A New Way of Referencing Might Help Reduce Complaints About the AIDS Denialists... 7 April 2004
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Tony Floyd,
Medical Student
Newcastle University, Newcastle Australia

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Re: A New Way of Referencing Might Help Reduce Complaints About the AIDS Denialists...

It is comforting that a recent Respondent has declared that his 'confidence is not shaken' by the fanatical few that feel compelled to throw dubious piffle at the realities of HIV/AIDS.

Nobody has contested that their are four primary beliefs espoused on this page, as outlined in my response - Out of all the Responses Four Arguments Have Emerged. Three of These Things are not Like the Other... BMJ Rapid Response. (24th March 2004)

Perhaps future respondents could identify themselves as types 1 thru 4 to make things a little clearer. The gentleman who insists on emailing me directly regarding his belief that HIV was brought by aliens should not deprive readers of his ideas, which are every bit as valid as that of the denialists.

One of the objections that Noble, Flegg, Foley and others have is the ongoing use (or 'interpretation') of scientific evidence that is purported to support a theory which it clearly doesn't. Respondents are at odds as to what a reference entails. I only entered this fray after the naive thought that, having checked the original article to see who was telling fibs, I would show that one interpretation was patently superior and so reach a form of closure on one aspect of the argument.

I was not expecting an admission of guilt, such as:

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"oh yes, you are quite right, how terribly silly of us to use these figures in such a fashion when none of the original authors did so, we just get so carried away with our anti-HIV/AIDS bandwagon sometimes. I didn't read the paper myself it was one of my underlings who did the analysis, I will sack the little shite, how embarrassing, won't happen again..."

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What may keep the critics more content is if those stricken with Galileowannabeitis could be more forthright with their referencing. Instead of using the traditional '(1)' with an article below that others might like to read to verify their claims, perhaps they could use a '(*1)' to cover the following:

1. a reinterpretation of figures that have not been used that way in the publication, or in any publication by any of the authors since.

2. the paper actually specifically contradicts your claims, however there is a particular diagram that you believe proves your point whilst ignoring the diagram below it that shows HIV budding from cells.

3. you haven't actually read the article at all and have recycled someone else's misinterpretation.

or

4. it is an absurdly obscure paper from 1961 where the researchers DIDN'T actually purify the virus involved to the standards you are claiming should be applied to HIV (and hoping that nobody will check).

Galileo had performed experiments that could be reproduced by his mathematical colleagues. Those experiments remain valid today.

If this page represents the best that the ALT-AIDS thinkers can come up with, then their argument remains spurious at best. They had best come up with an experiment to prove their claims or they will forever be chasing their own tail and cannon fodder for those that don't mind checking the original source whenever they reference articles.

Competing interests: None declared