Talk:Immanuel Velikovsky

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Richard, I'm wondering why you removed the "Jewish People" category from the article? --Eric2009 17:56, 3 February 2009 (EST)

his books sold to the science fiction audience-- his "belief" in them I think was part of his game. He was not important as a Jew and doesn't deserve that category, I think. RJJensen 18:45, 10 February 2009 (EST)
I believe the category "Jewish People", refers to "people who follow the Jewish religion", not necessarily whether he was an important Jew? One of Velikovsky's biographer's considers his Jewishness important enough to write an article "The Jewish Science of Immanuel Velikovsky", Aeon vol.2 No.6, 1991. Between 1947-1948, Velikovsky had published over 40 articles in the N.Y. Post editorial page, dealing with the Middle East and the new state of Israel.(ref) Velikovsky begun the Scripta Academica series "as a basis for a Hebrew Academy based in Jerusalem."(ref) --Eric2009 08:11, 11 February 2009 (EST)
I think "Jewish people" is a useful category only if the person played an important role in Jewish affairs. You make the case that he did so, so I agree w the category now. RJJensen 12:32, 14 February 2009 (EST)
Thanks for the reconsideration, I'll update the category. I wonder whether there should be different categories for (a) just being Jewish (b) playing a role in Jewish affairs? --Eric2009 13:25, 14 February 2009 (EST)
  • It was already decided that merely being a Jew, by race, wasn't reason enough to categorize them as such. The accepted definition is one who is noted for being Jewish in terms of religious involvement, or political involvement with the Jewish State. --₮K/Admin/Talk 23:15, 15 February 2009 (EST)


I note that the category "authors" has been removed, and was wondering what the rationale for this is? After all, he was an author of 8 books, his first being a New York Times number one best seller for 9 weeks, and top ten best seller for 27 week, and initiating a "controversy" that lasted many years. (ref) --Eric2009 13:25, 14 February 2009 (EST)

The categories, it seems to me, ought to lead readers to the most important articles about leading people students should know about. (A category with 10,000 names is no help at all) V doesn't make the cut as author, and just barely makes it as a Jewish leader, in my opinion.RJJensen 00:06, 15 February 2009 (EST)
Won't different students need to know about different authors? Someone who is investigating "catastrophism", "pseudoscience", "mythology", and perhaps other subjects, may find Velikovsky a relevant author? I'll see if I can get a second opinion on the general use of categories on It seems to me, that you're either an author, or you're not. --Eric2009 09:59, 15 February 2009 (EST)
I agree thyat a student looking at say "catastrophism" or "pseudoscience" would find V a very useful case study. I suggest the "author" category should guide students to finding the great writers of world literature. RJJensen 10:51, 15 February 2009 (EST)
I'd say that "Authors" is a good top-level category for all authors regardless of level of success. Included amongst its subcategory could be "Great Writers of World Literature". A problem I see, however, is edit or talk page warring about who fits in said subcategory. WesleySHello! 10:57, 15 February 2009 (EST)

My suggestion would be to subdivide the "Authors" category into either genres or eras, because as it stands, that category has 3 subcategories and 362 articles. I personally agree that V merits being listed amongst the authors, but we're going to have to do some work in subcategorizing the authors category. WesleySHello! 10:53, 15 February 2009 (EST)

Yes, a category "Author of great literature" (or similar), would make sense, but decided by some third-party source so there is no subjectivity. eg. books mentioned in Encylcopedia Britannica, or in Who's Who? Is there another way to assess "great literature"? Perhaps a literature award? --Eric2009 11:38, 15 February 2009 (EST)
Currently there are seven subcats, three on the first 200, and four on the second 200. I agree with the need for more subcats. --DeanStalk 10:59, 15 February 2009 (EST)
Oops, you are correct. Currently we are looking at Essayists, Historians, Journalists, Playwrights, Poets, Slavic Authors, and Women Authors. We could break what is left in the Authors category down by, say, Science Authors, Science-Fiction Authors, Religious Authors, Novelists, etc. WesleySHello! 11:13, 15 February 2009 (EST)
It would make sense to sub-categorize "authors", and all sorts of categories are possible, including their subject (science writers, science fiction writers), No. 1 best-sellers, etc etc. --Eric2009 11:29, 15 February 2009 (EST)
I didn't previously comment on this issue because, at the stage the discussion was at, I was undecided. However, I agree that sub-categorising the "authors" category is a good idea, and Valikovsky could then be included in one of those sub-categories. Philip J. Rayment 14:54, 15 February 2009 (EST)
  • No need to comment, because that is how it was decided it would be done, over a year ago. All will be in SuperCat, Authors, and subdivided down to their proper placement, and that could include two or many more sub categories. The whole idea is to make things easy to find. If we use too few categories, that would pre-suppose all users here would know where we put them. That is highly dubious to assume. The American Library Association or the like has lists of how this should be done. --₮K/Admin/Talk 20:24, 15 February 2009 (EST)

Category:science fiction

Not Science Fiction, just bad science. I removed the categorization as SF, because Velikovsky was serious about what he wrote. Canuck 23:22, 10 November 2008 (EST)

Agreed, his books may well be wrong, but they have never been place in the Science Fiction category, and they were never written as SF. --Eric2009 05:11, 3 February 2009 (EST)

I also disagree with the "science fiction" category. The comment above that the books "sold to the science fiction audience" is not justification even if it's a fair assessment, which I doubt. Philip J. Rayment 02:40, 15 February 2009 (EST)

I think there are two issues here (1) Was the book "sold to the science fiction audience" (2) Even if it was, is the science fiction category justified based on the audience? After all, the book was read by numerous scientists that criticized it; do we add the "science/scientist" cagegory? --Eric2009 09:59, 15 February 2009 (EST)
Agreed, except that you have the questions back to front in the sense that No. 2 needs to be answered first, and No. 1 only needs to be answered if No. 2 is answered in the positive. Personally, I think it should be answered in the negative. Philip J. Rayment 14:55, 15 February 2009 (EST)

Religious Creationists

1. I'm not familiar with the Religious Creationists view of Velikovsky, besides the one quote provided from Don DeYoung. Can you provide a few more references which support the consensus view?

2. I note we now have a Category:Creationism, which as far as I know, was never associated with Velikovsky. Is there a rationale? --Eric2009 15:13, 15 February 2009 (EST)

I would agree that Don DeYoung's view would be accepted by most creationists. I don't agree with the actual wording though.
  • What sorts of creationists are there except "religious" ones?
  • The wording says that creationists reject Velikovsky, but then quoted DeYoung accepting some of his ideas.
I'll modify the wording.
My guess for the ratinoale of the Creationism category is that creationists are mentioned in the article. Not a good reason for inclusion, in my opinion, though.
Philip J. Rayment 20:31, 15 February 2009 (EST)
I agree with PJR here. A mere mention isn't substantive enough to merit applying a whole category. --₮K/Admin/Talk 23:08, 15 February 2009 (EST)


An anti-creationist systemetically looked through the creationist literature expectibg to find praise or support for V. He found zero support. (his goal was to ridicule creationists by showing they liked this crackpot Velikovsky.) William D. Stansfield "Creationism, Catastrophism, and Velikovsky: Catastrophism Is a Tenet of Biblical Fundamentalism (Creationism). Immanuel Velikovsky (Author of Worlds in Collision) Was a Neocatastrophist. What Use Did Creationism Make of His Theories?." Skeptical Inquirer. Volume: 32. Issue: 1. Publication Date: January-February 2008. pp 46+ online edition. RJJensen 23:23, 15 February 2009 (EST)

I can't read that without signing up, which I'd rather not do. I'd be interested to see exactly what they were looking for and found. I've seen creationists quote favourably his redating of Egyptian history (without necessarily accepting his interpretation), although I agree that beyond that they don't use his ideas. It just seems odd to have the article saying "Creationists rejected [Velikovsky's ideas] as incompatible with the Bible" then quoting Don DeYoung saying "His proposal of a recent Ice Age is shared with creationists, as are his challenges to "the doctrine of uniformity". I realise that the complete quote is hardly a ringing endorsement, but the "rejection" statement seems a bit too black-and-white.
So why did you revert to "Religious Creationists"?
Philip J. Rayment 04:34, 16 February 2009 (EST)
It's true that V and the creationists overlap on a few points, but when deYoung says that V endorses evolution and rejects the Bible, Christianity and miracles, it's pretty hard for a creationist to buy into his very complex theory, and not one does so. V's goal was to show many of the miracles of the Bible had physical causes and were not divine miracles. Stansfield looked and found not a single creationist supporter. Send your email address to me at and I will send along the whole Stansfield article.RJJensen 04:53, 16 February 2009 (EST)
I think it's going further than Don DeYoung to say that Velikovsky "rejects the Bible". Rejects the miraculous aspect, yes, but not the Bible per se. Velikovsky accepted much more of the history of the Bible than many other non-Christians.
My e-mail will be on its way shortly, but you could have simply asked me to use the "e-mail this user" link on the left (of your user pages) to save posting it here publicly.
Philip J. Rayment 06:46, 16 February 2009 (EST)
So, can we conclude what is becoming another endless "debate"? Dr. Jensen, append it to say he rejects the miracle content, which would seem to satisfy PJR, is that satisfactory? --₮K/Admin/Talk 06:52, 16 February 2009 (EST)
there is something about Velikovsky that automatically stirs up terrific arguments! The only point i'm trying to make is one of high relevance to some CP users: Christian creationists never cite or credit or use his work, that seems definite. The reason why seems best explained by the quote-- for a creationist to accept his theories you have to reject the Bible and miracles and accept evolution. RJJensen 07:13, 16 February 2009 (EST)
My main criticism of the current statement, is that it describes the consensus view, apparently based on one quote. Perhaps the William D. Stansfield's Skeptical Inquirer article you mentioned above, has a more relevant quote on the creationist view? --Eric2009 07:31, 16 February 2009 (EST)

I don't think it is a matter of all or nothing, Eric. One can accept parts of what a person says, and it does not logically follow that doing that means an endorsement of everything that person has ever said, right? --₮K/Admin/Talk 08:06, 16 February 2009 (EST)

Stansfield systematically looked at how creationists used V. he discovered they ignored it. He contacted ICR, asking "How was his work received by various groups within the creationist community outside the ICR?" answer: Some writers have mentioned his ideas but we are not aware of any following in support of Velikovsky's theories on celestial collisions." RJJensen 08:10, 16 February 2009 (EST)
Agreed TK, it's definitely not all or nothing. But it is about the sources supporting statements in articles. RJJensen knows more about this area than I do, and I don't contest that Religious Creationist view, only that one statement does not make a consensus. But if Stansfield says that Creationist reject Velikovsky, we satisfy all conditions, if we attribute and quote him. --Eric2009 08:40, 16 February 2009 (EST)

I've now read the paper that RJJensen kindly e-mailed me, and I have the following comments to make:

  • I give little credence to opinions expressed by anti-creationists about creation. However, insofar as in this case they are reporting something that they didn't expect, it is useful information.
  • Stansfield seemed to be trying to have a bit each way (or disagrees with Carl Sagan): Quoting Carl Sagan, he says that "scientists have not given the reasoned response his work calls for" but later says that "for many years, Velikovsky's pseudoscientific theories diverted the efforts of many scientists away from productive research in order to provide scientific arguments (based on empirical evidence and well-established principles of physics) in the popular press against them".
  • I accept the factual material that Stansfield documented: that of the three (? see more below) "creationist" (one was actually ID) organisations he investigated, none had anything other than insignificant mentions of Velikovsky.
  • Stansfield refers to three "Creationist" organisations: Creation Research Society, Institute for Creation Research, and the Discovery Institute. Why he apparently didn't include Answers In Genesis (AiG) and Creation Ministries International (CMI), two of the biggest ones, is not explained.
  • Despite that previous claim, he did contact AiG, and it was them who directed him to Don DeYoung's comment, so that comment can be taken as being more than just DeYoung's position. (And on matters like this, AiG and CMI would mostly agree.)
  • A Google search of CMI's website for "Velikovsky" returns about 35 results, although that doesn't mean that any of them support or use Velikovsky.
  • Stansfield's concern seems to be primarily about Velikovsky's celestial ideas. (See also the quote supposedly[1] from ICR that RJJensen posted.) He didn't mention Velikovsky's redating of Egyptian history, which is the specific area I mentioned above as possibly having some favourable comments from creationists.
  • Stansfield, although acknowledging that creationists don't use Velikovsky, admits to not understanding why, so any opinions he expresses on why should be taken with a grain of salt.

This (Conservapedia) article reads as a specific and definite rejection of Velikovsky by creationists, just as mainstream scientists ealier rejected Velikovsky. From Stansford's paper, DeYoung's quote, and my own observations, it would seem more accurate to say that creationists largely ignore Velikovsky rather than specifically reject him (in the manner that mainstream scientists did).

[1] In the plain-text version that RJJensen sent me, that did not appear to be a direct quote from ICR. Does the formatted version appear otherwise? Philip J. Rayment 08:59, 16 February 2009 (EST)

I'm happy with the suggested modification of the statement, though it would be nice to have a quote from Stansford, or note that Stansford "acknowledges that creationists don't use Velikovsky" --Eric2009 09:30, 16 February 2009 (EST)
on that quote from ICR: I rechecked the formatted article and the quote is set off in distinctive and indented type so that it certainly looks like an exact quote. My own inclination is not to quote Stansford in CP. RJJensen 10:27, 16 February 2009 (EST)
Seems reasonable. --Eric2009 10:31, 16 February 2009 (EST)