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Questions have arisen about the policing of science. Who is responsible for the policing? My answer is: all of us.
If Baltimore's view, that scientists who do not take the words of authorities are far removed from the ordinary behavior of scientists, prevails in the scientific community, then something fundamental, very serious, and very disturbing is happening to the scientific community.
To address questions of scientific responsibility does not necessarily imply that one needs technical competence in a particular field (e.g. biology) to evaluate certain technical matters.
There exist thousands of Americans who have AIDS-defining diseases but are HIV negative.
I am not here concerned with intent, but with scientific standards, especially the ability to tell the difference between a fact, an opinion, a hypothesis, and a hole in the ground.
Aside from all that, we recall that antibodies to malaria and other diseases prevalent in Africa show up as HIV-positive on tests.
I object to a legal approach when settling questions of science or scientific behavior.
Of course, screening for HIV did essentially eliminate the transmission of this virus by transfusions.
Of course, there are diseases of which people die.
Originally, in the early eighties, the drug hypothesis was among the first which occurred to scientists.
Questions have also arisen about AIDS being transmitted to hemophiliacs via blood transfusions.
Roughly speaking, this hypothesis asks whether drug use causes some of the diseases officially associated with AIDS, such as immunodeficiency and Kaposi's sarcoma.
They cannot count on the press and they cannot count on Congressional committees to bring the problems of the scientific community to their own attention, or to police the scientific community.
What standards are upheld by the scientific community affect the community internally, and also affect its relations with society at large, including Congress.
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Alfred North Whitehead
Carl Friedrich Gauss
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