EVER SINCE it came into being the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) has proudly proclaimed itself the scourge of the "new nonsense": astrology, ESP, UFOs and other phenomena of which it does not approve. Its pronouncements on these and other subjects have received widespread attention and uncritical acceptance in the news media.
Critics such as Fate, professional parapsychologists and moderate skeptics like former CSICOP cochairman Prof. Marcello Truzzi, sociologist at Eastern Michigan University, have questioned the Committee's commitment to objective, scientific investigation of paranormal claims and have accused some CSICOP spokesmen of misrepresenting issues and evidence. But such dissenting views were little noticed by media writers eager to headline sensational -- although frequently unsupported -- debunking claims.
The story that follows, written by a man who is himself skeptical of the paranormal, confirms what critics of CSICOP have long suspected: that the organization is committed to perpetuating a position, not to determining the truth. -- The Editors.
I used to believe itwas simply a figment of the National Enquirer's weekly imaginationthat the Science Establishment would cover up evidence for theoccult. But that was in the era B.C. -- Before the Committee. I referto the "Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of theParanormal" (CSICOP), of which I am a cofounder and on whose rulingExecutive Council (generally called the Council) I served for someyears.
I am still skeptical of the occult beliefs CSICOP wascreated to debunk. But I have changed my mind about the integrity ofsome of those who make a career of opposing occultism.
I now believe that if a flying saucer landed in the backyardof a leading anti-UFO spokesman, he might hide the incident from thepublic (for the public's own good, of course). He might swiftlyconvince himself that the landing was a hoax, a delusion or an"unfortunate" interpretation of mundane phenomena that could beexplained away with "further research."
The irony of all this particularly distresses me since bothin print and before a national television audience I have stated thatthe conspiratorial mentality of believers in occultism presents areal political danger in a voting democracy. Now I find that the verygroup I helped found has partially Justified thismentality.
CSICOP originated with the statement"Objections to Astrology," published in the September-October 1975issue of The Humanist. "Objections" was signed by 186scientists, including 18 Nobel prizewinners, who were justly upset atthe growing newspaper exploitation of a public that wasn't beinginformed that astronomy and astrology aren't the same thing."Objections" and its child CSICOP were both the creation of TheHumanist's then-editor Paul Kurtz and received widespreadnational publicity.
Unfortunately the statement was published (both in TheHumanist and by Kurtz's own private publishing housePrometheus Books) in conjunction with a largely valuable articlewhich included a misconceived attack (by Lawrence Jerome) upon theclaims of the prominent French neoastrologers Michel and FrancoiseGauquelin. Almost none of the signers read Jerome's analysis beforepublication.
Concerned that such an attack could cause trouble for therationalist movement, I contacted Kurtz for the first time by phoneon November 3, 1975.
He admitted privately that I was just one of a number ofscientists who had called him about this article immediately afterThe Humanist published it. But the "Objections"statement was rushed into print intact, along with the uncorrectedarticle, by Prometheus.
The embarrassment was compounded when Michel Gauquelin proved tobe a more skilled statistician than his critic -- and intimatedpossible legal action. Kurtz, under some pressure from within the AHAfor his antiparanormal effort, realized he had a problem. Publicly headmitted no error but privately was frantic to attack Gauquelin inprint. Uncle Remus might say, Br'er Kurtz, he could just hardlywait to sock that TARBABY a second time to force him to release thestuck first fist.
During that first phone conversation Kurtz urged me to write anarticle refuting Gauquelin -- in about two weeks -- to beat adeadline for the January-February 1976 issue of TheHumanist. This is not, it need hardly be said, the way ofwell-researched scholarship.
All that fall of 1975 Kurtz was mailing Jerome, me and UCLAastronomer Prof. George Abell reams of articles relating toGauquelin, including the lengthy March 1975 report and alibis of theBelgian Comite Para which some years earlier, to its surprise, hadconfirmed the approximate successrate Gauquelin had predicted in hisstrongest alleged neoastrological correlation, now generally calledthe "Mars Effect": Gauquelin's results showed that 22 percent ofEuropean sports champions are born with Mars rising (Sector 1) ortransiting (Sector 4), to express it roughly. Since Gauquelin dividesthe sky into 12 sectors, the purely chance probability of Mars' beingin a prespecified pair of sectors is about 2/12 or 17 percent, wellbelow the observed rate of 22 percent. For the 2088 sports championsin Gauquelin's sample, such a difference is statistically verysignificant (because of the largeness of the sample); the odds aremillions-to-one against its having occurred by chance.
I did what I could with the material at hand. Even whilecontinuing to analyze this strange problem, I sent Kurtz a paperwhich he relayed to others interested in the case, among them Jerome,Abell and Marvin Zelen (then director of the Statistical Laboratoryof the State University of New York at Buffalo, but soon to move onto Harvard University). The paper, while suggesting that there mightbe a natural explanation for the Mars Effect, explicitly noted thatif the European sampling was unreliable no amount ofanalysis (based on this sample) could be certain to detect that.
Thus, since a fresh sample and analysis of it would be an enormouslabor, my paper recommended that any new test offered Gauquelin beboth (a) extremely clear-cut in its predicted result and (b) freefrom the complexities and subtle bias-problems of sampling and of theastronomical/demographical influences that affected the expected("chance") level (to which experimental observed data, oncecollected, would be compared). I suggested a possible experiment thatwould satisfy these conditions: Could Gauquelin use the position ofMars in competing athletes' horoscopes to beat the posted odds onsporting events?
At this time we all wondered, like other scientists on firstacquaintance with the Mars Effect, if there was a possible "natural"(nonoccult) explanation. As seen from Earth, Mars appears near thesun more often than not. And birth rates are higher at dawn, when thesun enters Sector 1, so one would expect all births (not just sportschampions') to be slightly more frequent when Mars is in Sector 1.For convenience I will call this astronomical/demographical intrusion(or "influence") the "Mars/dawn" factor. We will return to this sincethe Keystone CSICOPs' inability to compute this factor (until yearsafter it was too late) was to prove their undoing.
My manuscript (which gently corrected the "Objections"-affiliatedfalse attack on Gauquelin) was not published in January-FebruaryHumanist on the grounds that it had arrived too latefor the deadline -- although it had been written in less than twoweeks. Instead Kurtz published two other papers in thatHumanist issue: one by Abell, on astrology in generaland Gauquelin in particular, which based its discussion of thegravitational effects of Mars on us upon a common popular-sciencemisconception, causing an error by a factor of a few million. Theother, by Zelen, was "A Challenge" to Gauquelin.
The Challenge was a classic control experiment:isolate the sports ability variable by comparing the Mars horoscopicpositions of the champions Gauquelin had already collected vs. theMars horoscopic positions of all other persons(nonsports champions), the "control" group, born aboutthe same time and place as the champions. If the control groupexhibits the same hit-rate (a "hit": being born when Mars resides incelestial Sector 1 or 4) as the champions, 22 percent, then clearlysports ability has nothing to do with the Mars Effect, which is thusrevealed as merely a by-product of purely natural influences. This iswhat the top CSICOPs expected to happen.
If the nonchampions' hit-rate turns out to be what Gauquelin hadsaid is correct for ordinary people, namely 17 percent, then thecontrol experiment has come out in Gauquelin's favor, since sportsability is isolated as the link to the five-percent difference.
The Challenge concluded (emphasis added): "We now have anobjective way for unambiguous corroboration ordisconfirmation. ... [Thus we may] settle thisquestion" -- statements leaving no doubt at all that if Gauquelin metthis test he would achieve confirmation of his claims.
I was appalled at the potential disaster that awaited if Zelen'spresumptions (that the European sample was unbiased and that thecause of the Mars Effect was a natural influence) were wrong. As Ichecked further into Gauquelin's output, I became convinced therewere serious problems in these presumptions. Kurtz said I shouldspeak with Abell whom I did not know personally. When I reached himby phone on December 6,1 said I was worried about the Challenge.
Abell snapped, "Oh-what's-wrong-with-it?" as if uttering one word.I explained politely that the Challenge depended entirely upon thevalidity of the European sampling. Abell said he was sure thatGauquelin was honest and the Mars Effect was just a natural influencein the data. I agreed that it had looked that way at first to me toobut that recent, still-proceeding attempts to verify the Mars/dawnfactor's actual effect left me in skeptical suspension of judgmentand thus in fear of possible trouble. Why gamble the outcome of acrucial experiment upon such an uncertain factor?
But to Abell that just wasn't worth bothering about. He was moreinterested in who I was. Had he ever heard of me'? Had we met atconferences?
I mentioned a few papers l'd published in top journals. Inaddition I pointed out a couple of errors in his upcoming paper (suchas the gravitational effect of Mars previously referred to) and Iurged that these be corrected before the issue went to press. He saidthey didn't matter; he'd rather leave them as they were.
Since Abell and Kurtz wanted to check Gauquelin's calculations, Ioffered to help since I had recently prepared an efficient computerprogram that would calculate all planets' positions to one arcminuteaccuracy, a program that could be adapted to the Gauquelin project.Abell said fine, just send it along. He spoke as if he were doing mea favor.
Declining his generosity, l repeated my offer to do the work if itwould help. He replied that it probably would be "easy" to compilesuch a program; after all, the astrological outfits now had computerhoroscopes. So I suggested he try those routes. In case he wished toconstruct his own program, l imparted a few elegant mathematicalshortcuts to assist him. l mention this because anyone who understoodthe necessary science would have quickly realized that I was anexperienced specialist in this area.
Nonetheless Abell subsequently told Kurtz and other CSICOPs that Iwas an "amateur" and he continued to say so until October 1978. Thiswas a major factor in CSICOP's decision to ignore me, the onlyplanetary-motion specialist ever involved in the Gauquelin project(which was, of course, a planetary-motion problem). At this point ofno return, Kurtz depended upon Abell's astronomical advice in hisdecisions on the Gauquelin investigation. It was to take them twoyears (and help) to perform the calculations Abell had called"easy."
I CONTINUED to examine the details ofGauquelin's claims and on January 23,1976, completed a mathematicalanalysis showing clearly that the "natural" Mars/dawn factor (a)couldn't come anywhere near explaining the Mars Effect and (b) hadbeen already included by Gauquelin in his reports'expected-frequency values. Although Gauquelin's method was differentfrom mine, our results were so similar that it was clear he had donethis part of his experiments correctly.
The Mars/dawn factor was the only possible "natural" influence(although Zelen and Abell didn't seem to realize it) that could havelifted the nonchampions' hit-rate from 17 to 22 percent.
I communicated this to Kurtz immediately and forcefully. Gettingno response, I phoned Zelen on March 8 and made an utterly fruitlessappeal. By this time the Challenge had been published. And moresupport for it was in press, to appear (over my strenuous objections)in March-April 1976 Humanist (page 53).
The forces of antioccultism met in Buffalo, N.Y., on April 30 andMay 1, 1976, to found CSICOP. I gave one of the Founders' Dayspeeches. It contained enough good press copy and one-liners to getme selected for the nine-man ruling Council of CSICOP.
Founders' Day was above all a media event. Reporters were wooedand catered to. I certainly had no objection to that, having hadlargely pleasant encounters with the media. But I was naive about theone overriding reality: a Committee that lives by the media willinevitably be ruled by its publicists, not by its scholars.
Once CSICOP was under way, I found myself not only on the rulingCouncil but also on the editorial board. Although most of the Fellowssought, like me, to battle pseudoscientific bunk, they disagreedabout the means. Except for the agreement to start a magazine(Zetetic, later Skeptical Inquirer) therewas little cohesion on public policy, a vacuum that was filled (ifnot in fact caused) by tacit cohesion on Private Priority Number Onefor active CSICOP Fellows: maximum personal press coverage.
Neither I nor most other Councilors were to be reinvolved in theGauquelin affair for some time, since Kurtz was handling it inThe Humanist, which he still edited.
I referred to Gauquelin's results in a paper forHumanist publication sent to Kurtz on June 5, 1976, apaper soon thereafter sent to Marcello Truzzi and eventuallypublished in Skeptical Inquirer (Fall-Winter 1977). Itattacked Gauquelin's Mars Effect on various grounds, pointedlyexcluding the Mars/ dawn factor on which Kurtz, Zelen and Abell(hereafter to be called KZA) were gambling CSICOP's reputation.
The September-October 1976 issue of Humanistpublished a paper by Abell and son, with commentary (formallycoauthorship) by the Gauquelins. I did not see it until much later.Kurtz was no longer sending galleys or confiding to me the details ofhis increasing obsession with his neoastrological sTARBABY.
The paper had a number of important features. For one thing, Abellaffirmed Zelen's "unambiguous corroboration or disconfirmation"statement. As Abell put it, it "appears to be a definitive test." Hewent on, "The [control] test will be refereed by adisinterested and competent committee of scientists, and we hope thatthe results will be available in about six months." In fact, the testwas never neutrally refereed -- and the time estimatewas equally ironic.
Reading Abell's article, I was struck, first, with the realizationthat every calculation was simple arithmetic. His computer analysisrelied on an almanac provided by the U.S. Naval Observatory whichlisted Mars' celestial longitudes at a fixed interval. Instead ofusing spherical trigonometry to convert Mars' positions to equatorialcoordinates (as the Gauquelin experiment required), Abell stuck withthe ecliptical coordinates of the USNO program.
Since Abell had indicated in December 1975 that he intended toverify computationally Gauquelin's original calculations, I wasamazed to read now, nearly a year later, that "we have notduplicated or checked the Gauquelins' original calculations"(my emphasis). How the devil could this be, when Abell had in hand(and was using in his simple-arithmetic analysis) a Mars almanac andall the birth data for the 2000-plus sports champions of Gauquelin'sfamous original Mars Effect study?
Incredibly, it appeared that over all the intervening months,Abell, the CSICOP Gauquelin-test subcommittee's sole astronomer, hadnot performed the elementary calculations of the astrologer he wastaking on! Abell drove Kurtz crazy with stalls, mostly variations onnot "having time" to do the work. Yet he found time to do all2000-plus calculations -- the wrong way -- for the paper we've justbeen analyzing!
WHEN 1977 opened, it had been v s thebetter part of a year since I had had any contact with the Gauquelinmatter. But Skeptical Inquirer (thenZetetic) editor Truzzi asked me to referee anantiastrology paper. l found to my astonishment that the paper waspromoting The Humanist and Comite Para theory (whichheretofore had not disgraced Skeptical Inquirer andCSICOP directly) that Gauquelin's results could be explained away bythe Mars/dawn demographical influences.
Incredulous that my 1975-76 warnings were still being ignored, lsent out on March 29, 1977, a full mathematical explanation of theMars/ dawn problem -- to no avail. The unkillable Mars/dawnmisconception appeared intact on page 50 of Spring-Summer 1977Skeptical Inquirer.
But Truzzi did not ignore the memo's implications. He phoned toask if I would object to his sending the memo to Gauquelin to showhim that not everyone on CSICOP disagreed with him. l told Truzzi togo ahead.
That summer Kurtz phone me in an agitated state. Gauquelin hadshown him the memo (apparently in early July). Then in AugustGauquelin attempted to quote the memo in an upcomingHumanist paper. Feeling that this would be mistaken assupport from me for Gauquelin, l wrote Kurtz to ask that he publish avery short paper (dated September 17, 1977), pointing out that (a)the Mars/dawn effect ( KZA's only "out," their sole semiplausiblehope of justifying the Control Test) could not explainaway Gauquelin's results; (b) there was in fact no "natural"explanation of the Mars Effect; (c) I believed that the sampling ofsports champions was amiss; and (d) I didn't believe Gauquelin'sclaims merited serious investigation yet.
Angry that I had let the Mars/dawn memo get into Gauquelin's handsin the first place, Kurtz urged that I ask Gauquelin not to makepublic use of it. He then used the memo's privacy (pretending thiswas my idea!) as a basis for deleting Gauquelin's comments on thememo -- and scratching my proposed September 17 paper altogether!
I did not yet understand Kurtz's anxiety over heading off mypublic dissent. He neglected to inform me that in press at this verytime was the upcoming KZA report on the Control Test (nonchampions)results. This report flew right in the face of the truth revealed inthe very memo l'd agreed to keep private only because Ibelieved KZA would pay attention to it.
The KZA Control Test report appeared in November-December 1977Humanist. It marked the beginning of the end ofCSICOP's credibility -- because it was at this point that thehandling of the Gauquelin problem was transformed from mere bunglingto deliberate cover-up.
Before publication the KZA Control Test report was shown to theonly other member of the Gauquelin subcommittee, Prof. ElizabethScott of the statistics department of the University of California atBerkeley, who was so upset ("I feel that the [paper's]discussion may be misleading") that she telephoned each one of theKZA trio (as I had done two years earlier). They ignored her.
Back in December 1975 Abell had expressed an interest in checkingGauquelin's celestial-sector positions but had not done this even forhis September-October 1976 Humanist article. Now thenew report (November-December 1977 Humanist, page 29)stated (emphasis added): "The committee ... has not ... yet[!] checked all [any?] of the[Gauquelin's celestial] computations. Prof. Owen Gingerich(astronomer at Harvard) is in the process of reviewing thecalculations concerning the position of Mars ..." In addition: "Thecommittee has agreed to make an independent test of the alleged MarsEffect by a study of sports champions born in the United States. Thistest is now under way."
As the data started to come in, KZA realized they were in deeptrouble on the Control Test (based on European data entirely computedby Gauquelin) and so were forced to propose the fresh-sample Americantest in a July 1977 meeting with Gauquelin. By autumn thebirth-record data were coming in for the American test. Now it wasnot a matter of just using Gauquelin's celestial calculations; CSICOPmust compute positions not previously done -- and no report could beissued until this was accomplished.
Kurtz started receiving the American birth data as early asSeptember. Stung by his private knowledge that he'd lost the ControlTest (as he confessed aloud at least once), he was frantic to get onwith the diversion of retesting (using the American sample) asquickly as possible.
By October 20 Kurtz, who was getting nothing from Abell andGingerich, phoned and asked me, betraying not the faintest sense ofirony, if I could do the work. He was so relieved at my consent thathe instantly added me to the subcommittee on Gauquelin (presumably toreplace Elizabeth Scott, now a nonperson). A CSICOP check for $100accompanied the first installment of 72 athletes' birth data.
Kurtz told me that this time he wanted an advance look at theresults, to see what was going to happen. He stressed that his sneakpeek was to be strictly confidential. In all innocence I probablybroke security first thing by phoning Abell in Los Angeles on October22 to ask where in San Diego I could gain access to a computer. (I'donly just moved to California.)
Abell protested that he was doing the work with Gingerich, andwhat the devil was Kurtz in such a rush for anyway? Although I agreedthat Kurtz was pushing, I remarked he'd waited two years and onemight forgive some impatience. Abell tried to talk me out of gettinginvolved but I stressed that this was entirely Kurtz's idea, notmine. He and Gingerich were free to compute these or any other databut Kurtz was hot to get a look at the way things were going to comeout.
Abell gave me the name of John Schopp of the astronomy departmentof San Diego State University (SDSU) who'd helped Abell with atextbook he'd written. So on October 27, two days after the birthdata arrived, I drove out to SDSU and met John and his colleague FredTalbert. Fred got me hooked up that evening. I fed the problem intothe computer, ran off the 72 positions and mailed a printout to Kurtzon the way home.
It's revealing that a lone "amateur" could perform at one sittinga project that the combined CSICOP forces of UCLA, Harvard and SUNYABdidn't get anywhere with for years, despite their access to a highlyaccurate U.S. Naval Observatory planetary-position program.
In succeeding weeks Kurtz mailed me further birth data as well asunsolicited cash. At one point (after 120 names) I told him by phone(he preferred hearing the accumulated score instantly, withoutwaiting the few days the mail took) that the key-sector score was nowat 22 percent. He groaned. l emphasized that the sample size was toosmall for the result to be statistically meaningful. He drew nocomfort from this remark. l asked if he were sure thatthis was a clean sample. He was, so I assured him that the score wasbound to revert to roughly 17 percent as the sample got larger --unless astrological claims were true, which I certainly didn'tbelieve.
Nonetheless he continued speaking in a pained voice, as someonecursed with a demon that would not go away.
Meanwhile KZA's November-December 1977 HumanistControl Test report appeared. No one then on CSICOP's Council (otherthan Kurtz) had seen it before publication. Yet it committed CSICOPto a cover-up course which ultimately sucked the whole Council intosTARBABY's goo, as one's willingness to go along with the cover-up(to protect The Cause) became a test of loyalty.
In the report KZA tried to obscure the clear success Gauquelin hadscored. The Control Test had entailed analyzing 16,756 nonchampionsborn near (in time and space) 303 champions (a subsample of theoriginal 2088 champions). KZA had believed that they too would scoreat 22 percent in key sectors ( I and 4) thus establishing that thechampions' 22 percent hitrate was "natural."
Instead the nonchampions scored at exactly the chance -level (17percent) that Gauquelin and I had predicted from ourMars/dawn-corrected expectation-curve analysis.
Faced with this disaster KZA pulled a bait-and-switch. (Thus thereport will be hereafter called the BS report.) Suddenly convertingtheir nonchampions test into a championstest, they attacked the subsample of 303 champions! The subsample hadof course been chosen simply as a means en route totesting the point KZA had proposed the Control Test Challenge for inthe first place, namely, was chance level 17 percent or 22percent?
Since the 303 had scored at 22 percent (like the full 2088) theonly ploy left was to protest that this 22 percent (ofthe 303) was not strongly statisticallysignificant (not as strong as for 2088). Now, anyone familiar withstatistics knows that no sample of 303 cases canproduce strongly significant results if one is trying to measure 22percent versus 17 percent rates. But you don't have to knowstatistics to realize that the attack on the 303-champion subsample'snonstrength could have been done before the 16,756nonchampions were collected and calculated -- at enormous cost intime and labor to Gauquelin (all 303 champion birth data had beencalculated and published years ago).
To sum up: the whole purpose of the Control Test -- of collectingnearly 17,000 nonchampions (the control group) -- had been to testwhether Gauquelin's champions' 22-percent hitrate was just a"natural" (nonastrological) function of the time and place of birth.Had the nonchampions control group shown at the 22-percent rate also,the "natural" hypothesis would have been confirmed and Gauquelin'sneoastrology would have been disconfirmed.
However, the opposite occurred. The nonchampions' rate turned outto be 17 percent, establishing the champions' 22-percent rate as areal, highly significant above-chance result.
I first read the Control Test report in March 1978 after seeing aletter in the March-April issue of Humanist fromLawrence Jerome who "congratulated" CSICOP for confirming hiserroneous 1975 analysis!
Incredibly Jerome was claiming Confirmation by the Zelen-Abelltest, °f his (and their) belief that astronomical/ demographicalbiases explained Gauquelin's 22-percent rate. "The [Control]test proved no such thing," I wrote Kurtz. "To the contrary,[Zelen and Abell] confirmed Gauquelin'sexpectation values ... showing that there was indeed about a17-percent probability for being in sectors I and 4 fornonchampions.... If I believed the European sample was clean (which Idon't), I would count the [Control] test as a major proof insupport of Gauquelin."
Years later I learned that Abell (as well as Kurtz) had known theawful truth all along. In 1980 1 obtained a copy of the smokiestSmoking Gun in this case, a letter written by Abell to Kurtz on April29, 1977, privately telling him what l've explained here in precedingparagraphs -- the same thing l'd often explained to KZA.
The Smoking Letter answers the same key question that hung overthe Watergate conspirators: When did they know? Theanswer is astonishing: over half a year before the cover-upControl Test report was published.
The letter admits that "in a sense" Gauquelin's calculation of a17-percent chance-level had been "vindicated." Abell says the verytest CSICOP had urged Gauquelin to carry out had shown his findingsto be "significant." He also says that the 22 percent applied toboth the 303 subsample champions and the full 2088.
The Smoking Letter to Kurtz reveals that KZA knew they were introuble. But as Abell learned pronto, Kurtz wasn't about to publishany letter that admitted Gauquelin had won the Control Test. He wasgoing to pretend that nothing had gone wrong.
Abell cosigned the BS report. Despite later claims that he didn'tknow what he was signing, Abell has never broken publicly with thisreport's united front.
Early in April I wrote KZA again, exhibiting in tabular formfurther difficulties with their report. KZA had suggested that thesubsample of 303 champions showed geographical variations. This movehad broken the subsample into subsubsamples! (Thesmaller a group, the weaker its ability to prove anythingstatistically.)
My April 6 letter's tables simply showed that none of thedeviations (of, say, Paris' hit-rate vs. Belgium's) werestatistically significant.
Again, Br'er Kurtz, he lay low: still no written reply.
In mid-April Kurtz visited California and we saw quite a bit ofeach other. He couldn't stop talking about the Gauquelin business. Inthe middle of conversations on other matters he would grow silent andgo back to discussing some possible "out."
During this visit and subsequent phone conversations Kurtz triedout various schemes for getting off the hook. My favorite was thenotion that Gauquelin fudged the nonchampions to force the scoredown to 17 percent.
Hilarious. First, if fraud or bias was involved, it would be lotseasier to work it on the smaller original champions sample. Second,it was ridiculous to suspect fraud simply because the nonchampionscame out at the very level chance would predict!
This is "scientific investigation" which CSICOP claims as itsmiddle name?
INCREDIBLY, despite all, I remained largelyunsuspicious -- indeed I was downright enthusiastic -- about CSICOPas a whole.
Late that spring of 1978 I was back East visiting my family.Simultaneously Kurtz was in a tizzy because the last American data inthe Gauquelin test had come in and he was as frantically impatient asever to get them computed -- even waking my family one night andthen, after finding I wasn't in, hanging up so abruptly that I founda note by the telephone the next morning asking me who this "Curts"was.
Since I was about to fly to Europe (and my files were back in SanDiego) I suggested Kurtz get Abell, Gingerich or Jerome to try to dothe work. But Kurtz kept pleading.
So I postponed my European trip.
I bothered the Loyola College computer people for a computernumber and time. Next I hired trusted friend Mary Kidd to determinetime zones (for the whole American test to date). Since she wassympathetic to astrology (and was not told that Gauquelin wasinvolved), this would eliminate possible bias on my part. Needless tosay, this is the sort of precaution that should have been applied(much more rigorously) at the sampling stage.
Mary interrupted her affairs to rush the zone-determinations workand get it back to me. I went right to the computer and stayed up allnight typing in the program and the data. The next morning, June 8,all 325 athletes' sector-positions were computed, tabulated anddropped in the mail to Kurtz.
No sooner was this task finished and the American test supposedlycompleted than Kurtz phoned me up and said oops, we accidentallymissed a lot of names -- they'll be sent right away to the states'birth-record offices and we'll get the birth data back late thissummer .
So the whole push-and-shove aggravation of all those helpfulpeople had been as needless as the original Control TestChallenge.
I returned to San Diego some weeks later. The last 82 names camein at summer's end.
I ran off the final data at SDSU. The cumulative score was not 22percent or 17 percent but only 13'/2 percent -- stronglyanti-Gauquelin. On September 18 I sent Kurtz a table of the totalsfor all 407 American athletes along with a brief report on theresults which included gentle corrections of the various past errorspublished by CSICOP Fellows throughout this affair.
Since I had performed all the science of the American experimentthat had reversed the earlier (Control Test) Gauquelin victory overCSICOP (lifting a three-year curse from Kurtz's shoulders), Iinnocently thought that Kurtz could hardly refuse again to publish mydissent. In a covering note I made it clear that this time I wouldinsist. The moment Kurtz read this, l was a dead CSICOP in his royaleyes.
When the report arrived on September 20, Kurtz phoned to gushabout how much he liked it, adding, however, that Zelen and Abellmight not agree. Then he casually asked if I could send along thereadout of individual positions too. He spoke of the upcoming Councilmeeting and press conference (to be held in Washington, D.C., onDecember 6, 1978) and assured me my travel fare would be paid.
The very next day, without even waiting for the data to arrive,Kurtz wrote Abell to suggest that KZA confer and prepare the testreport for publication (excluding me). He did this, l remind thereader, less than 24 hours after assuring me he was eager to publishmy September 18 report.
Kurtz's letter also called on Zelen and Abell -- the very menwhose long immobility on the Gauquelin project had led to my beingasked to do the computation -- to verify the work! Kurtz enclosed forAbell the readouts of the first 325 celestial-sector positionswithout saying anything to me about it, since I had emphasized thatproviding answers is the worst way to get independent checks ofthem.
It is obvious from his September 21 letter that Kurtz's promise,made the day before, to publish my report was being rethought.
Sure enough, once the calculations for the last 82 athletes hadreached him, Kurtz phoned me and made two things clear:
(1) He wasn't so sure that The Humanist was theright place after all for my report. He mentioned SkepticalInquirer. (Later he welched even there.)
(2) He didn't think he could pay my way to the meeting inWashington.
With Kurtz's letter Abell received my answers for 325 of theAmerican athletes. Ten days later Abell still had not reproducedthem. With Kurtz frantically pushing for verification Abell wasfeeling the pressure. On October 5 he called to rage at me for overan hour. I call it the Jaws phone call.
Abell started it by complaining that KZA hadn't-had-the-time tocompute the 407 data, adding that I had. He asked me to describe mymethod to him allegedly because he was supposed to check my work.Since he now had all the answers from Kurtz, there was no longer anygood scientific reason not to. So I did -- especially after findingthat Abell still had a misconceived idea of how to perform the sectorcalculations.
Abell asked me to send a copy of my computer-program so that hecould verify it. l responded that obviously it would be simpler justto check a few of the answers he now possessed via hand-calculationout of the American Ephemeris & NauticalAlmanac.
Nevertheless Abell persisted, eventually justifying himself bysaying he wanted to check out all the ordmag 1000 lines of theprogram to insure its accuracy! At any rate, l refused to give theprogram to anyone talking such transparent nonsense.
Abell couldn't believe that my calculations were correct becausethe score had come out at 13 1/2 percent instead of 22 percent. Hewondered if I had tampered with the sample. I replied the sample camefrom Kurtz.
By choice I had had nothing to do with gathering the sample.Obviously neither had Abell. Nonetheless Kurtz insisted that Abellcoauthor the lengthy published Skeptical Inquirerreport. Unfortunately "coauthorship" in a Kurtz publication need notrequire that you cowrite "your" paper -- or even read it beforepublication. Your name gets tacked on to add prestige -- and you getto read all about it when it's published!
Abell asked countless questions about my academic training.Obviously unaware that my papers on planetary motion had beenpublished in eminent astronomical journals here and abroad, hedemanded, "How do I know you're not just a bullshitter?"
On October 6, the day after the Jaws call, Abell phoned San DiegoState University to verify his suspicion that someone besides the"amateur" had actually done the Gauquelin experiment computations. Hevisited SDSU on the 11th, questioning at least two more scholars, whotold him I had seemed quite competent when I delivered a recentlecture to an astronomy department symposium.
Between September 20 and late October I spoke fairly regularlywith Kurtz regarding the Gauquelin problem and the upcoming December6 Washington press conference. His private intentions surfaced assoon as his use for my work was finished.
Soon enough it became apparent that not only was Abell beinginvited to the press conference, he was to be the CSICOP spokesman onastrology in Washington -- this despite Kurtz's open admission in ourconversations over the previous months that there had been a screw-upin the UCLA and Harvard experts' calculations. But now suddenly hebegan disremembering he'd ever said that!
I had now to face the fact that Kurtz was trying to suppress mydissenting report and (by not paying my travel fare) keep me from theDecember Council meeting, while inviting to Washington as a prominentCSICOP authority the very person whose appointed task I hadmyself performed.
I phoned Kurtz on October 23 in one final attempt to impress uponhim the fact that he was locking CSICOP into an investigation thatwould curse the Committee to its dying day. It was the only time Iever raised my voice in any CSICOP dealings.
I hammered at Kurtz that the Control Test project he had led usinto had been irretrievably lost and it was discreditable to pretendotherwise. Even if Gauquelin had faked the control(nonchampions) sample (which I don't believe for a moment he did),such a point cannot be raised post hoc -- because CSICOP should havehad the foresight to keep the sample-taking from getting intoGauquelin's interested hands in the first place, especially sinceprior to the challenge I had warned KZA not to trust Gauquelin'ssampling. What use is it to run tests if the side whose hypothesisloses can just scream "fake" as it pleases?
Kurtz seemed uncharacteristically subdued. Finally, when I pointedout that he was backing down on his promise to publish my report inThe Humanist, he said he couldn't publish it there nowfor the simple reason that a day or so earlier he'd been fired asHumanist editor after 11 years at the post.
Concurrently a subplot was developing. On October 15 CouncilorJames Randi phoned and I mentioned some of my problems with KZA. Onthe 18th, when Randi phoned again, l remarked how odd it was that Ihad no written record (despite requests for such made over manymonths). Would Randi speak with Kurtz and get some firm answers? Thenext day Randi wrote a trial letter to Kurtz and sent me a checkingcopy before mailing it.
In the letter Randi agreed I was right in arguing that theGauquelin test had been ill-designed and should not have been done.Now that the whole thing had backfired, Kurtz -- out of his depthwhen he attempted a scientific experiment -- was clearly responsible.Randi also criticized Abell for snooping into my background. If thiswas the way CSICOP business was going to be conducted, then CSICOPswere no better than the parapsychologists who covered up theirmistakes. Randi asked why my expenses to the Washington meeting werenot being paid and concluded by admitting that he was "mad," sayinghe seldom wrote such a letter except to parapsychologists. He assuredKurtz that no one besides him, Martin Gardner and me would seeit.
I called Randi on the 21st and urged him to phone Kurtz to get hisimmediate reaction to the letter. For obvious reasons I didn't wantto give Kurtz a lot of time to concoct fresh excuses.
After he had talked with Kurtz Randi called me back on the 23rdsaying only that KZA had still not confirmed my calculations. Randi'scall, which indicated trouble was brewing, seems to have inspiredAbell. Two days later, using the method explained to him on October5, he got the same answers as I had. He phoned me the news thatevening (October 25) and urged that I do an expectation-curve for theAmerican sample. I suggested he do the math. As a matter of fact l'dalready done it myself and had mailed copies of the results toGardner and Randi two days earlier.
On October 23 I had sent some background documents concerningsTARBABY to Randi and Gardner. Gardner wrote back six days later,chuckling about what an incredibly hilarious foul-up the whole thinghad turned out to be. To a further packet of documents he repeatedhis feeling of deep amusement but he wasn't interested in doinganything about it.
When Kurtz phoned me on October 31, 1 (as a member of the CSICOPsubcommittee on Gauquelin) asked for copies of Committee records andhis correspondence with the various appropriate parties on theGauquelin experimentation, thus putting to the test my hypothesisthat he was deliberately avoiding the written word. Kurtz refused tosend anything and said the dealings had been almostentirely by phone. (Later I saw copies of important correspondenceand learned this was not true.)
On November 2 I wrote KZA asking:
(1) What was being looked for in the ControlTest?
(2) Did KZA and Humanist readers know this fromthe start?
(3) Wasn't the test designed to show that thecontrol group (nonchampions) would or wouldn't score at 22 percentlike the champions? And if the control group had scored at 22percent, wouldn't you have publicly concluded that Gauquelin lost thechallenge?
(4) If you carry through your current plan todeclare the Control Test "invalid," what if Gauquelin then challengesyou to repeat it yourself? (Gauquelin would have won regardless;Abell later figured this out . )
(5) If a "valid" repetition isn't possible, arewe not back at square one, where we were at the time of warnings notto get into this mire?
(6) If the Control Test is repeated, what do welook for?
(7) What will be your and CSICOP's position ifthe test again comes out in Gauquelin's favor (as I know itwill)?
(8) Did you (or colleague) make any pretestestimates of approximate magnitude of astronomical/demographic[Mars/dawn] effects -- before issuing a challenge, theoutcome of which depended entirely upon this question? Were youacquainted with any of Gauquelin's detailed quantitative discussionsof these matters?
(9) The Bait-and-Switch (BS): "Why collect16,756 new nonchampions -- and then attack [in the BS report]a [sub]sample of 303 old champion data because it is toosmall when it is in fact typical of the whole (22 percent success,just like the full sample of 2088, which is certainly not too small)and is about twice as large as you requested in your originalchallenge (Humanist, January-February 1976, page 33)? ... I have nowritten reply ... to this or any other point raised since thebeginning of our involvement with the Gauquelin question ... I willask the CSICOP editorial board to have the nonchampions[Control] test refereed by neutral judges before theCommittee becomes any further entangled in this endless thicket, viapublication in the hitherto-spared Skeptical Inquirer."
I had strongly protested the high-handedness of the choice ofAbell as speaker at the annual meeting because of his involvementwith sTARBABY. I emphasized that CSICOP had plenty of astronomersassociated with it (Carl Sagan, Bart Bok, Edwin Krupp and others),all of them nearer Washington than Abell who lived all the way acrossthe country, in the Los Angeles area.
Frustrated at being presented with a fait accompli regarding thepermanent attachment of the sTARBABY albatross to CSICOP, I indicatedthat, since this had been done without consultation with me-(the soleastronomer on the Council), I was being forced to register a dissent(which had repeatedly been denied me in the pages of Kurtz'smagazine) perhaps at the same press conference at which the damage toCSICOP was to occur, in order to ameliorate that damage. Such aprospect chilled the Council.
Kurtz's initial move was a threat that Zelen and Abell would be onhand personally to settle my hash at the private December 5 Councilmeeting. I asked if that were a promise.
On November 19 Kurtz called in the worst shape l'd ever found him.The prospect of a discordant CSICOP voice's being heard at hisorchestrated press conference had badly frazzled his nerves. Duringthe conversation he invoked, rather emotionally, our past mutualefforts -- for example in removing editor Truzzi.
I believe he felt genuinely bewildered and betrayed. To himreportage of contrary results was basically a political, not ascientific, matter. There was no chance of communicating on this. Tome Kurtz was a censor. To him I was a traitor. Both of us felt a lackof gratitude.
He got to the point: he didn't want any trouble in Washington. Ina strong, emotion-strained whisper he virtually hissed, "I'll doanything to avoid trouble."
I said fine, just get me some written answers to my questions onthe Control Test and don't invite Abell to speak at the meeting.Kurtz said he had "no time" (sound familiar?) for written replies;then, contradicting his own account of October (when he'd said to me,hey, let's invite George), he added that Abell had been invited wayback in August
Kurtz had earlier maintained his long secrecy about Abell's speechinvitation because he thought I would want to speak instead (andwould otherwise be so miffed I mightn't finish the U S data if Ilearned of Kurtz's intentions) So now he offered to let me speak tooI told him that he obviously didn't understand the problem
Yet one must realize that in his own mind Kurtz had every reasonto believe he'd found his solution Another chapter in our ongoinganthropology lesson: the clash of two alien cultures, publicrelations vs. scholarship
Kurtz tried another let's-make-a-deal ploy, bursting out. "But Iagree with you" He went on to blame the whole sTARBABYmess on Zelen and Abell! They had led him into the pit!But he would do nothing beyond private assent
After we had finished! I phoned Randi to report Kurtz was tryingto buy silence on the Gauquelin mess. By the next day (November 20) aCouncil deal had been concocted (and offered) that would have mechair the astrology section of the press conference. Of course thiswould entail my introducing Abell. My reply was the old adage that aman who can't be bribed can't be trusted
At this Kurtz exploded in raging fear that his holy pressconference would be ruined. He immediately phoned the Councilors andexpressed concern that I might attack the Gauquelin project from thefloor during the conference; some way had to be found to get mekicked off the Council. (This sudden search for a pretext to eject me-- the first suggestion of the need for my demise -- should be keptin mind because Council is now at great pains to dredge upany other sort of "offense" on my part as the goodreason for booting me To borrow from the business world, let usrecall the immortal words of J. P. Morgan: "For every action thereare two reasons: a good reason and the real reason.")
RANDI AND I drove to Washington together onDecember 4. Late that afternoon while Michael Hutchinson and I werein Randi's suite, Kurtz called to speak with me.
He immediately accused me of lying and conspiring against him(this only a few days after trying to organize a secret movement tohave me thrown off the Council for the crime of dissent). )I asked him to cite a single falsehood l'd ever told him. Unable toname one, he asked me to say what I thought his deceits were. Ioffered to provide a partial catalog if he were really interested --but would do it at the Council meeting the next day.
Kurtz wanted to know if I intended to attack sTARBABY at the pressconference. When I refused to make any promises, Kurtz grew morefurious. We couldn't have a "schism," he said.
Council met the next day at Councilor Phil Klass' apartment. Inoticed that Randi was his usual friendly self when Kurtz wasn'taround but when he was within earshot Randi made different noises. Herepeatedly cracked loudly, "Drink the Kool-Aid, Dennis." (This wasshortly after the Jonestown Kool-Aid mass suicide.) During theafternoon meeting, when we established a rule for expellingCouncilors, Randi bellowed that it is called the "Rawlins rule."
Randi meant, of course, that expulsion could come for publicdissent. No other Councilor present (Gardner was not) said a word tosuggest any other inference. I might add that two months later Randifoolishly boasted about how he "had to work to keep Dennis in line"in Washington, having convinced himself, apparently, that his threatshad kept me quiet.
How these things grow! In 1975 and 1976 it was just a dumb,arrogant mistake by only three CSICOP Fellows. In 1977 it was theirBS report, deliberate deception-cover-up. The next year, 1978,brought Kurtz's attempts first to bribe me and then (secretly) toeject me. Now there were Randi's threats.
As we were milling around, one Councilor asked where Abell was.Indeed, where was Abell? This, after all, was the awaited moment ofthe showdown Kurtz had threatened -- to blow away the amateur (Zelenalso didn't show.) CSICOP's leader announced that Abell had a coldand was confined to his room. I wondered if it was a paranormal flubug that might wane just in time to permit Abell to give hispress-conference speech next day. (It did.)
The evening session studiously avoided the prescheduled Gauquelindiscussion. Finally I raised the issue. Klass helpfully jumped in tosay that it was too late in the evening. Kurtz perversely objectedthat Abell and Zelen weren't there Randi said not a word -- butSkeptical Inquirer editor Ken Frazier said l'd waitedpatiently and Ray Hyman suggested we discuss the matter.
I started right out by saying that this was an issue that woulddetermine whether the Committee was worthy of existence. Theprovisional hope to jettison sTARBABY was now impossible. Thelanguage of the original Control Test Challenge and subsequenttestaments to its "definitive" nature had left no way around the factthat we had lost and Gauquelin had won.
Klass, ever ready with useful remarks, interrupted to say that allthis sounded like "just a lot of griping."
Randi continued to say nothing except at one point he suggestedthat I not answer even the direct questions of a reporter at theupcoming press conference .
Kurtz wouldn't admit that sTARBABY was a loss. He fell back on thealleged support of the absent Abell and Zelen. so I reminded him ofour November 19 phone conversation in which he had tried privately toblame the whole mess on them I then produced and read CouncilorGardner's letter calling the Control Test a hilarious mess At thispoint Kurtz sprang from his seat and roared, "Well, you're wrong!" Hegrabbed the letter, glanced at it in disbelief and announced thatGardner didn't know what he was talking about
Continuing with his helpful suggestions, Klass urged that I statethe problem in writing! (I was the only party who had )
During all this Kurtz never took into account the depth of myreluctance to harm CSICOP, a movement I had cofounded with him So toKurtz's surprise and temporary relief I said nothing at the pressconference and did not even raise my hand to ask a question Naively,I still had hopes for CSICOP -- shortly to be dashed forever
From the press conference we went to lunch I was asked to sit withAbell and Kurtz Disturbed that I was yet again getting into anonwritten exchange, I quickly went over to Ken Frazier and BobSheaffer and told them that things were probably going to be said towhich there ought to be an outside witness Would either come and sitin on it? Not a chance -- both flatly refused It was then I knewCSICOP would probably never get well
Abell and I were introduced. He remembered to mention his cold andat first sniffed convincingly (especially for someone with no redaround his nose) but neglected to do so later.
Now, 10 minutes after the completion of his press conference withno embarrassment, Kurtz's plan to suppress my dissenting September 18report came out of the closet As the three of us sat down to lunch,Kurtz and Abell said they and Zelen would write the published reportand in it thank me for doing the calculations. Whereas earlier Kurtzhad tried to disavow blame for sTARBABY, this time it was Abell whowas unloading responsibility for it When I expressed abhorrence ofthe BS report, Abell replied that he was in Europe and didn't read itbefore cosigning it Kurtz shot back, "Oh, yes, you did!"
A few minutes later Christopher Evans (since deceased) came by andtook the empty fourth chair at our table Within seconds of hisjoining us Abell had told him of his BBC television series and allthree were talking of such matters. Right then it dawned on me I hadcome to promote open-ended scientific research -- but the realpurpose here was media wheeling and dealing And that is why we weremeeting at the temple of CSICOP's faith, the National Press Club
The subsequent afternoon proceedings dealt primarily withinternational organizing and publicity schemes But no one seemedinterested in defining what all the hoopla was for.Which was reasonable enough -- because that was what itwas for.
ON JANUARY 17, 1979, I wrote a memorandumon the dirty dealing I'd witnessed. I sent it and another memo ("OnFighting Pseudoscience with Pseudoscience") to most of CSICOP'sFellows. I inquired of Bart Bok if he could find a competentastronomer to take over my duties.
The first Fellow to phone Randi about the memoranda asked himabout various charges they contained Randi admitted uncomfortablythat they were true as far as he knew -- but then he quickly changedthe subject
More often, however, the Councilors -- the same ones who hadchided me for ad hominems -- declared, "Dennis is just a wild man "Someone who acts on principle probably does appear toCSICOPs to be a creature from the antipodes.
Since we're speaking of "wild": Klass and Randi reacted to myJanuary memos by claiming they couldn't understand theindictment!
Klass added another fantastic touch to Council's reaction,contending that it was fruitless to try to "turn back the clock likeUri Geller." Funny, I used to know a Phil Klass who circulated longlists of conflicting statements made by Allen Hynek, going back manyyears, asking if these are the same Allen Hyneks. And this was thesame Phil Klass who now wasn't interested in the past?
Many of CSICOP's Fellows fell for the unity pitch or copped anone-of-my-business plea A letter from one Fellow amused me in lightof Council pretenses that it didn't understand the charges Hisletter, dated January 26 1979, makes plain how clear my January memoswere The writer understood that the experimental results supportedGauquelin, that Kurtz, Abell and Zelen had screwed up the test andthat CSICOP's leaders, primarily Kurtz, had tried to cover up themess, thereby creating a "Buffalogate." This writer said he had longharbored doubts about the way CSICOP was being run.
A later letter written by the same Fellow contains a prescientsentence: "I regard your charges as very serious. ... Something mustbe done before we read about all of this in FATE "
I received a long letter from J. Derral Mulholland, one of theworld's leading celestial mechanics experts He permitted me todistribute the letter to CSICOP's Fellows
The letter said Mulholland had been unaware that CSICOP had anelite Council that apparently was answerable to nobody Councilmembers evidently were using CSICOP's name to advance their personalends. Some persons associated with the organization were makingpronouncements on subjects outside their area of competence. IfCSICOP were to remain scientifically credible, it had better usescientific methods such as controlled tests with predefined criteriafor success and failure, and nonprotaganists should judge theresults. Alibis, image problems and economic concerns were irrelevantto the real issues.
I proposed Mulholland as a Fellow, someone who might replace myastronomical input. This proposal was never even acknowledged.
BY APRIL 1979 Council, which had held itsbreath for months breathed again, this time a deep sigh of relief: noresignations and no news stories. Kurtz phoned on April 9, hoping toplacate me. I said to put the answers to my questions on sTARBABY inwriting. That was that.
The next day Frazier offered this alibi for nonpublication of mySeptember 18 report: he wished someone would write an article thatstraightened out the "mess" once and for all, but there seemed no wayto resolve the matter, even though Frazier confessed to a "gutfeeling" that I might be right in some of my criticisms .
He claimed that my writings on the controversy were unclear andoverheated. But in fact CSICOP's own eventual referee reports foundmy September 18 report (which for now Frazier refused for lack ofclarity) to be clearer than KZA's report on the same material Also myoriginal unanswered questions to KZA were all exceedingly polite --before the censorial outrages starting in autumn 1978.
I replied on April 19:
... incredible -- even aside from the various matters you (along with the rest of the Council) continue to shut your eyes to. In particular, you [all] still attempt to pretend that you don't understand the [sTARBABY] problem and don't know how to go about doing so. This is a ploy fully worthy of the kooks. As you well know, I have urged the refereeing of the matter for months. The only reply has been: silence.
What sort of Committee claims (in its very title) to be in the business of testing occult claims, yet can't even find a way to evaluate its own first and biggest test? What use is its testing, if the Committee cannot be counted upon to report the results honestly?
As for the no-compromise pose:
(l) Most of the Councilors (including Kurtz and Abell) either know or strongly suspect the truth. The problem isn't what's the truth but how to deal with it, p.r.-wise.
(2) Even without any scientific background one can just observe:
(a) Which side has made a complete. Open. written record -- vs. a year of refusal to commit answers in writing, while frantically juggling stories privately?
(b) Which has tried to silence the other by expulsion?
(c) Which has called for refereeing-arbitration? Which has steadfastly ignored the suggestion?
In any controversy within the Committee, it is always possible that the mistaken party will (instead of owning up) put up a smokescreen of alibis and pseudocomplexities (just like the occultists do, every time they lose). In that case is the attitude of the Council to be that, well, the whole matter is too complicated to adjudicate?!
At this time Kurtz attempted to persuade Gauquelin to agree to thesuppression of even my mild September 18 report. He also tried todissuade Gauquelin from visiting me during the latter's April trip toSan Diego.
He never told me any of this. Instead he pretended (as he had theprevious year) that he might be willing to publish my reportif KZA got to sum it all up afterward. And this isroughly how it was done eventually.
However, my challenge to call in outside refereeing (as Abell hadpromised in September-October 1976 Humanist) todetermine the truth did not tempt the Committee.
During this period Randi would occasionally phone up for afriendly "just-happened-to-be-thinking-of-you" chat. l suspected hewas trying to draw out of me statements of anger or ofdissatisfaction. Despite his private rages Randi wished to make nopublic waves. When I asked him why, he repeated the tired old alibithat the occultist kooks would whoop it up if Kurtz fell. But heclaimed that he had dressed down Kurtz (privately) in Washington inDecember. He stated without qualification that Gardner Hyman and heall supported my scientific position on the sTARBABY mess. (I knew,however, that he was telling all inquiring Fellows that a little oldnonstatistician like himself just couldn't understand theproblem.)
Next Randi (and soon afterwards Bob Sheaffer) tried to get meinvolved in new projects, i.e., diversions. As part of this effortRandi asked my advice on the Helmut Schmidt parapsychology experimentwhich some CSICOPs had been investigating. I simply urged that it beapproached with all the caution KZA had thrown to the winds in 1975and 1976. He assured me how cautious he was in the testing for hiswell-publicized $ 10,000 prize for proof of psychic abilities (forwhich he acts as policeman, judge and jury -- and thus never hassupported my idea of neutral judgment of CSICOP tests. "Ialways have an out," he said.
THINGS HAD quieted down by late spring1979. All the while I was mercifully occupied at sane, non-CSICOPprojects.
Then on June 24 Randi phoned mentioning he'd just talked withTruzzi. Randi seemed suddenly anxious to settle the sTARBABY problem.Two days later he wrote a letter to the Council stamped CONFIDENTIALon both pages. It said he hoped he and the other Councilors couldfind a way out of a long-standing problem. Randi observed that CSICOPwas always under the watchful eye of irrationalists who chortled atevery apparent failing, as witness the response to Truzzi'sresignation. At the Washington meeting he had feared the Gauquelinaffair would be brought up in front of reporters. That would havebeen unfortunate because CSICOP cannot afford to wash its dirty linenin public.
But then Randi hit upon a solution. Why should CSICOP worryabout the Gauquelin matter? If (Randi's emphasis) the thing was amistake, Councilors should decide once and for all that it was nevera CSICOP project and be done with it.
Randi's letter touched on another subject of interest to bothsides of the paranormal controversy, relative to my proposal (in anearly issue of Skeptical Inquirer) that the AmericanAssociation for the Advancement of Science reevaluate its decision tolet the Parapsychological Association be affiliated with it if the PAcould not produce a repeatable experiment. A petition I hadcirculated among the Fellows had drawn support from some of CSICOP'sleading lights.
His letter said that when physicist John Archibald Wheelerdenounced the parapsychologists (as he had done the previous January)and urged that they be kicked out of the AAAS, Councilors "cheered."But they "forgot" that I had suggested the same thing and beenrebuffed.
Curiously, the following November Randi cosigned a letter to thePA stating, "We have no intention of requesting the 'expulsion' ofthe Parapsychological Association from the AAAS and would be opposedto such a move" (Spring 1980 Skeptical Inquirer). Iwill leave it to the higher theologians on the Council to reconcilethis statement with the foregoing CONFIDENTIAL document's statement,"We cheered."
I might have been more impressed with the CONFIDENTIAL letter hadit not been for another piece of mail that arrived the sameday. It was a letter from Jerome Clark of FATE asking me torelate the sTARBABY episode for publication.
The mystery of Randi's strangely sudden desire to open up sTARBABYevaporated. Before answering FATE I called Randi (on July 6) andasked whether perchance Truzzi had mentioned FATE during theircommunication just before Randi phoned me on June 24.1 got awell-we-talked-about-a-lot-of-things response andhmm-well-maybe-we-did
I mentioned the coincidence of his let's-get-moving CONFIDENTIALletter arriving the very day I heard from FATE after six months ofCSICOP inaction. It was about a 200-to-one shot. He suggested"synchronicity." (And CSICOP is supposed to beantiparanormal.)
Randi also admitted (having learned elsewhere that I already knew)the Kurtz-NisbetKlass-Randi plan to try to silence my dissent at theDecember 6 National Suppress Club meeting.
We hung up on slightly better terms than l'd expected although Iremained quite disgusted that only the threat of FATE exposure hadproduced even token motion toward nonsuppression.
I had asked Randi the big question, the question all CSICOPs willbe asking themselves for years to come: Why? Why getinvolved in a conspiracy that was as stupid as it was low? Why dosomething that would mark him and CSICOP for the rest of their lives?The reply was ever the same: We can't let the mystics rejoice. Alifetime price -- just to prevent a little transient cuckoochirping.
On August 11 Randi again wrote the Council to discuss CSICOP'sresponse to the FATE interview with Truzzi, saying the latter hadbeen dumped because he wanted the journal (then called The Zetetic)to be a scholarly rather than a popular publication.
I told the Council l'd be open with FATE. Part of my reasoning wasthat, although I didn't wish to hurt rationalism, I felt thatrealpolitik cynics were taking advantage of that very reluctance andtheir increasing power was endangering rationalism's reputation.These were the wrong people to be carrying the cause's banner.
As the FATE-story realization set in, Council reacted like theWhite House when it learned that John Dean had sat down with theprosecution. The awareness of how much I knew and what would happenif I told all -- this was the stuff of nightmares. Thus a new gameplan was needed: Be nice to the wild man. Soothe.Flatter. Laugh at his jokes. Project as honest and self-critical animage as possible -- at least until the problem subsides again.
By August 24 Frazier had received from Kurtz a 45-page package offour papers; the shortest of them was my original September 18 reporton my Gauquelin results. Kurtz evidently hoped to bury theembarrassing parts (mild as they were) of my report in the sheervolume of print.
Since I had repeatedly requested refereeing, the board decided itwould have to go through the motions.
Refereeing in professional journals is the backbone of thelegitimate scientific community. In serious journals the processrequires months of careful examination, often back-and-forthcommunication among author, editor and referees.
But if this were done now, some blunt, explicit revisions l'dalready promised (last April 5) might have time to find their wayinto my previously-gentle September 18 report. So, professing fearthat Gauquelin might "skoop" (sic) CSICOP, Frazier suddenly sent the45-page, four-paper package to various CSICOPs (not neutral refereesas promised in September-October 1976 Humanist) -- withthe demand that the results be back within 10 days! Maybe it was justanother of our paranormal coincidences that I was away from homewhile this was going on.
All of this activity took place without my knowledge -- although Iwas the author of one of the papers, the calculator of the entirestudy, a Councilor and associate editor of the magazine. Thus tworeferees, as yet unaware of the problems with the Control Test(defended in KZA's paper in the Gauquelin package), were insulatedfrom my pointing these out to them. And my own paper was being rushedinto print not only without my approval of its form but in actualdefiance of my written statement that I would have to revise it inthe direction of bluntness.
When I returned to San Diego late on October I, 1979, 1 learnedthat Frazier had left a message on September 24 saying that hisdeadline was October 1. Still no mention of the secretrush-refereeing, which I learned of only upon telephone questioningthe next day. I asked for copies.
When the material arrived on the sixth the consensus of CSICOP'sown referees was in my favor (versus Professors Kurtz, Zelen andAbell) in all major departments: (a) clarity, (b)technical competence, (c) honesty and (d) defensibility ofconclusions. No scientific criticisms were leveled against my report,while the two statisticians among the referees criticized the KZApaper on various grounds.
Only one of these two referees had been forewarned (not just byme) about the problems with the 1977 BS report, the central nonsenseof which KZA were again ladling out. Appalled, he counseled neutralrefereeing by appropriate experts before rushing into publication
Here are some excerpts from the referee report (on KZAcontributions to the Gauquelin package) by the sole Councilor trainedin statistics:
I would be irresponsible if I did not point out serious defects in the documents in their present form .... ambiguities should be avoided -- especially if they can be interpreted as evasions or ways to wriggle out of a prior commitment ... quibbling over whether to include [a very few] females in the sample ... looks like post hoc playing around to push the data in their [KZA's] favor. At what point did they [KZA] decide NOT to include females -- after they knew the results or before? The same can be said over the splitting of the data to try to show that the major effect is carried by the Paris [-born athletes]. Again this is post hoc. Besides the splitting of the small sample into even smaller subsamples, of course, lowers the power [of the study's significance] considerably .... What is important is that the entire sample, taken as a whole, shows the [Mars] effect .... Such post hoc rummaging [for possible hitherto-unnoted trends in the data] has to be kept in perspective. It can supply ideas and hypotheses for a new study but it has no basis for drawing conclusions [for this study].
I suspect that as a LEGAL debate G won this first round [Control Test. Afterwards, it appears other factors] than a true Mars effect ... might account for the correlation. But, as originally stated, G has won.... I hope that they [KZA] can see that a neutral reader ... can interpret their criticisms as post hoc attempts to wriggle out of an uncomfortable situation.
THE FIRST weekend after my October 2 callto Frazier, Kurtz phoned, dripping charm. I urged that if the packagewas to be published, the statistician-Councilor's referee reportought to be published instead of KZA's.
I revised my September 18, 1978, report in the promised directionof bluntness and submitted it to Frazier on October 8,1979, tellinghim that if there were any alterations not cleared with me, l wanteda note printed with the paper stating that deletions had occurredover the author's protest and that the missing portions could beobtained directly from me.
On the morning of October 12 Frazier was happily protectingSkeptical Inquirer's innocent readership byblue-penciling out all my report's revelations of KZA's fumbling(leaving intact, of course, all its negative scientific revelationsabout Gauquelin's claims, including the nonreplication [13 1/2percent versus the 22 percent in the French data] in the Americansample Suddenly he came upon my request for a printed note regardingthe existence of unauthorized deletions. He lunged for the phone andgot through to me with the opening salutation, delivered in a loudgrowl, tense with rage, "I am pissed off at you." Hesaid my note was "blackmail."
Frazier went on in this vein for some time before easing off tomere exasperation. I reminded him that I had said a year ago thatCSICOP would publish non-neutrally-refereed BS sham over my dead body(which is just the way it happened) in a magazine of which I was aresponsible associate editor. If Frazier insisted on printing -- atgreat length -- what five of his six associate editors privatelydeemed questionable science and/or intentional pretense, l wouldinsist just as adamantly on protesting such in my brief paper. As theperson who had actually performed the experiment, l felt that thiswas perfectly reasonable.
Frazier, editor of a magazine born to tear down dumb beliefs, saidsuch criticism would create dissension and "confuse" the readers. Wefinally left it that he would send an edited version and see if wecould agree.
Instead, as the final deadline approached, Frazier just sat on it.l finally phoned on October 20 and left a message -- no reply. Itelephoned again two days later and was curtly informed that thereport would be published his way or not at all. He said that Kurtzopposed publishing my report at all.
I received Frazier's edited version the next day. l phoned himsmall (undisputed) changes on October 27 and 28 and on November 4,quietly but pointedly reminding him on each occasion that I protestedhis substantial deletions and his bowdlerization of my very mentionof these deletions (into a version designed to indicate to thereader that no deletions had occurred).
On November 6, two days after a last request to Frazier toreconsider, I circulated a memo to all my fellow associateeditors:
Alone among the Councilors, l still have no compensation for travel expenses to the last Council meeting (c $230). I have booked a flight to this one -- the cost will be nearly $400 just for the plane, and I have to stay 7 days (at my own expense) just to keep the rate down to that. This must be paid in a (very) few days -- and I won't do that unless all 630 dollars are here beforehand.
My upcoming Skeptical Inquirer article ( l 979 winter) on the Gauquelin matter has been neatly censored here and there, so I have asked to add a statement saying so and suggesting that readers who wish to consult the original version may do so by contacting me. This sentence has itself been bowdlerized (so that it reads as if no tampering occurred). It seems to me that to distort the meaning of a contributor's statement over his explicit protest, especially when he is an "Associate Editor" -- whatever that means -- is a serious matter. Therefore, I will here ask the other members of the Skeptical Inquirer Editorial Board whether they concur in this action ... none of this should be published until the KZ&A [Control Test] is competently, independently refereed. Another point I have vainly stressed to Ken [Frazier]: there has been some faint hope of dissociating CSICOP from this disaster. The forthcoming package seals the matter forever: opening and closing arguments (and pseudoscientific obfuscations of the clear outcome) coauthored by CSICOP's Chairman and a CSICOP Fellow who is [senior] editor of the forthcoming Scribner's book [Science and the Paranormal] attacking everybody else's pseudoscience (full of CSICOP contributors).
I must also say that these same two gentlemen have each attempted privately to blame the other authors for the adventure. They had an amusing argument on this point in my presence 1978/12/6. Yet they now [in their upcoming articles] have the brass to pretend to Skeptical Inquirer's readership that there is nothing amiss. This is deliberate sham. And I think most (if not all) of you know so or strongly suspect it.
When he read this Frazier blew his stack again and on November 9wrote a memo declaring he had deleted only "onesentence from a late-added footnote" (emphasis in original). False --there were in fact a dozen deletions.
Frazier's letter conveniently confused his right to edit (which Inever had questioned) with his right to alter the meaning of a briefnote telling the reader where to obtain the unedited version .
ON NOVEMBER 15 Randi phoned trying to findout whether I meant my November 6 promise not to come to next month'sCouncil meeting in New York City unless both 1978 and 1979 fares werepaid. (After badgering from Frazier, Kurtz in early November had sentthe 1979 fare only, citing a ridiculous excuse for not sending the1978 fare.) I replied to Randi that if he cared (his ostensiblereason for calling) he should tell Kurtz to wire the still-unpaid1978 fare.
I also made an offer which, in view of all that had happened, wasabout as forgiving as one could possibly be: I said that Councilwould have no more trouble with sTARBABY if SkepticalInquirer would publish the dissents of those Councilors whoknew the truth about it -- the same suggestion made to Frazier amonth earlier in regard to publishing the statistician-Councilor'sreferee report. They were not interested .
I heard nothing further. Even my November 6 note to MartinGardner, asking him if he planned to be at the meeting, wentunanswered.
As might be expected, at the December 15, 1979, meeting Kurtz (whonever really believed I wasn't coming) carefully held a closed-doorminipress conference that was kept a secret even from some attendingCouncilors until they were in the room and the doors wereclosing.
Equally surprising to some Councilors was the decision, made thatsame day, to hold an "election." No prior announcement had been made-- which violates every established code of parliamentaryprocedure.
By another of our paranormal coincidences, only one person was"not renominated" and I was replaced by Abell. It was then decided toput off the Abell announcement for some weeks so that there wouldseem to be no connection.
A comedy high is the December 21 letter I received more than 10days after the meeting from Randi, the appointed bearer of thetidings that I had been unanimously dumped or, as he so delicatelyput it, "not reelected." Randi hoped we could continue to be goodfriends. Also, since I was still on the editorial board, he urged meto write regularly for Skeptical Inquirer.
I thought it was curious that one who was such a horror that hemerited unanimous expulsion should at the same time be asked to stayon as associate editor and publish lots in the CSICOP journal.
Along the same line, I received a January 5, 1980, letter fromAbell, four solid pages of "gush" (Abell's word). I felt I was indanger of spiritual diabetes from the syrup that had been poured overme all through 1979. (The funniest inundation had come from, of allpeople, Gardner, at Randi's behest.) The truth is, my admiring"friends," who "reluctantly" (Randi's adverb) voted my ejection atthe December 15 meeting, had a long argument at this very meetingtrying to identify the boob responsible for getting me onto theCouncil in the first place!
My reaction to ejection was not quite what Council expected. OnDecember 31 I wired Frazier a request that a note be printed at theend of my upcoming Gauquelin-package article stating that "followingeditorial disagreement over these articles" I had been "unanimouslyejected," which was undeniably true.
Frazier refused this (in a January 9 letter) as "inappropriate andinaccurate in its implication of cause and effect."
Back on December 18 Frazier had written me to say thatSkeptical Inquirer Assistant Editor Doris Doyle hademphasized it was too late to make any further changes in theGauquelin package. Yet, nearly a month later, on January 12, Doyletold me that even then there was time for alterations. Consistencywas hard to come by.
So on January 14 I sent Frazier another Mailgram:
Since the mechanicals are still with Doris (who says you refused my ["following editorial disagreement"] statement), please replace "Further commentary ... from the author" with: "Deletions from this paper are available from the author at his address. This December CSICOP Council unanimously decided soon to replace me on the Council with George Abell." If you kill one sentence, consider the other separately. (If some particular words or phrases bother you, have Doris phone me today regarding my OK of possible changes.) I repeat my request for written reasons for your censoring my attempts to make these simple statements to Skeptical Inquirer readers.
At this point, I am not interested in promises regarding future letters column space, since what can one make of Council's word, after its recent clandestine "election" and customary secrecy regarding Abell's upcoming elevation? -- Dennis Rawlins, Associate Editor?
Frazier replied the next day by decreeing that he would allow nomore changes. Any announcement of my nonreelection to the Councilwould have to be carried in Skeptical Inquirer's newscolumn because, he said, it was "irrelevant" in a research report. OnFebruary 16 I took Frazier up on his offer and prepared thisstatement for the news column:
I am resigning from the Skeptical Inquirer Editorial Board (effective on SI publication of this notice) in reaction to the Board's handling of empirical testing (when the results do not come out as expected) as well as (among other matters) the CSICOP Council's surprise December "election" in New York (not even known to some attending Councilors until a fraction of a day before it occurred) -- at which private event it was unanimously decided that I should be "not renominated" (in absentia) and that (after a cosmetic interval) George Abell was to be elevated to Councilor. What this sleight of ballot switch portends for the future scientific level and integrity of the ruling body of CSICOP can be most quickly understood from a careful reading of our [Abell's and my] respective contributions (especially the pre edited versions) in the 1979-80 Winter SI.
The Council wants to make it perfectly clear that Abell's (public) support for -- as against my long-contained (now surfacing) criticism of -- CSICOP's conduct during its four-year involvement in testing Gauquelin's neoastrology, has NOTHING to do with Council's December move. SI readers who wish to believe in this paranormal miracle of acausal synchronicity are urged not to contact me at the below address.
Meanwhile I privately urged that the other Councilors think ofrationalism's reputation ahead of their own immediate interests andresign.
On April 10 Frazier reneged: "The resignation letter you asked tobe published is not appropriate for publication. Such internalmatters are best dealt with by private circulation. I feel stronglyabout that."
Although my letter of resignation stated that it became effectiveonly when published, Frazier tossed me off the editorial board anyway-- without giving me notice or cause. Abell was my replacement.
One other dissent has been kept from SkepticalInquirer readers. The identity of the mystery guest indissent-space? George Abell! In 1980 Abell hired UCLA grad studentAlbert Lee to compute the expectation curve for the Gauquelinexperiment. According to a May 3, 1980, letter Abell wrote toGauquelin, Lee's results agreed with Gauquelin's and mine. Thus Abelllearned (some years too late) that 17 percent, not 22 percent, is thechance figure after all. Poof goes the Control Test (based upon thehope that Gauquelin's 22-percent Mars Effect results were merelychance level in disguise).
As the truth becomes undeniable, what will CSICOP do? Perhaps asthe Smoking Letter (as well as the prospect of total exposure inFATE) is considered, CSICOP may be heard to protest that it was mostanxious to get the truth to the public but delayed somewhat in theinterests of cautious science -- thereby explaining, of course,things like 10-day refereeing and rushing a Challenge to press tobeat a publishing deadline.
I CAN SUM up by noting that:
CSICOP's idea of internal scandal-preventing is not to eject theculprits but to eject those who expose them. A Watergate analogywould be to throw Sam Ervin out of Congress and keep Nixon asPresident on his promise not-to-do-it-again.
The foregoing account was drafted between March 26 and May 15,1980. The great bulk of it, however, was not typed until December1980 through January 1981 due in part to the press of researches innonparanormal-related areas of scholarship. I was reminded of CSICOPin October 1980 by three incidents that occurred together and notcoincidentally:
(1) I was dropped as a CSICOP Fellow without being informed, muchless being told why in writing.
(2) I was attacked (along with Gauquelin) in the most insultingfashion in the letters section of Fall 1980 SkepticalInquirer by the same Fellow whose mistakes in "Objections toAstrology" began sTARBABY.
(3) The last October event explained Item One -- my ejection fromthe full Committee. Council announced its annual meeting and pressconference for December 12, 1980, at UCLA. The gathering wasdescribed as a closed "press seminar," only for Fellowsand invitees.
I telegraphed Kurtz on December I to suggest that the neoastrologytest be openly debated at the meeting. I received no reply.
Therefore I simply appeared at the meeting, correctly judging thatKurtz wouldn't risk creating a scene by having me ejected bodilybefore his beloved press corps. I was privately assured that theGauquelin matter would be discussed at 5:00 P.M. As insurance that itbe held, I stood up during the question-and-answer period andmentioned in passing that there would be a 5:00 P.M. hearingconcerning sTARBABY and the reasons for my ejection from CSICOP. NoCouncilor contradicted me.
At 5:00 Kurtz stood up and, instead of announcing the promiseddiscussion, adjourned the press conference.
Twice bit, thrice shy. In anticipation I had with me four pages ofXeroXed exposé material. After a few minutes' abortiveattempts to have Randi and others honor their promise, I simplydistributed the material to everyone in the room, including the twoor three press persons who had been sufficiently interested in CSICOPto show up.
Phil Klass, looking unwell, rushed over to growl through clenchedjaw, "You're sick!" He said that after all this time I should dropit, in effect using the cover-up's long success as a justificationfor its perpetuation.
The Council then retired to a private meeting. Over Kurtz'sprotest I just walked into the meeting. Kurtz then tried topreannounce a five-minute limit to a Gauquelin discussion. I nevergot five minutes of straight narrative. It was a free-for-all orgy offantasy, with Councilors interrupting so often that they interruptedeach other's interruptions.
The Council agreed there was not the slightestconnection between my unique expulsion and my equally uniqueinsistence on honest reporting of sTARBABY. It was just that I hadbehaved rudely.
I pointed out that before Kurtz tried suppressing me, beginning inSeptember 1978, I was patient and gentle, a trusting chump.
My request that offenses justifying expulsion be specified broughton the Morganisms. Kurtz could come up with only two pre-September1978 claims:
(1) A letter I had written on February 6, 1978, to the Universityof Toronto regarding an astrology conference to be held there thenext month. Supposedly I had put pressure on the university to cancelthe meeting. I refuted this phony charge by reading from a Xerox copyof the letter, which made it clear I was objecting only to thegrossly unbalanced composition of the proposed panel (which certainlywould have disgraced the university); in fact I had encouraged theinvitation of a broad selection of experts on both sides, hoping fora meaningful confrontation. Kurtz then referred to an alleged phonecall I made to the university president. The only catch is that Inever phoned the president of the University of Toronto.
(2) Then Kurtz seriously attempted to define my otherexcommunicable offense as my proposal that the American Associationfor the Advancement of Science reevaluate the ParapsychologicalAssociation's affiliation with it! The other Councilors in attendancewere too astonished to comment. (Kurtz and Frazier had themselvespublished this proposal in my article in Fall-Winter 1977Skeptical Inquirer.)
Obviously it was a hoked-up scenario. When I asked, a Counciloradmitted that kicking me off the Council had not even been discusseduntil just a week before the December 1978 press conference, whereCouncil feared I would expose sTARBABY. Indeed, only 10 minutespreviously Council had attempted again to suppress mypublic dissent at the press conference we had just left.
There were other moments of humor. Phil Klass claimed he didn'tunderstand the neoastrology dispute, reviving the alibi first heardearly in 1979.1 asked then why Frazier had chosen Klass as one ofCSICOP's instant referees and why Klass had in fact written one ofthe five private referee reports. Incredibly, Klass denied havingdone so! I instantly produced and circulated a Xerox copy of thisnonexistent report. As it began passing around the table, Klass saidthat he had recommended against publishing the package. Those whowere reading his report, dated September 10, 1979, learned the veryopposite. I knew the refereeing had been pro forma but I wasn'tprepared for such obliging confirmation .
The bottom line is:
Every one of the Councilors who say they know something about thesTARBABY knows that it was a disaster. Yet SkepticalInquirer readers are given to believe nothing went wrong.
The last word Frazier allowed to appear was a letter from LawrenceJerome (Fall 1980, page 85) in which CSICOP offered congratulationsto itself for its Gauquelin project.
DENNIS RAWLINS is a cofounder of the Committee forthe Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal and servedon CSICOP's Executive Council from 1976 to 1979. Until 1980 he was anAssociate Editor of SKEPTICAL INQUIRER.
He holds degrees in physics from HarvardUniversity (B.A.) and Boston University (M.A.). His researches havebeen published in NATURE, ASTRONOMICAL JOURNAL, AMERICAN JOURNAL OFPHYSICS, U.S. NAVAL INSTITUTE PROCEEDINGS and other leadingpublications in the fields of astronomy, geophysics, geography andhistory of science. He is the author of PEARY AT THE NORTH POLE: FACTOR FICTION? (1973) and was the first to release public news of amajor ESP scandal (in 1974) at the laboratory of the late J.B. Rhine.Rawlins and his wife Barbara live in San Diego, Calif.