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Re: Velikovsky and paleontology
I had never heard of Velikovsky until a month or so ago. I stumbled
across his book "Oedipus and Akhnaton", which makes the far-fetched
(??) proposition that the Oedipus legend is based on the life of the
heretic pharaoh Akhnaton.
I haven't read the book, but it sounds MUCH less far-fetched than, say, this
"His most criticized work, Worlds in Collision, completed in 1946, states
that around the 15th century B.C. a comet (now called the planet Venus)
separated from Jupiter, and passed near the Earth, changing its orbit and
axis and causing innumerable catastrophes. Fifty two years later, it passed
close by again, stopping the Earth's rotation, and causing more
catastrophes. In the 8th and 7th centuries B.C. Venus and Mars almost
collided near Earth, causing another round of disasters, after which the
current celestial order was established. All these events had a profound
effect on the lives and beliefs of mankind."
Er, yeah. As we all know, comets and planets are all the same, size,
composition etc. etc. etc. just don't matter; as we all know, the inertia of
the Earth is so small you can simply stop its rotation and then restart it,
as if nothing had happened -- not even the Moon gets lost (or impacts) in
the process; and "Brontosaurus was a Mammal" ( = box 13 folder 22).
Clearly the man has never thought about quantifying any of his assumptions.
Apparently he hasn't even thought about the conservation of angular
One word: Pseudoscience.
Interesting from the point of view of history of science, though.