The Velikowsky Paradigm
This chapter would not be complete without a discussion of the work of Immanual Velikovsky (1905 – 1979). I will admit that I was uninspired by his work when I first came across it. His failure to embed his findings in the language of physics was off putting and led me to dismiss his ideas on the basis of the physics as described. It seemed all misguided. It is also rather likely that he did not have a translator up to the task. I have since come to a different appreciation upon reading James Hogan’s book ‘Kicking the Sacred Cow’.
The model effectively espoused by Velikovsky suggests that the creation of a solar system occurs in a different manner than what has been accepted to date. The primary engine is the establishment of an accretion body that orbits the star. In our case, this is Jupiter and we may as well name it the Jupiter engine. As it accretes material, the angular momentum increases until rising rotational speed takes it past the stability point were equatorial gravity approaches zero. Thereupon, a part of the mass becomes a bulge and starts to separate. This process may take a great deal of time, particularly if it remains necessary to acquire more mass before separation is successful. It may also be very quick.
The result is the production of a number of Planets and debris effectively recycling the remnants of the accretion disc left over from the formation of the star. They obviously end up in the same orbital plane described by the Jupiter engine. While these objects first travel extremely elliptic orbits, they soon settle down into nearly circular orbits due to tidal action on these initially very plastic bodies. Velikovsky also argued strongly for electro magnetic damping. This possibility appears supported by the reality of appropriate field strengths since demonstrated by a large body of confirming observations.
This is all pretty simple and satisfying. It is even easy to see now a great deal of lighter material will end up in the outer reaches of the solar system and that a large number of fairly decent sized objects will get chucked out there also (particularly now that we are finding them).
It has taken us a mere four paragraphs to sketch the concept and we can assure you that the mathematics also works. If Velikovsky had quit here, then he would have had the pleasure of seeing a steady stream of new data and theoretical work showing no conflict with this model. Acceptance and recognition would perhaps have followed.
Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on one’s point of view, Velikovsky was trained as a medical doctor, not as a physicist. He may not have had a mathematical bone in his body and could not use the language. He was however, a scholar of ancient writings derived from the Jewish and Egyptian traditions. He was able to create a corrected Egyptian chronology that eliminated 600 years of erroneous interpolation and brought the two traditions into alignment. This new chronology is well on the way to been fully accepted since it has been successful in consistently matching historical events that began to be continuously chronicled in the early Bronze Age. This was an important contribution that once and for all places Old Testament Chronology in pride of place as to accuracy. This is unsurprising since it was created and maintained as a continuing historical document in the first place.
This was the point of departure for his work on planet creation. He found that his research on the ancient texts was telling him that a planet forming event took place with Jupiter several thousands of years ago. The planet in question is now known as Venus. The barebones description that he winnowed from the ancient records conforms nicely with our expectations regarding such an event using his planet formation theory.
Unfortunately, he did not stop there. This hypothetical object was then dragooned into the role of Deus ex Machima for all the apparent unusual events surrounding the events of the Exodus. Not only was this unnecessary, once the chronology was straightened out, but it created a set of hard to prove and unlikely conjectures in addition to the controversial core conjecture.
In fairness, this obsessive reliance on the ancient chronicles has awoken interest among scholars as to the nature of these past events. The reader need only recognize that any contemporaneous interpretation and even gathering of data must be extremely distorted by the attempt to find an appropriate language. The modern interpreter must try to limit himself to the simplest likely causative agent to explain such an ancient tale. Even then it is merely speculation. As an aside, a simple comet reacting with the Earth could easily have generated the visible portion of the display, while the physical components observed could easily be simple misinterpretations by excited observers.
Let us recreate then, the birth of Venus from the Jupiter engine. Sometime in the distant past, a large planet sized object(s) likely crashed into Jupiter and was absorbed. This took Jupiter’s rotation back up over the instability threshold, perhaps for the first time since the early beginnings of our solar system. It is noteworthy that the other inner planets appear to be nearly as old as the solar system, at least as far as we can tell.
A proto-planet then eventually calved off from Jupiter, perhaps after a long period of rotation in which the excess mass came to form a lobe and eventually a moon, which after many cycles perhaps lasting millions of years, finally parted company. This could have been finally triggered by some additional close disturbance from another planet like object. However it came about and in whatever direction Proto-Venus exited Jupiter; it was soon headed for the sun with a huge tail of debris in tow. The initial orbit was thus established with aphelion reaching close to the orbit of Jupiter and perihelion extremely close to the Sun. A great deal of the debris most certainly ended up in the asteroid belt and may well have been seeded there by the Proto-Venus while it still orbited Jupiter. It is even possible that this Proto-Venus has been around since the early beginnings of the Solar System and was then reheated by recent close passes to the Sun.
The Red Spot argues otherwise, though. This is a recent event that possibly marks the impact of a large object that simultaneously caused Proto-Venus to decouple its orbit from Jupiter. I am more inclined to see the red spot as the scar left by the separation event itself.
This orbit began to slowly circularize. Now although the path of this body cuts through Earth orbit twice during each orbit, while aphelion is distant from Earth orbit the dwell time is small. We are still looking at a great deal of disturbance in the orbit though with only modest changes taking place overall. A little like stretching elastic. This definitely would be annoying and fearsome but still largely survivable. It could also have made a modest change in the length of the year as was suggested.
At some point in this circularization process, aphelion passed through Earth orbit. It is hard to imagine Earth not getting thoroughly bombarded possibly several times over a number of years while this took place. After all, the Venus debris tail is traveling at the slowest part of its orbit and has a high dwell time.
With this aphelion passage through Earth orbit over, things began to quiet down. The circularization process continued to accelerate as the final Venusian orbit was established and was probably finished within a thousand years. The tail was also quickly consumed by Venus once a circular orbit was established. Venus gained the characteristic display of impact craters. The current configuration of the Solar system was now stabilized.
The remaining open question is whether this could have happened inside the time frames required for the putative ancient observations. Is one to two thousand years enough to fully circularize the Venus orbit? If not, then we still have a valid scenario without the benefit of eyewitness reports since it would then have happened perhaps millions of years ago.
This is all a rather amazing tale. First off, it could have happened. However, it is difficult to prove that it happened during the Bronze Age. Our cultural records will always be disputed, even though the information is plausibly verified by widely separated ancient observers. In fact a great deal of additional information is provided, all of which somewhat conforms to the tale and its likely consequences. At least mankind appears to have survived with its cultural levels sufficiently intact to write about it.
If it did happen, then we were very lucky. A really close encounter of the planet itself would have broken us up and jack hammered life back to the near cellular level if life survived at all.
Of particular note, Venus is a new planet. It is making its own heat far in excess of what it is acquiring from the sun. The atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide with some sulphur compounds and nitrogen, similar to the model for primeval Earth. What it needs now is to be bombarded with as much ice as possible and some sulphur loving bugs to drop the temperature and to provide an oxygen supply. The planet is quite capable of becoming as habitable as Earth with a minimal expenditure of energy and a fair chunk of time. At least the surface is not molten and has not been for sometime. An ocean of water would hugely accelerate the cooling.
One other aspect of Venus not remarked on is the fact that the impact fields are intact and neither eroded out of existence nor buried by dust in the face of a dense and violent atmosphere. This is rationally impossible unless the impacts are recent. Once one is looking for more supporting evidence, the literature shows it is forthcoming.
The Velikovsky paradigm for Solar System formation, however arrived at originally, is credible and satisfying in that it mops up the loose ends weakening the slow accumulation model accepted to date. The possibility that Venus was generated recently with human observers watching, billions of years after the initial creation of the Solar System, seems incredibly improbable. On the other hand, it is not impossible. The door thus opens for a program of theoretical research, space borne sampling and re-interpretation.
It is telling that as new information has been acquired from the efforts of the space program over the past forty years, we have seen apparent confirmation and elucidation rather than direct contradiction. The data continues to conform to the Velikowsky Paradigm. I remind the reader that the science itself is simple and satisfies the current observational regime. The remaining areas of contention are the actual timing of the ejection of Venus from the Jupiter engine and the time required for a planet sized object to circularize its orbit around the Sun. My personal instinct is to budget a huge amount of time, but I also know that I will be wrong since it is impossible to intuitively account for the orbit altering ability of Jupiter as many scientists have learned to their sorrow for every other solar orbit ever mapped.
If ancient records had said nothing on this matter, then decades of observation and research would be necessary to put this puzzle back together if it could be done at all. Our only theoretical starting points would be the Red Spot on Jupiter and the unusual high temperature of Venus itself. We already have alternate explanations. Instead we are given a testable hypothesis that stimulates further study.