A challenge to the traditional theoretical account of the formation of the solar system.
Seaver (The Birth of the Earth, 2014, etc.) argues that, despite its widespread acceptance, the standard theory of the development of the earth, sun, and galaxy is full of problems. It begins with a nebula, an “enormous cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases,” and posits that its denser areas pull more matter into it as a function of “gravitational collapse.” However, this “gravitational instability,” Seaver contends, is unlikely to issue from cosmic dust and gas, or to produce the necessary density for the consolidation of matter that would lead to the birth of a planet. Instead, Seaver proposes “Mass Vortex Theory,” a new and impressively original way to conceptualize the emergence of planets and stars, and, by extension, the galaxy as a whole. The book also offers a variant interpretation of the initial physical and atmospheric conditions of Earth. The author’s hypothesis begins with a nebula, as well, but with a portion of it filled with metallic atoms—a "parent cloud" in which an "infinite-mass-density singularity" appears, which Seaver calls the "center singularity." This singularity, in turn, pulls mass toward it gravitationally, creating a vortex in which each protoplanet flows—until inertia displaces it from the vortex’s groove and it settles into its own orbit. As a result of the protoplanet’s spinning, an initial layer of heated condensation ultimately cools into a frozen ice shell around it—and this was the initial condition of the earth, according to the author. With remarkable concision, Seaver rigorously presents an intriguing cosmological vision over the course of this book. However, it’s also rhetorically dense, and for uninitiated readers, its terminology will likely be intimidating. The author’s proposal offers a compellingly vast revision of the standard theory: Instead of the notion that "the sun is a single luminous sphere of plasma held together by its own gravity," for example, it substitutes "two current rings straddling a dense mass surrounding a singularity." Seaver also provocatively raises skeptical questions about the inadequacies of the conventional view and suggests empirical paths to verify the new one presented in these pages—for example, by making use of evidence of Jupiter’s ice shell. Overall, the presentation in this book is far too brief and quickly developed to be fully convincing. But Seaver freely, and without a hint of dogmatism, acknowledges the limitations to Mass Vortex theory—including its inability to conclusively demonstrate the existence of a center singularity, the initial nebula that began the process of planet and galaxy formation, or the pockets of metallic atoms within it. Moreover, the author articulately deals with the question of what counts as theory in the first place, given the dearth of verifiable information that we have about the genesis of planets and stars: “any theory of star system formation and planet formation requires an interpretation of evidence.” At the very least, however, Seaver has sufficiently demonstrated that this alternate interpretation warrants a hearing. A refreshing revision of contemporary cosmology that’s argued with careful precision and a notable measure of theoretical skepticism.