Catastrophism Gone Wild: The Case of Immanuel Velikovsky

  • Clark R. Chapman
  • David Morrison

Abstract

Several decades before most scientists had become aware of the accumulating evidence for violent and catastrophic events in the solar system, a remarkable book broke upon the literary scene in the United States. In 1950, the prestigious Macmillan Press published Worlds in Collision, by a Russian-born Doctor of Medicine named Immanuel Velikovsky. Preceded by a highly favorable review in Harper’s Magazine, this book was an instant success, selling 55,000 copies in the first six months and earning Dr. Velikovsky widespread fame and a body of enthusiastic supporters. He claimed, long before it was fashionable to do so, that there have been collisions and near-collisions among the planets, and that the history of the Earth has been marked by violent events of cosmic origin. Subsequently, Velikovsky expanded upon his catastrophist thesis in two additional books: Ages in Chaos and Earth in Upheaval.

Keywords

Dust Europe Hydrocarbon Sulfuric Acid Explosive 

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Copyright information

© Clark R. Chapman and David Morrison 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clark R. Chapman
  • David Morrison

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