of his pen led to a widespread late-nVictorian belief in an advanced, andnperhaps dying, Martian civilization.nMost other astronomers saw no signnof the canals. Lowell’s observationsnwere attributed to his expectations andna psychological tendency of the mindnto connect real points with imaginarynlines when the eye is working at thenlimit of its resolution.nBecause professional astronomersndid not accept Lowell as a colleague,ntheir public criticism of him was sometimesnscathing. But, as Hetheringtonnshows, professional astronomer statusnwas no guarantee against illusion. Anprofessional astronomer, Adriaan vannMaanen, was at the center of an extendednsaga that ran through then1910’s and 1920’s. Soon after he hadnmeasured rotation in the so-called spiralnnebulae, it became apparent thatnthese objects must be giant spiral galaxiesnquite separate from, and well beyond,nour own galaxy. The new perspectiventransformed van Maanen’snmeasurements; initially unremarkable,nthey became controversial. (The spiralngalaxies do indeed rotate, but so slowlyn—the rotation periods are hundreds ofnmillions of years — as to be completelynimperceptible to van Maanen.) Thosenwho thought the spiral nebulae werenpart of our own galaxy pointed to vannMaanen’s results. Those who thoughtnthey were separate systems suspectednthat whatever it was that van Maanennwas measuring it could not be real, yetnprofessional courtesy forbade themnfrom saying so in print. As furthernevidence from other quarters accumulated,nvan Maanen’s position becamenuntenable, but he did not back down.nEventually his claims slipped quietlyninto oblivion.nHetherington puts these episodes inna larger context, maintaining that “science,nthe search for objectivity, hasnbecoine the religion of the twentiethncentury.” No doubt about this; insofarnas the West’s intellectual and culturalnelites have a religion, it is indeed sci­n34/CHRONICLESnence, although, paradoxically, theyntend to be scientifically illiterate; thenword “algebra” makes them nervousnand the word “calculus” makes theirnminds go blank. The scientist has anstrong positive stereotype. He is Mr.nStraight—careful, modest, shy of publicity,nnaively idealistic, and above all,nobjective. With his episodes from astronomicalnhistory as ammunition,nHetherington blows the stereotype tonsmithereens. Scientists are human beings,nand as such they are no more, andnno less, objective than auto workers.nAlthough the scientific stereotype isnbogus, some scientists find it very usefuln• for political purposes. The mainnarticle in the February 7, 1988 issue ofnParade magazine — a section in manynSunday newspapers — featured astronomernand popularizer of science CarlnSagan on the danger of woridwidennuclear war. A preamble, which promisednthat readers “may find some ofnCarl Sagan’s insights uncomfortablenand even provocative,” invited the suppositionnthat his powerful scientificnintellect and objectivity granted himninsights denied to ordinary people.. Hendivulged insights such as: “The nuclearnarms race, jointly pioneered by thenUnited States and the SovietnUnion. . . .” or “we [the US and thenUSSR] share a stated belief in the rightnof the people to rule themselves. Ournsystems of government were born innhistoric revolution against injustice,ndespotism, incompetence and superstition.”nAfter an examination of thenrecord, he was unable to find anynsignificant difference between Americanndemocracy and Soviet totalitarianism.nIn short, he offered moral equivalence,n”scientifically” packaged andnfinished with a pretty, “objective” bow.nEvidently, destruction of the “objectivenscientist” stereotype is an urgentnmatter. But this book will not changenthings much. Inadequate explanationsnof some of the episodes’ contexts willnleave most readers who are not astronomersnin the dark as to what is goingnon, and long stretches of passive, awkward,nscientific journal English will putnthem to sleep. Unfortunately, it willntake much more than this to rip offnProfessor Sagan’s mask of objectivity.nJocelyn Tomkin is on the staff of thenastronomy department at thenUniversity of Texas.nnnThe Tyranny ofnLossnby Katherine DaltonnMeatless Daysnby Sara SulerinChicago: University of Chicago Press;n186 pp., $17.95nThe title of Sara Suleri’s memoir,n”meatless days,” refers to the Pakistaningovernment’s attempt at conservationnfollowing its independence fromnIndia in 1947. Tuesdays and Wednesdaysnwere decreed “meatless,” meaningnno meat would be sold and supposedlynnone eaten. What it actually meant,nrecalls Ms. Suleri, was that butchersnonly worked that much harder on Mondays,nsince the families that could affordnmeat could also afford refrigeration.nWhat should have been days of abstinencenturned into feasts. Even what shenremembers of Ramadan is not the fasts,nbut the breakfasts. In this elegy of hernlife and her family, this is the underlyingntheme: the “abundance of famine,” innPaul Ramsey’s phrase, or, more precisely,nwhat she has gained by loss.nMeatless Days is an extremelynpersonal book, especially to a formernstudent who knows her just wellnenough to think that some of whatnSuleri writes about I have no right tonknow. There is no nakedness like thennakedness of grief, and Suleri is grieving:nfor her dead Welsh mother, runnover by a rickshaw in Lahore; for hernmurdered sister, knocked down by ancar for no reason the police could everndiscover; for her Pakistani journalistnfather, who could not forgive his fivenchildren for growing up and growingnaway, and who finally adopted a newnchild to take their place.nMeatless Days is well-written, andnmoving; all the more so because therenis a certain heartlessness to the YalenSchool of criticism, to peeling awaynmeaning for underlying meaning, andnit is that much more painful to watchnwhen a writer turns her method onnherself. At least Marsyas was flayed bynsomebody else. “Let us wash the wordnof murder from her limbs, we said, letnus transcribe her into some morenseemly idiom. And so with painfulnlabor we placed Ifat’s body in a differentndiscourse, words as private andn