Peter Duesberg and David Rasnick

Richard Feynman on science

According to Richard Feynmanís standards, current AIDS research is "cult science":

... I call these things cult science, because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation. ... But there is one feature I notice that is generally missing in cult science. ... Itís a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if youíre doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid not only what you think is right about it. ... If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. ...the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.

The easiest way to explain this idea is to contrast it, for example, with advertising. Last night I heard that Wesson oil doesnít soak through food. Well, thatís true. Itís not dishonest; but the thing Iím talking about is not just a matter of not being dishonest, itís a matter of scientific integrity, which is another level. The fact that should be added to that advertising statement is that no oil soaks through food, if operated at a certain temperature. If operated at another temperature, they all will including Wesson oil...

Weíve learned from experience that the truth will come out. Other experimenters will repeat your experiment and find out whether you were wrong or right. Natureís phenomena will agree or theyíll disagree with your theory. And, although you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you havenít tried to be very careful in this kind of work. And itís this type of integrity, this kind of care not to fool yourself, that is missing to a large extent in much of the research in cult science. ...

But this long history of learning how not to fool ourselves of having utter scientific integrity is, Iím sorry to say, something that we havenít specifically included in any particular course that I know of. We just hope youíve caught on by osmosis. ... And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen. (2)