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... of collisions between cosmic bodies have occurred throughout the history of the Solar System; the Earth has suffered many impacts, most of them small, but some large enough to have caused widespread devastation, and today Earth is still threatened by orbit-crossing asteroids and comets. As we shall see, ignorance of this extraterrestrial dimension by nineteenth century catastrophists and uniformitarians alike contributed to the demise of catastrophism, and increasing knowledge of it in more recent years has stimulated the rise of neocatastrophism. Regardless of that, it is beyond question that mainstream scientists throughout most of the twentieth century considered catastrophism to be dead. Chapter 2 looks at the nature of catastrophism in previous times, and the reasons for ...
72. Big and Little Science [Articles]
... Big and Little Science Professor Irving Wolfe Last night, in my opening address, I tried to establish what catastrophism is and to assess where it has reached as of now. This morning, at the beginning of Session 2, I want to offer a few thoughts on what uniformitarian science is and where it has reached as of now. I do this because, at the end of this day, I will be chairing a panel whose topic is "Velikovsky's Place in Science," and I think we have to be sure what we mean by science before we can attempt to determine Velikovsky's place in it. Just as there are many myths and falsehoods surrounding catastrophism which ...
73. Analysis of the Babylonian Observations [Journals] [Kronos]
... orbits and motions of Venus and of Earth would have produced such observations. But the patterns of motion given on the tablets do not fit the present observed motions of Venus. Neither the lengths nor the spacings of the invisibilities are compatible with the present orbits of Earth and Venus. Thus there are two principal approaches that one might take. Uniformitarians, who believe that the orbits of the planets have remained substantially unchanged for thousands, millions, or even billions of years, will take it upon themselves to "correct" what they perceive as the "scribal errors" of the tablets. Velikovskians, who have reason to suspect that the orbits of the planets involved may have been ...
74. Solar System Studies (Part 2) [Journals] [Aeon]
... must have been remarkably recent. This explains the successively higher beach lines found above sea level along Hudson Bay and the rising bottom of the north Atlantic, as well as sunken beach lines along the south African coasts. Before proceeding with a description of other features as they are found, it should be noted that the Earth diverges from a uniformitarian model in many particulars. An Earth spinning freely in space at a rate of 24 hours per day for eons and orbiting around the Sun at an average distance of 149.6 Gm would almost certainly not possess many of its present characteristics. It would probably circle in the plane of the Sun's equator with little or no axial spin ...
75. Alternatives in Science: The Secular Creationism of Heribert Nilsson [Journals] [Kronos]
... the posture of man in the scheme of things and quit blinking at solid evidence" (p .19). The crux of the controversy is still what constitutes the solid evidence. According to Nilsson, evolution has been refuted by both geological catastrophes and genetic stability (including the stability of intraspecific variation). Just as a century of uniformitarian geology had obscured the fact of a catastrophic past, so half a century of evolutionary genetics had obscured the fact of genetic stability. Velikovsky was pleased to refer to Nilsson's extensive documentation of the catastrophic evidence in German coal deposits, but despite the great amount of work that Nilsson did in paleobotany, it was all in the service of ...
76. "Extra-Scientific" Dimensions of Science [Journals] [SIS Review]
... by mainstream science. Nevertheless, we should not make the mistake of seeing the rejection of those ideas as only an "internal" or "strictly scientific" matter. Rather, what is being symbolically exorcised is an entire world view - one which, ironically, neither Velikovsky nor his most articulate supporters necessarily embrace. In this light, Uniformitarianism and Catastrophism should not be viewed simply as competing scientific theories, but rather as more sweeping perspectives with a host of "extra-scientific" implications [3 ]. Academic scientists, I would argue, tend to endorse one of these frameworks while almost reflexively rejecting anything which smacks of the other - including Velikovsky's thinking. Perhaps most conspicuous in ...
77. Focus Overseas [Journals] [SIS Review]
... the UK as we were about to go to press. It is now announced as a biannual publication, not a quarterly, as stated in No. 1, published in June 1976, and this issue is accordingly dated December 1976. The overseas airmail subscription continues to apply to four issues. The first full-length paper, "Catastrophism and Uniformitarianism", sets the tone of the journal: taken from Alistair Pitty's textbook, Geomorphology, it discusses in a low- key manner the current interest in a "non-uniform if not catastrophic element" in geological change. Tacitly confessing to a belief that violent versions of current geological processes may explain certain evidence which baffles the "Establishment" ...
78. Schizophrenia and the Fear of World Destruction [Journals] [Kronos]
... furniture. Fasting and lamentation were the order of the day while the populace awaited catastrophe. Pregnant women were shut up in granaries, lest they be changed into wild animals, and children were marched up and down and kept awake, for fear that sleep on the fatal evening would result in their turning into rats.(1 ) The uniformitarian author of this passage, the late Dr. G. C. Vaillant, could not have suspected how much valuable information for the catastrophist he was compressing into these few sentences. For here, we have nothing else less than a partial list of the possible traumatic effects of the Venusian cataclysm of ca. 1450 B.C . ...
79. The Afar Triangle As the Nether Reaches of Eden and Babel [Journals] [Aeon]
... .) Many of Velikovsky's criticisms of continental drift in Earth in Upheaval remain viable today, even though the sort of drift theory that he was discussing in 1955 did undergo considerable change- especially in the 1960's- and is no longer vulnerable in all of the ways that it once was. Nonetheless, the theory of continental drift remains essentially uniformitarian, and is to that extent rendered suspect by the entire body of Velikovsky's work. As further antidotes to the theory of continental drift, I would strongly recommend Ralph Juergens' criticisms of radiometric dating of rocks (2 ) , as well as his criticisms of sea-floor spreading and of geomagnetic bands and reversals. (3 ) Juergens seems ...
80. The AAAS Affair: from Twenty Years After [Books]
... , I have come to wonder about this. Why is it that an intelligent and talented person like Isaac Asimov (in no way a practicing scientist, but an intelligent and talented person, nonetheless) could understand so much and still not be capable of looking at Velikovsky's evidence? Asimov constitutes a further paradox in that his non-fiction was strictly uniformitarian and orthodox, while his fiction could be quite otherwise. In his non-fiction, Asimov never deviated from what he was taught. That bears upon my assertion that he did nothing at all as a scientist. He questioned nothing, discovered nothing, proved nothing, and thus in the end contributed nothing. He merely explained the established orthodoxies ...
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