Laird Scranton recently wrote a book reviewing the 'heresies' of Velikovsky [link] named “The Velikovsky Heresies: Worlds in Collision and Ancient Catastrophes Revisited.” Scranton revisits the seminal theories of the Russian-Jewish psychiatrist and scientist, who was brutally assaulted and slandered by the 'scientific establishment' for his rather heretical theories around cosmology, ancient culture and the great cataclysms which regularly visited the earth, publicly mocking the Darwinian-Marxist claim of stability and 'easy evolution' as 'settled science'. There is little about either Darwin or evolution that is scientific.
Velikovsky's theories are essentially built on 2 propositions:
That Venus is a new planet, and was formally a comet, which around 1650BC became entangled with the earth. Venus was formed from material around Jupiter and this entanglement with earth caused massive destruction, ending empires, states and destroying civilizations. It is the backdrop to the Exodus and the Old Testament stories of fire, brimstone, destruction and 'godly anger'.
Mars was likewise displaced by Venus and in around 800 BC Mars 'attacked' the earth, causing great devastation. Mars, like Venus, became a 'god' and was worshipped by every culture on the planet.
From this we can conclude that if catastrophes are the norm, evolution through peaceful, gradual natural selection is a nonsense. The long term geological record is clear on the mass appearances and disappearances of species, along with evidence of enormous cataclysms devastating the planet. We can also make inferences about theology, cults and the development of philosophical and naturalist ideas. If Velikovsky is continued to be proven correct, many of our assumptions covering a whole range of issues and beliefs will have to be reformed.
Scranton is an IT professional and due to his background, is a thorough and contemplative analyst. He marshals evidence both for and against Velikovsky's theories – in which many but not all of his ideas since the 1960s, have been confirmed by science.
As Scranton writes: “Another aspect of Velikovsky’s theory that, for me, ultimately works in his favor is the sheer tenacity with which certain key aspects of the theory have resisted outright disproof. The state of science being what it is today, one would think that it should be a do-able task to categorically refute a theory that has been as widely critiqued and derided as Velikovsky’s. From the standpoint of traditional astronomers, there are at least a dozen points at which Velikovsky’s theory might potentially be shown to be flatly wrong (many would say that his theory has long since been flatly disproved), yet over time, as new facts emerge, these points take on new life as subtle aspects of the theory continue to be shown to be ultimately valid. To my way of thinking, surely this kind of persistency is one hallmark of a theory that is worthy of careful reconsideration.”
The more that people investigate his theories, the more correct Velikovsky appears to have been.
Regarding the origins of Venus:
“Venus had been a comet. This supposition was supported by reports, such as those from ancient Mexico, in which multiple episodes of destruction were described as having occurred on a fifty-two-year cycle. Velikovsky knew that periodic recurrence is typical of comets, which orbit the sun time and again in great ellipses that can return them back to the vicinity of the sun on regular cycles. The same Mexican records that offered Velikovsky the clearest outline for a sequence of successive occurrences of global upheaval also assigned that tumult to a comet-like agent called Quetzalcoatl. According to legend, this comet first gave the appearance of a snake-like monster, but eventually transformed itself into a “star...He found that he was unable to uncover any references that unequivocally described Venus as a planet prior to around 1500 BCE. ..Likewise, virtually every ancient culture that Velikovsky studied had once documented a four-planet system, one that curiously included only Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, and Mercury.”
“Velikovsky cites case after case in which the earliest societies spoke of Venus as having been responsible for “streams of fire” that fell to Earth. After discussing the story from the book of Exodus of the ten plagues, Velikovsky quotes passages from texts in other ancient societies that seem to describe similar misfortunes and also often associate them with Venus."
How old is Venus?
“Thus when Velikovsky surmised that Venus—as a recently formed astronomic body—must still be very hot (a prediction offered by Velikovsky as a decisive test for his theory), his view, which went against the conventional wisdom of the day, was at first flatly dismissed. In 1963, when the Mariner 2 space probe actually verified the near-molten temperature of the surface of Venus, scientists such as Carl Sagan stepped up to propose the theory of a runaway greenhouse effect on Venus—along with the theoretic chemistry and physics to support it—that could explain away the result without concluding that Venus must be younger than billions of years old.”
“Nonetheless—in support of Velikovsky and in contradiction to the prevailing astronomic view—late in 1962 and early in 1963, the Mariner 2 probe showed the actual surface temperature of Venus to be about 460 degrees Celsius (800 degrees Fahrenheit)—hot enough to melt lead. As a consequence of these early points of seeming vindication for Velikovsky, at around this same time, one of the few public acts of professional recognition for Velikovsky’s correct predictions occurred.”
“Velikovsky claimed—and it has not been reasonably disputed—that any close approach of Venus to Earth would have caused major geological upheaval on Earth and so should be reflected in the volcanic activity of the period. This implies that we should find evidence either of unusually powerful eruptions or of an unusual increase in the number of eruptions at around the time of the encounter dentified by Velikovsky for the ostensible approach of Venus to Earth—the time of the eruption of Thera on the island of Santorini—includes both the largest single volcanic eruption ever known and a record of widespread significant volcanic eruptions evidenced from the Mediterranean to Iceland, North America, Central America, South America, New Zealand, Japan, and Russia.” ...Likewise, there is evidence of major undefined geomagnetic events both at 1500 BCE and 750 BCE that caused great fluctuations in the magnetic field of Earth and that are associated by modern scientists with the same historical transitions claimed by Velikovsky. Because of the irregularities in the time frame of these occurrences, scientists believe they may have been precipitated by an unknown agent.”
Did Manna come from heaven or Venus? “According to the Bible, they were able to feed themselves with manna, an edible substance similar to myrrh that is reported to have appeared or precipitated each day with the morning dew. When not collected, legend has it that the manna simply evaporated in the sun as the day progressed. Velikovsky assigns the source of manna to natural components of the atmosphere of the comet that were transferred to and mixed with the atmosphere of the earth as it passed through the comet’s tail.”
“Seven centuries later—around 757 BCE according to Velikovsky’s reckoning—another series of close encounters between an astronomic body and the earth began, once again with worldwide reports of the very great disruption that they caused. Velikovsky points out that these reports fall well into the epoch of recorded history and include explicit statements that are clearly stated in well-preserved documents from Assyria, Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia, as well as in ancient Hebrew writings. These cataclysms Velikovsky attributes not to the ravages of Venus, but rather to close encounters with the planet Mars."
Ice ages are caused mostly by changes in the tilt of the earth – which would happen if there is a cosmic traffic accident:
“Extensive arguments have been made against the idea that a close approach of Venus or Mars could have changed either the rotation of Earth or the tilt of its axis, as Velikovsky proposes. However, a 2002 study of possible causes of the ice ages cites arguments in favor of just such gravitationally induced changes in the tilt of the axis as a way to explain both the types of ice and patterns of glaciation that are observed to accrue during ice ages. The author of the study presents graphs of the measurable gravitational perturbations that are known to occur, even today and from a great distance, whenever Venus and Earth come into conjunction with one another. These cause the orbit of Earth to slow somewhat as the planets approach each other. He argues that the precessional effect of this type of interaction might be enough to induce long-term changes in the tilt of the axis of Earth. Clearly, these same effects acting from a much closer distance might theoretically have done the same, and to a greater extent.”
As the earth shifted and changed its rotational speed, calendars needed to be updated: “Velikovsky cites many disastrous effects that the encounter with Mars ostensibly ravaged on Earth, but the most obvious and perhaps most verifiable of these would be his claim that it lengthened the solar year, extending the widely observed ancient 360-day year to our current 365-day year. Had such an event occurred as Velikovsky claims during historic times, we should see clear evidence of it reflected in the history of calendars worldwide. The presumption is that many of these cultures would report a change in the calendar to accommodate the new length of the year, sometime after 757 BCE, according to Velikovsky’s timeline.”
“In the eighth century B.C.E., civilizations all over the world either discarded or modified their old 360 day calendars. The 360 day calendars had been in use for the greater part of a millennium.”
In sum we should ask - is modern science truly scientific or just another cult ?
“Nonetheless, over time, it seems that virtually all of these scientists—including Einstein—eventually found themselves in the extremely awkward position of having to reverse, qualify, recast, reinterpret, or withdraw their original complaint against Velikovsky as, one by one, various seemingly impossible prospects proved themselves to be possible.”
This book is a valuable and profitable read. It raises many questions and forces you to think. Is much of what we think we 'know' bunk ? Did Venus and Mars really become embroiled with the earth ? Could all of the ancient cultures around the world, which verified and discussed the appearance of the comet and then planet Venus and the 'attack' by Mars be wrong? Is the Old Testament a book not about theology per-se, but about celestial events attributed to a 'god' ?
Much of the heretic Velikovsky's work has in fact been supported by discovery and science in the past 50 years. The ideas are not only credible, but in many cases, proven. The beauty of Velikovsky is that science is never 'closed', or 'settled'. The cult of scientism, which is the fetish today, has little in common with true science and rationality. Today what passes for science, in for instance the assertion of 'greenhouse gases' and Co2-induced warming, is just another cult of control and lies. Velikovsky's 'heresies' only justify that statement.