Monday, July 6, 2015

PseudoScience and Models

With the recent Electric Universe 'conference' in Phoenix AZ, I just had to do a little browse over to the Thunderbolts forum to see if there were any interesting threads related to it.

While not directly related to the conference, there was one interesting recent thread, started by user Metryq, that died a quick death.

Thunderbolts Forum: Space Sim with EU?
There are many space sim/planetarium apps to choose from. Some are "Earth-bound" while others allow one to tour the Solar system, or farther. Many of these apps are like interactive textbooks, delivering only the mainstream view of astronomy.

Some apps, like Celestia (which seems to have fallen out of development), permit mods and add-ons and interactive lessons. Is anyone aware of an app that includes EU material, or perhaps a multi-platform app that would accept an EU mod/lessons? Thunderbolts is promoting EU extremely well, but a space sim might be one more avenue to explore.
The short answer for Metryq is that there are many simulations involving electric fields in space. 

But those simulations just don't demonstrate what Electric Universe supporters claim they would show.  Because if they did, this could have been done a LONG time ago.  Computing power is more than up to the task of doing this. 

Many of the papers on REAL electric effects in space I've documented elsewhere on this blog.
These papers reference known electrical effects in space that are incorporated into simulations that provide important information for the planning of future space missions, such as these
which are also referenced in the Thunderbolts forum:
NONE of these NASA simulations use the gigantic electric arcs and currents claimed to exist by Electric Universe supporters, yet these models work perfectly well in planning the level of protection needed for un-crewed and crewed space missions.  Funny that none of the Electric Universe fans seem capable of comprehending why that might be...

Now many of these simulations are not that difficult to write.  I wrote my first gravitational n-body simulation back in 1979 on an Apple II computer (Wikipedia) using AppleSoft Basic.  All it requires is a good understanding of the necessary mathematics and physics, and access to a sufficiently powerful programming language.  In terms of programming languages, C and C++ are good if you want the better speed of compiled languages.  Python now has extensive scientific libraries and graphical support and is my language of choice when speed is not critical.

I've written numerous other simulations since then.  More recently, I've written some 2-D plasma simulations and even an n-body particle code that combines gravity and electromagnetic forces.
Sample from from one of my 2-D plasma simulations of a ring Birkeland current in a magnetic field flowing perpendicular to the plane of the image.

Modeling of plasmas is routine today, and many can be done without access to supercomputers.  Consider the aspects of plasma modeling I've documented, many of which are now part of standard applications:
So why aren't there similar simulations for Electric Universe models?

If the Electric Universe 'theorists' were as smart as they want their fans to believe, they would have been able to demonstrate this YEARS ago, yet the only models that looked even encouraging, failed many other tests (see Scott Rebuttal. II. The Peratt Galaxy Model vs. the Cosmic Microwave Background).

The bottom line is these simulation programs don't exist because Electric Universe claims of gigantic currents powering stars and galaxies and etching canyons and craters on planets just doesn't work.

General list of failures of Electric Universe models.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Exposing PseudoAstronomy: Big Bang Denial

Stuart Robbins over at Exposing PseudoAstronomy has posted a new podcast on Big Bang Denial (BBD), a topic often covered here.

Stuart goes into a number of the more basic aspects of the problem, mostly from the types of bad reasoning involved.
  • arguments from personal incredulity
  • Dark Matter is fake.  
  • Big Bang cosmology does not describe what started the universe, only how it evolved afterwards - rather like how biological evolution takes place regardless of how life started independent of abiogenesis (wikipedia).
I have explored some additional claims in detail at the links below:

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Reading: The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design, by Ronald Numbers

I recently finished reading the expanded edition of Ronald Numbers "The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design" (Harvard University Press).

I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Numbers at the recent Perceptions Project conference and he autographed by copy.

I learned a number of new and useful things from the book.

The book traces the history of various flavors of creationism back significantly further than I had originally thought. After introduced in the late 1880s, Darwinian evolution was actually gaining some acceptance among mainstream Christian denominations until a more fundamentalist revival began to perceive it as a threat and points of resistance arose.   Prior to reading this book, I actually thought creationism was more marginalized, limited to small churches (where I first encountered it in high school) since the Scopes trial (Wikipedia).  I had thought that creationism did not achieve a higher profile until the Louisiana incident settled by the Supreme Court Edwards vs. Aguillard case (Wikipedia) in 1987.

One of the aspects I found most interesting covered in the book was the incredible range of disagreements among religious people over just what the Bible actually said about 'deep history'. There were discussions of the many attempts to form a consistent 'creation model' of the universe. Many different denominations, and even individuals within a denomination, occasionally advocated radically different positions on the age of humanity vs. the age of life vs. the age of the Earth vs. the age of the cosmos. Some creationists wanted to include geocentrism in the creation model, to the disagreement of others (pg 264). This in itself tells you that creationism has no truly objective standard for deciding on the evidence, unlike regular science.

The claim by creationists that they believe the literal truth of the Bible runs afoul of history. The geocentrists and the young-Earthers and the old-Earthers can all find biblical verses supporting their position, or a subset of the models of the other. So how do you determine which is the Truth?  The same Bible has been used to support peaceful coexistence (the Golden Rule) as well as genocide; to support slavery, as well as free slaves; to support segregation as well has inclusion. Invoking the 'literal truth of the Bible' can mean whatever agenda one wishes to impose.

The book mostly explored creationism as it applied to evolutionary biology and geology, with little discussions on cosmology. It focused more on the history of the movement and the interactions between the personalities involved, rather than particular issues of the science itself. Pages 280-281 explored Robert Gentry and his work with polonium halos, a topic which I have explored on this blog.

Chapter 13, titled "Deceptions and Discrimination", explored the persecution, both real and imagined, experienced by creationists when they tried to seek higher degrees. The creationists often hid their inclinations from the university faculty while enrolled in the degree program. However, a severe problem encountered was that many creationists seeking advanced degrees in geology would encounter the incredible level of care exercised by mainstream geologists in determining things such as radioisotope dating or defining the geologic column for a region. It would often grossly contradict all they had been taught in their creationist studies and giving them a crisis of faith. At this point, options were limited for the creationist and those who wished to continue their studies would often switch to safer topics.

One item that I was really hoping to find more about in the book was evidence of the impact of big science projects like the Manhattan Project and the Space Race on the history of the creationism movement. Sadly, I did not really finding anything addressing these issues in any detail. Pages 264-267 mention the impact of the pro-science movement at the start of the Space Race and an effort by creationists to assemble a textbook to compete with the BSCS biology textbook.   Many creationists expressed concerns about finding a publisher for such a textbook as this was shortly after the backlash from the scientific community from the Velikovsky affair (Wikipedia).

While the book did not cover much of my particular areas interest, I found it a very useful history of the movement that I may reference occasionally. I regard it on-par with Robert Schadewald's "Worlds of Their Own".