At 08:16 AM 18/01/01 -0800, "Technotranscendence"
>On Thursday, January 18, 2001 1:50 AM Anders Sandberg firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
>> Anyway, even if Einstein had been the greatest admirer of Velikovsky
>> it doesn't improve the validity of his theories one bit. Arguments of
>> authority have no place in science.
>As I've argued earlier -- though Damien disagreed with me. They have no
>place in science, philosophy, or any field that hopes to be valid and true.
I was trying to draw a useful distinction between `argument from authority'
of the form < Aristotle believed this, so it must be true so shut your trap
> and < Here is Einstein's view of relativistic time dilatation; you might
prefer to pay closer attention to this than to Donald Duck's rubber band
aether account >.
I feel comforted by the extra details JM has now posted concerning
Einstein's interest in Velikovsky's piffle. As for the science, AE's own
specialty: embarrassing horseshit, sez Albert. So what *did* he like in the
book? Well, that apparently inexplicable bunch of stuff about historic and
prehistoric catastrophes - a field in which Einstein was no authority at all.
But what is it leads us to suspect that he was being misled by Velikovsky's
jackdaw scrapheap pseudo-arguments? Why, in the first instance, the many
raspberries blown by experts in those fields - which, when one follows them
up, appear to be based upon abundant evidence and logic.
Both plate tectonics and the impact of major vulcanism and random cometary
impacts were poorly understood and usually mocked by the experts at that
time. Bearing this in mind, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that *some* of
what Einstein meant by `There is much of interest in the book which proves
that in fact catastrophes have taken place which must be attributed to
extraterrestrial causes' could ndeed now find their explanation in terms
outside those available to authorities in the mid-1950s.
In that sense, Velikovsky, like Charles Fort and von Daniken and Colin
Wilson and possibly Donald Duck, could have drawn useful attention to
disruptive anomalies in the `authoritative' geological and astrophysical
science of his time. Any value in doing so, though, was entirely vitiated
by his mad, bad pseudo-science. I would not be surprised if his big public
profile served to turn some serious attention away from any interesting
aspects of the world drawn into his zany web - just as I feel that the
authentic evidence for some classes of parapsychological phenomena [boo!
hiss! from the monkey gallery :) ] are lost from view amid the antics of
Uri Geller and his sorry like.
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