The Electric Universe and Strawmen

The Electric Universe Theory is very intriguing to me for the simple fact that it’s elegant, easy to grasp and can explain many anomalies that occur in Nature.

In fact, I consider it an equal to Einstein’s Gravitic theories that is the mainstream thought today.

Do I think it’s THE theory? No, but I think it’s just as legitimate as other present astronomical are.

But there are skeptibunkers on the InnerTubes that build strawmen to attack the Electric Universe Theory by comparing it with Creationism.

Creationism? Huh?

[...]

The recent explosion of blogs on the internet now gives a voice to many who would otherwise be ‘nobodys’. A superficially impressive website can be built almost overnight and populated with some self-published papers and a few choice quotes, which can then be used in an attempt to gain notoriety or attention whilst attacking the views of others with whom the author, posing as a well-informed skeptic, disagrees.

One of the many signs of a pseudoskeptic is that they will often attack the person(s) holding a particular view (ad hominem), rather than the view itself. Another tactic frequently employed is to misrepresent the views of their opponents, known as building a ‘strawman’, and then to tear those views down, thus ‘burning the strawman’.

One site of note to this author is the blog of one W. T. (Tom) Bridgman, titled “Dealing With Creationism in Astronomy“. Whilst the title seems self-evident, one has to ask why it is that Bridgman has taken it upon himself to attack Electric Universe (EU) theory with such gusto as has recently been displayed on his blog, when his stated “mission” is to debunk creationism.

EU theory has nothing at all to say about Creationism, Intelligent Design, Atheism or Calethumpianism! Bridgman’s most common response to the question is that some “creationists” cite some EU materials in support of their position even though ‘Big Bang’ theory, to which Bridgman subscribes, has more to offer creationists than the EU does.

Essentially, the big bang has it that everything currently in the universe once occupied a point in space of zero volume and incredible density, and then suddenly it exploded and expanded into what we see today. The parallel with creationism is obvious.

The EU states that the universe is of unknown age and size and that a big bang event is unnecessary and not supported by empirical evidence.

The EU position that the Earth’s surface is relatively new (due to electrical scarring, which has nothing to do with the age of the planet) is used by some Young-Earth Creationists to support their own theory that the Earth is only x years old. So what? No one in the sciences can veto the right to cite their research in support of some other position on some other topic. (emphasis mine)

Bridgman’s other common assertion is that EU theorists use the same tactics as creationists, an assertion which is an attempt at “guilt by association”. A look over his site will reveal numerous accounts of him likening EU theorists to creationists. Serious researchers would do well to assess EU claims on their merits rather than dismissing them due to some alleged yet non-existent association.

Getting back to the topic of pseudoskepticism, allow me to respond to one of Bridgman’s attacks on EU theory, to see how it stacks up. The original post bears the headline “Electric Universe: Real Plasma Physicists Use Mathematical Models!” The all too simple response to that would surely be “yes, we do!”

The pertinent points to which this author offered a response are repeated and addressed below. Here I have added the abbreviations [S] (for strawman) and [A] (for ad hominem) to indicate which tactic is used in his quoted phrases.

Tom Bridgman:

[S][A]
One of the problems with Electric Universe (EU) claims is they seem incapable of producing mathematical models that can be used by other researchers to compare the predictions of their theories to other observations and experiments. …

Not true. The mathematics is all there, in the appropriate books and papers to which EU theorists frequently refer. Physics of a Plasma Universe by Anthony L. Peratt, Cosmical Electrodynamics and Cosmic Plasma by Hannes Alfvén, Gaseous Conductors by J.D. Cobine and many more besides. Bridgman conveniently ignores this fact.

The predictable response to such references is frequently that they are “too old” or irrelevant to today’s physics, and this from those who seem to have an unshakeable faith in the work of Einstein. The irony is palpable.

The article then goes on to destroy the “strawmen” that were built by Tom Bridgman, one by one.

Now I can’t pretend to understand astrophysics or any such esoteric science as such that involves mathematics that only the gods (if they exist) comprehend, but I do my best. And I know that the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland is digging deeper and deeper into these mysteries only to find bigger mysteries, no answers yet.

So I have to assume our theories about Nature aren’t quite up to snuff and we’re asking the wrong questions.

Could we be?

Dealing with Pseudoskepticism in Astronomy

hat tip

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18 responses

  1. Unfortunately, you missed all my documentation of how REAL plasma physicists have had great success with mathematical plasma models, applying them to experimental, practical, and even commercial projects.
    Electric Universe: Real Plasma Physicists BUILD Mathematical Models
    Electric Universe: Plasma Physics for Fun AND Profit!
    Electric Universe: Plasma Modeling vs. ‘Mystic Plasma’

    All of these successful models follow the same constraints which I applied in analyzing electric sun models:
    Electric Cosmos: The Solar Resistor Model
    Electric Cosmos: The Solar Capacitor Model. III
    And these are fairly generous constraints compared to the ones defined by Langmuir’s space-charge limiting current and the Alfven limiting current!

    Then there the round of contortions that EU supporters go through to ‘reinterpret’ a handful of satellite measurements as supporting their claims when Electric Sun models are inconsistent with a far larger body of data.

    No Electric Sun model has predicted the particle radiation flux of a coronal mass ejection – numbers vital to protect satellites and astronauts.
    No Electric Sun model has predicted the voltage surge of power grids due coronal mass ejections.

    Space Weather Awareness at NASA

  2. Fix the Framework | Reply

    Ha!

    Welcome, dad2059. You’ve dove head-first into a hornet’s nest. I admire your tenacity and curiosity.

    It does not matter where you speak your mind on this issue. You will see the same people, more or less, giving you a million reasons to look away. Even so, they regularly advocate the patching up of problems with their own theories. The difference in intention is clear to critical thinkers: While they are building their own preferred ideas, they are tearing down those which compete with it. These are natural human tendencies which drive the difference. This is human psychology unleashed, without any concern for philosophy of science.

    “Skepticism is a primary tool of science. We’d be hypocrites if we never directed a skeptical eye towards Scientific Skepticism itself. Denied imperfections and errors are free to grow without limit, and Skepticism is not immune to this problem. Unbridled gullibility can destroy science, but unbridled disbelief is no less a threat because it brings both a tolerance for bias and ridicule as well as the supression of untested new ideas. Better to take a middle road between total closed-mindedness and total gullibility. Practice pragmatism, pursue humility, and maintain a clear, honest, and continuing view of ourselves and the less noble of our own behaviors.” — http://amasci.com/weird/wclose.html

    You definitely earn points for seeing the inherent mystery of Bridgman associating creationism with the Electric Universe. To the critical thinker, there is no underlying or hidden ideology in thinking that scientists have made a mistake. In fact, this would be pretty consistent with human nature.

    Some things you should know:

    (1) Tom Bridgman has been advised of the absurdity of commenting on the Electric Universe on a site which is meant to discuss creationism.

    (2) Tom likes to hang out with Leroy, who used to actually be a Velikovskian. Leroy will tell you exactly what you said to him 20 years ago, and he has decided to make a name for himself as a crusader against any idea which might borrow from Velikvosky (like the Electric Universe).

    (3) There is also, of course, Nereid. Oh, I mean, “A-P-O-D-Nereid.” She doesn’t like it when you drop the APOD. A “nereid” is a sea nymph which protects “sailors” (ie, conventional thinkers) through rough seas.

    (4) Tim Thompson cared for a while, and Phil Plait spent some time thinking about it. And there was a Josh Schroeder. Now, we have Rob Knop.

    Right there – with this list – we have the celebrity anti-EU crusaders. Their mission is to convince people to not educate themselves on what the plasma universe says. They are not trying to involve the public in the debate, as a critical thinker. They are trying to tell the public what to think on the issue, before anybody has a chance to digest the arguments which are being made.

    What these people do is not new. The archaic state of scientific discourse on the Internet is well documented at Bill Beaty’s site, Closeminded Science (http://amasci.com/weird/wclose.html).

    (Bill’s description of electrical misconceptions on the same site is arguably unparalleled, btw … Start either here: http://amasci.com/miscon/elect.html, or here: http://amasci.com/ele-edu.html).

    The truth is that if we cared enough to, we could train students in science to work with multiple frameworks. In fact, in other college subjects, professors strive to teach their students how to critically think within the subject. The conundrum for physics ideologues is that critical thinking requires that the student compare and contrast worldviews. Thus, there exists an unavoidable irony for pseudo-skeptics that their attempts to prevent people from comparing and contrasting frameworks basically counteract society’s larger goal of decoding the universe. They essentially prevent people from developing critical thinking skills in science.

    Our economy completely depends upon discovery and innovation in science. And our politicians make grave life-and-death decisions on the basis of a perception that technologies like low-energy nuclear reactions are not real (MIT’s hot fusion group didn’t take too kindly to their new “cold fusion” competitors … Mallove’s “MIT Cold Fusion Report” details the internal smear campaign). If the past is any judge, much of “cutting edge science” comes from the fringes. Society’s and mainstream scientists’ attitudes towards these maverick scientists can have an incredible impact upon our economy, in the long term. I would argue that it already has been, for some years now. We badly need a philosophy to guide us in dealing with such complex issues which is more sophisticated than “unconventional is ridiculous.” And we need to be smarter than asking the hot fusion group to evaluate “cold fusion.” That’s an undeniable conflict of interest, as their names pit them against one another for funding.

    Our higher education system is not doing so well these days. Ideological creep within the sciences is just one issue. The system is not scaling well. The more students that are added, the more expensive college is becoming. This will not last. It is a recipe for disaster, for both the traditional system of higher education and the ideological creep. What we’re about to see is the virtualization of much of the universities, in order to correct the financial trends which have been occurring.

    Once this transition occurs, we’ll see a far larger diversity in education. There will be universities which teach just the electrical framework, and possibly even some that teach both — alongside universities which are religious in nature, and others which are focused upon research in teaching and learning. We are on the verge of a great change within the university system. I strongly believe that it is the next frontier for the internet. The financial trends are dictating it.

    There is a very voluminous amount of peer review research by now which anybody can look up on the Internet which documents this ongoing transition. To be clear, the current university system has failed to deploy very many of the findings of the last few decades in teaching and learning research. The problems inherent to the physics PhD program at UCLA (and likely many others are just like it) are documented in detail by Jeff Schmidt in his book, Disciplined Minds — which will completely transform your views of our current attempt at science.

    Students clearly need to be better trained in physics concepts. They need to be taught in two separate frameworks simultaneously, so that they do not accidentally develop preferences or prejudices. It’s become apparent that students trained in just one scientific framework — like the gravitational one — will tend to memorize and prioritize it. By introducing two frameworks at once, they are more apt to compare and contrast the two frameworks’ performances in a fair manner.

    This is the future of science education, without a doubt, because students who are trained in this new manner will be better critical thinkers than the students we train today. And those students of the future will ultimately look back at APODNereid’s and Tom Bridgman’s comments, and think to themselves that these people appear not to have actually put much effort into making these competing ideas work, before they decided to tear them apart.

    We can see filamentary electrical currents connecting the Sun and the Earth. We can see electrical connections occurring between the planetary magnetospheres. The solar wind is an electrical current, and it fills the entire heliosphere — which extends beyond Pluto.

    Gerrit Verschuur says that the “interstellar clouds” are in fact very often filamentary. And Tokamak research has led to the creation of “probabilistic reasoning” algorithms for identifying the characteristic filamentary and cartwheel structures of electrical and dusty plasmas in plasma imagery. There is a future for fuzzy logic in establishing the veracity of scientific inferences. We can now assign objective probabilities for things like Halton Arp’s bridges between galaxies and quasars, given publication of the algorithms.

    It has become fashionable to ridicule people who concern themselves with a rigorous analysis of the first 5,000 years of human writings and stories (“mythology”). Many people focus their skepticism upon anything which pertains to mythology for the reason that the analysis is usually very poor. But, with this bath water is the baby. To be clear: The claims that there is nothing to be learned from studying human mythology originate from a crowd which refuses to investigate the apparent enigmas of mythology with any true curiosity; and within a context of Campbell and Jung, neither of which provided a compelling theory for the enigmatic correspondences between all of the cultures on key aspects of the stories. By ignoring huge chunks of information which possess such direct bearing upon our beliefs, conventional thinkers can fill that void with a history which is kind to their own preferred ideology.

    David Talbott is merely searching for connections. His comparative mythology technique is called synthesis, actually, and it’s how innovation tends to occur — through a bringing together of ideas from completely different realms.

    Advocates for an Electric Universe all agree that history is inherently less certain than science. The past is not something we can ever be sure of. But, this is hardly reason to give up on 5,000 years of human communications. Theories simply have no need for discordant datapoints.

    Remember, this is the same group of people who brought us uniformitarianism — the notion that catastrophes can basically be ignored, such that we can rewind the geologic layers like a scripted movie. It’s one of the least successful assumptions in all of science. Just this week, scientists discovered that Redwoods have different DNA at their treetops as they do at their bases. It appears that old trees — exactly the kind which scientists assume are trustworthy record-keepers — can actually alter their underlying algorithms if it suits them.

    But, the truth is that enigmas are no longer the point in science.

  3. plasmasrevenge@yahoo.com | Reply

    I just read through Tom Bridgman’s “What The Electric Universe ‘Theorists’ Won’t Tell You” on his creationism blog. One of the things I’ve picked up on Bridgman’s analyses, in a general sense, is that he leaves out many important details in the debate. These are details which provide a larger context for what he’s saying.

    For instance, philosophy of science dictates that inferences cannot be treated as facts. It is the inferences which differ from one scientific framework to the next, so in a discussion of frameworks, it is a complete non sequiter to confuse the layperson reader in this manner. Only Tom knows why he resorts to such tactics to make his point.

    But, I do believe that this mistake alone completely discredits the entirety of his work. The reason is this: Tom must know by now that laypeople constitute a large portion of his audience. Many laypeople will not have a clear understanding of what an inference is.

    And this brings up a difficult subject for many of us: Is Tom Bridgman’s purpose specifically to confuse his readers? This is a valid question, as — from a competing journalist’s perspective — he oftentimes does not appear to exhibit much concern for whether or not his audience understands what he’s saying.

  4. Okay, now that I can see that you publish both sides of the debate, we can go into a more detailed analysis of a sample Bridgman piece. He has apparently written something like 30 of these pieces by now, and so it’s clearly not in anybody’s interests to imagine that they will at this point convince him that he is wrong. Many people who know better have truthfully moved on. Bridgman essentially acts as a critical thinking test for our audience; we only hear from the much smarter ones, who don’t fall for his act.

    But, you get to decide for yourself, based upon a rebuttal to Bridgman’s rebuttal …

    >> Mathematics aside, most relevant scientific discoveries are initially serendipitous
    >> and/or conceptual postulates. This appeal to show current (PC/EU) research
    >> which corroborates studies and articles over 20 years old is fallacious.
    >
    > Fallacious? Not at all. Real science is subjected to constant revisions and
    > updates as new data become available.

    Okay, here’s what Bridgman is not telling his audience: A model which is updated to reflect observations is called an ad hoc model. This is one very specific way of solving a complex problem. A question which philosophers might think about, with regards to ad hoc modeling, is …

    Each time scientists fix the model, that would appear to also represent a failure of the model to make an accurate prediction. It makes little sense to think of this as some sort of perfect methodology for decoding the universe. It is only an investigative tool insofar as it helps scientists to understand how far off from reality they currently are.

    So, let’s get to the point: If you’ve incorrectly inferred your underlying physical causes for your observations, will the model ever “succeed” at making accurate predictions?

    I would argue no. The decision to coalesce around a single scientific framework will guarantee that you will never stop seeing exceptions to your model. Using the current allegations as an example, electrical plasmas can do things which gases simply cannot. The electric force is simply far stronger, and the geometry extends it within this framework to infinite distances, as a natural consequence of plasma’s inherent tendencies. So, what happens in practice when theorists attempt to use the behavior of gases to do the work of electrical plasmas, is that their inferences (explanations) for these energy sources would become increasingly invisible and exotic … Black holes, dark matter, dark energy. These three are the movers and shakers in conventional cosmology, and yet they are all quite “dark” in nature. That is not a coincidence. In the bigger picture of the history of science, that’s a growing trend.

    And it places the conventional gravity-based framework into a very vulnerable state, where it is perfectly within the right of all theorists to propose competing frameworks which society, with or without conventional scientists, can use to maneuver around these impediments in ways which apparently do not come naturally to the trained physicists.

    So, if we want to talk about the underlying challenges of the conventional theories, the Electric Universe acts as an effective antidote to the failures of the conventional theories. And this is an important reason why the attraction is growing for people. It’s the banishment of dark physics.

    > It is rare enough for a scientific
    > reference to be iconic and ACTIVE references after 20 years, but with NO
    > newer work? If you are using material this old as your PRIMARY references, it
    > limits EU to:
    >
    > 1) It is a historical or religious reference, perhaps where the ‘original intent’
    > of the author is under examination. This option supports my view the EU is
    > more of an ideological or religious movement (see The Electric Universe &
    > Creationism);
    >
    > 2) It is a DEAD science. The commenter is basically saying there has been no
    > new discoveries in plasma physics since the work of Alfven or Peratt and that
    > plasma physics has been a stagnant science.

    This is classic Bridgman. He implies that ideas in science are only worth thinking about if they have been recently discussed within peer review journals. And you know what? That is probably a good rule of thumb to go by as a conventional thinker. But, as if we are not noticing the efforts he himself puts into denying enterprising notions in science, he leaves no room for the effects of scientific politicking upon the publication record. It’s not only very simplistic. But, peer review worship is actually quite common too.

    But, we are now in an age where we are learning how the brain works, and how people can teach themselves to be more creative problem solvers. And, the processes which are being presented for how innovation tends to occur importantly includes an incubation and gestation phase, where people are supposed to try to build ideas before they try to destroy them with criticism. When Bridgman and others pretend as though it’s simply not their job to try to improve upon the idea, they are demonstrating a lack of clarity on the process for innovation.

    > Loads of new missions and data impact PC/EU models, yet all the verbal
    > claims of EU proponents have yet to generate one viable computation model
    > where the theoretical model gives numbers even close to the new data. The
    > Peratt galaxy model has yet to be shown consistent with modern cosmological
    > microwave background measurements (see Scott Rebuttal. II. The Peratt
    > Galaxy Model vs. the Cosmic Microwave Background, Still no electric currents
    > powering the galaxies…)

    Bridgman’s claim here on the lack of a predictive model is accurate. Where Bridgman goes off the tracks here is in not realizing that many students dream of the possibility of creating physical models which might turn out to be predictive. So, why is it not happening?

    To be honest, in my own humble opinion — which other EU advocates are free to disagree with — the reason that there is no model is because nobody has created the website where people would go to create the model. It’s really that simple. The challenge for against-the-mainstream movements in science, moving forward, is to leverage the power of the Internet to demonstrate their claims. We are only at the very beginning of this process.

    > Has anyone in PC/EU even mapped locations of current streams across the
    > sky they need to power stars and galaxies in their model? Not that I’ve been
    > able to find!

    No, but you know what, some enterprising physics student WILL do EXACTLY THAT one day. And they will leave behind a global array of low-cost radio telescopes, from which a central command will combine all of these 2D views into a 3D view. And I would imagine that this data will feed into the EU solar models, in order to generate a solar model which actually makes accurate predictions.

    It’s unusual that Tom manages to find something negative about the process – ie, that it hasn’t already happened. For me, it’s one of the most exciting student projects that a student could ever be offered. And I’d be willing to bet that the student who gets this project online will go on to be a very famous astronomer one day.

    > In the 1930s, Hans Bethe (wikipedia) and Edward Teller (wikipedia) developed
    > the physical and mathematical techniques for understanding the energy
    > generation in stars by nuclear processes. They subsequently used these
    > same techniques to develop the atomic & hydrogen bombs in the 1940s & 50s.
    > How did they do this? They used the microphysics, the same reaction rate
    > and energy generation equations from small-scale laboratory experiments
    > and computed them for the different environments of energy release in the
    > center of a star (under very high pressure) and in a lower pressure environment
    > (the Earth’s atmosphere). Even today, there is much data and theory
    > exchanged between nuclear astrophysicists and nuclear weapon designers.

    The challenge which Bridgman has actually taken up is a bit more than what he’s doing here. If he has a point to make on this subject, he is also tasked with describing for his audience why it is that a plasma-based framework cannot explain the data he points out. Nobody can come to a conclusion based upon this story, because they have no idea what ranges of these values would have worked. Much of Tom’s audience — at least in this article — will have no clue what the EU alternative for belief even is. It’s not Tom’s responsibility to explain it, but at the same time, people would be making a philosophical error if they accepted his criticism here without even understanding why the EU cannot explain nuclear explosions.

    And considering that this is a subject which will always exist in a shroud of mystery, one wonders why it’s an argument which he finds important enough to even bring up tirelessly, over and over again.

    Tom Bridgman takes his challenge as far as he thinks is necessary to seed doubt, and then drops the subject — because he reaches a point where further comment would require far more knowledge of the subject which he criticizes than he possesses. That’s because Tom is not interested in mentally constructing a second plasma-based framework. He’d rather argue against it.

    It is not some huge mystery why scientists prefer the theories they are taught in college. Nor is it a mystery why they avoid ideas which the scientific community considers to be “fringe”: They don’t want to lose standing in the eyes of their peers. Engineers don’t care if an observation has a theory; they will make it work. The value of a scientist pertains to his reputation. If mainstream science is wrong, the scientist will ignore the potential to create something which might propel us into a new era in science. What matters most is whether or not conventional theory can be twisted to explain the new technology. And this is why — when science is wrong — conventional scientists can create great harm in society.

    For Bridgman, he’s so committed by this point with his 30+ pages of critique on the EU, that he’s incapable of reversing. Same for Leroy and Nereid. They are now critics for life, no matter what new observation comes our way which might support the EU. It’s not quite the ideal image which the public possesses of our scientists. But, it is a very modern view of how things can transpire.

    > We have yet to see such a demonstration from those who claim the Sun and
    > stars are powered by external electric currents.
    >
    > Many of the unusual instruments that were used to collect leading edge data
    > decades ago are part of standard instrumentation today – atomic clocks,
    > Michelson interferometers, lasers, etc. so these theories are subjected to
    > continual testing everywhere the technology is used. Principles such as relativity
    > are tested every time someone uses a GPS receiver, regardless of EU &
    > creationist denials.

    Yes, Tom, these are tests for the underlying mathematics. But, an inference — like Relativity — is an explanation for the underlying physical cause. It is what we are debating here. When you say, “Principles such as relativity are tested every time someone uses a GPS receiver,” you are confusing your reader into thinking that an aether model cannot be constructed to generate the same results.

    What’s so sinful is that you’re not leaving your audience with an ability to even judge where the true debate of the situation is.

    > Relativity becomes even more important when we use GPS to do
    > high-precision positions of other satellites. We are already in the planning
    > stages of a GPS system that could operate throughout the Solar System.
    > Thanks to relativity, we knew what relativistic correction was needed for the
    > GPS clocks before they were launched!

    Tom, much of your audience doesn’t even know anything about the correction. That’s because you dropped the subject again before actually making a point. You never talked about the various theories for aether. Your audience has no idea to what extent aether theory can explain the same data. We are left wondering if you’ve actually investigated that yet.

    >> There is a lot of merit to Alfven’s Plasma Cosmology as well as some EU ideas
    >> which make more intuitive sense than any ideas of “Dark This/That.“
    >
    > ‘Intuitive’ does not make the science correct. Quantum mechanics is
    > incredibly un-intuitive,

    Tom is using the failures of the conventional theories here to establish a new baseline in science that common sense has no place in science anymore. To be clear, many philosophers are extremely uncomfortable with this leap.

    Tom also eagerly accepts the notion that the inordinate role of dark particles and forces in conventional physics is a passing problem which we can, without any concern, shelve for future resolution. There is no place in Tom Bridgman’s worldview for somebody who might start to wonder at the obvious historical trends towards dark physics in the conventional theories.

    > yet those aspects of it, which could be readily
    > predicted through mathematics, enabled us to replace large vacuum
    > tubes with microscopic transistors which make modern electronics possible.
    > What matters in science is that one can make numerical predictions that can
    > be compared to data and observations.

    This is where we start to see the inordinate role that mathematics plays in the conventional physicist’s mind. Scientists are also supposedly concerned with the underlying physical causes for the data. Does God play dice? Tom Bridgman doesn’t care! So, why should his audience care?

    Whatever this is, it is not critical thinking in science.

    > This sounds more like a description of EU ‘theorists’. They build cosmic-scale
    > circuits with no EMF to drive them – the electrical equivalent of perpetual
    > motion machines, yet conveniently ignore where the energy comes from that
    > drives that EMF.

    For the sake of Tom’s audience, asking where the source of the energy of the universe is, is no different than asking how it is that nothing went bang. This is a no-win debate which Tom is eager to tell just one side to.

    > EU ‘theorists’ hide behind the archaic term “Dark Current” which is no longer
    > used in modern plasma studies since it is now well understood (Dark current
    > has a radically different interpretation in modern physics – wikipedia).

    This is, once again, Tom refusing to think within the new framework. There is not even a tolerance for a competing framework to have it’s own terminology.

    > The neutrino took 25 years from postulate to direct detection, but in between
    > that time there were numerous experiments which were consistent with the
    > neutrino’s existence. For ‘Dark Matter’, a subatomic particle, below the
    > detection threshold of our current technology, is the simplest solution.

    For Tom to comment on dark matter’s suitability to observations relative to conducting plasmas, he would need to explain for his audience so much more. What do they have to compare against? You’ve told them nothing about the competing framework.

    > PC/EU fails from very basic considerations from electromagnetism and mechanics.

    Let’s go back to basics. What is the Electric Universe? It is an adaptation of observations in laboratory plasma physics to cosmic plasmas, which constitute the very large majority (in terms of matter state) of what we see with our telescopes. The EU is based upon the work, amongst others, of Hannes Alfven — who, towards the end of his career, struggled (and ultimately failed) to convince astrophysicists to re-examine their plasma models. Astrophysicists were eager to adopt the plasma models which were consistent with a gravity-based framework, but refused to acknowledge any criticisms, Nobel or not, of the plasma models which might effectively shift the relative importance of the gravitational and electric forces within cosmology.

    This is perhaps akin to what you might hear from an EU advocate. Notice how different the education is, coming from Bridgman. One seriously wonders to what degree students of the conventional theories have even been informed of the debate itself. The aether debates are certainly covered as if they lasted around five minutes.

    > As for the ‘universal wayfarers’, considering the EU/PC has yet to produce
    > a usable, reproducible model of the heliospheric and interstellar environment,
    > those ‘universal wayfarers’ will have some serious problems dealing with the
    > field and radiation environment. I have repeatedly made light of these problems
    > and received nothing but excuses from the EU ‘theorists’ instead of actual,
    > testable models.

    Clearly, Bridgman imagines that the ad hoc modeling technique is only useful for fixing mistakes in the conventional theories.

    He also seems to think that the EU theorists are reading his website. I can confirm that Bridgman has not been a sufficiently poignant critic to deserve a lot of attention. Many of his points are classic closeminded single-framework thinking. We are talking about the most complex problems man has ever thought about. There is going to be more than just a little bit of critical thinking required to make this happen, guys. We’re going to have to be open to fresh ideas sufficient to actually generate thoughtful criticism of competing ideas.

    Tom Bridgman has an ability to learn the plasma-based framework. But, what I doubt is if he can even be thought of at this point as fair-minded in his quest for the truth. We have to imagine, as human beings, in our quest for answers on the hardest problems we’ve ever thought about, that our beliefs are subject to natural human tendencies. Some people say it in arguably more clear terms: That we cannot know the universe until we know ourselves.

    Our minds are not faithful servants of truth. The very instructions which drive our thoughts are servants of the ego. And, for those of us who wish to know something which is accurate of the universe, we must realize that philosophical thinking does not come naturally. It is enforced — not from a social group — but from a critical view of our own beliefs, within the context of philosophy of science. If I’ve demonstrated anything here, my hope is that people now see that there exists a much larger philosophical context for the things which Tom is saying, which he leaves out of his writings for consideration with his audience.

    This is called an information bubble. So, what I would ask Tom’s audience to do is critically think about what he is saying. And if he does not take the time to explain both sides of the issue for you, then you are permitted to assume that there is something sneaky going on — because, by now, it’s not something you haven’t already seen.

  5. These are the standard EU whines:
    – Mainstream science is discriminating against EU.
    – There is a ‘world view’ in science that opposes EU
    – Mathematical models are valid only when they support the EU position
    – If scientists actually used our model, they would see that EU is better

    Replace ‘EU’ with ‘creationists’ and these are the same arguments used by creationists to evade meeting the standards of real science.

    Here’s a better question that EU supporters avoid.

    There are tens/hundreds of thousands of people trained in the use of Maxwell’s equations, engineers and physicists. They must use them to design antennas, waveguides, high-power electrical systems, protect electrical systems on satellites in space, etc.

    Why aren’t THOSE engineers supporting EU?

    Simple. All you have to do is ask them to use their knowledge of E&M to compute some additional parameters expected for something like an Electric Sun (ES) model. Even the most basic analyses, such as those I have done (Electric Cosmos: The Solar Capacitor Model. III.) reveal that ES models fail. The ES model is useless for protecting our astronauts or even satellites in the solar environment.

    1. Re: “Here’s a better question that EU supporters avoid.

      There are tens/hundreds of thousands of people trained in the use of Maxwell’s equations, engineers and physicists. They must use them to design antennas, waveguides, high-power electrical systems, protect electrical systems on satellites in space, etc.

      Why aren’t THOSE engineers supporting EU?”

      It’s not complicated, Tom: Because they’ve yet to be trained in it. But, what Tom leaves out of his argument here is the inconvenient fact that IEEE — which represents the world’s electrical and computer engineers — knows better than to *reject* papers which support plasma-based cosmologies. Apparently, they believe that the arguments should at least be published, so that engineers can come to their own conclusions on these issues. After all, the engineers have not invested their careers into any of the frameworks, and so this is not such a controversial issue for them.

      Tom brings up a valid point here: Why is it that electrical and computer engineers are not taught the competing electrical framework? If they knew it, they’d be in a much better position to innovate, by simply following the leads which it offers.

      But, clearly, this is not what Tom is actually arguing. What he’s actually implying is that the physics discipline need not concern itself with training students to be masters of worldviews, capable of switching between them in order to innovate better than those who can only view the world in one worldview. He’s also suggesting that the physics discipline need not teach students how to critically think about scientific frameworks, even as critical thinking has become integrated into most other subjects which we now teach to students at the high school level.

      Re: “Simple. All you have to do is ask them to use their knowledge of E&M to compute some additional parameters expected for something like an Electric Sun (ES) model. Even the most basic analyses, such as those I have done (Electric Cosmos: The Solar Capacitor Model. III.) reveal that ES models fail. The ES model is useless for protecting our astronauts or even satellites in the solar environment.”

      Once again, Tom pretends as though what already exists is the finished product, and ignores for his audience the ad hoc methodology which corrects mistakes to the standard solar model, as they are observed. He fails to provide any philosophical explanation for why the EU solar model should be treated any differently.

      Even a really basic understanding of the ES model suggests that we would have to observe the inflowing electrical currents in order to make predictions about the Sun’s future activity. This clearly remains an unfinished question, as I don’t think any serious effort has yet been put into it. Clearly, this is a project which will require funding and a concerted effort by a large number of investigators and circuit designers. But, Tom doesn’t care about whatever findings might come of such efforts, as he is fully prepared to pre-judge those findings sufficient to dismiss the entire effort.

      And to be clear, such things should excite students around the world, as it means that a door has effectively opened for them to pursue cutting edge science which the mainstream has convinced itself exhibits no inherent value. And, in my own personal view, this is ultimately what we are waiting for here — for the online infrastructure necessary to facilitate such student projects.

      But, Tom does physics students an incredible disservice by blinding them to such opportunities.

  6. Mr. Bridgman, sir, those thousands of folks ARE, in fact, behind the EU idea as a valid course of inquiry. The IEEE has an official working group studying Plasma Cosmology, and it informs its membership of the status of that group, just as it does for all other working groups within the IEEE.

    And in case you decide to say the IEEE is bunk.. I’d ask if you have ever used anything, whatsoever, to do with electricity.. or electronics.. or a computer. The IEEE memberhsip designed and built it. They know their stuff. They have to. The membership of the IEEE even builds the space probes and equipment that standard cosmologists use to test their theories.

    I do not know how you failed at your attempt to model the sun as an Electric Anode, since many others have succeeded, including Kirstian Birkeland in his famous Terella experiments. I can only assume you don’t completely understand the model, or plasma physics enough to do so.

  7. I see there’s been some more activity here, so let me follow-up.

    Mr. Reeve complains that there are no EU engineers because they have not been ‘trained’ in it. If, as EU supporters like to claim, these models are obvious consequences of existing electromagnetic theory (Maxwell’s equations, various plasma models), then no additional ‘training’ should be necessary. They should be able to apply these theories and obtain better observational agreement than the standard model, which is the same thing that astrophysicists do with the theories of gravity, atomic and nuclear structure, plasma physics, etc. ‘Training’ beyond that is more like indoctrination.

    As it is, the only model that came even close to scientific standards is the Peratt galaxy model which has already failed observational tests. I’ve found no electric sun models beyond those that I, and others, have demonstrated are failures.

    As for the IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, I assume you mean this Plasma Universe. Note the disclaimer:
    “The Plasma Universe and Plasma Cosmology have no ties to the anti-science blogsites of the holoscience ‘electric universe’.”

    1. I’ll take a look at your piece, Tom, but statements like this …

      “… They should be able to apply these theories and obtain better observational agreement than the standard model …”

      … simply ignore the vast number of arguments which must be presented in order to lead to meaningful comprehension of a new model. You lend the false impression that the case can be made in 5 minutes.

      We need not look any further than yourself to see how difficult it is to teach somebody a new model. People tend to squirm and fight with each challenge to their assumptions, and it can take a number of months or years of this before enough arguments have been sorted through to make the model believable. As you know, in the university programs, students who have a tendency to argue with and interrupt the professor tend to simply get kicked out of the programs. That you assume that people like yourself can learn the EU — or any against-the-mainstream model, for that matter — even though you are resisting at every possible moment, is really kind of fanciful. People don’t have the time to teach somebody who doesn’t want to learn in the first place. People like yourself won’t take the idea seriously until your job depends upon it.

      As the conventional university programs appear to simply ignore Richard Feynman’s very clear warning about scientific integrity in his piece on Cargo Cult Science, getting students to the proper conceptual place — from which they can take laboratory plasma physics principles & apply them to the cosmos with actual mathematics — is really a complex endeavor. Doing it with care to make sure it turns out correct is even that much harder. Keep in mind that there is nothing stopping any mathematician from conjuring up a quantitative analysis today, based upon what is already out there. But, the EU is not trying to replicate the ad hoc nature of conventional cosmology & astrophysics.

      It’s not just a matter of applying Maxwell’s Equations. Each step that is taken must be very carefully thought through, for the very reason that when you are being thoughtful about the mistakes that have already occurred, things tend to go a hell of a lot slower. To be honest, the most serious problems in the space sciences today pertain to issues that are fundamentally psychological and sociological in nature. It took 6 or 7 years of just talking to people online to understand precisely how people think about against-the-mainstream claims. This discovery places specific constraints on the very manner in which people communicate about these issues. We have to build a new system for communicating about science, from the ground up. And since most of the public fails to even see that there is any problem to be solved here at all, many years of software development will have to occur without any chance of being paid for any of it upfront.

      All of that considered, don’t think for a second that I am not up to this challenge. I’ve already put 3 years into this, and I am only 38 years old at this point. I already know how to fix most of these issues. I already have a specific site design. The hardest part — identifying the problems — is already complete.

      1. Mr. Reeve,
        I’ve been demanding Electric Universe meet these standards for how many YEARS (over five years since my first rebuttal of “The Electric Sky”) and now you’re claiming I expect results in five minutes? Hogwash. I’m sure the talk.origins ‘debate’ in the mid-1990s made similar requests of those EU participants.

        So I guess that means EU ‘theorists’ have STILL done NOTHING these past 5-18 years? Oh, I’m sorry, you actually have a *site design* now. I guess one must have their priorities in proper order. I’m amazed Maxwell’s equations managed to become accepted science since he didn’t even have a website to design! ;^)

        What you’re really saying is EU ‘theorists’ STILL have no model that provides numerical values we can compare against measurements from spacecraft. EU ‘theories’ are useless for doing anything real. Any claims by EU advocates that they have a theory that *works* better than the standard models are, to put it kindly, FALSE.

        Maxwell’s equations contain charge and current densities and electric and magnetic fields. I and others have already done some of these solutions based on current configurations described in EU literature and demonstrated how the EU configurations FAIL to match the data.

        Perhaps Mr. Reeve could explain just how ‘psychology’ and ‘sociology’ make the results of Maxwell’s equations different for a specified current configuration?

        Perhaps he’s claiming the divergence of the magnetic field (one of Maxwell’s equations) can be non-zero if you wish it hard enough?

        Maybe dx/dx = 2 if you really want it to?

        REAL science propagates because OTHERS can use it based on the equations and rules of mathematics. And they can use it to do real things, like design and build an antenna with a specified signal response, or the trajectory to a planet a decade before the spacecraft is launched, or the total amount of energy available in a load of nuclear fuel.

        PSEUDO-science can only propagate through the ‘psychology’ and ‘sociology’. You can do NOTHING real with it but manipulate others to believe your claims, since they can do nothing real with them. It dies when the last ‘true-believer’ dies. How is this different from propaganda? How is this different from the motivation of ‘holy warriors’? How can there be *at least* four different, and mutually-contradictory, ‘electric sun’ models? And not one of them has computed any relevant parameter of the solar environment useful for navigating a spacecraft safely through the solar system!

        – What will be the charged particle environment at perihelion for Solar Probe Plus?

        – What voltages will Rosetta record as it approaches 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko? Will it see a ‘bright flash’ or not?

        If your model can’t do that (and the standard models can do pretty well), then what use is it beyond stroking the egos of Electric Universe advocates?

  8. I respond to some of Mr. Reeve’s claims in
    Pseudoscience and ‘World-View’

  9. Re: “What you’re really saying is EU ‘theorists’ STILL have no model that provides numerical values we can compare against measurements from spacecraft.”

    Did I say that?

    Re: “EU ‘theories’ are useless for doing anything real.”

    Have you considered that most people do not yet understand what the idea actually IS? How will quantifying a web of concepts which few people understand to this day add clarity?

    Re: “Any claims by EU advocates that they have a theory that *works* better than the standard models are, to put it kindly, FALSE.”

    Not every debate hinges strictly on mathematics. As an example, the claims over the interstellar filaments hinges on laboratory observations of Marklund convection, and the correspondence between laboratory CIV’s and redshifts observed to be associated with the high-velocity clouds. Math is involved in the Gaussian fitting that radio astronomers do, but the EU view offers the best explanation for why those “clouds” are filamentary, and why those redshifts correspond with CIV’s to begin with. And Marklund convection explains why those filament centers are neutral, as you like to incessantly remind people.

    But, notice that the fact that you do incessantly remind people that these filaments are neutral suggests that you don’t exactly understand what is being claimed, to begin with. Marklund convection predicts recombination at the filament centers, so what is your point? And this brings us back to my own point: What would adding mathematics add to that situation? Is the confusion you create on this point somehow a matter of mathematics? You’re taking advantage of the fact that people don’t know what Marklund convection is.

    A careful look at the EU claims being made on the inverse temperature enigma at the corona reveals that it is the definition of the CONCEPT of temperature upon which the EU argument hinges: The EU implicitly asks … What is the temperature of a plasma for which the charged particles are mostly moving together, as dictated by an electric field? That is really what is at the heart of that argument, best I can tell, and my guess is that this is one of the issues which will be studied with the SAFIRE project. Math is obviously and clearly involved, but diving headfirst into the math — without first discussing and understanding the broader picture of what is being argued — will only lead to confusion … Which I suppose is what you most desire anyways …

    I honestly think you might be a little bit confused here on what my role is. No different from the structure of mainstream science, I have a specialty. I study the ways in which people think about complex scientific controversies, and then I take theories from all sorts of disciplines, and apply them towards the construction of a scientific social network which will be designed from scratch to avoid the mistakes we see with online discourse today. The point is to create a conceptual basis upon which mathematics can then be postulated. The order here logically follows from the notion that paradigm changes involve changes in concepts foremost, which mathematics is then used as a judge, as well as a tool for defining those conceptual relationships.

    I am not actually part of the Thunderbolts group. I have advocated for the EU for many years now, but this was in the interest of learning how people think about controversy in science. Much of that ethnographic observation is by now complete, and I have moved on to creating a prototype for my site.

    For me, personally, I am completely unfazed on your arguments about mathematics. And the reason is that I can very clearly see that people today are not actually judging the EU on the merits of its actual claims. Quantification is only one part of the story.

    Many of these arguments you like to harp on are not actually defects in the EU idea itself, but rather constitute a commentary on the fact — known since Kuhn, of course — that emergent ideas always tend to talk about different things, and tend to exhibit less quantification, than established theory.

    This is not a commentary on the legitimacy of the idea itself; it’s an attempt to get people to skip over the process of actually learning the idea, in order to interfere with the process of building awareness sufficient to match the quantitative appeal of the conventional theories. It’s a bit similar to your sidekick, Leroy’s, attempts to undermine Peratt’s ability to perform supercomputer simulations, by writing the laboratories involved. In both cases, the objective is to convince people to prematurely judge the idea, before science can even run its course.

    1. To Mr. Reeve,
      This sounds like an attempt to stall.

      If Marklund convection is a better ‘explanation’, as you claim, then there should be a good match between the predictions of the mathematical model AND the observations. THAT is the DEFINITION of a ‘better explanation’ in the standards of science. Let’s examine the issues you raised, but avoided, with your ‘better explanation':

      – A Marklund current requires a large scale electric field along the length of the current. Electric fields require charge separation. Since opposite charges always attract, you need energy to separate the charges to create the electric field. Where did this energy come from and how did it separate the charges along the length of the current?

      – What’s the strength of the electric field? Is it strong enough to create Stark splitting of the ionic spectral lines in the plasma that we could detect with spectroscopes on Earth (visible, IR or radio wavelengths)?

      – We have pretty good methods for measuring cosmic magnetic fields, even with limitations imposed by ‘line-of-sight’. Given reasonable assumptions about the size scales of these structures, you should be able estimate the magnetic field along the structure and from that, determine what field would be measured from Earth-based instruments.

      – With a model of the magnetic field, and electric field, around the filament, it is simple to solve for the convective velocity V = crossproduct(E, B)/B^2 and determine the spectral profile of the ions.

      – You’ve got charged particles moving in a magnetic field. What’s the synchrotron flux predicted for this configuration? This should be detectable by radio telescopes and should exhibit correlation with any visible-light structures.

      Have EU advocates done ANY of this? Not that I can find.

      If we look at the history of the original Marklund article on ADS (http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1979Natur.277..370M) we find only seven references since 1979. Verschuur most recently tries to use this mechanism, but doesn’t address the problems around the formation of such structures.

      Until you can show a direct match between between the mathematically-determined predictions of the model, AND ACTUAL OBSERVATIONS, these claims are, at BEST, a hypothesis. By that criteria alone, the Marklund convection idea is in a weaker position than Dark Matter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_matter) since we can at least add the hypothesized particles to simulations and obtain better agreement with observations, which can be used to constrain the various searches for what Dark Matter actually IS.

      Reeve: “This is not a commentary on the legitimacy of the idea itself; it’s an attempt to get people to skip over the process of actually learning the idea, in order to interfere with the process of building awareness sufficient to match the quantitative appeal of the conventional theories.”

      So again, you want to evade the fact that EU theories are useless for doing anything in the real world, like estimating radiation fluxes in space needed to protect astronauts and satellites in space.

      As for Peratt’s supercomputer access, did Peratt actually have a grant authorizing his time on the resource for that use? I’ve had access to a few supercomputers, but I can’t just run any project I desire on them. Loads of other people compete for time on those machines. Besides, today you can build supercomputers with off-the-shelf hardware quite cheaply (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beowulf_cluster) and the TRISTAN plasma code is publicly available (http://tristan-mp.wikispaces.com/).

      Yet EU supporters, instead of rolling up their sleeves and actually doing the work, choose a position, apparently encouraged by you, of regarding their ‘wishful thinking’ as scientific evidence.

      We did not go to the Moon, or send spacecraft to distant planets, by ‘wishful thinking.’ We did it by doing the math, which verified the physics, which guided the engineering.

  10. Re: “Until you can show a direct match between between the mathematically-determined predictions of the model, AND ACTUAL OBSERVATIONS, these claims are, at BEST, a hypothesis.”

    I can see the words I’ve formerly typed in about CIV’s on this blog, but it remains a mystery why Bridgman makes claims — like the one above — without having actually read what I’ve already written.

    Those of us who are following along with Verschuur’s & Peratt’s research are apparently less confused than Tom, for despite all of these attempts to suggest what the research *should* be, there is indeed a line of investigation that is showing very promising results for electrical cosmology. I’m not really sure why Tom insists upon talking about everything OTHER than the critical ionization velocities which Verschuur has associated with interstellar filaments, while simultaneously demanding mathematical predictions.

    Honestly, it’s peculiar.

    The presence of those CIV’s suggest that these filaments are conducting electrical currents, no different from ordinary laboratory plasma filaments. We need not invent hypothetical matters or forces to explain it. We can do this with classical physics — which, for some reason, is a less desirable outcome for Tom.

    A CIV is a redshift that occurs when plasmas slam into neutral gases at very high velocity. The very existence of the anomalous high-velocity clouds (HVC’s) — which exhibit unusual redshifts given their inferred locations — plainly leaves the door open to such CIV’s. *Something* is going on with those redshifts; it is only logical to check into the CIV mechanism, before latching onto invisible, hypothetical constructs. It turns out that a careful NON-ALGORITHMIC analysis (unlike what the WMAP group does) at the 21 cm wavelength, as practiced by radio astronomers, turns up copious numbers of such redshifts — most prominently the 35 km/s signal, which is the signal for helium.

    Those who refuse to believe these results really need to answer the question of why so much matter in space appears to prefer an inferred velocity of around 35 km/s?! There is no logic to the recurrence of particular velocities in space. Verschuur has published extensively on this topic, and I believe even in the Astrophysical Journal, so Tom’s omission on this point seems peculiar.

    The presence of these CIV’s also suggests a very simple explanation for the recent “photon underproduction crisis” — namely, that ionization can occur through this CIV process without any need for the ionizing effects of ultraviolet radiation.

    The fact that the CIV’s observed by Verschuur match the CIV’s recorded in laboratories for the universe’s most common elements seems to satisfy Bridgman’s demand for a mathematical prediction. And, if he’s not satisfied with my own explanation, he can purchase a copy of Anthony Peratt’s second edition of Physics of the Plasma Universe, which Springer is releasing just THIS WEEK — which apparently contains two entire chapters on this very subject, as well as a Peratt’s best attempt to explain the CMB within all of this context. Or, he can read the numerous papers published by Verschuur on this topic — who apparently spent a number of years struggling to explain the data before he learned of what a CIV was.

    I really need to caution people: If you are reading Bridgman’s efforts to explain what he *imagines* the Electric Universe *should* be, you’re apparently missing what the EU actually *is*. He seems to want to imagine that the CIV’s are not somehow a mathematical prediction. And he seems particularly eager to prefer the dark matter construct, even as publications continue to emerge on the electrical nature of these filaments. Notice that rather than informing his audience that they might want to wait to formulate an opinion until we can see Peratt’s update to this important work, his purpose is to convince his audience to stop paying attention by providing a list of thought experiments.

    It’s time to get on with elaborating this paradigm. Bridgman is sentimental for the 4% universe. He should be left to wonder at the mysteries of the universe. Let’s move on, folks, and see what we can do with this paradigm. Innovative ideas need not be vetted by people who simply refuse to see what is plainly in front of their face.

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