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Open letter to science editors


KRONOS Vol X, No. 3



Additional letters responding to "Still Facing Many Problems" (Part 1), as well as any letters of note in response to Part II, will appear in KRONOS XI:1 and beyond. - LMG

Part I, in KRONOS X:1, discussed five topics: wild motions, the Sun's habitable zone, the Worzel ash, tree rings, and ice cores, and how they impact Veiikovsky's scenario for recent Earth history. This survey continues with discussions of ice ages, sea level, tippe top Earth, gravity vs. magnetism, and electric stars.


The previous section on the Greenland ice cores naturally suggests the subject of ice ages, which Velikovsky tied into his theory of cosmic catastrophism in Earth in Upheaval, Chapters VIII, IX, and X. At the time, no theory for ice ages answered all the questions posed by their occurrence. Since no theory was generally accepted, Velikovsky, like everyone else, was justified in concluding that "the concept of ice ages, which is established in science as one of its most definite facts, . . . has no explanation itself" (pp. 110-111). Velikovsky then proceeded to build a case for the sudden onset of an ice age following the tilting of Earth's axis by what could only have been an external cause. The tilt, together with the possible heating produced by the interaction of Earth with an external magnetic field, would cause worldwide volcanism with underwater heating evaporating the oceans to a great depth. Dust injected into the atmosphere from above and below would cause a cooling which would lead to massive snowfalls quickly building up gigantic glaciers (pp. 136-138). Velikovsky also argued that the last ice age occurred 3500 years ago, much more recently than normally considered (p. 158), and showed - with what was known at the time - that continental drift as an agent in the ice age process was opposed by seemingly insuperable problems (pp. 117-122).

Recent work indicates that what looked like a good case in 1955 has since been made obsolete by thirty years' accumulation of new discoveries and additional information. Velikovsky's timetable for the last glaciation is decisively disproved by the oxygen isotope profile in the Greenland ice cap which indicates that temperatures reached their present general level about 10,000 years ago [S. J. Johnsen, et al. Nature 235 (Feb. 25, 1972), pp. 429-434; the Camp Century profile is widely reprinted, e.g., H. H. Lamb, Climate, History and the Modern World (London & New York, 1982), p. 85] .

Continental drift is now understood and generally accepted as plate tectonics with sea floor spreading whose rate has been measured by satellite laser ranging [New Scientist, 31 May 1984, p. 6] and whose convection cells in the mantle are being imaged by seismic tomography [ D. L. Anderson and A. M. Dziewonski, Sci. Am., Oct. 1984, pp. 60-68] . Continental drift, therefore, is a credible explanation for equatorial glaciers and corals and coal in the Arctic. Submergence and emergence of land far from ice caps are now understood as a result of global isostatic adjustment to changes in crustal loading [W. R. Peltier, Ann. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. 9, 1981, pp. 199225] . Recent advances in climatic modelling show that no pole shift or axial tilt is required to explain the location of the last ice cap. Its eccentric location with respect to the pole is a natural consequence of land-water distribution [C. Covey, "The Earth's Orbit and the Ice Ages", Sci. Am., Feb. 1984, pp. 58-66] .

The connection between ice ages and Earth's orbit - the Milankovitch theory - has been widely accepted since the mid-1970s when the last two obstacles were removed. These obstacles, (1) "the uncertainty in identifying which aspects of the radiation budget are critical to climatic change" and (2) "the uncertainty of geological chronology", were resolved in a landmark article by J. D. Hays, John Imbrie, and N. J. Shackleton, "Variations in the Earth's Orbit: Pacemaker of the Ice Ages", Science 194, 10 Dec. 1976, pp. 1121-1132. An ice age is not related to a general cooling of Earth. The key to the beginning of an ice age is the amount of sunlight reaching high latitudes in summer, not winter, because snow accumulates even during a mild winter while cool summers are needed to preserve snow.

(A detailed explanation of the Milankovitch model is beyond the scope of this article. The interested reader may consult the following additional articles: J. Gribbin, New Sci., 30 Sept. 1976, pp. 688-9; N. Calder, New Sci., 9 Dec. 1976, pp. 576-8; R. Kerr, Science 201, 14 July 1978, pp. 144-6; Ibid., 219, 21 Jan. 1983, pp. 272-4; and C. Covey, op. cit. )

One aspect of the Milankovitch model, however, merits discussion. The 100,000 year cycle of ice ages over the past 500,000 years coincides with the 100,000 year period for Earth's orbital eccentricity. Why this relatively small variation (0.1%) has such a strong effect is a puzzle. Although this puzzle has not yet been fully solved, several promising explanations involving resonances and non-linear responses are being investigated: bedrock loading [C. Covey, op. cit. ], geomagnetic field [J. Gribbin, New Sci., 5 Feb. 1981, pp. 350-31, carbon dioxide [R. Kerr, Science 223, 9 March 1984, pp. 1053-4], and ice sheet-sea level coupling [G. H. Denton and T. J. Hughes, Quaternary Res. 20, 1983, pp. 125- 144] .

There has been no serious, informed challenge to the modern Milankovitch model that takes into account the recent literature. Hapgood's The Path of the Pole (Philadelphia, 1970) presents a survey of the failure to explain the ice ages, but it pre-dates the current formulation. In The Lately Tortured Earth (Princeton, 1983), de Grazia's "Ice Fields of the Earth" (Ch. 15) forsakes serious criticism in favor of a self-serving advocacy of catastrophism unconstrained by evidence; and he is so caught up in the excitement of speculation that he confuses temperature with latent heat (p. 212)* and talks about the Piri Reis map as though it were the Oronteus Finaeous map (p. 216).

[* De Grazia has obviously borrowed heavily and uncritically from Tyndall's Heat Considered as a Mode of Motion (New York, 1869). Compare Tyndall: "[T]he latent heat of aqueous vapour, at the temperature of its production in the tropics, is about 1,000 deg Fahr. . . . A pound of water then vaporised at the equator, has absorbed 1,000 times the quantity of heat which would raise a pound of the liquid one degree in temperature" (p. 210) with de Grazia: "The latent heat of aqueous vapor at the tropics is 1000 deg F. A pound of water vaporized at the Equator has absorbed 1000 times the quantity of heat that would raise a pound of water in temperature by one degree Fahrenheit" (p. 212). Yet de Grazia does not mention Tyndall.]

Velikovsky's case for a sudden, recent ice age has not only been superseded by new information, but an instance of particularly specious reasoning in Velikovsky's presentation needs to be clarified. This involves his reliance upon Tyndall's 19th century discussion of the heat required to make glaciers [E in U, pp. 131-134] which Velikovsky used to support the idea that high temperatures were needed to evaporate the oceans to form snow. By comparing a pound of ice with five pounds of cast iron at the melting point to illustrate the large amount of heat required to evaporate water, Tyndall confounded heat with temperature.**

[* Actually, since Tyndall used round figures, when precise values for latent heat of vaporization for water and specific heat for cast iron are used, the amount of cast iron is only 3.4 pounds, not five pounds.]

According to Velikovsky: "Tyndall argued that the geologists should substitute the hot iron for the cold ice, and they would get an idea of the high temperature immediately preceding the Ice Age and the formation of the glacial cover" (p. 131). However, this is incorrect because the ice accumulating today in Greenland and elsewhere does not originate from water that has literally boiled. It is not to Velikovsky's (or de Grazia's) credit that he perpetuated Tyndall's fallacious reasoning. Both Tyndall and Velikovsky failed to understand the fact that water's large latent heat of vaporization can be extracted at room temperature as well as at the boiling point. The melting point of cast iron is irrelevant to the formation of clouds over oceans.


If the catastrophes proposed by Velikovsky did occur, then sea level would have been disrupted. He acknowledged that altering Earth's rotation would cause tidal waves to sweep the Earth, destroying civilizations. In the June 1951 Harper's, J. Q. Stewart drew attention to this point in terms of a crustal shift, but a letter in the August 1951 issue indicated that the effects would depend on the rate of alteration. However, there is more to it than this, as V. J. Slabinski explained to me in mid-1981 as I was trying to explain to him the evidence supporting Velikovsky's scenario.

The sudden, uniform drop in sea level 3500 years ago cited by Velikovsky in Earth in Upheaval (pp. 181-183) was supposedly related to a build up of ice and was not related to a change in rotation rate. An increased rate of spin would lower sea level in high latitudes and raise it in low [KRONOS VIII:1 (1982), pp. 94-95 and SISR V:3, p. 100] . This is an effect of which Velikovsky was aware [E in U, p. 136], but for which he presented no evidence.

If islands such as the Canary, Galapagos, or Hawaiian were totally overwhelmed by tidal waves so recently, as has been indicated in effect by Velikovsky, the evidence would be expected to be obvious and the apparent survival and continuity of the flora and fauna a miracle. Roger Ashton's written comments to me, prompted by my talk at KRONOS' San Jose Seminar in 1980, made this point forcefully. According to Ashton, the tidal waves following a planetary near collision "would sweep over most if not every last square centimetre of such islands as Hispaniola, Malagasy, and New Zealand, destroying unique isolated endemic fauna whose antiquity can in cases be referred to the Oligocene. This destruction did not occur" [Ashton to Ellenberger, October 27, 1980] .

The Hawaiian Islands almost certainly were never breached by a giant wave. The marine deposit 326 meters above sea level on Lanai and nearby islands is not an elevated beach as formerly believed. It was deposited 100,000 years ago "during the Pleistocene by a giant wave generated by a submarine landslide on a sea scarp south of Lanai" [J. G. Moore and G. W. Moore, Science 226, 14 Dec. 1984, pp. 1312-15; reported in Science News, Dec. 15, 1984, p. 374] .

The sea level changes catalogued by R. A. Daly and cited by Velikovsky [E in U, pp. 181-183] have nothing to do with water withdrawal and ice build up as Velikovsky thought. They are now understood as a result of postglacial rebound of the Earth's crust [R. T. Walcott, Quaternary Res. 2, 1972, pp. 1-14] . Based upon more detailed modelling, other researchers concluded that "contrary to the beliefs of many, no net change in ocean volume has occurred during the past 5000 years" [J. A. Clark, W. E. Farrell, and W. R. Peltier, Quaternary Res. 9, 1978, pp. 265-283] . Thus, the oceans corroborate the message from the ice cores which do not show abnormal snowfall 3500 years ago.

During several conversations with Velikovsky in 1978 about what evidence he thought best supported his thesis, Daly's sea level changes were very prominent. Therefore, it was with special regret that I discovered that Daly's evidence had not withstood the test of time.

A final note on sea levels deserves mention. R. B. Driscoll of Oakland, CA recently suggested to me that "if catastrophic water tides submerged Greenland for ca. 1 day with Arctic seawater, then one or more annual layers of ice should show sodium and [chloride] ion concentrations way above normal" [Driscoll to Ellenberger, Nov. 14, 1984] . This is a very good suggestion. Even if one or several upper layers of snow were washed away, a seawater-soaked layer of porous snow would be expected to remain. Such a layer would be easily detected by standard conductivity measurements. However, it would not be confused with a volcanic acid signal because the pH, or acidity, of salt water is distinctly different than acid. Unfortunately, no conductivity signals identified with salt water have been reported.

TIPPE TOP EARTH, ETC. : In October 1978, Peter Warlow caused quite a stir with what purported to be a solution to the problem of how Earth might have easily flipped over during a near-collision, inverting the geographic poles. He envisioned Earth behaving as a tippe top, which turns upside-down when spun. This hope was short-lived, however, for three crucial errors in Warlow's analysis were identified in February 1980 by the astronomer Victor J. Slabinski and published in September 1981. Although Warlow never responded formally in print to Slabinski's critique, he refers to Slabinski anonymously in The Reversing Earth (London, 1982), p. 41. Warlow notes that Slabinski treats the Earth as a rigid body, but fails to note that Slabinski was merely using Warlow's own assumptions (which Warlow explicitly declined to relax when he thought he was correct). Now, it is true that the ability of a cosmic intruder to exert a torque on Earth would be increased by the tidal bulge produced by the interaction. However, such a consideration is only of academic interest, because the physical evidence (presented in the sections on tree rings, ice cores, and sea level) indicates that such flipping never happened. Warlow practically admitted this in his book; "whether or not such bodies [Venus and Mars] could produce a continuous and rapid tilt in a brief transit past the Earth is not certain. Probably not, in fact" (p. 41).* The survey of this episode in KRONOS has not been superseded by later developments [KRONOS VII:2 (1982), pp. 86-96; Ibid.VIII:3 (1983), pp. 84-89; and Ibid. X:3 (1985), pp.111-112].

[* N.B. Assertions aside, the ability of a massive intruder to raise a bulge on Earth fast enough and large enough to enable an axial tilt or fast precession up to 180 deg has never been shown. The advantage of a slipping shell model over a whole body model would be nullified if the bulge became too large. However, the present shape of the Earth [New Sci., 15 Nov. 1984, pp. 46-50] reveals no such bulge relaxing, yet the crust's rate of rebound from the deglaciation of Laurentia and Fennoscandia about 10,000 years ago has been measured by satellite laser ranging [Nature 303, 30 June 1983, p. 756 and 757-62].

It is ironic that Slabinski's critique resulted from my bravado in sending a copy of Warlow's paper to T. C. Van Flandern, at the U. S. Naval Observatory, as an example of how easily a Velikovskian event could happen. Not being expert in the physics of tippe tops, Van Flandern sent the paper to his friend Slabinski at COMSAT who handily detected Warlow's errors which had slipped past the referees at The Journal of Physics A.

The follow-up to Slabinski's disproving Warlow is interesting. At the KRONOS seminar in San Jose in 1980, Earl Milton was not interested in discussing Slabinski's gravitational analysis because, as far as he was concerned, the problem was electrical, not gravitational. His then forthcoming book with de Grazia, Solaria Binaria (Princeton, 1984), was supposed to explain how it happened. Thus my disappointment when the book finally came out, because there is no explanation, just the bald assertion offered from the "ZAP!" school of electro-astrodynamics: "In a two-planet encounter involving electrical polarization (which induces aspherical shapes onto both bodies) strong 'tidal forces' act and can alter spins, or flip planets over as Warlow shows" (p. 183). This sentence is presumptuous, since they ignore Slabinski and present no quantitative justification. But, in the wake of Slabinski's critique, it is simply wrong to say that Warlow showed anything.

On his own, in The Lately Tortured Earth (Princeton, 1983), de Grazia also discusses Warlow in "Magnetism and Axial Tilts" (Ch. 4):

According to Warlow, who has however been challenged by Slabinski, the transaction could be relatively delicate; it would amount to the drawing of a force along the Earth's path that would cause it to tip over while containing its spin, in the manner of a tippe-top. . .

Yet, according to Warlow's theory, the tilt, which might have been complete to 180 deg . . . would require only thousandths of the energy to be disposed of if, by contrast, the Earth were to largely cease or reverse its rotation.

. . . One is led to suspect that non-colliding encounters involving heavy electrical differentials might more effectively produce axis tilting than would collisions.

. . . In revising Warlow's calculations, Slabinski assumes that the Earth has to be turned over in a single pass-by at two Earth's radii distance in a parabolic approach trajectory. He emerges with a requirement for a body with the mass of 62 Suns. Even if the crust of the Earth is shoved around independently of the underlaying layers, a body of the mass of 68 Jupiters is needed.

. . . A moment's consideration of Slabinski's calculation leads to the suspicion that he may be employing a rate in his formulas that soars to wild heights and casts doubt prima facie on his procedures: if it would take the gravitational force of 62 Suns to turn the Earth around at a distance of less than 15,000 km, how does a single Sun lock the Earth into fixed orbit at 150 million kilometers? [pp. 42-44]

The only purpose served by this passage is to demonstrate prima facie the author's scientific ignorance, that he does not know the difference between a force and a torque.

To keep the Earth in orbit about the Sun, the Sun only needs to exert a gravitational force on the Earth. This force does not depend significantly on the distribution of mass in the Earth (oblateness, etc.); the Earth may be treated as a mass point in calculations.

To obtain a tippe top inversion of the Earth, the passing body must exert a gravitational torque on the Earth, and this torque depends critically on the mass distribution in the Earth. If the mass were distributed with spherical symmetry about the Earth's center (no oblateness or bulges), no gravitational torque would occur. A tippe top inversion requires a torque about the Earth's polar (rotation) axis, and such a torque is very hard to produce because of the Earth's nearly-axial symmetry (J2,2 is very small). Lunar-solar precession of the Earth's axis in inertial space (26,000 year period) depends only on the Earth's oblateness (J2), not its departure from axial symmetry. In addition, torques vary inversely as the cube of the distance while forces vary inversely as the square, so the body has to pass close to the Earth to produce the torque.*

[* Sadly, this example of de Grazia's totally erroneous armchair criticism is not an isolated one. He often poses baseless questions on subjects about which there is absolutely no doubt. Consider his comments in The Burning of Troy about oxygen isotope profiles in Greenland ice: "The oxygen 18 isotope, annually giving us a high and low of its deposition as the year cycles from warm to cold, seems like a measure too good to be true. Is it possible that the measure works only in those years that have a high and low between certain limits, and that when the limits are exceeded, one way or the other, the ratio no longer registers? Is it possible indeed that the O18 ratio is defining, rather than measuring, temperatures?" [pp. 106-107] . This passage merely serves to show that the writer does not understand elementary physical chemistry. Nothing in science is established more soundly than the increase in vapor pressure with temperature and the difference in volatility as a function of molecular weight. Simply put, given water containing molecules with only two molecular weights, the vapor above this mixture will have a higher concentration of the lighter water than the liquid from which it comes and the degree of enrichment will decrease with temperature. This relative volatility is the basis of the oxygen isotope ratio's ability to indicate temperatures, relatively, if not absolutely.]

Two paragraphs later, de Grazia demonstrates the abject scientific bankruptcy of his project when he states that, because his theory presented with Milton in Solaria Binaria does not permit the Earth's magnetic field to have reversed itself prior to about 8000 years ago, "We would have to assert that the numerous alleged reversals of the Earth's magnetic field in geological history simply did not occur" (p. 45). Such a statement is nothing but naked nihilism. The purpose of a scientific theory is to explain what is observed, not to deny what one does not wish to believe.

Some may think that my strenuous criticism of de Grazia is extreme or unjustified. Therefore, an explanation is in order. On the day in February 1980 when de Grazia made his proposal for a quantavolution studies program at the Open University of the University of Maryland, he tried to recruit me for the faculty that evening at the Capitol Hilton in Washington, D. C. In the course of conversation, over cocktails, he lamented that we cannot choose to be in edifying places on momentous occasions such as the deaths of famous people. To wit, on the day Velikovsky died de Grazia allowed that he was not exercising his intellect in a library as he would have wished, but instead he was incommunicado exercising his libido. He also told me that, since Velikovsky had turned secular catastrophism into a personality cult, it was good that he finally died so the real work could go on. He made it clear that the real work was his quantavolution. For all the immodesty purveyed by de Grazia in Cosmic Heretics (Princeton, 1984), it is a wonder that he failed to share these two gems with his readers.

I expected that de Grazia, as the self-appointed successor to Velikovsky, would not only carry on, but improve upon, Velikovsky's scholarly tradition. Unfortunately, not one of the five books in the quantavolution series that I have seen satisfies the criteria I would expect fulfilled by someone challenging the entire body of Western science.

Instead, de Grazia seems to have embraced the "Ballspond-road fallacy", i.e., the notion that everyone is entitled to his own opinion [New Sci., 7 July 1983, p. 51 ] . Such entitlement ceases when one's opinion is unambiguously wrong - as de Grazia's is more often than not on scientific issues in his books. Like it or not, science has established some things beyond doubt, such as the relative volatility of molecular homologues [Burning of Troy, p. 106], geomagnetic reversals [Lately Tortured Earth, p. 45], the Earth's fluid core [Solaria Binaria, p. 75 ], and why Venus' nightside should be hot [Chaos and Creation, p. 220] .* Not everything has been explained yet, but by no means is everything up for grabs. If quantavolution is the "real work" for which Velikovsky died, then he died in vain.

[* This is probably the longest-lived canard in the Velikovsky literature, persisting long after Burgstahler set the record straight [Pensee IVR VI, p. 26; reprinted in Vel. Recon., p.177] . Internal heat is irrelevant to the high night temperature on Venus. Despite the long night, the massive atmosphere simply cannot cool more than 1 deg K.]

GRAVITY VS. MAGNETISM: A recurring theme in Velikovskian discussions has been the idea that, in certain astronomical systems, e.g., magnetic binary stars, magnetism can rival, if not dominate gravity. In his address before the Graduate College Forum of Princeton University in 1953, published in Earth in Upheaval, Velikovsky remarked:

Let us think of a binary or double star; both stars revolve around each other or a common center. A half-revolution period of a few days or only hours is common. Let us assume that the stars of the binary are magnets 7000 gauss strong. It is immediately obvious that even should the electrical component of the electromagnets be disregarded these stars are not moving in a system purely mechanical .

But this is enough to render the purely mechanical celestial system fallible in respect also to single stars and equally so to the sun and its planets. (p. 297)

In the manuscript for The Test of Time, Velikovsky queried, ". . . but if they [two stars] chance to be magnetic, with fields of several thousand gauss each, is it conceivable that magnetic interactions are absent or without influence on their movements?" Later in the manuscript, this question was converted to the assertion "that a binary pair of magnetic stars cannot be explained as a purely mechanical system". Although Velikovsky often raised this issue in lectures, he evidently never checked out the numbers himself or, to my knowledge, sought out their quantification. Regardless, it seems to have become an article of faith that the answer to Velikovsky's rhetorical question is "No". And anyone who has ever pushed iron filings and ball bearings around with a pocket magnet would probably agree.

This issue might have been settled in 1974 if Pensee had published the paper prepared by James W. Warwick for the McMaster Symposium [see Pensee IVR VIII, pp. 39, 41-42] . Regarding the above passage, Warwick wrote:

Let me just consider the next paragraph of his Forum Address. There he discusses a binary star in which two stars revolve around a common center with a period of a few days or hours. These stars are assumed to be magnets 7000 gauss strong. He concludes that the stars are not moving in a purely mechanical system.

There can be no fault with this logic, but it is precisely at this point that an astrophysicist will ask and answer further questions and draw conclusions that Velikovsky does not. If I suggest to you that the answer is that the magnetic force between these stars is wholly negligible in comparison with their Newtonian interaction you may say that I am anti-Velikovsky. I have conceded to you, please note, the existence of this binary system; I have been alert to the probability of its existence since many years and wrote my doctoral dissertation on some basic problems of magnetic stars. This hypothesis is not the point in issue. The point that I question is whether it is correct that the non-Newtonian forces in the motion of this binary system produce any observable phenomena. . . .

I address your attention to the probability that the dynamical forces of stellar magnetism have or have not been a matter for urgent daily concern by many astrophysicists active in this field of research in the period before 1955 and roughly beginning with the discovery of solar magnetism in the late 19th century. I could if you were so interested put down a detailed argument of this sort with reference to Velikovsky's 7000 gauss stellar fields in a binary system. And I certainly would if I felt it would convince you of the thoroughness with which these matters are addressed by research scientists concerned with stellar magnetism. (pp. 26-27)

Since Warwick's paper was not published and this passage was not read, he was not prevailed upon to "put down a detailed argument" at that time. However, in the course of correspondence with Warwick in Summer 1984, he sent at my request a copy of his McMaster paper and I promptly asked him to make good on his 1974 boast that, as I put it, "a 7000 gauss field between or among binary components would be negligible compared to gravitation" [Ellenberger to Warwick, Sept. 26, 1984] .

Warwick's reply [November 1, 1984] included a calculation of the ratio of the magnetic to gravitational force for a hypothetical binary system composed of two Sun-like stars, separated by three radii, each with a 10,000 gauss polar surface field, and lined up with their dipole moments directed towards each other in order to maximize the state of interaction energy. Such a system would complete one revolution in just over ten hours. Warwick's calculation indicates that the ratio of magnetic to gravitational force is 1.5 x 10-9. Redoing the calculations for 7000 gauss fields yields a ratio of 7.3 x 10-10 . In both cases, the ratio "is minute, far outweighed by other, yet still subtle effects, such as non-spherical mass distribution, accretion, mass loss, and the like".

The ratio shows that the gravitational force between two stars with such large magnetic fields is still about a billion times greater than the supposedly powerful magnetic fields - approximately 1.4 billion times greater for the 7000 gauss case. For an idea of how great a factor of a billion is, it is equivalent to a dry martini made with one drop of vermouth in 17,600 gallons of gin. For comparison, one drop in a liter is only a factor of about 15,000.

Thus, if magnetism is a miniscule factor in a system as intensely magnetic as the stars in Velikovsky's example, then postulating significant magnetic interactions between the Sun and planets and between Jupiter and lo is beyond the limits of scientific credibility.*

[* With respect to Jupiter and its moons, it must be acknowledged that over many millions of years the orbits of the Galilean satellites are probably affected by Jupiter's magnetic field. "The electric current [in the flux tube] flows through the satellites across the magnetic field, supplying them with an excess angular momentum" which for Io is estimated to double in 3.6 x 1011 years, or 80 times the age of the Solar System [E. M. Drobyshevski, Nature 282 (20/27 Dec. 1979), pp. 811-813; reprinted in SISR IV:4 (1980), pp. 111-113] . This orbital effect is purely theoretical since it is not observable in any operational sense. At KRONOS' San Jose Seminar in 1980, Robert B. Driscoll discussed the possible role of Jupiter's magnetic field in assisting the escape of a satellite and lamented the tens of million years time scale required in his model which was considered incompatible with the origin of proto-Venus from Jupiter contemplated by Velikovsky. So, while electromagnetic interactions are not absent, certainly not for particle effects, the orbital effects are so tiny that to achieve macro-results time periods many orders of magnitude greater than that envisioned by Velikovsky are required. The significance of a theoretical effect, i e., orbital magnetic effects, that can be neither measured nor observed is obscure and certainly of no practical value.]

For the magnetic force in the example to equal ten per cent of the gravitational force requires the stars to have magnetic fields of about 82 million gauss. The only bodies capable of generating such field strengths are white dwarf and neutron stars. Such field strengths or ways to produce them naturally are unknown in the Solar System.

One oft recited explanation for conventional science's emphasis on gravity despite the presence of magnetism is that, in the words of E. R. Milton, "close magnetic binaries would yield anomalously high masses, if analysis is based only upon Kepler's laws". In other words, the effect of magnetism gets hidden in the mass derived from a Newtonian analysis. However, this disclaimer does not apply for the example above since it is based not on observation, but on parameters specified for illustrative purposes. Even for real binary systems in this class the disclaimer does not apply when, as is the case, the observing precision is less than one part in a billion, i.e., the magnetic effect cannot be measured .

Whether or not Velikovsky was qualified to discuss electromagnetism is a question that arises. In his 1967 rejoinder to Motz in the April Yale Scientific, he evidently thought of a magnetic dipole as an amplifier when he referred to "the fact that magnetic dipole effects increase at a cube rate with the decrease in distance and may become very powerful" [p. 15; reprinted in KRONOS II:1(1976), p. 4] . This phrasing, though not technically incorrect, inverts the usual statement that the strength of a magnetic dipole decreases with the cube of increasing distance; and Velikovsky's phrasing creates a potentially misleading frame of reference while it also loses sight of the fact that a magnet's intrinsic strength is given and unaffected by the manner in which it is approached. This same amplifier notion is expressed in The Test of Time: ". . . should any such interactions occur at close quarters, the effect would grow stupendously due to the inverse cube law governing magnetic dipole action: as a distance decreases to its third part the action grows twenty-seven times stronger"; but it cannot "grow stupendously", getting stronger than it actually is.

Supporting evidence of Velikovsky's apparent blind spot on the inverse behavior of magnetic dipoles is also found in his reply to Sagan regarding Earth's rotation. In Scientists Confront Velikovsky, Sagan states: "The magnetic dipole field declines as the inverse cube . . ." (p. 64). Commenting on this in Velikovsky and Establishment Science, Velikovsky inverts Sagan's statement in saying: "Sagan correctly observes that magnetic dipole forces would increase as the inverse cube of the distance" (p. 35). Clearly, in this instance, Sagan did not say what Velikovsky ascribed to him.

Since the strongest whole-body magnetic field in the Solar System is Jupiter's, at a maximum of 14 gauss, there is none powerful enough to do what Velikovsky needed to be done. For example, 25,000 gauss would be required to tilt Earth's axis half a radian, which von Weizsacker calculated for Velikovsky in 1950 [Pensee IVR II, p.16]. Velikovsky mentioned magnetic fields powerful enough to cushion planets during a near-collision thereby avoiding "an actual crushing collision of the lithospheres" [W in C, p. 372 and V&ES, p. 30] . While sunspots have strengths of several thousand gauss, the Sun's overall magnetic field is on the order of a gauss which decreases to a strength of about five gammas (5 x 10^-5 gauss) at Earth's orbit.* Given the limitations of known magnetic fields, Velikovsky needed a way for their strength to be amplified, for them to "grow stupendously". His inverse cube statements reflect this need.

[* Of the Sun's general magnetic field, which at the surface is approximately like a dipole, The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Astronomy (1977) reports: "Symmetry and a precisely defined axis are lacking. The weak surface field does not arise from a dipole inside the Sun; it results from many localized surface fields" (p. 138) Although the solar magnetic field was originally reported by Hale in 1913 to be about 50 gauss at the poles, this was never replicated and became controversial. However, this value was cited repeatedly by F. Sanford in Terrestrial Electricity (1931), e.g, pp. 83 and 150. In 1949, G. Thiessen reported a polar strength of 1.5 0.5 gauss. By 1955, Babcock and Babcock determined a general field of about one gauss with remarkable random fluctuations. Cf. Earth in Upheaval, p. 294. When it was realized that the polarity reported by Hale did not match theory, his plates were remeasured using automated instrumentation to eliminate personal bias. No significant field was found at any latitude. According to N. S. Hetherington, this is an example "of astronomers finding what they expected to find even though it doesn't exist" [Nature 306 (22/29 Dec. 1983), pp. 727-730] . For a discussion on the origin of solar magnetism as a dynamo process, see Leon Golub, Astronomy (March 1981), pp. 66-71.]

In The Test of Time, Velikovsky speculates that in space "unsuspected effects" might alter magnetic fields:

We know from physics, and especially from the physics of very low temperatures, how at certain temperatures physical characteristics suddenly change - thus liquid helium, for example, seems to defy gravity; water boils at regular atmospheric pressure at 100 deg C; magnetic properties disappear at the Curie point - these are but a few common examples of sudden physical changes in matter in response to very minute changes of temperature. The heat of the Sun and the properties of space can possibly have unsuspected effects on the propagation of magnetic lines of force from the Sun.

Such speculation is nothing but a grasping at straws. Magnetic fields are used routinely in cryogenic conditions and nothing known to science even hints at the effect Velikovsky needs. If anything, ordinary experience would lead to the expectation that magnetism would decrease at low temperatures. It should also be noted that boiling water does not belong in the grouping above because it is not a sudden change, but a gradual one.

The now demonstrated feebleness of magnetism in the example of a magnetic binary star formulated by Velikovsky brings to mind a statement by Martin Gardner featured twice in Pensee [I, pp. 11-12 and II, pp. 42-43] . Gardner had written: "He invents electro-magnetic forces capable of doing precisely what he wants them to do. There is no scientific evidence whatever for the power of these forces" [Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science (New York, 1957), p. 33] . This remark has sometimes been interpreted as an accusation emphasizing the idea that Velikovsky invented electromagnetic forces, but this makes little sense since such forces were not unknown and had been subject to much discussion in the scientific literature beginning in the late 19th century. Gardner's point, it seems to me, is not that Velikovsky invented electromagnetic forces, but rather that he invented the power required of them in his scenario. This interpretation is supported by the reference at the end of the passage to "imaginary energies". As a sidebar, it is noted that the discovery of interstellar magnetic fields was announced at the end of 1949 at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society [New York Times, Dec. 31, 1949, p. 17] after having been anticipated in the 1940s by many, including Hannes Alfvén and Enrico Fermi. [Cf. Stargazers & Gravediggers, p. 184.]

For the benefit of those who might object to the foregoing discussion because electric charge is ignored, be reminded that Velikovsky was so confident that magnetism rivaled gravity in his hypothetical binary star that he specifically disregarded the "electrical component of the electromagnets". This phrase probably intends to discount the effects of electric charge, but a body with an electromagnetic field does not necessarily imply that the body possesses a net electric charge. Although detailed discussion of "electric stars" is reserved for that section, it is noted that no proof exists that the Sun possesses a net electric charge; and if the case for electric charge were as conclusive as the assertions imply, then it is curious that theoreticians disagree on whether the charge is positive or negative.

Magnetism in Velikovsky's hypothetical binary star is overwhelmed by gravitation because of the large masses involved. The relative strength of these forces would be different between interacting planets. These effects, relative to Worlds in Collision, were investigated by J. C. Keister in 1976 [Creation Res. Soc. Q. 13 (1976), pp. 6-12] . Curiously, this work was never mentioned in the Velikovskian literature despite Keister's joint article with A. Hamilton in SISR III:2 in late 1978.

Keister's main point was that the energy disposal problem (see Rose and Vaughan in Pensee IVR VIII, reprinted in Vel. Recon. pp. 110-132) would be eliminated were Mars to replace Venus while keeping Venus at its present orbit. While R&V conserved angular momentum, Keister ignored it. He did point out, however, that at R&V's starting position Earth would be too hot (see KRONOS X:1, pp.91-92).

Using generous assumptions for electric and magnetic properties/conditions, Keister also calculated the strength of the gravitational, electrical, and magnetic forces between Earth and Venus during a near-collision. The collision was taken to be a grazing one which maximized the relative magnetic effect. For his examples, Keister obtained a ratio of magnetism to gravitation of 0.003 (less than one per cent) and of electric charge to gravitation of 0.02 (about two per cent). These results indicate that electric and magnetic forces are at least fifty times smaller than gravitation in Earth-Venus encounters, even with Keister's "extreme assumptions" favoring electricity and magnetism .


Beginning in 1972 in Pensee IVR II (reprinted in Velikovsky Reconsidered), Ralph Juergens began developing a model for stars as electric discharge phenomena powered by a flux of incoming relativistic electrons. He believed his model deserved consideration because several serious problems had been found with the conventional model of stars powered internally by nuclear fusion. In addition, the electric discharge model was supported by a persuasive analogy between the Sun's appearance and behavior and the anode of an electrical discharge in the laboratory. Later in KRONOS the arguments were elaborated upon by Juergens [KRONOS IV:4 (1979), pp. 16-27 and pp. 28-54; KRONOS VIII:I (1982), pp. 3-14; and KRONOS VIII:2 (1983), pp. 47-62] and Earl Milton [KRONOS V:1(1979), pp. 64-78] .

However, as students of logic are admonished, the argument from analogy easily succumbs to fallacy. An example from the June 1984 Astronomy illustrates the point. "Stars and water drops are, to a first approximation, spheroid. A star is spherical because of the gravitational attraction of its constituent matter. From this, one could conclude - erroneously - that the same force causes spherical water drops, whereas surface tension is really the more important" (pp. 66-70).

Let's examine this challenge to thermonuclear stellar theory more closely. Juergens summed it up in KRONOS IV:4, "So the Sun fails to emit neutrinos in detectable numbers, it pulsates as if gravity were of little influence on its external structure, it radiates less steadily than was long supposed, and even its 'cycles' of surface activity apparently are not rhythmical at all" (p. 24). Next, Juergens argued that the apparent orderliness of photospheric granulation contradicted the chaos or randomness he expected would indicate convective turbulence (pp. 33-34). He concluded, "Clearly, then, any convective motion in the photosphere should be violently turbulent and highly disordered, as Minnaert indeed pointed out" (p. 34). Similarly, Milton observed in KRONOS V:1, "The solar interior fails each of the three tests applied to it; photospheric convection, neutrino detection rates, and bulk-oscillation period do not match prediction" (p. 66). Elsewhere, Juergens invoked the "million-degree temperature of the solar corona" and the attendant "wrong-way temperature gradient in the Sun's atmosphere" as additional problems for conventional theory [SISR I:4 (1977), p. 26; also see Pensee IVR III, p. 9 and E. Milton, op. cit., p. 64] .

These arguments, some of which at one time may have appeared insuperable problems, do not necessarily constitute a valid refutation of the thermonuclear star model if assumptions underlying the "standard model" are relaxed. The standard model is based on eleven assumptions, several of which are clearly unrealistic. For example, the composition of the solar photosphere is representative of the composition everywhere inside, the Sun's rotation is neglected, and the role of the magnetic field inside the Sun is nil [K. Sakurai, "The Sun As An Inconstant Star", Space Science Reviews 38 (1984), pp. 243-279 (251) ] .

The "missing" neutrinos, which contrary to Juergens' representation [KRONOS IV:4, p. 21] are not totally missing, can easily be explained in the context of conventional theory. They may be an artifact of an incomplete model of stellar structure and, hence, are not "missing" at all. For example, if the heart of the Sun were about 1,000,000 deg K cooler than heretofore supposed due to the presence of an iron core filling the central 5% of the Sun's radius and comprising 0.5% of the Sun's mass, then the theoretical neutrino flux would equal the observed one. This proviso is not ad hoc, but a natural extension of conventional theory making the structure of stars analogous to that of the gas giant planets, such as Jupiter [New Scientist, 23 June 1983, p. 856; see also K. Sakurai, op. cit., p. 258] .

Another solution to the neutrino problem was proposed recently. Observations of Pleiades stars indicate they are rotating much faster than current theory of stellar evolution allows. It is proposed that, as stars age, the surface rotation rate decreases, but the core maintains a faster spin rate. With a rapidly spinning core, the outer layers would be held up by the core's strong centrifugal force and the core's density would be less than in the standard model. The lower density in the core implies fewer nuclear reactions occurring and a lower neutrino flux [Science Digest, Oct. 1984, p. 21] .

Yet another alternative proposes that "an additional source of energy production that competes with the proton-proton chain and carbon-nitrogen cycles can reduce these discrepancies if it has a sufficiently strong temperature dependence [C. L. Joseph, Nature 312 (15 Nov. 1984), pp. 254-255] . Since energies of the neutrinos produced in the additional reactions would probably differ from those of the standard solar model, solar neutrino detectors other than the currently used chlorine-37 would be required.

Of the "missing" neutrinos, Hans Bethe has written: "This is a terrible puzzle. Nobody doubts that the general theory of nuclear reactions is correct; too many of its predictions are verified by observation. The question of the missing neutrinos is a detective story which has not been solved so far" [Technology Review, June 1976, pp. 58-63 (60)].

The high temperature of the Sun's corona is now readily explained by the realization that "magnetic processes powered by the rotation of stars are responsible for heating stellar outer layers" [Natural History, Jan. 1983, pp. 74-79; also The Sciences, Dec. 1981, pp. 1518, 32; Astronomy, Sept. 1982, pp. 74-79; Science 223, 24 Feb. 1984, pp. 777-784; and Sky & Telescope, July 1984, pp. 24-28] .

That the 6000 deg K photosphere radiates to the corona at between one and two million degrees is readily explained by the corona's extremely low density. According to the Science article cited above, the heat "does not go to the corona, it only goes through the corona. There is so little material in the corona . . . that the corona is transparent to the photospheric radiation, and the photosphere can cool off in spite of the hot corona. . . . In essence, the photosphere does not notice the corona. . . ." (p. 779).

Actually, this "wrong-way temperature gradient" that supposedly violated the second law of thermodynamics never was the serious problem Juergens and Milton made of it. Four years before their articles in KRONOS on stellar theory, E. N. Parker explained the situation as follows: "The temperature of the corona has nothing to do with the flow of heat from the visible surface, and so there is no thermodynamic limitation on the temperature of the corona. The phenomenon is analogous to what happens when a man, with a body temperature of 37 degrees Celsius, rubs sticks together to achieve temperatures of several hundred degrees Celsius to light a fire. In principle there is no limit to the temperature that can be obtained in this way" ["The Sun", Scien. Am., Sept. 1975, pp. 43-50] .*

[* De Grazia and Milton's refutation of Parker's analogy [Solaria Binaria, pp. 15-16 ] is not valid because they in turn fail to recognize the dynamic nature of the photosphere. They claim that just as the stick-holder's hands will burn because of heat conducted from the hot ends, so would the photosphere heat up. However, if photospheric processes propagate outward fast enough, the photosphere will not heat up, just as a gas burner does not flash back when the flow rate is fast enough.]

Both Juergens and Milton represented that the 160 minute oscillation in the Sun is the fundamental radial mode implying a body of essentially uniform density. But this never was the only possible explanation. According to Douglas Gough (cited by Milton), if the Sun indeed possesses a dense core, then the 160 minute oscillation may be interpreted as a high order gravity mode. Gough also adds, "if the Sun had almost uniform density it would be unstable to convection [and] even had the Sun somehow started life with constant density, it could not have remained that way" [New Scientist, 10 June 1976, pp. 590-592] . The wide-open nature of helioseismology is reviewed in Science News 123. June 18, 1983, pp. 392-393, 395. The latest published information on solar oscillations is consistent with the presence of a dense core [T. L. Duvall, Jr. and J. W. Harvey, Nature 310, 5 July 1984, pp. 19-22; see also T. L. Duvall, Jr. et al., Ibid., pp. 22-25] .

The fluctuations in radiative output and the sunspot cycle, while not explained fully in conventional models, are not explained at all in the electric star model. These two points are no reason to abandon the thermonuclear model. A thorough review of these points is presented by G. Newkirk, Jr. and K. Frazier in the April 1982 Physics Today, pp. 25-34.

The key motivation for the electric star model, as Juergens explained in Pensee IVR II, was the supposed inconsistency between the order revealed by photospheric granulation and the concomitant expected randomness, or chaos, produced by the turbulent convection. Here Juergens made a fundamental error. Turbulence does not rule out the existence of large-scale order as Juergens thought. Simple reflection on such phenomena as a hurricane viewed from above, an atomic bomb's mushroom cloud, or Jupiter's Red Spot reveals large scale order in the presence of turbulence. The point is that mathematically chaos does not refer to the geometrical order in a system but instead refers to the ability to predict the system's future state. The existence of granulation in the photosphere, per se, in this sense is irrelevant to the presence of chaos or order. What makes the granulation chaotic is the fact that the formation of a particular granule cannot be predicted with any assurance whatsoever.

This idea of "order out of chaos" is not only the title of a recent book by Ilya Prigogine [ see KRONOS VII: I ( 1981), p. 31] and Isabelle Stengers, but it is also a current in-topic judging by the flurry of popular articles recently [i.e., Science Digest, May 1984, pp. 47 ff.; New Scientist, 31 May 1984, p. 11; Science News, June 2, 1984, p. 340; New York Times Sunday Magazine, June 10, 1984, pp. 31 ff.; and Discover, Sept. 1984, pp. 30-34, 39] .

Juergens' blind spot on this point in KRONOS IV:4 seems to have interfered with his proper understanding of his own reference to Minnaert. Instead of ridiculing the similarities between convection cells in hot wax and the photosphere, which Minnaert discussed, Juergens might better have pondered the comparison between convection cells in hot wax and alto-cumulus clouds (which resemble granulation when viewed from above), pictured by Minnaert but ignored by Juergens. Juergens writes: "Many facile assertions to the contrary, it becomes increasingly obvious that photospheric granulation is explainable in terms of convection only if we disregard what we know about convection. Surely the cellular structure is not to be expected" [KRONOS IV:4, p. 34] . However, such polygonal cells are classic examples of the Benard instability invoked by Minnaert. Prigogine and Stengers explain that, whereas in classical thermodynamics heat transfer was considered a source of waste, "in the Benard cell it becomes a source of order" (p. 143). In addition, the Doppler shift in granulation shows the gas is rising which is consistent with convection.

Of the Bénard cell, Peter Engel elaborates in his review of Prigogine and Stengers' book [The Sciences, Sept./Oct. 1984, pp. 50-55]:

As the title of this book suggests, not all of these systems continue indefinitely their headlong drive toward disorder. In many cases, Prigogine and Stengers say, the systems farthest from equilibrium undergo a transformation to attain an even higher degree of order than existed before instability set in. It is as if some force, just when chaos is imminent, catches the system, ratchetlike, and propels it to a higher level of complexity, thus thwarting the evil designs of the second law. The most compelling example of this process that the authors offer is the Benard instability. . . . A pan of liquid is heated in such a way that the lower surface becomes hotter than the upper surface. So long as the disparity in temperature is small, the excess heat travels to the upper layer purely by conduction, and the resulting flow of liquid is regular and smooth. Equilibrium, or, at least, near-equilibrium reigns. As yet, gravity, which exerts an ever present force on the two layers of the liquid, has done nothing to interrupt that even flow. But as the disparity in temperature continues to grow, moving to a state farther from equilibrium, gravity pulls more and more strongly on the denser upper layer. Little whorls and eddies form throughout the liquid and become more and more turbulent, until the system seems on the verge of complete disorder. When the difference in temperature reaches a critical threshold, heat can no longer disperse without the aid of large-scale convection currents. Suddenly the dozens of tiny, violent whorls are swept into a few hexagonal currents called Bénard cells. The ratchet has caught the system and boosted it to a new equilibrium, at a higher level of organization (pp. 52-53).

Thus, the electric star model originated with an erroneous conception of what turbulence and chaos entail and, despite an impressive argument by analogy with electric discharges, it fails, as will be explained, because of a feature of solar structure discovered through observations from Skylab in 1973, but which was never discussed by either Juergens or Milton - the coronal hole [see J. B. Zirker, Rev. Geophys. Space Phys. 15 (1977), pp. 257-269 and E. N. Parker, Sci. Am. (Sept. 1975), p. 48] . In KRONOS IV:4, p. 45, Juergens quoted John Eddy on Skylab findings regarding the magnetic field in the corona [New Scientist, 21 March 1974, pp. 738-741] . Eddy also mentioned the discovery of coronal holes, regions where the solar wind escapes the Sun because there the magnetic field is open. Unfortunately and unaccountably, Juergens and Milton took no notice of this discovery.

Coronal holes are important because the electric star model postulates the Sun, which radiates uniformly, fueled by an essentially uniform influx of energetic electrons from interplanetary space. Because these electrons spiral around magnetic field lines, they can only reach the Sun's surface at the coronal holes because magnetic field lines from the Sun's interior only extend far into interplanetary space (are openended) in the regions called coronal holes. Upon entering the Sun, these electrons would announce their presence by producing x-rays. However, as it turns out, no x-rays are observed in coronal holes, but x-rays are seen where the field lines are closed, looping back into the Sun. The holes were actually discovered as voids in x-ray photos of the Sun.

Yes, the Sun could theoretically be powered by an influx of relativistic electrons; but if the Sun were fueled by incoming electrons, why are none observed at the places where they would be expected to be most numerous? Until the theory is reconciled with this observation, the electric star model can be given no credence; and de Grazia's remark that "Juergens had fully disestablished the thermonuclear theory of the Sun . . ." [Cosmic Heretics (1984), p. 186] is painfully premature at the very least. This point about the absence of electrons in coronal holes is neither abstruse nor esoteric; it is fundamental and elementary in any discussion of solar structure.

The electric star model was predicated upon what were perceived as serious weaknesses in the thermonuclear model. However, in formulating his electrical analogy for the Sun, Juergens did not work out a general theory of stellar formation and evolution and thereby ignored problems that conventional theory explains very elegantly, such as the development of red giants. Hans Bethe, one of the originators of the thermonuclear model and the co-theorist along with Charles L. Critchfield who calculated the rate in the proton-proton reaction, described the situation with red giants in an interview for OMNI in September 1982: "Now I consider one of the most striking proofs of the general idea of nuclear energy production in the stars is the existence of red giants. The details of how a red giant develops - increasing its luminosity, getting cooler and bigger, then shrinking again as the center gets hot enough for helium to react, then expanding again - work out extremely beautifully, and in accordance with the general ideas of nuclear reactions." For more details, see Technology Review, June 1976, pp. 60-61. Where is the explanation for red giants in the electric star theory? Certainly not in Alfred de Grazia and Earl R. Milton's recent book, Solaria Binaria (Princeton, 1984).

Solaria Binaria has been advertised as "a vivid and authoritative portrait of the solar system" presenting "the first fully electrical theory of astronomy". However, comparing the book with the foregoing critique of the electric star model casts grave doubt on whether it is authoritative, complete, or even responsible. Citing the low neutrino flux, the photosphere's low temperature with respect to the corona, and photospheric granulation as fatal flaws in the thermonuclear model (pp. 15-16), the authors offer nothing relevant that would nullify the arguments and evidence marshalled above. They self-satisfyingly and uncritically embrace Juergens' papers, except for the curious omission of the Juergens/Milton paper in KRONOS VIII:1 and VIII:2, and totally ignore coronal holes. With the self-assuredness of a P. T. Barnum, they then profess, in what appears to be a tone of tongue-in-cheek objectivity that "Although proof is hardly forthcoming from this analysis, at least evidence disproving the hypothesis is absent" (p. 32)! I submit that their failure to accommodate coronal holes in their model is as fatal as a flaw can be. Until the authors explain the absence of x-rays in coronal holes, the millennium for cosmic electricity has not arrived. As T. H. Huxley once remarked to Herbert Spencer, theirs is "a beautiful theory, killed by a nasty, ugly little fact".

This penchant for developing beautiful theoretical models of the physical world which ignore critical aspects of the reality that is purported to be explained, as de Grazia and Milton do, brings to mind a dictum eloquently phrased by Roger S. Jones in Physics As Metaphor (New York, 1982): "The acid test of any scientific theory is, first and foremost, its agreement with the facts of the physical world. It is empiricism, not aesthetics, that is the backbone of science. Any theory, no matter how beautiful, will be rejected as soon as it is found incapable of corroborating the facts of nature" (p. 207).

One of the scholarly obligations attending the presentation of new theory is to survey previous related work. Thus, it is a surprise that de Grazia and Milton present their model of an electric solar system without taking cognizance of an item by P. C. W. Davies, "Electric Universe", which appeared seven years ago [Nature 273, 25 May 1978, pp. 268-269] . Davies was reporting an investigation by John Bally and E. R. Harrison on the consequences of some 1926 work by Sir Arthur Eddington concerning electric fields on stars [Astrophys. J. 220 (1978), p.743] . Although Davies was not encouraging, one passage makes his report beg for a response from Velikovskian theoreticians: "In spite of its Velikovskian flavour, the Bally-Harrison electric universe unfortunately does not lead to any obviously important astrophysical consequences. . . . The authors conclude that, though intriguing, the physical significance of an electrically polarized universe is surprisingly obscure." If the Bally-Harrison incursion into the electric universe with its negative result is flawed, the advocates of cosmic electricity would serve their interests better by refuting rather than by ignoring Bally-Harrison.

The foregoing shows that every reason Juergens gave for formulating an electric star model is invalid, and the model fails because electrons are not observed in coronal holes. Furthermore, net electric charge on the Sun is an academic point since charge is not necessary to produce its magnetic field if a dynamo model is viable and "the presence of the interplanetary plasma precludes a long reach for electric fields in space" according to Juergens [Pensee IVR III, p. 58] . The continued uncritical references to F. Sanford's Terrestrial Electricity (1931) and V. A. Bailey's work, by such as de Grazia and Milton, and others, are unjustified. Sanford's conclusions about net electric charge on the Sun and Earth are questionable because his work is based on assumptions that were invalidated by the discovery of the solar wind. The existence of net charge on the Earth is not known and cannot be determined by measurements from within the atmosphere [H. Dolezalek, Physics Today, July 1973, p. 92]. Bailey's postulated electric charge on the Sun was discredited by Oster and Philip of Yale in Nature 189, 1961, p. 43, with which Juergens agreed while providing a discussion in Pensee IVR V, p. 50.

Likewise, Velikovsky's reason for believing the Sun carried an electric charge is erroneous. In Cosmos without Gravitation ( 1946) he wrote: "The solar surface is charged negatively in relation to the charge of the earth, as the spectral lines (with the dominant red line in the spectrum of hydrogen) reveals" (p. 17). This was repeated more clearly in the chapter on celestial mechanics which Velikovsky deleted from Worlds in Collision in early February 1950: "The sun, however, is a charged body, its surface being charged negatively in relation to the earth; this is known from the fact that in the solar spectrum the red hydrogen line is brighter than the green" (pp. 382-3, as revised).

The source of this spectral data [R. A. Fessenden, Astrophys. J. 3:1, 1896, pp. 36-40] does not justify Velikovsky's use of it because it applied specifically to the chromosphere, not the entire Sun. Fessenden himself cautioned at the end: "The presence of negatively charged hydrogen in the chromosphere cannot be considered as absolute proof that the Sun is negatively electrified as a whole, as the other ends of the lines of force may end on the Sun." Nevertheless, without hesitation, Velikovsky would state "this is known . . .". Discussing this issue in Beyond Velikovsky (Urbana, 1984), Henry Bauer had this to say: "The spectrum in fact tells us nothing about the existence of a charge on the solar surface; if it did, Velikovsky's idea that the sun carries an appreciable charge would have been the commonly accepted one long before Velikovsky" (p. 120).

. . . to be continued.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: I am indebted to Lewis M. Greenberg for encouraging me to write this paper; to R. G. A. Dolby for bringing the ice core evidence to my attention in 1977 whereupon it remained in limbo waiting in vain for a credible explanation consistent with Worlds in Collision; to T. C. Van Flandern and V. J. Slabinski who gave their time so freely to discuss many of these topics; and to Alfred de Grazia whose analysis of the Greenland ice cores gave new meaning to the expression "save the phenomenon".

I also thank Robert Driscoll, Henry Hoff, Joseph May, Chris Sherrerd, and Ray Vaughan for the benefit of their extended correspondence.

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