Criticisms of Catastrophism
has been the principal USENET news group hosting discussions of catastrophism.
Thus you will find criticisms of catastrophist
positions (primarily those of Velikovsky and the Saturnists) at the
talk.origins archive maintained
by Brett Vickers. The USENET news group
alt.catastrophism, not available at all
sites, was originally intended to be a focal point for discussions of historical
catastrophism. However, it receives very few messages anymore as most
discussions of catastrophism have moved to private mailing lists.
While the following critics primarily target Velikovskian-style catastrophism,
many of their arguments also apply to other types of astronomical
catastrophism. Some of these critics are not against catastrophism in general,
just specific types of catastrophism.
Philip R. "Pib" Burns
Here are some messages which I posted to the
USENET news group talk.origins over
the years. These messages contain responses to catastrophists who
subscribe to the Saturnist and Velikovskian viewpoints.
- An Antidote To Velikovskian Delusions
by Leroy Ellenberger was originally published in Skeptic magazine.
Ellenberger was a supporter of Velikovsky's positions for a
number of years, but later decided that Velikovsky was
mistaken. In this article, Ellenberger discusses why he
believes the ideas of Velikovsky as well as those of the
Saturnists are untenable. Ellenberger suggests that Clube and
Napier, among others, offer a more credible approach to
- The Wild Side of Geoarchaeology
offers rebuttals to some of the claims advanced in books
such as Fingerprints Of The Gods and programs
such as Mysterious Origins of Man. Heinrich
discusses the crustal shifting hypothesis of Charles Hapgood,
the death of the mammoths, ice cores, old maps, Atlantis, and
- El-Arish Revisited
discusses the inscription, found on a Ptolemaic shrine at
el-Arish, which Velikovsky suggested was an Egyptian account
of the Exodus. Mewhinney discusses Velikovsky's
interpretation and critical reaction to it. Mewhinney
believes (correctly, in my opinion) that the text has nothing
to do with the Exodus.
- Minds in Ablation
summarizes why Sean Mewhinney believes the physical evidence
provided by paleoclimatic data, especially ice cores,
demonstrates that global catastrophes of the type envisioned
by Immanuel Velikovsky and others "could not have happened
within the past many thousands of years," and refutes the
defense of Velikovsky's scenario attempted by Charles
Ginenthal in his Ice Core
Evidence. Mr. Ginenthal's reply to portions of
Minds in Ablation appears at Minds
- Saturn and The Flood
discusses how evidence from ice cores contradicts
Velikovsky's idea of a Holocene Saturnian catastrophe.
Velikovsky suggested a "nova-like" disruption of Saturn caused
the Biblical Deluge.
- Tree Rings
discusses annual growth rings of trees and how these fail to
match the pattern expected if Velikovsky's catastrophes had
occurred. Includes graphs of tree ring oscillations from 900
to 500 B.C.
- Uses of Pollen Analysis
discusses how pollen analysis provides a means to establish
the relative importance of each type of plant in the plant
community over time. This provides a measure of climatic
change. Pollen analysis results from the Holocene contradict
the climatic patterns expected if Velikovskian catastrophes
by Gunnar Ries comments on how Velikovsky and his followers
misquote and misunderstand their sources. Also offers a
message board for discussing if Velikovsky was right or
- Wayne Throop
offers some criticisms of Velikovskian catastrophism and
Back to catastrophism.
Back to my interests.
Back to my home page.
Last modified by
pib on July 6, 2003.