then again, maybe not
Closed for business

March 10, 2006

That was the point, dick-head

I just saw a post over at The Nation (can't remember where the link came from now), attacking an interesting article in the latest edition of Harper's, which I coincidentally just finished reading last night. I couldn't find the article online, but you should check it out. It's 15 pages long, so I hate to do a really quick summary, but I'll try.

The story, called "Out of Control: AIDS and the corruption of medical science" talks about the business of medical and pharmaceutical research. A lot of the things in the report are pretty depressing. Once you start moving through the story (everything in Harper's is so long), you get to what the author belies is the main problem. Because AIDS is so politicized, and there's a growing industry surrounding it, research that's not in line with the official story is being ignored, and those who conduct it branded "AIDS denialists." Which is particularly ridiculous because these are scientists questioning not the existence of AIDS, but whether or not HIV causes AIDS. Seems like a smart question to me. There's a lot more in the story, and if you can find it, I recommend it. The author does a good job of presenting the questions and outlining how important it is to keep asking them.

So imagine my surprise when I saw this story, doing exactly what the author talked about. Wow, way to prove a point kids. "Harper's Published AIDS Denialist."

As soon as we finish the name-calling (see, if you call someone an AIDS denialist you can immediately ignore everything they say), the post rushes right into mischaracterizing the tone of the story completely. Both the author's and a virologist in the story. And of course call all the shame in the world down on Harper's.

Here's a question for the class. If there's any chance that what we "know" about AIDS is wrong, why not let people do the research? Challenging conventional wisdom is not denying the problem. And frankly, I thought this was a right-wing tactic - squashing any dissent. It's a shame to see liberals doing it. Especially about something as deadly serious as AIDS.

I see this happen on a lefty list. Unfortunately, the guy pushing for alternative research happens to also pass along a lot of conspiracy theories so his credibility is totally shot.
True. What bugs me is the evangelism. Some of the issues brought up in the article are valid, and should not be written off because of politics. The minute you have to resort to name-calling, you've stooped lower than a conspiracy theorist in my mind.
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