On the Perils and Pleasures of Confronting Pseudohistory

8 Dec 2009

In the journal Historically Speaking, Ronald H. Fritze writes:

"The controversy surrounding the ideas of Immanuel Velikovsky is a case study of how not to debunk incorrect and fantastical theories. [..]"

"Worlds in Collision was Velikovsky’s first book to present these planetary and cosmographic hypotheses while rejecting the orthodox concept of gravity. Astronomers and physicists responded with outrage. Professors threatened to boycott the textbooks of Velikovsky’s publisher Macmillan. That resulted in Macmillan moving the book over to Doubleday, a publisher not in the textbook business, where it continued to experience brisk sales. Article after article appeared in newspapers and magazines stridently attacking Velikovsky, but the effect was counterproductive. To the uncommitted, it appeared that the experts were simply asserting their superior knowledge to the public without bothering to prove Velikovsky wrong. The attacks on Velikovsky came across as arrogant and bullying. As a result, they aroused sympathy for the author, making him something of a martyr."

Source:
"On the Perils and Pleasures of Confronting Pseudohistory" by Ronald H. Fritze in:
Historically Speaking, Volume 10, Number 5, November 2009
E-ISSN: 1944-6438 Print ISSN: 1941-4188