C. Leroy Ellenberger

,

Charles Leroy Ellenberger (b.1942, known as C. Leroy) is perhaps best known as a one-time advocate,[1]Kronos Vol. X No. 3 (Summer 1985) p.24 “Contributors.” Invited defenses of Velikovsky were published in Zetetic Scholar, Biblical Archaeology Review, Astronomy, and Frontiers of Science. but now a prolific critic of controversial writer Immanuel Velikovsky and his works on catastrophism.

Ellenberger has degrees in chemical engineering and finance and operations research (B.S., Washington Univ.; M.B.A., Univ. of Pennsylvania). He is currently a Medical Article Retrieval Specialist in St. Louis, Missouri.[2]”C. Leroy Ellenberger – Medical Article Retrieval Specialist.” (Web site)

Introduction to Velikovsky

He first read Worlds in Collision in August 1969 after discovering it while browsing in the B. Dalton’s Bookstore in Crestwood, Missouri.[3]Ellenberger, C. Leroy (1979). Heretics, Dogmatists and Science’s Reception of New Ideas. Kronos Vol. IV No. 4, pp. 60-74. In 1979, he became a contributing editor (and later Senior Editor & Executive Secretary) to the Velikovsky-inspired Kronos journal,[4]Kronos Vol. IV No. 4 (Summer 1979) p. Cover iii “Contributors.” and has contributed material to many other publications.[5]For example, Ellenberger has had Velikovsky-related material published in Science Digest, New Leader, The Humanist, Industrial Research & Development, Fate, and the SIS Review, (ref: Kronos Vol. IV No. 4 (Summer 1979) p. Cover iii “Contributors”), and articles on other subjects in Analog, New Scientist, Penthouse, Science Digest, Fate and Pursuit (ref: Kronos Vol. X No. 3 (Summer 1985) p.24 “Contributors”). In Physics Today he rebutted Robert V. Gentry on polonium halos (Dec. 1984, pp. 91-2) and on absolute dating (Mar. 1986, pp. 152, 154). According to Professor of Social Theory Alfred de Grazia at New York University:

“By 1983 Ellenberger was preparing to abandon much of quantavolution and found now that the story of Velikovsky was not without its shady tones, and more important, that Arctic ice cores and bristlecone pine dating technologies were directly contradicting Holocene quantavolutions … ; further, that Gentry’s studies of the surprising ‘instant’ polonium halos of creation … were probably invalid.”[6]Grazia, Alfred de (1984). Cosmic Heretics, Metron Publications, Princeton, New Jersey. ISBN 0-940268-08-06. p. 372. <http://www.quantavolution.org/vol_02/cosmicheretics_5_17.htm>

Henry Bauer described Ellenberger’s role in the Velikovsky scene as:

“… a confidant to Velikovsky, a frequent visitor (often with camera) from April 1978 to his death in November 1979, and a Senior Editor of the Velikovskian journal Kronos, until the evidence forced him to conclude that Velikovsky’s scientific claims were baseless. Velikovsky inscribed his copy of Ramses II and His Time “To Leroy who is consumed by the sacred flame of search for truth”, 20 May 1978, and gave him permission to sell “Velikovsky’s right!” T-shirts. Alfred de Grazia, impetus for The Velikovsky Affair (1966), appointed him chronicler of the continuing Velikovsky controversy in 1980. Ellenberger’s last contact with Velikovsky was a phone call from him two days before he died.”[7]Bauer, Henry (1996). Editorial Prologue by Henry Bauer. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 10 (4), 561; <http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/cle/cle-jose.txt>.

Also he:

“.. has tried unceasingly but to little avail to have his former colleagues acknowledge the accumulating evidence, for example, from Greenland ice cores, that Velikovsky’s claimed catastrophes did not in fact occur. Ellenberger points out, too, that Velikovsky’s writings have become superfluous: astronomically plausible argument and speculation about relatively recent cosmic catastrophism can now be found in the work of Victor Clube and Bill Napier (The Cosmic Serpent, 1982; The Cosmic Winter, 1990), where the testimony of myth and historical records is also taken into account.”[8]Bauer, Henry H. (1996). VELIKOVSKY, IMMANUEL. in Stein, Gordon (editor), The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Press. ISBN 1573920215. p. 783.

Association with Velikovsky

Ellenberger and Velikovsky
C. Leroy Ellenberger with Immanuel Velikovsky at Seaside Heights, New Jersey, in 1978. Credit: Bob Kobres. Source

Ellenberger states that:

“I was invited aboard by Velikovsky himself when he phoned me one evening in December 1977 in Staten Island, New York, to arrange for my meeting him after Kronos had forwarded to him copies of letters I had sent to various publications and persons defending Velikovsky against Carl Sagan. At the time I would never have even attempted to directly insinuate my existence upon Velikovsky, but he was impressed enough with my “missionary” efforts (as Greenberg used to say), that he wanted to meet me. Due to Velikovsky’s health concerns, this meeting did not take place until Palm Sunday 1978 and I became a constant visitor in Princeton and Pelican Island, accepting various assignments to perform on Velkikovsky’s behalf. And while he volunteered to reimburse my out of pocket expenses for photocopying and postage, he never dictated what I wrote.

“My last contact with Velikovsky, on Thursday, November 15, 1979, two days before he died, was a phone call from him to discuss my letter on escape velocity in Kronos V:1, which ended with his agreeing to read my references which explain the physics of the matter that had been mis-handled by Velikovsky, Juergens, and Ransom ever since Yale Scientific in April 1967 up until Velikovsky and Establishment Science in 1977, as Jim Oberg had earlier explained to Warner Sizemore in a letter.”[9]”Velikov” Yahoo Groups email discussion list, Mon, 20 Apr 2009

Ellenberger has described himself as a confidant to Velikovsky,[10]Frederic Jueneman, “Kicking The Sacred Cow: Questioning The Unquestionable And Thinking The Impermissible by James P. Hogan”, Aeon Volume VI, Number 6 rather than an assistant like Jan Sammer and Richard Heinberg.

Velikovskian critic

In 1984, Ellenberger noted:

” Over the past four years I have come to appreciate that, even if Velikovsky were right, there are good physical reasons why astronomers and other scientists have opposed him so tenaciously. Unfortunately, many of these reasons, often based on information developed since Velikovsky wrote his books, have never been discussed in Velikovskian forums or have never been discussed in a fully informed manner. Examples of the former include the Worzel Ash, ice cores, and plate tectonics. Examples of the latter include tree rings, ice age dynamics, geomagnetism, and cosmic electricity.

” Most often, spokesmen for mainstream science such as Sagan, Asimov, Gardner, and Oberg have not expressed their criticisms using valid arguments but, rather, tend to substitute polemic, ridicule, and caricature for serious discussion. The resulting performances are riddled with errors and are received by Velikovskian partisans with diminished credibility. Their fixation on Velikovsky’s text to the exclusion of later researchers in Pensée and KRONOS has also been a source of frustration. As a result, focus has been shifted away from substantive criticism in depth with more cogent criticisms having gotten side-tracked.”[11]Kronos Vol. X No. 1 (Fall 1984) “Still Facing Many Problems (Part I),” pp. 87-102: showing that the evidence from the Worzel ash, tree rings, and Greenland ice cores does not support Worlds in Collision.

Ellenberger’s most widely read criticisms of Velikovsky were two 1985 correspondences to Nature: “Falsifying Velikovsky” vol. 316, p. 386,[12]Ellenberger, C. Leroy (1985). Falsifying Velikovsky (corresondence). Nature, 316 p. 386: “SIR–In his review of Henry Bauer’s Beyond Velikovsky, Owen Gingerich observes: ‘Although science cannot prove that a Velikovskian scenario is impossible, it might well prove that it did not happen’1. Although Gingerich selects Peter Huber’s analysis of the Babylonian Venus tablets for this purpose, they simply are not decisive enough. Indeed, Rose and Vaughan’s critique of Huber2, to which Gingerich alludes, is stronger than he allows. “The best evidence proving Velikovsky’s scenario did not happen is provided by Greenland’s Dye 3 ice core3. This core is continuous and datable by counting annual layersback at least 7,200 years. Velikovsky’s catastrophes should have left unequivocal markers in the ice. Not only are the expected heavy dust layers absent, but volcanic acid fallout, identified with ancient eruptions in the Velikovskian time frame, is comparable in amount to that associated with single, recent eruptions4. This is not what would be expected if catastrophes of the magnitude described by Velikovsky had actually happened5. C. Leroy Ellenberger, 3929A Utah Street, St Louis, Missouri 63116, USA 1 Gingerich, O. Nature 314, 692-693 (1985). 2 Rose, L.E. & Vaughan, R.C. Kronos X:2, 1-12 (1985). 3 Dansgaard, W. et al. Science 218, 1273-1277 (1982). 4 Hammer, C.U. et al. Nature 288, 230-235 (1980). 5 Ellenberger, C.L. Kronos X:1, 97-102 (1984).” and “Velikovsky’s evidence?” vol. 318, p. 204, and two 1987 letters to the editor in New York Times: May 15, p. 14,[13]Immanuel Velikovsky 40 Years Later: Not to Be Taken Seriously<http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE1DE113DF935A25756C0A961948260> and August 29, p. 14.[14]Eruption That Destroyed Thera Left Crete’s Civilization Intact; Theory Also Exploded<http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE6DB1339F93AA1575BC0A961948260> The second Times letter was rebutted by Clark Whelton in a letter published September 29.[15]Catastrophism Can Still Explain Earth’s Changes<http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE0D9123DF93AA1575AC0A961948260> Although the Times did not print Ellenberger’s point-by-point surrebuttal to Whelton’s letter,[16]Whelton in Unordnung<http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/vwhelton.html> it was distributed (a) privately by mail with the September 1, 1987 “Dear Friends” letter[17]Information on Velikovsky, posted to talk.origins 22 August 1997<http://groups.google.com/group/sci.skeptic/browse_thread/thread/6ecfbaea41a644bd/ec4349522cdcae8e?lnk=st&q=#ec4349522cdcae8e> and (b) to all attendees at the August 1990 “Reconsidering Velikovsky” Conference in Toronto.

In 1994, Ellenberger was disinvited from a conference on Velikovsky because other participants said they would not attend if he participated.[18]Henry H. Bauer, Science Or Pseudoscience: magnetic healing, psychic phenomena, and other heterodoxies (2001) University of Illinois Press, p.154, ISBN 0252026012 (Bauer’s book misreports the conference year as 1992.)[19]Ellenberger (1997). Hysterical Velikovskians Flee Own Frankenstein-Mongoose! DIO, 7 (1), 30-33. http://www.dioi.org/vols/w71.pdf This incident was instigated by the same group who in 1992 had deleted the section “Magnetism, Dynamos and Neptune”[20]”Magnetism, Dynamos and Neptune” posted to sci.skeptic and talk.origins by James J. Lippard, 25 Apr 1994, as an example of what Aeon considered unacceptable: <http://www.skepticfiles.org/evolut/magnetic.htm> from Ellenberger’s invited memoir for Aeon[21]Ellenberger, Leroy (1992). Of Lessons, Legacies & Litmus Tests: A Velikovsky Potpourri, Part 1. Aeon, 3 (1), 86-105. that explained the ignorance of Velikovsky and many of his supporters concerning the role of electromagnetism in astronomy and the origin of planetary magnetic fields. Previously, he was an invited speaker at Milton Zysman‘s August 1990 “Reconsidering Velikovsky” Conference at University of Toronto, identified on the program as “Velikovsky’s most unrelenting critic” who was interviewed for The Globe and Mail[22]Balsara, Nilu (1990). Earth a dangerous planet, writer warns. The Globe and Mail, August 20, 1990., and he was the keynote speaker at the August 1992 Canadian Society for Interdisciplinary Studies conference in Haliburton, Ontario. He is also the author of the article “Top Ten Reasons Why Velikovsky Is Wrong About Worlds in Collision” which he says:

“.. is based on 30 years exposure to Velikovsky’sideas which includes 8 years as an insider at the Velikovsky journal Kronos (1978 – 1986), confidant to Velikovsky (4/78 – 11/79), invited “Devil’s Advocate” at Aeon (’88 – ’91)[23]Letter, David Talbott to C. Leroy Ellenberger, August 31, 1988, and 13 years as a turncoat/critic interacting with Velikovsky’s defenders and/or successors at conferences, in private, and in Usenet (’94 -’96) & list-serve forums.”[24]Top Ten Reasons Why Velikovsky Is Wrong About Worlds In Collision

Of these attempts to de-program Velikovsky’s supporters, Henry Bauer noted Ellenberger “has tried unceasingly but to little avail to have his former colleagues acknowledge the accumulating evidence, for example, from Greenland ice cores, that Velikovsky’s claimed catastrophes did not in fact occur.”[25]Bauer, Henry H. (1996). Velikovsky, Immanuel. In Stein, Gordon (editor) (1996). The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal, Prometheus Books. ISBN 1573920215, pp. 781-788. His resignation from Kronos as senior editor in December 1986 was acknowledged by Martin Gardner,[26]Gardner, Martin (1988). The New Age: Notes of a Fringe-Watcher, Prometheus Press. ISBN 087975432X. pp. 70-71. who previously noted Ellenberger’s “vitriolic” letters defending Velikovsky.[27]Gardner, Martin (1981). Science: Good, Bad, and Bogus, Avon Books. ISBN 0380617544. p. 386. Regarding Ellenberger’s defection, Skeptic editor Michael Shermer declared: “One major strike against Velikovsky is that Leroy Ellenberger, a one-time Velikovsky supporter, after stepping outside of the paradigm to examine the evidence in a clearer light, now completely rejects all tenets of the theory.”[28]Shermer, Michael (1996). Sagan, Gould, and Velikovsky (review). Skeptic, 4 (4), 107. Sagan biographer Keay Davidson credits Ellenberger “In my experience” as “the single richest source of information on the Velikovsky controversy.”[29]Davidson, Keay (1999). Carl Sagan: A Life, John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-25286-7. p. 470. Astronomer Dennis Rawlins hails Ellenberger “the world’s top anti-Velikovsky expert”.[30]Rawlins, Dennis (2005). Backward Boobs at the American Astronomical Society. <http://www.dioi.org/fff.htm#zjhs> NASA astronomer David Morrison, who has monitored the Velikovsky scene since 1972, has thanked Ellenberger for helping “to look at these issues from the other side and to appreciate how poorly the scientific critics communicated with the public.”[31]Morrison, David (2001). Velikovsky at Fifty: Cultures in Collision on the Fringes of Science. Skeptic, 9 (1), 62-76; reprinted in Shermer, Michael (editor) (2002). The Skeptic Encyclopdia of Pseudoscience, Santa Barbara, Calif. ISBN 1576076539. 473-488. At the 1990 Toronto conference, the keynote address by British astronomer Victor Clube was titled “The Dynamics of Armageddon”.[32]Clube, S.V.M. (1988). The Dynamics of Armageddon. Speculations of Science and Technology, 11 (4), 255-264. Clube and his colleague Bill Napier propose a Taurid complex model of energetic, episodic interaction between Earth and Comet Encke with its then-heavy debris streams all through the Holocene, as an astronomically feasible explanation for the origin of the sky-combat myths that motivated Velikovsky.[33]Interwiki: Citation title = The Cosmic Winter first = Victor last = Clube first2 = Bill last2 = Napier publisher = Blackwell year = 1990 isbn = 0631169539++[34]In Clube’s June 1982 remarks to the British S.I.S., he said “Velikovsky suspected violent events from the mythology — and invented an astronomical ‘theory’ to explain it all. Our quite different theory predicts violent events from the scientific evidence, andthe problem is to see whether the prediction is compatible with the mythology.” (Clube, Victor. “Cometary Catastrophes and the Ideas of Immanuel Velikovsky”, S.I.S. Review V:4, 1984, pp. 106-11).

Clube and Napier’s model

Ellenberger came to accept Clube and Napier’s model as a scientifically valid and intellectually satisfying replacement for Velikovsky-inspired models of recent, interplanetary catastrophism. Astronomer David Morrison noted:

“In fact, the work of Clube and Napier attracts many people who were once impressed by Velikovsky, such as Leroy Ellenberger, at one time a member of the Velikovsky inner circle and now one of the most outspoken critics of his current followers”.[35]Morrison, David (1997). Is the Sky Falling? Skeptical Inquirer, 21 (3), 22-28.

Since 1990, Ellenberger has actively promoted Clube and Napier’s model, now named “coherent catastrophism”,[36]Asher, D.J., S.V.M. Clube, W.M. Napier and D.I. Steel (1994). Coherent Catastrophism. Vistas in Astronomy, 38 (1), 1-27; Abstract at <http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1994VA…..38….1A> in articles for Skeptic,[37]Ellenberger, Leroy (1995). An Antidote to Velikovskian Delusions. Skeptic, 3 (4), 49-51. Posted to talk.origins, 2 Feb. 1996: <http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/msg/bc31349d10f8e205?> C&C Review,[38]Ellenberger, C. Leroy (1992). Celestial Hazard vs. Celestial Fantasy. C&C Review, XIV, 41-4. and Catastrophism and Ancient History,[39]Ellenberger, C. Leroy (1990). Tisserand and a Trojan to the Rescue. Catastrophism and Ancient History XII (2), 206-18. letters to editors,[40]The Sciences, Jul/Aug 1991, p. 56; Skeptic 1995, 4 (3), 22, Skeptical Inquirer, Sep/Oct 1997, pp. 60-1 <http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/velidelu.html#DM>, and Discovering Archaeology, Sep/Oct 1999, pp. 6-7. postcard mailing campaigns to Velikovskians,[41]For example: 75 “To those interested in Velikovsky” dated Oct 24, 1990; 35 “A Guide to Velikovskian Studies”, Jan 1991 <http://groups.google.com/group/sci.skeptic/browse_thread/thread/7f27afecf042bb82/979b8d70a88a7c88?lnk=st&q=#979b8d70a88a7c88>, 134 “Clube & Napier Update”, Aug 2, 1994; 311 “Dawn Behind the Dawn”, Oct 23, 1995; and 150 “The Nexus of History & Religion with Astronomy”, Apr 27, 1996. and posts to Usenet discussion groups.[42]For example: “DAVID N. TALBOTT: Hoist, Clueless & ‘Nihilated”, talk.origins 13 Jul 1994. <http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/cle/cle-talbott.txt>; “Information on Velikovsky”, sci.skeptic 14 Aug 1997; and “Worlds Still Colliding”, talk.origins July 4, 2001. <http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/browse_thread/thread/f1bcc5ea19a6237b/d763b63e05c9a85d?lnk=st&q=&rnum=1#d763b63e05c9a85d>. He has also embraced a second line of research to use in criticism of the neo-Velikovskian “Saturn Thesis” model, namely, the ancient harmonic cosmology decoded by Ernest G. McClain in which the sacred number names of the major Sumero-Babylonian gods correspond to harmonic ratios of the octave.[43]”Ellenberger Contra Cochrane: The Second Reply & Talbott, Too”, posted to talk.origins 20 June 1994: <http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/cle/cle-contra-cochrane.txt>; “DAVID N. TALBOTT: Hoist, Clueless & ‘Nihilated”, posted to talk.origins 14 July 1994: <http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/cle/cle-talbott.txt>; “An Antidote to Dave Talbott’s ‘Saturn Thesis'”, posted to talk.origins 14 October 1994: <http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/cle/cle-talbott-antidote.txt>; and “An Antidote to Velikovskian Delusions”, posted to talk.origins, 2 February 1996: <http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/msg/bc31349d10f8e205?>

Research assistant

Many authors have sought Ellenberger’s editorial assistance concerning Velikovsky, catastrophism, and related topics, or cited his work, including John White,[44]White, John (1980). Pole Shift, Doubleday. ISBN 0385153740. pp. ix, xi, 131, 353. British independent researcher Peter Warlow,[45]Warlow, Peter (1982). The Reversing Earth, J.M. Dent & Sons. ISBN 0460044788. p. 30. professor of chemistry and science studies Henry Bauer,[46]Bauer, Henry H. (1984). Beyond Velikovsky, Univ. of Illinois Press. ISBN 025201104X, pp. xii, 328.[47]Bauer, Henry H. (1992). Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific Method, Univ. of Illinois Press. ISBN 0252018567. p. ix.[48]Bauer, Henry H. (2001). Science or Pseudoscience, Univ. of Illinois Press. ISBN 0252026012. pp. xiii, 162, 218. professor of political studies J.W. Grove,[49]Grove, J.W. (1989). In Defence of Science, Univ. of Toronto Press. ISBN 0802026346, p. 201. professor of physics Michael Friedlander,[50]Friedlander, Michael W. (1995). At the Fringes of Science, Westview. ISBN 0813322006, p. xiii. British ancient history scholar Peter James,[51]James, Peter (1995). The Sunken Kingdom, Jonathan Cape. ISBN 0224038109, p. ix. radioastronomer Gerrit Verschuur,[52]Verschuur, Gerrit L. (1996). Impact! The Threat of Comets and Asteroids, Oxford Univ. Press. ISBN 0195101057. p. x. Irish palaeoecologist Mike Baillie,[53]Baillie, M.G.L. (1995). A Slice Through Time, Batsford. ISBN 0713476540. pp. 10, 86.[54]Baillie, Mike (1999). Exodus to Arthur, Batsford. ISBN 0713483520. pp. 6, 70-71. British biologist Trevor Palmer,[55]Palmer, Trevor (1999). Controversy: Catastrophism and Evolution, Kluwer Academic. ISBN 0306457512. p. xiv. physicist and astronomer Phil Plait (a.k.a. The Bad Astronomer),[56]Plait, Philip 2002. BAD Astronomy, John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0471409766. p. 263. professor of philosophy Robert Todd Carroll,[57]Carroll, Robert Todd (2003). The Skeptic’s Dictionary, John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0471272426. pp. 398-9, 401, 420. and professor of biology William Stansfield.[58]Stansfield, William D. (2008). Creationism, Catastrophism, and Velikovsky. Skeptical Inquirer, 32 (1), 46-50.

Criticism

Donald W. Patten has commented that:

“In court, attorneys will often pound the table harder when their cases are especially weak. Ellenberger assumes the role of advocate for uniformitarianism and he does get combative and strident. Personally in telephone conversations, however, he has been amiable, even though in print he postures as an attorney might to a jury. ..”

“Ellenberger portrayed Windsor’s work as “fundamentally flawed,” “useless,” “disingenuous,” and “theoretically unsound.” These adjectives were used with emotional or subjective verbs. It would appear that Ellenberger, for whatever reason, is subjective and emotional. .. Ellenberger’s critique is good enough to cause concern and study, but under scrutiny it does not have much substance.”[59]Donald W. Patten, “Response to Critique by Leroy Ellenberger”, Catastrophism and Ancient History XII:1 (Jan 1990)

Charles Ginenthal has devoted an article to criticizing Ellenberger’s behavior in The Velikovskian, “The Ellenberger And Internet Debunkers”:

“.. behind many of the present-day efforts to destroy Velikovsky and those of us who stand by his work is a former Velikovskian, C. Leroy Ellenberger, and a group of Internet debunkers. In a sense he and they represent the epitome of enraged anti-Velikovskian thought and behavior today. Many of us in the Velikovsky movement have long been familiar with his and their methods of trying to completely demolish anything and everything positive related to Velikovsky. He and they maintain that they are only acting as objective, honest critics and are only working in the best interests of science an truth with diligence employing ethical scholarship. ..”

“The characterof these communications by Ellenberger is nothing less than obscenity, the obscene thoughts of a man out of control. These kinds of communications are not only crude, but indicate that Ellenberger is incapable of maintaining his equilibrium way Velikovskians. In fact, he has sent such missives in postcard form even when dealing with some of us at our places of employment where colleagues could see them. .. His coarse and highly inappropriate behavior has made Ellenberger persona non grata to me and several others in the Velikovsky movement.”[60]Charles Ginenthal, “The Ellenberger And Internet Debunkers”, The Velikovskian Vol 4 No 4 (1999)

Kronos Editor-in-Chief Lewis M. Greenberg has written:

“Now to Ellenberger. If nothing else, he is an “equal opportunity offender”. Over the past fifteen years, both orthodoxy and heterodoxy alike, in the New World and the Old, have been equally insulted, maligned, and castigated by Ellenberger’s waspish writing. A blizzard of missives — a veritable “Post Card Winter” — has descended on all who are perceived to be on the wrong side of Ellenberger’s current beliefs. ..

“When Ellenberger finally resigned from Kronos .. Ellenberger claims to have “lost confidence in the Editor-in-Chief’s editorial judgment and objectivity” and that “the playing field was no longer level for” him. The playing field had not been level for quite awhile; it had been slanted in Ellenberger’s favor. But, after I discovered that he was savaging would-be contributors before the fact, in private, was savaging them again in print, and was then savaging them after the fact in both private and print, this became too much. At work, at home, or at play, people were being bombarded by post and by phone.”[61]Lewis M. Greenberg, “Discussion: Of Ponderosas and Heinekens”, Aeon III:2 (May 1993)

Counter-criticisms

Ellenberger has responded to these particular examples (and others).

  • Regarding Donald W. Patten’s criticism, Ellenberger writes that he “.. was dismayed at the nature and quality of their replies. Their many assertions were seldom supported by anything substantial, rigorous, quantitative, or valid .. their replies do nothing to verify their model and, in fact, throw more smoke than light on the issues..”[62]C. Leroy Ellenberger, “Tisserand and a Trojan to the Rescue”, Catastrophism and Ancient History XII:2 (July 1990)
  • Regarding Charles Ginenthal’s criticisms, Ellenberger has commented that “.. Ginenthal’s criticisms are mostly taken out of context, especially his over-the-top reaction to a particular postcard sent to 35 people in December 1995″[63]”Velikov” Yahoo Groups email discussion list, Mon, 27 Apr 2009
  • Regarding Lewis M. Greenberg’s criticisms, Ellenberger comments that he was: “not permitted to reply to it in Aeon because, as I was told in June 1993 when the conclusion to my invited memoir was cancelled, my being barred as a contributor to Aeon was a condition of Greenberg’s joining Aeon’s staff and that ban included replying to Greenberg’s criticism.”[64]Ibid. ellenberger 090427

References   [ + ]

1. Kronos Vol. X No. 3 (Summer 1985) p.24 “Contributors.” Invited defenses of Velikovsky were published in Zetetic Scholar, Biblical Archaeology Review, Astronomy, and Frontiers of Science.
2. ”C. Leroy Ellenberger – Medical Article Retrieval Specialist.” (Web site)
3. Ellenberger, C. Leroy (1979). Heretics, Dogmatists and Science’s Reception of New Ideas. Kronos Vol. IV No. 4, pp. 60-74.
4. Kronos Vol. IV No. 4 (Summer 1979) p. Cover iii “Contributors.”
5. For example, Ellenberger has had Velikovsky-related material published in Science Digest, New Leader, The Humanist, Industrial Research & Development, Fate, and the SIS Review, (ref: Kronos Vol. IV No. 4 (Summer 1979) p. Cover iii “Contributors”), and articles on other subjects in Analog, New Scientist, Penthouse, Science Digest, Fate and Pursuit (ref: Kronos Vol. X No. 3 (Summer 1985) p.24 “Contributors”). In Physics Today he rebutted Robert V. Gentry on polonium halos (Dec. 1984, pp. 91-2) and on absolute dating (Mar. 1986, pp. 152, 154).
6. Grazia, Alfred de (1984). Cosmic Heretics, Metron Publications, Princeton, New Jersey. ISBN 0-940268-08-06. p. 372. <http://www.quantavolution.org/vol_02/cosmicheretics_5_17.htm>
7. Bauer, Henry (1996). Editorial Prologue by Henry Bauer. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 10 (4), 561; <http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/cle/cle-jose.txt>.
8. Bauer, Henry H. (1996). VELIKOVSKY, IMMANUEL. in Stein, Gordon (editor), The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Press. ISBN 1573920215. p. 783.
9. ”Velikov” Yahoo Groups email discussion list, Mon, 20 Apr 2009
10. Frederic Jueneman, “Kicking The Sacred Cow: Questioning The Unquestionable And Thinking The Impermissible by James P. Hogan”, Aeon Volume VI, Number 6
11. Kronos Vol. X No. 1 (Fall 1984) “Still Facing Many Problems (Part I),” pp. 87-102: showing that the evidence from the Worzel ash, tree rings, and Greenland ice cores does not support Worlds in Collision.
12. Ellenberger, C. Leroy (1985). Falsifying Velikovsky (corresondence). Nature, 316 p. 386: “SIR–In his review of Henry Bauer’s Beyond Velikovsky, Owen Gingerich observes: ‘Although science cannot prove that a Velikovskian scenario is impossible, it might well prove that it did not happen’1. Although Gingerich selects Peter Huber’s analysis of the Babylonian Venus tablets for this purpose, they simply are not decisive enough. Indeed, Rose and Vaughan’s critique of Huber2, to which Gingerich alludes, is stronger than he allows. “The best evidence proving Velikovsky’s scenario did not happen is provided by Greenland’s Dye 3 ice core3. This core is continuous and datable by counting annual layersback at least 7,200 years. Velikovsky’s catastrophes should have left unequivocal markers in the ice. Not only are the expected heavy dust layers absent, but volcanic acid fallout, identified with ancient eruptions in the Velikovskian time frame, is comparable in amount to that associated with single, recent eruptions4. This is not what would be expected if catastrophes of the magnitude described by Velikovsky had actually happened5. C. Leroy Ellenberger, 3929A Utah Street, St Louis, Missouri 63116, USA 1 Gingerich, O. Nature 314, 692-693 (1985). 2 Rose, L.E. & Vaughan, R.C. Kronos X:2, 1-12 (1985). 3 Dansgaard, W. et al. Science 218, 1273-1277 (1982). 4 Hammer, C.U. et al. Nature 288, 230-235 (1980). 5 Ellenberger, C.L. Kronos X:1, 97-102 (1984).”
13. Immanuel Velikovsky 40 Years Later: Not to Be Taken Seriously<http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE1DE113DF935A25756C0A961948260>
14. Eruption That Destroyed Thera Left Crete’s Civilization Intact; Theory Also Exploded<http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE6DB1339F93AA1575BC0A961948260>
15. Catastrophism Can Still Explain Earth’s Changes<http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE0D9123DF93AA1575AC0A961948260>
16. Whelton in Unordnung<http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/vwhelton.html>
17. Information on Velikovsky, posted to talk.origins 22 August 1997<http://groups.google.com/group/sci.skeptic/browse_thread/thread/6ecfbaea41a644bd/ec4349522cdcae8e?lnk=st&q=#ec4349522cdcae8e>
18. Henry H. Bauer, Science Or Pseudoscience: magnetic healing, psychic phenomena, and other heterodoxies (2001) University of Illinois Press, p.154, ISBN 0252026012 (Bauer’s book misreports the conference year as 1992.)
19. Ellenberger (1997). Hysterical Velikovskians Flee Own Frankenstein-Mongoose! DIO, 7 (1), 30-33. http://www.dioi.org/vols/w71.pdf
20. ”Magnetism, Dynamos and Neptune” posted to sci.skeptic and talk.origins by James J. Lippard, 25 Apr 1994, as an example of what Aeon considered unacceptable: <http://www.skepticfiles.org/evolut/magnetic.htm>
21. Ellenberger, Leroy (1992). Of Lessons, Legacies & Litmus Tests: A Velikovsky Potpourri, Part 1. Aeon, 3 (1), 86-105.
22. Balsara, Nilu (1990). Earth a dangerous planet, writer warns. The Globe and Mail, August 20, 1990.
23. Letter, David Talbott to C. Leroy Ellenberger, August 31, 1988
24. Top Ten Reasons Why Velikovsky Is Wrong About Worlds In Collision
25. Bauer, Henry H. (1996). Velikovsky, Immanuel. In Stein, Gordon (editor) (1996). The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal, Prometheus Books. ISBN 1573920215, pp. 781-788.
26. Gardner, Martin (1988). The New Age: Notes of a Fringe-Watcher, Prometheus Press. ISBN 087975432X. pp. 70-71.
27. Gardner, Martin (1981). Science: Good, Bad, and Bogus, Avon Books. ISBN 0380617544. p. 386.
28. Shermer, Michael (1996). Sagan, Gould, and Velikovsky (review). Skeptic, 4 (4), 107.
29. Davidson, Keay (1999). Carl Sagan: A Life, John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-25286-7. p. 470.
30. Rawlins, Dennis (2005). Backward Boobs at the American Astronomical Society. <http://www.dioi.org/fff.htm#zjhs>
31. Morrison, David (2001). Velikovsky at Fifty: Cultures in Collision on the Fringes of Science. Skeptic, 9 (1), 62-76; reprinted in Shermer, Michael (editor) (2002). The Skeptic Encyclopdia of Pseudoscience, Santa Barbara, Calif. ISBN 1576076539. 473-488.
32. Clube, S.V.M. (1988). The Dynamics of Armageddon. Speculations of Science and Technology, 11 (4), 255-264.
33. Interwiki: Citation title = The Cosmic Winter first = Victor last = Clube first2 = Bill last2 = Napier publisher = Blackwell year = 1990 isbn = 0631169539++
34. In Clube’s June 1982 remarks to the British S.I.S., he said “Velikovsky suspected violent events from the mythology — and invented an astronomical ‘theory’ to explain it all. Our quite different theory predicts violent events from the scientific evidence, andthe problem is to see whether the prediction is compatible with the mythology.” (Clube, Victor. “Cometary Catastrophes and the Ideas of Immanuel Velikovsky”, S.I.S. Review V:4, 1984, pp. 106-11).
35. Morrison, David (1997). Is the Sky Falling? Skeptical Inquirer, 21 (3), 22-28.
36. Asher, D.J., S.V.M. Clube, W.M. Napier and D.I. Steel (1994). Coherent Catastrophism. Vistas in Astronomy, 38 (1), 1-27; Abstract at <http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1994VA…..38….1A>
37. Ellenberger, Leroy (1995). An Antidote to Velikovskian Delusions. Skeptic, 3 (4), 49-51. Posted to talk.origins, 2 Feb. 1996: <http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/msg/bc31349d10f8e205?>
38. Ellenberger, C. Leroy (1992). Celestial Hazard vs. Celestial Fantasy. C&C Review, XIV, 41-4.
39. Ellenberger, C. Leroy (1990). Tisserand and a Trojan to the Rescue. Catastrophism and Ancient History XII (2), 206-18.
40. The Sciences, Jul/Aug 1991, p. 56; Skeptic 1995, 4 (3), 22, Skeptical Inquirer, Sep/Oct 1997, pp. 60-1 <http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/velidelu.html#DM>, and Discovering Archaeology, Sep/Oct 1999, pp. 6-7.
41. For example: 75 “To those interested in Velikovsky” dated Oct 24, 1990; 35 “A Guide to Velikovskian Studies”, Jan 1991 <http://groups.google.com/group/sci.skeptic/browse_thread/thread/7f27afecf042bb82/979b8d70a88a7c88?lnk=st&q=#979b8d70a88a7c88>, 134 “Clube & Napier Update”, Aug 2, 1994; 311 “Dawn Behind the Dawn”, Oct 23, 1995; and 150 “The Nexus of History & Religion with Astronomy”, Apr 27, 1996.
42. For example: “DAVID N. TALBOTT: Hoist, Clueless & ‘Nihilated”, talk.origins 13 Jul 1994. <http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/cle/cle-talbott.txt>; “Information on Velikovsky”, sci.skeptic 14 Aug 1997; and “Worlds Still Colliding”, talk.origins July 4, 2001. <http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/browse_thread/thread/f1bcc5ea19a6237b/d763b63e05c9a85d?lnk=st&q=&rnum=1#d763b63e05c9a85d>.
43. ”Ellenberger Contra Cochrane: The Second Reply & Talbott, Too”, posted to talk.origins 20 June 1994: <http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/cle/cle-contra-cochrane.txt>; “DAVID N. TALBOTT: Hoist, Clueless & ‘Nihilated”, posted to talk.origins 14 July 1994: <http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/cle/cle-talbott.txt>; “An Antidote to Dave Talbott’s ‘Saturn Thesis'”, posted to talk.origins 14 October 1994: <http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/cle/cle-talbott-antidote.txt>; and “An Antidote to Velikovskian Delusions”, posted to talk.origins, 2 February 1996: <http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/msg/bc31349d10f8e205?>
44. White, John (1980). Pole Shift, Doubleday. ISBN 0385153740. pp. ix, xi, 131, 353.
45. Warlow, Peter (1982). The Reversing Earth, J.M. Dent & Sons. ISBN 0460044788. p. 30.
46. Bauer, Henry H. (1984). Beyond Velikovsky, Univ. of Illinois Press. ISBN 025201104X, pp. xii, 328.
47. Bauer, Henry H. (1992). Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific Method, Univ. of Illinois Press. ISBN 0252018567. p. ix.
48. Bauer, Henry H. (2001). Science or Pseudoscience, Univ. of Illinois Press. ISBN 0252026012. pp. xiii, 162, 218.
49. Grove, J.W. (1989). In Defence of Science, Univ. of Toronto Press. ISBN 0802026346, p. 201.
50. Friedlander, Michael W. (1995). At the Fringes of Science, Westview. ISBN 0813322006, p. xiii.
51. James, Peter (1995). The Sunken Kingdom, Jonathan Cape. ISBN 0224038109, p. ix.
52. Verschuur, Gerrit L. (1996). Impact! The Threat of Comets and Asteroids, Oxford Univ. Press. ISBN 0195101057. p. x.
53. Baillie, M.G.L. (1995). A Slice Through Time, Batsford. ISBN 0713476540. pp. 10, 86.
54. Baillie, Mike (1999). Exodus to Arthur, Batsford. ISBN 0713483520. pp. 6, 70-71.
55. Palmer, Trevor (1999). Controversy: Catastrophism and Evolution, Kluwer Academic. ISBN 0306457512. p. xiv.
56. Plait, Philip 2002. BAD Astronomy, John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0471409766. p. 263.
57. Carroll, Robert Todd (2003). The Skeptic’s Dictionary, John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0471272426. pp. 398-9, 401, 420.
58. Stansfield, William D. (2008). Creationism, Catastrophism, and Velikovsky. Skeptical Inquirer, 32 (1), 46-50.
59. Donald W. Patten, “Response to Critique by Leroy Ellenberger”, Catastrophism and Ancient History XII:1 (Jan 1990)
60. Charles Ginenthal, “The Ellenberger And Internet Debunkers”, The Velikovskian Vol 4 No 4 (1999)
61. Lewis M. Greenberg, “Discussion: Of Ponderosas and Heinekens”, Aeon III:2 (May 1993)
62. C. Leroy Ellenberger, “Tisserand and a Trojan to the Rescue”, Catastrophism and Ancient History XII:2 (July 1990)
63. ”Velikov” Yahoo Groups email discussion list, Mon, 27 Apr 2009
64. Ibid. ellenberger 090427