The symposium draws to a close. I appreciate the effort made by the organizers on behalf of this University and the members of the faculty who participated as moderators; the dedication of those of you who came from afar to read the prepared papers, and of those who have followed my work with interest and devotion, some over many years since 1950, others who have become new adepts. I appreciate those who participated in this symposium by listening to two days of papers on the subject of “Cultural Amnesia.”
My work has ramifications in many fields of knowledge. Once I had begun to understand that global catastrophes caused by extraterrestrial agents had occurred, I had to face problems in many fields.
First I had to check in each field to determine the current situation and evaluate the prospects for revision. As soon as you accept that a global catastrophe has occurred, many problems thought to be insoluble solve themselves. In geophysics the origin of mountains is not established, nor is the origin of ocean salt. Palaeomagnetic changes and reversals create unsolved problems. The cause ofd ramatic changes in climate is not understood. Exactly at those times when I determined that the catastrophes took place there were records of unexplained changes in the ocean level.
Since its inception in 1859 the theory of evolution has altered the ways in which we think to such a degree that even philosophy has become a branch of Darwinian evolution, and is helpless to solve the problems that it creates for itself. Before the theory of evolution emerged it had been maintained that our Earth was created in six days. Slow evolution replaced instant creation. But was Darwins theory right? No, it was only partly so. This has become increasingly apparent in the last twenty years, and it should have been apparent early in this century when mutations were first observed.
There are problems in astronomical cosmology where we attempt to explain how everything came into being and how it attained its present state. Neither the Nebular theory nor the theory of tidal disruption can fully explain the creation of the Solar System. Neither the Big Bang nor the Steady State theory explains the beginning of the Universe. No single solution exists, no one theory is flawless.
In celestial mechanics the dogma persisted until very recently (and still persists today with some astronomers) that gravitation and inertia are the only forces that affect celestial motions. Yet many astronomical motions are more readily understood when electric and magnetic forces are included as the evidence now clearly requires.
Frequently, I am called upon to speak to gatherings of space-scientists. On such occasions I ask the assembled physicists and engineers if there is anyone present who still claims that Jupiter with its magnetosphere can travel through the interplanetary magnetic field without being affected, or if the satellites of Jupiter can travel through the magnetic field of Jupiter without being affected by it. Thousands have heard me lecture, yet I have never seen one arm raised, whether I spoke at Harvard, Princeton, or NASA.
In 1950 my claim that electric and magnetic forces acted in the cosmos was considered my greatest offense. Even before Worlds in Collision was published, Einstein warned me that the importance I placed upon electricity and magnetism in cosmic problems would be violently attacked by other scientists. But I stood my ground. Especially it appeared to me that sun-grazing comets are carried around the Sun by electric and magnetic forces in preference to gravitational forces. This is, of course, not yet proven.
Other critics told me that the greatest minds of the past had established with exact precision the ability to predict eclipses centuries in advance on the basis of only gravitation and inertia acting in the cosmos. But I was not dismayed, I met the competition head on, whether the opposition criticized me fairly, as in the case of Einstein with whom I argued often for long hours and exchanged quite a few handwritten letters or whether the criticisms were attacks and defamation. The attacks do not help me to complete my work.
Several other fields besides celestial mechanics must also be re-examined. How must global catastrophes affect the interpretation of ancient civilizations? What significance do the surviving relics of those civilizations have for the archaeologists and historians? We have to re-examine the meaning of mythology. The Freudian ideas that traumatic experiences cause the human race to be possessed by irrational motives, such as the urge to self-destruction, is of fundamental importance.
In 1950, the appearance of my work created a new phenomenon in the politics of science. Never in the history of science has there been anything comparable to what has happened in the last twenty-four years. In the 15th and 16th centuries when there were no newspapers, radio, or television, wholesale repression of an idea was extremely difficult. Communication was slow, usually by exchange of letters But even when more rapid communication became possible, nothing occurred which could be compared to the violence and the dishonesty of many incidents in the Velikovsky Affair. As a subject of discussion, of papers, and of graduate dissertations, the Velikovsky Affair has become a favourite subject on campuses across the country (although I speak about the United States I assume in Canada too) for sociologists and historians of science.
No one can possess the knowledge required to be an expert in so many fields. Equally, we cannot understand the happenings in various fields if those fields are examined in isolation. Nature is one: it is not subdivided into departments or separated compartments. No one can spend enough time to emulate the ancient philosophers like Seneca or Aristotle who discussed all of the knowledge of their day. Yet the understanding of nature becomes a question of interdisciplinary synthesis. Generalization is increasingly being favoured by the scientific press.
It is clear that no progress can be made discussing an interdisciplinary subject as a whole. This is why I published different evidence in separate books, like Earth in Upheaval, where I deal with stones and bones and evolution. There is not a single reference to anything from our human heritage. There were many references in Pliny, Strabo, Herodotus, and the ancient Egyptian sources that I could have used profitably in that volume, but I resisted. The geological evidence had to stand on its own merits. Although we recognize the interconnection between fields, each field needs to be discussed within its own frame of reference.
In defense of my theory I have had many confrontations. In particular, I remember one confrontation at Brown University, some seven years ago, when I was pitted against four specialists: one in Babylonian mathematics, one in astronomy, one in physics, and one in geology. I stood alone.
At the AAAS meeting in San Francisco just two months ago I participated in a similar debate which lasted seven hours. The audience showed by their standing ovation that they took my side, the side of the heretic. I had shown that the very same problems which plagued scientists in one field were identical to the problems in the next field. Common problems plagued the astronomer, the geologist, and the historian of Babylonian mathematics. Each of these specialists spoke about the very same subject without recognizing it.
This year there are five symposia discussing my work. At each I will face assembled experts and defend my work in each separate field.
I have now a more serious problem. The new idea which I have provided now spreads like wildfire. Discussion on one campus leads to invitations to other campuses, the invitations increase in geometric proportion. Just two hours ago I received an envelope containing an invitation to travel to Montreal for another series of lectures.
I have much to do: I started late in life. I was forty-four when I arrived in this country for an eight-month sabbatical. I have remained thirty-five years, the prisoner of an idea. I did ten years of work before the publication of Worlds in Collision. Shortly thereafter, my second book. Ages in Chaos, Volume One was published. The second volume of this latter work was already in page proofs and I called them back for elaboration. For the past twenty-two years I nave elaborated upon Ages in Chaos, making the original second volume into four new volumes.
I must now ask the question, at my age, with only one short year and a month away from being an octogenarian, can I continue to attend meetings and debate these issues? Can I continue to answer questions which are sent to me? Can I advise scientists, and write articles for Pensée? Each task is a heavy load by itself.
At the same time I will do my utmost while I am still physically able to finish those books which are now partially complete. I have a manuscript for a book which discusses catastrophes which precede those described in Worlds in Collision. I mentioned something of these catastrophes in my talk yesterday. Most important, I must complete the manuscripts for the four remaining volumes on ancient history. Ages in Chaos. I would like this series, my Opus Magnum, to be as complete as possible. It is my Opus Magnum even though the main problems are in cosmology, psychology, and geology, and not in ancient history. When I asked the question, could the catastrophes that are described in the ancient sources be correlated between Egyptian and Biblical sources, I discovered a systematical chronological error in ancient history. To my amazement, I discovered that descriptions of ancient history were confused; accepted dates meant nothing. For the past twenty-four years scholars have debated whether the beginning of the reign of Ramses the Second should be moved from -1289 to -1303. As I show in Ramses II and his Time, this debate has absolutely no meaning if Ramses belongs at the end of the seventh or at the beginning of the sixth century before the present era instead of centuries earlier.
Another volume deals with the Dark Age of Greece. In it will show how the Homeric Problem can be eliminated. No documents or buildings have survived from the Dark Age, the ancient Greeks never mentioned it and seemingly knew nothing of it. Its removal gave me great satisfaction, and should exhilarate Greek scholars, because the last link to a misguided Egyptian chronology can now be severed from Greek history. The traditional Egyptian chronology was devised hundreds of years before the first hieroglyphics were ever read, and was based upon erroneous astronomical calculations. In a recent issue of Pensée1 published a paper discussing the astronomical basis of chronology. Can anyone who has read this paper seriously believe in the traditional chronology based upon fallacious astronomical calculations?
Imagine twelve hundred years of ancient history as the span of a bridge. Though this span does not include all of ancient history, it does cover the period from the end of the Middle Kingdom to the time of the second Ptolemy. I tore down one abutment in Volume One of Ages in Chaos (which not every critic has seen or read) and now I am ready to do the same thing to the second abutment in my next book. Peoples of the Sea. How can the middle span between two abutments survive? It will topple down. Even with the revision chronological problems will remain, but their number will be greatly reduced.
I need more of you to follow my path, I need help from those of you who can take my work seriously, read my books, consider what I say, agree with my principal thesis, but then dig a little deeper to find its flaws. I dont need more critics who never bother to read my books (like the critic from this University who obviously never read Ages in Chaos before speaking critically about it). I cant expect all critics to be positive, but critics who are negative should at least be constructive.
Wherever in my studies I encountered an apparent difficulty on the way to a solution, experience has shown that the difficulty usually opened a doorway to a new pathway; beyond it lay a whole new vista. New solutions in one field provide the way to new understanding in other fields. Of course, I have left many problems unsolved, I am not omniscient. My work is not without error: I am dedicated, but I am only human.
I realize the scope of what I have discovered and I have been fortunate to live to see parts of my theory confirmed. So many innovators have not lived to see any of their claims confirmed. The history of science abounds with such cases. All innovators are iconoclasts. They never start with a majority; always they begin as a minority of one.
I believe that now is the time for me to go into seclusion and wait. When my new volume appears in print I must let the storm that may occur blow itself out. If I take time to visit universities I will do so only to find dedicated young men, capable of following new ideas: men of courage who are willing to consider ideas which are not very acceptable when they are first put forward. Such men must be prepared to drop their ideas when facts show them to be wrong.
Here on this campus I heard to my satisfaction that my ideas have been seminal, that members of the faculty belonging to various departments that once had no common interest now have much to discuss. This evening at the Chancellor’s Dinner I will stress how my effort has provided a common coefficient for scholars in different subjects.
I ask for help from the younger generation who have already educated themselves in one or another field which touches upon my work, to do those tests that I cannot perform, to supply me with literature that I have no time to find, and to give me criticism when I err.
I want to hear from those of you who already do such research. I want to hear in what fields you do your research and how it is proceeding. I am interested in your work, whether it is the study of the ancient kings, geology, or genetics.
In this auditorium I am probably the oldest in years, but in spirit I am among the youngest. I invite the younger among you, not just those who are young in age, but the young in spirit to add your efforts to my own. Dont just be listeners, dont just be autograph seekers. If you can, do your share. I have started, you must continue.
I am not the best listener, my eye is better than my ear. Yet I am a very slow reader, but what I read I usually remember. Sometimes I quote from books that I read as a child and have not seen for seventy years. My memory is very selective, I cant remember telephone numbers, but I remember chronological data with ease. If I must memorize a telephone number because I call it frequently, I connect it with some chronological dates, and then I can retain it.
I appreciate the efforts in preparing the papers for this symposium. Certainly something has been achieved. There are many new ideas included in the papers presented here by de Grazia, MacCregor, Mullen, Wolfe, Grinnell, and Doran.
And with these words, I repeat my thanks to President Beckel, Chancellor Oshiro, Vice-President Holmes, to the members of the Senate, to the members of the Faculty, to those who read papers, and to those who came to listen to somebody who was once a heretic, but whose prayer is that his works should never become a dogma.
Again, I thank you all.