Saturday, December 6, 2008

Immanuel Velikovsky

I have just listened to this man and read him for the first time, which given his intellectual greatness is most certainly due to censorship and poor educators, and all I can say is "wow." The religious reaction to his scientific claims was so fundamentalist and extreme that it has been the subject of psychological and psychiatric studies and papers in peer-reviewed journals and is what is known as the Velikovsky Affair.

Like Galileo, Velikovsky was ridiculed in his time by the mainstream religious establishment but time has vindicated Velikovsky.

Here are 3 Velikovsky claims.

Claim Number 1: Uniformitarianism is false.

"The sea erupted. Often the sea and land changed places. The immutability of contours of continents and seas, a dogma in geology, has no basis in fact. And immediately there is the problem of the climate. There were ancient climates that were very different from what they are today. If those corals grew where they were found, certainly the Earth was not travelling with the same elements of rotation and revolution which means not in the same orbit, not with the axis directed in the same position as it is today. If you don't believe it, try to cultivate corals on the North Pole." -- Immanuel Velikovsky, cosmologist, 1966

Claim Number 2: Venus is hot.

"And Venus must be hot if the history of the solar system is not the history of no change for billions of years. And Venus was found hot, not room temperature as was thought until 1959. In 1961 it was detected with radio means that it is like something like 600 Farenheit and Mariner 2 was sent out to find out true or not true? It was found that even more it is full 800 [degrees Farenheit]." -- Immanuel Velikovsky, cosmologist, 1966

Claim Number 3: Jupiter emits radio waves.

"But then if there were events of this character, discharges between planets and so on, I put one of the most outrageous claims before the scientific readers, that in the solar system and in the universe generally, not just gravitation and inertia are the two forces of action but that also electricity and magnetism are participating in the mechanism, so the Lord was not just a watchmaker. The universe is not free of those forces with which the man makes his life easy already more than 100 years. They were unknown practically or little known in the time of Newton in the second half of the 17th century. But today we know that electricity and magnetism, these are not just small phenomena that we can repeat as a kind of a little trick in the lab, that they permeate every field from neurology into botony and chemistry and astronomy should not be free...and it was admitted by authorities that this was the most outrageous point in my claims. But the vengeance came early and swiftly. In 1960, already in 1955, radio noises from Jupiter were detected and this was one of the crucial tests that I offered for the truth of my theory. In 1958, the magnetosphere was discovered around the Earth, another claim. In 1960, the interplanetary magnetic field was discovered and solar plasma, so-called solar wind, moving rapidly along the magnetic lines and then it was discovered that the electromagnetic field of the Earth reaches the moon ." -- Immanuel Velikovsky, cosmologist, 1966

"Our debate ended on Friday, April 8, 1955, only nine days before Einstein’s death. I think I was the last person with whom he discussed a scientific problem. On that day I brought him the published news that Jupiter sends out radio noises; ten months earlier, in a letter to him, I had offered to stake our dispute on this my claim of an as yet undiscovered phenomenon..." -- Immanuel Velikovsky, cosmologist, 1976

The radio noises of Jupiter that were only predicted by Velikovsky are available on Youtube:

He was Albert Einstein's best friend and neighbor late in life and wrote a book on the subject titled Before The Day Breaks. Einstein and Velikovsky exchanged many letters which are available online.

Here are some highlights:

"Here is the year 1845. Leverrier in France and Adams in England, out of perturbations of Uranus calculated, to the exactness of one degree of arc, the presence of a yet unseen planet. Both of them assumed that a planet of a size not larger than that of Uranus travels on an orbit at a distance dictated by Bode’s law. Neptune is actually of the size of Uranus, but the mean distance between their orbits is not ca. 1,750,000,000 miles, as Bode’s law required, but only ca. 1,000,000,000 miles; thus the error is equal to ascribing to Neptune a triple mass. The discovery of Pluto did not solve the conflict between the theory and the fact and caused also conflicting estimates of Pluto’s mass. Thus the finding of the planetary stations in relation to a chart of fixed stars is not enough; if the theory is true the distances must also be correct. And still the discovery of Neptune is regarded as the strongest proof of the Newtonian theory of celestial motions.

Now in the same 1845, the year of this triumph, Leverrier calculated also the anomaly of Mercury, and by this caused to think that the Newtonian law of gravitation may be not precisely true. Leverrier first thought of some planet moving inside the Mercurial orbit or of a possible unequal distribution of the mass in the sun. You have used the fact of the anomaly to prove that the space is curving in the presence of a mass. About the same time—in 1913—G. E. Hale published his paper on “The general magnetic field of the sun” (Contr. M. Wilson Obs., #71), in which he estimated the general magnetic field of the sun as of 50 Gauss intensity. At this intensity “under certain conditions electromagnetic forces are much stronger than gravitation.” (Alfven) The last named author in his “cosmical Electro-dynamics” (Oxford, 1950, p. 2) shows that a hydrogen atom at the distance of the earth from the sun and moving with the earth’s orbital velocity, if ionized, is acted upon by the solar magnetic field ten thousand times stronger than by the solar gravitational field."

Here is a May 1966 speech he gave to a parochial school in mp3 format known as From Book to Book and Land to Land. In it he uses his now famous expression "Collective Amnesia."


Anonymous said...


Bear in mind that Velikovsky was a man of his time, a Russian Jew who had to contend with the German Historical Tradition, that the Jews made no contribution to civilisation.

Velikovsky's reconstruction of ancient Middle East history suffered a little as he apparently would not allow any variation to Jewish chronology - and this area of study is extremely controversial. I side with Gunnar Heinsohn's reconstruction of the Middle-East chronology because of Heinsohn's reliance on physical evidence.

What started Velikovksky off was Freud's insistence that Moses was not Jewish in his book Moses and Monotheism. Velikovsky wanted to refute that and started to compare Egyptian and Jewish chronologies - and found that they did not square up.

It's as if today Israeli history mentioned the Palestinians, but not ice versa.

What he did find was an obscure papyrus, the Ipuwer, which described similar events to those of the Exodus, but 800 years earlier. Somehow either Egyptian history had been expanded, or Jewish compressed, and it was this problem of reconciling historical chronologies that started it all off culminating in World's in Collision, Earth in Upheaval, a geological work, and the a host of many others.

Velikovksy was errors in his reconstruction, but in general his conclusions that if what happened in the historical past was accurate, then another force, in addition to gravity, must be operating in the cosmos - electricity.

The impediments to science can be traced to two persons, Charles Lyell with his uniformism. and Harlow Shapley with the scientific mafia who did the hatchet job on Velikovksy.

You have opened a veritable can of worms :-). Scientific hysteria is the usual reaction to mention of anything Velikovsky these days.

OilIsMastery said...

Doesn't it seem obvious that Moses and Ipuwer are refering to the same event? Would it make sense if the Exodus were pushed back or if Ipuwer were more recent?

Anonymous said...

The Ipuwer event can be easily brought closer to the present shortening Egyptian history considerably.

Charles Ginenthal has published much on this area but he is very old and the exertion seems to have taken its toll - age basically.

His book Pillars of the Past is required study - rustles a few feathers even among the Velikovsky crowd, but his work is thorough.

There is an enormous amount of research published on this topic - and Ginenthal lives in New York as well, so he might be approachable.

Author James P. Hogan has also published on this area of study on his web site and did speak to Ginenthal a year or so back. Might be worth following up if its close to you.

Ginenthal published the Velikovskian.

Quantum_Flux said...

Exodus is mainly about a drug trip, that would explain the talking burning bushes, the dew on the ground of the Egyptian desert, the "manna from heaven, and the staffs turning into snakes. How can you take anything from the Bible as credible?

Secret of the Magic Mushroom and Moses

Manna means Mushroom--Proof is in the Worms

Anaconda said...


Mushrooms...interesting, never heard that theory before, but it does seem plausible considering the language cited in the Bible for support by both the scholar and well...the enthusiast...

It's common to find historical examples in religious studies where intoxicating substances were ingested during ceremonial rituals.

Does that invalidate religion?

Quantum_Flux, take a step back from your hostility to the Bible as a religious document and consider it as a history of the Jewish People.

Perhaps, examining the Bible in that light will allow a level of detachment which will permit you to appreciate the qualities that recommend it for study.

The Bible may be the most complete codified history of a people in the ancient Middle East coming down to us through the mists of time.

On a different note:

There is evidence that alphabetic writing originated with the Jewish People. If so, it might explain their cohesiveness.

Lineal thinking which reading and writing in an alphabetic represenatation encourages is very "durable".

It encourages "crystallization" of thought. We see it, today, and through history, people who write copiously generally have strong opinions and can turn from writing to effective speaking.

Writing and speaking are effective tools for merchants, traders, and politicians.

Perhaps, this lineal thinking pattern was also invaluble to rational thought, as best expressed in ancient times by the Greeks.

OilIsMastery, excellent post. Definitley food for thought. In viewing one of the YouTube videos, Velikovsky's ideas were mentioned. Apparently, he postulated a "before time" in a paradise climate, that ended with a great cataclysm.

But the video didn't elaborate on his version of an apocalypse as a result of an electromagnetic, electric discharge "event".

Here is a YouTube video: Symbols of an Alien Sky (

The video is a thought provoking presentation of common pre-historic symbols that suggest a world-wide "event" and celestial phenomenon that if true would be awe inspiring.

Velikovsky, clearly thought broadly -- never fearing to tread on other's toes, when he had an idea.

More posts on this Man and his ideas seem warranted.

Quantum_Flux said...

You think there actually was some kind of a mass exodus from Egypt, as opposed to just some sort of runaway slave community that accumulated over long time periods, [anaconda]? I've heard there is no evidence for the Biblical version of the Exodus in archeology, although both archeology and history are very interpretive studies.

Consider finding a wooden boat (there are many) in the Mediterranean which is dated to the time of the Ancient Greeks, and then (for some idiotic reason) consulting a book on Jason and the Argonauts, and actually concluding proof that Jason really lived and the gods of Mt. Olympus did send them on that mission.

Absurdity yeilds to no cultural viewpoint of history, and yet people find the temple ruins from some ancient time near the end of the European Ice Age and (I kid you not) conclude it has something to do with the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve by using reasoning such as:

"We may never know why the hunter-gatherers buried their 'temple in Eden'. Perhaps they were grieving for their lost innocence."

Yeah, it's that stupid! Somehow you can stretch the concept of "Garden of Eden" to mean that being a carefree hunter-gatherer culture was paradise and that being an agricultural culture is somehow a fall from paradise. Throw in some stretchy logic of concluding that the Bible was talking about the surrounding hills and crescent rivers, not to mention the fact that the temple dates back to 10,000 BC making it the oldest known to archeologists, and, boom, you have absolute proof of talking snakes and a flat Earth that invisible pink unicorns nudge people off the edge of.

Digging for History in Turkey

Quantum_Flux said...

Regarding the video, I can buy that I suppose. Did you here the one about how the ancient snake drawings are representative of earthquakes?

Quantum_Flux said...

I think the pre-trade ancients had smaller intellects than we do now, and then evolving by survival of the fittest throughout history, that the emotional lobes in their brain shrank and that their intellectual lobes grew. Hence, when we see lightning now, typically people realize it as the path of plasma, but say a person on drugs might think it's gods (or perhaps, slightly more rationally, aliens). Earthquakes, to a drugged out person (or somebody with a less evolved intellect) would seem to be large snakes under-foot and planetary cycles would seem like mysterious gods that have influence on the destiny of people or perhaps authority over their actions.

Clever little Moses for came up with that 10 commandments logic after seeing a volcano and concluding that his one god was better that Pharoah's many gods, assuming any of that ever actually took place (ever seen the LSD seen from Easy Rider?).

Anaconda said...


I'm surprised by the hostility expressed in your comments.

Is every passage of the Bible verifiable by archeology or literal, is there no room for allegory, metaphor, or analogy?

There is plenty of archeological evidence to suggest large passages of the Bible are firmly rooted in historic fact.

Quantum_Flux, is it necessary for you to fortify that wall of hostility against faith?

Strange that would be so.

Remember, Man's asking, "Why?," and "How?," are key to Man's development of perception and more important conception, to organize and apply reason to understand the world and Universe around us.

And most social scientists agree this Quest for rationality emerged from the seeking of God.

The sciences evolved from philosophy which evolved from seeking to understand the ways of God.

This seeking of "why?," and "how?," is what seperates Man from the other animals on Earth.

Maybe, Quantum_Flux, that is why you have to try so hard to be an atheist?

Quantum_Flux said...

The physical laws of the universe are governed by mathematical relations. The mind comes from the physical universe, and hence it is a manifestation of mathematical relationships. This is why the more logical the thought process, the more successful it will be at discovering the truth about the way it, and the reality of everything that comprises it, works. This is why emotion, the result of evolutionary programming, needs to be subordinant to logic.

If logic were a god, it would allow the laws of causality to both reward people for acting rationally and to punish them for acting irrationally (which is the case). But, even the perception of reward and punishment are myths, the universe really is just a probabilistic cosmic turing machine that obeys the order of logical causality.

I don't know, perhaps I get paranoid sometimes by ignoring my emotions (of which the concepts of god, the closet monster, and the easter bunny reside), but at least I don't allow them to run my life. I suppose that is what personal integrity requires, to be a complete and whole person. I do my part in life and I don't live to serve others or imaginary figures though. Maybe that is selfish, well, I plan on being less selfish when I eventually get around to it, when I am in a position to make a difference in other people's lives without compromising my own life. That will be my main contribution, now if I can logically work my way into that position, it isn't going to happen by magic or by religion, it will only happen if I make it happen. Control of my own life is the best way to go, since nobody else can be trusted with the wheel, they just won't do it right. I'm not a leaf blowing in the wind, I'm a powerful F16 in life, and I have the controls and the knowhow to get from A to B.

Anaconda said...


Quite so. Every person has to make their own decisions and run their life accordingly.

I want to ad to my comment about alphabetic writing, that it is an abstract form of construction as opposed to pictograms which are based on images.

Abstract lineal thought is much more exact and singular in idea presentation while pictograms can convey multiple images, thus, the perceptions and conceptions derived from pictograms can vary from reader to reader.

Abstract thought tends to be rational, and image based thought tends to be more emotionally powerful (think movies and T.V.).

Alphabetic writing makes a large contribution to Man's rational thought.

And the Jewish People have a solid claim to that singular accomplishment.

Quantum_Flux said...

Hebrew? Seriously? Well, that makes sense I guess. What about the Greeks though, that didn't precede Hebrew?

Anaconda said...


I don't know if the language was Hebrew as such, just that the earliest examples of alphabetic writing have been discovered at early Jewish archeological sites, which proceeded Greek high culture by roughly a thousand years, give or take a hundred years.

This website is a place to discuss reason, but a few points.

Quantum_Flux states: "The physical laws of the universe are governed by mathematical relations."

Okay, there is plenty of evidence for that statement.

But then Quantum_Flux, you, state: "The mind comes from the physical universe, and hence it is a manifestation of mathematical relationships."

Okay, I'll even go that far, but the implied conclusion that the mind of Man is rational because it is the product of Nature's mathematical relationships is a bridge too far.

The implication is a "bedtime story for atheists:-)"

It still doesn't explain why Man asks the "Why?" or "How?" questions.

Of all the animals on Earth, Man is the only one that has higher abstract capability of conception about his environment.

For all other animals, that we can tell, there are no questions of "Why?" and few if any of "How?"

For all other animals -- it just is.

So there is something special about Man.

Now, I'll let you in on a secret, while you, Quantum_Flux, have rightly identified evolution as a source for man's emotional states, there is an evolutionary trait that explains Man's ability to engage in abstract thought: Speech.

Language is abstract, the spoken word is an arbitrary sound standing in for an object, sound, or what have you, a verbal symbol if you will.

Alphabetic writing takes that level of abstraction one step further, abstract symbols for individual sounds that added together make abstract words.

So, alphabetic writing involves two layers of mental abstraction.

Does that prepare the mind for the abstraction of mathematics?

But still, the question remains: Of all the animals, why do humans wonder why?

That answer can't be supplied by probablistic logic.

Quantum_Flux said...

Asking why is a natural state of curiousity that all animals have. My dog learns by asking itself why I just punished it or why I just rewarded it so that it can avoid something or get something next time. It is consistancy in the reward and punishment system that allows it to learn though, repeatability is also what allows science to learn and grow. A cat asks why about a ball of yarn, and a dolphin asks why about a fish tossed in it's mouth.

In all of this, it is religion that attempts to be our trainers (and one time it did work that way), but that ought to be reserved for scientific reasoning for that answers the question of why a ball falls or why a bomb blows up and people's emotions are hurt. These things can't be attributed to gods every bit as much as they can't be attributed to ghosts or lady luck, but the human mind is willing to accept those answers for the why question.

Anaconda said...


Don't be ridiculous. All your discussion shows is that atheists will resort to silly, nonsensical arguments to "protect" their non-faith, which in reality needs no "protecting" at all.

Quantum_Flux states: "Asking why is a natural state of curiousity that all animals have."

Complete assumption.

Wanting to investigate an object, "curiousity killed the cat" is not in the same league as wanting to know "Why?"

It simply is, "I want to see it."

No "Why?" involved. The cat doesn't even ask, "Why do I want to see it." The cat just does. The cat may even have a reason: It's hungry and there might be food; it's bored and it might be amused; it wants sex and there might be sex...and so on.

Again, no "Why?" involved.

Quantum_Flux states: "My dog learns by asking itself why I just punished it or why I just rewarded it so that it can avoid something or get something next time."


The dog wants to avoid punishment so it avoids conduct. Or, it wants to gain a reward so it performs an act.

Stimulous and response.

That is not a "Why?" in the big picture. It is simply a stimulous and response.

"Learning" a response to a stimulous is not asking, "Why?"

You are projecting your own "Why?" onto the dog. Pet owners do that all the time (I project onto my dog, too, it's fun).

I can't believe you, Quantum_Flux, rolled out this one: "A cat asks why about a ball of yarn, and a dolphin asks why about a fish tossed in it's mouth."

"A cat asks why about a ball of yarn..." Really. In what sense does a cat ask a question, why, about a ball of yarn???

Even a dolphin, as smart as they are, doesn't ask "Why?" about a fish; the dolphin just gladly eats it, and it may note it tasted good!

Again, in what sense does a dolphin ask "Why?" about a fish???

Again, your statements just go to show what lengths people will go to to "protect" their charished beliefs.

Haven't we already seen that too many times on this website.

Quantum_Flux states: "... religion that attempts to be our trainers..."

Authority attempts to be our trainers.

No wonder your view on the subject (I'm not big on authority either).

Religion, I perfer the word, faith, attempts to answer questions that everyday people have. The "Whys?" and "Hows?" of life that science can't answer.

But it's the human spirit that needs to know the "Whys?" and "Hows?"

That "something" that makes us human.

Originally, the "Whys?" and "Hows?" were about natural phenomenon and other events.

Don't have faith, that's free will, but don't provide poor analysis for your reasons.

No reasons are better because one doesn't need a reason to not have faith.

But it does prove the point about the human spirit.

Even an atheist needs to know "Why?" they don't believe...

Quantum_Flux said...

Belief in god is a psychological crutch, much like belief in lady luck. The problem with faith is that it makes people become satisfied with being non-curious and then they stop questioning things. Why is it good to just not question religion when there are such high uncertainties involved? I think all of our subconscious experiences can explain what people often percieve as God or other religious experiences, they all reside within our material brains and there aren't any external supernatural entities at play except that which happens to be in our immediate environment (a song or light show or perhaps some inscence is burning). The voice of reason is where the intellect has dominance over the emotion....God Under a Microscope.

Of course, I go to hell if I'm wrong about that, but I certainly don't think I am though. I haven't ever seen a map to such a place, or hell's blueprints, nor heaven's map or blueprints either. Why didn't anybody sketch those out in the Bible? Why doesn't the Bible contain any drawn schematics at all in it?

Anaconda said...


My purpose wasn't to challenge your belief. As I wrote before, in so many words: To each his own.

My point was that faith can't be proved by reason and it can't be disproved either.

Science doesn't stand for or against faith.

Quantum_Flux states: "The problem with faith is that it makes people become satisfied with being non-curious and then they stop questioning things."

That may be your experience, however, I don't find that to be the case.

You seem fixated on atheism.

And while you talk about reason, it seems your emotional reaction against faith is what motivates you as much as anything to engage in these kind of discussions.

To the extent that you engage in psuedo reasoning like your little "animal farm" gambit, I will expose the fallacy, but that is not my desire or purpose.

Sound reasoning is my purpose, here, on this website (and having fun).

Faith is beyond reason, so is beyond my purpose.

Let us leave it there.

Quantum_Flux said...

Faith is the worst psuedo reasoning there is though. Skepticism is perfectly reasonable when the alternative is unquestioning belief in authority figures. Perhaps you make a false dicotomy that people can either be religious or they are communists, well, that doesn't leave anything for Objectivism which is the most logical belief system there is!

But still, I can enquire about the Bible and why there are no blueprints in them. If, supposedly, the Isrealites were able to build Pyramids for Pharoah, then they also should have been competent in math and in reading/writing schematics too. It is only reasonable to suspect that such a people would incorporate geometry and drawings into their most sacred of scrolls, and yet they are nill which leads me to believe the Exodus was a later fabrication or a complete fairy tale.

Anaconda said...


Faith is not about reasoning.

And judging by your atheistic spasms, neither is atheism.

Quantum_Flux, when you focus on the science, your are reasonable: You work through a problem with the scientific evidence available, you take critique in the constructive spirit it was offered, and digest it. You have demonstrated an ability to openly assess scientific evidence and reasoning better than any sceptic (to the ideas presented on this website) that has ventured forth (BrianR is a close second -- second because he is evasive when confronted with disagreeable facts [from his perspective]).

But when you turn in the atheistic bent, an intense emotionalism is evident.

Surely, emotionalism is not necessary to sustain your atheism?

It is not attractive or persuasive.

Focus on the science and reason on this website.

And leave the atheism at home.

Quantum_Flux said...

Religion has scarred me emotionally, you are right about that when I get emotional about these things. Although, religion is 100% emotional subject matter because everybody has been burned by it and all of its contradictions/impossibilities.

Just try to console your religious beliefs with your scientific you really deny evolution, and think that the Earth is only 6000 years old?

Do you believe it is immoral to do work on Saturday?

Is sex outside of marriage really evil, or is god always watching you when you're in the privacy of your bedroom?

How about going to Church every Sunday or believing that some dude can walk on water if they have faith?

Is it evil to eat pork and bacon?

How about tithing your money in the collection basket for god's blessings, aka to have a lucky week?

Seriously, these are all arbitrary questions that religion poses. There is no logic behind believing that pork is evil or that cows are holy and shouldn't be eaten. No integrity involved whatsoever, and above all NO PROOF! The only thing religions go by is faith because they don't have proof to support their irrational agendas, and empty threats of eternal damnation (a clear contradiction with a supposedly loving god).

Anyhow, aside from the emotional self-esteem boost that one builds by rejecting all those lies, somebody will also gain a better intellectual perspective in life. By the way, most of the Bible is big fish stories or complete fabrications.

Anaconda said...