Re: "Sagan and Velikovsky" to appear in local book stores

James Murphy (
20 Jan 1995 15:36:20 GMT

While I am no particular fan of either Velikovsky or Carl Sagan, can we wait
and read the book?

Geoff Lane has already begun the attack, questioning whether Martin Sieff is an
astrophysicist, etc. [i.e., qualified reviewer].

I don't know what Sieff's credentials are, but the other reviewers quoted are
Roger W. Wescott, emeritus professor of anthropology and linguistics at Drew
University, and Lynn Rose, who is in the Philosophy Dept. at SUNY Buffalo.
While we need look no further than Barry Fell to demonstrate than an academic
expert in one field may be unreliable in another, the other two reviewers
appear to have credentials that might suggest they have a certain amount of
objectivity and academic training-- even if they are not astrophysicists.

My point is that belittling one reviewer of a book, based solely on a couple of
quotations and a presumed deficiency in the reviewer's expertise-- especially
when one hasn't read the book yet himself-- while ignoring reviewers who may be
more likely to be able to judge the book objectively, scarcely bespeaks the
kind of scientific objectivity needed to refute Velikovskism.

Anyone who has made such a career of popularizing science as has Sagan
certainly runs the risk of being hoist by his own petard.

At this preliminary stage, the question raised by another poster, as to the
publisher of the Sagan/Velikovsky book, is certainly more germane, as well as
more politic, than asking, even rhetorically, whether Martin Sieff is an

James L. Murphy