August 2008


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Mitchel Cohen <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 5 Aug 2008 12:29:35 -0400
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The question of "isolation" of a virus, and then of this particular 
retrovirus, is at the core of the HIV = AIDS causality.

You can feel free to write to me (and to Jim, I spoze) off list about 
this, but I certainly would appreciate it. Please note that I HAVE 
read through several scientific treatises on this, and I apply the 
same skepticism I have towards most other "official" pronouncements 
to this science as well.  There are internal contradictions and key 
unanswered questions in the texts I have read thus far, that have led 
me to where I now am, questioning whether what is being portrayed as 
"isolation" is consistent, and sufficient to produce non-contaminated 
samples -- the idea being that something else in that isolate, and 
perhaps not the retrovirus itself -- is culpable for the immune 
system breakdown.

There are several other major "core" issues here, but having a 
consistent definition of and protocol for isolating viruses would be 
extremely helpful. Frankly, I don't think it (the protocol) exists 
consistently, universally, but I'm open to learning otherwise.


At 11:57 AM 8/5/2008, you wrote:
>If I and other scientifically trained people on this list patiently 
>explained to you what it means to isolate a virus, would you take it 
>seriously or would you insist that we didn't know what we were 
>talking about and that only you and Jim West had the proper 
>definition of virus isolation and that our definition was an evasion 
>by the phamaceutical industry that wants to sell drugs to HIV 
>infected people? I ask because this is pretty much where we are on 
>this "debate," and why I consider continued discussion of it to be 
>unfruitful. I have posted material time and time again that does 
>just what I suggest above, but it has been pretty much ignored by 
>the AIDS denialists here--thus the frustration of many of us that 
>the discussion continues to go on.
>On Tue, Aug 5, 2008 at 5:48 PM, Mitchel Cohen 
><<mailto:[log in to unmask]>[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>Hi Mandi,
>I, too, have witnessed similar problems to those you describe on 
>various lists. But there are also long-established lists such as 
>SprayNo, where most everyone on it is actively involved in fighting 
>against pesticides spraying, and which has generally not been faced 
>with the kind of abusive behavior you describe.
>I, for one, have raised several items on this list that have turned 
>out to be controversial. My intention is NOT to disrupt, and I find 
>it hard to see how my own posts, or the relatively few posts by Jim 
>West, for example, can cause disruption here, as frustrating as some 
>people on this list may find those controversial ideas which -- 
>please remember -- were writtten as legitimate queries in response 
>to assertions that others were making. I write here because on this 
>list are scientists of high quality and radical politics. Not being 
>involved with a university or research institution myself, this 
>listserve is one of the few resources available to me to discuss and 
>to come to understand the nature of certain debates. Please 
>understand that the controversial issues I raise here concerning 
>HIV, Gardasil, 911 Truth, etc. are coming out of and influencing 
>social movements with which I am involved (I could throw in 
>Palestine and a few other issues as well, but that one I'm pretty 
>much able to handle on my own), and for which I seek deeper 
>scientific understanding. I have learned a great deal from this 
>list, especially in those instances when list members have seriously 
>addressed concerns raised. As such, I have refined my views on a 
>number of matters. The feedback I've received has helped me in my 
>various organizing projects. I've also forwarded items and ideas 
>from this list to other bulletin boards I'm on, particularly the 
>Green listserves, and those have helped guide us in our work.
>Just as much as this list has helped me, I think it is very 
>important to keep scientists connected to social and ecological 
>movements. While everyone here is, I'm sure, involved in those 
>movements -- some more than others -- the danger has always been for 
>academics, experts, scientists to become isolated from the nitty 
>gritty of those movements. The same is true for many of us 
>regardless of profession as we get older. We need to remember the 
>import and intensity of those arguments within movements, the often 
>wrong interpretations as well as the right ones, and strengthen our 
>connections to them, which is especially difficult now that so many 
>revolutionary groups that were nourished on grassroots democracy in 
>addressing issues have been replaced by Not-for-profit corporations 
>prizing the trust-the-expert and top-down approach that feeds the 
>individual, with nowhere else to turn, back into the system even as 
>we seek to remedy a particular aspect of it.
>Dana Bramel and Ron Friend wrote a crucial article back in 1981 on 
>"The Theory and Practice of Psychology," printed in Ollman and 
>Vernoff, "The Left Academy: Marxist Scholarship on American 
>Campuses." (I typed and critiqued that essay for the authors, who 
>were also my teachers at Stony Brook, and as part of my job I was to 
>run it into the editors in New York City, which is how I first met 
>Bertell Ollman -- the beginning of our provocative friendship.) 
>Their short review of psychology and Marxism is still fascinating to 
>me, and their general conclusion can productively be made to reflect 
>on other areas of science, including the Science for the People 
>listserve. It is worth posting here:
>"Discussion of the organized efforts of left or Marxist 
>psychologists brings us full circle in our attempt to answer the 
>question: "Psychology for whom?" [We might here ask, "Science for 
>whom?"] The primary function of psychology as a bourgeois science in 
>North America has been to reduce society's problems to individual 
>problems. Psychology is applied at both ideological (images of human 
>nature) and practical levels for purposes of social control, but 
>always with the individual as the unit of analysis. This handicaps 
>psychologists in viewing the world as Marxists do. Therefore, if 
>they are to take an anticapitalist role in society, we believe it is 
>insufficient to organize as an alternative psychology. In addition 
>they should consider joining together with those outside of the 
>discipline in Marxist organizations, where their psychological work 
>can be put to direct use. This may be the only way to overcome the 
>narrowness of the professional's point of view, in its theory and in 
>its practice."
>I agree with that assessment, still, after all these years. One 
>should, in my opinion, take into consideration not only the view or 
>question or challenge itself, but from whence it springs. The 
>challenges to the official HIV = AIDS paradigm, for example, emerged 
>among People With AIDS themselves in ACT UP and HEAL, who may not 
>have had every scientific nuance nailed down but who knew (and still 
>do) from experience that something was awry and who were being 
>killed by the pharmaceuticals they were being told to take, and so 
>the quest for information became (and still remains) a desperate and 
>immediate need. Others can disagree, they can refine, they can argue 
>-- but the exhibition of *contempt* by some on this list for those 
>who collectively were (and still are) raising challenges to the 
>dominant paradigm further speaks, in my opinion, to Bramel and 
>Friend's insights and supports their conclusion -- one that I feel 
>many on this list, as elsewhere, have for too long ignored or 
>forgotten in our everyday lives.
>Michael Balter
>Contributing Correspondent, Science
>Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
>Boston University
>Email: <mailto:[log in to unmask]>[log in to unmask]
>Website: <>
>Balter's Blog: <>