ENGLAND'S THE SPECTATOR (Feb. 20) favorably
reviewed a new book that described Peter Duesberg's experience at
UC-Berkeley as a stark example of academics who are effectively
silenced by their peers for articulating conclusions that contradict
prevailing paradigms, even as those peers piously advocate academic
freedom and the scientific method.
Reading University philosophy lecturer David Oderberg wrote the
review, entitled, "Rhetoric and reality," about Gordon
Moran's book, Silencing Scientists and Scholars in Other Fields.
Moran documents the scandal involving AIDS research, where vested
interests in what he calls the "scientific-government-pharmaceutical
complex" have combined to convince the world that AIDS is caused
by a virus. At the same time the complex has deliberately sought
to silence Professor Peter Duesberg, once the world's most renowned
virologist and now a sidelined and suppressed voice who has to scrabble
around for publishers willing to let him prove to the world that
AIDS is not virus-induced, as evidenced by the existence both of
HIV-free AIDS sufferers and of HIV-positive people who have been
in the best of health for years.
Moran describes similar cases, Oderberg writes, most interestingly
one involving a Duesberg hector, the NIH's David Baltimore who "tried
to suppress the work of NIH scientists who sought to expose errors
in Baltimore's own research. The errors were eventually published,
but the careers of the whistle blowers suffered. Similar incidents
have occurred at Yale, Harvard and many other [universities]. University
heads have sometimes even been found giving speeches eulogizing
academic freedom while their own disciplinary committees were in
the process of silencing scholars."
Moran's passion for exposing the sham of academic freedom springs
from his own experience as a suppressed scholar. In 1977, Moran,
an art historian, challenged the accepted attribution of a famous
painting. This caused an uproar among art scholars. Art journals
stopped publishing his letters, and he suffered other retributions
that he assumed did not exist in academia.
Examining the topic of academic freedom -- which he originally assumed
typified university life -- revealed that his experience with censors
and gatekeepers was common rather than anomalous.
Oderberg continues: "Graduate students learn early that if
they want a job they should avoid challenging the research of their
supervisors or potential examiners, or indeed launching any challenge
against the 'paradigm,' the received view, in their field."
Moran attributes the impulse to suppress these challenges to what
he terms "paradigm dependency."
Oderberg concludes that "vested interests, such as the millions
of pounds channeled into AIDS research -- the AIDS gravy train --
[should not be] allowed."