+quot;CRYBABY+quot; By Philip J. Klass Philip J. Klass is a member of the Executive Counci

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"CRYBABY" By Philip J. Klass Philip J. Klass is a member of the Executive Council, Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). [Note: This article, written in 1981, was submitted for publication to FATE Magazine, in reply to Dennis Rawlins's accusations against CSICOP in his Oct., 1981 FATE article "sTARBABY". FATE adamantly refused to publish this article. Meanwhile, Rawlins was given the opportunity to make a rambling, six-page statement in the SKEPTICAL INQUIRER (Winter, 1981-82, p.58), which was published exactly as received, presenting his accusations of a "coverup." This was in addition to the 5 1/2 page article he earlier had on the "Mars Effect" in the Winter, 1979-80 issue (p.26). To this day, supporters of the paranormal still charge CSICOP with perpetrating a "coverup" on this matter. Only a relatively few people ever saw Klass's "CRYBABY", the long and detailed answer to Rawlins's "sTARBABY" charges. Now that you have the opportunity to read Klass's rebuttal, you can make up your own mind. Klass's original text has been reproduced below, exactly as typed, with the author's permission. Spelling and punctuation have not been changed. Text that was underlined in the original appears in capital letters. -- Robert Sheaffer, Bay Area Skeptics, 1991. This article is brought to you courtesy of the Bay Area Skeptics' BBS, 415-570-0359, from which it is available for downloading, although not via FTP.] "They call themselves the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. In fact, they are a group of would-be-debunkers who bungled their major investigation, falsified the results , covered up their errors and gave the boot to a colleague who threatened to tell the truth." Thus began a 32-Page article in the October 1981 issue of FATE magazine, which a a press release headlined: "SCIENTIST BLOWS THE WHISTLE ON PARANORMAL COVERUP." Since CSICOP was formed in the spring of 1976, it has been a thorn in the side of those who promote belief in "psychic phenomena," in astrology, UFOs, and similar subjects and it has been criticized sharply by FATE whose articles generally cater to those who are eager to believe. However, this FATE article was written by skeptic Dennis Rawlins, who was one of the original Fellows in CSICOP and for nearly four years had been a member of its Executive Council. This would seem to give credence to Rawlins' charges -- except to those of us with first-hand experience in trying to work with him and who are familiar with his modus-operandi. Because Rawlins proposed my election to CSICOP's Executive Council I cannot be charged with animosity toward him, except what he later engendered by his actions. And in a recent letter to me, Rawlins volunteered that I "was less involved than any other active Councillor" in the alleged misdeeds. The FATE article, entitled "sTARBABY" prompted my own investigation into Rawlins' charges. But unlike Rawlins, who relies heavily on his recollection of conversations several years earlier, I chose to use hard evidence - published articles, memoranda and letters, some of which Rawlins cites in his article. When I requested copies of these letters and memoranda from the several principals involved, all of them responded promptly and fully except for one -- Dennis Rawlins, who had accused the others of "cover-up" and "censorship." RAWLINS REFUSED MY REPEATED REQUESTS TO SUPPLY HARD DATA THAT MIGHT CONFIRM HIS CHARGES, AND WHICH ALSO COULD DENY THEM! The results of my investigation, based on hard data, prompted me to conclude that the Rawlins article should have been entitled "CRYBABY," and that an appropriate subtitle would have been: "A wounded ego is the root of much evil." If the editors of FATE had spent only a few hours reading published articles cited in the Rawlins article they could not in good conscience have accused CSICOP of "cover-up" or of having "falsified the results." Instead, FATE chose to ignore the traditional journalistic practice of investigating both sides of a controversial issue and publishing both sides, as those accused by Rawlins had done. Rawlins' charges result from two tests intended to assess whether the position of the planet Mars at the time of a person's birth has a significant influence on whether he/she becomes a "sports champion." This "Mars effect" hypothesis was first proposed by France's Michel Gauquelin, who directs the laboratory for the Study of Relations between Cosmic and Psychophysiological Rhythms, based on a study of European champions. The first of the two tests was performed by Gauquelin himself, with results that generally were supportive of the Mars effect hypothesis by eliminating a possible objection that first had been raised by others, i,e, not CSICOP. The only way in which CSICOP, or persons affiliated with it, could be guilty of Rawlins' charges would be if they had refused to publish Gauquelin's results or had intentionally altered the data in his report. NEITHER OCCURRED. Nor did Gauquelin accuse CSICOP or its members of trying to "cover-up" his results or altering the data of this first test whose calculations he himself performed, although there were some differences of interpretation of the implication of these results. HOWEVER, GAUQUELIN DID PUBLICLY ACCUSE RAWLINS OF DISTORTION AND MISREPRESENTATION, with implied criticism of CSICOP because Rawlins then was a member of its Executive Council. There would be other occasions when CSICOP would be criticized because of Rawlins' intemperate statements and actions. This criticism was published by CSICOP in the Winter l978 issue of its publication, THE SKEPTICAL INQUIRER (p. 80). In it Gauquelin wrote: "How, in spite of all this data could one distort and misrepresent the effect in question and sow doubts on the subject? Dennis Rawlins, a member of CSICP ... has done just this in a polemic which appeared in the Fall-Winter 1977 issue of that (CSICOP's) journal." In "sTARBABY," Rawlins tries to shift the blame for his transgressions to CSICOP. According to "sTARBABY," CSICOP Chairman Prof. Paul Kurtz was the principal architect of the alleged cover-up. Yet in reality it was Kurtz, then editor of THE HUMANIST magazine (published by the American Humanist Assn.) who printed the lengthy paper by Gauquelin describing the seemingly favorable- for-him results of the first test in the Nov/Dec,l977 issue (p. 30). What kind of doubletalk is this when Rawlins and FATE charge that Kurtz's decision to publish test results favorable to an "adversary" represents a "cover-up"? Rawlins might better have waited until "l984" to resort to such "double-speak" accusations. Because the issues are complex and because two different publications and organizations were involved, it is useful to recount briefly the events that led to the first Mars effect test, which is at the root of the Rawlins/FATE charges, and the second tests performed using data for outstanding U.S. athletes. Based on calculations performed by Rawlins himself, the U.S. champions test showed a very UNFAVORABLE result for the claimed Mars effect, which Rawlins confirms in "sTARBABY." And these Rawlins-computed results were published, without change, by CSICOP. The Sept/Oct. l975 issue of THE HUMANIST carried an article by L.E. Jerome that was critical of astrology in general and of the Mars effect in particular. When Gauquelin sought an opportunity for rebuttal, Kurtz provided it in the Jan./Feb. 1976 issue of THE HUMANIST, which also carried several other articles on astrology. Because Gauquelin's article claimed that the Mars effect had been confirmed by Belgian Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Alleged Paranormal Phenomena (created some 25 years earlier), that group also was invited by Kurtz to submit an article for publication. Belgian Comite Para, as it is called, confirmed Gauquelin's calculations. But it questioned his statistical assumption "that the frequency distribution of the hours of birth during the day (the nych-themeral curve) is a constant distribution...", i.e. that there is an equal probability of a person being born during any hour of the day. This seemed important because the Mars effect hypothesis holds that persons born during an approximately two-hour period just after Mars has "risen" or during a comparable period after Mars is at upper culmination (zenith), are more likely to become sports champions than persons born during other hours of the day. If there is an equal probability of a person being born in any one of the 24 hours, then 4/24, or l6.7%,of the general population should be born when Mars is in one of these two "key sectors." (Because of combined orbital motions of Earth and Mars, the percentage of the day in which Mars is in two key sectors is approximately l7%. But Gauquelin reported that 22% European champions in his data base had been born when Mars was in the two key sectors, significantly higher than the l7% "benchmark." Because of the issue raised by Comite' Para, Kurtz consulted statistics professor Marvin Zelen who in turn proposed a control test that could resolve the statistical issue raised by Comite' Para. This Zelen proposed test, also published in the same (Jan./Feb. 1976) issue of THE HUMANIST, suggested that Gauquelin should gather birth data for "non-champions" who had been born in the same local areas and within three days of a RANDOMLY SELECTED sub-sample of Gauquelin's "champions" who seemed to show the Mars effect. If only 17% of these NON-champions were born when Mars was in the two key sectors, this would void the issue raised by Comite Para. But if roughly 22% of the NON-champions also were born when Mars was in the two key sectors, this would undercut the Mars effect hypothesis. Zelen's article concluded that the proposed test offered "an objective way for unambiguous corroboration or dis-confirmation." In retrospect it would have been more precise had he added: "...of the issue raised by Belgian Comite Para." If Gauquelin's sample of "champions" data was "biased," as Rawlins first suspected, this could not possibly be detected by the Zelen-proposed test. The same issue of The Humanist carried another article, by astronomy professor George O. Abell, which was very skeptical of astrology in general. But unlike Rawlins who dismissed the Mars effect out-of-hand and "didn't believe that it merited serious investigation yet" (FATE: p. 74), Abell wrote that if Gauquelin's findings were correct, they were "extremely interesting." However, Abell included the following note of caution: "If all of Gauquelin's work is re-checked, and his results hold up, then it is necessary to repeat the experiment with a new sample, say in the United States. If that sample should give the same result, then further verification is in order, until it is absolutely certain that the effects are real and reproducible. That is the way science works; reproducibility of results is necessary before fundamental new laws can be inferred." This sage advice clearly indicated the limits of what conclusions could be drawn, and could not be drawn, from the results of the upcoming Zelen test, and even from a complete re-check of Gauquelin's original data on European champions, which was not attempted. It should be stressed that at the time this first (Zelen) test was proposed, CSICOP did not yet exist. Several months later, when it was formed (initially under the auspices of the American Humanist Assn.), Kurtz became its co-chairman and later its chairman. Zelen and Abell were named Fellows, but not to CSICOP's Executive Council. In l980, Abell was elected to replace Rawlins on the Council. The results of this first (Zelen) test were published in the Nov./Dec., l977 issue of THE HUMANIST, where the issue first was raised, although by this time CSICOP had its own publication. Gauquelin and his wife Francoise were given nearly six large-size magazine pages to present their findings without censorship. Gauquelin reported having difficulties in obtaining data for non- champions born within several days of champions in small towns, so he said that non-champions birth data had been obtained only from the large cities in France and Belgium, The Gauquelins reported that these data showed that only l7% of the non- champions had been born when Mars was in the two sectors which seemed to resolve the issue earlier raised by Belgium's Comite Para in favor of the Mars effect. The same issue of THE HUMANIST carried an article jointly authored by Zelen, Kurtz, and Abell, that began: "Is there a 'Mars Effect'? The preceding article by Michel and Francoise Gauquelin discusses the experiment proposed by Marvin Zelen and its subsequent outcome. Their conclusions come out in favor of the existence of a 'Mars effect' related to sports champions. It is the purpose of this article to discuss the analysis of the data and to point out the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence in favor of the 'Mars effect.'" The Zelen/Kurtz/Abell article raised some questions about the results. For example, that "the 'Mars effect' only appears in Paris, not in Belgium or in the rest of France." The article concluded: "lf one had a high prior 'belief' that there is a Mars effect, then the Gauquelin data would serve confirm this prior belief. In the other hand, if the prior belief in the existence of a Mars effect was low, then this data may raise the posterior belief, but not enough to accept the existence of the Mars effect." Rawlins charges that publication of this article, following the uncensored Gauquelin paper,"commited CSICOP to a cover-up." (FATE: p.76) Yet is characteristic of scientific controversy for one party to question or challenge another's interpretation of the data. And Gauquelin would do so following the second test without being accused of a "cover-up" in "sTARBABY." In the same issue of THE HUMANIST, in a brief introduction written by Kurtz, the first "linkage" with CSICOP occurred. Kurtz wrote: "Thus, members of CSICP involved in this inquiry believe that the claim that there is a statistical relationship between the position of Mars at the time of birth of individuals and the incidence of sports champions among them has not been established ... to further the cause of scientific inquiry, the committee has agreed (with Gauquelin) to make an independent test of the alleged Mars effect by a study of sports champions in the United States." In "sTARBABY," Rawlins charges that the U. S, champions test was a "diversion." Clearly the Gauquelins themselves did not view it in this light, judging from the concluding statement in their article which said: "Let us hope that these positive results may induce other scientists to study whether this effect, discovered with the European data, appears also with the U.S. data." On March 28, 1978, SEVERAL MONTHS AFTER THE RESULTS OF THE FIRST TEST WERE PUBLISHED, Rawlins sent Kurtz a copy of a three- page memorandum he had prepared a year earlier (March 29, 1977). It contained a very technical analysis of the issue raised by Comite Para, which prompted Rawlins to conclude that the 22% figure reported for European champions was not the result of a disproportionate share of births of the general population during the early morning hours when Mars often was in one of the two key sectors. In this analysis, Rawlins concluded that Gauquelin had "made fair allowance for the effect." But Rawlins had not written this three-page memo until several month AFTER the Zelen test had been proposed in THE HUMANIST. Shortly after preparing the analysis, Rawlins had sent a copy to Prof. Marcello Truzzi, then editor of CSICOP's publication. Truzzi had decided not to publish it but sent a copy to Gauquelin. IF the Rawlins analysis of 1977 took account of all possible demographic factors -- and there is some disagreement on this question -- it was much too technical to be understood by persons without expertise in statistics and celestial mechanics. When Rawlins finally got around to sending this analysis to Kurtz on March 28, 1978, his letter of that date did NOT criticize Truzzi or CSICOP for not having published it earlier. Rather, Rawlins admitted, "I should not have kept my (Mar. 19, 1977) memo..private after all." He did suggest that perhaps it might now be published in THE HUMANIST. But by this time Kurtz no longer was its editor. More important, the results of the first (Zelen) test already had been published several months earlier. If, as Rawlins would later charge in"sTARBABY," the Zelen/Kurtz/Abell article published several months earlier in THE HUMANIST amounted to a "cover- up," Rawlins did not make such an accusation to Kurtz when he wrote him April 6, 1978. Instead, Rawlins wrote; "I think our best bets now are 1. The main European investigation might seek to discover how the Eur. samp (of Gauquelin) was (hypothetically) fudged -- check orig. records microscopically for some sort of Soal trick. 2. Proceed with the U.S, test, where we know we have a clean (unbiased) sample." This April 6, 1978, letter clearly shows that while Rawlins suspected that Gauquelin had manipulated his European champions data ("Soal trick") he found no evidence of wrong-doing by Zelen/Kurtz/Abell. On April 26, 1978, in another letter to Kurtz, following his visit with Rawlins in San Diego, Rawlins wrote that he "was certain" that Gauquelin's original data "was biased, but not sure how." Rawlins concluded this letter on a cordial note: "Now, wasn't it great visiting sunny, funny, California -- and getting to see a real live nut religion launch itself in San Diego? ... hope you'll get back this way soon again." It was at about this time that CSICOP came under fire for Rawlins' actions in another matter. In the summer of 1977, Rawlins and Abell had been invited to be panelists in a symposium on astrology to be held March 18, 1978 at the University of Toronto at which Gauquelin, among others, would participate. The invitation came from Dr. Howard Eisenberg on the stationary of the University's School of Continuing Studies. Both Rawlins and Abel had accepted. Then, in late September, 1977, Eisenberg withdrew the invitations on the grounds that "the response from potential speakers...has yielded an incredible acceptance rate of 100%. This places us in the embarassing position of not being able to sponsor all of you," i.e. pay travel expenses and allow formal presentations. On Feb. 6, 1978, Rawlins wrote to the president of the University of Toronto, protesting what he said were "a number of oddities" associated with the symposium, including an imbalance between the number of astrology supporters and skeptics. The Rawlins letter charged that "this conference looks to be a pretty phoney confrontation, which will therefore give the irrational pseudo-science of astrology an evidentially-unmerited 'academic' boost in public credibility..." Rawlins sent a copy of his letter to another university official. Rawlins' suspicion of a loaded panel may have been justified. But the letter of protest was written on CSICOP stationery and signed "Dennis Rawlins, Executive Council, CSICOP." Another regretable action was a Rawlins telephone call late at night to a university astronomy professor, Robert Garrison, which gave the impression that Rawlins was speaking in behalf of CSICOP. In fact, Rawlins had taken these actions without consulting other Council members and without official approval to use CSICOP's name. In early April 1978, a copy of the Rawlins letter had reached Truzzi, who also had been invited and dis-invited to participate in the conference. The Rawlins letter claimed that Truzzi had co-authored "an astrology-supporting paper...and so rates as a strange sort of skeptic." Truzzi sent Kurtz a copy of this Rawlins letter with a note that said: "Since Dennis' letter is on Committee stationery, would appear he is writing on behalf of the Committee, I trust that will not happen again." Rawlins' actions were reported in the Canadian magazine SCIENCE FORUM July/August 1978, in an article written by Lydia Dotto. The article, entitled "Science Confronts 'Pseudo- Science'", began; "It was after midnight on a Saturday night when University of Toronto astronomer Bob Garrison was awakened by a phone call. The caller identified himself as a member of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, and according to Garrison, he spent the best part of the next hour urging the U of T scientist not to participate in the conference on astrology...Dennis Rawlins, a California astronomer and science writer and a member of the Committee, acknowledged in an interview that he made the call, but denied he was trying to talk Garrison out of attending the conference...this and other incidents surrounding the conference have become something of a cause celebre, particularly since the event was cancelled shortly before it was to have taken place in mid-March. Predictably, ACCUSATIONS BEGAN TO FLY THAT SCIENTIFIC OPPONENTS OF ASTROLOGY WERE ENGAGED IN A CAMPAIGN TO SUPPRESS FREEDOM OF SPEECH." (Emphasis added.) Indeed they did, much to CSICOP's embarassment. Britain's New Scientist magazine, in its June 29, 1978, issue, quoted the Canadian magazine in an article that began: "Earlier this year an astronomer at the University of Toronto, Dr. Bob Garrison, was awakened by a phone call from a member of Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. The caller allegedly spent most of the next hour trying to dissuade Garrison from taking part in a conference on astrology." This New Scientist account was picked up by FATE magazine, which in turn attributed the action to CSICOP rather than to one Council member. FATE commented: "If you have difficulty understanding their (CSICOP) motives, remember that here is a dedicated group of witch-hunters seeking to burn nonbelievers at the stake." (How ironic that FATE now is promoting the views of the same person whose intemperate earlier actions had provoked FATE's harsh criticism.) The same criticism of CSICOP, because of Rawlins' actions surfaced again in a feature article in THE WASHINGTON POST (Aug. 26, 1979). The article, syndicated and published elsewhere, was written by Ted Rockwell who was identified as a member of the Parapsychological Association. When I learned of the Rawlins incident, I was shocked as were others on the Council. But all of us hoped that Council members had learned an important lesson from the incident and that it would have a maturing effect on Rawlins. Yet before another year had passed Rawlins would once again demonstrate his inability to distinguish between official CSICOP actions and those of its individual members. Originally it was expected that the required calculations of Mars' position at the time of birth of U.S. champions (for the second test) would be performed by Prof. Owen Gingerich of Harvard University. But during the summer of 1978 the Harvard astronomer was on an extended leave so Kurtz asked Rawlins to perform the celestial mechanics computations. Rawlins did so and found in sharp contrast to Gauquelin's findings that 22% of the European champions were born when Mars was in the two key sectors, and compared to the "chance" benchmark figure of 17%, only 13.5% of the U.S. champions were born when Mars was in the two key sectors. Thus, Rawlins' calculations showed that if Mars had any effect on champions, it was a pronounced NEGATIVE effect for U.S. athletes. On Sept, 18, 1978, Rawlins prepared a four-page report describing the procedures he had used in his calculations and a summary of the results. But Rawlins could not resist including some denigrating charges against Gauquelin. For example: "Gauquelin was well known in his teens for his casting of horoscopes (a practice he has since disowned)..." The comments were both gratuitous and inappropriate. Relations between Rawlins and Gauquelin had been strained since CSICOP published a long, rambling Rawlins attack (Fall/Winter 1977) in which he accused Gauquelin of "misgraphing the results of the Belgian Comite Para check on his Mars-athletes link..." Gauquelin had responded with the charge that Rawlins had distorted and misrepresented the facts in a letter which then was scheduled to be published shortly in the Winter 1978 issue of THE SKEPTICAL INQUIRER. The same issue also would carry a sharp rejoinder from Rawlins. Thus it is hardly surprising that Kurtz decided that it would be best if the upcoming summary report on the results of the U.S. champions test should be written by Zelen, Abell and himself -- especially since the three of them had jointly authored the earlier article and Abell had proposed the U.S. test. If Kurtz instead had suggested that the U.S. champions test report be jointly authored with Rawlins instead of Abell, "sTARBABY" might never have been published. This is evident from numerous Rawlins complaints in"sTARBABY." For example, Rawlins complains that the day after Kurtz received his Sept. 18, 1978, report (with the ad hominem attack on Gauquelin) "Kurtz wrote Abell to suggest KZA (Kurtz, Zelen and Abell) confer and prepare the test report for publication (EXCLUDING ME)." (Emphasis added.) (P.79.) Rawlins also complains that Kurtz asked Zelen and Abell "to verify the work," i.e. Rawlins' calculations. (P.80.) Because of the importance of test, it was good scientific protocol to ask other specialists to at least spot-check Rawlins' computations. Then Rawlins reveals he was angered because "Abell asked countless questions about my academic training." (P. 8O.) Inasmuch as Rawlins lists his academic training as being in physics rather than astronomy, Abell's questions seem justified. Further evidence of Rawlins' wounded ego is his complaint that "not only was Abell being invited to the press conference (at the upcoming Council in Washington, D.C.), he was to be the CSICOP spokesman on astrology in Washington." (P.81) Rawlins said he "strongly protested the high-handedness of the choice of Abell as the speaker at the annual meeting...I emphasized that CSICOP had plenty of astronomers associated with it (Carl Sagan, Bart Bok, Edwin Krupp and others), all of them nearer Washington than Abell who lived all the way across the country, in the Los Angeles area." (In fact, Krupp also lived in Southern California, Bok lived Arizona, and Sagan then was working in California on his "Cosmos" television series.) In "sTARBABY," Rawlins claims that Abell had been invited to speak because "Kurtz was trying to suppress my dissenting report (of Sept. 18, 1978) and (by not paying my travel fare) to keep me from the December Council meeting while inviting to Washington as a prominent CSICOP authority the very person whose appointed task I HAD MYSELF PERFORMED" (his italics, p. 81). In reality, there was no question that Rawlins' Sept, 18, 1978, report, describing his analytical procedures, needed to be published. The only question was whether it should include the ad hominem attack on Gauquelin. It was not until approximately one year AFTER the results of the Zelen test were published in THE HUMANIST that Rawlins first charged the use of "bait-and-switch" tactics--what he calls "BS"--had been employed. This allegation was contained in his letter of Nov. 2, 1978, to Zelen, with a copy to Kurtz. BUT RAWLINS STILL DID NOT CHARGE THAT THIS AMOUNTED TO A "COVER-UP," OR THAT CSICOP WAS INVOLVED. Quite the opposite. A few weeks later when the Winter 1978 issue of THE SKEPTICAL INQUIRER was published, there was a Rawlins response which said: "It SHOULD BE CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD THAT CSICP AS A BODY NEVER HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE HUMANIST ZELEN TEST 'CHALLENGE'...PUBLISHED BEFORE THE COMMITTEE WAS FOUNDED"(Emphasis added.) Like most members of CSICOP's Executive Council who had not been involved either in the first (Zelen) test or the subsequent U.S. champions test, and who were not sufficiently expert in celestial mechanics, statistics or astrology to take a prior interest, my first exposure to the controversy came during the Council meeting in Washington in early December, 1978, when Rawlins unleashed a rambling harrangue. Understandably I was confused by Rawlins' charge that CSICOP somehow was involved in a Zelen test-results cover-up that had occurred more than a year before which contradicted his just-published statement in THE SKEPTICAL INQUIRER stating that the original Zelen test was NOT a CSICOP-sponsored effort. Despite my efforts to understand Rawlins' allegations, it was not clear to me (and to many other Council members) just what it was that he now was claiming had been"covered-up." After three years of working with Rawlins I was well aware of his proclivity for making harsh, exaggerated charges. Most often these were directed against supporters of the para-normal, but sometimes also against Council members who disagreed with his proposals for intemperate actions against "the believers." For example, Rawlins had charged that Truzzi was involved with the "Church of Satan." Beyond having difficulty in understanding the specifics of Rawlins' charges, I failed to grasp what he thought should be done to correct the alleged problem. Because the hour was getting late and Council members had to leave to catch flights back home, I suggested to Rawlins that he write a memorandum that clearly and concisely set forth the basic issues and that he recommend appropriate corrective action. In this way Council members could better comprehend the matter and consider corrective action if such were justified. Rawlins cites this in "sTARBABY" and claims he was the only party who had put the issues in writing. BUT HE DID NOT SEND COPIES OF SUCH MEMORANDA TO COUNCIL MEMBERS. ONE LOGICAL EXPLANATION FOR THIS IS THAT PREVIOUSLY HE DID NOT BELIEVE THE MATTER INVOLVED CSICOP OR REQUIRED COUNCIL MEMBERS' ATTENTION. Rawlins was the last one to leave my apartment (where we had been meeting that night) and he continued his earlier harrangue but without clarifying the issues. Later, he called me from the airport to continue the discussion. Again I asked that he clarify the issues for me and other Council members by preparing a memorandum. I assured Rawlins that since I had not been involved in either of the two tests and since he had recommended my election to Council, he could expect me to be at least neutral if not sympathetic. Rawlins never responded to my request. About six weeks later (Jan. 17, 1979), he did circulate a five-page memo to CSICOP Fellows and Council members. It was a "baby sTARBABY" which cited a number of ALLEGED mistakes that had been made by OTHERS involved in the tests and in CSICOP's operations. I replied on Jan. 31 saying that his memo was "for me an unintelligible jumble." I added: "without meaning to give offense to a friend, I once again urge you -- as I did at our meeting here -- to outline the problem...then outline your recommendations. And please do not assume, as you have done, that all of us follow the G-affair as closely as you have done." My letter concluded: "Skip the invective...outline the problem clearly, concisely, and offer your recommendations." Rawlins never responded to this request. Today, following my recent investigation, I know why. There was no cover-up, except in Rawlins' troubled mind, fed by the fires of a wounded ego and, perhaps, by embarassment over his unauthorized intervention in the University of Toronto symposium. Rawlins was unable to recommend specific corrective action because nothing could have saved his wounded ego unless it were possible to turn back the clock and to have invited Rawlins to be the CSICOP speaker on astrology in Washington and to replace Abell in writing the report on the results of the U.S. champions test. Readers of "sTARBABY" might easily conclude that Rawlins believes that Zelen/Kurtz/Abell, in the Nov/Dec. 1977 issue of THE HUMANIST, should have conceded "Gauquelin has won" and cancelled plans for the U.S. champions test. Yet had they done so, Rawlins would have been outraged because such a concession would imply that the Zelen test had proved the Mars effect beyond all doubt and this was not true. Had Zelen/Kurtz/Abell even contemplated such a concession, I am certain that Rawlins would have urged that they be ousted from CSICOP. "sTARBABY" reveals that Rawlins imagines many things that simply are not true, such as his charge that I was involved in a plot to suppress his discussions of the Gauquelin test at the 1978 Council meeting. His article implies that Council meetings are characterized by attempts to suppress dissenting views. In reality one usually hears almost as many different viewpoints as there are Council members present. And Kurtz is the most unconstraining group chairman I have ever known in the many organizations of which I have been a member. Even on easily ascertainable matters, Rawlins chooses to rely on his vivid imagination or recollections rather than take time to check the facts. For example, in "sTARBABY," Rawlins claims that he was an "associate editor" of THE SKEPTICAL INQUIRER, as well as being a member of its editorial board -- which he was [not]. Rawlins makes that claim in seven different places in his article. One would expect that a person who imagines himself to be an associate editor of a publication over a period of several years would at least once look at that publication's masthead, where its editorial staff is listed. Had Rawlins done so he would not have made this spurious claim. This is not an error of great consequence. But when I pointed it out to him, his response was revealing, especially because he accuses others of being unwilling to admit to error and of resorting to "cover-up." Rawlins' letter of Sept. 21, 1981, explained that at a Council meeting HELD FOUR YEARS EARLIER he remembers that "Kurtz called all Ed. Board members 'Associate Editors'...I adopted to save syllables." Rawlins tries to justify his misstatement of fact on the grounds that he was able to save approximately 42 characters in his 75,000-character-long article! In "sTARBABY," Rawlins claims that the full-day meeting of the Council in Washington was held at the National Press Club because this was "the temple of CSICOP's faith." (P. 86.) Had Rawlins asked me, I would have informed him that I had selected the National Press Club because it was the lowest-cost facility in downtown Washington that I could find. But Rawlins decided he knew the answer without bothering to investigate. This is neither good science nor good journalism. In the previously cited Rawlins memorandum of Jan. 17, 1979, following the Washington meeting, he wrote that he planned to reduce his involvement with CSICOP. He added that there was no reason to "hide" CSICOP's problems "from the public. So I may inform a neutral, responsible, unsensational member of the press re the foregoing." In reality Rawlins already had taken such steps at the December Council meeting whose press seminar was attended by an experienced journalist with a known empathy for some paranormal claims. During the early afternoon Rawlins and this journalist left the meeting together and returned together several hours later. But this journalist never published anything on the matter, possibly because he has as much difficulty in understanding Rawlins' charges as did Council members. According to "sTARBABY," in mid-1979, Rawlins received a letter from Jerome Clark of FATE magazine, expressing an interest in learning more about Rawlins' complaints against CSICOP. Rawlins claims that shortly afterward "I told the Council I'd be open with FATE." I question the truthfulness of his statement because Rawlins did not bother to attend the next Council meeting in December, 1979, nor have I been able to locate any Rawlins letter or memorandum to substantiate this claim. "sTARBABY" claims that "as the FATE-story realization set in, Council reacted like the White House when it learned that John Dean had sat down with the prosecution (during the Watergate scandal). (P.91) This claim I know to be false. The prospect of a Rawlins article in FATE was never discussed at the 1979 or 1980 Council meetings, nor by memorandum during the two intervening years. Otherwise CSICOP would have prepared a response which it could have released immediately following publication of "sTARBABY," preventing Rawlins from boasting that failure of CSICOP to respond quickly to his many charges indicated an inability to do so. Returning, chronologically, to the fall of 1979, CSICOP was preparing to publish the results of the U.S. champions test in the Winter 1979-80 issue of THE SKEPTICAL INQUIRER. Rawlins demanded the right to revise and expand his original Sept, 18, 1978, paper, and was given that opportunity. Furthermore, according to "sTARBABY," Rawlins informed Ken Frazier, editor of THE SKEPTICAL INQUIRER, "that if there were any alterations not cleared with me, I wanted a note printed with the paper stating that deletions had occurred over the author's protest and that the missing portions could be obtained directly from me." (P. 92.) Frazier (who had been recommended for the position by Rawlins himself), acting on the recommendation of Prof. Ray Hyman, a Council member who reviewed the Rawlins paper and the others, and on Frazier's own long editorial experience, decided to delete the sentence referring to Gauquelin's earlier interest in traditional astrology. Frazier also opted to delete another sentence that read: "In this connection I must also say that, given the self piekill upshot (sic) of their European (nonchampions) adventure plus their failure to perform independently the U.S. study's technical foundations (sector position, expectation curve), I find it amusing that ZKA (Zelen, Kurtz, Abell) are the main commentators on this test in THE SKEPTICAL INQUIRER." Once again Rawlins' wounded-ego had manifested itself. On Nov, 6, 1979, Rawlins sent a memo to other members of the Editorial Board complaining that his article "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)." Frazier had proposed an alternative sentence, which was published at the end of the Rawlins paper, that read: "Further commentary on the issues raised in this paper and in these notes is available from the author." Rawlins' address also was published. This is the basis for Rawlins' harsh charges of "censorship" against Frazier, the man whom he had so highly recommended for the position. If Rawlins' complaint were justified, every working journalist could make the same accusations regularly against those who edit his/her copy to assure clarity and good taste and to avoid libel. In response to Rawlins' charges, Frazier wrote to members of the Editorial Board explaining what had transpired. Frazier noted, "Dennis seems to believe his position as a member of the Editorial Board gives his writings special status exempt from normal editorial judgment. None of the rest of you has ever suggested this," i.e. demanded privileged treatment. So because Rawlins was not given privileged treatment, he charges "censorship." In the same Nov. 6, 1979, letter charging censorship, Rawlins complained that he alone among Council members had not been reimbursed for his travel expenses of $230 to the previous Council meeting in Washington. Rawlins said that he would need $400.00 for travel to attend the upcoming Council meeting in New York and added "I won't do that unless all 63O dollars are here beforehand." Kurtz promptly sent Rawlins a check for $350 as a travel advance and assured him he would be reimbursed for previous travel expense as soon as he submitted an expense account--which Rawlins had never done (In "sTARBABY," Rawlins characterizes this as a "ridiculous excuse" for failure to reimburse him earlier.) Rawlins cashed the $350 check but did not attend the New York Council meeting, nor did he inform the Council that he would not attend. Rawlins never refunded the $120 difference between $230 he claimed was due him and the $350 he received. Yet Rawlins professes to have been shocked and surprised when the Council voted unanimously not to reelect Rawlins at its New York meeting. (Since Rawlins seems so easily shocked and surprised, I suspect he was equally surprised at the resignation of Richard M. Nixon.) Two months later, Rawlins wrote to Frazier saying he wished to resign from the Editorial Board. But he insisted that the resignation should not take effect until his statement complaining about not being reelected "in absentia" was published. This Rawlins statement claimed that he had not been reelected solely because he had criticized "CSICOP's conduct during ITS FOUR YEAR INVOLVEMENT in testing Gauquelin's neo- astrology..." (Emphasis added.) Had Frazier opted to publish this grossly inaccurate statement, which he did not, readers might well have wondered if there were really two different Dennis Rawlins, recalling barely a year earlier when a Rawlins letter had been published which said: "It should be clearly understood that CSICOP as a body never had anything to do with the Humanist Zelen test 'challenge'..." When Frazier accepted Rawlins' resignation, this prompted Rawlins to complain that he had been removed from the Editorial Board without "cause or written notice." Later, following a mail ballot of Council members, CSICOP dropped Rawlins from its list of Fellows. (The vote against Rawlins was 6:1.) The foregoing highlights the key issues and actions that prompted FATE and Rawlins to charge that CSICOP "bungled their major investigation, falsified the results, covered up their errors and gave the boot to a colleague who threatened to tell the truth." (After my investigation, a re-reading of "sTARBABY" gives me the feeling that I am reading a Pravda account explaining that the Soviets moved into Afghanistan to help the Afghans prevent an invasion by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.) Were it possible to turn back the clock, undoubtedly Kurtz, Zelen and Abell would try to be more precise in defining test objectives and protocol and would do so in writing. And more time would be spent in more carefully phrasing articles dealing with such tests. But all CSICOP Council members and Fellows have other full-time professions that seriously constrain time available for CSICOP efforts. Were it possible to turn back the clock, the Council should have insisted in the spring of 1978 that Rawlins issue a public statement that he had erred in using CSICOP's name in support of his personal actions connected with the University of Toronto's planned astrology symposium. Failure to do this has resulted in an unjustified blot on CSICOP's modus-operandi. Also at that time the Council should have developed a policy statement, as it recently did, that more clearly delineates activities that members perform officially in behalf of CSICOP and those carried out as private individuals. When a small group of persons met in Buffalo in May, 1976, to create CSICOP, their motivation was a concern over the growing public acceptance of claims of the paranormal. CSICOP was created to provide a counter-balance to those who espouse a variety of claims, ranging from UFOs to astrology, from the "Bermuda Triangle" to psychic phenomena. With the benefit of experience, it was apparent that there was an extreme spectrum of viewpoints on the Council. Rawlins was at the "hit-'em-hard" extreme, while Truzzi was at the opposite pole and resigned after a couple years, partially as a result of behind-the scenes plotting by Rawlins which he admits in "sTARBABY." Now Rawlins has departed and, in my view, CSICOP is much the better for it. CSICOP never has tried to destroy those organizations that promote belief in paranormal causes. But individuals in these organization have tried to discredit CSICOP, even going so far in one instance as to circulate a forged letter. FATE magazine made wide distribution of the Rawlins "sTARBABY" article in reprint form, together with its press release. Prof. R.A. McConnell, University of Pittsburgh, founding President of the Parapsychological Association, also distributed copies to CSICOP Fellows and Council members, among others. In his accompanying letter, McConnell said he believed the "Rawlins report is certainly true in broad outline and probably true in every detail...He has created a document of importance for the history and philosophy of science." McConnell quoted an "unnamed scientist" as claiming that "Rawlins has uncovered the biggest scandal in the history of rationalism." McConnell characterized CSICOP as "an intellectually dishonest enterprise." FATE and McConnell have demonstrated the intrinsic flaw in the basic approach of those who promote claims of the paranormal -- THEIR EAGERNESS TO ACCEPT CLAIMS OF EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS WITHOUT RIGOROUS INVESTIGATION. Neither FATE nor McConnell contacted CSICOP officials to check out Rawlins' charges. This demonstrates why CSICOP is so sorely needed. The late President Harry Truman phrased it well: "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen." CSICOP is "in the kitchen" by choice and intends to remain there despite the heat. The response of CSICOP's Council and its Fellows to recent events shows that the Committee is not an easy victim of heat- prostration. If the Mars effect, or any other paranormal hypothesis, should ever be demonstrated using rigorous scientific procedures, there simply is no way in which the small group of individuals involved in CSICOP could ever hope to suppress such evidence. Nor have I found any CSICOP Council member or Fellow who is so foolish as to try. (end) [In the years following "sTARBABY", Rawlins has continued to receive publicity by making sensational charges of scientific coverup and fraud. In 1988, he made national headlines by renewing an earlier charge he had made before CSICOP's founding, this time supposedly supported by a new-found document: that Admiral Peary never actually reached the North Pole during his famous expedition in 1909, but instead fabricated his navigational records to make it appear as if he had. A New York Times article of October 13, 1988 carries the headline: "Peary's Notes Said to Imply He Fell Short of Pole." It begins: "New evidence based on navigational notes by Robert E. Peary indicates that the Arctic explorer fell short of his goal and deliberately faked his claim in 1909 that he was the first person to reach the North Pole, according to an analysis by a Baltimore astronomer and historian ... Dennis Rawlins, an independent scholar who trained as an astronomer and who has a long-standing interest in Peary's expedition, said yesterday that his analysis of the navigational notes, mainly sextant readings of the sun to establish geographic position, indicated that Peary knew that he had come no closer than 121 miles from the Pole." Officials of the National Geographic Society promised to examine Rawlins's data, but added "We believe Mr. Rawlins has been too quick to cry fake." After a three-month investigation of Rawlins' charges, a press conference was sponsored by The Navigation Foundation at which they dismissed his "sensational claims". As reported in a Baltimore Sun story syndicated Feb. 2, 1989, "Since October [Natl. Geographic] Society President Gilbert M. Grosvenor and others had quietly endured Rawlins's public calls for debate and unconditional surrender on the Peary issue." The Society was willing to take seriously an analysis by the British explorer Wally Herbert, based on other evidence, that a navigation error may have caused Peary to miss the pole by about 45 miles. "Suggesting that Peary might not have reached the Pole is one thing," said Grosvenor. "Declaring Peary a fraud is quite another." Rawlins held his own "informal press conference" afterwards, reports The Sun, in which Rawlins "admitted he had confused time readings for chronometer checks with altitudes of the sun and had mistaken serial numbers on the chronometers for navigational observations." Rawlins conceded, "My interpretation has some problems, and I acknowledge that. It's fair to say that, if I'm saying Peary was a fraud, I think I have not yet met the burden of proof." Finally, in December, 1989, a 230-page report commissioned by the National Geographic Society was released, concluding that Peary actually did reach the Pole. As reported in a story on p.1 of the New York Times, Dec. 12, 1989, a new analysis of Peary's records by professional navigators concluded that Peary's final camp was not more than five miles from the Pole. "The report said, there was no evidence of fraud and deception in the explorer's records. But one critic, Dennis Rawlins, a Baltimore astronomer and historian, said he remained convinced, despite the new study, that Admiral Peary did not reach his goal and had faked his claim." Robert Sheaffer, Nov., 1991]


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