Long time, no see! and Velikovsky...

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Long time, no see! and Velikovsky...

Hey everybody, it's been months since I've been over to the RRS forums! I just got through arguing with my mother about a number of things, and felt like venting a little here. It seems like lately my contact with reasonable human beings has been pretty limited, and I need a break from that.

Anywho, I don't know how many of you have heard of this guy named Immanuel Velikovsky, but chances are he's been discussed sometime, somewhere on the forums here. My grandfather, who is of course a very conservative christian, has been recently trying to persuade me of this guy's ideas. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Velikovsky, as I was, here's a quick overview:

Velikovsky took little bits here and there from myths all over the world, trying to find commonalities between them, and used those commonalities as "evidence" that global catastrophes or incredible celestial events occurred in recent history, including, among others, the idea that Venus was formed a mere 3500 years ago when it was shot out of Jupiter, leaving a scar on Jupiter now known as the Great Red Spot (I'm trying so hard not to add an "lol" after some of this). Venus supposedly then flew by Earth as a giant comet, causing unimaginable catastrophe on earth, which caused some of the magical events with Moses and the Hebrews, for example. Oh, and he also had to rearrange the historical record to make some of this stuff fit together. All in all, Velikovsky was a pseudoscientist, and nothing more.

Now I have the unwanted burden of dealing not only with my normally creationist family and their friends, but with pseudoscience bs of another, less familiar sort. Arrg.

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I don't remember him

I don't remember him mentioned here but he's pretty well debunked in the Skeptics dictionary. This idiot knows nothing about astronomy - he would be handed his ass by any scientist for his ridiculous ideas.

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I remember getting into long

I remember getting into long discussions with a friend back in school, initially with a reaction of "Wow, what an idea!". He created a few memorable mental images, such as the glint of light beyond the distant mountains - sunlight reflecting of the peak of an enormous approaching 'tidal wave'.

I rapidly realized it didn't make sense - the numbers didn't work, like Velikovsky's assumption about the way tidal forces vary with distance between two bodies simply was completely wrong. An body of similar density to the moon, at a distance such that it appears about the same size as the moon in the sky, will have a similar tidal effect. Or put it another way, if Venus had approached close enough to produce the effects he described, it would have appeared many times larger than the moon, and would surely have generated much more dramatic descriptions than what he actually referenced.

Suffice it to say, I long ago ceased to treat Velikovsky and his ideas as worth more than a small pile of dog-shit.

Sadly, I recall my friend was far less skeptical about the guy.

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Hey ispeakmetal.  Long time

Hey ispeakmetal.  Long time no see, man.