More information about controversial AIDS books.


Serge Lang, 'Challenges' Springer Verlag 1998, 816 pages, ISBN 0-387-94861-9


I am very thankful to Springer-Verlag for publishing a collection of some of my non-mathematical works—I call them political works, in the broad sense of the word political. Three of these have appeared in print:

- My article on the Ladd-Lipset survey, which appeared in the New York Review of Books,18 May 1978; and also in The File (Springer-Verlag, 1981).

- My article on the Baltimore case, which appeared in the Journal of Ethics and Behavior, February 1993.

- My articles on HIV and AIDS, which appeared in the Yale Scientific (Fall 1994 and Winter 1995), reprinted updated in the book AIDS: Virus—or drug induced?. Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1996, pp. 271-307.

- The first item, "Academia, Journalism, and Politics," is itself a book based on my Huntington file. The "Background and Motivation" section of this sub-book can be used as a foreword for all my "political" works, and also contains an explanation of how I use the word "political." In that section, readers will find a general discussion of the way I process information and some criteria I use in discourse.

- For another discussion in a different case, readers can refer to my essay "Questions of Editorial Responsibility." The exchange with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and its reviewers provides a unique opportunity for a direct confrontation of irreconcilable differences in the conception and exercise of editorial responsibility. At stake is what constitutes legitimate discourse and what gets published, by whom.

- My New York Review of Books article on the Ladd-Lipset survey, like the Huntington file, deals among many other things with problems in the way some social scientists practice their field.

The remaining parts of this book concern several other cases of questionable academic, scientific, or political behavior, in various combinations. All pieces this book reflect my fundamental interest in the area where the academic or scientific world meets the world of journalism and the world of politics. The pieces deal with various questions of responsibility in all these areas. It turns out that the National Academy of Sciences happens to be involved in all of them in some way or another.

One recurrent problem has been the difficulty I have experienced in getting published. Examples of this difficulty arise throughout. The existing difficulties of getting criticisms of established figures or institutions printed in standard scientific or scholarly journals is one of the fundamental issues dealt with in this book. For concrete examples, see:

- In the Huntington case, the refusal to publish by Discover (a national magazine); by scholarly journals such as PS and Footnotes (American Political Science Association and American Sociological Association, respectively); or by publications in between such as the Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Washington Update of the Consortium of Social Science Associations.

- In the Baltimore case, the refusal to publish by Issues in Science and Technology (a publication of the National Academy of Sciences), by the American Chemical Society and by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

- In the Gallo case, refusal to publish by Nature.

- In the HIV/AIDS case, refusal to publish by major scientific journals, which engage in suppression and manipulation, obstructing challenges to the orthodox view.

Because of pressure from the media and Congress, over the last few years there has been developing substantial interest in scientific or academic ethics. Courses on scientific ethics are increasingly being taught, but the recommendation to have such courses by various offficial bodies which have refused to take position in concrete cases is to some extent hypocritical, because the evidence shows that it is not students who need such courses, but senior scientists who have provided recent examples of transgressions of the classical standards of science. The sole existence of such courses implies nothing about their effect, which depends on who teaches them, and what is covered or suppressed in them. Ironically, the courses provide an opportunity to inform students of some failures of the scientific establishment around them. I hope the present book will be useful in such courses, but I also hope the impact of this book will not be limited to such courses. I thank Springer Verlag once more for giving me an opportunity to bring into the open profound academic, journalistic, political, and philosophical differences with some dominant aspects of our society.


  • Preface
  • Academia, Journalism, and Politics: A Case Study: The Huntington Case
  • Strange Survey of U.S. Profs: The Ladd-Lipset Case
  • Questions of Scientific Responsibility: The Baltimore Case
  • Questions of Editorial Responsibility: Publication of the Baltimore Article
  • The Gallo Case
  • The Case of HIV and AIDS
  • The Shafaravich Case and the National Academy of Siences
  • Maintaining Scientific Standards
  • Index