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From: James G. Acker To: All Msg #36, Oct-07-93 01:39PM Subject: Re: Forrest Mims: Setting the record straight on SciAm (Part 1 Organization: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center -- InterNetNews site Subject: Re: Forrest Mims: Setting the record straight on SciAm (Part 1 of 1) From: jgacker@news.gsfc.nasa.gov (James G. Acker) Message-ID: <2922ba$mr6@skates.gsfc.nasa.gov> Newsgroups: sci.skeptic,talk.origins Stephen Matheson (sfm@manduca.neurobio.arizona.edu) wrote: : From article <291cut$eia@skates.gsfc.nasa.gov>, : by jgacker@news.gsfc.nasa.gov (James G. Acker): : > Every Mims article in SA comes with a disclaimer from SA. : : > Something to this effect: : : > "Scientific American recognizes the technological expertise : > and credentials of Mr. Forrest Mims, the author of this column, and : > publishes this column to benefit the community of "amateur scientists". : > Scientific American in no way endorses the personal opinions of Mr. : > Mims on issues pertaining to evolution and the origins of the Earth, : > Solar System, and Universe. Furthermore, Mr. Mims authorship of : > these columns does not constitute endorsement by Scientific American : > of his personal opinions and/or religious beliefs. Any group which : > attempts to connect Mr. Mims authorship of "Amateur Scientist" : > columns with a editorial position of Scientific American, giving : > any credence whatsoever to pseudo-scientific practices and beliefs : > based on religious faith, rather than pure scientific methodology, will : > be subject to immediate and punitive legal action. While accepted as a : > writer for SA, no statements in any other forum from Mr. Mims should : > or will be construed as representing the policies, standards, and : > practices of this publication. At no time now or in the future will : > Mr. Mims have an official connection with Scientific American other : > than as the contributing writer of this column, and if he or other : > bodies present him as a spokesperson representing this publication, : > he will be immediately terminated and the organization subjected to : > legal recourse." : : > Quite a disclaimer, but I tried to cover all bases and arses. : > So, what do you think? : : It seems like the beginnings of a compromise, at least a theoretical : one for the purposes of Usenet debate. Since Forrest Mims deigned to speak to me personally, I had to examine what I thought of the affair. Though FM thinks so, I don't believe religious discrimination had anything to do with it. I think the whole problem revolved around SA not want to give perceived endorsement to someone who did not credit (in his words) "Darwinian" evolution, and thus, gave some support to creationist claims. If all of what I put in the disclaimer existed (including IMMEDIATE termination if he was credited as FM "of SA" by any group, including creationists), his ability to give air to his non-scientific viewpoints would be severely restricted. Would he go for it? I don't know how strongly he wants to write the column. : > Would Mims be willing to write Amateur : > Scientist columns each prefaced with this disclaimer? : : Good question. It would seem that even one inclusion, especially if : accompanied by a statement of agreement by Mims, might effectively : emasculate any bogus attribution by unscrupulous creationist : conspirators. But they should be constantly reminded that even noting FM of SA has creationist leanings would terminate his contributions to the "Amateur Scientist". Thus, it would be in FM's best interest to make sure no groups attempted to do so. A disclaimer on each column would help to make sure no one overlooked this rider on the agreement. =============================================== | James G. Acker | | REPLY TO: jgacker@neptune.gsfc.nasa.gov | =============================================== All comments are the personal opinion of the writer and do not constitute policy and/or opinion of government or corporate entities.

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