The Pseudoscience Wars
Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe
"What is the difference between science and pseudoscience? As the publisher of Skeptic magazine and the 'Skeptic columnist for Scientific American I am frequently asked this question. Believe it or not, it'a a hard question to answer. Michael Gordin's The Pseudoscience Wars is the best single volume I have come across in my vast reading on the topic. He clearly and succinctly captures all sides on the debate, is rigorous in his research and fair to both believers and skeptics, and his narrative reconstruction of the Velikovsky affair makes for gripping reading. The Pseudoscience Wars is destined to become a classic in science literature."
“Few issues loom more important today than the boundaries and authority of scientific expertise. How do the boundaries get created and reinforced, and what work do terms like ‘pseudoscience’ do in the debates? By delving deep into one of the earliest border skirmishes of the modern age—the fascinating, beguiling case of Immanuel Velikovsky, his heterodox theories of human history and cosmic evolution, and the firestorm of protest they elicited from the scientific community—Michael Gordin offers us a roadmap of the modern fringe. Scouring extraordinary sources with his keen analytic eye, Gordin reveals the roots of today's pseudoscience wars. Engrossing and illuminating.”
“Those who are interested in how bad ideas start, how they diffuse, how they covet and resist confrontation, and how they wax and wane in popularity over time will find much food for thought in this gripping book.”
1 The Grand Collision of Spring 1950
Conclusion: Pseudoscience in Our Time
Abbreviations and Archives