[beliefs] Re: charges of plagiarism

From: James J. Lippard ([email protected])
Date: Sat Sep 11 1999 - 16:56:59 MST

On Fri, 10 Sep 1999, Linda Rosa wrote:

> >Do you have any objection to providing me with a copy? I'd be happy to
> >compare the text of that document to the text of the various articles and
> >report on my findings.
> Again, Sampson has the documentation. Remember, we are claiming scientific
> plagiarism; we are not claiming that Scheiber plagiarized exact wordings
> (though there is certainly evidence of that), but Sarner's research and
> analysis.

Can you provide me with a copy directly? Can Sampson verify that this
memorandum existed prior to the first RMS article, or did he only recently
receive it? Are there any members of the Rocky Mountain Skeptics who can
verify the existence of this memorandum prior to the first RMS article?

As I noted previously, three members of the Rocky Mountain Skeptics (Bill
Aldorfer, Randy Bancroft, and Carla Selby), in addition to Scheiber, claim
that the critique as published was a group effort and that Sarner was not
the sole author of the material quoted by Scheiber. You have given Bonnie
Bullough as a claimed witness for the priority of the Sarner memorandum,
but unfortunately she is dead and cannot confirm your testimony. If it's
left as testimony against testimony, it's you and your husband's word
against the word of four other people. Unless, of course, Sampson saw the
memorandum in 1992-1993.

> >The report referred to in the Scheiber and Selby article is
> > http://www.parascope.com/articles/1196/finalrpt.htm
> >Your description implies that there is another, longer report that is the
> >real "final report." Where might I locate that, or any information about
> >it?
> I haven't done a word by word comparison, but the document you refer to
> above does, indeed, appear to be the same 2.5-page document I am familiar
> with and was reviewed by Selby and Scheiber (SI, May/June 1997). At
> parascope.com, it is correctly entitled as "Final PROGRESS Report" [empasis
> mine], vs. Scheiber's reference to it in SI as the "final report", where he
> attacked for it many inadequacies, etc. The actual final report is 24
> pages long, and it is my understanding that it wasn't available via FOIA
> for several months after the SI article was published. Copies of both
> documents are available from the DOD.

It appears to me that the SI article was written on the basis of the
report they obtained, which does apparently (at least in the online
version) identify itself as the "final report." It is my understanding
now that the actual "final report" which you refer to here came out some
eight months later. Given that the authors of the study were not being
at all forthcoming (Selby and Scheiber had to obtain what they did via
FOIA request), I don't think there is anything to fault Scheiber and
Selby for in their discussion of the only document they were able to
obtain. Unless, of course, you can provide some reason to show that there
was evidence available to them about the real "final report" coming out
eight months later. Now if they subsequently found out about the "final
report" and failed to report on that in an update in SI, that could be
something to criticize, but it certainly doesn't justify what you wrote:

   Scheiber and Selby are no strangers to questionable publication. Check
   their article in SI on the UAB TT study's "final report." The whole
   piece was built around a mere 3-page progress report, not the final
   report at all. To the best of our knowledge, no clarification was ever
   printed, though the matter was brought to the attention of SI editors.

This description seems quite unfair.
> The final report was rather striking, to me at least, because all of the
> researchers' names had been blackened out except for Turner's, the reason
> given being that release of those names "could reasonably be expected to
> constitute a clearly unwarrented invasion of the personal privacy of
> individuals."
> -- Linda Rosa

What I find quite curious in the "final progress report" (the one online
at the URL above) is the claim that the Watchmen (which I assume means the
Watchmen Fellowship, an evangelical Christian group that I am familiar
with as a result of its anti-cult work, which has sometimes been rather
questionable) "Formed a National Therapeutic Touch Study group and placed
misleading advertisements in local papers (see enclosed advertisement) to
contact our research subjects." What's curious about this to me is that
Larry Sarner identified himself in the SRAM letter that started this whole
plagiarism accusation as "Chair, National Therapeutic Touch Study Group."

Is your husband's organization the one being accused of placing
"misleading advertisements in local papers ... to contact our research
subjects"? What was the content of these advertisements, and what was
their purpose?

Jim Lippard [email protected] http://www.discord.org/
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