Keith Pickering's letter to S&T editor Richard Fienberg
Dennis Rawlins' letter to S&T editor Richard Fienberg

Sky&Telescope as Plagiarism-Apologist & Smearmonger:
If we want your opinion, we'll give it to you.



Sky&Telescope Inadvertently Honors DIO by Non-Checking and Thus Hilariously Botching the Most Malicious Attack Ever Upon a Fellow Journal Throughout S&T's 60-Year History.

Initially-Merely-Careless Mob-Hit on Feared Heresy Devolves Into Deliberate Falsehood.


Posted 2002. Updated 2004-2009.

[By contrast to a 20th century clique of historians]: For centuries, astronomers have known that the famous ancient astrologer-mathematician Claudius Ptolemy faked observations and stole Hipparchos' star catalog — which is the main reason why the recent great modern star catalogs are named for Hipparchos (127 BC) & Tycho (1601), skipping Ptolemy (137 AD).

Ptolemy ought by now to be notorious for having insisted that the Earth was the center of a tiny universe — in stubbornly uncomprehending (DIO 1.1 [1991] ‡7 §B1) opposition to his famous predecessor, the genuinely perceptive astronomer, Aristarchos of Samos (280 BC).

Aristarchos was (among other credits)1 a heliocentric pioneer in promoting realization of the Earth's place in a huge universe. (Also, he evidently was aware of precession well before Hipparchos: DIO 11.2 [2003] ‡4 App.2.) He is not known to have been into astrology or theft. He bucked the establishment of his day, which threatened him for his new findings — an ancient dry run for the Galileo affair. Meanwhile Ptolemy stole, mutilated, and fabricated data in order to fake the truth of the geocentric astronomy of the governmental (Serapic) religion which employed him.

Given their relative merits, one would think that the modern science establishment would admire Aristarchos and condemn Ptolemy. One would think.

However, Ptolemy's massive (and often-valuable) Almajest has been a moneycow for certain modern academic cults. Thus, since 1977, every article on [Ptolemy] appearing in the several prominent china-paper science forums Science (1978/2/24), Scientific American (1979 March), and Sky & Telescope (1976 February, 1983 July, 1984 May, 2002 Feb & June) has effusively praised him and-or alibied all his scientific crimes — magnifying this perversity by simultaneously [A] attacking anyone who publicly disapproves of Ptolemy's misbehavior, and-or [B] promoting2 the remarkable Owen Gingerich notion that Aristarchos' epochal heliocentric work was not even a book but merely a passing “splendid speculation tossed out during a vigorous discussion between the Alexandrian mathematicians”. And the idea that Aristarchos had a serious systematic astronomy? — that's just modern “wishful thinking”!

Ever eschewing wishful-thinking, Gingerich3 is heavily (though not exclusively) responsible for modern science journals' faithful 1976-2002 verbatim-Neugebauer-echoing (DIO 11.3 [2002]) ‡6 n.55) praise of a plagiarist — astronomy's arch-criminal astrologer — as “The Greatest Astronomer of Antiquity”; religious OG's long & close association with Sky&Tel presumably accounts for that magazine's particularly persistent (and religiously unbroken) record in this connection for over a quarter century: 1976 Feb; through 2002 June [virtually identical timespan to that previously cited].

Gingerich's crusade has now resulted in a monumental 2002 blunderfest-cum-smear by Sky&Telescope, longtime largest astronomical magazine in the world. In a 2002 Feb Sky&Tel article faithfully echoing the very latest pro-Ptolemy alibis so dear to frequent S&T-author O.Gingerich, frequent S&T-author Brad Schaefer defends astronomy's greatest (ancient) plagiarist with arguments for & against Ptolemy's authorship of the Ancient Star Catalog — the “pro” arguments being so obviously feeble that it was thought necessary to backup-buffer them by the failsafe fantasy that faking outdoor stellar observations by stealing them from others' work is normal modern practice anyway!
[For convenience, let's condense the anacondally sinuous and lethal study-in-permanent-evidence-immunity which Ptolemists have put on straight-face display for decades:
(1)  Deny plagiarism.
(2)  Justify plagiarism. (See defense's vaudeville-joke history: DIO 1.2 [1991] §I9 [pp.132-133], and-or DIO 2.3 [1992] ‡8 §C31 [p.113].)
(3)  Plagiarize each others' plagiarism-defenses.
(4)  And then — when the string has finally run out — try stealing credit for the first convincing evidence that Ptolemy did steal after all.]
The S&T article went further in its defense of plagiarism (for more on AAS-HAD-JHA archons' admiration of the Great Plagiarist, see cover of DIO 11.3 [2002]) by carelessly copying4 — without checking the record — a long-privately-muttered slanderous fantasy that in 1983, in anger at an alleged (but nonexistent: see [item [6] below] ) manuscript rejection, Ptolemy-skeptic D.Rawlins had hotheadedly started writing abusive letters to Michael Hoskin, Editor of the invincibly Ptolemy-adoring and repeatedly blundering5 Journal for the History of Astronomy, which S&T in Schaefer's article fawningly rated as "premier" in the astronomical-history field. In the article, Schaefer dragged (newsstand-slick) S&T into taking the ugly big-neighborhood-bully rôle of additionally and needlessly portraying smaller (academic) journal DIO (published by Dennis Rawlins) as a tiny one-man Rawlins kook publication. (This fantastically false smear has also been traced to the Gingerich circle.) Since author Brad Schaefer had had long previous correspondence with DIO's Editor Keith Pickering regarding the details of an upcoming KP paper (atomizing BS' 42pp pro-Ptolemy analysis, Pb paper of the 2001 Feb JHA), the statement that DIO is a one-man operation was a deliberate falsehood. The BS smear's facts were deceitful enough, but even more so was the article's implicit true purpose: why would anyone bother to try killing a journal that was genuinely trifling? In truth, the circle responsible for S&T's utterly bizarre attack is terrified of the very opposite of its portrayal: precisely that DIO isn't small or unknown anymore. (Indeed, despite Gingerich's unremitting attempts to kill off publisher DR, DIO [i] has in the last few years had more prominent (and valid) stories in the international media than the JHA and S&T put together, ever, throughout their combined near-century of existence, & [ii] has a board of referees of undeniably greater expertise — and high respect in the world of genuine scholars [as against the popular-science community of Gingerich et ilk].)
[In response to years of unremitting fantastic slander by Gingerich's circle, DIO had posted factual information about DIO on HASTRO (2000/2/2), long before BS' defamatory S&T 2002/2 p.40 attack, so BS had no excuse at all for ignorance (but BS is an experienced artist at ignoring inconvenient facts): “DIO is backed by an international group of highly eminent scholars (Cal Tech, Johns Hopkins, British Museum: see our inside back cover)…. Despite its youth, DIO is already taken at ordmag 100 prominent institutional libraries the world over. Nonetheless, some HAD archons continue to circulate the falsehood that it is of small circulation & PRECISELY zero value.” Again: the truth was posted on HASTRO two years before BS parroted the Gingerich-circle's deceptions in S&T.]

DIO swiftly (2002/1/2) contacted author Schaefer (who unconcernedly acknowledged he'd never seen any of the Rawlins-Hoskin correspondence he'd written of!) as well as S&T, ticking off numerous staggeringly dumb errors in the article, but primarily hoping that it would publish a DIO letter which revealed: [a] the transparent shift in Ptolemy-star-theft-controversy defense-strategy (from 1976 denial of the hideous charge of theft, to 2002 bald justification of the very same previously-denied charge); [b] Ptolemy dishonestly claimed 1st-hand star-observations but (contra S&T's everybody-does-it argument) modern cataloger-star-grabbers do not so claim; and [c] Premier Hoskin was the true abuse-launcher in the DR-MH situation, since strained relations began with a MH 1983/3/3 letter which reacted to civil and helpfully-intended 1983/2/9 DR criticism (of JHA botched refereeing of a false 1982 Oct JHA paper) by calling it a “damned lie” and threatening DR with a libel suit and future nonpublication.
[The well-known astronomer who'd written the JHA paper then further shamed mathematically-challenged Hoskin by agreeing to DR's criticism (letter to DR 1983/4/27); so the author fundamentally recomputed the paper and (though embarrassed Hoskin sat on it for a year) the revised version finally appeared in 1984 June (JHA 15 pp.134-135). Hoskin has never forgiven DR for the crime of being right. (See DIO 4.2 [1994] ‡9 n.5 [p.78]. Also DIO 12 [2002] ‡1 n.4 [p.4]. For the origin of JHA's decades of weird persistence in attacking DR's now-ten-ways-vindicated findings on the Ancient Star Catalog controversy, see DIO 2.3 [1992] ‡8 §C26 [p.111].) Hoskin's instantly-launched false decades-long slander was patently the infant-level revenge of a not-very-coolheaded HCAndersonian Emperor, lashing-out against the denuder of the Imperial “premier” journal's pretensions.]

Having squandered thousands of words on one side of the Ptolemy affair for decades, ever-balanced S&T suddenly came up short on available page-space: it demanded that DIO restrict itself to a very few hundred words, and was consistently determined to prevent DIO's response from mentioning ANY of our three key points: [a], [b], or [c]. A 2002/2/5 letter-for-publication from DIO Editor Keith Pickering was thus forced (by S&T's space-limit) to concentrate just upon S&T's worst outrage (the slander). S&T responded by hiding for over a month (!) — ultimately (2002/3/19) presenting DIO with a fait accompli: suppressing KP's entire letter, plus ever-so-casually dropping mention that it's been talking to a legal advisor.

A welcome letter from Myles Standish (Cal Tech & DIO), generally in strong praise of DIO's unusual merits, was one very bright spot in the eventually-published correspondence (S&T 2002 June p.12). This letter was Standish's alone, and not solicited by S&T. However, Sky&Tel readers should note some key (and disturbingly ominous) unregenerate aspects regarding S&T's letters-selection.

[1] Having in February portrayed DIO as a little nothing, S&T was not about to embarrass itself in June by identifying DIO's Standish as the world's leading positional astronomer, whose orbits guide NASA's spacecraft to their targets.

[2] Though the Standish letter provided DIO's website-URL, one sees that nothing in the three6 published letters stains S&T's pages with criticism of Ptolemy — thus preserving S&T's 1/4 century record of nihil-obstat ideological purity: no criticism of Ptolemy's behavior allowed, no criticism of S&T favorites Gingerich and Schaefer allowed.
[Immediately following his false S&T smear, Schaefer was elevated onto the board of Hoskin's JHA. (The transparency is fully apt to the JHA mob's subtlety in placing politics waaay-first in its ranking of priorities.) And, naturally: no criticism of fellow-pol M.Hoskin was allowed by S&T.
(I.e., S&T is willing to publish a charge against maverick DR when it's false, but cannot publish the very same charge against OldBoyPerson Hoskin when it's true.)
But the AAS-HAD, concerned for the reputation of history of astronomy, has at least taken firm action in response to JHA behavior — by awarding Hoskin its 2004 Doggett Prize.]

[3] On 2002/3/19, S&T paternalistically emailed DIO its decree that S&T's selection of letters (2/3 of which oppose us) would express our ideas better than our own letter (which was suppressed on this basis). Believe it or not.

[4] Though this email claimed that the two non-Standish letters chosen for publication were not from anyone connected to the Ptolemy controversy, it was predictable (and was actually predicted) that both would be just more alibiing for Ptolemy. The main entry (more than twice as long as Standish's) was by Jay Ryan — whose neutrality (in a case where S&T now has committed ALOT of face) may be gauged by his longtime closeness to the S&T family (as cartoonist until his 2001 Dec quasi-retirement). Ryan astoundingly claims that plagiarism was accepted ancient7 practice. Which proves that S&T has learned absolutely NOTHING from this affair. (As if that point isn't already sufficiently clear from S&T's continued loyalty to the very Gingerich-Schaefer combine whose careless vendetta-bigotry could have gotten S&T sued.) I.e., S&T still publishes pro-Ptolemy “verities” without checking facts at all: it never asked Ryan to produce ancient testimony showing that plagiarism was approved in antiquity. Ryan's claim is mere Conventional-Wisdom (i.e., another ironically-unoriginal defense OF plagiarism) — but no ancient writer recommends plagiarism, and all extant ancient public commentary on the practice condemns it. See, e.g., DIO 2.1 [1992] ‡2 §H3 [p.18]. (S&T insists on continuing to front for its bumbling smear-merchants, while deviously8 and unverifiedly defending orthodoxy. Such stalwartness entirely accounts for the posting of the present DIO review. Had S&T exhibited just a bit of humility (never S&T's strength) and remorse9, we would gladly have just let the incident drop.)

[5] Bottom line: after an Alice-in-Wonderland-slandering of an abusee as an abuser, S&T suppressed all communication from the falsely slandered party — written by the Editor (Pickering) of the western hemisphere's leading astronomical history journal (DIO) — in favor of instead publishing the misguided complaint of S&T's semi-retired cartoonist (Ryan — who, in a recent e-mail, has correctly argued that Ptolemy was no scientist).

[6S&T placed the cherry atop this crazycake of sins when its 2002/3/19 email artfully-deviously skirted the question of whether it or its author had ever checked the Rawlins-Hoskin correspondence before publishing the original fantastic February allegation that DR had attacked Hoskin for an also-falsely-alleged JHA “rejection” of a DR paper (actually accepted by both JHA referees and Hoskin: see JHA ad in 1982 March Isis). As late as 2002/2/6 (over a month after first DIO-S&T contact), DR was astonished to learn (upon phoning S&T's Editor Rick Fienberg) that such checks had STILL not been performed by either S&T or Schaefer. (S&T had instead just suppressed all mention of its slander from its proposed version of DIO's letter-for-publication. [Which then never appeared anyway.]) So DR urged S&T to ask Hoskin for copies of the correspondence. And, after S&T receipt from MH of “some” DR-to-MH letters (of unspecified date), S&T's long-delayed eventual 2002/3/19 response to DIO naturally could not quote any abusive DR language whatever. So instead S&T bluffed & huffed. And weaseled — now claiming that the question of abuse hinges on “semantics and nuance of interpretation”. (So why not explain that cute fine point to S&T readers? And, hmmm: what hinges on nuance about Hoskin's amusingly ironic-botched “damned-lie” mis-charge against DR?) Having interpreted nuance to its satisfaction, S&T resorted to the old best-defense-is-a-tough-offense routine: it condemned DR for not having apologized to Hoskin! — apologized for his letters to Premier Hoskin, letters which S&T could neither quote from nor fax10 to DIO nor even specify the dates of …. Question: how often does one receive a multiply-deceitful letter which simultaneously delivers an ethics&etiquette lecture to the recipient?! — even while hiding the alleged evidence for the alleged offense it has publicly accused the lecturee of.

Judging from S&T's party-line mentality, its long-established habit of rewriting or substituting-for others' letters (disallowing at will any reply space at all for those it attacks), 11 and its obvious obsessive fear that its readers will find out how grossly it screwed up in this case (an inward terror which explains most of S&T's sinuosity throughout the affair), one may conclude that S&T has a proclivity for (and long experience with) pushing scholars around.

A clue regarding the origin of such megalomania is found in a recent affectionate S&T recollection-obit for S&T's oft-brilliant founder and longtime chief Chas. Federer. S&T 2000 Jan p.8: “He was highly opinionated and had zero tolerance for error. And he had one job description for everyone: ‘Do what I tell you to do and don't ask questions.’ ” Such a forceful attitude may have helped produce some of S&T's years of undoubted achievements and credits, but it is not conducive to openness about fallibility. One notices that all features of S&T's actions (rewrite and then suppression of DIO's letter, as well as its choice of the three letters it finally published) have one common consistent thread: there isn't the slightest explicit admission that S&T was wrong in [i] scholarship, [ii] slander, [iii] balance (it consulted with only one side for both the article and the majority of the letters), [iv] reportage-practice. Regarding the last point: S&T undeniably committed THE cardinal journalistic sin12 of not checking a controversial story's facts (or pre-checking with both sides). And S&T committed this screwup under the worst possible circumstances: the story was one which S&T knew and said (2002 Feb p.40) was THE nastiest controversy in the entire astronomical history field. Yet it checked nothing at all before running this as a cover-cited story! — merely figuring that if its buddies needed to run a prominent national smear of an Enemy journal, they must know what they're doing. (Read p.40 of S&T's missman effort and see if you can come away with the slightest doubt that the prime purpose of this wildly atypical article was to so denigrate DIO that no one would read it.) [Are such favors the key to getting to be AAS deputy press agent? — Fienberg's post-S&T life, as of 2008.] Now, chastened by reality, S&T is simply desperate to hide its blunders — and the bigotry, cliquishness, & inexpertise that led it to uniquely13 and outlandishly slander a seemingly vulnerable heretical journal without even seeing the very documents upon which it based said slander. (It also clearly did not even know that scientists and scholars more eminent than S&T's comprised the quarry journal's board! — an error which it has at least implicitly admitted by publication of Standish's letter.)

Considering the facts of the current affair, no honest journal would be reluctant to publish ITS OWN RETRACTION (not just the victim journal's protest-letter) of a false slander it has printed.
Same for author B.Schaefer. [However, BS did say (email 2002/4/23):
[a] printing Standish's letter was a good idea, and
[b]  all DR's other well-known historical fraud charges (Schaefer enumerated Vespucci, Tycho, Neptune, Cook, Peary, & Byrd) are valid. (DIO 11.1 [2002]) p.2 n.3.) One's 1st reaction: then how did Schaefer's 2002 Feb S&T article deliberately go out of its way to paint DR as a valueless nut? (None of the involved parties has even tried to explain this mystery. And no one else in the “science press” club has asked them to.) But the 2nd reaction is: why has Schaefer not acted (as any honest researcher would, after an assault which [as evidenced by his above-cited email] he now realizes was improper) to correct his initially-admitted failure to check the very DR-Hoskin correspondence his smear was based upon? Indeed, NONE of the parties involved in this smear has produced a single quote or even date from said correspondence. Nor (despite being informed) has any officer of the institutions one might — obviously naïvely — expect to monitor such behavior (the American Astronomical Society, its Historical Astronomy Division, Science magazine, the smear's ghost-writer & HAD-guru Owen Gingerich, S&T's Leif Robinson) come forth on the record to ask the smearing parties to PRODUCE the correspondence-basis of their attack. Obvious reason: mutual (entirely justified) shame & embarrassment. Evidently none realize that community silence on this repulsive episode merely spreads the stain. Which makes each of them a genuine (behavioral) enemy of science's reputation, even while some among them attempt to justify treating (mere reportorial) DR as such — a truth to which they will remain oblivious so long as their priorities remain mired in p.r. and careerism concerns and-or fears.]

Whether or not one believes that the original 2002 Feb falsehood was intentional, its maintenance is now absolutely intentional. The slander has therefore now achieved the unambiguous status of a deliberate deception — a historically crucial deception which was whispered for two decades in a nearly-successful attempt to exile DR forever from the history-of-astronomy community.

An unstated ultimate priority controls events here. And the long Ptolemy-dispute quagmire-for-archons reeks of it: how does S&T and the closed Gingerich circle take the wrong side of a controversy for decades — all the while falsely smearing the right side as mere incompetent cranks14 — and then, when facing disastrous defeat (all sides now agree that Ptolemy stole [at least] hundreds of stars from Hipparchos), keep right on nervily posing as still-the-experts-around-here. Well, at least such acting makes for grand drama. So, stay tuned to this department of the DIO website.


Keith Pickering's letter to S&T editor Richard Fienberg

Dennis Rawlins' letter to S&T editor Richard Fienberg


1 See DR's 2002/6/27 talk at the British Museum (DIO 11.1 [2002] ‡1;) arguing that Aristarchos probably established the justly famous “Babylonian” System B month.
(He obviously possessed a monthlength agreeing with it to c.1/10 of a timesec: ibid eq.7. But the match of ibid eqs.12&13 argue in favor of his possession of the exact “Babylonian” value. Note too that John Britton's Babylonian-rounding explanation is more direct than DR's ibid eq.8 for arriving at the exact expression for [monthlength] M, though it does not explain [or even relate to] Aristarchos' 10°2/3 remainder — or his 4868y Great Year, which is perfectly consistent with both remainder and M. See bracket at ibid §A8 [p.7].)
It is not even controversial that this monthlength was accurate to 1 part in several million — i.e., to well within 1 timesec (then and now). On Aristarchos' other underappreciated pioneering discoveries, see: DIO 9.1 [1999] ‡3; DIO 1.3 [1991] n.284; DIO 8 [1998] ‡4 n.4.

2 See O.Gingerich Great Copernicus Chase p.65 (Sky Publishing, 1992) (reprint of his S&T 1983 November article.)

3 Considering Gingerich's long and documented record of slander and suppression (see, e.g., DIO 4.3 [1994] ‡15 esp. §§B & H4-H6 [pp.121 & 133-134], and DIO 9.1 [1999] ‡3 §§F7-F8 [pp.41-42],), the state of rationality, balance, and free discourse in the astronomical-history community may be gauged by that community's fawning-fervor towards him. In the unsupervisedly-AmerAstrSoc-affiliated Historical Astronomy Division's Newsletter #51 (2000 Feb) p.1, David Devorkin reports upon Gingerich's UNANIMOUS choice (by the HAD's dazzled board) for the annual HAD Doggett Prize. Here is how said AAS-attached organ describes this now-defeated, fanatically-slanderous defender of astronomy's Great Plagiarist (who, it may be confidently predicted, will ascribe his realization of Ptolemy's fraudulence to absolutely ANYbody but DR): “More than anyone else today, [OG] can be thought of as “Mr. History of Astronomy” among astronomers and historians alike.” (DR no longer even goes to HAD meetings. M.Brooks' 1967 film The Producers has already given us lockstep heiling-rockette dancing routines much more entertainingly than a bunch of frightened puppets can ever manage. The HAD rendition is pleasantly bland but: homogeneous, boring, and sterile. [Under now-changing leadership, one can hope (albeit with little supporting evidence thus far) that HAD politics will evolve in fresh directions.])

4 The sincerest form of flattery of S&T's arch-plagiarist hero. See textual comparison (OG→S&T) in excerpt of a DR 2002/2/20 letter.

5 See DIO 4.1 [1994] ‡4 §A [p.48]; DIO 10 [2000] n.177 [p.79]; “Backward”; DIO 5 [2009] footnotes 25&26 [p.9].

6 The 2-to-1-majority letters-edge in favor of the publisher's position is a standard propaganda tactic for journals (such as S&T and National Geographic) whose inward insecurity produces Letters-to-the-Editor columns that reflect terror of being perceived as having blundered. (Compare to the Letters section of any newspaper [above high-school-level] to see the difference.) Similar example (exactly the same 2-1 still-unretracted deliberate-propagandist-sham): DIO 10 [2000] n.82 & endnote 13 [pp.41 & 96].

7 If plagiarism was anciently OK, then: why did Ptolemy pretend to 1sthand observation? And, note the evolutionary point: Ryan's 2002 June letter explicitly contradicts Schaefer's 2002 Feb claim that stealing stars is modern practice (claiming instead that moderns alone condemn it, when in fact there's more alibiing of it now than long ago) — even though somehow “his” letter has ended up with the parenthetical and unRyanishly officious insert that “author Bradley E. Schaefer” agrees! Ryan's letter shows that S&T (in response to DIO's point [b], above) has shifted from claiming moderns think it's OK to plagiarize — to mass-slandering exclusively ancient scholars' integrity. This huge historical distortion stems heavily from certain historians' delusion that astrologer Ptolemy was the epitome of real ancient scientists. (See DIO 1.1 [1991] ‡1 n.24 [p.10]. Note the analogy to defenses of Clinton: in order to protect one's hero, one generates the argument that his misbehavior is statistically normal — as if that makes it ethical.) Two DR observations on the Ptolemy Controversy: [1] Anyone who defends Ptolemy will end up defending dishonesty. [2] Anyone who gets involved with Gingerich's Folly (superlative-glorification of astronomy's top plagiarist) will end up behaving dishonestly.

8 S&T's 2002/3/19 email claimed that its two non-Standish letters were by people not involved in the controversy — but the letter of S&T's Ryan reads just like the output of S&T's Gingerich.

9 The nearest thing to Sky&Tel admission of guilt and error is S&T's 2002 June printing of Standish's compliments of DIO — which are perhaps as uniquely positive (in S&T) as the original Feb article was negative. Possibly S&T intended thus to mollify us. (But, note: the Standish letter is presented as simply one person's opinion, while S&T has as an institution ENDORSED its deception, and then has jesuitically [2002/3/19] refused explicitly to admit ANY error in its incomparably sloppy AND false upside-down abuse-charge. Thus S&T is standing-by and thereby guaranteeing wide acceptance and eternal repetition of a deliberate, politically-motivated smear. And it is following this low course of behavior merely in order to pretend that S&T doesn't make mistakes.) Since we do not at all seek S&T's enmity, this approach would probably have worked — except that there remain here far, far too many signs that all the original forces (which caused such a long and pointlessly ugly controversy) are still in high places: and remain just as honest, amiable, humble, competent, reasonable, openminded, and well-informed as ever — and (most important of all) as protected as always from the slightest non-toadying commentary.
[DR's “sTARBABY” [1981] p.30 on CSICOP's bumbling capos: “CSICOP's idea of internal scandal-preventing is not to eject the culprits but to eject those who expose them. A Watergate analogy would be to throw [the investigator, Senator] Sam Irvin out of Congress and keep Nixon as President on his promise not-to-do-it-again.”]
And, due to these factors, astronomy's top (ancient) criminal continues to enjoy weird defense-lawyeresque sacrosanct-status in the lapdog popular “science press”.

10 Keith Pickering asked Sky&Tel 2002/3/26 for copies of the DR abuse of MH upon which S&T had based its 2002 Feb smear — and which it had just claimed (3/19) it now had in hand. NO REPLY. The brass alone is worth the price of admission. Note that S&T's course was learned at Hoskin's knee: violent false unprovoked attack, hiding, suppression, legal-recourse-bluff, [pretending suppressing-the-message equals making-your-message-clearer], & cutting off correspondence.
[Early on, DR sent KP full DR-MH correspondence. So, at one point, KP — rightly noting that he couldn't be sure DR had included everything — asked bobbing&weaving S&T Editor Rick Fienberg for dates or abusive phrases by DR, RF replied that there was no need since DIO already possessed the material. (Which of course [while implicitly admitting it trusted wrongo DR to have transmitted the full record to KP] transparently evaded the opportunity for S&T to prove that IT had ever possessed said record.
Theory [which is unfortunately curiously consistent with what otherwise looks like insanely arrogant behavior by S&T]: Hoskin has refused to transmit to S&T the alleged incendiary DR Material — but can S&T challenge Hoskin's assurances that His recollection is accurate? (Even if Hoskin eventually [post-publication] had sent correspondence, is His reputation for integrity such that S&T could counter DR's charge with any surety that He hadn't omitted key material?) This situation would leave S&T hanging in the wind: politically afraid to doubt Honest Michael Hoskin — but equally unable to back its own idiotic journalistic foray into character-assassination. And unable to ask DIO for any documents, since that would be tantamount to confessing in print (what Fienberg admitted by phone 2/6): that it had published pseudo-documentary slander with zero documentary basis. Evidently S&T simply lacks the integrity of Dan Rather and Newsweek [who publicly admitted their Bush-Natl.Guard “documents” didn't stand up, even though many still think the charge was probably valid]. And the rest of the “science press” lacks the integrity or un-unionishness — or even just human curiosity — to ask any questions.)
When DIO then asked Hoskin directly for copies of DR's “abuse”, MH's reply was: we-don't-talk-about-that-anymore!
[A broken promise.] (I.e., J.HISTORY Astr misbehavior doesn't matter, because it's-all-past-[is there any other kind?]-HISTORY.) [If only such behavior were. Note: Hoskin continues present unilateral non-communication with DR. All DIO mailings of course go to Him. All are returned unopened. I.e., each issue of DIO is sent to JHA, gratis, as to other institutions, since DIO is a purely non-commercial public-service educational enterprise.] Not the first time that cowardly JHA-rulership historians have hidden from the consequences of their bunglings and-or smears by emitting a conveniently-timed rejection of interest in history. See DIO 2.3 [1992] ‡8 §C29 [p.112].) Translation: guilty-as-charged. Guilty of: [a] circulating a false slander against DR for decades (which the originator [Hoskin] certainly never intended to become public) in an attempt to behind-the-back destroy DR's reputation; and then (after public exposure of this brave tactic), [b] lacking the minimal decency to admit that the slander was always an inverted falsehood. (Which should immediately have been self-evident from [see DIO 2.3 [1992] ‡6 §F3 [p.95] ] personality-types [and tactics], even before it became clear that Hoskin couldn't come up with the goods: see comment at DIO 2.3 [1992] ‡6 §F3 & n.18 [p.95].) That's the AmerAstrSoc-HAD's 2004 Doggett-Awardee for you. And does anyone at AAS (or its HAD) even care? Obviously not the AAS, which has responded to this disgrace by telling DR (2002/10/2) that AAS doesn't even have an ethics committee. (After all, institutional pols aren't suicidal.)]

11 DR had just the same experience with Sky&Tel Editor Jos. Ashbrook in 1973, when S&T published JA's suggestion that DR's then-new polar book was untrustworthy (and [typically] suppressed DR's reply). S&T was the only science journal (among many reviewers) which reacted that way. (The book has since achieved the status of classic in its field: cited in, e.g., Encyclopedia Americana — its thesis by now accepted virtually unanimously in the exploring community.) After DR questioned such treatment, his name (which had appeared at least four times in S&T 1967-1973) did not foul the pages of Sky&Tel again for the next quarter-century. Illness-symptoms: S&T is overgoverned by establishment-catering, clubbiness (you're In or you're Out), & authoritarianism. Illness-diagnosis: such features are common among folk who inwardly know they aren't as competent or judicious as they project.

12 Sky&Tel's devious final email (2002/3/19) betrays a common misconception: it believes that its blunder can be made good by pretending that the charge happened to be correct even though it wasn't pre-checked. No. The gross journalistic sin is inexcusable regardless: speaking of S&T's non-checking the very heart of the alleged evidence for its smear, a very well-known Science writer has said that it's THE worst possible journalistic sin. He also chuckled at what he deftly summarized as Gingerich's “ventriloquism” via Schaefer. (Whose careerist parrotic talent reminds DR of Oliphant's cartoon-Condi-bird: ever-loyal worshipper of our dim 1st legacy-president.) But the writer of course refuses to report on such a scandal — which reminds us that there are indeed other serious journalistic sins.…

13 Question: WHAT is stuff about abuse-vendettas DOING in Sky&Tel in the 1st place? Should DIO feel (sort-of) honored by the fact that S&T has been unable to cite any other instance throughout its 60-plus year history in which it launched such a gratuitious and unprovoked (not to mention: hilariously unfactual in virtually every regard) personal attack upon a fellow astronomer and-or publisher? (Perhaps someone was troubled by the fact that DIO-Sky&Tel relations had seemed to have been improving [see the 2000 Sept S&T letters column] under previous Editor Leif Robinson. [Before Gingerich-protégé Fienberg took over.]) I.e., even had Sky&Tel's charges been true, its 2002 Feb assault would have been highly peculiar.

14 The consistent theme of Gingerich referee reports on DR: 1977 to date. See, e.g., DIO 4.3 [1994] ‡15 §H6 vs H8 item 5 [pp.133-134]!!



[Afterword:
Still unretracted despite its thoroughly-known baselessness, a 2002 heresy-hitman blunder has by 2004 long since become a conscious deceit.
(See DIO 11.2 [2003] p.30 n.3.)
The saga will ever remain a unique stain on the history of S&T — and a unique if perverse honor in the history of DIO.
(DIO 11.1 [2002] p.2 n.4.)]