Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Publisher issues statement of concern about HIV denial paper, launches investigation

with 58 comments

frontiers phThe publisher Frontiers has issued a Statement of Concern about a paper denying that HIV causes AIDS, and has launched an investigation into how the paper was published in the first place.

The paper, “Questioning the HIV-AIDS hypothesis: 30 years of dissent,” is written by Patricia Goodson of Texas A&M University and was published on September 23 in Frontiers in Public Health. As Tara Smith, who blogged about the paper yesterday, notes:

The paper itself consists entirely of the old claims that have been debunked time and time and time and time again, using tactics we defined in our paper: quote-mining, cherry-picking evidence, moving goalposts, citing prominent deniers and denial groups, and more. There is nothing of value here, and the only real nod she gives to orthodox opinions on HIV are to cite Kalichman’s book ever-so-briefly and dismissively (characterizing it as “a harsh critique of unorthodox views and of Duesberg in particular”).

Here’s the Statement of Concern:

The article “Questioning the HIV-AIDS hypothesis: 30 years of dissent” (Goodson 2014), was accepted for publication on the 7th September 2014. In its duty to publish responsibly, and in light of numerous complaints received about the paper, Frontiers has launched an investigation, the outcome of which will be made public once all adequate procedures have been completed. September 26, 2014. Frontiers Editorial Office, Lausanne, Switzerland

Frontiers executive editor Fred Fenter tells Retraction Watch:

We have started an investigation into the publication of this article, for which we will follow the requisite procedures.  We will publish and act upon the conclusions of the investigation in due course.

Frontiers had a rough go of it earlier this year when they retracted a paper linking climate skepticism to conspiratorial ideation.

Written by Ivan Oransky

September 26th, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Comments
  • bueller007 September 26, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Don’t be lured in by the fact that the article pretends in its Introduction that it is going to be a reasonable evaluation of “alternate” hypotheses of AIDS. She states this in the Introduction:
    “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.”

    But it is clear from the next sentence that she has adopted the disingenuous neo-creationist tactic of “Teaching the Controversy”:
    “Instead, I aim to expose readers to the persisting controversies, and to motivate them to raise questions of their own.”

    In addition, the remainder of the article makes very clear the fact that she is an HIV denialist and that this is an HIV denialist article (as illustrated in the first sentence of the Discussion):
    “At this point, readers might be wondering: given the problems with the mainstream hypothesis, how did we get here? How did we come so far, tethered to such a problematic perspective?”

    The article is dreadful and this is a massive failing of peer review by Frontiers.

  • Propria September 26, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    I thought Frontiers published the reviews. I guess I’m wrong. It would be interesting to see them, considering the relationships Smith reported between the editor and reviewers.

    • Leonid Schneider September 26, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      Hi Propria, you probably meant Trends. Frontiers is something completely different 😉

    • failuretoreplicant September 26, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      They do publish the names of the reviewers.

      • JATdS September 26, 2014 at 2:59 pm

        In such a case, I think it is essential, for the integrity of Frontiers, to release the full peer reviewer comments, and if there were more than one round of edits, then the comments at each stage followed by the author’s responses/edits, much like f1000Research does. That’s the only way we can get to the bottom of what may have gone wrong. Judging by the EoC and the rather rough criticisms, isn’t it odd that the reviewers and editor would have detected such controversy and red flags during the peer review? Another shot in the leg for Frontiers and for traditional peer review.
        But, just to be contradictory (and at the risk of getting a barrage of thumbs down!), allow me to throw a spanner in the works. I spent an excruciating 30-40 minutes reading that paper and to be honest, I found several of the arguments to be interesting (borderline compelling). Thus, relative to what I knew of this topic 40 minutes ago, I know now quite a bit more, so surely this paper has achieved its core objective of educating the public? Albeit, judging from the criticisms, some positions or facts may be incorrect, or in debate. But to squeal to try and force a retraction, is this a responsible academic position to assume? Of course, I am no HIV/AIDS specialist, but should the literature not be allowed to retain such studies simply because they provoke such passionate responses and discussion? I am against the retraction of this paper, independent of what I stated above (I know, it sounds crazy), but simply because, in a paper like this, public discussion could fuel great advances potentially in HIV/AIDS research as specialists battle it out in the theological stage. And surely those differences in opinion should be published as a compilation by Frontiers, sort of like a supplement? That would not only enrich the discussion, but also the literature. Observing Dr. Goodson’s professional profile, we are neither dealing with a fool, or an amateur, but we are clearing dealing with a controversial issue, much like climate change, so I say NO RETRACTION, but keep the discussion active, public and published.

        • KW1 September 26, 2014 at 4:09 pm

          JATdS, there are a hundred scientific questions and controversies surrounding HIV/AIDS. The community celebrates vigorous discussion of these issues and rigorous pursuit of the answers. There is nothing remotely controversial about HIV as the cause of AIDS, though, or the efficacy of AIDS treatments. You think otherwise because you have been deceived. Without a grounding in the science, you have just read a paper full of lies, half-truths, and facts taken out of context. A paper that contains nothing new, just a rehashing of old material that was long ago put to rest, now dragged into the light yet again by yet another self-appointed “expert” with no standing in the field. You found her writing compelling. The HIV patient who doesn’t want to believe she is sick or needs meds will find it even more reasonable, and deadly. This is not an academic debate. It’s about the life and death of real people.

        • Maria September 26, 2014 at 4:10 pm

          Again, completely not an expert but I get the sense that there are good scientific reasons for the HIV-AIDS link and the debate was “settled” in the relevant scientific community. This is the first time I’m hearing about a “controversy” in relation to this topic (outside of ridiculous, clearly uninformed statements from choice leaders of foreign countries). Is this not true? The social media reactions from people with expertise in the field seem to suggest there’s no controversy here (outside of how this paper made it past peer review) – yes, I am using an “argument from authority” but not sure if lay people can be expected to be experts in every scientific field.

          • JATdS September 27, 2014 at 2:13 am

            Of course, like climate change, cancer research, GMOs and other powerful scientific spheres that have great political and economic repercussions, and strong social ties and consequences, let’s not lose perspective of the big business of HIV/AIDS by BIG Pharma [1, 2]. Society seeks solutions through science, but there is a very sad profitable underbelly to eradicating HIV/AIDS (or other diseases like cancer, Ebola, etc), so, perhaps, one thread of thought might powerfully prevail over another. So, let’s not mix three things: real lives, business and scientific facts. It is precisely because there are over 100 “scientific questions and controversies surrounding HIV/AIDS” that we should not dismiss what Dr. Goodson is perhaps trying to say. If she received a salary, grant or any benefits related with the publication of this paper, then I would say, OK, be hawkish. If not, then what would she have to lose, by bucking the trend and questioning the newly established thought? Nothing, so in the latter case, leave the paper and let open discussion rage. Why aggressively stamp it out?
            [1] http://www.aidsfreeworld.org/~/link.aspx?_id=56DECACF04664048A92876F31882BC6E&_z=z
            [2] http://business.inquirer.net/149057/hiv-has-big-hiding-place-foiling-hopes-for-cure

          • Narad September 27, 2014 at 3:25 pm

            let’s not lose perspective of the big business of HIV/AIDS by BIG Pharma [1, 2]

            “JATdS,” how does your second citation do anything to support your “Big Pharma” point?

          • JATdS September 27, 2014 at 4:19 pm

            Narad, the link is tangential. From [2]: “Our study results certainly show that finding a cure for HIV disease is going to be much harder than we had thought and hoped for,” said senior investigator Robert Siliciano, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine” This apparently “endless” search, coupled with the surprising massive profits by Big Pharma nicely quantified in [1] (we are talking billions, not millions), clearly shows how the dialogue (and science) is being manipulated for profit, and not really for the good of society. One should be asking, if products are not perfect, then how can they be sold for such massive record profits? And what science, or more importantly, whose science has given the results that have led to these commercial products? And what funding are those HIV/AIDS groups receiving, and from whom? And what political groups from which countries taking advantage of the narrative to advance their political agendas? I think these are the critical questions that need to be answered as Goodson gets grilled. Of course the drugs sold are not perfect, but provided that the story line can be “we are helping society rid its ills”, and provided that individuals who realize that their lives are at stake (and will thus be willing to pay the asking price for any remedy, even if imperfect), then Big Pharma will be nothing more than a pseudo-prop for equally ineffective and far-from-perfect science. Big Pharma is the complete antithesis of altruism. In my opinion, this is another classical case of crony capitalism. If you or anyone can answer my questions, then I truly believe that we may be starting to understand the real background behind the aggressive attacks on Goodson. As David Crowe correctly stated below “It stuns me how people who are presumably scientists are so anxious to stifle debate, and so unwilling to address specific arguments made in this paper. If every paper that is controversial is suppressed then science will simply stop progressing. Maybe it already has.” In other words, this is way beyond scientific discussion.

          • JATdS September 27, 2014 at 5:16 pm

            Let me make some radical claims that are really going to rile some feathers here. I am frankly tired of seeing the exploration and exploitation of nature, more specifically plants, especially from their natural habitats, disguised as scientific research, all with the claims that they are assisting human health and society’s well-being. My critics would say, how are we supposed to advance medicine and health if nature is not explored? And my answer would be, you need to first establish a system that preserves a plant before you can even dare exploit it. You cannot claim to be going one good while doing one “evil” as the supporting mechanisms. In other words, you cannot justify the exploitation of forests for their natural, unexplored potential simply to mine secondary metabolites and unknown compounds only to be (ultimately) commercialized by Big Pharma for profit. The entire industry is built upon the core value of exploitation. You exploit a natural resource, and then only turn to biotechnology to continue the production line when the natural resources are exhausted, or if biomass and productivity can be increased, in return for greater profits. What the PR and marketing teams in effect do is sell the up-side of the exploitation of natural resources: it’s for your health. And since the desire for good health is a basic and inherent psychological desire of humans, the PR line is bought, line, hook and sinker. At the expense of nature. This thread of exploitation lies in so many “products” that then use science as the prop for legitimization, and the AIDS/HIV debacle is a perfect example. Once again, I am not doing a literature review here, just simply drawing some lines and joining some dots because people criticizing Goodson seem, in my opinion, to have lost the fuller picture of what the HIV/AIDs battle represents, what WHO represents, and why selling the HIV/AIDS package benefits corporations such as Big Pharma. I decided to try and find some supporting references, so I Googled / Yahoo’d the following “plants in AIDS cures”. I was really surprised to see what I found, but let me add only three representative links [1, 2, 3: these are not academic journals] from what I did find, for you to appreciate how screwed up (i.e., manipulated) this entire field of research in fact is. When looking at all these sites, many of which advertise products (for profits) for purported anti-this or anti-that functions, notice how frequently the word “possible” is used, even for commercial products. It’s sickening, to be honest, and insulting to science, to be frank.
            [1] http://www.ehow.com/about_5089387_rainforest-plants-used-cure-disease.html
            [2] http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/seasonal-gardening-zmaz88sozgoe.aspx#axzz3EY8QTAbk
            [3] http://www.plantcures.com/
            [4] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2549649/Could-cure-AIDS-lie-GERANIUMS-Plant-extract-prevents-virus-invading-human-cells.html
            Etc. etc. etc.

          • Narad September 27, 2014 at 6:22 pm

            Let me make some radical claims that are really going to rile some feathers here. I am frankly tired of seeing the exploration and exploitation of nature, more specifically plants, especially from their natural habitats, disguised as scientific research, all with the claims that they are assisting human health and society’s well-being. My critics would say, how are we supposed to advance medicine and health if nature is not explored?

            I suspect that your critics would point out that pharmacognosy involves isolating active components and figuring out what they do and how to synthesize them, rather than recklessly harvesting plant targets from the wild, grinding them up, putting on price stickers, and hoping for the best. Paclitaxel came about not because of any “traditional” use, but from data-mining of the National Cancer Institute’s natural-products program.

            I would also gently suggest that the use of paragraphs would make your longer replies more readable.

          • Narad September 27, 2014 at 9:25 pm

            I was really surprised to see what I found, but let me add only three representative links [1, 2, 3: these are not academic journals] from what I did find, for you to appreciate how screwed up (i.e., manipulated) this entire field of research in fact is.

            You consider the content-farm eHow (reference [1]) to have the slightest bearing on the state of retroviral research?

          • Marco September 28, 2014 at 2:52 pm

            I found it funnier he referred to the Daily Fail.

            Close second is the “plantcures” site, which includes a tirade against chemtrails (no really, go and check it yourself).

          • failuretoreplicant September 28, 2014 at 11:59 am

            This is really far out, man.

          • Narad September 27, 2014 at 5:49 pm

            This apparently “endless” search, coupled with the surprising massive profits by Big Pharma nicely quantified in [1] (we are talking billions, not millions), clearly shows how the dialogue (and science) is being manipulated for profit, and not really for the good of society.

            No, “JATdS,” it doesn’t. I would also note that you have just committed the fundamental mistake of substituting “profit” for “revenue.”

    • Oliver C. Schultheiss September 27, 2014 at 5:03 am

      I wish they would. They’ve stopped halfway on the road to full transparency by listing the names of the reviewers and the editor with the paper, but not making the reviews & author responses available. Plus, for some time it was impossible for reviewers to reject a paper, except by withdrawing from the review process altogether. There simply wasn’t a reject option in the final verdict. But they’ve changed that now, if I’m not mistaken.

  • Leonid Schneider September 26, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Frontiers is a strange publisher. I used to subscribe to their alerts, until I saw this article about the elusive “telocytes”, only ever seen by Popescu and his colleagues:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24860423
    That was when I stopped taking Frontiers seriously.

    • Eli Rabett September 27, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      In the last controversy, Eli likened Frontiers to the Amway of scientific publishing, a multi level marketing scheme. The”chief editors”, the “chief specialty editors” the “associate editors” and the “reviewers” have a strong motivation to push more and more papers into the publishing que.

    • herr doktor bimler September 27, 2014 at 7:51 pm

      I started reading about ‘telocytes’ but Google led me straight down the rabbit-hole into a parallel universe.
      The W*k*pedia entry is very thorough, very positive, says nothing about any controversy, and much of it seems to have been written by Popescu, according to the “talk” page.

    • herr doktor bimler September 28, 2014 at 12:50 am

      Just to close the circle… I just noticed that Popescu was a member of the Editorial Board of the Italian Journal of Anatomy & Embryology back when it published Duesberg’s AIDS-denial paper back in 2011. I hasten to add that he had nothing to do with the Editor-in-Chief’s decision to accept the paper, and he publicly criticised that decision.

  • Klaas van Dijk September 26, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    I fail to get any insight in a solid alternative hypothesis. Am I right to assume that the author has no idea at all about an alternative hypothesis which would be superior compared to the HIV-causes-AIDS hypothesis?

    Please excuse me when this is a dumb question.

  • omnologos September 26, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    sometimes when you are at the frontiers, you are bound to get yourself on the wrong side.

  • Nuria Gonzalez (@Rednuria) September 26, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    OK, I am going to go out on a limb here and ask: if the theory as been debunked time and time and time and time again, how did this paper get published in the first place? I think it is good and healthy to be open to changing hypothesis and give room to all theories to be published for the sake of scientific debate. But this case sounds kinda crazy, would we be publishing a paper about how the Earth is the center of the Universe?

    • OMSJ (@OMSJ) September 26, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      I think Nobel Laureate Kary Mullis said it best… http://www.omsj.org/corruption/aids-researchers-neurotic-when-asked-questions

      • Maria September 26, 2014 at 4:17 pm

        This would not be the first time an incredible scientist w/ experience in one field is completely wrong about a different field.

        • Anthony Liversidge February 16, 2015 at 12:11 am

          But you have no a priori reason to suppose Mullis is wrong on any one belief until you examine his reasons for it. If you respect his intelligent science and productive thoughtfulness in one field you should respect it in another, since outsiders often have a clearer view of a field than those long resident in it. Mullis is constantly smeared by defenders of HIV as having seen a visitor from a flying saucer at the bottom of his garden or similar but that was the result of his exploring the effects of LSD, which may also have accounted for his inspiration with PCR, which won him the Nobel and which has released many innocent prisoners after many years from false convictions. If Mullis says HIV is one hell of a mistake, as he has said, then you should read his reasons for saying so. One is that there is no paper yet among tens of thousands that proves HIV is the culprit. None after thirty years. Perhaps this is because it is not.

      • Narad September 26, 2014 at 6:18 pm

        I think Nobel Laureate Kary Mullis said it best…

        I kind of prefer the bit about the glowing raccoon, Mr. Baker, but that’s neither here nor there. As Maria alluded to, there is such a thing as the “Nobel disease.”

      • truthymctruthenstein September 26, 2014 at 11:57 pm

        You can not give much credence to what Clark Baker with OMSJ says on this subject. He is perfectly at home in the company of the AIDS denialists. Baker’s website (the one he links to) is simply a repository for all manner of science woo and conspiracy jargon. Baker filed a lawsuit against me to quell my First Amendment Rights for daring to question his dubious HIV Innocence Group. I won in arbitration and a Federal judge dismissed his case. But Baker charges on with an appeal to the 5th Circuit. His tenacity to advance his AIDS denialist agenda will not be stopped.

        • Anthony Liversidge February 15, 2015 at 11:32 pm

          Wouldn’t this logic also apply to those invested in HIV commenting on Goodson’s paper? Most people commenting on either side of an issue usually are invested in the side they argue, with the exception of a very few people outside the fray who are open minded when they first approach it.

    • Marco September 26, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      I think the choice of reviewers says it all: apparently inexperienced, both as scientists and in the field.

      • Anthony Liversidge February 15, 2015 at 11:34 pm

        In other words, likely to be a lot less invested in either side, and therefore more likely to advance the truth.

    • Anthony Liversidge February 16, 2015 at 12:02 am

      The only reason you think debating whether HIV/AIDS is caused by HIV is equivalent to discussing whether the Earth is round is that you have not heard it being debated for years, but this only reflects the success of the defenders of the HIV paradigm with their political and social repression of what initially was a healthy debate. They closed down all questioning by refusing to vote for funding any scientist who questioned HIV, including the finest scientist in the fields of retroviruses and cancer, Petr Duesberg. His overwhelming condemnation reviews of HIV in the top journals in 1987 and 1989 and later have never been answered in the same peer reviewed journals with peer reviewed rebuttals. A major reason for this to have happened is because funding is concentrated at the NIH and has to receive the support of your peers, who may not like your undermining their livelihood if they are heavily invested in HIV research. Gay politics also made the issue a hot potato. But the impression you have received that it is a settled proved issue is a mirage. There has been no proof and no real top level agreement that HIV is correct, just huge political support and condemnation of questioners..

  • Klaas van Dijk September 26, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Please also read the comments of Tara Smith http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2014/09/26/hiv-denial-live-and-well-in-2014/ on the backgrounds of both peers. Please note that Tara Smith is a co-author of http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.0040256 (HIV Denial in the Internet Era, published August 21, 2007).

  • mo79uk September 26, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    If this article were published when it was demonstrated that AIDS could be averted by the annihilation of HIV, then you could say its publication was alarming, but that’s not the case.

    In any case, immunodeficiency is acquired in numerous ways. Give a person immunosuppressant corticosteroids to prevent organ rejection and they can suffer from any ailment that’s not an issue to immune-competent people.
    So, if HIV is not just a marker, it has no monopoly on AID. I leave out the S since you need TB mycobacteria, for example, to cause one of the syndrome diseases. HIV does not cause TB.

    • David September 27, 2014 at 5:19 am

      For the record, AIDS can be averted by ‘annihilating’ (suppressing) HIV. This is the whole aim of early diagnosis and treatment of HIV and, as long as people take their tablets, is highly successful.

      In terms of nomenclature, we tend to call immunodeficiency states resulting from other systemic illness or medication ‘secondary immune deficiency’. Semantics I know, but in practical terms ‘AIDS’ is reserved for HIV-related illness. (And they ARE related: to say anything else is extraordinary!)

      • mo79uk September 27, 2014 at 5:44 am

        The drugs alleged to suppress HIV have such broad mechanisms, like anti-fungal, that it is impossible to say that their benefit derives from suppressing HIV. And in 30yrs there is still no precise mechanism for HIV causing AIDS. HIV is only presumed to kill T-cells.

        In acknowledging other immunodeficiency states, how do you divorce AIDS from African poverty-induced immunodeficiency or drug abuse-related immunodeficiency (Ozzy Osbourne tested HIV+ and then negative while his body was recovering from rehabilitation)? Their outcomes can overlap.
        Also there are many HIV+s classed as long-term nonprogressors. Surely that could imply that there needs to be some other immune problem first before HIV should be pathogenic, if it is at all.

        • Marco September 27, 2014 at 7:09 am

          It’s actually quite simple to “divorce AIDS from African poverty-induced immunodeficiency or drug abuse-related immunodeficiency”.

          1) plenty of examples of AIDS patients who were either never drug abusers, nor live in poverty. Not anecdotal examples, but large numbers. It starts with all those poor people who received blood transfusions and then got AIDS (and who were, surprise surprise, also HIV positive)

          2) Botswana has one of the best health-care systems in the whole of Africa, and less than 20% of its population lives below the poverty line, and yet it one of the largest relative number of AIDS patients in the whole of Africa, to the extent that life expectancy is around 40. Compare it to disfunctional Somalia, which is much poorer but which doesn’t have so many AIDS cases (and no, not “African poverty-induced immunodeficiency” either).

          3) After effective actions taken to reduce infection rates in drug users, e.g. by reducing needle-sharing, and preventing unprotected sex amongst homosexuals, it is now primary the heterosexuals that get immunodeficiency syndromes – all over the world, regardless of their drug use or their poverty. Those who get this are almost all infected with HIV

          Which brings me to Ozzy Osbourne: we know HIV tests are not 100% failproof. Even with 0.1% false positives (which would make it one of the most reliable tests ever), there will be stories of people who were found to be HIV+ and then negative at the second test. That’s life with any biological test.

          Long-term nonprogressors exist in many diseases. Those are just 1 in 300, so may well have a range of genetic explanations, from a weakly infective/progressive version of the HIV to their own genetic variability. BKV and JCV are viruses for which most of us are “long-term nonprogressors” – until our immune system breaks down for whatever reason.

        • David September 27, 2014 at 9:21 am

          I cannot believe we are even having this discussion.

        • Narad September 27, 2014 at 1:45 pm

          The drugs alleged to suppress HIV have such broad mechanisms, like anti-fungal, that it is impossible to say that their benefit derives from suppressing HIV.

          “Antifungal” isn’t a “mechanism.” Blocking reverse transcription by binding to the enzyme or screwing up the viral sequence is a mechanism. Inhibiting integrase so that the virus can’t even insert itself in the first place is a mechanism. And so on.

  • Narad September 26, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    Incidentally, this isn’t the first time such a controversy has occurred, with part of the fallout that time being Bruce Charlton’s ouster from Medical Hypotheses.

    • Anthony Liversidge February 15, 2015 at 11:38 pm

      Indeed, the case is similar. Those invested in HIV counterattack any effort by an outsider to look openmindedly at the issue and what has been said on it, not by arguing with the critics but by calling into question their credentials and whether they have any right to question their belief. In fact good science dictates that beliefs be reviewed at all times, since paradigms are often updated and replaced. That is what Nobel prizes are awarded for.

  • FooBar September 27, 2014 at 2:59 am

    Look, if the editor accepts a paper, and there is no fraud, and then controversy ensues, then the fault lies not with the paper authors but with the editor.

    Dear editor: should not issue an “statement of concern” about the paper, because the authors did nothing wrong–they were honest in what they wrote. Probably the editor ought to ask to be excused.

    • Anthony Liversidge February 15, 2015 at 11:42 pm

      Controversy is exactly what Goodson’s paper indicated should continue, until the issue is properly reviewed, instead of any doubt on HIV being erased by prejudicial politics. The paper carefully showed that the issue remains wide open and the critics include highly qualified ones who have not been answered in the same top level journals they published in.

      Controversy is not an indication of dereliction of duty by an editor, but that he is doing his job of publishing articles which are discussed and referred to.

  • David Crowe September 27, 2014 at 9:29 am

    It stuns me how people who are presumably scientists are so anxious to stifle debate, and so unwilling to address specific arguments made in this paper. If every paper that is controversial is suppressed then science will simply stop progressing. Maybe it already has.

    • truthymctruthenstein September 27, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Mr. Crowe, the debate is over. Real scientists have tried to debate denialists but you refuse to accept the facts. That is why real scientists have moved on and denialists are stuck in a time warp.

    • Marco September 27, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      A scientific debate does not include repeating long-debunked talking points without providing new evidence that such talking points are of any relevance. Specific arguments made in this paper have been addressed numerous times, and therefore it is so disappointing that they show up again.

      It is thus not about stifling debate, but about stifling attempts to promote pseudo-science through unsupported assertions.

      • David Crowe September 27, 2014 at 6:24 pm

        Okay, humor me and debunk them again. I remember people saying that these points have been debunked, but I must have missed the actual debunking. Like for example, just what is the mechanism by which HIV kills T-Cells (when it is present in only a tiny fraction of them)? And if the mechanism is unknown how can we possibly know that HIV does kill T Cells?

        • Narad September 27, 2014 at 7:14 pm

          I remember people saying that these points have been debunked, but I must have missed the actual debunking. Like for example, just what is the mechanism by which HIV kills T-Cells

          I started off trying to walk through the HIV life cycle (not for the sake of “humoring” you), but it eventually seemed simpler to just point to this and and see whether you can mount a response, as it were.

          • Narad September 27, 2014 at 7:17 pm

            ^ Eh, I b0rk3d the tags. It should be “and this,” but both links work.

          • David Crowe February 14, 2015 at 10:44 pm

            Sorry for the delay in responding, I just saw this, but two new hypotheses in 2014 about how HIV indirectly results in the decline in CD4 cells just emphasizes that for 30 years it has not been known how HIV does it’s dirty work. And therefore it can’t be known “whether” HIV does do dirty work. I’ll wait to see if these ideas get widely accepted, or sink without a trace like all other theories trying to connect HIV and CD4 cells. And the literature on the problems with CD4 counts as a marker for HIV-induced immune suppression is voluminous. Smoking increases counts, exercise decreases them. See http://aras.ab.ca/test-cd4.php At the very least discussion should be allowed, even encouraged.

        • truthymctruthenstein September 27, 2014 at 9:54 pm

          Seriously, do not even bother to “humor” AIDS Denialists. They will not accept or believe even the most rigorously tested facts. 30+ years of science have advanced past their most basic understanding. They are not worth repeating the science. The science is in the record; presented and repeated by many different scientists from around the world. The denialists either do not understand it or they chose to ignore it. The debate is over. That is why the denialists have chosen to manipulate the courts to advance their agenda. Facts in science and facts in court are worlds apart. Scientific facts are irrefutable; Legal facts are subjective, pliable and manipulative. Even given that the courts are not as stringent in their methods, that has not stopped my attorneys from making mince meat of Clark Baker’s claims to quell my First Amendment Rights. I have beaten Baker in arbitration. I have beaten Baker in Federal Court in Texas. And I have beaten Baker in State Court in Texas. None of that has stopped Baker from appealing to the 5th Circuit Court in Texas. I and my attorneys will not stop until the facts are established as precedent in the courts, as well.

          • Narad September 28, 2014 at 12:52 am

            Seriously, do not even bother to “humor” AIDS Denialists.

            As I said, I am not. But to the extent that simple contrarianism is going to floated here, I have no problem pointing out that even an attentive layman can sink the Bismarck.

          • Anthony Liversidge February 16, 2015 at 1:01 am

            Your belief in HIV is absolute but all your statements depend on your belief as an assumption, and the whole point of scientific investigation is to be without bias and to allow testing of assumptions and beliefs at all times to see if they withstand challenge or doubt.

            All you are doing psychologically is speaking up for the group of scientists and others who share your belief, but this is not science. Denialists make arguments against HIV and if you dont answer them but only state that the matter has already been settled long ago, they have every right to judge you unscientific and apparently without answers to their points.

    • TuringsBrain September 29, 2014 at 7:54 am

      Uttering an opinion is NOT science.

  • Ed October 3, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    I think the paper raises essential questions that have never been answered and many in the world, more every day, continue to question. I do believe one day the tables are gonna turn and the truth will come out. Some of the people who post on here write as if they had ever seen HIV in the first place, other than the beautiful colorful pictures that come up on google. I hope Frontiers keeps this article. It speaks highly of it and I am sure it makes many others mad, those who don’t have the cojones to publish it!

  • Mika Thane February 22, 2015 at 6:59 am

    David Crowe
    for 30 years it has not been known how HIV does it’s dirty work. And therefore it can’t be known “whether” HIV does do dirty work.

    David, that makes no logical sense at all. How something happens and whether something happens are two completely different questions.

    If I were to die unexpectedly, a medical examiner might conduct an autopsy on my body to determine how I died. But I hope they’d have already conclusively determined whether I had died well before they started working on the question of how.

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