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Posts Tagged ‘Matthias Rath

Quackometer lists Don’t Get Fooled Again among the best books of 2008

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From Quackometer

Whereas Goldacre looked at the dangers of nonsense more from a personal and UK point of view, Wilson takes on a more global and political perspective. He tells us how whole areas of Russian science were hijacked by fake experts during the Soviet era who were more adept at playing political games than honestly seeking truth. Lysenko was the master at this as he held back Russian and Chinese biology and agriculture for decades as ideology became more important than evidence. The consequences of this were the death of millions through starvation.

Rath is portrayed as a modern Lysenko as his ideas have enraptured South African politicians. Again hundreds of thousand have died as a result of ideological AIDS denialist nonsense.

Wilson offers a partial solution to some of the problem by suggesting that the regulation of politicians is too light and that we should be holding them to account through the law not just the ballot box. The self regulation of politicians fails. Lying to us should be punishable in court. In the UK, this suggestion was put forward to MPs, most of whom thought is somehow naive. Only 37 out of 646 MPs backed a proposed law saying that it would be an offense for a politician to knowingly lie or deceive.

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Conspiracy classics part II – AIDS and the “medical-industrial complex”

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Few modern conspiracy theories seem as lurid and distasteful than the claim that AIDS is an invention of the ‘medical-industrial complex’, and that the symptoms associated with the disease are actually caused by the drugs used to treat HIV-positive patients. The “Aidstruth” website gives a long list of people with HIV who have been taken in by such ideas and have died as a result. More tragically still, the influence of such ideas over government health policy in South Africa is believed to have cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

The story of AIDS-denial in South Africa is a curious mix of cynical opportunism, politics and paranoia. Western cranks whose bogus ideas are sidelined and discredited in their home countries will often seek out poorer and less stable countries where social divisions can be more easily exploited. The Mbeki government’s dalliance with denialism has drawn all manner of such ‘crackpot colonialists’ to South Africa – none stranger than the German vitamin salesman Matthias Rath.

Rath claims that:

“Hundreds of millions of people have died unnecessarily from AIDS, cancer, heart disease and other preventable diseases and the only reason that these epidemics are still haunting mankind is that they are the multibillion-dollar marketplace for the pharmaceutical drug cartel.”

Rath has run newspaper adverts denouncing the “pharmaceutical drug cartel” and urging HIV sufferers to take vitamin pills instead of AIDS drugs.

Written by Richard Wilson

September 6, 2008 at 10:31 am