Re: pseudoscience and fossils

Phillip Bigelow (
Tue, 10 Jan 1995 03:00:35 GMT

I start the whole thing by writing:
>> Any way you look at it, Elaine, you are sitting in a rather good
>>regarding the promotion of your book. Consider: How many other authors
>>UseNet get free advertizing by having roughly 80-90% of the discussion
>>threads centered on the specific subjects addressed in their book? It
>>couldn't have fallen together for you more beautifully had it been
>>in a play! Velikovsky would have been proud!
>> (in fact, Velikovsky's book promoters would probably have been a
>little jeolous)
>> :)
>> <pb>

Pat Dooley responds:
>Very cheap shots, but at about the level we have come to expect from
>the two P's. So far as I know, Elaine Morgan has not actively promoted
>her books on Usenet. I do think it is a great boost for the Usenet to
>have the author participating in the discussion.

Heck, she _doesn't_ have to promote her books, _we_ are doing it for her.
Imagine: there are 10 million Internet users out in the world. Many have
UseNet access. UseNet "channel surfers" are ubiquitous on the Net. I bet
that for every person on sci.anthro.paleo that regularly discusses Morgan's
Aquatic Ape hypothesis, and happens to mention her book(s) in passing, there
are roughly hundreds of people passing through here who have never heard of
her before. Or her books. I am not judging Ms. Morgan on this; she didn't
create the discussion thread. I was simply pointing out, that, in spite of
Internet rules against "overt" or "over-done" advertizing, she has,
unwittingly, been able to have free advertizing for years (for those of you
who don't know, the Aquatic Ape Theory has been a favorite discussion topic
on the Net for at least 5 years; maybe more, but at least five). This is an
unusual case, though. What I think is comical about this is that, as this
is read, there are probably dozens of "P-R" people, advertizing execs., book
promoters, etc., who are wracking their brains, trying to duplicate by
design the advertizing coup that Ms. Morgan pulled off without even knowing
it was happening. "How can we start up a UseNet board on Bill Jones' new
book, _Tomatoes are our Friends_." Morgan's situation is serendipity at
it's best. We should all be so lucky.


Pat Dooley continues:
>Velikovsky has had a good going over in many forums and has been
>thoroughly debunked by many disciplines. The same can't be said
>for AAT opponents.

Velikovsky started to publish in the 1950's (it may have been earlier, but
the 1950's for sure). His ideas were still going strong in the late 1970's.
That is almost 30 years of followers. Frankly, it is a little scary. Just
because his ideas were finally put in the trash-heap of history doesn't
mean it's a good thing. His books (_Worlds in Collision_ is one example),
have many similarities to the Aquatic Ape books:
For instance, they were not peer-reviewed; they created grand-scenarios;
they had very little in the way of hard data; the theories were not easily
tested (at least at the time they were written; the late 1970's started
knocking them down); and there was a following of un-wavering supporters who claimed "unfair" treatment by the scientific orthodoxy.
Sound familiar?