Denialism pure and simple (UPDATED)

When I was in college, I took a course on military science. This course talked about the scientific discoveries we have made through war. By trying to kill each other off in a simpler manner, we’ve discovered a lot, from a scientific point of view. During that course, we spent about three weeks focuses completely on the Nazi medical experiments. If you haven’t heard the story, I invite you to go to the Holocaust Museum in DC and take a look at their exhibits. In essence, Nazi medical “researchers” conducted unethical experiments on humans (concentration camp prisoners, prisoners of war, etc.). We discussed for three or four classes whether or not we — the then future scientists — should use any of the knowledge gained from those experiments in order to expand science.

I won’t bore you with the philosophical and ethical discussions that erupted then. No, I will entertain you with the story of the one guy in class who decided that he was going debunk the “myth” of the Holocaust. Actually, it’s a short story; he was kicked out of class at the discretion of the professor. The guy actually wanted to argue with our professor, a Holocaust survivor.

I laughed out loud. That fool of a student.

But it does lead to an interesting question: How do you know what is true to be the truth? How do we know that the Holocaust really did happen? What evidence for and against can we believe?

Of course, this is a non-starter for many people who are reasonable and understand the concepts of historical evidence. There were thousands upon thousands of first-hand accounts of what happened in Nazi-occupied Europe. There are movies and records kept by the Nazis themselves. There are movies and documents from Allied Forces that liberated the concentration camps. In short, the Holocaust happened. There is no doubt about it.

Yet there are those who walk on this earth and deny that the Holocaust happened. Whether or not they believe that it happened is between them and their god. They go around telling everyone they can that it didn’t happen, that’s is a Jewish conspiracy, or that the Holocaust is a misrepresentation of what really happened. (I’m sure it was nothing but kittens and puppies in Auschwitz.)

Then there are those Holocaust deniers who also deny that the HIV virus causes AIDS. Even better, some of them deny that HIV even exists. They say that it’s all an attempt from the pharmaceutical industry to bleed the public dry through the sale of laboratory tests and unnecessary drugs. (I guess all of those dead people in Africa and elsewhere died of kitten and puppy overdoses.)

There is a particularly interesting person out there who goes by the moniker of “Putin Reloaded“. PR is interesting because there is no conspiracy theory that he doesn’t like. For example, this is what he has to say about HIV not being the cause for AIDS:

Antibody tests are not valid surrogates of virus detection, for all antibodies are heterophile and promiscuous. 

If you don’t know what those words mean look it up! 

About 30% of people have at least one “hiv” antibody in their blood, that’s how absurd the assumption is: Frequency of indeterminate western blot tests in healthy adults at low risk for human immunodeficiency virus infection. ” 32% (low risk controls) had indeterminate Western blot tests, most of which demonstrated a single band of lowintensity. The most common bands were p24 (47%), GAG p17 p55 (34%), and POL p31 p66 (36%); envelope bands were unusual (gp41, 2%; gp120, 2%).” Confirmed by: Antibodies to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV-1) in Autoimmune Diseases. ” 126 blood donors as a control group…At least one band was shown on immunoblotting in 26% of patients with autoimmune diseases and 35% of controls. ” 

So HIV tests are basically tools to fool perfectly healthy individuals into believing they’re carriers of a deadly virus and put them on deadly drugs. A self-fulfilled prophecy.

Oh, really? When PR is confronted with questions about PCR and viral cultures being used to confirm antibody tests, he gets really defensive and claims that one is personally attacking him.

PR is also into Holocaust denial, as I stated before:

“Recall that the Holocaust is an unfalsifiable theory, ie, it is impossible to refute because it is expressly prohibited by law in many European countries. Therefore, the Jewish Holocaust is not a historical fact but a legend that it takes an act of faith to believe.”

(Thanks to Pedro [not her real name] for the translation.)

So why am I writing about PR?

I’m writing about PR because he is exactly the kind of person that needs to be countered at all possible opportunities. In your private life (e.g. at work, in your family) and in your public life (e.g. out with friends) you must counter the ramblings of people who deny historical facts and scientific evidence. I’d advice you to be gentle and respectful, but you know me better than that by now.

To the AIDS denier, you must explain to anyone within earshot of that AIDS denier that we know that HIV causes AIDS because the grand majority of people who are infected with HIV go on to develop AIDS if they are not treated. They also go on to die. We know that the grand majority of people with AIDS have HIV infection. We know that the virus multiplies inside of immune cells, thus killing the immune system and allowing for opportunistic infections. Plenty of us have held the hand of a dying AIDS patient. Are there infected people who do not develop AIDS? Yes. Are there people who develop AIDS but were not infected with HIV? Yes. AIDS is a collection of diseases and conditions, a syndrome. But we see it in people with HIV infection for the most part (almost 100%).

The AIDS denier will try to use rare occurrences as clear evidence of their point. Don’t let them.

Likewise, the Holocaust denier will say that there were no extermination camps in Germany during the Nazi regime. This is true. The extermination camps were outside the country of Germany and in Nazi-occupied Europe. Here’s a map. They will also tell you that Hitler never signed an order to exterminate 6 million Jews and another 6 million “undesirables”. For that, read this.

In other words, stand up to the bigots, the denialists. Tell them and anyone around them why, how, when, and where they are wrong. Be ready to present the evidence, like radioactive decay to young Earth creationists, the physics of water vapor to those who believe that airplanes are dropping chemicals in contrails, or simple epidemiology to those who believe vaccines cause autism. It is important that we do this because they can do a lot of damage with their ideas.

A lot of damage.

**** UPDATE ****

The troll decided to show up in the comments section. Let me make this clear to you, Mr. PR, this is not your blog. This is not your platform to spread more antisemitism, misogyny  and AIDS denialism. Your comments are not accepted, and they will be deleted. (What’s that about misogyny  Mr. PR has told a group of female scientists that women naturally lack initiative and need father figures to guide them and tell them what to do next.)

8 thoughts on “Denialism pure and simple (UPDATED)

  1. @Chris, in theory, such a decade based pattern COULD exist as a real phenomena. It's within generational change levels (the immune reproducing), herd immunity fading in a decade, etc.Doesn't make the case of the troll. Only shows something that would be of interest in statistical epidemiology to potentially predict significant outbreaks in unimmunized individuals.But, the ignorant will willfully or unintentionally misunderstand and misrepresent data.@lilady, we have a substantial Jewish community in Philadelphia as well. Close personal friends were my father's employer (the old gentleman used to bounce me on his knee when I was a child and insist I call him zayde), our family doctor was a regular dinner guest, as we were regular dinner guests in his home, my junior high school librarian was a holocaust survivor. My uncles were part of the group that liberated several concentration camps and they told me stories about what they saw, what was edited out for my tender age showed clearly in their facial expressions. What my librarian told me in confidence, as we became quite close, cemented my opinion.Such behavior is beyond objectionable and should be eliminated immediately when it arises.@Our intrepid host, GOOD FOR YOUR PROFESSOR! More's the same that no student didn't assist said student out the door with a boot to his keister.

  2. I saw how he became a misogynist as soon as the ladies started trying to reason with him. That must be it. If Ren reasons with him, Ren must be wrong because he's an "Indian" and a "Simian", both derogatory terms against Latin Americans in Spain. If the ladies try to reason with him, they have "estrogenic brains" that are incapable of initiative. In short, anyone who disagrees with him has some fundamental flaw at a genetic level that makes them wrong.

  3. How "unusual" that PR has started his cyber-stalking…again.He's just an vile ignoring copy-pasta-ing troll.Did you see how persistent he was on the Shot of Prevention blog and how he reverted to personal nasty attacks on other posters, Reuben?Thanks again for all you do to dispel myths about vaccines…as a counter-balance to the anti-vaccine blogs and the trolls. 🙂

  4. The comments removed were anti-Semitic in nature. Not tolerated here, and it should not be tolerated anywhere.The other comment by PR was moved to comment hell.

  5. I saved a comment from his that is pure denialism of actual data. I had posted the census data of measles incidence from 1912 to the 1990s. He claimed measles was going down each decade. So I posted the data with comments:Let us look at those numbers again:1912 . . . 310.01920 . . . 480.5 … um, isn’t that bigger than 310?1925 . . . 194.31930 . . . 340.8… oh, wow that is a bit more isn’t it?1935 . . . 584.6… is that really less than the previous decade or two?1940 . . . 220.71945 . . . 110.21950 . . . 210.1 … so exactly how is 210 less than 110?1955 . . . 337.9 … oh, look… it is bigger again!1960 . . . 245.4So he responded with his version of the table, claiming "Yes, it went down every DECADE:" and "The downtrend is secular (with normal interdecade oscillations) WITHOUT ANY VACCINE!!!!" (whatever that means):1920 . . . 480.51930 . . . 340.81940 . . . 220.71950 . . . 210.1Notice how he removes the years that don't conform to his declarations. He cannot be reasoned with, all you can do is expose his deceptions and carry on (though it helps to laugh at him).

  6. P.R. showed up at the "Shot of Prevention" blog and was finally banned from the site. That same troll showed up shortly thereafter at two other science blogs and *someone* emailed the bloggers to get the ban hammer wielded against him.I grew up in Brooklyn New York amongst a large Jewish population. Some of my childhood chums had parents and grandparents who had numbers tattooed on their arms. A few years ago I was in Prague where I "toured" the Jewish quarter and I sat in quiet contemplation in the Jewish memorial hall, where the names of the 270,000 Czech Jews who died in Nazi concentration and work camps, were etched into the marble walls.'ve met a few of the children, all grown up now, who are chronic carriers of hepatitis B. They were deliberately infected with the virus at Willowbrook State "School" (a human warehouse), Staten Island, New York.Yes, I do fight the "denialists", vociferously, whenever they post their bile on science blogs.

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