Tuesday, February 27, 2007

WHOA! You think CREATIONISTS are a train wreck...

Ive been doing HIV research for a while now. Im still very young, and Im more on the 'Basic Science' end of the research spectrum rather than the 'Clinical Science' that would effect laymen, but Im familiar enough with common misconceptions about HIV/AIDS, HIV+ people, etc. that I can help explain things to people who ask. I also try to be fairly active in the Infidel community, so Reggie over at InfidelGuy asked me to do a show with him on HIV sometime. Yay! I love educating the public! Im not sure when this is going to happen exactly, as its a busy time in the lab right now, Ive got several presentations coming up, and Im starting to write my first paper ever (insert 'Psycho' shower scene music here), but Ill keep you all updated!
Reggie has left his traditional InfidelGuy format for 'The Debate Hour', which I can easily turn into a sweet show. Me and another researcher could have a REALLY fun debate over the efforts to create an HIV vaccine, long-term effects of our current treatment strategies, the new circumcision studies, all sorts of science fun!

... But I dont think thats what he has in mind...

Check this shit out!

Damn! Seriously, when Creationists start getting on your nerves and you think that they are hands-down the most self-delusional people on the planet: refer back to that link. I mean DAMN! lol!

Okay, so I need some practice shooting fish in a barrel before Reggies show, so Im going to play with the screeching monkeys.

A little background for the people who havent encountered Deniers before, here is a list of kinds of Deniers:
1. HIV does not exist. End of story.
2. HIV does exist. It is harmless. (many 'explanations' of its harmlessness-- PCR artifact, endogenous, etc)
3. HIV does exist. It was created by humans. (many 'explanations'-- Created by Republicans, accedentally escaped research lab, created to kill black people, etc)
4. AIDS does not exist. End of story.
5. AIDS does exist. Not caused by HIV. (many 'causes'-- poppers, malnutrition, anal sex, variety of diseases, etc).
6. AIDS does exist. Caused by anti-retrovirals.
7. Cure for AIDS is available. Being withheld from community. Cure is not anti-retrovirals.
8. Cure for AIDS is available. Invented by homeopathists/Professional Deniers/etc.

This list is certainly not exhaustive, as The Crazy runs deeper than I can imagine, Im sure. And, Ive yet to meet a Denier that only falls into one category. Yes, this means they must hold +2 contradictory thoughts in their heads at the same time (#2 and #3, #1 and #7, etc). I know this is weird ground for most of you, but honestly, they have the exact same tactics as Creationists. Disarm the Crazy by addressing the dishonest tactics.

Tactic 1: ARRRRRRRG! Pirating Research!
Creationists do not do research to support their views. Deniers do not do research to support their views. Where do they go to get their 'scientific claims', then? Why, real research, of course! Go to PubMed, type in 'HIV', pick a paper, and cut/paste bits together (+5 points if you dont understand the terms you cut/paste) and VOILA! 'Science' to support Denialism!

Bonus-- Why Deniers are worse than Creationists:
They go to Africa where they dont have to bother with that IRB nonsense, and perform their own little 'research' on suffering people. Tell people not to take their meds, give them vitamins and juice and proclaim they are 'cured'! Then the HIV+ 'cured' folks can go back into the community and spread some more HIV around! Arent Deniers SWEET!!!

Tactic 2: Dissenters from Darwinism, Dissenters from HIV/AIDS Dogma
ID Creationists are SO PROUD of their list of Dissenters. Its kinda cute how theyre so proud of such a pathetic list. Its endearing. And the Deniers are sure proud of their list too! Deniers even have BIOLOGISTS on their list! Peter Duesberg, Kary Mullis, etc.

Ho hum. Too bad these Nobel Prize winning Deniers STILL cant do any research to back up their claims. Why doesnt that seem odd to Deniers? The 'best' scientists on the planet cant establish their case. Huh.

Bonus-- Why Deniers are better than Creationists:
They manage to work 'dogma' right into their list of dissenters. ID Creationists had to add it as an afterthought. Even the Crazies compare bad stuff to religion :P

Tactic 3: Science supporters cant talk about science
While Creationists/Deniers are proud of their lists of 'credentials', no one else is allowed to talk about evolution or HIV. No one.
If you are a PhD doing HIV research, youre a 'paid off shill'. If you are just an Average Joe pointing out something stupid a Denier says, or worse, an Average Joe that has an interest in the topic and point out something stupid a Denier has said about science, youre a 'wannabe hack'.
Deniers, like Creationists, have completely insulated themselves from the outside reality.

Tactic 4: Good old fashioned temper tantrums

We're all familiar with Dembskis historical temper tantrum, well, check out the Deniers:

I understand Dr. de Cock does all his circumcisions in an office.

I wonder if he shares the office with proctologist, Dr. Elliott de Finger.

Do you suffer from some emotionalal disturbances that you have not yet dealt with Robster?

I must presume you also did not get enough attention as a child unless it was negative attention. Is this the case. Someone who seeks to provoke a negative response is attention seeking. Do you not even know yourself well enough at this point to see this trait quite clearly?

Please share with us the trauma of your child abandonment issues so we can get to the bottom of what ails you.

You just made another UNPROVEN UNSUBSTANTIATED CLAIM, as if it were true? Have you no self control, or are you still so completely desperate for negative attention? You really should discuss this with a therapist, or at least tell your father how his negative and unloving treatment of you has screwed up your brain.

And one more thing on tenure files -- they are always open to letters from outside commentators, except for that short period when the file is actively under review. So unless Tara is currently actively under review, any letters received by the Dean of her college are placed automatically in her file -- she does have the right to rebut such letters if they displease her, but she can't keep them out. That's just how tenure works. Kinda sucks, huh?

You see how all that addressed HIV, right? *rolleyes*

Tactic 5: Stick with what 'works'
Creationists and Deniers are stuck in the 1980s. Try to bring up siRNA or epigenetics with a Creationist, and they run off mumbling something about the second law of thermodynamics.
Try to bring up differential evolution of HIV subtypes or siglecs, and Deniers run screaming back to Cunt Culshaw. (Yeah, I said cunt!)
They are physically unable to address real research because they dont understand it. They 'understand' Creationist Claims and Denier Lines that they have memorized. Parrots.

God I know there are more, but thats all I can take for now.


RBH said...

As you may know, Tara on Aetiology (on Scienceblogs) has had some run-ins with HIV deniers. You might consult with her.

Jon said...

Awesome Thanks!

ERV said...

RBH-- Im definitely going to check out her archives to see what shes written on the topic! I think Orac has written a little on it too :)

Jon-- Very glad you enjoyed it :) Please ask questions if you are thinking of anything more specific. Think of it like 'debating' Creationists: there is no reason why you need to have a PhD in virology to address Deniers, because Deniers dont use research that they have done to support their views.

ERV said...

Gos my dear, its a terrible internet faux-pas to talk about someone behind their back. I DO have site-meter, you know.

Post your comments here. Unless youre afraid of a little ol girl from the Midwest?

**smiles at the pile of Creationist carcasses in the corner**

Chris Noble said...

Good observations.

My favourite HIV "rethinker" non-argument is the "Gallo stole HIV from Montagnier as proven by the genetic sequences of the two isolates" combined with the "HIV doesn't exist". It is amazing how some people can think two such incompatible thunks before breakfast without having a mental breakdown.

ERV said...

Bleh, Chris! I wish there were something I could do for you all over at Taras. They bring up BS claim after BS claim without understanding a word of what they write-- I think a better approach would be to confront them with science first. Not letting them repeat their parrot remarks. You hear the crickets over in my 'Last Denier Post for a While' thread *rolleyes* That might be harder for you all to pull off-- but Taras Trolls also responded with a resounding silence when I mentioned 'siglecs'. I bet the same would work for Trim5a and APOBEC. I should post reviews of papers for all of those, and how they relate to Denialism.

Tara said...

They don't care about the science. It's just like creationism. Their answer to the science is to attack the scientist, their funding, their background, whatever. Like Behe at Kitmziller, show them a stack of published papers on the exact same topic they're denying, and they'll handwave it away without ever addressing their reasons for doing so. It's good for the lurkers IMO, but you'll never get one who's sunk into the denial to actually admit the science has any validity.

ERV said...

Tara-- Thats what I was afraid of after seeing your Denier swarm. I dont think Ive seen one damn comment from them along the lines of "I didnt know anyone had studied X/demonstrated Y/already answered question Z. I was wrong."

They just keep going like no one has shown them any better.

However, I gotta say that even I benefit from your/Chris/etc comments on HIV treatments and such, its not just the lurkers :) Im set when it comes to viral biochem/genetics, but I dont know jack about clinical. Im on the opposite end of the research spectrum.