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Okay, Nicholas, Let's Quote An Astronomer With Credentials

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Posted by M.W.Pearson on November 25, 2002 05:33:13 UTC

quotes are taken out of order and context
citation of source will be posted tomorrow

"When the present Pope encouraged further
investigation...two interesting points turned up.
One was that some lesser known academics of a different viewpoint at neighboring universities had probably encouraged the church to discipline Galileo. Secondly, no individual officer of the Vatican had ruled on what the truth was or not.

"My discovery that the Magellanic Clouds, neighboring galaxies to our own Milky Way, have chemical compositions different from our own Galaxy was attacked. Later, when it was found to be true, the result was attributed to other researchers."

"During some of the times I served on the (telescope appropriations) committee, I observed first hand many of the factors overriding the objective criteria of what research programs were best. The forceful personalities of some individuals, unspoken understandings between members, tactics by many in asking for much more time than they expected to receive -- all are characteristic of such committees and heavily influenced its decisions.
"The major sociological dynamic I observed was that those observers awarded the most time would be perceived to be the most important and influential. This, rather than the science, often becaue the prime motivation for winning more and more time. To me it marked the start of the dissolution of the society of equals.

"The last lesson seems to me to be that if the goals of research are subordinated to any other consideration, this can lead to the rapid decline of excellence in even the most prestigious institutions.

"I was dining...the don on my left enquired during dinner whether I knew Fred Hoyle. When I said I did and that I thought highly of him, this professor looked around furtively, lowered his voice to a whilsper and said, "He is a great scientist who was treated very badly around here." The statement did not surprise me, but I can never forget the fearful whisper in which it was spoken, as if we were in some kind of occuped country.

"I want to pay tribute to all those scientists that I have known and worked with who were sincerely dedicated to finding out what the universe was really like. They worked hard, argued passionately, and were gracious in both victory and defeat. In particular, I salute those scientists who, in spite of disagreeing strongly with another researcher's views, were nevertheless meticulously fair, helpful in advancing the research, and assisted in publication and discussion of the results. May the numbers of this group grow and prosper."
Well, if you read to the end...
from Quasars, Redshifts and Controversies by Halton Arp, President of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 1980-83 and honoree, the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award, 1984, and Newcomb Cleveland Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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