VII, No. 4 Summer - 1982
On Velikovsky and Darwin
LYNN E. ROSE
The so-called "Darwinian Revolution" stands in sharp contrast to, and was of
an entirely different character from, the Brunian Revolution of the
It is well known how Darwin sailed with the Beagle and patiently
collected facts from the Galapagos Islands and elsewhere around the world.
Many people take it for granted that these actual observations are the
basis for his theory of gradual evolution by natural selection.
Darwin did make many observations, but his theory was chosen in defiance
of observational data, not because of observational data. The
geological and paleontological record shows no gradual transition, no
continuity. Rather, it shows that there were sudden, numerous, and
simultaneous extinctions of older species and sudden, numerous, and
simultaneous generations of newer species. The destructions and
extinctions that Darwin found in the Americas were so massive and so
extensive that at first his mind was, in his own words,
". . . irresistably hurried into the belief of some great catastrophe; but
thus to destroy animals, both large and small, in Southern Patagonia, in
Brazil, on the Cordillera of Peru, in North America up to Behring's Straits,
we must shake the entire framework of the globe."
Thus the facts that Darwin observed led to the idea of a global
catastrophe. Instead of following the lead of the observed facts, however,
Darwin chose to go against the facts, and to theorize that the facts were
misrepresentative of what had really happened. Thus he theorized that the
geological and paleontological record was really incomplete and compressed
and abbreviated, so that what is really continuous only appears
discrete, what is really slow only appears fast, and what is really
non-simultaneous only appears simultaneous. Also, the transitional
stages that must really have existed (the famous "links") only
appear to be missing. In all of these respects, the Darwinian theory
went against the known evidence.
Why Darwin and his followers chose to do this is no doubt a very complicated
question. But a large part of it may be that a world of gradual, peaceful
change was found to be more comfortable than the alternative. A safe
uniformitarian Earth was, for them, much preferable to the repeatedly
devastated world that is indicated by the geological and paleontological facts.
Many of the theories that are accepted by the scientists and the historians
of today are just as arbitrary and just as much in conflict with the facts
as is Darwinism. They are also just as carefully uniformitarian: nothing
is allowed to happen in the past that is not happening today. Such
theories, "established" and "accepted" but never confirmed by fact or
observation, are among the obstacles that the Velikovsky Revolution has faced.
Velikovsky has described all this as
". . . a psychological phenomenon that I observed again and again. Exactly
those who, like Darwin, witnessed the omnipresent shambles of an
overwhelming fury of devastation on a continental scale, became the
staunchest defenders of the principle of uniformitarianism, that became not
just a law, but a principle that grew to a statute of faith in the natural
sciences, as if the reasoning that what we do not observe in our time could
not have happened in the past can in any measure claim to be philosophically
or scientifically true.
"Obviously, a motive is at play that makes appear as scientific principle
what is but wishful thinking."
Wishful thinking that ignores experience is not the way to discover the
truth, even if that wishful thinking has such a strong appeal that it comes
to be regarded as "established". Unlike the revolutions wrought by a Bruno
or by a Velikovsky, the so-called "Darwinian Revolution" was not a
scientific revolution at all.
Journal of the Beagle voyage, January 9, 1834.
A.A.A.S. address, "My Challenge to Conventional Views in Science",
in Velikovsky and Establishment Science (KRONOS III: 2), p.
8. This paper was read on February 25, 1974, in San Francisco, at
the A.A.A.S. Symposium on Velikovsky's work.