At 03:56 PM 11/8/2013, Michael H Goldhaber wrote:
Dear Mitchel,

I agree with Sam and second his question. Given that you favor needle exchange in connection with AIDS, doesn't that imply you believe something transmitted is causative for AIDS?

Yes & No. I believe that SOMETHING (not necessarily a retrovirus) is a co-factor in AIDS.

And I also admit that I just don't know, so just in case -- clean needles, condoms, and immune-building nutrients.

I would also like to add another question. You have given a compelling argument that, at least in some situations,  calling someone a murderer puts that person in danger and therefore is irresponsible. We all know of abortion doctors who were called "murderer" and then actually killed. But doesn't that make it equally irresponsible and dangerous to urge people to beware of medications that a great deal of evidence shows statistically are much more likely to save their lives than harm them? If anyone at risk from influenza or who has the HIV virus chooses to listen to your warnings and those you pass on, in my view and that of many others, you would be, in fact, endangering them, quite possibly with death. 

Well, now you're lumping HIV and Flu.
In the late 80s and 90s, they made that same argument for AZT, and denounced its detractors (like me). I agree, things have changed, hopefully advanced since then. But THEIR ARGUMENT was exactly the same as today's. MANY people died from AZT at the time.
Since I am not sure, when talking about all of this in public I tend to put out all the arguments side by side and let the individual decide what to do. I go to meetings against the HIV hypothesis and raise questions similar to the ones raised here by the scientists on this list -- but hopefully without the arrogance and cock-suredness.
It's quite true that taking Protease Inhibitors has extended people's lives. Whether that's because they inure the body to the HI Virus or for some other reason, it is nevertheless significant.
My take is that there are so many lies and so much economic self-interest invested in certain positions taken by the pharmaceutical industry and their lapdogs that I don't believe anything they say -- just like what they used to do with AZT, and now with the Flu vaccine. (I wouldn't lump them together if I were you, Michael.)

Are you not, in other words, proposing a very different standard for yourself than for those who criticize your stands? I suggest you need to question your own actions, and perhaps apologize for them. 

Hey, I always question my actions and positions, which is why I cannot be so certain that HIV causes AIDS -- but advocate taking precautions just in case I'm wrong. Not sure what you think I need to apologize for, since until now you have no idea, really, of what I advise people in public. We can also talk here about what to do for Alzheimers, which many believe to be preventable with large doses of natural supplements and diet, working synergistically.

My sense, perhaps mistaken, is that you never do that. Instead, I have the impression you always seem to come up with an excuse for whatever you have said or done.

:-)  I can't answer to what your impressions may be. And I can't answer to whether I always come up with an excuse (for what?) as anything I say to that, including this, becomes another excuse. ANYTHING.

More broadly, is it reasonable to take as many contrarian positions as you do on such a variety of issues, especially medical ones? (By contrarian, I mean contrary to  a great deal of pretty good evidence and the consensus of the scientific medical community.) I get the impression that you start from the view that the medical community is virtually always wrong and, however slight the evidence against the majoritarian position, that evidence must be right.

You're quite wrong about my starting point and assumptions. However, I can see how you'd arrive at that view, given that we do not share a starting point that underlies any investigation. My starting point is anti-reductionist. If there's a lot of anecdotal evidence for this or that, I trust people's experience and then try to investigate it further. I also look to interrelationships between a person and the environment for many or most of the health issues we're facing today, while many researchers try to pin it all on one gene, one virus, one "predisposition", and then use a military-like approach to visualize and protect against the "invading army of viruses". Too many scientists start from "the lone gunman" cause for disease, and absorb all the research dollars into driving out anyone who thinks differently. So while I don't like the mysticism involved with the anti-reductionist movement, I am also thankful for Lenin when he observed that he was much closer to an idealism than to the crash reductionist materialism that some were trying to pass off as Marxism. But, hey, Mercury is in retrograde, so perhaps my communications are skewed .... :-)

 If my impression is anywhere near correct, how can you justify such a position? If not, why not? In the history of science, though objections from the sidelines to nearly everything are numerous, only very rare objections to established positions turn out eventually to win out. Always adopting minority stands is just not very helpful, even to bring about a more humanitarian science.

Wow, do we have a different reading of the history of "science" and how progress is achieved!!!