Thursday, May 28, 2009

Whines of the Electric Universe...

This entry from Dave Smith, originally posted in the comments under this post Donald Scott, of “The Electric Sky“, presents at GSFC, proved to be an interesting resource, so I've decided to make it a full post topic. I think it survived my reformatting. My original comments from the thread are in blue. Dave Smith's responses are in red. My followup is in black.

Tom wrote:
“Dave, I find it funny that you try to make a big deal of 'problems' in General Relativity that don't seem to impact experimental prediction while cowardly avoiding problems of EU claims that are SIGNIFICANTLY contrary to observation. Considering that your models imply particle fluxes near the Earth that imperil the lives of astronauts, the EU community is somewhat morally obligated to explain these discrepancies.“

Tom, I find it funny that you seem to make a big deal out of 'problems' with EU theory which don't seem to impact on creationism in astronomy, while cowardly avoiding the valid and relevant questions and points those who have contributed to this thread raise.

My list of similarities between EU and creationism has grown significantly, largely thanks to this post from Mr. Smith. I have a revised post on the EU/creationism connection and a short analysis of Crothers' relativity claims nearing completion.

My original posts were responses to earlier similar queries. It appears that Mr. Smith now wants to avoid my responses by claiming that those issues are no longer important. Now it is these additional topics that I must address. This overloading of topics is also a popular creationist debate tactic, a variant of the “Gish Gallop”.

Tom wrote: “If EU models can't be used to reliably predict space weather conditions, then EU models are USELESS and therefore WRONG.“

If the standard model can't be used to reliably predict galaxy rotation curves (without invoking the unobserved, physics-defying, mystical dark matter) then at least that part of it is USELESS and therefore WRONG. EU, on the other hand, finds much confirmation in space weather phenomena. BTW I find it funny that you resort to using UPPERCASE to make your HANDWAVING louder, whilst throwing RED HERRINGS all over the place.

Mr. Smith claims that “Dark Matter” is 'physics-defying'?

If, as he says below, his is not a scientist, then how is he qualified to make such a claim?

The simplest 'Dark Matter' solution is a particle that interacts only gravitationally, immune to the other known interactions (electric, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear). The observationally inferred properties of 'Dark Matter' are no more 'physics-defying' than the properties of the neutrino were in the twenty-five years between is hypothesized existence as a missing particle in some nuclear interactions (1930) and its actual laboratory detection (~1956).

Of course, the EU crowd avoids talking about all the electrons in their Electric Sun model that move centimeters-per-second while moving through a billion volt potential drop. We still haven't heard why all these electrons haven't been detected by all the spacecraft we have patrolling through these regions of the Solar System. That is physics-defying.

Then again, we could talk about the physics-defying electrons needed to power Peratt's galaxy model. Unlike all other known electron processes, these electrons don't radiate when spiraling in the magnetic field created by their flow. Peratt even did the calculations that demonstrated we should see this radiation! It's difficult to believe these currents can be responsible for the rotation curves of galaxies when they flunk the tests of their actual existence!

Perhaps Mr. Smith will try to sidestep these responses by invoking the famous 'flash' from the Deep Impact mission that was claimed to be evidence of an electric event. Too bad for EU that that the X-rays detected by the Chandra x-ray telescope were inconsistent with an electric arc event. "Spitzer and Chandra Observations of the Deep Impact Encounter with Comet 9P/Tempel 1" and "Chandra observations of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 during the Deep Impact campaign" report no prompt X-ray flash due to the impact and the emission was consistent with the release of neutral gas. Perhaps it was yet another (physics-defying) invisible electric event!

EU wants us to talk about the currents, but we don't directly detect the currents. We can directly detect magnetic fields or radiation from electrons accelerating in fields, and to a lesser extent, electric fields. With all the electrons needed to power EU that are mysteriously undetectable by methods that have been tested in the laboratory, EU advocates are in no position to call Dark Matter 'physics-defying'!

Another fallacy that Mr. Smith makes here is the assumption that any problem in the standard model cosmology automatically favors the EU model. Many creationists use this same argument, also utilizing many of the same 'problems' in mainstream cosmology as evidence in favor of their interpretation of cosmology.

1) So by Mr. Smith's argument, we would still be left to decide between the creationist and EU models. What is the standard for making that decision?

Tom wrote: “It's funny how the EU crowd claims they're talking about the science but seem to avoid it. I've not had a response from the EU crowd on ANY of the threads below, and these are the ones with the hard science.“

It's funny that you somehow expect the EU crowd to even be bothered looking at ANY of your other threads, as you still have not displayed a genuine interest in the model, but rather some drive to connect it erroneously with creationism, a subject not related to EU in any manner. As you display the characteristics of a zealot, no-one cares what you write. Said non-responses are a good indication of this.

Am I interested in the EU stellar model?

Which model would that be? A claimed scientific model composed of nothing but cartoons, hand-waving explanations but nothing that comes close to the physical and mathematical rigor of any scientific model that makes even reasonable predictions. Those predictions are needed to explain a pheonomenon or build a technology. Mr. Smith accuses me of 'hand-waving', but it is EU models' lack detailed predictions that we can test against real measurements which is the definition of 'hand-waving arguments' in science,

The procedure for deriving the mass-luminosity relationship of stars from first principles is available in the scientific literature. I can run through it as check or improve on the work of those researchers.

2) What is the luminosity-current relationship for Electric stars predicted from first principles? This simple demonstration would go a long way towards making electric stars even in the running to qualify as science. Yet attempts to get this are met with excuses.

Real science makes better predictions than the tabloid-psychic quality 'predictions' I find in EU publications, such as the 'flash' from Deep Impact.

I've made several attempts to construct the EU stellar model, based on the descriptions in EU publications and applying Maxwell's Equations. The results of this effort have been published on this blog and other publicly available venues. These models very quickly exhibit characteristics in gross disagreement with observation.

Does it matter to me that EU advocates aren't reading my material?

Not really, as they are not my target audience.

It is professional courtesy among scientists is to notify others when you publish something critical of their material, usually via sending a preprint. I notified the EU email list of my work as a professional courtesy, but as Mr. Smith admits below, the EU advocates are not 'professionals'.

I do know that others are reading what I've done here. Those who are reading my material are more likely to show up with increasing frequency at venues where EU advocates are speaking. This increases the chance that EU advocates will be asked about the flaws in the EU model by an audience member. If the EU speaker is collecting a speaking fee, it will prove far more embarrassing for them and will probably hurt their ability to get paid speaking opportunities in the future.

Tom wrote: “I plan to ignore you until you present a clear SCIENTIFIC and RELEVANT response to at least one of these topics:
Scott Rebuttal. I. GPS & Relativity
Electric Cosmos: The Solar Resistor Model
Electric Cosmos: The Solar Capacitor Model. I.
Electric Cosmos: The Solar Capacitor Model. II.
Electric Cosmos: The Solar Capacitor Model. III.
Be sure to post to the appropriate topic.

I don't care one iota if you plan to ignore me, I am not a scientist, nor do I pretend to be one, nor do I aspire to be one. My concern is that you are prepared to engage those of us who are not scientists, whilst leaving the more valid and scientific points alone. Why is that? Do you find it easier to “talk down“ to non-scientists? You cannot order me to respond to anything.

Okay, so I didn't quite ignore him. If I ignore him, he cries 'censorship'. If I respond and blow holes in his claims, I'm 'picking on the amateurs'?

EU advocates seem to claim that their electrical engineering background gives them expertise in gravitational physics, atomic & nuclear physics, electromagnetism, fluid dynamics, quantum mechanics, relativity, and many other fields. All of these fields were developed by professionals and specialists. In-depth training for astrophysicists consists of training covering many aspects of all these fields, particularly when it comes to accurately applying the major results to explore new ideas. Yet the EU community basically accuses the astrophysics community of everything from incompetence to conspiracy.

Do electrical engineers get training in atomic & nuclear physics as well? The EU 'amateurs' apparently want to 'play on the same field as the pros', but then when cornered on the providing the details or confronting the implications of their own claims, they want to hide behind the status of 'amateur'.

There have been others in the comments who, after touting whatever nonsense they want to justify their claims, when challenged on the wider implications of their alleged knowledge, try to hide behind the 'amateur' label. Their 'science' seems to be only something they know by rote memory, more like scriptural readings, rather than a tool that has wider implications and applications.

After his talk at NASA/GSFC, Don Scott even fell back to this type of claim. After he had presented a copy of one of Crothers' papers to an audience member and the person was asking some more technical questions, Scott claimed he could not answer any questions on it because he was just an 'interested amateur' or 'scientific observer'. Yet Dr. Scott apparently is an EU 'theorist' according to one of his fans (JREF link).

3) If all the EU advocates I've communicated with via blog and email, including Don Scott, are 'amateurs', then where are the real EU scientific professionals?

When I ask about this on email lists, if I'm lucky, I get told they're busy with other things. What? Selling 'amateur science' books? Collecting speaker fees? I'm reminded of the sitcom scenario where a character wants to be a writer so he dresses up in a sweater and starts smoking a pipe to fit his image of a writer. The character does everything except actually write.

That's what I see in the EU community. The EU advocates want to write books and give talks. They don't want to be scientists, which would involve doing real work and backing up their models and observations against other professionals. They want to be their image of a scientist, or more correctly, they want to be their image of a Celebrity Scientist.

I suspect there are no EU advocates who are real scientists beyond Tony Peratt, and he seems to be stepping back from many of his earlier claims.

So now EU advocates claim to be 'amateurs', yet also want to judge what is and isn't science. If their definition of science is different from the mainstream scientific community, then they are trying to change the definition of science, much like the advocates of Intelligent Design (Wikipedia: Intelligent Design - Defining Science).

4) Mr. Smith should present a concise definition of what he means by 'science'.

Tom wrote: “And while you're at it, answer this question: I toss a rock from a cliff of height h. It leaves my hand with a speed v, and angle theta from the horizontal. The rock hits the ground, h=0, at some time t, yet the quadratic equation that explains the motion has *two* solutions! According to the math, the rock must hit the ground twice? Is even Newtonian gravity mathematically inconsistent? Explain.“

And while you're at it, answer this question: I fart in the forest with a force f, and it leaves my butt with a speed v, and angle theta from the horizontal, and no-one is nearby to hear it, does it make a sound s? Does it even smell phew? Explain. This has about as much relevance...

I await your insults.

(Dave Smith) 4/27/09

I presented a perfectly legitimate physics question for a Physics 101 class. I assume Dave Smith would flunk such a physics class.

Responses to questions 1 - 4 in boldface are encouraged. Since, according to Mr. Smith, I am 'talking down' to the 'amateurs' pretending they know science who've posted to the comments section, I will be exercising more stringent requirements in my moderation of comments.

Posts on these topics (in no particular order) are almost complete:
  • The Electric Universe & Creationism
  • Some Preliminary Comments on Crothers' General Relativity Claims
  • Scott Rebuttal. II. The Peratt Galaxy Model vs. the Cosmic Microwave Background


Anonymous said...

Not sure if this will get published, or even if you can see it, but I wanted to let you know that I've provided links to your blog in some of my comments on various UT stories (Universe Today), as a place where disinterested readers can find detailed demolishion of Scott's EU ideas ... Nereid

W.T."Tom" Bridgman said...

To Nereid,

Thanks. Nice to know things are getting some circulation.

Sorry for the delays. I have been giving my comment moderation list double duty as a 'to do' list but it has become a bit more backlogged than I'd like.

Anonymous said...

Tom, I'll be providing more links to specific blog entries here, though I suspect the number of people who actively read the comments on the UT stories is small, and the number interested enough in reading the actual details of huge flaws in EU material you write about here even smaller (I suspect most readers of UT story comments have long since decided that EU/PC material is pseudo-science, at best, and mostly just plain crackpottery.

BTW, I found Dave Smith's responses to your work quite astonishing ... is there anyone among the fans of EU ideas who has any interest in going through those ideas from the perspective of even Physics 101?


Anonymous said...

It would seem that Dave Smith, who is someone quite important in the thunderblots community, is rather, um, modest? unrepresentative?

In a digg comment, pln2bz said this:

"Actually, many physics graduate students interpret the lack of quantification as a challenge -- as evidenced by our quantcast figures compared with the bautforum ...

1:,, 27% graduate students"


Truck.Captain.Stumpy said...

"Tom" Bridgman
I was just given the links to your site by Tim Thompson and I fully intend using the material to refute the EU acolytes that frequent the science site. Even with the direct refute my Mr. Thompson, the dedicated stupidity of the EU clan boldly drives forward with changes of subject, supposition and unsupported claims, etc.
this is a GREAT references site for me, and a great learning resource.
I cannot speak for others, but as a retired Fire fighter and Soldier, I am just too old to go back to school, but finding such a rich trove of treasure like this is just too good to pass up... maybe i should go back to school

Thank you

W.T."Tom" Bridgman said...

to Truck.Captain.Stumpy,

Thanks for the words of encouragement.

I occasionally follow the comment streams on and have responded to some EUers there. If you encounter any new items, feel free to bring them to my attention.