific credentials were never at issue, as such. The issue is only your thinking and your emotions, and only those relevant to this blog and its topic, which is the truth or falsehood of HIV=AIDS, and the people and politics of that issue.

    On behalf of the blog, however, and anyone else here who agrees with us, we would like to hereby recognize Peter Duesberg, a very distinguished and honorable scientist and author, Celia Farber, a very distinguished and honorable journalist and author, and Harvey Bialy, a very distinguished and honorable scientist and author, for their efforts to enlighten the world as to the real situation in HIV∫AIDS, and wish them very few returns of World AIDS Day.

  4. chase Says:

    Celia is right that I fought viciously for her before I knew her. In fact, I fought viciously for Peter as well — which was the central contention of my letter in Harper’s, which argued he should be funded to do his research. He was the first person I contacted after I read the Harper’s piece. I have praised him and his work twice in this thread alone, and numerous times before. I have done the same with Celia and her work. I have nothing to prove to you, TS. My loyalties are out there in print and on this and other sites for the world to see. You are the only one who has ever quesitoned them, simply because I refuse to endorse Peter hook, line, and sinker. Anytime I have ever even raised an intelligent quesiton about Peter’s work, you have simply scoffed and said it is due to my poor scientific training, or my emotionalism, or other such nonsense. But no, I do not believe I am indebted to anyone but myself for keeping myself healthy, now for 10 years, and to argue anything else is simply self-serving.

    Celia, your attempt to run interference is a gift to me — thank you for your effort.

  5. chase Says:

    You’ll note the change in screen name. I believe we are chasing logic here, and too often, we are coming up short. For example, arguing with anyone (CN, others) about EJ’s death is unnecessary and simply allows for a reinforcement of the myths the coroner wrote — I think discussion of EJ is over — the LA District Attorney did not file charges because he could not win his case. That’s all that needs to be said. It is also unnecessary to argue about K. Bergalis’s death — even Peter acknowledged in his writings on that issue that we do not know all we would like to know. Most importantly, these are single cases with much media hype. As single cases, they could never actually “prove” either side’s arguement. These disputes only serve to distract from the real issues at hand. It is time to give both EJ and Kimberly back to their families with no more argument. That is the respectful thing to do, and the best thing to do from a scientific perspective as well. No single case will ever prove either side right or wrong.

  6. chase Says:

    And now, if it’s allright, I will withdraw for a while. I am worn down by your never-ending attacks, TS. You have spent so much time attacking a friend that I’d really hate to witness what you’d do to an enemy. You have used me as a scapegoat for your confusion and anger against all gay men, and against anyone who would question Peter. I need your attitutude like I need another “AIDS” doc telling me I’m going to die if I don’t take the meds. You should learn that all criticism is not necessarily bad for your cause. You should also, I think, be honest with your readers and acknowledge the fact that your deep personal attachment to Peter may in fact, on occasion, cloud your better judgements — do you think there is anything ignoble in caring? There isn’t. Regardless of what you do or don’t do, I’m taking my leave for a while. The email address associated with my “nohivmeds” post is real — if people want to be in touch. Others (including yourself) have other, additional ways of reaching me.

  7. Martel Says:

    CN,
    Thanks for the clarification on the Friend virus. That’s what I get for sticking my neck out on something I know little about. Just for those who are interested, the other purified agent listed above was not a virus, but a fungus. So it appears the Perth group may not have isolated any viruses according to their own protocol.

  8. Truthseeker Says:

    Same old same old, NHM, you cannot read straight it seems. No one dissed your scientific qualifications, knowledge, personal integrity, ideals or gayness. The issue is simply your specific refusal to thank these people that you have fought so viciously for etc etc, just as they and everyone else would thank you for fighting for them.

    Anybody in your position who can write

    But no, I do not believe I am indebted to anyone but myself for keeping myself healthy, now for 10 years, and to argue anything else is simply self-serving.

    is suffering from an inability to think straight (and where does self-serving come in? are we self serving to ask you to thank other people for their contribution to your welfare?) owing to emotional flux of some kind, whether as we repeatedly have granted you, illness, or continual misinterpretation of what is being said, or whatever, perhaps just resistance at being forced to show gratitude in public, as some kind of loss of status, is that it? If the latter, we cannot be expected to understand such irrational behavior, and you have not explained or justified it. Meanwhile you throw up all kinds of misleading emotionalism like a smoke cloud, culminating in your usual method of escaping the point, which is to retire from the field to regroup.

    As far as this blog is concerned this is an important political point – why are you and others so anxious not to credit and thank those who have brought the other side of the politics and science of HIV∫AIDS to your attention, even if that was only reinforcing your suspicions and ten years of questioning as you now claim? Is it narcissism? Envy? Some political motivation? We want to understand, but your flurry of emotional replies is not helping. It can’t be that you don’t support them, since you have just trumpeted your vicious fighting on their behalf (against whom? maybe you can expand on this, and we can thank you for your efforts).

    Whatever the reason your refusal is irrational, so we have every right to question your performance as a scientist, since reason is a fundamental pillar of science. For example,

    . I have praised him and his work twice in this thread alone, and numerous times before. I have done the same with Celia and her work. I have nothing to prove to you, TS. My loyalties are out there in print and on this and other sites for the world to see. You are the only one who has ever quesitoned them, simply because I refuse to endorse Peter hook, line, and sinker.

    Where does a demand that you show gratitude translate into a demand for praise, or a demand to prove your loyalty, which was never at issue, since we don’t even think it is relevant to a scientific discussion, which should be separated from politics.

    Anyone motivated in this discussion by loyalty should try and move over to reason and evidence on the blog, if you don’t mind, especially since we are demanding that Chris Noble tell us if he is being paid, and if so who is paying him, and how much, to waste time with implacable attempts to derail HIV∫AIDS critics and spike their objections to incredible science, rather than have an honest discussion, though we credit him with keeping to science ie reason and evidence, in his contributions, which are a good test for HIV∫AIDS critics, who should know their stuff if they are ever to get to a public platform rather than preach to the choir. However, we strongly disapprove of his schoolboy insults to Duesberg’s intelligence, and mean to tell him so.

    Anytime I have ever even raised an intelligent quesiton about Peter’s work, you have simply scoffed and said it is due to my poor scientific training, or my emotionalism, or other such nonsense.

    More loose talk. We have not criticized your scientific training, of which we have only a vague idea, but which seems technically informed, except to ask why it allows your emotionalism, including wild accusations that if we try and keep the emotionalism out, we must be anti-gay.

    You have used me as a scapegoat for your confusion and anger against all gay men

    No one is talking against gay men in general on this blog, with the single exception that we have criticized the amazing inability of most gay men to save themselves from the HIV∫AIDS scam, where they have been so keen to evade responsibility for an excess of sex, drugs and rock and roll in night clubs and bathhouses (an excess which Larry Kramer himself deplores, not just scientific observers, as dangerous to the health) that they have delivered themselves into the hands of the drug companies who have proceeded to feed them expensive poison under the cloak of helping them survive an absent microbe, and enlisted them as an army of activists to repulse critical examination.

    It is not we who are confused and angry, NHMchase, it is you, it seems, to suggest that our views are politicized or personally driven by gay loathing, which is a projection onto us of your fears. On the contrary, we see no reason to divide the world into gays and non gays on any basis other than cultural, and we cherish the contributions on this blog of more than one gay man who talk more sense than most people on this scientific and science-political topic.

    Not that we have a very clear idea who is gay and who is not, since it doesn’t affect the scientific discussion any. The politics is a can of worms, where gay acquiescence is one of the problems and puzzles, and gays can report from the front lines, but here objectivity should be the aim also. We are certainly glad to have the benefit of your and others’ extensive experience in bathhouses across the country as valuable reporting from the front, however, and we recognize that Larry Kramer is one of the few leaders in politics who might listen to Duesberg.

    But we have to think that only a gay man would talk this way about our limited relationship with Duesberg:

    be honest with your readers and acknowledge the fact that your deep personal attachment to Peter may in fact, on occasion, cloud your better judgements — do you think there is anything ignoble in caring?

    Where do you get this stuff except from your own inflamed imagination? Heterosexual men don’t have to be deeply personally attached to each other to be comrades in arms against bad science and injustice in politics. Yes, we at NAR admire and thoroughly approve of Duesberg’s decency and scientific spirit in not selling out or giving in to maximum pressure against him and his family, and we have found his science and logic to be impeccable across a breathtakingly wide range of false claims forced on his attention by the miserable pack of self serving or dimwitted scientists, irresponsible officials, unprofessional reporters, robotic doctors, unaware health workers, and foolish patients, who include one “scientist” who took medications for ten years while by his own account distrusting them and yet never looked into it enough to have heard of Peter Duesberg or Celia Farber before the Harpers piece, or if you had heard of them, to credit them with anything worth looking into, if your own account on this blog is understood correctly.

    Beyond that we don’t know Duesberg that well, except over the years encountering him in public infrequently and spending a little time interviewing him. We are not in love with him, and only a gay man in a semi hysterical state under medical assault would imagine such things. Certainly the implication that our ideas are influenced by admiration for Duesberg’s cheerful and witty persona is stupid. Yes we admire him for remaining unaffected by all the disgraceful exhibitions of personal animosity and idiocy he has aroused by just doing his job as a thinking member of the scientific elite.

    As such, you should be grateful for his efforts. But no we don’t think he is necessarily right on everything. We just know that no one has proved him wrong in our experience except the statistical nerd who demonstrated recently, as we posted, that he had misphrased his remark about the chances of hterosexual transmission, which when fixed made no difference to the argument.

    Is he a hero of science? We say Yes, he is a heroic figure who will be a name in the history books of science and his critical work objecting to the grand pile of absurd science that is HIV∫AIDS will be studied at Harvard as exemplary (as it has been already in Walter Gilbert’s graduate seminars) far into the future, unless independent scholarship in science goes down down the YouTubes along with traditional quality in other spheres.

  9. Martel Says:

    NHM,
    I’m sorry to offend you with my rearguing of the EJ case in the newspaper article thread, but for better or for worse, EJ’s tragic death was placed into the public domain because of who her mother is.

    I don’t know why or how EJ died, but I don’t know any MD who would give credence to al-Bayati’s report; the dual amoxicillin-parvovirus hypothesis is simply untenable, in my opinion. I couldn’t conscientiously let TS’s statement–implying that it was all a conspiracy, and anyone who knows a trachea from a tracheotomy is “of course” aware that she died of anaphylactic shock–remain unchallenged.

    This is a very singular case…and very singular cases are often the most informative for medicine. For me, personally, EJ’s death and the subsequent delayed flurry of reports, counter-reports, etc., was one of the reasons I stepped back from becoming a full-fledged rethinker…a path I once followed, albeit perhaps more for personal than for scientific reasons. I only wish that there were some more clarity here, so that other families don’t have to go through a similar loss, and believing wholeheartedly in medical fantasizing will not clarify anything.

  10. trrll Says:

    Well, genius, because of the ~1 million people purportedly infected with HIV in the USA over the past 25 years — it apparently only happened once.

    Of course, for a patient with any other risk factors, it is unlikely that anybody would even consider transmission during a dental procedure. So I’d be hesitant to presume that it only happened once; there could be quite a few other cases that were blamed on sex or dirty needles. So the best we can say that there is only one clear case where that seems to have been the mode of transmission.

  11. Dan Says:

    So the best we can say that there is only one clear case where that seems to have been the mode of transmission.

    One clear case where that seems to have been?

    Trying to have it both ways there, Mr. trrll.

    How “clear” is something that “seems to”?

    Why not be bold and say this is a clear case where that was the mode of transmission?

  12. trrll Says:

    Trying to have it both ways there, Mr. trrll.

    How “clear” is something that “seems to”?

    Why not be bold and say this is a clear case where that was the mode of transmission?

    It would be nice if everything in the world were absolutely clear, but scientists have to live in the real world of probability and doubt, and scientists value accuracy over boldness. When you look at the original scientific literature, you will find that most conclusions have probabilities attached. Transmission in the course of a dental procedures is the most likely explanation for this case, but how do you completely exclude the possibility that there could be some other route that you don’t know about? The converse of that is that there could be other cases that we don’t know about because there was another plausible route of transmission that got blamed. Always remember the scientific adage “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” Showing that there is one case is a very different thing from showing that there is only one case.

  13. MacDonald Says:

    scientists have to live in the real world
    (-:(-:(-:

    Trrll,
    once more please, full name, title and affiliation; I’m collecting quotes from you, and they just keep getting better.

    Martel,
    I don’t think the Perth Group is in the business of isolating viruses. But your neck’s hardly in any danger for that reason if you ask me. The Perthies are way ahead of CN’s ancient history, wouldn’t you say?

  14. Dan Says:

    It would be nice if everything in the world were absolutely clear, but scientists have to live in the real world of probability and doubt, and scientists value accuracy over boldness

    scientists value accuracy over boldness

    And you were neither accurate, nor bold.

    Transmission in the course of a dental procedures is the most likely explanation for this case, but how do you completely exclude the possibility that there could be some other route that you don’t know about?

    I’ve got an idea! Why not question the validity of the test instead? I think this is where we started…with that interesting phrase used to describe a test result: “tentatively positive”.

    From Abbott Labs HIV Elisa: “At present there is no recognized standard for establishing the presence or absence of antibodies to HIV-1 and HIV-2 in human blood.”

    Tell me, trrll,
    how do we get positive, negative, indeterminate or tentatively postive test results, given the information above? Please do your best to explain. Thank you.

  15. Dan Says:

    I do not owe my life to rethinkers, thank you very much. I owe it to my own goddamn intuition

    NHM,
    so, if you have intuition that is able to serve you and guide you, wouldn’t you agree that others have intuition as well?

    I ask because so far you’ve been adamant about science. Now you’ve moved out of hard science (at least momentarily) and into something that I’ve mentioned a few times…intuition, or the “gut”.

    I bring this up because MY intuition has guided me extremely well throughout this mess. My intuition was telling me that something was terribly awry a long time ago.

    I think if more people listened to what their gut may be trying to tell them, we might well be better off for it.

  16. McKiernan Says:

    Dan,

    Get off his case. TS has treated him very poorly.

  17. Dan Says:

    McK,

    I’m not “on his case”. Not at all.

    I’m heartened to see that he has given his intuition the credit it may be due.

    Now…get off MY case!

  18. kevin Says:

    I bring this up because MY intuition has guided me extremely well throughout this mess. My intuition was telling me that something was terribly awry a long time ago. –Dan

    So was mine. So was mine.
    Discussing HIV with other gay men was always a chore. I resented having to hold my tongue when certain utterances were spit out without any understanding of what was being actually being said. I don’t like that characteristic in anyone but when your being told that you’re going to die, you really ought to be able to see through some of the bullshit, some of the time. I rarely hold my tongue in that situation, now.

    I think NHM is a thoughtful gay man, but he is also overly sensitive when discussing TS’s “attitude” toward gay men. I don’t find TS’s views offensive, not in the least; however, I do have to agree that he is a little hard on NHM some time, and the reverse of that is true, as well.

    Your post, however, was nothing of that sort, Dan. McK seems to be over-reacting. Perhaps he is trying to befriend NHM…bring him back into the fold, so to speak.

    They’re really like that, ya know 😉

    Kevin

  19. trrll Says:

    From Abbott Labs HIV Elisa: “At present there is no recognized standard for establishing the presence or absence of antibodies to HIV-1 and HIV-2 in human blood.”

    Tell me, trrll,
    how do we get positive, negative, indeterminate or tentatively postive test results, given the information above? Please do your best to explain. Thank you.

    What information? To a scientist, all that statement means is that Abbott labs developed their own assay rather than using a standard set by somebody else. And based upon the data that they obtained documenting the specificity and reliability of their assay, they were able to obtain FDA approval.

    All diagnostic assays have some rate of false positives. This is why a HIV test is considered positive only after a positive result has been obtained in two assays. So a single positive assay could reasonably be described as tentatively positive pending confirmation by a second assay.

  20. Truthseeker Says:

    To a scientist, all that statement means is that Abbott labs developed their own assay rather than using a standard set by somebody else

    Thank you trrlll for clarifying usefully. Always thought that statement was rather odd. Good one. Thank you.

    “McKiernan (mail): Dan, Get off his case. TS has treated him very poorly. Dan: McK, I’m not “on his case”. Not at all. I’m heartened to see that he has given his intuition the credit it may be due. Now…get off MY case!

    There is something obnoxious about telling others not to make post on any topic relevant to the issue. In this case, NHM or Chase or whatever meaningless moniker he goes to next (a very irritating habit, is it too much to expect people to choose a meaningful name and stick to it, even if it is artificial? Beelzebub was a good one, for example, and very apt, why the switch to Otis? these random name choices sabotage the clarity of the discussion and have no rational purpose that we can see, except to abandon all personal responsibility for what one posts, which is inappropriate for a Comment section attended by other persons of standing who are trying to have a civil and productive exchange), was an unapologetic ingrate and boasted of it as some kind of proof of his independence of mind, like his fence sitting.

    Anyhow please do not post personal attempts to direct what is meant to be an entirely free discussion on which nothing is censored except bad manners, bad language, personal insults and attempting to censor people, which is the prerogative of the blogger who has long ago abandoned the responsibility to very intelligent and perceptive neural network software.

    I’m heartened to see that he has given his intuition the credit it may be due.

    As far as intuition goes, in the absence of truthful information from the authorities this definitely has a place, we agree, but in a focused discussion like this concerning the validity or otherwise of the HIV∫AIDS paradigm, why not rely on reason and evidence?

  21. chase Says:

    he was an unapologetic ingrate and boasted of it as some kind of proof of his independence of mind, like his fence sitting…….nothing is censored except bad manners, bad language, personal insults….

    a total loss of credibility, TS. plain as day. to everyone else — i need a break from TS, as i mentioned, so i’m taking some time off. please get in touch with me directly if you’d like. it’s unnecessary to continue to post about me. thanks.

  22. chase Says:

    And I do mean it when I invite direct contact from anyone here:
    nohivmeds@yahoo.com

  23. Dan Says:

    To a scientist, all that statement means is that Abbott labs developed their own assay rather than using a standard set by somebody else.

    Trrll,
    I read the statement on the Abbott HIV Elisa to mean exactly what it says…that there is no standard for establishing the presence or absence of antibodies to HIV-1 and HIV-2. This is correct.

    You’re simply stating the obvious…that different labs have different “standards”.

    Which brings me back to my question (with a little more padding now): how do we get positive, negative, indeterminate, false positive, false negative and tentatively positive test results with no standard?

  24. Dan Says:

    As far as intuition goes, in the absence of truthful information from the authorities this definitely has a place, we agree, but in a focused discussion like this concerning the validity or otherwise of the HIV∫AIDS paradigm, why not rely on reason and evidence?

    I agree, Truthseeker.

    Everything has it’s place.

    For those of us who are lucky enough to have all this information readily available, we have an obligation to make use of it.

    What about people in remote places in Africa without internet connections? I hope they can use their intuition and avoid being unnecessarily poisoned in mind and body.

  25. trrll Says:

    Which brings me back to my question (with a little more padding now): how do we get positive, negative, indeterminate, false positive, false negative and tentatively positive test results with no standard?

    That just means that Abbott laboratories had to independently develop a standard for their particular diagnostic test, and prove its validity to the FDA by evaluating it against appropriate positive and negative controls.

  26. trrll Says:

    It occurs to me that perhaps it is not clear to nonscientists what it means to develop a standard for an assay. Generally, any assay must be calibrated by running it against a set of standards. If there was a “recognized standard,” then all Abbot Laboratories would have needed to do was run their assay against those standards. In the absence of a recognized standard, they would have to develop their own set of standards in order to determine what level of response constituted a positive result or a negative result. Most likely they would start with a set of positive and negative samples, probably from AIDS patients and healthy controls without HIV risk factors. Or they could use samples from people who have been shown to be HIV positive or negative by other assays, such as PCR. This would allow them to determine what the background level of signal was for HIV-negative individuals, and what level of signal is obtained for HIV-positive individuals. Based upon this, they will define the signal level that best distinguishes between HIV-positive and -negative individuals. Most likely they would choose a cutoff point that favored minimizing false negatives at the expense of some false positives, because the practical consequences of a false negative are more severe than the practical consequences of a false positive, because after a false negative result the patient will go away, receive no treatment and perhaps infect others. A false positive, on the other hand, will normally be caught, since the standard is to verify all positive assays with a different test.

    These studies would also determine the appropriate assay conditions. I remember that earlier in this thread there was some complaint about the fact that a particular assay required a high sample dilution, and produced false positives if this was not done. However, it is normally the case that an assay of this nature will be valid only under a defined range of conditions, and will tend to produce misleading results outside this range. In general, antibody studies involve determining what sticks to what, but just about all proteins are a little bit sticky, so even an antibody that is considered highly specific will cross-react nonspecifically with the “wrong” proteins if those proteins are present at too high a concentration. One dilution is not better than another, it just has to be correct for the antibody and antigen in question. If those conditions are not adhered to, the result is quite literally meaningless.

  27. Dave Says:

    Hey Trrll,

    Instead of all that gobbledygook, Why not just culture the virus from AIDS patients?

  28. trrll Says:

    Instead of all that gobbledygook, Why not just culture the virus from AIDS patients?

    Because for a diagnostic test you want something easy, cheap, fast, and reliable. Cell culture is difficult, costly, and time-consuming. And once you cultured the virus, you’d still need some kind of an assay to measure the virus in the cell culture. So it makes far more sense to cut to the chase and assay the blood directly.

    Science is all about detail. If you dismiss it as “gobbledygook” because you lack the patience to follow it, you will end up being misled by notions that sound simple and plausible, but are nevertheless wrong. For example, you’ve obviously gotten it into your head that if there is “no recognized standard” then there is no way to determine whether a test is positive or negative. This is utter nonsense, but if you are unwilling to pay attention even to a couple of paragraphs explaining how standards and assays actually work, you’ll never manage to figure that out.

  29. Truthseeker Says:

    i’m taking some time off.

    Fair enough, NHMC. Apologies for pursuing the matter too far, but we cannot accept assertions that we must be in gay love with Duesberg to credit and thank him for the quality of his work and what he has done to save your hide and millions of others, even though you are “on the fence” and still taking the meds despite what he has written.

    Your informed contribution will be missed while you are away, except for your depreciation of the important post on nutrition as the key to HIV∫AIDS’s remaining mysteries once HIV is dismissed.

  30. Dan Says:

    Dan: Which brings me back to my question (with a little more padding now): how do we get positive, negative, indeterminate, false positive, false negative and tentatively positive test results with no standard?

    Trrll: That just means that Abbott laboratories had to independently develop a standard for their particular diagnostic test, and prove its validity to the FDA by evaluating it against appropriate positive and negative controls.

    Trrll,
    you’re running circles around the question. As you can see above, you didn’t answer it.

    Care to try again?

  31. trrll Says:

    Which brings me back to my question (with a little more padding now): how do we get positive, negative, indeterminate, false positive, false negative and tentatively positive test results with no standard? You’re running circles around the question. As you can see above, you didn’t answer it

    More accurately, you ignored the answer, dismissing it as “gobbledygook.”

    So let’s see if I can simplify it even further for you:

    “No recognized standard” doesn’t mean that no standards were used; it means that Abbot Labs did not have a standard provided to them, and had to develop their own internal standards, derived from individuals of known HIV status. To get their test approved by the FDA, they had to document that their assay, developed using their own standards, provided accurate, reproducible results consistent with other HIV assays.

    Generally, such diagnostic assays produce either a positive or a negative reading. The result would be referred to as indeterminate only if there is reason to believe that the assay was not performed properly, such as failure of a control to yield the correct result. A positive result in a single assay constitutes a tentatively positive HIV test, which becomes a definite positive once it is confirmed by a second assay. A false positive would be a positive reading on the assay for an individual known to be HIV negative, or a positive reading that is not confirmed by subsequent follow-up assays. A false negative would be a negative reading on the assay for an individual who is known from other evidence to be HIV-positive.

  32. john Says:

    trrll,

    All the serological tests associated to the presence of a virus present a cut’ off which indicates that below this limit you do not possess enough antibodies towards one or several antigens of this virus.

    But below this cut’ off, the test reacts to the same proteins as above.
    The “hiv” test would thus be the only one viral serology for which proteins found below the cut’ off would be, as by magic, other antigens having nothing to do with the “hiv”

    This is really scientifically ridiculous, unless somebody presents here the sequencing of proteins which would give crossed-reactions below the cut’ off.

    Really, we are every “HIV”-positive persons… due to the oxidative stress from the nitrogenous oxidizers, but at certain persons it became pathological and irreversible.

    For example, strong visible prevalence at tuberculosis-ill persons can be explained by the excessive use of isoniazide, source turned out of nitrogen monoxide in excess, and thus of peroxynitrites reponsables of the apoptosis.

  33. Dan Says:

    The statement is written in plain english, and can be understood in plain english.

    “At present there is no recognized standard for establishing the presence or absence of antibodies to HIV-1 and HIV-2 in human blood.”

    There’s NO STANDARD for determining HIV infection.

    You’re simply stating the obvious trrll. Different labs get to come up with their own “standards”.

    What does this mean? Just what any thinking human being would understand it to mean. I could test “positive” with a test from one lab, and “negative” on a test from another . THERE’S NO STANDARD. The statement above is readily understood by anyone with basic english skills.

  34. Truthseeker Says:

    What does this mean? Just what any thinking human being would understand it to mean. I could test “positive” with a test from one lab, and “negative” on a test from another. THERE’S NO STANDARD.

    Very well put, Dan, thanks. So what is the variation between these different tests? How often do they disagree? would seem to be the issue.

    Bottom line, how far can these tests be trusted to say anything about the patient which is worth knowing, even if HIV antibodies did prove the significant presence of HIV, and HIV caused any immune dysfuction, when apparently neither is the case.

    Is it true for instance that only 1/3 of initially positive Elisa tests are confirmed by additonal Elisas and Western blots? This would seem to indicate an inaccuracy rate far higher than admitted ie less than 99.7% or whatever each company is claiming currently.

    What are these tests worth? Looks like close to zero, when all is said and done. But the AIDS boys and girls are keen to expand testing to the world, and find millions more who “have HIV” when they don’t.

    The trust that gentlemen like our distinguished poster Terrell have in the technicalities seems a little silly when the rationale is analyzed.

  35. trrll Says:

    All the serological tests associated to the presence of a virus present a cut’ off which indicates that below this limit you do not possess enough antibodies towards one or several antigens of this virus.

    But below this cut’ off, the test reacts to the same proteins as above.
    The “hiv” test would thus be the only one viral serology for which proteins found below the cut’ off would be, as by magic, other antigens having nothing to do with the “hiv”

    This is really scientifically ridiculous, unless somebody presents here the sequencing of proteins which would give crossed-reactions below the cut’ off.

    Really, we are every “HIV”-positive persons… due to the oxidative stress from the nitrogenous oxidizers, but at certain persons it became pathological and irreversible.

    This is utter nonsense and betrays a profound ignorance of the science behind antibody tests. Cross-reactivity is a universal problem with antibodies. It is not at all unique to HIV. Anybody who has worked with any kind of antibody based assay has had to wrestle with the issue. Antibody tests fall into the general category of binding assays, a very powerful technology with some very well understood limitations. Basically, binding assays work by measuring what sticks to what. All binding assays suffer from the same fundamental problem—the ubiquitous presence of nonspecific binding. Fundamentally, biological molecules are promiscuously sticky—at sufficiently high concentration, just about anything will stick to anything. So it is ultimately a matter of degree—how tightly the two molecules stick together. A binding assay is made reliable by carefully adjusting the dilutions such that the concentrations are low enough that most of the binding reflects the highest affinity “specific” interactions—but there is always a background of “nonspecific” binding that has nothing to do with the molecule that the assay is intended to detect. If the concentrations of reactants are too high, then the nonspecific binding completely swamps specific binding, and the assay becomes worthless. Note that this is all very basic information that anybody who has bothered to even causally research the science behind antibody tests should be well familiar with.

  36. trrll Says:

    What does this mean? Just what any thinking human being would understand it to mean. I could test “positive” with a test from one lab, and “negative” on a test from another . THERE’S NO STANDARD. The statement above is readily understood by anyone with basic english skills.

    Except of course, that a company would never be able to get their test approved by the FDA, or be successful in selling it, if it did not agree with other tests. The lack of a recognized standard merely makes things a bit more difficult and expensive for the developer. If there were such a standard, they could simply say, “Our test performs according to the accepted standard,” and that would be that. Without such a standard, they have the burden of developing their own standards–and then proving that those standards are valid and that their assay is reliable within a reasonable margin of error, so that the situation that you describe, in which different tests yield contradictory results, does not arise to an appreciable extent.

  37. trrll Says:

    Is it true for instance that only 1/3 of initially positive Elisa tests are confirmed by additonal Elisas and Western blots? This would seem to indicate an inaccuracy rate far higher than admitted ie less than 99.7% or whatever each company is claiming currently.

    This is the sort of argument that cracks me up. If you thought about this rationally for even a moment, you’d realize how meaningless this is. But of course, you clearly very much want HIV tests to be worthless, so your capacity for rational thought is diminished. But let’s see if I can temporarily stimulate your rational thinking muscles:

    Let’s consider a population in which nobody is actually infected with HIV. Then what percentage of initially positive tests would fail to be confirmed by further testing? Obviously, all of them! 100% of all positives would turn out to be wrong! And must be true no matter how rare false positives are for the assay in question.

    So the fraction of initially positive tests that are not confirmed on retesting depends not merely upon the accuracy and reproducibility of the test, but also on the prevalence of infection in the population in question.Anybody thinking rationally about the question will of course realize immediately that the relevant statistic is not the fraction of positives that turn out to be false, but rather the fraction of all tests that yield false positive results

  38. Truthseeker Says:

    This is the sort of argument that cracks me up. If you thought about this rationally for even a moment, you’d realize how meaningless this is. But of course, you clearly very much want HIV tests to be worthless, so your capacity for rational thought is diminished. But let’s see if I can temporarily stimulate your rational thinking muscles:

    Try not to jeer at some omission in a polite enquiry which you should know goes without saying, Terrell Gibbs. It is the mark of a donkey in debate. You are so busy eeyawing you have not answered the question.

    Of course it depends on prevalence, and since prevalence in the US is 1/300, one would expect quite a few positives to be false. We are asking how many you would expect to be false the first time on Elisas in the US general population, which you presumably like your fellow members of the “We believe irrationally in HIV as the cause of AIDS” club want to universally test?

  39. MacDonald Says:

    Except of course, that a company would never be able to get their test approved by the FDA, or be successful in selling it, if it did not agree with other tests. The lack of a recognized standard merely makes things a bit more difficult and expensive for the developer. If there were such a standard, they could simply say, “Our test performs according to the accepted standard,” and that would be that. Without such a standard, they have the burden of developing their own standards–and then proving that those standards are valid

    Dr. Goobledygook,

    gee, I do empathize with the poor pharma companies that ‘have the burden’ of developing their very own HIV test standards that accord with other compnanies’ very own standards; but even though everybody’s very own standards accord with everybody else’s very own standards, they can’t be pronounced ‘recognized standards’, cuz all the standards that agree with everybody else’s standards aren’t everybody else’s standards after all, and so disagree with those standards which aren’t everybody’s standards when you think about it – and ain’t it a pity, cuz the test developers make only a couple $gazillion, while the HIV+ – or maybe not get all the benefits.

    Of course we all know that the fraction of falsely accused HIV positives ain’t important, I mean statistically speaking But all of us ‘non-scientific’ individuals just wanna know this,

    If there was a “recognized standard,” then all Abbot Laboratories would have needed to do was run their assay against those standards. In the absence of a recognized standard, they would have to develop their own set of standards in order to determine what level of response constituted a positive result or a negative result. Most likely they would start with a set of positive and negative samples, probably from AIDS patients and healthy controls without HIV risk factors. Or they could use samples from people who have been shown to be HIV positive or negative by other assays, such as PCR. (Dr. Goobledygook)

    1. If individuals have already been ‘shown’ to be HIV positive or negative on ‘other assays like PCR’ why don’t those tests count as the recognized standard?

    2. When Abbott laboratories, following all the finest scientific traditions of being detailed, accurate and mindful of lawsuits, rather than bold, as evidenced in their test disclaimer, announced their results, why weren’t they made the recognized standard of HIV testing?

    Even more interestingly, Dr. Goobledygook-Trrll, how does it feel to be so crap at what you’re normally doing that you have to be a hired pea shooter at an obscure dissident website, being afraid of signing anything with your real name and affiliation because you have to return again and again for more humiliation, although all of your scientific colleagues are laughing at you?

    No really, tell me how does it feels to have no talent and no career but prostitution in sight, and being exceptionally short to boot?

    For the real fractions on HIV testing:

    Perhaps the most devastating analysis of HIV testing was offered by Dr. Harvey Fineberg. When I interviewed Fineberg in 1988, he was Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health. Later, he went on to become Provost of Harvard University, and then was appointed president of the very prestigious Institute of Medicine. A man with impeccable conventional credentials, Fineberg had, in the spring of 1987, published a statistical analysis of HIV testing in Law, Medicine, and Healthcare.

    “To begin with,” Fineberg told me on the phone, “in the study, we accepted the advertised accuracy ratings of the Elisa test. It’s reportedly able to find true [HIV] positives at a rate of 93.4 percent, and it supposedly can detect true [HIV] negatives correctly 99.78 percent of the time.

    “So let’s say that three out of 10,000 people in the US are really infected with the HIV virus. If we consider a sample of 100,000 people, that means 30 will actually be infected with HIV. The Elisa test will be able to pinpoint 93.4 percent, or 28 of those people.

    “On the other side of the ledger, that leaves 99,970 out of 100,000 who are truly not infected with the AIDS virus.

    “If the Elisa test is 99.78 percent capable of finding these real [HIV] negatives, it will locate 99,750 of these people without fail. That leaves 220 [HIV] negatives it missed.” How did it miss? By calling those 220 people [HIV] positive.

    Fineberg stated, “So now you have, out of every 100,000 people, 28 truly [HIV] positive and 220 falsely positive test results. That means the statistical chances are about 90 percent that [an HIV] positive-reading Elisa is wrongly positive [false-positive].”

    Fineberg continued: “A second Elisa won’t change that either. If you do a Western Blot, the odds might, at best, be lowered to 25 percent. In other words, a fourth of the time, a positive AIDS test would be false-positive.”

    http://barnesworld.blogs.com/barnes_world
    /2006/09/index.html

  40. Truthseeker Says:

    But of course, you clearly very much want HIV tests to be worthless, so your capacity for rational thought is diminished. But let’s see if I can temporarily stimulate your rational thinking muscles:

    Also, Dr Eeyore, we don’t “very much want HIV tests to be worthless”, we already recognize they are completely and absolutely worthless, since they a) show only antibodies are present and not HIV, with HIV effectively absent in any person who is positive beyond a few weeks after infection, and b) HIV shows no sign (to intelligent people who bother to address the issue with their minds) of causing “AIDS” or anything else after that point.

    This testing part being a microcosm in itself of the wholesale irrationality of the entire HIV∫AIDS paradigm, we would like to nail down its complete list of scientific weaknesses with your helpful confirmation, that’s all.

    Just give us the accuracy average of the Elisa tests to be used and we will tell you the number of false positives we can expect with universal testing in the US, if you like.

  41. trrll Says:

    If individuals have already been ‘shown’ to be HIV positive or negative on ‘other assays like PCR’ why don’t those tests count as the recognized standard?

    Since PCR does not measure HIV antibodies, there is no way that it could constitute a “recognized standard for establishing the presence or absence of antibodies to HIV-1 and HIV-2 in human blood.”

    PCR is of course the most sensitive test, but as I noted before, diagnostic tests—especially those used for initial screening—need to be quick, easy, and cheap.

    When Abbott laboratories, following all the finest scientific traditions of being detailed, accurate and mindful of lawsuits, rather than bold, as evidenced in their test disclaimer, announced their results, why weren’t they made the recognized standard of HIV testing?

    Given that there are multiple companies producing a variety of reliable HIV assays, it is hard to see a fair basis to pick one and acclaim it as the standard. Who, specifically, would you expect to do this? Besides, there are advantages to having multiple tests that use different methods of measuring the same thing.

  42. trrll Says:

    Just give us the accuracy average of the Elisa tests to be used and we will tell you the number of false positives we can expect with universal testing in the US, if you like.

    The false positive rate in a low-prevalence population (voluntary blood donors) of a standard HIV test protocol (enzyme immunoassay with confirmation by Western blot) in actual practice has been measured experimentally:

    The false-positive prevalence was 4.8% of Western blot–positive donors and 0.0004% (1 in 251000) of all donors (95% confidence interval, 1 in 173000 to 1 in 379000 donors).

    Based upon these results, the authors recommended that an additional confirmation by PCR should be carried out to further reduce the incidence of false positives.

  43. Robert Houston Says:

    The CDC’s estimate of one million HIV antibody-postives in the U.S. was based on a series of antibody tests (as in the Army studies by Burke et al., which used several ELISAs plus Western blot tests). The U.S. is a low prevalence area with an HIV+ prevalence rate of only about 0.3% (1/300). According to the current package insert of one of the major HIV test manufacturers, the majority of initial ELISA positive tests will be false positives in such a low prevalence population:

    “Reactive specimens upon initial testing with the Vironostika HIV-1…Microelisa System should be re-tested in duplicate. Reactivity in either or both of the duplicate tests indicate a potential for the presence of HIV-specific antibody… However, when the ELISA is used to screen populations with a low prevalence of HIV infection, non-specific reactions may be more common than specific reactions.”

    In other words, the initial result will usually be wrong!

    The Positive Predictive Value (PPV) is the probability that a positive test is a true positive. Confirmation is usually by Western blot, a more elaborate antibody test which is often indeterminate. A 2004 study (Zacharias et al. High false-positive rate of HIV…J Perinatol 24:743-7, 2004) in a Texas population of about 10,000 women found that nearly 2/3rds of the initial HIV positive results were false positives (“the ELISA-positive predictive value: 37.7%”).

    A recent study of 5,000 men in Pakistan found that 77% of the initial positive ELISAs were false positive (A. Sheikh et al. High frequency of false positive results in HIV screening..J. Pak Med Assoc 56(Sup 1):S72-5, 2006). “Only 11 [23%] were found to be true positive.” (Note: Pakistan has an antibody prevalence rate for HIV similar to the U.S.)

    Thus, in mass screening in the U.S., two or three false positives can be expected to occur for every initially positive HIV ELISA result. This would represent two or three million people who may be unjustly stigmatized.

    A valuable discussion of the problems in HIV testing was recently provided by Dr. Rebecca Culshaw.

  44. john Says:

    Trrll

    If it is it the science developed by the biologists, I do not congratulate you. You do not even respect the classic rules of the chemistry.
    And you do not answer the essential question: were the structures of the crosses-reacting proteins sequenced ?
    As long as the answer to this question was not given, it is necessary to consider that you are bad scientists.

  45. Truthseeker Says:

    The false-positive prevalence was 4.8% of Western blot–positive donors and 0.0004% (1 in 251000) of all donors (95% confidence interval, 1 in 173000 to 1 in 379000 donors).

    No, answer the question. What is the claimed percentage accuracy of the Elisa that is likely to be most often used in “universal testing” in the US as a first test? That will tell us how many false positives we are going to get the first time around in the US population, if we test all 300 million, an up-to-date goal you presumably support. If the accuracy of the new speedier home tests is lower, what is that?

    But perhaps you would also explain the quote. “4.8% false positive on Western blot-positive donors” means what exactly – please translate into English. Western blot is not usually done first, is it? Whatever, it sounds remarkably high, while the second figure sounds remarkably low. What’s really meant here?

    Quite remarkable how poorly expressed and evasive of the public gaze these technicalities are. Luckily, however, we have you willing to explain them. This is a very great contribution to public understanding.

  46. kevin Says:

    Trlll wrote:

    PCR is of course the most sensitive test, but as I noted before, diagnostic tests—especially those used for initial screening—need to be quick, easy, and cheap.

    What about accuracy? I’d think that a diagnostic test would, first and foremost, need to be accurate. Quick, easy, and cheap sounds more like reasons to explain why a test is a poor diagnostic tool, especially when dealing with a contagious killer like HIV.

    Kevin

  47. kevin Says:

    Trlll wrote:

    Besides, there are advantages to having multiple tests that use different methods of measuring the same thing.

    It sure makes it easier to justify erroneous conclusions.

    Kevin

  48. Bialyzebub Says:

    Call me a dirty dog, but I am in receipt of an email from Michael Geiger that was addressed to Prof. Trrll and copied to TS as well, and since I see that the TS has referred to this indefatigable poseur by his right name, I am at a loss as to why he did not reproduce the rest of Mr. Geiger’s wonderful letter because what opened even these jaded eyes wider than wide was to discover that this grossly inept defender of viral AIDS is a PHARMACOLOGIST who studies the toxicity of AMPHETAMINES.

    The open letter to TRRLL:

    “I read your remarks on New Aids Review as “trrll” and I am absolutely amazed at your seemingly mindless responses and inability to see any other side to the HIV AIDS issue than you do. Particularly as you yourself wrote the following:

    “There is ample evidence that it is possible for psychoactive drugs – and stimulants in particular – to harm the brain,” said Dr Terrell G, of the Boston University School of Medicine, whose research has shown that high doses of amphetamines can cause brain damage in animals. (ref)

    Mr. G, methamphetamine use in the California gay community, where HIV supposedly began, has been unbelievably rampant since the late 1970’s in Southern California where “AIDS began. Even most of the supposed leaders of the gay community were strung out on it, including the publishers of our local gay press. As a matter of fact, the amount of Crystal Meth used in the community has mirrored the rise of supposed HIV/AIDS right here where I live in San Diego as well as in LA and San Fran.

    Particularly as those using meth are also up for days with no appetite for food, and exposing themselves to many STD’s on a regular basis, and then taking massive amounts of antibiotics to treat the STD’s. Perhaps you suppose that this is no problem for one’s immune system over time? The gay bath houses and gay party scene here has been drenched in meth use since the mid 1980’s when the supposed AIDS epidemic began. Here in San Diego, 95 out of every 100 AIDS cases either is or has been a frequent crystal meth user. I can still go right over to any of the three gay bath houses in town and buy street made crystal meth right from the guys working at the counter of the clubs. I can go into any gay bar here in town and find several people selling it on any Friday night. The local gay 12 step meetings are full of HIV positive meth addicts. Even some of the local cops got caught selling it!

    You are bright enough to admit in your own words in the link above, the cellularly destructive ability of meth as regards brain cells, and are seemingly completely unable (or more like unwilling) to suppose that it may also destroy the immune system, and instead choose to wholly blame HIV for the supposed AIDS destruction of the immune system, wasting, and dementia claimed to be due to HIV. You are obviously able to see the harm caused by meth use in brain cells and you ignorantly suppose that the damage stops there. Is there some intelligent reason to consider the ravaging effect of meth on the immune system? Is there some intelligent reason why you wish to blame the obvious damage on the immune system strictly on HIV?

    Terrell G, a real scientist, presented with all of the information that you have been presented with by the AIDS Dissent community, would never stop questioning the mainline HIV = AIDS hype or mindlessly spout that he knows what is going on with it all as you regularly seem to do on NAR, especially after seeing the damage in animals due to meth. Are you just getting old or lazy, or what?

    As a supposed research scientist, you should be ashamed of yourself.”

    Michael Geiger

    HEAL, San Diego

  49. Truthseeker Says:

    PLEASE DO NOT COMMENT FURTHER ON THIS THREAD, BUT CONTINUE ON THE New mainstream coverage of rethinkers COMMENT THREAD (Next post).

    This is requested because printers asked to print out the last few pages of this record 550 comment thread now take too much time.

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION.

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