In Erich Von Daniken's new book Flatulence of the Gods, Von Daniken posits the theory that nebulae are not remnants of super nova - exploded stars - but rather gaseous emissions from a rip in the fabric of space-time.
"In a sense," he writes in the introduction to his book, "they are similar to vent holes in the Earth where tectonic plates are colliding. These Earthly vents emit steam and other vapors from the center of the Earth creating a balance between the inner and outer worlds. So, too are nebulae. My research shows that these nebulae are actually the vent holes for the unseen universe, that in fact this is the dark matter' for which astronomers have searched so long."
Theoretical cosmology argues that the most likely future for the universe is either open' - the universe expands forever because there is not enough matter to create the gravitational pull necessary to cause the universe to collapse back to a singularity - or closed' - there is enough matter to create a Big Crunch' as all the matter in the universe, the universe itself, in fact, collapses on itself creating an infinitesimal point or singularity containing everything that ever was. At present about one tenth the necessary matters to close the universe is visible, leading cosmologists to speculate on the existence of dark matter' - unseen matter - which for various abstruse theoretical reasons almost certainly must exist.
Continuing, Von Daniken states that, "I have dubbed these vents the 'Anus of the Universe.' They exist behind, or perhaps better stated, in the middle of, every nebulae in a region I call the 'Butt of the Cosmos.' I feel certain observational astronomy will prove my theory correct someday when they have telescopes powerful enough."
Traditional astronomers are less optimistic. "It overturns everything we have ever believed," says Russian astronomer, Sergi Valtov. "I must admit, while the idea of vents in the universe, perhaps between dimensions, is interesting, I am inclined to believe black holes serve this purpose, if it is a purpose which must be served at all."
American astronomer Gary Blott was slightly more blunt stating, "Well, his latest theory is certainly as plausible as his previous suggestion that spacemen built every large structure on Earth. He and Immanuel Velikovsky are running neck and neck for lunatic of the month."
Velikovsky speculates that occasionally Venus shakes loose of its orbit and swings by the Earth on a celestial joyride, creating havoc with the tides, parting the Red Sea for Moses, causing the Earth to stop rotating when Jesus was crucified, and showering the Earth with moisture from her clouds just in time for the Great Flood. Then, as if nothing happened Venus swings back into place in the sky.
No matter how Flatulence of the Gods fares with professional scientists it seems to have stuck a chord with fundamentalist Christians. Bobby Ray Smoot, owner of the 'Jesus and Mary' chain of Christian bookstores in Alabama and Mississippi said he has sold every copy he ordered. "It's selling like hotcakes," he said laughing, "I just wish Jesus was here breaking them in half like the fishes so we'd never run out."