Top positive review
24 people found this helpful
Burn the witch! Kill the heretic!!!
on 4 September 2011
Crowd: A witch! A witch! A witch! We've got a witch! A witch!
Villager 1: We've found a witch, may we burn her?
Crowd: Burn her! Burn!
Bedemir: How do you know she is a witch?
Villager 2: She looks like one.
Bedemir: Bring her forward.
Witch: I'm not a witch. I'm not a witch.
Bedemir: But you are dressed as one.
Witch: They dressed me up like this.
Crowd: No, we didn't... no.
Witch: And this isn't my nose, it's a false one.
Villager 1: Well, we did do the nose.
Bedemir: The nose?
Villager 1: And the hat -- but she is a witch!
Crowd: Burn her! Witch! Witch! Burn her!
(From Monty Python's The Holy Grail).
If Velikovsky had been born 500 years earlier he would no doubt have met a similar fate. I don't mean being put on a scale and measured against a duck by a lunatic in a stupid helmet with a dodgy vizor, but by being burned at the stake. And I have no doubt that at the front of the crowd with the carrots, pointy hats and superglue would have been many of the one-star reviewers who bang on about "pseudoscience" - as though they have the slightest clue what science actually is, along with those "scientists" and "academics" who propogate blatant misinformation which masquerades as orthodox "knowledge" in their role as self-appointed guardians of an increasingly moronic status quo, the vast majority of whom have not even read what he said but instead rely uncritically on gatekeepers such as Carl Sagan who, unable to scientifically refute Velikovsky, distort and misrepresent his words in order to make their job easier. Yet Velikovsky has over time been repeatedly proven absolutely right and one wonders how quickly our understanding of the cosmos would have flourished if the academic and scientific establishments had done their jobs correctly and engaged in scientific debate and study of Velikovsky's ideas rather than simply trying to shoot him down in flames for upsetting the applecart.
There is an annoying tendency today to assume, nay, insist that all there is to know is now known and that anyone who has the temerity to question "common knowledge" should be ostracised or locked up - indeed I have seen this very suggestion made many many times on Amazon.com. There are many who will pull their hair, stamp their feet and hurl insults at anyone who dares to suggest that our knowledge of celestial mechanics and cosmic physics are less than complete. Yet so far mankind has not ventured beyond the earth's atmosphere and therefore no long-term studies of various phenomena such as gravity, radiation, electromagnetism and so on have ever been conducted away from the influence of the earth, or indeed any other source of any of these phenomena. An increasing number of "alternative" scientists and researchers believe that light accelerates constantly unless acted upon by gravity or electromagnetism, contrary to dogma which insists the speed of light is constant in a vacuum, and some of the many implications of this if true are that our understanding of much basic physics is totally skewed, many of our scientific and mathematical equations which employ the speed of light as a constant are at the very least inaccurate, and our ability to measure things like interstellar distances almost non-existent. The truth is we don't know for sure - and we never will until we can get far enough away from all sources of gravity to properly test the proposition. In short we know nothing at all about the cosmos outside of the earth's atmosphere (and very little inside it, actually) besides the few snippets we have gleaned from the various primitive probes we have lobbed around the Solar System.
There is also an annoying tendency today to assume that conditions in our Solar System and its environs have always been how they are today, and despite never having observed anything else many, far too many, so-called "scientists" and "academics" insist that no other conditions are conceivable. How do they know this? The truth is they don't; it is merely an opinion.
Worlds In Collision is a retelling of ancient history from around 1500 B.C. to around 600 B.C. through a reexamination of archaeological evidence and ancient legends from around the globe to reconstruct events as they were seen by the peoples of the world at the time, the central thesis of which is that there were two series of cosmic catastrophes, thirty-four and twenty-six centuries ago, and thus that only a relatively short time ago war not peace reigned in the Solar System. All cosmological theories today assume that the planets have revolved in their places for billions of years; Velikovsky maintains they have been travelling along their present orbits for only a few thousand years. He suggests that one planet - Venus - was formerly a comet and that it joined the family of planets within the memory of mankind, thus offering an explanation of how one of the planets originated, and conjectures that the comet Venus originated within the planet Jupiter. He found that smaller comets were born from contacts between Venus and Mars, thus offering an explanation of the origin of the comets of the Solar System. That these comets are only a few thousand years old explains why, despite dissipation of the material of their tails in space, they have not yet disintegrated entirely.
Velikovsky also claims that the earth's orbit changed more than once and along with it the length of the year; that the geographical position of the terrestrial axis and its astronomical direction changed repeatedly; and that at a recent date the polar star was in the constellation of the Great Bear rather than its current location in the Little Dipper. The length of the day altered, the polar regions shifted, the polar ice became displaced into moderate latitudes, and other regions moved into the polar circles. He arrived at the conclusion that electrical discharges took place between Venus, Mars, and the earth when their atmospheres touched each other or at least came close to doing so; that the magnetic poles of the earth became reversed only a few thousand years ago; and that with the change in the moon's orbit the length of the month changed too, and repeatedly so. In the period of seven hundred years between the middle of the second millennium before the present era and the eighth century the year consisted of 360 days and the month of almost exactly thirty days, but earlier the day, month, and year were of different lengths.
He offers an explanation for the fact that the nocturnal side of Venus emits as much heat as the sunlit side, and explains the origin of the canals of Mars and of the craters and seas of lava on the moon as brought about in stress and near collisions. He believes he came close to solving the problem of mountain building and the irruption of the sea; the exchange of place between sea and land; the rise of new islands and volcanic activity; sudden changes in climate and the destruction of quadrupeds in northern Siberia and the annihilation of entire species; and the cause of earthquakes. Furthermore, he found that excessive evaporation of water from the surface of the oceans and seas, a phenomenon that was postulated to explain excessive precipitation and formation of ice covers, was caused by extraterrestrial agents. He tells us that the erratic boulders and till, or gravel, clay, and sand on the substratum of rock as having been carried, not by ice, but by onrushing gigantic tides caused by change in the rotation of the terrestrial globe; thus has he accounted for moraines that migrated from the equator toward higher latitudes and altitudes (Himalayas) or from the equator across Africa toward the South Pole.
He shows us that the religions of the peoples of the world have a common astral origin. The narrative of the Hebrew Bible concerning the plagues and other wonders of the time of the Exodus is, according to Velikovsky, historically true and the prodigies recorded have a natural explanation. He tells us that there was a world conflagration and that naphtha poured from the sky; that only a small proportion of people and animals survived; that the passage of the sea and the theophany at Mount Sinai are not inventions; that the shadow of death or twilight of the gods (Gotterdammerung) refers to the time of the wandering in the desert; that manna or ambrosia really fell from the sky, from the clouds of Venus. We learn also that Joshua's miracle with the sun and the moon is not a tale for the credulous, and why there are common ideas in the folklore of peoples separated by oceans, and we are taught to recognise the importance of world upheavals in the content of legends and why the planets were deified, and which planet was represented by Pallas Athene, and what is the celestial plot of the Iliad and in what period this epic was created, and why the Roman people made Mars their national god and progenitor of the founders of Rome. We are taught the real meaning of the messages of the Hebrew prophets Amos, Isaiah, Joel, Micah, and others. Velikovsky ascertains the year, month, and day of the last cosmic catastrophe and establishes the nature of the agent that destroyed Sennacherib's army, as well as discerning the cause of the great wanderings of peoples in the fifteenth and eighth centuries. He also tells us about the origin of the belief in the chosenness of the Jewish people and traces the original meaning of the archangels, and the source of eschatological beliefs in doomsday.
Velikovsky acknowledged there were other global and cosmic catastrophes further back in time and wrote much more on the subject; for anyone interested in further reading see Velikovsky's unpublished works at the Velikovsky Archive, especially his In The Beginning and Collected Essays. Rather than coming up with a theory and cherry-picking the evidence to support that theory (see Cataclysm!: Compelling Evidence of a Cosmic Catastrophe in 9500 B.C. by D. S. Allan and J. B. Delair for a perfect example of this bad methodology), it is apparent from reading Worlds In Collision that Velikovsky simply followed a very obvious trail to arrive at very obvious conclusions, apparently not for the first time in our history. Having read much else on the subject I agree with Velikovsky that many others, such as Donnelly, SHOULD have arrived at the same conclusions as he did yet failed to do so, at least in print. Yet hindsight is always 20/20 and now, in the second decade of the twenty-first century, over sixty years since the publication of Worlds in Collision hindsight shows us that Velikovsky was possibly the first in history to correctly join up all the available dots to form the most complete and cohesive cosmology yet devised (see The Velikovsky Heresies: Worlds in Collision and Ancient Catastrophes Revisited by Laird Scranton for a dispassionate analysis of Worlds in Collision in light of the last half century of scientific and technological development and discovery).
After sufficient reading the picture which inevitably emerges from an overview of all the world's mythologies is certainly similar to the picture Velikovsky paints. The fact that he may not have been exactly one hundred percent correct in no way discedits the rest of his theory; for instance, while it is possible that Venus did not originate within Jupiter but perhaps within Saturn instead, or it perhaps came into the Solar System from elsewhere, this does not invalidate his assertions about the close encounters between Venus, Mars and the earth. And rather than simply parrotting "common knowledge" and refusing to even read Velikovsky, people should (but so rarely do) put aside their preconceptions and actually read what he said; they would find that, rather than being "pseudoscience", Worlds In Collision is essentially a reminder of what the people who lived through those events and their ancestors said, translated and reinterpreted in light of what was actually said rather than assuming that all ancient texts are somehow religious or mystic mumbo-jumbo and are to be read as allegory. Velikovsky simply repeats their words and connects up the threads to show us who said what, and when. The real beauty of Velikovsky's theories, however, lies in the interlocking nature of all of the evidence he presents - only a fraction of the total available - and the perfect synchronisation between events in different parts of the world; when events are correctly aligned globally then the whole history of humanity makes perfect sense and many of the apparently unexplained and unexplainable historical mysteries are easily explained. And amazingly, to date Velikovsky has not yet been proven wrong on a single advance claim that he made, and has been proven absolutely right on many, and perhaps most, of them.
This is a spellbinding read, possibly one of the most revolutionary books ever written, and one that deserves at least an instant second and then a third reading. It is a truly amazing, and amazingly complete, theory of the cosmos and human history, possibly the most complete ever offered, and the violence of the reaction against it serves only to elevate it to an even higher level. Even if you do not agree with every one of Velikovsky's assertions I can guarantee that the truly objective reader will immediately see the simple truth in many of them, and will quickly agree that a total overhaul of academic and educational philosophy is long overdue in our society. The misplaced emotion and vitriol displayed by detractors even today who have never read a word Velikovsky wrote would suggest this overhaul is as far away as ever...