05 November 2012

Every crank gets a turn

Velikovsky was crazy, probably very wrong and yet very right.

He was crazy; his interplanetary ping-pong history makes no modern astronomical sense. Neither observations nor models allow planets to erupt from other planets, zoom around the Solar System, continually graze the Earth and then settle into nearly circular orbits. "Einstein said that Worlds in Collision ‘really isn’t a bad book. The only trouble with it is, it is crazy.’ "

He was right on strange details; Jupiter does emit radio waves and Venus is very hot, close to the temperature he predicted. And he was right in one important way: contrary to the dominate scientific paradigm of his time, catastrophism does explain much of the universe.

Velikovsky's biggest sin was challenging science's new post-WW II authority, and it wasn't long before Science struck back:

"Steven Shapin · Catastrophism: The Pseudoscience Wars"

The London Review Of Books