TECHNICAL NOTE A
Scientific method goes far beyond such tasks as washing test tubes antiseptically or inventing a better particle shield. It is more than a logical or mathematical calculation. On any question of importance, as here in cosmology, it invokes a sociology of science and a philosophy of being and change.
In the famous Piltdown Hoax, a deliberately buried modern brain case and orangutan jaw were exhumed in 1912 and pronounced an exciting discovery in human evolution (see Johanson and Edey, pp77-83). Most scientists, led by an authoritative English group, assigned to the discovery an age of half a million years and Piltdown, England, became a sanctuary of anthropology for a long generation.
Harry Morris was a bank clerk and amateur archaeologist. he collected "eoliths", artifacts of the Neolithic period. But his finds were rejected and ridiculed. The hoaxer of Piltdown had cast some eoliths among the relics; suddenly these were received as paleoliths and respected as part of the Piltdown assembly. Morris wrote letters accusing Dawson, the discoverer and a likely culprit, of fraud. To no avail. In 1926 Edmonds published a geological map of the area of Pilt-down, which placed the gravels of the discovery site in the upper Pleistocene of fifty thousand years ago, one-tenth of the age assigned to the hoax material. This was not noticed until 1937 when Oakley, doing fluorine research on the Piltdown bones, discovered flagrant discrepancies between the supposed parts of the same being. Finally, in the nineteen-fifties, the hoax was exposed (Weiner, p19).
For us the most important lesson of this case and similar ones rests not so much in the immorality of the hoax and cover-up, with their prolonged damaging of scientific anthropology, but in the ever-present sociological process, which here demonstrated how authority in science has the same kinds of effects as it does in religion and politics - to turn attention from anomalous facts, to block inquiries, to discriminate against outsiders, and to maintain and boost reputations.
These effects are normal to authority and countervailing to the also normal productive effects of authority in organizing work and maintaining morale. Embedded in the social process, scientific method is fully susceptible to fashion, also. Fashion is a modern guise of authority - there are fashions in religion and politics, too. it impels scientists to seize enthusiastically upon directing hypotheses as truths that justify a monopoly of attention, making work difficult for others concerned with conflicting hypotheses. Recently, a colleague, James Christenson, who had worked with the 1980 Nobel-award-winning Cronin-Fitch experiments in particle physics, reflected that they indicated nature to be biased in favor of running forward in time. For a generation, highly touted theory had worked upon the hypothesis that "time" was neutral to direction, contrary to human mental expectations. He went on to say that the "big bang" theory of the origin of the "expanding" universe should not have been implicated in these varying experiments. "The Royal Academy made a big deal out of the cosmological stuff because it looked like astrophysics. That's purely speculative and involves an unstable proton." Scientific models of time and motion continually change in these years, often with only the slightest evidence, but pretending a great deal of it.
In 1980 an interdisciplinary conference at the Field Museum in Chicago devoted itself to examining what some members called "macroevolution" and we have called in this book and elsewhere "quantavolution". The proceedings were not to be published, but the thrust of the meeting was publicized as denoting the prominence, if not pre-eminence, and even necessity, of geosphere and biosphere changes, of abrupt, large-scale, intensive events. The new stress is interpretable as a veering towards, and a cautious detour around, the barricaded door of scientific catastrophism with an ultimate crashing through the gates of extra-terrestrialism.
In hundreds of cases since 1942, when a coded message was flashed from Chicago that "the Italian Navigator has landed", scientists have uncoordinatedly begun to tap into the paradigm that looks upon nature as quantavolutionary. In all of these cases, we may perceive that a brilliant research technology is at work, a technical methodology operating with a great many electro-chemico-mechanical devices, but also that this technology inherently must depend upon the ability to ask questions and make mental combinations that position the Universe in new ways, whether examining nuclear particles, cell functions, organisms, or gross shapes of the landscape and skyscape. The theory of Solaria Binaria, typical of cosmology, depends for its success upon fashioning an appealing and effective combination of the advanced technical methodology and the guiding questions and scientific imagery of the age.
The Scientific Reception System Like laymen in a court of law, scientists who cross disciplinary boundaries are chagrined to discover that in another scientific jurisdiction their "best" evidence is inadmissible. For reasons similar to those of a court of law, and with consequences that are often acknowledged by the court itself to be dysfunctional as well as functional, evidence must be limited to certain kinds, pre-processed in a certain manner, and presented in a certain way. To all else, the court is determinedly and deliberately blind.
In schools of law, realization of this large fact of the preeminence of legal procedure can be traumatic to the naive beginning student. In schools of science, the same pre-eminence of procedure will often cause the same shock in the student, but is mitigated by the more confident assurance of the teaching authorities that the process is fully rational, not mythological or conventional in any way or form.
The scientific petitioner, assuming that he has a truth which, if properly heard, would be acknowledged, may try to win his case by several strategies. He may fashion his evidence so as to be heard in the court - framing it as a hypothesis, eliminating value-judgments, quantifying its procedures, obtaining expert witnesses, publishing related material in a most reputable journal, and putting himself forward in academic regalia.
Failing to win a subsequent judgment, the scientific petitioner may resort to a court of different jurisdiction, another discipline - history of science, say, rather than astronomy. Or he may appeal to a higher court, the cosmological and philosophic jurisdictions, for instance. If these resources are denied him, or give judgment against him, he may seek to replace the judges (as for example, Franklin Roosevelt did with the U. S. Supreme Court), or to create a new court (as Courts of Equity were established to give justice in cases unframable for ordinary judicial consideration).
If rebuffed in these attempts, or if his creations fail him, he can go to "the bar of public opinion", where by an adequate display of persuasiveness, power, and intelligent support, he may intimidate or enlighten the judicial institutions, and obtain in one way or another a rehearing or a favorable verdict that is masked as a rehearing.
Finally, in a revolutionary setting, and with the justification that the system is too rigid for reform, he can try to overturn the juridical order and replace it by a new juridical establishment operating under new rules for the admission and hearing of cases and evidence.
Probably most scientists who have had occasion to test the reception system of science, and whom repeated frustration has not reduced to emotional confusion, will recognize this order of possibilities in pursuing the truth as they see it.
They might also acknowledge that in the past half-century the reception or court system has been elaborated ingeniously, if unconsciously, to provide a modicum of success to everyone - so that there are more judges than petitioners, and a court for every conceivable case and procedure. The bureaucratization of science in academia, government and corporations promotes such a development. This tends to trivialize the caseload of all courts, and sends up a miasma of mutual deference to ward off critics. The resulting rigidity tends to create a revolutionary opposition from the start, a point that has evaded most writers seeking to explain the plethora of anti-scientific books and movements. It is not too far-fetched to compare the situation with that in worldwide politics that has produced so much terrorism.
COSMOGONY: A GHOST FIELD?
Now are cosmology and cosmogony offered, much less required as subjects of study in universities; exceptions are rare and usually to be found in schools with a religious bias. Writings on cosmogony are likely to run off the pens of elderly astronomers, "born-again" physicists, and uncomfortable priests. A discipline without a method is a risible contradiction in terms, but such happens to be the situation.
Since the court of cosmogony is largely imaginary, we may expect an ad hoc panel, drummed up from various professions, to sit in judgment on our work. For their troubles they will find little that can be termed a cosmogonical method. Rather, they will find in one place the methodology of spectroscopy, in another place that of microbiology, then again that of Egyptian mythology, and now, too, that of theology. It is not because we possess any distinction in these, or in other fields, that we treat of them, but because of the broad and general nature of our problems and of our desire to be as denotative and technically correct as we can be.
At the same time, as must benefit topics so large and fundamental, we avail ourselves of the general operational logic that is accessible to every educated person when working upon any subject whatsoever. We regret, as much as every last reader, the paucity and unreliability of data - in astronomy and physics, we hasten to interject, as well as in mythology and the history of science - and that therefore frequent speculation is necessary, although controlled to be sure, up to the final leap. By way of consolation, one of the auxiliary functions of our study may be to bring to our readers a poignant awareness of how speculative indeed is the basis of the sciences that are concerned with our subject matter.
Thereupon one may appreciate why we must concern ourselves with the simplest of logical and psychological operations in a work of the highest scientific pretensions. For example, the important idea that the Greeks and Romans named planets to correspond to the rank order of importance of the gods is realized only after prolonged study. Saturn, as the retired god (Deus Otiosus) of a planet, is second only to Jupiter in size. But how could the ancients have known this without telescopes?
And why would Saturn then be made "father" of Jupiter? Jupiter, the largest planet, is king of the gods, wherever his name or a version thereof is employed. Then come the children, Mars, Mercury and Venus, the others (Neptune, Uranus, the asteroids, and Pluto) being invisible. Mercury (Hermes, Thoth) is more important, earlier and absolutely, than Mars, even though it is smaller in the sky. This we think is significant.
Striking, too, is the widespread ancient insistence that planet Venus, the brightest and most conspicuous starry object to the eye, is an offspring of Jupiter; for its size and brilliance should have identified it as the ruler of the planetary gods. The significantly larger-sized Sun and Moon are part of most religious, but have not received over the past several thousan years the frenzied and obsessive worship of the others. The Earth, of course, as Mother Goddess, closely identified with the human race, related as a being to, but was not placed in, the category of planets. The recency of Venus is suggested; also, one may surmise that the order of the planets and gods has been overlooked because observers, believing Venus to be a primordial planet, would not notice this coincidence. Thus several simple facts can lend their weight to our theory.
Another example occurs from ordinary psychology. Obsessiveness (and compulsiveness associated with it) is a common behavior. In the history of religion (and what is not associated with religion in earlier times?), obsessive-compulsive behavior is the main trunk of the human mind. Furthermore, this obsessiveness pursues a direct line of extraterrestrial concerns, such as we have incorporated into this book and elsewhere (de Grazia, 1981, 1983b, 1983c, 1983d). Yet many scientists and experts, in putting aside their own subjectivities so as to pursue objective, value-free truths, put aside the subjectivities of their patients (the myth-makers and myth-preservers ) and discuss the infinitely varied product of the mythic mind as if it were bubbling up randomly and without reference to objective reality.
Human obsessive-compulsive behavior has causes; it differs from the compulsive instinctive reactions of animals; yet it does not come from a mental tabula rasa. It is both logically and psychologically proper to descend the trunk of the human mind in search of those causes until one finds at its roots events adequate to have brought about a heavy dedication of mind and culture to them. Insistent rites, pronunciamentos, testimony, and affirmations demand the recognition of these events as the peculiar causes of compulsions. We think it more plausible than man was watching a sky model and emulating it than that, say, a hominid, who mumbled words and killed his kind, should become casually interested in the sky and use celestial imagery to describe his behavior.
The Humanist-Scientist Divorce In the absence of a field with its special jurists, and of a guiding methodology, the often-decried misunderstanding between the sciences and the humanities is sure to come to the fore. There is no barrier to the negatively conditioned response of physicists to the humanities and of the humanists to the claims of physics (1984d).
An historian of science, Livio Stecchini (1978, p117) has written appropriately:
Most readers of science, except for the very top layer, reveal themselves as being naive realists without any knowledge of scientific epistemology. An expression of this is that some of them declared that Velikovsky's earlier activity in neurology and psychiatry disqualifies him from discussing question of cosmology. However, it was just from an interest in neurology and psychiatry that Kant moved in his investigation of the phenomenology of space and time, which is the foundation of non-Euclidian geometry and Einsteinian physics....
Snow, Polanyi, Barzun, Conant and others have taken their turns at deploring the misunderstanding. Curricula are reformed to correct it. Yet in continues unabated.
The negative conditioning separating these large groupings of savants grows out of a tendency, in the first place, to define one's field in terms of one's special interests, these not necessarily constituting the general interests of the field. A common pattern of individual behavior in both groups is to proceed by an ever-narrowing path towards the proof of a special theory; any cracking of the frame of the theory will being a heavy cost of retracing the path and finding another or a broader way. Hence even an extended approach within the field is not to be countenanced. Only under optimal and rare conditions, too, does a modern discipline possess clearly defined goals, consequently, intra-disciplinary frustrations are common, as paths without ends are pursued, whereupon, in a typical response to frustrations, scientists will reproach out-side fields for the faults that they dare not denounce in their own fields.
Inasmuch as internal confusion is a rather general state of affairs in a field of knowledge, it is ordinary for scientists, seeking an opinion upon a matter where an outside field intrudes upon their own, to seek out authorities in the intruding field to obtain opinions concerning the intrusion. However, the very fact that they are challenged in their own field by someone in another field suggests that this person is a maverick from the other, and increases the likelihood that, when they approach the authorities in his home field, they will receive an unfavorable account of the maverick. For instance, authorities in mythology regard legends as expressive of a culture and of some historical value; but they exercise the same control over legendary testimony as do their counterparts in geology and astronomy over the evidence of these latter fields. Hence, it is not especially useful to inquire of them concerning events that not only they themselves deem improbable, but also which they themselves have already heard from geological and astronomical authorities to be impossible. So the vicious circle is set up.
This happens even with "depth" psychology. Jung ends with mental archetypes, Freud with the oedipal complex. These are myths, scientific myths to be sure insofar as they are objective in their formulations, which advance evidence, but such myths are as far from reality as the creation myths of the tribes of Borneo, not to mention those of the Bible. Conversely, should archaeologists or mythologist have the temerity to ask astronomers whether the Moon could be young or geologists whether a great land might be inundated, they can be fairly sure of a negative answer.
We stress that on many facts and principles of cosmogony one has to be especially careful of what authority to interrogate. All fields of scientific study employ fictions -- abstractions, concepts, metaphors, models, and probabilities. All fields of study have private languages, which, useful as they may be to insiders, tend to persuade outsiders of a grasp of reality that may be quite weak.
With such conditions prevailing in the field of cosmogony, a method is proper whose premises and goals are clear, whose terms are defined, which offers proof from the "best" evidence available, and whose propositions fairly reflect and summate all "good" evidence from whatsoever quarter or, lacking means to formulate all of it, admits the exclusions and justifies them on methodological grounds.
The method may be called a "model" when the integration of hypotheses is such as to enable the behavior of a part to be predicted from the behavior of the whole and vice versa, "missing parts" to be deduced from described parts, and the whole to operate as an intelligible system through time.
In sum, the procedures demanded by scientific method are clear and accessible, but misunderstandings among the sciences are psychologically and materially indulged. In cosmogony, the situation is grave regarding clarity and accessibility of materials, as well as in psychological and material inducements to discord.
PHYSICS AND LEGENDS
Initially we may compare the structures of legend and science. Any topic of legend can be a topic of science, and vice versa. A legend is an observation or a set of them; so is science. Legend states its observations in human language, rich in metaphor, and carries them orally from one generation to the next and, later, in writing; science seeks non-metaphoric, denotative and quantitative language, and records its observations in information storage and retrieval systems, Legend seeks to retain the functions of moral teaching (" should" and "ought" are persuasive, while "must" is a punitive "should"); science seems to limit itself to precise descriptions and observable relations among events. Legends refer to anthropomorphized sources; science to abstracted forces; both refer, overtly and covertly, to paradigms and ideologies.
Legends are trifled with and tampered with in pleasant times when amnesia overlies historical memories and optimistic wishes can be indulged. In disaster, legends become more important and, under heavy pressures, change significantly . Science changes under the guidance of rules of evidence, the raising of unconscious factors to awareness, and the forging of more and more links in causal chains. Also, science changes by responding to heavy political pressure (Grinnell, pp131ff).
The motives behind legends are moral teachings (religious control), and the achieving of a tolerable level of amnesia, involving fun, fantasy and aesthetics, all of which are the more obvious forms that sublimation takes. Although these motives occur in science as well, and science itself is a form of sublimation, science is anxious lest they vulgarize, popularize, distort, and divert its work.
We permit ourselves here, by way of illustration, to speculate and generalize upon an as yet undeveloped series of observations: a systematic study of the oldest nursery rhymes will ultimately discover that every one of these "little classics" (" Chicken Licken", "Hey, diddle, diddle", "Sing a Song of Sixpence", "Ring around the Rosie," etc.) is based upon some historical drama or catastrophe. It will help those scientists and humanists who tend to be snobbish, puritanical or majestic about their material and scornful of the concerns of mythologists with "silliness and superstitions" to reflect upon how much of natural science has come out of amusement, as when early electrical science generated advances from shocking kisses (Heilbron, p236). Myth, science and amusement alike play games with trivia, but the grave cosmos is always unconsciously in mind.
Finally, neither in legend nor in science can the observer have escaped wholly the grip of the ambiance of observations: the observer is part of the observations. The various relativity theories, ancient and recent, make much of this fact. All in all, legend-making and science-making are not foreign to each other but have much in common. Each has its own good reasons for refusing marriage while maintaining liaisons.
Recently, some scientists have named a conjunction of electro-gravitational influences causing natural disorders on Earth the "Jupiter Effect" (see Goodsavage, pp144-56). They seem to be able, on good evidence, to demonstrate that Jupiter is not isolated, but has certain fearsome transactional capabilities, which may be exercised upon occasion. An astrologer would say that he has known this all along. Most ancients were obsessed with many "Jupiter effects". We say that these astrological fossils go back to real Jupiter effects that were incomparably stronger than the ones occasioning the present excitement. The ancients, seeking to control the effects, sought to control human behavior aimed at propitiating Jupiter, "lest you die". Our contemporaries do the same, suggesting more pragmatic (effective) means of protecting sectors prone to earthquakes and tidal waves (Gribbin and Plagemann, pp132-48).
We would say that the legendary sources are cognizant of grave past effects, and had little new evidence and less control over expected effects. The astrologers inherited confused observations of the past, which further confused them, and could prove no new evidence because they were helpless and incompetent. Our contemporaries possess but disbelieve ancient observations, and also some new evidence of recent times that may have practical value and may lead to a systematic review of ancient celestial behavior. Ancient accounts become simply another source of observations.
The Phaeton legend has been recited to young and old alike for thousands of years: Phaeton, son of Sun, incompetently drives his father's chariot too near to and too far from the Earth, causing great fires and frost. The correspondences between this flight and a cometary encounter are so numerous that many scholars are convinced of Phaeton's historicity, that is, that a comet cut a destructive swath across the tottering globe around the middle of the second millennium before Christ. As Kugler showed, material of scientific value is obtainable from the careful analysis of the legendary stuff on Phaeton (and his namesakes in other myths).
There is adequate reason why the ancient "Jupiter effects" such as cosmic thunderbolts, the Phaeton legends, the natural events reported in Exodus, the Cosmic Egg mythology, the phenomenon of the Deus Otiosus, and the divergent "non-astronomical" sacred calendars of the Meso-Americans, Egyptians, and others - to mention only several proto-scientific or disguisedly scientific reports - should be given ordinary treatment, in an integrated manner, in histories of science and textbooks of astronomy, earth sciences, paleontology, and human behavior, including anthropology, prehistory and ancient history. It is perhaps obvious, also, that the ancient accounts of quantavolutionary events find all mankind in the same situations, building related cultures, seeing them destroyed, and recreating them. Once scientists decide to reach back to natural events and primordial human cultures with the hypothesis of Solaria Binaria, they will discover a most inspiring ecumenicalism for our most threatening of times.