Thursday, April 9, 2009


"Just before WWII, total research and development funding in the United States, public and private together, amounted to approximately $250 million per year. By the mid-1950s, the federal share along had grown to more than $2 billion, reaching $63 billion in 1989, and in 1993 becoming half of all research and development spending in the United States at $76 billion. Federal research money has turned into the major funding source for universities and other institutions, expanding and reshaping departments in its wake ... the total number of science doctorates awarded each year has increased from under 6,000 in 1960 to nearly 17,000 in 1979 ... as a result, "of every eight scientists who ever lived [in the history of the world], seven are alive today [in 1969]" ... Competition among large numbers of scientists for one or a few central sources of funding restricts freedom of thought and action to a mean that appeals to the majority. The scientist who is very productive, most able to sell research, and well liked for not offending his peers for new hypotheses and ideas is selected by his peers for funding. The eccentic, "absent-minded professor" with "crazy" ideas has been replaced by a need breed of scientist, more like a "yuppie" executive than the quirky genius of old academia. These peers cannot afford a nonconformist, or unpredictable, thinker because every new, alternative hypothesis is a potential threat to their own line of research. Albert Einstein would not get funded for his work by the peer review system, and Linus Pauling did not (for his work on vitamin C and cancer even though he received two Nobel Prizes). The only benefit of the numerous cascades of competitive tests and reviews set up by peer review is the elimination of unsophisticated charlatans and real incompetence. In sum, the review of too many by too many achieves but one result with certainty: regression to the mean ... a scientists's grants, publications, positions, awards, and even invitations to conferences are entirely conntrolled by his competitors. As in any other profession, no scientist wecomes being out-competed or having his pet idea disproved by a colleague ... The transition from small to big to megascience has created an establishment of skilled technicians but mediocre scientsts, who have abandoned real scientific interpretation and who even equate their experiments with science itself."

Duesberg, Inventing the AIDS virus, p. 67

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