Thank you for your reply and again for taking an stand on the importance of skepticism and truth seeking. While I find your personal stance encouraging, I am disappointed that members of your group do not embrace this process outside the context of atheism.
I had heard years ago that the official atheist position agreement with general consensus on AIDS, something that surprised me given that atheism, like science, is supposed to be about questioning preconceived notions and looking beyond popular ideology. I think it's interesting to consider that using popular opinion as a guide to what's correct would make atheism itself an invalid view.
I am also surprised by your remark that the web sites you visited have information from the 1980s. Going through the links I listed for your group, I see very recent items. For example, just about everything at the Rethinking AIDS site is new (including the site itself). References to the 1980s there are in articles from the archives section. One recent item posted is "Correcting Gallo," a very informative paper from June 2006 which responds to critics of a highly publicized article on the failure of AIDS research. The original article (AIDS and The Corruption of Science) appeared in the March 2006 issue of Harper's and the November issue contains a new letter on the continuing debate.
Similarly, the Alberta Reappraising AIDS Society's home page begins with a September 2006 news item on how orthodox AIDS science now acknowledges that viral load testing has no predictive value, something AIDS skeptics pointed out many years ago. This is followed by seven items from August 2006.
At the site of The Perth Group, one of the first papers to pop up is a 2006 response to a 2006 article by Nathan Geffen of the Treatment Action Group in South Africa.
The news at the Alive & Well site was updated just last month, and scrolling down one finds a very recent piece from a UK business journal on HIV testing.
The articles I copied for your group are also from 2006, including the one I wrote on AIDS in Africa which was recently requested for inclusion in a newly printed college text.
There is also a direct and recent rebuttal to the claims about AIDS denialism made by the US government, an entity I thought more atheists would regard with some skepticismespecially given recent revelations about how faith in unfounded claims led to the war in Iraq.
If being current is the atheist standard for judging the validity of view point, it may be worth noting that the most recent HIV tests cite findings from 1984 as validation of their alleged specificity. It would be interesting to hear from atheists why the use of 22 year old information is acceptable in this case.
It seems to me, and sadly so, that despite gathering under the masthead Rational Alternatives, there is a remarkable lack of willingness among atheists to consider rational alternatives to consensus views on AIDS.
I will be interested to know if enough of a collective open mind exists to allow the January talk to occur as planned. Please keep me posted.