29 Replies to “Ode to brevity”

  1. Umm, Windy, here’s the text from the article:

    The excitement over a novel class of drugs being developed to fight HIV has been dampened by fears they could pose serious safety risks, including the possibility they might actually speed the progression of AIDS.

    “Speed the progression of” is synonymous with “spread the virus”

    Try to focus on the article, not me, and try not to be a bean-counter.


  2. “Speed the progression of” is synonymous with “spread the virus.”

    No it isn’t, Hank. “Spread” refer to the spread of the virus in populations; “progression” refers to worsening of disease in a single individual. They are not interchangeable terms.

    Geez, Hank, if you can’t even get such basic medical terminology right, why should I take you seriously on anything else? Terminology matters, and ignorance of basic terminology

    As the article says:

    Most worrisome is that the drugs could accelerate a shift from one variant of HIV to a second, which is most often seen in the sickest AIDS patients. It also is unclear whether the drug would provide the same protection as occurs naturally in some people.

  3. I think this is the best argument I’ve ever seen:

    To begin with, there are 9 authors again, the hallmark of crappy science. You’ll only find this phenomenon in today’s biomedical corner. In other fields, researchers still write their papers alone, or in collaboration with one other colleague.

    So all those computer science articles with multiple authors are crappy science. Guess that means that the whole science used to create multi-user relational databases are worthless, since those articles as a general rule has at least three authors, and quite often many more.

  4. The excitement over a novel class of drugs being developed to fight HIV has been dampened by fears they could pose serious safety risks, including the possibility they might actually speed the progression of AIDS.

    …….. Blocking the CCR5 viruses could potentially give a selective advantage to CXCR4 viruses, which might speed the progression of AIDS. Theres nothing about that thats even mildly surprising, Hank.

  5. Bean counter alert!!!!!!!

    Here’s a few choice passages from the article, that you geniuses are studiously avoiding:

    The excitement over a novel class of drugs being developed to fight HIV has been dampened by fears they could pose serious safety risks, including the possibility they might actually speed the progression of AIDS.

    * * *

    “HIV profoundly affects the immune system. We are adding another layer of complexity by using a drug that also affects the immune system,” said Veronica Miller, director of the Forum for Collaborative HIV Research based at George Washington University.

    Translation: We will further wreck the immune system with these drugs.

    Even as development continues, there is a growing wariness about the future of the drugs.

    No sh%t, Sherlock!

    Nor do researchers know the long-term health effects of the drugs, since they tinker with cells that are the sentinels of the body’s defenses against infection and disease.

    Hey, some healthy skepticism, I love it!

    Some of the drugs have been linked to liver problems and cancer.

    That would be bad, right? To give drugs to AIDS patients that cause liver disease and cancer?

    A year ago, there was hope the CCR5 antagonists would debut as a class. Now, it appears more likely they will dribble out one by one — if at all. A headline on a study published in April in the journal Infection summed up the doubt: “CCR5 Antagonists Teeter on a Knife-Edge.”

    Teetering on the knife-edge. I like the imagery!

    GlaxoSmithKline, one of the three major pharmaceutical companies that are developing the drugs, said in October that it halted trials of aplaviroc after patients showed signs of liver damage.

    More liver damage.

    Schering-Plough Corp. scrapped a portion of trials of its drug in January after smaller doses of its drug didn’t work as well as had been anticipated. And in March, the company reported that a small number of its patients had developed lymphomas, sparking worries that the drugs could make patients vulnerable to cancer and infection because of their effect on the immune system.

    That would be cancer, Orac.

    “Meanwhile, as a condition of approval, the FDA has suggested pharmaceutical companies follow for five years the health of patients enrolled in clinical trials.

    Hey, the FDA is finally showing some cojones! But…..

    Drug companies, researchers and others said that’s not feasible, given the mobility of U.S. society and the likelihood those patients will start taking other HIV drugs. That will probably confound attempts to gauge the long-term effects.

    What a surprise!

    “The clinical development of this class has, in a word, been challenging,” said Dr. Roy Gulick, another Cornell University AIDS researcher.

    Aww, ain’t that a shame, genius!


  6. Perhaps some numerical modelling would be instructive.

    Each new post by a Hank Barnes or a Wilhelm Godschalk has on average about 3 new errors, misrepresentations, misunderstandings or false claims.

    None of them have ever admitted to any mistakes. Ever.

    The first law: The amount of misinformation always increases.

    The second law: If someone takes the time to respond to every new error, misrepresentation, misunderstanding or false claim the length of the thread will increase exponentially.

    Perhaps William Dembski can help with the mathematics.

  7. From article in question:

    Now, AIDS can be a manageable condition. Existing drugs aren’t perfect, but they work. That has raised the barrier for drugs under development, even as preliminary research suggests they work, the Forum’s Miller said.

  8. Windy,

    Exceedingly good cherry-pick there. Well done!!!!

    I’ll write slowly: Digest. The. Entire. Article.


  9. Chris Noble & Dale,

    Why not address the article in question?


    What is there to address? I dont see anthing strange in that article– just that we now have a new drug in the arsenal against HIV.
    If I (not even in grad school yet, mind you) have to explain CCR5, CXCR4, and disease progression to you, then its not the article that needs to be addressed. I cannot imagine you are even passingly familiar with this topic, much less in a position to cry ‘Conspiracy! Conspiracy!’
    Unless youre planning to pay Tara, Chris, Dale, etc tutoring fees, I really dont see how its their responsibility to educate you.

  10. Hank, I’m covinced that nobody can change the topic of a thread as quickly as you can. The original article in question was a very funny post by pinko punko.

    But hey, I’m game so …

    Address YOUR article? Okay, Hank.

    It may surprise you to learn this but scientists and doctors don’t have 20/20 foresight. So drug development is rarely straightforward.

    Back in the early 80s AIDS patients were appearing and dying almost as quickly as they were diagnosed. There was a lot of pressure to develop a treatment. Enter AZT. As it turned out, AZT while effective short term, had problems long term. Still it was better than nothing and set the bar for future drug development.

    Fast forward to 1996 and HAART. Better than nothing, better than AZT but over the last ten years it has become apparent that HAART too has long term side effects that cause problems.

    So now researchers are looking to develop new drugs that are better than HAART but hopefully have fewer side effects. The drugs discussed in this article belong to a class of drugs for which there are sound scientific reasons to believe they might be effective but because of our still limited understanding of the complexities of the human immune system, also have the potential for causing problems.

    So here’s the conundrum facing AIDS drug developers- either throw up their hands in dispair and go with the drugs currently available or continue to develop new drugs but be cautious not to raise false expectations until all the preliminary testing has been done. Sounds like a pretty reasonable approach to me.

  11. Poor Hank, he went to pick a cherry, thought he found a shiny red apple, but as it turns out all he’s got is a lemon!

    What do you want to bet Hank will sit here and suck on that lemon and tell us:

    “This is the sweetest most delicious cherry, no it’s not a cherry it’s an apple! that’s what it is! I meant apple all along, and it’s the best apple I’ve ever eaten.”

    for about a hundred more comments?

    Hank, this is the problem. Here is the title of the article in question:

    “New HIV ‘Doorway Drugs’ Have Risks”

    Great, new drugs have risks. What else is new?

    Now, please note the subtitle:

    “In Fact, CCR5 Receptor Antagonists May Actually Speed AIDS‘ Spread”

    Now, note the line from your post Hank:

    “Actually spread the virus?!!?”

    Nowhere in the body of the article is there any suggestion that drugs that target CCR5 could cause the spread of the virus. (See Orac’s post to learn how progression and spread are different processes.)

    What happened here is that an editor from CBS put a title and subtitle on an article written by someone else. That subtitle is misleading and arguably innaccurate, suggesting as it does that AIDS, the disease, will be spread by use of CCR5 antagonists. (If CCR5 antagonists sped the progression to AIDS, it’s possible that this could be considered technically correct but it’s still misleading.)

    However, in no way can your “bungling” be considered correct. You very explicitly stated that these drugs could spread the “virus”. This statement does not even leave open the possibility of a strategic retreat through the “well, HIV and AIDS are nearly interchangeable, you can clearly see what I meant was…” defense.

    Bad form Hank. Bad form. We’ve come to expect a higher caliber of AIDS denial from you. Perhaps you should retire to your own corner for a bit to practice. While there you can follow the neat example of your ideological cousins and purge the record of your error.

  12. Umm, PharmaBawd. Try to follow this. It’s quite simple. I quote the first graph of the article.

    “The excitement over a novel class of drugs being developed to fight HIV has been dampened by fears they could pose serious safety risks, including the possibility they might actually speed the progression of AIDS.”

    Ok. so you write (with snarky stupidity)

    Great, new drugs have risks. What else is new?

    Sorry, No. It’s not just generic “risks” (duh). There is a FEAR that the Drug — used to treat AIDS may —“speed the progression of AIDS.”

    It’s a specific risk that mimics the disease progression, you dolt!

    Well, for 25 years, we’ve been told that HIV is the sole cause of AIDS, right?

    So, if the drugs speed the progression of AIDS, then either the drugs “spread the virus” or “the progression of AIDS” is accelerated by something other than HIV.

    Quod Erat Demonstrandum.

    If you are arguing that the latter, ie, that CCR5 antagonists question kill T4-Cells (which would speed the progression of AIDS), then say so.


  13. Last sentence should read:

    “If you are arguing the latter, ie, that CCR5 antagonists kill T4-Cells (which would speed the progression of AIDS), then say so.”


  14. Hank, you are so funny sometimes. The new drugs are not BEING used to treat AIDS, the new drugs are BEING DEVELOPED as a potential treatment for AIDS. If testing shows they spread the virus or the progression of AIDS then they won’t be used.

    Quod Erat that.

  15. Dale,

    Bean-counter alert!!!

    But, your post up-thread was pretty good — so you get special dispensation:)

    You wrote:

    As it turned out, AZT while effective short term, had problems long term

    What were these long-term problems?

    You wrote:

    …over the last ten years it has become apparent that HAART too has long term side effects that cause problems.

    What are these long term side effects, perhchance?

    Quod Erat Demonsomethingorother

    Hank Barnes

  16. Hank, just out of curiosity, which ones do you think are worse? If you had to pick one or the other, which one is more dreadful – the new drugs that might “spread the virus”, or the horrible cancer-causing poisons AZT, HAART and whatever else is being used now?

    Interesting that in your words the new drugs might “Actually spread the virus!??!”, if you think the virus is harmless? Why care if the drug spreads the virus, then?

  17. I think Hank Barnes has provided the proof for my thesis.

    Every time somebody demonstrates why one of his claims is false he:
    a) Does not admit to being wrong.
    b) Makes several more false assertions, some of which contradict his previous assertions.

    HIV rethinkers are like the Hydra in greek mythology. Every time you cut off one head two heads grow back.

  18. Ah, ah, ahh, Hank!

    You can’t make apple juice from that lemon.

    First let’s see you recognize that that is a lemon peel hanging out of the side of your mouth. Then I may let you try to make lemonade out of it.

    In what way do these phrases differ Hank?

    Hank: “Actually spread the virus?!!?”

    subtitle: “”In Fact, CCR5 Receptor Antagonists May Actually Speed AIDS’ Spread””

    I’m already going to reccomend that you take an introductory course in microbiology, genetics, biochemistry and if you can pass those a graduate level course in virology. Don’t make me add remedial English to the list. That would be too much for one semester.

    For extra credit, compare and contrast these two statements:

    subtitle: “In Fact, CCR5 Receptor Antagonists May Actually Speed AIDS’ Spread”

    body: “speed the progression of AIDS.”

  19. Chris Noble writes:

    I think Hank Barnes has provided the proof for my thesis.

    Every time somebody demonstrates why one of his claims is false he:
    a) Does not admit to being wrong.
    b) Makes several more false assertions, some of which contradict his previous assertions.

    My favourite is when he gets caught making an elementary blunder and he responds with “Bean-counter alert!!!”. Then of course he immediately goes on to change the subject and missrepresents yet another paper or article. I think it’s an interesting phenomenae that some lawyers, for whatever reason, really really want to be taken seriously for their scientific ideas. Unfortunately they all too often go on to prove that they needn’t be.

  20. I am consistently amazed at the patience of the individuals arguing with Mr. Barnes. No matter how painfully wrong, his astounding ego keeps him from admitting error. Mr. Barnes mistaking progression for spread is the best howler since his claim that HIV was a communicable endogenous retrovirus.

  21. Humor! This is teh place for me!



    Who doesn’t know Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s Clothes”?

    After the child has said: “But he has nothing on!” other people start to repeat the phrase and after a while everybody shouts: “But he has nothing on!” End of dogma, exit the Emperor.

    But in our real world things are different and whenever someone dares to take the child’s role, that person is immediately hushed and any guy who has the wits to continue is kicked in the ass.

    The Aids apologists, they are like the astronomers in Charles Fort’s “New Lands”. They observe, interpret, calculate and predict. After some time it becomes clear: results are wrong, predictions fail. But don’t try to criticize: they can explain. They recalculate and reinterpret and make new predictions. Which fail again. They explain. Only to fail again. Sometimes a prediction is fulfilled. But they will never admit that when the problem is to find the right number between 1 and 10, and 10 persons chose a different number between 1 and 10, one of them has the right answer. But no, having been able to give the right answer is the miracle of science. The astronomers say.

    HIV=Aids=Death scientists.

    They diagnose: Fatal disease. And predict. They say: Take my drug, you have no choice. It’s not perfect and you might not live long but it’s the best we have.

    Jennifer took the drug and she has never stopped vomiting ever since. William took the drug and stopped vomiting the day he ceased treatment. Carlos never took the drug and never vomited. 15 years after the diagnosis: Jennifer died 14 years ago. William died 5 years ago. Carlos is still alive and well. The scientists, they can explain everything and thus they explain.

    Jennifer died 14 years ago because HIV is a real bad mother fucker. William died 5 years ago because he was an idiot to stop treatment. Carlos is still alive and well and scientists know why: Carlos is a long-term non-progressor.

    Those are the wonderful achievements of modern times. Who needs a TV-set now that the whole goddamn world has become the theatre for hilarious tragic comedy disaster? True, not many laugh. But it’s a great piece. Many cry. Many fight. The rest doesn’t give a fuck.

    Anderson’s child of innocence says: “But that Jennifer, William and Carlos: I can think of another interpretation of the facts. Might it be that the real bad mother fucker are the drugs or that they are at least part of the devil’s game? That being so utterly afraid as Jennifer was can be deadly? Carlos never took the HIV test serious but who can fathom the depth of William’s abysses of depression caused by social exclusion due to his HIV+ diagnose? That also explains quite neatly Jennifer’s quick death, William’s defeat and Carlos’ long-time survival.”

    Scientist- No, HIV is the only explanation. We’ve tried all hypothesis. It’s the only one that really holds the candle.

    Child- We? Who are “we”? Who tried all hypothesis?

    Scientist- Scientists and virologists all over the world. Never heard of Robert Gallo, maybe? Weinberg? Moore? Chermann? Montagnier?

    Child- Who are they?

    Scientist- World famous scientists. They all agree. They are the specialists nobody contests.

    Child- World famous, huh? I see. I figure they have a big bone in the fight. Anyway, seen the overall results in the war against Aids, I can’t think of one single reason to shovel under any work hypothesis and start from scratch again.

    Scientist- You sound like that Duesberg fool.

    Child- Who’s Duesberg?

    Scientist- You really know nothing, do you? Once upon a time Duesberg was a famous virologist. But he’s a fool and he criticized too much. End of career.

    Child- End of career? Sounds he doesn’t have a bone at all in the fight. I’m betting on Duesberg.

    The HIV=Aids scientists weave the draperies of their theories with the golden threads of standards and concepts. Peer Review! Evidence Based Medicine. But when you dare give it all a closer look, there’s only biased evidence agreed upon by the out sprouts of scientific inbred.
    Each time the members of The Scientific Community pass by, dressed in the golden clothes of utter contempt, I swear that I clearly see their naked ass. But when I shout: “Hey! But they have nothing on!” the crowd tells me to shut up.

    Well, what the heck. The earth is said to be a bit crowded nowadays so here’s the only bottom line I can think of right now (free transcription of Bill Hicks):

    “Anybody, DUMB enough to believe naked assed doctors who say pills that make you vomit from the first day you take them are good for your health, should be allowed full access to drug stores and health care facilities.”



  22. Jas,

    Read through the posts in


    and you’ll find out just how hollow your assertions are.

    Happy reading!
    Never mind the parody, you may succeed in misleading gullible lay-people, but it takes much more than just stories to disprove scientific facts

    My post in: http://aetiologyblog.com/2006/07/in_which_i_quit_my_job_and_ral.php#c181333

    (i.e. Posted by: viji | July 27, 2006 09:51 PM and | July 28, 2006 02:59 AM )

    pretty much sums it up to what I observe of the HIV ‘dissenters’

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