PopScience Slick-Magazine Club Sanctionlessly Pretends to Reliability Through Guile



Decade After Decade  —   Right Under Nose of Fearful Lapdog “Science Press”


Why Does Reportage of Historical Suppression Keep Being Blocked by Modern?


Formerly-Blacklist-Victimized Academic Community — Now Blacklisting DIO?







Nine out of ten science writers fall in love with
academe's popsci-journal political establishment.
And the tenth fakes it.




Organized Cowardice: Putting the Pol in Poltroon

I ask that readers be alert enough to perceive the sub-text point that outweighs in vileness all particulars of each of the several craven incidents detailed below.
That point is: no forum would risk committing the crimes against academic decency here related unless it knew ahead of time to a 100.000000% certainty that no fellow popular journal or influential institution would object, or even report the relevant disgraceful facts (at least until all the principals are dead) — or do anything but effectively cooperate with each perp by helping hide those facts by ignoring them. (At the least.) And said certainty has proved unerring in every single case (with which I have familiarity, at any rate).
Let us not, then, suppose that the histories that follow have anything to do with mere accident or editorial ineptness.

High-Power as High:
The behavioral model that is consistent with these histories is: power-addiction. The archons tracked here will never give up their position because that (not academic achievement) is what defines their behavior.
[The power drive takes over so exclusively in priority and time-allotment that it ultimately accounts for why archons are too often the intellectual scum of their own communities.]
If exposed at academic crimes, they simply ignore or re-forge Reality to their will and attempt to punish the reporter and suppress the report. This pattern has the Tarbaby-capacity to suck institutions into perpetual rep-investment-reinvestment-re-reinvestment cycles and bubbles, such as current western debt-addiction. (And gamblers' crank bet-redoubling schemes — which casinos rightly snicker at, since such ploys risk huge losses for trivial gains.) But in the present cases we are talking about eminent academic forums getting into crime-redoubling wringers, which contradict (sometimes in comic fashion) the very judicious image their burgeoning censorship is trying to protect.

These can become tragi-comic, as witness Scientific American's just-getting-in-ever-deeper reaction to being exposed in undeniable editorial forgery of a DR letter (published in 2005 April ScAm pp.14&16) appreciatively responding to ScAm's 2004 Dec article on the discovery of the planet Neptune. DIO's posted exposé was evidently a shock to ScAm, who was incredulously affronted after years of being lulled and brain-kissed into an apparently-unfalse sense of security by the formerly-reliable shun-terrified shyness of prior victims of ScAm's privately-notorious penchant for editorial liberties.

Note that ScAm (and similarly Sky&Telescope) could have ended the cycle before it began by just printing a frank correction. ScAm instead plunged its 1st Br'er-Rabbit-fist into the standard coverup-cycle:
[a] With utterly unapologetic arrogance (an independent observer gave a NewYork-succinct summation [2009/7/19]: classic FU-rebuff), ScAm rejected repeated polite (and overly-cooperative) DR requests to correct the situation, brassily letting its offense stand;
[b] reacted to DIO exposure of its undeniable forgery of DR's letter by then forging its own web article (nakedly censoring-out [only] its printed 2004 Dec article's citation to DIO 9.1 [1999] ‡1) to prevent readers from accessing the very DIO paper which its pre-censored version had openly depended upon for its thesis' main scientific (not sociological) point: this, in “Scientific” American (actually just a bunch of writers).
[c] Having gotten in this deep, all ScAm can do is trust that this double-scandal stays off Wikipedia. And its admirers have indeed been busy making sure of that, as a Wikipedia Administrator has even tried to extort silence by, e.g., eliminating the entire Neptune section of DR's Wikipedia bio while broadly hinting at making more such deletions.
The spectacle of Scientific American being reduced to dependence upon internet vandals to protect its academic crimes from being exposed epitomizes the degraded state of that once grand institution — and dramatically establishes the desperate, unprincipled dirtytrick-ruthlessness and lowness of establishments that attempt to contain or (if all else fails, destroy) anyone who is perceived as sufficiently archon-defying as to endanger the power of the power-mad.
As for why DR refuses to bend to tyranny: besides pride in our incorruptability, an unappreciated cause is just plain curiosity (the same curiosity that has inspired the lives of the DIOtribe's several fertile, world-famous discoverers): though the lumpen-rabbitariate fears career-wipeout for Disrespecting archonal snobsters, DR is driven to explore the unknown region beyond defiance: can one not sell out and survive anyway? How will anyone know if no one even tries? And, contra general expectations, DIO is doing well, having the fun of discovery and of satire, and is warmly appreciated among the very best scientists.



But, so as not to get too sombre, let's start out with

The science press' own idea of hard-nosed self-criticism:

“Wow! It looks as if our old prejudices were wrong; science writers are actually doing a remarkably good job, and our community should start giving them the respect they deserve.”
(Science writer Bradley Schaefer, Sky&Telescope 2001 July p.10.)





The semi-numeracy and politicization of popular science writing is extremely well-recognized by professional scientists. But few will say anything about it in public, since such exposures court exile by the socially-influential perps.
DR has little doubt that this posting will produce such a consequence for him.
[Seneca On Leisure 3.3 argues the non-wisdom of DR's resistance to bending with the force of threats from enemies of truth and free intellectual discourse: if a rulership “is too corrupt to be helped … the wise man will not struggle to no purpose, nor spend himself when nothing is to be gained.” Yet Seneca ended up suiciding, while DIO's isle happily and productively thrives despite a censorial raging ocean of fear-generating archons all about it.]
Since DIO is that rare independent forum that can (as regards self-confidence [occasionally overdone], competence, and fiscal security) survive such treatment, it is up to us to let the public know the true state of freedom and Reliability in popular-science publications.
[However, keep in mind the fortunate point that in matters of pure science, popsci is (so far) generally sane — one doesn't, e.g., find Scientific American promoting creationist or anti-relativity junk. Rather, it's primarily in the area of popular science reportage of historical truth where we are warning readers that (while most of it will presumably be fairly accurate) one should accept nothing on trust — because, if a political cult is promoting a controversial (or crank) position, you may not even be told that it's controversial, much less where to go for alternate views. (Note: Though DR has criticized science historians severely in certain respects, he regards them as superior to scientists in some others: historical perspective, bibliography, and [most important] less of a tendency to treat history as propaganda-for-science.)]


When writing of institutions' incurable attraction to the coverup-gamble routine, DIO 6 [1996] (p.4) once mused on the Dutchboy-dike flavor characterizing the drearily predictable history of your typical coverup:



It starts with a hush,
And ends with a gush,
When holes outnumber fingers,
And kings run out of slush.




Three links follow, providing details of specific cases involving DR,
which were up-close — and far too personal.




SKY & TELESCOPE, C.Ptolemy, & Plagiarism



SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, Forgery, & Stealing



NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, N.Pole, & Fakery





Some Comments Arising Out of Long Experience:



During recent decades, several academic spheres' corruption and-or ossification by demonstrably false slander, kwasi-religious prejudice, and at-best-semi-numerate archons have been scrupulously detailed in DIO and reported directly to responsible institutional chiefs (as well as to the largely [though thankfully not entirely] superficial, semi-numerate, careerist, and-or fear-ridden “science press”). Yet, during these decades, zero remedial steps have surfaced, in large part because, despite DIO's long-established reputation for high competence and integrity (and uniquely successful record of exposure of historical instances of science fraud), despite our board-members' extremely high scholarly reputations, and despite helpfully-unsubtle JHA-HAD scandals which insiders themselves describe in dazzled superlatives, the “science press” has refused to help us bring rationality into the darkest areas of corrupt popsci-publication behavior — assistance which would require little beyond just occasionally ASKing what's going on — and so has Dutch-boyfully managed to help dike-protect the wider public from knowing the truth of this repulsive history.

Has societal amorality become so dominant — indeed, routine — that hope of an eventual righting of these institutional vessels is merely the sort of archaic, sentimental delusion which Orwell's 1984 predicted justice would finally be regarded as?

The “Science Press”:
At the dawn of the 3rd Millennium, TV 'snews gave us a glimpse of the future and of its new-millennium resolution to bring even more deep rational thought to the public than before, by airing political analysis by a blonde gyroscopic navel known as Britney Spears. Bearing a high & transportive smile, philosopher-genius Spears just summed up all we need to know, to arrive at the Grail of Truth: “I trust the Prethident.”
On numerous occasions, DR has asked “science reporters” to explain why their profession cannot inquire into unethical behavior by central scientific institutions or cover scientific or ethical investigations accomplished by parties not directly connected with such institutions — and why a science institution's misbehavior is never reported until and unless that institution itself confesses.
[Meanwhile, the press puts on the same bit of theatre as Congress: that there's genuine competition going on.]
The usual reactions from “science reporters”:
[a] We have a hard time knowing who the experts are.
[A point already devastatingly answered with respect to DIO — and irrelevant anyway to our [100%-uniformly press-shunned] exposures of establishment institutional misbehavior (which require little beyond rudimentry literacy to comprehend): document-tampering, plagiarism, and undocumentable smear-fabrications.]
[b] When asked to hire their own referees, “science reporters” always refuse, apparently believing that this is up to the institutional journals.
Of course, this leaves the institutions to investigate themselves. I.e., we-trust-the-insthitutionth. Britney said it all.

Are Popular Writers Necessary?:
Geo. Newcomer, a dear polymath who was longtime chamber-music partner of Mencken and law partner of DR's step-father, used to tell the tale of a scared neophyte Baltimore Sun music critic (this is years before that dep't's later two cases of firings over plagiarism) who was asked, as his 1st assignment, to review a concert at Baltimore's Lyric Theatre, performed by the pre-eminent Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by brilliant and ever-urbane Eugene Ormandy. Immediately after concert's-end, the reluctant cub went back-stage to interview Ormandy 1-on-1. Soon after starting the interview, he began to weep, confessing to Ormandy that he just didn't know how to evaluate the performance. Ever-in-command, Ormandy gently took the pad from the youngster's shaking paw and said why-don't-you-just-let-me-do-it — and proceeded to write what was probably the only printed review of his genuine Genius that he ever agreed with every word of.

Even if merely a legend (and a similar Ty Cobb boast is said to be almost certainly a fabrication), this tale raises a wider question, which applies in any highly specialized field: what are critics and reporters (and archons) FOR? They rarely know enough to evaluate reliably, so most of them end up depending upon mentors — to such an extent that we may reasonably inquire: why not just let the mentor do the writing? Even in science: we're living in the age of the businessman-academic, and people like that are not the inarticulate nerds of yesteryear.

In brief, telling one's story though the pen of a pseudo-3rd party confers upon it the effective sheen of reality. Like modern TV's Reality-Shows. Further, it lends an air of authoritive, nose-leading unanimity when a mentor, ghost, or clique is amplified through an ocean of ink or a Hallelujan chorus of toobs. The inevitable result is a corruption of truth which is cyclic in the obvious ways (Vice quoting New York Times' Judy Miller [subsequently FOX commentator] like a ventriloquist quoting his own dummy — or the American Astronomical Society's idea of “Mr. History of Astronomy”, O.Gingerich, quoting a “referee” that was secretly himself — Isis 2003 p.501), as well as some unobvious ones: pockets of power grow exponentially by carrot&sticking the competition into absorption by power-operator-run monopolies which can then be undislodgeable for decades.


DR has repeatedly forced institutions to choose between:
(a) the ethically-cleansing experience of acknowledging uncomfortable truth, vs
(b) ethical-self-disembowelment by concealing truth and shunning the truth-teller.
(Though occasional instances of early-halting-steps towards (a) have been known to occur, the ultimate choice has almost perfectly-predictably been (b).) Considering the notorious history that the House UnAmerican Committee tried to blacklist Harvard's physicist W.Furry (one of DR's favorite teachers) and astronomer H.Shapley, it's ironic that the American Astronomical Society's Historical Astronomy Division is blacklisting DIO. Not that the parallel is perfect: at least HUAC gave heretics a face-to-face hearing.

Regarding the several institutions DR has tilted with: there's no mystery about why they must deceive, hide evidence (and-or themselves), and denigrate-shun-smear DR: they all realize they'd lose in a fair encounter at a forum of competent scientists. So, to “win” (the power-operator's most corrosive obsession), they are virtually forced to fudge truth.
Ironic clarifier:
Some observers mistakenly believe that DR suffers anger and is making a personal complaint when institutions attempt to deceive, rob, and-or manipulate him. (Suggestion: confuse not contempt for anger.) But, if you re-read the previous sentences, you'll have to wonder who's actually manipulating (& corrupting?) whom…. Which side is suffering nervous, run-away-or-hunker-down internal ethical rot? (Observe BS for a few minutes, if you want to see someone visibly trembling.) And which side has survived such encounters while remaining a jolly (downright playful, even when confronting ugly matters) and uncorrupted, truth-dispersing entity? — as well as continuing to be appreciated and encouraged in the very highest professional astronomical circles.


Again: despite [a] the undeniability of the details DIO has meticulously reported, despite [b] the stellar academic rank of the members of DIO's various boards, and despite [c] the scientific quality of DIO's academic publications and discoveries, despite [d] astonishingly prominent international media coverage of several of those discoveries (from the 27th century BC to the 20th century AD), nonetheless: the present-day misbehavior (of DIO-exposed corrupt institutional archons) remains wholly unreported to the public by the responsible “public” institutions. I.e., institutions typically solve corruption not by curing it; but by trying to suppress general awareness of it. So, for them, a journal such as DIO is automatically The Enemy. Symptoms of this situation are sometimes almost amusing: e.g., when the Amer Assoc for the Advancement of Science's Science finally (84 yrs late) jettisoned the Peary North Pole myth (1993/6/11) explicitly due to a finding 1st published in DIO, Science cheated DIO by just citing a popular newspaper (whose story had explicitly cited DIO as its sole basis for the article). Science has not met our challenge (DIO 11.1 [2002] p.2 n.3) to name another case in which one of its stories cited a pop-source instead of the scientific journal that source had openly used. (As ever in such cases, we take it as mark of honor to be so singled out.)

Point-in-passing: while slick-mag outlets are hardly taken seriously by genuine academics as sources of knowledge, reliability, or competence, their publishers are (as, e.g., crucial factors in public [read: tax-payer-mega-bucks] support for science) often much closer to academic fiscal moguls&lobbies than is the average researcher. Thus, the state of their integrity is not a trivial issue. And most of them automatically shun heretics — like any other church or hysterical cult.
[Recall that, c.1950, HUAC went after not just Reds but anyone allegedly associated with them: “pinkos” or “Com-symps”. So: best not even to be seen near the shunned.
And, in the absence of restraints, things can spiral down yet further.
Sub-Domitian Nadir?
It is said that under Domitian (Roman emperor 81-96 AD), you had not only to watch your friends imperially garrotted to death before you, but — it was considered healthy exercise to applaud.
DR must be quick to point out that he has known several current academic figures who could never do anything like that.
They'd have applied for an imperial grant to get in on the garrotting itself.]

In the still — and ever — embarrassing 1979-1981 case in which “CSICOP” (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal) bungled its prime Scientific Investigation (of Gauquelin's neo-astrology), and then bungled its coverup of that bungle, the shmoozing&snoozing “science press” lapdog never stirred — not even when (DIO 1.1 [1991] ‡8 §A8 & esp. n.6 [p.77]) terrified press-lamprey CSICOP unsubtly went-Miranda and last-minute-cancelled its own 1981 annual press conference (be reasonable: it takes time to get everybody's stories straight), immediately after Fate published DR's detailed 32pp exposé, “sTARBABY”.
[The sole press coverage of the sTARBABY affair appeared abroad. (England: Jeremy Cherfas New Scientist 1981/10/29 p.294.) Just as the obvious significance of faker-explorer F.Cook's 1909 December flight from examination (followed by profitable re-emergence once press-curiosity had cooled) has not enlightened his fervent supporters, so we find CSICOPpers even today — unfazed by CSICOP's 1981 transparent run into hiding (plus threatening & ejecting the whistle-blower and internet-smearing him) — still contending that OK, OK, so DR was correct after all that CSICOP's scientific test (on the Gauquelin theories at issue) backfired, but: there-was-not-either-a-coverup.]

When a scholar dedicates 1/3 of a century to astronomical scholarship, he finds it enlightening that neither archons nor fellow publishers are (for five years straight now) able to find 5 minutes to make a phone-call to inquire why Sky&Telescope can't produce the “abuse”-documents its 2002 Feb p.40 national smear (by O.Gingerich via B.Schaefer) of DIO had fantastically charged DR with.
[Sky&Telescope: 617-864-7360; Editor Rick Fienberg: 617-731-3609; author Schaefer: 225-578-6857; ghost Gingerich: 617-876-6556.] (Instead of producing the evidence, all parties have hidden. And no “science reporter” wants to flush them out. Can one imagine for a moment the real press [even though widely suspect of also being too-much a mere secretary-to-power] letting pols [or reporters] get away with such stunts & fleeings? Evidently, in the popsci world, heretics can be dealt with by simply telling a few lies about them — and then watching writers melt in awe of establishment pols who point to a target's responsive sardonic and-or blunt protests, as proof of how “impossible” or “unprofessional” he is. [Does anyone recall what “pre-post-erous” means?] Question: should DR's favorite cartoonist (and co-Hamilton Street Club member), Pat Oliphant, be thrown out of the press because he reacts to institutional phoniness by launching pointed satirical barbs at [a different] corrupt, secretive, incestuous gov't?)

In both cases, the most unprincipled suppressors and libellers remain in place — still presented to the public as the epitome of academic respectability.
General observations:
[a] Top institutional archons are neither promoted nor (ever) demoted for reasons related to present academic integrity or skills.
[b] Such creatures uniformly knee-jerk-loathe public discussions of fraud, as endangering their prime activity: selling academe.

When Scientific American in 2005 Apr cheated by doctoring DR's letter (after mutual-fax text-agreement) and published this followed by an attack upon what the doctoring itself had inserted (an attack printed by SciAm as co-signed by a scholar who told DR 2005/3/25 he'd never even seen the letter — much less agreed with it), SciAm could count with total surety on other self-purportedly public-service institutions (like the “science press”) to feel no duty whatever to tell the public of such behavior.
[SciAm's distaste for embracing accuracy and honesty after screwups is not new: DIO 2.3 [1992] ‡7 §B [p.98]. Similarly, when it published (1976/1 pp.102-111) a cover-story attempt to help National Geographic by alibiing Peary's faked Crocker Land “discovery” (1906/6/24&28) as a fata-morgana, the truth was already obvious. (As DR informed ScAm in detail: 1976/3/13, including a brief note [never published — OR EVEN INVESTIGATED by ScAm] challenging Peary's defenders to produce any written Peary record of his 1906 “June” Crocker Land written before 1906 December.) Crocker Land's fraudulence has since become undeniable due to recovery of Peary's diary. Don't hold your breath for ScAm's retraction. That would require integrity. And, even more of a stretch: humility. Same for its unretracted 2000 promotion of K.Spence's since-refuted dating for the Great Pyramid — as well as ScAm's 2006 Nov p.100 publication of another telegenic pop-scientist's Hipparchan date for the Farnese celestial globe, a date positively known to be mis-computed (among dozens of far more serious — and more laughable — problems with the thesis). ScAm simply doesn't care — except to hide its sins (long enough for personnel-turnover to allow an it's-old-news brush-off). With some wonderful exceptions (see, e.g., its 1990 March & June issues on Peary) ScAm has throughout its existence just been largely doing what power-folk want when it comes to embarrassing controversies: see, e.g., ScAm 1910/4/9 editorial or Rawlins Peary … Fiction 1973 pp.223&234.]

By contrast, when National Geographic in 1988 creditably began publicly to treat its own Peary N.Pole myth as dubious, and when in 1996 the Byrd Polar Research Center agreed (however temporarily & unevenly) that the Byrd N.Pole claim looked illegitimate, the “science press” finally woke up and exceptionally took note of whatever of DR's findings had been institutionally stipulated-to.
(DR is naturally glad this happened. But it would be more uplifting to see evidence rather than institutional-confession be the snooze-breaker. Does the “science press” need parental permission to question institutional orthodoxy?)

Wooing&Winking: Kanga Court:
Thus, if you bring an institutional scandal to the 'roos of the “science press”, misbehavior which the involved institution isn't itself confessing, you will get nowhere. Oh, a sympathetic reporter may say, with a worldly wink: this sort of scandal never ceases 'til the institution's cemental moguls die off.
[Too true. And they never do. Without Xerxesian replica-replacement. Yes, individual orthodoxies will come&go (DIO 4.2 [1994] ‡9 §R2 [p.88]), providing an illusion of systemic progress; but institutional orthodoxy (as a suppressive, poisonous, heresy-hating pathology) is as revealingly immortal as is press-symbiosis with the powerful-parental-Kanga perps: for, even while long-delayed triumphs of truth are occurring, new long-term suppressions are aborning….]
But the obvious unstated circular reason for this itself-scandalous situation is: the “science press” won't report on science-biggie misbehavior until receiving institutional permission. The top science-mogul” of them all, Izzy Bowman, was held in awe for his preternatural ability to keep science-world scandals out of the press (e.g., Byrd's boozy state over the South Pole [1929]: Rawlins Peary at the North Pole: Fact or Fiction [Washington 1973] p.64 [note “dead” drunk is unfair DR hyperbole]), all for the public's own good, of course — to spare it from disillusionment. (The unnamed plagiarist-explorer at idem was Lauge Koch. The then-powerful unnamed “science press” reporter-pol knew who DR was referring to and never spoke to DR again: Walter Sullivan. More on him and (protecting the public for-its-own-good) at DIO 10 [2000] n.84 [p.41].) WHAT does such suppressive ability (as Bowman's) — not to mention the very existence of the influence-peddling breed known as “press agents” — tell us about the integrity of the press?
Typical of the uppitiness which so endears him to archons, DR was 1st to expose the repulsive fact (which reveals Who really hates whom when scholars & moguls clash: see also DIO 2.3 [1992] ‡6 §F3 final sentence [p.95]) — that Grand Mogul Bowman actually CELEBRATED[! — his word — and his exclamation-point] the death of the gentle, gentlemanly, valuable [subsequently quite vindicated] Peary-heretic, Henshaw Ward.
“Science reporters” can always find a good reason not to give the public uncomfortable truths. For decades on end. Robert Bell (Impure Science NYC 1992) has most succinctly explained the real reason (during a 1994/2/15 conversation with DR): they're afraid of losing their contacts. These contacts are both to the institutions and to the gu-roos that feed, interpret, and too-often virtually ghost stories for them, as well as arranging two-way-wooing mutual-benefit scoops and academic-society banquet-invites.
[The general press is increasingly infected by the same disease, as evergrin-warlady Judith Miller's richly rewarded careerism so educationally illustrated via the New York Times. Wm.Greider Nation 281.17:30-32 (2005/11/21) p.31: “Boy reporters also suck up to powerful men with shameful deference, wanting to be loved by the insiders so they can be inside too…. [Ken Chang (NYTimes), are you reading this?] The price of intimacy is sold in various coins, but older hands in the news business know what is being sold. The media, Christopher Dickey of Newsweek observed in a web essay [NB: not in the magazine], long ago concluded [that] having access to power is more important than speaking truth….”]

Conspicuously atypical reporter John Tierney (New York Times), who dealt the DIO-death-blow to Frederick Cook's 1906 Mt.McKinley fake (NYT 1998/11/26 p.1), when severely analysing the pros&cons of the press (NYT 2005/10/11 p.A27 [op-ed]), sympathetically noted: “Journalism attracts people who want to right wrongs”.
This idealistic goal indeed seems to apply to some in the press' political wing — but hardly describes a flaming priority for the great majority of the “science press”.


The Beat&Switch Ploy:
There is a classic archonal damage-control routine DR has seen elaborately staged, e.g., by the keystone CSICOPs and even at the Amer Astr Soc's clubby-historian and ever-entertaining Hysterical Astronomy Div: launch desperately vicious coherent pack-animal attacks upon those who expose the institution's misdoings, while straining to suppress unwelcome truth for as long as possible — and then (when evidence [or passage of time] effects revelation or revolution) the tense-defense goes languously limp and Janally switches-faces to affecting a yawn of ennui: o, does it really matter? (DIO 10 [2000] §T4 [p.77]. This [in the NGS instance there discussed], from a gang that had just [see idem] vainly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to crush DR.) That's all just-past-history. (At its most extreme pathology, this ploy will circularly justify a coverup by its very success. See, e.g., Phill Klass's compacted version in DR's sTARBABY [Fate 1981 Oct p.31].) Even historian archons have been known to resort to that one — at least until reminded that they're themselves making a living doing history that's rather older!
[E.g., in the 1992 Journal for the History of Astronomy, Muffioso Noel Swerdlow scoffed at research on the authorship of the Ancient Star Catalog. (It's a [now-ex]controversy which his clique was losing-badly, so he now typically switched to bad-losing.) Swerdlow: “interest in the catalog is now almost entirely historical.” DR immediately responded: (DIO 2.3 [1992]) ‡8 §C30 [pp.112-113]): “Seldom has a party of “experts” been so utterly defeated (and by scholars it exiled as fools [& crooks]) — so bare of substantial, coherent retort — that its ever-so-clever strategists got tangled up in such almost-artistically disjunct babbling. Who [else] … could even imagine proposing that a subject be ruled out of a historical journal on the ground that it is too historical?”]

But let's not get away from the central points here:
[a] Those who forget Santayana are condemned.
[b] If coveruppers' postpone-the-reckoning-as-long-as-possible-and-never-confess-until-maybe-it-no-long-matters-except-to-historians tactic is encouraged, the implicit impunity for dishonesty (plus punishment for integrity) will ensure that institutional history will become just one coverup after another. See, e.g.,
[1] RGO's have-cake-&-eat-it routine (DIO 9.1 [1999] ‡1 §L [p.25]);
[2] evidentially-cornered National Geographic's don't-care-as-much-anymore act; and
[3] CSICOP's Watergatesque-hope that coverup-success-for-a-year-makes-it-all-ancient-history.
[Every so often, guilty CSICOP parties try to see if DR wants to re-establish good relations with them. (See under Swiss-gold-watches at DIO 8 [1998] ‡5 §H3 [p.50].) E.g., James Randi. Well, given Randi's 1979 sTARBABY-linchpin-sellout: hardly. DR gladly acknowledges personal debts to Randi's profound mastery of magic and admiringly acknowledges his ingenious & courageously bold accomplishments on the side of rationality. E.g., his abdominal replication of the abominable Filipino psychic-surgery scam — brilliantly done and beneficially enlightening to the over-desperately ill. (And — it's always refreshing to see Randi stab someone in the front.) But that is a separate issue from temporarily-profitable slanderous cult-deceits to cover for privately known institutional corruption. A quarter-century ago, CSICOP got the short-term gain it sought (by its deliberate policy of) hiding and ad-homineming: a coverup that sorta-worked. At least for a little while. But CSICOP&co are now having to live forever with the cost: permanent and real (not kook-conjured) damage to public trust in rationalist and scientific institutions' ability to play fairly and honestly in controversy with anti-rationalists.
When you join organized, deliberate, dishonest, conspiratorial slander of a genuine friend and dedicated colleague — brushing aside [a] his vindication on his pre-warnings to avoid the (P.Kurtz-obsession) experiment (whose eventual backfiring is still being interittently covered-up) and [b] post-experiment (coverup phase) warnings on larger stakes — well, one had best be prepared to live with the consequences of one's actions.
(In this case, the politically-unwise slanderee was prepared to live with the unjust consequences of his own actions. Why weren't the slanderers?)]

CSICOP's epochal sTARBABY-try at cheating kooks on a science-test has permanently altered the rationalist-vs-kook public battle from one of scientific testing, to merely: one-side's propaganda vs the other's. Which, as DR has often emphasized, means henceforth: playing in the kooks' ballpark, with their choice of weapons. (Which, for cults composed of mostly income-obsessed publicity-hounds [unfortunately on both sides], is revealingly no-problem.)]

Not out of vindictiveness but from concern for rewarding truth and discouraging liars (and to prevent coverup-metastasis), it matters that we NEVER forgive coverups. To do so for private peace & gain is simply — in effect if not intent — to betray future victims of coverups, by not educating-warning them (and the oft-duped public) of the gulf between institutions' pretensions and their realities.
(As an intrinsically amiable sort [peaceably inclined, except to threat and lying], DR must confess that he cannot claim to have always kept his eye firmly on this principle, himself. [See, e.g., “sTARBABY” p.28; DIO 10 [2000] §L1 [pp.50-51] & §T2 [pp.76-77]); DIO 11.2 [2003] p.30 n.3.] Henceforth, he is determined never to go down that enticing but improper path again.)

PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE. Some Oft-Overlooked Priorities:
No need to hate the liars or seethe over the lie. (Hot hatred or cold vindictiveness will tend to hurt the subject more than the object. Let's leave long-memory-revenge entirely to institutions' archons: control-freaks who live by it: DIO 2.3 [1992] ‡6 §F3 [pp.94-95].) But — regardless of the temptations of present private gain or pleasure of whatever sort — don't ever forgive or forget PAST suppressors, shunners, forgers, fakers just because they have (to whatever degree) gotten away with their scam for awhile. (Which of course only makes their damage all the worse.) Because, if you do so forgive (instead of [non-enragedly] keeping the historical record alive in the cause of rationality and fairness), you will be systematically educating those suppressors' onlooking PRESENT proto-equivalents to believe that if they choose the just-for-now coverup-route, they will not even incur a cost in the FUTURE.

Total-impunity-for-all-time is no way to discourage misbehavior.


There's much public debate lately regarding improvident gov't policies' potential degradation of the next generation's heritage of energy, peace, debt, etc. But the foregoing analyses concern a less-discussed but at-least-equally important heritage: freedom of speech and of imagination, in the places they should be most free — in academe and in the rationalist community.

To be hoped for and encouraged in all such cases: forethought, principled resistance to intellectual tyranny, and projective human empathy for the creative minds who come after.

Prediction: If the present trend towards careerist folly in history of ancient astronomy continues, then scrupulous, open-minded, pioneering scholarship will be ever-more feared, discouraged, shunned — in favor of sloppy brain-kissers, whose idea of research is primarily the discernment of which theories' promotion is precious-to or flattering-to money-controlling archons. While such inverse-justice has always cursed the field to some extent, it is possible that the high-scholarship tradition typified by previous generations (e.g., Tannery, van der Waerden [see his obit by H.Thurston at DIO 7.1 [1997] ‡6 [p.34]: “Science-History's Dark Ages Get Darker”], Neugebauer, Dicks, R.Newton, etc) will atrophy and then almost-suddenly be found to have been severed and lost altogether.
[All the more reason to value (and treat as a precious thread connecting-to and continuing a high heritage) the ongoing dedicated and imaginative researches of our remaining handful of scholars dedicated to high standards in the art and science of ancient-astronomy induction and reconstruction.
(Among these are a few moderns who are fluent in ancient Greek, a skill that was common among leading scholars for over 2000 yrs, but has suddenly — within living memory — almost vanished.)]

During the 20th century, a similar fate befell noble and uplifting classical music, the creators of which have become virtually extinct. (Even as the quality of performance of such works is reaching new heights.) This cutting-off of one of the grandest traditions in the history of art, may have been related to the numerous cliquish, time-serving, mediocre, uncreative critics (lampooned with just contempt in Strauss' Heldenleben & Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals), who glorified junk and even jokers — sneering the while at the most brilliant and craft-dedicated composers, who chose not to be lazily carried along by formal-permutation fads, but instead earnestly, laboriously, and oft-defiantly erected musical monuments to the most sublime human feelings and depths.
(In the present abundant, dynamic, computer-catapulted era, justly lauded for progress in numerous intellectual spheres [e.g., science, math, architecture, psychology — and computers], it seems odd and incongruous to observe our non-trash artistic arenas increasingly forced to replicate the Dark Ages and the US' Old South, when the highest culture was preservation of a precious past rather than creation of an enduring art of the future.)

Everyone knows that corruption in politics is costing us today.
But, in scholarship and art, costs and losses — whether from corruption or just bad luck — can be forever.