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August 30, 1972
Dear Dr. Velikovsky:
I apologize for being so long in reporting on the planetarium program that we have been doing on your theories. In short, the program "Worlds in Collision: The Theories of Immanuel Velikovsky," has had the best reception of any done by this institution. Attendance has surpassed all previous programs. On Sunday afternoons, for instance, we have had at least three full-house programs, with an occasional fourth, compared to the two that we generally do on that day. Weekdays have also been fully attended. Comments have been very favorable. Many persons have inquired where they may get the book; others have simply expressed their enjoyment ... The program was also presented in an exclusive showing to the Fort Worth Astronomical Society. Dr. Ransom was on hand to answer questions afterward, and the reports on the meeting were again most favorable
In summary, it has been a distinct pleasure to produce this program. I would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to do so.
August 23, 1972
Dear Dr. Velikovsky:
I have just returned home from what is surely one of the highlights of my academic career, participation in the symposium at Lewis and Clark College as an Invited Scholar.
Most likely you will remember me as the biologist in the last session, Friday evening, who brought up some problems relative to the biological implications of your overall theory. Because of the limits of time, I did not have the opportunity to explain clearly enough the points I raised. I am afraid that some, perhaps even you, may have misunderstood.
For many years I have been very disenchanted with the current theories of evolution as well as those dealing with fossilization, extinction, geological processes, etc. Other biologists have argued at length with me basing their position on the claim that there is no other possible alternative. They, of course, object to individual special creation, and catastrophic evolution hardly ever enters into the discussion as a real possibility.
The point I was trying to make in my comments at the symposium was this. Since your theory embraces catastrophe as a major celestial and geological phenomenon, it must of necessity include a catastrophic evolution of species. As I said at the Symposium, I do not expect you to provide the details of such evolution. However, such must be supplied if your theory is to stand validated. Astronomical and geological evidences as well as historical evidences are not enough. Nor are the gaps in fossil records, and the sudden appearance of new groups of organisms enough. Your theory must be supported with demonstrations that there are genetic mechanisms which would allow rapid transformation of species within one to a few generations. Frankly the explanation in Earth in Upheaval is inadequate as is every other explanation proposed to date by others. I was trying to convey at the Symposium that the biological aspects of your theory have been passed over too slightly ... at the Symposium for example there was little time or comment devoted to this area. I felt it essential that those attending the meetings should be aware of the problems in the biological area. Sooner or later a biologist especially one well trained in genetics, needs to carefully explore the whole genetic basis of current evolutionary theory. Although I have some background in genetics, I hardly feel adequate to the task, at least at the present. I am by training a plant taxonomist-ecologist and deeply involved in a long term study of the natural areas of Pennsylvania. However, I do plan to continue with what spare time I have to investigate the biological implications of your theories.
Kimball S. Erdman
August 26, 1972
Dear Dr. Velikovsky,
At the Symposium in Portland a biologist, whose name I cannot recall, questioned some of the precepts of mutation you had described. You had reiterated that heat, radiation and chemical agents may be individually or in concert responsible for mutation of species. Later I chatted with the biologist and described another agent which, up to now, may not have been seriously considered, and which I feel is of primary importance.
Undoubtably chemical and radiation activity could be responsible for the generation of mutations, which may or may not result in a new species. I would prefer to consider how selective wide-spread radiation might incur a mutation by absorption of various, but selective wavelengths. This, by statistical relationship, would give a distribution of mutations that may be somewhat gaussian, whereby only those in the main sequence would survive while those at either extreme have been subjected to unregenerable damage. Similarly, organisms which have been exposed to potentially toxic chemicals, or to pathogenic microorganisms, may develop mutagenic strains.
We must, however, be cautious in descriptions of mutations in absolute terms. The current definition of a species rests on the principle that it can viably reproduce generation after generation. But it should also be noted, and in very strong terms, that the species of mankind is made up of mutations.
We can viably reproduce, begetting offspring who can repeat the cycle, while on occasion begetting mutations which cannot survive or reproduce. Yet, the difference between individual members of the human species lies in the fact that we have a genetically inherited xenophobia - in no case, except identical twins, have organs been successfully transplanted. Even with blood transfusions a temporary stopgap is performed until the body can replenish its own supply. Thus each individual stands alone as a mutant, whose very life is limited by the number of cycles the cell-reproducing functions can continue.
In regard to heat as a mutagenic cause, I would relegate this means to the category of radiation, as heat nominally is induced by infrared or microwave radiation as a by-product of their effects. And unless the radiation is discriminatory the heat produced will prove damaging to an organism in the majority of cases.
Therefore, in the example of the strange, new species observed in the bomb craters in London, I can think of two possible explanations. Either the seeds or spores were carried to the site by the bomb or were uncovered by the blast, or the mutations were caused by the acoustical effects of the detonation. Both the thermal and acoustical effects are transient factors, achieving high temperatures or pressures in an extremely steep gradient, but the thermal effect would tend to be degenerating while that of the shock wave would be one of displacement.
In the literature shock wave forming of complex metal parts is well known, where complicated topologies are formed which are stress-free. I have even performed an experiment by detonating a charge within an enclosed space to observe the effects on a crystal slurry of magnesium carbonate; the crystals, under the microscope, showed peculiar displacements of the structure which also appeared to be stress-free and there were selective fragmentations of a given crystal.
By congruency, I would expect that acoustically induced shock fronts would be responsible in a large part for selective mutations, which could also be of a new species. As explosive shock waves contain large energy potentials, these wavefronts are also made up of various frequencies and their harmonics. For mutagenic effects to take place, which most likely are on a molecular level, there would be a selective absorption of energy from a rather narrow band of frequencies depending on the geometry of the molecule being affected. Displacements would occur near instantaneously, and may affect the whole or only part of an organism, dependent on its size and composition.
Now, if the theophany of which you spoke included shock waves of sufficient magnitude to be world wide in scope then it is within reason to expect that mutations should occur planet wide, and may also in some measure add to the psychological trauma to which you referred.
So, I submit that the three agents are radiative, chemical, and acoustical.
Frederic B. Jueneman
August 14, 1972
Dear Dr. Velikovsky:
Last minute pressures of work prevent me from participating in the Symposium which I consider to be a landmark in the history of science. I would like to convey to you my appreciation for your invitation to participate which was forwarded by the President of Lewis and Clark College.
In replacing so many of the basic paradigms in the humanities and the sciences with a single new, empirically supported scheme of things you have exacted reaction among scholars second to none. I remain one of those lesser minds that has been tremendously stimulated by the scientific validity of your approach as well as by the import of your research. I trust that the Symposium will mark a significant turning point in recognition of the authorship of your ideas and their overt discussion in the literature.
My best wishes. Yours sincerely,
Bruce Fraser, Chairman