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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.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

AIDS and Climate Change: Are All Denialists Created Equal?



A Cabal of Bankers and Sister Souljah

By Stephan Lewandowsky
Winthrop Professor, School of Psychology, University of Western Australia
Posted on 9 September 2012

One of the many adverse consequences of knee-jerk science rejection is the voluminous noise generated in response to certain events, such as the recent publication of my paper on rejection of science and conspiracist ideation. Whenever baseless accusations are launched, whether against me or other scientists, this detracts attention from other potentially substantive issues.

My inbox has been overflowing with messages relating to my paper, to the point where I can no longer guarantee a personal response to each message. Some emails raise good points and substantive scientific issues. Likewise, the comment stream on my earlier posts contain some interesting points, and I apologize for not being able to engage with the comments to the extent that I would like—I am however monitoring them so I can make a note of important insights.
I will endeavour to take up those substantive issues here as time permits. I consider the following points to be particularly worthy of discussion in connection with my forthcoming paper:

The distinction between conspiracist ideation and meritorious criticism.

Outlier detection and interpretation of extreme responses.
The role of structural equation modelling and how it differs from Excel cross-tabulation.
Details of the methodology and the supplementary online material.

I look forward to posting on those issues (roughly in the above order) in the near future.

I would do so sooner if my time weren’t also occupied with other, comparatively trivial matters, such as the identity of those “skeptic” bloggers whom I contacted for my study. I have several phone conversations scheduled for tomorrow, Monday, W.A. time, with the ethics committee at my university. I will report on the outcome as soon as a decision has been finalized.

I want to offer some further thoughts on the crucial notion of “triage”, that is, the separation of an intellectual signal from the noise of the echo chambers:

One must differentiate between the organized purveyors and pushers of science denial on the one hand, and the “consumers” of such denial on the other. While the former legitimately attract moral scorn because their conduct causes much human pain, the latter are in a very different category. This distinction can be brought into sharp focus by considering AIDS denial: The purveyors of pseudo-scientific nonsense who convinced South Africa’s President Mbeki that antiretroviral drugs were “racist” medicine deserve little other than moral contempt. Their actions have killed—330,000 people in South Africa alone, based on the peer-reviewed literature—and their actions continue to kill.

The sick and desperate people who turn to the purveyors of denial to deal with their tragic illness, by contrast, deserve not contempt but compassion, however ill-informed and counter-productive their actions may have been. The triage between the perpetrators and the victims of science denial is, alas, frequently very difficult and I can only highlight that dilemma without being able to resolve it.

In this context, it is of interest that my forthcoming paper on the rejection of science found a stronger link between conspiracist ideation and the rejection of sciences other than climate science (including rejection of the link between HIV and AIDS). To date, however, this fact has been overshadowed by the eager self-immolation of the climate-denial community, who has seen fit to respond to my paper with more conspiracist ideation than my modest survey could have ever uncovered.
There are subtle indications that even among climate “skeptics” a penny has dropped. Ardent “skeptics” suddenly recognize the need to address their own fringe. This is best illustrated by the moves of Mr. Andrew Bolt, a right-wing blogger and Murdoch columnist, who commands a large audience in Australia despite his high-profile conviction for racial vilification.

Mr. Bolt has referred to me variously as a global warming evangelist or smearer. Despite those obvious failings, Mr. Bolt publicly distanced himself from the “Galileo Movement.” The Galileo Movement is an Australian climate-denial outfit that variously reminds me of Monty Python and Fox News.

Although initially listed as one of their "advisors", together with other practicing scientists such as Australia's most famous shock jock, Mr. Bolt discovered that the Movement's views about climate science comprise an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory involving a “cabal” of bankers who strive to dominate the world via carbon trading (or something like that, I apologize if I have not penetrated the full nuances of this theory).

If even Mr. Bolt is concerned about anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, then we have arrived at a Sister Souljah moment for climate denial.

45 comments:

  1. I urge Mr Kalichman to distance himself from the likes of Lewandowsky as nobody can possibly gain and least of all AIDS victims (and victims of AIDS denial) by associating themselves with shoddy computations, bombastic baseless claims and total inability to openly discuss anything at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow. Prof. Lewandowsky conducts a psychological study with over 1000 subjects, and then in response to speculative criticisms, releases a spreadsheet with all his data and calculations and writes several blog posts answering various criticisms, while promising more... and Maurizio says the Professor has launched "bombastic baseless claims" and exhibits a "total inability to openly discuss anything at all."

      Maurizio, perhaps you ought to read Prof. Lewandowsky's paper and blog posts.

      Delete
    2. bbickmore - I see you're staying away from the shoddy computations. Good choice.

      Delete
  2. Interesting study. Denialists like Clark have the disorder which is obviously not limited to AIDS Denialism- he is also a climate change Denialist, Holocaust Denialist, etc. they are all branches off the same pathology.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is he a Holocaust Denialist? I know "putinreloaded" denies the Holocaust and germ theory as well as HIV. Putin was also kicked out of another Spanish denialist network for spouting racist garbage. But I thought Clark just hated Asians.

      Delete
  3. "To prevent this ridiculous, vile claim being spread further, we'd like to highlight a few facts and expose the techniques and the dishonest tactics used by people too lazy to do real research, who wish to silence us by calling us anti-Semitic"

    http://www.galileomovement.com.au/restoring_morality_justice.php#A

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Err... you do realise that calling yourselves the "Galileo Movement" marks you as crackpots, don't you?

      Persecuted prophets and maligned mavericks: The Galileo Gambit.

      Delete
    2. No idea if you are anti-Semitic. I know that you are crackpots, because I read your claims about CO2, and they have nothing to do with whether it is a pollutant or global warming.

      Yes, living things can produce a chemical. No, that doesn't mean producing more of that chemical is a good thing. And no, that doesn't mean it is non-toxic.

      Delete
    3. If anyone's wondering what Mr Movement is going on about, it's regarding a reported statement from his group's spokesman Malcolm Roberts to a Sydney environment journalist:

      "Australia's very own Galileo Movement of crackpot deniers (patron Alan Jones, booster-in-chief Andrew Bolt) fears that evil forces are at work. The Galileo manager, Malcolm Roberts, assured the Herald's environment editor, Ben Cubby, this week that climate science had been captured by "some of the major banking families in the world" who form "a tight-knit cabal"."

      Anthems to stir the common man

      Okay, Galileo, I accept your explanation that Malcolm really had no idea that his choice of words has been used to appeal to anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists for over a century. After all, anyone who grandly dubs themselves the "Galileo Movement" with a straight face obviously isn't overly burdened with self awareness.

      So I get you - it wasn't intentional dog-whistling we heard, it was just the sound of hot air rushing past ill-fitting dentures.

      Delete
  4. Not sure if the "Galileo Movement" is anti-Semitic (wouldn't surprise me though). AM sure they ARE complete quacks after looking at their nonsense. Total nonsense.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Join Americans against Facts!September 24, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    Aha! My pretties. You again fall into the trap.

    Americans don't want evidence. If they did, someone would do something about global warming.

    Join OSMJ, Dr. Strangelove, Clark Baker and the US neo-Nazi movement. Americans really don't like facts. We have voted against facts. We want the dream that America can reach utopia by ignoring facts. It is our manifest destiny!

    Ronald Reaan once said "trees pollute more than cars." America voted for this! That makes it true! So give a hoot, cut down a tree.

    OSMJ is devoted to the end of humanity. The faster we get rid of facts, the easier it will be to exterminate everyone. Then we can start over with a brave new world of denialists.

    What a wonderful world it will be...

    ReplyDelete
  6. It stands to reason that if people are capable of harboring delusions or irrational behavior on one particular subject, why could they not also apply this mentality to other areas of "study" ?

    Numerous folks who dabble in AIDS denial also involve themselves in other facets of contemporary conspiracy theory like 9/11 truth, UFO's, Holocaust denial, Parapsychology, the "Hollywood" lunar landing, etc.

    I also agree with the poster above that Americans typically do not like inconvenient facts. Also important to appreciate is that climate science tends to suffer from a certain degree of guilt by association with some of the more lame-brained environmentalist organizations. For some reason I have never quite been able to grasp, environmental activism seems to attract a very special breed of retard. Nearly everyone I knew in undergrad that was extremely eco-centric was also a couple of tacos short of a sampler platter. Pity.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It stands to reason that if people are capable of harboring delusions or irrational behavior on one particular subject, why could they not also apply this mentality to other areas of "study" ?

    Numerous folks who dabble in AIDS denial also involve themselves in other facets of contemporary conspiracy theory like 9/11 truth, UFO's, Holocaust denial, Parapsychology, the "Hollywood" lunar landing, etc.

    I also agree with the poster above that Americans typically do not like inconvenient facts. Also important to appreciate is that climate science tends to suffer from a certain degree of guilt by association with some of the more lame-brained environmentalist organizations. For some reason I have never quite been able to grasp, environmental activism seems to attract a very special breed of retard. Nearly everyone I knew in undergrad that was extremely eco-centric was also a couple of tacos short of a sampler platter. Pity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. supaflyrobby

      Are you an AIDS researcher? If not, do you plan on becoming one?

      Delete
  8. Hey Robby, just what section of GSK do you work in?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Aha! My pretties.

    You figured out that we have infiltrated GSK! We are turning it into a benign and good company. Soon, GSK and all other pharma groups will be filling the world with drugs to cure diseases! That will help the population grow, then finally, fill the air with greenhouse gasses and kill off humanity!

    Yes, by helping humanity we will hasten humanity's end!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Cat got your tongue now Robby? I mean it was you who stated you were doing your internship over at GSK, I was just wondering in what discipline?

    As for conspiracies......let me see, Robby is a paid hack for a pharmaceutical company, Seth is funded through grants from the NIH and NIAD, Snout and Poodle Stomper refuse to disclose who they work for, or indeed who they are, Todd of course is just and idiot so doesn't count.

    Conspiracies? not at all, it's actually a board room certified attempt to maximise profits in a failing industry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, of course AIDS denialists aren't crackpot conspiracy theorists. Check out the current Rethinking AIDS home page. These are serious working scientists.

      * Top of the page is an announcement of Celia Farber's latest attempt to humiliate herself in court. The appeal brief prepared by her attorney is even loonier:

      "By persisting, we want to lay bare the embedded attack machinery that is used against those who expose the pharmaceutical empire. It operates like a shadow state, fully equipped to destroy the professional as well as private lives of citizens doing their jobs—journalists, scientists, doctors, or academics. These are professional, well paid squads that never rest, never let up, and are accountable to nobody."

      * Next we have Terry Michael's Youtube clips after he wangled his was past security at the international AIDS conference. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi handles the crazy man with her characteristic class, tact and aplomb while waiting for the straitjacket to arrive.

      * Then Austrian Airhead Cristl Meyer announces on Youtube that HIV does not exist.

      * Later, Marco Ruggiero announces a criminal lawsuit after being utterly disgraced over his academic conduct. The link to his foaming rant "The HIV Hoax " is still up, but no longer works. His former student Matteo Prayer Galletti has thought better of leaving it on youtube.

      * Then RA president David Crowe proudly announces his appearance on Red Ice Radio, the show that brings us such features as "Occultism and Satanism in the U.S. Military", "Hollywood Mind Control" and "World Control, Gold and the Jesuits".

      * Peter Duesberg gets a gig on Bryan Fischer's fruitcake radio show. Even the other extreme right-wing fundamentalists are cringing.

      * Not to mention featured interviews with Karri Stokely "Our Orlando Earth Day show was a great success! We spoke to, and educated, MANY people about the HIV THEORY. Please view our pictures" and Maria Papaginniadou "What I suffered from was a belief in the entire theory."

      * Former Rethinking AIDS President Roberto Giraldo tells us in Nicole Zwiren's film:

      "In year 2000, when George Bush was candidate to be President of the United States, [then South African president] Mbeki came to the United States to try to do some business. And George Bush told him that they knew, that the government knew, that HIV was not the cause of AIDS, that they knew that HIV didn’t even exist, but that the problem was that they couldn’t say that to the public because the public was going to get crazy. Or that the countries of the world were going to [get] united against those lies that were spread by the government of the United States."

      * Clark Baker. Enough said.

      Nope, completely sane and rational, every one of them. What conspiracy theory?

      Delete
    2. Of course there's no conspiracy theory. That's why Nancy Turner Banks spoke at SanityCon. Oh wait...

      Delete
    3. Snout also forgot the people denying germ theory entirely.

      Delete
    4. Do you mean like the current president of Rethinking AIDS?

      Delete
    5. Snout = Dr. Nick "NOT AN AIDS RESEARCHER" Bennett.

      Is it just me, or is AIDS a strange hobby for an "Ovine Resources Director" who also preaches in church on Sundays?
      Please feel free to chime in with your opinion!

      Delete
    6. And David "Deny everything under the sun" Crowe is an AIDS Researcher? And Clark "Traffic Officer" Baker is an AIDS researcher? And The Loch Ness Monster dude, was his chemistry degree in AIDS research? You totally lost this argument.

      Delete
  11. notElon = This sites official mouth-piece/damage control specialist.

    You have "totally lost" your marbles.
    What argument?
    There are actually creatures living at bottom of the worlds oceans that are not even close to being as blind as you have balls-out proven yourself to be. Keep up the good work!



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You were insulting Snout's credentials. But your own are laughable. Pot calling a kettle black.

      Delete
  12. notElon

    You are an obvious graduate of the "Potsie Weber" school of comebacks. Why do you even bother?

    Snout is a self professed sheepherder who mentioned that he also preaches in church on Sundays?
    That sure seems like a pretty odd background for someone as interested in AIDS as he is? Just not in the "Book of Elon" though, of course.
    You two strange characters actually go together like peas & carrots.

    Snout swears up & down that he isn't Bennett, or even a journalist, but "AIDSTruth" actually lets the mutt speak on their website? I'm sure thats by sheer coincidence though-totally. Then when you factor-in that Dr.Nick Bennett just so happens to also be a listed as being one of their so called "AIDS EXPERTS"? Yeah right!

    Kalichman even backs Bennett! He even included Bennett's clown-dick website "Correcting the AIDS Lies" on his list of his favorite blogs.
    Dr. Nick is actually an even bigger weasel than even you "E"! And thats REALLY saying something.

    Whats actually even more laughable though, is your claim of actually being a scientist combined with your obvious inability to actually answer any real scientific questions on your favorite topic, the HIV virus! Unless you can find the answer to the question on the internet, who ever asked it may just as well forget about it.

    Even stranger yet.
    You also leave plenty of interesting details out of the things the that you actually make an attempt to meander through. "MAJOR THINGS"

    ReplyDelete
  13. notElon
    Snout has credentails? In which department?
    From what I have recently seen, the guy doing the insulting appears to be right on all counts.
    You were described perfectly!
    "notElon = This sites official mouth-piece/damage control specialist."



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The guy doing the insulting is obviously you. Do you often feel the need to specifically agree with yourself?

      Delete
    2. notElon
      I'm not, but I will take credit.
      I guess the smart money is on....Me?
      Have at it!

      Delete
  14. I can answer scientific questions on any topic. What I cannot do is read your lunatic rants for more than 5 seconds without gouging my own eyes out.

    ReplyDelete
  15. notElon
    "I can answer scientific questions on any topic."

    Obviously, just not any that an actual scientist easily could.
    I have recently seen some scientific questions regarding HIV directed at you on another thread that you didn't even come close to actually answering. You just spewed some crap and skated off.
    Don't try saying that you somehow missed them either, because you know that you didn't.
    You just simply didn't know, and couldn't locate the answers to them.
    Why don't you just go and actually learn something about virology already. You MUST quit bringing shame upon the "House of Kalichman" or face being excommunicated from the church that Seth somehow built!
    lol
    And don't go trying to pin the reason that your blinder than a Megabat on me either.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, I am an actually scientist. I can locate the answers very easily. However, you didn't actually ask me them. You posted them on a blog that I happened not to check for a few days, and that Seth happened not to moderate the comments after I finally did check fast enough to your liking, so you got hysterical.

      Why don't you actually go learn something about virology, like the fact that viruses exist? Or maybe that they can cause disease? Then you would already know more than the entire Perth Group and Rethink Aids combined.

      Delete
  16. Very cool. I always benefit from the interview. Many thanks for having one of these website

    ReplyDelete
  17. notElon
    "No, I am an actually scientist."

    lol---> Really? It appears that the closest you will actually be getting to that title is wearing a lab coat to a Halloween party this year.

    "I can locate the answers very easily."

    Is that why you still haven't answered those questions YET? Tic-Toc-Tic-Toc-Tic-Toc....

    "I finally did check fast enough to your liking, so you got hysterical."

    You are obviously the one who is "hysterical".
    You seem to have even lost the ability to actually type in English.
    Of course, that is only due to the fact that you are nothing but a complete and total hack/fraud.

    For shame man! They spit on you in your homeland!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What question haven't I answered? Am I still cuddling with Snout? No. I don't know who he is. I don't know who you are. I do know that there cannot be two anonymous people with the maturity and intellectual depth of five year olds who started commenting at the same time. The world would be too depressing if this were true. I do know who I am, and I have documentation to prove it. You can search for me if you like.

      Delete
  18. notElon
    "What question haven't I answered?"

    You are actually now telling me that you don't even remember what the questions were?
    Oh....For shame!
    How much more embarrassingly pathetic can you even get?

    "I do know that there cannot be two anonymous people with the maturity and intellectual depth of five year olds who started commenting at the same time. The world would be too depressing if this were true. I do know that there cannot be two anonymous people with the maturity and intellectual depth of five year olds who started commenting at the same time. The world would be too depressing if this were true.

    Sorry Chicken Little, but it appears as if the sky above your pointed head truly is falling, how sad.

    "You can search for me if you like."

    What actually makes you think that I would have to search for you anyway?
    Because like most trolls, I'm sure you could easily be found lounging under the nearest bridge.

    "I do know who I am, and I have documentation to prove it."

    I bet that what you are calling "documentation" is probably nothing more than just a doctor's order that you are to recieve Thorazine for your Schizophrenia/Psychotic Disorders.
    Attached to the following.

    PO: Initial 30-75 mg/day divided BID-QID, maintenance usually 200 mg/day (up to 800 mg/day in some patients); some patients may require 1-2 g/day.

    IV/IM: Initial 25 mg, follow PRN with 25-50 mg after 1 hour, then increase to maximum 400 mg/dose q4-6hr untile patient is controlled; usual dose is 300-800 mg/day.


    ReplyDelete
  19. Um, yeah. You don't know the question either. Ha HA. Who is the real troll?

    ReplyDelete
  20. notElon

    "Um,yeah. You don't know the question either."

    Um, guess again there, Slappy.

    1.)What element(or substance)does the HIV virus actually require/depend on?

    2.)What actually are the top three fastest mutating viruses, and where does HIV rank on that list?


    "Who is the real troll?"

    Why you are stud!


    ReplyDelete
  21. Those questions? You will find I answered them. Guess you didn't like my answers. Troll.

    ReplyDelete
  22. You can scroll to them yourself and see that the answers are already there. And have been there for two weeks or so.

    ReplyDelete
  23. notElon
    1) Yes
    2) Yes. That is what PCR tests for. Thus my congratulating you.
    3) Not the absolute fastest, but up there. RNA viruses are very error prone copying the genome, because RNA is a bad template for replication.
    ----------------------------------------------------
    What?
    That up there is what you actually deem as you truly having answered those questions? Nice try, but no.
    How patheticly unexceptable, and predictable.

    You most likely have never even actually met a genuine AIDS researcher.

    And the "yes" answer you gave to number one was nothing more than you just telling that person who asked you the questions that you were indeed a scientist.
    You seem to be under the impression that simply just because you are running a meth-lab somewhere and own a copy of "HIV 101" that it somehow qualifies you as being some sort of a real scientist. Guess again, because it doesn't.




    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They were elementary yes or no questions. What do you expect? Honestly.

      Delete
  24. Elon, you just got served! Damn!!

    You can't actually answer those questions, so then you just go and pretend like you already have! lol
    A stroke of pure genius by any hacks standards!

    You probably should stop sampling the product before you land face first in Betty Ford.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I answered them. You can't deny what any fool can see. Oh wait...

      Delete
    2. "notElonOctober 14, 2012 12:24 AM
      HIV requires the same thing as every other virus. A cell containing free nucleotides to replicate in.

      The fastest mutating viruses are RNA viruses, possibly the negative sense ones, possibly retroviruses like HIV. They all mutate far too fast to make Eugene's suggestion viable, if it weren't ridiculous for the practical reasons I gave."

      Yeah...

      Delete