Monday, April 18, 2016

#1647: Michael Geiger

HIV denialism is the view that AIDS is not caused by HIV. Not only does HIV denialism involve a type of denial of evidence and our understanding of how the world works that is pretty much on par with advocating that the Earth is flat; it is also one of the branches of denialism that have had the most immediate and measurable negative impact on humanity, including the deaths of over 330,000 South Africans while a “review council” set up by HIV denialists was delaying treatment.

Of course, if you deny that HIV causes AIDS, you need to produce another mechanism. Usually these proposals involve rejecting of every piece of knowledge and understanding of medicine we have obtained since the Bronze age in favor of gibberish. So Michael Geiger, for instance, thinks AIDS is caused by loneliness. In general, Geiger is a proponent of the “dangerous” thoughts hypothesis: negative emotions directed at HIV positive people contribute to killing them. He has even accused another HIV denialist of helping to kill famous denialist activist Christine Maggiore, who died of AIDS, by worrying about her: “Have we as yet learned nothing ... of how easy it is to plant projections of sickness and death onto our own selves, as well as our friends, acquaintances or even onto our children and thereby help to create those fears into our realities?” No, Michael, it doesn’t work that way.

Geiger is entitled to reject scientific consensus, however. After all, HIV researchers who believe that HIV causes AIDS are funded by various pharma companies – and there is big money at stake. Accordingly, Geiger can just simply reject of the science without even engaging with the data. On the other hand, people who are not HIV researchers and therefore not funded by Big Pharma do not have the relevant expertise, and can therefore be dismissed as well. It’s a rhetorical win-win for Geiger, who promptly concludes that you should listen to Peter Duesberg.

Now, we admit that we don’t really know exactly who Michael Geiger is, apart from a relatively vocal HIV denialist, but we do know that he has a tendency, like many of the craziest cranks, to not only infest comment sections on articles on the phenomenon, but to contact the employers and colleagues of people who speak out against AIDS denialism (with emails containing misspellings as well as links to incoherent conspiracy rants and to pictures of scientists photoshopped to look like monkeys), which is … not typical behavior for sane, science-minded and evidence-guided researchers. He does appear to be a film director and member of the board of directors of HEAL San Diego, which is probably an organization you should avoid.

Diagnosis: Troll. And as opposed to most trolls, who are merely annoying, Geiger might actually be dangerous.

1 comment:

  1. Previously a prolific poster of denialist nonsense, Geiger disappeared very suddenly from the internet around 2011 or 2012.