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Nostradamania

October 07, 1990

While it is generally acknowledged that an outsider reviewer's position may not represent a publication's editorial position, it is also true that a publication must share some responsibility for the merit or the failures of its reviews.

Your reviewer, Malcolm Dean, is a believer in, or some kind of devotee of, astrology, and from that stance dismisses James Randi's "The Mask of Nostradamus." Characteristically of astrology's believers, Dean totally fails to address the substance of Randi's evidence of Nostradamus' fakery or indeed the actual content of his book.

Finally, at least one reader finds it alarming that one of the nation's largest daily papers indirectly lends support to belief in astrology, which all reputable scientific authorities have and continue to dismiss as nonsense. You would better serve your readers by now having Randi's book reviewed instead of its serving as a peg for Dean's polemics. Incidentally, Dean's antagonism to Randi is of long standing, so one questions the propriety of assigning the review to an avowed opponent.

EDWARD T. CHASE

Senior Editor

Charles Scribner's Sons

NEW YORK CITY

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