About Marcello Truzzi
Henry H. Bauer
Marcello Truzzi was my mentor, albeit an informal
and diffident one. He introduced me to the community of scholars of unorthodoxies
and continually brought to my attention books and articles I should read,
people I should know, and things that I should know about.
How could I describe Marcello, who was always in
motion and always talking incessantly, as “diffident”? Because Marcello
did not push his personal opinions, did not insist that others must believe
as he did. His aim was to stimulate critical and appropriate thought and
discussion, and so he was the ideal mentor. Zetetic Scholar, the
periodical he edited for 13 glorious issues, was a marvelous forum that
brought the widest range of viewpoints into discussion of salient topics.
The first issues of the CSICOP journal, called Zetetic and edited
by Marcello, were similarly disinterested and scholarly. He took seriously
the CSICOP claim not to “reject claims on a priori grounds, antecedent
to inquiry” but to examine them “objectively and carefully”. Unlike CSICOP,
Marcello never stopped living up to that ideal.
In the early 1970s I had become convinced of the
validity of evidence for the existence of “Loch Ness Monsters”. Why was
that evidence being ignored by mainstream science? My naive attempt at
research about this led to advice to look at that more solid case of resistance
to unorthodoxy, the Velikovsky Affair. I did, and I was hooked: How could
so many intelligent people say and believe so erroneously? Beyond Velikovsky,
the book I wrote to set everyone straight, began as a very unwieldy manuscript
that came fortuitously to Marcello’s attention, and his comments on and
around it began my education about these matters. Marcello also introduced
me to the people who were just then founding the Society for Scientific
Exploration, which became increasingly my chief intellectual mainstay when
my adopted mainstream discipline, “science studies” or “science and technology
studies”, was progressively taken over by know-nothing post-modernist,
relativist, constructivist sociologists and their ilk.
I miss the books and articles that Marcello should
have written. But in a sense he wrote much of the articles and books that
bear the names of others, through the ideas and suggestions and insights
and information that he prodigally heaped on us. It was Marcello who pointed
to the important distinction between “crypto” and “para” claims. It was
Marcello who suggested that extraordinary claims call for extraordinary
proofs. It was Marcello who insisted trenchantly and unceasingly that skepticism
equals neutrality of doubt and that debunkers who styled themselves “skeptics”
were in point of fact pseudo-skeptics.
Roger Wescott was credited---by Marcello himself---with
coining the term “anomalistics” for scholarly studies pertaining to unorthodoxies.
But more than anyone it was Marcello Truzzi who created scholarly foundations
for the field.
Henry H. Bauer
of Scientific Exploration
Dean Emeritus of Arts &
Professor Emeritus of Chemistry
& Science Studies
Virginia Polytechnic Institute
& State University