Proceedings of the 1993 Cambridge Conference - 'Evidence that the Earth Has Suffered Catastrophes of Cosmic Origin in Historical Times'. ARTICLE ABSTRACTS/EXTRACTS

Proceedings of the 1993 Cambridge Conference                         Click here for cost 
- 'Evidence That the Earth Has Suffered Catastrophes
of Cosmic Origin in Historical Times'. [C&C Review special issue. Harold Tresman, the Society's first Chairman and co-founder of the SIS in 1974/5 opened the conference on Friday evening 16th July 1993 and his Keynote Address, 'The SIS, Its History and Achievements: A Personal Perspective' can be read in full here: http://www.sis-group.org.uk/sis-history.htm
 
On the Disproportion between Geological Time and Historical Time - Part I: Of Apes and Men, by Steven J. Robinson 
 
There have, at bottom, only ever been two models for the history of the Earth. The older is the historical or theistic model, purporting to rest on a tradition which goes back to the beginning of man and the Earth and attributing that beginning to the will of some god or gods. The other is the philosophical or atheistic model, purporting to be a rational explanation of the world and attributing all things to the workings of Nature. In the first model the beginning is an historical event and the Earth is of recent origin. In the other the beginning is beyond reach of human memory and the Earth is ancient, allowng sufficient time for Nature to act as a substitute Creator......The Superinflation of Time ........ Old Bones and Artefacts .......... Tracks ......... Monkey Business in Asia .......... In Africa ......... Ramifications ..................................
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On the Disproportion between Geological Time and Historical Time - Part  II: of Earth, Fire and Water, by Steven J. Robinson
 
Only two things underlie the belief that the Earth is some four and a half billion years old: the theory of evolution, which absolutely requires vast ages, and radiometric dating, which deduces such ages from rates of radioactive decay. But the theory of evolution is a belief without evidence. It does not itself constitute evidence for vast ages; it presupposes them. Thus everything depends on radiometric dating; and radiometric dating, in turn, is only as good as its assumptions, the most fundamental of which is the assumption that the velocity of light is invariable .................The First Catastrophe ............After Effects .........The Ice Age ............................................
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The Nature and Scale of an Exodus Catastrophe Reassessed, by Dr. John J. Bimson
 
In ........ passages in Worlds in Collision, Immanuel Velikovsky boldly sketched the cosmic drama which he believed engulfed the Earth in the 15th century BC ........................ The Old Testament provides one of the many sources from which Velikovsky sought to reconstruct this drama. The traditions of Israel's origins in the events of the Exodus, the crossing of the sea, the Sinai wanderings, and the conquest of Canaan are of crucial importance to his argument. Indeed, I do not think it would be an exaggeration to say that the biblical traditions provide the historical and chronological framework to which other traditions are attached in order to construct the Velikovskian scenario of mid-second millennium events.  The chief aim of this paper is to examine the biblical traditions to ask whether they really do provide evidence of cosmic catastrophes during the Exodus-Conquest period, and if so, on what scale. ............................... Astronomy, Archaeology and Ice Cores ...................... The Biblical Indications .......... The Plagues of Egypt ............. The Yam Suph Event ..............  Mount Sinai and the Wilderness Phenomena .......... The Jordan and Jericho .......... The 'long day' of Joshua ................... Appendix: What Happened When? .............................................
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Bronze Age Multi-Site Destructions (A Preliminary View), by Robert M. Porter
 
I shall consider the events at or near the ends of the Early Bronze, Middle Bronze and Late Bronze Ages, attempting to update Claude Schaeffer's major work [1]. The full title, in English, of Professor Schaeffer's book is Stratigraphy Compared and Chronology of West Asia (3rd and 2nd Millennia BC). It is still often quoted for its details although its main thesis was not well received by most scholars, Velikovsky being an exception. Schaeffer proposed several waves of destruction throughout the Near East, some of which he attributed to earthquakes.   The areas covered included Anatolia, Syria, Palestine, the Caucasus, NW Iran and he also touched on Mesopotamia and Egypt. ............. I shall deal first with the two rather intermittent destruction horizons round about the end of the Early Bronze Age. ........... The End of the Early Bronze Age ......................The End of the Middle Bronze Age ...........The End of the Late Bronze Age ..............................
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A Catastrophic Reading of Religious Systems, by Irving Wolfe
 
1. Consider organised religion as a human product whose origin is not divine but in us. See it as an instinctive creation of the collective unconscious.  2. This requires separating God from religion. To say 'God' is to acknowledge an ineffable, transcendant, limitless Power, but each religion appropriates this concept into a human construct which is reductive and selective. This paper will treat religion only, the human construction. ................................... 
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A Catastrophic Reading of Western Cosmology, by Irving Wolfe 
 
In this second of a pair of articles, I will submit cosmology to the same kind of catastrophically-oriented analysis as I performed on religion. This paper, therefore, will also be a thought experiment which will carry out a marketing analysis of the history of cosmic ideas in the West. Which were the major winners in the past 3,000 years? What did each one sell?  Why were they successful? And do they have anything in common? ...............The Faerie Queen  .................... Pre-Socratic Theories ........... Aristotle's Cosmology ...........Scholastic Cosmology ............. Newton's Cosmology .....................A Catastrophic Interpretation ........ The Evolution of Ideas .....................
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Revelation and Catastrophe During the Christian Era: a Basis for Historical Interpolation and Future Extrapolation, by S. V. M. Clube 
 
Celestial Sophistry - The question whether cosmic catastrophes are a significant problem so far as civilisation is concerned has recently been directed at NASA by a US Congressional Sub-Committee. No doubt the question is seen as having been prompted by purely scientific considerations, but from the viewpoint of a historian any notion that cosmic catastrophes are a particularly neoteric issue would have to be regarded as singularly wide of the mark. Thus, as far back as the Roman Empire in its prime, those in authority would have been advised as to the possibility of a destroying angel or thunderbolt which 'devastates whatever it strikes and changes the state of public and private affairs'. Several centuries before this, a noted Greek source, relying on Egyptian knowledge, would speak of circulating astronomical bodies and of torrents from heaven occurring at long intervals which would bring a great disturbance and conflagration on Earth. Even further back in time, reaching to the very foundation of civilisation itself, from studies of the records and inscriptions in cuneiform left by the Sumerians and Babylonians, we learn of an attitude to the natural world which obliged these early peoples 'to contemplate the universe with a sense of foreboding hardly short of paralysis'. ............. Celestial Chaos ............... Western Civilisation vs. Celestial Chaos: Twelfth Century ................Western Civilisation vs. Celestial Chaos: Seventeenth Century .................. Sociological Constraint ...................Historical Interpolation ............ Future Extrapolation .....................................
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Evidence for the Extreme Youth of Venus, by Wal Thornhill
 
The planet Venus is the brightest object in the sky - after the Sun and the Moon. Astronomers repeatedly refer to it as Earth's 'twin' [1]. They should not - for twins are always born close together in time and there is no evidence to support the assumption that the two planets are of the same age. I will show instead that Venus has all the hallmarks of a recent genesis. What do I mean by 'recent'? By recent I mean too recent to be measured in millions, let alone billions of years: more likely the event occurred within human memory and its age can be measured in thousands of years. What is meant by 'genesis'?  At least it means the final chapters of the interaction between an errant, cometary Venus and other planets of the solar system and its final settlement into a highly regular, planetary orbit about the Sun. At most it hints at the parturition of one of the gas giant planets to form the new planet Venus. The implications of such a late and spectacular event in the solar system are profound. ...................... Venus, the improbable planet ........... How are Planets formed? ............................How Old is Venus ........................
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Could an Explosive Volcanic Eruption be Produced by the Nearby Passage of a Cosmic Body?, by David Slade
 
This paper will discuss the nature of volcanoes, the mechanism underlying explosive eruptions and some of the major differences between explosive and lava flow eruptions. It considers how the close passage of a massive cosmic body, and the near or actual impact of small bodies, might act to produce volcanic eruptions in the form of contemporaneous pyroclastic lava flows, or leave evidence of volcanic dust on the polar ice-caps. How big is 'a catastrophe'? .............. Earth Birth ................Volcanoes .......... The Driving Force of Explosive Eruptions ......... Genesis of a Volcano ........... Mountains that Tremble and Melt ........... Cosmic Bodies - Insiders or Outsiders? ............. Alternative Causes ..................Implications for Eruptions ........ Evidence .....................................
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Eheduanna and the Goddess Inanna, by Bernard Newgrosh
 
The latter end of the 3rd millennium BC saw the production of some extraordinary literature. The invention of writing had taken place maybe several hundred years earlier but already the Sumerian and the Egyptian languages were replete with metaphor, a rapid evolution which testifies to the powers of observation of our ancestors and to the richness of their experience. ................................In this study, we shall investigate: (i) the widely held assumptions that myth is based on fantasy (and its corollary that much of ancient literature, replete with mythical allusions, is likewise suspect),  (ii) the alternative, namely, that if not based on fantasy, ancient literature may be an account of actual experience, (iii) the environment of the experience, the kinds of altered conditions which could have prevailed. ................................. The Akkadian Dynasty ................... The Exaltation of Inanna ...........Literary Creativity and its Causes .............Other Contemporary Sources ......................................
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A Harbinger of the Exodus? - Parts I and II, by David Salkeld [Part I was first presented at the 1993 Annual General Meeting at Redhill]
 
[Introduction] - a puzzling aspect of Velikovsky's works is the scant attention he gives to the man known as Moses. This is strange when one recalls that he went from Tel Aviv to the USA in 1939 to comb reference libraries for data on Moses, Oedipus and Akhenaten, in preparation for a book he planned on Freud. These researches eventually emerged in the book Oedipus and Akhnaton [1]. But although two of his other books - Worlds in Collision and Ages in Chaos - treat the Exodus in some detail, they barely mention Moses. Accepting Irving Wolfe's thesis [2] that Freud's book Moses and Monotheism angered Velikovsky, one might expect that he would use his own writings - presenting his catastrophic interpretaton of the Exodus - to bolster the case for Moses as a Jew, and monotheism as a Jewish concept. But his published works contain no such case and there has been no indication of such material in his archives. ................. Part I - The Size of the Exodus ......... Leadership Training and Experience ..... The Time Factor ...................... Winning the Hearts and Minds ................ The Mantle of Leadership .............Reflections ............ Part 2: The Hiding Place ........................ The Story of Job and Construction of the Book ................ Dating the Book of Job  .......... The Book and the Canon .................. The Recorder in the Shadows ................The Equation of Moses and Elihu  .................. Some Implications of Mosaic Authorship .............. Job as a Record of Catastrophes ............. The Appearance of Yahweh ...........................................
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