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To: chilepepper; Ichneumon
Albert Einstein was a big fan -- one of Velikovsky's books was next to his bedside when Einstein died -- but he did not necessarily "believe" what Velikovsky suggested, but was willing to entertain the possibility to see where it took things if true.

Einstein wrote the preface to Velikovsky's "Earth in Upheaval" and stated that it and his other work, "Worlds in Collision" were the most important works in science produced to date.

One test of a theory is how well does it make predictions about unknown but knowable things.

At the time Velikovsky wrote "Worlds in Collision", astronomers were convinced that Venus was a (water vapor) cloud covered, ocean world, only slightly warmer than Earth, with a very similar atmosphere. Science fiction writers of the era, including such hard science based authors as Roberty Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, were busy churning out novels based on an oceanic and tropical Venus. And why not? This model was the accepted opinion of all "rational" astronomers, based on the difference between Venus' calcuated "Solar load" and the measured "Solar Load" of Earth. In this model, temperatures would average about 20 degrees hotter than Earth's averages.

Velikovsky, using his theoretical model, predicted (in 1953) that Venus would be extremely hot, hot enough to melt lead and tin, have an atmosphere that would be many times higher pressure than Earth's and primarily made up of Carbon Dioxide with clouds of hydrocarbons and aldehydes. He also made the statement that the heat was from the core of the "new planet" exhibiting high temperatures because it had had little time to cool since its "creation" in the bowels of Jupiter.

In fact, it was THIS theory of Velikovsky's that was the primary example used by his detractors and attackers that, in their words, demonstrated his ignorance of science and his stupidity. One of those attackers was a science fiction and science writer named Isaac Asimov. The scientific community and the world's press, gleefully and enthusiastically piled on in their efforts to discredit Velikovsky's impeccable scholarship on history and mythology.

When we were finally able to send space probes to Venus (attempts made from 1964 to 1978), much to the scientists' surprise, they found that the surface temperature of Venus was 476 degrees Celsius (888 degrees Fahrenheit) at 90 Bars (90 times the atmospheric pressure of Earth's atmosphere at sea level!), that the atmosphere was primarily composed of Carbon Dioxide, and that the clouds contain a surprising amount of hydrocarbons.

The "accepted" explanation for the high temperature (that was not predictied by anyone other than Velikovsky) was "Global Warming" caused by the cloud layer of "Greenhouse gasses." In the "orthodox" view, Venus is heated by absorbing more infra-red from the sun that is captured and contained by the cloud layer of "greenhouse gasses," which, not surprisingly, supports the eco-freaks theories of Terrestrial Global Warming where Venus is used as the "Horrible Example" of what Earth will be like if we don't approve the Kyoto protocals RIGHT NOW! However...

Venus, as a planet system, radiates MORE heat than can be accounted for by its total solar load. In other words, it puts OUT more heat than it takes IN.... shooting down completely the orthodox model and indicating an INTERNAL SOURCE OF HEAT.

Sounds like Velikovsky has made a theoretical slam dunk from the three point line to me.

90 posted on 07/08/2004 7:31:46 PM PDT by Swordmaker (This tagline shut down for renovations and repairs. Re-open June of 2001.)
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To: Swordmaker; chilepepper
Einstein wrote the preface to Velikovsky's "Earth in Upheaval"

No he didn't.

and stated that it and his other work, "Worlds in Collision" were the most important works in science produced to date.

No he didn't.

Would you like to share any other hallucinations with us?

On the contrary, when Velikovsky gave Einstein a copy of his manuscript for "Worlds in Collision", Einstein's reply letter bluntly said:

"However it is evident to every sensible physicist that these catastrophes can have nothing to do with the planet Venus and that also the direction of the inclination of the terrestrial axis towards the ecliptic could not have undergone a considerable change without the total destruction of the entire earth’s crust. Your arguments in this regard are so weak as opposed to the mechanical-astronomical ones, that no expert will be able to take them seriously."
-- Albert Einstein, July 8, 1946 letter to Immanuel Velikovsky
And from an earlier letter after conversations with Velikovsky:

"The reason for the energetic rejection of the opinions presented by you lies not in the assumption that in the motion of the heavenly bodies only gravitation and inertia are the determining factors. The reason for the rejection lies rather in the fact that on the basis of this assumption it was possible to calculate the temporal changes of star locations in the planetary system with an unimaginably great precision.

"Against such precise knowledge, speculations of the kind as were advanced by you do not come into consideration by an expert. Therefore your book must appear to an expert as an attempt to mislead the public. I must admit that I myself had at first this impression, too. Only afterwards it became clear to me that intentional misleading was entirely foreign to you."

-- Albert Einstein, August 27, 1952 letter to Immanuel Velikovsky

(Emphasis in original.)

One test of a theory is how well does it make predictions about unknown but knowable things.

Unfortunately for Velikovsky's fanciful notions, the fact that he got lucky on a few of his imprecise predictions about Venus (e.g. "it's hot", etc.) -- albeit for the wrong reasons -- doesn't change the fact that most of his other associated predictions and proposed events/mechanisms (like Venus flying around the solar system like a mad billiard ball) are impossible pure twaddle and/or flat wrong.

See for example:

Immanuel Velikovsky's Worlds in Collision



Is the Planet Venus Young?

FAQ: Velikovsky Critiqued

Sounds like Velikovsky has made a theoretical slam dunk from the three point line to me.

Sounds like you're a poor scorekeeper due to your failure to understand the rules, to me.

To get the full flavor of Velikovsky's "crank" rating, see his 1946 paper arguing "the fallacy of the law of gravitation": COSMOS WITHOUT GRAVITATION: ATTRACTION, REPULSION AND ELECTROMAGNETIC CIRCUMDUCTION IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM . Arguing against the existence of gravity, per se, is itself a doozy catapulting Velikosky high up onto the list of all-time scientific cranks, but even the details of his paper are real knee-slappers. For example:

...the following facts are incompatible with the theory of gravitation:


5. The weight of the atmosphere is constantly changing as the changing barometric pressure indicates... The semidiurnal changes in barometric pressure are not explainable by the mechanistic principles of gravitation and the heat effect of solar radiation. The cause of these variations is unknown... One maximum is at 10 a.m., the other at 10 p.m.; the two minima are at 4 a.m. and 4 p.m. The heating effect of the sun can explain neither the time when the maxima appear nor the time of the minima of these semidiurnal variations.

One word: Tides. The tidal effect upon the atmosphere is indeed the result of "the mechanistic principles of gravitation". Velikovsky was just too ignorant to know it. Not, of course, that his lack of knowledge stopped him from claiming to have overturned much of conventional science and replaced it with his own fanciful (but totally unworkable) ideas.

I stand by my original assessment -- on scientific issues, Velikovsky was a dolt.

95 posted on 07/09/2004 3:01:39 AM PDT by Ichneumon ("...she might as well have been a space alien." - Bill Clinton, on Hillary, "My Life", p. 182)
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