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June 11, 2008

Fraud Enabled by Denial (Personal)

This entry will have to be quick because, right now, I have even more to do than ever and even less time than usual. Yesterday evening, quite by accident, while returning from a hospital visit to my (very sick) wife, I happened to catch the entire Terri Gross interview of someone I had never heard of before: Elizabeth Pisani is an articulate epidemiologist with a charming British accent who has just published a scathing denunciation of the Bush Administration's program for combating HIV/AIDS overseas.

What immediately called my attention to
Pisani’s message was its brutal candor and the accuracy of her analysis; while giving our government full credit for its program’s (unexpected) therapeutic success in funding AIDS treatment, she was also scathing in denouncing our unrealistic insistence on “abstinence only” education which is working that success by helping to spread infection with HIV, and masking uncertainty about the ultimate prognosis of those seemingly able to lead “normal” lives on what amounts to life-long, treatment (with expensive drugs produced by the American pharmaceutical companies now receiving a subsidy for producing them).

 What especially caught my attention was her description of the same bullying and arm twisting in both our HIV/AIDS programs overseas that supports our drug war at home; also, that both have a well-documented lack of success. Also impressive was her recognition that both frauds rely heavily on what I have recently come to recognize as humanity’s greatest cognitive weakness: a seemingly built-in willingness to prefer denial to reality; thus we tell lies to each other in order to sustain faith in irrational beliefs.

More later,

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at June 11, 2008 01:01 PM