[From Bill Powers (951121.0600 MST)]
Bruce Abbott (951120.1220 EST) --
Dear Mr. Newton:
We regret to inform you that you paper, "A Theory of Objects in
Motion," has been rejected for publication in the _Proceedings of
the Royal Society_. While the new theory described in your article
is provocative and clearly worth developing further, two of our
reviewers were very concerned with your introduction of "gravity"
as the key explanatory concept for bodies falling toward the Earth,
pendulum motion, and planetary orbits. As you must be aware, this
notion implies a mysterious ability of objects to influence each
other from considerable distances through empty space. Our
reviewers felt that the introduction of such a notion into your
otherwise excellent analysis fatally damages your theory, for it
represents a return to mysticism, which modern science has
Bruce, I found a note stuck to the back of the letter I posted
yesterday, presumably a copy of a reply from I.N. to someone, perhaps
the editor who rejected his article (the first and last parts of the
page are torn off as if by great force).
... irresponsible buffoons undeserving of positions of power. Had
you read the words I used, sir, you would have realized that I
never proposed the existence of a ponderable thing called "gravity"
(wherever did you get that bastardised word, which I have never
heard to be used by any person?), but only a process called
gravitation, a term which any sixth-former knows means a tendency
to move toward, or gravitate toward, something. It may be the
custom of the uneducated to refer to a process (that is, that which
proceeds) as if it were a physical thing, but I assure you, sir,
that it is not mine.
I have said most clearly that two objects tend to accelerate toward
each other as if each is acted upon by a force proportional to the
products of their masses and the inverse of the square of the
distance separating them. Why they do this I know not nor do I
conjecture, nor offer any impertinent suggestions about the cause.
I do not make such hypotheses. I stated a law of gravitation, a law
being merely an observation of the habit of matter in its
movements. I have given an exacting form to this law, which, when
applied to sundry celestial bodies, predicts their movements most
nicely in a manner exceeding condensed. So, Sir, I offer you and
your reviewers the opportunity to take your opinions and ....