Message #24

Date: Thu, 12 Feb 1998 17:59:13 -0600 (CST)
From: james fetzer 
Cc: james fetzer 
Subject: Notes on Some of Howard's Comments   

The unremitting assaults continue, but the amount of light generated does
not begin to compare with the heat.  Howard P. should do us all a favor by
at least writing his remarks in ordinary case (upper and lower).  IT IS A

As for the content, I want to avoid the ad hominems, which, unfortunately,
constitute about 80% of his posts.  I am going to do my best to REFRAIN
from suggesting that he might be playing a few cards short of a full deck!
In the following, I respond to what appears to me to be worth addressing.


(1) Anyone who wants to consider whether I have misrepresented anyone is
welcome to review past posts.  I have done my best in the past to reprint
the material I was discussing, which made them rather lengthy, but now I
find too little worthwhile content to bother.  Please judge for yourself!

(2) Howard P. acknowledges that he has "ONLY 'REVIEWED' THIS BOOK IN ITS
BROADEST OUTLINES", admitting (as I interpret his remarks) he has not act-
ually read the book page-by-page. He and Martin appear to be introducing
a new kind of scholarship, namely:  CRITICISM BY PRESUPPOSITION!  How can
he or Martin expect to be taken seriously if they haven't read the book?

(3) Who cares whether there are photographs of David and me (p. xvi), of
David and Bob (p. 166), and of Bob and me (p. 194)?  I wanted a photo of
the three of us, but Bob lost his way and the best I could do were three
photos.  They take up less than 1 and 1/2 pages out of a 480 page book.

(4) In classical term logic, syllogisms are arguments with two premises
and one conclusion, where each of these sentences has an A (All X are Y),
E (No X are Y), I (Some X is Y), or O (Some X is non-Y) form.  Clearly,
in this standard sense, the arguments on pp. 363-365 are not "syllogisms". 

(5) In some sets of rules of inference, different patterns of argument may
be called by different names.  The most common name for the pattern of the
arguments found of pp. 363-365 is that are of the form, Modus Ponens.  If
Howard has found some other name for them, fine; but why should it matter?

(6) Inference to the best explanation is introduced at various junctures
throughout the book (pp. 207-210, for example) and alternative possible
explanations for anomalies as spontaneous effects, accidental artifacts 
of incompetent processing, or predictable consequences of features of the
camera and conditions of filming are discussed (see, for example, p. 346).

(7) Indeed, Mantik's chapter on the film is replete with discussion of al-
ternative possible explanations for the phenomena he has encountered, and
he makes it very clear that there appears to be no other reasonable infer-
ence given the available evidence, as he states (for example, on p. 340).

(8) Howard suggests along the lines of NEWSWEEK (22 November 1993) that
there may have been a "cover up" but it may have been a separate matter
This is a logical possibility; its description is not self-contradictory.
It is of course also logically possible Jack was killed by space aliens.

(9) The evidence, however, tends to rule it out, because the "cover-up"
was being implemented before anyone without prior knowledge could have
known what was going on.  Consider, for example, the experience of Jean
Hill in being apprehended immediately after the assassination occurred.
See, for example, Bill Sloan, JFK:  THE LAST DISSENTING WITNESS (1992),
or consult Noel Twyman, BLOODY TREASON (1997), especially pp. 764-766.

(10) Even more powerful evidence comes from Fletcher Prouty, who was in
New Zealand on Saturday, 23 November 1963, and read a front-page story
about the alleged assassin and how, during his apprehension, a police
officer by the name of J.D. Tippit was killed; but, due to international
date-line considerations (when it is Sunday in the USA, it is Monday in
New Zealand), the story had to have been set in type before the alleged
assassin had even been charged with the crime, which did not occur until
around midnight Friday, 22 November 1963.  (If he had learned he was go-
ing to be a fall guy, this may explain why Tippit had be to killed.)  I
am therefore glad that Howard brings this up, because it is the sort of
thing we might have explored if we had had more pages available to us.

IN RELATION TO HOWARD'S POST OF 10 FEB ("Platzman Responds to Fetzer"):

(11) Rereading my comments on the earlier post from Howard P., I stand
by what I orignally had to say.  There appears to me to be nothing here
that requires additional explanation, except to point out that Howard P.
not infrequently misdescribes or misunderstands what I have already said.

(12) The discussion he presents regarding Marina makes no sense to me at
all.  In faking photographs, it would be important to create several in
order to insure you had at least one useable print!  Why Howard cannot
understand that is beyond me.  There is no evidence at all that Marina
took any photographs of this kind and much against it.  (See, for exam-
ple, Robert Groden, THE SEARCH FOR LEE HARVEY OSWALD (1995), pp. 90-95.)

(13) Here's a nice example that betrays Howard's pretentions to being an
objective and competent critic.  In discussing the wounds, he agrees the
throat wound was from in front, but questions whether the HSCA accepted
the placement of the back wound 5 and 1/2 inches down the back, etc.  But
the placement of the back wound, which was essential to Mantik's analysis
of the anatomical impossibility of the single-bullet theory presented on 
pp. 157-158, is also identified by a "circle-x" in a photograph found on
p. 444!  It is not a matter of subjective conviction as to where the HSCA
located this wound that Howard P. can accept or reject as he likes!  And
in conjunction with Mantik's discovery of evidence of a second shot to
the head (pp. 156-157), Jack apparently WAS hit by four shots, after all!

(14) I am disappointed that, in a post dated 10 Feb 1998, Howard does not
acknowledge the twin posts from me and David Mantik dated 8 Feb 1998, in
which I remarked that "some of Howard's remarks, when formulated in more
temperate and less belligerent language, have some merit", especially in
relation to the desirability of replicating David's research, which nei-
ther he nor I have ever denied would be desirable and appropriate.  (Ho-
ward, however, leaped to the conclusion that I WAS denying that when I
was endorsing David's QUALIFICATIONS for doing what he was doing.  Hope-
fully, we have now passed that point of miscommunication, at long last.)

(15) I would therefore like to close by asking whether Howard P., of all
people, does not agree wholeheartedly with the propopsal that I endorsed
of locating objective and unbiased individuals with appropriate qualifi-
cations (perhaps in relation to a leading radiological laboratory) to un-
dertake the replication of his studies?  This will require financing, no
doubt, and perhaps Howard will join me in partially underwriting such an
undertaking, assuming suitable arrangements can be made.  What do you say?

I very much hope we can forego personal attacks and work together on this.