Re: JDM on Negus.

Phillip Bigelow (
22 Sep 1995 15:48:29 -0700

Elaine Morgan <> writes:

I wrote:
>>> Simply change your present style of writing, and quote accurately,
>> voluminously, and give full science-journal-style references (along
>> page numbers).

Elaine Morgan responded:
>I do this, as anybody else does, when I am writing for the professional
>journals. The professional journals are not interested in publishing
>papers on AAT.

Indeed. Velikofsky (sp) had the same problem.

Elaine continues:
> When I am writing books I don't have to <talk in technical lingo>,
> any more than S<J,Gould when he is writing books.
As sensitive an issue as it is to mention, it is worth noting that Gould
doesn't have to fight an uphill battle with personal credibility as you have
had to fight.
In short, comparing your writing style to Gould's probably isn't fair, at
least in the context of this discussion. Gould can get away with less
rigorous quotes and citations, and still remain credible. You can't.
What is that saying that feminists often use to describe the plight of women in
the work-force?....."A woman has to work twice as hard to get half as far
along as a man". Maybe that could apply to popular science publishing as
well! (substitute "popular science" for "women" and "main-stream science"
for "man").
You can only win by being more rigorous in your references in the

I wrote:
>>You are underestimating the voracity of your own non-specialist audience.

Morgan responded:
>Before it even gets to the non-specialist audience it has to pass the
>publisher. Most publishers seeing an MS peppered with detailed citations
>and references do not believe there will be a market for that kind of
>stuff. They don't think a potential reader leafing through it will decide
>to skip bits: they think they will decide to leave it on the shelf. They
>may be right.

Perhaps. Amazing what bad things a (somebodyorother, 1990, p. 10) injected in
the middle of a sentence will do to your "non-specialist"
audience. But then, with a subject as popular as yours, it may have never
been tried before.
However, you may benefit somewhat if you lobby your publisher for more
latitude in citations in the future. Since the AAT has been out for a while
now, there is probably more of a market. Your publisher may be more
agreeable. Besides, change is good, Elaine. Perhaps if you made your citations
more rigorous, you may draw-in some new attention from the professional
community. The alternative is to continue to be (rightly) accused of
mis-quotes and over-generalizations.