Debunking Denialism

Defending science against the forces of irrationality.

Monthly Archives: December 2010

Henry Bauer and the Pure Virus Mythology

HIV/AIDS denialism is an umbrella term for the set of beliefs that HIV does not cause AIDS or HIV does not even exist and that antiretroviral treatment and other drugs cause AIDS as well as related beliefs. Not all HIV/AIDS denialists subscribe to all of these beliefs, but they are a general representation of beliefs in this movement. The Perth Group, for instance, believes that HIV does not even exist, whereas the father of the HIV/AIDS denialism movement, Peter Duesberg, accepts that HIV exists, but believes it is merely a harmless passenger virus and thus does not and cannot cause AIDS.

Proponents of the view that HIV does not cause AIDS prefer to call themselves HIV/AIDS skeptics or dissidents, but since discovery of HIV so much evidence has accumulated that it has become rationally untenable to reject the casual link between HIV and AIDS. Previously, there where scientists who where genuine dissidents of HIV as a causal agent for AIDS, but as evidence was discovered, they changed their minds. HIV/AIDS denialists, on the other hand, continued to resist the scientific conclusion and adopted classic methods of pseudoscience such as:

  • quoting scientists out of context
  • confusing a scientific debate about how something is happening with the illigitimate debate regarding if something is happening
  • having absolute certainty that they are right
  • believing there is a grand conspiracy against them perpetrated by mainstream science
  • cherry picking research results while asserting that themselves are being censored when scientists are criticizing them
  • engaging in irresponsible personal attacks
  • focusing most or all effort at what is unknown, while completely ignoring areas where strong knowledge exists and rarely make definitive statements about their own position
  • blowing errors made by scientists way out of proportion, asserting that a few honest mistakes calls the entire scientific project.
  • etc.

This is why these so called skeptics are really pseudoscientists hiding behind a veil of pretense and ignorance.

Henry Bauer, is a Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and Science Studies and Dean Emeritus of Arts and Sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He has never done any particular scientific research, but worked mostly in administration (Kalichman, 2009). Bauer has also been the chief editor of the Journal of Scientific Exploration, a journal that publishes papers on everything from UFOs to the Loch Ness monster. In fact, Bauer is an “expert” on the Loch Ness monster and has written several uncritical articles about it in said journal. Hardly impeccable qualifications to make radical statements about the cause of AIDS, but in the end, it is the arguments that settle the debate. Read more of this post

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