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« Walport bashes the Guardian | Main | Environmental risks of fracking »

Deja vu

It was interested to read this article by Ed Hooper, the author of a book entitled The River. Published in 1999, this weighty tome presented an alternative hypothesis for the development of AIDS, suggesting that use of simian organs during the early trials of the polio vaccine provided a pathway for the SIV virus to make the leap to humans, where it became HIV.

The hypothesis generated quite a lot of interest at the time, but faded into relative obscurity as many mainstream scientists decided that the pathway was more likely have been something to do with bushmeat. However, Hooper continued to promote his ideas and was he was recently given a boost, albeit an inadvertent one, when a paper by some proponents of the bushmeat hypothesis accepted that the HIV epidemic took off in 1960 in Kinshasa, or Leopoldville as it was then known. While the paper suggested that this change of pace was due to poor procedures in local STD clinics, Hooper has pointed out that the fact that there is no empirical evidence of HIV anywhere in the world before 1959 and the fact that Kinshasa was the centre of the polio vaccine trials is actually strong evidence to support his hypothesis.

I have no particular horse to back in this race, but Hooper's tale of a scientific establishment standing in the way of scientific progress and of computer simulations trumping empirical evidence is all rather familiar, as is the story of the Guardian censoring Hooper in its comment threads.

You could do much worse than to take a look.


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Reader Comments (70)

Hooper's hypothesis would meet resistance from the medical establishment as it proposes that as an unintended consequence from trying to prevent dreadful harm from a disease they created a worse disease.
Similarly in the UK there is considerable resistance from the political establishment to accepting that in trying to save the plant from climate change they have increased fuel poverty and risk blackouts this winter.
The analogy breaks down insofar as polio is a proven deadly disease and a vaccine prevents that disease. The catastrophic global warming hypothesis is far from proven and even if it were true, Britain acting alone will do virtually nothing to mitigate it.

Dec 19, 2014 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

Bushmeat is sooo convenient, it means the savages are to blame /sarc

one item in favour of the vaccine hypothesis is that humans have been eating bushmeat for a long time but only had vaccines and HIV recently

Dec 19, 2014 at 12:36 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

The trouble with this elegant theory is that it is unsupported by the observed facts. Not only has it been established that the HIV-1 virus had already infected human beings before the opv trial but subsequent testing proved that the particular strain of SIV that was endemic in the Kinshasha area is quite different to that which is now known as HIV.

As someone old enough to recall Polio being common enough in the UK to kill and cripple large numbers of children I was very concerned when the anti-vaccination lobby latched on to this theory as 'proving' vaccination was dangerous.

Dec 19, 2014 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith Willshaw

Keith Willshaw, the paper you reference says nothing regarding pre-1960 infections, and simply states that since HIV appears to decend from Ptt, it cannot be from Kinshasa. Ed Hooper makes it quite clear that Ptt was involved in the trials, so this appears to prove nothing.

Dec 19, 2014 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

There are studies of influenza viruses like H5N1 and H7N9 called ‘gain of function’ where they push natural selection into creating the nightmare versions of viruses. A moratorium has been placed on them while they decide if the good things they learn from these studies out weighs the risks involved with giving nature a leg up and having something that could be accidentally or deliberately released. They have determined already that nature has all the building blocks, do they need to go any further?

Mistakes have been made in the medical community, and disease outbreaks and dangerous antidotes have been generated by man but nature herself is very capable of doing the science herself. The consumption of wild meat and or close contact with wild animals does lead to the jump of animal diseases from the wild to mankind. All influenza viruses are believed to have started in birds though domesticated birds and pigs are sometimes the step between species. Bats are supposed to be the current source of Ebola, camels seem to be the host for SARS, civet cats were the guilty party for SARS.

Scientists and those who manage them need to be aware of the times when mankind has inadvertently helped bugs jump species but by far and away the most common vector is risky behaviour in ordinary people. The Egyptian who sucks the blood from the beak of his fighting cock, the parents who let their children play catch with the heads of slaughtered chickens, the Chinese housewife who insists on seeing her bird slaughtered and plucked in a traditional wet market, the camel farmer who hides his sick camels or the African who butchers and poorly cooks animals that carry transmissible diseases, often relatively harmless to the original host but deadly to us.

Even now, where outbreaks are relatively recent it’s often hard to trace who was patient zero and what was done to make them catch the disease. Because mistakes have been made, it’s a popular excuse to blame nefarious or negligent scientists rather than the more likely route of close contact/consumption. It is politically incorrect to accuse the poor but sadly they are the most likely accidental culprit.

There isn’t enough proof to decide one way or the other in Hooper’s book. There is no value to speculate seriously on the truth. We can’t change what happened back then but this kind of speculation has serious consequences today. Ebola patients suspect the Ebola is being spread by medical staff. They think the anti malaria pills are designed to kill or sterilise them. They even kill staff trying to eradicate polio.

I would far rather see people theorise on the mistakes we might make tomorrow than try and dig up mistakes somebody might or might not have made over 60 years ago.

Dec 19, 2014 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

I don't have any real interest or knowledge in Aids, but I just assumed the ideas AIDS is not HIV etc. was a conspiracy theory and/or bad science until one day I happened across the original paper highlighting the way that Aids had not spread like an epidemic but more like something related to drug use.

The paper looked reasonable, the conclusion appeared to be based on the evidence yet what appeared to be sound science was roundly condemned by academia.

I believe later research came to a different view. But then again academic "research" also says the world is going to end in a fireball and sceptics believe that the moon landing was a conspiracy - and we know what we believe and so we know the people writing that trash in academia are liars and nutcases.

All I can say is that whereas I might once have said: "the truth lies somewhere between the extremes" when talking about politically sensitive things like AIDs, etc., I now tend to hold the view when it comes to academic "research" that the truth is often stranger than fiction ... you can not believe either the conspiracy theorists nor the conspiring academics.

Dec 19, 2014 at 1:32 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

TinyCO2: a slight flaw in your argument is that it is better to learn from mistakes made, to protect against making similar mistakes in the future. To do that, any perceived mistakes should be investigate fully, irrespective of the harm it might do to reputations.

One of the problems with this view on HIV is that it is a serious assault on established “scientific” thinking, with many well-respected figures having their reputations and positions at risk, with the additional problem of offending a particularly vociferous minority. Far easier to blame the savages than accept that mistakes might have been made by the elite.

Can anyone see any parallels, here?

Dec 19, 2014 at 2:02 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

"humans have been eating bushmeat for a long time but only had vaccines and HIV recently" omnologos.

And humans have been catching diseases from animals for a very long time. Some diseases are very good at it and others need a fluke of circumstances. Perhaps eating chimpanzee was less common when there were more animals and less people? Perhaps many people over the centuries have caught SIV but it didn't spread very far? We know that diseases tend to find it hard to jump species and often need to find a particularly vulnerable host or be intoduce in large viral quantities into the new host. Orax sex is considered a low risk way to catch HIV so it's probable that eating samples of SIV was relatively low risk too.

Once a virus finds a new host it's not a given that the virus will mutate into a more transmissable form. While observing H5N1 and H7N9 and several other influenza viruses that are very adaptable, there have been numerous cases where people became infected but never successfully passed it on. In a smaller number of cases the disease passed through short chains of people in close contact and often gained function as it passed from one to the next. Despite influenza being much more suited to mutation than HIV and many cases of infection, those two diseases have not yet spawned a human disease.

Dec 19, 2014 at 2:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Can anyone see any parallels, here?
Dec 19, 2014 at 2:02 PM | Radical Rodent

I know to what specialisation to which you refer and agree with your post. You further comment...

".....a serious assault on established “scientific” thinking, with many well-respected figures having their reputations and positions at risk, with the additional problem of offending a particularly vociferous minority...." is so true.

The same is with the dating of the Egyptian Pharaohs, a passionate interest of mine. (Good reasons to revise the dating is given in "Centuries of Darkness" Peter James, but vested interests will not even discuss them).

Dec 19, 2014 at 2:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn de Melle

RR "To do that, any perceived mistakes should be investigate fully, irrespective of the harm it might do to reputations." But we can't investigate it fully. Keith Willshaw points out that there's countering evidence so it's no more than circumstantial evidence. We can't time travel to observe what was or wasn't done.

There have been some far more recent and far clearer cases of medical mistakes to concentrate on which is why the gain of function trials were stopped.

Unfortunately consipracies almost always contain a grain of truth. The truth may not affect the final conclusion but it may always have to sit there as a question that cannot be answered. Ultimately weird stuff does happen.

AGW controversy is not like anything that has come before it. It isn't happening 60 years ago, it's happening now or 10 years or 100 years into the future. It isn't a small number of people who may or may not have made mistakes, it's a whole machine that is determined to ignore the state of their crumbling edifice.

Dec 19, 2014 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

There do seem to be strong parallels in the approach of science to AIDS and AGW, and it does seem to have funding as its root cause, if you don't agree in the consensus view, no funding.

I am a friend of Dr Duesberg, and believe that eventually mainstream science will be closer to his views than the current ones.

Dec 19, 2014 at 2:36 PM | Unregistered Commenterclimatebeagle

Another parallel is the level of hysteria over AIDS that has now died down but I can remember reading a letter from a foreign office official in an African country (can't remember which now - it was back in the 1980s) but it was very much along the lines of we're all doomed.

Dec 19, 2014 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

I guess the good news is that the initial "we are all going to die" was acknowledged to be false, some 25 years later.

I thought there were also articles in the last couple of years stating there would not be an epidemic, but can't find them.

So, maybe there is hope for AGW being corrected at some point.

Dec 19, 2014 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterclimatebeagle

I can remember a scientist being interviewed about AIDs in the early days. He told the cameras that it could be the end of human life on Earth.

Dec 19, 2014 at 3:06 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

climatebeagle: "I guess the good news is that the initial "we are all going to die" was acknowledged to be false, some 25 years later."

So we're not all going to die and there's hope yet for our immortality!

Dec 19, 2014 at 3:06 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

@Keith Willshaw: Re: "I was very concerned when the anti-vaccination lobby latched on to this theory as 'proving' vaccination was dangerous"

Vaccination *is* dangerous. That's undeniable and I'm surprised to find someone on a sceptic blog suggesting that there would be anything wrong with saying that.

For example, from

Common side effects to any vaccine can include:
injection site reactions (pain, swelling and redness)
mild fever
muscle and joint pain

However if given by competent medical professionals, vaccination can be much less dangerous than no vaccination.

Dec 19, 2014 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter

Radical Rodent : "Can anyone see any parallels, here?"

The most obvious parallel is how the label of "conspiracy theorist" is used against anyone who dares question the consensus. And we saw how Lewandowsky set out intentionally to use that tactic against us - but the idiot chose the wrong set of engineers & scientists!

So I wonder how many of these "conspiracy theories" are nothing of the sort, but are politically motivated campaigns to discredit credible opposition.

So, e.g. take the "NASA didn't land on the moon". There's no credible evidence that NASA didn't land on the moon, but it seems to be regularly trotted out - strangely whenever NASA's budget is under threat - almost as if being against NASA must mean you are a conspiracy theorist and that it is a conspiracy to believe wasting money on space exploration of no utility to humanity is a complete waste of public resources.

You have to wonder who spreads these conspiracy theories - the nutters who are portrayed holding them - or the establishments who they are attacking.

No doubt if Lewandowsky read this he'd say I'm a conspiracy theory conspiracy theorist - well f8ck him!

Dec 19, 2014 at 3:20 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

SV40 made its way to human recipients via the polio vaccine:

(I wonder how easy it is to receive grant funding to examine what SV40 might be doing to the human population?)

Dec 19, 2014 at 3:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

MikeHaseler, I had to laugh at the South Park take on 9/11. It had a persuasive irony.

Dec 19, 2014 at 3:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Interesting link.

Dec 19, 2014 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Aids, eh?

If anyone died of - say - Karposi's sarcoma, and was HIV positive, it was deemed an "AIDS related" death. Had the same person been HIV negative, it would have been recorded as a death from cancer.

Was/is there such a thing as AIDS?

Dec 19, 2014 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

"I can remember a scientist being interviewed about AIDs in the early days. He told the cameras that it could be the end of human life on Earth." Bishop Hill

There something honest about the initial "OMG we're all going to die" reaction. The mistake happens when they don't public revise the intial panic when new data comes to light. The same thing happened with swine flu. Technically it was a pandemic and the news that came out of Mexico was scary but very quickly it became apparent that it was less fatal than seasonal flu. Similarly the climate science community is holding back admitting that their intial assessment might be too alarmist.

Dec 19, 2014 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

This made me smile:

I have no particular horse to back in this race

as what followed seemed to contradict it:

but Hooper's tale of a scientific establishment standing in the way of scientific progress and of computer simulations trumping empirical evidence is all rather familiar

i.e. the implication that -- if it is true -- you see it as an analogue to the climate change situation and therefore perhaps you do back the Hooper horse.

Dec 19, 2014 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterTim Osborn

The documentary "The Origins of AIDS" has interesting interviews and footage. It is largely drawn from Edward Hooper's book "The River".

Dec 19, 2014 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterharold

Tim Osborn

No, you haven't thought it through. There are two questions here:
1) Did the scientific establishment stand in the way of scientific progress, eg by stifling dissenting views?
2) Who was right?

It is quite possible that the scientific establishment stifled dissenting views that were wrong. This would still have been unscientific and illegitimate. As I have noted from time to time, attempts by climatologists (who can I be thinking of?) to nobble journals and stifle dissent does not disprove the global warming hypothesis. Similarly, attempts to stifle Hooper's views tell us nothing about who is right re the origins of AIDs.

Moreover, there are no HIV samples pre 1959. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. So the modellers could still be correct, but from my brief and one-sided reading the evidence does seem to fit Hooper's case rather better.

Dec 19, 2014 at 4:09 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

TinyCO2 re swine flu.

Notice how the government were persuaded to buy something like 60million doses of Tamiflu - which later I heard was all but useless.

Notice how the big pushers of "green" are also up to their backsides with their snouts in the trough of public funding.

It seems to me that a lot of these scares are financially motivated. And so whilst I've not looked, I would question whether there was a drug company, NGO or academic group that benefited hugely and was also key in creating the AIDS scare.

And re Ozone - that particular scare, like CO2 sent a lot of money toward NASA for additional satellite monitoring - and who was pushing it, but Hansan, an environmental activist using his government job to make himself money. So far from the ideal government employee unless your intention was to distort the figures.

Dec 19, 2014 at 4:22 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

The documentary in HQ

Dec 19, 2014 at 4:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterharold

[Snip - over the top]

Dec 19, 2014 at 4:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterRedbone

And then there's BSE/vCJD, and Listeria, and Foot and Mouth, and Helicobacter, and ...

Dec 19, 2014 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterVictoria Sponge

[Snip - response to snipped comment]

Dec 19, 2014 at 4:48 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Was/is there such a thing as AIDS?
Jimmy Haigh


Good question.

This isn't a quick read but it has lots of references and is well worth a read:

Dec 19, 2014 at 5:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterartwest

Was/is there such a thing as AIDS?

Hold on a second. Surely AIDS isn't a disease in itself, but is what happens to you as a result of HIV, ie one's immune system breaks down and if one catches something, the result is death because the body cannot fight the infection. Wasn't pneumonia one of the biggest killers, because in most cases the fit, young victims would have fought off that disease and probably wouldn't even had realised that they had it, but in their weakened state were goners.

Dec 19, 2014 at 6:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Barrett

"Notice how the government were persuaded to buy something like 60million doses of Tamiflu - which later I heard was all but useless." MikeHaseler

Yes and no. Tamiflu was bought from fear of H5N1 which had and still has the capability to become a pandemic. It still kills 70% of those it infects and all the tools it needs to become a pandemic have all been seen in different versions around the Far East. The early gain of function tests created a version that could spread freely with relatively simple procedures. There are some fears that terrorists could duplicate the work or somehow steal the modified version.

The best results for survival in H5N1 cases are when Tamiflu is given early and in much higher doses than are normally used. Whether it would do any good if there was a severe pandemic is unknown. Flu can rapidly become resitant to antivirals.

The stuff was used fairly pointlessly for Swine Flu because the drug was about to expire and they thought 'what the heck'. Because the flu was so mild, the antiviral had no effect on the length or severity of disease in most people.

At the same time as Tamiflu was doing very little, they developed a vaccine which was a waste of time because the biggest wave was over by the time the first batches were used. The same would apply to any new pandemic including the new candidates like H7N9. That virus only kills 40% of those it infects but is more adapted to humans.

Unlike global warming, the scientists know for sure that flu viruses jump from animals to humans, they just don't know which one or when. While waiting for flu, MERS and Ebola have both made their impact.

Dec 19, 2014 at 7:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Haven't read the book, but did come across these a few years back which gave some insight into a topic I new nothing of. It left me wondering that is for sure.

House of Numbers

HIV = AIDS, Fact or Fraud?

Dec 19, 2014 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterDanny

"There do seem to be strong parallels in the approach of science to AIDS and AGW, and it does seem to have funding as its root cause, if you don't agree in the consensus view, no funding." --climatebeagle

The result being more or less as Eisenhower predicted.

"I am a friend of Dr Duesberg, and believe that eventually mainstream science will be closer to his views than the current ones." --climatebeagle

Some questions were raised that needed answers, but nobody is answering those particular questions.

Dec 19, 2014 at 9:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

@Keith Willshaw provided us with a link to an article in nature refuting the link to the polio vaccine.
nature link
Interestingly it states nothing about when HIV-1 was first observed in Central Africa but it does state this.....
Instead, each of the many circulating HIV-1 variants comprising groups M, N and O is linked to SIVcpz from P. t . troglodytes (Fig. 1c), the chimpanzee sub-species native to west-central Africa

if you follow Bishop Hill's link to Ed Hooper's article you will read this.
Now The latter finding, that the chimps used in the African OPV trials included a large number of the Pan troglodytes troglodytes (Ptt) subspecies, has involved many years of investigation and research. I have been surprised by the scale of the evidence that has emerged, which I was not initially either looking for or anticipating
So if Ed Hooper can prove this, then clearly there is a strong indication that there is a link.
Furthermore having watched this documentary half an hour ago I would be highly sceptical of the consensus view.
The origin of Aids

Dec 19, 2014 at 11:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterkevin king

Having had half a dozen gay men of my acquaintance die of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s, I can assure readers that it was real. Some got Kaposi's, some got pneumonia, some just got stomach bugs that caused them to die of dehydration, in a sea of diarrhoea.

People who claim that there is no such thing ought to go and work with Lewandowsky.

That said, there was a lot of scaremongering, especially about transmission to the wider population. That rarely happened outside of people in high risk groups like gay men, IV drug users who shared needles, and unlucky recipients of contaminated blood transfusions.

In Africa, the transmission picture was different, and much grimmer. But the warnings that we got in the West were way OTT.

Dec 20, 2014 at 5:22 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Not sure anyone disagrees that the condition that results in what is called AIDS is real, johanna, just that a) it's origins as a defined disease are not unlike the origins of AGW, and b) all of the shotty science behind it clouds what could really be behind the issue.

In fact, the latter is a fundamental problem of "science" in general. Not that the scientific method is bad, but the modern implementation is so driven by ego and politics that the process does not work as it should. Put the proper controls in place and we would all be much more willing to accept the results.


Dec 20, 2014 at 7:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark T

For a discussion of all theories of the origin of HIV with references, see:

"In February 2000 the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia (one of the original manufacturers of the Chat vaccine) announced that it had discovered in its stores a phial of polio vaccine that had been used as part of the program. The vaccine was subsequently analysed and in April 2001 it was announced that no trace had been found of either HIV or chimpanzee SIV. 7 A second analysis confirmed that only macaque monkey kidney cells, which cannot be infected with SIV or HIV, were used to make Chat. 8 While this is just one phial of many, it means that the OPV theory remains unproven.

Dec 20, 2014 at 7:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Here is a good review paper on the phylogenetics and transmission of HIV virus:

It seems that cross-species infection to humans has happened at least 12 times over the last century or so, four times from western chimpanzees and eight times from mangabey monkeys, though only two strains have become widespread in Homo sapiens. And, yes, the HIV-1 epidemic started in the Kinshasa area, early in the twentieth century.

Dec 20, 2014 at 9:56 AM | Unregistered Commentertty

Mark T, I don't understand your point.

The fact that retroviral drugs which are very effective have been developed seems to prove beyond doubt what HIV/AIDS is.

What am I missing here?

Academic debates about its origins may be of interest to a few people, but are hardly relevant to what is happening today - or indeed to what happened in the 1980s.

Dec 20, 2014 at 2:39 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

Why did Hooper expect the 'truth peddlers' at the Guardian to be reasonable and honest people?

Dec 20, 2014 at 2:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterDrcrinum

Speaking as a father whose child suffered a serious adverse reaction after vaccination, I do have horse in this race albeit somewhat indirectly. We were assured it was fine to vaccinate our child despite his recent recovering from illness. It was fine to vaccinate him despite overt signs or autoimmunity (eczema, food allergies). It was fine and even routine to administer eight vaccine doses at once - diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, polio, and influenza. There was no informed consent as commonly understood, no discussion of potential adverse reactions or contraindications. My wife's somewhat meek questions were met with authoritative declarations; it's for his own good (questionable), he must receive these to attend school (untrue), it's perfectly safe (not our experience), we're the experts here (peer reviewed literature and all) and stop reading things on the internet (the "google university" smear aimed at those who dare question dogma). Familiar turf.

I find Kevin Willshaw's invocation of the "anti-vaccination lobby" fascinating. How a ragtag band of parents motivated by safety concerns regarding a chemical concoction injected into their children became a "lobby" is beyond me. From personal experience, I can attest it's the most poorly organized lobby in history being outspent by the likes of Merck, Pfizer, Sanofi, and the NIH by at least 100,000:1 when it comes to enacting legislation and message promotion. By comparison, it makes claims regarding the big-oil funded denialist machine look credible.

Dec 20, 2014 at 4:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff C

johanna, a good overview here of some of the issues around HIV/AIDS including the use of the drugs is here:

"Questioning the HIV-AIDS hypothesis: 30 years of dissent"

The discussion section is interesting including this about the consensus scientists:

"Readers who care to learn about HIV-AIDS’ history will encounter ethically questionable actions carried out by some of the most notable orthodox researchers, as well as ethical misconduct charges made against them"

Interesting article, in that it's just asking people to look at the wider evidence and history, an almost article could (should) be written for AGW.

Dec 20, 2014 at 4:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterclimatebeagle

climatebeagle, are you kidding? You have cited an article by a "Professor of Kinesiology."

Kinesiology: "Essentially, Kinesiology as used in the complementary health or natural medicine field, is defined primarily as the use of muscle testing to identify imbalances in the body's structural, chemical, emotional or other energy, to establish the body's priority healing needs, and to evaluate energy changes brought about by a broad spectrum of both manual and non-manual therapeutic procedures."

Yeah, right.

Dec 20, 2014 at 4:54 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

johanna, is that like only climate scientists can talk about climate science?

Note the article says:

"It is important to note that my purpose is not to review the state of the science regarding HIV/AIDS, nor to persuade readers to reject the mainstream hypothesis. Instead, I aim to expose readers to the persisting controversies, and to motivate them to raise questions of their own. "

Dec 20, 2014 at 5:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterclimatebeagle

Nothing wrong with being "gay" and all that, the Left is good at new names that cover nothing substantial, but "they" should maybe stay out of each others behind?
Just as with general rape, dissuasion does not help so we need to maybe make it a criminal act.

Again, I carefully agree with all the policial correctness checks and proudness and all that, blahblahblah,checkcheckcheck.

This is in fact not gay oriented, anal sex should be forbidden overall as it is unhealthy and conducive to HIV transmittance and many other health problems.

How do you check well how do you check on rape eh, there are never people on watch for rape, the victims are just believed on their word, and the perpetrators thrown in jail.
in fact you COULD check by sending in miniature drone spies on a sample basis, think gay parlours and bedrooms, and send in more of them in areas where the hit rate is high

Surely there is someone who will play the "bulging eyes grandstanding act" now , hmmm?

Dec 20, 2014 at 6:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterSir Raoul Nurse and his madam

Mildly off topic but related, recent pertussis (whooping cough) outbreaks likely stem from the unintended consequences of switching from the whole cell to an acellular pertussis vaccine:

The referenced study suggests that the acellular vaccine provides short-term protection to recipients but unlike the whole cell vaccine it doesn't prevent transmission among those exposed to the bacteria. The unfortunate result is that asymptomatic individuals continue to unknowingly spread pertussis to those without immunity unlike those who catch pertussis and largely self-quarantine once symptomatic.

The reasons for switching to the acellular vaccine were well intentioned as it has far fewer adverse effects than the whole cell version. This episode suggests that despite assurances to the contrary, immunologists and public health officials don't understand the immune system as well as they contend. As Gary Taubes and others have shown, public health edicts regarding how we must behave (for our own good!) are often based on a kernel of scientific truth extrapolated with a healthy dose of untested faith. Those who stand to benefit financially from the edicts promote them to no end. Sound familiar?

Dec 20, 2014 at 6:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff C

This thread is interesting at three levels: the book, the comments, and analogies to AGW.

The book is interesting, but flat wrong. DNA fingerprinting of HIV1 shows the species jump from SIV in Ptt to HIV in man almost certainly occurred in Kinshasa in 1920's. The disease was endemic there and in the surrounding mining communities decades before the 1960 polio vaccine trials. Plus there is the little logical detail that Sauk's polio vaccine was not associated with AIDS anywhere in the world from the outset of mass vaccination in 1955 through 1960, despite many 10's of millions being vaccinated.

The comments here are interesting because both the 1955 onset of mass polio vaccination and the HIV genetic history are researchable via Google back to reputable sources like NIH and CDC in minutes. No need to stop with Wikipedia. Commenting without knowledge seems to be a blogosphere tendancy. Same as with politicians and pundits. More of The Arts of Truth revealed.

The parallels with climate change are shakier and inverted. Science has every right to test and then reject as false hypotheses such as Hooper advances in The River. That is whatnthe scientific method does. Two separate simple Hooper falsifications given above. Falsified theories should rightly not get a lot of subsequent attention, even if their advocates then feel properly slighted and ignored. AGW is the opposite. The Warmunist AGW hypotheses are being falsified (the pause and the lack of a tropical troposphere hotspot being but two examples), yet it is the 'deniers' pointing out these falsifications who are deemed 'Flat Earthers'. Like much else in AGW, it is Through the Looking Glass all backwards.
'Truth' makes a big difference, whether on the side of contemporary conventional wisdom majority views or contemporary skeptical minority views. Cause in the end 'truth' will out despite all the arts used to obscure it. Why I wrote The Arts of Truth before writing Blowing Smoke, and why both titles are double entendres.

Dec 20, 2014 at 6:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterRud Istvan

Research this year suggests 1920s Kinshasa as the origin of the Aids pandemic. They used archived samples of HIV's genetic code to trace its source.

Dec 20, 2014 at 8:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimbo

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