Last month, we posted a clip of David Barton asserting that God will never allow scientists to find a vaccine for HIV/AIDS because such a vaccine would eliminate the divine “penalty” for homosexuality, which would contradict the teaching found in Romans 1.
As “evidence” of this position, the Religious Right psuedo-historian and GOP activist claimed that the virus that causes AIDS is constantly mutating, making it impossible to inoculate against. He pointed to news stories about various failures by researchers to successfully test an experimental vaccine as “proof” of his assertion.
As Warren Throckmorton reported at the time, the stories that Barton cited were utterly unrelated and did not prove his point at all:
In the video, Barton first showed the Popular Science headline and then said:
The headlines came out and said, for the first time ever an HIV vaccine shows success in trial. Oh my gosh, I guess there is, I guess I must have misinterpreted the Bible, cause the Bible’s true, and then six weeks later, they came out with this that says, NIH halts trial of HIV vaccine after it fails to work. The newspaper said it worked but none of the medical evidence said that it worked. So they still don’t have a cure.
The problem with Barton’s presentation is that the second headline didn’t come out “six weeks later.” Rather it came out four years later in 2013 and was about an entirely different attempt to create a vaccine.
The Yahoo News article Barton referred to (the second headline) is only available via Internet Archives and is dated April 26, 2013. The Yahoo article linked to the NIH announcement that the HVTN 505 clinical trial had been halted. The HVTN 505 trial results had nothing to do with the earlier success of RV 144. The RV 144 trial was reported in 2009, the same year that the HVTN 505 started. The NIH has more on the HVTN 505 trial on the NIH website.
Barton got the time frame wrong and made it appear that the two headlines were related to each other.