The title of the website
Visitors to The Gang’s website may be amused or confused by its title—or may not notice it at all. “Assassinated Science” was a humorous play on the title of first volume of assassination articles edited by Professor Jim Fetzer, Assassination Science, when it was published in 1998. But when The Gang continue to play out the same old gag, five years and two volumes later, one wonders whether they are simply poor at humour, or are trying to make an almost subliminal assertion about their own position.
“Assassinated Science” seems to imply that The Gang are indignant and outraged that the principles of Science are being “assassinated” (along the lines of the phrase “character assassination”) by The Great Zapruder Film Hoax. But who are these illustrious scientists who are taking it on themselves to “defend” the status of Science? Indeed, does Science even need “defending”? Surely the Scientific Method itself has not been attacked by the authors of The Great Zapruder Film Hoax—so where is the crisis? Surely any concerned scientist could read the book for themselves, and apply the same scientific principles to check and verify the procedures employed?
Unfortunately, you, the reader of The Gang’s site, are not permitted to know who these illustrious scientists really are. When asked for a list of credentials, backgrounds and qualifications, their sponsor, Debra Conway of JFK Lancer Productions, responded with “NO WAY!” She insists that, since unqualified laymen are permitted to purchase the book, so too should unqualified laymen be permitted to criticise it. Surely, as a matter of free speech, she is correct. But should that be the end of the discussion?
When you buy The Great Zapruder Film Hoax, you know exactly the backgrounds, credentials and qualifications of the authors who have contributed to it. Summary biographies appear on the third-last and second-last pages. You can discover the details of the three Ph.D.’s, the M.D., and the degrees in Science, Engineering, the Arts, and Engineering Physics. You can learn of David Healy’s thirty years of professional experience in the film and television industry, and Jack White’s in the fields of photography and graphic arts. Each contributor’s chapter is also prefaced by an Editor’s Note introducing the author, their background and experience. If we are collectively unqualified to pass comment on some aspect of the assassination, the shortcoming is there for all to see.
And so who are these self-styled “defenders of Science”?
As described on another page, they are led by Dr. Josiah Thompson, whose Ph.D. is surely comparable to that of the Editor of The Great Zapruder Film Hoax, Jim Fetzer. But what has he done since the time he wrote Six Seconds in Dallas, as an Associate Professor? He has surely picked up some “street smarts” in his new career as a private investigator. Is this comparable to Jim Fetzer’s contributions to computer science, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence, let alone Philosophy? You can be the judge of that.
And what of the rest of The Gang? What are their credentials, their qualifications, their backgrounds? Unfortunately, we are banned from knowing. That’s confidential—they’re just private citizens, after all. What little we do know is of their two principal “scientists”, Joe Durnavich and David Wimp—and only because they were assisting and collaborating with me (as described on pages 148–9 of The Great Zapruder Film Hoax) when I first started investigating the Zapruder film in 2000 and 2001. Joe Durnavich has publicly claimed that he has absolutely no training in science or engineering whatsoever—to which I was incredulous: he clearly possesses a knowledge that suggests at least an undergraduate degree, if not more. But that is his claim. David Wimp is an interesting case—he clearly has a great enthusiasm for mathematics and physics, but has trouble understanding it: he is the “internet assistant” described on page 149 of The Great Zapruder Film Hoax. We will more to say about him when we turn to his “scientific” arguments below. Suffice it to say, at this point, that the first equation he presents in defence of his own work is the very equation described in that paragraph of The Great Zapruder Film Hoax, that he steadfastly refused to accept for months! That gives you some indication of where we will be going with Mr. Wimp.
Roland Zavada, the retired scientist from Kodak, would have been a welcome addition to the full-time staff of The Gang. His 40 years of professional experience in the development of film stock and film processing methodologies far outweighs the holding of a degree, or perhaps even a doctorate, in his own field of speciality, mirroring Healy’s and White’s vast experience in their own fields. But Zavada pulled out of the Zapruder Film Symposium in Duluth, on which The Great Zapruder Film Hoax is based, and has retracted so far from The Gang for the production of their website that it would take them a telescope with excellent optics to see him clearly. His behaviour should, in itself, give you some idea as to the scientific credibility of his former collaborators in The Gang.
So what are the qualifications of the rest of The Gang? Your guess is as good as mine. But please don’t ask them about it. They’re rather self-conscious about it.