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Ignorant Professors

THE MAIL

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

To the Editors of The Crimson:

I hope Professors Kistiakowsky and Feld are more careful in the laboratory than when making forays into the field of politics. ("CIA Evaluations of Soviet Military Goals Causes Controversy Among Observers," Crimson, January 3, 1977). For while politics is not a strict science, it does have certain rules. One of these, the so-called First Law of Evidence, holds that you don't express opinions about matters you know nothing about. (I believe the same principle obtains in chemistry and physics). Now the incontrovertible fact is that neither Professor Kistiakowsky nor Professor Feld have ever seen, let alone read, the report which is the subject of your article and their comments; such knowledge as they believe themselves to possess stems from garbled and in part misleading newspaper leaks. Yet ignorance does not deter Prof. Feld for "discounting" the report and Prof. Kistiakowsky from dismissing it as a "red herring." Which raises serious questions about their judgment, not to speak of the value of their views on the work in which I happened to have engaged. --Richard Pipes   Baird Professor of History

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