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Bad Manners and Good Gossip

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July 09, 2006

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Hermann

You do know Hank that this is the bread and butter (so to speak) research cow of Prof. Moore, yes?

gp120 MAbs from Dennis the Menace Burton and CCR5 receptors from Honest Dollar Bill Haseltine.

The guy keeps great company as everybody in the field knows.

That is one of the funniest (if I may be allowed the term) things about the HIV/AIDS research community. Most of us know what morons and crooks the "biggies" are and yet we continue to play by their rules -- myself, obviously, no exception. I got a family to feed afterall.

Hermann

BTW Hank,

There are more of us who read your weblog than you might suspect. We just don't do it from the lab, and we don't talk about it (much). When we do, we mostly say it would be a great day when we could all come out of our closets. But cowards that we are, that's all we do. Time to head out for another day of "HIV/AIDS research", at your expense. Sorry, but look what happened to Duesberg, and he was a 5 star general.

Mark Biernbaum

Hermann. Find a new job. You'r not doing me or any other HIV+ person any favors by staying in the closet. Leave your job in a flurry of press statements. Write a book. Make big cash on speaking engagements. But don't tell me or any other HIV+ person that this is all you can do to feed yourself and your family. That's bullshit.

Levi-Strauss (not his spouse)

Mark,

I am perhaps slightly more elevated in the feeding chain and have my own office, so unlike the bench guys like Hermann I can read the dissident blogs from "work".

While your suggestions are admirable, look again at what my junior colleague wrote:

"Sorry, but look what happened to Duesberg, and he was a 5 star general."

And in addition, there are few of us with the courage of Rebecca Culshaw either.

The real point is, as the reality of HIV/AIDS dissent becomes clear to an increasing number of the "just folks" who pay taxes and vote - through websites like this for example - it will be easier and easier for folks like me and Hermann to speak more freely and perhaps even shed our snake's skins once and for all.

Richard Strohman

"As AIDS grew in the 1980s into a global, multibillion-dollar juggernaut of diagnostics, drugs, and activist organizations, whose sole target in the fight against AIDS was HIV, condemning Duesberg became part of the moral crusade. Prior to that 1987 paper, Duesberg was one of a handful of the most highly funded and prized scientists in the country. Subsequently, his NIH funding was terminated and he has received not one single federal research dollar since his pre-1987 Outstanding Investigator Grant ran out. Duesberg lost his lab facilities and had to move twice within a few years to smaller labs on the Berkeley campus, where he spent much of his time writing futile research grant proposals asking to test his hypothesis that AIDS is a chemical syndrome, caused by accumulated toxins from heavy drug use. He lost his graduate students, who were warned that to emerge from his lab would blight their careers. He was denied and had to fight for routine pay increases by his employers at UC Berkeley, where he has tenure and still teaches. He was “dis-invited” from scientific conferences, and colleagues even declared that they would refuse to attend any conference that included him. Duesberg also was banished from publishing in scientific journals that previously had welcomed his contributions, most theatrically by the editor of Nature, Sir John Maddox, who wrote a bizarre editorial declaring that Duesberg would be denied the standard scientific “right of reply” in response to personal attacks that were frequently published in that journal. Prior to 1987, Peter Duesberg never had a single grant proposal rejected by the NIH. Since 1991 he has written a total of twenty-five research proposals, every single one of which has been rejected. “They took him out, just took him right out,” says Richard Strohman, an emeritus professor of biology at UC Berkeley."

Celia Farber, Out of Control, Harper's, March 2006

HankBarnes

Hermann & Levi-Strauss,

Interesting. I'm sure you can understand my friend, Mark Birnbaum's annoyance, since he, and folks similarly situated, have borne the brunt of your silence, but, I guess, hope springs eternal.

Y'all need to, at least, think about a plan to come out of the shadows. Way too many lives have been disrupted and destroyed by this ridiculous medical paradigm.

Dr. Strohman,

Welcome! Speaking of one of the few heroic scientists who recognized this farrago, for what it was, and had the moxy to lend his support to Dr. Duesberg, look who appears!

I've enjoyed your work for many years, Sir. This may be an unusual request but I'd love to interview you for this blog. A lotta folks here are just trying to sift thru this mess, and it would be great if an accomplished scientist as yourself could "speak to the masses" so to speak.

If interested, e-mail me at HankBarnes@hotmail.com.

If not, that's ok, too.

HankB

Dan

Looking at the silver lining here...

On an emotional level, I agree with Mark.

I'm somewhat heartened though, to hear from "HIV" researchers that they're in the closet on this issue. Other than Rebecca Culshaw, if I don't hear about them, I assume that they're as rabidly pro-"HIV" as other paradigm promoters out there.

George

Hi Dick,

I am glad to see that you have made a rare, maybe singular, appearance on "the blogs", and I hope you will accept Hank's offer.

Maybe if a few more of the old guard speak out while we still have breath, it might do some good, and even encourage the Levi-Strauss and Hermanns to be a bit more vocal.

(Pardon me for addressing you as Dick, but we met last at Gunther's 80 something birthday celebration a few years ago.)

Mark Biernbaum

I'm afraid I have nothing positive to say about scientists who defend bad science out of fear for their own reputations. There are examples of those who bucked the trend, and the more examples that accumulate -- the more the "just folks" that you refer to will prick up their ears to listen. It was funny that someone lifted all that nice text from Celia's article -- did you not see my published reply? Not only is my health on the line, but I too have a professional reputation, that I also put on the line, in order to see justice served. There is no real excuse for cowardice. History will write this story, ultimately, and whether your on the bench or in an office, those who "knew" but did nothing, will not be regarded very positively, I suspect.

Mark Biernbaum

And Hank, for God's sake, get the spelling of my last name right. After all, I'm putting out there for a reason!

Celia Farber

Of all the lamenting voices I have had the privilege of listening to, recording, and using as building material for my articles, Richard Strohman's is one of my personal favorites. I have learned so much from that voice. Like standing on line to hear a particular musician, I would eagerly buy tickets for a Q&A with Richard Strohman. If you get him--ask him about The Machine Model of Biology. Ask him about "the miraculous."

I have a transcript with Strohman from 2000 that I have sent to science editors as required reading. I think he is a very important voice, man, scientist, philosopher.

Don't let him go.

HankBarnes

"And Hank, for God's sake, get the spelling of my last name right. After all, I'm putting out there for a reason!"

My bad. Sorry about that, Marc:)

HankB

Levi-Strauss (still not his spouse)

Mark,

Are you, or were you, an HIV/AIDS mainstream researcher? If not, your position is not analogous.

And whatever your line of scientific investigation, I hope you examine your data before drawing conclusions more carefully than you exhibit here when you write:

...It was funny that *someone* lifted all that nice text from Ms. Farber's article..."

(that I might tell you was a lunchroom hit with many at my institution).

I think the "someone" is Prof. Strohman, a muscle biochemist of significant renown.

And finally, I was not excusing my cowardice, merely stating it for the record.

Mark Biernbaum

Levi,

First off, to me, everyone is of significant reknown to at least someone else. I'm sure you are of significant reknown to some. Titles and degrees are ultimately rather meaningless, don't you think? I've never been a very deferential person by nature. I'm impressed by integrity and courage, not much else.

My PhD is not in Dr. Strohman's field. I don't know Dr. Strohman personally, alhtough I have seen him speak on film, and I hold him in high regard, as I would any intelligent person who makes a decent critique of the current status of "AIDS" science.

I would disagree and say that my position is wholly analagous if I want NIH funding, and there isn't a scientist in the U.S. who doesn't. Science is science. It is either done properly, or not. It either advances our knowledge, or it fails to do so, or even obfuscates it. Irregardless of the field of inquiry, most of us depend on the same government funding sources for our research, and being openly in opposition to current dogma regarding AIDS jeopardizes any researcher's chances of obtaining funding, again, irregardless of their field. Everyone who departs from AIDS dogma stands to lose some of their "significant reknown." But that is the price that is sometimes exacted for honestly and courage.

I'm glad that we agree that there is no excuse for cowardice. There is a price exacted for cowardice as well, as I'm sure you're aware.

Levi-Strauss (and still not his spouse)

Not to put too fine a point on it Dr. Biernbaum, but are you still unaware that it was Prof. Strohman who "lifted the nice text" ythat quotes him at its close?

Your "first off", would seem to indicate yes.

Second off, my surname is Levi-Strauss and not Levi.

Now, like John P. Moore, I must "return to my HIV/AIDS research". And believe it or not, I am doing what I can to change the local environment at least a little, and still keep my grants. Tenure as you know, is not sufficient armor.

Mark Biernbaum

Actually, Levi-Strauss, I was not unaware. Dr. Strohman though appears to have been unaware that he was posting text from an article that I published a response to -- a response in which I actually lobbied heavily for Dr. Duesberg to receive funding. Are you unaware of that?

I did that despite the fact that I am not even in full agreement with Dr. Duesberg's work on HIV/AIDS. Again -- I'm not a deferential person. So you see now how that works. I can both slightly reprimand Dr. Strohman and respect him at the same time -- it's really not that hard a thing to do.

I'm unused to calling people by their surnames -- in fact, I find it uncomfortable. I like to know a person's full name, obviously. I like everything to be out in the open.

I'm grateful that you are doing what you can locally (honestly). I agree that tenure is not sufficient, and I might add that it may not be desirable at all.

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