Donald W. Patten
Donald W. Patten (1929-2014) was an American researcher and keen supporter of catastrophism. He was also a dedicated creationist. His cosmological theories were comparable to those of Velikovsky, who claimed that some of the planets in our Solar System were rearranged within the memory of man. This reorganisation involved a number of damaging close encounters by some planets with the Earth. While Velikovsky was to a great extent focused on the movements of Venus, Patten was more concerned with the activities of Mars.
>Stuart Harris noted in a 2017 paper(c) that “Donald W. Patten modeled flybys of Mars as a fIxed sequence that alternated spring and fall, spaced 108 years apart. He sequenced flybys from 701 to 1404 BCE using historical records. Flybys altemated between the night of March 20-21 on odd years, and during the day of October 24 on even years.”
Harris’ paper “extends Patten’s methodology to March 7137 BC by recognizing that the 108-year interval was not constant but occasionally increased in increments of four years. Two important milestones are March 3161 BC, the Biblical Flood, and March 3761 BC, the start of the Hebrew calendar.”<
Patten wrote a number of books and papers, two of which were with Samuel R. Windsor entitled The Recent Organisation of the Solar System, and The Mars-Earth Wars, which are also available online(a)(b).
The Exploded Planet Hypothesis (EPH) has its origins in the 18th century when the regular spacing of the orbits of the then known six planets, with the glaring exception of the apparently empty theoretical position between Mars and Jupiter, led to the formulation of the Titius-Bode Law. The discovery of Neptune in 1846 in a position that did not conform to the rule of Titius-Bode, led to its gradual abandonment. However, the discovery of Pluto in the 1930’s brought the ‘Law’ back into consideration as Pluto was in the position that should have been occupied by Neptune. The exceptions to the Titius-Bode law are the lack of a planet where the Asteroid Belt is and the position of Neptune. In 2003, a further planet, Sedna, was discovered at a distance of 8 billion miles from the sun, as predicted by Doug Yurchey on the Internet in 2002. Since then, further bodies have been discovered in the outer region of our solar system, one of which was larger than Pluto.
As you will see below, a credible explanation for the Asteroid Belt is on offer and if correct, it means that now ten of the eleven planetary orbits in our Solar System correspond with the prediction of Titius-Bode. Statistically, this must have some significance. Therefore, in order to reinstate the Titius-Bode ‘law’ back on the statute book it is important to find an acceptable explanation for Neptune’s orbit.
Particular planets with satellite systems also confirm Titius-Bode, such as the principal satellites of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus. Furthermore, even at this early stage in our investigation of extrasolar planetary systems, one, 55 Cancri, has at least four planets whose orbits appear to follow a similar pattern(c).
The 19th century saw the discovery of more asteroids in the orbit where a planet would have been expected. As early as 1802 the suggestion that an exploded planet had originally occupied this position was considered. As more asteroids were discovered the idea gained support. However, there remained one major problem with the theory, namely, that the total mass of the known asteroids would not constitute one thousandth of our earth. So where did all the matter go?
Donald W. Patten (1929-2014) has made a study of Martian craters and discovered a number of anomalies. One such detail is that 93% of all craters 20 miles or greater in diameter are in one hemisphere, which led Patten to conclude that “Mars received about 86% of its craters in one catastrophic day”(e) and that the other 14% are spread equally on both hemispheres and over all other time. The suggestion being that these craters were possibly caused by the disintegration of large asteroid or small planet!
Tom Van Flandern (1940-2009), the leading exponent of the EPH, explained; ‘Consider what would happen if the Earth exploded today. Surface and crustal rock would shatter and fragment, but remain rocks. However, rocks from depths greater than 40 km are under so much pressure at high temperature that if suddenly released into a vacuum, such rocks would vaporise. As a consequence, over 99% of the Earth’s total mass would vaporise in an explosion, with only its low-pressure crustal and upper mantle layers surviving’. This explanation would clearly account for the low total mass of the objects in the Asteroid Belt. Van Flandern has expanded on his theory in what many consider a landmark book, Dark Matter, Missing Planets and New Comets.
Van Flandern ascribes a date for this planetary explosion that is well before man existed on Earth. However, many of our ancient myths have been interpreted as describing celestial events in the vicinity of Earth that had a direct physical effect on our planet. Immanuel Velikovsky wrote extensively on these ancient tales and concluded that they referred to close encounters between Earth and Mars and separately with Venus.
The date of the Asteroid Belt collision or explosion was estimated in 2015 to be 470 million years ago after the identification of twin impact craters in Sweden(d).
If Titius-Bode is valid and Velikovsky’s planetary encounters real, we need to explain how they left their orbits in the first place and then must explain how they returned to their original positions. Ralph E. Juergens, an American engineer, supports Velikovsky with the idea that electromagnetic and electrostatic forces and not conventional celestial mechanics alone were responsible for the cosmic encounters witnessed and recorded by our ancestors(b). My personal hunch is that Van Flandern is correct about the explosion of a planet but wrong about the date of the occurrence.
The EPH may have a bearing on the demise of Atlantis in the shape of an asteroidal collision with Earth that in turn precipitated the ending of the last Ice Age and the consequential flooding of large areas of exposed land.
Alan Alford has a different view in The Atlantis Secret  in which he attempts to prove that Atlantis originated in an ancient myth concerning an exploding planet. However, this would require an event that occurred within the experience of speaking man for it to have been passed on in the form of myth.
(c) BBC Focus magazine (No. 169, October 2006 p.58-63)
Catastrophism today is the name given to a school of thought that supports the idea that the history of the Earth has been punctuated by natural events such as floods, fires and asteroid strikes that have caused widespread if not global devastation and that some of these events occurred within the memory of man and are recorded in worldwide mythologies.
Georges Cuvier (1768-1832) is sometimes referred to as ‘the father of paleontology’ and an early exponent of catastrophism.
Worryingly, it is now more generally accepted that further catastrophes will occur as a result of future cometary/asteroidal strikes. One such close encounter, around 2800 BC, was considered by the Christian catastrophist, Donald W. Patten, to have generated the Deluge of Noah(j) and was the source of the flood legends found around the world! Patten nominates Mars as the intruder(l), an idea also advocated by Elsar Orkan, who, however, proposes a date of around 8000 BC for this encounter.
Some readers may think that the subject has no direct connection with Plato’s Atlantis, however, his text refers to a number of catastrophic events that clearly brought devastation to Athens, Atlantis and beyond. The Flood of Deucalion and earlier inundations, Phaeton and other cosmic encounters, plus conflagrations and earthquakes all point to periods of great instability in the early prehistory of the Aegean region and quite probably much further afield.
Jürgen Spanuth devotes chapter 4 of his Atlantis of the North to an examination of “the natural catastrophes of the 13th century BC” that deals with Phaeton and the blizzard of floods, earthquakes and eruptions that beset the Eastern Mediterranean at the end of the 2nd millennium BC. Some of these matters have been recently expanded upon by Nur & Cline(f)(g) and endorsed by Stavros Papamarinopoulos[0750.73].
August 2013 saw studies published(h) which pointed the finger at climate change as the cause of the widespread political instability in that region during the second millennium BC.
Claude Schaeffer, a celebrated French archaeologist, declared in 1948 that on at least five occasions during the Bronze Age the Middle East had been subjected to widespread catastrophic destruction as a result of natural events rather than human activity.
Immanuel Velikovsky is arguably the best know of the 20th century catastrophists, who published two books in the 1950’s that provoked widespread controversy that continues today. There is an interesting albeit a sceptical review of catastrophism in the last century by Patrick Moore & Bob Forrest in Chapter 14 of More Things in Heaven and Earth(k).
Paul Dunbavin, author of Towers of Atlantis , has published a paper(n), highly critical of Velikovsky’s work.>Dunbavin has researched the evidence for a number of pole shifts that are not dependent on what he describes as the “naïve astronomy” of Velikovsky.<
In 1964, the Belgian mathematician René Gallant (1908-1985) published Bombarded Earth which dealt in great detail with the consequences of meteorite impacts with the earth. Gallant, perhaps because of his amateur status as a geologist, never received the attention he deserved.
More recently Allan & Delair produced another book that identified 9500 BC as the date of a global catastrophe following an encounter with a comet. Their conclusions are at variance with Velikovsky’s, particularly regarding dates. Professor Mike Baillie of Queens University, Belfast is a well-known dendrochronologist who has recently entered the debate with his book, Exodus to Arthur that adds evidence from his discipline to support the theory of cometary or asteroidal impacts with the Earth. Unfortunately his work is confined to the last 4,500 years and so casts no further light on the 9,500 BC date apart from offering support for the possibility of extraterrestrial impacts.
However, Richard Firestone and his co-authors have researched an impact ‘Event’ the occurred 13,000 years ago and caused devastation in North America including the creation of the hundreds of thousands of Carolina Bays and some of the outbursts of Lake Missoula. Like Baillie, they claim that a memory of this event has been preserved in the folktales of many of the North American Indians. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the latest developments in catastrophist research.
The destruction of Atlantis has been linked to a number of possible catastrophic events including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods and asteroid strikes. Plato’s account cites a flood as the immediate cause of the disappearance of Atlantis. In the 18th century Giovanni Carli was probably the first to link a cometary encounter with the Earth as the cause of Atlantis’ demise. This idea has been supported by numerous writers ever since, with Emilio Spedicato being one of its leading exponents today.
There are numerous sites on the Internet relating to catastrophism of which one(a) can be recommended as a good starting point for further study. Andy Blackard has listed(b) events connected with global upheavals around 3200 and 2000 BC. An Australian archaeologist, Peter Jupp, is the creator of the Ancient Destructions website(e) which deals with a number of historical mysteries including, Baalbek and Antarctica.
A more recent book by Robert Argod postulates that many of these historical catastrophes were caused by an irregular series of accelerated tectonic movements, although he does not offer a credible mechanism to explain the triggering of such upheavals. Is it possible that the strikes by or near misses with extraterrestrial objects, proposed by so many, generated the tectonic shifts proposed by Argod?
Professor Trevor Palmer has written a comprehensive history of catastrophes and catastrophism from the earliest times and its relevance today. His Perilous Planet Earth includes a couple of chapters in which he reviews Atlantis theories in the context of catastrophism.
Dr Michel-Alain Combes has a PhD in astronomy from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI). He has an extensive website(i) dealing with catastrophism, which translates quite well.
2012 was been promoted as the date of the next worldwide catastrophe based on a highly questionable interpretation of the Mayan calendar. New Age gurus were promising a change in global consciousness, whatever that means. If interested you can read more of this nonsense online(c) or consider a more balanced view(d).
>A huge catastrophist bibliography (2010) is available online(m) with a 2020 update now available(o).<
(i) https://www.astrosurf.com/macombes/index.html (French)
The Phoenicians or Canaanites are linguistically regarded as a Semitic people, who among their many achievements are credited with giving us our alphabet (without vowels). Both Strabo and Herodotus claim that they originally came from Bahrain(p), but this origin is denied by the phoenicia.org website(q). The correctness of these two writers has been heavily criticised(r).
The Phoenicians flourished during the 1st and 2nd millennia BC. The late Joseph Robert Jochmans has suggested(c) that similarities between Phoenician names and those of the sons of Poseidon are more than coincidental. The descendants of the Phoenicians are still to be found in great numbers in modern Lebanon as well as elements of the Phoenician language. Contrary to popular belief the Maltese language is more related to Phoenician than Arabic(g). Similarly, in a mountainous and isolated north-east corner of Asia Minor its people still speak Greek in a dialect known as Romeyka(l). Dr Ioanna Sitaridou of Queen’s College, Cambridge explains that ‘Although Romeyka can hardly be described as anything but a Modern Greek dialect, it preserves an impressive number of grammatical traits that add an Ancient Greek flavor to the dialect’s structure – traits that have been completely lost from other Modern Greek varieties.’
A more radical view of the Phoenicians has been expressed by Professor Josephine Quinn(o) who declared “the Phoenicians never existed as a self-conscious community, let alone a nascent nation.” In a lengthy article she suggests that “‘‘Phoenician’ was just a generic label invented by ancient Greek authors for the Levantine sailors they encountered in their own maritime explorations. Although some of these Greek writers entertain a mild stereotype of these Phoenicians as rather cunning or tricksy, they never use the term as a description of a distinct ethnocultural community.”
The Phoenicians have been frequently identified as the Atlanteans of Plato’s narrative. Peter Dawkins’ Zoence Academy website has the following logic stretching gem – “Atlas also is known by other names, such as Enoch or The Phoenix, hence Atlantis is Phoenicia, the land of the Phoenix(v).
Keith Hunt noted on his website that “Prof. George Rawlinson (1812-1902), in his “Story of Phoenicia,” tells us that Phoenicia derived its name from the forests of date or Phoenix palms which grew there in great luxuriance. So far so good; but whence did the Phoenix palm derive its name? Horapollo says: “A palm branch was the symbol of the Phoenix.” Yes, but what or who was the Phoenix? Sanchomathon, the Phoenician writer, states that “Phoenix was the first Phoenician.” Phoenix, then, was a man. Now, the word Phoenix is the Greek form of the Egyptian term “Pa-Hanok,” the house of Enoch. In Hebrew Enoch also is Hanok. Thus the mystery of that ancient race is solved: they were the sons and descendants of Enoch and of Noah and his three sons, who after the Flood started their westward march. Their descendants have kept it up since, settled, first north of the Persian Gulf in the bushlands of Mesopotamia, where they found a dusky race in occupation of the land, the ancient Sumerians, and from thence towards the Mediterranean.” (w)
James Nienhuis has recently identified Canaanites as Atlanteans(m)! The supporters of a Bronze Age date for the invasion of the Atlanteans see in the Phoenicians the powerful far flung maritime civilisation described by Plato. However, this identification is in conflict with Plato’s statement that Atlantis or its influence extended as far as Tyrrhenia and Libya, whereas the Phoenicians had their original base further east in the region of modern Lebanon and Israel. It also runs counter to Plato’s clear account of the Atlanteans attacking from their bases in the Central Mediterranean (Tim.25b & Crit.114c).
The Phoenicians were never unilaterally at war with Greece and/or Egypt, but their successors, the Carthaginians, whose main military campaigns were directed against the Roman Empire, did clash with the Greeks in Sicily.
It is accepted that the Phoenician commercial empire began with the three cities of Tyre, Sidon and Byblos. They expanded with the establishment of trading settlements along the Mediterranean coast of North Africa usually separated by a day’s rowing – somewhere between 30 to 60 miles.
It is claimed that the Phoenicians together with the Egyptians had an influence on the development of the Minoan culture(e).
Jonas Bergman recently presented a paper to the 2005 Melos Atlantis Conference on the subject of a Phoenician association with the Atlantis story. He outlined how Plato’s description of Atlantis was similar to the western colonies of the Phoenicians.
Joaquín Lorenz Villanueva (1757-1837) was a Spnish historian, who moved to Dublin in later life, where he wrote Ibernia Phœnicea  , which was an attempt to prove that Ireland had been colonised by the Phoenicians. This was translated into English and published by Henry O’Brien in 1833 as Phoenician Ireland  .
Some German writers in the 19th century such as Robert Prutz and later Jakob Kruger have advocated the idea that Phoenicians had discovered America, where he also placed Atlantis. However, in spite of the fact that there is widespread support for this concept and the even more extreme claim of Phoenicians in Australia, a Lebanese website (now offline), in the original home of Phoenicia, discounted all such claims for lack of evidence. Nevertheless, attention-seeking Rex Gilroy persists in promoting the idea of Phoenicians in Australia(h).
A paper by Christian C. Karam, who believes that Atlantis had been located in the Atlantic has expanded on the idea of a Phoenician presence in Brazil three thousands years ago(n).
In 1886, the American novelist Ann Eliza Smith (1819-1905) published a fantasy novel(j), Atla, that tells the tale of the discovery of the Atlantis civilization by the Phoenicians.
In 1889, Enrique Onffroy de Thoron proposed that Atlantis had been Phoenician and situated in America. Indeed, claims still persist that the Phoenicians did reach South America(f). However, Onffroy was not the first to suggest this, as he was preceded by Robertus Comtaeus Nortmannus as early as 1644 and Georg Horn in 1652 . Arguably, the best known exponent of the ‘Phoenicians in America’ school of thought was Bernardo Silva Ramos(i).
Nevertheless, John Denison Baldwin, writing in the late 19th century, was highly critical of the Phoenicians being early colonisers in America and after reviewing the arguments in favour of the idea, he concluded that “if it were true that the civilization found in Mexico and Central America came from people of the Phoenician race, it would be true also that they built in America as they never built any where else, that they established a language here radically unlike their own, and that they used a style of writing totally different from that which they carried into every other region occupied by their colonies. All the forms of alphabetical writing used at present in Europe and Southwestern Asia came directly or indirectly from that anciently invented by the race to which the Phoenicians belonged, and they have traces of a common relationship which can easily be detected. Now the writing of the inscriptions at Palenque, Copan, and elsewhere in the ruins has no more relatedness to the Phoenician than to the Chinese writing. It has not a single characteristic that can be called Phoenician any more than the language of the inscriptions or the style of architecture with which it is associated; therefore we can not reasonably suppose this American civilization was originated by people of the Phoenician race, whatever may be thought relative to the supposed ancient communication between the two continents and its probable influence on civilized communities already existing here.”(x)
In his 2009 book, Uncovering Archaeology, Dennis Cassinelli outlines in some detail his Atlantis theory, which he locates in Central America(s). He suggests that Phoenicians landed in Central America and on seeing the Mayan cities concluded that they had landed in Atlantis. Not unexpectedly, Jason Colavito had a few words to say about this idea(t).
Hugh Fox (1932-2011) wrote of the early peoples of the Americas in his well-received Gods of the Cataclysm. The ‘cataclysm’ referred to is the biblical Deluge, in respect of which he follows the ideas of Velikovsky and the christian catastrophist Donald W. Patten (1929-2014), who attributed Noah’s Flood to a close encounter with a massive extraterrestrial body around 2800 BC. Fox explicitly claims that before the Flood, transoceanic travel was commonplace, with the Chinese in America, Indian theology in the Mediterranean and that after the Flood we had the Phoenicians and Odysseus in America.
The late Sabatino Moscati, a renowned linguist and archaeologist, wrote a highly regarded work on the subject of the Phoenicians. Additionally, there is an invaluable website(a) on offer from Salim George Khalaf, a modern Phoenician from Lebanon. This huge site with its 2,000 pages that covers all aspects of Phoenician culture. This same site(b), drawing on the work of Ignatius Donnelly, identifies the kings of Atlantis with the Phoenician pantheon and claims that the gods of the Greeks were also the deified Atlantean kings.
Jacques Hébert, who places Atlantis in the Indian Ocean on the island of Socotra, suggests that the Atlanteans had a colony in the Eastern Mediterranean whose inhabitants developed into the Phoenicians!
(g) See: Archive 2852
(h) https://www.mysteriousaustralia.com/pyramid-sequel/chapter16.html (reinstated)
(i) https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernardo_de_Azevedo_da_Silva_Ramos (Portuguese)