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Details of The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe

The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe
Exact title of book
The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe
Book author
Michael D. Gordin
ISBN
9780226304427
Publisher
University of Chicago Press
Published
Oct 08, 2012
Language
English
Format
PDF, FB2, EPUB, MOBI
Pages
304
File size (in PDF)
2736 kB

Some brief overview of book

Properly analyzed, the collective mythological and religious writings of humanity reveal that around 1500 BC, a comet swept perilously close to Earth, triggering widespread natural disasters and threatening the destruction of all life before settling into solar orbit as Venus, our nearest planetary neighbor. Sound implausible? Well, from 1950 until the late 1970s, a huge number of people begged to differ, as they devoured Immanuel Velikovskys major best-seller, Worlds in Collision, insisting that perhaps this polymathic thinker held the key to a new science and a new history.

Scientists, on the other hand, assaulted Velikovskys book, his followers, and his press mercilessly from the get-go. In The Pseudoscience Wars, Michael D. Gordin resurrects the largely forgotten figure of Velikovsky and uses his strange career and surprisingly influential writings to explore the changing definitions of the line that separates legitimate scientific inquiry from what is deemed bunk, and to show how vital this question remains to us today.

Drawing on a wealth of previously unpublished material from Velikovskys personal archives, Gordin presents a behind-the-scenes history of the writers career, from his initial burst of success through his growing influence on the counterculture, heated public battles with such luminaries as Carl Sagan, and eventual eclipse. Along the way, he offers fascinating glimpses into the histories and effects of other fringe doctrines, including creationism, Lysenkoism, parapsychology, and moreall of which have surprising connections to Velikovskys theories. Science today is hardly universally secure, and scientists seem themselves beset by critics, denialists, and those they label "pseudoscientists"as seen all too clearly in battles over evolution and climate change.

The Pseudoscience Wars simultaneously reveals the surprising Cold War roots of our contemporary dilemma and points readers to a different approach to drawing the line between knowledge and nonsense.

About book author

D. Gordin is professor of history at Princeton University and the author of a number of books, including Red Cloud at Dawn Truman, Stalin, and the End of the Atomic Monopoly. isting that perhaps this polymathic thinker held the key to a new science and a new history. Scientists, on the other hand, assaulted Velikovskys book, his followers, and his press mercilessly from the get-go.

In The Pseudoscience Wars, Michael D. Gordin resurrects the largely forgotten figure of Velikovsky and uses his strange career and surprisingly influential writings to explore the changing definitions of the line that separates legitimate scientific inquiry from what is deemed bunk, and to show how vital this question remains to us today. Drawing on a wealth of previously unpublished material from Velikovskys personal archives, Gordin presents a behind-the-scenes history of the writers career, from his initial burst of success through his growing influence on the counterculture, heated public battles with such luminaries as Carl Sagan, and eventual eclipse.

Along the way, he offers fascinating glimpses into the histories and effects of other fringe doctrines, including creationism, Lysenkoism, parapsychology, and moreall of which have surprising connections to Velikovskys theories. Science today is hardly universally secure, and scientists seem themselves beset by critics, denialists, and those they label "pseudoscientists"as seen all too clearly in battles over evolution and climate change. The Pseudoscience Wars simultaneously reveals the surprising Cold War roots of our contemporary dilemma and points readers to a different approach to drawing the line between knowledge and nonsense.

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