Any body read books by ; Immanuel Velikovsky

Discussion in 'Pseudoscience' started by river, Apr 17, 2016.

  1. river

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    Such as ; Earth in Upheaval and/or Worlds in Collision .
     
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  3. river

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    Both are worth the read .
     
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  5. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    I read both of them years ago. They're hilarious in places: fish with terrified expressions on their faces must have died in a huge catastrophe.

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  7. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    While Velikovsky was wrong, he was wrong in a Glorious and Academic manner. The reaction of much of the scientific establishment would have made a fine study for Jane Goodall, but lacked the objectivity we might have hoped for. Twenty seven levels above such nonsense as von Daniken, which may be why the establishment reacted as it did.
     
  8. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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  9. river

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    Hmmmm.....

    Why was Immanuel wrong ?
     
  10. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    Do you mean what evidence is there that his hypothesis was incorrect, or do you mean why did he arrive at such obviously wrong conclusions?
     
  11. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    I'm honestly not surprised that river is a fan of Velikovsky.

    This thread should probably just be moved to pseudoscience, as it's just going to end up there anyway.
     
  12. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    I just learned from the wikipedia article on Velikovsky that Stephen Jay Gould said "Velikovsky is neither crank nor charlatan—although, to state my opinion and to quote one of my colleagues, he is at least gloriously wrong."

    I am rather pleased to find myself in such noble company.
     
  13. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Yes indeed. Though my favourite part of the quote from Gould is " Velikovsky would rebuild the science of celestial mechanics to save the literal accuracy of ancient legends."

    I think this is, actually, crank behaviour or, to be as charitable as possible, at least highly Quixotic. This, after all, was a medic trying to overturn physics and astronomy on the basis of his reading of ancient myths.
     
  14. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

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    Don't forget his "electric Universe" nonsense that river is so fond of.
     
  15. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Is he? River was the first person I put on ignore, over a year ago I think, so I may have missed his compelling advocacy of the electric universe.

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  16. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    It's quite shocking.
     
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  17. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Hoho.
     
  18. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Most of those ancient legends were removed from their own context so as to fit into Velikovsky's master-scheme, which as I recall (it's been a long time) was derived from his reading of the Hebrew Bible.

    I think that Velikovsky was the very definition of a crank.

    Not just physics and astronomy, he tried to rewrite ancient history too.

    I find the idea of ufos as space visitors far more credible than Velikovsky's ideas. Probably because I don't have to reconceive the entire history of the Earth and the solar system in order to accommodate ufos.

    Interestingly, Velikovsky may have been ahead of his time in one way. With the discovery of extrasolar planets and hot Jupiters, astrophysicists have started to believe that planets do move around, that their orbits do change, and aren't fixed forever from the beginning of stellar systems. They spiral in and spiral out, they interact gravitationally with each other and may even fling each other out of the stellar system entirely.

    Todays's planetary astrophysics is far more dynamic than orthodox science believed it to be in Velikovsky's day. Of course Velikovsky's reasons for believing in a dynamic solar system were fanciful at best and the mechanisms he imagined to explain it seem to have been largely worthless.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016
  19. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    I find one aspect of Velikovsky's thinking has been seriously overlooked and that, for me, removes him from the crank field entirely. If we boil his thesis down to his essential ingredients, they are these:

    1. Catastrophic events, related to astronomical objects, may occur.
    2. Catastrophic events, probably misinterpreted and distorted by time, may be remembered in myths and legends.

    In regard to the first many people are familiar with the idea that the dinosaurs were killed by a comet or asteroid strike. Other researchers have sought to link other major extinction events to bolide strikes. This was not the case in the 1950s. Although a century had elapsed since the resolution of the battle between Catastrophists and Uniformitarians, the idea of catastrophe was frowned upon in the Earth sciences. Velikovsky, rightly, challenged that position.

    In regard to the second, we have - for example - the possibility that the Middle East flood legends derive from the flooding of the Black Sea. I think there are tales of a great light in the sky in South America that are tied to a large meteor strike in Argentina. And so forth. To some extent Velikovsky was doing nothing more here than, like Stillman, saying might this story have a factual basis? Let's go look for our Troy.
     
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  20. river

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    Let's look . And :


    The thing is ; is that Immanuel was getting his information from science not just biblical references
     
  21. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Right. But the trappings of science that does not engender it with validity.

    Was it not him or his ilk that concluded that the Statue of Liberty was an alien artifact, based on the fact that its height in cubits is equal to the distance to Alpha Centauri in furlongs minus the number of leap years since it was made(found)?**

    (**An anecdote I heard for which I have no reliable sources, or even a clear memory of.)

    Weaving scientific factoids to fit a pet fantasy is the very core of crankdom.
     
  22. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    Dave that sounds utterly at odds with any of Velikovsky's writing, or anything I understand of the man. In my youth I read all of Velikovsky's books, some of them several times. I recall nothing remotely like that. I would be willing to wager $1,ooo, to be donated to a charity of your choosing, should you find convincing evidence the anecdote is true.
     
  23. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    The earlier Western catastrophists were literal believers in the Bible as cosmological history. They interpreted geological strata as evidence of the Biblical flood. That was very common up to the 18th and 19th centuries or so. The uniformitarians proposed that the strata were the result slow deposition processes over long periods of time, on sea bottoms and places like that. Today, geologists recognize that catastrophic events like large volcanic eruptions releasing huge flows of basalt and dramatic climate changes like ice ages and widespread glaciation do occur, as well as slow uniform processes like petrogenesis, deposition and weathering. So what we have is a marriage of uniformitarianism and catastrophism, with the former still predominating I think, in interpreting most landforms.

    My point being that I don't think that it's necessary to give Velikovsky credit for reviving catastrophism. It was always present in the culture, if not in scientific thinking. And I don't think that Velikovsky had enough influence among working scientists to have that kind of influence anyway. Like the more conventional catastrophists, Velikovsky was influenced by the Bible and the cosmic-historical pretensions of Genesis, but his innovation seems to have been wanting to read that as history while eliminating God and miracles from its interpretation. So he invented a totally speculative dynamic astrophysics to replace the hand of God, and tried to recruit Egyptian and Mesopotamian myth to support his scheme.

    I think that the Middle Eastern flood myths were originally Mesopotamian. I don't see them as having anything to do with the Black Sea. Floods were the most destructive disasters that the early Sumerian and Akkadian cities on the Tigris and Euphrates plains knew, and given that their architecture was typically mud brick, if it wasn't faced with stone or fired bricks it dissolved in the rain. (Luckily it doesn't rain much in Iraq.) Constant repairs were necessary.

    So we find early Mesopotamian mythology imagining water as symbolic of chaos and formlessness. (Since water has no form of its own and takes the form of its container.) They imagined creation as the solidification of form and solidity out of the primordial waters of chaos. And they feared that chaos was always lurking, threatening to return, destroying everything. Hence the myth of the flood, when everything solid returns to water and is swept away like a giant cosmological eraser.

    That's how I see it anyway.
     

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