Immanuel Velikovsky

Immanuel Velikovsky surprised, outraged, delighted, inspired and changed the planet, human history, our solar system and the universe in the 1950's. Or not. He wrote Worlds In Collision book and others like Carl Sagan created the controversy.

Immanuel Velikovsky in his 1950's book Worlds in Collision proposes that many myths and traditions of ancient peoples and cultures are based on actual events: worldwide global catastrophes of a celestial origin, which had a profound effect on the lives, beliefs and writings of early mankind.

After reaching the number 1 spot in the best-sellers list, Velikovsky's Worlds in Collision was banned from a number of academic institutions, and creating an unprecedented scientific debacle that became known as The Velikovsky Affair.
Immanuel Velikovsky |

But what is shocking is that the general idea of planets colliding and planetary orbital chaos and migration is being suggested by more and more scientific theories and evidence. Although not in the time frame that Velikovsky suggests. Nice Models, Grand Tacks, jumping gas giants, rogue planets, wandering stars, migrating planets, contact binary asteroids and moons.

The ancient traditions are our best guide to the appearance and arrangement of the earliest remembered solar system, not some fancy computer's retrocalculations based upon current understanding of astronomical principles.
Immanuel Velikovsky quote


Further research, new historical documentation, science evidence, new thinking and theories seem to show that not everything Immanuel Velikovsky proposed was correct.

Velikovskian catastrophism and explaining what he believed to be relatively recent events gave birth to what eventually became the modern Thunderbolts Electric Universe theory. His chronology and comparative mythology ideas inspired a lot of people to investigate things further and organisations such as Society for Interdisciplinary Studies were formed.

Immanuel Velikovsky - the heretic, catastrophist, historian - also suggested other radical interpretations in books and papers. His (Ages in Chaos series was about historical revision - why are there so many duplicate stories of great king. Chronological revision about changing our standard chronology - accepted dating of these similar kings and things like dark ages or phantom dark centuries.

Velikovsky’s second major book was Ages in Chaos, in which he offended that small group of Egyptologists whom he had missed with Worlds in Collision. Ages in Chaos is nothing less than a reconstruction of ancient history - one which has curious attribute of making sense.
Immanuel Velikovsky | Halexandria


At the same time he fostered disciples who lacked significant distinctions, degrees or reknown, who could be useful and, if necessary, discarded. He sought to be defended and substantiated, not to be appraised judiciously. Though vastly egotistic, or perhaps because of it, he never hesitated to ask scholars and publicists for help. He was fiercely dedicated, charismatic, prompt to a rebuttal, and tireless.

He was an excellent lecturer – imposing of appearance, calm, firm, of sonorous voice, and hardly dependent on script or notes.
Heroic Scholars: Old and New - Alfred de Grazia | The Iron Age of Mars

Immanuel Velikovsky biography from Electric Universe theory sites

Immanuel Velikovsky Electric Universe theory CatastrophismIt was while researching a book on Freud and his heroes that Velikovsky first wondered about the catastrophes said to have accompanied the Hebrew Exodus, when fire and hailstones rained upon Egypt, earthquakes decimated the nation, and a pillar of fire and smoke moved in the sky. Biblical and other traditional Hebrew sources speak so vividly that Velikovsky began to wonder if some extraordinary natural event might have played a part in the Exodus.

To explore this possibility, Velikovsky sought out a corresponding account in ancient Egyptian records, finding a remarkable parallel in a papyrus kept at the University of Leyden Museum, called the Papyrus Ipuwer. The document contains the lamentations of an Egyptian sage in response to a great catastrophe overwhelming Egypt, when the rivers ran red, fire blazed in the sky, and pestilence ravaged the land.

Velikovsky also encountered surprising parallels in Babylonian and Assyrian clay tablets, Vedic poems, Chinese epics, and North American Indian, Maya, Aztec, and Peruvian legends. From these remarkably similar accounts, he constructed a thesis of celestial catastrophe. He concluded that a very large body -- apparently a "comet" -- passed close enough to Earth to violently perturb its axis, as global earthquakes, wind and falling stone decimated early civilizations.

Before Velikovsky could complete his reconstruction, he had to resolve an enigma. He had found that in the accounts of far-flung cultures, the cometary agent of disaster was identified as a planet. And the closer he looked, the more clear it became to him that this planet was Venus
Velikovsky's Ghost Returns | Thunderbolts TPOD

It seems unlikely that Velikovsky’s historical reconstruction of planetary catastrophes is correct and it is the British neo-catastrophists rather than academia who we have to thank for their scholarly work on the subject. However they have not argued for more frequent asteroid impacts. None of this denies Velikovsky priority in identifying the major destructive influence in the Earth’s past as the near approaches of the planets Mars and Venus. His reconstruction of awesome celestial events in the dimly remembered past follow the laws of physics and the rules of evidence. His model is a good one when measured by its prediction score against that of conventional models. Conventional models are woefully deficient to pronounce upon impacts ands their effects. To begin with, planetologists have admitted they are unable to experimentally reproduce the features of so-called impact craters. So, what are the craters? If they are not a result of impacts, what possible use are they in predicting future impacts? Is the science of impacts a pseudo-science?

One point I will concede to the astronomers. Velikovsky’s book title is misleading. It is not about colliding planets or asteroids. It seems there is an intrinsic avoidance mechanism involving cosmic electric discharges.
The impact of pseudo-science | Holoscience

immanuel-velikovsky-4This concise listing of ideological precursors suffices to prove that virtually none of Velikovsky’s arguments were original. In a way, Velikovsky was merely the twelfth in a lineage of free-thinkers that continuously recycled the same core elements of a theory of punctuated cosmic catastrophism. Even Velikovsky’s musings on the potency of the electromagnetic force in space could draw on precedents such as the concepts of ‘charged planets’ and ‘electric comets’ pondered by Elias Loomis (1868), Richard Anthony Proctor and Osborne Reynolds (1871), Sir William Huggins (1885) and Kristian Birkeland (1913).

In retrospect, Velikovsky’s immensely influential reconstruction boils down to a spirited rehash of assorted ideas lifted from others’ works, borrowed along with the same tired examples drawn from myth and history. All that is novel appears to be limited to specifics, such as the particular details of the revised chronology, the relocation of the land ‘Punt’, ‘name games’ such as ‘Persians’ (prst) meaning ‘Philistines’ (plst) or ‘first-born ones’ (bǝkōrīm) meaning ‘chosen ones’ (bāḥūrīm), the preferential treatment given to Hebrew mythology, or the idea that the comet Venus was expelled from Jupiter. Sadly, these innovations are also the weakest aspects of Velikovsky’s theory, unlike the general underlying notions that had been around for centuries.
On the Shoulders of Suppressed Giants Part Two | Thunderbolts TPOD

The SIS was formed in 1974 in response to the growing interest in global cosmic catastrophes, initiated earlier by the publication of Immanuel Velikovsky's book, Worlds in Collision and its attempted suppression by the academic establishment. His insistence on past planetary instability, particularly with regard to the planets Venus and Mars, the role of electricity in the cosmos and the use of myth to provide evidence in respect of his theories is well-known.
Immanuel Velikovsky | Society for Interdisciplinary Studies

Immanuel Velikovsky EU theory CatastropheEager for support, Immanuel Velikovsky went to distinguished men to inquire how they would handle his theses and to get their help. Hess. Einstein, Schaeffer, Shapley, Kallen ... and others of high professional stature. He avoided, on the other hand, associations, whether in person, name or ideas, with well-known marginal scholars and scientists. He abhorred Hoerbigger, avoided Charles Hapgood, skirted Donnelly, snubbed Donald Patten, missed seemingly Melvin Cook, ignored Beaumont and Baker, and contemned Daniken.

At the same time he fostered disciples who lacked significant distinctions, degrees or reknown, who could be useful and, if necessary, discarded. He sought to be defended and substantiated, not to be appraised judiciously. Though vastly egotistic, or perhaps because of it, he never hesitated to ask scholars and publicists for help. He was fiercely dedicated, charismatic, prompt to a rebuttal, and tireless.

He was an excellent lecturer – imposing of appearance, calm, firm, of sonorous voice, and hardly dependent on script or notes.
Heroic Scholars: Old and New - Alfred de Grazia | The Iron Age of Mars (link to free PDF)

Velikovsky's biographies from non EU sources

immanuel-velikovsky-3Worlds in Collision is a book written by Immanuel Velikovsky and first published April 3, 1950. The book postulated that around the 15th century BCE, Venus was ejected from Jupiter as a comet or comet-like object, and passed near Earth (an actual collision is not mentioned). The object changed Earth's orbit and axis, causing innumerable catastrophes that were mentioned in early mythologies and religions around the world. Many of the book's claims are completely rejected by the established scientific community as they are not supported by any available evidence.

Shapley, along with others such as astronomer Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin (also at Harvard), instigated a campaign against the book before its publication. Initially, they were highly critical of a publisher as reputable as Macmillan publishing such a pseudoscientific book, even as a trade book, and then their disapproval was re-invigorated when Macmillan included it among other trade books of possible interest to professors listed under the category "Science" in the back of a textbook catalog mailed to college professors.[12] Within two months of the book's initial release, the publishing of the book was transferred to Doubleday, which has no textbook division.
Worlds in Collision | wikipedia

Three new discoveries about the solar system: the existence of a magnetosphere around the planet Jupiter, and the retrograde spin and the high temperature of the planet Venus, were proposed as confirmations of Velikovsky’s theories. [This was in the epoch, dear readers, when empirical evidence was considered to trump the opinions of scientists…]

Here, one Carl Sagan came to the rescue, invoking the little known greenhouse effect, re-baptised the “runaway greenhouse effect”, in order to explain the anomalous 600°C surface temperature of Venus, and the honour of orthodox science was saved.

But once you’ve evoked a new scientific principle, the genie is out of the bottle, as it were. Something as potentially powerful as the runaway greenhouse effect can hardly be allowed to go to waste. If it can be used to silence the supporters of a marginal amateur cosmologist, surely it can be used for the greater benefit of mankind? Which is where we find ourselves today.
Velikovsky and the Weather | Geoff Chambers

Immanuel Velikovsky (1895-1979) is the most notorious of all Bad Archaeologists by virtue of the scandal caused by the publication of his book Worlds in Collision in 1952. His main thesis – that the earth suffered a number of cataclysms in the second and first millennia BC as a result of near-misses by comets ejected from Jupiter that subsequently became the planets Mars and Venus – is essentially astronomical and is indisputably wrong. It was not the thesis of the book that gave Velikovsky his subsequent notoriety but the fact that when the book was ready for publication in 1950. A group of scientists whose work was distributed by the same publisher threatened to withdraw their work from the company’s lists. As a result, Worlds in Collision was published by a subsidiary of the company and its author was correctly able to claim that the scientific establishment had sought to stifle his ideas.

(Ages in Chaos) Needless to say, this reconstruction is entirely text-based. There is no stratigraphic evidence from Egypt or the Levant to back up these claims that not only down-date some pharaohs by as much as seven centuries but also reverse the sequence of numerous individuals.

As with so many Bad Archaeologists, Velikovsky’s need to rewrite history stems from a fundamentalist viewpoint. He assumes the primacy of the Hebrew Bible; even if Genesis has to be taken as largely allegorical, he regards it as a detailed and accurate account of the history of the Middle East from the Exodus onwards. Anything that disagrees with it is therefore wrong and needs to be corrected.
Immanuel Velikovsky | Bad Archaeology

Immanuel Velikovsky Electric Universe theory (EU theory) plasma Worlds In CollisonWhat Velikovsky does isn't science because he does not start with what is known and then use ancient myths to illustrate or illuminate what has been discovered. Instead, he is indifferent to the established beliefs of astronomers and physicists, and seems to assume that someday they will find the evidence to support his ideas. He seems to take it for granted that the claims of ancient myths should be used to support or challenge the claims of modern astronomy and cosmology.

Morrison points out several other misleading claims about Velikovsky being right. For example, Velikovsky was right that Venus is hot but wrong in how he came to that conclusion. He thought it was because Venus is a recent planet violently ejected from Jupiter and having traveled close to the sun. Venus is hot because of the greenhouse effect, something Velikovsky never mentioned. As to the composition of the atmosphere of Venus, Velikovsky thought it was hydrogen rich with hydrocarbon clouds. NASA put out an erroneous report in 1963 that said Mariner 2 had found evidence of hydrocarbon clouds. In 1973 it was determined that the clouds are made mainly of sulfuric acid particles. Velikovsky was also right about Jupiter issuing radio emissions, but wrong as to why. He thought it was because of the electrically charged atmosphere brought on by the turbulence created by the expulsion of Venus. The radio emissions, however, are not related to the atmosphere but to "Jupiter's strong magnetic field and the ions trapped within it" (Morrison 65).
Immanuel Velikovsky's Worlds in Collision | Skepdic

After examining legends of the ancient Jews and other eastern Mediterranean peoples, he concluded that some tales described actual occurrences and were not mere myths or allegories.

The animosity of the American scientific community toward Worlds in Collision caused the original publisher, threatened with a boycott of its scientific-textbook division, to turn Velikovsky’s work over to a firm not involved in textbook publishing.
Immanuel Velikovsky | Britannica

Of all the exoheretics, Velikovsky has come closest to discomfiting the science he has attacked, and has most successfully forced science to take him seriously.

... For one thing Velikfovskianism, and indeed, any exoheretical view that becomes prominent enough to force itself on science, acts to puncture scientific complacency-and that is good. An exoheresy may cause scientists to bestir themselves for the purpose of reexamining the bases of their beliefs, even if only to gather firm and logical reasons for the rejection of the exoheresy-and that is good too. An exoheresy may cause scientific activity which, in a serendipitous fashion, may uncover something worthwhile that has nothing to do with the exoheresy-and that is very good, if it happens.
Quote attributed to Isaac Asimov

There’s nothing like a massive and profound reconstruction of ancient history to really upset Egyptologists, archeologists, and other members of the “old guard of this is the way we’ve always done it so take your evidence and go away”.

Velikovsky’s second major book was Ages in Chaos, in which he offended that small group of Egyptologists whom he had missed with Worlds in Collision. Ages in Chaos is nothing less than a reconstruction of ancient history -- one which has curious attribute of making sense.
Immanuel Velikovsky | Halexandria

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  • shelley isom

    Verification of Velikovsky’s theory about vast flooding, waters higher than mountains, after earthquakes killing millions in Worlds in Collision (2009 reprint)

    [Articles were in google news on 8/5/16]

    From Andy Coghlan article in New Scientist (2016) (also in Scientific American):

    Legend has it that a great flood engulfed China 4000 years ago. Lasting for more than 20 years, it was finally tamed by the heroic efforts of Emperor Yu, whose Xia dynasty marked the birth of Chinese civilisation and its transition into the Bronze Age.

    “This was the first stage in the founding of Chinese civilisation,” says Wu Qinglong of Nanjing Normal University. “But no scientific evidence had been discovered until now.”

    This lack of evidence for such a flood had prompted some to challenge the truth of the story.

    But we now have the first compelling evidence that the flood did actually happen at the time and place chronicled in the legend.

    In the Jishi Gorge, along the Yellow river, his team discovered rocks and sedimentary formations that could only have existed as a result of a cataclysmic flood.

    They also found evidence of an earthquake and analysed the skeletons of three children (see picture below), which helped them recreate the timeline of what happened.

    “The first thing was the earthquake, and this triggered a huge landslide that blocked the river,” says Darryl Granger of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The dammed water became a lake 200 metres deep.

    “The lake built up behind and took six to nine months to fill up before the water overtopped, causing the dam to fail catastrophically,” he says.

    This released a huge volume of water, estimated at between 12 and 17 cubic kilometres, two to three times as much as contained by Loch Ness in Scotland.

    The floods engulfed Lajia, the archaeological site 25 kilometres downstream where the bodies of the three children killed by the earthquake months earlier lay buried, and where the world’s oldest noodles were found.