The Perth Group
The HIV-AIDS debate

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How can 99.99% of the world's scientists be wrong?

This apparently disarming question has an apparently disarming answer.  Which is "Why not?"  The history of science is replete with examples where the majority of scientists have been proven wrong.  Especially in medicine.  One need look no further than the opposition experienced by William Harvey [1] (circulation of the blood), Ignaz Semmelweiss (antisepsis before the discovery of bacteria), Louis Pasteur (fermentation versus spontaneous generation), James Lind and Gilbert Blane (scurvy is a deficiency disease [2]), Joseph Goldberger (pellagra not an infectious disease) [3]. 

However on closer examination the question is sophistry.  Only a minority of the world's scientists work on HIV or AIDS.  Of these most are cloistered in specialist fields where of necessity particular matters of significance are accepted in good faith as fact.  For example, scientists working on the "HIV" genome do not question the origin of the DNA molecules they research.  Just as laboratory technicians performing antibody tests never question the origin of the proteins in their test kits.  And it goes without saying that no protagonist questions the existence of HIV.   (The same acceptance in good faith applies to the vast majority of medical practitioners as well as health planners, politicians, patients and relatives.  This is not a criticism since no one has time to check up on every facet of every disease that afflicts mankind).  When it comes to the question "What is the proof that HIV cause AIDS?" in reality there are only a relatively small number of scientists who would be regarded by all the other scientists in the field as competent to explain and defend the HIV theory.  In fact the numbers of such scientists may not be that greatly different from the number who argue there is no proof that HIV causes AIDS.  In this regard the Durban Declaration  makes interesting reading.  As does our response although unfortunately Nature, which helped promote this consensus document, chose not to publish our rejoinder.  For a superb essay on this topic see Anthony Brink's "Debating AZT".

ENDNOTES

1. In 1628, in chapter 8 of his book "De Motu Cordis" (On the motion of the heart), Harvey presciently wrote:  "What remains to be said upon the quantity and source of the blood...is of a character so novel and unheard-of that I not only fear injury to myself from the envy of a few, but I tremble lest I have mankind at large for my enemies".  This has a familiar ring.

2.  James Lind was the eighteenth century Scottish naval physician who in 1753 published A Treatise on the Scurvy.  This was completely ignored by the Royal Navy.  In the preface to the Treatise he wrote:  "It appeared to me a subject of the strictest inquiry:  and I was led upon this occasion to consult several authors who had treated of the disease;  where I perceived mistakes which have been attended in practice, with dangerous and fatal consequences.  There appeared to me an evident necessity of rectifying those errors, on account of the pernicious effects they have already visibly produced.  But it is no easy matter to root out old prejudices, or to overturn opinions which have acquired an establishment by time, custom, and great authorities;  it became therefore requisite for this purpose, to exhibit a full and impartial view of what has thitherto been published on the scurvy, and that in a chronological order, by which the sources of those mistakes may be detected.  Indeed, before this subject could be set in a clear and proper light, it was necessary to remove a great deal of rubbish".  In 1795, 42 years after the Treatise, Sir Gilbert Blane finally persuaded the British Admiralty to issue a daily ration of lemon juice to all sailors, virtually eliminating scurvy from the British Navy.

3.  Great Feuds in Medicine by Hal Hellman. John Wiley and Sons.  2001.  ISBN 0-471-34757-4.

 

 

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