Re: Reply to Morrell: Regarding 'endogenous entities' and 'epiphenomena' 20 February 2005
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Peter Morrell,
Hon Research Associate, History of Medicine
Staffordshire University, UK

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Re: Re: Reply to Morrell: Regarding 'endogenous entities' and 'epiphenomena'

I thank Alex Russell for explaining what 'epiphenomenon' and 'endogenous entity' mean in regard to HIV. However, as I do not feel he has explained enough of the aspects of the notion to my own satisfaction, I must probe further. As I understand the concept being described, it raises further questions.

From what he says, it is clear that Alex Russell does regard [some?] viruses merely as 'associative factors' and as *effects* of a disease process rather than the *cause* of a disease process. That to me is an important distinction, and is as I originally assumed it to be from reading his previous posts on this topic.

However, he has not said if this theory proposes that ALL viruses should be regarded as 'epiphenomena,' 'disease markers' and 'endogenous entities,' or whether this idea should be confined solely to the so-called retroviruses?

Then, of course, running on with this notion to its logical extensions, one needs to ask what proposed lifestyle factors, immune system degradations or deeper organism derangements, for example, might then be adduced as the suspected or proven causes that induce 'normal cells' to then embark upon this deranged pattern of prolific virus manufacture? Also, for example, does Alex Russell regard this idea as a much more general theory of disease?

None of these points seem very clear to me even though the notion seems essentially and intrinsically no more outrageous or outlandish than the flawed and simplistic HIV theory. Can Alex Russell please therefore also explain what makes this theory of AIDS superior to the standard HIV theory?

In particular, can he state what specific facts of the disease this theory explains better, more clearly and neatly than the standard HIV hypothesis? Or, to put it another way, what facts of the disease are not satisfactorily explained by the HIV hypothesis that the epiphenomenon idea explains better? I thank him in advance for these further clarifications.

Competing interests: None declared