Nov. 6, 2006
To the editors,
I request that this letter be published as a registration of my disgust at Discover magazine's publication of an interview with Celia Farber.
I was saddened to see that a reputable, science-oriented publication such as "Discover Magazine" has granted space to Celia Farber, to allow her to promote her anti-science views. Ms Farber is a leading member of a small clique of individuals (the "Rethinking AIDS" (sic) group) who believe that HIV is not the cause of AIDS, or even that it does not exist. As such, she is not a witness of events (the traditional role of a journalist/writer), she is an active participant in the activities she writes about; in other words, she has a personal agenda, and one of those agendas is to increase the sales of her recently published book on the subject. To draw an analogy: would 'Discover Magazine" grant space to a leading member of the Ku Klux Klan to promote a book he/she had written to advance the "science" of Eugenics? I think not, because Eugenics is a concept that is both offensive and scientifically discredited. Equally, Ms. Farber's views have no basis in science, for not a single credible scientist nowadays disputes the existence of HIV or its causative role in AIDS. Her views are also offensive to the memories of the millions of people who have now died of AIDS worldwide, and they are disparaging to the efforts of the many thousands of scientists and health care professionals who are working hard to alleviate and prevent the suffering of HIV-infected people. Ms Farber castigates these individuals as being, in effect, tools of the Pharmaceutical Industry, motivated only by money and thoughts of glory. But she seems perfectly willing to exploit her own professional connections within the publishing industry to do anything she can to increase the sales of her book, and thereby to make a profit from the dead and dying. It's a shame that "Discover Magazine" has connived with that obvious and morally reprehensible strategy. By doing so, it has done a great disservice to the young scientists and students who have relied on the magazine as part of their science education.
John Moore, PhD
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York