Venus and Dr. Velikovsky
Posted: 15 May 2012 10:49 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I picked up Broca’s Brain last week and am reading through parts of it at my leisure.

My goodness, Carl Sagan could sure be hilarious at times! The chapter entitled “Venus and Dr. Velikovsky” is a real gem. For example, when discussing the physical problems of a comet delivering various organic materials to the Earth:

Next there is the problem of fly ablation. Small flies have just the same mass and dimensions as small meteors, which are burned up at an altitude of about 100 kilometers when they enter the Earth’s atmosphere on cometary trajectories. Ablation accounts for the visibility of such meteors. Not only would cometary vermin be transformed rapidly into fried flies on entrance into the Earth’s atmosphere; they would, as cometary meteors are today, be vaporized into atoms and never “swarm” over Egypt to the consternation of the Pharaoh. Likewise, the temperatures attendant to ejection of the comet from Jupiter, referred to above, would fry Velikovsky’s flies. Impossible to begin with, doubly fried and atomized, cometary flies do not well survive critical scrutiny.

He had to have given himself a good chuckle when he wrote this - it’s too hilariously unlikely an event to be talking about to not.

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Posted: 16 May 2012 02:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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LOL! Another comedian!

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Posted: 16 May 2012 03:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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it’s too hilariously unlikely an event to be talking about to not.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of fabulists out there who do take Velikovski seriously.

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Posted: 16 May 2012 04:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Even though I am a Carl Sagan fan I have never read Broca’s Brain. I just purchased that and Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors from the iTunes Store. They’ll make good reading on my upcoming trip to Denmark.

I read Worlds in Collision in the mid 1970s. Even though this was before I discovered the joys of actual science, I knew the book was rubbish. I look forward to reading Sagan’s chapter on Velikosvky.

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Posted: 16 May 2012 05:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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DarronS - 16 May 2012 04:03 PM

They’ll make good reading on my upcoming trip to Denmark.

Have a fabulous trip!

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Posted: 17 May 2012 12:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 16 May 2012 03:44 PM

it’s too hilariously unlikely an event to be talking about to not.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of fabulists out there who do take Velikovski seriously.

Which is, I understand one of the primary motivations behind why Carl wrote the piece in the first place. Actually it was apparently a lecture before he expanded it for the chapter of the book.

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