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No. 19: Jan-Feb 1982

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Fatal flaw in pole-flipping theory

V. Slabinski of the Communications Satellite Corporation claims that there are three separate errors in P. Warlow's theoretical analysis of terrestrial pole-flipping due to the gravitational torques created by a passing celestial body. With these errors corrected, the earth is 200 times less sensitive to pole-flipping. Slabinski does not believe that any known solar system object could turn the earth end-for-end if it passed by. This item proclaims that the discovery of Warlow's errors is a serious blow to Velikovskian catastrophism.

(Anonymous; "Fatal Flaw in Pole-Flipping Theory," New Scientist, 92:433, 1981.)

Comment. We shall now wait for a rebuttal by Warlow and/or the Velikovskians. The flipping torques depend, of course, upon the mass and distance of the perturbing body. Whatever the outcome, the reality of astronomical and terrestrial catastrophism depends upon terrestrial geology, the testimony of history and myth, and other sources.

Update. Over a decade has passed and no rebuttal by Warlow has been seen. We must, therefore, consider his hypothesis highly questionable.

From Science Frontiers #19, JAN-FEB 1982. 1982-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987