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Open letter to science editors


  •  The AAAS may hold a symposium on Velikovsky.

  •  The Philosophy of Science Association passes a symposium resolution.

At the third biennial conference of the Philosophy of Science Association last October, Dr. Antoinette Paterson (SUNY College at Buffalo) rose to protest the treatment accorded to Immanuel Velikovsky during the past two decades.  Several other members followed her remarks with defenses of academic freedom.  A motion was put forward, and passed: "The program committee for the fourth Philosophy of Science Association conference should be informed that there was interest among those attending the third P.S.A. conference in the philosophical/problems connected with non-standard theories in science, and arrangements should be made to accommodate this interest if possible and feasible."

Professor Adolf Grünbaum (University of Pittsburgh), a former PSA president, observed afterward that as a result of his contact with Velikovsky's work—partly through Pensée—he will discuss the Velikovsky case in his book, Falsifiability and Rationality.  The book, to be published this summer, deals with the handling of orthodox, neo-orthodox, unorthodox, and heterodox theories in science.

In a letter to Pensée (fall, 1972), Dr. Walter Orr Roberts wrote, "Perhaps the AAAS could be interested in holding a symposium on scientific logic, using the Velikovsky case as a specific study." Roberts followed up that suggestion with a letter to Dr. Walter Berl of the AAAS, in which he stated that the proposed symposium should take up one specific topic—for example, "Velikovsky's notion that Venus is a new member of the planetary family of our sun."  Cornell University astronomer, Carl Sagan, who will be writing for Pensée on this very subject, has indicated his support for the symposium.  Neither Sagan nor Roberts, however. feel in a position to devote time to organizing such a symposium, which they believe must be "enormously carefully done."

Who can undertake the organizational task?  That question has yet to be answered.


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