Friday 11 October 2013

The Velikovsky Rule

Immanuel Velikovsky wrote a 1950 best seller called "Worlds in Collision." In it he argued that legendary events such as the parting of the Red Sea were due to close encounters by the earth with other planets. These theories were, to put it mildly, highly contentious.

Velikovsky lived in Princeton NJ, which at the time was a small town where everyone knew everyone else, at least in passing. The head of the Princeton University astronomy department told me that one time he was talking to an anthropologist and Velikovsky's book came up.

"The astronomy is nonsense, of course," said the astronomer, "but the anthropology is really interesting."

"What a coincidence," replied the anthropologist. "The anthropology is nonsense, but we think the astronomy is really interesting."

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