Sunday, December 03, 2006

Velikovsky

Author: Robert Bruce Baird

Velikovsky:

""In 1953 while addressing graduate students at Princeton University, Velikovsky suggested two further testable phenomena: that the Earth's magnetic field reaches as far out into space as the Moon's orbit and is responsible for the vibratory or rocking movements of the moon. And he suggested that the planet Jupiter (from which he said the Venus-comet had originated) radiates in the radio frequency range of the electromagnetic spectrum.

These predictions were taken by scientists of the 1950s as being tantamount to proof of Velikovsky's ignorance, insanity or both. {We will see him ripping Egyptology apart in the Ramessides issue and mentioning the older alphabet as well.} Harlow Shapley refused to become involved in any experimental research to confirm his ideas. When, for instance, it was suggested that Shapley might use the Harvard observatory to search for evidence of hydrocarbons in the Venusian atmosphere. Shapley replied that he wasn't interested in Velikovsky's 'sensational claims' because they violate the laws of mechanics and 'if Dr Velikovsky is right, the rest of us are crazy'.

Within little more than a decade of publication, 'all' of Velikovsky's key predictions were confirmed by experiment. The 'Mariner' spacecraft of 1963 determined by experiment that the surface temperature of Venus is in the region of 800 degrees Fahrenheit and that the planet's fifteen-mile thick atmosphere is composed of heavy hydrocarbon molecules and possibly more complex organic compounds as well. {My father told me as I was growing up the methane type atmosphere could be changed to an earth type atmosphere with the explosion of hydrogen bombs in the atmosphere of Venus.}

In April 1955, Drs. B. F. Burke and K. L. Franklin announced to the American Astronomical Society their accidental discovery of radio noise broadcast by Jupiter. In 1962, the US Naval Research Laboratory in Washington and the Goldstone Tracking Station in southern California announced that radiometric observations showed Venus to have a slow retrograde motion. In the same year, the 'Explorer' satellite detected the Earth's magnetic field at a distance of at least twenty-two Earth radii, while in 1965 it was reported that the tail extends 'at least as far as the moon'. (3)

Considering that the main thrust of science's attack on Velikovsky was a personal attack on his integrity, the behavior of some of his most vociferous critics in the scientific community makes interesting reading. In August 1963, 'Harper's Magazine' which had carried the original announcement of Velikovsky's theories, now did a retrospective piece pointing out how all his main predictions had been borne out. The author of both articles, Eric Larrabee, made a reference which drew a thunderous response from Donald Menzel, director of Harvard College Observatory. At the height of the controversy a decade earlier, Menzel had tried to shoot Velikovsky down by calculating that for his astronomical theory to be right, the Sun would have to have a surface potential of 10 billion billion volts. Obviously, said Menzel, this is impossible so Velikovsky must be wrong. By an extraordinary chance, in 1960, V. A. Bailey, emeritus professor of physics at Sydney University (who knew nothing of the Velikovsky controversy) claimed to have discovered that the Sun is electrically charged and has a surface potential of 10 billion billion volts - exactly the value calculated by Menzel.

Feeling that Bailey's discovery made him look foolish, Menzel now sent off a strongly worded response to 'Harper's' and a letter to Bailey in Australia asking him to revoke his theory of the electric charge on the Sun as it was assisting the enemy.

According to Ralph Juergens:

Professor Bailey, taking exception to the idea that his own work should be abandoned to accomodate the anti-Velikovsky forces, prepared an article in rebuttal to Menzel's piece and submitted it to 'Harper's' for publication in the same issue with Menzel's. Bailey had discovered a simple arithmetical error in Menzel's calculations, which invalidated his argument.

It is equally interesting to see how the Harvard astronomer dealt with the fact that most of Velikovsky's predictions had been confirmed. On the radio emissions from Jupiter, he wrote that, since most scientists do not accept Velikovsky's theory then it follows that 'any seeming verification of Velikovsky's prediction is pure chance'. As far as the high surface temperature of Venus is concerned, Menzel argued that 'hot is only a relative term'. Later in the article he referred back to this statement saying 'I have already disposed of the question of the temperature of Venus'. Actually, in 1950, Menzel had estimated the temperature of Venus to be about 120 degrees Fahrenheit when it is really more like 800 degrees. On the extent of the Earth's magnetic field, Menzel wrote that Velikovsky 'said it would extend as far as the moon; actually the field suddenly breaks off at a distance of several earth diameters'. In fact, Menzel was wrong; the field had been detected as extending at least {Emphasis} twenty-two Earth radii a year earlier by the 'Explorer' satellite.

To their credit, a few scientists did support Velikovsky against the climate of hysteria and intimidation including Princeton's Professor H. H. Hess, who was later chairman of the National Academy of Science's space board. In 1962, Princeton physicist Valentin Bargmann and Columbia astronomer Lloyd Motz wrote a joint letter to the editor of 'Science' magazine calling attention to Velikovsky's priority in predicting Venus's high surface temperature, Jupiter's radio emissions and the great extent of the Earth's magnetosphere, but 'Science's' editor Dr Philip Abelson, was not interested in Velikovsky. Instead, he printed a letter from science fiction writer Paul Anderson satirising Velikovsky on the grounds that science fiction writers and hoaxers also made fantastic predictions that were sometimes verified. When the editor of 'Horizon' magazine wrote to Abelson protesting at the exclusion of an article by Velikovsky, Abelson replied:

‘Velikovsky is a controversial figure. Many of the ideas that he expressed are not accepted by serious students of earth science. Since my prejudices happen to agree with this majority, I strained my sense of fair play to accept the letter by Bargmann and Motz, and thought that the books were nicely balanced with the rejoinder of Anderson.’ (4)

'Scientific American' showed that it had not moved on editorially since it ridiculed the Wright Brothers fifty years earlier. The magazine had refused to carry advertising for 'Worlds in Collision' {Forwarded by Einstein I believe} and in 1956 it carried a strongly critical article by physicist Harrison Brown."" (5)

One of the reasons for this is the fact that Velikovsky's Egyptian chronologies directly refute Biblical history. In fact he destroys the whole time or calendrical premises of most history and shows how it is based on three pillars of ignorance. Errors accepted in one branch of academics are picked up by others and the whole fiasco is a 'house of cards' with propaganda in mind. When I found his book 'Peoples of the Sea' it was in the fiction section of my local library while the other stories and theories which have been proven false over and over again, are in the reference or science sections.

About the author: Author of Diverse Druids Columnist for The ES Press Magazine World-Mysteries.com guest writer

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