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Sunday, 5 September 2010

Does HIV cause AIDS?: the video

Gay & Lesbian Humanist published in spring this year an article by the AIDS dissident John Lauritsen. The online publication Digital Journal carried a story on that article, and it received a lot of fiery comments.

Recently, Lauritsen gave a talk at a conference in Vienna (and he mentioned G&LH in the course of it), which we’ve linked to below.

I know most people have orthodox views about whether HIV causes AIDS and whether the drugs doled out by Big Pharma cure or kill (Lauritsen believes the latter), but, when you have a few minutes, click and watch. It makes interesting listening.


Anonymous said...

I can't believe this website is hosting such a devious opinion about HIV/AIDS. You'd better stick with science and avoid any relationship with conspiracy theory tenants.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the other Anonymous. That anyone still gives any credence to the flat-earthers is not just insulting to our intelligence but dangerous.

Andy Armitage said...

Thanks to both Anonymouses for their comments. They are both free to leave comments that actually further the argument, of course (and these comments didn't). This is why we (and others) have comments on blogs: so that people can debate. The blog makes no case for one opinion or the other: it's just reporting, and doing so in part because its associated magazine carried an article, and it's a way also of linking to that (and plugging the mag, of course). And we say that views on the blog are not necessarily those of the Pink Triangle Trust.

But it must be said that neither comment has actually got to grips with the argument. Both have merely said we shouldn't have published references to this heterodox view. So debate away, folks, and, if you want to get scientific, be my guest (but try to make it simple for us folk of lesser academic knowledge!). And it's also worth saying that Lauritsen has given his name to his views. Anonymous commenters don't, which makes their comments less powerful.

Anonymous said...

As the first Anonymous, here is my answer:
You wrote :my first comment hasn't got to grips with Lauritsen arguments. Sorry to not not having provided arguments except for science against Lauristen's opinion. In other terms, there's no debate between people who have arguments and those who have opinions. And outside science there's only opinions. From the point of view of science, Lauritsen's "views" is simply discarded. End of story. Therefore, no debate is even possible. The fact he gave his name to his views proves nothing, much less it's "power". Considering it's the second article on this non-subject, I'm beginning to think you (this website and/or mag) are close to Lauritsen's "views". And no more argument from authority please.

Andy Armitage said...

Thanks, Anonymous 1. Actually, though, I was not arguing anything (except the desirability of healthy debate), must less from any authority. I'm not holding up Lauritsen or anyone else, because, quite simply, I don't understand the scientific arguments, or non-arguments if you prefer. But you've taken things on a little, so thank you and I hope to see more.

As a matter of interest, and in case this is of help to you, if you want to pursue things further, names to conjure with (although you may be aware of them already) are Seth Kalichman (orthodox) and Peter Duesberg (heterodox). I haven't read Duesberg (although I know he's written quite a tome on the subject), but have read an article by Kalichman in New Humanist and he makes some intereseting points. However, since I'm not in a position to do primary research, I can't have a very useful opinion one way or the other. I'm glad to see comments, though. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Take it away Ben:

in fact. Ben's book, bad science, is an excellent read and should be read by more people.

And let's let the BMJ have a quick word:

It's been estimated that AIDS denialism has caused 350,000 deaths in South Africa. Do we want to repeat it here?

Daniel Beck said...

Are we really saying that invoking the word “science” is enough?

The first Anonymous said: “You’d better stick with science [commenter’s emphasis] and avoid any relationship with conspiracy theory tenants.”

Andy Armitage said: “[…] it must be said that neither comment has actually got to grips with the argument.”

The first Anonymous replied: “Sorry to not not [sic] having provided arguments except for science against Lauristen’s opinion.”

So … just invoking the word “science” nowadays is enough. One can’t help but be reminded of the dogmatism displayed by those religionists who shout “faith” and “God” to back up the fact that they don’t actually have a clue what they’re talking about, or any evidence to support their arguments and beliefs.

The first Anonymous also said: “[…] outside science there’s only opinions.”

Yes, and there is opinion inside science, too – the technical word being “hypothesis”.

Anonymous (presumably, first Anonymous) said: “It’s been estimated that AIDS denialism has caused 350,000 deaths in South Africa.”

That statement is no doubt true, but not necessarily for the reasons that you imply.

Before HIV/AIDS came along, funding to help pay for drugs and treatment for people with pneumonia caused by poverty and depravation would have got short shrift – and that was reprehensible. But now, not just pneumonia but a whole host of pre-existing illnesses are dubbed “AIDS-related” and the funding comes pouring in. Could this be because drugs, such as penicillin, used to treat plain, old pneumonia are out of patent and available as low-cost generics, while the new HIV/AIDS poisons – sorry, drugs – are still in patent and, therefore, highly profitable to Big Pharma? Could this also explain, while public spending in the Third World is being slashed across the board, funding of healthcare – as described in the recent Oxfam report of the impact of the global financial crisis on low-income countries – is relatively unscathed?

There’s little or no money for Big Pharma and other Western corporations in providing education and other social benefits to poor people in these low-income countries, but there’s lots to be made from selling high-priced products from Big Pharma, which are ultimately paid for by grants and other aid from the West, and, ultimately, by the taxpayers of those countries.