A good scholar or radical activist should indeed be skeptical of many claims of causation.  I have no problem with that.  In my younger days, also, I read some of the writings where Hume expressed his extreme skepticism about any claims of "causation."  

For some reason, Mitchell's skepticism focuses on viruses. 

But neither Mitchell nor Jim West has yet been able to offer counter-evidence or even counterarguments that deal with something I have said in two or three posts here:

The HIV-as-etiologic-agent theory of AIDS led to development of a multi-drug strategy in which each drug was crafted to target a different part of the viral replication cycle.  This worked, as attested to by:

 statistical evidence (randomized controlled trials, trend studies, even evidence in RCTs that giving these to someone with HIV would be protective [against HIV] of their uninfected spouse or equivalent.)  The partner studies, of course, do not show that the medicines protect against AIDS--which is amply shown by the other studies on the list--but do show that the medicines are effective against HIV. Viral load studies in patients also show this, of course.
Clinical reports by patients of what amounts to miracle cures.  Not one or two such reports, but thousands.
The practical experience of doctors who have seen many patients who would in previous times have gotten sicker and sicker (episodically) who got well and stayed well for many years.  This experience, and statistical studies and some clinical trials, also show that when patients begin to get sick again, doing resistance testing of the viruses in their blood can be used to determine which medicines to quit using and which ones to replace them with--and that this leads to clinical improvement that is enormous and can lead to many years of health.

Until and unless those who want to claim a toxicological or other cause of AIDS that can also explain these good events, they have nothing to offer but their skepticism.  Meanwhile, lots of people who would have been dead are walking around living relatively normal lives, and the skeptics--who by and large are as happy as I am that these people are healthy--have not provided any reasonable theories as to why they are not dead.

And in many ways, the history of AIDS and the movements around it stands as a wonderful example of how science for the people can work as part of a political movement.  

There are many ways in which Marxism or other left political perspectives have helped shaped the movement against AIDS.  And there are ways in which we have not been successful yet, as shown by the racial and imperial breakdowns of who still gets infected, who still gets AIDS, who still dies.

And the long-lasting economic crisis of capitalism poses serious threats to the continued funding of anti-retrovirals.  If this is not resolved, AIDS rates and death rates from AIDS will once again soar in countries that have depended on international funding to pay for medicines and among poor people in countries without adequate medical care and pharmaceutical programs for the poor in the US and other "developed" countries.

And all of this danger is multiplied by  the implications of global warming for health care budget, volunteers at needle exchanges and at demonstrations to keep the funding of medications up, and much else.

In my opinion, these are some of the areas on which radicals who care about AIDS should focus their attention.  




-----Original Message-----
From: Mitchel Cohen <[log in to unmask]>
To: SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sun, Nov 10, 2013 8:14 pm
Subject: Re: HIV AIDS and toxicology

The same can be said for many or most people (including you, includingme, including Jim) -- we're all hard-working, most of us are sincere. Andyet we come to very different conclusions.

I am very skeptical about claiming a viral "cause" foranything. (Bacterial is different, they work differently.) West Nile, forexample. Aside from all the politics being played out around it in theSummer of 1999 (when officials claimed that Sadam Hussein was behind itin order to gain funding -- Schumer was able to pry free $16 million ingov't funding only by claiming it was a terrorist attack, and manydoctors I personally spoke with said and knew that that was bullshit, butalso said they had to go along with it if they wanted the funding! -- JimWest was one of those in the No Spray Coalition who interviewed WardStone, NY State's chief toxicologist who told him (and we have it ontape) that they were not giving him sufficient funds to enable him to dofull spectrum toxicological examinations on dead birds. Yet he admittedthat a large percentage of the birds died from pesticide poisoning, notWest Nile. But he was not allowed to prove it. And so everything shiftedto viral -- that's where the money was.

And he was more generous, committed, honest and hard-working than mostothers. But the ideological framework superseded the truly scientificinquiry, and forced all research and claims into a certain illegitimatedirection.

More to come -- sorry, gotta go get the wash!


At 04:18 PM 11/10/2013, Kamran Nayeri wrote:

Dear Jim:

I have been following with interest your conversation with Sam. I am nota physical/life scientist. But I worked as part of an epidemiologicalresearch team at SUNY-HSCB for about a dozen years asstatistician/scientific programmer.  

I understand that you are looking for toxicological studies of AIDS. Thatis fine. But that is not a response to the evidence Sam and Michaelmarshall in support of HIV as the main agent for AIDS.  It does seemto me that you are not engaging them directly. 

Now, there is no logical reason that a toxicology causation cannot befound in addition to the HIV.  But barring no toxicology evidence asyou yourself concede then why do you try to discount the HIV theory ofAIDS. It has ample scientific evidence in favor of it.

Also, although you do not state it and I may be wrong to read you thisway: it does seem to me that you tend to think that there is somebehind-the-scene reason for a lack of adequate toxicology studies of AIDS(again, there may be ample studies done--I based myself on your statementalone). I do not think such attitude--if I read you correctly-iswarranted. Like Sam says and I observed closely by working and observingAIDS researchers from 1985-1995, they were hardworking sincere people whowanted to help their patients and improve medical science. 



On Sun, Nov 10, 2013 at 12:15 PM, Jim West<[log in to unmask]>wrote:


Granted, you are not a toxicologist.  Neither are you anepidemiologist, nor are you a virologist.  Yet, you have very strongopinions in favor of HIV causation, despite the missingtoxicology.

I'm looking for the toxicological studies for AIDS causation. They should be rigorous, not conjecture, and they should be at the cell,animal, human, and epidemiological level, and they should substantiallyfail, if they are to support the HIV theory of causation.  Thesestudies should have occurred during the discovery era of the AIDSepidemics.  I doubt any such studies are to be found.



I am not a toxicologist, so I am trying to understand exactly whatyou are getting at.  I am also pointing out that the evidencesuggests that toxicological explanations would not fit the epidemiologicdata.  The only attempts I know of to make toxicological argumentshad to do with early thinking that drug use overload (heroin, cocaine,maybe some club drugs of 70s) might explain AIDS.  These did notwork out, as I partially explained below.

Do you know of any other efforts on this? And do you have any reasonto think that the network-based data that strongly imply person to persontransmission are inadequate?



-----Original Message-----

From: Jim West<[log in to unmask]>

To: SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE<[log in to unmask]>; Sam Friedman<[log in to unmask]>

Cc: Jim West<[log in to unmask]>

Sent: Sun, Nov 10, 2013 1:48 pm

Subject: Re: HIV AIDS and toxicology

Sam, You are speculating from non-toxicological studies. Apparently you are

unaware of any such toxicology studies.


If by that you mean where is the evidence that exposures to chemicalsor

whatever are not important causes, the Auerbach et al (1984??) studythat showed

the sexual networks connecting AIDS cases was pretty good evidencethat personal

contact was involved.  The evidence that only injecting drug usewas involved in

the early AIDS cases among drug users suggested pretty strongly thatdrug

toxicity was not a critical factor, as has the wide variety ofdifferent

injection drugs in different countries that have been associated withAIDS risk.

And, again, if it is toxic exposures, then medicines that target aspecific

virus should not have been so effective at reducing both AIDSincidence and AIDS


-----Original Message-----

From: Jim West<[log in to unmask]>

To: SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE<[log in to unmask]>; Sam Friedman

<[log in to unmask]>

Cc: Jim West<[log in to unmask]>

Sent: Sun, Nov 10, 2013 8:58 am

Subject: HIV AIDS and toxicology

Sam, Thanks for your reply.

Rephrasing my question:

Where is the toxicology of AIDS?  Toxicology should be a primaryarea of study

for an emerging disease.  Otherwise, characterizations of acausal virus could

be severely biased.

Newest posts: 
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