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) umb.edu>

Larry Romsted wrote:
[log in to unmask]" type="cite"> 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 as 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 the Local Station Board of WBAI.  I am currently holed up in my chemistry office 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
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