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Open letter to science editors





Some of the most vociferous critics of Worlds in Collision during the past twenty-seven years have been science-fiction/science-popularizer writers. They include L. Sprague de Camp, Martin Gardner, Isaac Asimov, Willy Ley, Daniel Cohen, Charles Fair, and - more recently - Carl Sagan.

This group of individuals has much in common. Their criticisms of Velikovsky are usually purely subjective, highly ad hominem - replete with irrelevancies and innuendo, error-laden, distinctly unscientific, repetitious, and often borrowed from each other. In some cases, one may even seriously Question whether or not a given critic has read Worlds in Collision in anything other than a cursory fashion.

While it is L. Sprague de Camp who particularly concerns us here, he is typical of the aforementioned group.

On April 30, 19 76, under the aegis of the American Humanist Association, the Committee to Scientifically Investigate Claims of Paranormal and Other Phenomena was officially introduced. {The current name is the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.) Its avowed purpose was to save the general public from "pseudo-science " and the "new irrationalism " which the Committee perceived as enveloping an unsuspecting society. A great deal of self-created fan-fare accompanied the event {see Science News, May 29, 19 76). A new journal - The Zetetic - was also announced It was to serve as a forum for the Committee.

The name of Velikovsky was immediately included in the register of subjects to be debunked. De Camp referred to Velikovsky in one of the keynote addresses of the Committee and his remarks were printed as the first article in the July/August 19 76 issue of The Humanist. There, de Camp said the following:

"In the history of cultism, one is always experiencing a feeling of deja vu. Cultist beliefs have been confuted countless times but bob up again as lively as ever. The idea that the earth was once devastated by a comet began in the eighteenth century with Count Gian Rinaldo Carli. It was revived in the nineteenth by Ignatius Donnelly, who also made a popular cult out of earlier scholarly speculations about the lost Atlantis. In our own times, the cometary-collision hypothesis has been revived again with stunning success by Immanuel Velikovsky. "

This statement provoked a response from Professors Lynn E. Rose and Lewis M. Greenberg, both of whom sent letters to The Humanist {reproduced below). The letter of Professor Rose was published in the September/October issue of The Humanist {the bracketed material was deleted by The Humanist). That of Professor Greenberg was forwarded to de Camp by Lee Nisbet, executive editor of The Humanist.

July 13, 1976

To the Editor of the Humanist:

L. Sprague de Camp's [latest (The Humanist, July/August 1976, page 5)] criticism of Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky reveals that de Camp has [still] not done his homework: "Cultist beliefs have been confuted countless times but bob up again as lively as ever. The idea that the earth was once devastated by a comet began in the eighteenth century with Count Gian Rinaldo Carli . . . In our own times, the cometary-collision hypothesis has been revived again with stunning success by Immanuel Velikovsky."

Velikovsky's theories have indeed met with stunning scientific success (despite de Camp's allusion to "countless" confutations). The fact is that Velikovsky's historical and cosmological theories are the only such theories to have fared well when put to the test of all the new scientific information that has come to light in the past quarter of a century: that information has provided an unprecedented degree of solid confirmation for Velikovsky's theories and clear disconfirmation of rival theories.

If de Camp had ever read Velikovsky's Worlds in Collision, he would know better than to say that the idea of a collision between Earth and a cometary body "began in the eighteenth century." Evidence and testimony regarding such an event has been abundant ever since thirty-four centuries ago, when this event took place. (Velikovsky has collected already-existing evidence and testimony and has reconstructed in some detail the probable nature of this event.)

But even if we confine ourselves to "modern" times, it is false that this sort of theory "began in the eighteenth century with Count Gian Rinaldo Carli". William Whiston (as readers of Worlds in Collision know) had published such a theory late in the seventeenth century, before Carli was born.

Obviously de Camp has not done his homework. [He is a self-appointed debunker who thinks it is appropriate for him to denounce this, that, or the other theory, without even knowing what he is talking about.]

That is the trouble with self-appointed idea-killers, whether organised in committees of "zetetics" or not: they are inclined to denounce first, and to leave investigation until later. [And of course once they have gone ahead and denounced, insulted, and called names, why should they then bother to investigate the issues? Debunking is too much fun, and investigation of the issues would require too much exercise of their minds. Besides,] their minds are already made up anyway.

This close-mindedness is a regression toward sixteenth century inquisitorial activities, which likewise were all in the name of what was good for human beings. Such a comparison is not unjustified: the Greek word zetetikos can be translated as "inquisitorial".


(Signed) Lynn E. Rose

July 23, 1976

To the Editor of the Humanist:

The July/August 1976 issue of The Humanist contained a misguided remark by L. Sprague de Camp about Immanuel Velikovsky and the cometary collision hypothesis (p. 5). Once again, de Camp displays how much he is the homo ignoramus of our day. Having never read Worlds in Collision, de Camp is obviously unaware that the cometary-collision hypothesis originated with William Whiston in "modern times" long before Count Gian Rinaldo Carli was even a twinkle in his grandfather's eye. Moreover, the documentary record of mankind is replete with such evidence going back into ancient times. Additionally, de Camp's confreres - Isaac Asimov and Harold Urey - have done their own cometary-collision thing. Asimov employed it in his popularised Guide to the Bible and Urey wrote a letter to NATURE in 1973 concerning cometary collisions and the end of geological ages.

As a member of the new Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, de Camp has clearly bedded down with his own gaggle of Cultists who will surely make every effort to plunge free-thinking in this country into the darkest of dark ages. As editor of The Humanist, it behooves you to check a little more closely on the accuracy of your contributors, especially when one is dealing with the likes of de Camp who is especially notorious for dropping the bald statement. There is only one thing worse than pseudo-science and that is the pseudo-sophisticate pseudo-intellectual who attempts to attack what he believes to be pseudo-science.

In reading de Camp's "Little Green Men from Afar," I, too, had a feeling of déjà vu. For a moment, I thought I was back in 17th century Salem.

(Signed) Lewis M. Greenberg

In a letter dated August 18, 1976, de Camp replied to Greenberg and stated that he had, in fact, read Worlds in Collision when it first appeared. Moreover, he had written a review of Worlds in Collision for the September, 1950 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. A copy of the review was enclosed De Camp wrote: "I thought Velikovsky's theories nonsense then, and I still think them nonsense. I still have the book. "

He then referred Greenberg to the third chapter of Martin Gardner's Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science and the article by Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin in the October 15, 1952 issue of the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. These two items were intended to provide "a more extended analysis of Velikovsky's ideas. "

A concluding passing reference was made to "the Marinatos-Calanopoulos theory of Atlantis-in-Thera "with an inference by de Camp that while he "might change a few details" of his Worlds in Collision review to take into account this theory, "the general thrust of the article would remain the same "

Upon receipt of de Camp's letter, with its enclosed review, Greenberg responded with a point-by-point rebuttal.

August 25, 1976

Dear Mr. de Camp:

When I received your letter of August 18 (with the attached copy of your 1950 "Book Review" of Worlds in Collision), it gave me an inkling of the sense of satisfaction which Odysseus must have felt when the Trojans eagerly took the Wooden Horse into their city. You claim to have "read" Worlds in Collision (I still question that), but are apparently quite oblivious to key scientific and academic advances of the last 26 years. For you, the findings of the Space Age might just as well not exist; and that is why you are saying the same things in 1976 that you said in 1950. A comparison between your "Book Review" of 1950, Lost Continents of 1948-1954, and "Little Green Men from Afar" of 1976 (The Humanist) clearly reveals that fact.

First, the "Book Review":

A) In general, the entire piece is an audacious sham and hardly constitutes what one would call a meaningful book review. In the equivalent of seven full columns, spread over four pages, nearly 30% has nothing to do with Worlds in Collision. This is a typical sophomoric ploy bury what you haven't really read in a debunking sideshow of extraneous material.

B) As to that part of the "review" which does pertain to Velikovsky, you are incorrect on all counts; and unlike you, I will now provide the relevant data to back up my statement.

Point # 1: Venus did not skim "the earth about 1600 or 1500 B.C." Velikovsky never indicated any interaction between these two celestial bodies prior to 1500 B.C. Indeed, subsequent discussions of the problem have refined the date to ca. 1450 B.C.

Point # 2: Velikovsky never claimed that the "grazing contact [between Venus and Earth] is remembered as the opening of the Red Sea in 'Exodus' . . .". Velikovsky specifically refrains from identifying the Sea of Passage (See W in C, p. 69).

Point # 3: Some of Earth's petroleum deposits are now believed to be of recent date and extraterrestrial origin as claimed in W in C, pp. 53-58. (See Science, 116 (Oct. 24, 1952), pp. 437-439; Nature, 196 (Oct. 6, 1962), pp. 11-13; Science, 153 (Sept. 16, 1966), pp. 1393-1395; Pensee I (May, 1972), pp. 14-15.)

Point # 4: Manna - Re the conversion of hydrocarbons into carbohydrates, see Science News, 106 (1974), p. 99; Nature, 229 (1971), p. 79; Pensee III (Winter, 1973), pp. 45-46; NASA Contract NASr-88-March 1, 1963; SIS Review (Spring, 1976), pp. 9ff. (from England).

Point #5: Atlantis Velikovsky only devoted 2 pages to the subject in a book of 400 pages, but since you saw fit to make so much of it, and are now admittedly aware of the work of Marinatos and Galanopoulos (of which you were cognizant in the 1970 Dover publication of Lost Continents, p. 204), certain items of clarification are called for. First of all, Velikovsky does not agree that Thera was Atlantis; and as far as "knocking a zero off Plato's figure" is concerned, why did you not castigate Marinatos and Galanopoulos the way you did Velikovsky? You are not only inconsistent in your writing, you are also arbitrarily critical - Cp. p. 204 with p. 90 of Lost Continents and explain the rationale behind that one. For additional bibliography on the "extra zero problem", see Pensee VI (Winter, 1973-74), pp. 51-54; KRONOS, I,2 (Summer, 1975), pp. 93-99; Kretika Chronika (1950).

Point #6: Collective Amnesia - You have totally misunderstood the traumatic process as proposed by Velikovsky. As the Editor of Pensee stated in Pensee VII (Spring, 1974), pp. 47-48: "This hypothesis intended as an extension of the psychoanalytic concept of traumatic amnesia to the body politic, was . . . concerned with the reasons for the subsequent misinterpretations of extant texts pertaining to cosmic catastrophes, and not to the existence of those texts. This seemingly straightforward distinction was to be buried underneath the mountain of vituperation which followed upon the publication of Worlds in Collision . . . [Thus] a theory solely aimed at the perception of the evidence for catastrophes was misconstrued to mean that the evidences for the catastrophes were non-existent.... One begins to suspect that either the critics are not reading Worlds in Collision or that they are in fact too busy reading each other to check back to the original source in order to discover Velikovsky's actual definition and usage of the term, 'collective amnesia'."

These words are especially applicable to you, Mr. de Camp, as well as Laurence J. Lafleur, Martin Gardner, Daniel Cohen, Isaac Asimov, and the late Willy Ley. You are all so busy quoting each other that you have forgotten where erroneous notions first originated and you are to be the guardians of objective thought?!

(Also see KRONOS, I, 1 (Spring-1975), pp. 3-20 and pp. 21-26 where fictional examples of collective amnesia are presented in the writings of Isaac Asimov - and this from an individual who vulgarly attacks Velikovsky and his ideas at every opportunity.)

Point # 7: On the incorrectness of Darwin see Earth in Upheaval (pp. 255-259); KRONOS, I, 4 (Winter-1976), pp. 98-110; N. Macbeth, Darwin Retried; Harper's (February, 1976), pp. 70-75; Creation Research Society (Quarterly, Vol. 12, #4 (March, 1976), pp. 197-200.

Point #8: Velikovsky, Brasseur, and the Troano Codex - see KRONOS, I, 1 (Spring-1975), pp. 75-79 "Velikovsky drew from Brasseur's translation of Mayan glyphs - both those of the Troano Codex and those of the calendar stones absolutely nothing except restatements of the commonplace of Mayan catastrophist traditions"(p. 78).

Point # 9: The historicity of Moses and Joshua is a moot point and certainly not to be treated as cavalierly as you do. (What is your attitude about the historicity of Jesus?) However, your opinion hardly stands up against the great scholars of this subject (see Monotheism and Moses, ed. by R.J. Christen and H.E. Hazelton, 1969, pp. 59ff.).

Point # 10: The authenticity of Hebrew history and Hebrew writing long before the time of Samuel gains considerable credence from the recent finds at Ebla in Syria (e.g. Science News, 8/21/76, pp. 117-118).

Point #11: Your statement that "the Babylonians left clear records of Venus five thousand years ago, behaving just as it does now" is dead wrong. In addition to W in C, "Venus Moves Irregularly", see Pensee III (Winter, 1973), pp. 18-22 ("Babylonian Observations of Venus" by Prof. Lynn E. Rose); also the "Analysis of the Babylonian Observations of Venus" by Lynn E. Rose and Raymond C. Vaughan in KRONOS, II, 2 (forthcoming). Moreover, your comments about the possibility of Mercury not being seen are contradicted by Egyptian religion as well as the modern scholarship of de Santillana and von Dechend in Hamlet's Mill; and your remarks about priestly calendrical inaccuracy do not square with your belief in the supposed accuracy of Babylonian observations of Venus. You are, therefore, both factually and logically in error. (Also see Pensee V, pp. 3940.)

Point # 12: Your statement that "Velikovsky's theory is ridiculous from the point of view of physics and mechanics - sciences with which the author does not seem acquainted [sic]" is only one more example of your own uninformed posture. (See Pensee VIII (Summer, 1974), pp. 8-26 "Did Worlds Collide?" and " 'Proofs' of the Stability of the Solar System" by Robert W. Bass; KRONOS, I, 3 (Fall-1975), pp. 59-72 "Can Worlds Collide?" by Robert W. Bass (who is a Rhodes Scholar and superior celestial mechanician).

Point #13: Your statement that "there is no reason to think that planets give birth to comets and comets . . . do not evolve into planets" is now obsolete and ludicrous. You display total ignorance of the cosmological theories and work of S.K. Vsekhsvyatskii (head of the Kiev Observatory), R.A. Lyttleton, W.H. McCrea (former President of the Royal Astronomical Society), and M.A. Mamedov. Furthermore, "comets are no longer regarded as insubstantial bodies which would cause no harm in case of collision. Whipple has suggested that Pluto was once a comet"(Pensee I (May, 1972), p. 17, emphasis added). Additionally, David Morrison of the Univ. of Hawaii says "that Pluto's accretion in the presence of methane might well have produced a methane-ice laced body, perhaps like the head of a comet or a chunk from Saturn's rings with a not unreasonable density of as little as 2 grams per cubic centimetre" (See Science News, July 17, 1976, p. 35, emphasis added).

Point #14: Concerning the energy needed to change the Earth's rotation, see 1. Michelson, "Mechanics Bears Witness," Pensee VII (Spring, 1974), pp. 15-21. It was Michelson's AAAS speech.

Second, your letter:

A) Your "Book Review" was properly printed in Astounding Science Fiction since it is an astounding piece of fanciful and diaphanous inaccuracy.

B) With regard to Velikovsky, Martin Gardner's Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science is as outmoded, incorrect, and fossilised as your own "Book Review"; and in the words of Ian MacIver of the Univ. of Alberta: "Time has obviously caught up with some of Velikovsky's critics, but their outdated diatribes still appear in the marketplace" (Pensee II (Fall, 1972), pp. 42-43 and Pensee I, pp. 11-12 for relevant criticism of Martin Gardner and Daniel Cohen).

C) The article by Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 96, Oct. 1952 was openly discredited for what it was 13 years ago. I refer you to The American Behavioural Scientist, Vol. VII, no. 1, Sept. 1963, pp. 17-18 and The Velikovsky Affair (1966), Appendix II, pp. 251-254 where Payne-Gaposchkin was clearly shown to be the Mrs. Malaprop of the Milky Way; and that is a charitable comment.

In conclusion, I wish to state for the record that I stand by every word contained in my July 23rd letter to The Humanist and would only add that both your "Book Review" and letter are "a farcical farrago of preposterous amphigory" to quote your own words (which, incidentally, partially seems to qualify you as a charlatan under your own definition of p. 8 in the July/August issue of The Humanist).

It is also glaringly obvious that you never read Worlds in Collision in the true sense of the word; and the monotonous repetition of the story about the little green men, first in your "Book Review", then in your Lost Continents, p. 91, and again in The Humanist, leads me to conclude that you are the only one who has ever seen them.

Finally, I would recommend that you publicly retract your earlier remarks about Velikovsky, offer a written apology to him, and voluntarily withdraw from the Committee for the Investigation of the Paranormal since you are among the least fit to clean anyone else's intellectual house.


(Signed) Lewis M. Greenberg

In the meantime, Rose wrote directly to de Camp and sent him a copy of his original letter to The Humanist.

September 10, 1976

Dear Mr. de Camp:

Various portions of my letter to The Humanist were deleted by them from the printed version.

A copy of the original letter is enclosed.

Sincerely yours,

(Signed) Lynn E. Rose
Professor of Philosophy

In a letter dated September 14, 1976, de Camp replied to Rose, informing the latter that he had read Worlds in Collision and reviewed it in Astounding Science Fiction. De Camp refrained from sending Rose a copy of his review, however, since he did "not wish to engage in an extended argument over Velikovsky" having already received "a four-page, single-spaced letter of animated argument" from one of Rose's fellow Velikovskians, Lewis M Greenberg

De Camp begged off further discussion, "not because [he had] been converted, or [was] fleeing in disorder, but because it would, however intellectually stimulating, cut seriously into this/ working time, and the was] under the unfortunate necessity of earning [his] living "

Additionally, de Camp expressed that his "experience indicates that such arguments are usually futile, the cultist mind being proof alike against the arguments of logic and the lessons of experience." He then referred Rose to the "anti-Velikovskian arguments" of Martin Gardner and Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin - the same sources previously cited to Greenberg.

Rose's rebuttal to de Camp's letter was telling.

October 1, 1976

Dear Mr. de Camp:

In your letter of September 14, 1976, you state that you have read Worlds in Collision, that you reviewed it in 1950, but that you are not sending me a copy of that review because you do not want to debate about Velikovsky. The reasons you give are that you do not have time, and that it would be "futile" anyway, "the cultist mind being proof alike against the arguments of logic and the lessons of experience". You have made your position clear: that you see nothing wrong with accusing people of being cultists, and then refusing to discuss the matter further or to provide evidence and arguments, since you don't want to debate with people who are cultists!

I have known for some time about your views concerning Velikovsky. I already have copies not only of your 1950 review, but also of your further statements made in 1954, 1964, 1967, and 1976. Neither your review nor these later remarks provide any evidence that you know what is contained in Worlds in Collision.

The mistakes that you persist in making serve only to underline your unfamiliarity with Velikovsky's work. You did not even know about Whiston, let alone all the ancient material concerning the near-collisions between Earth and Venus thirty-four centuries ago. And your 1950 review was simply a repetition of the errors of other "reviewers" such as Payne-Gaposchkin, Kaempffert, and Edmondson. Take the Ninsianna observations, for example. Schiaparelli dated them at about the eighth or seventh centuries. Kugler put them in the reign of Ammizaduga, supposedly from 1977 to 1956. Sarton reported this as "the close of the third millennium". In 1950 Sarton was quoted as an authority by Payne-Gaposchkin (who later admitted that she had not even read Worlds in Collision when she wrote her "review"). Kaempffert and then Edmondson, using many of the same words next converted "the close of the third millennium" into "3000 B.C." Kaempffert even said that the ancients "saw the planet exactly as we see it". Then you came along and wrote that "the Babylonians left clear records of observations of Venus five thousand years ago, behaving just as it does now". Where did you get such misinformation, if not from the likes of Payne-Gaposchkin, Kaempffert, and Edmondson? The age of the Ninsianna observations is still not resolved, but they may be no more than three thousand years old. And they certainly do not show Venus "behaving just as it does now". Actually, the tablets support Velikovsky's claim that the orbits of Earth and Venus have changed. They do not support any claim that the orbits at that time were what they are now.

When a number of "reviews" repeat the same errors, it becomes patently clear that the reviewers are depending upon each other rather than upon the book in question. If you had paid more attention to Velikovsky's presentation of the various scholarly accounts of the Venus tablets (Worlds in Collision, pages 198-199), and less attention to the errors of Payne-Gaposchkin, Kaempffert, and Edmondson, you would have known better than to speak of "clear records" from "five thousand years ago", showing Venus "behaving just as it does now".

In my letter to The Humanist, I described you as "a self-appointed debunker who thinks it is appropriate for him to denounce this, that, or the other theory, without even knowing what he is talking about". Your handling of the Ninsianna tablets is just one instance of this.

Now that you have done your name-calling ("pseudoscience", "cultists", etc.), and now that the recipients of your slanders are calling your bluff, you have decided that arguments and evidence are beneath you. You continue to have plenty of time for calling names and making charges, but no time to back anything up. You say that you are too busy "earning my living". Could it be that you have found a better living in colourful name-calling than in serious investigation of the issues?

I am delighted to have your letter of September 14, 1976. It provides still more evidence that my analysis of you and your fellow "zetetiks" in my letter to The Humanist was right on target:

"That is the trouble with self-appointed idea-killers, whether organised in committees of "zetetics" or not: they are inclined to denounce first, and to leave investigation until later. And of course once they have gone ahead and denounced, insulted, and called names, why should they then bother to investigate the issues? Debunking is too much fun, and investigation of the issues would require too much exercise of their minds. Besides, their minds are already made up anyway."

Sincerely yours,

(Signed) Lynn E. Rose
Professor of Philosophy

While the exchange with de Camp was taking place, Professor Marcello Truzzi - editor of The Zetetic and co-chairman of the Committee - was indirectly drawn into the fray.

Truzzi wrote to Greenberg on September 23 in regard to an Editorial Statement in KRONOS II, 1 which had taken the Committee and The Zetetic to task over their intended approach to Velikovsky. Truzzi agreed "that Velikovsky's work needs to be examined far more seriously and courteously" and defended the basic position of The Zetetic. In a most interesting gesture, Truzzi expressed his hope that Greenberg would eventually decide to join the Committee. He also brought up the subject of de Camp, having received a copy of Greenberg's letter to de Camp of August 25.

With regard to de Camp, Truzzi stated: "I do not consider his 1950 review of Velikovsky's Worlds in Collision one of the better or most enlightened critiques of this book. " Furthermore, Truzzi said: "I also agree with de Grazia that the initial reaction of the scientific community to Velikovsky's books was often unfair and sometimes outrageous. "

He "was delighted to hear of the AAAS meeting's consideration of [Velikovsky's] works [sic] " and "found Professor Sagan's critique [which he had recently read] highly convincing, but aside from the particular issues involved, . . . was very pleased to see the non-polemical tone of Sagan's manuscript.... "

The following letter was Greenberg's answer to Truzzi:

September 30, 1976

Dear Mr. Truzzi:

Thank you for your letter of Sept. 23 which, to date, contained some of the most level-headed statements yet to be heard from anyone affiliated with either the Committee, The Zetetic, or The Humanist Nevertheless, there are certain misperceptions and misconceptions on your part that require clarification. I shall enumerate these according to the general order in which they appeared in your letter.

I) If I have made "a great mistake in presuming that the purpose of [your] journal is exclusively that of debunking claims of paranormal and anomalous events," it is only because your own zealous public announcements and press releases have indicated absolutely nothing to the contrary. From your letter, it is still unclear to me what your alternative attitude is. Whether you "debunk" collectively or singly, you are still "debunking", while the letter to Uri Geller is certainly no better than the anti-astrology manifesto. In fact, it is more ominous. Furthermore, the inclusion of L. Sprague de Camp, Martin Gardner, Daniel Cohen, Charles Fair, and Isaac Asimov on the Committee only serves to reinforce my reaction to that body, Ben Bova's applause notwithstanding. The aforementioned gentlemen seem to thrive on debunking and tearing down the ideas and theories of others, in an all-inclusive indiscriminate scouring, without providing anything substantial in the way of substitution. As such, these individuals take on an aura of hieratic despotism.

In sharp contrast to this attitude, stands the approach of Immanuel Velikovsky. He questions without personal assault, attempts to restore the reputations of others, does not patronise his readers, writes in a lucid manner, offers fully reconstructed alternatives, and has made a number of startling and reasonable prognostications. Velikovsky does not indulge in debunking historical and cosmological theory for its own sake and let it go at that.

If those of us who have been positively influenced by Dr. Velikovsky's theories are not as restrained in our responses, it is because we have run out of cheeks to turn. It is also an irrefutable fact that the harshest critics have not really read that which they criticise so vehemently.

For the moment, however, I will take the attitude of Harry Truman. You say that you intend to be objective. Very well. Show me! I'm from Missouri.

2) Your open invitation to join the Committee will be given careful thought, though a wait-and-see posture is best for all concerned at this time.

3) It is indeed true that de Camp's 1950 review of Worlds in Collision was not "one of the better or most enlightened critiques of this book" and I commend you for your perspicacity and outspoken evaluation. Unfortunately, one is hard-pressed to find any 1950 critique of Worlds in Collision which was enlightened; and the passage of an entire generation has not yet fully cleared the polluted legacy of that shameful year. This leads me to the subject of de Camp. The basic point (which you apparently missed) is that, for de Camp, 1976 is 1950. Therefore, my exchange with him does not merely centre on a 1950 review but basically deals with the perpetuation of sheer ignorance and narrow rninded scholasticism. Moreover, to refer me to the 1952 statements of Payne-Gaposchkin and Martin Gardner not only proves the point, it adds insult to injury. Let us examine Gardner's opus for a moment. The chapter on Velikovsky was written before Earth in Upheaval and reflects no awareness of geomagnetic reversals (see p. 29 and compare with Nature, 259, Jan. 22, 1976, pp. 177-179 and the Science section of Time, Sept. 6, 1971, pp. 40-41); no acceptance of electro-magnetic forces (p. 33), and so on. Is this a book to be used in any argument against Velikovsky? Hardly. Yet, where is Gardner's revision and/or retraction? And this is an objective debunker? Indeed, Carl Sagan picked up the entire "ghost" of the last paragraph on p. 29 and used it in his 1976 paper against Velikovsky which shows that he is no more enlightened than de Camp (more on Sagan below).

4) It is highly doubtful that de Camp will answer me. For one thing, he claims, to a colleague of mine, that he is too busy earning his living. This does not prevent him from travelling to Buffalo, however, in order to entertain his colleagues with off-the-cuff witticisms about Velikovsky and others. By the way, were it not for de Camp's criticism of an interpretation of Herodotos, the subject of Atlantis, and the erroneous assumption that Venus and Earth had near lithospheric contact, he would not have much of a case anyway. But, since he "still has the book" (a favourite oft-repeated remark), de Camp may now wish to "re-read" Worlds in Collision and come up with a new argument. Be that as it may, you are more than welcome to publish my letter of Aug. 25 in The Zetetic. I would only ask that I be shown any galleys in advance in the event that parts are deleted.

5) Carl Sagan's critique: This is a separate matter which will be attended to in due course. For now, I should only like to make the following observations: A) It appears that Sagan is currently being brought into the lists as de Camp's replacement, since the latter has been shown to be ineffectual, outdated, and worn out in his criticism of Velikovsky; B) This does not automatically mean that Sagan's critique will fare any better; and while you may have found his arguments "highly convincing," I would suggest that we wait for the "official" publication. It would be premature to criticise in toto a paper that is not yet in final publication form; C) The AAAS meeting of 1974 will be properly judged by history for what it was; D) In light of the abundant confirmatory data retrieved from space exploration and space probes, regarding Velikovsky's cosmological theories, Sagan should be more cautious in his denial of the priority and correctness of Velikovsky's advance claims; and if Sagan persists in. this pejorative attitude, he will have created an entirely new and even greater problem for the Committee. For, if Velikovsky is indefinitely denied scientific recognition, he must be acknowledged as the greatest sorcerer of all time. Otherwise, how else can one account for Velikovsky's correct anticipation of the Earth's magneto sphere, the Moon's remanent magnetism, the argon on Mars, Venus' high surface temperature, the electrical charge of the Sun, the radio noises from Jupiter, and chlorine in Saturn's atmosphere, etc., etc., etc.? E) And finally, regarding Sagan's "non-polemical tone" how does one classify a comment such as: "The only thing that does not seem to drop from the comet [Venus] is cholesterol to harden Pharaoh's heart." Johnny Carson and his audience would surely know the answer to that one.


(Signed) Lewis M. Greenberg
Editor-in-Chief KRONOS

Truzzi also wrote to Rose on October 11, thanking him for a copy of Rose's October I letter to de Camp. Now that it was becoming embarrassingly obvious that the Committee's lead-off hitter - de Camp - had struck out on three consecutive Velikovskian pitches, without so much as taking the bat off his shoulder, Truzzi decided to "clarify a couple of matters"

"First of all," he countered, "though Mr. de Camp is a member of our Committee he does not speak for it Second, The Humanist magazine should not be confused with The Zetetic or our Committee. The AHA is a sponsor of our Committee but we are independent from them. "

Truzzi also maintained that "the Committee's membership, including its Fellows, does not take any position re Velikovsky and his theories. " How this position can square with the previous public and printed statements of de Camp, Paul Kurtz - editor of The Humanist and co-chairman of the Committee and Science News defies logical analysis.

The remainder of Truzzi's letter to Rose reiterated the same basic points contained in his letter to Greenberg of September 23. Sagan's AAAS paper was once again invoked, though now Truzzi modified his earlier attitude somewhat: "It is not so much that I find it completely convincing {though I do for the most part) as I am pleased with its non-polemical tone and the absence of the ad hominems" present in the current debate. Perhaps, Truzzi had decided to "play it safe" where Sagan was concerned in light of what was happening to de Camp and Greenberg's letter of September 30.

Rose's devastating retort of October 28 evoked no further word from Truzzi to him.

October 28, 1976

Dear Professor Truzzi:

In your letter of October 11, 1976, you say that you wish to be judged by your "formal group actions". So far your formal group actions have generated a number of vicious, ad hominem slanders against Velikovsky. No member of your group has seen fit to repudiate those slanders. Until I see a public change of posture, I will continue to be guided by your public indications that you stand shoulder-to-shoulder with de Camp and against your various targets.

You and de Camp and your other associates have engaged in a massive publicity campaign designed to stress your united front against what you call anti scientific and pseudoscientific irrationalism, subjectivism, and obscurantism. You have publicly associated your names with one another in this cause. You and your associates have so far presented to the public: a Conference of the American Humanist Association devoted conspicuously to the debunking of what you decide is anti science and pseudoscience; the formation of a Committee to Scientifically Investigate Claims of Paranormal and Other Phenomena; the announcement of a journal called the Zetetik to carry out the aims of the Committee; and an issue of The Humanist that published a number of papers by Committee members delivered at the Conference. The Conference, the Committee, The Humanist, and the Zetetik have interlocking directorates and personnel, and all four of them operate from the very same business office. You and your associates have so many irons in the fire that the rest of us find it impossible to tell which one(s) we are being branded with at any given time, or which of their hats the branders of the moment are wearing. The brands are all the same, and the branders are all the same. Only their hats are different, and you can well understand that we who are being branded do not have the patience to participate in the game of Mad Hatter that your group is playing.

You speak of how there will be a "fair" treatment of Velikovsky in the pages of the Zetetik. How can that be? You first set up a journal to investigate pseudoscience and then you write about Velikovsky. The very fact that you have Velikovsky on your list of pseudoscientific topics indicates that the treatment is going to be grossly unfair. You frequently criticise people for what you call ad hominem remarks. But what could be more vicious and more ad hominem than your classifying Velikovsky as an example of anti scientific and pseudoscientific irrationalism?

You seem unaware of the gross irresponsibility and injustice of all this. If Rawlins' forthcoming paper on Velikovsky is to be taken seriously as a "fair" investigation, why is it to be on the pages of the Zetetik? If you and Rawlins really wanted to be "fair", you would publish it in Icarus or Scientific American or Nature, and you would prevail upon the editors to have a pro-Velikovsky reply published in the same issue. That might be "fair". Instead, you are planning to write about Velikovsky on the pages of a journal devoted to debunking what you call pseudoscience, and you see nothing ad hominem about this. How would you like it if I started a journal to expose child-molesters, and announced a forthcoming essay about Marcello Truzzi? Would you call that "fair"?

* * *

Over the past quarter of a century, we have witnessed continual confirmation of Velikovsky's predictions; these predictions concern everything from the very high temperature of Venus to the radiocarbon age of artifacts from the tomb of King Tutankhamen, and everything from the fact that Jupiter gives off radio noise to the language (early Greek) in which the Linear B inscriptions were written.

Why have Velikovsky's predictions turned out to be true, while the predictions based on orthodox theories have turned out to be ill-founded? The answer is simple: Velikovsky's theory is correct, and the conventional and orthodox theories of our time are incorrect. We are witnessing a revolution in science. As Ralph Juergens put it, "Seldom in the history of science have so many diverse anticipations the natural fallout from a single central idea - been so quickly substantiated by independent investigation."

Velikovsky's theories have met the test of time and do not deserve the treatment that you and de Camp and Sagan are giving them. With regard to Sagan's paper or papers, I have seen three substantially different versions, the latest of which was not completed until nearly two years after the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco on February 25, 1974, at which "it" was delivered. The latest revision did not appear until February 6, 1976, and was so substantially different from what I had seen before that I wonder if there is really just one paper involved anymore? I don't know whether Sagan will publish that last version or whether he is still trying to fix it up. I will refrain from detailed comments until he gets it the way he wants it. Suffice it to say that the three versions that I saw were entirely without merit. They are long-winded hatchet jobs, much of which is fictionalised and does not even have any relevance to anything Velikovsky ever said. Your remark about the way certain scientists have treated Velikovsky in the past is an excellent description of Sagan, who has also attacked Velikovsky "on false and stupid grounds". Sagan even tries to erase Velikovsky's unprecedented record of correct predictions.

With regard to de Camp, everything that he has done lately has provided still more evidence that my analysis of him in my letter to The Humanist was correct. You inform me in your letter that de Camp has now written a letter to you in which he replies to points made by Greenberg. Why did he address himself to you and not to Greenberg? Is de Camp trying to "answer" Greenberg in such a private way that Greenberg will have no knowledge of what de Camp said about him, and thus no opportunity to defend himself? Isn't that like having a trial whose proceedings are secret and at which the defendant and the defence are not allowed to be present? Wasn't that a technique used by the Inquisition?


(Signed) Lynn E. Rose
Professor of Philosophy

In a letter also dated October 11, Truzzi wrote to Greenberg The exchange between Greenberg and de Camp was now deemed "heavily ad hominem" and "inappropriate for The Zetetic" A forthcoming article on Velikovsky by Dennis Rawlins was again cited with the express hope that it would "elicit the kind of exchange between camps that would be most fruitful for objective inquiry. "

Truzzi also enclosed a copy of a letter by de Camp to Truzzi dated September 26. {This was the de Camp letter alluded to in Rose's last letter to Truzzi.) Truzzi sent it to Greenberg so that he would "at least know where [de Camp was] coming from and what the basis for his antagonism might be." The supposedly "insulting tone "of Greenberg's earlier letter of August 25 to de Camp was given as the excuse for de Camp's "unwillingness to respond . . . directly and in detail" to Greenberg.

An analysis of de Camp's September 26 letter to Truzzi is indeed an eye-opener. In that letter de Camp took umbrage over the implication that his "review " of Worlds in Collision was a "sham " and "science fiction " and that he was a "charlatan "

De Camp felt that "an exhaustive reply to Mr. Greenberg's letter would take months, running down an his alleged authorities. Nobody would pay me for the time thus spent: and, if I know Mr. Greenberg's ilk, my reply would merely elicit a longer outburst. Argument with a fanatic is as futile as bailing out the ocean. " Without answering a single previous rebuttal point, de Camp then proceeded

to raise the following new objections to the thesis of Worlds in Collision:

1) "The body whose approach caused Velikovsky's main catastrophe 'was thrown off by Jupiter in a violent explosion [sic], (WIC, pp. 369f, 172ff). This theory was put forward by Proctor in 1870 but has not been taken seriously for decades."

2) "As was suspected before the Mariner [sic] missions and is now confirmed [sic], Jupiter is essentially a ball of hydrogen, with small fractions of other elements." Furthermore, "there is no phenomenon known in the solar system whereby a planet could expel a mass, also of planetary dimensions, so that it would leave the parent planet's gravitational field, and that this mass would remain together in one lump. "

3) The depth of Jupiter's atmosphere would prevent a missile of heavier core material "from reaching outer space, even if it started with the needed velocity." [But see the article by Eric Crew, "Stability of Solid Cores in Gaseous Planets", elsewhere in this issue.]

4) The mass of comets is astronomically negligible. "The nearest men have come to weighing a comet is the Tunguska meteor fall of 1908 .... So to call Venus a comet or an ex-comet is like confusing a rhinoceros beetle with a rhinoceros. "

5) A comet's tad is insufficient to produce significant terrestrial petroleum deposits. "If such a tail were condensed to the density of iron, 'I could put the whole thing in my briefcase'," said de Camp quoting the late Willy Ley.

6) " . . . a grazing contact between Venus (the present planet, not the supposed comet) and earth ... would certainly have drastic effects.... If such a collision had occurred, we should not be here to argue about it " [But see the article by E. Milton, "As Worlds Collide," KRONOS II, 3 (February, 1977), pp. 3-11.]

De Camp concluded his letter with a smokescreen of innuendo. "In the light of the foregoing, one need not be a scientific genius to decide that Velikovsky's central thesis is nonsense, to be filed with Symmes's hollow earth and Churchward's Mu. "

He then excused himself "from taking further part in this argument; I have already wasted most of a working day. I say 'wasted' because, no matter what I said, I do not think it would make any impression on Mr. Greenberg, any more than I could convince a devout Fundamentalist that his hairy ancestors sat on a branch and scratched "

Greenberg's answer to de Camp's criticism, contained in a letter to Truzzi of October 25, tallied the ever-increasing number of accumulated errors committed by de Camp {who was also sent a copy).

October 25, 1976

Dear Mr. Truzzi,

Thank you for your letter of Oct. 11 with a copy of de Camp's "response" of Sept. 26 to my letter of Aug. 25. We have now come full circle.

Before entering into any discussion of de Camp's latest objections to the thesis of Worlds in Collision, it is necessary to point out that he has yet to defend the factual inaccuracies and distortions of his earlier criticism and also failed to retract his original erroneous statement in The Humanist which initially provoked this present exchange (see enclosed letter of July 23). For Specifics:

Error #1) "The idea that the earth was once devastated by a comet began in the eighteenth century with Count Gian Rinaldo Carli" (de Camp, p. 5, July/August issue of The Humanist; also see de Camp, Lost Continents, 1954 & 1970 ed., p. 89). In "modern" times, William Whiston was the first to put forth this theory as correctly discussed by Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, pp. 41-42. Even Martin Gardner's, Fads & Fallacies (which de Camp so frequently cites), p. 33, acknowledges Whiston's "priority".

Error #2) "The Babylonians left clear records of Venus five thousand years ago, behaving just as it does now." This compound error was clearly exposed by Prof. Lynn E. Rose of SUNY-Buffalo in his letter of Oct. I to de Camp. De Camp's additional errors, as enumerated in Points # 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,12, 13, and 14 of my Aug. 25 letter, still stand.

Re de Camp's Sept. 26 letter:

Error #1) de Camp quotes Worlds in Collision, p. 369 - Venus "was thrown off by Jupiter in a violent explosion [sic]." Should be: Venus "was thrown off by Jupiter in a violent expulsion." Error #2) de Camp makes it seem as though Proctor proposed a Jovian origin for Venus in 1870. Proctor actually suggested that "the giant planets were 61

once suns [which] ejected their smaller comets and meteor systems." (See Knowledge, April 1887.)

Error # 3) Proctor's theory "has not been taken seriously for decades." Totally wrong see Lyttleton (1960, 1961), Vsekhsvyatskii (1958-1974), Mamedov (1969).

Errors #4 & 5) It was not "the Mariner [sic] missions" but the Pioneer probes which relayed data about Jupiter. Jupiter is still assumed to have "a rocky core of an estimated 10 to 20 Earth masses". (See Industrial Research, June 1976, p. 72 and KRONOS, II, 1, pp. 11-15 that is still a sufficient quantity of material to form a daughter planet; even more would have been present in earlier times, if a planet-sized body had been expelled.)

Error # 6) Escape velocity from Jupiter at its equator is 46 km/sec. and not 61.12 km/sec. (See Yale Scientific Magazine, April 1967, p. 14). Even the late Willy Ley noted this.

Error # 7) Velikovsky never proposed a volcanic process for the birth of Venus (See YSM, pp. 14ff.; KRONOS, II, 1 (August 1976), pp. 3-5; Also see Ambartsumyan, Problems in Contemporary Cosmogony, 2nd ed., 1972).

Error #8) On dissipation of expelled mass, see the work of Vsekhsvyatskii and Mercury, Vol. 3, No. 1, 1974.

Error #9) The Tunguska explosion of 1908 has been shown to be neither due to a comet nor meteor (See Baxter and Atkins, The Fire Came By, 1976, with an introduction by Isaac Asimov!).

Error # 10) On extraterrestrial petroleum see the work of Smith, Oro, and Han and Point #3 of my Aug. 25 letter.

Error #11) On negligible effect of comet's tail see Industrial Research, Oct. 1973, pp. 13-14.

Error # 12) Assumed effects of lithospheric or grazing contact between the present planet Venus and Earth have nothing to do with the thesis of Worlds in Collision. (Has de Camp ever really read Worlds in Collision?)


1) In his 1950 "Book Review" of Worlds in Collision, de Camp referred to "the Lemnaian [sic] Hydra" (p. 138 of Astounding Science Fiction). Sorry, it was the Lernean Hydra. (By the way, note that de Camp's method of responding is "Hydra-like".)

2) On p. 8 of the July/August issue of The Humanist, de Camp stated that "incomprehensible language" is one of "the telltale signs of the charlatan." What does the expression "farcical farrago of preposterous amphigory" imply?

3) How can de Camp possibly be an objective debunker when he exhibits such a consistently mercenary attitude? He is so over-concerned about being remunerated for his debunking efforts that it is positively embarrassing, the more so because he is so pathetically inept in his efforts.

4) I find it astonishing to believe that de Camp could have "wasted most of a working day" and still come up with nothing better than an error-laden "non answer" answer to me. Much of it came from his July 1967 Analog letter and his other published writings anyway.

5) As for de Camp's comet's tail-filled briefcase (mentioned in his 1950 "Book Review," p. 141; Lost Continents, p. 91; and his letter of Sept. 26) Rabelais' Gargantua would surely have found good use for it.

In conclusion, I can only reiterate my words of July 23 - "There is only one thing worse than pseudo-science and that is the pseudo-sophisticate pseudointellectual who attempts to attack what he believes to be pseudo-science." This is as true in 1976 as it was in 1950.


(Signed) Lewis M. Greenberg

P.S. Sagan's paper will only be final when published. Meanwhile, one can only assume that it will be the same as the one he made available for circulation. With Sagan, one never knows.

On November 13, Truzzi wrote to Greenberg again in his capacity as "unoffended outsider" and included two more letters from de Camp addressed to Truzzi In the first letter, dated October 28, de Camp corrected his earlier figure for the weight of the Earth and contended that "it would take a magnetic field of astronomically greater magnitude than that of an electric motor to impart rotation to the earth by electromagnetism; perhaps millions or billions of gauss. "

De Camp went on to say that "if the earth had such a magnetic field, it would attract iron so strongly that a nail dropped on the floor would go right through it and down through the earth and rock beneath until it reached the core." He thus concluded that "as it is, the magnetic field of a passing planet would have about as much effect on the earth as a seagull, alighting on the Queen Elizabeth 11, has on that ship's course and speed by the impact of its feet. "

The second letter of de Camp, dated November 1, brought the first open admission of error with regard to the points made by Greenberg. The tone of concession is particularly enlightening.

"Professor Greenberg is right about Whiston. I had forgotten Whiston; but so what? The history of science is littered with the wreckage of discredited speculations, from Plato to Lysenko, and one need not pursue the exact genealogy of each one save as an intellectual game . . . "

"Greenberg is also right about 'explosive' v. 'expulsive. ' The latter is about as rare a word as some of those for using which Professor Greenberg has twitted me. Since the meanings are similar and equally apt, who, besides Rose and Greenberg, cares?"

"He is also right about 'Lemnaian' for 'Lernean.' I confused the Lernean hydra with the Nemean lion. Sorry about that."

[The reader should note that these remarks are being made by an individual who once objected to his spelling of Herodotos having been changed from an -os to a-us ending.]

De Camp went on to deny the possibility that Venus could have been expelled from Jupiter, claiming that expulsion theories were fantastic.

The exact nature of the "Tunguska meteor," referred to earlier, was now left as an open question; and the "magnetic field needed to affect the earth's rotation " was considered insufficient for the task.

De Camp once again erroneously assumed that "a near-miss [of planetary bodies], whether grazing or not, would bring both bodies within Roche's limit. Thereupon, simple gravity would disintegrate them into a cloud of fragments." [For problems relating to the Roche limit, the reader is referred to KRONOS II,3pp. 81-83.]

In his concluding remarks, de Camp attempted to justify his attitude towards Worlds in Collision and suggested that "if he [Greenberg] wants to argue about Velikovsky, . . . that he approach Walter Sullivan, science editor of the NEW YORK TIMES. . ."

Greenberg's reply to de Camp's two letters was sent to Truzzi and de Camp in the following letter of December 5.

December 5, 1976

Dear Mr. Truzzi,

I appreciate your taking the time to send me de Camp's latest "responsive" effort in our prolonged exchange. However, the time has now come to recapitulate several points with penetrating clarity.

1) Since August I have provided more than six single-spaced typed pages of copious documentation outlining the gross errors and blatant weaknesses of de Camp's twenty-six year-old harangue against Worlds in Collision. This hardly constitutes an ad hominem assault. If de Camp feigns insult it is only because his long-standing bluff has finally been called and a bare hand lies embarrassingly exposed for all to see.

2) A confession of three errors hardly atones for the more than twenty still remaining; and an apology to you for any error is quite misdirected. That apology should rightly go to the gentleman who resides at 78 Hartley Avenue in Princeton, N. J.

3) Comments such as: "but so what?" "who, besides Rose and Greenberg, cares?" - "Sorry about that" hardly excuses twenty-six years of journalistic irresponsibility, intellectual arrogance, and character defamation. As one who once objected to a quotation change in his spelling of Herodotos (See ABS, Oct. 1964, p. 30), de Camp's sloppiness is indeed a sorry sight; and he hasn't gotten it right yet - the word "expulsion" not "expulsive" was used by Velikovsky as opposed to "explosion" not "explosive".

4) In his letter of Sept. 26, de Camp states that "since Jupiter is mostly hydrogen, there are no solid masses of compounds of heavier molecular weight whence to form the daughter planet". In his letter of Nov. 1, de Camp claims that " 'ten to 20 earth masses' of the core [of Jupiter] is guessing, since there is no hard evidence". If there is "no hard evidence", then de Camp should have refrained from his earlier comment. At least my figures were based upon NASA reporting. Since de Camp was relying upon "Mariner [sic] missions" to Jupiter (which have yet to occur), his conclusions are something less than guess work.

5) On the matter of the Earth's rotation and magnetic fields, see Velikovsky's answer to Professor Stewart in the June 1951 issue of Harper's, Pensee V (Fall, 1973), pp. 31-33, and "On the Convection of Electric Charge by the Rotating Earth," KRONOS II, 3 (forthcoming). De Camp is apparently resorting to warmed-over Payne-Gaposchkin again, with a bit of Stewart thrown in (or vice versa).

Re Dennis Rawlins' paper on Velikovsky in a forthcoming issue of The Zetetic: I must fully concur with the comments of Prof. Rose to you in his letter of Oct. 28. By your own definition of purpose, Velikovsky has absolutely no objective place in the pages of The Zetetic. To discuss him there is to subscribe to the practice of what D.H. Fischer calls "the fallacy of the insidious analogy". Martin Gardner was guilty of this when he placed Velikovsky in a chapter titled "Monsters of Doom" (F & F), Isaac Asimov was guilty of this when he titled an article on Velikovsky "CP" (Analog), and de Camp is particularly notorious for this ploy. As to the latter, he is a bemused anachronism who has already well-littered the history of science with the wreckage of his own discredited diatribe. May it serve as a warning to others who would follow the same misguided path.

Sincerely yours,

(Signed) Lewis M. Greenberg

With a covering letter, dated December 19, Truzzi sent Greenberg a copy of the first issue of The Zetetic. In his letter, Truzzi told Greenberg "Your feeling that Velikovsky does not fit the parameters of our journal is incorrect since whether Dr. Velikovsky is correct or not, his claims are 'paranormal' in that they are incongruent with the beliefs of most orthodox physicists and astronomers. "

Having thus rationalised any intended discussion of Velikovsky in The Zetetic to his own satisfaction, Truzzi continued: "Since his [Velikovsky's

theory would appear to contradict physical laws (at least so they [scientists] contend) that are part of what Kuhn and others would call 'normal science, ' Dr. Velikovsky's views would, in our opinion, be paranormal claims. "

We will leave it to others to judge the purity of Truzzi's interpretation of Kuhnian thinking. Suffice it to say, the remainder of Truzzi's brief letter consisted of a rather strained explanation for his use of the term "paranormal" He concluded with the remark that "sociologically speaking, THE ZETETIC is concerned with deviant belief systems in science whatever they concern." With a philosophy like that, The Zetetic should find limitless grist for its mill.

Greenberg's reaction to Truzzi's letter is here reprinted.

January 9, 1977

Dear Mr. Truzzi,

From your letter of 12/19/76, it is quite obvious that you were determined to discuss Dr. Velikovsky in the pages of The Zetetic all along. To that end, you are willing to resort to any rationalisation and any self-serving definition of the term "paranormal" no matter how incongruous.

The first issue of The Zetetic only strengthens my contention that Velikovsky does not fit the parameters of your journal; and it is you who are incorrect in your assumption that he does.

I had hoped that a lesson would have been learned from de Camp's exhibition, but apparently not. Therefore, you must be prepared to suffer the same embarrassing consequences should any unenlightened and outdated criticism of Velikovsky appear in the pages of The Zetetic. The end result will be that you will have indelibly cut a poor figure for yourself in less than a year.

Happy New Year!

(Signed) Lewis M. Greenberg

Truzzi's reply was immediate. He expressed distress and surprise at Greenberg's letter of January 9; and once again the meaning of the term "paranormal", as defined by The Zetetic, was defended as being applicable to Velikovsky's scientific views

In the same letter of January 13, Truzzi indicated his continued hope that Greenberg "might be willing to enter into [an] exchange with Rawlins in the pages of" The Zetetic.

The letter ended thus: "Of course, your reasons for what you see as the inappropriateness of considering Velikovsky's views in THE ZETETIC could be given in your rebuttal to Rawlins' paper. I am quite willing to leave that ultimate Judgment to our readers and to history. "

After careful deliberation, Greenberg sent a final letter to Truzzi on March 4, thereby terminating the prolonged dialogue.

March 4, 1977

Dear Mr. Truzzi:

So long as the public statements by Science News, L. Sprague de Camp, and Paul Kurtz regarding Dr. Velikovsky and his work are not publicly retracted, it is quite impossible to take your letters of 12/19/76 and 1/13/77 seriously. Rationalisation cannot erase defamation.

It would appear that Fate magazine (Oct. 1976 and March 1977) has the Committee for SICOP's number as well, particularly that of de Camp. My compliments to J. Gordon Melton.

Re Dennis Rawlins' article on Velikovsky: I suggest that you contact Prof. Lynn E. Rose on the matter. As I am deeply involved in serious scientific and historical research, I have nothing further to say to you.


(Signed) Lewis M. Greenberg

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