|November 11, 2006|
Dear Dr. Gorski,
I am helping to organize a debate on the issue of AIDS denialism to take place in February of 2007 in New York and am writing to ask for your participation in this historic event. Our intention is to demolish the basis for any further discussion on the topic by exposing and refuting purveyors of false information.
The debate will take place before a live audience of 200 but will reach millions of people via WBAI radio and other Pacifica stations around the country. It will also be permanently available on-line as an audio file that anyone, anywhere in the world can download.
We are negotiating sponsorship from POZ magazine (as you may know, POZ editor Bob Ledderer is on the WBAI board) and will have a moderator from ACTUP New York, hopefully Larry Kramer himself.
Since the event features four participants, we would like to have you plus anyone youd care to have join you as representatives for the fact that HIV causes AIDS. We will cover travel and accomodations for you and the participant of your choice.
The denialism side will be represented by Christine Maggiore and a partner of her choice. Given your strong position against Maggiore and the stinging critique of her pathologists evaluation of her daughters autopsy report at your Orac site, we cant imagine a more appropriate expert to take on Ms. Maggiore.
Maggiore has already confirmed her availability for February. The exact date of the event can be established to suit your convenience.
I look forward to your prompt and affirmative replyand to meeting you in person.
Sadly, I must decline your kind offer. My reason is simple:
Yes, I know how to use Google, too, and I also know Nick Bennett (at least by correspondence). The above link came up first on my search, and this page came up second:
No doubt my declining of your kind offer will soon be added to the page above.
P.S. You must be pretty desperate to ask me to be involved in this. After all, I seem to recall your saying about me in your exchange with Nick Bennett: Orac is great for spreading the word, but its your word hes spreading. Hes not even in a position to reply with authority on his own. I mean, who is he? Hes got a name like a magician and his web site looks like the opening scene from Star Wars!
Im hurt, particularly since you now apparently know who I am. Besides, I wrote the post below before ever having read Bennetts takedown:
Of course, youre also behind the times. I presently blog for ScienceBlogs:
Unfortunately, I was forced to lose the science fiction-themed background when I agreed to join ScienceBlogs. Cest la vie. I reach many more readers now than I did then; so its a small price to pay.
Heck, maybe Ill critically examine Al-Bayatis new report, now that youve made me aware of its existence. Thanks for letting me know about it.
Dear Dr. Gorski,
Thank you for the prompt response. I defer to your Google mastery after my unfortunate, and apparently, infamous failure to locate Dr Nicholas Bennett (AKA Nick Bennett AIDS)
I will also apologize for not realizing your alter-ego Orac had been unmasked, and that your true identity (Dave Gorski, medical doctor and Ph.D) was common knowledge. Pardon me if I dont understand the nicknames and secret identities of you AIDS authorities.
My entree into the controversy was the Harpers article someone at work with dissident inclinations laid on my desk. The article left me deeply troubled, but these feelings were quelled by the swift arrival of a report on the 50-something errors in Harpers. My return to certainty was short lived, however, shaken by the denialist reply to the errors report by Team Gallo. The reply was not met with a blistering retort by Team Gallo, but an unsettling silence, as the gadfly at my office still points out to this day.
She points to this silence as having great meaning, something I attributed to her having practiced too much yoga. But not long after the silence following the denialist response to Team Gallo, she laid the article about Eliza Jane on my desk from LA City Beat, and again, theres no official reply, only silence.
This was followed by more silence a month or so later when she and her organizing committee sent out email invites to Bennett, John Moore, etc. to debate with Christine Maggiore. I was appalled that not one of Maggiores very vocal critics stepped up to the plate for what should be a home run with bases loaded. Concerned and pissed off, I jumped into the fray, on no ones side but my own.
I tried to get Moore and Bennett who are all about silencing AIDS denialists to show up for a debate where the purveyors of untruths would be silenced in defeat. Instead, Bennett comes up with the dog ate my homework level excuses, Moore goes off like a demented bully, and everyone runs like sissies from the uncredentialed Maggiore who anyone with half a degree should be able to take out in 45 minutes.
This sort of response from our supposed leaders looks unattractive at best (and suspicious at worst) to the foot soldiers stuck in the middle of this AIDS war. You AIDS leaders all are starting to look less like commanders and a lot more like a band of snipers firing at anything that moves.
Of course, I recognize that you are not Bennett or Moore. And we both know you are not replying sadly to decline a debate. Its true, the invite was not was not a kind offer but one posed by an agent provocateur, but what difference does it make if the invitation is issued by a fan, a free agent or the other side? If you have the answers and the degrees and all expenses paid, you show up and put your mouth where your blog is.
Knowing I am not your friend or your fan, will you debate? The conditions are exactly as outlined.
If you wont debate, will you at least respond to the new report on Eliza Jane that Nick Bennett AIDS, our resident expert on pathology (pun intended) chooses to ignore? And if thats too much, maybe you can explain why is everyone citing Mr. Bennetta pediatrician in residencyon matters of pathology while calling Maggiores pathologist a fake and/or a veterinarian when her pathologist is actually a pathologist. Was it Orac or Nick Bennett AIDS that came up with this lame strategy?! And now Bennett says the lung tissue slides in the new report are fake. Next, well be hearing Eliza Jane faked her death and is living at Graceland with Elvis.
Will Orac/Gorski be an AIDS leader or a bunch of hot air with a web site?
Thanks for your time in any case,
Dear Dr Gorski,
I checked the ScienceBlog site where you write now under your actual name hoping to find a refutation of the new report on Eliza Jane Scovill. Alas, nothing appears on this important topic.
Since you prepared your own critique of Al-Bayatis first report on Eliza Jane before ever having read Bennetts takedown, I expect well see your retort to this new document once youve finish writing about vital issues like football games and Patch Adams.
I especially look forward to your opinion on the lung tissue slides which Bennett says are fake, and to know whose side youre taking (Al-Bayatis or the coroners) on sexual abuse in the case of the other little girl.
Please dont do a disappearing act or borrow from Bennetts bag of lame excuses, the lamest being I cant get involved with legal action pending when pending legal action against Maggiore didnt stop either of you from getting involved the first time around.
This new article from Al-Bayati needs a response from at least one of the two experts who famously refuted the original.
PS Can I take you to lunch sometime or do you only eat in elevators like Bennett? : )
Casey (if that is, in fact, your real name):
You sure cant take a hint, can you?
You approached me under false pretenses to try to get me to participate in a debate at WBAI that, as far as I can tell, is nonexistent, while pretending to be enthusiastically on the side of the conventional scientific view that HIV causes AIDS. You approached me as a second thought, only after having failed to trick Nick Bennett using similar tactics. Even after your ploy has been discovered, youre still trying to goad me to respond by insulting my choice of blog topics.
That you expect your goading to work after your chicanery or think that I care about what youd like me to do vis-à-vis the Al-Bayati report is truly astounding to me. Tacking a little smiley emoticon at the end with an offer for lunch doesnt make up for your behavior before.
Ill give you one thing, though: You have chutzpah. Too bad thats not enough.
P.S. By the way, say hi to Jessica (Jess) Fletcher for me.
Please re-read my original message. I did not invite you to a debate at WBAI but to a debate that would be broadcast via WBAI and other radio stations in the Pacifica network.
Bennett was originally invited to dialogue with Maggiore by organizers of an event at the Concord School of Philosophy and American Literature. No tricks, no tricksters. Bennett declined citing short notice and schedule conflictsunderstandable. But then none of the other physicians, scientists, bio-ethicists, etc, agreed to show. I could not believe that not one AIDS expert would take on Maggiore in Concord.
Since I really, sincerely (yes, even desperately) wanted to see a face off between Maggiore and any one of you AIDS experts, and in a convenient location, I invited Bennett to New York myself. Wanting to avoid the Concord problem, I gave Bennett three months advance notice for event in New York. To my shock and amazement, Bennett declined again, this time for a variety of reasons that became more and more illogical, contradictory, and finally, idiotic. I figured Bennett might have some physical deformity that made him feel uncomfortable appearing in public so I let him alone and moved on to John Moore.
Moore refused to debate and called me all kinds of names just for asking. I found his behavior totally inappropriate and unbecoming to a scientist, so I went back to Bennett thinking he, being the worlds leading supporter of the coroners report on Maggiores daughter Eliza Jane would at least respond to the new report on Eliza Janes autopsy, and maybe meet me for lunch.
Apparently, Bennett doesnt use his mouth for eating or talking. After shouting to the world that Eliza Jane died of pneumonia, Bennett has nothing to say about the photos of Elisa Janes lung tissue slides which seem to show she didnt have pneumonia. The slides are posted on the internet for everyone to see, and to my shock and amazement, all Bennett can come up with is that the photos are fake. This seems highly unlikely since Maggiore filed a law suit against the LA County coroner and will surely use these slides as evidence.
Bennett had no reply to the question of whether a child with a high total lymphocyte count (10,800) could have AIDS when studies on the topic say a child needs a low total lymph count (1,500 to 2,000) to have AIDS.
Nor would our great expert Bennett explain if a missing HIV test on Elisa Jane is a problem, now that all kinds of people everywhere who counted on Bennett to be right are wondering if Bennett was right.
So I moved on to you hoping you would show up to face off with Maggiore and set the record straight or at the very least, show us all why you agree with the coroners report that Elisa Jane died of AIDS and that the other little girl was sexually abused and murdered by her parents. You and Bennett very publically took the coroners side, dragged all of us along with you, and now that we need you to defend this position, you wont.
Apparently, unless Im your best friend, you and Bennett wont answer any questions, and wont even have lunch.
The very least you could do is debate Maggiore. Youre a medical doctor with a Ph.D and shes a high school graduate. Could odds possibly be more in your favor?
I have no idea who Jessica Fletcher is (assuming thats a real name), but if I run into her somewhere, Ill say hello from silent Dave Gorski.
No further word from 'Orac' since November 21, 2006
No analysis of the second Al-Bayati report