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No. 7: June 1979

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Is there a science of anomalies?

Westrum and Truzzi term their paper a "bibliographical introduction" to anomalies. Indeed, the article is laced with references to the great classics on scientific anomalies and worth reading for this aspect alone. But the authors go farther. First, they define three different kinds of scientific anomalies: accepted, validated, and alleged. Next, they discuss the criteria used in judging anomalies by the scientific establishment. In dealing with anomalies, the focus inevitably narrows down to the reliability of the data and, quite reasonably, the honesty of those collecting, reproducing, and otherwise manipulating these data. Westrum and Truzzi then turn to the great anomaly collectors (Fort, Gould, Sanderson, Heuvelmans). What did these men produce and is it valuable to science?

(Westrum, Ron, and Truzzi, Marcello; "Anomalies: A Bibliographical Introduction with Some Cautionary Remarks," Zetetic Scholar, 1:69, 1978.)

From Science Frontiers #7, June 1979. 1979-2000 William R. Corliss