Sunday, August 24, 2014

Reading: "Invisible Light Or the Electrical Theory of Creation"

George Woodward Warder. Invisible Light Or the Electrical Theory of Creation. 1898.

I had originally encountered the author of G.W. Warder in some discussion forum claiming that Warder was the true origin of the Electric Universe (Wikipedia).

Having now read this first of what appears to be a number of books on the topic, I regard it not unlikely that this series of books were the equivalent of an early 'Bible' for Electric Universe ideas.   It may have been an influence on Immanuel Velikovsky (Wikipedia).  It may be the series that has attracted many Christian creationists to the Electric Universe (The Electric Universe & Creationism, Quiet here, but Recent Electric Universe and Creationism activity…).

When reading such books, it is easy to forget that at the time it was written, we did not know about the atomic nucleus and the energies locked up within.  We did not even have heavier-than-air flight, much less space flight.  Some of Warder's ideas might seem quaint today, but his ideas probably reflected a lot of what the general population of the day believed about the natural world, even as science was demonstrating some of these ideas which we arrogantly called 'common sense' were grossly in error.
"My definition of electricity is invisible light"
--Nicola Tesla
With this quote, we enter Warder's reinterpretation of science and the Bible.

You can get a good feel for the nature of the text with a quick scan of the table of contents:
  1. Chapter I.  The theory stated-electricity is the medium and agency of the creative power in the evolution of the universe.
  2. Chapter II.  This theory is not in conflict with modern science or the Mosaic cosmogony.
  3. Chapter III.  All matter is one matter and matter has no intelligence.
  4. Chapter iv.  Attraction of gravitation is an electromagnetic attraction.
  5. Chapter V.  What is Electricity and what are its Uses in Nature?
  6. Chapter VI.  All light heat and force in nature is electricity in some of its forms.
  7. Chapter VII.  Electricity is the great chemist, wonder-worker, and world-builder.
  8. Chapter VIII.  God controls universe as man controls his body, by electricity.
  9. Chapter IX.  Man is beginning to use electricity as god uses it to bless and control the world.
  10. Chapter X.  Man is a special creation.  Not a developed monkey or protoplasm.
  11. Chapter XI.  Evolution, the vortex theory, and the limitation of temperature.
  12. Chapter XII.  The Mosaic account of creation not in conflict with modern science.
  13. Chapter XIII.  The scientific explanation of the Deluge.
  14. Chapter XIV.  The sun is inhabitable and is the spiritual center and promised heaven of the solar system.
  15. Chapter XV.  Belief in god is a scientific necessity.
  16. Chapter XVI.  Atheism is universal anarchy.
  17. Chapter XVII.  Man is both dust and Deity, with electricity as the connecting link.
  18. Chapter XVIII.  Science is the chart of human knowledge
  19. Chapter XIX.  Religion is the pilot of the soul to the fair fields of heaven.
  20. Chapter XX.  Theosophy, christian science - ethical and electric
  21. Chapter XXI.  Hope and Immortality are inborn aspirations - to be realized hereafter.
  22. Chapter XXII.  All souls aspire as they have Opportunity to Supreme Knowledge and Happiness and in the Ultimate Ages Will Attain to Both.
  23. Chapter XXIII.  Belief is necessary to character, art and progress.
  24. Chapter XXIV.  The true object of life is not happiness but usefulness
  25. Chapter XXV.  The universe is a vast electric machine.
  26. Chapter XXVI.  The ultimate purpose of creation is the development of man and the universe to ideal perfection.
Gravity Is Really Electromagnetism (chapter 4)
Warder makes a number of claims about gravity and electromagnetism being different manifestations of the same thing (pg 56).  This is a far more primitive notion than present-day views in particle physics that the fundamental forces being different manifestations of some other interaction.  These ideas are more like the notions you get in high-school physics when you first learn that Coulomb's Law has a similar mathematical form to Newton's Law of Gravitation.   Warder's view is more like that of many Electric Universe supporters and those of Emmanuel Velikovsky  (Velikovsky Archive: Cosmos without gravitation)

Warder expects we could demonstrate the electricity-gravitation equivalence when we learn how to 'magnetize' an apple (pg 57).

In spite of this, Warder seems to support Lord Kelvin's failed notion that gravitation is a form of vortex of whirling atoms (pg 63, 163), which seems rather contradictory (PBS: Beautiful Losers: Kelvin's Vortex Theory). 

Nature of Sun and the Solar System  Environment
Warder writes a great deal about the Sun and various combinations of these ideas seem to have been picked up by Electric Universe supporters. 
  • Warder states that the Sun needs no fuel because it is actually powered by electric batteries and magnets (pg 185).  The science of the day suggested the Sun was powered by gravitational contraction (pg 303), but Warder rejects this idea (pg 306).
  • Warder claims the Sun is not actually hot, that it is a solid body surrounded by a luminous atmosphere (pg 185), powered by carbon burning in an atmosphere of oxygen (pg 88).  His evidence for this is mountaintops, which are closer to sun, are covered in snow (pg 188) so it must be colder.  He also argues that magnets loose their magnetism when heated, so the Sun cannot be hot and a magnet (pg 309).
  • The Sun does not radiate power that is lost into space, but the power is actually directed to Earth.  The aurora are Earth's attempts to form a photosphere (pg 307).
  • Warder even goes so far as to suggest the Sun is the home of a deity or archangel (pg 186).
Connection to other pseudosciences
Warder was apparently a fan of other pseudo-sciences of his day (some of which still have supporters today).  He describes the Society for Psychic Research as 'quasi-scientific' (pg 31-32), and argues that the body's electrical aspects can account for mesmerism and hypnotism (pg 120).

On Darwin's Theory of Evolution
Darwin's theory of Evolution had been out for a number of decades at the time of Warder's writing, and Warder attempts to reconcile them with ideas still pushed by some advocates of Intelligent Design today.  He notes that Moses does not say how long it took for God to make Man (pg 34) and argues that that Darwin followed the dirt, while Moses followed the Deity in man (pg 35).  He argues that there is not direct conflict with evolution, but Man is a separate creation (pg 147-148).

View of the 'Electric' Future
One of the fascinating historical insights the book provided was Warder's description of late 1800s solar power generation demonstrations, which at that time was expected to be the primary source of electrical power generation for distribution to the general public (Chapter 9).  Not long after reading this, I saw "The World Set Free" episode of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey which described many of the same demonstrations (Wikipedia: Episode 12 of Cosmos).

Sunday, August 17, 2014

News from Other Fronts

A little occupied with home projects and responsibilities the past month, so posting has fallen off.  I just realized it's been about three weeks since my last post. 

I've been responding to a fair amount of traffic from my interviews at Exposing PseudoAstronomy.
For the active comment stream, see Electric Universe Interview @ Exposing Pseudo-Astronomy, Part 2

In the meantime, I have collected a few good links to share.

TED: Why we should trust scientists 
A good presentation on what makes scientific opinions of better quality on some issues than the opinion of 'just anyone'.

On several occasions, I have brought attention to how the increased private enterprise presence in space opens opportunities for flying small experiments suitable for college and even high-school science classes.  ArduSats (Wikipedia) are one such opportunity.

In a recent CosmoQuest podcast (July 26: ArduSat), Pamela Gay discusses the implications of this capability with one of the developers.  About 37-40 minutes into the program, Dr. Gay suggests these satellites would provide an easy method for high school students to do their own test of relativity by flying an atomic clock on one of these satellites. 

I've challenged a number of those who claim that the GPS system does not use relativity to perform even simpler experiments, such as building a GPS receiver without relativistic corrections, to demonstrate their claim.  I've found no takers so far, and I assume this new opportunity for relativity-deniers will be evaded as well.

On Conspiracies
Many of the cranks I deal with on this site, when confronted with various observational or experimental evidence, will fall back on the claim that the REAL evidence is being 'covered up' somehow.  Trying to get the entire scientific community to participate in such a 'conspiracy' would probably be about as successful as herding cats (Mythbusters).

Cracked: 5 Ways Every Conspiracy Theory Makes the World Worse

Rosetta & 'Electric Asteroids'
The Rosetta spacecraft (Wikipedia) made it's final approach to comet 69P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and is now in station-keeping maneuvers while a suitable location for the lander is identified.  Considering all the nonsense the Electric Universe (EU) supporters claimed with earlier comet encounters (Electric Comets: Failures of the Electric Comet Model), what's up with the EU crowd?

Well, they haven't been quiet:
Thunderbolts: Rosetta Update

What!?  This is rather tame set of claims compared to some of their previous stuff which I addressed before.  No predictions of bright flashes of 'electric arcs' as the spacecraft approaches?  Why not?  Just claims of electric etching and arcing from past electric arcs.  Of course, EU advocates still have no mechanism of how Nature generates the electric potential differences of the necessary power to do such etching, leaving that to apparently some un-named supernatural agent. 

EUers still have a problem as, in accordance with the standard comet model (which they deny), Rosetta has been detecting water vapor out-gassing from the comet  (ESA: Rosetta detects water).  And as I've documented in the previous electric comet article, comets and asteroids form a continuum of composition, from dominated by icy volatiles to dominated by rocky material and this may actually be an evolutionary sequence as volatiles are depleted with successive close passages to the Sun.  This has been known for some time.

In addition, real scientists who study electric fields are developing more ways to measure the electric fields produced around space bodies due to the bombardment by charged particles in the solar wind and solar ultraviolet radiation. 
NASA: New NASA Model Gives Glimpse into the Invisible World of Electric Asteroids
Here, NASA scientists have developed a computational model that tries to predict electric field build-up around these objects.   Model development which allows you to compare to measurements that let you do REAL things is the real demonstration of a successful theory.  Notice that in these models there is no inclusion of any giant electric currents driving the Sun.  The electric fields top out at about 3 volts/meter and even that is over a very small spatial range (hardly enough to generate a bright arc to a spacecraft!).  I've described how real space physicists use these processes (much to the denial of EU supporters) in earlier posts (Electric Universe: Plasma Modeling vs. 'Mystic Plasma',  365 Days of Astronomy: The Electric Universe).

And More Badly Done Science
And for even more news about how the press gives too much attention to sloppily-done science,
This appears to be yet another case of someone not understanding the sources of possible error and not establishing proper controls (see also PhysicsCentral: NASA's Cold Fusion Folly and Radioactive decay rates depend on Earth-Sun distance?)

Ethan Siegel @ Starts With A Bang, asks
Do the Cosmic Unknowns Cast Doubt on the Big Bang?"

Flat Earth
And Glenn Branch has some fun with Flat Earthers on the NCSE blog: