Grazian Archive:



Authors' biographies

(Needs Adobe Acrobat Reader on your Computer)



Alfred de Grazia

Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

Earl R. Milton, A.B., M.A., Ph.D.

Managing Editor

Volume I


Charles Darwin said in 1869 in the "Origin of Species" that "anyone whose disposition leads him to attach more weight to unexplained difficulties than to the explanation of a certain number of facts will certainly reject my theory." For a long time it seemed unwise to weigh too heavily the anomalies. Now the time has arrived when "unexplained difficulties" have become indeed too many for the Darwinian model of gradual incremental Evolution by natural selection to support. It should be replaced by a theory of Quantavolution. Or, at least, it should be placed up against a contrasting model. That seems to be a task for an encyclopedia, not so much to collect all that has been said on the two conflicting ideas, as to allow an idea of the thousand points at which they clash. Hence, this Encyclopedia of Quantavolution and Catastrophe.

Encyclopedias are deemed to cover all knowledge or some special field or approach. The Encyclopedie of Diderot and D'Alembert, for instance, is widely believed to have been universal, but it omitted biography, dwelt heavily upon the practical arts, and scorned the metaphysical. In terms of modern general encyclopedias like the Encyclopaedia Britannica, which may carry articles on Joe Di Maggio and religion, it would be only half an encyclopedia. This now, the Encyclopedia of Quantavolution and Catastrophes, small as it is by comparison with these two gigantic sets, carries material on practically all fields of knowledge, because they are all somehow relevant; it offers many biographical notices; yet it has a special goal in mind, that of presenting an important universal paradigm in the philosophy of science.

Quantavolution theory maintains that the world from its beginnings, including the world of life and humanity, has changed largely by quantum leaps, great abrupt changes, rather than by tiny increments over great stretches of time. The three thousand entries and over two million words of this Encyclopedia stress the ideas and phenomena that pertain to this theory.

Such a global change of perspective requires a search for new evidence, a reformulation of old evidence, a reconsideration of anomalies, changes in meanings of words and phrases, explorations of etymologies of words and concepts, and a reexamination of assumptions, often when they are so accepted as to be trite and so trite as to be ignored -- removed, indeed, from our very cognitive structures.

For example, there is an immense idea that persists in the literature to the effect that the Moon was torn from the Earth; this story is told not only by scientists such as George Darwin and George Fisher but also by myths of various cultures. Invariably, if a discussion of the matter is allowed at all, the posited event is positioned in time billions of years ago in the conventionally agreed upon youth of the Earth. Such an event, if it were to be treated seriously in an encyclopedia, would invade hundreds of articles with its causes and effects, changing practically every discipline in ways great and small. This Encyclopedia does not treat this idea alone as the true theory; but it considers it properly so serious and supportable as to warrant consideration under many entries.

Such theories of "quantavolution" play a part in all discussions as to the origin of the other bodies of the solar system; one needs to explain the considerations that have led serious scholars to ask whether and how the planets originated from the Sun or, if not, then from one or another of themselves (such as Jupiter). Furthermore, the universal belief of ancient cultures and legends, that the gods were born, and were members of the same family, would begin to stir our interest.

In many cultures, there is said to have been an original chaos or world vapor and a catastrophic event from which the father of the gods was born and from him (or her) was born the succession of gods. Why "born" instead of having always been in existence? It is not enough to say that these phrases are only analogies with the birth of animals in nature, or only fairy tales based on the analogies. Why should this be? Many analogies cover realities: might this be such a case? When one says, "Babies are born like puppies," one certainly is not denying that babies are born. And why were all of these gods identified, if of any importance, with the planets and other sky bodies?

Most, if not all, cultures, have insisted that the planets and other sky bodies are divinities. Does this not lend support to the hypothesis of a true succession of birth throes in the heavens? Would this be evidence of a marvelous early philosophical synthesis connecting the birth of the cosmos to that of the members of an earthly family? No matter if the alarming thought should arise: the members of the solar system arose somehow from one another in a series of catastrophes that somehow early humankind had some knowledge or theory about.

This is the kind of reasoning that unsettles many scientists and ordinary people who are content to rest with their ordinary perspectives on the universe; it is a "whistle-blower" on the prevailing paradigm of the sciences and the humanities, calling back the play to the line of scrimmage. Experience in teaching, reading, and conferences has shown that both young and matures become excited, activated, and exhilarated by the comparisons and contrasts afforded by the materials contained in this Encyclopedia; even when convictions remain unchanged, they have become more lively and meaningful. The rules of play actually remain much the same here as elsewhere. The articles of this Encyclopedia have been prepared with the same stipulations as govern the scholarship of other respected encyclopedias of the world.

Every entry pays its respects to the prevailing, conventional theory or theories, but not much more than this, because such theories are repeated over and over in dozens of conventional usual general and special encyclopedias dealing with the particular entries. But the main business of each article is to call attention to a quantavolutionary proof, a Q-logical process, a Q-criticism of conventional science and scholarship, a puzzling question facing conventional knowledge; or else it contributes useful "building block" material (often generally accepted and conventional) required in the construction of various propositions of Quantavolution.

Often an entry is made largely to reassure the reader that in this regard Q and C theory agree and the fact or concept can be handled in an orthodox manner. An example would be the entry "absolute zero," and the scale based upon it, a concept that need not be changed for the purposes of quantavolutionary study.

Its concentration upon Quantavolution makes the Encyclopedia of the class of specialized encyclopedias, even though it handles hundreds of entries and introduces a great deal of material not to be discovered in other Encyclopedias, no matter how voluminous. It makes the Encyclopedia unique and important to all fields of knowledge, if not to the games of trivia that have their sources of support in conventional encyclopedias, the names of foolish or great kings, of tennis stars, of a great many items, tools, etc.

Other principles have been agreed to here by the editors and writers. One is to pursue an objective, clear, precise -- even telegraphic -- academic style. Also, technical terms will be used where needed and for brevity. Whenever a theory is conventional, it will carry a "c". When it is quantavolutionary, it will carry a "q", granted that this judgement will sometimes be difficult. Other clarifying symbols and abbreviations will be employed (see below).

Students from disciplines such as geophysics will ask why the Encyclopedia has so many entries on art objects like carvings, on historical dating like the Greek Dark Ages, on human nature and animal behavior like language: are these really connected with quantavolution and catastrophes? Only the reading of numerous articles in each of these areas will show how largely relevant they are, but this may be said here, to take up dating as an example: A great many struggles over dating are part and parcel of the controversy between gradualism and quantavolution; do the so-called Greek Dark Ages represent a sudden desolation of one civilization and its replacement by another quickly in consequence of catastrophe, or in slow decline and revival over five centuries? Did the continents move apart and together very slowly or first rapidly and then more and more slowly as they assumed their present positions? Or, was Frederick La Place completely dedicated to proving the world to have been forever uniform and constant in its motions or did he allow for quantavolutions, as would be caused by a passing comet?

Art objects are often based upon astronomical and catastrophic themes, sometimes clearly, sometimes obscurely, and thus exhibit the concerns and recollections of the people who created them. For example, the famous Bayeux Tapestry realistically portrays the comet that was in the skies around the time of the Battle of Hastings of 1066 when the Normans conquered England and connects it with the defeat of King Harold. Again, with regards now to human nature, the terrific effects of natural catastrophe upon the biosphere and landscape can have been important not only in the determination of a culture but even upon the transformation of hominids into humans.

The Encyclopedia contains many articles dealing with disasters of limited scope and recent occurrence. In fact, it endeavors to treat all of the larger natural disasters that have been historically studied, and goes on also to describe some of the basic human behaviors that are catastrophically-determined, such as the engagement and flight of people from war, nuclear explosions, famine and flood. In these categories would fall events such as the Tunguska explosion in Siberia (1913), the Krakatoa Disaster in Indonesia (1883), and the Chernobyl nuclear melt-down of 1986.

The catastrophes responsible for the development of the theory of quantavolution were immensely greater than these, to be sure, but the elemental forces at work, the chemistry, the electricity, the psychic reactions are typical and homologous. As with a host of experiences of the past and present, the individual person must learn about catastrophes of the world -- past, present, and future -- from the testimony of the rocks, the skies, the fossils, the carvings, the ruins, and then from recorded history and logical thought.

The theory of Quantavolution deals with the behavior of substances of the real world so far as one can sense them. It proposes that change in nature and life occur largely as the result of catastrophic events; the events originate in the skies, which contain forces that are immeasurably greater than any in man or Earth and that are especially electrical. There are numerous "catastrophists" who have contributed to Q and they are to be found in their alphabetic order in the volumes that follow. It is vital to appreciate that in Quantavolution, the word "catastrophe" loses its completely bad connotation; for what the world is today is an effect of catastrophe or, better, of Quantavolution, whose goodness and badness are intertwined and to be judged by the philosophy of good and bad consequences.

The underlying philosophy of the Encyclopedia inclines toward a phenomenological instrumentalism. It regards a "truth" as a fitting and useful part of a system of such truths that constitute as a whole a possible tolerable outlook upon existence. The terms pragmatism, logical positivism, and operationism come to mind when reaching out for related perspectives. As with catastrophists, many philosophers might be cited. Among them would be Plato, Ockham, Bruno, Locke, Berkeley, Vico, Husserl, Dewey, Mead, and Wittgenstein. But they are not so well covered in these volumes as the "catastrophists," because they can be readily and reliably consulted elsewhere -- something the material substance of quantavolution cannot be.

The Encyclopedia is ordered according to the alphabet. Its ninth volume is devoted to an annotated bibliography. Its tenth volume is dedicated to an index in great depth, also alphabetic, so that a reader, wishing more information on a particular matter -- say, "astrobleme" -- can find fifty or more entries listed as pertaining to astroblemes in other regards. Because of rapid change brought on by events and research, an annual supplement is planned for the printed Encyclopedia.

For owners of the Encyclopedia in computer-readable form or on-line, up-dating will be practically continuous. In the early stages of its preparation, floppy disks will be sold, which, in the end, may be credited at a large discount toward the purchase of the CD-Rom disk that will contain the whole Encyclopedia.

The Encyclopedia of Quantavolution here begins with the letter "A" and proceeds alphabetically as the weeks go by with "B", "C", etc. Click on the following choices:


(Needs Adobe Acrobat Reader on your Computer)

Top of the Page

Copyrights held by Metron Publications (Text and books), Pietro Gaietto (Artwork, top picture), and MAB (Artwork, second picture).