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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 20, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta 4-THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD 1173 Believing just dangerous A big gamble By Bruce Herald special commentator A ambitious institu- tion like the University of Lethbridge can better than its staid and stuffy to be daring and to take chances. It has a reputation to not one to preserve. And hoping to be known for its innovative and imaginative approach to it can be expected to rush in where angels fear to tread. On the other hand it is a university and in its own small way it is a trustee of traditional university es- pecially of intellectual academic integrity and scientific objec- tivity. The decision of the University of Lethbridge to award an honorary degree to Immanuel Velikovsky is daring in the even perhaps a betrayal of the standards popularly ex- pected of any institution that calls itself a university. Velikovsky calls himself a psychiatrist whose hobby is history. About 33 years ago the idea struck him that the great natural upheavals as the sun standing related in the Old Testa- ment were not allegory or whimsy or folklore or dreams but accurate history to be taken seriously and literally. He spent the next 10 years checking other records from other quarters of the and in 1950 his first Worlds in Collison. was published. It was an instant sensation. Subsequently he amplified his thesis in other books. In his idea is that the history of the ol life and of man has been shaped not by imperceptible evolution and by natural forces over the millions and billions ot but by a succession of cosmic one in 1500 B.C. when the comet Venus brushed the earth and became a and another on March 23. 687 B.C. when Venus might have destroyed the earth had it not collided with Mars. of contradicts established science. If Velikovsky is almost all other scientists are wrong. It is not sur- prising that he is not taken seriously in most university science communities or that no university has ever given him a degree. have given him a forum for communicating directly with students The scope of the man's mind and the range of his interests are phenomenal. The breadth of his scholarship is com- mendable. Its quality is another matter. Because of the interest Velikovsky has generated. especially among symposiums on his theory are now being tolerated by the scientific and it is proper that one such will be con- ducted during his visit to the University ot Lethbridge next spring. Response to Velikovsky falls mainly into four classes. First there are those who feel the es- tablishment in always and anyone coming out with a new anti- establishment theory must therefore be right. They want to believe and so they do. Then there are the merely gullible and who may be competent to deal with a new theory in their own field but will swallow anything in somebody else's field. Another group considers Velikovsky a master of science who made the mistake of taking himself too but is otherwise an challeng- ing and essentially harmless person. Finally there are those who regard him as a as an intellectually and academically dishonest person. Almost all of the world's including several senior professors at the University of are in the third or fourth groups. They could be of in which case the University of Lethbridge will have the distinction of being the first to recognize and honor the greatest scientist the world has known. Or they could be and the U of L will be laughed at for being taken in by a man generally regarded as a con-artist. What is he getting the degree For his wide range of interests and his attempt to work out a synthesis of all the That might be as long as his apparent failures were also ad- mitted. For the interest in earth sciences that he has Again a degree would be in as one to Jules Verne would have as a writer of science fiction but not. as a scientist. For his documentation of Old Testa- ment But Old Testament scholars consider him hopelessly con- fused. For his courage and persistence in the face of entrenched scientific Then the president of the Flat Earth Society should also get a degree from the University of Lethbridge. Or perhaps the U of L does this with tongue in as a prank perpetrated merely to generate controversy and to bring world attention to the campus in the coulees. It is a big gamble. Most universities couldn't aftord to take it. C.W.M. Sharing Christmas International unable to return to their homeland for Christmas could find the Yuletide a lone- ly affair unless local residents are will- ing to share their time and festivities with them. The foreign student are 35 at the University of Lethbridge uprooted from familiar separated from family and life-long friends and generally scraping along on a skimpy budget is thrown into unfamiliar life patterns for which he is totally un- prepared. The habit of home for lor enjoyed by his is an impossibility for him his home is too far away and inflation has made such a luxury virtually impossible. Efforts to befriend local foreign students have been made by church groups and members of the University Women's Club but it will take individual residents willing to invite foreign students home to provide that away from atmosphere which distinguishes Christmas. The vacation isn't confined to Christmas dinner oniy but will cover two weeks of Yuletide dur- ing which the gift of friendship will be the most appreciated gift of all. Local residents interested in inviting students home should do so before December 21st by telephoning the university Mr. Jack at 329-2231 or the Community College. ERIC NICOL The perfect gift Looking for a Christmas gift for the liberated Why not give her a programmed It's from Motel. The special needs of the liberated mother have been amply documented in articles appearing in that part of the newspaper we used to call the women's before the composing room had its sex operation. The liberated like the liberated wants the pleasure of owning a child without the nuisance of having to spend too much time with it. Hence the rather than allotment of hours spent with the offspring. In the past especially wasted a great deal of time just hanging around the to be there when needed. They were victims of the quaint belief that human reproduction serves the not the parent. Today we know better. But children have been slow to adapt to the qualitative of busy Mummy and busy Daddy. Under the age of 10. kids have persisted in a failure to synchronize their needs with the liberated parent's schedule of Creative Presence. But now. a breakthrough the programm- ed child. I have examined a working model of the programmed child at the day-care centre that has developed the child in its lab for contem- porary living. It functions beautifully. I asked the a seven-year-old girl named Alpha and wearing a perma-press When do you need your Mummy and Dad- I need my Mummy on lisped Alpha. need my Daddy on Thursdays and eight to nine p.m.. except on long when I don't need anybody at do your Mummy and Daddy spend their time with you takes me to a children's theatre or some place else where it is culturally fulfilling and where I keep my mouth shut. Daddy plays rewarding games with like blackjack and happens when you're Who looks after you I never get sick without giving a week's so Mummy can install Nana. I am very healthy but if I have to go to the hospital they give Mummy and Daddy a courtesy child to use while I'm being fixed. How does the programm- ed child arrange help from her parents when she is stuck on problems in long never have any she pouting prettily. get straight A's and don't take anything home from school except my Alpha took a little and I could barely hear the ratchet mechanism. I what about those times when something has happened that you want to ask your parents Like finding a baby bird in the or wanting to know what makes questions that I replied record on tape for release to Mummy or Daddy at a more convenient time. Now you'll have to excuse me. I must join the day-care class in socialized And with that the programmed child toddl- ed oft to her parents' brighter tomorrow. Wouldn't you like to have one under your In his famous book on the depression of the as lately Malcolm Muggeridge quotes another great British the late G.K. who might have been on the 1970s. When peo- ple cease to believe in said they do not then believe in nothing is far more dan- anything at all. Or. as Mr. Muggeridge the religion of successor to its imprimatur upon any however non- which can be stated in terms of the requisite statistical-scientific mumbo- jumbo. Thus a condition of intellectual and spiritual confusion has been created in which not only faith but meaning itself has dis- Mr. Muggeridge is im- at the on a lonely island off the Pacific coast of deeply brooding and presumably writing another of his brilliant books on the state of the contemporary world. But he can hardly improve his ear- lier dictum. It is more fully confirmed by every day's tront page news than in Chesterton's time. Modern people will indeed believe anything. scientific and they are more credulous than their remote and ignorant ancestors. In the United to take the most recent they until that about one-sixth of the world's population could con- tinue forever to use about a third of its total energy. When a small fraction of the supply was cut off they believed that this temporary accident alone was responsible for their dwindling gas tanks and chilly also that American know-how could overcome the difficulty in a year or so by making a deal with the tapping the oil shale of Colorado and vastly in- creasing the use of energy at the current rate. Credulity can go no farther. But it can go just as far in Canada where a repudiating with high moral indignation any thought of controlling an inflated has taken control of its very bloodstream and jugular in the form of petroleum. Denouncing the socialism of the New Demo- cratic Party paying a handsome political price for its govern- ment has into the oil industry. Unlike irony has no especially when it is uncon- scious. This is not to say that the government or the opposition parties are only that they can make themselves believe AMP IT The pendulum always swings back By William New York Times commentator WASHINGTON Avid readers of this space may recall an essay this summer that used the great pendulum at the Smithsonian institution as a symbol. My point was that the pendulum always swung back. The likelihood of the hue and cry about Watergate continuing without letup seemed to me as remote as that of the great pendulum swinging past-its ordained out- er limit to crash through the wall of the museum. Ol' a former White House colleague of mine pointed out today. pendulum of yours not only crashed through the but it swung up high and came crashing through the opposite wall. That's not a pendulum any it's a As the year of the retribu- tion draws to a it might be good to claim to have ex- perienced the secret thrill of being wrong. In times like a hair shirt can be a fun tur. The week this column began to appear was the week Presi- dent Nixon announced he had been told of a massive cover- up in connection with Watergate. I opined that it was a good thing that Nixon had taken firm command and nipped the Watergate scandal in the bud. That is what is called ing really wrong Not mis- not slightly off not relatively inaccurate but egregiously wrong. 1972 might have been the wrong time to start writing a but it was the right time to leave the White Rivaling this underestima- tion of the vulnerability of the first administration equipped for instant replay was my several months to detend Vice Presi- dent Agnew against a cam- paign of leaks. In that instance. I was more no knee-jerk responses for this once-burnt warrior. I waited until the vice president personally assured me that the charges were false and pledged to fight if before I went up over the top. while Agnew was telling me this on the he was negotiating his resignation. That left a tew of us plodding ahead in no- man's bullets whizzing back in the trenches the platoon leader was waving his white flag. Wrong again. To be wrong on the grand scale like twice in less than a tempts one to with Fiorello Laguar- dia. I make a it's a and to inflate lesser errors into ap- parent whoppers. For example. I recently breathed life into the late Coutourier who died nearly two years the report of his current success is exaggerated. the word Books in brief as Hot News 1U5- The Late Nineteenth Century World as seen Through the Eyes of The Illustrated London News and The compiled by Leonard De Vries IB collaboration with Hooka Vaa Amstel inches by inches. distributed by Longman Canada Along with the abridged text of stories from the late 19th century are the artists' in that accompanied them. The drawings are really more interesting than the full of detail and expression. Immediately noticeable to the journalist is the editorializing style of the writing. Those who hkr reproductions of old etc. will probably enjoy this too. DOUG WALKER was erroneously etymologized here as the name of a southern soft but as dozens of irate Moxie-drinkers puckeringly pointed out Moxie is a Boston product only recently inflicted on southerners. Worst of I have twice used for These are inaccuracies and but lack the thrill of profound wrongitude. People find it pretentious and lacking in suavity to confess unimpor- tant that is why nobody comes forward today to say was wrong about wanting to cut down the oil depletion allowance a few years or was wrong to oppose the president on the Alaska pipeline back when it was chic to be an environmen- Presidents and other punching bags experience the thrill of being really from time to but with a if you are at the centre of being wrong is perceived as DOING wrong. To be wrong is the privilege of free to do wrong is the activity of criminals But with Chief of that separating semi-colon and wrongbeing is universally equaled with wrongdoing. At this sentimental time of we can sympathize with those consistently on-target doomsayers who have not felt the guiltily pleasurable twinge of being really wrong. When to be in fashion is to be in those who plaintively cry told you must be counted among the neediest cases. Years ago. when Brooklyn Dodger slugger Dolph Camilli would come to bat late in the after having struck out three times in an ominous murmur would race through the A year from now. the crazi- ly whirling propeller may turn back into a stately and optimists like me may then be writing smug and avid essays being Sooner or somebody up there is going to enforce the law of averages God knows we're mm WORLD as a finance if he remains long enough in finally believes his own and then it is time to put the poor kindly but in a non-partisan senate always dominated by Liberals where sheer fantasy is the accepted way of life. If in all become peculiarly superstitious and innocent by the nature of their they are no more so than those practical men of business who believe that the economic system will soon return to normal and the good old days after a brief detour or those high-minded reformers who believe that legislative fiat can cure all human from broken fuel supplies to broken hearts. Certainly no so far as I has ever equall- ed the sublime innocence of the North American automobile industry which kept on making ten-mile- per-gallon cars when clearly there would not be sufficient gasoline to propel and at a time of rationing is still advertising them on glamorous television not merely as efficient vehicles of transportation but as the final secret of human almost a religious the new and shiny God replacing the un- glamorous original. The industry's cunning for- eign competi tiers did not make the same mistake but foreigners as a whole some Canadians and most Russians and have made a worse one by imagining that they can escape the mistakes of the American people. These are only economic problems as doubt- less can be solved somehow by a curtailment of our long-held and impossible economic ex- pectations. The Chesterton- Muggeridge thesis is more im- portant in another realm usually called or government by the people more requires the people's government of them- selves. It is there that the belief in anything does the most the belief that the state can do must do everything we want and would do it immediately if we elected the proper men of right or depending on our private the belief that the state can discipline and perfect society even if its members no longer believe in disciplining their own-im- perfect little the in that having abandon- ed the old beliefs we are suddenly freed of all the old as if the law of gravity and the nature of the universe itself had been repealed for our convenience. And this queer logic reaches its climax when we are ready to believe any any any authority except ourselves. 1973 W NEA. Inc that all you have to say 'Waste want The Lethbridge Herald 504 7th SI S Alberta LETHBRIDGE HERALD CO. LTD Proprietors and Publishers Second Class Mail Registration No 0012 CLEO w Editor ana Publisher DON H. PILLING Managing Editor DONALD R DORAM General Manager ROYF MILES Advertising Manager DOUGLAS K WALKER Editorial Page Editcr ROBERT M. FENTON Circulation Manager KENNETH E BARNETT Business Manager HERALD SERVES THE ;