Good Scientists, Bad Science? How To Respond To 'Renegade' Researchers

Case One: The Molecular biologist who refuses to believe that AIDS is caused by a virus BERKELEY, CALIF.—On a Saturday early in April, as Washington’s famous cherry trees began to blossom, eight of the nation’s top AIDS researchers gathered at George Washington University for a special meeting. But they weren’t there to discuss their latest findings, or to devise new strategies for fighting the deadly disease, or even to enjoy the Washington spring. Instead, says Berke

Marcia Barinaga
Jul 24, 1988
Case One: The Molecular biologist who refuses to believe that AIDS is caused by a virus

BERKELEY, CALIF.—On a Saturday early in April, as Washington’s famous cherry trees began to blossom, eight of the nation’s top AIDS researchers gathered at George Washington University for a special meeting. But they weren’t there to discuss their latest findings, or to devise new strategies for fighting the deadly disease, or even to enjoy the Washington spring. Instead, says Berkeley molecular biologist Harry Rubin, one of the participants, “the forum was called to lynch Peter Duesberg.”

That description may be a bit too strong, a bit too bitter. But then, feelings run deep when it comes to Peter Duesberg. As anyone who reads Science or Spin or most newspapers knows by now, the Berkeley biologist has had the temerity not just to challenge the current dogma of AIDS—that the disease is caused by the...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?