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Both scientists and their ideas have often been described as "heretical," "before their time," or "rebellious" against a status quo. However, it is impossible to attach a philosophically and historically precise definition to these terms: since Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) historians, philosophers, and sociologists of science accept that novelty and sweeping reassessments are a structural part of the history of science and scientific knowledge. It is therefore hard to pin down what a "heretic" in science is, despite common usage of the term, because a dissenting scientist who defies current conventional wisdom of their colleagues can become a standard-bearer of a new consensus, (for example, Howard Temin) or permanently consigned to the ranks of conspiracy theorists and pseudoscientists (for example, HIV/AIDS denialist Peter Duesberg.)

The philosophers of science Oren Harman and Michael Dietrich therefore suggest using the term "iconoclast" to describe scientists who habitually seek novelty or chafe at scientists' social conventions, and "iconoclasm" to describe attempts to change the "iconic" theories and assumptions that form the heart of many scientific disciplines. In this sense, Temin's "iconoclastic" theory of reverse transcription destroyed the "icon" of the Central Dogma that had been so essential in the early development of molecular biology (see 1.5 John Coffin — The Origin of Molecular Retrovirology)

For a fuller discussion see Oren Solomon Harman and Michael R. Dietrich, eds., Rebels, Mavericks, and Heretics in Biology (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008).

Found 6 search result(s) for iconoclasm OR heretic OR heresy.

Page: 1.5 John Coffin — The Origin of Molecular Retrovirology (HIV/AIDS Research: Its History & Future Meeting)
... I think that's entirely possible. I think there's still room for heresy in science. I think there's a need for heresy in science to be honest with you. You have to pick your heretic though. A lot of guys who are talking heresy ...
Apr 27, 2021
Page: 2.6 Tony Fauci — 35 Years of HIV/AIDS: Science and Policy (HIV/AIDS Research: Its History & Future Meeting)
... missed opportunities with opportunities to confections in the '80s. Given all that, the importance of both scientific heresy and of good science, well, what would you have done different over ...
May 25, 2021
Page: 1.6 Harold Varmus — Animal Retroviruses and Cancer Research (HIV/AIDS Research: Its History & Future Meeting)
... my contemporaries, I was drawn to two things, the possibility of a 00:01:30 heretical life cycle, John used that word several times, and the capacity of these viruses to cause ...
Apr 27, 2021
Page: 4.1 Ronald Desrosiers — The Origin of SIVmac: Non-human Primate Models for HIV (HIV/AIDS Research: Its History & Future Meeting)
... applications, 00:15:00 most of which were listed by Jeff Lifson. #iconoclasm in science           At the time, however, of this publication, the viral etiology of AIDS was being questioned—Peter ...
Apr 27, 2021
Page: 3.5 Daria Hazuda: Discovery and Development of Integrase Inhibitors (HIV/AIDS Research: Its History & Future Meeting)
... Engelman, Alan N.  freezer  Grandgenett, Duane P.  iconoclasm in science  implants, drug delivery implants, implantable antiretroviral therapy ...
Apr 27, 2021
Page: 5.3 Michael Malim — Discovery of APOBEC Restriction (HIV/AIDS Research: Its History & Future Meeting)
... health care Human Genome Project (HGP, 1990–2003) iconoclasm in science Imperial College London in vitro vs. in vivo influenza ...
Apr 27, 2021

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