Thursday, November 5, 2015

Velikovsky vs. Scientific establishment 5-0 [A story with comets, collisions, prejudice and some… water]

Regarding myths, an incredible example is that of the Bible reference of the Sun stopping in the middle of the sky…

Velikovsky studied the reports in the Bible of the Sun coming to a halt in the sky. Many people dismiss this story as completely absurd. But yet again a scientist should investigate every possible solution, not only those which fit in his current worldview. So Velikovsky thought cleverly: If people in a point on Earth reported of a “long day” due to Sun stopping in the sky, in the OPPOSITE side of the Earth there would be people reporting a “long night”! Imagine what happened next: Velikovsky indeed discovered that people at America indeed had ancient traditions [Annals of Cuauhtitlan] which spoke of a large night! (and no, the fact that we do not know HOW this happened does not mean that it did not happen)

Velikovsky in general postulated not only that myths were not fairy tales (all serious thinkers understand this today) but that they should also be interpreted literally. So he tried to analyze many myths so as to find evidence of great cosmological events and disasters. His theories include explanations of the Biblical events of the Exodus, of the great Cataclysm, of the destruction of the Babel Tower and of the destruction of Sodom.

Despite his theories looking crazy, modern science has started to understand that the current standard cosmological model is not so valid as once thought. Thus it seems that there is space for the ideas of Velikovsky (which include some astounding verified predictions) which I will shortly present.

The views of Velikovsky – A summary

Velikovsky thought the solar system was a system which in its history experienced great changes and violent collisions. This may not sound like a novel idea today, but it was a very radical idea when Velikovsky presented it. Back then everyone believe that our solar system is during some billion years in a balance with no more violent cosmic events taking place. Comets were considered celestial bodies which were exiled to their weird orbits billions of years before. But Velikovsky thought otherwise: He spoke of a solar system which was still violent, changing, shifting. He spoke of world cosmic planetary collisions when other visualized a peaceful dark space. He even postulated that Venus was in fact a comet which was extracted from inside Zeus (Jupiter) very recently! Velikovsky also thought that electromagnetism was the most important force in the universe [Zeus and his thunders]. He talked about the Sun and how it was a charged celestial body (while others back then thought it was neutral) and how the universe was an “Electric Universe” (EU) with electrical fields in which all the celestial bodies move generating various phenomena we wrongly attribute to other causes. (he even thought the force of gravity should be revisited) The tail of the comets was also a result of such an electrical interaction.

The war. The verification.

In general the ideas of Velikovsky were so innovative that they were fought fiercely by the scientific establishment of his time. The war against him came to be known as "The Velikovsky Affair". The scientific establishment cannot listen to people from “outside”. And yet, the crazy ideas of Velikovsky are proven correct one by one over the years. He had predicted that Venus will be too hot on the surface because of its recent formation. He was proved right. [1-0] (Sagan tried to disprove him by stating that the Greenhouse Effect was the cause of the temperatures on the surface – but no climate model can explain these temperatures) He thought that the infamous Red Spot reaches up to the core of the planet and is the result of the creation of Venus from Jupiter. And it is true that from the recorded planetary orbits from the time of ancient Greece until today these orbits seem to be not entirely stable. Venus also seems to have a “tail” [source, source] like a comet, while modern simulations [1] have shown that such an event like the one Velikovsky postulated is not totally implausible. [2-0] Velikovsky also predicted that Jupiter emits radio waves. He was proved right. [3-0] (Sagan again tried to diminish the importance of the prediction by saying that it is now known that all bodies emit such waves – but after the coming of Christ everyone is a prophet) He predicted that the solar system is still violent. He was proved right. [4-0] We now know the collisions that Earth survived. We have witnesses a comet colliding with Jupiter at the same time while our astronomers imagined of the cold peaceful space. He predicted that the tail of the comets is not due to vaporizing water. Evidence seems to validate him. [2] He predicted that the comets are relatively newly formed objects. Again the current evidence from the comets we have examined (e.g. Rosetta Mission) seems to prove him right once again [5-0] since scientists discovered oxygen on them. (oxygen is reacting easily with almost everything, so if the comets are old how could this oxygen still exist?) [3] And his theories of an electrical universe sound even more plausible if one realizes that they could explain why the Sun is hotter on the outside than the inside...

In essence there is no prediction made by Velikovsky which was refuted. It was just that his ideas annoyed some narrow minded people who thought that their ego or their faith in a weird “holy” status quo [4] was more important than the advancement of science.

Instead of an epilogue, I will just quote what professor H. H. Hess [President of the American Geological Society/ Chairman of the Space Science Board] wrote to Velikovsky…

"We are philosophically miles apart because basically we do not accept each other's form of reasoning — logic. I am of course quite convinced of your sincerity and I also admire the vast fund of information which you have painstakingly acquired over the years.

I am not about to be converted to your form of reasoning though it certainly has had successes. You have after all predicted that Jupiter would be a source of radio noise, that Venus would have a high surface temperature, that the sun and bodies of the solar system would have large electrical charges and several other such predictions. Some of these predictions were said to be impossible when you made them. All of them were predicted long before proof that they were correct came to hand. Conversely I do not know of any specific prediction you made that has since been proven to be false. I suspect the merit lies in that you have a good basic background in the natural sciences and you are quite uninhibited by the prejudices and probability taboos which confine the thinking of most of us.

Whether you are right or wrong I believe you deserve a fair hearing." [5]

Question all the things you "know"...
Because if you do not, assumptions will turn into dogmas.

Question all the things you “know”…
And only then will you really Know.

Epimetron of Paralogon
Think of Zeus. Think of ancient people watching the skies, full of planets which seemed alive in their plasma discharges. Think of how Reich also spoke of an "energy" which filled the universe. Think of Heracletus who spoke about the thunder. Think of all those irrational things you did not want to think about. Let your mind loose. Fly ways into the storm. And electrical being you are. Not this crude matter!

~ Τὰ δὲ πάντα οἰακίζει κεραυνός. Lightning rules all. ~

Related links

Graham Hanckock discussion (discussion started by Laird was the motive for this article)


[1] In response to Skako's inquiry about sources for impact studies: I've copied portions of my chapters (refers to his book "The Velikovsky Heresies: Worlds in Collision and Ancient Catastrophes Revisited") for you on the Cal-Tech study, then the Peking University study: 

In 2008, a study at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) by Margarita Marinova, then a graduate student in Cal-Tech’s Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences (GPS), confirmed that Velikovsky’s proposed planetary impact scenario could make sense in terms of the types of damage that had been observed to exist on Mars. It is important to note that, after many trials based on widely varying parameters, the scenario favored by the researchers attributed the impact to a body much smaller than Venus and assigned it to an epoch much earlier than Velikovsky proposes.

A Cal-Tech press release states: 

Scientists at the California Institute of Technology have shown through computer modeling that the Mars dichotomy, as the divided terrain has been termed, can indeed be explained by one giant impact early in the planet’s history. . . . This size range of impacts only occurred early in solar system history. . . . The team modeled a range of projectile parameters that could yield a cavity the size and ellipticity of the Mars lowlands without melting the whole planet or making a crater rim. . . . After cranking 500 simulations combining various energies, velocities, and impact angles through the GPS division’s Beowulf-class computer cluster CITerra, the researchers narrowed in on a “sweet spot”—a range of single-impact parameters that would make exactly the type of crater found on Mars. . . . The favored simulation conditions outlined by the sweet spot suggest an impact energy of around 10 to the 29 joules, which is equivalent to 100 billion gigatons of TNT. The impactor would have hit Mars at an angle between 30 and 60 degrees while traveling at 6 to 10 kilometers per second.By combining these factors, Marinova calculated that the projectile was roughly 1,600 to 2,700 kilometers across.” 

I made contact personally with one of the researchers who conducted the study, asking among other things whether any of the tested scenarios involved a body the size of Venus, and if the results of that scenario were favorable - but without direct response to that question. 

Jupiter and Saturn are thought to have begun life as rocky worlds with the mass of at least a few Earths. Their gravity then pulled in gas from their birth nebula, giving them dense atmospheres. In this picture, all gas giants should have cores of roughly the same size. Yet spacecraft-based gravity measurements suggest Jupiter’s core weighs just two to 10 Earth masses, while Saturn’s comes in at 15 to 30. New simulations by Shu Lin Li of Peking University in China, and colleagues, may explain why. They calculated what would happen when a super-Earth of 10 times the mass of our planet slammed into a gas giant. The rocky body flattened like a pancake when it hit the gas giant’s atmosphere, then barrelled into the giant’s core about half an hour later. The energy of the collision could have vaporised much of the core. These vaporised heavy elements would then have mixed with the hydrogen and helium of the gas giant’s atmosphere, leaving only a fraction of the gas giant’s former core behind. This could explain not only why Jupiter’s core is so small, but also why its atmosphere is richer in heavy elements compared with the sun, whose composition is thought to mirror that of the nebula that gave birth to the solar system’s planets. 

- Laird [source]

[2] While the electric universe model does not require that the nucleus of Tempel 1 be devoid of water, Thornhill and other advocates of the electric comet hypothesis think that a dry comet nucleus is most likely.

Indeed, NASA has already encountered dry cometary nuclei. The surface of comet Borrelly, visited in 2001, proved to be bone dry, prompting investigators to suggest that water must be hidden beneath the surface. Nor did the Stardust flyby of comet Wild 2 in January 2004 identify water on the surface of the nucleus.
The standard theory, it seems, has been kept alive by the discovery of water in comet comas and tails, not on the nucleus itself. But what is the source of the water in comet tails? Ironically, electrical activity within cometary comas may have deceived investigators into thinking that their model is intact. Here is why:

The evidence suggests that comets are highly negatively charged with respect to the Sun. As they rush toward the Sun, the voltage increases until at some point the comet nucleus begins to discharge. Electrons are stripped from a few points on the comet surface where the electric field is strongest. These "spark discharges" finely machine rocky material from the surface to form a "cathode jet" of negatively charged dust together with surface matter that has been torn apart to release ionized atoms and molecules, INCLUDING OXYGEN.

Under the conventional model there is no reason for the high density of negative ions discovered near the comet nucleus. Negative ions are difficult to produce by solar heating and are quickly destroyed by solar radiation. Nevertheless, in March 1986 when the Giotto spacecraft flew within 600km of Comet Halley, an abundance of negatively charged atoms was discovered in the inner coma-direct evidence that a comet is the cathode (negatively charged electrode) in an electric exchange with the Sun. A few years later, scientists discovered an unexpected "forbidden oxygen" line at 1128Å in the spectrum of Comet Austin. That line is consistent with the presence of an intense electric field and/or densities in the coma many orders of magnitude higher than those predicted from standard cometary theory.

There is reason to believe that the positively charged hydrogen ions from the solar wind react preferentially with the negatively charged oxygen from the nucleus to generate the water observed surrounding comets. The probe Vega 2 found the H2O (water) production by comet Halley was one fifth of the OH production. But scientists had supposed that OH was formed by photo-dissociation of H2O at some distance from the nucleus. The report in Nature in May 1986 reads: "only indirect and sometimes ambiguous evidence in favor of water has been found; indeed, some facts appear to contradict this hypothesis." Thus, the authors suggest, "This problem requires further analysis and may indicate the existence of parents of OH other than H2O." []

[3] 'If we have O2 at the beginning of the formation of the comet, how did it survive so long?' said the study's author Andre Bieler, from the University of Michigan." [source]

[4] Just as the minimum unit of allocation for Congress seems to be a million dollars, so the minimum timeframe in astronomy seems to be a million years. The Caltech study I cited concluded that, millions of years ago Mars was impacted by a planet-sized body. Wanting to learn the justification for the "millions of years" dating, I tracked down one of the members of the team who had conducted the project. She replied, "Everyone knows that there were no planet-sized bodies roaming the solar system since that time." 

Statements like that, which rest solely on predisposition of outlook but are presented as if supported by fact, end up being taken as fact by anyone who may not be inclined to question them.

~ Laird Scranton [source]

[5] Letter March 15, 1963, "H.H. Hess to Velikovsky" at the Velikovsky Archive [source]

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