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The Magician and the Prophet : THE MASK OF NOSTRADAMUS by James Randi (Charles Scribner's Sons: $19.95; 320 pp., illustrated; 0-684-19056-7)

September 02, 1990|Malcolm Dean | Dean is author of "The Astrology Game" (Beaufort).

As a result of this deception, several founding members, including astronomer Dennis Rawlins and the late psychologist Richard Kammann, departed in protest. Rawlins later published a pamphlet on the results of the CSICOP experiments entitled "Star Baby." Very recently, the Gauguelin results received yet another independent confirmation by Prof. S. Ertel of Germany.

Randi chooses to ignore these events, with which he was closely associated, and he continues to appear in print and in interviews, acting as if he and his colleagues were not caught suppressing uncomfortable research results while waving the banner of impartial scientific investigation.

Given the huge emphasis Randi places upon debunking astrology in a volume misleadingly (and inaccurately) subtitled "The First Biography of Nostradamus," this omission is unacceptable.

Randi reveals himself as neither a scholar nor a reliable critic, but as a tub-thumper. Only those who already agree with his conclusions will enjoy the tune he bangs out.

Poor Michel de Notredame! He failed to predict how long it would be before a talented historian might provide us with the facts, all the facts, and only the facts.

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