Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Martin, B, The burden of proof and the origin of acquired immune deficiency syndrome, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Science, 2001, 356(1410), 939-943.


There is a distinct difference in the way that different theories about the origin of AIDS have been treated, with the widely supported cut-hunter theory given relatively little scrutiny while the oral-polio-vaccine theory has been subject to intense criticism. This difference in treatment cannot be explained as application of the scientific method. A better explanation is that the burden of proof is put on all contenders to the cut-hunter theory, giving it an unfair advantage, especially given that this assignment of the burden of proof appears to reflect nonscientific factors.





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