"
And going to the university and the University of Florence in particular, it came out that Professor Ruggiero – that’s myself – was in absolute terms the Best Professor in the Entire University... and not only in biology and medicine but overall, concerning all the professors of the entire university" - Dr Marco Ruggiero, Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Florence.

"Derrida's method consisted in demonstrating the forms and varieties of this originary complexity, and their multiple consequences in many fields. He achieved this by conducting thorough, careful, sensitive, and yet transformational readings of philosophical and literary texts, to determine what aspects of those texts run counter to their apparent systematicity (structural unity) or intended sense (authorial genesis)."
- Wikipedia: Jaques Derrida (and also copy-pasted to 2,520 other websites)

"I have long ago given up looking at anything from Snout... He has no credentials at all to discuss the things he talks about, yet feels free to denigrate a long-established, peer-reviewed Italian journal, and highly competent, even distinguished scientists and scholars. If anyone prefers to take his opinion rather than mine, I think that shows rather poor judgement in view of the curriculum vitae posted on my website and the anonymity and missing C.V. of Snout…"

- Henry H. Bauer. Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, Science Studies and Dean Emeritus of Arts and Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The coming AIDS Denialist Civil War: Henry Bauer chooses sides

FOLLOWERS OF THE POLITICS of HIV/AIDS denialism will be familiar with the fact that there are two main competing schools of what passes for thought among "rethinkers": those who gather around Peter Duesberg (based at Berkeley in California), and who contend that HIV does exist but it is harmless, and those who support Eleni Eleopulos-Papadopulos (based in Perth in Western Australia) who claims that HIV doesn't even exist. Probably. Umm, well it hasn't been proven to exist. Umm, to her personal satisfaction.

Duesberg's main arguments (like Henry Bauer's) centre on a highly cherry-picked and, well, eccentric interpretation of the epidemiology of AIDS, and a steadfast conviction despite all the evidence that retroviruses cannot cause disease. Which will be a great comfort not only to humans with HIV or HTLV, but also to pussy cats with FIV or feline leukaemia virus, cows with bovine leukaemia, horses with infectious anaemia, goats with caprine arthritis, sheep with... well, you get the picture: look up "retrovirus" on Wikipedia to get an overview, or check out this excellent little video.


The Perthians, who consist not only of Eleni but also one Valendar Turner and occasional other hangers on over the years developed a theory many years ago that many diseases, and particularly AIDS, were caused by disturbances in the redox states of cells - the "oxidative stress hypothesis". They have spent 25 years developing their arguments, which are centred on trying to show that all the evidence that has accumulated about HIV is a mirage. It simply doesn't... well hasn't been proven... to exist. It has never been "isolated"... umm according to their own definition of what "isolated" means. Which is not shared by any working virologists, and according to which, in fact not a single human pathogenic virus exists, because none of them meet the Perthians' stringent and utterly impracticable criteria. It's worth mentioning at this point that neither of the Perthians has any formal qualifications or experience in virology, neither has conducted any actual research in the field, nor even treated an AIDS patient.

However, for the casual observer of AIDS denialism, there is one obvious and inescapable fact about the claims of the Duesbergians and those of the Perthians: they are fundamentally and irreconcilably, mutually incompatible. The only thing they have in common is denial of a particular reality - that HIV is the cause of AIDS. Which is why we in the reality-based community call them denialists.

For years now, the AIDS denialist movement (or movements) have at least publicly tried to avoid mentioning this obvious problem, and hoped that no-one would notice. But recently, the dispute has been getting more heated, and has spilled out from the private emails of the main denialists on to the public interwebs, where anyone can observe their dirty laundry flapping in the breeze. And what a ragged, skidmark-stained, floppy-gusseted collection of smalls it is.

As a choice example of the infighting, Val Turner wrote this a couple of months ago in an group email to the "gurus" of rethinking (the full text of his rant is available here) :

“…We wrote: “Moreover, RA was never made up of two groups, “the Duesberg group and the Perth group” as suggested by Christopher Black”. This is true. At its
inaugural meeting the first thing the Board of Directors did was to get rid of the Perth Group by an unanimous vote. Yet, we are told that you put out press releases in the name of several people including Eleni, and even more incredible, that you are all the co-founders of The Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis. All one has to do to see the enormous difference between the original Group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis and your Rethinking AIDS group is read the former’s monthly publication entitled Reappraising AIDS. The publication was about science, both orthodox and dissident. More importantly it was about the different scientific views the dissidents held and which were openly debated. It appears that some of the members of Rethinking AIDS are prepared to sacrifice scientific debate for the sake of unity.

“You wrote: “Val and Eleni amalgamate Peter with the CIA! This is unacceptably insulting for Peter for whom we all share an enormous admiration and respect”. All we can say is please read the email again. We hope others share our extreme annoyance of this vexatious comment…”

“…As we said to David Crowe, how is it possible for the dissidents who belong to the group for the Scientific Reappraisal of the HIV/AIDS Hypothesis to expect their efforts and sacrifices to bear fruit when the people who claim to represent them and talk on their behalf are ignorant of scientific facts, or for personal or other reasons choose to ignore them?...”

“…Henry, you wrote: “I support in the strongest possible terms the plea that we concentrate on what unites us and ignore, as far as possible and for the time being, issues on which we hold differing views”.

“It is about time we stop pretending to be united and, in the name of unity, use arguments against the HIV theory which lead us nowhere. Everybody knows that we are not united. For example,

“Snout, 2009-05-01 18:54:01 [Bay Windows]And like Allen, I demand public debates on these issue too. I want to see Duesberg debate the Perthians on whether HIV exists, and I won’t be satisfied until they end up agreeing with each other. I want to see a debate between those who claim AIDS cannot be the result of a sexually transmissible infection and those who claim it’s really untreated syphilis”.

"You wrote: “I implore the Perth group, who have published such vital material and done such sterling work, to clarify for us what it is that they believe to be specific issues that need to be resolved and that are more important than presenting a united front against the HIV causes AIDS dogma”.

"As the HIV protagonists (Snout) stated the most important specific issue which needs to be resolved is the existence of HIV. Nearly 10 years ago, Paul Philpott, the editor of Rethinking AIDS, said: “I think the points that most effectively refute the HIV model have not been taken up as the principal weapons of our most visible advocates”. Nothing has changed since then. Please read The Final Act.
["The Final Act" is well worth reading for anyone interested in the genre of Apocalyptic Literature of the Utterly Insane. Note the combination of delusional self-aggrandizement and poor spelling as the two (count them) Perthians describe themselves as "biophysicist Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos and the phycicians [sic] who sit with her on the faculty of the University of Western Australia's medical school", when in fact they have no academic connection with UWA at all. Or with anyone, for that matter. UWA has sent this pair increasingly terse "cease and desist" letters to try to stop them bringing that venerable institution into disrepute, with only limited success so far.]

And now Anthony Brink has caused to be published on AIDS Myth Exposed a letter he wrote to a lady in Botswana, describing Rethinking AIDS and its president David Crowe in less than flattering terms. The full text is reproduced on Seth Kalichman's blog "Denying AIDS", but here are a couple of tidbits of this Call To Arms:

“ ...'Rethinking AIDS' is basically a support group for Professor Peter Duesberg at the University of California, Berkeley, California in America, to promote and defend his scientific views on AIDS...”

“...In 2006 a Canadian businessman called David Crowe decided to form a new organization under his control.

“He collected around him a handful of AIDS dissidents that he knew wouldn't give him any problems, and he formed a 'board of directors', most of whom are either active Duesberg partisans or 'sleepers' in the sense that they don't actively conduct themselves as directors should and do not express any disagreement with Mr Crowe (when one tries, we'll read below, Mr Crowe fixes him.)

“This makes it easy for Mr Crowe to run things pretty much on his own along American lines.”

“...Rethinking AIDS is funded by the same rich person who funds Duesberg, and do you know this same person even sits on the board of Rethinking AIDS, meaning he has the clout to govern its scientific policy? Can you believe such a thing, Onnie?

“When one of the Rethinking AIDS board members tries breaking ranks and privately challenges Mr Crowe recently in a small closed internet forum about the things he says and does, whether in his opinion they're right or wrong, true or false, do you know that Mr Crowe sends him a demand by email that he should shut his mouth and in future submit any communications to that forum for him for prior censorship, just to make sure that the disobedient board member doesn't challenge Mr Crowe ever again? Can you believe your ears, Onnie?!

“...He wanted to make sure that Rethinking AIDS doesn't do any rethinking about anything important, anything really important such as whether 'HIV', which is at the core of the 'HIV-AIDS' construct, even exists.

“No, we can't have that, Onnie! We must stay off that matter!

“This is why Mr Crowe made a point of snubbing the Perth Group and rejecting their request for representation on the board when they got to hear what he was up to behind the scenes…”
Brink continues on with a tedious and rather condescending little allegory about a tokoloshe, in which he is quite clearly blaming Crowe and his friends at Rethinking AIDS for the fiasco that occurred in Adelaide when Mrs Eleopulos-Papadopulos and Dr Turner fronted up to the Supreme Court of South Australia claiming to be expert witnesses in the field of HIV and AIDS. This was in an appeal hearing following the conviction of Andre Parenzee for endangering life by exposing three women to HIV through unprotected sex while claiming that he was suffering from cancer, not HIV disease.
It's pretty clear that the AIDS denialism is going into meltdown phase, as the two sides prepare to belt it out over the issue of whether HIV exists. As Scienceblogger ERV would put it, we're in for a... Denier Fight!! And hopefully the winner will go on to take on Lenny Horowitz and the others who claim that HIV was created in a government lab...


SO WHAT HAS BEEN HENRY'S position in all this? Well, devotees of HIV Septic would be scratching their heads up till now. Henry's bluster and woolly waffle has tried to studiously avoid the umm... existence issue. As Val reports him saying on the Rethinker's list:

“I support in the strongest possible terms the plea that we concentrate on what unites us and ignore, as far as possible and for the time being, issues on which we hold differing views”.

But fortunately, we now know where he stands. You see, Henry is now one of the authors of a new article called HIV-AIDS hypothesis out of touch with South African AIDS - A new perspective . The authors are Pete Duesberg, Josh Nicholson (who? see below) Dave Rasnick, Christian Fiala and of course, our mate Henry.

While the title is uncharacteristically frank about how "out of touch" denialists are in their hypothesising, particularly when it comes to AIDS in Africa, the authors (including Henry) make their stand very clearly:
"In sum, we conclude that HIV is a passenger virus."

This new Medical Hypotheses article by Duesberg, Bauer and others sets a new benchmark for self-serving incompetence and mind-blowing ignorance by HIV/AIDS denialists. The really sad thing about it is the second author: young Josh Nicholson is a 22 year old (former?) student who Duesberg has obviously been grooming. I suspect that when he grows up he will have substantial grounds for suing Berkeley for failing in their duty of care to protect young people on their campus.

Highlights from Duesbauer's drivel include:

...South Africa had 12 million HIV positives in 2000-2005, or 25-30%. Oops, no that that's the percentage among antenatal clinic attenders: the whole population prevalence was about 10.8%, or around 5 million.

...SA's HIV prevalence has remained stable at 25-30% since 1985 (and they provide a graph, figure 1b). Oops, figure 1b shows near zero prevalence in 1990, rising steeply year by year to peak at 30% in 2005, before falling slightly to around 28% in 2007. Oh, and it's antenatal attenders, not the whole population.

Duesberg PH et al. HIV-AIDS hypothesis out of touch with South African AIDS - A new perspective. Med Hypotheses (2009), doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2009.06.024


...South African statistics record an average of 12,000 HIV deaths per 12 million HIV positives per year. Well, yeah it's true that not many HIV deaths are recorded as such: HIV is not a notifiable infection, and as Stats SA makes abundantly clear, most HIV related deaths are recorded according to the fatal opportunistic disease, not its underlying cause:
"HIV death rates have a distinctive pattern by age in which there is an increase to a given age and then a rapid decline at older ages. This peak occurs at 30-34 for females and at 35-39 for males. Many HIV deaths are registered as being due to some other cause of death. This problem is aggravated by the fact that HIV is not a reportable disease in South Africa, unlike some other communicable diseases. Based on the age pattern of death rates by sex, it is likely that a high proportion of deaths registered as due to parasitic diseases, parasitic opportunistic infections, certain disorders of the immune mechanism and maternal conditions (females only) are actually caused by HIV. Some registered causes of death rise to a peak with age but then decline at older ages more slowly than HIV, especially for males. For these registered causes of death, some of the deaths are likely actually due to HIV, but some of the deaths are likely due to something other than HIV. These causes of death include all infectious diseases, tuberculosis, malaria and nutritional deficiencies."http://www.statssa.gov.za/PublicationsHTML/Report-03-09-052004/html/Report-03-09-052004.html


...South African statistics provide no evidence for the huge losses of South African lives from HIV during 2000-2005. Ummm, except for the total increase in annual deaths from 317,000 in 1997 to 607,000 in 2006. While part of this was due to overall population increase, there was a doubling of the death rates in young to middle aged males, a tripling in young to middle aged females, and a near doubling among infants under 5.

 No evidence?



www.statssa.gov.za/Publications/P03093/P030932003,2004.pdf

Among other gems we discover that pathogenic viruses spread exponentially and then decline exponentially within a few months due to antiviral immunity... err, like herpes simplex or hep B or hep C;

...that HIV DNA synthesis has never been detected in HIV positive people because replication is suppressed in the presence of antibody against HIV... even though HIV is in fact never virologically latent in chronic HIV infection;

...that AZT is used against cancer...

Of course, that's just for starters. For the full idiocy of this piece of dross, you'll have to read the whole article. 

I wonder if Henry did, before he put his name to it as an author?

(Additional note: Fulano de Tal and others point out several more of the most seriously egregious errors in Duesenbauer's article in the comments section below)

Of course, no denialist paper would be complete without the obligatory whining about being rejected or silenced by the reality-based community, and accusations of “ad hominem”. This one is no exception, and Duesenbauer finish off by saying:

“A precursor of this paper was rejected by the Journal of AIDS, which published the Chigwedere et al. article, with political and ad hominem arguments but without offering even one reference for an incorrect number or statement of our paper (available on request)”

Gee. A reputable scientific publication rejects a self-serving paper written to try to deny responsibility for one of the largest avoidable public health catastrophes of recent times, a piece that actually denies that catastrophe happened and does so using at best an inept and ignorant reading of the data, and worst is deliberately lying. Well, I’m shocked.



107 comments:

Snout said...

Apologies to my regular readers for the formatting issues with this post: Blogger is not the easiest system to use at the best of times, but today it seems to be going absolutely haywire and choosing its fonts and block quotes at random. I'll try to tidy this article up over the coming days.

Cheers,

Snout.

sadunkal said...

So "Snout"... The obvious question is how come you have a copy of Val Turner's email..? I suppose he didn't CC you, did he? Care to share the exact source of your information?

Snout said...

Sadun,

You should know by now that Val isn't (as we say Downunder) the sharpest knife in the drawer.

He's a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic.

A few chops short of a barbie.

He's got kangaroos in his top paddock.

Let's just say his ambition to Make a Name for Himself exceeds his discretion about who he invites into his ridiculous project.

He's a clown, in other words, and the whole of the continent he lives in worked that out a couple of decades ago. Those of us who were unsure were left in no doubt after he and his friend Mrs Eleopulos-Papadopulos made a ludicrous absurdist spectacle of themselves in the Supreme Court of South Australia a couple of years ago.

Bizarrely, there seem to be people in the world who have not figured out that Val and Mrs E-P are your classic examples of the kind of standard nutcase cranks who occur in every society and culture.

This, I believe, is an artifact of the Internet and the use they have made of it. In olden times every village had their Village Idiot. Nowadays we have the phenomenon of the Global Village Idiot.

Unfotuntely, Val and Mrs E-P are ours, here in Australia.

Tokoloshe said...

Snout,

Congratulations on a reasonably on-point critique of the new MD paper. There are a few places where you are a little amiss though. Here, let us perfect your piece before it goes up on AIDStruth.

1. On the 25-30% prevalence issue you simply address the graph. Please address the written argument as well, whatever it is.

2. On the HIV DNA synthesis, the claim was that it has never been detected in vivo. You need to cite a paper or something that describes the observation of such synthesis.

Other than that, not bad for a South African.

Snout said...

Thanks, Toko.

The exact quotes from Duesenbauer are:

"It can be seen in Fig. 1 and Table 1 that the average number of HIV antibody-positive South Africans between 2000 and 2005 was about 12 million, or 25% to 30% of the average total of 45 million South Africans."

and:

"It is consistent with the passenger virus-hypothesis that HIV (i) is naturally transmitted most effectively from mother to child, much like all other retroviruses [10], (ii) is asymptomatic for up to 25 years (since it is known) in persons free of chemical AIDS risks [10] including HIV-positive persons from the US Army [21], (ii) has remained epidemiologically stable, at about 25% to 30%, in South Africans (Fig. 1b), at about 5% in Uganda (Fig. 2C, and [16]), and at about 0.3% (1 million in 300 millions) in America since 1985 [10,19] unnecessarily with inevitably toxic anti-HIV drugs, if the Harvard study prevails."

Reference [10], of course, is Duesberg's last retarded attempt to argue his theory.

I have no idea what you mean by "identifying DNA synthesis in vivo". Do South African doctors or medicos of other nationalities have a DNA-synthesis-o-scope in their medical bags for the purpose? Can you tell me where I might purchase such an interesting and clinically useful implement?

sadunkal said...

Are you saying that he deliberately CCd you? Or unknowingly? Did you even receive the email directly from him, or through someone else?

It's not a huge deal but it would be nice if we could be clear on how many fake identities you people have and how you use them.

You are very funny by the way. I cannot stop laughing. Your words would have a little more weight if you could've actually demonstrated that they're as unsharp as you seem to be convinced, instead of your regular appeal to authority, majority, "credential" etc.

I also encourage your AIDSTruth friends to spend their time with publishing critiques of the Perth Group's work. It's strange that a paper so new gets attention so quickly when the PG's paper from 1993 still remains unanswered... But of course you don't need to perceive the existence their papers, you're not denialists after all...

Tokoloshe said...

Snout,

Thanks for the clarifying text on SA HIV prevalence (according to Duesberg et al.).

I don't know what kind of -ometer is used to detect these things, but the exact wording was
"detected" (I used the word "observed"). This is well within Duesberg's field of undeniable expertise, so it's reasonable to assume it's not utter blah-blah:

"HIV DNA synthesis has never been detected in HIV positive people"

And if you're a native Australian, forgive me for implying before that you're South African.

Sadun, don't get so hung up on Val Turner's mails. As far as I understand it, they are not considered to be state secrets or anything like that by their author.

sadunkal said...

I just long for a little honesty Tokoloshe. Not too much, just a decent amount.

Moore said...

These mailing lists are open for all or most applicants. They don't come with a "Sshh Top Secret! Only For These 187 1/2 Pairs Of Eyes" headline attached. That, after all, is how the super clever, deep undercover, in constant peril Joe Newton managed to infiltrate the secret Deialist Society: he was cordially invited.

sadunkal said...

Sure and I'm asking who your new "Joe Newton" is. Am I asking for too much honesty? Is it beyond Snout's capacity? I guess it's safe to conclude that some "truthers" have again been lying to some "denialists" to gain their trust? And what's the motivation behind such actions anyway? Obviously it's not just about a pseudo-study on denialists' psychology. So what's the point?

Snout said...

Tell you what, Sadun.

I'll tell you how I got that email if you'll do something for me. It might even involve a bit of "critique of the Perth Group's work". I hope you'll take me up on this.

See, in Duesenbauer's article they claim that HIV seroprevalence in South Africa "...has remained epidemiologically stable, at about 25% to 30%... since 1985."

And they show this in a graph. In fact, the graph is of seroprevalence among attenders of public antenatal clinics, who have been surveyed for HIV prevalence every year since 1990.

In 1990 the prevalence among antenatal attenders was 0.7%. It was 4.0% in 1993, 10.4% in 1995, 17.0% in 1997, 24.5% in 2000 and 30.2% in 2005.

Duesberg, Bauer and others say this represents "stable" prevalence since 1985. This is, I hope you realise, utter nonsense.

What I'd like you to do is provide an explanation according to Perthian theory for these findings of the annual South African antenatal surveys.

You can find the graph on page 6 of the "REPORT NATIONAL HIV AND SYPHILIS PREVALENCE SURVEY SOUTH AFRICA 2006". It's much the same as the one in Duesenbauer's article.

sadunkal said...

Honesty shouldn't necessitate a bribe. I didn't ask you to sell me information, I asked for real honesty. That's supposed to be a personal quality.

But I don't know enough about how that data was created to give a reasonable answer to your question anyway, and frankly I do care little about it right now. It's not an urgent matter for me, but I guess a potential answer would still be less fantastic than one provided by the "HIV" theory. At the most basic level it would be something ridiculously simple like "Things change", just to have given an answer... What those "things" are requires a serious investigation to which I'm not able to commit myself right now. You're not doing it either apparently, otherwise you would look much deeper into it -hypothetically- from the PG's perspective.

Either way, again, real honesty doesn't depend on a bribe. And eventually all this crap gets boring you know... I'm a patient guy but I care about my own well-being too. I can't promise to be always so attentive to someone as consistently dishonest, arrogant, rude and consequently as counter-constructive and tiring as you are. Just expressing myself... but unfortunately I can't expect you to suddenly become a higher-quality person...

sadunkal said...

I might have exaggerated it a bit, I actually don't think that you're the saddest person in the world. I've seen much worse. But I do get annoyed sometimes you know... Every simple thing is being turned into a time-wastingly complex thing because of behavior like yours. It's harmful and my tolerance has limits. But actually I never expected you to be honest anyway... I know that things don't work that way. I was trying to delude myself into thinking that it is somehow possible for you to be honest. I wanted it to be true. I guess I just wanted to have pointed out a few things, instead of getting an honest answer, and I'm the one to blame for wasting my own time. Bye.

Chris Noble said...

But Snout,
both Duesberg and the Perth Group are driven solely by scientific evidence. They would never let their egos get in the way. I think if they just sat down and discussed the evidence eventually they'd convince each other.


Mahhhahahhahahhahah.

Seriously, Sadun, I read the email at the same place as snout and I didn't have to anything sooper-dooper secret. Anyway, I thought that the denialists were completely honest and would never hide a disagreement between them.


Snout, the real mystery in the paper is how a HIV prevalence of 0.7% in 1990 in South African antenatal clinics rose to 30.2% in 2005 through mother-to-child-transmission. Yes, Duesberg and Bauer are claiming that the graph supports the argument that HIV is a passenger virus spread primarily through MTCT. I'd like to see Bauer explain that one with his personal version of epidemiology. Perhaps he might need Darin Brown's assistance.

Snout said...

Sadun, the email was quoted from a discussion thread on a public website. The comment I quoted itself quotes part of another comment from me on another thread. Such is the self referential nature of the electric internet.

You were yourself a commenter on the very thread I quoted from. You were also a commenter on the thread from which my comment was quoted in the comment I then quoted from for this post. And now you're commenting here.

You do get around, don't you?

Well, I hope that clarifies things for you.

sadunkal said...

You certainly put a lot of effort into it to put it as clearly as possible. How humane. And no, I still don't know which website you mean. Google doesn't help and memory is insufficient for some reason. I know where your quote within the quote comes from but that's not what I'm interested in. Thank Hiv you didn't sink to the level of posting a direct link though... that would've totally caused a lack of wasted time!

Snout said...

"Google doesn't help and memory is insufficient for some reason."

Ahh, Sadun. You have captured the quintessence of HIV/AIDS denialism in a nutshell, whether you realise it or not.

*sigh* Look up your own post for July 3rd at 8.19 am on Tony Liversidge's blog. Go back a week or two.

Bingo?

Good. Well done, Grasshopper.

sadunkal said...

It's your confirmation bias at work again Snout. Apparently the reason for my memory not being able to aid me in this situation was because I hadn't really paid attention to that part of that particular comment on that website you quoted from. I got my reasons. Considering this outcome (that apparently there is no new "Joe Newton") I guess I can no longer blame myself alone for my wasted time here. You could've easily informed me instead of trying to exploit the situation and you didn't have anything to lose -apart from a sadistic pleasure you seem to get from such things. It's unfortunate that you enjoy wasting others' time so much. But that's what gives meaning to your life I guess. I can respect that, but I believe it's quite counter-productive and anti-humanity. I invite you to rethink yourself. And perhaps you deserve a tiny little thank you for not being much worse than you are, which shouldn't make you feel good about how you operate. Because that's a quite low standard.

Snout said...

Sadun, have you considered the possibility that those who spend their time feeding you, stroking your ego, praising your brilliance and speaking soothing words might possibly be doing so because they want to exploit you for their own purposes?

And that perhaps those of us who are trying to get you to spend a teensy bit more intellectual effort than that involved in merely clicking on a hyperlink might be doing so for reasons other than sadistic pleasure?

You have spent many many hours over many many months trying to promote the theories of the Perthians over the internet.

I asked you a very simple question on this thread: how do you reconcile Perthian theory with the fact that the prevalence of positive HIV antibody tests in South African antenatal attenders increased from 0.7% in 1990 to 30.2% in 2005?

It's a very straightforward question.

Your response has been to obfuscate, question my honesty and claim the answer is not relevant or is of no "urgency" to you.

You suggest that "things change" might be an intellectually satisfying response.

Is that the best you can do to answer the question?

sadunkal said...

It could be an intellectually satisfying response if you could grasp the complexity of the answer you demand. And let me again point it out that you demanded it in an attempt to exploit my curiosity for a simple information: You demanded me to bribe you for an information you knew to be of little value to me. It's not praiseworthy to say the least.

I consider many possibilities, don't worry. And I believe that you haven't really thought about how your attempt to mislead me would help me improve myself or result in any beneficial way for me. That wasn't your intention. So don't try to fool yourself Snout.

You also know very little about how others treat my ego and how I treat it myself. In addition to that I tend to ignore others' praises and dispraises if I can't find convincing reasons to agree with such views myself, which I think has been very beneficial for my self-improvement so far.

Snout said...

No, it's a fairly simple question Sadun.

Look at the seroprevalence of HIV antibody in South African antenatal attenders over 15 years from 1990 to 2005. Now which hypothesis best fits the data?

(a) What's being measured is antibody to a passenger virus spread primarily through mother to child, and whose seroprevalence has been constant at 25-30% since 1985.

(b) What's being measured is a "non-specific" response to changes in cellular redox brought about by the oxidative nature of umm.. substances and err... exposures, and for some reason *waves hands about* this "non-specific" response started occurring more and more year by year until it was happening forty times more frequently in 2005 than it was 15 years earlier.

or

(c) What's being measured is antibody to a specific retroviral infection, whose prevalence among antenatal attenders has gone from near zero to nearly a third over 15 years of annual seroprevalence surveys, and whose rapid prevalence increase in that group must be via transmission means other than perinatal.

Alternatively, do you have a hypothesis of your own that fits the data better than any of the above?

You get upset when you get called a denialist, Sadun, and you claim a more appropriate descriptor would be rethinker.

Well, how about doing some actual rethinking about the issue at hand, rather than trying to avoid it by making whining baseless claims of subterfuge, sadism and dishonesty on my part. I think that's called an ad hominem argument, isn't it?

sadunkal said...

If you really want to do it as scientifically as possible then go and lay out all the details about how that data was gathered. Year by year, study by study. Find out which criteria and which technical equipment was used and where and how. Also go into the field and observe all the environmental and social and all the other potentially-relevant conditions throughout the years. Have all the conditions remained constant apart from the ones you assume to be relevant to transmission etc... Of course not. The question appears simple to you because of your simplistic assumptions.

Richard said...

The main thing about African stats is that the criteria are so loose that they mean almost nothing. And since they get money for AIDS cases, there is incentive to identify any sick person as an AIDS patient. Why would anyone trust such stats at all?

Snout said...

Hi Richard, and welcome to Reckless Endangerment!

You seem to be suggesting that the statistics generated by the South African Department of Health over the past fifteen years or so from their annual surveys of antenatal HIV prevalence are lacking in validity.

You also seem to be suggesting that the clinicians, scientists and statisticians responsible for assembling these data have deliberately cooked their figures for the purposes of monetary gain.

While these are interesting assertions, without a more detailed analysis of the data we are discussing they sound more like a generalised prejudiced rant about the supposed greed and incompetence of Africans, of the kind commonly generated on the internet by persons who - to be frank - do not have a clue what they're talking about.

If this is the case could I suggest that you might feel more at home on Henry Bauer's HIV Septic website than here.

Chris Noble said...

Richard,
a) The statistics that we are talking about are HIV prevalence.
b) Duesberg's and Bauer's claim is that the stats are consistent with HIV being a passenger virus spread by MTCT.
c) Denying that the statistics are valid does not make Duesberg and Bauer right.
d) You read the report signed by DR M E TSHABALALA-MSIMANG here http://www.doh.gov.za/docs/reports/2007/hiv/index.html

Fulano de Tal said...

Thank you querido Snout.
But you did not mention the biggest whopping lie of the Duesenbauer and Fiasco article. On page 5 they counter claims of the efficacy of anti-HIV drugs with the following gem:

“But, contrary to these claims hundreds of American and British researchers jointly published a collaborative analysis in The Lancet in 2006 concluding that treatment of AIDS patients with anti-viral drugs has 'not translated into a decrease in mortality'.”

But the 2006 Lancet study (368: 451–58) they quote does not evaluate the efficacy of anti-retroviral therapy compared to non-treatment. It compares outcomes of HAART therapy over time, and finds that mortality of HAART-treated patients did not improve between 1995-6 and 2002-3.
The full sentence from which they clipped their quote is:

"Virological response after starting HAART improved over calendar years, but such improvement has not translated into a decrease in mortality."

In other words HAART-treated patients who started treatment in 2002-3 had better virological control compared to earlier cohorts of HAART-treated patients, but not significantly reduced mortality. But all patients in the study benefited from the very sizable reductions in mortality associated with HAART, as confirmed by many clinical trials and case-control studies.
So Duesenbauer et al.'s only evidence challenging the gains from anti-retroviral therapy is a crude misrepresentation.
Besos,
Fulano de Tal

Chris Noble said...

Fulano,
this misinterpretation of the Lancet paper has been pointed out to Bauer previously. He has absolutely no excuse to continue to lie about it. They know that the authors of the Lancet paper did not mean what the Denialists claim they mean and yet they continue to lie, lie and lie.

Fulano de Tal said...

Muchas gracias, Chris. Fulano surely is a midget standing on the shoulders of giants. I just have a few more comments on this unfortunate article in Medical Hypotheses.
1. Bauer has not taken sides. If you read his blog recently, he still dismisses Duesenberg's entire field of virology by saying that the state-of-the art methods in that field of detecting viruses don't detect anything of the sort. Bauer still believes two contradictory positions at the same time, both of which are refuted by overwhelming evidence of many kinds.
2. Is it possible that they don't know that it is quite possible to have high mortality and high population growth at the same time? Uganda has the third highest birth rate in the world according to the CIA World Factbook. Even if it had the highest mortality rate in the world it would have had high population growth. Although Duesenberg et al. don't present birth rates for South Africa, the declining rate of population growth since the 1990s is perfectly consistent with an increase in AIDS-related mortality on the scale estimated by Chigwedere et al.
3. More stunning innumeracy is evident in the confusion regarding the Chigwedere et al. paper. The abstract of the Duesenberg et al. paper begins by misstating Chigwedere's argument as 330,000 preventable AIDS deaths per year, when the claim was that 334,000 total deaths over the 5-year period could have been prevented. The Bausenbergs again, on page 2 have Chigwedere arguing that there were 330,000 preventable AIDS deaths per year.
4. The Duesenbauerfiala paper repeatedly has Chigwedere claiming that 30,000 infant deaths annually could have been prevented. This is a pure invention, since there is no claim remotely like this in the Chigwedere paper. The paper does argue that 35,000 total, not annual instances of transmission (not deaths) of HIV to newborns could have been prevented with antiretroviral therapy.
Chigwedere's paper is the fruit of a carefully conducted, supervised Ph.D. thesis project at the Harvard School of Public Health, using sound methods and conservative assumptions, with a sensitivity analysis providing upper and lower bounds for the reported estimates. By contrast, Duesenberg, Bauer, and their friends, have produced a comedy of errors suitably only for the vanity press of Medical Hypotheses.
Abrazos,
Fulano de Tal

XolanisGhost said...

Tokoloshe
How is Dr. Rath these days? After several failings in the courts of SA and UK, he must be licking his wounds, or whatever. Do you long for the days when you and Rasnick teamed up with Rath to kill your countrymen? Tell us Tokoloshe, what are you to do with Mbeki and Manto gone? So sad. I recon you are printing your latest book titled "South Africa's Last AIDS Denialist" in your garage.

Poodle Stomper said...

Heya Snout! I just watched the Youtube video you linked to. I hae to say the author did a pretty good job. Of course I don't expect any denialist to really change their minds but the points he made are similar to ones made by anti-denialists for a long time now. I'm still waiting for the "rethinkers" to start thinking in the first place.

Snout said...

You are quite correct, Fulano, that this paper is so packed with utter nonsense that it is not possible to mention every lie and misrepresentation in a shortish blog entry.

Particularly egregious is the blatant falsehood about the 2006 Lancet study, which our young friend Sadun will recognize that Henry was aware of, since he pointed it out to him himself last year (after a degree of prodding from a certain border collie). I would also add to your and Chris’s remarks on this that the 2006 study found no improvement in first year mortality comparing earlier HAART cohorts with later, but that subsequent follow up found substantial improvements in two year and three year mortalities between earlier and later cohorts. The lack of expected improvement in first year mortality was largely attributed to changes in the patient characteristics between the earlier and later cohorts, particularly with respect to vulnerability to tuberculosis as an AIDS defining condition.

As for the Uganda innumeracy (which I believe is Fiala’s specialty) I have not gone into this in any detail before. However, as you point out, population growth is not only a function of death rates, but also of fertility and migration. In Uganda’s case, the birth rate has been extraordinary: more than half of Uganda’s 2007 population was not alive in 1992 – they were under 15 years old on 2007. It is the youngest country in the world. Migration rates are also particularly relevant to South Africa: between 1.5 and 3 million Zimbabweans have crossed the border over the past few years fleeing political and economic upheaval in their homeland.

It is also worth mentioning that population figures are not derived by lining everyone up each year and counting heads: they are estimates calculated by taking raw data from the most recent census (South Africa’s was in 2001), and modeling fertility, mortality and migration data over time, together with an adjustment for undercounting in the original exercise. Both the USCB and Statistics South Africa population estimates cited by Duesenbauer explicitly model the impact of HIV/AIDS in calculating their final estimates. To then go back and claim that these estimates are evidence of little impact from the disease on population is absurdly contradictory.

As for whether Bauer believes that HIV exists or not, well I can only go by the statement in the erudite paper which he co-authored where he claims that “In sum we conclude that HIV is a passenger virus”. Of course, it’s possible as you say that he believes in two contradictory positions simultaneously, but that would be cognitive dissonance, wouldn’t it?

Poodles, I’m glad you enjoyed the video from c0nc0rdance (spelled with zeroes) that I linked a couple of hours ago. I highly recommend his channel on Youtube, in particular his series (still in development) called “30 Million Lives”. So far there are three in this series: one on Duesberg, one on the Perth Clowns, and one on the seriously deranged Stefan Lanka. I gather there are more to follow. Well worth checking out.

sadunkal said...

I didn't read the paper discussed here, but it is true that I had an exchange with Henry Bauer on the Lancet paper and he seemed to understand and somewhat agree with what was said back then . But it is theoretically not impossible that he somehow rethought the issue and rightfully rereached the conclusion mentioned in this recent paper. I personally think that's not the probable answer though. I suspect it has more to do with "dissident politics" or whatever you might want to call it. Just like he seems to have co-authored a paper which goes against his beliefs on the isolation issue. Snout's lack of imagination or excess of humor didn't allow him to speculate on the possibility that Bauer doesn't hold two contradictory positions, but he rather is ok with supporting statements with which he doesn't fully agree himself, whenever he thinks it might be wiser to do so for whatever reason -for example politics...

Perhaps the reason for Snout's reluctance to entertain that thought was because he denied the possibility that Luc Montagnier may have also co-authored a paper he doesn't fully agree with himself, specifically on the gp41/actin issue if I remember correctly. Perhaps it's sometimes smarter to rely on what scientists argue in their blogs/interviews/certain papers etc. more than what they argue in some of their other papers. Sadly, science is not free from politics after all.

Regarding Concordance's video on the Perth Group, feel free to contribute to this discussion where the current consensus is that it's a pretty worthless video: "PR for Perth" thread on AME.

I also had an email exchange with the guy who made the video where he revealed himself to be pathetically unscientific by abruptly ending the communication when I asked him whether or not he is capable of acknowledging his incredible misrepresentation of the Perth Group's arguments. Just so you know... So you might also want to rethink the value of his other videos too. I'll add the exchange to the above linked discussion thread sometime in the future, probably.

Chris Noble said...

Sure, Sadun, this is where Bauer busts the irony meter by writing. I’ve learned that there is no possible way to defende oneself against misinterpretation, be it deliberate or through lack of understanding.

The authors of the Lancet paper did not defnd themselves against Bauer's deliberate misinterpretation. They are probably baffled that anyone would take such a perverse view of their words. Their other publications make it absolutely clear that ARVs reduce mortality. There is no possible way that an honest person can misinterpret their writings.

Perhaps now that these misinterpretations are appearing in print the authors of the Lancet paper will formally address the Denialists.

I've written an email to the corresponding author of the Lancet paper informing them of the misinterpretation of their paper.

Snout said...

" Snout's lack of imagination or excess of humor didn't allow him to speculate on the possibility that Bauer doesn't hold two contradictory positions, but he rather is ok with supporting statements with which he doesn't fully agree himself, whenever he thinks it might be wiser to do so for whatever reason -for example politics..."

Cut the crap Sadun. You are talking in weasel words.

Are you saying that Henry H. Bauer consciously, knowingly and deliberately lied in a "scientific" paper?

(I'm being ironic here - it was actually in Medical Hypotheses, one of the favored publication organs of HIV/AIDS denialists, along with the crank pseudo-journal Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, kissing cousin of the Conservapedia website).

"Perhaps the reason for Snout's reluctance to entertain that thought was because he denied the possibility that Luc Montagnier may have also co-authored a paper he doesn't fully agree with himself, specifically on the gp41/actin issue if I remember correctly."

More weasel words. As I remember correctly, Sadun, the well-known internet sociopath Valendar F. Turner used you as a sockpuppet to claim that Montagnier "really" believes that HIV p41 is actually cellular actin. You know as well as I do that Turner was hiding behind you, feeding you with what to say on the thread in question. His active interest in the particular thread was made clear in the email I quoted on this post.

Which was why I quoted it.

You also know that the reason Turner was using you was because if he tried to show his face in a public discussion he would have quite rightly been tarred and feathered.

He was lying. This is unsurprising behavior in sociopaths like Valendar F. Turner. It is common for sociopaths, when challenged, to attribute their lies to someone else, as Turner did to Montagnier. It is also common for sociopaths to groom vulnerable individuals for their own purposes, like he is doing with you.

Valendar F. Turner is a profoundly creepy individual.

Don't ever say no one warned you.

Poodle Stomper said...

"Regarding Concordance's video on the Perth Group, feel free to contribute to this discussion..."PR for Perth" thread on AME."

No thanks. I'd rather not contribute to threads moderated by denialists.

I also had an email exchange with the guy who made the video where he revealed himself to be pathetically unscientific by abruptly ending the communication when I asked him whether or not he is capable of acknowledging his incredible misrepresentation of the Perth Group's arguments. Just so you know... So you might also want to rethink the value of his other videos too.

Shall I assume then by that standard that you see yourself as "pathetically unscientific" as well for having ended so many threads by leaving yourself, as has Mikey? I have only watched the video linked by Snout and he did a good job on it. He brings up very good points, many of which have been brought up before. I'm sure there are many other possible reasons for him ending the exchange other than being "pathetically unscientific". Perhaps he got tired of unsubstantiated claims of conspiracy or the impenetrable denseness of your lack of scientific knowledge. Perhaps it was other reasons. I can't say for sure of course as I haven't read your e-mails. To ascribe it automatically to being "pathetically unscientific" seems a bit of a stretch given that, from his presentation on the first video, he seems to have a far better grasp of virology than you do. I don't intend this as an insult, mind you, simply an observation.

sadunkal said...

"Are you saying that Henry H. Bauer consciously, knowingly and deliberately lied in a "scientific" paper?"

If that would've been what I was saying then I would've said that. But we're not talking about Gallo here. I indicated my guess clear enough in my earlier comment. Did I say that Montagnier consciously, knowingly and deliberately lied? No. Similar with Bauer. The concept of honesty/dishonesty is more complicated than you choose to consider with your aggressively biased perspective right now.

"As I remember correctly, Sadun, the well-known internet sociopath Valendar F. Turner used you as a sockpuppet to claim that Montagnier "really" believes that HIV p41 is actually cellular actin. You know as well as I do that Turner was hiding behind you, feeding you with what to say on the thread in question. His active interest in the particular thread was made clear in the email I quoted on this post."

It's unfortunate that the quote in that email caused you to be even more confident in your arbitrary delusion. But sorry, it's still a delusion Snout... You have no evidence in your support, neither do I or does Val Turner. I didn't communicate with Val Turner during our exchange on the thread in question. Should I be flattered that you seem to be convinced that I needed his help to say what I said or should I feel insulted because of it? Whatever... The point is you are completely wrong on something you're completely and irrationally certain of. Double flaw, at least. Not cool. But why should you believe me? The conspiracy theory MUST be right if it's coming from you instead of a denialist, right? Well... once again, I think it would be healthy for you if you can distance yourself from all this for a while and rethink certain things.

On the other hand, I should say that I was surprised to see him quote you like that, because due to a previous experience I had I was assuming that he never follows such discussions; the ones based on blogs/comments etc. I don't really know why they don't join the exchanges themselves if they already bother reading them. Doesn't make much sense to me, but I suppose they consider it mostly a waste of time, to bother writing a comment or something. And actually I'm inclined to agree with that as I keep spending my time discussing with people in places like that myself: takes too much time and has very little benefits on average. But being selective might be the solution to that.

sadunkal said...

"Shall I assume then by that standard that you see yourself as "pathetically unscientific" as well for having ended so many threads by leaving yourself...? ... I'm sure there are many other possible reasons for him ending the exchange other than being "pathetically unscientific". Perhaps he got tired of unsubstantiated claims of conspiracy or the impenetrable denseness of your lack of scientific knowledge. Perhaps it was other reasons. I can't say for sure of course as I haven't read your e-mails. To ascribe it automatically to being "pathetically unscientific" seems a bit of a stretch given that, from his presentation on the first video, he seems to have a far better grasp of virology than you do..."

He may have a better grasp on many of the details of that religious field. But there is a critical difference between how and why I sometimes choose silence and how and why he did it in that particular situation. Reading the thread at AME should help you understand what mistake I'm referring to. If he were to try to publish his arguments in that Perth video in a scientific journal, he would've been labeled as a fraud or a very poor scientist. At least in a better world where science is mostly free from politics and scientists from extreme bias...

Poodle Stomper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Poodle Stomper said...

"He may have a better grasp on many of the details of that religious field. But there is a critical difference between how and why I sometimes choose silence and how and why he did it in that particular situation."

Really? I recall demonstrating to you why your claim that there was a conspiracy in medical society to "ignore" that "the HIV test did not have a gold standard" was absurd. I pointed out to you that a lack of gold standards are routinely compensated for with statistical analysis for other diagnostic tests (syphilis was one example in the paper I referenced) and that the medical community is aware of these statistics. What did you do? You refused to answer where you got your idea that there was a conspiracy and refrained from posting at that thread again. What was your reason for that?


"Reading the thread at AME should help you understand what mistake I'm referring to."

On that note I see you bring up the gold standard theme once again in that exact thread. Ironic.

"If he were to try to publish his arguments in that Perth video in a scientific journal, he would've been labeled as a fraud or a very poor scientist."

Judging by your lack of understanding of science and your denial of anything that runs counter to your claims, I find it sadly humerous that you see yourself fit to judge what is scientific. You disappoint me with your lack of understanding of biology, Sadun, but at least you offer us up a laugh, including your last and unsupported conspiracy claim:

"At least in a better world where science is mostly free from politics and scientists from extreme bias..."

Nicely done. Don't forget that we are also being mislead about the moon landings and Nessie.

sadunkal said...

Obviously you wouldn't understand which obvious misrepresentation I was referring to... Anyway:

"What did you do? You refused to answer where you got your idea that there was a conspiracy and refrained from posting at that thread again. What was your reason for that?"

As far as I remember, you previously asked the same thing on Kalichman's blog and I answered you there. So I don't see the point in repeating myself. That wasn't the first or the last digital exchange I had to excuse myself from before it was "finished", if such a thing is even possible. (It appears this exchange will never truly end either for example. And my initial urge to comment has been satisfied right now. So if you keep on directing comments towards me, I'll likely have to let go of this exchange too, soon. Because there is little gain in the end.)

And I didn't say anything about a conspiracy of course. You're talking in "weasel words"; using loaded terms to appeal to emotions. Or they unconsciously source directly from your emotions which results in less than scientific communication. Do you think that there is always a "conspiracy" to keep scientists from realizing certain things and coming up with important new scientific theories just until the last moment? Was there a conspiracy which made people "ignore" that the world wasn't really that flat? Well in my opinion the gold standard issue doesn't need a conspiracy to be overlooked either, just as human bias and politics are also not the result of any conspiracy.

Snout said...

The concept of honesty/dishonesty is more complicated than you choose to consider with your aggressively biased perspective right now.

No, it's not. Lies are lies, no matter how many weasel words you package them in. I don't know what kind of muddle-headed post modern world you live in, Sadun.

The HIV-1 env protein p41 is not cellular actin.

Montagnier does not believe that they are the same - as Val and Eleni have tried to claim he does.

The HIV-1 gag protein p24 is not the golgi transport protein of a similar weight, like Janine Roberts is still claiming almost a year after she was corrected.

These are two separate sets of lies about HIV proteins, one by Val and Eleni, and one by Janine.

In the thread in question, one poster got confused about whose lie was whose, and suggested that the Perthians were claiming that p24 is cellular actin.

You corrected him.

I do not believe that you had sufficiently detailed knowledge of molecular biology or of the Perthians' dishonest rhetoric to have done so on your own.

Are you claiming that you do?

sadunkal said...

Hehehe... :) I actually knew that this was the main reason for your delusion. Now to think it's kind of rude for me to not having shed light on that point earlier, it would've helped you. But it would've also been too polite if I were to do that while you were throwing insults and accusations against me the whole time without asking for any clarification. This should be more a lesson for you than for me.

Anyway, what happened was basically that I had no "sufficiently detailed knowledge of molecular biology or of the Perthians'" scientific arguments to achieve what I did until I was confronted with the p24 question myself during that discussion. So I took the time to educate myself and to understand what was exactly being talked about. (It's not that complicated actually: You just google actin, p24 and perthgroup together and examine the papers.) When I was convinced that there has likely been a misunderstanding, I hesitantly expressed my critique in one sentence. Then you also joined me in correcting the question that was asked etc... And that was it. Google groomed me, in other words... Hehe :)

But not too dissimilar to how you and Chris Noble wrote enthusiastic emails to me after I "dared" to question Henry Bauer, after that p41 action I also received an email from Eleni where she thanked me for my support and gave me more details on the p41 issue I could use to add weight to my arguments or something like that. But at that point I no longer had much interest in discussing the issue and I also felt discomfort with the thought of being their mouthpiece or something like that. If I were to openly say that she emailed me and asked me to use this paper and this quote to argue that etc. then you would be even more convinced in your delusion. So either I had to keep quiet about Eleni emailing me or not use any of the information provided by her even if it was already something I knew about. (I didn't have this problem when writing on Bauer's blog because nobody was delusional enough to claim that I was being groomed by you guys when I mentioned your emails to me.) I chose the latter but I really had lost my interest in continuing that exchange anyway, because it has gotten ridiculous with you quoting wikipedia and all that. It felt like another waste of time. And, that's irrelevant, but I also suspect that Eleni may have gotten a little upset when I commented on the Padian/Parenzee the way I did, but well... I was still defending her against your accusations. So I assume she didn't have a serious problem with it.

So anyway, as you see I was groomed more by you than I was by the Perthians. :) I guess you suck at grooming. ;) Or maybe Google is too good at it!

By the way, I suspect that Todd DeShong is an unfortunate case of intense grooming. Do you know anything about that? Did you take part in it yourself? Or do you feel like spilling some other dirty secrets by chance..? It would be interesting to talk about.

Poodle Stomper said...

Sadunkal,
And I didn't say anything about a conspiracy of course. You're talking in "weasel words"; using loaded terms to appeal to emotions. Or they unconsciously source directly from your emotions which results in less than scientific communication.

You first stated:
"My reference for the necessity of a gold standard is logic. Logic demands that you have a criterion standard for your test. Perhaps nobody bothered to write a paper on it because it is already obvious, or perhaps there are dozens of papers on it but I can't be bothered to look for them because again; it is obvious."

Then

"And yes, the HIV antibody tests don't seem to have any relation to such standards. But it's not the WHOLE medical community that failed to notice this, it's just that the ones who noticed are ignored.

So then who is doing the ignoring? Even if the HIV tests truly didn’t have a gold standard why would it be “ignored” when the scientific community has long ago developed statistical methods for validating tests without them? Is there any logic in claiming that the majority of the medical/scientific community is ignoring something that is a known and accepted reality (that gold standards are not a “necessity” when statistical approaches work just fine and are more practical)? How does your logic work that they (the medical/scientific community) ignore something when they cover the subject so extensively in literature? Is this your logic? Can you admit you to being wrong when you claimed (above) that gold standards were a “necessity” or that the medical community (or the majority) ignored it? Can you do it?

sadunkal said...

Poodlestomper, I agree that defining what was being ignored as "any relation to such standards" of the "HIV antibody tests" sounds a bit inaccurate. What's ignored is more like the critical scientific questioning of what the relationship means, and you seem to have understood what I meant anyway.

But if I differentiate between words like "reference standard", "criterion standard" and "gold standard", relying on the way the concept of gold standard was explained HERE by Darin Brown, then I'd still insist that a gold standard seems to be necessary for scientific accuracy of a diagnosis.

So in my view, either you have a gold standard or you don't know enough about what the thing you're trying to diagnose actually is, or if it even really exists for that matter. You don't have to actively use the GS to diagnose, but you need it to have a concrete basis for the diagnosis and to determine how accurate your diagnostic methods are..if you're doing science that is... And a gold standard for "HIV tests" actually exists -even if totally imaginary- but nobody uses it to properly test the "tests" -maybe they can't because it's so imaginary.

I'd encourage you to directly contact Darin Brown if you're determined to pursue this discussion, because he's much more articulate on the issue and I'm pretty sure that I won't spend hours and days talking about it here and now. If you think you've defeated him or something then feel free to leave a comment in my blog. That would be pretty damn revolutionary.

Poodle Stomper said...

"So in my view, either you have a gold standard or you don't know enough about what the thing you're trying to diagnose actually is, or if it even really exists for that matter."

Really? If I correctly recall one of the papers I sent you on tests without gold standards, the test for chlamydia and syphilis don't have GS either. Are their existence/reality suspect to you as well? Is it not more likely that perhaps you simply don't understand the nature of such tests?


"You don't have to actively use the GS to diagnose, but you need it to have a concrete basis for the diagnosis and to determine how accurate your diagnostic methods are..if you're doing science that is..."

This is where your view is incorrect again. As stated before there are statistical tests that you can do that can determine how valid your test is. This is used for many different diseases, viral and non-viral. Again, this is not something ignored. So I'm curious what the basis is for "your view"? Just another denialist? Sadun, you need to do some serious research on your own, not just rely on other denialists.

sadunkal said...

Your objection rises from a difference in understanding of what a gold standard means. I again recommend you to read Darin's comments and respond accordingly.

FCB said...

Sadun, you wrote this about James Murtagh on the House of Numbers Facebook page:

"This unscientific attitude apparently cost him dearly now with Celia Farber's lawsuit and all that. It's unfortunate, for Murtagh appears to be sincere to me, but something should be done if medical professionals are so ready to let go of the fundamental scientific principles. I don't think Murtagh is the person who most deserves a fate like this, but this might be the best chance at hand for teaching all unscientific professionals a lesson."

Since you are stating unequivocally that you can discern between the "scientific" and "unscientific," how is it that you cannot answer Poodlestompers simple questions about the use of gold standards in medical testing?

Also, I'm interested to know how you think the lawsuit is going to teach anyone anything. The lawsuit claims that neither Farber or Duesberg have ever misrepresented scientific papers, yet you've acknowledged here that what has been written about the Lancet treatment response study is a misrepresentation.

And how do you reconcile this quote from the lawsuit:

"TAG is openly, by its own admission and from its inception, funded by pharmaceutical companies profiting from the manufacture and sale of drugs for HIV. TAG has engaged in vicious and relentless attack on anyone who highlights the toxicities of the ARV drugs that are the basis of its business operations in the United States and around the world, particularly the developing world."

With this:

http://www.nytimes.com/1994/09/12/us/fda-debate-on-speedy-access-to-aids-drugs-is-reopening.html

"Among those advocating a change in accelerated approval is Spencer Cox, a member of the Treatment Action Group, or Tag, an influential advocacy group, and the Community Research Initiative on AIDS, a nonprofit research center based in New York. He said he was frustrated by the lack of data.

'We pay huge amounts of money, and we suffer through major toxicities, and we have to take the drug company's word for it that the drugs work,' Mr. Cox said. "That's supposed to be empowerment?...

Mr. Cox said: 'DDC would seem to be a prime candidate for accelerated withdrawal. There is no evidence that the drug delays illness or death.'"

sadunkal said...

fcb,

I'm content with the answers I gave to Poodlestomper. They may not mean much to you if you don't know the background but he's got enough information (links) to pursue the matter if he wishes to do so. So do you.

And as you should know I went into more detail in what I wrote on the Facebook page. Murtagh may be a nice guy but it became clear that he didn't do his homework. You can't declare someone as mentally ill and act as if that's true, like Murtagh seems to have done to Farber, without properly informing yourself on the issue. And Murtagh apparently relies on the "scientific authorities" to build his opinion. The lawsuit could teach people to do proper research before dismissing unconventional viewpoints so easily. And I did not say that I agree with every single thing the lawsuit represents, but it's not going to be about the specific details of a scientific debate anyway. It's a libel suit and it's not Farber who has to defend herself in the court. Murtagh et al. will have to prove that their actions were truly justified, and what they did was much more than claiming that Duesberg misrepresented this or that, as far as I know.

I do not know the details on the TAG/Pharma issue. I'm not your guy on that topic but I know that it's not as simple as bringing up two little quotes to make a point. You might want to discuss that more in detail with someone like Clark Baker.

And why are you contacting me through this blog on such an irrelevant issue anyway? Don't do it again please. I already have to discuss multiple topics with multiple people here, you're making it even more exhausting.

FCB said...

"The lawsuit could teach people to do proper research before dismissing unconventional viewpoints so easily."

"Plaintiff Farber is not a liar, did not engage in fraud, did not alter quotations from scientific literature and did not make false representations from published papers; and Dr. Duesberg is not a liar, did not engage in fraud, did not alter quotations from scientific literature and did not make false representations from published papers."

What's your definition of "proper research," Sadun? Don't wear yourself out answering.

Chris Noble said...

I got a a response to my email to the authors of the lancet 2006 article.

Yes, Duesberg is definitely misrepresenting the article and the conclusions of the authors

That's going to work well for Duesberg if this libel case ever gets to court.

Most importantly the authors of the Lancet paper responded in 2006 so there is absolutely no excuse for repeating this untruth in 2009. It makes it a lie -- fraud.

sadunkal said...

I already made my point clear on the Facebook page and in my previous comment. Don't expect me to repeat myself just because you took a part of what I said and chose to pretend that I was referring to something I wasn't really referring to.

FCB said...

Let me explain things to you simply Sadun:

You wielded a bunch of misinformation about gold standards to try and support your arguments about HIV and when challenged to take responsibility for it and explain yourself, your response was to try and avoid responsibility for what you wrote by referring people to Darin Brown.

You wielded the Farber lawsuit as a rhetorical weapon against James Murtagh, writing about how it was going to teach "unscientific" medical professionals "a lesson." When challenged about the content of the lawsuit, you try and avoid responsibility for what you wrote by referring to Clark Baker.

Then, without a trace of irony, you criticize Murtagh for relying on "scientific authorities," while referring us to those noted authorities, Darin Brown and Clark Baker.

If you can't back up what you write, you shouldn't write at all.

sadunkal said...

I'm confident enough in what I wrote to not worry about anyone suing me. I would bother to back it all up myself if I believed that it would make an important difference. But, only out of respect, I referred you to the sources of information on which I base my opinion, so that you have someone to discuss these issues with even if not with me directly.

And I'm not saying, like Murtagh, "This is the case because 5000 authorities said so!". I'm saying "This seems to be the case because of this argument, made by this guy." If you can debunk the source argument, then you'll have debunked mine too. What is your obsession with me? Why do you need to hear it all from me? Do I need to copy paste all the stuff to this blog? Is that what you ask for? Well I won't get involved in anything like that right now. Sorry to disappoint you. And I believe that Murtagh already learned to be more careful with his words and actions anyway, independent from who funds TAG. So the lesson is already learned, at least partially. Which, to my knowledge, is the whole point of the lawsuit.

For someone named "FCB" and who doesn't have background information on these discussions and who apparently can't bother to inform himself/herself properly, you sure expect a lot of sacrifice from me just so that I can satisfy your expectations for an irrelevant discussion in a blog read only by a few people. I simply got better things to do. Hard to believe? Then take a look at how much difference such discussions have made in the past... and how worthwhile getting an academic degree can be in comparison to that, which is what I'm currently trying to work on after my failed attempt in the last semester because of similar activities. And I just unsubscribed from the comment notifications. Sorry and goodbye.

FCB said...

Run away Sadun. You parrot specious arguments you don't understand, then when challenged to explain why you're parroting specious arguments you don't understand your defense is: it's not my fault, I'm just a parrot. Wouldn't be so bad if the arguments related to the veracity of the moon landing or something, not a virus that can cause someone's immune system to fail, causing a horrible death.

"This seems to be the case because of this argument, made by this guy"

For you to write that something "seems to be the case" based on someone else's argument, you need to be able to demonstrate that you understood the argument and be able to defend it. You clearly can't do either. Bye bye.

Poodle Stomper said...

"Your objection rises from a difference in understanding of what a gold standard means. I again recommend you to read Darin's comments and respond accordingly."

So let me get this straight; I give you links to peer reviewed journal articles dealing with statistical approaches and the gold standard and you give me a link to...a denialist? Can you do no better?

"I'm content with the answers I gave to Poodlestomper...he's got enough information (links) to pursue the matter if he wishes to do so. So do you."

You really gave no real answer. Again, see above. I give you peer reviewed articles and you give us a link to the rantings of another denialist. It is funny how low your standards are when sources of information agree with your point of view. Very sad.

Tokoloshe said...

Dr. Noble, if you please, if the Lancet Study authors claim that Duesberg has misrepresented them and if they have already provided an answer somewhere, would you mind, pretty please, fing posting it or a URL, instead of merely airing your infantile fantasies about suing Duesberg? It ain't going to happen amigo comprende? Now go J off, just as satisfactory,
but don't forget the mfing reference or quote. What's WRONG with you?!

Much obliged.

And you FCR and Poodle, would you mind either giving a review of that paper on mathefingmatical gold standards or whatever it was, showing us you know what you're fing talking about even if Sadun doesn't, or at least providing a reference that doesn't require a subscription to the NIH Propaganda Department. It's as much 'gainst my religion as swearing.

Snout: It's ok if you couldn't find that paper on HIV DNA synthesis in vivo. you're just an average numbers gay, not a Renaissance-style scholar, I understand

Besos y todos maricone

Toko

Snout said...

"My reference for the necessity of a gold standard is logic. Logic demands that you have a criterion standard for your test."

Sadun, a criterion standard for a test is itself a test or set of tests (or diagnostic modality, if you prefer).

So according to your "logic", does the criterion standard also need a criterion standard of its own to be valid?

Is it really turtles all the way down? Because that's what your "logic" seems to be demanding.

"Your objection rises from a difference in understanding of what a gold standard means. I again recommend you to read Darin's comments and respond accordingly."

While Darin's post has some value in that he at least demolishes Henry's idiocy about prior and posterior probabilities, at no stage does he explain what he means by "gold standard". Like you, he waffles on about what he thinks it is not, and then disappears back into the fog of his own confusion. It is up to the rest of us to try to guess what he means.

It's a goalpost shifting game, Sadun. Meaningless rhetoric for the benefit of the denialists' intended audience.

Chris Noble said...

Dr. Noble, if you please, if the Lancet Study authors claim that Duesberg has misrepresented them and if they have already provided an answer somewhere, would you mind, pretty please, fing posting it or a URL, instead of merely airing your infantile fantasies about suing Duesberg?

Do you seriously believe that the ART Cohort Collaboration really concluded that ART does not reduce mortality? Really? Honestly? Don't you think it is possible that Duesberg and others have been misinterpreting the paper? Don't you think that Duesberg and the other Denialist could have asked the ART Cohort Collaboration whether that interpretation was fair? I did. I wrote an email and got a response straight away.

The libel suit launched by Celia Farber revolves around whether she and Duesberg misquote and misrepresent published papers.

What do you think will happen if the case ever gets to court and they call the authors of the ART Cohort Collaboration as witnesses and ask them whether Duesberg misrepresented their study? Seriously, think about it.

Neville Hodgkinson made similar claims in 2006.
http://www.spectator.co.uk/business/the-magazine/investment/37855/part_3/antiretro-drugs-fail-to-increase-hiv-patientsrsquo-lifespan.thtml

At least gave Margaret May some room to clarify.
Our paper only compares patients on HAART in different eras. It does not say that HAART does not reduce morbidity and mortality compared to no treatment, only that death rates have not decreased during the decade of HAART. This is likely to be due to changes in patient demographics, patients receiving treatment too late to get the full benefit, more co-infection with other diseases etc.

Another author also wrote a letter to "The Business" complaining about the misrepresentations in the article. I don't think that this letter is available online currently. I've asked them to put it on their website or allow AIDStruth to add it to their list of misrepresented studies.

http://www.aidstruth.org/denialism/misuse

Seriously Tok, what do you think is going to happen if Celia's libel case ever gets to court and they ask authors of "orthodox" HIV articles whether Farber and Duesberg have misrepresented their studies?

Tokoloshe said...

Seriously Chris,

Rethinkers per definition disagree with study authors about the ulltimate conclusions, (or premises I should say) they draw from the data they have collected. That is what the dance is all about. In this case I have only the quote given here:

“But, contrary to these claims hundreds of American and British researchers jointly published a collaborative analysis in The Lancet in 2006 concluding that treatment of AIDS patients with anti-viral drugs has 'not translated into a decrease in mortality'.”

If that is taken as stating that it is the express personal opinion of the authors that ARVs are worse than no ARVs, that would need a clarification from Duesberg et al.

But the thrust of the argument is this: Since better virological response doesn't correlate with decrease in mortality, it can be concluded that what the drugs do, suppress viral load, is not an essential factor in preventing disease or death in HIV positive people, and that the drugs therefore are simply not directed at the right target.

You may argue with that conclusion by pulling in other factors to account for the stats, such as higher incidence of TB, but it's
ad hoc and it doesn't touch the direct logic on which Duesberg's and Bauer's conclusion is derived. They have not misrepresented the study, even if it turns out they are wrong in the light of more information.

Therefore the authors might have a case of having had their opinions misrepresented, if that is really what has happened, but lawyerly speaking, I don't think much will happen in court if they claim their study has been misrepresented.

Snout said...

If that is taken as stating that it is the express personal opinion of the authors that ARVs are worse than no ARVs, that would need a clarification from Duesberg et al.

Nice try, Toko, but there is no need for a
"clarification": If you read the whole paragraph it is unassailably clear that Duesenbauer are claiming that the 2006 Lancet study demonstrates that the benefits of ARVs do not outweigh the risks.

"Aware of some of these life threatening toxicities of anti-HIV drugs, the Harvard (Chigwedere et al.) study maintains that the ‘‘benefits” of these drugs ‘‘outweigh” their inevitable toxicity [1]. But, contrary to these claims hundreds of American and British researchers jointly published a collaborative analysis in The Lancet in 2006 concluding that treatment of AIDS patients with anti-viral drugs has ‘‘not translated into a decrease in mortality” [30]."

Duesenbauer are clearly and unequivocally misrepresenting the study they are citing, not just the opinions of the authors.

Chris Noble said...

Tik-Tok, you are seriously, seriously deluded.

In 2008 the ART Cohort Collaboration published another paper.

The Lancet, Volume 372, Issue 9635, Pages 293 - 299, 26 July 2008

"Our analysis of 14 cohort studies and 43355 HIV-infected patients indicate that there has been an improvement of outcomes with combination antiretroviral therapy between 1996 and 2005, characterised by a marked decrease in mortality rates and potential years of life lost, and by corresponding increases in life expectancy and the proportion of patients surviving from age 20 to age 44 years."

"Previous studies have shown similar decreases in mortality rates and increases in life expectancy as a result of combination therapy.26–33"

26 Braithwaite RS, Kozal MJ, Chang CC, et al. Adherence, virological and immunological outcomes for HIV-infected veterans starting combination antiretroviral therapies. AIDS 2007; 21: 1579–89.

27 Crum NF, Riffenburgh RH, Wegner S, et al. Comparisons of causes of death and mortality rates among HIV-infected persons: analysis of the pre-, early, and late HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) eras. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2006; 41: 194–200.

28 Egger M, Hirschel B, Francioli P, et al. Impact of new antiretroviral combination therapies in HIV infected patients in Switzerland: prospective multicentre study. BMJ 1997; 315: 1194–99.

29 Fang CT, Chang YY, Hsu HM, et al. Life expectancy of patients with newly-diagnosed HIV infection in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy. Q JM 2007; 100: 97–105.

30 King JT Jr, Justice AC, Roberts MS, Chang CC, Fusco JS. Long-term HIV/AIDS survival estimation in the highly active antiretroviral therapy era. Med Decis Making 2003; 23: 9–20.

31 Lima VD, Hogg RS, Harrigan PR, et al. Continued improvement in survival among HIV-infected individuals with newer forms of highly active antiretroviral therapy. AIDS 2007; 21: 685–92.

32 Lloyd-Smith E, Brodkin E, Wood E, et al. Impact of HAART and injection drug use on life expectancy of two HIV-positive cohorts in British Columbia. AIDS 2006; 20: 445–50.

33 Walensky RP, Paltiel AD, Losina E, et al. The survival benefits of AIDS treatment in the United States. J Infect Dis 2006; 194: 11–19.

The Duesbauerian "logic" is a gratuitous quote mine of half a sentence from a single paper that misrepresents the authors' opinions, the paper's conclusions and most importantly reality.

Snout said...

Oh, and Harvey, if you post stuff like "Besos y todos maricone" on a blog like this then it's only natural that readers who know you are going to assume you are getting a teensy bit... well... disinhibited.

Fulano de Tal said...

Queridos,
I am very glad to see that Lokoloshe has calmed down after getting such reasonable responses to a post that was the most crude and artless attempt at a flame I have ever seen, and a disgrace to the proud flamer tradition.
I would just like to add that even Loko's spin of the Duesberg/Bauer interpretation of the Lancet 2006 study is wrong. The study does not show that "better virological response doesn't correlate with decrease in mortality." It does not present any correlations between virological response and mortality. It is entirely possible that there is a high correlation between viral response and mortality in the Lancet study data.
The 2006 paper is not even weak evidence for the idea that antiretrovirals do not prevent disease or death by suppressing viral load or reconstituting the immune system. So Loko's attempt to save Duesberg from the charge or misrepresenting the study is itself a misrepresentation.
Perhaps Chris Noble will write back to the authors and ask the following questions:
Does your 2006 paper in Lancet provide the slightest evidence that virological response is not correlated with AIDS or mortality? Does the paper provide the slightest bit evidence that the effect of antiretrovirals on AIDS and mortality is not realized by suppressing viral load or inducing immune cell recovery?
¡La ignorancia es atrevida!
Fulano de Tal

Chris Noble said...

Fulano, the 2006 Lancet paper simply does not give enough information to make it possible for Loko or Bauer to (honestly or scientifically) make the conclusions that they do. It was only making comparisons between different time periods.

However, the ART Cohort Collaboration published another study in 2007 that does answer the question.

AIDS: 31 May 2007 - Volume 21 - Issue 9 - p 1185-1197

While HIV RNA levels before the initiation of HAART did not strongly predict mortality and survival the viral load 6 months after HAART was started did.

See Table 2. Those who had the best virological response (HIV RNA < log 2.7 copies/ml) had the lowest hazard ratio for AIDS or death.

Of course if Loko, Bauer or Duesberg were truly interested in the answers to these questions they could have read this article by themselves. The sad truth is that they are only interested in maintaining their denial.

Tokoloshe said...

Are you guys retarded or sumtin?

Dr. Noble, Snout,

Nobody asked you what subsefingquent or previous or parallel in time studies show.

If you are so sure, why don't you come to NY on your own shill dime and argue the fing case. I'll make sure every penny will get reimbursed if you succeed in getting the Court to agree the ART study was misrepresented, you POS amateurs, awho can't even stay on fing point for one fing minute

Oy pendejos

Chris Noble said...

Nobody asked you what subsefingquent or previous or parallel in time studies show.

TokTok,
these are all papers that are published before Duesbauer submitted their masterpiece of misinformation to Medical Hypotheses.

To ignore this information is completely and utterly dishonest.

Your "lawyerly" views are of the same calibre.

I doubt that Celia Farber's libel case will ever make it to caught. If it does there will be no shortage of expert witnesses to testify that Duesberg misrepresents the published literature.

I don't think a judge will be fooled by taking half a sentence out of a single paper while ignoring the full paper and other publications by the same authors (cherry picking and quote mining).

Perhaps TokTok will be willing to make the same promise as Michael Geiger gave about the Parenzee appeal - to give up denialism if the Farber case does not succeed.

Chris Noble said...

PS The previous post contains an ad homonym fallacy (caught->court).

Anonymous said...

“But, contrary to these claims hundreds of American and British researchers jointly published a collaborative analysis in The Lancet in 2006 concluding that treatment of AIDS patients with anti-viral drugs has 'not translated into a decrease in mortality'.”

The first misrepresentation: the findings of the 2006 Lancet paper aren't "contrary to these claims." Second misrepresentation: the analysis did NOT conclude that "treatment of AIDS patients with anti-viral drugs has 'not translated into a decrease in mortality'.”

The quote from the paper is accurate, so something the paper reported has "not translated into a decrease in mortality." But it's not "treatment of AIDS patients with anti-viral drugs." The only thing you have to do to show that the paper is being misrepresented is read the paper.

jtdeshong said...

Hey SadunKal,
I am so glad to see you back on a thread. I have to say, eventhough I can tell you are way out of your depth and league in trying to deal with such a tough subject as science, especially HIV, but you are one tenacious person. No matter what truths are thrown at you, you sure can catch 'em, twist 'em and throw 'em back!
And you are quite ubiqitous as well. I do not come across a "discussion" that you are not a part of from start to finish. How do you have the time for you studies (if indeed you are who you say you are)! I question your truthfulness of your identity because for a young person, you certainly seem to be highly suspicious of others. Did your first love sleep with your best friend? Anyway...
Also, thanks for reminding me you have your own blog. However, perhaps you better be careful. I noticed that you admit to using drugs
http://condeve.blogspot.com/2009/06/pure-being.html
(eventhough they are not "illegal" where you live, the are illicit) and your denialist friends may someday accuse you of being HIV+ from drug use!! Just saying.
Also, these psychedilic drugs may help Snout, Poodle, Noble, me, Kalichman etc... some insight to your wacky views! Lastly, this use of psychedelics leads me to believe you are actually Mullis!
JTD

An Hominin said...

Chris Noble said...
PS The previous post contains an ad homonym fallacy (caught->court).


Actually, Chris, I kind of preferred the original version of your post:

"I doubt that Celia Farber's libel case will ever make it to caught."

Conjures up the true horror of Farber trying to defend her conduct as a "journalist" from the witness stand.

Tokoloshe said...

Chris, I still don't think you will be getting anywhere in a courtroom with Duesberg
"misrepresenting" a study because subsequent studies say something supposedly different.

You can try.

Personally I think the full quote provided by Snout gives you a better shot:

"Aware of some of these life threatening toxicities of anti-HIV drugs, the Harvard (Chigwedere et al.) study maintains that the ‘‘benefits” of these drugs ‘‘outweigh” their inevitable toxicity [1]. But, contrary to these claims hundreds of American and British researchers jointly published a collaborative analysis in The Lancet in 2006 concluding that treatment of AIDS patients with anti-viral drugs has ‘‘not translated into a decrease in mortality” [30]."

Reading the whole thing I'd say you just might have a fing case.

Happy now a-holes?

Thanks for all your help.

Toko

Anonymous said...

TokoLoko spouted:Chris, I still don't think you will be getting anywhere in a courtroom with Duesberg "misrepresenting" a study because subsequent studies say something supposedly different.

Duesberg misrepresent the paper because they take a quote that compares HAART in two different time periods whereas Duesberg claims that it applies to HAART in general.

Your bullshit about Duesbauerian "logic" and the claim that virological response is not correlated to reductions in mortality and morbidity is contradicted by the 2007 study by the same authors on the same cohorts that actually compares the relevant groups.

Get it?

The 2006 Lancet paper does not compare mortality and progression to AIDS in those with good virological response to those with poor virological response. The 2007 AIDS paper does.

You also seem oblivious to the normal standards of scientific integrity. When you write a scientific paper you are meant to accurately reflect the current literature. You can't just take half a sentence out of a single paper and ignore the hundreds of papers that directly refute your claims.

To cite a paper from 2006 and ignore a later paper from the same authors on the same cohorts is simply dishonest. It is a misrepresentation of the literature.

Before you start spouting any more filth perhaps you should read some of the papers that have been referred to. Or is that unnecessary?

Tokoloshe said...

Anonymous, please practice what you preach and read my last publication here where I admit that the quote in context can appear misleading, and that an objective auhority might rule in favour on this issue.

What I personally find apprehensible is not the statement by Duesberg et al, but th efact that they just throw it out there without analysis or argument. I know there are space constraints, but for any author to just quote in support of an essential point with no further comment annoys me as a reader.

By not detailing their argument, Duesberg et al indeed lay themselves iopen to the kind of criticism levelled here.

Happy NOW a-holes?!

Don't et all carried away though Ms Anonymous, becaus here is the authors own interpretation of the study

"INTERPRETATION: Virological response after starting HAART improved over calendar years, but such improvement has not translated into a decrease in mortality."


Maybe they died of something other than "HIV disease" (is there anything that doesn't come under HIV disease these days?), but it looks distinctly like improved virological response didn't translate into decrease in mortality in the first year on ARVs.

Chris Noble said...

OK Toko,
well done for conceding that the quote mine does misrepresent the paper.

The 2006 Lancet paper found: Table 2 shows virological and immunological response to HAART by calendar year of starting HAART. In 1995–96, 58% of patients achieved an HIV-1 RNA of
500 copies per mL or less by 6 months; this increased to 73% in 1997 and 83% in 2002–03. Median post-HAART change in CD4 cell count at 6 months was slightly lower in 1995–96 compared with later years.


All other things being equal you would expect this to have translated into an overall lower average mortality and rate of progression in 2002-03 compared to 1995-1996.

All other things were not equal. The demographics changed over time.

None of this means that virological response does not predict mortality and progression to AIDS. The 2007 AIDS paper is based on exactly the same patients and exactly the same data. The patients with the best virological response had the lowest mortality ad the slowest progression to AIDS.

Tokoloshe said...

Dear Dr. Noble,

I concede that as well on principle: The possibiity that mortality rates have somthing to do with the changing demographics .

Could you relay the titles of, or link to, those follow-up papers again (is there more than one?), so I can check?

Anonymous said...

Chris Noble wrote:

"All other things being equal you would expect this to have translated into an overall lower average mortality and rate of progression in 2002-03 compared to 1995-1996."

I'm actually skeptical about this. I don't disagree, I'm just not certain you'd expect to capture the difference with just one year of follow up. The rate of illness and mortality is so low after just one year of ARVs, and so strongly associated with a low CD4 and prior or current illness at ARV initiation, that I'm not sure that an increase in the proportion of people with less than 500 copies viral load from 58% to 83% would be expected to have an impact that would be measurable at one year. The proportion of people with AIDS events went from 9% to 6% and mortality 2.2% to 1.3%.

Chris Noble said...

Toko,
all of the ART Cohort Collaboration papers are listed on their website.

http://www.epi.bris.ac.uk/art-cohort/Publications.htm

Although the paper does not provide definitive proof that changes in demographics were responsible for the lack of apparent improvement in 1 year mortality it was not idle speculation either.

We investigated whether the increase in AIDS events in the most recent years was attributable to an increase in tuberculosis incidence. In the analysis with tuberculosis as outcome, follow-up time was censored at non-tuberculosis AIDS events, and vice versa. Table 5 shows the crude and adjusted hazard ratios separately for tuberculosis and non-tuberculosis AIDS for all patients. The analysis shows that the increase in AIDS in 2002–03 compared with 1998 is largely attributable to an increase in tuberculosis; the adjusted hazard ratio for tuberculosis was 2·94 (1·70–5·08) compared with 1·15 (0·88–1·50) for non-tuberculosis AIDS.

Chris Noble said...

Anonymous wrote: I'm actually skeptical about this.

Indeed, in 2008 with more data and more followup a clear and definite reduction in mortality was seen from 1995-99 to 2003-05.

Table 3 in the 2008 Lancet paper should be of concern for Duesberg and followers of his anti-retrovirals cause AIDS theory.

The mortality rate in the group that initiated HAART in 1996-99 decreased during followup. The longer the group had been on HAART the lower the mortality rate. Surely Duesberg's theory would predict the opposite.


.... but as usual Duesberg takes half a sentence form a single paper that he can twist to support his theory and ignores the rest of the evidence that refutes it.

Fulano de Tal said...

Queridos todos:
The 2006 paper is a favorite of denialists. Look at the crazy distortion of its findings at the 4:15 mark of this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xi7wo2KTkaQ

Fulano de Tal

Tokoloshe said...

Chris,

Thanks for the URL. I will now try to locate some of the things you're all talking about.

Even if I generously pretend that it is in any way legitimate to discount TB cases as representing a confounding demographic in order to achieve the desired results, what happened in year 2 and 3? Did the demographics shift back?

I also see that the ART has contributed a number of other revolutionary discoveries. For example does the presumed mode of HIV transmission magically influence the effectiveness of HAART.

we found that the presumed mode of transmission of HIV, a diagnosis
of AIDS before starting therapy, and the CD4 cell count before starting therapy remain prognostic for AIDS and death for a number of years after starting HAART.


Perhaps the bad results in the first year was due to a change in "presumed mode of transmission".
Could you write and ask the study authors if they have considered that possibility?

Chris Noble said...

From the 2006 Lancet paper:
The discrepancy between the clear improvement we recorded for virological response and the apparently worsening rates of clinical progression might be related to the change in the demographic characteristics of study participants, with an increasing number of patients from areas with a high incidence of tuberculosis. For example, in the Swiss HIV Cohort Study [14] there was a steady increase in the number of patients from sub-Saharan Africa.[22] These patients were younger, more likely to be female, and more likely to have been infected heterosexually than other study participants. Also, they had lower CD4 cell counts at presentation, and the most frequent AIDS-defining event
was tuberculosis.[22] Similar trends have been seen in other European countries and in North America.[23–25]


It is not the mode of transmission itself that was thought to lead to the higher mortality but rather coinfection with tuberculosis and lower CD4 counts at presentation.

The effects of higher mortality in a subset of the patients would be expected to be observed primarily in the short term. If they die in the first year they cannot influence mortality rates at 2 or 3 years of followup.

While you go through these papers looking for apparent discrepncies between the results and the "orthodox" theory of AIDS I am wondering why you don't seem to notice the results that refute Duesberg's and Bauer's theories.

1) Viral-load after 6 months of HAART (virological response) predicts mortality.

2) Mortality rates fall with longer times on HAART. If HAART was causing AIDS you would expect a dose response and higher mortality rates with more time on HAART.

Tokoloshe said...

Chris, it is true, I believe, that there is an apparent problem with Duesberg's dose response theory, but you yourself can't have your cake and eat it.

If you really want to say that all the sickest individuals get knocked
off first, to the extent that a negative result after one year has turned to a positive by the second, that would mean that the remaining are robust individuals who have good drug tolerance. One could easily imagine a dip in mortality and an HIV-infection length latency period for the negative effects of the ARVs to show.

It cannot have escaped your notice, I am sure, that people like Wainberg have been out discussing all the new "HIV-related" cancers, porous bones, liver and heart diseases etc. that now show, supposedly because HIV positives live longer.

As the New England Journal of Medicine and other publications have reported, people who have been HIV-positive over long periods are presenting in high numbers with a variety of cancers that are both life-threatening and that defy the traditional therapies
used to treat cancer in those who do not have HIV. These cancers include lymphomas, carcinomas and lung cancers (in smokers and non-smokers). Although the numbers are still relatively small overall, these cancers are occurring with far higher frequency among HIV-infected people than among members of the general population . . . These observations in cancer incidence raise a number of important concerns. One is whether rates of cancer in HIV-infected populations will continue to rise and whether the cancers will be restricted to certain types or will diversify . . . Another major concern is that these increased rates of cancer are being discovered mostly among those who have been infected with HIV for five to 15 years. Assuming that our antiretroviral drugs continue to be effective, and possibly become more effective, what does this mean for those who will have been successfully treated for HIV over longer periods, such as 10 to 25 years? Will they be even more susceptible to developing cancer? No one knows yet, but we'll need long-term surveillance of HIV-infected people to track cancer occurrences.
(Wainberg)

When Duesberg originally formulated
the drug and dose-dependent theories, he was doing so in relation to different demographics,
different drugs and different doses. It is still the case that drug users, especially IV, die at higher rates than other groups. That was what my little joke about "presumed mehod of transmission" was about.

Re ARVs themselves, now people get taken off a drug and put on another if they show "virological failure", the most toxic drugs are being rapidly replaced etc.:

It is possible that the number of cancers seen in HIV-infected people will plateau. Many of those who have been successfully treated with antiretroviral drugs over long periods began therapy with regimens that were both less effective and more toxic than those that are in widespread use today (Wainberg)

So, Chris, if Wainberg, arguably the greatest ARV enthusiast and profiteer that ever lived, thinks it is too early to tell, what makes you think it is time for the final victory dance?

Yours

Toko

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/03/AR2007120301622_pf.html

Fulano de Tal said...

Loko, Loko, Loko,
You must have been wearing your blahblah glasses when reading Wainberg's essay. Those are the glasses that turn all the text into Blahblahblah..., except for the little bits that can be distorted into the opposite of the author's intention.
Wainberg does not entertain the hypothesis that the antiretroviral drugs are causing the non-AIDS cancers in HIV patients. He does not think it is too early to tell. He thinks there is no reason to suspect that this is an effect of the drugs (on people that the drugs are demonstrably helping to live much longer than they would have otherwise).
And he's right. The START trials found that the risk of non-AIDS malignancies in HIV patients was lower in those who took continuous HAART compared to those who did not, and was lower in those who intiated HAART earlier. The more HAART, the less non-AIDS malignancies.
Making a living through honest work that advances knowledge and improves lives is not profiteering. Ask my friends, Alexander Fleming the penicillin profiteer, and Linus Pauling, the molecular biology pimp.
Abrazos,
Fulano de Tal

Chris Noble said...

Toko,

where are you getting your ideas about Duesberg's theory from?

In his 2003 masterpiece he writes:Since about 450,000 US citizens are currently on DNA chain-terminators and protease inhi-
bitors as prophylaxis against, or therapy of AIDS (see above), these drugs alone could have been sufficient to generate all of the 43,158 new AIDS patients reported in the US in 2001.


Duesberg does seem to be arguing that ARVs taken in the era of HAART cause AIDS. It is entirely reasonable to expect to see a dose response curve if this is true.

I don't know of anybody who is saying that recreational drug use is not harmful. The ART Cohort Collaboration write:There is also considerable heterogeneity between subgroups in life expectancy. For example, the disparity in life expectancy between HIV-infected injecting drug users and non-injecting drug users is very large. This finding is consistent with previous findings.32,37 There may be several reasons for this discrepancy, such as issues of adherence, inadequate or unequal access to treatment, active illicit drug use, hepatitis C co-infection, higher rates of smoking and alcohol use, and socioeconomic status.38

It makes complete sense that people who are infected with HIV and continue to use illicit drugs will progress to AIDS faster than those who don't. However, there is zero evidence that recreational drugs by themselves cause AIDS.


I don't understand why you think that I am in any disagreement with Wainberg. ARVs extend life but they are not a cure.

Tokoloshe said...

Senor de Tal,

Although I am a great admirer of you as a contributer to the dissident cause and as adornment on a bull's horn, you occasionally have a terrible habit of stating the obvious.

It is for instance obvious that Mark Wainberg is incapable of thinking that the drugs could cause anything but pleasure and endless grants, a win-win in other words.

You did notice, did you not, that regardless, he thinks it is too early to be sure of what the future will bring.

Senor de Tal, you should know by now that I prefer a URL when you are referring to new studies. You should also know that you can't get away with not describing a study properly. The START study is a treatment interruption study, not a ARVs vs no ARVs study. If you do a study on binge drinkers like myself and steady alcoholics like my other self, it's not unlikely you'll find that the on-off shocks to the system binge drinking causes is more unhealthy than regular daily consumption although the quantity is higher.

Furthermore, as far as I am informed, the START study just began enrollment less than 6 months ago yet, so that's some pretty early results you are privvy to.

Be tha as it may, Senor de Tal, you have added nothing to my admission that a rigid dose-dependent based theory might not be the best explanation model, especially post 1996.

Tokoloshe said...

Chris,

I am not saying ARVs cannot cause AIDS any more, just that it's a very different and changing picture these days.

I am sure you are in full agreement with Wainberg

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps the bad results in the first year..."

What "bad results"? You still haven't understood the paper. In 95-96, there were 103 people who experienced AIDS events during the first year of ARVs out of a cohort of 1096 (9%). In 2003, there were 105 people out of a cohort of 1656 (6%). To put it the other way around, 91% and 94% of these cohorts had no AIDS events during the first year of ARVs, and survival was 97.8% and 98.7%, respectively.

The only thing that can be interpreted as "bad" is the adjusted hazard ratio for an AIDS event during the first year of ARVs in the 2002/3 cohort versus the 1998 cohort, which is explained by the increased numbers of people with TB co-infection.

During the second year of ARVs, fewer people experienced an AIDS event and fewer people died compared to the first year. For 95-96 the difference was 103 AIDS events in the first year and 32 in the second. For 2001 (the most recent year with two year follow up) the difference was 172 versus 27.

Fulano de Tal said...

Loko, it's SMART, not START. Sorry. I advise you to drink continuously, and avoid binge drinking. By the way, you should be a chain smoker rather than smoking intermittently, and inhale asbestos particles daily, rather than intermittently. And make post-hoc arguments continuously, not just every now and then.
Abrazos,
Fulano de Tal

Tokoloshe said...

B-b-but Senor de Tal,

SMART was interrupted for ethical reasons, and other trials have not given the same results, Moreover, START is still an intermittent ARV use study, according to description. How can they defend doing something that unethical? I bet it's because they're not quite sure yet about it all and have to try out different CD4 counts etc.

Did you not just say that taking ARVs is like inhaling asbestos particles?

Listen compadre, I haven't said Duesberg's over-generalizations and partial, unexplained quotes are my favorite thing, but clearly there is an acknowledged dose-dependent something going on here or they wouldn't keep working on working out deferred/intermittent treatment etc. They'd sooner just drug us all from crip to grave.

Chris has made a big deal of the changing demographics and the "confounding" influence of people who are actually sick, like TB patients. Moreover, recreational
drug users croak more quickly, like they've always done (except in the revolutionary early hitpiece-on-Duesberg studies still proudly on display at AIDStruth, assuring us that recreational drug use is safer in HIV context than my sainted granny's rose garden)

What you're left with after the "confounders" are gone is basically initially asymptomatic people with an HIV+ sentence, and with the most toxic drugs and regimens continually being replaced or modified. So give big D a break, will you? Things just aren't as straightforward no more.

D will argue pretty much the same, though not as eloquently and authoritatively as Tokoloshe, who happens to be a lot smarter and therefore wouldn't use the Lancet 2006 study to contradict himself by saying the drugs haven't improved at all in the last decade, and furthermore make it sound like they haven't improved since AZT monotherapy.

adiós friends and don't be lonely

Toko

Fulano de Tal said...

Querido Tokoloko,
SMART was interrupted for ethical reasons, and other trials have not given the same results, Moreover, START is still an intermittent ARV use study, according to description. How can they defend doing something that unethical? I bet it's because they're not quite sure yet about it all and have to try out different CD4 counts etc.
SMART was stopped because it was clear that more people were sick and dying in the interrupted therapy group. START is not an intermittent ARV use study. You must have read the description wrong. It randomly assigns participants to different strategies for timing HAART initiation. It would be unethical to assign to intermittent HAART, because we know that is inferior to continuous.
Did you not just say that taking ARVs is like inhaling asbestos particles?
No. I implied that your theory of why intermittent therapy might have worse results than continuous HAART was a pathetic post-hoc rescue of your hypothesis that ARVs are causing the non-AIDS illnesses and death.

I'm beginning to suspect that you might be Duesberg himself. There are few others with the same skill of convoluted ad hocery.

By the way, I, Fulano de Tal, am also guilty of a misreading. It turns out that the difference in non-AIDS cancers between intermittent and continuous HAART was not statistically significant.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17721103
So you'll have to think of a new spin for that result.

Abrazos,
Fulano de Tal

Tokoloshe said...

All rhetoric, no substance? That's what they say about Obama as well, and see how far he has gotten. But you're right, START not
intermittent.

Still doesn't change the fact that they are hard at work on how to limit exposure to ASB... I mean ARVs. There has to be a reason for that.

Chris Noble said...

I am not saying ARVs cannot cause AIDS any more, just that it's a very different and changing picture these days.

Forgive me if I have no idea what you are saying.

You seem to falling into the same position as most Denialists of putting forward no coherent explanation of your own but simply trying to pick holes in the "orthodox" explanation.

At least Duesberg puts forward a hypothesis that is capable of falsification. He just refuses to acknowledge that it has been falsified.

Snout said...

"Still doesn't change the fact that they are hard at work on how to limit exposure to ASB... I mean ARVs. There has to be a reason for that."

Toko, as you well know all HIV drug trials are simply a conspiracy to maximise drug company profits.

So obviously, if you can demonstrate that intermittent treatment (much cheaper) is just as good as the already proven continuous treatment then that means more profits for....

Oh no, hang on, wait a minute...

Anonymous said...

Snout said "SA's HIV prevalence has remained stable at 25-30% since 1985"

The article says "...since 1998" which means you are either a liar or can't read or maybe both since the two conditions are not mutually exclusive.

Snout said...

Nope, Anonymous. The full text of the paragraph (2nd paragraph in the left hand column on page 4) is:

"It is consistent with the passenger virus-hypothesis that HIV (i) is naturally transmitted most effectively from mother to child, much like all other retroviruses [10], (ii) is asymptomatic for up to 25 years (since it is known) in persons free of chemical AIDS risks [10] including HIV-positive persons from the US Army [21], (ii) has remained epidemiologically stable, at about 25% to 30%,
in South Africans (Fig. 1b), at about 5% in Uganda (Fig. 2C, and [16]), and at about 0.3% (1 million in 300 millions) in America since 1985 [10,19]. By contrast, pathogenic viruses spread exponentially
and then decline exponentially within a few months due to anti-viral immunity, forming classical bell-shaped curves as described by Farr’s law [22,23]. Take, for example, the typical time course of several months of a seasonal flu epidemic [22]. "


No mention of 1998 in my copy of the article.

(Note: the text "unnecessarily with inevitably toxic anti-HIV drugs, if the Harvard study prevails." in the fifth post above was accidentally copypasted from the adjacent column and doesn't belong in the original paragraph).

In any case, to choose a period of a few years before and after the peak of a rapidly rising curve and claim this represents "stable prevalence" is a piece of cherry picking so absurd that it's difficult to believe even Duesberg would be stupid enough to think he could get away with it.

Anonymous said...

Nope Snout (is Snout any less anonymous than Anonymous?)

I apologize, I don't think you were lying but I am now genuinely concerned that you can't read.

The 1985 clearly relates to the 1 million HIV positives in America which has remained unchanged since 1985.

I'll get back to you on your other points after you promise me you'll try harder.

Snout said...

Thank you for your apology, Anonymous. Now would you like to explain where you got your quote "...since 1998"?

Did you get this from the usual source of HIV/AIDS denialist disinformation... that is, you just made it up because it suited you?

Anonymous said...

Oops my last post didn't seem to be updated, hope you weren't throwing your toys out of the pram!

Just to repeat:

Snout said that Duesberg's paper has the following claim:


...SA's HIV prevalence has remained stable at 25-30% since 1985

It doesn't!

What it actually says is:

After 1998 the prevalence
of HIV antibody-positives leveled off..

So no I didn't make it up, but thanks for asking.

Just wonder what you've been reading or inhaling

sadunkal said...

Hi. I'm back. I didn't read many of the comments which I assumed, hopefully correctly, were irrelevant to me. But I'll respond to a few things that I consider worthwhile.

First this one, from PoodleStomper:

"I give you links to peer reviewed journal articles dealing with statistical approaches and the gold standard and you give me a link to...a denialist? Can you do no better?"

It is more scientific to determine the veracity of an argument by looking at whether or not it's rational, and not whether or not it's approved by anonymous people perceived as authorities. I think this is where most of you people fail when it comes to scientific thinking. The concept of "authority" has no meaning in true science. There is only rational, or irrational. And to figure that out you have to read the argument of course.

Anyway, let's go back to the gold standard...

sadunkal said...

Darin uses this definition for the gold standard: A “gold standard” is a decision procedure which can actually be implemented to produce a binary result (yes/no).

Think of it as the truth, the reality. X is either true, or not. Only one of those is possible. Whether or not we’re capable of knowing it is not immediately relevant. It is possible to not have a gold standard for every possibility… as is the case with “HIV” where there is no direct way of observing whether or not a person has the somewhat unique object that is generally conceptualized “HIV”. We can’t pull it out of the bloody mess and study any of the particles isolated from the rest. There are only tests based on certain chains of assumptions.

It is actually more logical to first know the true state, and then proceed for indirect tests to check it routinely. Darin states it like this, referring to the misconceptions about “hypothetical ideal gold standards”:

“When it comes to aortic dissections and the like, this fuzzy thought, this idea of having an “ideal” or “hypothetical” fantasy disease state, has little ramifications, since torn aortic walls actually do exist, and so on. The problem with HIV testing is that clinicians have a mental impression of a disease state that has no correspondence to anything in reality. And then they devise lots of diagnostic tests for it.“

This failure to purify/isolate is interpreted as “X is not true” by the likes of the Perth Group: The argument is that the concept of “HIV” is probably just a concept, distanced from the true state things. Since nobody even attempts to verify.

Cont…

sadunkal said...

For more details I will quote from the linked discussion.

From MacDonald:

"I have argued the strength of Jackson/Duesberg below, which boils down to the correlation between negative results: WB, serology, PCR etc. might not always agree on who is infected (although they do so in Jackson et al.), but in general they show sufficient agreement on who is not infected, as per Duesberg’s argument, given below in this series.

But a gold standard does not arise out of correlation or agreement between tests alone, so we could still ask what that agreement refers to. The inescapable answer is “true infection status”:

“The evaluation of the sensitivity and specificity of PCR for the diagnosis of HIV infection in infants is particularly difficult because there is no reference or ‘gold standard’ test that determines unequivocally the true infection status of the patient…”

Owens DK et al. “A Meta-analytic Evaluation of the Polymerase Chain Reaction for the Diagnosis of HIV Infection in Infants”. JAMA. 1996 May 1; 275 (17): 1342-1348.

In my experience, the orthodoxy will attempt a variation over the quibble with the meaning of “isolation” and “purification”. Rethinkers, or their ill-prepared lawyers will often say isolation, by which they mean purification before isolation. But technically, these days, isolation refers to something else, for instance extracting “genomic HIV” from a cell soup. This “viral soul” is then cloned as an allegedly infectious particle (transfection), at which stage it has indeed been “isolated” completely from the original soup.

The strategy, then, is to ridicule the Rethinker for his/her lack of grasp of technical terminology and simply dodge the substantive issue. (AIDSpravda Credo: We never debate denialists on the issues)

Likewise, they will roll their eyes and say that we don’t understand what gold standard means, ultimately trading in a possible confusion between what the gold standard determines (Owens et al.) and the gold standard test – the tool that does the determining.

If anybody has followed my namesake’s exchange with Snout on New Scientist, they will have seen a classic example of how that plays out (except that he cut and pasted the wrong quote to begin with, Abbott test kit insert instead of Owens et al.- NOT part of the strategy)

However, Owens et al takes care of that argument as well by using the delightful expression “determine unequivocally true infection status”.

Snout descended into the sewers pretty quickly, but let us help him along a little bit: Could there conceivably exist something else, something which is not a test per se, but which determines unequivocally the true infection status, i.e. the presence of the virus? Yes Sir, proper virus isolation. The question then is, why has Owens et al., or anybody else in the history of lavish HIV/AIDS, funding not used such a virus isolation procedure to determine specificity and sensitivy of PCR, and the other tests?.. “


Cont..

sadunkal said...

And another one from MacDonald:

“The postulated almost-perfect correlation between a negative HIV DNA test and a negative antibody test (WB) is what is so impressive, because it implies great specificity of HIV antibodies... But how good is the correlation really, and what is the nature of this ‘HIV DNA’?

What is less impressive about Duesberg’s isolation argument is that the extraction and cloning of ‘HIV RNA’ is still an indirect method. Duesberg IMO breaks the rules of engagement when he challenges Perth and Lanka to explain where ‘HIV RNA’ comes from if not an exogenous virus. By making the genetic material a coherent viral entity by default, Duesberg is basically killing the discussion.

In their reply Perth point out, correctly IMO, that it is not their task to explain where ‘HIV RNA’ comes from. Besides any answer is bound to be highly speculative, which means that Duesberg’s challenge amounts to a demand that Perth prove the negative, that this is NOT the RNA of a unique, exogenous virus.

Perth’ counter is sound: it is not their task to prove a negative, rather it is Duesberg’s task to deliver positive, direct proof that his ‘HIV RNA’ is indeed HIV RNA.”


I hope it's clearer now.

Snout said...

No, Sadun. It doesn't make anything clearer.

You start off well, with Darin's description of a gold standard as a variety of decision procedure .

A virus is not a decision procedure. A baby is not a decision procedure. An aortic aneurism is not a decision procedure. The Truth™ is not a decision procedure.

Hold that thought. The rest of your four posts are hopelessly confused waffle. The fact they are mainly Macdonald's hopelessly confused waffle rather than your own makes them even less worthy of dignifying with a response.

No one is interested in the Perthians' claim that HIV has never been properly isolated/purified to their satisfaction. The bottom line is that they have long ago decided that they will never be satisfied with any practicable evidence whatsoever. So who cares about what they think?

sadunkal said...

According to Darin's definition the unequivocal evidence for a distinct thing's existence (object, state of objects etc.) would be used as the gold standard and implemented to produce a binary result.

Thus the virus is not the gold standard, "unequivocally the true infection status" is. Determining the "true infection status" (whether or not the virus exists) requires unequivocal evidence. So the rigorous isolation/purification process as argued by the Perth Group seems to be a logical necessity. Only then can you begin to verify how successful indirect detection techniques really are, i.e. whether or not your antibody tests give positive results only when the unequivocal evidence for the existence of the virus can also be gathered from whatever is exactly being tested, which would mean that the test is reliable.

Snout said...

Sadun, a "gold standard" is a decision procedure that is generally agreed to have both the optimum sensitivity and specificity for the phenomenon under consideration. Specificity without sensitivity and vice versa are, practically speaking, meaningless.

It is obvious that the Perthians don't understand this, when they propose observing whether the birth of a baby occurs as a "gold standard" against which pregnancy tests could be measured. In fact it's a rotten "gold standard" for a pregnancy test. Sure it could be specific, but it's not sensitive. As Turner ought to know as an ED doc, one of the most important uses of a pregnancy test is when ectopic pregnancies are in the differential diagnosis. Ectopic pregnancies are real, but don't result in the birth of a baby - they result in the death of the mother if not diagnosed.

Specificty alone, or sensitivity alone are useless at determining whether a test (or decision procedure) are of any informative value at all, let alone whether they can be considered a "gold standard". You need both.

So, simple and straightforward question, Sadun: what is the sensitivity of the Perthians' proposed "rigorous isolation/purification process" in identifying the presence of exogenous retroviruses? How did they determine this?

Please don't answer with your usual waffle, or with "I'm too busy right now" or "I can't answer until Val or Eleni email me back and tell me what to say". And please don't answer with a copy paste from someone else. I've wasted enough time with your incoherent evasions.

Snout said...

In their reply Perth point out, correctly IMO, that it is not their task to explain where ‘HIV RNA’ comes from. Besides any answer is bound to be highly speculative, which means that Duesberg’s challenge amounts to a demand that Perth prove the negative, that this is NOT the RNA of a unique, exogenous virus."

It would help to have even a remotely plausible speculation about what "HIV RNA" is if it isn't HIV RNA.

Perth Group: "The sun does not exist."

Sane Person: "Well, what's that big glowing orb in the sky that rises every morning and sets every evening?"

Perth Group: "We aren't obliged to say. It's up to you to prove to our satisfaction that it is the sun."

Life is too short to be bothered with such halfwit sophists.

Anonymous said...

Hm. If people care to rant in the village square, it's thier business. Duesberg is another case; he's taking up space which should be occupied by a legit UC Berkeley professor. He's also abusing the trust placed in him by the public for reasons known only to himself.

But he could perhaps be redeemed. A few forward looking souls could abstract this gentleman and inoculate him with a half ounce of HIV. Should he never get sick, either he has a rare and valuable resistance which can be studied used to develop cure or prevent the HIV-Aids disease progression or perhaps his theory is correct. He will be benefit from either result.

If he does get sick, well, that's impossible so it's of no concern. ;-)