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.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Your comment is awaiting moderation... (part two)

Three more comments from Fulano de Tal, submitted to Henry Bauer's "HIV/AIDS Skepticism" weblog, in response to his posting The Science of AIDS on 28th July.

Fulano de Tal said
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Querido Dr. Bauer:
I was very happy to see that you did not get anything wrong in your description of the HAART and bone loss paper from the SMART study.Good work!But it looked like you were recommending that people shouldn’t take HAART because it can cause bone loss and increased risk of fractures. You left out the information comparing this risk to the benefits of the treatment, which is the only way to justify your recommendation. Can you supply that information?
Thank you. Abrazos,
Fulano de Tal
Fulano de Tal said
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Querido Henry:
As I mentioned before, I am surprised to reach this conclusion about someone so knowledgeable about the ethos of science, but the evidence is piling up. As I already mentioned, you allow many people with false identities to post comments, but not people whose identity you think is false and who happen to criticize your work. Now it is also clear that you post the most vile ad hominem attacks from people who agree with everything you write, but refuse to post polite constructive criticism from people like me, who have never made an ad hominem attack on anyone. As ”exhibit A” I include, while blushing, the following quote from someone calling themselves Sabine Kalitzkus:

Just the other day a friend of mine approached me with the rumors, that
Hitler and Mussolini were lovers. He went on telling me, that the favorite hanky-code color of those two sweethearts was … yes … brown. I told my friend of the well documented fact, that Hitler used to engage himself in this caviar- and golden-rain-business not with Mussolini but with several German actresses.

I was just about to kick this former friend of mine out of my house (I don’t like liars), when he pushed his foot into the door to force me to listen to another lie. He told me, that it has been scientifically proven, that a thoroughly practised blow-job could cure you from almost all signs of frontal lobe damage. But for this kind of cure to be effective the assistant should be male, because — my former friend explained — a woman cannot know what a man is feeling during this procedure, because she could never experience these feelings herself.

And, Seth, perhaps you should simply accept the fact (though it certainly must be very painful for you) that Henry Bauer is married and that he is not gay. But I must confess, that I admire your strategy to seduce him thoughout the Internet. Yours is the most unique pick-up-strategy I ever came across. Congratulations!

I’m sorry to dirty your site again with this truly disgusting quote (you probably don’t know what the brown hanky refers to, or ”caviar and golden rain,” so you are fortunately spared the full depth of ”Ms. Kalitzkus’s” depravity). But you must see how I feel when such garbage appears on your site while you insist on deleting my respectful and constructive dissection of your work.
Fulano de Tal.

By the way, I have a few more comments about your long post on the science of AIDS:
1. I am puzzled by your discussion of the NIH recommendations regarding NRTI monotherapy. You seem to be saying that the recommendation against such treatment is a belated acknowledgment of safety issues associated with this class of drug. First, you should know that the NIH has recommended against such treatment since at least 1997. This was because these drugs, particularly the most popular one, Zidovudine, when used as monotherapy slow down the disease progression, but ultimately do not prevent progression to AIDS and death when compared to placebo. Second, the quote you provide clearly states that it is NRTI monotherapy, not NRTI per se that should not be used, and that this is because it is not effective, not because of any dangerous adverse reactions. Most drugs have side effects, so you should not use any drug that is not effective. Further proof that this is not an acknowledgment of safety problems with NRTIs is the fact that the preferred HAART includes two NRTIs plus a third drug.
2. Thank you for publicizing some interesting results of research on HIV/AIDS treatment. But I don’t see how these studies are ”highly damaging to HIV/AIDS theory.” I would think that by showing that these drugs are systematically tested, and that treatment guidelines are evidence-based, would portray the scientific approach to HIV/AIDS in a positive light.

Fulano de Tal said
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Querido Henry,
This is very discouraging. I came to your site because I was eager to find out what HIV/AIDS denialism was all about. I saw some things that made sense, but lots of mistakes in interpreting the scientific literature. I thought you could use some constructive criticisms. If you really want the scientific establishment to listen to you, you should probably pay attention to people like me, who can tell you where you may have gone wrong.

But since it now looks like you are not really committed to the scientific process, and would rather remain in your echo chamber, I will have to go elsewhere. If you can’t post and address at least some of the points I’ve made, I will have to post them on Snout’s blog. I know you don’t like Snout very much. He did say some things about you that were not very nice, like calling you “utterly clueless,” and referred to your writings as “hopelessly confused, contradictory and downright ignorant pontification”, “tedious drivel”, and referring to a recent paper you coauthored as “self-serving incompetence and mind-blowing ignorance”. But what can I do? After putting a lot of time into checking your references and carefully reading your analyses — the kind of scrutiny that many scientists would pay for — I don’t want my comments to just disappear into the ether, victims of your vanity.

I know I gave you a lot to contend with in my various comments on just one post. But my comments really boiled down to the following 5 ways in which you, perhaps inadvertently, mischaracterized the scientific literature:

1. You took a quote from the NIH treatment guidelines out of context and tried to turn it into an admission that antiretroviral treatment is killing HIV/AIDS patients. The quote is actually saying that more than half of HIV patients are now dying from non-AIDS causes because they have lived long enough, thanks to HAART. And these non-AIDS causes of death, rather than being the result of HAART, occur less frequently in patients who start HAART earlier and take it continuously. You took statements that are strongly supportive of HAART and tried to spin them into saying the exact opposite.

2. You (and MacDonald) ridiculed a study for being self-contradictory and for recommending nevirapine only for patients who needed it the least, when you simply misunderstood the study due to a simple logical fallacy and a failure to read it carefully.

3. You say that AIDS-related Kaposi’s Sarcoma is not an HIV/AIDS-related condition. I didn’t mention this before, but you also suggest that a reference showing that KS was an AIDS-defining condition in 1987 is out of date, when the reference is there to prove that KS has been an AIDS-defining condition for over 20 years, since it remains one today.

4. You present a more than 10-year-old NIH recommendation against NRTI monotherapy (because of limited efficacy) as a belated warning against NRTIs in general due to safety issues. In fact NRTIs are part of the NIH’s preferred HAART.

5. You present a variety of studies of the efficacy and adverse effects of various HAART modalities as though they are evidence against ”HIV/AIDS theory.”

If you would just be kind enough and brave enough to address a few of these issues, I will not have to resort to the unsavory alternative of posting on Snout’s site.

Fulano de Tal


jtdeshong said...

Good Luck Fulano. I know you feel like you are involved in an exercise in futility, but at least you are keeping Bauer on his toes. IF he has any morals or scruples at all, your facts I am sure, make some kind of impact.

Anonymous said...

Muchas gracias JTD.
I'm sure that Snout does not want this to become Fulano's vanity blog, so I will post more of these here in the comments.
Reply to Don't wrestle with pigs.

Fulano de Tal said
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
Thursday, 6 August 2009 at 12:38 pm

Querido Dr. Bauer,
I would like to make a few responses to your latest post, in the hope that you have had a change of heart and will allow open discussion on your blog.
1. You are wrong think that only AIDS denialists are subjected to ridicule and shunning by legitimate scientists. As a young researcher myself, there is tremendous pressure on me to be productive and to allocate my time responsibly. There is no way I can justify to my senior colleagues the amount of time I have spent engaging in discussions with people who are hopelessly misguided and completely irrelevant. If you think I would be admired and rewarded for spending time offering my services to denialists – time that would be much better spent in scientific research – then you are wrong.
2. Fulano never claimed to believe that HIV causes AIDS. Nor did Fulano ever try to convince you or your readers that HIV causes AIDS. The fact that your work is riddled with errors that undermine every substantive point you put forth does not prove that denialism is wrong and science is right.
3. I can understand that you might be embarrassed by someone pointing out so many basic mistakes in your work. In that case, it would be better for you to set up a blog under a pseudonym. That way you can benefit from peer review and be spared the embarrassment.
4. If you don’t believe that I am really Fulano de Tal, does that make my criticisms of your work less valid? If someone points out a mistake you have made, it is still a mistake, whether the person who brought it to your attention is Fulano de Tal, ‘Common Cents,’ or ‘Dave’ You can delete my comments, but why not take advantage of the opportunity to correct the mistakes in your writings?
5. I defy you to prove that ‘Sabine Kalitzkus’ is a real person. It is unimaginable that someone would attach their real name to the toxic waste with which she pollutes your site.

Fulano de Tal


Sabine Kalitzkus said...

“Snouty”, “Fulano de Tal”, “K√∂pek Burun” et al.:

Snouty, my dear, did you know that you made me very happy? I never expected myself to be capable of making an adult, tough, gay man blush by doing nothing more spectacular than mentioning the hanky code in my comment #10 on this page:


Obviously there are unknown abilities hiding in me. You are right, I should dig them all out now. They were hiding for too long…

I understand that it was the color I mentioned in my comment which made you blush, so I apologize for this. I thought about this problem for some time, so I think paisley suits you more than… Though I’m not sure whether the hanky should be worn on the left or on the right, considering your devoted submission to authoritative dogma, I would recommend the right hand side for you.

“I’m sorry to dirty your site again with this truly disgusting quote (you probably don’t know what the brown hanky refers to, or ”caviar and golden rain,” so you are fortunately spared the full depth of ”Ms. Kalitzkus’s” depravity).”

I’m honestly surprised to listen to a gay man who – in the 21st century! – marks the hanky code and parts thereof as “dirty” and “disgusting”. Sorry, Snouty, I can’t take you seriously on that.

I admit to have committed an ad hominem attack in my above mentioned comment. There were even two of them – one against Hitler, the other one against Mussolini. So what?

The rest was – come on, Snouty, you can’t have missed it – a fairytale! I’m not in the habit of kicking my friends out of the house, why should I? I invented this friend just to please you – and your esteemed friend Kalichman of course.

And now, my dear Snouty, let us talk seriously. In your post "Your comment is awaiting moderation... (part two)" you said:

“As ”exhibit A” I include, while blushing, the following quote from someone calling themselves Sabine Kalitzkus:”

Snouty, darling, I understand that it is very difficult for someone who has many identities at their disposal, to even imagine somebody who has nothing to hide to show their real identity. It might disappoint you, but it was my parents who gave me the name that confuses you, it wasn’t me, though I think my parents have well chosen. I like my name.

Should you have any more problems with me and/or my name, behave like a man and discuss matters with me! There’s no need to ask Henry to “reveal” my identity. This is my identity – believe it or not.

jtdeshong said...

OK, Sabine, let's say you are YOU.
You are just a bit delusional if you think that gay men actually subscribe to this "hanky code". I have seen a list of these monikers and my friends and I laughed, blushed, groaned with disguist and then never thought about it again.
I am under the impression that the hanky code was more a product of the 70's and mostly in large cities. In the entire 6 book series called "Tales of the City" by Armistead Maupin, there is only one mention of the hanky code.
So, nice try SK. Next time try a less obscure reference.

Rev. Howard Furst said...

While the Hanky Code did in fact originate among the Sodomites, an adaptation of it is currently thriving among Believers, where it has prevented countless misunderstandings between people with incompatible belief systems.


Perhaps this system could be adapted to accomodate the myriad beliefs and points of view along the forked spectrum of HIV-AIDS Denialism to Faith. That would save a lot of unfriendly arguments and bad feelings, as people with wrong ideas often appear perfectly reasonable before they open their yaps.

Snout said...

Reverend Furst, I doubt there is a pair of trousers in existence with back pockets large enough to accommodate the vast numbers of multi-hued swatches Henry would need to carry...

... And thank you for your kind words, Ms Kalitzkus, and also for linking my blog from the comments section of Henry's website.

Thank you also for your illuminating insights into the sexual signaling customs of a particular small subculture in certain US cities during the 70s and 80s.

I'm sure there are many readers of HIV Septic like Senor de Tal and myself, who have been puzzled by Henry's moderation criteria for comments, and comparing our erudite Spanish friend's unsuccessful submissions with yours will help clarify the obscure workings of Henry's mind and help us compose posts more in keeping with his interests.

What is obvious, though, is that Henry is not interested in polite critical examination of the negligent and lethally stupid medical "advice" he has taken on himself to propagate through his website. This is not surprising given the fundamentally political rather than scientific motivations behind his retirement hobby.

While sociological observations and... err... fairy tales such as yours are not unwelcome here, the main purpose of Reckless Endangerment is to expose the inept and vacuous pseudo-scholarship of Henry's "work" on HIV and AIDS, so that the political and psychological pathology underpinning it may become more evident to his readers.

Thank you for dropping by, and thanks again for the link-love.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Snout, for getting us back on topic. I meant no disrespect toward "Sabine Kalitzkus" but only wanted to point out that Bauer allows such silly, ad hominem posts, that contain no relevant information, when they come from his followers, while rejecting constructive comments that actually add to the discussion, only because they point out flaws in his argument.
It is also interesting that he indulges discussions of pseudoscientific topics like the Loch Ness monster and the blood-type diet.
But maybe I am expecting too much from someone who believes he has refuted well-established findings on the basis of his laughably misguided analyses:

Fulano de Tal said
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
Tuesday, 18 August 2009 at 10:31 pm
Querido Henry:
I’ve discovered another shibboleth! Talking on the cell phone does not increase the risk of traffic accidents. I know this because since 1998 cell phone use has gone up tenfold while traffic fatalities have decreased by more than 20%!

But seriously, you can see how my analysis is flawed. Cell phone use only affects traffic accidents if you talk while driving. And it is only one of many things, some of them also changing, that affect traffic accidents. So obviously, the lack of a correlation of cell phone rates and traffic fatalities over time says nothing about the risks associated with talking on the phone while you’re driving.

In your attempt to expose the shibboleth of the connection of STDs with HIV you make the exact same mistake. It is perfectly possible for STDs to have a large effect on the transmission of HIV, but at the same time to be negatively correlated with incidence of HIV in the population. In an introductory statistics textbook, you will see this issue discussed in the section on interaction effects.

It has been shown, very compellingly, since at least 1999, that ulcerative and non-ulcerative STDs greatly increase the susceptibility to HIV and the transmissibility of HIV. This is the result of many studies. See: http://sti.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/75/1/3.

So it is not a shibboleth; it is validated knowledge. I hope you will correct this mistake.

Fulano de Tal


Chris Noble said...

'shibboleth' does not mean what Bauer seems to think it means, despite it being one of his favourite words.

A word that is pronounced differently by Americans and Australians could be a shibboleth. A word or phrase used by almost exclusively by a group of people could be a shibboleth.

Bauer uses the word 'shibboleth' a lot (incorrectly) that doesn't make it a shibboleth.

An Hominin said...

As someone who has only evolved the capacity for language during the past couple of weeks, I am fascinated by Henry's use of the word "shibboleth".

A shibboleth is a signifier used to identify a member of an in-group from someone on the outer - and vice versa. In its narrowest sense a shibboleth is a word whose different pronunciation can be used to distinguish the cultural or social origins of the speaker. More broadly, a shibboleth can be virtually any cultural touchstone - for example from popular culture, slang, or jargon, familiarity with which can be used as a test of inclusion or exclusion from a particular group.

What is interesting here is that Henry uses the term to refer (as Senor de Tal points out) to what most recognise as validated scientific knowledge.

While I have yet to evolve the capacity for scientific reason I think it is importa- hang on, I just spotted a big juicy grub over there: catch you later.

Chris Noble said...

Even if there were no evidence to support it the phrase "HIV causes AIDS" is not a shibboleth. Nor are "HIV is a sexually transmitted disease" or any of the other things that Bauer calls shibboleths. Try walking into a room and saying "HIV causes AIDS". You'll just get funny looks.


I suspect that Bauer means something more like canard.

Re. Howard Furst said...

But the word "canard" IS a most excellent shibboleth! To me it means "duck"; to Prof. Bauer or others familiar with the practice of deceit, it may mean "a falsehood passed off as truth". So by saying "shibboleth" while actually meaning "canard", Prof. Bauer is in fact correct, at least in his own mind. Unless, of course, he believes that a shibboleth is a duck, in which case I shall ask him to step into the vestibule and convince me that he is wrong.

Adamantly yours,
Rev. Howard Furst

Snout's Elk said...

Yes, but Reverend, there's a crucial logical question about any shibboleth.

Does it weigh the same as a duck?

Rev. Howard Furst said...

By Jehovah, that question is itself a Shibboleth, discriminating between people who knowingly chuckle about its origin, and those who process it into a Bauerian canard, declaring that the difference between a duck is that one of its legs is both the same.

Without even knowing it (I would not stoop to suggest that he is in this thread under a false moniker, a sock puppet promoting his own arguments) Henry Bauer has thus generated another Shibboleth, using us here as his instruments. I would laud him to his face for this generous act, but he is saintlily [sic] immune to praise; to him it is like a duck falling off a wetback.