Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Setterfield & c-Decay: "Data and Creation: The ZPE-Plasma Model" II

Here I'll continue some of my critiques of Barry Setterfield's "Data and Creation: The ZPE-Plasma Model".  My emphasis will be on Setterfield's Section III: 'The Origin of the elements'.  Here Setterfield makes some significant changes to material he outlined in his earlier document (see Setterfield & c-decay: "Reviewing a Plasma Universe with Zero Point Energy").

Setterfield repeats his misrepresentation of early stellar evolution
There is another problem as well, which comes into play before the formation of the elements.  It has to do with the proposed formation of the earliest stars which Big Bang proponents say formed those elements.  They need to get a gas cloud to contract enough to form a star.  As a gas cloud contracts, it heats up, and heating causes expansion.  The way BB proponents overcome this problem is to say that complex molecules radiate the heat away in the infrared range, thereby overcoming the heating problem presented by a contracting gas cloud.  The problem there is that they need those complex molecules to form.  That means they need more elements than hydrogen and helium to exist to form those complex molecules.  So where did THOSE elements come from?
Setterfield ignores the fact that stars can form from just hydrogen and helium, with no heavier elements needed.  These are often referred to as Population III stars (Wikipedia).   However, the models indicate that such stars would be much more massive than stars formed with some heavier elements.  This is due to a rather complex interaction between the gas pressure (related to the number of particles, electrons and nuclei) and the opacity (controlled predominantly by the number of free electrons) of the plasma.  As metals become available, stars can form with lower masses.

Setterfield also repeats a claim
Fusion occurs readily in plasma ļ¬laments under easily reproducible conditions, with no restriction on which elements may be formed
I suspect this may be some mis-citation from Don Scott's The Electric Sky (Setterfield references pg 105-107) since I do not find anything even close to this in Electric Sky.  This statement would be particularly strange coming from any Electric Universe (EU) advocate since part of EU's justification for stars powered by electrical energy is that there are so many nuclear reactions of stellar nucleosynthesis that have NOT been reproduced under laboratory conditions.  I haven't searched all the literature, but I'm pretty certain no experiment has been done to provide a reasonable test of this claim.

However, in this document, Setterfield adds another claim which he attributes to Ed Boudreaux (CreationWiki), a chemistry professor at the University of New Orleans.  According to Setterfield, Boudreaux claims that all the elements at their present day abundances could have been created in 30 minutes at a temperature of 10-20 billion K. 
The only proviso was that the plasma composition was such that the ratio of protons, neutrons, electrons and ions was the same as that found in water.
I have been unable to find further details of this claim, but it sounds like it may be referring to a process known as nuclear statistical equilibrium, or NSE.  Since that is a rather hefty topic, I'll defer that to the next post.

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