[asa] Why I may be less open

From: James Mahaffy <Mahaffy@dordt.edu>
Date: Wed Mar 28 2007 - 18:54:49 EDT

James Mahaffy (mahaffy@dordt.edu)          Phone: 712 722-6279
498 4th Ave NE
Biology Department                                     FAX :  712
Dordt College, Sioux Center IA 51250-1697
James Mahaffy (mahaffy@dordt.edu)          Phone: 712 722-6279
498 4th Ave NE
Biology Department                                     FAX :  712
Dordt College, Sioux Center IA 51250-1697
>>> On 3/28/2007 at 12:17 PM, in message
<20070328171852.02E1171268B@gray.dordt.edu>, Janice Matchett
<janmatch@earthlink.net> wrote:
> At 11:07 AM 3/28/2007, James Mahaffy wrote:
>>I always think twice before I post knowing that anyone in the world 
>>can read what I say.  If it were not public and just internos I 
>>would be a bit more open. .."
> @  Your fears are no different from those of most of the scientists 
> who are afraid to go "public" about what they really think 
> of  "AGW".   How many have the guts to openly oppose the "orthodoxy"
> of the trinity comprised of Deepak Chopra, AlGore, & James 
> Hansen  -  who are the "saviors"  worshipped by the environmental 
> religious movement  because they have a plan to "Save the Planet"
> "End the war on Terra" 
> http://www.championtrees.org/climate/WaketheFolkUp.htm 
Please Jan - you simply don't know me well enough to begin to judge
what sometimes keeps me from being as open as I might.  In part my
caution is because I am a Christian who sometimes walks outside the
accepted paradigms and at the sametimes trys to do  good science.  As
you notice from the way many on this group have assumed they knew
Sternberg it is way to easy to classify folks into categories they do
not belong in.  If you have specific questions about my position then
contact me and I will be happy to talk.  Sometimes, yes I will talk a
bit less cautiously when I know the world is not possibly listening.  
On the other hand it is interesting that the first question on my
second prelim (because I was resurrecting a stalded thesis was, I
noticed from the web page at Dordt that it is a Christian college. 
you teach evolution there?  To which I replied it depends on how you
teach it.  They did not press that issue more (I was well aware it
come up).  I think I went on to show that I knew something about the
history of fossils and passed but sometimes it may be wise to be
And if you have read the flavor of my posts you should know by now
I do not hesitate to differ from the establishment (whatever that is)
this group.
> ~ Janice
>  From the Fall 1991 issue of ScienceWriters:
> The Newsletter of the National Association of Science Writers
> http://www.aaskolnick.com/naswmav.htm 
> [...]
> Peer Review Not Foolproof
> ....Science writers know that the peer-review system of scientific 
> publications is not foolproof. Drummond Rennie, MD, deputy editor 
> (West) of JAMA has written: "There seems to be no study too 
> fragmented, no hypothesis too trivial, no literature too biased or 
> too egotistical, no design too warped, no methodology too bungled,
> presentation of results too inaccurate, too obscure, and too 
> contradictory, no analysis too self-serving, no argument too 
> circular, no conclusions too trifling or too unjustified, and no 
> grammar and syntax too offensive for a paper to end up in print." 
> Peer review determines where rather than whether a paper should be 
> published, Rennie says. However, from time to time, "shoddy science"
> ends up in the most prestigious of journals.
> It may be hard to understand how a system so effective in sifting
> errors in experimental design, statistical analyses, and faulty 
> conclusions could fail to catch blatant deceit.
> However, errors are usually easier to spot than outright deceit. 
> Journals do not have the staff and resources to investigate 
> contributing authors and must rely in large part on trust.
> failure to disclose their conflicts of interest is a serious
> of that trust.
> The editors who handled the Maharishi Ayur-Veda manuscript did not 
> know about the history of deception associated with the TM movement,
> but they did know that two of the three authors had excellent
> and academic credentials. In addition, the authors were able to cite
> studies that were published in peer- review journals to support
> claims. (One study listed in their references was published in the 
> prestigious Yale University publication, The Journal of Conflict 
> Resolution [December 1988]. This study purported to show that a
> of yogic fliers in Israel was able to reduce the level of violence
> war-torn Lebanon.) They also could point to the National Cancer 
> Institute research grants awarded Sharma and others to study the 
> herbal elixir, Maharishi Amrit Kalash.
> Few people are aware of how far the TM movement has been able to 
> penetrate into the halls of medicine and academia. According to the 
> letterhead for the American Association of Ayurvedic Medicine, its 
> research council and advisory council include physicians at many 
> prestigious medical schools and institutions. Sharma is professor of
> pathology and director of the Division of Cancer Prevention and 
> Natural Products Research at Ohio State University College of 
> Medicine. Others associated with Chopra include Steele Belok, MD,
> Amy Silver, MD, both clinical instructors at Harvard Medical School;
> Agnes Lattimer, MD, medical director of Cook County Hospital in 
> Chicago; Kelvin O. Lim, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry and 
> behavioral science, Stanford University School of Medicine; Barry 
> Marmorstein, MD, associate professor, University of Washington
> of Medicine; S.M. Siram, MD, director of the Surgical Intensive Care
> Unit and Trauma at Howard University School of Medicine.
> With the help of such well-placed physicians and academicians, the
> movement has been able to project a respectable front in its scheme 
> to market Maharishi Ayur-Veda. In June, the American College of 
> Preventive Medicine accredited Maharishi Ayur-Veda courses for 
> Continuing Medical Education for physicians, for the second time.
> National Cancer Institute is currently funding 11 studies testing
> anti-cancer potential of the concoction of herbs and minerals called
> Maharishi Amrit Kalash -- even though its exact composition has not 
> been revealed. The National Institutes of Health allows its 
> facilities to be used for monthly introductory seminars on Maharishi
> Ayur-Veda. And for years, U.S colleges and universities have allowed
> their facilities to be used by the TM movement to teach yogic
> JAMA'S Goof Not Unique
> The TM movement has an extremely aggressive p.r. operation with a 
> remarkable record in getting favorable reports in newspapers, 
> magazines, and the broadcast media. Like mushrooms after a spring 
> rain, articles on Chopra, TM, and the Maharishi's medicines keep 
> popping up in places like The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal,
> The Washington Post, and even American Medical News (also published 
> by the American Medical Association). Favorable reviews of Chopra's 
> books on Maharishi Ayur-Veda have appeared in many leading medical 
> journals. Joanne Silberner, medical reporter for U.S. News and World
> Report, says that Dean Draznin, former director of public affairs
> Maharishi Ayur-Veda, used to call her about twice a month with 
> another angle to pitch.
> In August, Johns Hopkins Magazine published an uncritical profile on
> Nancy Lonsdorf, MD, medical director of the Maharishi Ayur-Veda 
> Medical Center in Washington, DC. Lonsdorf is the physician who, in
> fund-raising letter distributed to members of the TM community, is 
> described as having recommended a $11,500 yagya for a patient with a
> serious health problem. The Maharishi's yagyas are Hindu ceremonies 
> to appease the gods and beseech their help for ailing followers.
> Despite the extraordinary costs of these ceremonies, patients do not
> take part or even get to see them performed. (Chopra and Lonsdorf 
> both deny that they recommend yagyas. Chopra insists that yagyas are
> not part of the Maharishi Ayur-Veda program. Nevertheless, I have a 
> copy of another patient's health analysis from Chopra's center in 
> Lancaster, Mass. that recommends the performance of not one but two 
> different yagyas.)
> In its 1989 September/October issue, Harvard Magazine published a 
> cover story on Chopra by associate editor Craig Lambert that touted 
> the Maharishi's wares. Reprints of this article were widely 
> circulated by the TM movement. The magazine's readers were not 
> informed that the author practices yogic flying.
> [N.B.: After this article had been written for ScienceWriters
> informed me that, at the time he wrote his article for Harvard 
> Magazine he had not yet started yogic flying although he was a TM 
> practitioner. He also said that Harvard Magazine's managing editor 
> had misinformed me about the movement's ordering/circulating
> of his article. -- AAS]
> Lambert wrote JAMA a letter protesting my investigation and accusing
> me of "sleazy" and "deceptive" behavior. This letter was one of many
> sent to protest my inquiries. Among them were repeated requests from
> Chopra and his attorney that they be allowed to preview my article 
> before publication, along with warnings that they may sue if
> In the February 1984 NASW Newsletter, Patrick Young wrote,
> any story that might prove embarrassing to a publication is filled 
> with delightful irony. Editors, writers and others who believe in
> argue the public's right to know, suddenly react as any good group
> company executives, government bureaucrats, or union officials would
> in a similar situation. They draw up the wagons in a tight circle."
> When I reported my findings to my editors, I feared that they too 
> might choose to circle the wagons. Instead, they asked me to recount
> how the journal had been deceived and backed me against a stream of 
> protests and threats from Maharishi's followers and attorneys.
> The Maharishi Caper: Or How to Hoodwink Top Medical Journals by 
> Andrew A. Skolnick
> Andrew Skolnick is associate editor for the Journal of the American 
> Medical Association's Medical News & Perspectives Department.
> [N.B.: In the summer of 1992, Deepak Chopra and two TM associations 
> filed a $194 million libel suit against the AMA, JAMA's editor, and 
> me. The suit was dismissed without prejudice in March 1993. 
> -AAS]  =====fini =======
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Received on Wed Mar 28 18:55:26 2007

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