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:
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, including me, including Jim) -- we're all hard-working, most of us are sincere. And yet we come to very different conclusions.

I am very skeptical about claiming a viral "cause" for anything. (Bacterial is different, they work differently.) West Nile, for example. Aside from all the politics being played out around it in the Summer of 1999 (when officials claimed that Sadam Hussein was behind it in order to gain funding -- Schumer was able to pry free $16 million in gov't funding only by claiming it was a terrorist attack, and many doctors I personally spoke with said and knew that that was bullshit, but also said they had to go along with it if they wanted the funding! -- Jim West was one of those in the No Spray Coalition who interviewed Ward Stone, NY State's chief toxicologist who told him (and we have it on tape) that they were not giving him sufficient funds to enable him to do full spectrum toxicological examinations on dead birds. Yet he admitted that a large percentage of the birds died from pesticide poisoning, not West Nile. But he was not allowed to prove it. And so everything shifted to viral -- that's where the money was.

And he was more generous, committed, honest and hard-working than most others. But the ideological framework superseded the truly scientific inquiry, and forced all research and claims into a certain illegitimate direction.

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 not a physical/life scientist. But I worked as part of an epidemiological research team at SUNY-HSCB for about a dozen years as statistician/scientific programmer. 

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

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

Also, although you do not state it and I may be wrong to read you this way: it does seem to me that you tend to think that there is some behind-the-scene reason for a lack of adequate toxicology studies of AIDS (again, there may be ample studies done--I based myself on your statement alone). I do not think such attitude--if I read you correctly-is warranted. Like Sam says and I observed closely by working and observing AIDS researchers from 1985-1995, they were hardworking sincere people who wanted 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 an epidemiologist, nor are you a virologist.  Yet, you have very strong opinions in favor of HIV causation, despite the missing toxicology.

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 substantially fail, if they are to support the HIV theory of causation.  These studies should have occurred during the discovery era of the AIDS epidemics.  I doubt any such studies are to be found.


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

Do you know of any other efforts on this? And do you have any reason to think that the network-based data that strongly imply person to person transmission 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 chemicals or
whatever are not important causes, the Auerbach et al (1984??) study that showed
the sexual networks connecting AIDS cases was pretty good evidence that personal
contact was involved.  The evidence that only injecting drug use was involved in
the early AIDS cases among drug users suggested pretty strongly that drug
toxicity was not a critical factor, as has the wide variety of different
injection drugs in different countries that have been associated with AIDS risk.

And, again, if it is toxic exposures, then medicines that target a specific
virus should not have been so effective at reducing both AIDS incidence 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 primary area of study
for an emerging disease.  Otherwise, characterizations of a causal virus could
be severely biased.


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Ring the bells that still can ring,  Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack, a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in. 
~ Leonard Cohen