Monday, July 13, 2009

More comments on "The Electric Sky, Short-Circuited"

I had originally hoped to be posted my comparisons of creationism and electric universe claims by now. However, summer has apparently finally started (ending a spring of almost daily rain) and there are other things to do with family and friends. In addition, the comparison piece has grown much longer than I originally expected, as it seems I must spell things out very carefully. I'll probably eventually split it up, posting the remaining parts should another EU advocate whine about the comparison.

In the meantime, I was recently notified by e-mail of this link,
The new religion of modern mythology
“The Truth Will Set You Free”
Part 1: Exposing the soft underbelly of the “True Believers“, the Bridgman fiasco. Part 1 represents about a third of the “debunking“ and rebuttal.
WOW! I've been promoted to a “fiasco”!!!

Needless to say, while they make repeated references to “The Electric Sky: Short-Circuited”, (link) hereafter referred to as ESSS, they don't appear to include an actual link to it, so their readers can examine it for themselves. An oversight, or are they afraid of someone challenging their interpretation of what I've said? ESSS has been in draft for over a year now (see note in the page footers of ESSS). Don Scott's first rebuttal (DSFR) (link) to it appeared almost exactly a year after release and I have posted some followups to this blog which will eventually be rolled into the next draft/final(?) version of ESSS which will be completed in my copious spare time.

Scott Rebuttal. I. GPS & Relativity
Scott Rebuttal. II. The Peratt Galaxy Model vs. the Cosmic Microwave Background
along with clarifications for ESSS based on comments from others:
Electric Cosmos: The Solar Resistor Model
Electric Cosmos: The Solar Capacitor Model. I, II, III
Electric Cosmos: Predictions

I regret that I have not replaced the online copy fixing some of my typos and ambiguous wording which has been brought to my attention, some of which has been exploited in DSFR and in “Scientism”. Many parts of “Scientism” seem to be minor rewordings of DSFR and the bulk of my response will be rolled into ESSS (final), however, I thought I'd make a few preliminary comments that I can hopefully keep short. I've received some suggestions to generalize ESSS to other Electric Universe literature which may be included in ESSS (final).

So onward into Scientism...

For example, in the third paragraph of “Scientism”, there is this:
The funny part is, Bridgman is actually assessing the wrong model--he is relying on his knowledge of electrostatics to 'rebut an issue of electrodynamics in plasma. This has been pointed out to him, both publically and in private.
This has arisen largely in my attempts to build an Electric Sun model that is mathematically and physically consistent based on descriptions from the EU community (see ESSS and links above). One serious constraint for any Electric Sun model is that it must reproduce the observed very steady flux of radiation (variation of about 0.1%, from the Sun (Wikipedia: Solar variation). Such steady flows are approximated by examining the equations with no time variability (set the time-derivatives in the equations to zero). In the case of Maxwell's Equations (Wikipedia: Maxwell's Equations), this means we set the time derivatives of the electric and magnetic fields to zero. Under this condition, Maxwell's equations become the equations for electrostatics and magnetostatics.

If the EU advocates claim there is a steady-power solution for the time-scales observed for the Sun where these time derivatives are NOT zero (hence not equivalent to a static solution), then it is their responsibility to demonstrate it in a reproducible fashion (see Wikipedia: Reproducibility). If no one else can reproduce or build on your result, then your result is useless.. Beyond conceptual graphics (often called 'cartoons' in the scientific visualization field), I have found nothing with any ES details that meets the standards of mathematical and physical rigor, in spite of repeated attempts via e-mail and other discussion lists. EU advocates' claims that "electrodynamics" solves their problems, without a clear mathematical demonstration, is operationally indistinguishable from the creationist explanation of "God did it".

But this is not idle theorizing, for the electric sun model requires high-energy electrons and ions traveling through regions of space routinely patrolled by satellites and occasionally traveled by astronauts. Even simple considerations of conservation of particles and conservation of energy on the electric sun models I have examined require particle fluxes and energies not only far larger than measured in situ by satellites, but fluxes fatal to astronauts with very short exposures of normal solar radiation, not just solar flare events.

In the quote from Wal Thornhill there's this:
Such is the hubris of this guy that he airily dismisses Arp's work and takes a swipe at Alfvén.
One thing that the author of “Scientism” and others in EU fail to recognize, is that scientists are ALWAYS criticizing each other's works: Did you include the effect of X? You used the wrong statistic in computing the significance of Y? Have you compared your model to the data collected by Z? Real scientists doing research much endure a LOT of criticism of their work from other scientists. Usually the errors among professional scientists are not as blatant as in The Electric Sky (TES), so the discourse tends to be more civil. In the case of more severe errors, it is difficult to tell if one is dealing with simple misunderstandings and misconceptions, or willful ignorance, or learning disabilities or cases of outright scientific misconduct. In these cases, the arguments become much more heated.

Arp and Alfven had things they got right, and things they got wrong - just like every other professional scientist, from Galileo (who was wrong about the nature of tides) to Newton (who was wrong about the nature of light) to Einstein (who was wrong about the probabilistic nature of Quantum Mechanics). To claim that Alfven or Arp's work is above criticism is an appeal to hero worship, or 'argument from authority'.

Either way, to those scientists and wannabes who complain about their theories being criticized, I say

In Scientism, the response to point #6 about 'forbidden' spectral lines and the GPS, they write:
Response: As to the spectral lines, claiming the discovery of an anomaly is not the same as claiming the explanation or especially tangible products derived from the explanation. As to the latter point about GPS, I will let the educated reader determine how tenuous the connection to cosmology really is.
It was not the discovery of an anomaly, but an important test in the very early days of quantum mechanics that contributed to validating the theory. Perhaps you've heard of quantum mechanics? It provides the physical & mathematical framework for the design of all semiconductor electronics and many other products. General relativity was almost exclusively the domain of mathematicians and cosmologists from 1919 to 1960, when we had the first laboratory demonstration of gravitational frequency shift. Don Scott's claim about the GPS not needed relativity basically puts him in the position of advocating the violation of the design specification, a professionally dangerous position for an engineer. See Scott Rebuttal. I. GPS & Relativity

In Scientism, the response to point #7 says:
7. P. 5. “Dr. Scott conveniently forgets that Newton's theory of Gravity was not tested in situ until the launch of artificial satellites in 1957.“
Response: Just maybe, Dr. Scott did NOT FORGET THIS, but isn't this entirely off the point? Besides, gravity wasn't first discovered by astronomers! Even Newton's inspiration was instigated by an apple.
I'm not sure what the author's real point is here. My point is that astronomy has contributed to fundamental science. I don't say gravity was discovered by astronomers, I'm talking about the development of the Theory of Gravity, the subject that turned gravity from some vague force that made things fall to Earth to something which described motions in the heavens. Or perhaps they're implying that Newton was not an astronomer? More correctly, Newton was perhaps the first astrophysicist, though the terms astronomer and astrophysicist are often used interchangeably. Newton did use the motion of the Moon to test his theory (Wikipedia: Newton's Apple). The actual inverse square law was too weak to be reliably demonstrated in laboratory scales until the 1990s. Based on the definitions of science advocated by EU supporters, we would not be able to launch earth-orbiting satellites in 1957 since there was no laboratory proof of the 1/r^2 force required to form an orbit!

In Point #15 about the validity of general relativity:
Response: The validation of “relativity“ is NOT a settled question, and it does NOT help that the results of experiments are misrepresented as confirming the theory rather than just not disproving the theory.
Dude! Science never PROVES anything, it can only disprove stuff that doesn't work (see Truth and Proof in Science, also Astronomy as an “Unprovable” science). General relativity gives the best match with experiments and observations everywhere it has been tested. We already know it breaks down at quantum scales, but those may be decades away from experimental testing. Will it be replaced by something more complete in the future? Almost certainly, and the new theory will most likely match the predictions of GR in the current experimental domain, just as Newtonian gravity matched almost everything (but for that pesky Mercury orbital precession) prior to 1919.

In Point #24 about the Pioneer anomaly, they write:
Response: I hope that even the weakest understanding of the EU model can see through this one. Pioneer is being weakly deflected in an electric field as it is generally outbound in the same direction of the field gradient! The deflection also depends upon the size of the charge on pioneer, which is constantly being adjusted to approach the regional conditions.
Excellent! This is progress! Now using your values of the electric and magnetic field from your models, and information on the speed of the spacecraft, available at JPL/Horizons, compute the average magnitude of the acceleration! Make sure you show where you get your values for the electric and magnetic field. Looking forward to a real answer here! If you get numbers even close to realistic values, then you might have something believable! Please let me know the moment you have this result!

In Point #26 we see:
26. P.12. .............
Response: On page 12 WTB gives us a lecture on nuclear physics that may or may not be true but has nothing to do with what Dr. Scott has said.
So basically they're saying that they don't know about nuclear physics, and they don't have to know about nuclear physics to say that it doesn't apply in stellar interiors? They display their ignorance and express PRIDE in it? When someone is making claims that “the conventional wisdom is wrong”, they should at least demonstrate that they understand what the conventional wisdom IS. In TES, Don Scott did not demonstrate that he understood what astrophysicists use in developing our understanding of stellar structure. I didn't ask you to take my word for it, I provided links to references to support my position. Here's some more: Wikipedia: Stellar Structure, Wikipedia: Stellar nucleosynthesis

That's all on this topic for now. Some of the other statements in Scientism sound particularly foolish and reveal that the authors never bothered to examine the references and supporting material I provided. Responses on those topics will be saved for some of my more detailed responses to DSFR.

I've emailed the site contact for “Scientism” and invited them to post a link to this response.