Message #1

 


Debra Conway has forwarded a commentary on ASSASSINATION SCIENCE by
someone identified as "Howard P.", who claims to have a Ph.D. in
philosophy.  After reviewing what he has had to say, I can assert
with a high degree of confidence that Howard P. may have studied
philosophy but he obviously mastered very little.  This review is
a transparent hatchet job that is intended to discredit the work
without actually discussing its contents, the nature of the argu-
ments it presents or the character of its evidence.  No one would
know from this commentary, for example, that the researchers whose
work is reported here include a world authority on the human brain
who is also an expert on wound ballistics, a Ph.D. in physics who
is also an M.D. and board certified in ratiation oncology, an ex-
pert on photographic evidence who assisted the HSCA during its re-
investigation of the case and later advised Oliver Stone in the
preparation of the film "JFK", a physician who assisted in treating 
JFK at Parkland and three days later his accused assassin, or a 
former Marine Corps officer who is also a professor of philosophy
and an expert on critical thinking and on scientific reasoning.
 
No one would know from this commentary that the book is divided
into four sections, that the first concerns the medical evidence
in this case and how it has been distorted by the JOURNAL OF THE
AMA, that the second reports the content of a national press con-
ference during which important findings concerning the medical evi-
dence in this case--including the fabrication of autopsy X-rays of
JFK, the falsification of the "magic bullet" theory, the substitu-
tion of diagrams and photographs of the brain of someone else for
that of JFK--were presented (none of which was reported to the Am-
erican people by our national press), that the third publishes my
correspondence with the Department of Justice in (what turned out
to be) a futile attempt to convince it that a reopening of the 
case was warranted by new evidence, or that the fourth part pres-
ents a series of studies of the Zapruder film, which "prove" (in
various senses that I explain) that the film has been massively
edited using highly sophisticated techniques, apparently by the
CIA, which had the film in its possession already Frdiay night.

Not only does this "review" not begin to describe the chapters
of the book or the qualifications of the individuals who con-
tribute to it but commits several common informal fallacies in
the process.  The claim that David Mantik, M.D., Ph.D., is not
an expert on the film ignores the vast amount of research that
he has devoted to the film.  He may not have majored in cinema-
tic techniques in a program on film production, but I have no
doubt that, at this point in time, he is the world's leading
expert on the Zapruder film.  Moreover, to fault his research
on the ground that he does not carry the title "film expert"
is to commit the genetic fallacy.  His blatant ad hominem at-
tacks upon me take matters out of context.  Most obviously, 
he judges a book by its cover, even faulting the appearance 
of a photograph of the editor on the back!  If there could 
be a more superficial criticism, I cannot imagine what it is.

Indeed, although you would not know it from listening to this
reviewer, there are comments that appear on the jacket from
four different individuals, whose comments are as follows:

  "ASSASSINATION SCIENCE is a watershed.  Past and future
  assassination studies will have to be read through the
  painstakingly logical lens with which it scrutinizes the
  murder of John Kennedy.  The contributors collectively
  offer an exhaustively documented and tightly reasoned
  argument bound to give the most loyal defender of the
  Warren Commissioners or Gerald Posner pause for thought.
  There is no sentimentalism or sensationalism here, even
  though the web of bureaucratic roadblocks and deceit
  encountered by Fetzer in his investigations would make
  for an exciting thriller.  Instead, the cool clinical
  breeze of rigorous thinking blows throughout."
                              --KERRY WALTERS
                                Distinguished Professor,
                                Gettysburg College

  "ASSASSINATION SCIENCE--particularly Dr. David Mantik's
  chapter on the Zapruder film--constitutes a significant
  addition to me literature on the JFK assassination.  Those
  who believe that the Zapruder film (characterized by some
  as the closest thing to 'absolute truth' when it comes to
  the shooting) is unimpeachable are in for a surprise.  In 
  addition, the publication of certain documents (such as 
  the full text of the Dallas doctors' 11/22/63 press con-
  ference) as well as Fetzer's musings about what is knowable 
  and the record of his jousting with the establishment (from 
  THE NEW YORK TIMES to the Justice Department) make for in-
  teresting reading.
                               --DAVID LIFTON
                                 Author of BEST EVIDENCE

  "Although certain to provoke further controversy, this
  book supplies important scientific assessments of the
  medical evidence laid before the Warren Commission, to-
  gether with a valuable narrative account of the American 
  Medical Association's entry into this contentious field.  
  I was particularly gripped by compelling new arguments 
  that the Zapruder film had been altered, along with 
  related documentation concerning the Warren Commission's 
  re-enactment of the shooting in Dealey Plaza.
                              --PETER DALE SCOTT
                                Author of DEEP POLITICS
                                AND THE DEATH OF JFK

  "Every serious student of the Kennedy assassination
  should read this excellent compilation of articles,
  which dissect and destroy the Warren Commission Re-
  port in a meticulous, objective, and analytical man-
  ner.  The authors are all accomplished professionals,
  and their investigative studies unquestionably shift
  the evidentiary burden to those who through ignorance,
  naivete, or conscious pro-government bias continue to
  defend the Warren Commission Report, the greatest hoax
  ever perpetrated on the American people."
                         --CYRIL H. WECHT, M.D., J.D.
                           Past President, American
                           Academy of Forensic Sciences

Now if anyone wants to judge this book by its cover, then
they may want to consider the comments of Kerry Walters,
David S. Lifton, Peter Dale Scott, and Cyril H. Wecht
which appear there.  They may also want to consider why
the remarks that have now been advanced by "Howard P."
appear to diverge so drastically from their appraisals.
Better yet, why not get a copy of the book and read it
for yourself to see whether this reviewer has given it
a fair shake?  It should not be very difficult to tell.

I am asking Debra Conway to post this reply on my behalf.

James H. Fetzer
McKnight University Professor
University of Minnesota
Duluth, MN 55812
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