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Archive for September 20th, 2008

Attack of the AIDS denialists…

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My recent piece on “bogus sceptics” in the New Statesman drew some impressively prompt brickbats from the AIDS denial 24-hour rapid response unit. I particularly liked this one:

Do yourself a favor, before you insert your foot in your mouth again. Richard, check out the blog of a professor who investigates pseudoscience, who recently FULLY researched hiv/aids and found himself fully in agreement with Dr. Duesberg, at hivskeptic.wordpress.com.

Or read Professor Duesberg’s books.

You will find upon your own research that the years of high death said to be due to hiv are the EXACT YEARS of high dosage AZT.

You will find that NO test finds verified HIV.

You will find that the HIV tests are proven to often go off with 70 different PROVEN factors.

You will find that there is NO proof that HIV is the cause of AIDS.

You will find that the leading cause of death in HIV positives in the west, is and always has been in those who take the HIV drugs.

No fool like an old fool, Richard. Surely you are not too old to learn something new! And being an obviously closed minded dogmatist yourself, perhaps it is time to come out of your little eggshell and wake up and smell the coffee, and at least admit that you are far from being any kind of a knowledgeable purveyor of truth yourself.

I’ve done my best to respond on the article itself, but I thought it might also be useful to post a link here to one of the most comprehensive summaries I’ve seen of the evidence linking HIV and AIDS, from the US National Institute of Health.

Julian Baggini on the need for more scepticism…

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From The Herald

Getting more clued up requires understanding why it is we are so frequently fooled. To do this, we need to learn not only about faulty logic, but our psychological weaknesses. For example, we tend to be too impressed by the mere volume of evidence marshalled in support of a case. But no amount of bad evidence adds up to good evidence. Nor should we forget that the size of even a good dossier of evidence can only be judged to be impressive or insufficient when it is compared to the size and contents of the dossier against.

There are signs that people are already equipping themselves to cope with the information tsunami. Between starting to write my own contribution – a book on bad arguments and rhetoric – and it coming out, I’ve noticed other books have also appeared with similar agendas, such as Damian Thompson’s Counterknowledge and Richard Wilson’s Don’t Be Fooled Again.

I’m hopeful that the information overload might be provoking a long-overdue upgrading of the general population’s capacity to distinguish for itself between good and bad arguments. Rather than blaming the internet, we need to attribute responsibility to the right place, which is with people who dish out the falsehoods in the first place, and ourselves for swallowing them too easily.

Julian Baggini‘s latest book is The Duck that Won the Lottery and 99 Other Bad Arguments (Granta).

Written by Richard Wilson

September 20, 2008 at 1:01 am