Re: Christopher J Noble and The Perth Group 3 September 2004
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Christopher J Noble,

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Re: Re: Christopher J Noble and The Perth Group

Alexander Russell wrote: So let the rest of the world try and convince the Perth Group that 'HIV' exists and causes 'AIDS'. The brute reality is that the rest of the world cannot prove that 'HIV' exists and causes 'AIDS' - including Noble despite his endless and worthless references. Noble must be one of the last people left in the world that still believes that 'HIV' exists and causes 'AIDS'.

I think most of the rest of the world fully realise the futility of trying to convince a small isolated group of armchair pseudo-scientists of anything. No amount of references will change the opinions of people that already "know" that these papers are "endless and worthless".

If he expects the rest of the world to stop the work they are doing, stop research into HIV, stop testing for HIV, stop prescribing antiretrovirals, and devote their time to an attempt to change the opinions of a handful of people that choose to deny the existence of HIV then he is sadly mistaken.

The opinions of the Perth Group are of very little importance to the rest of the world. They are entitled to hold their own opinions. They are entitled to submit their opinions to scientific journals for publication. Indeed some scientific journals that accept highly speculative work with no experimental evidence, like Medical Hypotheses, have published their work. Other journals such as Genetica have devoted a whole edition to "Dissident" perspectives just to silence the claims of censorship.

The Perth Group's claims of censorship are likely to be viewed as sour grapes. As we have seen the referees typically point out that the very references that the Perth Group provide do NOT support their claims.

The brute reality, as Alexander Russell has put it, is that the Perth Group have failed to convince the scientific community that their hypotheses have any merit. Having failed in the normal scientific dialogue they have taken their ideas to a lay audience through the internet. They have typically found an audience of lay people who have very little scientific knowledge of whom Alexander Russell is a typical example. They have convinced several people that HIV does not exist. They have no doubt caused a number of people to avoid HIV testing and to avoid seeking medical treatment for their infection. Tragically, a number of HIV positive "dissidents" have died from AIDS-related causes while espousing Perth Group ideas.

I ask the Perth Group to argue their case through the normal pathway of peer-reviewed journals and to stop using unmoderated and non-peer reviewed fora such as BMJ Rapid Responses to spread their denialism.

Competing interests: None declared