Areer D Amage

By the mid-1980s, not only did the volcanic theory appear to be losing out to the Alvarez theory, some of its proponents felt that they had been treated unfairly by the media. In 1993, Dewey McLean, who has done as much as anyone to develop the volcanic alternative, sent Science a complaint that the magazine had shown "indefensible favoritism toward the asteroid and virtual censorship of the volcano extinction theory. Since 1980, Science has published 45 proimpact manuscripts and Research News articles and four strictly nonimpact items."14 Dan Koshland, editor of Science, responded that "For our peer-reviewed papers . . . 'freedom of speech' cannot mean 'equal space' for all points of view."'5

Walter Alvarez passes over these and other unpleasant aspects of K-T debates, saying that "The field as a whole did reasonably well in maintaining a civilized level of discourse."'6 Anti-impactors such as Officer and McLean, and many others, would surely disagree. Walter's claim contrasts vividly with McLean's poignant open letter to Luis Alvarez, and with other information provided on McLean's web page.'7

According to McLean, Luis Alvarez tried to destroy McLean's career starting at one of the first K-T conferences:

Luis Alvarez's response was to take me aside at the first coffee break and threaten my career if I opposed him publicly. I had written the first paper showing that greenhouse warming can trigger global extinctions (for the K-T). Alvarez warned me on what happened to a physicist who had opposed him: "The scientific community pays no more attention to him." Alvarez followed through on his threat.

That situation devastated me. By my own originality, I was a principal in a great scientific debate with one of the world's most creative living geniuses, himself working in an environment predicated upon creativity, and I had been undermined, and nearly destroyed, in my own! The stresses over the damage to my career here at VPI did its work. Throughout 1984, nearly every joint in my body was so inflamed, and swollen, that any movement was excruciating; medication kept me nauseated.

Vicious politics by Alvarez, and some paleobiologists, were injected into my department, and used to undermine me in the early-mid '980s. They nearly destroyed my career, and my health. I developed a Pavlovian-type response to the K-T such that from the mid '980s until the '990s, I had great difficulty doing K-T research. My health was so damaged that I was never able to recover, and had to retire in May, ' 99 5.'8

In his '988 interview with Malcolm Browne of the New York Times, Luis Alvarez said, "If the president of the college had asked me what I thought of Dewey McLean, I'd say he's a weak sister. I thought he'd been knocked out of a ball game and had disappeared, because nobody invites him to conferences anymore."'9

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