Jim Lippard
2930 E. 1st St.
Tucson, AZ 85716
[email protected]

June 14, 1994

James McGaha
[street address deleted]
Tucson, AZ 85715

Dear James:

I don't mind you expressing your opinion about me to other people, so long as you get your facts straight. Please take careful note of the following:

(1) I have not suffered from a nervous breakdown. For you to claim that I have is probably slanderous and actionable. You would be wise not to repeat it again.

(2) I have not posted anything publicly on the Internet about Robert Baker's plagiarism since my comment in response to Jody Hey on sci.skeptic on April 15 and my giving Ken Frazier's explanation of the Spring 1994 SI incident on April 16. All of my subsequent remarks have been in email or paper mail to just a few select skeptics and to the authors of the plagiarized material. If you examine the material I have already sent you, you can see this for yourself. To the best of my knowledge, no one I have discussed this with has spread the word further.

(3) Robert Baker has no legal case against me. I have stated that what he has done is plagiarism, and that is true--I have academic codes defining plagiarism which back me up. (By the way, if you are really talking to lawyers, you should be sure to mention the fact that Robert Baker is a public figure regarding hypnosis, hidden memories, and in the skeptical movement in general. For public figures, constitutional law comes into the picture, as opposed to defamation under common law.)

CSICOP has discouraged Robert Baker from suing me, which is wise both from a legal standpoint and a public relations standpoint. I have no desire to be at odds with either CSICOP or Baker. I do desire to see CSICOP treat internal criticism with a bit more seriousness and care, rather than circling the wagons and ignoring whistleblowers in hopes that they will go away. That's the strategy that led to the "Mars Effect" controversy and Dennis Rawlins' "sTARBABY" article in Fate magazine. So far, the only member of the CSICOP Executive Council to express any concern over the plagiarism I have pointed out subsequent to the Spring 1994 SI example has been Barry Beyerstein.

(4) If you're going to comment on my criticism of Ian Plimer and Barry Price, I suggest that you first reread "How Not to Argue with Creationists" and "How Not to Respond to Criticism: Barry Price Compounds His Errors." You should also keep in mind that the Creation Science Foundation successfully sued Price for defamation. (They dropped it after it became known that Price was terminally ill.) I did my homework on this stuff, and I had my facts straight. It wasn't just a matter of Plimer making some intemperate remarks in a debate. See the ten charges listed in "How Not to Respond," which include erroneous accusations of "financial fraud" (direct quote from Plimer) among other falsehoods, misrepresentations, and innuendoes.

(5) Michael Shermer has never issued a press release asking the media to contact the Skeptics Society instead of CSICOP. To my knowledge (and to the best of Shermer's recollection) his only mention of CSICOP to the media was when Omni asked him what connection there was between the Skeptics Society and CSICOP, and he said none. The only dispute I am aware of between CSICOP and the Skeptics Society was regarding Shermer's plan to use local groups' mailing lists. When he found that CSICOP objected, he scrapped his plan. He did one mailing to all the groups listed in the Skeptical Inquirer, but after CSICOP objected he did no further such mailings. As far as Shermer is concerned, there is presently no dispute between the Skeptics Society and CSICOP. I believe that CSICOP feels the same way.

Remember: you should engage in proper skepticism, not a battle of propaganda and lies.

I will happily entertain any rebuttals to the above, provided that they are in writing and that all claims are well documented.

You may send a copy of this letter to whomever you wish.


Jim Lippard