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Astronomy/Worlds in Collision


Is there any merit at all to the theory of Immanuel Velikovsky in his book Worlds in Collision that the formation of the planet Venus was an extremely recent event in the history of our Solar System - taking place perhaps only 4000 years ago?  Free free to include copious description and references.


No, there' no merit at all# It's a totally preposterous theory# For anyone not aware, ‘Worlds in Collision’ postulated the dynamical idiocy that Jupiter belched out a "comet" with the mass the size of Venus, which then blasted off toward the Sun, passing so near the Earth en route that it caused it’s rotation to halt #coinciding with Joshua’s famous trumpet blare# and in the process triggered the precipitation of carbohydrates #from hydrocarbons?!# – manifesting in the manna for the Israelites#

The venerable Harvard astronomer Harlow Shapley was so outraged that he mounted a successful effort to prevent this insane gobbledegook from being published as a Harvard University imprint, and also from being picked up by any other major academic publishers# As Shapley noted, and I reiterate here, there are so many aspects, issues of scientific fact wrong with the book #such as mixing up hydrocarbons and carbohydrates# that it merits being sequestered from humanity forever lest the weaker –minded among us fall prey to its rank idiocy# Of course Shapley was pilloried for his “narrow-mindedness” but in truth he did everyone a favor – including the thousands of astronomers who’d otherwise have to correct this dreck#

Consider just one simple aspect of the alleged close approach of "comet Venus" to Earth, creating the effects Velikovsky claims: According to Velikovskian "physics" the near approach of "comet" Venus would've halted the rotation of the Earth leading to an incident reported in the bible as "the Sun stopping" #e#g# rotation halting# when Joshua made his famous trumpet sound# The trouble here is that an OFF-axis torque is needed to effect this, and the only "torque" he has is mythical, based on: N = F_r X R_c. But F_r is a fantasy force that doesn't exist!

The only actual force acting is an attractive #gravitational# one through the mass centers! Hence no external agent is available to halt the rotation! #And even if it could exist, and did occur, as the late science writer Isaac Asimov noted in an essay, the conversion of such rotational energy into heat would have melted the Earth's crust!#

To be sure, Velikovsky isn't even doing science, opting instead to plow through the world’s ancient myths as opposed to starting with scientific observations and data.  He then ends up with a morass of anecdotal and circumstantial findings that he takes to be the equivalent of satisfying a scientific hypothesis.

I would not waste my time on this garbage, unless you are interested in how past pseudo-science has been manufactured out of whole cloth baloney!


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Philip Stahl


I have more than forty years of experience in Astronomy, specifically solar and space physics. My specialties include the physics of solar flares, sunspots, including their effects on Earth and statistics pertaining to sunspot morphology and flare geo-effectiveness.


Astronomy: Worked at university observatory in college, doing astrographic measurements. Developed first ever astronomy curriculum for secondary schools in Caribbean. Gave workshops in astrophysics and astronomical measurements at Harry Bayley Observatory, Barbados. M.Phil. degree in Physics/Solar Physics and more than twenty years as researcher with discovery of SID flares. Developed of first ever consistent magnetic arcade model for solar flares incorporating energy dissipation and accumulation. Develop first ever loop solar flare model using double layers and incorporating cavity resonators.

American Astronomical Society (Solar Physics and Dynamical Astronomy divisions), American Mathematical Society, American Geophysical Union.

Solar Physics (journal), The Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, The Proceedings of the Meudon Solar Flare Workshop (1986), The Proceedings of the Caribbean Physics Conference (1985). Books: 'Selected Analyses in Solar Flare Plasma Dynamics', 'Physics Notes for Advanced Level'. 'Astronomy and Astrophysics: Notes, Problems and Solutions'.

B.A. Astronomy, M. Phil. Physics

Awards and Honors
American Astronomical Society Studentship Award (1984), Barbados Government Award for Solar Research (1980), Barbados Astronomical Society Award for Service as Journal Editor (1977-91)

Past/Present Clients
Caribbean Examinations Council, Barbados Astronomical Society, Trinidad & Tobago Astronomical Society.

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