Pseudoscience Wars : Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe

By: Gordin, Michael DMaterial type: TextTextSeries: eBooks on DemandPublisher: Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2012Description: 1 online resource (303 p.)ISBN: 9780226304434Subject(s): Creationism -- History | Eugenics -- History | Lysenko, Trofim Denisovich, -- 1898-1976 | Pseudoscience -- History -- 20th century | Velikovsky, Immanuel, -- 1895-1979 -- Appreciation | Velikovsky, Immanuel, -- 1895-1979 -- InfluenceGenre/Form: Electronic books.Additional physical formats: Print version:: Pseudoscience Wars : Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern FringeDDC classification: 523.2 LOC classification: Q172Q172.5.P77 .G674 2012Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
""Contents ""; ""Acknowledgments""; ""Introduction: Bad Ideas""; ""1. The Grand Collision of Spring 1950""; ""2. A Monolithic Oneness""; ""3. The Battle over Lysenkoism""; ""4. Experiments in Rehabilitation""; ""5. Skirmishes on the Edge of Creation""; ""6. Strangest Bedfellows""; ""Conclusion: Pseudoscience in Our Time""; ""Abbreviations and Archives""; ""Notes""; ""Index""
Summary: Properly analyzed, the collective mythological and religious writings of humanity reveal that around 1500 BC, a comet swept perilously close to Earth, triggering widespread natural disasters and threatening the destruction of all life before settling into solar orbit as Venus, our nearest planetary neighbor. Sound implausible? Well, from 1950 until the late 1970s, a huge number of people begged to differ, as they devoured Immanuel Velikovsky's major best-seller, Worlds in Collision, insisting that perhaps this polymathic thinker held the key to a new science and a new history. Scientists, on t
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""Contents ""; ""Acknowledgments""; ""Introduction: Bad Ideas""; ""1. The Grand Collision of Spring 1950""; ""2. A Monolithic Oneness""; ""3. The Battle over Lysenkoism""; ""4. Experiments in Rehabilitation""; ""5. Skirmishes on the Edge of Creation""; ""6. Strangest Bedfellows""; ""Conclusion: Pseudoscience in Our Time""; ""Abbreviations and Archives""; ""Notes""; ""Index""

Properly analyzed, the collective mythological and religious writings of humanity reveal that around 1500 BC, a comet swept perilously close to Earth, triggering widespread natural disasters and threatening the destruction of all life before settling into solar orbit as Venus, our nearest planetary neighbor. Sound implausible? Well, from 1950 until the late 1970s, a huge number of people begged to differ, as they devoured Immanuel Velikovsky's major best-seller, Worlds in Collision, insisting that perhaps this polymathic thinker held the key to a new science and a new history. Scientists, on t

Description based upon print version of record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Gordin (history, Princeton Univ.; Red Cloud at Dawn: Truman, Stalin, and the End of the Atomic Monopoly) presents here an account of what has become known as the Velikovsky affair. Immanuel Velikovsky, a Russian catastrophist who published Worlds in Collision in 1950, ignited a national controversy when he argued that Jupiter ejected Venus like a comet nearly 20,000 years ago and the passing planet caused Earth's orbit and axis to change, thus spurring the natural disasters mentioned by early mythologies and religions around the world. Gordin, who is remarkably evenhanded, tells the story of the man, his extraordinary ideas, their reverberations in academia and scientific communities, and their eventual discrediting through the present day. VERDICT This won't put an end to the debates that rage between legitimate scientific research and other fringe doctrines, but it does lay the Velikovsky affair to rest with fairness and clarity and will help to put into perspective many of the controversies swirling around today's scientific landscape. A good read for those interested in the history of science or pseudoscientific theories.--Margaret Dominy, Drexel Univ. Lib., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHOICE Review

Immanuel Velikovsky (1895-1979) became the center of a scientific controversy when Macmillan published his Worlds in Collision in 1950. The book claimed that Venus and Mars at different times nearly collided with Earth, which created catastrophes associated with the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt and other events of the Old Testament. Astronomers and other scientists were outraged. Some protested to Macmillan and threatened a boycott, causing the publisher to sell the book to Doubleday. Further controversy followed until the author's death. Gordin (Princeton) analyzes this episode in The Pseudo-Science Wars. Velikovsky considered himself a scientist, although scientists labeled him a pseudoscientist. This difference represents the dilemma of finding the line of demarcation between acceptable and unacceptable science. Velikovsky is not unique, but the reaction to him was abnormally vehement. Gordin places this reaction in the context of the scandal of Lysenkoism in the Soviet Union, which alarmed American scientists. He also draws comparisons between Velikovskianism and the suspect sciences of eugenics and creationism. Gordin considers pseudoscience to be a constant of science since it imitates science. His book is a well-written and deeply researched study, although one that is perhaps a trifle too sympathetic to Velikovsky. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers/faculty. R. Fritze Athens State University

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Michael D. Gordin is professor of history at Princeton University and the author of a number of books, including Red Cloud at Dawn: Truman, Stalin, and the End of the Atomic Monopoly . He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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