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Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy

Seeking Stories of AIDS Denialism

Have you or someone you know been harmed by AIDS Denialism? If you, or someone you care about, have been advised to stop taking HIV meds, ignore HIV test results, purchase a 'natural' cure etc., please email me.

aidsandbehavior@yahoo.com

All information will be kept confidential.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Damage Done: Why We Should Care About AIDS Denialism

Is AIDS denialism a problem? How widespread is AIDS denial? Are people who question that HIV causes AIDS given any attention?

People who care about HIV/AIDS are well aware that misinformation undermines prevention and treatment efforts. The spread of myths takes its greatest toll on the Internet, where pseudoscience is easily mistaken as science. There are perhaps thousands of people who refuse HIV testing, ignore their HIV positive test result, and avoid treatment because denialists persuade them that there is a debate among scientist about what causes AIDS. To many of us AIDS denialism is undoubtedly a significant social problem. But what is the evidence? What objective data do we have that says AIDS denialism is rabidly undermining AIDS prevention and treatment? On what basis should we think AIDS denialism is widespread?


UPDATED May 9, 2009

Only recently has social science research started to examine AIDS denialism.A survey of Gay and Bisexual men in 4 US cities found that 45% believe “HIV does not cause AIDS” and 51% believe that “HIV drugs can harm you more than help you.” This finding is remarkable because Gay men in the US may be among the most AIDS educated in the world. Or so we have thought.


One in five men and women in Houston believe that “AIDS is an agent of genocide created by the US Government to kill of minority populations.”

A study of people living with HIV/AIDS shows that 23% believe “There is no proof that HIV causes AIDS” and 36% say “there is a debate among scientists about whether HIV causes AIDS.” (Kalichman et al., 2009, in process)

In South Africa, where AIDS denialism perpetrated what South African advocates have called crimes against humanity, 42% of people at high-risk for HIV/AIDS believe that medicines for AIDS do more harm than good.

AIDS denialists actively undermine prevention and treatment

AIDS denialists persuade people that AIDS charities, such as Product (RED) Campaign, are fraudulent. Denialists have handed out anti-(RED) flyers at promotional events and taken other actions to undermine the charity.





AIDS denialists stage activist-style events and distribute AIDS denialism literature at community health fairs, gatherings, and other social events.

AIDS denialism is responsible for the death of 350,000 South Africans and 35,000 HIV infections in babies could have been prevented if not for AIDS denialist policies.

AIDS denialists organize campaigns telling people not to get tested for HIV. The testimonials of people with HIV who have chosen not to take HIV treatments are used to persuade others to refuse treatment.


AIDS denialists have inspired heads of African states to concoct cures for AIDS, including the President of Gambia. AIDS denialists bolster the sale of herbal cures and other snake oil. The proliferation of profiteering from fake AIDS cures is a direct outgrowth of AIDS denialism.

AIDS denialists try to influence public opinion and social policy.

AIDS denial has seeped into the mainstream media and popular culture with endorsements from the rock band Foo Fighters and
comedian Bill Maher, and denialists have gained access to major outlets like Harper’s Magazine and Scientific American .

The most organized AIDS denialism group regularly issues press releases to create an image of legitimacy that have been picked up by mainstream media.

AIDS denialists senselessly caused the stop of pediatric HIV medication trials in New York.

Conspiracy theorizing joins AIDS denialism with various anti-government and hate groups. (click link and search Rasnick)


AIDS denialists try to influence public policy by meeting with policy makers, such African leaders and members of the US congress.

AIDS Denialists file libel suits against those who call them on their conspiracies and expose them for their nuttiness.
They have infiltrated criminal courts and hijacked health policies.


Searching the Internet shows that AIDS denial is widespread.
AIDS denialist groups are active in several countries, including HEAL Groups and other denialist support systems that exist in most major cities.

There are hundreds of homemade AIDS denialists videos posted on the Internet. Gary Null has produced feature length films that pose as documentaries on YouTube. Robin Scovill, husband of the late Christine Maggiore, and Robert Leppo produced “The Other Side of AIDS” as a full length film. Another well-financed pseudo-documentary on AIDS is ”House of Numbers” which premiered at the 2009 Nashville Film Festival. The still image to the left shows filmmaker Brent Leung on the set. Notice AIDS Denialst and conspiracy theorist David Rasnick is present as well.

There are AIDS denialist groups active on every continent except Antarctica (see links on this page) with denialism escalating in the US, Greece, Australia, India, and Latin America.

AIDS denialism is a threat to public health and demands our attention. Ignoring AIDS denialism is itself a state of denial that does not solve the problem. Exposing AIDS denial is only a start to reducing its harms.

56 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the comment Jason.

    Unfortunately, I cannot waste my time reading the reams of denialism at Henry Bauer’s blog.It was painful enough to read his book. Yep, I was one of the 500 who got his book.

    Unlike Professor Bauer I have a research career and responsibilities to a field. So no time for me to waste there.

    For those interested in Bauer I suggest they do visit the link you provide as well as the links to the right which direct you to his seminal work on Nessies as well as being a Homophobe in recovery. You might also visit Reckless Endangerment, also linked to the left under Nessie’s, I mean Alien’s, I mean Henry’s picture.

    His posting title does interest me.
    You know Henry Baueer is often accused of being a racist. I do not know why anyone would think that saying Black people test HIV positive because their immune system is “different” from White people’s would make him a racist.

    Still, is Henry revealing that he is a racist by replacing words that start with ‘C’s with ‘K’s to get a string of KKK?

    It is a well known fact that the Ku Klux Klan historically marked friendly businesses in this way to let fellow Klansmen know of a meeting place. The classics were “Kountry Kitchen Kafe” or the “Kozy Korner Kitchen”.

    So when Bauer posts “Kalichman’s Komical Kaper”, is he telling the KKK that he is a brother? It seems unlikely that Henry Bauer is an internalized Anti-Semitic Klansman. Although nothing would surprise me about Henry Bauer. So how demented can Old Henry be?

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  3. Hehe, that was a good laugh, thank you. All thinkers, please read H Bauer's post, then read Seth's "response". Unsurprisingly, he didn't bother to read it, with the usual comical results. You accidentally hit on the theme of the post tho - "dementia". Maybe you're psychic?

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  4. I am waiting for a single reason to give Henry Bauer any credibility for anything he says about anything? Nessies, aliens, auras or AIDS? One thing? A student he mentored into a science career? A paper published in a legitimate scientific journal, a colleague with a respected reputation who will vouch for him? Anything?

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  5. Seth,you are really sick!

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  6. Sick?
    Hmmm, that why we can trust Henry Bauer and 'David Crowe' to know anything about anything grounded in reality? Ok. Thanks

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  7. The ire you have stirred only proves the denialists are running scared.
    If all they can throw at you is Henry Bauer, then I think you have done what you set out to do.
    Now if these denialists will just listen to the reason of their inner-voice.
    JTD

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  8. JTD
    I am not so sure throwing Henry Bauer at me should be taken so lightly. He has the weight of a Loch Ness Monster behind him.

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  9. Loch Ness, Schmoch Ness - I am screenshotting this all, this is classic (of course, only someone having read the post in question will see the multilayered, flavoured humour here! Seth, you are priceless - keep it up, long may you live!)

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  10. "I am waiting for a single reason to give Henry Bauer any credibility for anything he says about anything?"

    Umm... he makes sense..?

    By the way, ever heard of something called "ad hominem fallacy"? It's a really revolutionary concept, I think you may want to look into it.

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  11. Well, now I am convinced!
    He makes sense?
    Really?
    So tell me sadunkal, what do you study in College? I suspect not epidemiology? Why don’t you ask Professor Bauer to explain why we would ever expect a disease that is spread through networks to be randomly distributed in a population? Bet he tells you to F#@k off.

    Henry Bauer has no clue what he is talking about. I have I have heard him talk to the Scientific Explorers. Sadunkal, he does not make any sense at all. Sorry, that is not credibility.

    But you think his making sense to you gives him credibility? OK, so who are you? Why not reveal who you are? If you have credibility it will give Bauer 'credibility by association’. Henry could really use your help. Unless of course you say you are a Humanoid-Type Vegan - that you should have enough sense to keep to yourself.

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  12. Credibility by association is just another fallacy. My argument was just to give you a starting point, and it was specifically about his recent blog posts about your book. I didn't mean to say that he always makes sense under all conditions. I didn't say "pay attention to his epidemiology studies", even I don't pay much attention to them. But if he's criticizing your work, which is about a sensitive and important topic, I think it's your responsibility to pay attention. And yes, I think he makes sense with his critique. I can support that argument of mine with evidence if you wish. Would you be willing to examine his arguments' efficacy against the ones in your book?

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  13. So sadunkal, even you ‘don't pay much attention to’ what Henry Bauer says about the epidemiology of HIV? (to be clear, he has never done a study) Are you really a Rethinker? Rumor has it you are an AIDSTruth guy who has infiltrated the Rethinkers? Are you that Gallo guy? That would be too cool!

    I won’t waste my time with Henry Bauer, neither his words nor you writing his words. Why would I? I am not interested in ‘debating’ or 'arguing' what he has to say. So no thanks.

    Please do not bother regurgitating Bauer in a comment here. I won’t post that puke.

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  14. Sadun, there is something I am genuinely curious about.

    Do you think Henry Bauer makes any sense at all when he argues that HIV cannot be the cause of AIDS? If so, how did you decide this without examining his argument?

    Am I barking up the wrong tree completely by spending time actually examining his arguments and taking pains to point out exactly where they are faulty, when in fact no one is interested in whether what he says is true or not?

    Is truth less important than whether you can dazzle your readership with claimed former academic qualifications, an avuncular looking photo, some pretty tables and graphs that are complete nonsense, and a writing style that’s not obviously illiterate?

    Is the content of what he writes of no consequence?

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  15. Good question - Seth knows the answer to that one - apparently not, because he censored the original link to HB's post that posted here, which started this miserable excuse for a discussion. What say Seth? You a lying, dishonest motherf*&^%r or what? (As the Franch say, there are no indiscreet questions, only indiscreet answers)

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  16. Thank you denialists for visiting and leaving such good stuff for my readers.
    I removed the link because I had a complaint that it went to a pop-up. Thought it could be a virus. Maybe a mythical virus? What is the big deal? HB can’t be that hard to find. Just look for his Aura in the Pseudoscience Directory.
    Here you go, let me help.

    http://hivskeptic.wordpress.com/2009/02/16/henry-bauer-and-the-loch-ness-monsters/

    And yes, the content he writes about me is of no consequence.
    The goal is make that the same for his wacky ideas about AIDS.

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  17. sadunkal said...
    >"I am waiting for a single reason to give >Henry Bauer any credibility for anything he >says about anything?"
    >
    >Umm... he makes sense..?


    But Sanunkal, you already have admitted to having limited to no knowledge of biology as it is relevant to virology. What makes you think that you can discern pseudoscience from science?
    The thing about pseudoscience is that it is geared to fooling the uninformed.

    This is why I suggested on another thread that you pick up a beginning bio book and start from there. This is also why, as Seth said in his book, that education is the only thing that can truly fight denialism. Educate yourself and then you will see what truly "makes sense" from an informed point of view.

    -Poodle Stomper

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  18. Snout,

    I actually believe that it's Bauer's responsibility to respond to your arguments in your blog, too. I can criticize him as I criticize Kalichman. But as I earlier told you, you could make it all a bit easier for Bauer if you were a little more respectful with your language. Sometimes you're directly insulting as I pointed out in our email exchange. You can do it all in a more civilized way. Bauer doesn't do that to Kalichman; his arguments are pretty much only about Kalichman's logical fallacies. Of course I can't guarantee that Bauer will respond to you if you were super-kind and respectful, but I think you'd have a better chance.

    About your point;

    "Do you think Henry Bauer makes any sense at all when he argues that HIV cannot be the cause of AIDS? If so, how did you decide this without examining his argument?"

    I lack knowledge about Bauer's own arguments against the HIV theory, but I personally think it's unlikely that the whole HIV/AIDS thing can be disproved based solely on the statistics because;

    a)HIV/AIDS model is too vague and flexible,
    b)The reliability of the data is questionable because of the questionability of the "HIV tests" and also because of the lack of rigor and honesty from the AIDS establishment.

    That's why I couldn't get myself to pay MUCH attention to his epidemiology studies as I said. That's also why I didn't spend time reading your arguments against him on your blog. All in all, if I were to make a guess though, I believe your critique against the logic of his arguments should be at least partially justified.

    But that's just a simple guess. I'd have to examine both sides very closely to reach a reliable conclusion, which I don't intend to do for reasons stated above.

    Anyway, I doubt that Bauer can turn anybody into an HIV/AIDS skeptic alone with his arguments based on the epidemiology. That might trigger some interest and may contribute to the whole thing, but it's not the main pillar.

    So in that respect I think you're barking up the wrong tree, yes. That's why I told you that your blog would be much more interesting if it were to address the arguments of the Perth Group. Even if Bauer had never existed, the Perth Group's arguments would still stand as strong as they are now, but the same is not true reversed, in my opinion. Similar with Duesberg vs. the Perth Group too, in my view. The Perth Group should get more attention than both in my opinion. Even if Bauer thinks his work is powerful enough, I predict that Bauer would also agree with that.

    >"Is the content of what he writes of no consequence?"

    Of course not. Even if we assume that you're completely right about your critique against his epidemiology arguments, his work is about much more than epidemiology. I strongly support his arguments against Kalichman's book for example -except for a small section- and I think he generally makes excellent points about scientific philosophy and his media analyzes and many more things I can't list here. Those are not to be ignored just because some of his other arguments may not be correct. That would be another logical fallacy.

    I found your complaint about his "writing style" funny by the way. :) What is it that you don't like about his "style"? What makes you use the word "illiterate"? Were you a little too angry when you wrote that by chance? :)

    Kalichman,

    >"I removed the link because I had a complaint that it went to a pop-up. Thought it could be a virus."

    I have a hard time believing that, or even if it's true it was probably not an honest complaint but one with an agenda. Doesn't make any sense technically that it can go to a pop-up. That would be supernatural.

    Let's see if Prof. Kalichman will be able to publish this one. Will be a hard decision, eh?

    :)

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  19. Poodle-stomper,

    This discussion has nothing to do with virology. It's about ethics and logic. And unlike molecular virology, I'm confident that I know enough about those. Yours is just another ad-hominem.

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  20. Sadun, whether Henry or any of his followers choose to respond to my criticism of his HIV/AIDS theory is up to them. As I’ve pointed out before, my reason for writing “Reckless Endangerment” is that no one else has, and Henry’s followers have been promoting his ideas in mainstream sites while there was little I could find on the web that addressed the substance of his claims. Like a number of others I have tried answering him on his own blog, but have found that he blocks comments when they contradict him. It’s a waste of time, and kind of infuriating when he claims his points are unanswered and then deletes those very answers he claims don’t exist. So I made my own blog.

    I haven’t directly tackled the Perthians for a number of reasons, the main one being that others already have, and done so better than I could, especially when it comes to the more intricate details of molecular biology. I also think they’ve done their dash, particularly after the debacle of the Parenzee hearing and the change of government in South Africa, which was about the only place in the world they were taken seriously. Tell the truth, hardly anyone in Australia had ever heard of them before their ill-conceived shot at glory in the courts. They were a national laughing stock for about 15 minutes, and then promptly forgotten. In contrast to Henry they don’t seem to be very active these days. In any case, I’m trying to stay focused, and that means limiting my target.

    I’m not that fussed about Henry’s longstanding romance with Nessies, although I reckon it could make a charming and delightful documentary one day. I find it commendable that he has managed to publicly “rethink” some of his, well, unreconstructed attitudes towards gays. I was genuinely touched by his post today describing his experiences fleeing the Nazi occupation of Austria as a child. I even agree with some of his comments about how HIV and AIDS are portrayed in the media and other peripheral issues. Oh, and you need to reread what I wrote about his writing style.

    However, he is horribly and harmfully wrong about the relationship between HIV and AIDS, HIV’s sexual transmissibility, about the reliability of testing, and the value of treatment. He seems blissfully unaware (in denial?) of the consequences of promoting misinformation like this to people who lack the scientific background to be able to assess its veracity. Misinformation matters.

    Read Seth’s post at the start of this thread. How is it possible to make an informed decision about how you relate sexually with your partner(s) with a level of risk you’re both/all comfortable with if you are still trying to work out if HIV is sexually transmissible? How can anyone make an informed decision about testing if they believe the results are unrelated to actual HIV infection? How does someone with HIV make an informed decision about when and whether to use antiretroviral treatments if they don’t understand that HIV causes AIDS?

    HIV/AIDS denialists often frame their position in terms of freedom of thought and personal autonomy. But denialism doesn’t promote free and informed decision making – it utterly cripples it. And that matters to me. It should also matter to you.

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  21. Sadun
    I do not want you to think that I censored the 5 comments that I did not post. I just do not want to clog my blog with your corrections to yourself. We all make mistakes Sadun. Just slow down and be more careful as you type. I am also not interested in posting links to HB. Sorry.
    I am curious, did you test HIV negative or did you test HIV+ and assume you are negative because the tests are unreliable? I was surprised that you included your HIV status in your profile. That seems odd for a denialist. Explain that to old Henry.
    By the way, did you dig up anything that would say Bauer is credible? Anything? I thought not.

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  22. Snout,

    Oh yes, I see the "writing style" thing now, sorry I overlooked the "not". It's a little more understandable now.

    You said:

    "I haven’t directly tackled the Perthians for a number of reasons, the main one being that others already have, and done so better than I could..."

    Please be more specific about those "others". Where can these sources be found? Are you referring to AIDSTruth, NIH's website, BMJ debate? Please give proper references. Create a post on your blog with links for example or post them directly here. That would be helpful because just saying "others" doesn't help any further.

    The rest of your comment is not worthy of replying in detail since it's completely based on the assumption that HIV/AIDS theory is true in every aspect, which is actually the subject of the discussion here... So I suggest you slow down. The reason that the HIV/AIDS skeptics go public is because they're forced to do so. If they're being ignored by the relevant authorities what do you expect them to do? Simply say "Oh well, I guess there is nothing to do even if the HIV theory is wrong." and go home and watch it all happen? They go public because they think it matters too. Exactly like you folks.

    Unless there is cooperation and respectful, patient communication from all sides in this "debate", and I mean real scientific authorities and all that, there will never be an end to this insanity, I can assure you.

    Kalichman,

    Even if you won't take the responsibility to respond to the critique, you should at least show enough respect to your readers to let them judge it for themselves in my opinion. You're being irresponsible both against the general public and the readers of this blog with censoring criticisms. Please rethink your immature behavior.

    I updated my profile on AME. I shouldn't have written that I'm negative, you're right, that doesn't make much sense. But there is too little space for the biography section and I had to keep it short to get my point across to the other members of the forum.

    And I think your understanding of credibility is ridiculous. You can't rely on other sources to determine a person's credibility all the time, you should better check it out for yourself.

    If you really need something that dictates it to your conformist mind, I would say he is credible. How about that? Oh then you ask for something that says I'm credible? X says I'm credible? But is X credible too? Y says X is credible? But is Y credible..? and so on...

    Just treat all arguments specifically on their own and no one will have to waste time with pointing out that you're repeating ad hominem arguments.

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  23. Sadun, if you are looking for a detailed critique of the Perthians’ talking points by real experts then BMJ Rapid Responses for Fassin and Schneider are as good a place to start as any. Pay particular attention to the answers provided by Nick Bennett, Brian Foley, Chris Noble and Peter Flegg. While Nick is extremely patient with the Perthians’ dumb intransigence and outright misrepresentations, Brian, Chris and Peter increasingly allow their irritation to pepper their answers. This will, of course, allow you to dismiss them as “ad hominem” (see Canard Number 48 in The Christine Maggiore Story: Final Chapter?) without considering the truth of their detailed explanations of the Perthians’ flaws. This particular BMJ thread is extremely long, and is best accessed through http://www.rethinking.org/bmj/response_38610.html rather than through the BMJ site.

    For a less technical but equally astute critique, see Justice Sulan’s Reasons for decision in the hearing where Eleni and Val tried to pass themselves off as expert witnesses. It includes testimony by many of Australia’s genuine HIV experts like David Cooper, Elizabeth Dax and Peter McDonald and features a cameo by the Antichrist Himself, Robert Gallo. Sulan is not a scientific or clinical expert: he is an expert in law, and in distinguishing truth from falsehood, dissembling and cant. Well worth a read.
    http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/sa/SASC/2007/143.html

    I am not an HIV expert myself: I am not a scientist or a specialist physician. However, if there’s stuff that the real experts are saying that doesn’t make sense to you even after you have tried to engage with it, then I’m happy to have a go at explaining it to you. Alternatively you could ask the experts themselves, but I would suggest that before wasting their time you think carefully and precisely about what particular questions you are struggling with. Most genuine experts have very little time for spam and waffle.

    As I explained before, I have little interest in “debating” the Perthians when the real experts have already answered their generally specious arguments very satisfactorily and in extensive detail.

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  24. Snout, if I'm not mistaken I actually did read most of the related material posted during the BMJ debate. But I might take a look at it again together with the expert testimonies you're talking about. And although I'm open for surprises, I must admit that I don't have much hope for any adequate answer from those sources. Here's why:

    The BMJ debate took place in 2003-2005. The court case in Australia is even more recent.

    If the Perth Group's arguments were really that weak, debating their arguments wouldn't take such a long time and it would all be resolved in a matter of weeks, and everybody would go home... Since, apparently, the discussion is a really complicated one, the behavior of the mainstream scientific community can safely be declared to be very irresponsible and unscientific, because there is no way that every "AIDS expert" can instinctively know that all those detailed arguments raised by the Perth Group starting in the late 80s were wrong and meaningless all along. That's just impossible.

    The only way to weigh the significance of an argument is to spend time trying to understand it as good as possible and testing its strength against the other ones. I am certain that most "AIDS experts" didn't even bother to inform themselves about the Perth Group's critique, let alone grasp why it should be considered irrelevant as you imply. Actually I know that this is the case even today. How many "AIDS experts" read through the sources you mention and concluded that the PG's arguments are insignificant you think? I'm willing to bet that it's a very low percentage. The majority are still just ASSUMING...

    Note that the very sympathetic and scientific website AIDSTruth.org doesn't have anything on their website that even attempts to answer the Perth Group to this day, and it's been more than 20 years since the first paper published by the "Perthians". Same with all the "Evidence that HIV causes AIDS" stuff. Is that also because it is SOOOO obvious that all that the PG ever argued is wrong anyway and not worth responding to..? I'm not buying it.

    Why don't all the experts come together once and for all and simply clarify why it shouldn't be considered necessary to REALLY purify and isolate whatever it is you're going to claim to have discovered with such certainty? Is that such a hard task for the thousands of experts all around the world? Somebody can simply write a small article pointing out what the Perth Group has been missing all this time and the AIDSTruth is welcome to publish it on their front-page for years to come. That would be some progress.

    Another obvious point is of course that it took about 15 years for the HIV advocates to bother to respond to the PG in as much detail as in the BMJ debate. Note that it's not a scientific journal or anything, but an online forum... And they didn't do that willingly either; they had to respond because they felt like their beliefs were under attack. They were just defending. Otherwise the South African AIDS advisory panel would've already made some progress.

    And this is exactly why "AIDS science" is pretty much like religion or nationalism, or something along those lines... It's not about curiously exploring all the possible answers and looking for any potential flaws all the time, but it's about defending. It's about maintaining the tradition everybody's relying on for as long as possible.

    So even if I also begin to think that the Perth Group is wrong about the whole thing after I inform myself from every single source out there, alone what I stated above should be enough for making everyone question how scientific this whole HIV/AIDS mess really is...

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  25. Sadun
    I only posted your comment because it was coherent.
    I am trying to understand why a ‘mostly hetero’ HIV negative Turkish Science Enthusiast, Digital Arts Student in Berlin would spend so much of his time in this ‘debate’. It is obvious that you do not care about AIDS. So why?

    It seemed to me that you just want to argue.

    But even then, why debate AIDS?

    Now I see that you tell us why in your Nature Network Profile:http://network.nature.com/people/sadunkal/profile

    Interests: I’m focusing more on understanding the human nature and looking for ways to create better conditions for human progress.
    Projects: Currently working on a project where I’m supposed stimulate thirst for knowledge and curiosity through advertisement-like videos. The videos will probably be released online around April 2009, but no guarantees for now.
    UPDATE:
    Hehe, that had to be canceled. It turned into something bigger and more like a long-term hobby now, with no visible results anytime soon.

    Sadun, Rethinking AIDS is a hobby?
    A new project?
    An opportunity to intellectually self-stimulate?

    You have infiltrated the Rethinkers to use them for your new project? (wait, that sounds familiar)

    You probably have no clue who you are dealing with and how much harm you are causing. You also probably have no idea that aligning yourself with the likes of AIDS denialists on the Internet creates a permanent archive that employers will see. So Sadun Kal, what the hell are you doing?

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  26. Your obsession with people's personal lives is cute Prof. Kalichman. But I'm not sure how appropriate or scientific it is to make this obsession a part of your professional life. It's also a little bit scary to know that you're constantly looking for information like that. Do you also want me to send you my birth certificate, passport, my portfolio etc...? So that you can judge me more fiercely?

    I find it silly that I have to explain myself here, and I won't go into detail, but that project mentioned at my nature profile has basically nothing to do with RA, came months after I learned about RA, and is now also more or less canceled as I stated. Instead of my project, if you examine what I listed as my INTERESTS over there it might give you a clue about why I'm so involved in this insanity, and why what you find "obvious" can't be true. If you want more details about that and why exactly I'm behaving the way I'm behaving, then you'll have to stalk me wherever I go and read everything I've ever post in the world wide web. So just keep on doing whatever you're doing in other words...

    But my advice to you would be to directly contact the people you want to understand better in private first, instead of publicly speculating about their "secrets". In Henry Bauer's case for example, that mistake seems to have cost you a lot of credibility, but perhaps you wouldn't know about that since you allegedly don't read his blog.

    And re: "...(wait, that sounds familiar)"

    What do you mean by that? What are you referring to? Just curious...

    Other than that, I'm honored that my last comment was worthy of your approval professor. I'll now write a book about this wonderful event and tell the whole world how proud I am.

    And again, to return your correction, I'm not exactly "HIV negative", remember..?

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  27. Sadun, you seem to have a problem with Professors.
    Thanks for your posts and your advise.

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  28. I agree with Seth. I find it incredibly annoying when people like Sadun, Clark Baker, even Celia Farber and LiaR Scheff try to take on such an incredibly difficult subject when they have zero mental capacity for said subject. They think they can read a few websites and they "know" the information. I also find it extremely hypocritical when they have zero stake in the subject to act as experts. They are not poz, they have no family or friends who are poz and yet they think they have the right to act as authority about that which they really can not comprehend. It takes years of actual study of the subject to grasp it. That is exactly why I may have an opinion on politics, the economy, religion, architecture, fine art or even accounting, but I do not act as if I am an expert as Sadun has been doing throughout this thread. As LiaR Scheff and Celia Farber have done thru their pseudo-investigations!! It's not only despicable, but when the subject is HIV/AIDS, it is also quite detrimental to the health of others!
    JTD

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  29. One more thing I have noticed about Sadunkal.
    I believe he and I came on the "scene" about the same time. Sadun a bit before me, perhaps. But when I first read Sadun's writings, he did not have nearly the fierce opinions he seems to have now. He was, at one time, fairly open minded. However, now he seems to be on the defensive and not nearly as emotionally composed. I find the emotions quite hypocritical as he is always fast to make assumptions about others. He has accused me of many behavioral issues which I can only laugh at, since he does not know anything about me. He has misunderstood my wicked, sick, sense of humor.
    Sadun, you are the one who needs to "gain control and slow down". Your reputation is fast becoming that which you accuse others of!
    JTD

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  30. JTD
    You are right.
    A common thread that connects the Carters, Bakers, Geigers, Maggiores, and sadly Sadun is anger.

    Psychologically, anger follows denial. Right?

    First you cannot accept something and when you must accept, denial is replaced with anger.

    Denialists are blinded by their anger. And of course Bauer, Farber, Duesberg etc. get the attention they crave by fanning the flames. It does not take long to see how sick and sad this mess is.

    For comic relief I have turned to YouTube. See my list of favorites. Some of them are a riot!

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  31. If the Perth Group's arguments were really that weak, debating their arguments wouldn't take such a long time and it would all be resolved in a matter of weeks, and everybody would go home...

    This assumes that when the Perth Group are presented with evidence which contradicts their hypothesis that they will simply admit that they were wrong for the past 20 years. In my experience this is simply not the case.

    Why can't anybody convince the Perth Group that they are wrong? The answer is simple - they are a perfect example of Denialism in action.

    If people like the Perth Group and Duesberg were capable of being swayed by evidence then they would have convinced each other about the existence or non-existence of HIV by now. The only possible conclusion is that one or both of them are in complete denial.

    For the record I am not an HIV expert and I do not do any research associated with HIV. I am capable of reading the references that the Perth Group cite and see that they do not support their wacky claims.

    The BMJ "debate" wasn't a debate. The HIV Denialists abused the rapid response forum at BMJ to publicize their dangerous ideas and bypass peer-review. Some like Al-Bayati even listed their rapid responses in their list of publications pretending that they were real articles in BMJ. Some of us were so horrified at this unethical behaviour that we challenged some of the claims that were being made.

    So far I still haven't been provided with the references for the "rules of retroviral isolation" that the Perth Group talk about nor have I been provided with a single example of a retrovirus that has been proven to exist using these "rules"

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  32. Related to Chris' post; HIV is available as plasmid (DNA) clones of single sequences. As such, it is purified beyond what the Perth group could demand. As single molecular clones, the plasmids are:

    1) Not susceptible to the high mutation rate of retroviruses and thus can be kept as a single strain indefinitely.

    2) Can be injected directly into a live host and viremia initiated with no "contaminants" (it is just DNA and buffer).

    3) Doing this results in viremia that is for all intents and purposes identical to the innoculation of animals with the live virus (minus a short and expected time lag) and recoverable infectious virus.

    This has been done with several lentiviruses including sHIV and FIV.

    You can't get much more "pure" of an isolation than having a DNA copy of a single infectious clone.

    -Poodle Stomper

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  33. Seth,

    I don't think I have any problem with professors and I don't know what made you say that I have. I don't really care too much about people's titles to be honest.

    Todd,

    Although I may not find you that funny, I actually do have a pretty wicked sense of humor too, and so does many of your other "denialist enemies" probably (Duesberg, Maggiore, Geiger, Carter etc.). But you admitted yourself that you've been lying in a pretty bizarre manner just recently, on Henry's blog. Learning about your deceit made my belief in your behavioral issues only stronger, logically. But of course that was your humor, right? It seems like you would even blame it on your "wicked, sick, sense of humor" even if you were to commit murder... Sorry but I can't take you seriously when you attempt to argue that I'm the one who's developing some attitudinal problems and that I'm getting less open-minded. Just a quick peak at your "humorous" blog reveals how biased your approach is to all this. Ever heard about projection in psychology?

    The same goes for you too Seth:

    Are you sure you're not projecting or anything? Can you be more clear about that "anger connection"? An example for my anger maybe? I don't think Maggiore was an angry person either actually, especially in comparison to you guys.

    To be honest I can admit that in regard to the lack of progress in this HIV/AIDS discussion I get slightly frustrated at times. But I also believe that I got a pretty good control on it, it's just a temporary feeling that is born when I lose myself in the details and lose my touch with the overview of the whole thing. It goes away once I can see the big picture again, which happens quite frequently because that is my normal state actually, I think. What's important right now is that it should be clear to you that this lack of progress doesn't only have to do with you people, but also with the HIV/AIDS skeptics. So this frustration I mentioned is not "side-specific". I think there is a lot of room for improvement for everyone involved. HIV/AIDS defenders take more space though, so you have more room for improvement. :) But apart from that I guess I can safely state that I don't feel any anger towards any person involved in all this, not you, noble, gallo, snout, jtd, fauci, duesberg etc. etc. At worst I get disappointed/frustrated at the "deficiencies" of the human nature in general, sometimes including my own nature, but that's not that relevant to your claim that I'm blinded by my anger, for which I don't think any evidence exists.

    And I must say that the fact you asked the psychology-related question "Psychologically, anger follows denial. Right?" to JTD just looks tragic, even if it was just a rhetorical question. Be careful professor! :)

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  34. Chris Noble,

    "Why can't anybody convince the Perth Group that they are wrong? The answer is simple - they are a perfect example of Denialism in action."

    Can you please give a specific example of a denial. What specific evidence do you believe that the Perth Group insists on ignoring? If you can't support your claim with real evidence then I'm afraid such claims won't make the situation any better.

    And in response to this:

    >"So far I still haven't been provided with the references for the "rules of retroviral isolation" that the Perth Group talk about nor have I been provided with a single example of a retrovirus that has been proven to exist using these "rules""

    Please revisit our earlier exchange on this topic: Discussion of the Perth Group's paper

    My last questions to you were these:

    Are there even any “rules for retroviral isolation”?
    If so, where can they be found and what are they?
    If not, what kind of science is retrovirology?


    You never answered...

    I also do not approve of the Perth Group insisting that there are already accepted "rules of retroviral isolation" but I think that this lack of rules and standards is exactly what they should emphasize even if they might risk being attacked more fiercely.

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  35. PoodleStomper,

    My understanding is that your clones are still no replacement for some direct evidence for the existence of a unique molecular entity like "HIV" with the claimed characteristics, since the origin of the gene sequences are dubious. But I'm insignificant:

    Do you know what the Perth Group thinks about arguments such as yours? Ever contacted them and asked, ever tried to pursue this? I think you should try it. In fact it's your responsibility to try it, in my opinion.

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  36. Sadun
    Take a moment away from proclaiming others’ responsibilities and tell me something. I have been watching some of your animation. Homo is particularly good. Do you create digital stills? Did you do the AZT dead guy and dead girl images? They have been posted at Rethinking AIDS for some time. Your work?

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  37. Thanks. But no I haven't done any graphics related to RA so far. I intend to do something though. :) If I'm not mistaken the ones you're talking about come from Adbusters. And actually I think that responsibilities do matter a bit...

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  38. "My understanding is that your clones are still no …since the origin of the gene sequences are dubious. But I'm insignificant:"

    On what is your “understanding” based? Is it simply Perth Group BS or do you have a credible source for this?
    HIV is available by the hundreds are pure molecular clones (Chris and I have both linked to this before). In a study on discordant couples, the exact sequence initiating the infection of the recipient has been found in the donor in most of the cases. In others sequences differing by one or two base pairs were found (remember retroviruses mutate).

    In animal models, those infected with HIV show a dramatic reduction in CD4 T-cells (I cited this one at Aetiology. In the example I cited the HIV infected animal models showed an 80% reduction in CD4 cells and characteristic CD4 to CD8 ratio reversions compared to the controls, very characteristic of HIV infections in humans. The controls did not.

    Here is also a new link to video of GFP-labeled infectious HIV being transmitted by direct cell contact between T-cells.

    I realize most of this has been told to you before and I don't think you will change your mind so I will simply reiterate what I suggested to you before: Go get some basic biology education. It helps a lot when trying to figure stuff like this out.


    "Do you know what the Perth Group thinks about arguments such as yours...it's your responsibility to try it, in my opinion."

    Yes I do. To put it bluntly, the Perth group is a group of idiots with NO EXPERIENCE WITH HIV AT ALL. Their BS arguments have long ago been debunked by those more qualified than I. I do not claim to know everything about molecular biology and virology as I know people who know far more than I, but I know enough and have had enough hands on experience to recognize pseudoscience. The Perth Group uses self made rules along with a general misunderstanding of virology as a base for their claims in the hopes that denialists will not bother to look into their claims.

    -Poodle Stomper

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  39. Sadunkal,
    I was "lying in a pretty bizarre manner" (could you be more specific about the bizarre manner part?) at Bauer's site to prove that he moderates out the truth. I posed as someone else to prove that it wasn't just me he moderated, but anyone with the truth. And boy, did he play right into my hands. I only wish I had copied my comments so that I could have pasted them at my new site which is designed specifically for people who have had their true information moderated out of Bauers' site comments.
    Look for it at:
    www.correctingbauer.blogspot.com
    Also, Sadunkal, if you are so disturbed by such "deceit" maybe you should check out the Casey Cohen exchange with Dr. Nick Bennett. Christing Maggiore posed as Casey Cohen to get Dr. Bennett entrapped in some EJ debate. Now THAT was bizarre!
    Sincerely,
    J. Todd DeShong

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  40. Sadunkal writes Can you please give a specific example of a denial. What specific evidence do you believe that the Perth Group insists on ignoring? If you can't support your claim with real evidence then I'm afraid such claims won't make the situation any better.

    Uh. I've already given you an example of denial. You denied it was denial.

    I'll humour you and give you another.

    http://www.rethinking.org/bmj/response_68014.html

    There are no ironclad fixed rules for the proving the existence of retroviruses or any other entity. Science doesn't work this way. This is a strawman version of science. The evidence listed above by poodlestomper is conclusive. HIV has been isolated and sequenced. Researchers can obtain pure isolates of HIV from AIDS reagents programs.

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  41. Poodle said:

    "In a study on discordant couples, the exact sequence initiating the infection of the recipient has been found in the donor in most of the cases. In others sequences differing by one or two base pairs were found (remember retroviruses mutate)."

    Molecular analysis provides overwhelming evidence of sexual HIV transmission from one person to another.

    See, for example:

    Molecular analysis of HIV strains from a cluster of worker infections in the adult film industry, Los Angeles 2004.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16549978?dopt=AbstractPlus

    Molecular analysis in support of an investigation of a cluster of HIV-1-infected women.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12402955?dopt=AbstractPlus

    Full-length genome sequencing of HIV type 1 group O viruses isolated from a heterosexual transmission cluster in Senegal.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11522190?dopt=AbstractPlus

    Molecular evidence of homosexual transmission of HIV type 2 in Spain.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11282010?dopt=AbstractPlus

    Cluster of HIV-Positive Young Women—New York, 1997-1998.
    http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/282/1/20

    Accurate reconstruction of a known HIV-1 transmission history by phylogenetic tree analysis.
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=38248

    Molecular analysis of human immunodeficiency virus strains associated with a case of criminal transmission of the virus
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10950794?ordinalpos=12&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

    Molecular Epidemiology of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Transmission in a Heterosexual Cohort of Discordant Couples in Zambia
    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=135722

    It's as though someone has burgled your house and stolen your stereo. The police have a suspect. His fingerprints are on record, and are all over your house. He has accidentally left his jacket on your sofa with his name sewn into the lining and three ATM receipts from his bank account in one pocket. When the police catch him he is trying to prize open someone else's window with a screwdriver. The police find your stereo under his bed. He has a criminal record of 40 million similar offences.

    Along come the Perth Group, and claim that it's "never been proved that a burglary has actually occurred". It was the wind that blew open your locked window and spirited away your sound system. See, they have a theory about the wind, and the police just won't listen to them.

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  42. Todd,

    You also posted as Katrina Joseph on other blogs, e.g. at Clark Baker blog. So it was apparently not just for proving that Bauer "moderates out the truth". I too wish you had copied your comments so that I could take you seriously. I wonder what you consider "truth". You can still tell it on your new blog. But even if it was really the "truth" you posted and what Bauer moderated out, don't start fooling yourself and begin to think that people block your comments because "you're telling the truth". You're almost always blatantly disrespectful and rude and insensitive. That's a very important factor.

    I've also seen you posting comments as Clark Baker's wife, daughter, lover etc... You may think it's all very funny but I think you've completely crossed the line.

    Regarding Casey Cohen/Maggiore, as you know I commented on it at your blog.

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  43. Sadun
    Where exactly is the line that Todd crossed?
    Who determines the line? Henry Bauer? Careful Sadun, that line might just be out in the middle of Scottish waters with big green monsters lurking about. It might run through Peter Duesberg’s ‘scientific’ cancer follies laboratory. Or the line might run through an LSD trip that Kary Mullis is on. Or maybe in the FBI or CIA buildings that David Rasnick monitors. That line might just run through Gary Null’s bank account.

    You AIDS denialists are something else! I love that you call me deceitful!!

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  44. That line I'm talking about is an inherent part of modern society. It's about human decency, ethics and so on... You want to discuss ethics Prof. Kalichman? Would it be OK for you if I were spamming your blog with comments written from your children's or your wife's mouth, talking about your sexual activities etc...?

    And it's sad that you love to be called deceitful.

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  45. Sadun, what is wrong with you? You have aligned yourself with psychopaths who try to persuade people that HIV tests are invalid, HIV treatments are harmful, and HIV is harmless. You are about ethics? What are you thinking?
    It is denialists calling me deceitful that I love. Irony is one of my favorite forms of comedy!

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  46. Prof. Kalichman,

    You clearly still have no clue about the "denialists" if you think they're unethical psychopaths. And you didn't go that far in your book if I'm not mistaken. What are you thinking?

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  47. Actually Sadunkal, in his book he makes it quite clear that me thinks most denialists are in it with good intentions. The "psychopaths" are the ones doing it to make money. Those the likes of Rath and Rasnik. The ones that promote denialism to make a buck off of the suffering of those who actually are infected. If you would like I can specify the exact page where he states this belief (you know, in case you actually read his book and not just the Bauer "critique".

    -Poodle Stomper

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  48. What happened to my last comment?

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  49. Why didn't you publish my last comment? Why?

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  50. Sadun
    What happened to your comment?
    What do you think happened?
    I censored it.
    Why?
    Because my blog is not a soap box for you AIDS denialists. You can debate HIV as the cause of AIDS on your own blogs.

    Let me make it clear to you why I did not post your comment…

    You challenged PoodleStomper, Chris Noble, and Snout to a debate about the Perthies. You actually said…
    “Although I still have problems with what has been presented here as arguments against the Perth Group, let's assume that you guys are correct for now.”

    Sadun, what the f#@k is wrong with you? Assume they are right? Assume they are right?? They are quoting science Sadun. They are right. The Perthies are crazy. Have you seen that movie House of Numbers? You watch that and tell me they are not insane. Assume PoodleStomper, Nobel, Snout are right?
    Please!

    Then you go on to say that you are writing some paper or project on the arguments of the Perthies that will be open for comment with the goal of ‘getting closer to the truth’.
    Sadun, this is how you are spending your time?

    Are you paying tuition at that animation school or what? How about some reality Sadun? How about some evidence? Show us a single empirical article out of Perth in a respected scientific journal. Then we can weigh the evidence rather than argue the truth.

    Why did I not post your comment, Sadun? Because I will not allow AIDS denialists to propagate the myth that there is a legitimate debate among scientists about the cause of AIDS on my blog. That crap belongs at Rethinking AIDS, Henry Bauer’s blog (just don’t distract Henry away from me, it is way too much fun), or Celia Farber’s, Liam Scheff’s…etc. Put it there where it belongs, not here.

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  51. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  52. Sadun, the Perthians have spent over a quarter of a century distorting and misrepresenting the work of genuine scientists and clinicians. They have never done any real work themselves, like completed some actual research or treated real patients with HIV/AIDS. It is all in their heads.

    If you want to fully understand the distortions and misrepresentations you need to first understand what the science says, and then read the Perthians’ accounts very carefully and critically with that understanding in mind. You also need to follow their references back, because they routinely lie about what their sources are saying. Many if not most of their references are to obscure and very old literature: this means that you need access to a good medical library with archives going back decades.

    There are, however, enough examples of the Perthians being taken to task even on the net for their modus operandi to be very clear. The problem is that you will not look at them. It’s called denialism.

    You have been promoting the Perthians as having something worthwhile to say all over the internet, but you have never taken the trouble to understand the real science they are pretending to critique. You are trying to troll real scientists into doing the work for you. This is part of the reason you have never been able to understand why the Perthians are universally ignored. It’s no mystery, Sadun – their “work” is bogus, and anyone with a smidgeon of understanding of the science can see it. Trouble is, you don’t have that smidgeon, although you try to convince yourself you do.

    Whenever someone who does understand what the Perthians are saying and why it is a distortion of the work of genuine scientists takes the trouble to explain this to you carefully and patiently you either become evasive and dismissive or make irrelevant accusations of “ad hominem” or “lack of objectivity”. You have shown no ability at all to learn from what your scientific betters have taken the trouble to try to teach you. There are examples of this behavior all over the net.

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  53. Looks like The Tennessean changed their minds...
    http://www.tennessean.com/article/20090419/OPINION03/904190345/1008/OPINION01

    House of #'s must be ripping as they keep deleting this link from their facebook site

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  54. Snout,

    Please feel free to post all that evidence that you claim I'm ignoring as comments on my blog, or to me through an email, or here, or somewhere else of your choice. I don't really care where it is as long as I have access to it. What I'm striving for is a compact scientific critique of their work. Like "Experts think that the Perth Group's work is worthless because [insert scientific arguments]...". If nobody feels like supporting me in this then I'll have to write something from start myself and let you people review it, or something like that... But actually it's supposed to be a far easier job for people like you, don't you think?

    And this isn't about me, or your beliefs about me. I just think that it's also something potentially extremely beneficial for you guys and that you should be helping me if you're really serious about "fighting ignorance and denialism". To be honest, I think that you should've even done something like this on your own long ago. But I'm not complaining about the past. Let's focus on the future and let's just try to make the best out of it.

    Or does anyone else have a better suggestion?

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  55. Sadun, what the hell is wrong with you?

    Do you pay tuition? Why are you wasting your time?

    Yes, a better suggestion.

    Go study.
    Go get a beer with your buddies.
    Go get a beer alone.
    Go to Loch Ness looking for Monsters.
    Create a new animated film.
    Rent a DVD.
    Go for a walk.
    ANYTHING!
    Just don’t waste your time on the Perthies. Man, take a break! They have never been taken seriously by ANYONE. No one! Zip!!

    Snout, PoodleStomper and others.
    Please do not respond to Sadun here as I will not post it. I will not post any more of his cries and pleads for debate or document search on the damn Perth People. I only posted this one to get him to stop! Seriously, a paper debating the merits of the Perthies?? Not here. No way. No more.

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