[meteorite-list] re: All Hail Eris and Dysnomia (2003 UB313)

From: Sterling K. Webb <sterling_k_webb_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sat Sep 16 18:00:38 2006
Message-ID: <003101c6d9db$84d27c90$772de146_at_ATARIENGINE>


Marco said:

> with regard to the repeated statement that Ortiz pulled his website text
> on 2003EL61 etc.: In a case like this... this was only wise of him to do.

    This is where this kind of dispute becomes truly
fascinating. On this side of the Atlantic, for one to
withdraw one's own defence is very, very close to
being an admission of guilt. I have no doubt that if you
commissioned a pollster to ask Americans at random
a suitably phrased quiz designed to probe for this
atitude, the result would be that 70% or 80% would
feel this way. Marco, I assure you, I am not projecting
a mere personal reaction but a common one; I know
the culture I live in.

    It is so alien a response that it would not even occur
to most of the people I've known, if they were wrongfully
accused. Someone might get despondent after a long time
of defending themselves and just quit, but not in just a few
days... months, perhaps. It sheds light on the gossip (and it
is gossip only) that in their one phone conversation, Ortiz
suggested to Brown that they simply share the discovery
credit and that Brown refused, seeing it as "an admission
of guilt."

    Not astronomy, but cultural anthropology might be the
key to understanding what's going on here.

When I said:

>> As to what Ortiz actually did, I do not know the truth of
>> things. And neither do you.

You responded:

> Yet you act as if you do know. You sentence him to be guilty.

This is, as they say, an extreme rendering of the text!
How do I "sentence him" by saying I don't know the
truth? This is not logical of you.

    I said a cloud hangs over the discovery story; that is
a purely descriptive statement of a state of affairs that
does exist.

Sterling K. Webb
----- Original Message -----
From: "Marco Langbroek" <marco.langbroek_at_wanadoo.nl>
To: "meteorite list" <meteorite-list_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Cc: "Sterling K. Webb" <sterling_k_webb_at_sbcglobal.net>
Sent: Saturday, September 16, 2006 6:16 AM
Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] re: All Hail Eris and Dysnomia (2003 UB313)

>I wrote:
> >> people are innocent until[l] proven otherwise.
> and Sterling answered:
> > Ortiz is not accused of a crime. The standard that you
> > refer to, of civil legality, does not apply here. The standard
> > in question is that of personal behavior, perhaps no more
> > than the balance between ambition and the means of its
> > achievement.
> No, the standard is that of a civilized society where defamation with
> accusations you can not prove is frowned upon. Civil legality is just a
> formal extension of that, it is grounded in the basic standard of our
> society. This as opposed to a standard of mob lynching, where shouting
> "(s)he is a witch!" is enough to burn someone.
> When initial word of the controversy broke, it was alleged that Ortiz et
> al. had really hacked into Brown's computer network. That then turned out
> to be not the case at all but the tone was set.
> From the initial messages, I thought Ortiz et al. indeed had been behaving
> unethically (see my message on the FMO mailing list here:
> http://www.freelists.org/archives/fmo/09-2005/msg00089.html )
> When however it became clear the hacking accusation was not what in fact
> happened and I started to shift facts from dark speculations, I revised my
> position on this case. I realized another reading of the events was as
> likely as the dark reading being agressively pushed by some.
> Having experienced quite a few nasty political games in science, I
> moreover began to smell some possible darker sentiments behind that
> agressive pushing, in which Ortiz is a victim rather than a culprit. If
> you look carefully to the actions of the other side in the debate, there
> are quite some odd things there too. For example, and in addition to the
> unfounded but very damning accussation of "hacking", to the outside world
> they tried to picture Ortiz as an unknown non-professional, an amateur
> popping out of the blue. The man is a professional however, attached to a
> formal academic institution, and with a record of peer reviewed scientific
> papers on TNO's, running a scientific research program on TNO's.
> This made me even more cautious towards the whole issue.
> > I surmise that it is not unreasonable to characterize you
> > and Ortiz as colleagues or co-workers to some unknown
> > degree; perhaps you are friends, I don't know. Familiarity
> > of some degree may be the best guide to judgment, or it
> > may not. One is naturally inclined to think well of friends
> > and associates. Sometimes, one is ultimately disappointed
> > when one does so.
> I have no relation to Ortiz or his co-workers whatsoever. Never met him,
> never talked to him. I do know he did good work in the past.
> I have done work myself, as an amateur, on asteroids, even formally
> discovered a Near Earth Asteroid, and pried unknown main belt asteroids
> from NEAT archive data and reported these to the MPC. From this work, I
> know about procedures in the field of minor body research, how to submit
> data, and what is possible and not with obtaining orbit data and object
> positions. On those points I can therefore make my own informed judgements
> instead of having to paraphrase. I recognize where things are not as they
> are portrayed to be, with regard to these aspects.
>> As to what Ortiz actually did, I do not know the truth of
>> things. And neither do you.
> Yet you act as if you do know. You sentence him to be guilty. That is the
> mob lynching mentality. "Fetch a rope, we'll hang him!"
> Finally, with regard to the repeated statement that Ortiz pulled his
> website text on 2003EL61 etc.: In a case like this, where every word
> written on it is turned twice, every letter of it scrutinized and where
> possible taken out of context, this was only wise of him to do.
> This whole case has a strong element of a witchhunt to it. And I am
> affraid it has a dark political undercurrent, reason why I am very
> cautious with judging someone "guilty".
> There is a lot more I would like to say on this, but I am tired of the
> discussion and fear if I do so it would raise sentiments that would
> further blur the discussion.
> - Marco
> -----
> Dr Marco Langbroek
> Dutch Meteor Society (DMS)
> e-mail: meteorites_at_dmsweb.org
> private website http://home.wanadoo.nl/marco.langbroek
> DMS website http://www.dmsweb.org
> -----
Received on Sat 16 Sep 2006 06:00:26 PM PDT

Help support this free mailing list:

Yahoo MyWeb