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Bad Manners and Good Gossip

« Confessions of a Subversive Grad. Student: "More" Vaccine Politics | Main | Lew Rockwell and the Libertarians Celebrate World AIDS Day with Peter Duesberg »

December 01, 2006


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Harvey Bialy

This comment does not relate directly to this article of Dr. Culshaw, but as it is the most recent, I will hijack it for the purpose of giving any interested a preview of my preface to her almost sold out of its first printing book, as I just learned from the Bulletin Board sidebar.


As Dr. Culshaw’s text so clearly speaks for itself, there is really no need of any analytical preface, and I will not even attempt one. Instead I will tell a story of how this Terra Nova tome/ette came to be, in the hope that it will make the reasons for its publication now more apparent.

In February of this year, Darin Brown, a mathematics professor at Eastern New Mexico University and Frank Lusardi, a computer programmer in NYC, began a “Wikipedia” website devoted to providing a “fair” (meaning data rich) but by no means “balanced” forum for the internet presentation of HIV/AIDS dissent.

When I was directed to this “AIDS Wiki”, one of the first things I saw was a page devoted to “Petitions”, and since I had just launched one of my own, I of course checked to see if these “newcomers to internet AIDS insurgency” had included it. Indeed they had, but described it quite incorrectly and thus confirmed some of my worst fears concerning it.

The petition, which I thought a simple and quantitative way to test the truth of one of the favorite orthodox shibboleths for denying credibility to dissenting arguments --- that the vast majority of scientists had already considered the Duesberg critique for many years and found it lacking in substance, and so saw no reason at all to further engage a useless and possibly dangerous debate --- had turned out to be not simple at all.

In fact, it was apparently so confusing that almost nobody who read it understood either its semantic content or its purpose.

The text of the petition called on the editors of Nature and Science to take an anonymous, electronic straw poll of their readers asking them whether they thought a series of debates between Peter Duesberg and David Baltimore (the two most prominent and best credentialed scientists on opposite sides of the AIDS causation question) that would be sponsored by the National Academy was a waste of time.

Like the two blackboards with “A Bird in the the Hand” and “Paris in the the Spring”, it was very difficult for most people to see that the petition did not actually call for such a debate.

And so, I wrote an email to”the moderator” of this new website pointing out the correction. Not 15 minutes later I received a reply apologizing profusely for the oversight (and of course correcting the web entry), excusing the lapse only by saying how pressured he had been in trying to build the site’s content quickly, and that he was really much better at solving differential equations than his misreading of the simple
text might have indicated.

This began my knowing of the remarkable Dr. Brown.

Some short while later, Donald Miller MD, a very highly-regarded cardiac surgeon as I was to learn, published an online review of my biography of Peter.

The review appeared on the extremely popular website of Lew Rockwell, and surprisingly, quickly became a most popular “most popular” item.

Some short while after that I learned about Dr. Brown’s good friend Rebecca, who was thinking of leaving the “Sunny Brook AIDS Farm” after 10 years of making hay for it as an HIV mathematical modeler, and had written a cathartic, first person account of her journey from unquestioning believer to convinced heretic.

She was wondering if I would be kind enough to look it over, and to please not be too hard on her writing since it was her first go at this kind of prose.

What she sent was an essay entitled “Why I Quit HIV”, and it stunned me, as it did Lew Rockwell to whom I suggested she send it (without any line editing at all) and everyone else who has read it, including Richard Grossinger and Lindy Hough, the publishers of North Atlantic Books.

The rest, as they say, is her story.

Harvey Bialy
12 June 2006

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