February 2007


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Frank Rosenthal <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 17 Feb 2007 10:48:33 -0500
text/plain (163 lines)
Dear all:

Hi. I am Frank Rosenthal, a former SFTP activist, who has been "lurking" on
this list for some time. Although, I must admit I have been sometimes
annoyed and dismayed at the recent banter on the list (both in terms of its
tone and content), I am struck by what seems to be a useful purpose of the
interchange. The left has sometimes been plagued with an anti-scientific
bent. This gets to the point where it is difficult to express, in the
left/progressive community, legitimate questions about various issues, e.g.
the extent of the risks posed by depleted uranium, the uses of genetic
modified organisms, etc. (I note that someone recently resigned from this
list, apparently because they ran out of time and/or patience, answering
repeated unscientific statements about radioactivity and the toxicity of
depleted uranium etc.).

I feel that, while not in any way lessening our advocacy on issues we feel
are important, it is important to evaluate evidence, as objectively as
possible, in deciding what to advocate for. And the SFTP list is about the
only forum I have seen where science oriented activists can have a frank
discussion on some of these issues. So the list can sometimes serve to "air
out" these issues. At the risk of sounding trite, we live in a complex
world, involving lots of science and technology. I think that the left and
progressive forces must try to understand this complexity if we are at all
to succeed. Hopefully, those of us with scientific training can help.

On the recent topic of AIDS virus denial, some may think it has been put to
bed a long time ago. But apparently it has not. I think some of the posts
on our list have been useful in increasing our understanding of different
aspects of the issue: e.g. 1) the real effects of this denial on people's
lives (as described in the posts from South Africa), 2) the importance of
diet as a factor in the disease, and 3) the social history of this use/abuse
of "science". It indeed seems to be a "cautionary tale" on the
interference of politics (in this case "leftist" politics) with scientific

Of course there are the problems of excessive email volume and egos.
Obviously, there comes a time, when enough has been said about an issue and
it is time to "move on". But, I doubt that there is any way to "enforce"
this on an open list.

Thanks to all who have contributed their time and effort to this discussion.

With best regards,

Frank S. Rosenthal, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Purdue University School of Health Sciences
550 Stadium Mall Dr.
West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA
tel: 765-494-0812, fax: 765-496-1377,
e-mail: [log in to unmask]

-----Original Message-----
From: Science for the People Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Eric Entemann
Sent: Friday, February 16, 2007 9:49 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: list clutter

I haven't read all the postings, but have not seen anyone refer to In my opinion the site has excellent articles debunking
such dangerous nonsense as naturopathy and homeopathy, as well as the
so-called vitamin therapies for AIDS.

----Original Message Follows----
From: Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List
<[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: list clutter
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 21:57:40 +0100

With all due respect to George, I am going to object quite strenuously to
this characterization of the debate. If you look back at the entire thread,
you will see that Cohen and Campbell posted one discredited and dubious link
after another in support of their HIV denialism, each one of which I
demonstrated to be either misleading or factually incorrect. If I implied
that they were ignorant asses as I did so, I think that implication was
entirely justified by what I consider to be their dishonest attempts to
further their agenda and their complete disregard for scientific evidence.
They cited Duesberg, they cited Rath, and as Carrol pointed out, that is
pretty reprehensible. I have also been told that nearly everyone here
believes that HIV causes AIDS, and that few here believe this is a
legitimate topic for debate on this list. I don't think those of us who are
combatting AIDS denialism have closed minds, any more than those of us who
think there is ample evidence for the theory of evolution have closed minds.

On 2/16/07, George Salzman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Thanks Larry,
> I've refrained from this exchange, but been troubled by its tone. I
>concur with your comments. What troubles me most is not the alleged
>ignorance of Mitchel Cohen or Jonathan Campbell but the unbridled arrogance
>of some of those who disagree with them and who seem determined to keep
>their minds closed. It ought to be possible to believe passionately that
>someone's ideas are totally incorrect without attacking them personally and
>attributing bad motives to them.
>*George *<george.salzman (at)>
>Larry Romsted wrote:
>Michael [Balter]:
>I mostly just read (lurk on) this list because a long time ago and what
>seemed like another galaxy I was a subscriber to SESPA and because I think
>of myself as a progressive, leftist scientist. I am generally silent
>because many of the issues discussed on this list like HIV are simply
>outside my area of expertise. I am a physical organic chemist by training
>doing research in colloid and surface chemistry and trying to keep the harm
>I do in my science to a minimum. Not easy when one has to scrounge for
>money to keep it going. You can find me on the Web. I am the only Romsted
>and I do chemistry at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.
>But that is not why I am writing. I want to address your use of the word
>"troll" to describe Mitchel Cohen ( I do not know Campbell).
>In brief, wrong.
>Mitchel is a long time political activist in New York City and we are of a
>similar age. I have been active in spurts since the early sixties, a bit
>an undergraduate and then more as a graduate student at Indiana University.
> Mitchel has been continuously active. I first met Mitchel during the
>political struggle around WBAI and Pacifica. We worked together
>periodically for about four years on the effort to bring democracy to
>Pacifica. That struggle is not over and Mitchel is currently serving on
>Local Station Board of WBAI. I am currently holed up in my chemistry
>doing the publish or perish bit.
>Mitchel and I have never had extensive discussions about science, health,
>etc., because we were always talking about WBAI/Pacifica. But I know this.
> Mitchel is NOT malicious. He does not try to sow dissension. Not his
>goal. He does state his opinions and tries to do so clearly.
>So, when you disagree with him, just say so. He will listen.
>In struggle,
>Larry Romsted


Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
[log in to unmask]

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