AIDS is said to be caused principally by the HIV-mediated destruction of CD4+ T-cells.
The first conundrum I encountered was the lack of agreement on, or evidence for, any mechanism by which HIV supposedly caused this cell death. The second problem, less troubling on a purely virological level, but much more disturbing in light of scientific standards, was that papers on the molecular biology of HIV seemed to have a very short “shelf life” – they go “out of date” very quickly. In mathematics, a journal article takes a significant amount of time to write and at least
several months to go through the review process. By the time a paper appears in
print, it may well be years from the time the work was first started. On
several occasions I submitted papers with fairly recent references regarding
various aspect of HIV’s molecular biology, only to be answered with the
criticism from a reviewer that some of these references were now “out of date”.
Sometimes the references were only two or three years old. I later discovered
that this is a common occurrence in HIV research. Science is of course meant to
be self-correcting, but it seems to be endemic in HIV research that, rather
than continually building on an accumulating body of secure knowledge, with
only occasional missteps, it’s more like the bulk of the structure gets knocked
down every three to four years, replaced by yet another hypothesis, standard of
care, or definition of what, exactly, AIDS really is. This new structure is
then also eventually knocked down in the same fashion.
Even more disturbing is the fact that HIV researchers continually claim that certain papers’ results are “out of date”, yet have absolutely no hesitation in citing the “entire body of scientific research on HIV as massive overwhelming evidence” in favor of HIV. They can’t have it both ways, yet this is exactly what they try to do.
There are further problems with the
scientific method surrounding HIV/AIDS. Among the major ones are the circumstances surrounding the
publication of the initial papers by Robert Gallo’s group that appeared in the
journal Science following the historic 1984 press conference;
continuing difficulties in demonstrating a cell-killing role for HIV; continuing
problems with (and an apparent lack of interest in) properly isolating HIV as
an exogenous retrovirus; and, possibly the worst of all, the astounding lack of
specificity, standardization and reproducibility of the HIV antibody and “viral
load” tests -- and meaning as shown to widely felt ripples very recently in JAMA.
The question still remains: How could
science have gone so far astray? Why did the scientific community accept the
HIV hypothesis so readily before any papers were published to support it? And
how has this belief persisted so long despite results becoming “outdated” every
few years? Why is there such disagreement between dissenting and orthodox
scientists regarding the standards to which such crucial cornerstones as
isolation procedures and antibody testing should adhere? How could scientists
have so readily allowed their research to settle into one narrow, unproven
channel of investigation? It’s been over twenty years – surely, if there was
something wrong with the theory, this fact would have been discovered.
Corrective action would have been taken, and a “diverse portfolio of research
direction”, as Richard Strohman put it, would have been explored.
I have now been employed at the faculty
level in university academia for four years, and prior to that I spent a
cumulative total of four years doing graduate level research. (The gap perceived
by my having stated that I first began working on HIV ten years ago owes to the
fact that following my Master’s degree I spent two years working in industry.)
I have also observed my father’s employment circumstances and academic research
experience as a professor in the physical sciences. Over the years, I have had
plenty of opportunity to see exactly how research expectations affect the
quality of work we produce. It is clear to me that the pressure to obtain big
government grants and to publish as many papers as possible is not necessarily
helping the advancement of science. Rather, academics (and in particular, young
ones) are pressured to choose projects that can be completed quickly and
easily, so as to increase their publication list as fast as possible. As a
result, quality suffers.
This lowering of scientific standards and
critical thinking has been apparent in many aspects of research for some time,
and after several generations of students, it is now beginning to infiltrate
the classroom – the textbooks and the undergraduate curriculum. It is germane
at this point to indicate that many of the common arguments presented in
response to the queries of HIV/AIDS skeptics are essentially some form of
appeal to the use of low standards. (For example, “You don’t need a reference
that HIV causes AIDS”, “The fact that HIV and AIDS are so well correlated
indicates that it must be the cause”, “HIV is a new virus, and new viruses will
meet new standards”, “Koch's postulates are outdated and don't apply in this
day and age”, “We don’t need to worry about actual infectious virus, viral
‘markers’ should suffice”, or “Real scientists do experiments; they don't write
review articles on the literature”.) All of these observations are eloquently
summed up by the mathematician Mark Craddock:
“Science is about making observations and
trying to fit them into a theoretical framework. Having the theoretical
framework allows us to make predictions about phenomena that we can then test.
HIV “science” long ago set off on a different path...People who ask simple,
straightforward questions are labeled as loonies who are dangerous to public
It is this decline in scientific standards that I point to, when I am asked how so many scientists and doctors could be so wrong. Given the current research atmosphere, it was almost inevitable that a very significant scientific mistake was going to be made.
Rebecca V. Culshaw worked on mathematical models of HIV infection for almost ten years. She received her Ph.D. in mathematics (with a specialization in mathematical biology) from Dalhousie University in Canada in 2002 and is currently an assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Texas at Tyler. She is a celebrated internet author as a result of her writings on Lew Rockwell, and "Science Sold Out: Does HIV Really Cause AIDS?", a book based on those essays, and from which the piece above is modified, is due next month.
Note: A few days ago, a technician with a PhD from Los
Alamos National Laboratory by the name of Brian Foley sent Dr. Culshaw the followinbg email that is
not only typical of the sad situation she outlined above, but is also 100%
typical of the behavior of the AIDS apologists, namely to accuse the critic of
not knowing the literature and then cite a bunch of papers which are
supposed, by their citing alone, to prove that the critique is wrong. Here is Dr.
Foley's enlightening missive, slightly insultingly entitled, "Errors in
Rebecca's Post" and referring to her article on AIDS in Africa. He quotes from the essay as
"This ridiculous concept is utterly
empty the evidence for an African origin for HIV, much less AIDS, is
essentially non-existent, and what there is is based entirely on the hypothesis
that Africans have been doing bizarre and obscene things with monkeys that
permitted not one but two distinct
retroviruses, HIV-1 and HIV-2, to emerge and begin to cause massive immune deficiency the likes of which has never before been caused by a single let alone two distinct‹infectious agents. For this improbable enough scenario to even approximate a possible reality, these two ³new² retroviruses in humans would have to be pretty new in monkeys, too, since nothing has changed regarding how Africans relate to monkeys in the last forty or so years, and logically, such a zoonotic jump, if it were possible, should have happened long ago. So if this were even partially so, AIDS ought to have existed in Africa significantly before it existed in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, rather than after (1983), which is what happened."
Rebecca clearly has never looked at studies of the origins of HIV-1 and HIV-2. See the attached papers, if you have any interest.
Mokili J, Korber B. ,The spread of HIV in
Africa., J Neurovirol. 2005;11 Suppl 1:66-75. Review.
Zhu T, Korber BT, Nahmias AJ, Hooper E, Sharp PM, Ho DD. An African HIV-1 sequence from 1959 and implications for the origin of the epidemic., Nature. 1998 Feb 5;391(6667):594-7.
Korber B, Muldoon M, Theiler J, Gao F, Gupta R, Lapedes A, Hahn BH, Wolinsky S, Bhattacharya T. Timing the ancestor of the HIV-1 pandemic strains. Science. 2000 Ju"
Dr. Culshaw replies to Brian: "Dear Dr. Foley, If you would compose an actual presentation of the data in these "papers", which of course I have read and studied, and that you think support the counter-propositions to what I wrote, by all means do so and it will be published here, along with my reply." [Otis]