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.

All information will be kept confidential.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How the growth of denialism undermines public health

by Martin McKee, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK 
Pascal DiethelmOxyRomandie, Geneva, Switzerland
Puiblishedmin the  British Medical Journal, 2010; 341:c6950  

Christmas is a time when many entirely rational people whose views are based solidly on empirical evidence the rest of the year suspend their critical faculties and say things they know to be untrue. Just in case any young children have picked up their parents’ copy of the BMJ, we won’t go into detail except to say that the subject of these falsehoods traditionally originates in the far north. Such stories are harmless and those telling them will, when their children reach an appropriate age, abandon the pretence. Yet other people hold views that are equally untrue and do so with an unshakeable faith, never admitting they are wrong however much contradictory evidence they are presented with.
Some of these views are harmless, but others cost lives. It is easy to think of contemporary examples. “HIV is not the cause of AIDS.” “The measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine cannot be considered safe.” “Second hand smoke is simply an irritant and there is no conclusive evidence that it is dangerous.”And, with potentially the greatest consequences for our species, “the evidence that the world is warming is inconclusive, and, if not, the evidence that global warming is caused by anthropogenic carbon emissions is unproven.”

Read more!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Luc Montagnier: Off the Deep End?

Trial draws fire:  Nobel laureate to test link between autism and infection.
by Declan Butler
Published online 8 December 2010 | Nature 468, 743

Luc Montagnier is applying unorthodox ideas to the treatment of autism. With support from the Autism Research Institute (ARI), based in San Diego, California, the Nobel laureate is about to launch a small clinical trial of prolonged antibiotic treatment in children with autism disorders. The trial will also use techniques based on Montagnier's research into the notion that water can retain a 'memory' of long-vanished pathogens, and that DNA sequences produce water nanostructures that emit electromagnetic waves, published last year. But experts are critical and worry that the nobelist's status may lend unwarranted credibility to unconventional approaches to autism. 

Read more!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Snake Oil for Sale": Gary Null (and void) back on the air?

WBAI (the NYC Pacifica radio station) is putting AIDS denialist Gary Null back on the air. They plan to give him five days a week to spout misinformation like HIV is not the cause of AIDS and all AIDS treatments are poison.
Null aims to expand his lies about HIV not causing AIDS, and the marketing of his own products, to all the listener-sponsored Pacifica stations.  No matter where you live, we need your help opposing this dangerous situation.
This is unacceptable:
- There is no valid debate on HIV as the cause of AIDS, just like there is no valid debate that the Holocaust occured.
- AIDS denialism kills people. Individuals are told to reject possible treatments and government leaders are encouraged to deny access to treatment.
- Arguing with denialists takes valuable time away from efforts fighting HIV/AIDS.

Read more!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wrapped in Data and Diplomas, It's Still Snake Oil

New York Times book Review, By KATHERINE BOUTON Published: November 1, 2010

Ben Goldacre is exasperated. He's not exactly angry - that would be much less fun to read - except in certain circumstances. He is irked, vexed, bugged, ticked off at the sometimes inadvertent (because of stupidity) but more often deliberate deceptions perpetrated in the name of science. And he wants you, the reader, to share his feelings.

His initial targets are benign. Health spas and beauty salons offer detox footbaths for $30 and up, or you can buy your own machine online for $149.99. You put your feet in salt water through which an electrical charge runs. The water turns brown, the result of electrolysis, and you're supposedly detoxed. Dr. Goldacre describes how one could produce the same effect with a Barbie doll, two nails, salt, warm water and a car battery charger, thus apparently detoxing Barbie. The method is dangerous, however, because of the chance of getting a nasty shock, and he wisely warns readers not to try his experiment themselves. As for homeopathy, he says that it may indeed work but it's not because of the ingredients in those pills. You can pay for Valmont Cellular DNA Complex (made from "specially treated salmon roe DNA"), but Vaseline works just as well as a moisturizer.

Read more!

Friday, October 15, 2010

AIDS Denialism in South Africa: An Update (and book review)

by Ashraf Grimwooda
a Kheth'Impilo, Management, Cape Town, South Africa
published in the journal AIDS Care, Oct 9, 2010

South Africa has had the largest global HIV epidemic for close to two decades. The rule of democracy since 1994 did little to slow the exponential growth of this epidemic. The new leadership focusing all attention on matters of state-like economic disparity, poverty and unemployment amongst the previously disadvantaged, ignoring the warning threats of the oncoming plague of HIV by people like Peter Doyle. This was despite the National AIDS Convention of South Africa’s resolution reached by the ‘‘government in exile’’ and other civil society leadership in 1992, Maputo, to address the epidemic in a focused and urgent manner as soon as democracy is restored. Civil society was expectant, waiting for a response.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How AIDS Denialism Can Kill You Part V: Is it too late for Karri Stokely?

For years, Christine Maggiore was the face of AIDS Denialism. When she died of AIDS in 2008, many people thought it would bring an end to the craziness. It did not.  

Just as Christine Maggiore  denied that her baby died of AIDS, her followers claimed that Christine died from the stress caused by a Law and Order SVU episode that portrayed her life.

Soon after Christine Maggiore died, there was a new face of AIDS Denialism. Karri Stokely, an HIV positive mother of two who has repeatedly shared her story of how HIV medications, not HIV, nearly killed her. Karri Stokely became seriously ill while taking anti-HIV medications and believes that her health only improved because she stopped the medications. She has appeared healthy ever since.  That is until now.

Read more!

Another Tragic Case of AIDS Denialism: Kim Bannon

Another cast member of the AIDS Denialist film House of Numbers is dying of AIDS.
A post at the Denialist website 'Questioning AIDS Forum' reads "Kim Bannon gravely ill".  

"Kim is deteriorating rapidly and there is little hope left. As of now, she can still recognize people, but it seems this will not last long. Her delusions are getting worse. ...The dissident movement owes her a lot, and we can't afford to forget what she did for all of us."

It is fair to say that the 'AIDS Dissident Movement' owes Kim Bannon nothing less than her life.

Read more!

How AIDS Denialism Can Kill You Part IV: A Wake Up Call

I ask readers to share their personal experiences and encounters with AIDS denialism. Those who do usually prefer to not post their stories on my blog because they do not want to be harassed by the predictable onslaught of attacks. Perfectly understandable. At times people are willing to share their stories, usually out of a desire to help others.

Stories of getting hooked into AIDS Denialism have much in common. This is the latest addition to my series on how AIDS Denialism can kill you. have also updated previous posts from the series. Thank you again for sharing your experiences with me and for allowing me to share them on my blog.

"One too many" coincidences

I first learned about the AIDS dissident movement through a friend's "doctor" in around the mid 1990's. The doctor was a guy who had lived in China for many years and had been making a living as an acupuncturist. He was also an advocate for a myriad of other superstitious and odd points of view.  I've always found unorthodox views interesting.  Instead of just rejecting them flat out, I feel they are worth considering. I guess my nature is to be a curious person. At the time I just thought it was an interesting point of view. I wasn't even HIV positive, but being an AIDS dissident kind of fit my overall perception of the world back then.

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How AIDS Denialism Can Kill You Part III: Lambros Papantoniou

In Memoriam, Lambros Papantoniou
by George N. Pavlakis, Rockville, MD USA
[Reposted in honor of Lambros]
Note that this story was originally posted in December 2009. I have been in touch with more of Lambros' friends who have confirmed the horrific acts of AIDS Denialists described in this touching essay. AIDS Denialists are on notice... you are on the minds of loved ones. SCK

What do you do about someone who claims to be an expert, serving up half-truths, twisting the facts in credible-sounding sentences and misleading a patient? There must be some rules that apply to someone who professes to be an expert and induces patients to stop their doctor-prescribed medication. These must be applied to prevent harm to more patients. And what if these actions lead to the patient’s death?

Read more!

How AIDS Denialism Can Kill You Part II: Accountability and Liability for Spreading Medical Disinformation

"with Nessies and psychic phenomena and UFOs and the like, there are many evident gaps in empirical knowledge, so there exists the possibility (somewhere in the “unknown unknown” *) that future observations could provide satisfactory understanding of the empirical data. As concerns extrasensory perception, there’s even a plausible analogy in the phenomenon of quantum entanglement at the sub-microscopic level. With HIV/AIDS, there’s no such hope, because data in hand have already disproved decisively the notion that HIV causes AIDS" Dr. Henry Bauer

AIDS Deniers tell you not to bother getting tested for HIV and if you have tested positive to avoid taking HIV treatments. Christine Maggiore, Brian Carter, Michael Geiger and others share their life experiences hoping to persuade you to join their fragile bubble. These private citizens are free to say what they want regardless of whether it places you in the same peril that they have chosen for themselves.

But the accountability is different for professional denialists. AIDS Denialists who can call themselves ‘Doctor’ can be easily mistaken for medical doctors. Dr. Peter Duesberg, for example, does not have a medical degree, has never conducted research with humans and has never seen a single patient. When Dr. Duesberg says that HIV is harmless people are apt to listen with deadly consequence.

Read more!

How AIDS Denialism Can Kill You

Ever wonder why so many of us take time from our days to rant about AIDS Deniers?

Well, it is because AIDS denialism is undermining our efforts to prevent and treat HIV infection. No one cares about a bunch of sad old nuts like Duesberg, Bauer, Rasnick, and Null. It is the people who listen to them that we care about. People who want to believe that HIV is harmless. Who want to believe that they can cure themselves with magic potions and home-made enemas.

Some who buy into AIDS Denialism get out in time to face their diagnosis. Others deny AIDS to their death.
To see the harm that AIDS Deniers are doing to each other, look no further than the discussion group at AIDS Myth Exposed.

A member recently wrote the following,

“I just got out of the emergency room after having to rehydrate myself intravenously. While there, stool samples were taken and it has been determined that I have Cryptosporidiosis in my intestines. My doctor called to tell me that with only 80 t-cells, this is no surprise. Upon doing some research on the internet, the parasite is responsible for wasting syndrome. This is my first "opportunistic disease" and it has me scared. It looks like this infestation is hard to get rid of - unless the t-cells get to be above 200. Food is going right through me - as are liquids. I'm doing my best to stay hydrated. I've had to call in sick from work and I don't have the cash to see an alternative doctor.

Read more!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

AIDS Deniers Speak Out in Chicago

August 31, 2010
 by Gary Barlow

UPDATE: Reprinted in Edge, Boston 

CHICAGO – Almost 26 years after the HIV virus was established as the cause of AIDS and some 15 years after drug treatments developed out of that discovery led to dramatic drops in AIDS mortality rates in the U.S., some people still propagate the belief that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS and that the drugs used to treat it should be avoided.
Those beliefs were aired at a panel discussion sponsored by Knowledge and Wisdom Productions at the Illinois Institute of Technology Aug. 28. The panel included two AIDS denialists, authors Britnee Burke and Keidi Obi Awadu, and two people who disputed their arguments, epidemiologist Yaa Simpson, of the Association of Clinical Trial Services, and author and activist Ida Byther-Smith. Less than 20 people attended the discussion.
The HIV virus is the most heavily researched virus in medical history. Photo courtesy NIH
“People falsely believe that AIDS is a disease while in fact today it is used as a self-defining complex of diseases, symptoms and definitions,” Awadu said.
Burke, who said she tested HIV-positive 17 years ago and has not taken anti-HIV medications, compared belief in AIDS to religious belief.
“My belief – HIV is a lie,” she said.

Read more!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

AIDS Denialists Donate to AIDS Charities - Thank You!

With the global economy in recovery, it is incredibly generous of AIDS Deniers to be so supportive of AIDS charities.   
First, thanks to David Crowe, Henry Bauer, Peter Duesberg, David Rasnick and their friends for taking the time to help me (and Joe Newton) write Denying AIDS. We made our first donation from the book royalties to the Family Treatment Fund, and the timing could not be better. The Administration of the Family Treatment Fund wrote:

"Dear Seth, Thank you for your amazing contribution to the Family Treatment Fund. Your gift could not come at a better time. PEPFAR [The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief] funding is flat and we are using every penny to continue to start 81 desperately ill patients a month on treatment. I am truly touched by your generosity that is saving lives and helping families."

Don't thank me. 
Thank the Rethinking AIDS crowd for giving me such a great journey to write about. 
I could have never done it without them.

Perhaps just as thoughtful is the donation resulting from the slanderous comments that AIDS deniers Clark Baker and Michael Geiger posted at the Spectator website. Their rude remarks against AIDS scientist John Moore brought this public apology:

28 August 2010
The Spectator apologises to Professor Moore for certain postings by contributors using pseudonyms "CWBPI" and "Michael" under our "Questioning the Aids Consensus" blog in October 2009. The comments were removed following a complaint by Professor Moore. We are happy to accept that these comments were both abusive and untrue. The Spectator has agreed to make a donation to a HIV/AIDS charity.

The Spectator is not the first to be duped by these poop heads and I am sure they will not be the last. The Spectator offered Dr. Moore a monetary settlement, which he asked them to donate to the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) of South Africa.  

Book royalties and  libel payments - the fruits of AIDS denialism. What is next? I can't hardly wait!

By the way, if you are feeling left out, why not go buy something Product (RED)?

Read more!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

AIDS Denialism in the US Senate? Not yet but stay tuned

No surprise, Kentucky US Senate Candidate Rand Paul is aligned with AIDS Deniers. The Tea Baggers are anti-government, mistrust medicine, deny global warming, and oppose same sex anything. Why would they not be AIDS Deniers? Celia Farber, a well known Libertarian AIDS Denier, likes to say that there is no political connection between the AIDS 'dissidents' and politics. Is she lying? Who can say? But to the sane observer the connection could not be any clearer.  

From POZ Magazine
Rand Paul Belongs to HIV Denialist Group

Rand Paul, MD, the Republican Senate candidate from Kentucky, is a member of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), reports. According to the article, AAPS denies that HIV causes AIDS. The AAPS statement of principles say that it's "evil" and "immoral" to participate in Medicare and Social Security. The group also has organized protests against the new health care reform law. Rand Paul is the son of former presidential candidate and current Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul.

Read more!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Is AIDS Denialism a Cult?

The Cult of HIV Denialism

Published at the Spring 2010

More is known about HIV than about any other virus. Less than three decades ago, doctors were perplexed by the appearance of Kaposi's sarcoma and Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) in young gay men. Since then, scientists and doctors, spurred by the activism of people with AIDS, discovered the virus now called HIV and proved that it causes AIDS by crippling the immune system until the body can no longer resist life-threatening infections.

Scientists around the world have isolated HIV, photographed it with electron microscopes, and sequenced the genomes of its different subtypes. There are now highly accurate tests for HIV antibodies and the virus itself, and increasingly effective and tolerable antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) for its treatment. Science is a gradual process, and there is still much that is not fully understood about HIV, but the evidence that HIV exists, is transmissible by blood, semen, and vaginal fluids -- and that it causes AIDS -- is vast and thorough.
The Denialists and Their Cult

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Friday, July 16, 2010

The Commonalities of Global Warming Denialism and AIDS Denialism

Monckton's response to John Abraham is magnificently bonkers

Monckton fails to provide a convincing refutation of Abraham's criticisms but does throw a great deal of dust into the air.

From George Monbiot's Blog

Say what you like about Viscount Monckton, he never fails to entertain.His response to the devastating critique of his claims about climate change by the physicist John Abraham is magnificently bonkers.
To give you a flavour of Monckton's reasoning, here are some examples of what he cites as evidence of Abraham acting out of malice:
• Abraham pointed out that Monckton "has not written a single peer-reviewed science paper on any topic";
• Abraham stated that Lord Monckton "presented a lot of data with no citations or no explanation";
• He pointed out that "if you don't tell us where it's from we can't assess the data";
• He explained that a graph displayed by Lord Monckton was "almost off by 100%".
These are all straight statements of fact. It is impossible to see how they could be construed as malicious, unless you regard all criticism of your views and credentials as illegitimate.

Read more!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Henry Bauer Returns Home to Vienna: For the International AIDS Conference?

I decided to sit out of the International AIDS Conference this year. I have only gone to a few of these, mostly because they have become less important for researchers. The last good one was Vancouver 1996 when combination therapies were generating excitement for a possible cure. Personally, I find the International AIDS Conference to be a bit of a circus. So guess what? The circus has some new clowns. Check out the AIDS Denialism side show in Vienna. Have a Schnitzel with Peter, Claus, and Henry (they speak the native tongue). Watch for the AIDS Deniers protesting AIDS science. Have fun. But please, do not feed the AIDS Deniers...they are dangerous and they are attracted to food.
UPDATE: More Russian coverage of Denialism as science. Amazingly, they have never heard of Peter Duesberg before.

AIDS - Knowledge and Dogma
Conditions for the Emergence and Decline of Scientific Theories
Congress, July 16/17 2010, Vienna, Austria

Final Program
Simultaneous translation into English and German is provided for all

Lunch and coffee breaks are provided for all participants.

Download the actual Congress Program as PDF
Friday, July 16th
09:00   Registration
09:30 - 10:15   Uta Santos-König
"Immaculate conception or maculate perception - A view of science
through Ludwik Fleck’s spectacles"

Read more!

Monday, June 28, 2010

“There is no proof that HIV causes AIDS”: AIDS denialism beliefs among people living with HIV/AIDS

Below is an excerpt from a new study published by Seth C. Kalichman, Lisa Eaton, & Chauncey Cherry in Journal of Behavioral Medicine

Click here to obtain the full article or write me for a reprint.

Fringe and extremist groups that challenge well-established historical and scientific facts have become increasingly visible, particularly on the Internet. Holocaust Deniers, for example, claim that Nazi Germany did not systematically kill 6 million Jews and Global Warming Deniers believe that climatology is a flawed science with no proof of greenhouse gases changing the atmosphere. Among the most vocal anti-science denial movements is AIDS Denialism, an outgrowth of the radical views of University of California biologist Peter Duesberg. Duesberg claims that HIV and all other retroviruses are harmless and that AIDS is actually caused by illicit drug abuse, poverty, and antiretroviral medications. Until recently,  AIDS scientists have largely ignored denialists, stating that they are no longer relevant and are not a threat to HIV/AIDS treatment and care

            Unfortunately, ignoring AIDS denialists has not addressed the problem and AIDS denialism is flourishing as a result. AIDS denialism promotes the idea that HIV is harmless and cannot cause any disease, most certainly not AIDS. Some AIDS denialists claim that there is no proof that HIV exists at all. HIV antibody tests are said to be invalid because anyone can test HIV positive, people who do test positive do not develop AIDS, and there are people who develop AIDS who have never tested HIV positive. AIDS denialism rejects HIV treatments as toxic poisons that do more harm than good. The central tenant of AIDS denialism is that there is an ongoing debate among legitimate scientists regarding whether HIV even exists and if it does exist whether HIV causes AIDS. AIDS denialism intersects with AIDS conspiracy theories, and may impede HIV prevention and treatment.

Read more!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

One Less Outlet for AIDS Deniers: Thank You Elsevier

New editor for Medical Hypotheses
 Posted by Jef Akst at

Biomedical scientist Mehar Manku will take over as editor-in-chief at Elsevier's embattled, previously non-peer-reviewed journalMedical Hypotheses, the publisher announced today (June 24).

In his new role, Manku, a member of the editorial board since 2004, vows to maintain the journal's unusual aim of distributing novel, radical ideas in medicine and related biomedical sciences while employing a more traditional peer review process than the journal saw under its previous editor,Bruce Charlton,whose contract was terminated after he refused to implement such a system.

"First, we will retain the ethos, heritage and unique characteristics of the journal as they were proposed at inception," Manku said in a statement. "Second, we will engage a medically qualified editorial board to get members more involved in the review system to help ensure radical new ideas and speculations in medicine are given open-minded consideration while ensuring scientific merit."

He may have a long road ahead of him -- last month, editorial board member William Bainsspoke withThe Scientistand said most of the board planned to resign in response to Elsevier's changes to the journal, which found itself in hot water after Charlton chose to publish an article by notorious AIDS denialist Peter Duesburg of the University of California, Berkeley. Duesburg was subsequently the subject of a university investigation launched last November to determine whether he had violated the university's code of conduct by submitting the article toMedical Hypotheses, but was cleared of the charges earlier this week.

Manku is executive editor and editor-in-chief of a leading journal in the lipid field,Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, and part-time chief scientist at Amarin Corporation, a biopharmaceutical company focused on cardiovascular disease.


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Monday, June 21, 2010

The Shame of Academia: No Price for Reckless Public Health Mischief

Berkeley Drops Probe of Duesberg After Finding 'Insufficient Evidence'

 on June 21, 2010 2:07 PM 
The paper that cost the editor of Medical Hypotheses his job will have no further consequences for its main author, molecular virologist Peter Duesberg of the University of California (UC), Berkeley. The university has ended its misconduct investigation after concluding that Duesberg was within his rights when he wrote that there is no evidence of a deadly AIDS epidemic in South Africa.
Duesberg's paper, published online on 19 July 2009, triggered a storm of protests from AIDS scientists and activists. Elsevier, the publisher ofMedical Hypotheses, has retracted the article and has terminated the contract of the journal's editor, Bruce Charlton of Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, who declined to introduce a peer review system at the 35-year-old journal.

Read more!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Truth Revealed: The Gulf Coast Oil Spill Conspiracy

May 24, 2010  by Henry Makow, Ph.D. 

We think of war in terms of missiles and tanks and bombs. But a far superior form of war is to disguise attacks as false flag terrorism like 9-11, natural disaster like Katrina or an accident like the April 20 BP oil spill.

This way the victim is not aware of his attacker, and cannot take countermeasures.

The parallels between the oil spill and Katrina are uncanny. In both cases, the American Gulf coast was attacked, and the Presidential response was deemed tardy and ineffective. In the case of Katrina, the levees were blown up 12 hours after the hurricane had passed.

The "tell" is the failure of the Obama Administration to declare a State of Emergency and take immediate action to stop the gusher. It is hard to believe that an Administration facing a national election in six months would sit on its hands while oil poured onto America's Gulf coast. Last week, Obama was announcing a commission to study the causes while 
failing to address the blow-out itself.

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Friday, June 4, 2010

A Sincere Message to Seth Kalichman and like minded people

Posted at QA, Questioning AIDS Forum
by positivenegative, June 3, 2010

It's a crying shame you hold your position in the face of too much honest and sincere conversation where people, whether you agree or not, are trying to fight for their lives. You're deliberate and arrogant viewpoint is an insult to people who just want answers. Most importantly you insult yourself.

When I first got diagnosed I read your book because I did not want to deny anything. I wanted all the information I could possible have and I sincerely took your words to heart but in the final equation you're judgmental and accusatory attitude makes me lose any respect I might have had for you.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I've had a lot of fun thus far this week expressing more than a bit of schadenfreude over Andrew Wakefield's being ignominiously stripped of his medical license in the U.K. by the General Medical Council, not to mention pointing out the quackfest that is Autism One, I feel the need for a brief break from the anti-vaccine craziness. This is as good a time as any to take care of some leftover business from last week that I had planned on writing about but gotten distracted by all the deliciously bad news for the anti-vaccine movement. Besides, what will be going on in Grant Park in Chicago this afternoon fits into this topic perfectly, because the anti-vaccine movement is but one "flavor" of this particular problem.

I'm referring to denialism, of course.

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A view of Peter Duesberg from up the road: Stanford Gets It!

Strangely Charming: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
 Stanford Daily  By Jack Cackler

Mark Twain, the 100th anniversary of whose death transpired just last month, was never known to be soft-spoken about his opinions. He popularized the phrase, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics,” caustically opining the view that numbers can be used to dissemble truth. While Twain’s classic snarkiness may elicit frustrated delight from Stats 60 students everywhere, his story is only half formed. As statistics can be a tool for ill-intentioned academics to perpetuate falsehoods, a society well educated in statistics is the best defense against this kind of intellectual trickery. Today we’ll look at a recent case in which statistics were not used honestly, and how to guard against them in the future.

Read more!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Cult of Denialism

 Unreasonable doubt: Climate change, AIDS, GM foods – all have their detractors. But when does disbelief become dogma? 
By  Keith Kahn-Harris, New Humanist Magazine 

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We were supposed to be living in a world in which the methodical, rational, scientific accretion of knowledge would lead us down a path to a better world. That was the dream of Enlightenment, the bedrock of modernity.

But much has happened to challenge this dream. One doesn’t have to agree with Theodor Adorno or Zygmunt Bauman that the Holocaust was the apotheosis of an inhuman Enlightenment rationality to recognise that scientifically grounded bureaucracy can be used to control and slaughter millions. One doesn’t have to be a radical environmentalist to recognise that, from Thalidomide to DDT, the fruits of scientific progress can lead to horrendous unintended consequences. One doesn’t have to be a Richard Dawkins to observe the continued flourishing of religious fundamentalism and conclude that enlightenment has failed to take hold in many parts of the world.

Read more!