of the Morning and Evening Sessions
the A.A.A.S. Symposium on
Velikovskys Challenge to Science
held on February 25, 1974
by Lynn E. Rose
Full, verbatim transcripts were prepared by me between
1977 and 1979, covering both the Mornig Session and the Evening Session
of the A.A.A.S. Symposium in San Franscisco; these were based not only
upon my own tapes but also upon other tapes kindly provided by Warner
B. Sizemore and by Frederic B. Jueneman. A few spots that have remained
inaudible are marked with [?], [inaudible], or
The prepared papers themselves are simply mentioned
at the points where they were delivered; they are not included as part
of the transcripts. All six of the speakers eventually published papers
elsewhere anyway, either in Pensée IVR VII or in Scientists
Confront Velikovsky, or in Velikovsky and Establishment Science
(Kronos III:2). Velikovskys paper was ready to be printed
on the very day of the Symposium, and three of the other papers were also
published more or less as delivered. In various noteworthy respects Hubers
paper was established altered prior to publication (See Kronos
IV:2, especially pages 33-34 and 53-54). Sagans own paper, as many
now realize, was radically revised and greatly expanded,
virtually into a new paper. Much of that new paper, including all of the
much-touted Appendices, was not seen by Velikovsky or by any of his supporters
until nearly two years after the Symposium. Meanwhile, Velikovsky
was being required to answer in 30 days a paper that Sagan had taken nearly
two years to produce! But that is another story.
The editing of the transcripts themselves has in nearly
all cases been by way of deletion. If a speaker repeated the same word,
or the same string of words, I have deleted the repetitious material.
If a speaker made an error, and immediately corrected that error, I have
deleted the incorrect version. If a speaker began a sentence, abandoned
it, and started a new sentence, I have deleted the incomplete sentence.
(All uhs and the like have also been deleted.)
If a speaker made an error, and did not correct it
himself, I have not amended his actual remarks. In such situations, and
in other situations as well, I have sometimes inserted editorial notes
in square brackets. But I emphasize that everything not in square
brackets was actually spoken.
For the sake of readability, I have sometimes deleted
a superfluous word, or even an inappropriate s. In other cases, an ungrammatical
form has been deleted in its entirety, but then replaced by the correct
form in square brackets.
Let me illustrate some of these editorial procedures.
When Velikovsky referred to his New York Times article of the twenty-fist
of July, nineteen thirty-sixty-nine, I simply deleted the thirty.
But when Velikovsky referred to Hatshepsut of the Nineteenth Dynasty,
and did not catch himself, I let that stand, and added a correction in
square brackets. At one point Storers actual remarks were: No,
I dont, I dont think that the, the panel has been set up.
Its not rigged. and as farIts, Its an occason
for the public to watch a scientific debate. After deletion of the
repetitions and the false start, this became: No, I dont think
that the panel has been set up. Its not rigged. Its an occasion
fro the public to watch a scientific debate.
Two of the participants (Velikovsky and Huber) were
not native speakers of English, but I think it should be pointed out that
the remarks of all of those who spoke (myself as well, when I rasied a
question from the audience) seemed to cry out for the kind of vetting
by deletion that I have just illustrated in the case of Storer. All of
the participants have benefitted about equally from this. In no case have
any of the editing procedures affected matters of substance.
Lynn E. Rose
THE MORNING SESSION
Good morning. I would like to welcome you to this first
session of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and
to apologize, first of all, for our delay in getting started. One of our
speakers has not yet arrived.
One of the funcitons of the A.A.A.S. is to act as a bridge
between scientists and the public, and, as science becomes more specialized,
this responsibility becomes more important.
Today we are going to consider a set of ideas that have
at their core a completely unconventional picture of planetary motion.
Most scientists would say that this picture is totally impossible, because
it violates many of the most firmly established principles of physics.
To this Dr. Velikovsky would reply that there is overwhelming
evidence that these events really did occur, and that, if they cause difficulties
for the scientists, it is up to the scientists to resolve their own problems.
No one who is involved with the organization of this symposium
believes that Dr. Velikovskys ideas are correct. Yet millions of
people have read his books, and, after more than twenty years of condemnation
by the scientific establishment, he still has a large and often devoted
It is for this reason that we believe that discussion of
his ideas at a meeting of the A.S.A.S. is a public service. Its
in this spirit that we present this mornings symposium.
The program includes six speakers. Since early on the first
morning of the meeting some of you will have been unable to visit the
registration desk to pick up your programs, Ill outline it briefly.
The first speaker is going to be Professor Norman Storer,
of the City University of New York, who will give a sociological talk
devoted to The Sociological Context of the Velikovsky Controversy.
Then well have Professor Peter Huber, of the Eidgnössische
Technical [sic] Hochschule of Zürich, who will talk about Ancient
The third speaker will be Dr. Velikovsky, whose talk is
entitled The Challenge to Accepted Ideas.
Fourth will be Professor J. Derral Mulholland, of the University
of Texas, who will talk on Considerations of Dynamics.
We will then have Professor Carl Sagan, of Cornell University,
speaking on Venus and Dr. Velikovsky.
And the sixth speaker will be Professor Irving Michelson,
of the Illinois Institute of Technology, who will give a talk entitled
Mechanics Bear Witness.
And, finally, as we have it scheduled, there will be an
opportunity for Dr. Velikovsky to give an answer at the end of the program.
I would like to remind you also that our schedule goes on
just this morning. We must vacate the room by one oclock, and I
do hope that if [only for the sake<] of the weariness of the audience,
that we dont go on that long. [laughter]. But we will resume our
meeting again at seven-thirty this evening, where we will have all the
panelists at that time seated on the platform, and we will have an open
discussion, without any formal program, with the opportunity for everyone
who wishes to participate.
We will have an opportunity after each speaker talks this
morning for questions from the audience. I would like to ask that the
questions be framed in the form of questions, and that members of the
audience not use the occasion to make speeches [laughter]; I am sure you
will bear with us on that. The time is somewhat limited, and well
do our best.
Each speaker will have twenty minutes, and after each speaker
well have about ten minutes available for the discussion. There
will be one exception to this rule. When the program was originally put
together, Dr. Velikovsky insisted that he should have at least thirty
minutes for the presentation of his ideas. I only learned last night that
Dr. Velikovsky intends to overrun even this time limit. I can only deplore
this, and hope that Dr. Velikovsky will return our courtesy in inviting
him here by keeping the length of his talk within reasonable bounds. [laughter].
Well, you havent come here to hear me talk, [laughter]
so lets move on now to our program. [laughter] The first speaker
is Professor Norman Storer, of Baruch College in the City University of
New York, where he is Chairman of the Sociology Department. Professor
Storer has made a speciality within sociology of studying the sociology
of the scientific community, and he is going to give us a talk entitled
The Sociological Context of the Velikovsky Controversy.
And may I mention that I have, courtesy of my wife, a little
timer, and Ill ring a bell at eighteen minutes and set it again
for two minutes.
STORER [to King]:
Do you want me to field questions ... [inaudible]...?
KING [to Storer]:
I will come up again and help you take questions.
STORER [to King]:
[Storers paper, entitled The
Sociological Context of the Velikovsky Controversy was presented
at this point.]
Thats the end! [applause]
We have some time now for questions from the other participants or the
Yes, Dr. Storer?
Yes, I would like to comment on the introduction
that Dr. King gave, which, to me, put this symposium in the context of
the recognized scientists setting the layment straight on whats
really going on, with no mention of the validation of some of Dr. Velikovskys
assertions, not that that makes his conclusions correct.
All right. The question is, would I comment
[delayed applause], would I comment on Professor Kings introduction,
which the questioner construed as saying, Here is the real
science, and were gonna show you people whats wrong with Dr.
Velikovsky. I dont think it needs to be read that way. [laughter]
As a matter of fact, my stance, anyway, is, is determined, dogged neutrality
on this. [laughter] Nobody would believe me if I said, sure, comets do
this or that.
No, I dont think that the panel has
been set up. Its not rigged. Its an occasion for the public
to watch a scientific debate.
STORER and KING [briefly conferring]:
Next, the lady over there.
As a sociologist, I would seriously like
to challenge a great many of the things that Professor Storer has been
telling us about the sociology of science. I cant begin to go into
some of the reaons why I feel its very much open to question. I
would like to recommend that some of you look at Stuart Blumes Toward
a Political Sociology of Science. And he also ... [inaudible]...the
power of lobbying.
Could you give the second reference again?
The separate table of the power of lobbying...
Oh, I see. Yeah, I happen to be reading
that book right now. Its a good book.
Stuart Blume, Toward a Political Sociology
Toward a Political Sociology of Science,
by Stuart Blume, published by Free Press in this year.
I wonder if Dr. Storer, offhand, could give
me just two examples in which a brilliant new idea now accepted as fact
was welcomed by the scientific community. [laughter, applause]
I am tempted to defer this to some of the
historians of science here. [laughter] Its my understanding that
Albert Einsteins ideas met very little resistance among the top
physicists of that day. You disagree with that statement.
...[inaudible]... the mathematicians.
Im sorry, What?
He was attacked by the mathematicians. The
seocnd rank took him off.
I would like to reply to the last question.
I think, [laughter] I think two examples that can be brought to answer
that question are the discovery of mass concentrations on the Moon and
the internal heat in the Moon, which have both thrown the discussion of
the history, the evolution of the Moon, into a state of extreme excitement,
and has totally rejuvenated the entire subject. [applause]
I should mention that, with the lights shining
in our faces here, its a little bit hard for me to see peoples
hands, so raise them high.
May I ask
I would have thought the normal way of dealing
with a crackpot is to ignore him. Is it the usual practice in scientific
publications to review books by proclaiming that you have not read them
before you review them? [laughter]
Its frequently charged by the injured
authors of those books, [laughter] and denied just as often by the men
who did review them.
One more question.
Mr. Velikovsky had his hand up.
Oh, Im sorry. Did you wish to say
I wish to ask Professor Mulholland whether
he knows who was the first to claim, in time, a steep thermal gradient
under the surface of the Moon?
I wish to also ask whethere there is an
explanation for the mascons on the Moon, beside the explanation that the
Moon was clsoe to some heavy, gravitating body that pull out some mass
towards the surface? [applause]
And besides, would you consider these two
observations as fundamental theories?
Can you answer that briefly?
Yes. [delayed applause] I regret to say
I do not, in fact, know who might have first suggested the Moon was hot
inside. I will acknowledge definitelyi that Dr. Velikovsky did so, many
years ago. And I must blushingly admit that he has put a finger on a weak
point in my statement, because what I have as the response a few moments
ago were observational determinations rather than theoretical structures.
I think we refuted it ...[remainder inaudible]...
I am sorry we have not been provided with
a second microphone. What I will ask, since its understood that
people are asking questions rather than making speeches, Ill ask
that, if a question is not easily audible, that the person who is up here
at the microphone repeat the question, as Dr. Storer did with at least
the first question that was asked of him.
Well move on to our second speaker
now. Professor Peter Huber, of the Eigenössische Technical [sic]
Hochschule in Zürich, has made a study of the ancient archaeological
records relating to astronomy. He also, incidentally, has a second specialty
in statistics, and were very pleased to have him speaking to us
today on Ancient Historical Records Professor Huber. [Huber,
of the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zürich, has statistics
as his first and only professional specialty. He also, incidentally, has
repeatedly described himself as a hobby-assyriologist. Thus
King has conferred upon Huber a profession status that Huber does not
have. The A.A.A.S. Program misrepresented Huber in the same sort of way,
describing him as a Prof. of Ancient History }page 23].]
[Hubers paper, entitled Early
Cuneiform Evidence for the Planet Venus, was presented at this point.]
Thats the end! [appluase]
Dr. Velikovsky says he has several questions,
and would like to use the microphone for them.
Understand, I had not chance to have your
paper before this morning, so I did not know the phenomena that you would
We had yesterday a short chat. You mentioned
that the most important statement is an eclipse that was calculated for
something likewhat would it be?
Perhaps I get the document. [pause] What
is most important eclipse is a total eclipse of -708 [astronomical; 709
B.C. would be historical], Julywhich, Ive forgottenJuly
It is from China?
Its from China, from these Spring-Autumn
What is from Ras Shamra? You spoke of Ras
No, I didnt mention Ras Shamra.
But you mentioned to me yesterday
that most important
No, not Ras Shamra.
Well, Chinese date, was in this document mentioned also the place?
For this particular eclipse the
place is not menioned, but[laughter]
As long as
But there is something else. For
some otehr eclipses it is mentioned that the eclipse happened in the province.
The inference is that this particular eclipse happened at the capital.
And to make it precise, what I mean is, if you take the probably most
reliable eclipse we have now from antiquity, its the Babylonian
eclipse of -135 [astronomical; 136 B.C. historical], and use this to determine
Babylonian eclipse, -135. We only
learned about it last December. [laughter] Its very definite, description
of a total eclipse, with all the details. If you take this eclipse, which
is absolutely certain, and
Ja. And if you use this eclipse
to determine the values for the secular accelerations, and calculate back
to -709 [historical], you obtain the eclipse as total right at the capital
of where this dynasty was reigning.
Let me ask you, Professor Huber, are you familiar with the same discussion
that I had with Princeton astronomer Stewart, printed in June, 1951 issue
You are. He brought at that time, ont he basis of a lecture of Fotheringham,
three ancient eclipses: one from China, one from Assyria, one from Babylonia.
I replied. Stewart claimed that three only existing established dates
of full solar eclipses. I replied. I have the reply with me. Do you agree
with Fotheringham and my opponent, or do you agree with me today?
I agree you were quite right in
rejecting these three Fotheringham eclipses as right evidence.
[They are] not well-dated.
The date is established astronomically
in these cases.
So in that case we will say so, that the argument that was brought by
astronomers in 1951 in the debate on the pages of Harpers, three
eclipses as if established, were, well, answered by me, and I showed that
noen of them was really eclipse, neither the date could be a date of eclipse,
because eclipse doesnt happen on the twenty-sixth of a lunar month,
neither the places were indicated, and neither they fit into chronology.
Place is very important. If the total eclipse is in Brazil, you cannot
look into records of North America.
Now, next question. Do you believe
that, as you have written to me, ther eis some very strong argument, for
one specific eclipse that is beyond any doubt, established by Stephenson,
Stephenson and Muller, yes.
Did they publish their work?
Its not yet published. I learned
about this last January.
Its going to be published
in the proceedings of a conference on changes in the rate of rotation
of the Earth
Do you know the year of the eclipse?
Which eclipse do you mean?
Of Stephenson, the one he claimed [as] the one, and you believe it is
the most strong evidence?
The most strong evidence against
these catastrophes, in minus sixteen [presumably meaning the eighth century]?
That is the one of minus seven hundred
and eight, July 17.
No, I asked you about the work of Stephenson.
Yes, thats the work of Stephenson.
Did not Stephenson wrote about the eclipse discovered in the library of
I am not aware of
Are you aware of his publication in Nature?
Which publication in Nature?
We had a discussion
About the eclipse yesterday.
We had a discussion
About the eclipse.
and we couldnt agree
on which publication it was.
He published only one papaer in Nature on one eclipse, that he
believes this is the only one [that early] that he established with complete,
absolute, so to say, firmness, and he referred to the library of El-Amarna
[meaning Ras Shamra].
I am not aware of that.
You were not aware. It was published in Nature. It was published
by Stephenson in Nature. This issue is of November 14, 1970. He
speaks about the eclipse of 1375. He believes that this is the only one
[that early] that is established beyond doubt, and let me say, if you
have read my Ages in Chaos, you know, of course, that Ugarit is no more,
in reconstruction, related to the fourteenth century, the library of Ugarit,
but to the ninth century. So in that case of course, all the calculation
would not fit.
Interestingly, also, it is said that Rashap,
which is Marscorrect?was in attendance. Interestingly, this
eclipse is described in Greek sources; [it] is described, however, as
something very different from regular eclipse. The Sun was distrubed in
its motion, and Stephenson printed: The Sun went down (in the daytime)
with Rashap [or Mars] in attendance. And we have exactly the same
statment in Greek sources, referring to the date when Romulus supposedly
was born, that Mars caused distrubance in movement of the Sun, and at
the same time it occurred that Sun and Moon were in eclipse.
Well, let us come to the question of Sumerian
materials that you claim that Venus was referred [to] in early ages. You
refer to 3000 B.C., and to 1900 B.C., and to the time of Ammizaduga tablets.
Now, let me ask you, this Sumerian hymn,
in your opinion, refersand is the best proof that Venus was already
observed earlier that it became a morning and evening star. That Venus
was observed before it came into conflict with Earth is clear from what
I wrote. It did not come from Jupiter just on the eve of that collision.
[laughter] It came thousands of years before. It could be seen. However,
you are right. In that hymn, Venus is referred [to] as connected with
morning and evening. But what is else in that hymn? And I am very thankful
to you for giving me the text of that hymn.
First, it is in Sumerian. Sumerian as a
living language really extinguished rather early. But Sumerian was the
Latin of the cuneiform-writing people, and it survived as long as Latin
survived, past the Roman Empire, so the fact that it is written in Latin
doesnt say much about the age.
Here is spoken about Inanna. Let us assume
that Inanna referred to Venus. So we know that Ishtarand I stressed
this in my bookat some time in the past was the name for Jupiter,
became later the name for Venus.
Now, Inanna shines as bright ass the
Sun, Is Venus shining as bright as the Sun today?
Now, in the same hymn, says, Inanna is a
star foreign to use, fremdartige Stern, not from this family.
Now, its again said, on daytime, on
middlay, it shines as bright as the Sun. Does it today?
Also it says during the night as the Moon.
You are twisting the translation
from German into English.
Zur Natchzeit sendet sie Licht aus wie der Mond, am Mittag sendet
sie Licht aus wie die Sonne.
Which means that
shined as bright as the Moon in the night, shined as bright as the
The bright is not there.
She sends out light like the Sun.
Like the Sun?
And this passage
Dr. Huber, talk into the microphone, I cant hear.
Yeah. This passage, actually it
was used by Schaumberger in the third Ergänzungshefte [to Kuglers
Sternkunde und Sterndienst in Babel] as an argument that Venus
was visible during the day, and you quote, in Worlds in Collision,
that passage from Schaumberger, if I remember correctly. [See Worlds
in Collision, page 164.]
Yes, and I quoted many other passages from Babylonian sources that say
that Venus is like a torch, like a torch in the sky, that Venus covers
all the sky. And this is not only from Babylonian sources.
Now, also there is spoken about honey
and cakes being given to Inanna. If it is Venus it would be exactly what
was given later to Athena, and which is also observed in so many religious
cults up to today. [laughter]
Now, let me ask you, [laughter] as
to this Sumerian hymn, it would be good if you could discuss it on the
basis of the original, because this is the German translation, again translated
into English. do you read Sumerian? [laughter]
I read cuneiform, but I do not really
speak the Sumerian language. [laughter]
No, I didnt ask whether you speak Sumerian language. I asked you
whether you read Sumerian language.
Im not so familiar with Sumerian
as a Sumerologist would be.
Fine. So you are not familiar with Sumerian language. [laughter] Let us
say, let us ask you, [as laughter finally dies away] let us ask you whether
cuneiform in Akkadian language is, well, your main occupation. Do you
teach cuneiform or ancient history in Zürich?
No, I dont.
You dont. So you dont teach [them]. You teach, I understand,
and you are very foremost in the field of statistic, and it is correct
that Akkadian language, self-taught, si your hobby?
Not quite self-taught.
Well. Well. [laughter] Now let us say this. The Babylonian sources,
by Weidner and by many others, show the fact that for long periods of
time, as also in India, [there] was in Babylonia four-planet system. Later
Venus was figured, as you have seen, together with the Sun and the Moon,
in a triad, separately from the planets, and it was called the new planet
that joined the other planets.
And then it of course was referred to as
moving not in a perfect orbit. Here were the tablets of Ammizaduga. As
to tablets of Ammizadugain the hard-cover edition of Worlds in Collision,
pages 199-200 [the entire discussion being cited extends from page 198
to page 200], if my memory is right, are dedicated.
It is not as it was shown here [in
Hubers slides], if Venusthis is a translation, because
otherwise it could not be understood. In the Akkadian text there is no
such things as, if Venus appears on this day or on that day, Just
it is said, it appears on this day or on that day. And there is a way
to check on it. It is mentioned. It appears on that day. It disappears
on that day. And in between are so many days. You have the way to check,
because if from fifteen of Sivan to the seventeen of Tammuz, or whatever
the dates are, you can calculate by the calendar, but, interestingly,
by the calendar of thirty days in a month, and thirty days in the month
without intercalary months is the prerequisite to understand what is going
Those who try to understand those tablets
and to translate them needed to correct the translators and ascribe to
scribes great errors. West is changed into east. Evening is changed into
morning. Nine months and five days are changed just into five days [the
interval of nine months and five days is based on B.M. 36395; several
otehr tablets suggest that the interval was nine months and four days],
to make sense, because as today, Venus, when in inferior conjunction,
which means between the Earth and the Sun, disappears from sight for approximately
one single day, but when it is in superior conjunction, which means when
the Sun is intervening between Venus and the Earth, today it is aboutnot
always exactly sotwo months and six days.
Now, in the tablets it is nine months
and several days, and very different other figures which are not given
to understanding. It is nothing of the if. It is just as it
Now, interesting again, as I say,
it is a calendar of thirty days, without intercalary months, even if there
are two references to Elul the second. Will you say that there is no refernec
ein Langdon and Fortheringham to thirty-day calendar, without intercalary
Give him the microphone.
Give him the mike!
Could you let Dr. Huber have the microphone?
He has a number of things to answer now.
One point is the question of the if.
Now, thats really a question pertaining to essentially all omina.
Many of these omina begin with just a vertical bar at the beginning. Now
this vertical bar is either the stenographic notation for summa, if
or its something like our horizontal bar, if you make a list. Usually
its taken as the if nowadays, and I just joined the
majority. It doesnt really matter if you replace it by a horizontal
bar. The factual meaning is the same.
But the question of the intercalary months is: we have intercalary
months from documents which were written in the old Babylonian times,
and I thought I made quite a fuss about the fact that seven intercalary
months were recorded in contracts written in the time of Ammizaduga, and
that these same intercalary months could be established from the Venus
tablets. [Actually, there are eight or even nine attested intercalary
months from the time of Ammizaduga, and only four of these clearly fit
the months that would be required for a uniformitarian reading of the
Ninsianna tablets; in addition, there are three months required for a
uniformitarian reading of the Ninsianna tablets that are not attested
from the time of Ammizaduga: Hubers claimed seven-for-seven fit
is a fabrication.] That was my main argument for establishing the date
of the Ammizaduga tablets. And these intercalary months are discussed
by Fortheringham in Langdon-Fortheringham-Schoch. Thats one comment.
The second comment, you said something about Venus joining the
ranks of the great stars, if I am quoting correctly. Now, I followed that
quote through. This is one of the quotes which I mentioned in the beginning,
as they are based on a questionable translation. I took care to take along
the cuneiform text of that. And I can tell you exactly what happened there.
The cuneiform text has somethingNow, the great star which
is beyond the great stars which in the certain part of the sky.
Now, the great star which is beyond the great stars. That
is a literal translatoin. Somehow, this got into the great star
which joins the great stars. But theres a grammatical technicality
involved. Akkadian doesnt have the superlative. You have to express
the superlative by syntactical means, and what this means is nothing more
[than] the great star which is the greatest of the great stars
which is, oh, thats a grammatical question. And I didnt want
to go into these details, but since you started it, I have to do it.
I wish to refer again to Ammizaduga tablets. Ammizaduga tablets were tablets
describing twenty-one years of appearance and disappearance of Venus.
These tablets were ascribed by [that is, to] Ammizaduga by
Jesuit Father Kugler. Before this they were thought by astronomer and
orientalist Schiaparelli, as referring to events of the seventh century
B.C., not of the time of Ammizaduga., which would be fifteen, fourteen,
or whatever century, or even earlier.
Now, again, what is the time of Ammizaduga?
Ammizaduga was the last king of the First Babylonian Dynasty that started
with Hammurabi. When I started my work, the research on it, Hammurabi
was put in twenty-second century. Since then, the work of Albright and
Sidney Smith reduced it more and more, until today it is 1680, approximately,
the time till when Hammurabi ruled, and Ammizaduga would be at least a
hundred years later. So Amizaduga would be in that case just before the
time of the Exodus, or the end of the Middle Kingdom in Egypt.
But if Hommel and Schiaparelli are rightand there is reason
to think that they are rightthe reason is exactly the fact that
the calendar used in these calculations of the scribes is thirty-day months,
and there is no mistake on this. This needed to be stressed. When in the
tablets it is mentioned from this day to that day, immediately is given
also the wayof chekcing, by number of days insertednot inserted
later, inserted immediately in the textthey show that the months
were thirty days ong, and there were only twelve months, and there were
no intercalary months, even if some occasion was Elul second.
Now, on this basis, I come now to the conclusion to which I had
not yet come when I wrote Worlds in Collision, namely, that those tables
were a little earlier than Schiaparelli thought, but not much earlier.
Certainly they are not of the time from the First Babylonian Dynasty.
It would make no difference for the thesis that the catastrophic events
took place, that Venus did not move as it moves, but it is just for the
purpose of establishing something of historical value.
Thirty-day months, twelve months, year of 360 days> as I put
quite a long list, actually, from all ancient calendars, from Incan and
from Mayas, from Peruwhich [Mayas] means in Mexicofrom all
ancient European, like ancient Roman and Greek, and also Asian, near Eastern,
and Far Eastern civilization. From each of them I put quotes from authority:
twleve months of thirty days, strange as it is, without intercalary. Intercalary
months were brought later in. And so later there were two Moons
calendars, Moon calendar of thirty days, and the new Moon calendar.
Well, in these circumstances, I come to the conclusion that Amizaduga
tablets were created between the time of the catastrophic events of the
middle second millennium and the catastrophic events that took place from
the 776 on, from which the Greeks counted their Olympian Age, and more
probably in the later part of it [that is, probably in the tenth, ninth,
or eighth century], and then it will be very plainly what it is.
However, this disappearance to nine months and more, interestingly,
is not a disappearance due to going of Venus beyond the Sun, as it would
be in superior conjunction, because even then Venus was seen like a torch,
and going behind the Sun would not hide it enough.
However, we have a series of data from many civilizations, also
from China, like Soochow table, that Venus at that time was traveling
to the south, was not traveling in ecliptic, which means in the plane
of Earths revolution. it was traveling to the south and reaching
the star Sirius. Now, hti is in various sources. Now, in that case, the
disappearance of Venus would follow, not from going behind the Sun, but
from disappearing as any southern star would disappear from the northern
latitutde where Babylonia or Egypt are located.
Thank you. [applause]
This is a discussion that clearly could
go on for a long time. [laughter] I have put my head together with Dr.
Huber, and have induced him not to reply to this until the evening session,
in the interests of getting on with our morning program. During the evening
we will have a free discussion, and I think I can freely predict that
this particular vein will continue. [laughter]
Our next speaker on the program is Dr.
Velikovsky. [laughter, applause] He has informed me that he has prepared
a manuscript which he has gotten together in the interests of speaking
clearly, so that everyone will understand what he has to say. I have already
said that I regret the length of it, but well allow him time to
go through this manuscript. [applause]
[Velikovskys paper, entitled My Challenge
to Conventional Views in Science, was presented at this point.]
And thank you. [applause, lasting 35 seconds]
you very much for your talk, Dr. Velikovsky, and also for your excellent
and clear delivery.
am getting very concerned about the hour of the day. We have three speakers
remaiing. We had planned a half hour per speaker, including the discussion,
and we must be out of this room by one oclock. Things are going
to be very tight.
will ask if there are any questions now that can be answered briefly,
and I would like the answers to be brief, because we must get on to the
other speakers. Yes.
wondering if any of Dr. Velikovskys predictions have turned out
to be untrue so far, and if he would talk about those, if there are any,
I dont know.
The question is, have any of Dr. Velikovskys
predictions turned out so far to be untrue, and would he discuss those?
I do not know of any prediction proven
to be disproven.
Professor Hess, the late Chairman of Geology at Princeton, who claimed
that he knows at least one of my book by heart, Earth in Upheavalit
is a required reading in geology and paleontology at Princeton for over
fifteen yearshe was also Chairman of the Space Science Board of
National Academy of Sciences that has supervision over NASA activitieshe
made a public statement in writing that my predictions were made long
in advance of discoveries, that when they were made they were far away
from what was commonly thought, and actually in contradiction, and that
he does not know a single prediction that went wrong. If anybody knows,
let me hear.
Right. These microphones wired?
I think this is the only one that is connected yet.
I think I know a large number of predictions which are incorrect, and
I also think that I can show that the ones which are correct are not original
with Dr. Velikovsky, but I will get to that when its my talk.
What I would like to ask, just to ask a specific question. In Dr. Velikovskys
presentation to us now, he has said that the hydrocarbon clouds of Venus
are consistent with all ultraviolet, visible, near infrared and far infrared
observations, with the refracive index, and the volatility.
That is not my impression, so Id
like to ask, which organic compound has a refractive index of 1.44, as
we know the Venus clouds do, from the polarization data, has a 3.1 micron
and 11.2 micron absorption feature in the infrared, and is able to explain
the discontinuity in the water abundance above and below the clouds?
I ask this because about a seventy-five
percent solution of sulphuric acid explains all of these very well, and
I know of no organic compound which does. And Ive read the papers
by Burghstahler and Velikovsky in the latest issue of Pensée.
What Professor Sagan here said is
in advance of what he will say, so I cannot judge what he would claim
as wrong predictions. I had only the chance to read Newsweek magazine
statement this week, in which Sagan was quoted, after his visiting Newsweek
editorial staff, that Velikovsky predictions are eitgher very vague, or
they are in condradiction to physical laws, or that they are not original.
I believe that he will have a hard time to prove this. Maybe we
will not be able to discuss it all in the morning session. We will have
the evening session; then well discuss it at greater length.
But let us go to the question of the Venus clouds. I claimed about Venus
number of things, and all of them went into fulfillment.
I claimed about Venus that it wold be found
incandescently hot when it was thought that it is not much above the terrestrial
annual mean temperature.
I claimed that Venus was disturbed in its
I claimed that Venus has a very massive
atmosphere at the time when my opponent and critic, the Royal Astronomer
of England, Spencer Jones, claimed that Venus has less atmosphere than
Earth, and as you know now, there are about ninety, maybe ninety-five
atmospheric pressure close to the ground.
Now, as to the composition of the clouds,
let us say the first thing this. The question of recentness of Venus is
solved by the question of the origin of Venus heat.
Professor Sagan clings to an unsupportable
statement ath this heat could have been a result of greenhouse effect.
We will discuss this. already many authorities
Thats not the question.
Already many authorities put it clear:
it could not.
Now, in the last issue of Penséewhich, by the way,
will be found at the door of this hall, where representative of that Student
[Academic] Freedom Forum organization has a tableI was given the
opportunity to answer Professor Burgstahler, chemist of University of
Kansas[aside to Lorraine Spiess] I wish number VIas to the
constituency of clouds..
I never put it that clouds must be composed of hydrocarbons. [Notice
that this statement already makes the specific part of Sagans
question irrelevant.] I have, however, claimed that Venus had hydrocarbons
three and a half thousand years ago, and some of the deposits of petroleum
on Earth came from Venus clouds, or trailing part of it.
But I also introduced this statement by words, I assume.
I also said under what circumstances they can be llod for and where: in
the deep infrared, and probablynot at the top of the clouds, because,
as heavy molecules, by physical law they will not be there.
But then again, Burgstahler came up, in this article of his, review of
the literature, with the idea that more probable sulphuric acid diluted
in twenty-five percent of water reflect the conditions in various parts
of the spectra.
I answered, and the answer in here in Pensée instead of
quoting my answer, which can be read, on page 31, is a table that answers
It does not.
The table is not my words. The words are
of Burghstahler. As to the refractive index, as to the volatility,
as to the ultraviolet spectrum, as to the near infrared, as to infrared,
and as to deep infrared. In no occasion is any word of mine.
And there is also a statement of Burghstahler, added to my article:
he appreciate ... Velikovsky lucid discussion... I appreciate...of
my article, of his article, and especially the provocative
tabular presentation of the spectral comments drawn from it. [Burgstahlers
complete statement was: I appreciate Dr. Velilkovskys lucid
discussion of my article, and especially the prvocative tabular presentation
of spectral comments drawn from it. He then acknowledges Velikovskys
priority in explaining the yellowish coloring of Venu, and menions the
possible compatibility of sullfuric acid clouds with the sustained
presence of appreciable amounts of hydrocargons, especially in the lower
regions of the atmosphere.]
Now, the question was put to me, which of the organic molecules
has the refractive index of 1.44. Let me say this, the entire problem
started with an article by Professor Plummer, of University of Massachusetts,
who published on the fourteenth of March, of 1969, in Science magazine,
an article questioning the presence of hydrocarbons in the clouds of Venus.
I answered this article; however, [I have] not reworked it to the desire
of the reviewers for Science, and it was printed now here in Pensée.
The question was of the refractive index, who claimed what. Plummer
claimed water. Sagan claimed water. I claimed there is no water, because
the refractive index is not of water.
Sagan was proven wrong, because 1.44 is not refractive index of
water,which is 1.33, approximately, ice and water. And today exactly this
statement of mine is repeated by a number of scientists: Plummer was wrong,
Sagan was wrong, because of refractive index.
Now comes Sagan and asks me, where is the refractive index of organic
molecules? Here is statement of organic chemist, who is Professor Burgstahler,
and I have with me two or three statements more, of Professor Harris,
organic chemist, whose speciality [it] is, of Furman University in South
Carolina, and another statement, of Professor Bush, of the North Carolina
University in Charlotte, both working on the spectrum of infrared of organic
molecules, stating that many organic molecules have infrared index
of 1.44. And I have another statement, from a resident of this area,
Dr. Ballinger, who works as research chemist on organic material for the
Exxon Company of Califormia, and the statement is again the same.
And besides, what is the question? Plummer, for example, investigated
Weve forgotten by now.
What is the question? Plummer investigated seventeen organic molecules,
not on their refraction index. There are hundreds of thousand of organic
molecules, either hydrocarbons or carbohydrates. They were not investigated.
And tehre are many and many that have the refracting index of 1.44.
May I ask you to terminate your answer now?
Well, this is the answer. I believe I answered completely.
It was a very complete answer. [laughter, appluase]. We have on
record your reference to page 31 of Pensée, and Dr. Sgans
remark that that does not satisfy his question. Lets leave it at
that. We have two hours to discuss things in the evening. [Notice that
King is still unaware that Sagan is leaving.]
Now, we have three more speakers on our program. The next two speakers
are going to talk on different subject matter but in a similar vein, and
the way I am going to organize the program is that I will ask Dr. Mulholland
to give his talk, and hope very much that he will stick tothe twenty-minute
limit, and after that we will have Dr. Sagan immediately, and following
that well have a chance for some more discussion, which I hope will
be brief. Remember, we have two full hours for discussion this evening,
and we have one more speaker after both Mulholland and Sagan.
So let me introduce the next speaker, Professor J. Derral Mulholland,
of the University of Texas, in Austin, who is a celestial mechanician
whose name is almost synonymous with high precision. [laughter]
[Mulhollands preliminary remarks,
not included in this paper, were as follows:]
Before I am asked the question, I would
like to point out that I first read Dr. Velikovskys work in 1950
in Colliers magazine when I was sixteen years old, and I
have read the same work [sic] three times since, the most recent yet this
year. [What Colliers printed was the equivalent of six
magazine-size pages that were Excerpted and Adapted by John Lear
from Worlds in Collision by Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky; Velikovsky
objected to the way Colliers treated his book, since he had
agreed only to serialization, not to condensation, and the planned third
installment of Lears condensation was never printed. Worlds in
Collision itself contains xii + 401 pages.]
I found it very entertaining when I was
sixteen, incidentally, and I stil do.
[Mulhollands paper entitled Movements
of Celestial BodiesVelikovskys Fatal Flaw, was presented
at this point.]
Thank you. [applause]
As I announced previously, well move
on immediately to the next speaker, and I wish to amend something that
I said earlier.
Unfortunately, Dr. Sagan will not be allow-,
will not be available, will not be with us this evening, on account of
a previous commitment out of town.
Ill call on Professor Carl Sagan,
of Cornell University, to talk on Venus and Velikovsky.
[Sagans preliminary remarks, not included
in his paper, were as follows:]
Thank you, Professor King.
I first started working on this paper, that
I have here, on the invitation of Stephen Talbott, the editor of Pensée,
who invited me to give a critique of Velikovskys views about Venus,
which I started to do, but then discovered that its very difficult
to keep ones focus only on Venus, because Velikovskys perspective
is extremely broad. And so what has come out is a manuscript called not
Venus and Dr. Velikovsky but someting called An Analysis
of Worlds in Collision, which is much too long to read
here, and especially in the interests of time Im going to just go
through a fraction of it, something like a third of it. I dont know
what Mr. Talbott will do when I talk about him about the manuscript.
[Sagans paper, now retitled An
Analysis of Worlds in Collision, was presented at this
point. The decision to put Worlds in Collision in quotation marks
rather than italics was Sagans.]
Thank you. [applause]
Thank you very much, Dr. Sagan.
Although I found your ten points immensely
interesting, as chairman, trying to keep this meeting running, I feel
as if Ive been visited with the ten plagues. [laughter]
We are going to have to make a change in
the schedule. It is obvious that discussion at this point is necessary.
The time is already seventeen minutes to one. We are required to be out
of the room at one oclock or shortly afterwards.
And I must apologize to Professor Michelson,
to be last speaker, that we must postpone his talk until the evening meeting.
He has graciously agreed to do this, in order that we can have some discussion,
which I imagine will be largely between Dr. Velikovsky and Dr. Sagan.
I am sorry, Dr. Michelson, in my incompetence
in manipulating people in the presence of ideas. [laughter, applause]
May I ask for one or two questions from
the audience, in the hope that the questions will be brief, and the answers
equally brief. Question.
I have four brief questions that I wish
to ask. [laughter]
You have been recogized to ask one question.
Choose one of them, please.
Where is Mulholland? Is Mulholland going
Yes. Yes, Mulholland. All right. Are you
familiar with the published work of J.G. Hills Yeale Ph.D. thesis,
1970, Michael We. Ovenden, Nature, 1972, and Vistas in Astronomy, in press,
Celestial Mechanics, in press, and several other journals, in press, A.
H. Wilson of the University of Chicagoby the way, Michael Ovenden
is a fellow of the Royal Astronomical SocietyA. H. Wilson
And a friend of mine, I might add...
a dynamical astronomer, ofAlso,
are you familiar with the works
We should say yes and just sit down.
of the three leading celestial mechanicians
in the world from the point of view of rigorous mathematical proof, which
exceeds that even of physical experiments
Would you like to give you opinion as to
who those three are before I say yes?
[Bass has continued to speak, but was drowned
out by Mulhollands question.] ... and I refer, of course, to V.
I. Arnold of Moscow, [J. K. Moser of New York University, and Carl
Ludwig Siegel of Göttingen, because these four gentlementI
can give you the page referneces of their journal articleshave published
explicit statments which show that almost everyting you said was superficial,
and they diametrically refute many of your leading points. [applause]
... [inaudible] ... brief answer.
...[inaudible] ... controversy....
Thats not the question.
This was a speech, not a question.
As I passed up here, somebody said thats
a controversy, not a question. I will answer very briefly. Yes, am familiar
with most of those works, and no, I do not agree with you that they confute
anything that I said. [applause]
Thank you for your [brevity?].
Alos, the represent an argument from authority.
There was not a single substantive point in your question. It was all,
Have your read X, Y, X, or Q?
One more question from the audience.
I have a very brief question for Dr. Sagan.
Following the recent Pioneer X encounter with Jupiter, there was a wire
services stroy in which there was a quotation attributed to you that there
were hydrocarbons in the atmosphere of Jupiter that were precipitating
like manna in the wilderness. I wonder if [laughter]
This is another idea due to Rupert Wildt
in 1940, about ten years before 1950. [laughter] Rupert Wildt, in fact,
turns out to be the eminence grise of this subject amtter, having thought
of, but for the correct reasons, all of Velikovskys principal arguments
which are used to justify his thesis post hoc, almost all.
And it was Wildt who has correctly identified
methane in the atmosphere of Jupiter, and Saturn, in the 1930s,
and he proposed that other simple hydrocarbons were to be found there,
which indeed turns out to be correct. In fact, just in the last few months,
acetylene and ethane have been found in the atmosphere of Jupiter, in
We have done laboratory experiments in which
we duplicate the methane, ammona, hydrogen, and probably water, which
exist in the atmosphere of Jupiter, supply energy sources to it, and fid
that a large range of organic compounds are produced, including the precursors
of amino acids. For this reason we think that Jupiter is of substantial
interest for pre-biological organic chemistry, and I do think that organic
matter is dropping form the skies of Jupiter like manna from heaven. Its
on Earth where I have difficulty understanding manna from heaven. Jupiter
makes perfect sense.
The two previous talks were directed largely
to Dr. Velikovsky, and I think he should be the next one to comment on
I think that Professor King made the right
decision, and I thank Professor Michelson for agreeing to speak in the
Actually, Professor Michelson was selected
by the organizers of this Symposium to discuss the subject of celestial
mechanics, requiring advanced knowledge in mathematics and physics. He
is international authority in his field and I am pleased to say that I
will yield to him to answer manythings that I would have answered to Professor
However, one thing I wish to say. All what
Professor Mulholland mentioned here was based again on the assumption
that noting had happened and could not have happened in the past, and
therefore it must have begun as it goes. But this is not a law; this is
Im sorry, thats not true, That
was no assumption. These were observations.
Data, not assumptions.
One of my data wass that electromagnetic
phenomena do participate, to whatever extent, in the celestial mechanic,
and other catastrophic circumstances to much greater effect than, of course,
a normal condition.
The discovery, for example of Professor
Danjon, Director of Paris Observatory, that made sensation when he announced
it, in the summer of 1960, at Helsinki, about the change in the rotation
of the Earth, if only in milliseconds, following a flare, a regular flare
on the Sun, was unbelieved by those who atended the International Geophysical
Union session. But then it was confirmed, in Helsinki again.
So these electromagnetic phenomena were
entirely not in calculated [that is, calculated in, included in the calculations],
but when now the celestial mechanics is presented in textbooks, the authors,
like Clemence and others who are great authority in the field, have excused
themselves, saying they knowingly omit phenomena that certainly do exist,
but they do not in calculate [that is, calculate them in]. They still
go by pre-Faraday astronomy. Of course, Newton was not to blame. Evening
I will read a sentence from Newton, becuase he was farsighted. He saw
the phenomena which Iwellhad long battle for with astronomical
society. I was considered outcast exactly for, more than for anything
else, for claiming that, besides inertia and gravitation, also electromagnetic
forces and fields do participate, and on one of my letters, the late Einstein
worte, Yes, this was the main cause of the great agitation
Now, as to Professor Sagan[laughter,
Thats good. Right there.
let me quote one single sentence from
his new book. In his new book he says, Jokes are a way of dealing
with anxiety. [laughter, applause] And this is exactly what I said
in my lecture. I wrote it before I read his book. I bought it only here,
in San Francisco.
Well, you hear jokes. It is easy to put
in a book something what is not there, and then make it a joke. I believe
this is an action of a person who defend a position that is undefendable.
I would not have spoke on this subject now,
but I heard that Professor Sagan will not attend the evening session,
when we would have more time to discuss the matter, and since he is not
prepared, or made advacnewellagreement on being somewhere
else, though this Symposium already being prepared for more than half
a year, so how advance could it have been? I would like to confront him
in the evening, and i have with what to confront.
Nevertheless, to put into my book the story
about Moses opening the sea, or Joshua asking the Sun to stop still, and
then at the nick of a moment here coming the comet and do what Joshua
or Moses asked, where I clearly said that these things are entirely fabulation
of folklore, that the story as it is need to be searched from one place
to another place.
And though Professor Sagan claimed that
he is not versed in mythology or folklore, but he went into that area,
and had some ideas. But I already discussed these ideas, I think to satisfaction
of those who deals with question of mythology, because mythology has a
reason in fact, a basis in fact. It was not just carried from one population,
from one island to another. The story were told differently, but the theme
is always the same.
Now, again, to put into my book story that
frogs were faloling fromt he skynot in his lecture here, but according
to a tape recording of a lecture before tuition-fee paying students at
Cornellthat frogs were falling from the sky, and this [was] what
Velikovsky said, and I said exactly the opposite, that frogs were the
brood of the Earth, because the quotes in the Bible is exactly to this.
He said also that mice were falling from
the sky. Now, well, mice? WellYou need to know the Ten Plagues.
There was no Mice Plague among the Ten Plagues. And certainly warm-blooded
animals did not fall from there.
I even did not claim that flies came with
Venus. I put in that way: It could be` it is anybody[s] guess. So
the idea of contaminationof the EArth goes back to the beginning of the
century, and you can find it in wok of a Swedish geo-physicist of that
Now, again, as to the life on Venus, and
the Venus clouds
By the way, the story of the fogs falling
from the sky was also a matter of discussion on the third of December
when Jupiter probe, Pioneer X, passed by, and [there] was a press conference,
and there was a confrontation between [Sagan and] Professor James Wawick,
whom I never met, who demanded a fair treatment to me, claiming for me
the advance claim of Jupiter noises. Now, well, this is one of the cases
where Velikovsky made generalized statements. Jupiter noises, so clear
as this, and who else said it?
So again Professor Sagan said, what is Jupiter
noises? Frogs were falling from Jupiter clouds. But in the book, just
I wuote it now, 1974, he claims thatwell, some few things. One of
the things is that on Mars there may be animals today, of the size of
polar bears, they sleep thousand-year hibernation sleep, and they get
their food by, well, eating or taking stores into their mouth and extracting
water from the stones. Well, somebody who comes with those ideas should
be very careful to criticize. [laughter] Well Well-documented, from
many civilization, idea of contamination of the Earth by some larvas coming
with cometary tails, which I did not subscribe [to], but presented for
Now, again, let me ask about the correctness
of prediction. In that new book I read that Professor Sagan claimed for
himself such clear predictions in 1963 that Venus is very hot, and that
Venus has many atmospheric pressures, and he claimed that he said it already
Well, possibly he said it in 1962, but I
have with me an article in Science from 1961, where he claimed that if
the atmosphere is 600, and it was already stated by Professor Meyer in
1956. As soon as Jupiter noises were found, all planets were subjected
to tests. Venus was found producing certain radiation, and htis was not
of the same length as from Jupiter, so it was not of the same kind. It
was thermal signals. Now, these thermal signals would be like 600 degrees.
It was not believed that 600 degree could be right. Sagan belived that
it could be right, 600 degrees, but he said if the surface temperature
is 600 degree, Venus would then be approximately four atmospheric pressures,
and this is Science and this is twenty-fourth March, 61.
Now he claims in his new book, that in 62
he was such a great prophet that he claimed already fifty presures. Well,
from one year to another
Hes not perfect.
Hes not perfect.
Hes not perfect. [applause]
Now he is opposing hydrocarbons on Venus.
But I will quote some authorities concerning hydrocarbons on Venus. For
example, here is an authority who says that about possible existence of
some hydrocarbons in the lower atmosphere. Will you agree with this statement,
Well, what was the statement? There is
Possible existence of hydrocarbons
in the lower atmosphere.
Not a question of how much.
Yes, it is a question of how much. In fact,
thats the theme which cause the most difficulty in this area.
There are at the end of Worlds in Collision
two section dealing with physical condition on Venus. In one I dealt with
the constituency of the clouds and atmosphere, and I explained where,
if there are hydrocarbons, to look for them; I said also how hydrocarbons
could have been created from methane and ammonia. And this was confirmed
ten years later by experiments, exatly this how it was done.
I claimed also later, in 1951, how hydrocarbons
could be changed into carbohydrates, and this was in debate with Stewart
that I mentioned before, in June 51, of Harpers.
Now, again, second section dealt with the
thermal balance of Venus. And there I said if oxygen is still there, there
must by hydrocarbon or petroleum fires. Now, you understand all right
that if there is heat, as it is, and if there is oxygen, and if there
are fires, hydrocarbon would not last. Actually if it is still there,
it would only be a time clock to find out how long the process is going
on. The ther way of transforming would be in[to] carbohydrates. But nevertheless,
little or much, are hydrocarbons there? It is not the question of quantity`
it is question of quality.
Do you agree with this statement, that I
claim, that hydrocarbons could be there?
Do I answer?
Would you please answer into the micro
I would ask first this question, becasue
immediately I will continue.
You made a number of statements. Let me
try to answer some of them.
No, maybe I would continue, then you answer
the others, but this I would ask.
We are running our of time, and I am running
out of remembering what your comments were. So how about letting me make
some responses, and
Well, I wish to continue on this one question.
Well, why dont you let me answer,
and then you can continue.
Please let him answer.
No, because I am in the middle of an argument
about hydrocarbons. [laughter]
Youre not in the middle of an argument
if you dont let me answer.
VOICE [to Sagan]:
Say yes or no and sit down.
VELIKOVSKY [to Sagan]:
Well, if you wish.,
Ill be glad to respond. No, you see,
it is not just a yes or not question. Let me say why.
Then qualify it first, sir.
Many of the difficulties with the Velikovskian
approach is the absence of quantitative thinking. So its no enough
to say, for example, that I said there were going to be large magnetic
effects, and [it] turns out that Jupiter has a magnetic field of six gauss
or whatever. There is bound to be some residual magnetism everywhere.
There is bound to be, just as in the Earths oxidizing atmosphere
there are today hydrocarbons. Methane is one part per million of the Earths
atmosphere. That has nothing to do with manna. It has nothing to do with
any of this. If you look closely enogh you are going to find a large number
Let me try to respond to a few of the remarks
Dr. Velikovsky has made, and then Ill be gald to hear the resto
fo this discussion and, if I can, try to respond to that.
In his response thus far, there has been
very little substantive commentary on my remarks, but, on the other hand,
he hasnt heard many of them befor enow, so I dont object to
that. [Actually, Velikovsky had heard almost all of them before.]
The idea of oxygen burning fires on Venus
is very bizarre, because Venus would come from Jupiter. Jupiter has an
excess of hydrogne. There can be no oxygen on Jupiter. It would all have
been reacted with hydrogen to form water. Therefore, there should be no
oxygen on Venus, and, indeed, there is none, as has been clearly shown
by ground-based spectroscopic observations.
Dr. Velikovsky has criticized me for having
changed my mind. I do not consider that to be a serious flaw. I think
that it is precisely the ability to change ones mind which is the
method by which sicence advances, and the unwillingness to change ones
mind, the idea [an idea that Velikovsky has never presented!] that texts
are canonical and need no revision in the light of twenty-five years of
subsequent study, that I find more strange.
I do not consider this to be a debate between
my theories and Dr. Velikovskys theories. As I understood the function
of this Symposium, it is merely to discuss Dr. Velikovskys views
in Worlds in Collision.
To respond specifically to the remark he
made, between 1961 and 1962 a significant change in our knowledge of Venus
has occurred. It was the question of whether the atmosphere was mostly
nitrogen or mostly carbon dioxide. Nitrogen had been deduced there by
default. We then realized that the spectroscopic deductions were in error.
The atmosphere was therefore mostly carbon dioxide. Therefore, the specific
heat at constant pressure was different. Therefore, the adiabatic temperature
gradient was different, and, therefore, to get down to 650 or 750 Kelvin
you had to go much further down the adiabatic gradient, and therefore
you got to much higher pressures. And it is precisely because we learned
something new that we changed our views, and by 1962 the views that several
of us had proposed turn out to be correct.
Now, on the question of frogs, mice, toads
[no one mentioned toads before, not even Sagan], flies and other vermin
from the skies, it is quite true that Velikovsky does not say that mice
fell, nor in this lecture, have I. [The words in this lecture
were spoken with such rapidity as to be unnoticed by most of those in
the audience.] It is almost true that Velikovsky says that frogs have
not fallen. I say almost true, because he quotes an Iranian
text, in apparent approval, which Iranian text seems to show frogs from
the sky. [The Iranian text and other such texts are discussed in Worlds
in Collision, pages 183-187, which Sagan is totally garbling.] But
he does not say that. He says probably or words to that effect.
[Actually, Velikovskys words were must be, which are
hardly to the same effect as Sagan probably.] It was
the heat produced by this cometary interaction which caused indigenous
terrestrial frogs to proliferate.
Thats fine, but notice that Velikovsky
is now asking to have it both ways. Some of the plagues come from space,
and others do not. Now, what is the decision as to which ones to accept
and which ones not to accept based upon? A consistent view would be to
say either I have believed the accounts in Exodus or I
dont But to say I will choose to accept some and not
others is very strange. [These questions are ones that are answered
in Velikovskys writings. Even if Sagan has never consulted the written
answers, he should be able to recall how Velikovsky answered these questions
no more than fifteen minutes earlier in the discussion. Velikovsky repeated
once again that mythology has a reason in fact, a basis in fact.
Velikovsky accepts those elements of the mythological stories that have
a plausible physical explanation and that are independently reported by
different peoples. The stories are told very differently, but the
theme is always the same. Local embellishments that have no plausible
physical epxlanation are entirely fabulation of folklore,
and each story as it need[s] to be searched from one place to another
place, if the common theme is to be found. See also Velikovskys
Afterword, where he explains that he rejects any local embellishments
that do not have a plausible physical basis, is not testified to by other
people, and is therefore to be regarded as an inaccurate elaboration by
one people upon what actually transpired. Sagans continueing
need to describe his own garbled version of Velikovsky as very strange
is itself very strange.]
Let me give one specific example.
With all due respect,
OK. One second.
I think you are introducing new material
rather than respoding.
No, I am trying to respeond to the question
about frogs and mice. [applause]
Exodus states that manna fell every
day for forty years, with the exception of the sabbath. It did not fall
on Saturdays. Instead a double portion fell every Friday. [laughter] It
didnt actually say fell. It said appeared. But, using the Velikovskian
verb, lets say fell. [The verb is not Velikovskian, but biblical:
Nubers 11:9 says, the manna fell.]
Now it seems to me to pose seriuos problems
with Velikovskys hypothesis. How 1010
kilometers net path away from Earth, did the compet know to hold back
on Saturdays but to give a double ration on Fridays? [Herre, again, Sagan
displays no understanding of what Velikovskys views are. The 1010
kilometers is the approximate distance that Venus might have traveled
during forty years. This, of course, has nothing to do with Velikovskys
theory, which is that various materials from Venus were transferred to
Earths atmosphere at the time of the Exodus. These materials were
modified in Earths atmosphere and over a period of time precipitated
out of Earths atmosphere. Sagans idea of a dialy shipment
from Venus to Earth, transported over the distance that Venus has covered
since the Exodus (which was many times greater than the distance between
Earth and Venus at any given moment], is entirely his own invention, and
proves nothing, except that he is quite ignorant about the theory that
he is attacking.]
So this is something that, of course, we
see is absurd, so we do not invoke it. But why not? Why this preferential
use of the fraction of Exodus which seems to match some preconceptions,
ad the avoidance of other things in Exodus?
If I had to chooseand we certainly
dont have to choose, fortunatelybut if we had to choose, is
not the evidence almost as good as for the God of Moses as for the comet
of Velikovsky? [This rhetorical question is essentailly the last sentence
of Sagans paper, which he had omitted when he read the paper.]
The time is almost ten after one. I will
hope that Dr. Velikovsky can give his present answers in five minutes
and then postpone everyting else until the evening.
... [inaudible] ...
On the one hand I am accused of having gone
into too many fields. On the other hand I am accused o having not gone
far enough, and not calculated everything to last detail. I left something
for Sagan to do. [laughter]
As to the question of the energy required
for explosion from Jupiter, I discussed this subject in a special issue
of Yale Scientific Magazine, dedicated completely to the question
of my thesis of Venus being a young planet. It was April 1967, and there,
with Professor Motz as my opponent, Lloyd Motz of Columbia University,
I discussed and explained this subject.
It was not a king of volcanic explosion.
It was a fission of the planet being disturbed in a way how also British
cosmologist, Lyttleton, describes in Mans Veiw of the Universeits
a popular work1961, page 36, but also a year before in the Monthly
Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, in England, namely, how Jupiter
had to come out of embarrassing situation by splitting in two unequal
This of course Lyttleton put much farther
in time, but the argument is even better if you know my argumens in the
two volumes that precede Earth in Upheaval [meaning Worlds in
Collision], describing the events concerning flood, universal flood,
and other catastrophic events of the time. [Velikovsky is here referring
to Saturn and the Flood and to Jupiter of the Thunderbolt,
the two volumes that describe the earlier catastrophes, those that preceded
the last two acts of the cosmic drama that are described in
Worlds in Collision.]
As to the figures of mathematician and physicist,
how they thow them! One less I had to give. Professor Straka, of Boston
University, presented his piece, with calculation, with figures, to Pensée.
It was printed in the second issue of Pensée dealing with
Velikovsky. There are altogether ten, six already out, seventh to go to
print soon, [it] will have all of these debates in it probably.
Now, in that occasion I took to give lesson
to a mathematician. Read it. Read the figures, how they are put together,
how [they] are brought before the lay public, and then read my answer.
I received a letter from Arthur Clarke in
Ceylon. He says he would like to be present in the class of Straka, when
sutdents would bring that article into the class.
I dont claim to be a mathematician,
and I leave this work to others, and I am happy that Professor Michelson,
who started entirely uncommitted, not selected by menot even asked
I was whether I agree to selection of Professor Michelson. He will present
to you in this eveningand I strongly advise you to be presentwith
complete answer to Professor Mulholland. Though he is not a philologist,
not an historian. He will not go into this field. But he willcome with
two great calcuations that will be something in science to remember, of
Now, as to question of manna and Saturday,
you see another joke. Of course I didnt say in my book, as if in
my book is spoken about manna falling six days in the week and not on
Saturday. Of course I did not say this. Of course I did not say that the
Israelites were much more fortunate than the Egyptians. At the Sea of
Passage many of them perished. In the Plague of Darkness, despite the
biblical statement, other rabbinical statements say that forty-nine of
fifty Israelites perished during the Plague of Darkness.
So I stressed these points, this disagreement
with the Bible. I am not a fundamentalist at all, and I oppose fundamentalism.
So this brining story of manna as if it is my story is, of course, not
serving the purpose of scientific debate.
Now, as to the oxygen on Venus, I think
Professor Sagan is just wrong. The Russian probes found small quantities
of oxygen below the clouds. Not did not find. They found it. And they
found that it is a hot, oxidizing atmosphere, and so it is referred to
numerous time in the recent literature in America, too. So how not to
know this, if Sagan serves also as editor of a magazine on planetary sciences?
Now, as to prediction in general, on this
I stand: Nobody yet brought a wrong prediction of mine. Some thing is
not yet completely confirmed.
The question of clouds on Venus, what it
consists, is a question still of debate. But I asked something [of] Professor
Sagan. He interrupted me, and he did not go into that question. And the
question was whether he agrees with the idea that hydrocarbons are in
lower atmosphere of Venus. He did not answer, but this was quotation from
his article. [laughter].
Now, he also did not answer other questions,
but let us say taht he prentends that he did not claim me writring in
my book about frogs falling from the sky, and mice, too. Now he says he
didnt say about mice, but this is on the tape. The tape exists.
[Sagan made this and other outrageous statements on March 28, 1973, in
a widely publicized lecture on Venus and Velikovsky.]
And about frogs, we have here, in Pens0e
number VI, also from a tape, discussion between Professor Warwick and
Sagan on third of December, and Sagan say here, clearly: Let me.
Velikovsky explicitly predicts the presence of frogs and flies int he
clouds of Jupiter, and here you heard that he says, no, he didnt
say some things like this. But he said it only on third of December. So
May I ask you, since its a quarter
after one, to stop?
Yes, I am finishing with this. On this point
I stop. I think that Professor Sagan, claiming water on the clouds, and
there are none; claiming lower temperature, pressure, and it happened
to be very high (of course subsequently he changed his view); and claiing
now organic materials, and even life, in the clouds of Venus, and we heard
here something contradictory to this, and this is another article of his.
So if somebody has six days in the week for six opinions, he maybe sometimes
be right, too. But with me, it happened so, that my claims were made long
in advance of the findings.
And thank you. [applause]
May I thank Professor Michelson again for
graciously allowing his talk to be postponed till the evening.
I would like to make one ... [inaudible]
... [inaudible] ...
I would like to requst that Professor Sagan be
asked to continue his point of view.
I present it to the podium. If one man made
the sacrifice of allowing him to continue, I think he should make the
sacrifice to attempt to stay here.
When I was describing the genesis of this
Symposium, I mentioned that A.A.A.S. put this Symposium together out of
a feeling that the work of Dr. Velikovsky was worth presenting at a public
forum. What I did not mention at that time was that Professor Sagan is
not only a vigorous defender of science, he is also a vigorous defender
of scientific freedom, and the suggestion that we hold this Symposium
came directly from Professor Sagan. [This is false; the suggestion that
A.A.A.S. should hold such a Symposium was first put forward by Walter
Orr Roberts. Robers idea was later supported by Sagan
The meeting is now adjourned.
* * *
THE EVENING SESSION
about now? Is this better?
name's Donald Goldsmith. I'll be the chairman of tonight’s .session. We
will have until ten o'clock, at which lime, by the rules of the A.A.A.S.
and the hotel, all thes other things that have been worked out, to get
the room ready for tomorrow, we'll have used up the time allotted to us,
all too short—[filled -up] the morning. We'll have a full aiscusssion
of all the points people would like to discuss. So that I'd like to urge
you to be short in your answers, short in your questions.. It would be
nice if there were not enough people who had a lot to say, so that we
could have a full, complete discussion. But Im afraid that that
will not be the case, and it'll be of extreme importance to use the time.
start tonight with a talk by Professor Michelson, which he so kindly postponed
until this evening: in order to allow for the extra time that was used
up during the morning session. And after he speaks, we'll go into a panel
format, with the members at the morning discussion here, who will answer
questions, I hope never speaking more than one at a time, or perhaps two
or three at a time. at a maximum. We have a microphone in the audience
for those who wish to ask questions, make it easier, so that people won't
have to get up and down here. And with luck we can have a reasonable exchange
of views. With bad luck, we'll simply run out of time and all go home
a little bit disgruntled. So we'll first have a talk by Professor Irving
Michelson of the Illinois institute of Technology, who will speak to us
on the topic of "Mechanics Bears Witness." Professor Michelson.
paper, entitled "Mechanics Bearn Witness, was presented at
all I have. [applause]
you, Professor Michelson.
we go to the panel discussions, we will have a brief discussion period
concerning the talk which Professor Mtchelson has just given. I will take
questions from the audience for a brief while. Let me first call on—Professor
would like to point out, with respect to this last calculation here, which
produced such remarkable results, in a correspondence between the energy
required to flip Lhe Earth over and the energy expended in a solar flare
of great magnitude [Michelson had spoken of a geomagnetic storm, not a
solar flare!], falls a little short when one realizes, that the Earth,
as seen from the Sun, represents rather less than ten to the minus eighth
power of the total space into which the energy of that flare is expelled.
Therefore, the 1023 ergs results in
less than 1015 ergs at the Earth. Thank