Review – Dogmatism in Science and Medicine: How Dominant Theories Monopolize Research and Stifle the Search for Truth, Henry H. Bauer

I read this book last year but I have the typing itch today and I think it deserves some extra promotion.

First things first, if you web-search the author’s name you’ll find an encyclopaedic entry that paints him as some kind of evil nut. However, this is merely an exhibit of the info wars whereby characters are smeared rather than their data challenged. Bauer admits to having held a couple of unsavoury opinions, but when convinced of their erroneousness he changes them, and indeed I’m sure he will change any current opinion he holds when convinced of the contrary. He even accepts ridicule for interest in the Loch Ness Monster.

Prior to this book, Bauer’s heavy-hitter was The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory. This got him stamped as an AIDS Denialist (he would likely prefer to be called an HIV sceptic, which is the title of one of his blogs – meaning that he doubts the existence and/or pathogenicity of HIV to cause the diseases defined as AIDS, but he does not deny AID) and had attracted the attention of “vigilantes” such as Seth Kalichman.

For those who want to see the broader picture of taint in science, including AIDS, Dogmatism… is probably the better book to read. Though Bauer is an Emeritus Professor, the writing style is very appealing to lay-people.

In all the arguments presented in the book – going from memory this includes global warming, the cholesterol hypothesis, cold fusion – Bauer does not claim that heretics have to be right, rather that the stifling of their voices is the real crime in science. The fact that they could be right and that a pauper theory exists in place of a regal one is not only damaging to science, but the public perception and application of science. The obvious oxygen to bankrupt theories is commercial interests, and Bauer hopes the metaphorical Titanic can be reversed long before it hits the iceberg.

Perhaps the best comparison this book has, at least in Britain, is with that of Ben Goldacre’s Bad Pharma, which has a more focussed attack on the medicinal drug industry. People may not agree with all the heresies examined by Bauer, and indeed they will find they don’t have all the data or expertise to make their mind up, but they will appreciate the fact that accepted theories should not be ring-fenced; they need to be prodded and poked to see if they pass the empirical rather than political and commercial tests.

I admit in some bias because I’m a fan of Bauer’s writings and there is some alignment of views, but even when standing back from that this is a book to be read if you can handle the academic pricing. Go Kindle to shave some pounds/dollars etc.

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Vitamin D and why HIV may not be the cause of AIDS

Today is World AIDS Day and this blog has been deliberately posted now in hopes to capitalise on the increased interest.

I will come out with it: I do not believe HIV causes AIDS.
I believe in immunodeficiency but I am unconvinced that there is an external, infectious retrovirus that accounts for what’s happening largely in Sub-Saharan Africans, a subset of gay men and intravenous drug users. I believe the causes are actually myriad but many relate to vitamin D, yet simple supplementation is not necessarily a quick fix.

Why? Click the picture below to download a PDF I wrote which is presented in a medical paper format – but note that it is not an actual medical paper. Feel free to link to it, print it out and share it – as long as you credit the underlying hypothesis to me.
I’ve released this under a Creative Commons license, and in essence it is a significantly cut-down and rewritten version of a chapter in my vitamin D book which I’m aiming to put out in some form by the middle of next year.

The ideas in this PDF are meant to instil a seed, whereas in the full chapter there will be a bombardment of evidence. As far as I know, I’m the only one to hold this particular view, or at least to have stated it in written form.

I understand that this is quite controversial – and I already doubt cholesterol causes heart disease (which fortunately has attracted entirely positive interest) -, so I’m happy to post any and all comment responses here whether they attack or praise the hypothesis. I will naturally not be allowing spam though and may consider censoring ad hominem attacks – i.e. arguments that attack me rather than the points raised. Please keep comments related to the article.

I may not respond to all comments if somehow there is a large amount of interest here, but I’m happy to be challenged. If someone can point out good flaws in my argument, then that will be a good lesson for me.
Bear in mind though, I class myself as an HIV sceptic, not an AIDS denialist, so referring to me as the latter would – I believe – nullify your argument. The nature of what defines AIDS as suggested by the US CDC means that it is impossible to actually deny AIDS.

Please share this post with others if you have taken the time to read it and agree with it.

AIDS conundrum

A couple of days ago I came across a 2hr video questioning the HIV/AIDS hypothesis.

Though the video has dated, the arguments have not. This is the first time I’ve ever witnessed the AIDS denialist argument (a misnomer because it’s only HIV as a cause that’s really disputed), and it was pretty convincing.

However, the theory that AIDS isn’t caused by HIV pretty much is the same as HIV is caused by AIDS. I can’t advocate a side but I do think that with the ongoing hurdles in understanding and curing this disease that a bit of fresh perspective is badly needed.
Mainstream thought has nothing to lose by allowing investigation, but it is controversial to say examine treated and untreated HIV+ groups – yet there are people who decline or accept medication by volition.

I’m not telling anyone to be lax about HIV or abandoning any treatments. I am maintaining a largely neutral viewpoint and every one is the master of their own health.

If you don’t have the time to watch the video, here’s some interesting points from it (I’m going by memory so I apologise for inaccuracies).

  • There are at least 4,000 documented (at time of recording) cases of AIDS in people who are HIV negative. If the HIV virus is the cause of AIDS it should account for every single case.
  • When a person is tested for HIV, they are tested for the presence of antibodies rather than the virus itself. This is curious because the presence of virus antibodies indicates immunity to it. So how can you make a vaccine without turning someone HIV+ and someone HIV+ already into the existing state?
  • The HIV/AIDS hypothesis has not been peer reviewed (it was adopted by press conference) and there is no literature on HIV being a cause of AIDS; in fact some organisations offer large bounties for such data.
  • HIV is seen by some scientists to be a harmless passenger virus. It resides in very few T-helper cells (for immunity) and does not destroy them, as it needs these cells to survive.
  • AIDS medications like AZT (since replaced by combo drugs) have disclaimers that it’s side effects can match those of immunodeficiency. Indeed AIDS deaths have risen after awareness than before it was known.
  • Gallo (the man commonly seen as behind the HIV/AIDS link) has admitted that HIV alone may not be sufficient to cause AIDS. In fact the definition of AIDS has changed radically a few times, one of which recently indicates that a cofactor virus is needed.
  • AIDS is seen to be the result of recreational drug use, prescribed immune surpressants and possibly anal sex (i.e. sperm entering as foreign body to attack via the blood). In the developed world AIDS is still seen as homosexual male/drug abuser’s condition despite 80’s campaigns that it would be an enormous worldwide disaster. And it may indeed be that the immune destroying affects of hard drugs rather than clean needles are to blame.
  • In developing countries (Africa, India) AIDS diagnoses are often reported in place of traditional disease names in order to qualify for funding. It is seen that due to the even gender divide of AIDS that the cause for this may simply be poor health and malnutrition. There is also a view that AIDS helps enforce a veiled racism and dependency from Western drug companies.
  • There are people who are HIV+ and do remain in good health for a long period of time. Everybody inevitably dies so whether this is the result of AIDS is contentious.
  • Prostitutes only really show HIV if they are also drug users.

Feel free to leave any comments – but don’t shoot this messenger! However I will add that there has always been malpractice in the medicinal world, so a healthy dose of skepticism for areas that alarm you is good mindset to be in. But I’m maintaining that I can’t support the mainstream or alternative sides unless a) HIV can eventually be treated and this corellates with being a cure for AIDS, and b) dissenters have the opportunity to prove their claims.