Sunday, August 2, 2015

PseudoScience & the Ego-Centric Universe

Every once and a while I receive emails and/or comments accusing myself (and/or others who choose to engage pseudo-scientists), of arrogance.  That occurred in the comments to the previous post.  In addition, I recently stumbled across some notes for a response to a previous comment expressing similar sentiments.

Suric: it takes arrogance, lameness, utter self love and desperate need to be in the limelight, to come up with an idea which allows one to erase, in one stroke, anyone's attempt to question and correct.

These are the types of responses when opponents don't have any actual facts to back them up.

Let's examine the commenter's statement piece by piece...

it takes arrogance, lameness...

Who is more arrogant, those who actually plan, build and operate these missions, or those who claim they can who have not demonstrated that they can do even the basics (like calculate spacecraft trajectories, compute particle fluxes) and going so far as to claim that those who CAN do these things are 'faking the data', 'lying to protect the status-quo model', etc.? 

Challenging on this leads to evasion or silence...

...utter self love and desperate need to be in the limelight...

I'm not a research-grade scientist.

However, thanks to a rather broad training in physics that I obtained as an undergraduate and graduate student, I am a sufficiently good generalist that I can do support work with sufficient accuracy and reliability to aid those who actually do research.  I'm quite happy with that.

I've been criticized, told I was wasting my time, by professional scientists, for being willing to deal with the cranks and crackpots.   Though there are others who've actually thanked me for addressing some of the problems created by the cranks.

If I'm doing this to get attention for me, I'm clearly doing something wrong.

Meanwhile, many pseudo-scientists attempt to harass professional scientists (the more prominent the better) in an attempt to raise their profile.  Since the pseudo-scientists can't meet the standards of REAL science, this is probably their only actual accomplishments.

...to come up with an idea which allows one to erase, in one stroke, anyone's attempt to question and correct.

What most cranks, pseudo-scientists, and their supporters fail to address, is the faults in their claimed 'corrections' to the 'status-quo' model.  I've yet to find one of these 'corrections' that has less severe problems than the mainstream problem they claim to correct. 

Consider the Standard Solar Model.   That model, as it exists today, has been developed over the past 100+ years with contributions from hundreds of individuals.  While there are a few stand-out names among the contributors: Cecilia Payne, Henry Norris Russell, Hans Bethe, etc., most of their names are lost to all but those who work actively in the field.

Among pseudo-scientists, there are as many theories as there are ego-maniacs. 

As I have noted before, there are, at minimum, FOUR separate, and outright contradictory Electric Sun models pushed under the "Electric Universe" banner by as many individuals, as well as loads of others lesser known.  You see similar behavior in young-earth creationists, where different 'centers', ICR, CMI, AiG, etc. may utilize the same 'problems' in mainstream science, but often advocate different solutions to the problems, usually oriented around the products which they wish to sell to believers. 

The proponents of each of these models are all hoping their model will 'win', but we have yet to determine:

What is the standard for 'winning'?

While each of these EU or creationist 'researchers' has their own fan club, how many other individuals are actively involved in research on any of these models, as opposed to pushing another radical variant of their own?

But the really funny part which Electric Universe supporters is even with just these four 'Electric Sun' models are so radically different from each other that the proponent of any one of them is calling all the others nonsense. 

EU supporters claim these alternatives can explain such solar mysteries as:
- the solar neutrino deficit (or maybe not)
- the multi-million degree 'temperature' of the chromosphere and corona
- the acceleration of the solar wind (actually more related to the corona temperature)

Yet not only have EU 'theorists' not provided details of these theories with numerical predictions of these claimed 'successes', we have yet to see how any of these models can provide predictions of the particle environment around the Sun where we routinely fly spacecraft. 

Attempts by others to answer these questions not only demonstrates that the model fails.  Presentations of these facts are usually met with bizarre excuses:
  • "You did the computation wrong."  Okay, so demonstrate the 'correct' calculation...
  • "It is up to mainstream science to prove our theory."  So it appears EU 'theorists' want mainstream scientists to do the actual hard work while EU theorists hang around to take the credit?
  • "The EU model isn't sufficiently worked out yet."  If your theory is insufficiently worked out that it cannot provide numerical predictions  which can be compared to measurements, then such a theory is, at best, not a serious contender.  At worst, it is scientific fraud. (see Electric Universe: More Confusing Claims from the EU 'Worldview'
And we still get no 'correct' calculation.

Talk about self-delusion!

Yet while Electric Sun advocates claim these 'corrections' to the Standard Solar Model explain many problems with the model, we have yet to obtain any useful quantitative predictions from these models which we can compare to actual experiments and observations.  And many of these failures of these 'corrections' are things which the Standard Model does well (see also Challenges for Electric Universe Theorists).

Pseudo-science 'models' claim to explain everything, yet can predict nothing except in the most ambiguous fashion, more like the predictions of a tabloid psychic than real scientists.

And if they continue to be confronted with too many challenges which they can't answer, the pseudo-scientists will occasionally resort to claiming some technology was 'faked' (Apollo Moon landings, relativity in the GPS system, space flight in general), to extract themselves from the from the corner into which they've backed themselves.  Then they have to hope none of their fans and supporters get wise to their retreat, but that's usually not that difficult...
“They are not mad. They're trained to believe, not to know. Belief can be manipulated. Only knowledge is dangerous.” -- Frank Herbert, Dune Messiah

The Real Ego-Centric Universe

I'm reminded of the great quote from Schadewald's "Worlds of their Own":
"While orthodox science has had its share of egomaniacs, unorthodox science attracts even more."
EU has never even demonstrated that they understand enough about celestial mechanics to model an interplanetary trajectory as it is developed by the professionals, much less demonstrated that they can model a similar trajectory in a solar system awash in regions of significant charge which they claim exists.  Yet they still claim they are the geniuses and insinuate the people who actually do this stuff are everything from incompetents or liars.

Nature is under no obligation to conform to our expectations...

In legitimate science, we conduct experiments and work to make sure they have results that are reproducible, and predictable.  This practice has made possible technologies that were not possible one hundred, or three hundred years ago.  It is because we now understand, in reproducible mathematical detail, behaviors of atoms and electrons at the atomic scale (making possible the computer on which you are reading this) to the motions of objects in distant space (making possible space missions to the outer reaches of our solar system).  Sometimes this means there are some problems to which real science does not have an immediate answer, which are an ongoing area of research.  Sometimes the answer to the problem requires a revision to what we previously thought we understood well, but there are rigorous procedures for making that determination.

On the other hand, pseudo-science is based on the idea that the Universe must conform to the expectations and/or 'worldview' (i.e. political and/or religious ideologies) of its advocates (see Pseudoscience and 'World-View').  In this model, pseudo-scientists claim they can 'explain' any problem which exists in mainstream science, often at the expense of ignoring well-established science.  Considering how many different (and competing) 'worldviews'  have adopted some form of pseudo-science, or adopted some fact of established science to attack, statistically, what are the odds for ANY of them being correct?!

Which system requires more arrogance?

13 comments:

Matthew Cline said...

Two Electric Universe related questions:

1) I've sometimes seen EU proponents say that gravity is "poorly understood" or "not well understood", but I haven't been able to figure out what they mean from context; do you know what they mean? I know that gravity isn't well understood at subatomic scales, but I doubt that's what they're referring to.

2) Among those who dispute Big Bang cosmology there seems to be a lot of people who are Electric Sun proponents. Is this just confirmation bias on my part? Or maybe Electric Sun proponents are particularly active on the Internet? Or is there something about non-Big Bang cosmology that conflicts with stars being powered by fusion?

Matthew Cline said...

Oh, and a third question:

3) Why are Electric Comets a part of the Electric Universe? Comets have nothing whatsoever to do with cosmology.

Michael Mozina said...

It's rather difficult to take you seriously as a so called "skeptic" of EU/PC theory while you either willfully or ignorantly misrepresent various EU/PC concepts. For instance, you claimed this on a previous post:

"Mozina's "Birkeland" model: As I read more of Birkeland's work, it's becoming clear this model is more Mozina than Birkeland."

Your particle movement diagram of Birkeland's cathode sun model however is absolutely *incorrect*, as well as your (false) assertion that his cathode solar model is mine, or has anything to do with me personally. The cathode solar model belongs to Birkeland, and I have never tried to take credit for it, although unlike you, I have tried to understand his theory properly. You apparently never did that because Birkeland predicted that *both* types of charged particles flow from the sun, to the heliosphere, whereas you have positive ions flowing into the sun, and only negatively charged particle flowing from the sun. I simply can't take you seriously when you blatantly misrepresent the scientific theory presented by Birkeland. Either your ego is still in the way, or you simply willfully misrepresent the facts. Which is it?

Either fix your serious error, or stop pretending to be a legitimate "skeptic" of concepts that you don't even begin to understand or appreciate.

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

To Matthew Cline,

Until Einstein demonstrated that gravitation could be more accurately modeled in non-Euclidean geometry, gravity was just another inverse-square force law, exactly like the Coulomb force between two charges. If Electric Universe supporters want to deny general relativity (and they often do), then gravitation reverts the Newtonian model. Then what makes gravitation more 'poorly understood' than Coulomb's Law? Yet Electric Universe supporters often try to claim gravitation is fundamentally an electromagnetic phenomenon. I doubt we'll find out much about that from the Electric Universe crowd as it is just another of their word games to justify their other nonsense to their fans.

Big Bang cosmology is under attack by more than just Electric Universe. It is a target of any group that feels it jeopardizes their 'Worldview' .
Pseudoscience and 'World-View
Electric Universe: More Confusing Claims from the EU 'Worldview'.

Analysis errors such as Discordant Redshifts and Quantized redshifts are often invoked by other crank cosmologies as evidence Big Bang cosmology is wrong.


Young Earth creationists often oppose Big Bang cosmology, while some old-Earth creationists claim it to be evidence for their faith. See Is Big Bang Cosmology a 'Creationist' Model?

Go figure...

Electric comets, electric stars, electric planets, etc. are other attempts by Electric Universe advocates to make their claims all-encompasing.

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

To Matthew Cline,

Until Einstein demonstrated that gravitation could be more accurately modeled in non-Euclidean geometry, gravity was just another inverse-square force law, exactly like the Coulomb force between two charges. If Electric Universe supporters want to deny general relativity (and they often do), then gravitation reverts the Newtonian model. Then what makes gravitation more 'poorly understood' than Coulomb's Law? Yet Electric Universe supporters often try to claim gravitation is fundamentally an electromagnetic phenomenon. I doubt we'll find out much about that from the Electric Universe crowd as it is just another of their word games to justify their other nonsense to their fans.

Big Bang cosmology is under attack by more than just Electric Universe. It is a target of any group that feels it jeopardizes their 'Worldview' .
Pseudoscience and 'World-View
Electric Universe: More Confusing Claims from the EU 'Worldview'.

Analysis errors such as Discordant Redshifts and Quantized redshifts are often invoked by other crank cosmologies as evidence Big Bang cosmology is wrong.


Young Earth creationists often oppose Big Bang cosmology, while some old-Earth creationists claim it to be evidence for their faith. See Is Big Bang Cosmology a 'Creationist' Model?

Go figure...

Electric comets, electric stars, electric planets, etc. are other attempts by Electric Universe advocates to make their claims all-encompasing.

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

To Michael Mozina,

Actually, Birkeland had THREE different solar models (The Norwegian Aurora Polaris Expedition (1902-1903), pg 665).
As I noted in the comments to Electric Universe Interview @ Exposing Pseudo-Astronomy, Part 2, The Norwegian Aurora Polaris Expedition (1902-1903), pg 720:

"According to our manner of looking at the matter, every star in the universe would be the seat and field of activity of electric forces of a strength that no one could imagine.
We have no certain opinion as to how the assumed enormous electric currents with enormous tension are produced, but it is certainly not in accordance with the principles we employ in technics on the earth at the present time. One may well believe, however, that a knowledge in the future of electrotechnics of the heavens would be of great practical value to our electrical engineers." [italics mine]

Birkeland admits he doesn't know how any of his stellar models would work with the understanding of electromagnetism of his day.

The revision to Maxwell's equations for which he hoped did not happen. Even Alven's MHD defines only a SUBSET of the solutions to Maxwell's equations (the subset that is consistent with fluid mechanics) so the solution is not there.

Birkeland's promotion of his terella experiments, where the ions and electrons DO travel in opposite directions, sent the message to the scientific community that that is want he meant. When you want to place 600 million volts across an ionized gas in his solar model, the notion that electrons and ions can still travel in the same direction is fiction. No amount of Birkland's statements that both types of charged particles flow away from the Sun can change that. Even Birkeland recognized these problems (NAPE, pg 668):

"It is at present not easy to see how a negative tension should be continually created by the sun in relation to space.
It is of course possible to imagine that a surplus of positive ions is always being carried away from the sun or that negative ions are always being carried towards the sun, and that the negative tension is produced in this manner; and that the balance is maintained to some extent by distinct disruptive discharges, as we have presupposed."

But imagining something is so does not make it so, a lesson that many pseudo-scientists fail to learn. While it is okay to hypothesize when knowledge is sparse, at some point the science will become sufficient to confirm the hypothesis, or rule it out. By the 1920s-1930s, the science became sufficient to rule out the solar models advocated by Birkeland, but Birkeland did not live to see this.

Considering that Birkeland honestly admitted that he could not get these ideas to work, why is Mr. Mozina resurrecting them?

The only legitimate reason might be if Mr. Mozina had actually solved those problems, but we have seen no actual scientifically rigorous evidence for this. While the mathematics Birkeland presents in NAPE (such as sections 132-136, pp 678-709) might have been fairly leading-edge for the early 1900s, it is at the level of many homework problems on charged particle motion for space physics graduate students today.

Or maybe Mr. Mozina never actually read Birkeland's work, or if he did read it, didn't really comprehend it.

So WHO is actually misrepresenting Birkeland's work?

Michael Mozina said...

Actually, Birkeland had THREE different solar models (The Norwegian Aurora Polaris Expedition (1902-1903), pg 665).

It is absolutely astounding to me how you can write complete and utter nonsense about Birkeland’s work, while blatantly and willfully misrepresenting that work, and EU/PC theory in general. Did you actually study his work at all Tom? Birkeland did not promote nor even discuss three different solar models, just one cathode solar model. Where *exactly* on page 665 (or anywhere else in that volume) did Birkeland discuss or promote three different solar models? Be specific and quote him specifically promoting three solar models. It looks to me like you’re simply making that up! Quote him specifically or retract your patently false claim.

For anyone that is interested in getting a brief overview of Birkeland’s actual cathode solar model (singular), he gave a public lecture on his ideas in 1913 (a decade later) which was reported on by the New York Times. Anyone can read that article online for themselves.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9A00E0DA133BE633A25750C2A9649C946296D6CF

Do you see anything at all about three different solar models in that lecture from a decade later Tom? Please quote Birkeland specifically from the page you cited (or any other page) to support your false assertion about him ever promoting three different solar models or just retract your false claim as you should. The fact that he experimented with various charges on the sphere, various magnetic field strengths, and different textures on the sphere during his experimentation process does not mean or demonstrate that he actually promoted multiple solar models. You simply made that up. He only ever promoted a cathode solar model.


As I noted in the comments to Electric Universe Interview @ Exposing Pseudo-Astronomy, Part 2,

Norwegian Aurora Polaris Expedition (1902-1903), pg 720:

"According to our manner of looking at the matter, every star in the universe would be the seat and field of activity of electric forces of a strength that no one could imagine.
We have no certain opinion as to how the assumed enormous electric currents with enormous tension are produced, but it is certainly not in accordance with the principles we employ in technics on the earth at the present time. One may well believe, however, that a knowledge in the future of electrotechnics of the heavens would be of great practical value to our electrical engineers." [italics mine]

Birkeland admits he doesn't know how any of his stellar models would work with the understanding of electromagnetism of his day.


Um, you’re confusing two different ideas now. In that particular paragraph he is talking about the “power supply”, and he isn’t quite certain what it might be. Immediately prior to that particular paragraph however he specifically mentioned and suggested radioactivity as one potential solution, something which you simply failed to mention. Did you miss that suggestion somehow or did you just leave it out intentionally? In that in that New York Times article from 1913, Birkeland did in fact correctly predict that the sun was internally powered by a “transmutation of elements”. He correctly predicted an energy release from a transmutation of elements even before fission and fusion were fully understood. Read the article and weep Tom, you messed up that claim too. Your statement is not only false, it’s blatantly false as the NYT article will clearly demonstrate for you and all the world to see. Be honest now, did you ever even really study his work Tom?

Michael Mozina said...

The revision to Maxwell's equations for which he hoped did not happen.

Such revisions were never necessary however, a fact that you failed to mention. Changes to Maxwell’s equations were never absolutely necessary as you imply. It was only one potential solution/suggestion that might help to explain the ongoing discharge process. Birkeland did however propose another possible solution that was in fact later verified by satellites in space, which you yourself quoted from his work, but which you failed to acknowledge or recognize as I will demonstrate shortly.

Even Alven's MHD defines only a SUBSET of the solutions to Maxwell's equations (the subset that is consistent with fluid mechanics) so the solution is not there.

It should be noted that Alfven basically wrote the book on EU/PC theory, and he actually offered a number of alternative current flow configurations that Birkeland didn’t mention, but it turns out that Alfven’s suggestions weren’t actually necessary since one of Birkeland’s solutions was in fact later verified by solar wind measurements of continuous positive ion flow from the sun.

Birkeland's promotion of his terella experiments, where the ions and electrons DO travel in opposite directions,…..

Nope, not unless by “opposite directions’ you actually meant to say that different charged particles had either a left hand or a right hand spin as the particles come off the sphere. Your erroneous diagram of his model however is utterly wrong because it shows positive ions flowing into the sun, whereas in his experiments and in his lecture, as well as in one of his suggestions he offered, both types of ions flowed from the sun to the heliosphere/chamber walls. Strike three. You’re outa there!

….. sent the message to the scientific community that that is want he meant. When you want to place 600 million volts across an ionized gas in his solar model, the notion that electrons and ions can still travel in the same direction is fiction.

FYI,it is physically impossible for that process to be “fiction” Tom because he demonstrated it empirically in his lab in the form of ‘soot” which began to accumulate on the sides of the vacuum chamber glass walls. While investigating that “soot” phenomenon he realized that positively charged particles were being ripped from the surface of the sphere and deposited onto the sides of the chamber walls, hence the soot buildup on the glass. Your claim is fiction and it was physically falsified in 1903 in Birkeland’s very own experiments. Today we better understand that process. It’s called “sputtering”, but it was all new to Birkeland at the time, and apparently it’s still new to you personally. By the way, here’s a Wiki link for you on sputtering Tom. I suggest that you bring yourself up to speed since it’s not only “possible’, it is ‘observed both in the lab and in space:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sputtering

No amount of Birkland's statements that both types of charged particles flow away from the Sun can change that

That is also false. At least one of his suggestions, as well as the discovery of sputtering does change that as I will now demonstrate from the very quote that you personally selected from Birkeland’s work, yet failed to understand or acknowledge:

Even Birkeland recognized these problems (NAPE, pg 668):

"It is at present not easy to see how a negative tension should be continually created by the sun in relation to space.
It is of course possible to imagine that a surplus of positive ions is always being carried away from the sun or that negative ions are always being carried towards the sun, and that the negative tension is produced in this manner; and that the balance is maintained to some extent by distinct disruptive discharges, as we have presupposed."


Emphasis mine. It has since been confirmed by satellites that indeed there are a surplus of positive ions coming from the sun as well as just electrons, just as he “predicted’ in 1903.

Michael Mozina said...

But imagining something is so does not make it so,

On the other hand, actually measuring that proposed surplus of positively charged ions in solar wind measurements as Birkeland successfully predicted in 1903 does make it so.

a lesson that many pseudo-scientists fail to learn.

How ironic that you failed to note the fact that solar wind measurements actually verified the existence of those positively charged ions that Birkeland predicted would be there, while you and the mainstream continue to this day to promote a concept that Alfven insisted was “pseudoscience” till the day that he died.

The name calling aspect just adds to the overwhelming irony considering the fact that solar wind satellites have since confirmed his probable solution and you even selected the quote yourself, yet failed to acknowledge.

While it is okay to hypothesize when knowledge is sparse, at some point the science will become sufficient to confirm the hypothesis, or rule it out.

Except in Birkland’s case, the observations of continuous positive ion flow in solar wind didn’t rule out his ideas at all. In fact those observations of positive ion flow in solar wind later confirmed one of his potential solutions. That verified potential solution that he offered also makes any changes to Maxwell’s equations completely unnecessary and irrelevant, not that you cared or noticed or mention that fact.

Satellites in space confirmed his theory that positive ions are always being carried away from the sun, just as he ‘predicted”. Today we know that process as ‘sputtering”, although sputtering wasn’t well understood in 1903. Then again, you evidently *still* don’t understand that process in 2015!

By the 1920s-1930s, the science became sufficient to rule out the solar models advocated by Birkeland, but Birkeland did not live to see this.

That statement is pure unadulterated nonsense. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that satellites in space started to confirm Birkeland’s theories, starting with the observation of “Birkeland currents’ in aurora as he predicted. Chapman was wrong and Birkeland was correct and satellites demonstrated that fact after his death. It wasn’t until we could verify the presence of positive ions flowing from the sun that his solution to his continuous particle flow ‘problem’ was eventually verified as well. You’re misrepresenting the facts Tom.

Considering that Birkeland honestly admitted that he could not get these ideas to work, why is Mr. Mozina resurrecting them?

That is absolutely false. Birkeland did not claim that he could not get his ideas to work. You made that up too. That’s a complete strawman. His ideas actually functioned in the lab! What he *actually* said was that it was hard for him to be certain how it would actually work in space. However he did offer several possible solutions in 1903, one of which has since been confirmed by satellites in space, hence the ‘resurrection’ of his cathode sun theory.

The only legitimate reason might be if Mr. Mozina had actually solved those problems,

I never personally needed to solve any problems in his model Tom because Birkeland solved his own problems and he offered several potential solutions to those problems. He wrote about those potential and he was correct too. Confirmation of continuous positive ion flow from the sun (sputtering), and confirmation of a “transmutation of elements’ (fusion) ultimately solved both of Birkeland’s key problems. I didn’t need to lift a finger. He did all the work himself. It just took technological progress to be able to verify his ideas in space.

…but we have seen no actual scientifically rigorous evidence for this.

False again. You mean to tell me that you’ve never looked at solar wind data? Notice that flow of positive ions coming from the sun as Birkeland postulated/predicted in 1903? Did you simply miss that option as a potential solution to his problem, or did you willfully ignore it?

Michael Mozina said...

While the mathematics Birkeland presents in NAPE (such as sections 132-136, pp 678-709) might have been fairly leading-edge for the early 1900s, it is at the level of many homework problems on charged particle motion for space physics graduate students today.

Well then you apparently failed an easy homework assignment because you have the positive ions all moving in the wrong direction in your bogus diagram! Epic fail. All his particles were outbound to the heliosphere, whereas you’ve got them flowing in both directions.

Or maybe Mr. Mozina never actually read Birkeland's work, or if he did read it, didn't really comprehend it.

It’s quite obvious now from all the blatant errors that you made in your last response that you either didn’t actually bother to read his work, or you didn’t understand it at all. Since you apparently missed the positive ion flow solution that he offered in the very quote that you selected from his work in your response, apparently it’s a comprehension problem rather than pure laziness on your part. Then again until I see some reference to a mythical second and third solar model that you claim that Birkeland promoted, I’m not sure you’ve actually even read his work, let alone read it thoroughly enough to understand it.

So WHO is actually misrepresenting Birkeland's work?

That would definitely be you Tom, as the NYT article and the very quote that you personally selected demonstrate rather clearly. He most certainly correctly predicted that the transmutation of elements., now known as fusion, was the power source of the sun. He also correctly predicted a constant positive ion flow from the sun which allowed for/facilitated the discharge process to continue over extended periods of time. You really stuck your foot in your mouth Tom. Congrats.

Michael Mozina said...

By the way Tom, there’s one more point that should be addressed in terms of ego and arrogance. EU/PC proponents aren’t complaining about the use of Newton’s (or Einstein’s) formulas by the mainstream to putter around inside of our own solar system, nor do we necessarily question the ‘ego’ or ‘arrogance’ of every mainstream scientist. Those are strawman arguments on your part.

On the other hand, it is perfectly valid to question *your* ego, and *your* arrogance when you’re spending your free time bashing other theories publically on the internet, particularly when you don’t even seem to understand the various models that are being presented. If you’re going to play the role of public skeptic, you should at least know what you’re talking about. If your grasp of EU/PC as a whole is anywhere near as poor as your understanding of Birkeland’s solar model, you deserve the criticism.

Michael Mozina said...

By the way Tom, I got tired of waiting for you to post my response, so I posted it here for you:

http://www.christianforums.com/threads/dealing-with-creationism-in-astronomy.7815110/page-3#post-68453903

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

To Mr. Mozina,

As you can see documented in Electric Universe: The Three Suns of Kristian Birkeland, Birkeland defines a minimum of three different solar electric configurations (or up to seven if you include combinations).

Two options for solar wind according to Mozina's interpretation of Birkeland:
- electrons and ions move outward from the Sun
- an electric potential of 600 million volts exists between the solar photosphere and interplanetary space.
BOTH cannot be true - it is a physical impossibility.

Opposite charges accelerate in opposite directions in an electric potential. Electrons are repelled from the negative electrode (cathode) towards the positive electrode (anode) and positive ions will accelerate in the opposite direction. That is Electromagnetism 101. Birkeland would certainly have known this, so I suspect Birkeland either planned to explore these contradictory conditions as separate models, but did not live long enough to publish clarifications, or it is one of the reasons he reports that he can't get them to work. It has little to nothing to do with particle spin. If you want to claim otherwise, you better show REAL evidence beyond YOUR interpretations of Birkeland's speculations.

Claiming the electric potential difference is powered by radioactive decay is a useless statement without describing the details of how the conversion of the energies of the decay products can be efficiently converted into the electric potential. How would an RTG (Wikipedia) form under the conditions in a solar plasma? When nuclear decay happens in nature, the charge separation due to emission of, say a beta particle (electron) get quickly neutralized by capture or extraction of charges in nearby matter.

I've solved equations like those in NAPE, and written computer codes that solve these equations for even more complex systems - electromagnetic and gravitational. If you want to complain about my math, you better have more than your excuses. Perhaps YOU should present the computation of how large of an electric potential difference can be generated by the beta decay process!

In Birkeland's terella, the sphere representing the Earth was positively charged so it would attract the electrons. Therefore positive ions in the gas, or metals sputtered off the sphere, will be repelled away from the sphere and can deposit anywhere they can pick up an available electron, such as the outer containing walls or structure of the terella (which was probably grounded making this process easier). Hence the 'soot' built up on the container, not the sphere.

That Birkeland had SOME ideas about the aurora (specifically that it was a discharge-like process of electrons, guided along the geomagnetic field lines, striking atmospheric atoms and exciting atomic energy states) that turned out to be correct does not automatically make his ideas about the Sun correct. And there are a number of errors he made about the aurora.

Section 2 of The Norwegian Aurora Polaris Expedition, which seems to have the most details of Birkeland's solar models, was completed in September of 1913 (NAPE, preface of 2nd section), some months after the February 1913 NYT article you cite. I would expect the book would have the latest in Birkeland's thinking on the topic and would have fewer distortions than a popular press article.