News Briefs 21-02-2012

A nice propaganda hit piece on HIV/AIDS denialism to start off the news today. Perhaps it is the stark defiance of reality that offends? Or is it cognitive dissonance to the collected scientific research which continues to go unexplained?

  • The mathematical equation that caused the banks to crash.
  • Yosemite waterfall turns to flowing lava in rare February spectacle caught on camera.
  • Dead for 32000 years, an Arctic plant Is revived.
  • Antibiotic overuse threatens us all.
  • Daughter of Zeus.
  • Galileo’s credo.
  • Lab-grown meat is first step to artificial hamburger.
  • Swedish man survives for months in snowed-in car.
  • Researchers resurrect new species of life from ancient Andean tomb.
  • Ants remember their enemies scent.
  • Visions of Germania.
  • Ultimate Tazer Ball allows players to zap opponents with stun guns.
  • Alan Turing’s 1950s tiger stripe theory proved.
  • The true value of money – or why you can’t fart a crashing plane back into the sky.
  • Inbreeding leads to blue family.
  • Study finds decomposition responsible for fossilised deformations.

Quote of the Day:

Back off, man. I’m a scientist.

Peter Venkman

  1. AIDS/HIV denialism hit piece
    I presume HIV does cause AIDS as I’ve never taken the time to research the controversy, however what I did find interesting was this quote:
    “Her doctor was aghast – HIV treatment is for life. “He looked me right in the eyes and said: ‘You have done a very stupid thing, and you will be dead very soon,'” Stokely recalls. “My response to him was: ‘That’s funny, because right now I’m feeling pretty good.'”

    So perhaps the doctor thought he was doing her a favor by authoritatively telling her “you will be dead very soon,” however I subscribe to the belief our mindset and beliefs contribute to an unknown degree to our health and ability to fight disease. Like it or not, we are conditioned to respect Doctors’ as authorities in medicine – for better or worse. That means no matter how great her rejection of his prediction, by its expression it is a suggestion in her unconscious and could very well have contributed to her death. In fact the few examples from the article of people rejecting treatment and dying are no better than testimonials or anectdotal evidence of people who survive HIV with taking the medication. Advocates for either side will accept the testimonial they agree with and reject those they don’t as non-scientific.

    I’m not saying doctors should go against their training or conviction and lie to make their patients feel good, however until the transition to Big Brother and a police state is completed people still have some freedoms left and choosing their course of treatment and following their beliefs regardless of the consequence is one of them. I’ll take misguided freedom every time over state forced compliance in matters of personal expression and choice.

    1. HIV denialism
      Greg,

      I have been following this blog for several years and, like you, share a common fascination with parapsychology and consciousness research in general. I have a background in science having earned a doctorate a few years ago. I am a quite saddened that you are sympathetic to the claims of the denialist movement. Agreed, the mind is a hugely powerful factor in disease progression, but the evidence that HIV is the causative factor in the development of AIDS is unassailable. From hundreds of double blind placebo controlled studies including clinical drug trials, to animal research and cellular studies the evidence is blindingly obvious. I am HIV positive and in the initial few months was fairly skeptical (make that very) of the benefit of Antivirals, and yet I continued to take them. Within a few months, I had achieved an undetectable viral load and my CD4 count had shot up. Also my physical health had improved immensely. I see HIV denialists as irrational as those skeptics who refuse to look at the evidence base for psi phenomena, or (arguably) climate change denialists. All three groups of people are stuck with outdated models and presumptions that don’t match current data. This is particular true of HIV denialists who refuse to see the benefits of today’s drugs. My particular combination gives me no symptoms and I am thankful to the UK’s NHS for this free life support. Please acquaint yourself with the evidence from the medical community and not these deluded folk.
      Thank you.
      Michael.

      1. Sympathy for the Devil
        [quote=MichaelD]I am a quite saddened that you are sympathetic to the claims of the denialist movement. Agreed, the mind is a hugely powerful factor in disease progression, but the evidence that HIV is the causative factor in the development of AIDS is unassailable.[/quote]

        Hi Michael,

        Thanks for your honest and forthright message, especially considering you have your own personal experience. Firstly, note that I didn’t post this news – Jameske is today’s news editor. Secondly, I should note that my own personal feeling is that all these topics (HIV/AIDS, climate change, vaccinations etc) should always be allowed to be discussed freely without resorting to black-listing them or name-calling from either side in the debate. Having said that, I think that’s easy to say in theory, whereas in practice there’s the ever-present danger of harm being caused by people hearing and acting on incorrect or speculative information.

        In the end, I generally make the decision to trust people’s intelligence and allow them self-determination, and encourage free debate of all topics in a respectful manner. Hopefully that is the best way for the truth to reach *all* ears.

    2. The mind is not THAT powerful
      It’s difficult not to think of Steve Jobs, and how he thought he could win his fight against cancer using alternative medicinal methods. He obviously was convinced he was doing the right thing and shunned all the critic voices who implored him to stop wasting precious time.

      So clearly, the mind is powerful. But not that powerful.

    3. Two cents…
      [quote=Greg H.] So perhaps the doctor thought he was doing her a favor by authoritatively telling her “you will be dead very soon,” however I subscribe to the belief our mindset and beliefs contribute to an unknown degree to our health and ability to fight disease. Like it or not, we are conditioned to respect Doctors’ as authorities in medicine – for better or worse. That means no matter how great her rejection of his prediction, by its expression it is a suggestion in her unconscious and could very well have contributed to her death.[/quote]

      I read an element of blame in this. However, it supposes that the doctor’s expression was inserted into the woman’s unconscious. Why not suppose her unconscious inserted this into his expression?

      I am a believer that we create what those around us say to us. This enables us to see what’s going on in our unconscious. At it’s most basic, people with self hatred are often persecuted and people with self love are often beloved. (Clearly, a vast, vast oversimplification.) The brilliance of this is that everywhere we go and everyone we speak with offers us an opportunity to see what’s going on inside ourselves. We may be victimized during our time here; we are also never truly a victim.

  2. “Back Off Man I’m a Scientist!”
    …these days usually immediately followed by “No you back off man I’m even more of a scientist…and here’s my lawyers to prove it!”

  3. old plant and new meat
    “Dutch scientists have used stem cells to create strips of muscle tissue with the aim of producing the first lab-grown hamburger later this year.”

    Yeah, but now instead of Vegans on our backs we got certain political parties and the church that won’t shut up about it.

    My thinking is if they can resurrect a long extinct plant from the ice age, can we all just start hoping that Burger King will start serving Mammoth burgers?

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