"House of Numbers" film/AIDS denial

Leifer

Senior Member
I came across this documentary film, "House of Numbers", about HIV/AIDS.

Turns out this film has become a "go-to" link for AIDS denial believers.


I researched it....and found it to be a deceptive look, seemingly verified by well-known HIV immunological researchers/doctors/and experts.

Ben Goldacre explains this here, in his "Bad Science" blog.....
http://www.badscience.net/2009/09/house-of-numbers/

It (the film) engages, for example, in repeated overstatement of marginal internal disagreements about the details of HIV research, to the extent that 18 doctors and scientists interviewed for the film have issued a statement saying that the director was “deceptive” in his interactions with them, that it perpetuates pseudoscience and myths, and that they were selectively quoted to make it seem as if they are in disagreement and disarray, when in fact they agree on all the important facts.
Here is the statement:
http://www.houseofnumbers.org/Scientists_Denounce_HON.html

Here is another account of being "dupped"....
http://blog.newhumanist.org.uk/2009/09/was-i-conned-by-aids-denialists.html
 

JeffreyNotGeoffrey

Active Member
I saw it with my then wife. When tried finishing grad school I studied holocaust deniers and their methods. Due to that background I pretty quickly saw through the movie. Unfortunately the wife did not and felt that the film was the other side of the discussion. These frauds operate pretty similarly. Start off by asking innocent questions and get the audience thinking that all you want is the truth. Next cherrypick and quotemine scary things to persuade the audience and finish your superior but marginalized findings. How to make a bunk conspiracy in a few steps... then profit.
 

Dan Wilson

Senior Member
The film certainly has a lot wrong with it. Myles Power from YouTube did a good series where he debunks it.

Here is part 1:

Liam Scheff being in the film is a good sign of bunk. Not to judge before listening, but he is notorious for giving bogus information about vaccines and medicine.
 

Hevach

Senior Member
What really drives the denialists? Is it gain,denial of painful truth?
There's a lot of different varieties of AIDS denial (they usually all go back to the same "evidence" but evidence is separate from motivation), but the one that seems to me to be the most common (it's even represented by a couple members of the US Congress, and there's two running in Michigan right now that I have to go vote against after work) is simple anti-gay hatemongering - that AIDS is directly caused by teh ghey, not HIV, and that obviously any straight person who has it is halfway to Narnia or they wouldn't have it.
 

Belfrey

Senior Member
What really drives the denialists? Is it gain,denial of painful truth?
At least in some cases, it seems to have been that last choice; some of the most vocal AIDS/HIV denialists have been HIV-positive. The denialist magazine Continuum shut down after all of its editors died from AIDS-related illnesses, as did activist Christine Maggiore (and her young daughter). They are tragic examples of the harm that their own beliefs can cause.
 

Steven Ian

Closed Account
At least in some cases, it seems to have been that last choice; some of the most vocal AIDS/HIV denialists have been HIV-positive. The denialist magazine Continuum shut down after all of its editors died from AIDS-related illnesses, as did activist Christine Maggiore (and her young daughter). They are tragic examples of the harm that their own beliefs can cause.
The worst thing about that is Christine Maggiore daughter died "before" filming had ended!!

Production and content
In the film, Leung interviews a range of scientists and AIDS denialists, most notably Christine Maggiore. At the time of filming, Maggiore was HIV-positive and appeared healthy, despite her refusal to take anti-retroviral medication, which mainstream medicine uses to slow down the rate at which HIV destroys CD4+ T-cells. As she said in the film, she refused to take the medication, and had not had her daughter, Eliza Jane Scovill, tested, or provided her with medication, because she believed HIV did not cause AIDS.

Release and aftermath
Both Maggiore and her daughter died of AIDS-related complications before the film's release
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Numbers:_Anatomy_of_an_Epidemic

 
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