HIV leads to AIDS, plain and simple

FYI: This is the second of ten posts that will not be related with vaccines.

Back in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, there was a lot of scientific confusion as to what the relationship was between Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and a newly discovered retrovirus first known as HTLV-III and then renamed to HIV. Thirty-plus years and millions of dollars later, we have come to understand that HIV infection, if left untreated, progresses on to AIDS. We came to understand this because we observed people with HIV and people without it. Then we went one more step further and observed people infected with HIV who were treated and those who were not treated. We did these observations in real-world situations and also in controlled situations. We also did these observations in animal models.

All the evidence is there, and it is very clear that HIV causes AIDS.

Still, there are a group of people out there who honestly believe that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, that AIDS is the result of things other than HIV, or that neither HIV nor AIDS actually exist. (There are wilder theories than those, if that is possible, but I don’t have time for them.)

A few years ago, I came upon the comments of a man who has some “interesting” views of the relationship between HIV and AIDS. Here is the comment:

“Whether ORAC knows anything about medicine or science is unclear, but he knows NOTHING about how to conduct an investigation.

Having conducted thousands of criminal, civil and military investigations since 1980, it was clear from the onset that Deer’s so-called investigation resembled more of a hit-piece than a real investigation. As such, it was the perfect pretext for the kangaroo court known as the medical board review.

ORAC’s outrage is also telling. Since truth is the best defense in such cases, Deer’s defense should be extremely easy – unless, of course, he lied to destroy Dr. Wakefield’s career.

Because I have been involved in more than 100 criminal, civil and military cases involving medical and scientific incompetence since 2009, I am not at all impressed that ORAC is funded by the DoD, NCI or any other US government agency. And having recently cleared a US Marine of criminal charges by impeaching a top military infectious disease expert, I’d say that ORAC’s outrage is likely based upon his fear that he will be eventually be discovered as a charlatan as well.

If ORAC is telling the truth, nothing would preclude the use of his real name. The fact that he blogs on this pharmaceutical marketing website is telling.

Clark Baker LAPD (ret)”

He did us all the favor of directing us to his website, the “Office of Medical and Scientific Justice”. It’s a pretty legit-sounding website that talks a lot about clearing people who are innocent from false accusations against them. Just read the “About” page:

“Having conducted thousands of criminal and civil investigations since 1980 with the LAPD and as a licensed investigator, Mr. Baker founded OMSJ in 2009 after witnessing the reluctance of government agencies and research centers to investigate allegations related to medical and scientific corruption (also known as JUNK SCIENCE).

Many of the agencies and companies that market junk science fund activist groups and local, state and national politicians who facilitate corruption that has cost taxpayers billions of dollars in wasted research dollars. Junk science is used to keep predators on the streets, convict the innocent and injure or kill 2-4 million Americans annually.”

Read in a vacuum, that all sounds great… Until you start reading into Mr. Baker’s ideas. (Tip o’ the hat to regular reader/commenter “Lilady” for the link.) It seems that Mr. Baker is an HIV/AIDS denialist. Among some of the claims on his website are the usual bits of anti-science strategy. First, deny the science and call it “junk science”, but never mind that 99.9% of scientists (that is, 100% of reputable scientists) know and understand that HIV does cause AIDS, that HIV is not a “passenger virus”, and that HIV without antiretroviral treatment is pretty much a death sentence. Second, to try and back up those anti-science claims, find something by a member of the 0.1% of whacky scientists and publish the hell out of it. Third, find instances of scientists misbehaving and then try and discredit their scientific work and that of their colleagues. Finally, cater to what the far right-wing groups and their members want to hear.

It really is quite humorous that Baker follows the same playbook of almost all other anti-science activists follow. Cherry pick and discredit. Cherry pick and discredit. Cherry pick and discredit and be mean about it. Cherry pick, discredit, be mean, and put yourself up on a pedestal as being more than you really are. Oh, and sue people. Don’t try and fight the science, just goddamn sue!

Unfortunately for humanity, Clark Baker is not the only AIDS denialist out there. There are plenty, and there are plenty with advanced degrees whose letters after their names give them some degree of credence. For one reason or another, people listen to them, and we all pay for it dearly.

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8 thoughts on “HIV leads to AIDS, plain and simple

  1. Yes, Mr. Baker is a piece of work. I am the person he is suing for telling the truth about his exaggerated “success” in HIV criminal cases. Thanks for linking to the ORAC comment. Now I know why Baker included all of the comments from Respectful Insolence going back to 2009 in his Discovery request in my lawsuit. I guess he’s butt-hurt from all the people making fun of him there. (My attorneys got the discovery request kicked, by the way). Once the lawsuit is over (the Federal court dismissed it because it has no real grounds, but now he has filed an appeal to the Circuit court) I will write many posts showing all the untruths (I learned not to say “lies”) contained in the suit. I got some kick ass attorneys (Gill Sperlien, who works with Mark Randazza sometimes and Paul Levy with Public Citizen) thanks to Ken White at Popehat. This is a fun read: http://www.popehat.com/2013/07/23/popehat-signal-vengeful-aids-denialist-sues-critic-in-texas/

  2. You’ve got to wonder how an ex-LAPD cop who was fired from his job, managed to get licensed as a private investigator.

    Clarky is a science illiterate and an opportunist who latches on to every dicey fringe movement to claim it as his own.

    I know you want to stay clear of the anti-vaccine movement Reuben, but Clarky’s latest foray into Brian Hooker’s bogus study speaks volumes about him and his associates. 🙂

    http://www.omsj.org/authors/thompson-timeline/2

  3. Well, for a miniscule percentage of the population, HIV will not cause AIDS. Those with a rather specific mutation in the CCR5-Δ32 gene will never develop AIDS.
    That isn’t a percentage one would desire to bet one’s life on.

    As for the rest, as soon as one hears a demand for a real name in preference to any facts being discussed, one knows that one is against someone who refuses to accept factual studies.
    I was confronted by one of those some time back, demanding my real name to “verify your credentials”, as if he could go into the JFK Special Warfare center and look up names. What he didn’t realize is, if he did have access to verify that information, my moniker here is also in that same database.
    But, facts mean nothing whatsoever to some, only PII, in order to harass someone in the real world matters.
    And as you said, sue in a court of law, which is the least well equipped to verify things of science. After all, courts used to accept polygraph examination results as scientific fact, even though the polygraph examination results are rather subjective, have little to no true science behind them and the results tend to be based as much on the examiners opinion as any measurable results.
    Courts take time to catch up with science. Science moves ahead, not waiting for attorneys to figure out what is scientific fact.

        • Well, I did say a miniscule percentage of the population. 🙂
          There have been survivors of rabies, that doesn’t mean I’d be inclined to run the risk of any Lyssavirus infection.
          It’s just science finds the darnedest things on occasion.
          Don’t even get me started on Platypus genetics… 😉

  4. This reads like the playbook for the “pray away the gay” crowd, as well. This quackery has now been banned in New Jersey as well as California, and you should hear them howl.

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