The astronomers were furious and the scientific community had what can only be described as a paranoid fit when confronted with the best-selling work of Immanuel Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, published April 3, 1950. It appeared to them to be a work that attacked everything they had ever held to be sacred, the very foundations of academic science questioned and found to be unsound, even cracked.
Velikovsky’s revelation was not received in the humble spirit it was given and very few scientists even asked if the old scholar may be right in some obscure way? His publisher was blackmailed into submission, supporters of Velikovsky within the science community were fired or ridiculed into silence. And so began the campaign to blacken his name and his good reputation as a ground-breaking psychologist and scholar; a campaign that is still active to this day. As a result of this relentless crusade by science and sceptics it is assumed that all of his ideas have been soundly debunked and laid to rest. This is far from true.
It is however true and often quoted that most of his detractors, then as now, had never even read his book ‘Worlds In Collision’ let alone his full works. Again, as quoted in these pages it would bode well to actually read what is written before making a final judgment and then form a personal opinion based on the book and subsequent supporting evidence rather than trust the detractors version. The idea that there is someone out there who knows more than you is wrong. They are wrong because they start from the false premise that Velikovsky has to be wrong and there is no need to check his theories. This is both a logical fallacy and lazy thinking, something that will surprise many who see academics as those who are paid to do our thinking.
Velikovsky rewrote some of ancient history and based on his findings made a long list of predictions about the solar system. To the best of my knowledge nothing he wrote has been convincingly shown to be as wide of the mark as some would have us believe. If there is one evidence based proof, I’d like to hear about it from someone who has actually read WIC.
It must be remembered that in 1950 and in the ten years prior to this date when Velikovsky was writing his book, scientific knowledge about the solar system was much different from how we find it today. This is due to several decades of planetary exploration and discoveries by NASA. It’s all but impossible to find popular astronomy books from the 1950’s period as they have all been made obsolete by more recent discoveries and are useless to booksellers. Basically, just about everything that was written in them is wrong by today’s standards. But it was from this position that the scientists of the 1950’s and 60s were arguing their case against Velikovsky’s writings.
Zdenek Kopal wrote in ‘The Solar System’ (Oxford University Press, 1973)
“Books written about the solar system before the advent of the space age could as well have been written in Latin or Greek, so dated do they appear to a contemporary reader.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zden%C4%9Bk_Kopal
See more recent comments by Velikovsky’s daughter that can be found at the link, and in her book, Immanuel Velikovsky – The Truth Behind The Torment by Ruth Velikovsky Sharon http://www.tmgnow.com/repository/secret/velikovsky.html
“In July 1969, on the eve of the first landing on the Moon, the New York Times invited Velikovsky to summarize what he expected the Apollo missions to find. Velikovsky responded by listing nine “advance claims,” including remnant magnetism, a steep thermal gradient, radioactive hot spots, and regular moon quakes. All told, it was a remarkably accurate summation of later findings. But still the scientific community was silent.” http://www.thunderbolts.info/velikovsky-ghost.htm
The Immanuel Velikovsky Encyclopedia:http://www.velikovsky.info/Main_Page
Core ideas – Wiki “In the book’s preface, Velikovsky summarized his arguments:
Worlds in Collision is a book of wars in the celestial sphere that took place in historical times. In these wars the planet earth participated too. […] The historical-cosmological story of this book is based in the evidence of historical texts of many people around the globe, on classical literature, on epics of the northern races, on sacred books of the people of the Orient and Occident, on traditions and folklore of primitive people, on old astronomical inscriptions and charts, on archaeological finds, and also on geological and paleontological material.
“The book proposed that around the 15th century BCE, a comet or comet-like object (now called the planet Venus), having originally been ejected from Jupiter, passed near Earth (Note: an actual collision is not mentioned). The object changed Earth’s orbit and axis, causing innumerable catastrophes which were mentioned in early mythologies and religions around the world. Fifty-two years later, it passed close by again, stopping the Earth’s rotation ( for a while and causing more catastrophes.(Nowhere does the book say that the Earth’s rotation was stopped, but that the axis was shifted causing an ‘apparent’ halt to rotation.) Then, in the 8th and 7th centuries BCE, Mars (itself displaced by Venus) made close approaches to the Earth; this incident caused a new round of disturbances and disasters. After that, the current “celestial order” was established. The courses of the planets stabilized over the centuries and Venus gradually became a “normal” planet.
These events lead to several key statements:
1. Venus must be still very hot as young planets radiate heat.
2. Venus must be rich in petroleum gases, and hydrocarbons.
3. Venus has an abnormal orbit in consequence of the unusual disasters that happened.
(1.and 3. are irrefutable facts and 2 will be discussed later in these pages.) See below.
Velikovsky suggested some additional ideas that he said derived from these claims, including:
1. Jupiter emits radio noises.
2. The magnetosphere of Earth reaches at least up to the moon.
3. The sun has an electric potential of approximately 10 to the19 (10 billion billion) volts.
4. The rotation of earth can be affected by electromagnetic fields…”
(All of these, 1to 4 have been shown to be true)
Although the Wiki numbered items above are authentic, the rest of the text is a much sanitized and watered-down incorrect version, as remembered by revisionists who do not consider the childish conduct of the scientific community at the time of the publication of Velikovsky’s work. Such has been the impact and ferocity of the scientific campaign that most assume that Velikovsky’s books are riven with inaccuracies: A living example of the power of the scientific establishment propaganda machine to lie and cheat when its reputation is at stake.:
(This page has now been erased and replaced with a more sceptical version.)
Example: read the first part of the first link below and compare it to the statement made by Carl Sagan in the Wiki article, ‘
Also of note is the statement that radio waves from Jupiter ‘were’ a surprise to astronomers of the time. If you link to the page on Grote Reber , the inventor of radio astronomy, you will see that scientists were still using 1940’s theory even though they were using radio astronomy which now depends on an updated theory for the emission of ‘non thermal’ radio waves in order for the science to exist at all. The 1940’s theory assumed that radio waves were only emitted by hot bodies like stars.
Carl Sagan also wrote a paper about the temperature of Venus: “The Radiation Balance of Venus”, that was classified until 1960, seemingly making it impossible for Velikovsky to know of its contents in 1950 and proving that this was certainly not common knowledge at the time. http://www.archive.org/stream/nasa_techdoc
See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Howard_Menzel
(Ace UFO debunker Donald)”Menzel had offered calculations to show that if Velikovsky were right about electromagnetic forces in the solar system, the sun would have to have a surface electric potential of 10 to the 19 (10 billion billion) volts – an absolute impossibility according to Menzel; but in 1960, V. A. Bailey, Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Sydney claimed that the sun is electrically charged, and that it has a surface potential of 10 to the 19 volts — precisely the “impossible value” calculated by Menzel. Bailey, at the time his theory was first published was entirely unaware of Velikovsky’s work and of Menzel’s repudiation of it.” (According to Wiki, Menzel is the discoverer of the properties of the solar chromosphere.)
For Bailey’s rely to Menzel see the PDF here:
Insight into the frame of mind of the Harvard astronomer at the time he wrote is to be gained by noting his remarks about Velikovsky’s score on predictions. In connection with the radio noise of Jupiter, Menzel wrote that, “since scientists for the most part do not accept the theory of Worlds in Collision, any seeming verification of Velikovsky’s prediction is pure chance”.
“Regarding the high temperature of Venus, the astronomer argued that ‘” hot” is only a relative term. For example, liquid air is hot [196 deg below zero, centigrade], relative to liquid helium [269 deg below zero, centigrade]…”
Later in his article Menzel referred to his comparison… “I have already disposed of the question of the temperature of Venus”, with the customary hand-waving that we all know and love.
He was a lad wasn’t he? He had said in 1955 that the ground temperature of Venus was 55C.
As to the extent of the earth’s magnetic field, Menzel wrote: ‘He [Velikovsky] said that it would extend as far as the moon; actually the field suddenly breaks off at a distance of several earth diameters. ‘
Compare: “For about five days of each month, the Moon is inside the Earth’s geomagnetic tail, and typically no solar wind particles were detectable.” http://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/missions/apollo/apollo_12/experiments/swc/index.shtml
For a criticism of the proposed runaway greenhouse effect on Venus see: http://www.jamesphogan.com/bb/bulletin.php?id=82.
We are seldom told when discussing the greenhouse effect on Earth that an essential ingredient is water, without which there can be no greenhouse effect. If we compare Earth to Venus, something often attempted in the past, we find that: “Astronomers have detected that the atmosphere of Venus consists of 0.002% water vapor. (almost none) Compare that to the Earth’s atmosphere, which contains 0.40% water vapor. http://www.universetoday.com/36291/is-there-water-on-venus/ Remember folks, Velikovsky said that the heat of Venus was not due to a greenhouse effect!
The best argument against the theories of Velikovsky so far offered by science – or at least they seem to think so – is that no cometary debris has been found on the ocean bottoms. But, we are not looking for cometary debris as the interloper was the planet Venus that appeared to observers to be ‘like a comet’. The question struggles to break free and asks what Venusian planetary debris would look like? This kind of twisted logic is not unknown among scientists today – the construction of a strawman to divert attention.
Quote from Carl Sagan, in his book Cosmos, 1980, page 91.
“The worst aspect of the Velikovsky affair is not that his hypotheses were wrong or in contradiction to firmly established facts, but that some who called themselves scientists attempted to suppress Velikovsky’s work.
Science is generated by and devoted to free inquiry: the idea that any hypothesis, no matter how strange, deserves to be considered on its merits. The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion and politics, but it is not the path to knowledge; it has no place in the endeavor of science.”
Sadly, Carl Sagan, like a few other honest scientists, was an incurable optimist. If another Velikovsky came along the scientists would do just the same things over again. See also: http://www.grazian-archive.com/quantavolution/vol_15/velikovsky_affair_01.htm
My Challenge to Conventional Views in Science, Immanuel Velikovsky.
“In 1954 N. A. Kozyrev observed an emission spectrum from the night side of Venus but ascribed it to discharges in the upper layers of its atmosphere. He calculated that the temperature of the surface of Venus must be + 30 deg C; somewhat higher values were found earlier by Adel and Herzberg. As late as 1959, V. A. Firsoff arrived at a figure of + 17.5 deg C for the mean surface temperature of Venus, only a little above the mean annual temperature of the earth (+ 14.2 deg C).
However, by 1961 (eleven years after WIC publication) it became known that the surface temperature of Venus is ‘almost 600 degrees (K). F. D. Drake of Drake equation fame, described this discovery as ‘a surprise… in a field in which the fewest surprises were expected. ‘ ‘We would have expected a temperature only slightly greater than that of the earth… Sources of internal heating (radioactivity) will not produce an enhanced surface temperature. ‘ Cornell H. Mayer writes, ‘All the observations are consistent with a temperature of almost 600 degrees, ‘ and admits that ‘the temperature is much higher than anyone would have predicted. ‘
Although we disagree with Velikovsky’s theories, we feel impelled to make this statement to establish Velikovsky’s priority of prediction of these two points and to urge, in view of these prognostications, that his other conclusions be objectively re-examined.” (in your dreams)
THE YOUTHFUL ATMOSPHERE OF VENUS by Charles Ginenthal
A Piece of Velikovskian History
On the Recent Discoveries Concerning Jupiter and Venus is a letter published in Science magazine (December 21 , 1962, Vol. 138, pp. 1350-52) from Princeton University Prof. Valentine Bargmann and Columbia University astronomer Lloyd Motz concerning two of Velikovsky’s predictions, one on radio noises from Jupiter, the other on the heat of Venus.
The letter appears in full on the Science magazine web site and is reproduced below:
“In the light of recent discoveries of radio waves from Jupiter and of the high surface temperature of Venus, we think it proper and just to make the following statement.
On 14 October 1953, Immanuel Velikovsky, addressing the Forum of the Graduate College of Princeton University in a lecture entitled “Worlds in Collision in the Light of Recent Finds in Archaeology, Geology and Astronomy: Refuted or Verified?,” concluded the lecture as follows: “The planet Jupiter is cold, yet its gases are in motion. It appears probable to me that it sends out radio noises as do the sun and the stars. I suggest that this be investigated.”
Soon after that date, the text of the lecture was deposited with each of us [it is printed as supplement to Velikovsky’s Earth in Upheaval (Doubleday, 1955)]. Eight months later, in June 1954, Velikovsky, in a letter, requested Albert Einstein to use his influence to have Jupiter surveyed for radio emission. The letter, with Einstein’s marginal notes commenting on this proposal, is before us. Ten more months passed, and on 5 April 1955 B. F. Burke and K. L. Franklin of the Carnegie Institution announced the chance detection of strong radio signals emanating from Jupiter. They recorded the signals for several weeks before they correctly identified the source. This discovery came as something of a surprise because radio astronomers had never expected a body as cold as Jupiter to emit radio waves (1).
On 5 December 1956, through the kind services of H. H. Hess, chairman of the department of geology of Princeton University, Velikovsky submitted a memorandum to the U. S. National Committee for the (planned) IGY in which he suggested the existence of a terrestrial magnetosphere reaching the moon. Receipt of the memorandum was acknowledged by E. O. Hulburt for the Committee. The magnetosphere was discovered in 1958 by Van Allen.
In the last chapter of his Worlds in Collision (1950), Velikovsky stated that the surface of Venus must be very hot, even though in 1950 the temperature of the cloud surface of Venus was known to be -25C on the day and night sides alike…” http://www.velikovsky.info/On_the_Recent_Discoveries_Concerning_Jupiter_and_Venus
Venus Express evidence for recent hot-spot volcanism on Venus
Apr. 9, 2010
If you ignore the assumptions, this is interesting!
Was Hatshepsut the Queen of Sheba, or merely the Queen of Theba? http://www.emmetsweeney.net/article-directory/item/6-was-hatshepsut-the-queen-of-sheba-or-merely-the-queen-of-theba
The Velikovsky Archive http://www.varchive.org/
Wiki: Hebrew University of Jerusalem
“Upon taking his medical degree, Velikovsky left Russia for Berlin. There, with the financial support of his father, Velikovsky edited and published two volumes of scientific papers translated into Hebrew. The volumes were titled Scripta Universitatis Atque Bibliothecae Hierosolymitanarum (“Writings of the Jerusalem University & Library”). He enlisted Albert Einstein to prepare the volume dealing with mathematics and physics. This project was a cornerstone in the formation of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, as the fledgling university was able to donate copies of the Scripta to the libraries of other academic institutions in exchange for complimentary copies of publications from those institutions.”
Wiki: Velikovsky’s career as a psychiatrist
“Velikovsky lived in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine from 1924 to 1939, practising medicine in the fields of general practice, psychiatry and psychoanalysis (which he had studied under Sigmund Freud’s pupil Wilhelm Stekel in Vienna). During this time, he had about a dozen papers published in medical and psychoanalytic journals, including a 1930 paper which was the first to suggest that epilepsy is characterised by abnormal encephalograms, knowledge which would become the cornerstone of diagnostic testing for epilepsy. He was also published in Freud’s Imago, including a precocious analysis of Freud’s own dreams.”
Books by Velikovsky
Worlds in Collision (1950)
Ages in Chaos (1952)
Earth In Upheaval (1956)
Oedipus and Akhnaton (1960)
Peoples of the Sea (1977)
Mankind in Amnesia (1982)
Stargazers and Gravediggers (1983)