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From the Editor
A Brief Look Back
The publication of this our third issue on Immanuel Velikovsky marks nearly a year since our first effort to draw the attention of the public and the academic community to the scholarly successes which Velikovsky's work has enjoyed. We originally intended, for that first issue, to publish but a single article on Velikovsky, indicating something of the nature and significance of his work, and the confirmations it has gained. But the subject matter, as if endowed with a compelling force of its own, soon grew to fill an entire issue, which in turn initiated the current series of issues.
Velikovsky's address before a large audience of scientists and engineers at Harvard (Feb. 17, 1972) was the first "event" we covered. It was at Harvard, of course, that Velikovsky had faced his most intense and bitter opposition, and this lowering of the barriers, which gave him an officially sanctioned platform within the stronghold of his opponents, signaled the onset of what may well be the last phase of Velikovsky's battle with the "scientific reception system."
There quickly followed the series of events with which most of our readers will already be familiar. Velikovsky was invited to consult and lecture at NASA's Ames Research Center, and then participated in the first full-scale, interdisciplinary symposium on his work, at Lewis and Clark College in Oregon. (Many of the papers in this issue of Pensée were first read at that symposium.) Shortly after that, he addressed the Princeton University Graduate College Forum concerning "The Current Revolution in the Sciences and Humanities."
Pensée itself, during this time, was successfully launched as a journal focusing on Velikovsky's work. Quite significantly, Science magazine and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists reversed longstanding policies by accepting Pensée's advertisements for "Immanuel Velikovsky Reconsidered." Further, the respectable British journal, New Scientist, published a paper urging the community of scientists to take a hard look at Velikovsky's work. (See p. 7 for excerpts.)
That hard look is what Pensée seeks to encourage. The most hopeful sign of all during this past year, in our own eyes, has been the new and revived interest in Velikovsky among those who pursue scholarly activities and enjoy access to research facilities.
Take, for example, two letters we received almost as this issue was going to press. Both letters, as it happens, are from physicists. One, a member of the department of physics at an east coast college, writes that he has all summer "to work on a project" relating to Velikovsky. His suggested topic: orbital mechanics and electromagnetic forces. The other, a professor in the department of medical biophysics at a major Canadian university, says that "a number of us in this department, all physicists, are keenly interested in Velikovsky's theories; I myself have read all of his books. It has recently come to my attention that Pensée has devoted at least one more issue to Velikovsky since the one last May and that perhaps Pensée will become a 'Velikovsky journal.' I would much appreciate it if you could tell me how I could go about obtaining such succeeding issues of Pensée as they appear." The "keen interest" here expressed is also reflected in the list of courses we publish on p. 37. Most of these courses were launched during the past two or three years; we have no way of knowing how many more there are. Since putting this list together, we have heard of several other recently initiated or newly planned courses dealing with Velikovsky.Personal Note
The building momentum is clearly in Velikovsky's favor. But the years, and no doubt their harshness as well, have exacted a price. Velikovsky himself is not in good health and finds that, even as cracks appear in the once seemingly impenetrable barriers which have been placed before him, he is unable to exploit the opportunities so presented. Stricken with severe diabetes—and currently without any secretarial or other help, as has been the case throughout most of these years— he cannot maintain even his most urgent correspondence.
Many of the letters which come to him contain inquiries about publication of the sequel to Ages in Chaos. The facts are these: there has been no suppressive effort designed to prevent further publication of Velikovsky's books; the delays have been Velikovsky's own choice. The Ages in Chaos sequel, first set in type over 20 years ago as a single volume, has now grown to four or five volumes. Velikovsky has chosen to subject each volume to the most rigorous checking and cross-checking procedure possible. Two of these volumes are now near publication: Rameses II and His Time and Peoples of the Sea,— the former may come out this summer and the latter shortly thereafter. None of the other works Velikovsky has been preparing, including Mankind in Amnesia and the story of the Deluge, are currently scheduled for publication. So far, all his books have been published by Doubleday and Company, New York.
Pensée and the Future
Pensée, as our readers will begin to note, must yield to a certain logical development. With the increasing "legitimization" of Velikovsky's work, there is less necessity to present the "case for Velikovsky" and more need to sift the evidences, one by one; less call to focus upon what is known and confirmed, and greater urgency in the questions and problems that arise. As NASA's Dr. Richard Haines observed after Velikovsky's visit to Ames Research Center: "I believe the time has come to leave the debating table and begin the enormous task of evaluating empirically those hypotheses of Dr. Velikovsky's that are amenable to scientific study."
And so, in coming issues of Pensée, the reader will encounter increasingly more criticism and hard-hitting discussion. He will not encounter heated exchanges with those who question Velikovsky's integrity and relegate his work to the categories of quackery and, faddism. Such accusers are even now facing the judgment of history, and Pensée need not devote a great deal of space to them.
We do, however, feel an obligation occasionally to direct the attention of the public and the scientific community to scientific malpractice, where it continues to occur. It was only quite recently, for example, that one of the nation's leading astronomers, Professor George O. Abell, remarked: "After having had a course in astronomy, [students] should be able to recognize the absurdity of the theory of Velikovsky about a comet boiling out of the atmosphere of Jupiter, later stopping the Earth's rotation and finally becoming the planet Venus."  (The Planetarian, September, 1972.) So long as individual scientists or scholars feel exempt from normal ethical considerations in making such statements in the absence of supporting evidence, we shall attempt to cast a public spotlight upon them.
On Meeting Deadlines
Failure to meet announced publication schedules seems to be an affliction common to all publishers dealing with "Velikovsky material." And to date Pensée is no exception, as we stretch the calendar to its limits with our "winter" issue. Not only that, but two items earlier announced for inclusion in the winter issue do not in fact appear: Velikovsky's experiment on "The Velocity of Light," and the chronological chart detailing Velikovsky's historical reconstruction to 280 B.C. (The latter is in advanced stages of preparation and will almost certainly find publication in our next issue). We can report, however, that Velikovsky has released to Pensée a number of pivotal chapters from the Ages in Chaos sequels, and these will appear in our immediately forthcoming issues.
We are now receiving manuscripts with ever increasing frequency, as well as indications of interest and requests for information. Indeed, our greatest frustration has been a lack of financial and staff resources, preventing us from capitalizing on the opportunities at hand. To the physicists quoted above, for example, we can provide little besides good wishes and the names of some like-minded researchers. Our own time is fully consumed by the immediate responsibilities entailed in assembling 56 pages or so of finished copy. Even so with only one full-time editorial staffer, we face continual delays.
Nevertheless, we would rather be overly pressed than ignored. And the latter state is not likely to befall any serious journal of Catastrophism for a long time to come.
 We have yet to receive from Abell a response to our written request that he provide us with one or two explicit examples of this "absurdity."