Skeptics and the “Mars Effect”: a chronology of Events and Publications Compiled by Jim Lippard draft: January 17, 2020

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Skeptics and the “Mars Effect”: A Chronology of Events and Publications

Compiled by Jim Lippard

DRAFT: January 17, 2020
This document is copyright © 1997, 2002, 2009, 2011, 2016, 2020 by Jim Lippard, Phoenix, AZ, USA. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce and redistribute this document in its entirety with this notice intact.
This is a chronicle of events related to the “neo-astrological” claims of Michel and Françoise Gauquelin and the investigation of their claims by various skeptical organizations: the Belgian Comité Belge pour L’Investigation Scientifiques des Phénomènes Réputés Paranormaux (Comité Para), the U.S.-based but international Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), the French Comité Français pour l’Etude des Phénomènes Paranormaux (CFEPP), and the Dutch Stichting Skepsis. Events listed include published articles, telephone calls, and personal correspondence. Not all of the listed events may have actually occurred; the source for each purported event is given in parentheses. Those marked with an asterisk have been verified by the author of this chronicle by first-hand observation of the relevant document. (In the case of telephone conversations, the relevant document is a transcript of the conversation by one party to the conversation—this author has not heard recordings of the conversations reported here.)

There were several events which led to my interest in the “Mars effect” controversy. Long a fan of the fiction of Robert Anton Wilson (especially his Illuminatus! trilogy co-authored with Robert Shea), I read his 1986 book, The New Inquisition: Irrational Rationalism and the Citadel of Science. That book criticized CSICOP and summarized (inaccurately, as I quickly learned) CSICOP’s involvement in the controversy. I asked then-CSICOP executive director Mark Plummer about it at the 1987 CSICOP Conference in Pasadena, and was told only that it was a bad situation which CSICOP has put behind. I read all of the back issues of CSICOP’s Skeptical Inquirer on the controversy.

The subject came up in December 1987 on the Internet “skeptics” mailing list which I was then co-moderating with Toby Howard of the Manchester Skeptics, raised by parapsychologist Dean Radin. Radin, who recommended Wilson’s book as a reference, criticized CSICOP for the “Mars effect” controversy, as well as criticizing James “Amazing” Randi’s “Project Alpha” hoax on parapsychologists. (Radin also said something about Suitbert Ertel confirming Michel Gauquelin’s “Mars effect” and having difficulty getting published in the Skeptical Inquirer.) I pointed out some mistakes in Radin’s account and defended CSICOP on the basis of information in my back issues of the Skeptical Inquirer. I also forwarded the messages on the topic to CSICOP. CSICOP sent them on to Executive Council members Philip J. Klass and Randi, both of whom replied by letter to Radin with copies to me. Randi replied only regarding “Project Alpha,” but Klass sent Radin a copy of a “Comprehension Test on Dennis Rawlins’ Charges of CSICOP Coverup,” offering to pay $25 to the charity of Radin’s choice for a score of 90% or better. To the best of my knowledge, Radin did not take up the offer.

In March 1988, Klass visited Phoenix to speak on the subject of UFOs at Arizona State University. This was an event organized by the Phoenix Skeptics, of which I was then executive director. In conversation with myself and Ron Harvey, Klass stated that the only person associated with CSICOP who could possibly be construed as having done anything wrong in the “Mars effect” affair (besides Dennis Rawlins) was CSICOP Chairman Paul Kurtz—but he seemed to think that even that was not the case and that the matter was trivial.

Somewhere along the line I read the issues of Marcello Truzzi’s Zetetic Scholar on the “Mars effect” and Dennis Rawlins’ “sTARBABY” from the October 1981 issue of Fate magazine (previously, all I had seen of Rawlins’ side of the story was his “Remus Extremus” in the Skeptical Inquirer). Then, on November 18, 1991, Rick Moen of the Bay Area Skeptics posted a copy of Klass’s “CRYBABY” (an unpublished reply to “sTARBABY” which had been distributed by CSICOP in 1981-82) to the Usenet “sci.skeptic” newsgroup and the BITNET “SKEPTIC” mailing list (which had displaced Toby Howard’s and my “skeptics” mailing list). This was the first time I had read “CRYBABY.” While I learned some new information about the events in the CSICOP “Mars effect” controversy, I also learned that “CRYBABY” failed to address the major complaints of “sTARBABY.” I pointed this out, with examples, in a response to the posting of “CRYBABY” to both skeptical groups on January 20, 1992.

I came in contact with German psychologist and “Mars effect” researcher Suitbert Ertel through the computer network, and posted some things to the skeptical mailing lists on his behalf when the “Mars effect” was being discussed. The criticisms of the Dutch skeptics were discussed on these mailing lists, as was Ertel’s analysis of the CFEPP data.

In October 1992, I attended the CSICOP Conference in Dallas. On the last morning of the conference, I was approached by Klass, who asked me about messages I had sent to Rick Moen about the “Mars effect,” and what specifically my objections were to CSICOP’s actions. We were joined by Robert Sheaffer and Paul Kurtz, and I brought up Ertel’s analysis of the CFEPP data. Kurtz asked to see copies of Ertel’s posted messages on the subject, and I agreed to send them. On October 20, 1992, I sent a letter to Paul Kurtz and Phil Klass in which I summarized the criticisms I had of CSICOP’s involvement in the “Mars effect” controversy (and some minor criticisms of CSICOP’s “Beyond Belief” video). I enclosed copies of some postings by Ertel and others from the Usenet “sci.skeptic” newsgroup. This letter began a lengthy and not entirely pleasant exchange of correspondence with Klass, during which he sent me copies of many early memos and letters from Rawlins and others involved in the CSICOP controversy. Meanwhile, Ertel also sent me copies of some early correspondence on the controversy, as well as copies of early articles. These materials from Klass and Ertel were the primary impetus for my producing this chronicle.

I am grateful for the information provided to me by Tim Bings, Jerome Clark, Patrick Curry, Suitbert Ertel, the estate of Piet Hein Hoebens, Gerd Hövelmann, Philip J. Klass, Tom McIver, Dennis Rawlins, Robert Sheaffer, Brian Siano, and Marcello Truzzi. I also relied on several previous summaries of events, including Dennis Rawlins’ “sTARBABY” (Fate, October 1981) and “Remus Extremus” (Skeptical Inquirer, Winter 1981), Philip J. Klass’s “CRYBABY” (1981, unpublished), Patrick Curry’s “Research on the Mars Effect” (Zetetic Scholar #9, March 1982), Richard Kammann’s “Personal Assessment of the sTARBABY Controversy” (December 15, 1981, unpublished) and “The True Disbelievers: Mars Effect Drives Skeptics to Irrationality” (Zetetic Scholar #10, December 1982), and George Abell’s untitled 71-page statement (April 1982, unpublished).

This version of the chronology is being distributed to the following persons:

Earlier drafts have been sent to John Bear, Susan Blackmore, Jerome Clark, Patrick Curry, Michael Epstein, Suitbert Ertel, Gerd Hövelmann, Ivan Kelly, Anson Kennedy, Paul Kurtz, Tom McIver, Rick Moen, Mike Norton, Damian Pope, Dennis Rawlins, Françoise Schneider-Gauquelin, Robert Sheaffer, Michael Shermer, Brian Siano, Marcello Truzzi, and Stephen Weldon. (My attempts to send copies to Lawrence Jerome and Philip J. Klass were unsuccessful—Jerome moved and the forwarding order has expired, and Klass returned his copy without opening it.)

The following abbreviations have been used throughout:

AHA American Humanist Association

CFEPP Comité Français pour l’Etude des Phénomènes Paranormaux

CP Comité Para (Comité Belge pour L’Investigation Scientifiques des Phénomènes Réputés Paranormaux)

CSAR Center for Scientific Anomalies Research

CSICOP Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal

Skepsis Stichting Skepsis

SSE Society for Scientific Exploration

UR l’Union Rationaliste

JASPR Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research

JSE Journal of Scientific Exploration

NS New Scientist

SI Skeptical Inquirer

SF Science Forum

Z The Zetetic (now the Skeptical Inquirer)

ZS Zetetic Scholar

As George Abell, untitled statement, unpublished (April 1982), 71pp.

Cr Patrick Curry, “Research on the Mars Effect,” Zetetic Scholar #9 (March 1982), pp. 34-53.

Kt Richard Kammann, “The True Disbelievers: Mars Effect Drives Skeptics to Irrationality (Parts I and II),” Zetetic Scholar #10 (December 1982), pp. 50-65

Ri Dennis Rawlins, “Inside the sTARBABY Coverup: The Planners’ Private Words,” unpublished (May 11, 1983), 13pp.

Rr Dennis Rawlins, “Remus Extremus,” Skeptical Inquirer 6(2, Winter 1981-82), pp. 58-65.

Rs Dennis Rawlins, “sTARBABY,” Fate (October 1981), pp. 1-32 (reprint numbering).

Rt Dennis Rawlins, “General Memo on MT [Marcello Truzzi],” unpublished (May 13, 1978), 3pp. (This includes his letter of the same date to “Ken F, Martin G, Paul K, A Randi.”)

ZKAz Marvin Zelen, Paul Kurtz, and George Abell, “Is There a Mars Effect?” The Humanist 37(6, November/December 1977), pp. 36-39.

George Abell: CSICOP Executive Council member and Professor of Astronomy at the University of California at Los Angeles. Co-author of articles critical of Gauquelin’s “Mars effect” claims with Paul Kurtz and Marvin Zelen. Died October 7, 1983.

Mario Mendez Acosta: Head of the Mexican Section of CSICOP (now the independent Mexican Association for Skeptical Research, SOMIE).

Claude Benski: CFEPP

Bart Bok: CSICOP Fellow and Professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona, co-author of “Objections to Astrology” with Paul Kurtz and Lawrence Jerome. Died 198x.

Bette Chambers: Executive Director of the AHA, former President of the AHA, former CSICOP Fellow.

Jerome Clark: Editor of Fate magazine at the time Dennis Rawlins’ “sTARBABY” was published. Is presently editor of the International UFO Reporter.

Daniel Cohen: Former CSICOP Fellow, former editor of Science Digest. Author of The Encyclopedia of Monsters and numerous other books.

John Cole: In September 1981, he was Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Northern Iowa. He was briefly CSICOP’s second executive director in 1985 (he is listed as such in the Summer and Fall 1985 issues of SI). He is presently at the Water Resources Research Center at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is editor of the journal Creation/Evolution.

Patrick Curry: historian of science, specializing in astrology. Lives in London.

Jean Dath: CP

Persi Diaconis: Former CSICOP Fellow, Professor of Statistics at Stanford University, magician.

Suitbert Ertel: German psychologist who has published numerous articles regarding Gauquelin’s theories.

Hans Eysenck: prof. of psych where? univ. london?

Kendrick Frazier: CSICOP Executive Council member, editor of SI. Former editor of Science News.

Martin Gardner: CSICOP Executive Council member, science writer. Was long-time writer of Scientific American’s “Mathematical Games” column.

Michel Gauquelin

Françoise Schneider-Gauquelin

Piet Hein Hoebens: CSICOP Fellow and journalist for De Telegraaf. Died October 22, 1984.

Sidney Hook: Professor of Philosophy at New York University. Died in 198x.

Ray Hyman: CSICOP Executive Council member, Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon.

William T. Jarvis: Associate Professor of Health Education, Preventive & Community Dentistry, Loma Linda University, and president of the National Council Against Health Fraud.

Lawrence Jerome: Science writer, CSICOP Fellow, and author of Astrology Disproved.

Richard Kammann: Former CSICOP Fellow, Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Otago, New Zealand. Died in 1984.

Ivan Kelly: Prof. of XXX University of Saskatchewan. Chairman of CSICOP’s Astrology subcommittee.

Philip Klass: CSICOP Executive Council member, was long-time senior editor at Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine. One of the leading UFO skeptics, author of UFOs: The Public Deceived and UFO-Abductions: A Dangerous Game.

Paul Kurtz: Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, chairman of CSICOP, co-author of criticisms of Gauquelin’s “Mars effect” with George Abell and Marvin Zelen. Chairman of the Council on Democratic and Secular Humanism (CODESH), head of Prometheus Books. Former editor of The Humanist.

Gerald Larue: Professor of Religion at the University of Southern California, CSICOP Scientific/Technical Consultant.

R.A. McConnell: Research Professor of Biophysics at the University of Pittsburgh, parapsychologist.

J. Derral Mulholland: Astronomer, formerly at the University of Texas .

Lee Nisbet: CSICOP Executive Council and Board member, Professor of Philosophy at Medaille College in Buffalo, New York. Was CSICOP’s first executive director (1976-1985).

James Randi: Former CSICOP Executive Council member (resigned in 1991), magician, author of Flim-Flam!, The Truth About Uri Geller, The Faith Healers, and other skeptical books.

Dennis Rawlins: Astronomer, teaches at the University of Maryland (?).

Evry Schatzman: UR/CFEPP

Elizabeth L. Scott: Professor of Statistics, University of California, Berkeley.

Robert Sheaffer: Science writer, Skeptical Inquirer “Psychic Vibrations” columnist, author of The UFO Verdict: Examining the Evidence.

Elie Shneour

Gordon Stein: CSICOP Scientific/Technical Consultant and editor of The American Rationalist.

Marcello Truzzi: Former CSICOP co-chairman and former editor of Z, Professor of Sociology at Eastern Michigan University. Editor of ZS, co-author of The Blue Sense: Psychic Detectives and Crime with Arthur Lyons. Frequent critic of CSICOP.

Marvin Zelen: CSICOP Fellow, Professor of Statistics at Harvard University.



Leon Lasson claims that eminent professionals are born slightly more often (or less often) when a characteristic planet rises or culminates. (Published in Ceux qui nous guident (Paris, Rene Debresse, 1946).)

Events and Correspondence

January 28: Jean Dath, president of the CP, writes to the Gauquelins regarding their methods that “I have personally verified some of your results and did not find anything that can, on the statistical point of view, be objected to them. But of course this verification admits a priori that the basic data, i.e., your gathering of dates and hours of birth, is correct” (quoted in Michel and Françoise Gauquelin, “The Truth About the Mars Effect on Sports Champions,” The Humanist July/August 1976, p. 44). The letter concludes by suggesting a replication experiment with 500 Belgian athletes.

Events and Correspondence

???: CP does tests on the Mars effect (Cr, pp. 35-36).


Michel Gauquelin, The Cosmic Clocks, New York: Avon.

Michel Gauquelin, The Scientific Basis of Astrology: Myth or Reality. New York: Stein and Day. (Translated from the French by James Hughes.)


*Printemps [Autumn]: Lawrence E. Jerome, “Astrology and Modern Science: A Critical Analysis,” Leonardo 6(2):121-130. Jerome writes that “Gauquelin has committed two basic errors in his statistical study, not in his statistical methods, which are rigorous, but rather in his interpretation.” (p. 129) Gives Mars/sun proximity+nycthemeral curve explanation of the “Mars effect.”


*Winter: Michael Zeilik, II, Letters, Leonardo 7(1):94. Praise for Jerome’s 1973 article.

*Spring: James R. Hein, “On Astrology and Modern Science,” Leonardo 7(2):151-152 Criticizes Jerome’s 1973 article as “grossly misleading.”

*Spring: Lawrence E. Jerome, Letters, Leonardo 7(2):187-188. Bart J. Bok, Letters, Leonardo 7(2):188. Jerome responds to Hein. Bok points out some errors in Jerome’s 1973 article and agrees with Hein on one point, while disagreeing with Hein overall.

*Summer: James R. Barth and James T. Bennett, “Astrology and Modern Science Revisited,” Leonardo 7(3):235-237. Lawrence E. Jerome, Letters, Leonardo 7(3):283. Barth and Bennett offer empirical evidence against astrology (U.S. Marine Corps membership shows no correlation with sign), while criticizing Jerome for ignoring empirical data. Jerome replies.


*Spring: Jean-Claude Pecker, Letters, Leonardo 8(2):181. Agrees with a point Bok made (not about Jerome) and asks Hein what he knows about astronomy (since Hein asked Jerome what he knew about astrology).

*Spring: Marcello Truzzi, “Astrology as Popular Culture,” Journal of Popular Culture 8(4):906-911. Brief account of history of astrology and different types of astrology. Page 910 has footnote which contains the sentence “Gauquelin’s books present an excellent case built upon a presentation of these many anomalies” which Rawlins complains about in his letter to Truzzi of December 27, 1977 and in his letter to the president of the University of Toronto of February 6, 1978.

*Summer: Michel Gauquelin, “Concerning the Possible Influence of Planets on Human Beings,” Leonardo 8(3):228-231. Lawrence E. Jerome, Letters, Leonardo 8(3):270. Gauquelin soundly criticizes Jerome. Jerome’s letter says “I have found that the statistical method that Gauquelin applies to his data is invalid,” the same criticism he makes in his Humanist article (September/October 1975).

*September/October: Bart J. Bok, Lawrence E. Jerome, and Paul Kurtz, “Objections to Astrology—A Statement by 186 Leading Scientists,” The Humanist 35(5):4-6. A very short statement with many signatures. Bart J. Bok, “A Critical Look at Astrology,” The Humanist 35(5):6-9. A brief look at the history of astrology, horoscopes, what scientists think about it, and the psychology of belief in astrology. Lawrence E. Jerome, “Astrology—Magic or Science,” The Humanist 35(5):10-16. History of astrology, a look at horoscopes, cosmic and biological clocks, statistical astrology, and “humanist astrology.” Writes that “Gauquelin’s statistical studies present an interesting case wherein totally fallacious results appear to be scientifically valid; in fact, Gauquelin’s research has been checked by several European scientists and statisticians, who could find nothing wrong with his complex statistical manipulations. As frequently happens, however, the fallacy does not lie in his manipulations, but rather in his basic statistical assumptions. As I have shown in a recent publication (Leonardo 8 [1975], p. 270), Gauquelin has been improperly applying binomial probability statistics to his data, thus arriving at odds against chance on the order of one hundred thousand to one for statistical fluctuations that are actually well within chance level” (pp. 15-16). (Rawlins’ memo of March 28, 1978 shows why Jerome is wrong here.) Corliss Lamont, “My Flirtation with Astrology,” The Humanist 35(5):16. A small sidebar about how Lamont was once mistaken for a professional astrologer named C.W. Lemont.

*October: Michel Gauquelin, “Spheres of Influence,” Psychology Today (British) No. 7, pp. 22-27. Summarizes research and conflict with the Belgian CP. (Reprinted in Patrick Grim, editor, Philosophy of Science and the Occult, 2nd edition, 1991, Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, pp. 37-50.)

*November/December: Paul Kurtz, “Astrology and Gullibility,” The Humanist 35(6):20. “Press Comment on ‘Objections to Astrology,’” The Humanist 35(6):21-23. “The Astrologers Reply,” The Humanist 35(6):24-26. Lee Ratzan, “The Astrology of the Delivery Room,” The Humanist 35(6):27. The force exerted by various celestial objects on babies being born, as compared to that exerted by the delivering obstetrician.
Events and Correspondence

November: Truzzi sends article “of pseudo-support for astrology” to Science, according to Rawlins (letter to Truzzi, December 27, 1977; letter to J.R. Evans, February 6, 1978).

November 3: Dennis Rawlins’ first contact with Paul Kurtz (Rs, p. 3).

*November 8: Luc de Marré to Paul Kurtz (in his capacity as editor of The Humanist). “Dear Mr. Kurtz: I was a member and administrator of the Para-Committee (P.C.) (fully: Belgian Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Phenomena reputed to be Paranormal) in Brussels. I have not only followed, but taken part in, the verification of the works of M. Gauquelin (M.G.), since the beginning, more than ten years ago. Because of a controversy about M.G.’s work, issued in ‘The Humanist’, I heard, during the P.C.’s last meeting, that you asked to be advised concerning this matter. This is why I make a point of bringing my testimony to you.”

November 15: Rawlins writes to Kurtz that if something is wrong with Gauquelin’s sample, no amount of statistical testing could be sure of detecting it. (Reported by Rawlins in “Critical Notes and/or Correction Suggestions” on Cr, August 12, 1981.)

December: George Abell says he will verify Gauquelin’s Mars sector calculations (Rs, p. 7).

December 1: Paul Kurtz to Dennis Rawlins. “Your paper came a few days too late to run in the Humanist… The Gauquelin stuff has really got me concerned. Please keep in touch.” (Quoted in Rawlins’ “Critical Notes and/or Correction Suggestions” on Cr, August 12, 1981.)

December 6: Rawlins phones Abell to warn that the Zelen test will come out in Gauquelin’s favor if the data is bogus (Cr, p. 37, which incorrectly describes this as a letter). Rawlins phones the same warning to Kurtz and Zelen on January 23 and March 8, 1976, respectively.


???: Comité Para, “Considérations critiques sur une recherche faite par M.M. Gauquelin dans le domaine des influences planétaires,” Nouvelles Brèves 43:327-343.

*January/February: Bart J. Bok, “Post-Objections Reflections,” The Humanist 36(1):28. Michel Gauquelin, “The Influence of Planets on Human Beings: Fact versus Fiction,” The Humanist 36(1):29-31. Responds to criticisms of Jerome and the CP. (Correctly shows Jerome to be mistaken.) “The Committee Para Replies to Gauquelin,” The Humanist 36(1):31. Rejects Gauquelin’s conclusions about their work on the basis that Gauquelin assumes that “All the possible configurations of the diurnal (daily) revolution of the planet Mars had an equal probability during the period from 1872 to 1945” and that “the frequency distribution of the hours of birth during the day (the nychthemeral curve) is a constant distribution valid for the entire period from 1872 to 1945,” and that both of these assumptions are false, and that therefore Gauquelin’s calculations for the theoretically expected number of athletes with Mars in a key sector is incorrect. They do not, however, offer any suggestion regarding what is actually producing the “Mars effect” in Gauquelin’s (or their own) data. Marvin Zelen, “Astrology and Statistics: A Challenge,” The Humanist 36(1):32-33. Suggests a resolution to the dispute over Gauquelin’s assumptions: collect a sample of non-sports-champions corresponding to each sports champion (or each one of a random sample of sports champions) from Gauquelin’s data, in the same place and date. See if the percentage of those non-athletes born with Mars in a key sector is the same as the athletes. If so, it’s some kind of demographic effect having nothing to do with athletic ability. Zelen concludes, “Can the proponents meet this challenge? Gauquelin has devoted a considerable part of his professional career to attempting to gather valid evidence that would persuade the scientific community. We now have an objective way for unambiguous corroboration or disconfirmation. Great interest has been created by the proponents and opponents of this influence of the planets on human behavior. It would be of considerable interest to settle this question in the manner I have suggested” (p. 33). George O. Abell, “One Astronomer’s Views,” The Humanist 36(1):33-36. Comments on reactions to “Objections to Astrology.” [One of the letters in this issue criticizing “Objections to Astrology” is from Carl Sagan. He explains why he refused to sign it.]

*March/April: Lawrence E. Jerome, “Planetary ‘Influences’ versus Mathematical Realities,” The Humanist 36(2):52-53. Complains about Gauquelin’s “ad hominem attacks” and continues to criticize his statistics; charges that “His alleged ‘influences’ are merely an artifact of his mathematical and statistical manipulations” (p. 53). Michel Gauquelin, “The Influence of Planets on Human Beings: Fact Versus Fiction,” The Humanist 36(2):53. Replies to the CP that he does not make the two assumptions they say he does, and explains how he has taken into consideration the fact that the probability of the different configurations of Mars changes over time as well as changes in nychthemeral curves.

*May/June: “The Committee Para’s Reply to M. Gauquelin,” The Humanist 36(3):32-33. Another complaint about Gauquelin’s calculation of theoretical frequencies; says he only looks at the means (“a mean and unique configuration of the probabilities of appearance in the sectors,” p. 32) and daily demography (ignoring the “secular variability of the diurnal demography,” p. 33). B.R. [Broady Richardson], “The Gauquelins Visit the U.S.,” The Humanist 36(3):33.

*Summer: Michel Gauquelin, Letters, Leonardo 9(3):259. Lawrence E. Jerome, Letters, Leonardo 9(3):259. Gauquelin defends his statistical procedure; Jerome disagrees, changing his position slightly and deferring to the CP.

*July/August: Dennis Rawlins, “E.S.P.: Lying, Cheating, or Absolute Idiocy?” The Humanist 36(4):13-15. Michel and Françoise Gauquelin, “The Truth About the Mars Effect on Sports Champions,” The Humanist 36(4):44-45. States that on January 28, 1962, statistician Jean Dath, president of the CP, verified their statistics and suggested a Belgian replication. Discusses the nychthemeral curve and expected frequencies, and how control groups have verified their theoretical frequencies. (This issue includes several articles on “Antiscience and Pseudoscience” by L. Sprague de Camp, Philip J. Klass, Dennis Rawlins, Broady Richardson, Daniel Cohen, Paul Kurtz, Marvin Zimmerman, and Ernest Nagel.)

*Fall/Winter: Ron Westrum, “Scientists as Experts: Observations on ‘Objections to Astrology,’” Z 1(1):34-46. Paul Kurtz and Lee Nisbet, “Are Astronomers and Astrophysicists Qualified to Criticize Astrology?” Z 1(1):47-52.

*September/October: G.O. and A.A. Abell and Michel and Françoise Gauquelin, “Test of the Gauquelin ‘Mars Effect,’” The Humanist 36(5):40-45. Looks at a number of possible explanations of the “Mars effect” in a sample of 2,088 athletes in the Gauquelins’ data; conducts a “Mars-Elongation” test which is not powerful enough to find a “Mars effect” of the size the Gauquelins have claimed (and doesn’t find one)—“even a real effect that is significant in a sample of 2,088 individuals loses some of its significance when tested, as was necessary here, on subsets of the total sample. Consequently, our finding cannot be interpreted as disproving the Mars effect—rather only as placing an upper limit on the strength of it” (p. 44; emphasis in original). No verification by Abell of Gauquelin’s sector calculations (Rs, p. 7). Eric Tarkington (Phenomena, March-April 1978, p. 18) describes this article as “so convoluted at certain points that one might easily read it as evidence against the Gauquelin’s theses, when, in fact, the Abells had been unable to find fault with the astronomical considerations that the French team had employed.”

*November/December: W. Keith Erikson, “Inaccuracy of Astrological Research,” The Humanist 36(6):43-44. Responds to astrologer Joseph Goodavage’s “time-twins” research, showing that several cases of alleged “time twins” in his books and articles are bogus. (Goodavage had a letter in The Humanist replying to “Objections to Astrology” in the November/December 1975 issue.) See the entry for Goodavage’s 1979 book, Write Your Own Horoscope.
Events and Correspondence

*January 19: Kurtz to Marré. “Dear Prof. Marre: May I thank you for your letter about the Comité-Para. We appreciate receiving your dissenting views. We have received thousands of letters on the astrology debate and find it difficult, of course to publish them all. I am enclosing the January/February issue of The Humanist, which contains the Para report plus other pieces. Sincerely, Paul Kurtz” (A reply to Marré’s November 8, 1975 letter.)

January 23: Rawlins finishes his Mars/dawn analysis (Rs, p. 6).

January 23: Rawlins phones Kurtz to say that the Zelen test may come out in Gauquelin’s favor if the data is bogus (Cr, p. 37, which incorrectly describes this as a letter). (Abell says (As, p. 37), in response to Cr, that he has no knowledge of a letter with this date.)

March 8: Rawlins phones Zelen about his Mars/dawn analysis (Rs, p. 6) and warns Zelen that the Zelen test will come out in Gauquelin’s favor if the data is bogus (Cr, p. 37, which incorrectly describes this as a letter).

March 8: Rawlins’ first phone conversation with Truzzi (mentioned in Rawlins’ letter to Truzzi, December 27, 1977). According to Rawlins, Truzzi talks about the usefulness of astrologers in society and most astrologers’ ignorance of astrology.

April 30-May 1: CSICOP founders’ meeting in Buffalo; Rawlins gives a speech (Rs, p. 6).

June 5: Rawlins paper attacking Gauquelin submitted to The Humanist; is rejected. Paper doesn’t mention Mars/dawn stuff (Rs, p. 7).

August 29: Truzzi letter to Phil Klass, about CSICOP. According to Rawlins, there is a Truzzi memo of this date suggests adding esoteric proponents to CSICOP (Rt).

end of September: Zelen test data sent by Gauquelins to Kurtz (Michel and Françoise Gauquelin, The Humanist November/December 1977, p. 32).

October 10: Truzzi to Rawlins in reply to earlier letter, about Church of Satan. Rawlins also reports a Truzzi memo of this date suggesting that “proponents of the esoteric” be made CSICOP members (Rt).


*Spring/Summer: John D. McGervey, “A Statistical Test of Sun-Sign Astrology,” Z 1(2):49-54. Claims on p. 50, citing Jerome (1976), that “effects claimed to be associated with the rising of one of the planets could be, and probably are, the result of the fact that more people are born in the morning hours than in the evening hours.”

*September 30: Nicholas Wade, “Schism Among Psychic-Watchers,” Science 197:1344. About Marcello Truzzi’s resignation from CSICOP.

*Fall/Winter: Dennis Rawlins, “What They Aren’t Telling You: Suppressed Secrets of the Psychic World, Astrological Universe, and Jeane Dixon,” Z 2(1):62-83. An extremely harsh attack on parapsychology, astrology, and other paranormal beliefs. Attacks Gauquelin for an error in a graph for which Gauquelin was not responsible (and Gauquelin had already informed Rawlins of this; see Tarkington, Phenomena Mar-Apr 1978, pp. 20-21); says that the Parapsychological Association “has no place in the AAAS” and calls on CSICOP to formally request that the AAAS boot it out (p. 83). Last SI to list T. X. Barber as a Fellow.

*November/December: Paul Kurtz, “The Mars Effect and the Zelen Test: Introduction,” The Humanist 37(6):29. Michel and Francoise Gauquelin, “The Zelen Test of the Mars Effect,” The Humanist 37(6):30-35. The results of the Zelen test confirm the Gauquelins’ theoretical frequencies—nonchampions do not show the “Mars effect.” Marvin Zelen, Paul Kurtz, and George Abell, “Is There a Mars Effect?” The Humanist 37(6):36-39. This is the article that has raised so much criticism. It begins, “Is there a ‘Mars effect’? The preceding article by Michel and Françoise Gauquelin discusses the experiment proposed by Marvin Zelen and its subsequent outcome. Their conclusions come out in favor of the existence of a ‘Mars effect’ related to sports champions. It is the purpose of this article to discuss the analysis of the data and to point out the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence in favor of the ‘Mars effect.’” It does not discuss the overall non-sports-champions result at all, instead focusing on the subsample of 303 sports champions which the Gauquelins selected for use in the Zelen test. These are broken into three geographic groups: Paris, France excluding Paris, and Belgium. The nine female athletes are dropped from the sample, without indicating what effect this has on the data, in order to compare male champions to male non-champions. The comparison argues not that the male non-champions do show a “Mars effect” (which is what they expected the Zelen test to demonstrate) but that the champions don’t show an effect. They conclude that “the data demonstrate that there is a statistical difference in the proportion of key-sector births among champions versus nonchampions for Paris. It is not found in Belgium, nor in the rest of France” (p. 37), however, the size of the Belgium and France excluding Paris samples are too small to show a significant “Mars effect,” and they are in fact consistent with the magnitude of the “Mars effect” proposed by Gauquelin.

*November 4: Marcello Truzzi letter, “Investigating Paranormal Claims,” Science 198:448. Says the Wade article on September 30 was “generally … accurate,” but points out that wanting to defend conventional religion is not a reason he has for opposing claims of the paranormal.

*December: J. Gordon Melton, “I See by the Papers: Guest Editorial,” Fate 30(12):7-26. Discusses “Objections to Astrology,” CSICOP membership forms and membership being closed, lack of scientific credentials among CSICOP members, etc. Curtis Fuller, “Time to Speak Out,” Fate 30(12):26-28. Reports Truzzi’s resignation and Hans Eysenck’s astrology research.

December: Fate magazine attack on CSICOP, pp. 14,21. (Mentioned in Rawlins’ letter to Truzzi, December 27, 1977.)

December 10: Maurice Barbanell, “?,” Psychic News xx:4. Reports collapse of CSICOP and says Truzzi charges Kurtz with “exploiting the prestige” of the Fellows (according to Rawlins, letter to Truzzi of December 27, 1977).
Events and Correspondence

March 14: Truzzi to Editorial Board, praises Rawlins’ “What They Aren’t Telling You” (Z Fall/Winter 1977) (Rawlins letter to Truzzi, December 27, 1977).

*March 29: Rawlins, asked to referee McGervey’s astrology paper for Z, complains about his adoption of Jerome’s/Zelen’s Mars/dawn theory. He writes a memo (the “Mars/dawn memo”) showing why that theory doesn’t work, sends it to Z editor Marcello Truzzi. Truzzi forwards it to Gauquelin (Rs, p. 8). Titled “Memorandum on the Relation of Mars’ Solar Proximity to M. Gauquelin’s Mars-Sports Results and Claims.”

April 29: Abell writes “smoking gun” (as Rawlins calls it) letter to Kurtz—admits the Zelen test came out against them (Rs, pp. 11-12).

June 24: Paul Kurtz visits the Gauquelins’ lab in Paris and examines data; signs a form agreeing that all was found to be in order (Michel and Françoise Gauquelin, The Humanist November/December 1977, p. 32; Cr, p. 48).

July 20: University of Toronto’s Howard Eisenberg, M.D., invites Abell and Rawlins to an astrology conference to be held on March 18, 1978.

July 29: Rawlins writes back to Eisenberg, accepting the conference invitation.

July 31: Truzzi and Charles Tart attempt to get CSICOP to dissociate from AHA (according to Rawlins letter to Truzzi, December 27, 1977).

August 8: Truzzi to someone (not Rawlins) about Rawlins “alleged bizarre Imagining that [Truzzi was] a Satanist who might do something to embarrass the Committee” (Rawlins letter to Truzzi, December 27, 1977).

August 9: New York City CSICOP press conference, second issue of Z presented to the public. Truzzi resigns as Z editor; is replaced by Kendrick Frazier. He also resigns as co-chairman of CSICOP. According to Rawlins (Rs, p. 24 (footnote)), Truzzi was replaced “by a prearranged conspiracy to which Randi and I were both parties” because of Truzzi’s “softness on the mystics and slowness to print tough skepticism.” (Rawlins also says, October 7, 1981, that Kurtz referred to members of the SI editorial board as “associate editors” on this date.)

*August 10: Truzzi letter to Fellows, explaining that he has resigned as editor of Z and as co-chairman of CSICOP after asking for and not receiving a vote of confidence. He adds that he has not resigned from either the Committee or the Executive Committee (Rawlins’ letter to Truzzi of December 27, 1977, describes this (strangely) as a letter attempting to turn the Fellows against the Executive Council).

September 17: Rawlins submits short Mars/dawn paper to The Humanist; it’s rejected. Kurtz asks Rawlins to declare his March 29 memo “confidential”; deletes references to it from Gauquelin’s report on the Zelen test. (Rs, p. 8) This paper is later published in the May 1978 issue of Phenomena (Gauquelin, ZS #9, p. 75; Rawlins, SI Winter 1978).

*September 20: Kurtz to Executive Council. Says Truzzi has requested the use of the name Z and the subscriber mailing list (1,400 people). Says that to do this “would be completely disruptive of the work of our Committee.” Includes a ballot for voting, separately, on each question.

September 27: Eisenberg writes to Abell and Rawlins, “uninviting” them to the University of Toronto astrology conference.

*October 1: Truzzi to the Executive Committee, regarding his request to Lee Nisbet for a copy of the CSICOP mailing list and request that the name Z be removed from the CSICOP magazine—says he was not sent a copy of the ballot and has only just learned of it. (Truzzi had published Z three years prior to the founding of CSICOP.) Expresses concern about “a growing lack of tolerance within our ranks,” and by the fact that the By-Laws were accepted only by the Executive Council, not by the whole Committee (i.e., Fellows too).

*October 5: Hyman to Truzzi, saying he thought the Wade Science article (September 30, 1977) was “actually quite good, fairly accurate, and relatively fair.” Encloses copy of September 20 Kurtz letter.

*October 6: Truzzi to Philip Abelson, editor of Science. Published in November 4 issue (see above).

October 20: U.S. test data sent to Rawlins for calculations, along with $100 of CSICOP money (Rs, p. 9).

October 22: Rawlins phones Abell for information on getting computer access in the San Diego area (Rs, p. 9).

October 27: Rawlins does computer calculations at San Diego State University (Rs, p. 10).

*October 29: Truzzi to Fellows, announcing his resignation from CSICOP, “because I find that my views towards both what constitutes a truly scientific attitude toward such claims [paranormal claims] and what should be a democratic structure within our Committee are not being reflected in the statements of the Chairman, Paul Kurtz, or the actions of the Executive Council. Since Fellows of the Committee not on the Executive Council are given no vote and are viewed as merely ‘advisory,’ I see no way in which my original goals for our Committee can be met. These goals included objective inquiry prior to judgment and clear separation between the policies of the Committee and those of the American Humanist Association and The Humanist magazine. I have come to believe that Paul Kurtz does not completely share those goals.”

*November 1: Truzzi to Curtis Fuller, publisher of Fate. Says he appreciates his inquiry about his relationship with CSICOP and wishes he had made it before publishing an article in the currect issue (December) which contains errors (which his letter corrects—e.g., he was not opposed to the Committee’s recent press conference, only to some of the points in the press releases). Writes that he has now resigned, but that he ramains “a supporter of the formal goals of the Committee which include objective examination antecedent to any judgments,” but worries that it will not be able to do so. Asks that the letter not be published, but shared with Fate’s staff, especially the author of the erroneous article, J. Gordon Melton.

???: Elizabeth Scott of the Dept. of Statistics at UC Berkeley says that the Zelen, Kurtz, Abell response to Gauquelin’s Zelen test results, which she is refereeing, is “misleading” (Rs, p. 9).

December 5: Rockwell to CSICOP Fellows (mentioned in Rawlins’ letter to Truzzi, December 27, 1977). Says Kurtz is “using” the names of “respected Fellows.”

December 9: Rawlins to Theodore Rockwell, re: Truzzi, Church of Satan, Truzzi’s “occult cookbook,” etc.

*December 21: Truzzi to Hyman, Gardner, Randi, Frazier, Cohen, and Diaconis, cc’d to Rawlins. “I had thought that resigning from the Committee would disentangle me from having to defend myself from charges of trying to split the Committee, etc. Apparently not.” Encloses letter from Rawlins to Rockwell replying to Rockwell’s letter of December 5 to CSICOP Fellows, calls it “ludicrous, hysterical, and full of the kind of character assassination that I thought went out with McCarthyism.”

*December 21: Truzzi to Rockwell, about Rawlins’ letter to Rockwell, cc’d to Hyman, Gardner, Randi, Frazier, Cohen, Diaconis, and Rawlins. Writes that “Obviously, you know very well that I did not instigate either your inquiry of the Fellows, your article criticizing THE HUMANIST, nor the piece by Nicholas Wade in SCIENCE. But Dennis’ wild statements alleging that I am a sort of Machiavellian Satanist border on the libelous.” Discusses his field work on the occult including study of the Church of Satan, his friendship with Anton LaVey, his disagreement with “Anton LaVey’s satanic philosophy,” and his Church of Satan membership card, which he says is just a joke. “When the Committee was first formed, some critics referred to us as a New Inquisition. I denied this roundly then. I now find that I am not merely labeled a scientific heretic by Dennis, but I am actually accused of Devil Worship! It is obvious that Dennis Rawlins would be more at home in the company of Torquemada than with those interested in the scientific pursuit of truth.” Also discusses Rawlins’ statements of the disagreement between Truzzi and Kurtz about categories of CSICOP membership and the presence of “cult leaders and active promoters of the paranormal” on the Committee.

*December 22: Truzzi to Nicholas Wade, says he has been accused by members of the Executive Council (i.e., Dennis Rawlins) of having instigated his Science article, asking for verification that this was not the case. (Enclosed letter from Rawlins to Rockwell, letter from Truzzi to Rockwell and others, memo to several Committee Fellows.)

*December 24: Gardner to Kurtz, cc’d to Hyman, Klass, Randi, Rawlins, Truzzi, Diaconis, Cohen, Frazier. Defends Truzzi against Rawlins.

*December 27: Rawlins to Truzzi, in reply to Truzzi’s Dec. 21 letter. He engages in lengthy criticism of Truzzi, and at one point charges that Truzzi is using a “political strategy of turning the Fellows against the Council (MT memos & letters 1977/8/10, 10/1, 10/29, now Rockwell’s 12/5 ploy).” He writes that Truzzi was privy to the Rockwell paper “early last Summer,” and rather than criticizing it, “joined forces with the attack”; that he indicated that the Church of Satan “is said to be a ‘joke’”; etc. (This letter was circulated by CSICOP in a packet of materials as a response to Rs. Truzzi’s letter to Kurtz of October 1, 1981 says that Rawlins never actually sent this letter to him.)

*December 29: Nicholas Wade to Truzzi, “to expresss my personal regrets that you have resigned” from CSICOP. Says “When we first spoke, after I had heard rumors of changes at the Zetetic, I was most impressed, if I may say so, at the goodwill you expressed towards those who had voted against you on the committee.”


*Paul Feyerabend, Science in a Free Society, London: Verso. Chapter 6, “The Strange Case of Astrology,” discusses and criticizes “Objections to Astrology.” (Reprinted in Patrick Grim, editor, Philosophy of Science and the Occult, 2nd edition, 1991, Albany: State University of New York Press, pp. 23-27.)

??? (could be 1977): ???, New Realities, 1(2):x-y. An article which states that “The Humanist lost” and that “the Gauquelin ‘Mars effect’ on sports champions…is real and it exists” (quoted by Jerome’s letter in the March-April 1978 Humanist; cited by Hyman’s September 7, 1979 referee report on the U.S. test).

*January: Theodore Rockwell, Robert Rockwell, and W. Teed Rockwell, “Irrational Rationalists: A Critique of The Humanist’s Crusade Against Parapsychology,” JASPR 72:23-34. Criticizes The Humanist and CSICOP for ad hominem, false categorization, personal defamation, contradictions, non sequiturs, etc.

*Spring/Summer: George O. Abell, Book review of Donald Goldsmith, editor, Scientists Confront Velikovsky (February 25, 1974 AAAS Symposium papers), SI 2(2):84-90. On pp. 88-89, he writes, “Sagan’s contribution is followed by a chapter by J. Derral Mulholland, a well-known expert in celestial mechanics in the Department of Astronomy, University of Texas. I found Mulholland’s chapter not quite as strong as the others in the book and a slight disappointment, considering what I would have expected from a man of his expertise and qualifications. I felt that many of Mulholland’s statements were given without supporting justifications. (For example, what do clocks have to do with the determination of latitude?) I also felt that he was a little careless in a few points: surely he could not have meant to say that the number of days per year could have varied by as much as one or two per cent during recorded history, and surely he could not have meant to refer to the Oort comet as a ‘belt’ of comets. Still, Mulholland gives a nice review of celestial mechanical consequences of the Velikovsky model which clearly violate observations.” Abell apologizes for these remarks in a letter in the Winter 1978 SI; Rawlins later uses this (Rr, p. 61) and another letter (March 2, 1979) from Mulholland (Rs, p. 21; Rawlins to Frazier, January 4, 1982) as a criticism of CSICOP and Mulholland objects to both (letter to Frazier, December 19, 1981). Paul Kurtz, “From the Chairman,” SI 2(2):130-132. At the bottom of page 131, says, “Among the projects we have been engaged in is a test of the Gauquelins’ hypothesis that there is a correlation between the position of Mars and the birth of sports champions—including both the Zelen Test of European data and a new United States study.” (Quoted in Truzzi’s January 4, 1982 letter.) Last SI to list Persi Diaconis as a Fellow.

*March-April: Eric Tarkington, “Gauquelin’s Travels (Being an Account of the Adventures of Dr. Michel Gauquelin while Shipwrecked in the Lands of His Various ‘Scientific’ Critics),” Phenomena 2(2):18-20. Criticizes KZAz for its analysis of the geographic subregions of the Zelen test.

*March-April: Lawrence E. Jerome, “Response to the Gauquelins” (letter), The Humanist 38(2):59. Congratulates CSICOP on a test well-done, which he (wrongly, as Rawlins correctly points out in his memorandum of March 28, 1978) says confirms his previous criticisms in Leonardo 1975 and The Humanist September/October 1975.

*May-August: “Rawlins reverses position: admits data may vindicate Gauquelin,” Phenomena 2(3/4):6-7. News update on the controversy, notes that Rawlins agreed to release his “Memorandum on the Relation of Mars’ Solar Proximity,” and sent a copy to Phenomena. Dennis Rawlins, “Memorandum on the Relation of the Mars’ Solar Proximity to M. Gauquelin’s Mars-sports Results and Claims,” Phenomena 2(3/4):22. Publication of the 1977 “Mars/dawn memo,” but with three (essential) lines of the analysis accidentally omitted.

*June 29: Bernard Dixon, “Paranormality,” NS 78(#1109):890. Reports on the Lydia Dotto SF article. Begins “Earlier this year an astronomer at the University of Toronto, Dr Bob Garrison, was awakened by a phone call from a member of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. The caller allegedly spent most of the next hour trying to dissuade Garrison from taking part in a conference on astrology. He did not succeed.”

*July/August: Lydia Dotto, “Science Confronts ‘Pseudo-Science,’” SF 11(2):21-24. Begins: “It was after midnight on a Saturday night when University of Toronto astronomer Bob Garrison was awakened by a phone call. The caller identified himself as a member of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, and, according to Garrison, he spent the best part of the next hour urging the U of T scientist not to participate in a conference on astrology.” Quotes Rawlins denying that he was trying to talk Garrison out of attending, Terry Miosi saying the conference was cancelled for lack of interest, and Howard Eisenberg saying that he felt CSICOP “definitely tried to” stop the conference, citing Rawlins’ letter to Evans as an example. The article quotes the letter as saying that the conference would “give the irrational pseudo-science an evidentially unmerited academic boost and public credibility” (see the full sentence in the entry on Rawlins’ February 6, 1978 letter) and that “the world has gone crazy enough as it is lately, without unwitting help from the leading universities.” This article also quotes Eisenberg to the effect that Rawlins and Abell weren’t actually invited to the conference, they were sent “merely an inquiry, not a firm invitation” (this quote is Dotto, not Eisenberg). The article also discusses Truzzi’s resignation and the CSICOP complaint to the FCC about NBC programming.

*Fall: Paul Kurtz, “News of the Committee,” SI 3(1):3-4. Says that “for two years several members have been working closely with Michel Gauquelin of Paris in an effort to test his hypothesis that there is a planetary influence on personality, in particular, a discernible ‘Mars effect’ on sports champions. We expect to publish the results of their American study shortly.” (p. 4) Ralph W. Bastedo, “An Empirical Test of Popular Astrology,” SI 3(1):17-38. Briefly mentions Gauquelin.

*October: “The Humanist’s Crusade Against Parapsychology: A Discussion,” JASPR 72:349-364: Paul Kurtz, “Part One. On the Art of Quoting Out of Context: A Response to the Rockwells’ Critique,” pp. 349-357; Theodore Rockwell, Robert Rockwell, and W. Teed Rockwell, “Part Two. Context vs. Meaning: A Reply to Dr. Kurtz,” pp. 357-364. Kurtz replies to the Rockwells’ previous article; they reply.

*Winter: George Abell letter, “Abell clarifies comments,” SI 3(2):68-70. Abell reports receiving a letter regarding his review of Scientists Confront Velikovsky (SI Spring/Summer 1978) from J. Derral Mulholland complaining about misreading or misinterpreting his chapter in that book; Abell agrees and apologizes. Michel Gauquelin letter, “Gauquelin on Rawlins,” SI 3(2):70-72; Rawlins’ reply, 3(2):72-73. Gauquelin accuses Rawlins of misrepresenting the evidence for the “Mars effect” and describes Rawlins’ 1977 “Mars/dawn memo.” Rawlins completely agrees with Gauquelin about the Zelen test, and writes that “a continuation of the ill-conceived Zelen-Abell test would only confirm it all the more strongly.” He also writes that Gauquelin’s attempt to quote from his memo in the November/December 1977 The Humanist was a “misuse” of the quotation.
Events and Correspondence

*January 3: Truzzi to CSICOP Executive Council members (Hyman, Gardner, Kurtz, Frazier, Randi, Klass, Rawlins, Zimmerman), enclosing copy of December 29, 1977 letter from Nicholas Wade. Complete text of cover letter: “I enclose a copy of a letter which I trust will lay whatever ghosts might remain re the Nicholas Wade-Marcello Truzzi communications re the SCIENCE story on our so-called ‘schism.’”

*January 3: Truzzi to Nicholas Wade. Thanks him for his letter and announces that he is starting up his own newsletter again under the name ZS.

*January 22: Alcock to Malcolm Dean, editor of Phenomena. Apologizes for the tone of Rawlins’ letters and states that “Mr. Rawlins does not represent the Committee … when he lapses into rudeness and vituperation.”

*January 31: Truzzi to Consulting Editors of Z who are not Fellows of CSICOP. Notes that the list of Consulting Editors remains the same despite his resignation, that “I know that this is error at least in part since a couple of you informed me that your considered yourselves released from that obligation by my leter. Let me emphasize that I have no objection whatsoever to any of you acting as a Consulting Editor to Mr. Frazier.” (In the Spring/Summer 1978 SI, the second one edited by Ken Frazier, the names of Theodore X. Barber, Persi Diaconis, Ellic Howe, Joseph G. Jorgensen, Sterling Lanier, Edward J. Moody, William F. Powers, Roy Wallis, and James Webb were dropped from the list of Consulting Editors; James E. Alcock was added.)

*February 6: Rawlins writes a letter to J. R. Evans, president of the University of Toronto, complaining about lack of balance in an astrology panel discussion at a conference to be held at his university, on CSICOP letterhead without approval of any other members of CSICOP. Criticizes the other invitees to the conference (Gauquelin, Truzzi, and H. J. Eysenck) as pro-astrology. The letter does not mention Eysenck by name, but refers Evans to an article in Maclean’s (August 8, 1977, p. 46), and to the American Journal of Psychology 68:704. (The full reference for this latter source is Richard Christie, Book Review of Eysenck’s The Psychology of Politics, American Journal of Psychology 68(1955):702-704. The review is extremely negative, pointing out simple errors of arithmetic and apparent plagiarism by Eysenck.) This letter criticizes Truzzi for being “the coauthor of an astrology-supporting paper submitted to Science in 1975 Nov.” The letter concludes, “The upshot is that, as things stand, this conference looks to be a pretty phoney [sic] confrontation, which will therefore give the irrational pseudo-science of astrology an evidentially-unmerited ‘academic’ boost in public credibility—and will be cited as such for years henceforth in pop astrological literature. The world has gone crazy enough as it is lately—without unwitting help from leading universities.” Rawlins’ letter cc’d to Dean Safarian.

???: Rawlins phones University of Toronto astronomer Bob Garrison.

???: Truzzi asks Abell why the Toronto astrology conference was cancelled, Abell mentions Rawlins’ letter and sends him a copy (As, p. 42). Abell thinks this is one of the reasons Rawlins was angry with him, though Abell says he apologized for sending Truzzi the letter without asking him first.

March 21: Gauquelin says he was given results of first and second U.S. test samples (Cr, p. 42; As, p. 24). Abell’s As (pp. 24-25) points out that since Rawlins says he didn’t compute the data for the first sample until June 8, that this means Gauquelin was given the raw birth data. The Gauquelins (U.S. test paper, SI Winter 1979-80, p. 33) write that they were told on this date how the first sample was selected (all Americans in the Lincoln Library of Sports Champions, all All-Star team members from Who’s Who in Football and Who’s Who in Basketball).

*March 28: Rawlins to Kurtz, includes the Mars/dawn memo from 1977. Kurtz says this is the first time he saw it (As, p. 35). Rawlins also enclosed “Memorandum on L. Jerome’s Halving of M. Gauquelin’s Critical Ratios.” Rawlins is quite critical of Jerome’s 1978 The Humanist letter, but has no complaint about ZKA 1977 or a “coverup.”

March 28: Rawlins to Christopher Scott. (Probably encloses a copy of the “Memorandum on L. Jerome’s Halving of M. Gauquelin’s Critical Ratios.”) (referred to in letter to Kurtz of this date)

*April 6: Rawlins to Kurtz, says that the 3 geographic groups in the ZKAz Zelen test response are not incompatible with the “Mars effect” and that “The upshot here is that non-Paris G data will (unless fudging shows up) exhibit G’s predicted rates, if the Zelen test continues upon the rest of G’s 2088 sports births. So I don’t think we should commit ourselves to denying the likelihood of this. (Which seems to be the implication—deliberate or no—of the ZA article.)” (Rs, p. 12; “CRYBABY”; As, p. 36. Abell gets the date wrong, says April 4 instead of 6.)

April 9: alleged Truzzi threat of “libel action,” according to Rawlins (Rt); defense by Truzzi of paper on astrology sent to Science.

April 11: Hyman to Rawlins, about Truzzi. “Reads like Fundamentalist apology,” says Rawlins (Rt).

*April 12: Elizabeth L. Scott to Abell, Kurtz, and Zelen, cc’d to Michel Gauquelin and Stan Willie. “Dear Colleagues: Dr. Gauquelin visited Berkeley last week and we had several interesting discussions. One concerned your recent article published in The Humanist. You sent me a pre-print of this paper and I telephoned each of you because I feel strongly that the discussion may be misleading. I understand that the paper was published virtually unchanged. What I would like to do now is to publish a short note, or even a letter, stating clearly what I think your error is. Is this a possibility? Would you publish such a note? Yours Sincerely, Elizabeth L. Scott, Professor”

*April 24: Gauquelin to SI (published in Winter 1978-79 issue, with paragraph complaining about Rawlins keeping his March 1977 memo secret deleted because Rawlins allowed it to be made public).

*April 26: Rawlins to Kurtz, Zelen, Abell. Says that copies of Rawlins’ March 28, 1978, April 6, 1978 letters, and the March 1977 memo (and the 1978 memo on Jerome’s CR-halving) have been sent to Zelen and Abell now. Also says that the March 1977 memo was sent to Truzzi, and that Rawlins has no evidence that Truzzi ever sent it to anyone but Gauquelin. Urges that it be published in The Humanist, perhaps in simplified form. Also says “I must stress my warnings that 1. The continuing search for a 22% success-rate among non-champions is hopeless. 2. The presumed bias (or outright tampering) will be found (if it can be located) in the champions, not the much larger sample of nonchampions” (As, p. 36).

*May 13: Rawlins to Frazier, Gardner, Kurtz, Randi about disagreements between Truzzi and CSICOP (“General Memo on MT”) (Rt; As, p. 37). Contains very strong negative statements about Truzzi.

June 8: First and second samples (325 athletes) of U.S. sports champions data all computed by Rawlins (Rs, p. 13) The first sample was 128 athletes, with 25 (19.5%) having Mars in a key sector; the second was an additional 197 athletes, with 24 (12%) having Mars in a key sector (Cr, pp. 39-40).

July 18: Kurtz to Rawlins, note enclosing copy of Dotto’s SF (July/August 1978) article; Rawlins says it is “friendly, no complaint” (footnote in Rawlins’ phone transcript of conversation with Frazier, October 6, 1981, p. f1).

end of summer: A third sample, of 83 athletes, sent to Rawlins (Rs, p. 13). Of these, 6 (7%) had Mars in a key sector (Cr, p. 40). Abell also reports the collection of birth data in three canvasses for 128, 197, and 83 athletes, respectively (As, p. 24). The 128 were all that could be obtained from the first sample which the Gauquelins described, because many states did not respond. An additional 197 were obtained by requesting data on all champions (not just All-Star and All-Pro team members) in Who’s Who in Football and Who’s Who in Basketball, plus those in Who’s Who in Track and Field and Who’s Who in Boxing who were born in states that had given information in the first canvass. The remaining 83 were obtained by writing again to states which had not replied to early requests as well as for additional athletes whose information was not requested in the first two canvasses (Kurtz, Zelen, and Abell, Winter 1979-80 SI, pp. 21-22). So there were three canvasses and the set of selected champions was expanded with each one.

September 18: Results of computations sent to Kurtz: 13.5% of the 407 athletes had Mars in key sectors (Rs, p. 13). Rawlins included with these results the “no fake unanimity” letter (Cr, p. 38; Rawlins’ phone transcript with Gardner, November 30, 1980, p. M5).

September 28: Rawlins to Kurtz about Truzzi, the Dotto/U. of Toronto controversy. No mention of “Mars effect” stuff (As, p. 37).

October 5: Abell calls Rawlins, asking about his qualifications, his computer program, etc. for over an hour (what Rawlins calls the “Jaws” call) (Rs, pp. 14-15; As, pp. 42-46). Abell wrote a letter of apology on October 28, which Rawlins fails to mention.

*October 5: Gauquelin to Frazier, asking why he hasn’t had a response regarding his April 24 letter to the SI.

October 6: Abell allegedly calls SDSU to ask about Rawlins (Rs, p. 14); Abell denies that any such call occurred (As, p. 45).

October 11: Abell visits SDSU, asks about Rawlins (Rs, pp. 14-15). Abell says he was visiting California State University, San Diego, as a member of an outside committee evaluating its astronomy department. While there, he asked one or two of his friends if they knew Rawlins and what they thought of him; they assured him that Rawlins was “competent (so far as they knew) and was a sharp fellow” (As, p. 45).

*October 12: Frazier to Rawlins, Abell, Zelen, and Kurtz about Gauquelin’s October 5 letter and stating that “Although I could rationalize ways to avoid” publishing his April 24 letter, he “feel[s] honor bound to fulfill my promise to publish” it.

???: Abell appointed press spokesperson, Rawlins’ air fare not paid (Rs, p. 15).

October 15: Randi calls Rawlins (Rs, p. 15). Rawlins mentions “some of [his] problems with KZA.”

October 18: Randi calls Rawlins (Rs, p. 15). Rawlins asks Randi to ask Kurtz about why Rawlins hasn’t received a written reply to his April letters.

October 19: Randi writes a letter to Kurtz on Rawlins’ behalf; sends Rawlins a copy to look over first (Rs, p. 15). Rawlins says Randi agreed with him that the Gauquelin (Zelen) test had been “ill-designed and should not have been done” and criticized Abell “for snooping into [Rawlins’] background” (Rs, pp. 15-16).

October 21: Rawlins calls Randi and “urged him to phone Kurtz to get his immediate reaction to the letter” (Rs, p. 16).

*October 21: Abell to Frazier, agreeing that Gauquelin’s April 24 letter should be published. Says “I have no evidence that Michel has faked his data, although I am concerned about some questions that have been raised over the Paris sample.” Says no accusations of fraud should be made without absolute certainty. Says negative things about Jerome’s astrology book and refuses to review it for the SI.

October 23: Randi calls Rawlins after talking to Kurtz, says that “KZA had still not confirmed [Rawlins’] calculations” (Rs, p. 16).

October 23: Rawlins to Randi and Gardner, calculations for expectation curve for U.S. test, along with “some background documents concerning sTARBABY” (Rs, p. 16). (Abell says he never saw this letter (As, p. 37).)

October 25: Abell calls Rawlins, confirms Rawlins’ calculations, asks him to do an expectation curve for the U.S. sample, which Rawlins says he had already done and mailed to Gardner and Randi two days earlier (Rs, p. 16).

*October 28: Abell writes a letter of apology to Rawlins for phone call of October 5. He asks Rawlins to leave personalities and motives out of his contribution to the U.S. test report package (As, pp. 44-46). Rawlins never replied (As, p. 45).

October 29: Gardner to Rawlins, calls the Zelen test “an incredibly hilarious foul-up” (Rawlins’ words) but says he isn’t interested in doing anything about it (Rs, p. 16).

October 31: Kurtz phones Rawlins, asks for copies of “various Committee records and his correspondence with the various appropriate parties on the Gauquelin experimentation” (Rs, p. 16).

November 2: Rawlins sends a letter to Kurtz, Zelen, and Abell with a list of questions about the Zelen test (Rs, pp. 16-17). As (p. 37) says he never saw any such letter. “CRYBABY” mentions this letter; says it was to Zelen with a copy to Kurtz. “CRYBABY” says this was the first charge of “bait and switch” but that “coverup” wasn’t mentioned.

November 2: Rawlins to Hyman and Frazier, mentioned by Abell (As, p. 37) as a letter he never saw.

November 6: Rawlins to Gardner and/or Randi, mentioned by Abell (As, p. 37) as a letter he never saw.

November 10: Gauquelin writes to Kurtz about possibility of new European replication under CSICOP control of the selection of champions. No reply (Gauquelin, Summer 1980 SI, p. 61; KZA don’t reply there, either).

November 17: Letter from Kurtz to all Councillors promising to pay airfares (Rawlins’ phone transcript with Gardner, November 23, 1980, p. G5.).

November 19: Kurtz calls Rawlins and says he will do “anything to avoid trouble” at the press conference. Blames problems on Zelen and Abell (Rs, pp. 17, 19).

November 22: Rawlins memo to all Councillors on procedures to avoid repeat of control test disaster, which Abell (who was not yet on the Executive Council) says he never saw (As, pp. 37-38). I don’t know where Rawlins mentions a memo with this date. Perhaps Abell meant to refer to the November 2 letter?

November 29: Kurtz phones Executive Council members trying to find a way to kick Rawlins off the Council (Rs, p. 18; Rr, p. 62; Ri, p. k9).

*November 30: Truzzi to Bette Chambers. Truzzi writes that Ray Hyman called him the night before “to tell me of the fireworks that may emerge from the meeting. It seems that Dennis Rawlins is mad as hell and now plans to attack the astrology study by Kurtz Zelen and Abell from the floor. Paul is afraid of this since the international press will be there. I understand that Paul is thinking of cancelling the public part of the thing just because he doesn’t know how to contain Rawlins. Paul is also apparently seeking advice about how he can get Rawlins off the Executive Council.” The letter also says, in answer to a question from Chambers, that Truzzi’s objection to the AHA connection with CSICOP “was basically Paul’s already stated HUMANIST position re astrology and psi in his journal which I perceived then as reflecting AHA policy. I felt that the Committee should be responsible to its membership and not be put in the position of defending AHA or THE HUMANIST positions. At the time, I did not realize to what degree Paul’s postures did not represent the official AHA position, so I see now that my major objection was actually to Paul’s positions. All this became very central when Paul ran numerous debunking items in THE HUMANIST that I would never have published as serious/responsible critiques in THE ZETETIC. I found myself forced to defend Paul’s stuff against people like Rockwell when I really agreed more with the critics.” Truzzi goes on to offer some criticism of humanism.

Dec. 5-6: CSICOP meeting in D.C. Meetings at Phil Klass’s apartment to discuss Rawlins’ complaints. Piet Hein Hoebens, Ken Frazier, and Robert Sheaffer are present at times, but Frazier and Sheaffer refuse to attend private Executive Council session despite being asked by Rawlins to do so (Rs, p. 20). Abell isn’t present for one of these meetings, saying that he’s sick. Rawlins thinks he’s faking (Rs, p. 20; Abell replies to this in his As, p. 54—saying that he really was sick.)

December 5: The “Rawlins rule” for ejecting Executive Council members added to the CSICOP By-Laws (Ri, p. k9).

December 6: Abell tells Kurtz in the presence of Rawlins that he never even read the November/December 1977 The Humanist article (ZKAz) before publication (Rawlins, phone transcript with Gardner, November 30, 1980, p. M13; also Rs, p. 20, note 2 and Rr, p. 65, note 3.) Abell says he did read it (As, pp. 15, 17). (Also see entry for December 12, 1980.)

December 14: Jerome Clark and J. Gordon Melton interview Marcello Truzzi at his home in Ann Arbor. Published in the September and October 1979 issues of Fate.


*???: Joseph Goodavage, “Response to ‘The Inaccuracy of Astrological Research,’” in Joseph Goodavage, Write Your Own Horoscope, third revised edition, New American Library, originally published 1968, pp. 33-36. Originally submitted as a letter to The Humanist as a response to W. Keith Erikson’s November/December 1976 article, along with fifteen pages of photocopies describing forty-five “unexplainable ‘coincidences’ among twins and Time Twins” and complaining that Erikson looked at only six cases. (He does not take issue with any of Erikson’s specific criticisms of those six cases, however.) The chapter in which this appears, “The Facts About Time Twins,” also discusses Goodavage’s correspondence with Paul Kurtz and Bart Bok regarding his research.

*H. Krips, “Discussion Review: Astrology—Fad, Fiction or Forecast?” Erkenntnis 14:373-392. Reviews Gauquelin books, describes Mars effect affair.

*January/February: J. E. Alcock letter, “Paranormal Claims Get a Closer Look,” SF 12(1):6. Responds to Dotto’s article.

*Spring: Kendrick Frazier, “News and Comment: Setbacks for psychic supporters,” SI 3(3):3, reports on physicist John Wheeler’s call for the Parapsychological Association’s ejection from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. John Archibald Wheeler, “Point of View: Drive the Pseudos Out,” SI 3(3):12-13, reprints some of his remarks from the 1979 AAAS meeting (January 8).

*Summer: J. Barnard Gilmore letter, “Astrology tests,” SI 3(4):77-78. Criticizes Bastedo’s astrology article (Fall 1978); Bastedo replies, pp. 78-79, that Gilmore’s criticisms are “inept and frivolous.”

*September: Jerome Clark and J. Gordon Melton, “The Crusade Against the Paranormal, Part 1,” Fate 33(9):70-76. Interview with Truzzi. Briefly mentions Gauquelin on p. 71, Rawlins on pp. 73-74.

*October: Jerome Clark and J. Gordon Melton, “The Crusade Against the Paranormal, Part 2,” Fate 33(10):87-94. Briefly discusses Gauquelin on pp. 90-91.

*Winter: “Four-Part Report on Claimed ‘Mars Effect,’” SI 4(2):19-63. Paul Kurtz, Marvin Zelen, and George Abell, “Results of the U.S. Test of the ‘Mars Effect’ Are Negative,” pp. 19-26. Discusses the Zelen test and repeats the same geographic breakdown and analysis from KZAz. Discusses the sampling procedure and results of the U.S. test. Dennis Rawlins, “Report on the U.S. Test of the Gauquelins’ ‘Mars Effect,’” pp. 26-31. Briefly discusses the results of the U.S. test; offers some criticisms: “I would urge our Committee henceforth to take the precaution before embarking on another extensive attempt at replication of an alleged paranormal experiment to request formally: (a) that the claimant’s loopholes be provided us in advance; (b) that a leading apt occult organization back the claim’s validity; (c) that post-test judging be performed by competent, neutral third-party referees” (p. 29); that “All the other papers here make excellent points while criticizing each other for post hoc sample-splitting ploys—when they like the data. But then they all turn right around and themselves use those very same condemned sample-chopping tactics—when faced with test results that were not in accord with their expectations” (p. 29); and that “Two years after its publication, this paper’s authors [KZAz] have still not answered my repeated questions about it. For example, why collect (and have Gauquelin laboriously compute) control data on more than 16,000 nonchampions associated with 303 of the old (1960s) 2,088 champion data—and then reject Gauquelin because (as was known in advance) the smallness of the old-data sample (303) did not in itself permit very firm conclusions regarding the already well-established 22% rate (as did all 2,088)? The plain fact is that Zelen, Kurtz, and Abell proposed their challenge (Humanist, Jan./Feb. 1976; and Sept./Oct. 1976) in confident expectation that 16,000-plus control data would deflate Gauquelin’s champion claims by also exhibiting a 22% rate (Mars in sectors 1 and 4). The actual 17% outcome was thus a clear success for Gauquelin and should have been openly reported as such” (p. 30, footnote 2). Michel and Françoise Gauquelin, “Star U.S. Sportsmen Display the Mars Effect,” pp. 31-43. Criticizes the selection process for including champions of insufficient eminence, does new analysis on the subset considered to be of the highest eminence and argues that a “Mars effect” is present. Reports on a new European replication of the “Mars effect.” Paul Kurtz, Marvin Zelen, and George Abell, “Response to the Gauquelins,” pp. 44-63. Criticizes the Gauquelins’ analysis for using post-hoc selection criteria, does the same with different criteria to show no “Mars effect.”
Events and Correspondence

*January 17: Rawlins writes letter to Phil Klass. Cover letter to 5-page memo.

*January 17: Rawlins to Executive Council and Fellows. 5-page memo detailing his criticisms/recommendations. He begins, “For years now, I have spent a ridiculous amount of time, uncomprehended expertise, & telephone costs—fighting an outlandishly super-snafu performance, not to mention the ensuing coverup of its outcome (Humanist 1977/11-12, Zelen, Kurtz, Abell): the Committee’s costliest, lengthiest, most published Scientific Investigation of a Claim of the Paranormal (the ‘nonchampions’ test of neoastrologer Gauquelin’s nonexistent ‘Mars Effect’)—which came out in favor of the occultist!” (A footnote on this paragraph says “G claims 22% of sportschampions are born with Mars in 2 of 12 celestial houses (vs. 2/12 = 17% chance expect.). The CSICP nonchampions-test examined 16000+ nonchampions born near (in time&space) champions’ births, anticipating these too would (from presumed major astron./demogr. effects on data) score at 22% (thus proving the Mars Effect was ‘natural’). Surprise outcome: 17%.” Rawlins also recommends that “the competent astronomers of the Committee arrange a thorough refereeing (as promised by Abell, Hum. 1976/9-10—but never performed)—a formal CSICP investigation of the Gauquelin affair, in order to: 1. evaluate the technical facts (and the principals’ performances); & 2. assign responsibility (some of which must be mine, for not perceiving earlier the irreversibility of the coverup course) for this severe, entirely needless setback to the Committee’s credibility—a credibility that can hardly be maintained (except in pretense) if the guilty parties continue in prominent roles on the Committee (as a majority of the Council now seems resigned to permitting, in order to save face).” The memo is sent to “most Fellows” (Rs, pp. 20-21). Abell says (As, p. 15) that he was not sent a copy.

January 21: Rawlins writes to J. Derral Mulholland. Mulholland says (December 19, 1981) that Rawlins enclosed copies of letters from other CSICOP people and asked for Mulholland’s criticisms; Rawlins denies both (January 4, 1982).

January 26: One of the recipients of Rawlins’ January 17 memo writes back to him in such a way that indicates its content is quite clear (Rs, p. 21). (Dan Cohen is the one, according to Rawlins’ letter to Klass of September 10, 1981.)

*January 31: Klass replies to Rawlins, saying he can’t understand the memo and asking him to send a more clear explanation. Rawlins doesn’t reply.

*March 2: Mulholland writes to Rawlins. This is the letter Rawlins quotes from (Rs, Rr), which Mulholland says was misused by Rawlins.

*March 12: Rawlins writes to the CSICOP Executive Council and 14 Fellows, nominating J. Derral Mulholland to be a Fellow (mentioned by Rawlins to Frazier, April 5, 1979, and Rawlins, January 4, 1982). The letter also complains about Abell’s clarification regarding his review of Scientists Confront Velikovsky and worries about “where this Committee is going … What happens when some Councillors choose between, on the one hand, accuracy, frankness, falsifiability, expertise, vs. on the other hand, tradebook promotion of themselves, under the aegis of consistent scientific screwup, face-saving, p.r. over all? … I don’t know why an organization that is supposed to stand for truth, integrity, and openness, is so constantly aflutter about secrecy and face. … I have been told don’t-talk-to-so&so more times than I can remember. Why? The only way to find out is to talk anyway. Kurtz has now ordered the Council not to talk to Bette Chambers, President of the American Humanist Association (and they’ve obeyed him), the organization that contributed so much in time, labor, and funds (more than it knew) to CSICP’s launching. (The AHA also recently launched Kurtz into ex-Editorship, when it became increasingly difficult to understand Hum. finances.)” The letter complains about the lack of response to Rawlins’ January 17, 1979 letter: “Councillor private admissions of the 1/17 material’s accuracy come with: attempts not to talk about it, moans re overfrankness, and some resentment (why-destroy-the-movement; over a little thing like standards?—why no concern re destruction of our substance?), unthinkingly perceiving open criticism as Treason—thus, by on-the-record silence, allowing the coverup shadow to lengthen, engulfing ever-larger sections of the Committee.”

March 29: Mulholland to Rawlins, says he never sent Frazier his detailed rebuttal to Abell (over the review of his contribution to Scientists Confront Velikovsky?) (mentioned in Rawlins to Frazier, April 5, 1979).

*April 5: Rawlins to Frazier. Protests the placing of John Wheeler’s address to the AAAS proposing kicking out the Parapsychological Association in the SI under the heading “Point of View.” Complains that “The Keystone CSICOP trio are still reluctant to commit themselves to writing, in response to analyses and questions sent them at intervals for over a year now.” Uses the word “coverup,” discusses rewriting the U.S. test report to be explicit about the ZKAz report. Also says suggestions that Councillors examine “Kurtz’ accountings at AHA” have been ignored.

April 9: Kurtz calls Rawlins. Rawlins asks for an answer to his Nov. 2, 1978 questions in writing (Rs, pp. 21-22).

April 19: Rawlins to Frazier, complaining about Frazier “shut[ting] his eyes” to the problems, as well as enumerating some complaints about his treatment by CSICOP (much of text quoted in Rs, p. 22).

April 19: Rawlins to an unnamed Councillor, reminding that he has nominated Mulholland to be a Fellow (Rawlins, January 4, 1982).

April 19: Abell, in As (p. 37), says he never saw a letter from Rawlins of this date which “Rawlins alleges he sent me.” I’m not sure where Rawlins alleges such.

June: Jerome Clark asks Rawlins to write up something for Fate magazine (Rs, p. 24).

June 1: Rawlins writes to two more (unnamed) Councillors reminding them that he has nominated Mulholland to be a Fellow (Rawlins, January 4, 1982).

*June 26: Randi sends a “confidential” memo to Executive Council members asking for the Council to try to solve the Gauquelin mess (Rs, pp. 18 (footnote), 23). Calls Rawlins a “problem child.” (Quoted by Rawlins in phone conversation with Gardner, November 23, 1980.)

July 6: ??? conversation with Rawlins, admitting “that Councilors Kurtz, Randi, Philip Klass, and Lee Nisbet conspired to keep dissent (read ‘schism’) from sullying the [1978] press conference” (Rs, p. 18 (footnote)).

August 11: Randi writes to the Executive Council about how to respond to the Truzzi interview in Fate (Rs, p. 24).

*September 7: Ray Hyman sends his referee report on the U.S. test papers to Ken Frazier. (The other referees, according to George Abell, were Edwin C. Krupp, Phil Klass, and R.W. Bastedo, the last of whom phoned in his report (As, p. 33). Rawlins says there were five referees (Rs, p. 32), the fifth being James Oberg, who also phoned in a report. Rs, p. 32, reports that Klass denied being a referee for these papers at the 1980 CSICOP Council meeting in Los Angeles, only to be confronted with a copy of his referee report. Klass, in his letter of August 22, 1981 to Rawlins, writes that he considered his role to be that of a member of the SI editorial board, not a technical referee.)

September 12: Gauquelin writes to Kurtz.

September 24: Frazier calls Rawlins, leaves a message on his machine that the deadline for referee reports is October 1 (Rs, p. 25).

*October 5: Kurtz writes to Gauquelin in reply to his September 12 letter.

October 8: Rawlins submits revised U.S. test report to Frazier (Rs, p. 26).

November 6: Rawlins sends memo to “associate editors” about travel reimbursement for the 1978 conference and Gauquelin stuff, charges “censorship” (quoted in Rs, p. 27). Asks Gardner if he plans to attend the meeting, gets no reply (Rs, p. 28).

November 11: Frazier to Rawlins, suggests Rawlins will have difficulty getting future articles published in SI (Rawlins/Gardner phone transcript, Nov. 30, 1980, p. M15).

November 15: Randi phones Rawlins to see if he’s still not coming to the NYC council meeting unless 1978 and 1979 airfares are both paid. Rawlins said Randi should tell Kurtz to send the 1978 fare (Rs, p. 28).

*December 9: Kurtz writes to Gauquelin.

December 15: Rawlins is “not reelected” to the CSICOP Executive Council. He is replaced by Abell. (According to Abell’s As, p. 48, Rawlins had served out his three-year term as Councillor, and thus no reason need be given for his “expulsion,” but he goes on to say that incidents such as his “letter and late night telephone calls concerning the Toronto conference” and “his attempt (or a manner thereof) to urge the AAAS to oust the parapsychologists” were probably reasons (As, pp. 47-48). Both Phil Klass’s “CRYBABY” and Ken Frazier’s introduction to Rawlins’ “Remus Extremus” in the Winter 1981 SI also suggest that the University of Toronto affair and Rawlins’ failure to show up at the NYC Council meeting despite being sent travel funds were reasons for his non-reelection. Kurtz’s letter to “Colleague” of September 21, 1981 gives the University of Toronto affair, alleged harassment of Lydia Dotto of SF by Rawlins, his letter regarding kicking the PA out of the AAAS, and his attacks on Truzzi as examples of the kinds of incidents which prompted Rawlins’ removal “from the Committee”—it is not clear to me whether this means his removal from the Council, as a Fellow, or both.) (See also the entry on Rawlins’ removal as a Fellow, October 1980.)

December 18: Frazier tells Rawlins that Doris Doyle, assistant editor of SI, says it’s too late to make any further changes to the U.S. test articles (Rs, p. 29).

December 21: Randi notifies Rawlins of the election results by telephone (Rs, pp. 28-29).

December 31: Rawlins requests that Frazier add notes to his U.S. test report stating that he was ejected from the Executive Council “following editorial disagreement over these articles” (Rs, p. 29).


Malcolm Dean, The Astrology Game: The Inside Story: The Truth About Astrology, New York: Beaufort Books. Chapter ten is on “The Mars Effect.”

*Spring: Michael Zeilik, II, reviews Jerome’s Astrology Disproved, Leonardo 13(2):163. Takes issue with title, calls it a “useful reference” but says Jerome’s attitude is sometimes “impatient, flippant, condescending and arrogant.”

*Summer: Michel Gauquelin “follow-up,” “The ‘Mars Effect’: A Response from M. Gauquelin,” SI 4(4):58-62; Paul Kurtz, Marvin Zelen, and George Abell, “The Contradictions in Gauquelin’s Research: Rejoinder by Kurtz, Zelen, and Abell,” SI 4(4):62-68.

*Fall: Lawrence E. Jerome letter, “The ‘Mars effect hypothesis,” SI 5(1):85-86. Accuses Rawlins of censorship (preventing him from speaking at a conference), indicates surprise that the Zelen test wasn’t used in the U.S. test, criticizes Gauquelin’s “post hoc bias” and says “Sophomore statistics students would get failing grades for such procedures.”
Events and Correspondence

???: Rawlins, “On Some Trifling Matters,” states his complaints (Mentioned in Hoebens’ letter to Klass, Nov. 27, 1981).

January 5: Abell writes a “gush” letter to Rawlins (Rs, pp. 28-29). Abell (As, pp. 44-46) says this was another apology letter (like the Oct. 28, 1978 one), which was cc’d to Randi.

January 5: Abell to Randi, implies that “we should have listened to Rawlins”; a response to his January 17, 1979 memo (As, p. 38).

January 8: Minutes of December 15 CSICOP meeting. No mention of election balloting (Rs, p. 28).

January 9: Frazier writes to Rawlins, refusing his request of December 31, 1979 (Rs, p. 29).

*January 12: Rawlins speaks to Ray Hyman on the telephone; apparently tapes it. Transcription distributed under the title “The Buffalogate Plumbers as Post-Hoc Test-Beauticians,” contains quotes from Hyman saying “we’re a propaganda group” and “It may be that a liar and a cheat maybe is the best guy to run the Committee.”

January 12: Doris Doyle tells Rawlins that there is still time for changes to the U.S. test articles (Rs, p. 29).

January 14: Rawlins offers alternative wording for stuff he wants added, in mailgram to Frazier (Rs, p. 29).

January 15: Frazier says no more changes (Rs, p. 29).

*February 6: Kurtz writes to Gauquelin in San Diego.

February 16: Rawlins writes to Frazier, resigning from the editorial board of SI, conditional on publication of his resignation letter (Rs, pp. 29-30, gives complete text; Rr, p. 63, characterizes this as being “kicked off” the editorial board).

March 21: Rawlins, “The Conversion of the Keystone CSICOPs,” submitted to SI and rejected.

April 10: Frazier writes to Rawlins, refusing to print his letter but accepting his resignation anyway (Rs, p. 30).

*April 22: Kurtz writes to Gauquelin in San Diego, thanking him for his recent letter.

May 3: Letter from Abell to Gauquelin, again admits he knews the Zelen test came out for Gauquelin (Rs, p. 30; Cr, p. 39; also Rawlins, phone transcript with Gardner, November 30, 1980, p. M14).

*May 28: Kurtz writes to Gauquelin in San Diego.

July 27: Gauquelin writes to Kurtz, saying he will send the info Kurtz has requested after Kurtz makes a list of Olympic athletes (Cr, p. 46).

*October 16: Kurtz writes to Gauquelin in Paris, ignoring the July 27 request (Cr, p. 47).

October: Rawlins removed as CSICOP Fellow by mail ballot of the Executive Council (Rr, p. 63). The ballot was apparently confusing—votes for adding Paul Edwards were really for replacing Rawlins with Edwards. The vote was 6 to expel Rawlins, 1 against, 2 not voting (“Statement by CSICOP Executive Council in Response to Rawlins,” SI, Winter 1981-82; As, p. 48). Rawlins (Ri, p. k8) claims that this “differs from that originally stated privately by Kurtz—because Gardner’s ‘vote’ was subsequently changed from ‘eject’ to ‘not voting’ when his written denial (of having voted) became known.” He also claims to possess written statements from or transcripts of conversations with some Councillors (Gardner, Hyman, and Abell) saying that they didn’t vote to eject him. (But see Gardner’s May 5, 1982 letter to Truzzi.) Abell’s As, p. 48, explains that because the ballot was confusing, he didn’t realize he was voting Rawlins out; he thought that Rawlins had resigned and he was simply voting Edwards in (i.e., that he was replacing Rawlins, not ejecting Rawlins). Abell adds that he knows that some others were also confused by this, but that some also understood and that he doesn’t think eliminating the confusion would have changed the end result. (The other “not voting” was Hyman, whose letter to Truzzi of January 30, 1982 admits the ballot was confusing; the vote against ejection was by Ken Frazier (Rawlins letter to Hyman, March 24, 1982).) An editorial comment on Rr, p. 63, says the mail ballots received are on file at the CSICOP offices in Buffalo. The stated reason on the ballot for replacing Rawlins was his comment on the BBC Horizon show that CSICOP was a “fraud” (As, p. 49). (Rawlins writes that “[Abell] doesn’t add that this tape was an out-take & so not properly in Kurtz’ possession” in a footnote to his phone transcript with Frazier, October 6, 1981, p. f3. Rawlins doesn’t deny that he said it; surely such a remark was the business of CSICOP to know about, whether or not it was actually aired.) (See also the entry on Rawlins’ removal from the Executive Council, December 15, 1979.)

*November 23: Rawlins talks to Martin Gardner by telephone, prints transcript as “Kicking on First Down.” Asks why he was kicked off the Executive Committee. Gardner tells Rawlins “I think you’re right on all counts” regarding the Gauquelin affair (probably meaning only the scientific issues).

*November 30: Rawlins talks to Gardner on the phone, prints transcript as “Don’t Bump the Lump.” Examples of alleged Kurtz dishonesty (p. M8).

December 12: Los Angeles CSICOP meeting at UCLA. Rawlins attends, uninvited, asks why he was kicked out of CSICOP (removed as a Fellow). Reasons are given orally: his University of Toronto letter and his letter to the AAAS asking for the PA to be ejected (Rs, pp. 31-32). (Abell’s As, p. 50, says the University of Toronto affair was “an example of the sorts of complaints that had arisen over Rawlins,” but “was certainly not the sole reason for Rawlins’ expulsion.” Paul Kurtz’s letter of September 21, 1981, lists it as one of several reasons (see below).) At this meeting, according to Rawlins, Abell said he didn’t remember whether or not he read KZAz before it was published (Rr, p. 65, footnote 3). Abell (As, pp. 15, 17) says that he did read it and approve it, but was busy and not careful. (Also see the entry for December 6, 1978.)


???: Michel Rouze, article in Science et Vie on Gauquelin and the CSICOP U.S. test.

*Winter: Lawrence E. Jerome, Letters, Leonardo 14(1):87-88. Replies to Zeilik’s review; apologizes for attitude, mentions “threats of legal action” against him by “certain individuals in the U.S.A.” which delayed publication of his book.

*July/August: “CSICOP: A Crusade Gone Sour,” Frontiers of Science (published by Hynek’s CUFOS), p. 8. Based on Rs; offers reprints of it for $1.

*Autumn: Lawrence E. Jerome, review of Charles J. Cazeau and Stuart D. Scott’s Exploring the Unknown, Leonardo 14(4):332. Calls the section on astrology “full of errors” and recommends his 1973 article. (The last appearance of Jerome in this publication to date, I believe.)

September: J. Derral Mulholland letter in Fate about George Abell’s SI review of Scientists Confront Velikovsky, calling it “incompetent.” (Cited by Rawlins, January 4, 1982 letter to Frazier.)

*October: Dennis Rawlins, “sTARBABY,” Fate 67-98. (Rs) (Actually published in mid-August, according to Ri, p. k9.) Charges “bait and switch” tactics in KZAz, a CSICOP “cover-up” of his dissent and complaints, SI “censorship” of statements in his Winter 1979-80 U.S. test report, and that he was ejected from CSICOP for his dissent, among numerous other charges. (See the references to Rs throughout this chronology.)

*October 29: Jeremy Cherfas, “Paranormal-watchers fall out over the Mars effect,” NS 92(#1277):294. Says Klass was appointed to look into the matter. Several people mentioned Kurtz’s possible resignation from CSICOP. (Randi is quoted in the article as saying, “It’s about time we had a succession.”)

*Winter: Dennis Rawlins, “Remus Extremus,” (dated Sep. 6) SI 6(2):58-65. (Rr) A rather rambling, unedited complaint which was published because of Ken Frazier’s offer to Rawlins to demonstrate that CSICOP has nothing to cover up. Charges censorship, that his complaints were ignored, that he was ejected for his “Mars effect” criticisms and the balloting was improper, that Kurtz was dismissed from The Humanist for “fiscal unaccountability,” that Kurtz owns the CSICOP mailing list, etc. (See references to Rr throughout this chronology.) Frazier’s preface (pp. 58-59) says that Rawlins did not notify the committee he wasn’t going to attend the 1979 meeting and mentions the University of Toronto affair. Editorial remarks respond to the charges about improper balloting, alleged financial unaccountability by Kurtz, and the status of CSICOP’s assets. “Statement by CSICOP Executive Council in Response to Rawlins,” SI 6(2):66. Says the Rawlins ejection was by mail; promotes Klass’s “CRYBABY” and Abell, Kurtz, and Zelen’s “Status of the ‘Mars Effect.’” George Abell and Paul Kurtz, “George Abell and Paul Kurtz Respond to Rawlins,” SI 6(2):67. Admits that the Zelen test showed that 17% was the right chance expectation for key sector births, but does not comment on other criticisms of KZAz. This is the last SI in which the names of Daniel Cohen and Richard Kammann appear as Fellows.
Events and Correspondence

February 22: Abell to Rawlins.

*March 5: Rawlins writes to Abell, in reply to Abell’s February 22 letter. Points out that it was not hindsight on Rawlins’ part that irregularities in Gauquelin’s sample could affect the outcome of the Zelen Test. Complains about his commentary being banned from SI while he is attacked there for censorship (Fall 1980, pp. 85-86). Asks why no reasons have been given in writing for his ejection from the CSICOP Executive Council (December 15, 1979), the SI editorial board (Spring 1980), and the Fellows (October 1980).

March 14: Abell writes to Curry that the Gauquelin stuff was a “personal experiment” and not a CSICOP project (Cr, p. 50).

*March 18: Registered letter from Kurtz to Gauquelin, distressed by “unfounded accusations.”

March 19: Rawlins to Abell: “if Kurtz lied about how the ejection of a Fellow was carried out, should he be dismissed as Chairman? If not, then what crimes would be too much for you to stomach? And how would the Council get rid of Kurtz, when he alone possesses the Skeptical Inq. mailing list?” (Rr, p. 63).

*May 6: Rawlins to Curry, criticizing Abell’s March 14 letter to Curry.

*May 28: Registered letter from Kurtz to Gauquelin, asking to “start afresh.”

June 1: Letter from Gauquelin to Kurtz.

*June 15: Abell to Gauquelin in San Diego, refers to June 1 letter from Gauquelin to Kurtz re: Lawrence Jerome’s SI letter. Disclaims CSICOP responsibility for Jerome’s letter.

*June 24: Kurtz to Abell, Zelen, Randi, Hyman, Klass, Frazier, Kelly, Gardner, Rawlins, Curry, and Truzzi. A response to Gauquelin, encloses letter to Schatzman proposing French test. Rawlins says he never received either from Kurtz (in his July 27 letter to Schatzman).

*June 24: Kurtz to Schatzman, described above.

*June 26: Kurtz to Gauquelin, saying that CSICOP is not responsible for Jerome’s remarks and elaborates on remarks about CP.

*June 30: Rawlins to Curry, says Abell has still not replied to his March 19 letter. Also says that Zelen said privately that he thought “G had cheated on the collection of 16,756 non-champions—artificially driving the sample down to 17%!”

July 11: Rawlins to Michael Hutchinson, complaining about his “bowdlerized” U.S. test report (Cr, p. 42).

*July 27: Rawlins to Schatzman, corrects misrepresentations by Kurtz in his June 24 letters and asks for the French l’Union Rationaliste to disaffiliate from CSICOP (have listing removed from SI). (They were listed in the Spring 1981 issue for the first time, in the Summer 1981 issue, and in the Fall 1981 issue for the last time. The listing began again in the Fall 1983 issue, after the “Reappraisal.” (Beginning with the Summer 1985 issue, UR ceased to be listed and CFEPP was listed instead, with the same names and address.) Schatzman continued to be listed as a Fellow.) In this letter, Rawlins says that “Zelen for years did not accept the results of his own ‘Zelen test’—asserting privately for years to Kurtz, me, and BBC’s Tony Edwards that 22% was the actual theoretical chance frequency”; that “Kurtz sent me the first set of data secretly on 1977/10/20, saying that he wished a private advance look at how the computation was going to come out”; that Kurtz did not keep Gauquelin informed of how the test was going, contrary to his claims; that Abell suggested he (Rawlins) had fudged the sampling, “since the 13.5% result was so far below the 22% he was expecting, along with Zelen”; that he was ejected from CSICOP without a vote; etc.

*July 28: Curry to Truzzi, submits “Research on the Mars Effect” (Cr) for ZS.

*August 12: Rawlins to Curry, letter and enclosed “Critical Notes and/or Correction Suggestions for 1st Draft ‘Research and the Mars Effect.’” Rawlins’ comments on Cr.

*August 22: Klass to Rawlins, five pages of comments and questions regarding Rs.

August 29: A “tear-stained” letter from a Councillor to Rawlins, mentioned in Rawlins’ October 10, 1981 letter to CSICOP Fellows.

*Fall: Last issue of SI in which William Nolen was listed as a Scientific and Technical Consultant.

*September 8: McConnell writes to Hoebens (and the rest of the Fellows of CSICOP, I believe) enclosing a copy of Rawlins’ “sTARBABY.” “On the basis of personal knowledge gained directly from present and past members of the Executive Council of the Committee, I am convinced that the Rawlins report is certainly true in broad outline and probably true in every detail. Rawlins’ ‘total recall’ leaves little to the imagination. He has created a document of importance for the history and philosophy of science. … One scientist has summarized it this way: Rawlins has uncovered the biggest scandal in the history of rationalism. The Committees’ actions can only bring contempt upon science in its struggle against anti-intellectualism. After you have considered the matter, you may agree with that judgment. In any case, I would like to explore the psychological mechanisms by which a professional philosopher, almost singlehandedly, managed to deceive so many scientists and scholars into publicly supporting an intellectually dishonest enterprise. I hope that you will take the time to write to me your opinion of the Rawlins report and that you will answer the following question for me: In the light of Rawlins’ revelations, do you intend to continue your public association with the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal? I want to be entirely fair in my assessment of the motivations of the Committee Fellows and Consultants, many of whom must have lent their names inadvertantly in support of the Committee’s dishonest methods. If I do not hear from you, I shall assume merely that, despite my credentials, you did not find the matter of sufficient importance to warrant a reply.”

*September 16: John Cole to McConnell, cc’d to Kurtz. Four-page letter. “Rawlins raises several basic issues, the most important seeming to be statistical errors, conspiratorial cover-up, and editorial and intellectual dishonesty and incompetence. I cannot judge the first, being neither an astrologer nor statistician, although I am skeptical of the charge’s validity beyond the seemingly valid complaint that the Committee may appear to have accepted the validity of Gauquelin’s sample too trustingly (although you should note that the Committee did not design the test—it predates the Committee). The other charges, however, strike me as ludicrous, and this first one strikes me as rather trivial, true or not, if the others are untrue. I’m not sure error occurred, but of course it may have. If it did, there are civil ways to point it out and correct it. … I attended the Washington and New York meetings Rawlins describes in gory detail, and I did not see happening what he reports. I saw free-for-all discussions in which I do not remember his taking part at all when he had ample opportunity to raise substantive questions or profess minority views. I raised questions, expressed opinions, and disagreed with others present at times and did not reap scorn, vilification, or even subtle hints that I should shut up! On the contrary, I felt that my views were treated fairly despite my not being a member of the ‘inner circle’ or the broader Committee.” (Cole was later executive director of CSICOP for a brief period of a few months, after which he worked for the AHA. His parting with CSICOP was not on the best of terms.)

*September 17: Klass writes to McConnell, saying that he couldn’t understand Rawlins’ charges, accuses Rawlins of ego problems, accuses McConnell of slander, complains about Rawlins’ falsely claiming to have been an “associate editor” of SI and Rawlins’ uninvited appearance at the 1980 CSICOP conference. Klass writes near the end of his three-page letter: “You ask whether I intend to continue my public association with CSICOP in view of recent events. ABSOLUTELY! When I see how falsehood and misrepresentation are being used to attack CSICOP I realize more than ever how evil are its opponents. And thus how sorely CSICOP is needed. I abhor purveyors of falsehood as Nature abhors a vacuum. For that reason I shall do everything in my power to expose the falsehoods and distortions of Rawlins and those who seek to exploit them—remembering all the while that Rawlins recommended my election to the Executive Council.”

*September 17: Gerald Larue to McConnell, cc’d to Kurtz. “At this moment I have absolutely no way of verifying the claims made by Mr. Rawlins, and until I hear from Paul Kurtz and his colleagues I shall refrain from passing judgment. Unlike you, I am not prepared to accept Rawlins’ report as ‘certainly true in broad outline and probably true in every detail.’”

*September 17: Mario Mendez Acosta to McConnell. “When you concede that Rawlins’ report on the CSICOP is inadequate because he did not publish it in a scholarly journal I’m afraid you are making the understatement of the decade. Rawlins’ report appears in Fate magazine side by side with advertisements of crystal balls, third eye kooks and articles pushing the most malevolent hoaxes the mind of modern man can conceive. I think that in taking this step Rawlins has renounced to any credibility his allegations may have had. The Starbaby report reveals only the severe personality problems that afflict its author, among them, no doubt, an unbridled ambition—I’m still wondering how much did the shameless ruffians that publish Fate paid him for this invaluable weapon he has placed in their hands.”

September 19: Klass phones Dan Cohen, tapes conversation, trying to get background info on Rawlins (Ri, p. k4). Cohen protests to Kurtz and Randi.

*September 21: Kurtz to “Colleague” (Fellows and Scientific Consultants?) Responds to “sTARBABY”: attacks Fate in general, says Rawlins’ description is full of errors (lists two: Rawlins wasn’t an “associate editor” and he didn’t submit a travel voucher for reimbursement for the 1978 Council meeting). Says there was no coverup, the Zelen test predated CSICOP, that there were two possible criticisms of the Zelen test (1. should not have given G benefit of doubt about data cleanness and 2. should have stated that the theoretical expected value was indeed shown to be 17.1%). Says Rawlins was ejected from CSICOP (it’s not clear whether his ejection from the Council or from the Fellows is meant, but I would guess the latter) because of his astrology conference letter, phone call to Garrison, his attacks on Truzzi, and his AAAS/PA letter. There was no censorship by Frazier, the only things deleted from Rawlins’ article were an ad hominem of Gauquelin and an ad hominem footnote (about KZA). Enclosed copies of letters from Rawlins showing his attacks on Truzzi, etc.

*September 21: Kurtz to McConnell, complains that McConnell didn’t send him a copy of his letter. Asks for McConnell to present his evidence, asks why he took a one-sided position without hearing from CSICOP first.

*September 21: William T. Jarvis to McConnell. “My opinion is that for all of Rawlins protestations about scientists behaving as pseudoscientists, I must say his behavior is more representative of a scorned ‘shrew.’ The tedious tirade contains so much subjective interpretation of detail, the occurrence of which we must take his word, that judging the parties involved ‘guilty’ is at best premature. I’m sure there are more sides to this story. I find it curious that there is not the slightest hint in your letter that this possibility might exist.”

*September 22: Gordon Stein to McConnell, blind cc’d to Kurtz. “I, too, have investigated Rawlins’ charges by consulting a number of good friends I have on CSICOP’s Council. I find that there is unanimous opinion there that Rawlins has grossly exaggerated what has happened and has distorted most of his recollections of what happened. You, in turn, find that ‘Rawlins’ report is certainly true in broad outline and probably true in every detail.’ I hope you did not come to this conclusion after talking only with Rawlins. We certainly have talked with different people, at any rate. What troubles me most about your letter is that you have reached a conclusion of guilt on the part of the Committee without consulting some of the most important members of that Committee. I mean Kurtz, Randi, Nisbet and Abell.”

*September 24: Sidney Hook to McConnell. “I have since receiving your letter … read Starbaby. I found its tone intemperate and insulting and so abusive as to strain my credulity concerning its contents. This is not the way in which a scientific temperament or someone interested in elementary fairness writes about a controversial theme. I have suspended judgment about the truth or falsity of its specific allegations until the response of Professor Kurtz and others is published in The Skeptical Inquirer.”

*September 24: Rawlins to Frazier, complaining about a “Dennis Rawlins Accuracy Check Agreement” sent to him and Jerome Clark by Klass, which only addresses the “associate editor” error. (This “Accuracy Check Agreement” is a sucker bet, offering to pay Rawlins $1,000 for each of the first ten issues of SI in which Rawlins is listed as an “Associate Editor” if Rawlins will pay Klass $10 for each issue of SI which does not list Rawlins as an “Associate Editor.”)

September 24: Another letter, Rawlins to Klass, responding to the sucker bet. Apparently says that Kurtz called editorial board members “associate editors” at the “1977/8/9” (i.e., August 9, 1977) Council meeting (Rawlins to Frazier, October 7, 1981).

*September 27: Rawlins’ “Minefield Dancing and Invisible Ink,” a response to Kurtz’s September 21 letters. This is a quite clear statement of what Rawlins is pissed off about, and replies to the alleged reasons he was kicked off the Executive Council.

*September 27: Alcock to McConnell. Criticizes McConnell for leaping into the fray without getting the other side of the story; makes the point that Rawlins “was an embarrassment to CSICOP” and describes the University of Toronto affair briefly.

September 29: Oberg to Jerome Clark, re: “sTARBABY” (referred to in Rawlins’ letter to Oberg? Is this the “loyal lawyer” letter mentioned in Rawlins’ October 10 letter to CSICOP Fellows?).

*September 29: Alcock to Paul Kurtz, cc’d to Klass. Alcock gives his recollections of the University of Toronto affair and the interaction between Rawlins and Lydia Dotto of SF. Rawlins was upset with Dotto’s charge that he had called Prof. Garrison after midnight and tried to talk him out of participating in the astrology conference. Rawlins repeatedly called Dotto, who complained several times to Alcock. Rawlins sent her two telegrams, the second of which said (reports Alcock): “DISMAYED AT YOUR RELUCTANCE EVEN TO ACKNOWLEDGE REQUEST THAT YOU PRODUCE YOUR TAPE OF GARRISON’S OWN EARLIEST RECORDED VERSION OF HIS CHARGE ALIAS IMPRESSION. THIS INCIDENT HAS SINCE EVOLVED INTO GESTAPO FANTASY. REGARDING CSICP SEE NEW SCIENTIST JUNE 29 REQUEST THAT YOU PROMPTLY DEPOSIT WITH UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO DEAN’S OFFICE COMPLETE TAPE COPIES OF INTERVIEWS GARRISON AND ME.” Alcock also enclosed copies of his letters of September 27, 1981 to McConnell and January 22, 1978 to Malcolm Dean. (Rawlins’ “sTARBABY Post-partum, p. b3 and phone transcript with Frazier, Oct. 6, 1981, p. f3 refer to this letter as caving in to “blackmail” by Dotto.)

*???: George Abell, Paul Kurtz, and Marvin Zelen, “Status of the ‘Mars Effect,’” distributed to interested persons by CSICOP.

*October 1: Truzzi to Kurtz, complaining about Kurtz’s September 21, 1981 distribution of a packet of materials critical of Rawlins for including Rawlins’ December 27, 1977 letter to Truzzi which “is highly defamatory of me and is now being circulated by you to new readers with no correction of its errors.” Truzzi says “this letter from Rawlins was never received by me in the first place. I have now spoken with Rawlins about the letter, and he informs me that although he wrote the letter, he had second thoughts about sending it to me and never did. He tells me that he sent copies of the letter to you and some other CSICOP Councilors first for your reactions; he says he received none and so did not feel encouraged to send it on to me.”

October 2: CSICOP meeting in Toronto to discuss Mars effect.

*October 3: Klass to Rawlins, reply to a September 24 letter. Asks how Rawlins knew that Kurtz referred to editorial board members as “associate editors” at the 1979 meeting since he wasn’t there (based on a misreading “1977/8/9” in Rawlins’ letter as “1977/78/79”).

*October 6: Phone conversation between Rawlins and Frazier, transcript. Discusses Dotto, Rawlins says she misrepresented things—e.g., he didn’t wake up Bob Garrison, didn’t try to dissuade him from attending the astrology conference, Eisenberg misrepresented Rawlins’ letter to her, etc.

*October 7: Rawlins to Frazier, enclosing the October 3 Klass letter. Compares Klass to Emily Litella from Saturday Night Live (“Never mind!”). Points out that Rawlins referred to ed. board members as “associate editors” in a November 6, 1979 memo which Klass himself cites, but no one complained then, and that he didn’t say Kurtz used that phrase at 1977/78/79 Council meetings, but the 1977/8/9 Council meeting.

*October 8: Rawlins to Oberg. Mentions a 1979 letter from Oberg to Rawlins and Executive Council saying there might be something to Rawlins’ warnings. Criticizes Oberg for claiming not to understand the details of the U.S. test papers, since he (Oberg) was a referee. (Abell’s As, p. 33, does not list Oberg as a referee; only Hyman, Krupp, Klass, and Bastedo. Abell says the first three of these sent in written reports; Bastedo phoned in a report. Rawlins says Oberg also phoned in a report. See entry for September 7, 1979.)

*October 8: Piet Hein Hoebens to Kurtz, asking some tough questions about the whole affair.

October 9: Hoebens to Klass, criticizes the “associate editor” complaint.

October 9: Hoebens to Shneour, includes Oct. 8 Hoebens to Kurtz.

*October 10: Rawlins to CSICOP Fellows. Mentions September 29 “loyal lawyer” letter from Oberg and an August 29 “tear-stained” letter from a Councillor.

*October 14: Zelen to McConnell. “Dear Dr. McConnell: Thank you for sending me a second copy of your astonishing letter. The reason for not responding the first time is, quite frankly, that I was incredulous that anyone would write such a letter as you have. But since you were kind enough to send a second copy, I would suggest that you carefully read the papers which I co-authored on this matter. I believe you will find them objective and very fair. Unfortunately, I cannot use the same description for your letter of September 29. Sincerely, Marvin Zelen, Ph.D. Professor of Statistical Science”

*October 14: Steven Pinker to McConnell. Two-page letter makes four numbered points: “1. Although certain people affiliated with CSICOP may have exercised errors of judgment or even bad faith in the Gauquelin matter, this does not discredit the organization or the cause it tries to promote. … As long as there are mechanisms within a scientific community that allow dissent and contrary evidence to be presented and debated, we need not fear for the future of rationalism. Of course, Rawlins, in his charges of censorship and coverup, denies that these mechanisms exist within CSICOP, but in turning to my back issues of SI, I find that his charges are far off the mark. Not only are the Gauquelins given plenty of room to express their position and to reply to their critics …, but Rawlins himself, in the Winter 1979-80 issue, expresses in a footnote his entire scientific objection to the KZA claims. … 2. Years ago I read a rambling piece by Rawlins (unrelated to the Gauquelin affair) in SI and was embarrassed by his flipness, arrogance, and verbosity, which came through as signs of bad judgment and lack of discipline. … 3. In seeking a reply you ask me to be impressed by your ‘credentials’ but never state what they are. … [cited evidence from McConnell’s letter] led me to believe that you are not an impartial observer but rather have an axe to grind on this matter. Indeed, I have since learned that you are a public supporter of paranormal positions, which you did not state in your letter; you simply stated that you disagreed with astrology. Candor begins at home. 4. In my entire professional career I have never had anyone threaten to interpret a failure to reply as a lack of concern; nor have I ever had anyone demand to know about a professional decision of mine with the innuendo (as opposed to an openly stated and argued entreaty) that I will be unethical if I do not behave as he expects. …”

*October 15: Klass to Hoebens, includes draft of “CRYBABY.”

*???: Philip J. Klass, “CRYBABY.” Maintains that “The results of my investigation, based on hard data, prompted me to conclude that the Rawlins article [Rs] should have been entitled ‘CRYBABY,’ and that an appropriate subtitle would have been: ‘A wounded ego is the root of much evil.’” Argues that there was no “cover-up”; that Gauquelin criticized Rawlins, not Kurtz, Zelen, and Abell (in the Winter 1978 SI); that nothing of Gauquelin’s was suppressed; that the key event that prompted Rs was the choice of Abell, rather than Rawlins, to be the CSICOP spokesman on astrology at the Washington, D.C. Council press conference in 1978; and that Rawlins was ejected from CSICOP on the grounds of his “proclivity for making harsh, exaggerated charges” such as his attacks on Marcello Truzzi and for his involvement in the University of Toronto incident and his failure to attend the 1979 Council meeting despite being given a $350 travel advance. States that the “censorship” Rawlins complained about regarding his Winter 1979-80 SI article was to delete a sentence referring to Gauquelin’s earlier interest in traditional astrology, a sentence that read “In this connection I must also say that, given the self piekill upshot of their European (nonchampions) adventure plus their failure to perform independently the U.S. study’s technical foundations (sector position, expectation curve), I find it amusing that ZKA are the main commentators on this test in the Skeptical Inquirer,” and to change the wording of a final comment from “Deletions from this paper are available from the author at his address.” (Rs, pp. 26-27, 29; where it is noted that Rawlins also tried to add to this, unsuccessfully, the sentence “This December CSICOP Council unanimously decided soon to replace me on the Council with George Abell.”) to “Further commentary on the issues raised in this paper and in these notes is available from the author.” (Rawlins, in Rs, p. 27, argues that the latter wording was “designed to indicate to the reader that no deletions had occurred.” In his “Critical Notes and/or Correction Suggestions” on Cr, August 12, 1981, Rawlins also points out that the date (1975/11/15) when he’d first warned Kurtz, Zelen, and Abell about possible sampling-bias problems in Gauquelin’s data was deleted by Frazier to make it look as though Rawlins’ suggestion was in hindsight.) Points out that Rawlins was not, as he claims in Rs, an “associate editor” of SI, but that Rawlins refused to admit any error. Klass maintains that “Beyond having difficulty in understanding the specifics of Rawlins’ charges, I failed to grasp what he thought should be done to correct the alleged problem.” (See also other references to “CRYBABY” throughout this chronology.)

*October 15: Elie A. Shneour to Hoebens, criticizes McConnell.

*October 16: Daniel Cohen to Hoebens, expressing agreement and mentioning possible future conflict with CSICOP at the meeting later in the month. (Did he mean earlier?)

October 16: AHA president Lyle L. Simpson to Ken Frazier, writes that “I am writing to place in written form a denial of the statement of Dennis Rawlins that Dr. Paul Kurtz was released as Editor of The Humanist magazine for ‘fiscal unaccountability.’ That is simply not true” (editorial footnote on Rr, pp. 63-64). Rawlins says (Ri, p. k9) that the rest of this letter from Simpson “states that Kurtz was let go because he wanted and was denied fiscal (not just editorial) control of the Humanist—i.e., he wanted to be fiscally accountable to nobody.” He cites a statement of the board of directors of the AHA dated November 29, 1978 and Exhibit E of the February 23, 1979 AHA Treasurer’s Report (Rr, p. 65, note 7; Ri, p. k9).

*November 8: Abell to Hoebens. A six-page letter in response to Hoebens’ October 8 letter to Kurtz giving his side of the story. Says initial statements about the definitive nature of the Zelen test were in error, that this was not a CSICOP project, that Rawlins' removal from CSICOP was not because of his objections to the Mars effect studies, that there was no cover-up.

*November 11: Phone conversation, Rawlins with Hyman. Hyman: “The Committee’s always been crazy” (Rawlins transcript).

*November 17: Klass to Hoebens. Asks what Hoebens would have done differently. Asks a series of questions about Rawlins’ past statements, e.g. Truzzi’s connection to the Church of Satan, the “associate editor” stuff. Complains about Rawlins “pocketing” the airfare for the 1979 meeting and not showing up. (1978 airfare was $230 that Rawlins was owed, 1979 airfare given to him was $350 and he didn’t show up.) Asks Hoebens to write to Rawlins’ past employers and ask about him.

*November 23: Kurtz to Hoebens, handwritten note. Says he has written a lengthy letter that is being typed and will be sent soon. (See November 25.)

*November 23: Kurtz to Fellows and Scientific Consultants. Two-page letter regarding “sTARBABY” advertising the forthcoming “Remus Extremus” and the short Council statement in reply. Enclosed were the Zelen, Abell, and Kurtz “The Status of the Mars Effect” paper (said to be forthcoming in SI in “a shortened version”), Klass’s “Crybaby,” and some correspondence from and regarding Rawlins. The last included Rawlins’ letters making charges about Marcello Truzzi from 1978 (e.g., Rt) and Alcock’s September 29, 1981 letter to Kurtz.

*November 25: Kurtz to Hoebens. A seven-page letter in response to Hoebens’ October 8 letter, responding to each of its points. Says he received no forewarning from Rawlins about the Zelen test and Rawlins did not fully understand it, the Fate article was full of falsehoods and distortions, that he did not request a private look at the U.S. test results before they came in, that there was no cover-up because space was given to Rawlins and the Gauquelins, that the tests were not official CSICOP projects, and that Rawlins was removed for reasons other than his objections to the Mars effect studies (of which he gives 11 examples).

*November 27: Hoebens to Klass, answers questions politely, asks some more tough ones of his own. Refuses to investigate Rawlins by writing to his past employers.

*December: McConnell replies to CSICOP Fellows with a form letter (McConnell in ZS #10, pp. 44-45). “Those of you who know me may have noticed that my inquiry letter was not in my customary, reserved style. The purpose of that letter was to encourage a thorough ventilation of the Rawlins affair and to learn a little about the people who lend their names to the CSICOP enterprise. I assumed that busy persons would not likely respond to an inquiry from a stranger about a matter peripheral to their daily activities unless they felt challenged. … I have no direct concern with astrology. It strikes me as a benign misbelief within the populace and unworthy of serious opposition—although I sympathize with astronomers who see it as a caricature of their profession. … Several of you expressed indignation that I should have relayed Rawlins’ accusations to you and given my opinion without waiting for the Executive Council of the Committee to present their side of the story in the Skeptical Inquirer. Such indignation seems to me unwarranted. The sponsors of CSICOP are not outsiders. Their reputations are at risk through CSICOP. They are judge, jury, and defendants in this case. The Fellows and Consultants have a right to become acquainted with every point of view as quickly as possible. … Some of you expressed regret because you thought I had made up my mind about this case solely on the basis of Rawlins’ indictment. Nothing could be further from the truth. In a controversy of this kind one begins by examining the public, printed statements. The heart of Rawlins’ accusations lies in that section of his paper in Fate (October 1981) starting at the middle of the second column on page 76 (‘In the report,…’) and ending at the bottom of the first column of page 78 (‘…were statistically significant.’) and deals with a paper by M. Zelen, P. Kurtz, and G. Abell, titled ‘Is There a Mars Effect?’ which appeared in The Humanist (November/December, 1977, pp. 36-39). The latter should be read in conjunction with the paper that immediately precedes it: ‘The Zelen Test of the Mars Effect’ by M. and F. Gauquelin (pp. 30-35) and an editorial introduction (p. 29). The rest of the Rawlins paper might be regarded as mere supporting background. … In view of the fact that, as described in The Humanist, the so-called Mars effect in the Zelen subsample (303 champion athletes) matched in strength (22%) the effect in Gauquelin’s entire data sample (2088 champions), whereas the newly gathered control sample (16,756 nonathletes) showed only the theoretically expected effect (17%), the subdivision and criticism by Zelen, Kurtz, and Abell of the 303-champion subsample was certain to confuse the unsophisticated or casual reader. For this reason, in my judgment, this Humanist article is intellectually dishonest. … To make matters worse, after two years in which to reconsider their misrepresentation, the same authors reviewed their 1977 Humanist article and repeated the same inappropriate criticism in the Skeptical Inquirer …. … It is evident that CSICOP is interested in saleable advocacy and not in scientific truth per se. In the case of CSICOP, what is intellectually dishonest is not only, specifically, the articles previously cited, but more generally, CSICOP’s pretence to scientific authority and the tacit endorsement of its advocacy by sponsors who have no control over CSICOP and who, for the most part, have not taken the time to inform themselves as to the nature of its management.”

*December 1: Mary Margaret Fuller to Klass (and 16 others), rejecting “CRYBABY” because it doesn’t address the charges in “sTARBABY.” Expresses continued interest in a “point-by-point refutation,” particularly one “which addresses each of the questions Hoebens raises” in his October 8, 1981 letter to Paul Kurtz.

*December 8: Klass to Fuller. A four-page response asking sixteen numbered questions and another three sets of “basic issue questions” regarding “sTARBABY.” The questions focus on why Gauquelin’s August 1978 letter to SI does not complain about KZAz but complains about Rawlins and why Rawlins’ March 28, April 6, and April 26, 1978 letters to Kurtz make no mention of a “cover-up.”

*December 8: Frazier to Fuller, expresses disappointment in rejection, calls her reasons “rationalizations” and says that Rawlins and Fate “exaggerated the entire matter.”

*December 15: Richard Kammann to Kurtz and Executive Council. Resignation letter and a copy of his “Personal Assessment of the sTARBABY Controversy.” Replies to “CRYBABY.”

*December 19: J. Derral Mulholland to Ken Frazier. Complains about misuse and misrepresentation of his remarks about CSICOP by Rawlins in both “sTARBABY” and “Remus Extremus.” (Letter titled “REMUS REMISS, sTARBABY A BIT STICKY.”)

*December 22: Rawlins, “The Hitman as Missman.” “Being a compact catalogue of the assorted fantasies of Miss Emily’s bastard child-MS, ‘Crybaby’, a poor-unfortunate document born out of wedlock in 1981 late November (father believed hiding out in a Buffalo suburb).” Two pages criticizing Klass’s “CRYBABY,” listing page, paragraph, and line numbers with brief quotes, categorizing each as an error, falsehood, hallucination, lie, self-contradiction, deception, “mis-twist,” or trivial error.

December 24: Mulholland complains to Rawlins on the telephone (Rawlins, January 4, 1982).


H.J. Eysenck and D.K. Nias, Astrology: Science or Superstition? N.Y.: St. Martin’s. Comments on Mars effect controversy.

*James Randi, Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Unicorns and Other Delusions, Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. Page 63: “Recent attempts to test a ‘Mars Effect’ have shown that the Red Planet is just that, and not a magic influence that reaches across space to influence our lives. The Mars Effect was supposed to have been confirmed during investigations of the claim that prominent athletes were more apt to be born when that planet was influencing their sign. Careful tests have failed to support any such clam, though fancy excuses have been plentiful. But more money will go into similar projects. There are plenty of sponsors of such idiocy waiting.”

*Leonard Zusne and Warren H. Jones, Anomalistic Psychology: A Study of Extraordinary Phenomena of Behavior and Experience, Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. p. 220 briefly discusses Gauquelin; makes no mention of CSICOP or CP; concludes “Gauquelin’s own statistical assumptions have been severely criticized, but this issue has not been settled yet.” (There is a second edition of this book which I haven’t seen.)

*Winter: Charles J. Cazeau, Letters, Leonardo 15(1):88. Asks what scientific errors Jerome found in his book, for corrections in second edition.

*January: “‘sTARBABY’ Continues,” letters in Fate 35(1):113-115. J. Derral Mulholland writes (p. 113) that “(1) My letter to Dennis Rawlins cited in his article was in no way related to the Gauquelin affair but rather to a book review published in The Skeptical Inquirer, a review of the book Scientists Confront Velikovsky, a review that I thought (and still think) to be unethical and incompetent. And (2) I did not solicit Rawlins’ nominating me to CSICOP, and I did not expect to be accepted. Frankly, the honor is a dubious one at best.” Philip J. Klass writes (p. 113) that “Rawlins first raised the issue at a Council meeting in early December 1978 in a presentation so rambling and vindictive that I and several other Council members were unable to understand what the key issues were and what Rawlins believed should be done to set the matter right in his eyes” and “I asked him [Rawlins] to prepare a brief memorandum highlighting the key issues and setting forth his recommended action. When Rawlins failed to do so, I wrote to him on January 31, 1979, urging him to ‘outline the problem…outline your recommendations…skip the investive.…Outline the problem clearly, concisely, and offer your recommendations.’ Rawlins never responded to my request.” Klass also brings up the “associate editor” error in Rs. Dennis Rawlins writes (pp. 113-115) in response to Klass that “Before December 5 I sent at least five letters regarding the Control Test mess to Kurtz, Zelen and Abell, starting in early spring of 1978. I mailed extensive details to Councilors Martin Gardner and James Randi on October 23 and November 6 and shorter letters on November 2 to Kendrick Frazier and Ray Hyman and a November 22 memo to all Councilors, urging establishment of procedures to prevent a repeat of the Control Test disaster. Klass claims that my December 5, 1978 presentation was ‘vindictive.’ Yet it was he who leaped from his seat, shouting. Some time ago a CSICOP member recalled the scene: ‘I clearly remember that…you…were saying…that Gauquelin had won and what are we going to do about it. Nothing in the way you said that…indicated that a brawl was imminent.’ So much for my vindictiveness.” Rawlins also writes that “Contrary to Klass’ account I did respond to his December 5 verbal request in a January 17, 1979 memo. His reaction in his January 31, 1979, letter: (1) He didn’t understand what I was saying; and (2) let’s forget the past!” Rawlins also responds to the “associate editor” complaint, pointing out that (a) Kurtz referred to editorial board members as “associate editors” at the 1977 CSICOP meeting, (b) Rawlins had repeatedly referred to himself and other editorial board members as “associate members” in memos since 1977 without complaint from anyone, and “(c) As a CSICOP Councilor laughingly commented to me, ‘The difference between [member of] editorial board and associate editor…strikes me as nonexistent… What’s the difference? If that’s all [Klass] can find to criticize [as factual inaccuracy in ‘sTARBABY’], that’s pretty good [for you].’”

*January 7: Michel Gauquelin letter, “Mars effect,” NS 93(#1287):40. Says Owen Gingerich of Harvard checked his Zelen test computations at CSICOP’s request, as did Abell and Albert Lee. Asks Cherfas to ask Kurtz for copies of letters which kept him informed about the U.S. test selection process, saying they were never written.

*January 30: Hyman to Truzzi commenting on whole affair. Hyman says he doesn’t think anything that happened was all that serious, and that he doesn’t really take CSICOP seriously. He says that he doesn’t make moral judgments of other people.

*February: Irving Lieberman, “Raging Skeptics,” Omni 4(5):94. A brief summary of the whole affair, without many details and fairly well-balanced.

*February 11: Paul Kurtz letter, “Mars effect,” NS 93(#1292):395-396. Says the CP disputes Gauquelin’s claim that they replicated his work, says that he (Kurtz) didn’t “thoroughly control… the objectivity of the selection of the original sample,” though he did spot check the data in 1977. The U.S. test involved seven researchers and was not carried out secretly.

*March 4: Patrick Curry letter, “Mars effect: last word,” NS 93(#1295):601. Blurb for ZS article, February/March 1982.

*March: ZS #9: “CSICOP and the Mars Effect” Marcello Truzzi, “Introduction to ‘Research on the Mars Effect,’” p. 33. Patrick Curry, “Research on the Mars Effect,” pp. 34-53. (Cr) A summary of the CSICOP “Mars effect” controversy, which in addition to the charges of Rawlins also suggests that the U.S. test itself was suspicious, since the successive samples showed a declining “Mars effect.” This suggestion by Curry, however, apparently overlooks footnote 3 on p. 31 of Rawlins’ U.S. test report in the Winter 1979-80 SI, where he writes that “I vainly urged that the rest of CSICOP also stay out of sampling, as a matter of policy. However, since some have expressed suspicious regarding the fairness in this instance, I am bound to state that I (more than anyone) can vouch for the fact that Kurtz’s selection was unbiased. To fudge the sample, one must correctly pre-compute celestial sector positions, but Kurtz, Zelen, and Abell never did accomplish this before the samples were finally turned over to me and the solutions given to them.” (See references to Cr throughout this chronology.) Marcello Truzzi, “Special Postscript and Update,” p. 53. Critical Commentaries: Michel Gauquelin, pp. 54-61; H.J. Eysenck, pp. 61-63; H. Krips, pp. 63-64; I.J. Good, “Is the Mars Effect an Artifact?”, pp. 65-69; Piet Hein Hoebens, pp. 70-71; Luc de Marré, pp. 71-72; J. Dommanget, pp. 73-74; Michel Gauquelin, “Michel Gauquelin’s Comments on the Statement by the Belgian Committee ‘Para,’” pp. 75-77; Patrick Curry, “Replies to His Commentators,” pp. 78-83. No defense of CSICOP in the critical commentaries, though CSICOP persons were asked for comments.

*July: George O. Abell, “The Mars Effect,” Psychology Today 16(7):8-13. Summarizes most of the public portions of the controversy, gets the science stuff right. Says that “To date, the only claims in favor of a Mars effect for athletes are based on data gathered by the Gauquelins themselves, and none of the studies has been properly supervised. The Gauquelins have no way of proving they did not cheat, and we have no way of proving that we did not.” (p. 13) Seems to overlook the CP replication.

August: Something by Curtis Fuller in Fate, mentioned in a letter from Klass to Mary Margaret Fuller, July 23, 1983.

*August 30: Walter Goodman, “A Good Word for Astrology,” Newsweek 100(9):49. Reports on Eysenck and Nias’s Astrology: Science and Superstition?, which promotes Gauquelin. Quotes George Abell’s Psychology Today article, concludes “For now, The Case of the Celestial Midwife remains up in the air.”

*October: Martin Gardner, “Skeptical Eye: Eysenck’s Folly,” Discover 3(10):12. Criticizes Eysenck and Nias’s Astrology: Science and Superstition?; points out that Eysenck used “a quarter of a million dollars in research grants from the tobacco industry” to conclude that there is “no evidence of any causal connection between lung cancer and smoking.”

*October: Barry Lynes, “The Mars Effect” (letter), Psychology Today 16(10):6. Calls Abell’s article “laughable” and asserts that “There is a group of anti-astrology academics who don’t understand astrology, can’t recognize its verification procedures, won’t learn even the basics, but insist that it can be proved only by their procedures. … Gauquelin is a small, essentially insignificant aspect of the current debate. If Abell wishes to waste his time disproving Gauquelin’s statistical patterns, so be it. The real work is being done elsewhere.” Joyce Jillson, Letter, Psychology Today 16(10):6. “To quote George Abell in his own article, ‘Fortunately, science is a self-correcting discipline. Right ideas are not rejected and wrong ideas are not accepted indefinitely.’ With astrology’s 4000-plus-year-old history, enduring interest, and application to the new science of cycles, perhaps for once Abell is right.”

October: Gauquelin/CFEPP protocol for CFEPP replication of Mars effect published in Science et Vie.

*November: Michel Gauquelin, “On Astrology,” Psychology Today 16(11):6. Points out that (a) the Belgian CP replicated his results; (b) Kurtz “carefully controlled the objectivity of the selection of my original sample of sports champions and the birth certificates I received from the registry offices”; (c) “the first American test showed the Mars effect. It is only in a second sample of lesser-known American athletes gathered afterward by Kurtz that the Mars effect was not present.” George Abell, Reply, Psychology Today 16(11):6. (1) “Gauquelin provided birth times for athletes used in the study”; (2) “Kurtz spent a few hours in the Gauquelins’ laboratory going over with them the reason that a large number of athletes listed in their selected directories were not used in their study. … in no case did Kurtz verify that the birth data in the Gauquelins’ files agreed with those in the official birth registry”; (3) “Of the 128 athletes in the first selection for the American test, 25, or 19.5 percent, had Mars in key sectors, just three more than the expected 17 percent, and well within chance variations. When a large enough sample was available to obtain significant results, they were negative”; (4) “My point is that a result as bizarre as the Mars effect must be replicated independently and under the complete control of neutral parties; this has not yet been done.”

*December: ZS #10: R.A. McConnell and T.K. Clark, “Guardians of Orthodoxy: The Sponsors of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal,” pp. 43-49. Report on a survey regarding the CSICOP “Mars effect” controversy sent to Fellows. Richard Kammann, “The True Disbelievers: Mars Effect Drives Skeptics to Irrationality (Part I),” pp. 50-59; “Part II,” pp. 60-65. (Kt) An account of Kammann’s attempt to get the facts on the controversy, his writing of “Statistical Numerology in the Skeptics’ Response to the Mars Effect” for SI as an “innocent goofs” scenario, his withdrawal of that article since Abell was “working on his own version, a confessional piece to be cosigned by Paul Kurtz if not by the now hibernating Marvin Zelen,” his disappointment at Abell’s subsequent Psychology Today (July 1982) article, etc. (See references to Kt throughout this chronology.) Comité Belge Pour L’Investigation Scientifiques des Phénomènes Réputés Paranormaux, “On the Mars Effect: A Last Answer to Michel Gauquelin,” p. 66. A one-page statement which insists that the “Mars effect” issues cannot be resolved unless a common methodology is adopted, continues to complain about Gauquelin’s “mathematical formula … for computing the theoretical diagramme.” Michel Gauquelin, “A Reply,” pp. 67-71. Asks Dommanget (of CP) to “publish his own theoretical (expected) distribution of Mars in sectors at the birth of athletes,” “the outcomes of the counter-experiments he undertook,” “demonstrate on which precise point Rawlins’ analysis and Abell’s analysis of the problem—both of which are in agreement with my analysis—are ‘erroneous,’” and “explain why the results of the Zelen test also vindicate my computations if I am wrong on this point!” (p. 67) Marcello Truzzi, “Postscript by the Editor,” p. 71. Notes that the CP, when sent Gauquelin’s response, said that they will not answer any more papers from Gauquelin because Gauquelin “refuses” (“since 1976”) to show where CP made any mistakes in its own analysis of the “Mars effect.” The CP also called for a full translation of Gauquelin’s and the CP’s methodologies (from Nouvelles Breves 1976) into English. Michel Gauquelin, “A Proposal by Michel Gauquelin,” pp. 72-73. Proposes new studies on the “Mars effect.” Marcello Truzzi, “Personal Reflections on the Mars Effect Controversy,” pp. 74-81. Discusses the “mistaken escalation” of the controversy and the current status of the Gauquelins’ claims. Criticizes CSICOP for not responding to the criticisms of the U.S. test.
Events and Correspondence

??? (prior to April 1982): Abell asks SDSU Prof. John Schopp whether he felt that he (Abell) was “investigating” or trying to discredit Rawlins during his visit to SDSU in 1978. Schopp replies, “By no stretch of the imagination” (As, p. 46).

*January 4: Dennis Rawlins to Ken Frazier. Replies to Mulholland’s December 19, 1981 letter, claims that Mulholland’s account is in error. Contains numerous ad hominems against Mulholland, i.e., “Either … [his] mind has snapped under the gethering strain, or He has been privately assured that I will … not be allowed an adjacent reply.” Says that “Mulholland’s 1981/12/19 letter is probably the most flagrantly awful (nonCouncil) document yet to emerge out of the sTARBABY affair.” (Dennis Rawlins considers this description of his letter to be “grossly misleading” (personal communication to Jim Lippard, May 12, 1993).)

*January 4: Truzzi to “Dear Friend.” “From almost the beginning of the critical reaction against the studies of the Mars Effect conducted by Paul Kurtz-George Abell-Marvin Zelem, we have heard from the defenders that the studies were conducted not by the Committee but by some of its members acting as independent parties. This allegation dissociating the CSICOP from these studies has been echoed by many including James Randi, George Abell, Ken Frazier, etc. I and other critics have asserted that this is a post hoc effort to disengage the CSICOP from an embarrassing set of studies. In general, the charge of CSICOP involvement/sponsorship of the U.S. study has been largely now agreed to, but the relationship of CSICOP to the European study has still been debated. To—I hope—settle this matter, I send you this memo with a reproduction of the exact words of Prof. Paul Kurtz as published in THE SKEPTICAL INQUIRER of Spring/Summer 1978. Since this statement is from his column entitled ‘From the Chairman,’ I think we can consider this statement as ex cathedra. This statement has never been repudiated or corrected in any subsequent issue of TSI, nor has it—so far as I know—been challenged by any of the currect defenders of CSICOP. So, on this one issue involved, I hope the matter can now be considered quite clearly established. [quotes p. 131 of the Spring/Summer 1978 SI] Happy New Year! Sincerely, Marcello Truzzi.”

*January 8: Mulholland to Frazier. Replies to Rawlins’ claims.

*February 24: Kurtz to Fellows and Scientific Consultants. Says only four requests for material were received in response to the Winter 1981-82 SI offer. Offers copies of Kammann’s resignation letter (and “Personal Assessment”) and a letter from Derral Mulholland “denying the accuracy of the quotations attributed to him by Rawlins.”

March 21: Klass to Kammann, threatening to resurrect a Philip Singer attack on Kammann (Rawlins, “sTARBABY Post-partum, p. b3; Kt, p. 64).

*March 24: Rawlins to Martin Gardner, cc’d to Cherfas, Cohen, Curry, Hofstadter, Kammann, and Wade. “Please indicate if the following statements are true or false by writing ‘true’ or ‘false’ at the appropriate blank in the left margin. Please mail signed copies by 3/31 to: Jeremy Cherfas (New Scientist), Daniel Cohen (Omni), Patrick Curry (ZS), Douglas Hofstadter (Sci. Am.), Richard Kammann, DR, & N. Wade (NY Times).” Five statements follow, plus an addendum. “1. In 1978 Oct., MG was sent detailed information and documents re the Mars-Effect Control Test (‘Zelen Test’), which MG agreed was ‘an incredible and truly hilarious foul-up.’ MG has now signed a statement (SI 6.2:66) stating: ‘In science, such difficulties are not only common they are expected.’ 2. In 1980 Nov., MG said that Kurtz (PK) owns Skeptical Inquirer (SI) and that in an argument between publisher and editor(s), the former always wins (affirming that truth and justice have nothing to do with the matter). Yet MG now co-signs a statement (SI 6.2:66) alleging that the SI subscription list is CSICOP’s property (not PK’s) and that saying otherwise was typical of DR’s ‘demonstrably false and defamatory claims.’ 3. In 1980 Nov., MG said that all such formalities as pre-announced elections, consulting with Council before ejecting Fellows, and Robert’s Rules of fair procedure are ‘crap’ re CSICOP. 4. In 1980 Nov., MG stated that he regards as rather crank some of the writings of a Councillor whose attacks on DR MG now co-authorizes CSICOP distribution of. 5. MG has stated that he did not vote DR’s 1980 ejection from CSICOP’s Fellows and that he did not know that the event had occurred—and he later stated that had he known of it he would have voted against ejection. Yet PK is then said to have produced (at least temporarily) a ballot signed by MG voting for ejection of DR. (Sound like a Chicago election?)” In the addendum, Rawlins disputes an alleged claim that Gardner “recently stated that DR used to phone up MG after midnight (waking MG up) to bother him about sTARBABY matters.” Rawlins says this is false, and he has “phone records, intact for the last decade” to prove it. A self-addressed, stamped envelope was enclosed with this and the following similar letters.

*March 24: Rawlins to Hyman, cc’d to Cherfas, Cohen, Curry, Hofstadter, Kammann, Wade. After the same introduction as in Rawlins to Gardner, Rawlins lists seven statements: “1. RH knows that Kurtz is innocent of the science of statistics; RH regards the statistical parts of the 1979-80 Winter SI 4.2:19-26,44-59 KZ&A reports as silly, embarrassing, & incompetent—yet co-signs a statement (SI 6.2:66) calling this ‘not only common [but] expected in science.’ 2. RH was informed last Oct. from CSICOP headquarters (Buffalo) that all 1980 ballots (for DR’s ejection from the Fellows) were in hand and that the vote was: 7 for, 1 (Frazier) against, 1 (RH) not voting. RH emphasized to DR that RH alone did not vote. Yet now RH co-signs a statement (SI 6.2:66) saying that the vote was 6 for, 1 against, 2 not voting. RH has said: 3. A ‘liar and a cheat’ might be the right sort to run CSICOP. 4. For CSICOP, scientific competence is irrelevant—the Committee trying to do science is like plumbers trying to do hairdressing. 5. In the days before the 1978 Dec. CSICOP press conference, Kurtz & Randi were frantic to stifle DR’s dissent there. 6. A Councillor (whose anti-‘sTARBABY’ account RH has co-authorized distribution of)* is a zany. 7. CSICOP is an instance of pathological science.” The asterisk marks this footnote: “Yet neither RH nor any other Councillor (besides the author) has responded to repeated challenges to co-sign this account—which suggests that they themselves don’t trust the accuracy of their only substantial-looking reply to ‘sTARBABY’. (The Council SI 6.2:66 statement promises for $3 Council’s ‘detailed’ reply ‘including’ Status and Crybaby. Yet those 2 largely irrelevant papers are all that persons sending in $3 are in fact receiving. False advertising?)”

*March 24: Rawlins to Kurtz, cc’d to Cherfas, Cohen, Curry, Hofstadter, Kammann, Wade. Nine statements: “1. PK was informed by DR in 1975 Nov. that problems with sampling by Gauquelin (G) might explain the ‘Mars Effect’. 2. On this basis, PK was warned against the Control Test (‘Zelen Test’, Humanist 1976 Jan.-Feb.) before publication, in 1975 Dec. 3. At this time and in 1976, professors of astronomy were to compute celestial-sector positions for G’s European sportsmen sample—but no reliable collection of data was ever forthcoming. 4. PK was sent the 1977/3/29 Mars/dawn Memo in 1977 Sept., before publication of the Kurtz-Zelen-Abell (KZ&A) BS Report (1977 Nov.-Dec. Humanist) on the results of the Control Test. 5. In 1977 Oct., PK requested confidentiality of DR from the outset during the latter’s computations of the sample for the U.S. test of the Mars Effect (first 72 athletes’ sector-positions received by PK at this time—promptly and accurately, as always), and at this and each stage thereafter PK did not inform G of the subjects (athletes) chosen for testing until after the computations’ answers were already known to PK—this despite a Nov. explicit DR cautioning inquiry of PK re whether the choosing of the U.S. sample was being done neutrally. 6. In 1978 March, PK (on CSICOP stationery, signed ‘Paul Kurtz / Chairman’, though PK had not consulted with the sole astronomer, DR, on CSICOP’s Council) recommended an astrologer (not G) in his grant applications. Total funding proposed eventually exceeded $200,000; some Councillors were to get tens of thousands of $ if proposal went through (it didn’t). The astrologer’s testing (not subsequently involving CSICOP personnel) came out positive (1981), at which point some CSICOP Councillors had to request no public mention of their past connection to the project. 7. DR mailed questions to KZ&A about the BS Report in at least five polite letters from 1978 March to Nov. without a word of written reply from any of these three scholars until 1980 Jan., 1 day after DR’s official ejection from Council (without citation or cause then, now said to be for rudeness). 8. In 1978 April, PK was party to the following conversation with a representative of a major educational TV outfit (regarding a proposal to tape & distribute programs based on CSICOP subjects): ‘What’s in it for me?’ ‘You mean money?’ ‘Yeah.’ 9. In 1978 Sept. PK received DR’s U.S. test report dissenting on the BS Report and demanding (before the Oct. Jaws Abell phone-call, allegedly triggering a DR ‘wounded ego’): publication of this dissent separate from KZ&A and ‘No fake unanimity on this.’ In Nov., after DR refused overtures (saying ‘a man who can’t be bribed, can’t be trusted.’), PK phoned Council in fear that DR would openly dissent from the floor at the Dec. CSICOP press-conference, seeking advice on DR’s removal from the Council. Just 6 days later, at the annual CSICOP meeting (Dec.), PK put into the CSICOP bylaws for the first time a rule for ejecting a Councillor.” Statement six is a reference to Marbell et al.’s work, published in the Winter 1986-87 NCGR Journal along with the letter from Kurtz in question (p. 40).

*March 24: Rawlins to Amazing Randi, cc’d to Cherfas, Cohen, Curry, Hofstadter, Kammann, Wade. Seven statements: “1. As early as 1978 Oct., AR had received detailed info from DR on the Mars Effect mess and knew that CSICOP had egg on its face re the Control (Zelen) Test ‘disaster’—yet AR now writes and co-signs a statement saying that ‘In science, such difficulties are not only common they are expected.’* 2. In 1978 Nov., upon learning of the circumstances of the fall of Kurtz (PK) from Humanist Editorship, AR’s first words were: ‘If this gets out, we’re dead.’ 3. At the 1978 Dec. CSICOP annual Council meeting (Washington), AR repeatedly said ‘Drink the Kool-Aid, Dennis’ and called the new Councillor-ejection rule: ‘the Rawlins rule’. A few days later, AR confided that CSICOP was the most important thing in his life and that he would do ‘anything’ to ensure its success. 4. In 1979 Feb., AR bragged about how hard he’d had to work at the ‘Washington meeting…to keep Dennis in line.’ 5. In 1979 Feb., after DR’s Jan. memos on the growing sTARBABY scandal (which stated that it should not be kept secret), AR asked various Fellows to urge DR not to go to the media with it. 6. In 1979 April, speaking of his $10,000 challenge to the psychics, AR said: ‘I always have an out.’ 7. AR has for years privately referred to a prominent Councillor as an ‘albatross’ and ‘millstone’ who must be kept on nonetheless because his demotion would cause joy in kookland.” At the end, Rawlins appends: “If there are any AR statements (not mentioned above) cited in ‘sTARBABY’ or ‘Remus Extremus’ which you wish additionally to deny, feel free to add those denials here.” The asterisk on statement one marks this footnote: “Skeptical Inquirer (SI) v. 6, #2, p. 66 (1981-1982 Winter). The statement also alleges that ‘CSICOP has nothing to hide and…there has been no ‘cover-up’ at all of the matter under discussion.’ So filling out this form promptly should be a snap.”

*March 25: Hyman to Kammann, reply to his “Personal Assessment.” He agrees with most of what Kammann says about the scientific issue, but maintains that the vote to eject Rawlins was for reasons unrelated to the “Mars effect” controversy. He says that Randi, Gardner, Frazier, and himself agreed with Rawlins about the scientific issues. He doesn’t think Zelen understands the astronomical or statistical issues.

April 8: Robert Sheaffer to Jerome Clark, discussing alleged Rawlins vendetta against J. Derral Mulholland (mentioned in Rawlins to Sheaffer, April 16, 1982).

*April 16: Rawlins to Sheaffer, cc’d to Mulholland. Says he is not engaged in a vendetta against Mulholland.

*April 17: Frazier to Kammann, re his “Statistical Numerology” manuscript. Says he wants to publish, but it needs some changes.

*April 17: Rawlins to Sheaffer, cc’d to “Council via G. Abell.” “Your 4/8 letter refers to ‘delusions’ of mine re the sTARBABY affair—without specifying, as usual. I enclose 28 samples of such (forms sent 1982/3/24 to Kurtz, Gardner, Randi, and Hyman). Only 2 denials have been forthcoming. (Both by Kurtz and both disprovable. Randi is right: Kurtz is dumb.) And one party has privately confirmed some items. … Suggestion: which of the events among the enclosed 28 would you regard as serious if they happened? Which would justify revulsion/exposure if they happened? Which would convince you I am not a deluded paranoid if they happened? Translation: let’s see if your faith in Council is falsifiable.” Rawlins’ “sTARBABY Post-partum,” p. b4, says no reply was ever received.

*April: George Abell’s As, 71-page dictated statement on the “Mars effect” controversy, admitting most of the errors. Abell refers to it as “my memo” in his May 1, 1982 letter; Rawlins calls it “Abell’s Alibis” in a later addendum to his “Minefield Dancing” letter (of September 1981). Included with this were copies of supporting documentation, e.g., the so-called “smoking letter” of April 1977.

*April 20: Kammann to Abell: Says there are still some errors described in his “Statistical Numerology” that Abell hasn’t accounted for.

*April 21: Curry to Abell: corrections to pp. 64-66 of As, regarding Curry’s ZS article.

*April 26: Hoebens to “all major actors”: criticizes Klass, offers proposal for a “truce.”

*April 29: McConnell to Hyman: replies to a statement in Hyman’s March 25 letter to Kammann. The controversy is not a “normal, everyday occurrence in scientific reporting.”

*May 1: Abell to “actors, producers, and drama critics.” Admits a few more errors (e.g., in response to Curry’s letter), offers some criticisms of the tone of Kammann’s “Statistical Numerology.”

*May 2: Klass to Hoebens: suggests that CSAR do a Mars effect study.

*May 5: Gardner to Truzzi. Says that he hadn’t remembered the ballot to remove Rawlins as a CSICOP Fellow (replacing him with Paul Edwards) when he last wrote to Truzzi about it, but after seeing a copy of the ballot he now remembers it.

*May 7: Truzzi to Abell, complimenting him on his May 1 letter, but says the public must be informed.

May 12: Klass to Truzzi, compares “Mars effect” situation to Hynek and Clark failing to condemn Tod Zechel’s “crashed saucer” claims, apparently asking why Truzzi hasn’t written letters to Hynek and Clark asking them to repudiate Zechel (whose claims they haven’t endorsed).

*May 14: Truzzi to Klass: argues that Klass’s Zechel analogy is poor.

*???: Eric Dingwall to Truzzi: CSICOP looks bad, Curry’s paper is the best contribution to the debate he’s seen, the SPR is much worse than CSICOP.

*Fall: Last issue of SI in which Eric Dingwall’s name appears as a Fellow.

October 5: Abell passage-by-passage critique of Kammann’s “Statistical Numerology” manuscript as referee report, mentioned in Frazier’s letter to Truzzi of October 19.

October 14: Truzzi to Frazier, regarding manuscript by Colin James, mentioned in October 19 letter from Frazier to Truzzi.

October 16: Truzzi to CSICOP members. Mentioned in October 19 letter from Frazier to Truzzi.

*October 19: Frazier to Truzzi, cc’d to Executive Council. “Normally, I’d say our respective publications are best served by acting independently. I feel justified in writing you about Dick Kammann’s manuscript because only five days ago you wrote me about Colin James’s manuscript, also about the Mars Effect. Just as you ‘apprised’ me of criticisms by G. Dean and Rawlins of James’s manuscript, I now apprise you of criticisms by R. Hyman and Abell of Kammann’s manuscript. The only difference is that I wasn’t even considering publishing James’s manuscript; you, however, report in your Oct. 16 letter to CSICOP ‘members’ that you will be publishing Kammann’s article in your upcoming issue. (Talk about simultaneous submission! Your letter comes only 16 days after I rejected Kammann’s article. No wonder he asked me to cable my response to him by Oct. 1. He was apparently asking me to go to such an extraordinary length in order to meet your deadline!)” Notes that Hyman’s criticisms are that it is “gratuitously emotive and inflammatory,” “written in an impulsive fit of bad temper,” “inflames the controversy instead of providing the sober, outside perspective that could be so valuable,” and is “a display of yellow journalism.” Frazier writes that “He gave examples of how Kammann has stuck to false claims [e.g. that the Zelen test was a CSICOP project] even after being warned that they were not true.” He quotes Abell writing that “It [Kammann’s interpretation] isn’t true, it isn’t fair, and it is not even objective journalism, let alone a dispassionate, scientific analysis.”

*November 4: Paul Kurtz to Fellows and Scientific Consultants of CSICOP. “I have learned indirectly that Marcello Truzzi has again sent you a letter complaining about CSICOP and the Mars effect controversy. Since he did not send me a copy of his letter, and I have only now received one from a colleague, I regret the delay in responding. Richard Kammann earlier in the year had sent a long letter of resignation from the Committee (subsequently expanded into a paper) raising objections to the Zelen test and the aftermath. Since we had received literally hundreds of pages of correspondence on the Rawlins affair, I sent you a memo on February 24th saying that if anyone wanted his letter (paper) we would be glad to send it along with others. As far as we can tell, we received only a few requests. Kammann revised his paper on numerous occasions and subsequently submitted a version of it to Ken Frazier, editor of The Skeptical Inquirer, for publication. The paper was sent to Ray Hyman for review and he recommended against publishing it. I should point out that The Skeptical Inquirer has published a great deal on Gauquelin’s astrological research, pro and con, including several articles by Gauquelin and Rawlins. Moreover, the journal received many more articles than it could possible publish. I am enclosing Ken Frazier’s reply to Truzzi and the reasons for the rejection of the Kammann paper.” The letter goes on to criticize Truzzi for persistent attacks on CSICOP.


Michel Gauquelin, Birthtimes: A Scientific Investigation of the Secrets of Astrology, New York: Hill and Wang. Includes his side of the CSICOP “Mars effect” controversy.

*Spring: George O. Abell, Paul Kurtz, and Marvin Zelen, “The Abell-Kurtz-Zelen ‘Mars Effect’ Experiments: A Reappraisal,” SI 7(3):77-82. They come clean on the scientific issues, though no mention is made of the fact that the Zelen test effectively eliminated the CP’s only argument that they had not replicated the “Mars effect.”

*Fall: Michel Gauquelin letter, “Reappraisal of Mars correlation,” SI 8(1):87; reply from Kurtz and Abell, pp. 87-88; letter from Henry H. Bauer, pp. 88-89 (don’t call it an “effect,” it’s a correlation). Thanks, but two possible points of misinterpretation, says Gauquelin.

*August: ZS #11: “More on the Mars Effect Controversy.” Patrick Curry, “Curry on CSICOP’s ‘Reappraisal’ Re the Mars Effect,” p. 22; Antony Flew, “Antony Flew on the ‘Mars Effect’ Controversy,” pp. 23-24; Piet Hein Hoebens, “Some Further Reflections on the Mars Effect Affair,” pp. 25-28; Hans J. Eysenck, “The Mars Effect and Its Evaluation,” pp. 29-33; Marcello Truzzi, “Marcello Truzzi Replies [to Eysenck],” p. 33.
Events and Correspondence

*May 11: Dennis Rawlins sends out “Inside the sTARBABY Coverup: The Planners’ Private Words” (Ri) to the Executive Council, quoting phone conversations and private letters. He received no reply. (He says in his October 28, 1983 “Trifles/Mutilations.”) In it he thanks Abell for pushing through the 1983 “Reappraisal.”

*May 11: Rawlins to Asimov, Nagel, Quine, and Sagan. Cover letter for “Inside the sTARBABY Coverup.” Complains about Klass pestering his former employers and ad hominems by CSICOP against him. (No response, according to “Trifles/Mutilations.”)

*???: Rawlins, “sTARBABY Post-partum”

October 7: George Abell dies.

*October 28: Rawlins, “Trifles/Mutilations”: addresses Klass and his requests for polygraph testing, makes such a request of his own.


*R.B. Culver and P.A. Ianna, The Gemini Syndrome: A Scientific Evaluation of Astrology, Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books. pp. 147-151, 216-217 discuss Gauquelin. The first set of pages discusses Michel Gauquelin’s Leonardo debate with Jerome and the September/October 1976 Abell and Abell, Gauquelin and Gauquelin paper in The Humanist; the second set (a 1984 update to the book) discusses the CSICOP U.S. test. p. 147 reports Jerome’s erroneous statistical analysis(This book was originally published in 1979 and has been more recently republished as Astrology: True or False? by Prometheus. I haven’t seen either the 1979 or the more recent edition.)

*June: D. Scott Rogo, “Michel Gauquelin’s Truth About Astrology,” Fate 37(6):80-87. This article discusses Gauquelin’s work, with only a brief mention of the CSICOP “Mars effect” controversy in a footnote on p. 84.

*???: Trevor Pinch and Harry Collins, “Private Science and Public Knowledge: The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of the Claims of the Paranormal and its Use of the Literature,” Social Studies of Science 14:521-546. Pages 530-538 discuss the “Mars effect” controversy.
Events and Correspondence

October 22: Piet Hein Hoebens dies.

???: Richard Kammann dies.


Michel Gauquelin, Cosmic Influences on Human Behavior: The Planetary Factors in Personality, Santa Fe, N.M.: Aurora Press.

*Brian Inglis, The Paranormal, Granada Publishing. pp. 242-245 discuss astrology, CSICOP, and the Mars effect controversy.

*Summer: Roy Wallis, “The Origins of CSICOP,” New Humanist 100:14-15. Discusses Truzzi’s leaving and the “Mars effect.”

*Autumn: Paul Kurtz, “Controversy: Paul Kurtz on Sceptic Baiting,” New Humanist 100:39-40. Concedes some “Mars effect” errors, takes issue with some of Wallis’ statements. Claims the only evidence for the “Mars effect” is in Gauquelin’s own work (ignoring the CP).
Events and Correspondence

June 26: Gauquelin, Kurtz, and Philippe Cousin, editor of Science et Vie, meet in that magazine’s offices to discuss the CFEPP study of the “Mars effect.” (Reported in Irving’s 1992 GEnie messages, citing October 27, 1990 letter from Gauquelin to Kurtz.)


*Uri Geller and Guy Lyon Playfair, The Geller Effect, N.Y.: Henry Holt and Company. pp. 210-211 discuss CSICOP and the “Mars effect” controversy, in a chapter entitled “The Witch-Hunters” which is highly critical of CSICOP and Randi.

*Paul Kurtz, The Transcendental Temptation, Buffalo: Prometheus. pp. 430-432 discuss Gauquelin and the “Mars effect” controversy.

*Winter: Neil Z. Marbell, Angela R. Novak, Laird W. Heal, Land D. Fleming, and Jeannine Marie Burton, “Self Selection of Astrologically Derived Personality Descriptions: An Empirical Test of the Relationship Between Astrology and Psychology,” NCGR Journal (1986-87):29-43.

???: Suitbert Ertel, “Wissenschaftliche Qualität und progressive Dynamik im Gauquelin-Paradigma,” Zeitschrift für Parapsychologie und Grenzgebiete der Psychologie 28:104-135.
Events and Correspondence

*March 21: Ertel’s “Mars Effect Replication Trial Newsletter No. 1,” sent to the CP, CFEPP, CSICOP, Ivan Kelly, H.J. Eysenck, F. Schneider-Gauquelin, Michel Gauquelin, CSAR (Truzzi), Dirk Wendt, and Johannes Mischo (last two are German psychologists). Asks for criticisms of methodology.

*: Kelly to Ertel, thanks for newsletter, offers some suggestions.

*April 14: Ertel to Kelly. Responds to suggestions.

July 25: Randi appears on the “Hour 25” radio program, interviewed by Harlan Ellison. Randi discusses the “Mars effect” controversy. (See entry for the February 1987 issue of Fate.)

*September 20: Ertel’s “Mars Effect Replication Trial Newsletter No. 2,” reports on changes in methodology in response to suggestions. Gives chronology of noteworthy events relevant to Ertel’s work.

*October 14: Kelly to Ertel (cc: M. Gauquelin), thanks for newsletter, hasn’t heard from Frazier regarding paper, suggests Jim Rotton and Ray Hyman as referees.

*November 7: Ertel to Frazier, submits “Grading the eminence, or: raising the hurdle for the athletes’ Mars effect” to the SI.

December 2: Ertel to Dean.


*Robert Anton Wilson, The New Inquisition: Irrational Rationalism and the Citadel of Science, Falcon Press. Pages 45ff, Wilson gives an uncomprehending, confused account of the “Mars effect” controversy.

???: Suitbert Ertel, “Further Grading of Eminence. Planetary Correlations with Musicians, Painters, Writers,” Correlation 7:4-17.

*February: Curtis Fuller, “I See By the Papers,” Fate 40(2):7-30. Pages 12-16 begin with the heading “‘And Now, The Amazing Randi Will Expose a Fraud” and reports Randi’s appearance on Harlan Ellison’s “Hour 25” radio broadcast on July 25, 1986 in which Randi discussed the “Mars effect” controversy. According to Fuller, who says his information comes from Hans Eysenck, Randi “stated that Gauquelin’s Mars Effect didn’t prove out in U.S. and Belgian tests,” that Gauquelin’s data “mysteriously, subsequently were lost in a fire,” that the Gauquelin affair occurred before CSICOP was organized, that the alleged cover-up was simply the result of CSICOP not taking the Gauquelin tests seriously, and that there is no “Mars effect” in Gauquelin’s data.
Events and Correspondence

*January 6: Geoffrey Dean to Ertel, thanking him for Dec. 2 letter. Offers to edit his article for SI.

*January 20: Frazier to Ertel, rejecting his Nov. 7 submission because of negative reviews from two reviewers.

*January 23: Ertel to Frazier, letter about enclosed summary of further research on the U.S. test data (enclosed “Preliminary description of a reanalysis of US-athletes data using eminence grades”).

*February 4: Ertel to Dean and Kelly, says “I would appreciate your approval of making public this deplorable affair” (informal letter accompanying formal letter).

*February 4: Ertel to Dean and Kelly, with copy of Frazier rejection letter, quotes Abell’s May 1, 1982 letter to “Actors, Producers, and Drama Critics.” Sent also to recipients of his former newsletters (Victor Benassi, Jean Dommanget, Hans J. Eysenck, Martin Fiebert, Françoise Gauquelin, Michel Gauquelin, Ivan Kelly, Paul Kurtz, Luc de Marré, Johannes Mischo, James Rotton, Michel Rouzé, Peter Sturrock, Marcello Truzzi, Dirk Wendt) and others (Eberhard Bauer, Hans-Dieter Betz, Gerd Hövelmann, Ray Hyman, Philip Klass, Arno Müller, Carl Sagan).

*February 4: Ertel, rejoinder to “referee #1,” point out flaws in the criticisms of his article. Sent to “about thirty people,” according to Frazier’s letter of April 23.

February 16: Kurtz to Ertel. (Including some U.S. test data?)

*February 17: Ivan Kelly to Ertel saying he would like to see his “Grading the Eminence” paper in SI, though it is too technical as it stands. Says he will write to Frazier to ask for re-reviewing. (Misdated as 1986 instead of 1987.)

*February 17: Ivan Kelly to Frazier, argues that Ertel’s paper should be reviewed again, and should be published in SI.

February 26: Ertel to Kurtz.

*February 27: Ertel to Kelly, says his letter to Frazier gives him some hope of eventual SI publication.

*March 3: Ertel to Kelly, cover letter to enclosures of letter from Kurtz of February 16, 1987 and his reply to Kurtz of February 26, 1987.

*March 19: Anonymous referee to Frazier, expressing mixed feelings and suggests that a much revised version (greatly shortened) should be considered for publication in SI. (Fairly polite.)

*March: Anonymous referee report (“Comments of Reviewer #1”), stating that “This article should not be published on the basis of its scientific merit. There are numerous flaws in the work that rend [sic] the results completely worthless.” (A relatively nasty review.)

*April 3: Ertel to Frazier, replies to January 20 letter and asks Frazier to reconsider.

*April 23: Frazier to Ertel, says Kelly already suggested reconsidering and that he had already sent it out to two new reviewers. Sends one review (the March 19 one) to Ertel; the other hadn’t yet been received. Complains about Ertel’s February 4 letter.

*May 6: Responds to March 19 referee report in 7-page enclosure (dated May 7), “Rejoinder to ‘Eminence Review No. 2.’”

*May 7: Ertel to Kelly, reports on study on planetary aspects, a negative result of a test of Gauquelin.

July 21: Frazier to Ertel, with reviewer comments on Ertel’s rejoinder (of May 6?).

*July 28: Ertel to Frazier, asking about status of his article, since people want to cite it.

*August 15: Ertel to Frazier, Kelly, Geoffrey Dean, and Gauquelin. Responds to referee who withdrew publication recommendation (March 19 person?) with 9-page letter, marked “CONFIDENTIAL.”

*August 15: Ertel to Frazier, responding to July 21 letter from Frazier and reviewer’s response, “Comments on Rejoinder to Eminence Review No. 2.”

*September 4: Geoffrey Dean to Frazier, declares willingness to help Ertel redraft his article to meet all requirements for readability and conciseness.

*September 4: Geoffrey Dean to Ertel, enclosing copy of previous. Discusses some F. Gauquelin work.

*October 5: Frazier to Dean, thanks him. Says it has been rejected twice, but is still under consideration. Expresses reservations about publishing it.

*October 14: Dean to Frazier, says the Ertel article has been submitted to the The Explorer (name changes to JSE).

*December 30: Klass to Dean Radin, “Comprehension Test on Dennis Rawlins’ Charges of CSICOP Coverup.” In response to charges by Radin made on the Internet and forwarded to CSICOP by me. cc’d to me.


Percy Seymour, Astrology: The Evidence of Science, ???: Lennard Publishing. A pro-astrology book by an astronomer. (Also see July 1992 publications.) Republished in 1990 by Arkana, a division of Penguin.

March/April/May: Michel Gauquelin, “Is There a Mars Effect?” JSE 2(1):29-51.

*March/April/May: Suitbert Ertel, “Raising the Hurdle for the Athletes’ Mars Effect: Association Co-Varies With Eminence,” JSE 2(1):53-82. In memoriam George Abell (died October 7, 1983) and Piet Hein Hoebens (died October 22, 1984). Looks at all the athlete birth data so far collected (N=4391) and examines the proportion of key sector births in comparison with a measure of eminence in terms of frequency of citation in 21 encyclopedias of athletes. (Verifies the Gauquelin hypothesis.) (This is the article SI rejected.)

*March/April: Jim Lippard, “Book Review: The New Inquisition: Irrational Rationalism and the Citadel of Science by Robert Anton Wilson,” Phoenix Skeptics News 1(5):3-6. Points out some of the errors in Wilson’s account of the “Mars effect” controversy. (A copy was sent to Wilson; the only reply was a copy of his newsletter, Trajectories.)

*October 21: Harry Collins, “Undiluted Action,” The Times Higher Education Supplement ?:13. Criticizes Nature’s handling of the Benveniste affair and CSICOP’s handling of the “Mars effect” affair.
Events and Correspondence

*January 5: Kelly to Ertel, says Frazier appears prepared to publish his paper in SI. Writes that “I hope that SI, at least once in a while, is prepared to publish good quality papers that support paranormal or fringe claims. It would provide readers with a chance to exercise their creativity in trying to find ‘normal’ explanations for the claims and open the mindset that we get when we are members of a tight-knit group with similar views.”

*December 5: Ertel to Kelly, on Gauquelin planetary effect paper he has submitted to Correlation (“Purifying Gauquelin’s Grain of Gold”); says next year he will submit short article to SI.

*December 21: Kelly to Ertel, thanks him for article, calls it “first class” but points out a flaw.


Spring: Last SI (13(3)) to list Bette Chambers as a Fellow.
Events and Correspondence

*January 3: Ertel to Kelly, thanks him for comments and agrees with criticism. Says he has finished a draft of “Proposing a Show Trial on Gauquelin’s Mars Effect” for SI.

*May 12: Ertel to Frazier, encloses copy of “Raising the hurdle…,” copy of a letter to Kurtz, and says he intends to submit an article to SI on the subject mentioned in his letter to Kurtz.

*July 10: Ertel to Kelly, reports that Dean has helped him revise his “Update on the Mars Effect” article and Gauquelin has commented on his “Grain of Gold” paper for Correlation. Says the German Federal Government is now supporting his research.

*July 17: Ertel to Kelly, reports more Dean revisions to “Update.”

*August 3: Kelly to Ertel, suggested revisions on “Update.”

*August 15: Ertel to Frazier, encloses copy of “Update on the Mars effect” for publication.


*Jerome Clark, “Skeptics and the New Age,” entry #284 in J. Gordon Melton, Jerome Clark, and Aidan A. Kelly, New Age Encyclopedia, Detroit: Gale Research., pp. 417-420. Discusses Martin Gardner, Resources for the Scientific Evaluation of the Paranormal (RSEP, whose members were Truzzi, Hyman, Randi, and Gardner), and CSICOP. The “Mars effect” is discussed on pp. 421-422, gets its facts wrong (says that Rawlins was complaining about the U.S. test, not the Zelen test). (This is the only reference cited by Richard Broughton’s 1991 book, below, in its footnote on the Mars effect controversy.)

Robert Parry, Astrology’s Complete Book of Self-Defense, Slough, U.K.: Quantum.

*January: Jim Lippard, “Some Failures of Organized Skepticism,” The Arizona Skeptic 3(1):2-5. Briefly recounts the “Mars effect” controversy in three sentences on p. 3.
Events and Correspondence

January 25: Suitbert Ertel invites the German skeptics, G.W.U.P., to cooperate at replicating the Gauquelin planetary finding. He submits a proposal he had previously discussed with Paul Kurtz at CSICOP’s office in Buffalo (Ertel to Lippard email, Jan. 1, 1993).

*February 14: Frazier to Ertel, asks for revisions to “Update on the Mars effect” in light of comments from Geoffrey Dean.

February 24: Prof. Irmgard Oepen, president of G.W.U.P., informs Ertel that G.W.U.P. council decided not to cooperate. The offered reason was that the Gauquelin data were not reliable (Ertel to Lippard email, Jan. 1, 1993).

*February 28: Ertel to Frazier, revised “Update on the Mars effect.”

March 5: Suitbert Ertel writes to G.W.U.P. that the council may not have noticed that his proposal entailed only collecting new birth data, and that he would appreciate G.W.U.P.’s cooperation (Ertel to Lippard email, Jan. 1, 1993).

March 6: Suitbert Ertel asks Reinhard Wiechoczek, head of the Public Observatory Paderborn and member of G.W.U.P. to provide reasons for rejecting Gauquelin results in his brochure “Uranus laechelt über Hieroshima.” He says that an exchange of information and views on this topic might be useful (Ertel to Lippard email, Jan. 1, 1993).

March 9: Prof. Oepen replies that other G.W.U.P. projects are considered more important (Ertel to Lippard email, Jan. 1, 1993).

March 14: Reinhard Wiechoczek replies to Ertel’s March 6 letter: “As you know from Prof. Oepen’s letter, G.W.U.P. will not take part in Gauquelin’s trailing [? -jjl] speculations. Observatory Paderborn and I myself share this view. You may find reasons for my decision in the enclosed brochure [‘Uranus laechelt…’].” “I don’t see any possibility for meaningful exchanges of views. Apparently, our worldviews are basically different and diametrical opposites.” In his brochure, Wiechoczek criticizes Ertel’s use of data collected by Gauquelin: “His superficial and pseudoscientific work merely serves to bolster the astrological community. The public must be put on guard against a psychologist of that sort” (Ertel to Lippard email, Jan. 1, 1993).

June 20: CFEPP report, “Verification de l’effet de Mars,” Ertel obtained from Cornelis de Jager (according to Ertel’s April 15, 1991 letter to Kelly). Says it suggests new procedure for finding expected values, lists birth data of 1,071 athletes, but doesn’t give results.

*October 22: Ertel to Frazier, asks for information about whether or not “Update on the Mars effect” will be published by SI. Includes time line of his various submissions to SI.

October 27: Gauquelin to Kurtz; notes Kurtz’s June 26, 1985 meeting in the Science et Vie offices regarding the CFEPP study.

*November 3: Frazier to Ertel. Suggests changes to “Update on the Mars effect” (3 pages of changes, enclosed).

*November 26: Ertel to Frazier, Dean, Kelly. Accepts “almost all” of the changes, says revision sent to Dean for final changes and corrections.

December 6: Gauquelin to Benski, regarding discrepancies between CFEPP and Gauquelin’s athlete data.


*Richard S. Broughton, Ph.D., Parapsychology: The Controversial Science, New York: Ballantine. Page 84 discusses the “Mars effect” controversy in a footnote.

Michel Gauquelin, Neoastrology: A Copernican Revolution, New York: Viking Arkana.

*Patrick Grim, editor, Philosophy of Science and the Occult, 2nd edition, Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press. Reprints “Objections to Astrology” (pp. 18-22), Paul Feyerabend’s “The Strange Case of Astrology” (pp. 23-27), Michel Gauquelin’s “Spheres of Influence” (pp. 37-50), and prints I.W. Kelly, G.A. Dean, and D.H. Saklofske, “Astrology: A Critical Review” (pp. 51-81) and a list of “Suggested Readings” (pp. 82-84). The “Suggested Readings” includes a brief discussion of the “Mars effect” controversy and the Kelly et al. article discusses Gauquelin’s work.

John Anthony West, The Case for Astrology, New York: Viking Arkana. Includes an account of the CSICOP “Mars effect” controversy.

???: Cornelis de Jager, “Schijnbare periodiciteiten bej het onderzoek naar planetaire correlaties,” Astrologie in Onderzoek 6(1):16-21. Text of talk on “Mars effect” simulation given at January 11 Astrologie in Onderzoek conference.

*October 5: Govert Schilling, “Het laatste heilige huisje van de astrologie stort in,” de Vochskrant. Dutch newspaper account of the papers critiquing the “Mars effect” presented at the EuroSkeptics conference. Headline translates literally as “The last holy house of astrology is crashing.”
Events and Correspondence

January: Michel Gauquelin and Claude Benski of CFEPP meet to discuss discrepancies in birth data for athletes in the CFEPP sample (Irving’s 1992 GEnie messages; cites Gauquelin’s December 6, 1990 letter to Benski).

January 11: Conference in Utrecht held by the editors of Astrologie in Onderzoek. Dutch skeptic Cornelis de Jager gives a talk about a “Mars effect” simulation which later led to nothing (it is unmentioned in the EuroSkeptics Proceedings published in October 1992). Ertel says he later asked de Jager for his simulation data, but was told that it was no longer available. (de Jager’s talk published in Astrologie in Onderzoek.) This was apparently the last public event on the subject attended by Michel Gauquelin before his death.

*April 15: Ertel to Kelly, about travel to Canada and CFEPP report of June 20, 1990.

May 20: Michel Gauquelin dies, committing suicide in his laboratory in Paris (Ertel to Lippard email, Jan. 1, 1993).

*July 31: Ertel to Frazier, submits final revision of “Update on the Mars effect.”

*August 5: Ertel to Frazier, submits real final version after receiving email comments from Kelly.

*September 26: Ertel to Frazier, submits real real final version of “Update on the Mars effect.”

October 4-5: EuroSkeptics Conference in Amsterdam (see its Proceedings, October 1992). According to Ertel, Paul Kurtz asked Claude Benski at this conference to hurry up with his analysis of the CFEPP data. Ertel and Françoise Gauquelin participated in the conference after being informed of its occurrence by Wout Heukelom, editor of the Dutch Astrologie in Onderzoek, about four weeks earlier. Ertel asked J.W. Nienhuys for a chance to comment on the various “Mars effect” papers and was told that while there was no time for another formal paper, he could have 15 minutes of discussion time. Ertel was scheduled to speak before F. Gauquelin, but she got up before him and began speaking. Not enough time was left for Ertel to show slides which he says invalidated the approach taken by de Jager’s paper.

*November 18: Rick Moen posts Klass’s “CRYBABY” to the Usenet sci.skeptic newsgroup and BITNET SKEPTIC mailing list, with postscript on Rawlins’ claims about Admiral Peary not reaching the North Pole authored by Robert Sheaffer.


*Winter: Suitbert Ertel, “Update on the ‘Mars Effect,’” SI 16(2):150-160; Paul Kurtz, “A Dissenting Note on Ertel’s ‘Update on the ‘Mars Effect,’’” p. 161. Reanalysis of the U.S. test with more objective eminence criteria shows “Mars effect.” Kurtz attributes Gauquelin’s effect to “selection bias,” but offers no good explanation for Ertel’s findings with regard to the U.S. test.

*May/June: John Bryant letter, The Arizona Skeptic 5(6):3-5. Briefly discusses “Mars effect” controversy in one paragraph on p. 4. (This lengthy letter was printed unedited because Bryant considered the original review of his book to be unfair.) Jim Lippard reply, The Arizona Skeptic 5(6):5-6. Briefly replies to Bryant’s “Mars effect” paragraph on p. 6. (Bryant considers this reply, like the original review of his book, unfair, and submitted an overly long reply. It was refused publication. Bryant did not reply to an invitation to rewrite/edit and resubmit.) Jim Lippard, “Editorial Note Regarding the ‘Mars Effect,’” The Arizona Skeptic 5(6):6-7. Mentions the CFEPP study and the (then pending) analysis of the data by Ertel and Müller.

July: Percy Seymour, The Scientific Basis of Astrology: Turning to the Music of the Planets, N.Y.: St. Martin’s Press. A pro-astrology book by an astronomer at the Plymouth Polytechnic Institute in Plymouth, England.

*Summer: Jim Lippard letter, “Questioning the ‘Mars effect,’” SI 16(4):439; David J. Simmons and Stephen D. Christman letters, pp. 439-440. My letter criticizes Kurtz’s proposed explanation of Ertel’s results, but holds that his explanation might explain the difference in magnitude of the eminences between the CSICOP U.S. data and Gauquelin’s U.S. data. Ertel submitted a reply to Simmons and Christman earlier than my letter, but it was not printed (it apparently got lost; it appeared in the Winter 1993 SI).

*October: J.W. Nienhuys, editor, Science or Pseudo? The Mars effect and other claims, Proceedings of the Third EuroSkeptics Congress, October 4-5, 1991, Amsterdam. Utrecht: Skepsis. J.W. Nienhuys, “Introduction to the Mars Effect,” pp. 112-128. Cornelis de Jager and Rieks Jager, “Spurious periodicities in planeteray correlations and the Mars effect,” pp. 129-147. P.H. Jongbloet, “Circannual and Circadian Biological Rhythms in Relation to Eminency,” pp. 148-161. Carl E. Koppeschaar, “The Mars effect unriddled,” pp. 162-184. Suitbert Ertel, “Mars effect survives critique of Dutch skeptics,” pp. 185-203. Françoise Schneider-Gauquelin, “Examining rational explanations of the Mars Effect,” pp. 204-223.
Events and Correspondence

*January 20: Lippard posts a reply to the electronic version (to both sci.skeptic and SKEPTIC) of “CRYBABY,” pointing out that it does not address Rawlins’ most significant criticisms in “sTARBABY.”

January 24: Nanninga to de Jager, apparently pointing out an error in de Jager’s division of “Mars effect” data into published and unpublished (a mistake published in his paper in the EuroSkeptics Proceedings (October 1992)) (mentioned in Ertel to de Jager, January 11, 1993).

*January 31: Ken Irving begins posting a series of lengthy articles about the CSICOP “Mars effect” controversy on GEnie (Astrology Round Table, category 9 (neoastrology), topic 4 (the “Mars effect”)) in response to the circulation of an electronic version of Klass’s “CRYBABY” over the Internet (and GEnie). His messages may also have been posted to the Internet somewhere. (The series was completed around May 17.) The electronic version of “sTARBABY” becomes available through GEnie.

*February 17: Frazier to Ertel. “Dear Author,” encloses letters of reply to “Update on the Mars Effect” (Simmons and Christman).

*February 26: Ertel to Frazier, replies to Simmons and Christman.

*June 29: Ertel to Frazier, asks what happened to his reply.

*August 2: Frazier to Ertel, says Ertel’s reply to Simmons and Christman was not received.

*August 7-8: First European Meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration, Munich, Germany. Suitbert Ertel, “Puzzling Eminence Effects Might Make Good Sense.” J.W. Nienhuys, “Dutch Investigations of the Gauquelin Mars Effect.”

*August 17: Ertel to Frazier, faxes reply to Simmons and Christman.

*October 20: Lippard to Kurtz and Klass. Report on Ertel vs. Nienhuys electronic discussion of the “Mars effect,” plus objections to the CSICOP handling of the Rawlins “Mars effect” affair, and Klass’ argument with Tom McIver about Al Seckel. (This led to a lengthy correspondence with Klass which is, for the most part, not listed in this chronology. See January 18, 1993.)

*November 19: Ertel to Cornelis de Jager, asking about additions made to his article in the EuroSkeptics Proceedings.

November 27: Ertel to Rawlins, asking questions about the U.S. test trying to discover why the percentage of athletes with Mars in a key sector dropped over the successive samples.

*December 1: Kurtz to Ertel, cc’d to Nienhuys and Lippard. Marked “CONFIDENTIAL—NOT FOR PUBLICATION.” Simply asks some questions about why Ertel did things in various ways in his “Update.”

*December 3: Ertel to de Jager, asking further questions about inconsistencies in the account of how the J&J article in the EuroSkeptics Proceedings reached its final form.

*December 4: Klass to Lippard. Defends “CRYBABY”’s style and content on the grounds that it was submitted to Fate magazine; claims he was not “anti-Rawlins prior to ‘sTARBABY’” and “had absolutely no prior involvement in the Zelen Test/Mars Effect controversy.”

*December 7: Lippard to Klass. Asks whether Klass has seen and understood Ray Hyman’s (September 7, 1979) referee report on the U.S. test papers, argues that the content of “sTARBABY” and Fate is no excuse for “CRYBABY”’s being unscientific, imprecise, or bad.

*December 10: de Jager to Ertel, giving chronology of his work on the “Mars effect.”

*December 15: Klass to Lippard. Writes that “To the best of my knowledge I never saw Ray Hyman’s Sept. 7, 1979 referee report to Frazier. There was no reason for Hyman to send me a copy inasmuch as in the fall of 1979 I had as much interest in the Mars Effect and the U.S. Champions test as I had in the sex life of the Unicorn.”

*December 16: Ertel to de Jager, criticizing his conclusions about the “Mars effect.”

*December 18: Lippard to Klass, asks (among numerous other questions) whether or not Klass was a referee for the U.S. test reports. (Klass never replied to this letter.)

*December 30: de Jager to Ertel. Responds to criticisms.


*Winter: Suitbert Ertel, “Reply to ‘Mars effect’ critics,” SI 17(2):220. Replies to the letters of David J. Simmons and Stephen D. Christman from the Summer 1992 issue.

*Summer: David J. Simmons, “More on ‘Mars effect,’” SI 17(4):451. An uncomprehending response to Ertel which includes the statement that “I note that Ertel did not respond to Kurtz’s criticism”—without noting Lippard’s response (Summer 1992). Simmons’ main objection is not to Ertel’s work (though he says it is), but to Gauquelin’s analysis of the CSICOP U.S. test.

*Summer: Suitbert Ertel, “Puzzling Eminence Effects Might Make Good Sense,” JSE 7(2):145-154. J.W. Nienhuys, “Comments on Puzzling Eminence Effects,” JSE 7(2):155-159.

*Fall: Geoffrey Dean, “Astrology Strikes Back—But to What Effect?” SI 18(1):42-49. Reviews Robert Parry’s 1990 book and John Anthony West’s 1991 book. Regarding the latter, Dean writes that “Part 3 (168 pages) looks at the evidence for astrology. Just over half is devoted to the Gauquelin work, including an account of the CSICOP involvement (with embarrassing examples of scientists refusing to recognize unwelcome results), of early work by Suitbert Ertel, and of the harmonic studies by the late John Addey.”

*Fall: J.W. Nienhuys, “Dutch Investigations of the Gauquelin Mars Effect,” JSE 7(3):271-281. Suitbert Ertel, “Comments on Dutch Investigations of the Gauquelin Mars Effect,” JSE 7(3):283-292.

*Winter: Henry H. Bauer, “Comments on Suitbert Ertel, ‘Puzzling Eminence Effects Might Make Good Sense,’” JSE 7(4):447-448. Bauer suggests a reason that, if there is a “Mars effect,” that it would decline among the most eminent—namely, that “Those who possess the highest levels of general native capacity are likely to distinguish themselves no matter what careers or hobbies they happen to choose.”
Events and Correspondence

*January 5: Lippard to Jerome Clark, pointing out the mistakes in his description of the “Mars effect” in his “Skeptics and the New Age” entry in the New Age Encyclopedia (1990). (Clark wrote January 22, 1993 to say he was too busy to reply now but would do so in the near future.)

*January 11: Ertel to de Jager. More criticism of de Jager’s division of the data into two sets.

*January 11: Ertel to Kurtz, cc’d to Lippard (and to Nienhuys?). Replies to Kurtz’s December 1, 1992 letter, including four appendixes of information (e.g., citation frequencies for the U.S. test athletes).

*January 11: Rawlins to Ertel, sends photocopies of the computer data from the U.S. test: “(a) The 1977/11/29 readout of 128 athletes. (The first-listed 12 athletes were computed 1977/11/9; the next 36, 1977/11/16. The last-listed 8 athletes were computed 1977/11/29; and the remaining 72 athletes were the original set, computed 1977/10/28.) (b) The 1978/3/20 readout of 132 additional athletes. (c) The 1978/6/8 readout of all 325 athletes, cumulative to that point, and now alphabetically ordered. (d) The 1978/9/15 readout of 82 more athletes, also alphabetically ordered.” Points out that he remains “a total disbeliever in astrology & all paranormal claims. As far as I am concerned, the G-affair’s significance is strictly in the vital area of the psychology-pathology of academic establishmentarians. I hope that your own concern over the question of the scientific validity of astrology will not divert you from this concomitant & critical issue.”

*January 12: de Jager to Ertel, handwritten five-page letter of reply to Ertel’s January 4 letter.

*January 18: Ertel to de Jager, two-page reply to his January 12 letter.

*January 18: Lippard to Klass, a lengthy letter summarizing their entire correspondence and enumerating examples of Klass evading questions, erroneously putting words into Lippard’s mouth, and projecting his own faults onto Lippard. Klass returned this letter without opening it, but copies were later sent to him via Paul Kurtz and Tom McIver.

*January 19: Ertel to Rawlins. Says that two statistical tests on the U.S. test data, looking at the seven different batches, show that “the sample is remarkably in-homogeneous” (Fleiss chi-squared homogeneity test) and “the sample became increasingly ‘worse’ from proportion 1 through 7” (Kendall’s tau test). Ertel proposes three hypotheses to explain this: “(1) Conspiratorial hypothesis: Kurtz discarded key sector cases. This would presuppose secret analyses of the data for batches 4 to 7 before you received them. Now this explanation has become very improbable. … (2) Chance hypothesis: Even though sample inhomogeneity and trend of key sector cases as observed here would rarely occur by chance, it might be chance in this particular case. I would accept an explanation in terms of chance only if explanation #3 does not hold. (3) Eminence drop hypothesis: Kurtz, after having obtained alarming key sector percentages (first 3 batches) might have changed his sampling strategy. He might have slackened criteria for eminence henceforth collecting—deliberately or inadvertantly—athletes of low success.” Includes graphs and tables of data.

*January 29: Ertel to Benski, cc’d to Nienhuys and Müller. Asks Benski if he is willing to exchange his report on his (and Nienhuys’) analysis of the CFEPP data for Ertel’s and Müller’s prior to publication.

*February 9: Ertel to Kurtz, cc’d to Claude Benski, Ivan Kelly, Jim Lippard, Geoffrey Dean, and Jan W. Nienhuys. Ertel writes that he sent a 13-page reply to Kurtz’s questions on January 8 (my copy says January 11) and “You may not have had time enought to work through that stuff, nevertheless I would prefer considering your critical views while reporting about my Mars effect research. If you can’t comment now, please let me know when your reply might be scheduled.” Also encloses copy of letter to Claude Benski of January 29 and asks for the opportunity to comment on the CFEPP “Mars effect” study in the same issue of SI in which it might be published.

*February 12: Ertel to Frank Dolce and Germain Harnden, cc’d to Kurtz, Lippard, Müller. A letter to Paul Kurtz’s two assistants, sent in care of Kurtz, asking: “1. Who gave you instructions about what to do, anyone beside [sic] Prof. Kurtz?”; “2. Did you receive written instructions? If yes and if you kept them, I would appreciate a copy.”; “3. Did the instructions refer to the record of athletic successes? Did you pick out from the books athletes with better scores? Which criteria were you told to use or did you apply criteria of your own?”; “4. Was your work done continuously or did you do it at three periods in succession according to the three batches as indicated above? Did Prof. Kurtz ask you to change the criteria of selection? For example he might have asked you to pick out the most successful ones at the start. Later he might have told you to be less strict or to drop selection criteria altogether. Do you remember any change in the procedure and the purported reasons for procedural changes?”

*February 19: Ertel to Kurtz, cc’d to Arno Müller and Jim Lippard. “In a recent letter to you (Feb. 12) I posed some questions regarding data selection in KZA’s U.S. athletes study. In the interim I went more deeply into your data and I am now in a position to be more precise.” Asks three questions: “1) Why didn’t you continue selecting athletes from the [Lincoln Library of Sports Champions] for the second/third canvass? 2) Why didn’t you continue selecting athletes from [Who’s Who in Track and Field] and [Who’s Who in Boxing] for the third canvass?” For the third question, Ertel gives a table which shows that the percentage of basketball players in the three successive canvasses went from 22% to 40% to 71%, and asks “3) How did this come about? Who was responsible for the increasing emphasis on basketball players and what are the reasons for that change?”

*February 25: Ertel to Kurtz, cc’d to Arno Müller and Jim Lippard. Asks to borrow copies of the six reference works used in the U.S. test, as they appear to be unavailable in Germany. Concludes “My request might appear a little unusual, but I may remind you perhaps that some 15 years back you asked Michel Gauquelin to send his Dictionaire des Sports and he did this without hesitation. I am sure Gauquelin would have appreciated if he were still alive your sending me in return some material needed to remove doubts in this area of research.”


Arno Müller and Suitbert Ertel, “1083 Members of the French Académie de Médicine,” Astroforschungsdaten, vol. 5. A replication of Gauquelin’s Mars and Saturn effect for members of the Académie de Médicine from the 1972 edition of the academy’s directory.


*January/February: Paul Kurtz, “French Committee Announces Results of Test of the So-Called Mars Effect,” SI 19(1):4,62.


*February: Claude Benski, Dominique Caudron, Yves Galifret, Jean-Paul Krivine, Jean-Claude Pecker, Michael Rouzé, and Evry Schatzman, The “Mars Effect”: A French Test of Over 1,000 Sports Champions, Prometheus Books. Foreword by Paul Kurtz; commentary by Jan Willem Nienhuys.

*March: Kenneth Irving, “The New Astrology: March 1996—The Mars Effect Re-revisited,” American Astrology 64(1):53-56.

*March: Suitbert Ertel and Kenneth Irving, The Tenacious Mars Effect, The Urania Trust. Foreword and by Jim Lippard. One appendix is an abbreviated version of this chronology.


*Spring: Suitbert Ertel and Kenneth Irving, “Biased Data Selection in Mars Effect Research,” JSE 11(1):1-18. Paul Kurtz, Jan Willem Nienhuys, and Ranjit Sandhu, “Is the ‘Mars Effect’ Genuine?” JSE 11(1):19-39.

*Autumn: J. Dommanget, “The ‘Mars Effect’ As Seen by the Committee PARA,” JSE 11(3):275-295.

*November/December: Jan Willem Nienhuys, “The Mars Effect in Retrospect,” SI 21(6):24-29.


*July/August: Suitbert Ertel and Kenneth Irving, “Mars Effect--Dead or Alive? Dissenting from J.W. Nienhuys' ‘Retrospect,’” SI 22(4):59-60. Jan Willem Nienhuys, “Responding to Ertel: Mars Flukes,” SI 22(4):60.


*Suitbert Ertel, “Debunking with Caution - Cleaning Up Mars Effect Research,” Correlation 18(2, Northern Winter 1999/2000):9-41.


Geoffrey Dean, ”Attribution: A pervasive new artifact in the Gauquelin data,” Astrology under Scrutiny 13:1-72. Also see Suitbert Ertel, “On Geoffrey Dean’s erroneous grand notion,” Astrology Under Scrutiny 13:73-84. Dean reply, pp. 85-87.



*May/June: Geoffrey Dean, “Is the Mars Effect a Social Effect?” SI 26(3):33-38


*January/February: Suitbert Ertel, “The Mars Effect Cannot Be Pinned on Cheating Parents,” SI 27(1):57-58. Geoffrey Dean, “Response to Ertel,” SI 27(1):59,65.


Richard Wiseman, Quirkology: How We Discover the Big Truths in Small Things, pp. 40-41. Briefly discusses Dean’s 2002 SI article.


*Alexander Y. Panchin, “The Saturn-Mars Effect: How a statistical effect explains the astrological claim for the power of Mars,” Skeptic 16(1):13-14. Panchin sets up a computer simulation to generate random data for planet positions and births, identifying statistically significant associations between births with Saturn in a pair of sectors. He argues that Gauquelin’s Mars Effect doesn’t correct for multiple comparisons and that the effect may be a statistical artifact unless replicated with completely independent data sets.


*Geoffrey Dean, “The Mars Effect & True Disbelievers,” eSkeptic ( April 6, 2011. Dean argues that Panchin’s thesis can’t account for multiple independent studies that have found the effect, and again attributes the result to “misreporting of birth data by a mere 3% of parents to suit pop astrological ideas current at the time,” referencing his 2002 SI article.

*Alexander Panchin, “Response from Alexander Panchin,” eSkeptic, April 6, 2011. Panchin questions whether there have actually been independent samples.


*Geoffrey Dean, “Does Astrology Need to Be True? A Thirty-Year Update,” SI 40(4):38-45. Discusses the Mars effect on pp. 42-43, attributes it to misreporting of birth times to match pop astrology (same as Dean (2002) and Dean (2011)).

February 25: Suitbert Ertel dies at his home in Göttingen, Germany. (

There’s a lot of stuff which has not been listed here. I have a huge stack of things to add, including complete bibliographies of the Gauquelins’ and Ertel’s publications and the materials from the assets of the late Piet Hein Hoebens.
Comments are welcomed: suggestions for rewording, errors to be corrected, additions to be made. Please send them via email to

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