Last week I rejoiced with everyone else when Guillermo Gonzalez was denied tenure at Iowa State. His support of Creationism didnt play a hand in the departments tenure decision, but its always nice when a crank doesnt get their way. Its even better if they lose their official platform for pushing their crap-- laypeople 'trust' PhDs, MDs, university/med school faculty, etc.
So a couple months ago, HIV/AIDS researchers from around the world got together to send an official statement to the University of Texas- Tyler regarding Blondie and her HIV Denialism.
I am writing to bring to your attention the professional conduct of Dr. Rebecca Culshaw, an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the University of Texas at Tyler. Dr. Culshaw has recently published a book, entitled Science Sold Out: Does HIV Really Cause AIDS? in which she variously argues that HIV does not exist, cannot be sexually transmitted even if it did, and does not cause AIDS if it did exist and were transmitted. In that book, and in related advertising material, other writings, and interviews, Dr. Culshaw highlights her professional affiliation as a member of the University of Texas at Tyler faculty, using the university’s name to confer authority on her statements. Dr. Culshaw has the right to publish scholarly research, and she may, of course, hold and promulgate whatever views she wishes. But I question whether she has the right to tie the name of the University of Texas to her opinions on HIV and AIDS.I didnt have a hand in this, but I did help Ken a little bit with Blondies claims about HIV and ERVs. And I fully support everything said in this letter. It is completely within Blondies rights to campaign for the death of all puppies in her free time, if she wishes. But she has to state a qualifier/disclaimer that she is not speaking on behalf of UT Tyler, as clearly stated in UT Tylers handbook, as highlighted in yellow above.
The existence of HIV and its causative role in the development of AIDS is a generally accepted scientific fact, endorsed by the National Institutes of Heath, the National Academy of Sciences, the World Health Organization and many other national and international agencies and scientific societies.
The University of Texas recognizes, as do I, that faculty members should be free to speak their minds. Section Three of the Rules and Regulations of the Board of Regents of the University of Texas stresses that the individual “should be free from institutional censorship or discipline…” Since freedom comes with responsibility, the section continues: the faculty member speaking as a citizen must emphasize that she “is not an institutional spokesperson.” The reason for this stricture is found in the University of Texas Handbook of Operating Procedures, Section 3.01: “The concept of professional responsibility includes recognition by the faculty member that the public will judge the profession by his/her statements.”
I submit that the professions of educator and mathematician suffer from the public statements of Dr. Culshaw, whose book and other works are deeply flawed on a scientific level. Dr. Culshaw, who claims to have studied HIV for over ten years, displays little or no understanding of HIV and AIDS, and her views on various aspects of virology, immunology, pathology and epidemiology are inaccurate and inept, far short of the standards expected of an Assistant Professor at a respected university. Even more disturbingly, her book is riddled with mathematical mistakes and misconceptions that speak poorly to Dr. Culshaw’s competence in her core discipline. With this correspondence is attached a short summary of some of Dr. Culshaw’s more egregious errors in her book; a longer critique is posted at http://www.aidstruth.org/rebecca- culshaw-critique.php.
I am further concerned by Dr. Culshaw’s questionable scholarly practices. First, much of the contents of Dr. Culshaw’s book reflects not her own scholarly research but instead rehashes source material that has long been available on the internet, on websites where Dr. Culshaw herself posts comments regularly; Dr. Culshaw often fails to cite these sources. Second, Dr. Culshaw misrepresents and even manipulates primary data from the scientific literature to support her arguments (see attached Summary, “Scholarly Practices” and following). Third, Dr. Culshaw continued to present her own research on HIV modeling in professional circles for several years after deciding it was based on a fraudulent premise (i.e., after deciding that HIV does not cause AIDS). She has said, “I justified my contributions to a theory I wasn’t convinced of by telling myself these [papers and conference presentations] were purely theoretical… never to be applied in the real world.” This attitude to science is intellectually dishonest; Dr. Culshaw cannot have it both ways.
I reiterate that Dr. Culshaw has the personal right to deny the existence of HIV and its causative role in AIDS. However, I do not believe that the good name of the University of Texas at Tyler should be associated with the views she promotes. The university has a reputation for scientific excellence and stands for the advancement of human health and welfare. Dr. Culshaw’s shoddy research is damaging both to public health and to the university. I am aware that AIDS researchers within the University of Texas system share our concerns on this point, to the point of personal embarrassment.
I therefore request that Dr. Culshaw be instructed that, whenever she promotes her views on HIV and AIDS, be they in a book or on the internet, she do so strictly as a private individual, and not as a faculty member of the University of Texas at Tyler.
Oh you expect the Usual Suspects to act like fools in response to something like this, but here are some excerpts from the 'response' letter all the letter signers got from 'the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at The University of Texas at Tyler', Richard L. Osburn.
To accept the premise that this university, or any other university, should speak against this professor’s opinion is to make a value judgment on what is in the public’s interest and what is not.Okaaay. I dont know what to type here that you all arent probably already thinking. So Im just going to blog-scream here real quick.
Had this professor espoused an opinion in support of your position and had the university received a letter from one who was upset at that opinion by said professor, would you have the university issue such comments decrying that position?
I personally feel that the public interest is best served when there is freedom of expression.
OMG DID YOU EVEN READ THAT DAMN LETTER, OSBURN?? JESUS!
4 + 7 is zebra. The earth is 6,000 years old. HIV doesnt exist. 'The Once and Future King' is a story about how Gatorade was discovered. Its all a matter of opinion, folks! And how dare you suggest a university go by its own damn handbook! How dare you ask mathematicians to know math, and professors not to encourage plagiarism! Why do you hate freedom so much, AIDS Dogmaists?
I guess Guillermo knows where to look for a job, now.