Sunday, May 13, 2012

Electric Universe: Peer-Review Exercise 1

This is the first of five posts devoted to providing a more professional peer-review of the "Special Issue" of the Bentham Open Astronomy Journal (BOAJ) devoted to Plasma Cosmology and Electric Universe (PC/EU).  While BOAJ claims to be a peer-reviewed journal, we'll see in the upcoming posts that the quality of the peer-review process for this issue was very questionable.  Each of the articles exposed in these reviews exhibit many fundamental errors in physics (especially electromagnetism) and astronomy.  Many of the unchallenged mistakes are at levels which could be identified by an undergraduate physics student or possibly even a competent EE undergraduate.

Review report by W.T. Bridgman and Nereid.

Quotes from the article discussed are in blue.
Article Reviewed:
Editorial: Some Initial Thoughts on Plasma Cosmology
by Jeremy Dunning-Davies

The claim that astronomers ignore plasmas and electric effects has been repeatedly documented as false (see 365 Days of Astronomy: The Electric Universe).  Of all Electric Universe (EU) claimed 'successes' for electric fields in space, I have yet to find a single one whose history can actually be traced to an origin among EU supporters.  In my research, I've even been surprised that some things I thought had originated with legitimate researchers, such as Hannes Alfvén, were, in fact, analyzed in far more detail by others before Alfvén (see Electric Universe: Measurement of the Electric Current in a Kpc-Scale Jet).  Perhaps the only legitimate researcher that could be claimed an EU supporter might be Birkeland, perhaps if his original motivation had been inspired by the writings of George Warder (Wikipedia). 
"the electric universe ideas are supported by much computer modeling".
This statement suggests that the upcoming articles will provide real details of this claim.  However, what we'll find is the same reliance on the Peratt galaxy model - and nothing else.  The Peratt model has failed enough tests that even Peratt has done no development on it in over ten years (see Scott Rebuttal. II. The Peratt Galaxy Model vs. the Cosmic Microwave Background)

In fact, beyond the Peratt model and these five BOAJ articles, I have yet to find a single quantitative model, computer or otherwise, that can be tied back to an original idea by EU supporters.  The great majority of models which EU supporters try to claim as theirs can be traced back to the history of electric fields in astronomy, such as those documented above.

The statement also conveniently ignores the far larger body EU ideas which are NOT supported by computer modeling.  The only 'supported' models fit a few observations, but fail on more critical observations (such as the Peratt model).  I have summarized some of these failures in Challenges for Electric Universe 'Theorists'.

"... a great many laboratory experiments being performed to help establish plasma properties [4]"
Indeed they have. What Dunning-Davies conveniently (and cynically?) ignores is the fact that a huge number of such experiments have been performed - and their results published - since 1992, when Peratt published his book ([4] is Peratt's book). To take just one example, the report from this 2010 Workshop on Opportunities in Plasma Astrophysics referenced dozens of laboratory experiments and published quantitative, plasma physics-based, models describing astronomical phenomena.

None of the Electric Universe evidence presented by Thornhill, Scott, and Smith is based on models that generate quantitative predictions, predicting the measured flux of photons or neutrinos, or the spectral lines shifts due to magnetic fields, as is done in regular astrophysics.  We have never seen substantive quantitative predictions from EU 'theorists' or supporters.   

"the Hubble image of the planetary nebula NGC6751 looks remarkably like the view down the barrel of a plasma focus device"
EU 'evidence' relies on  the 'look' of the object to the human eye and brain giving their evidence more in common with pareidolia (Wikipedia) than any objective standard.   The obvious related physical question is 'where is the evidence for the generator and supporting hardware needed to drive such a plasma focus device?'  Are we to believe that these devices form naturally?  If so, how? Perhaps they were built by a gigantic alien species?  But we'll never get a viable answer from EU advocates.  This EU claimed 'solution' does nothing but generate more questions, questions which should be able to answered easily, directly from a quantitative description of such devices.

Dunning-Davies claims that neutrinos:
"respond only weakly to massive objects such as stars and galaxies but form an extended atmosphere which, for example, refracts light around the Sun from distant stars and this offers an alternative explanation for the so-called gravitational bending of light" 
yet provides no reference and certainly no experimental evidence for this process.  This mechanism is also in contradiction to Thornhill's claim about Dark Matter (Thornhill, BOAJ 2011, v4, pg 193).

Dunning-Davies mentions Tony Peratt's simulations, but does not mention the inability to detect the synchrotron radiation expected from Peratt's currents, predicted by Peratt himself (see Scott Rebuttal. II. The Peratt Galaxy Model vs. the Cosmic Microwave Background).
"the whole purpose of this collection of articles is to draw the attention of a wider audience to the possible importance of electromagnetic effects in cosmology."
As will be pointed out in coming reviews, these articles are so riddled with fundamental errors in astronomy, electromagnetism, and plasma physics, that their net effect will more likely be damaging to the existing REAL work in electromagnetic effects in the cosmos.

Note: Comments that DIRECTLY address the points in THIS post are favored.  Since there will be a post on each of the five papers in the EU 'Special Issue', comments more relevant to one of those other papers should await that specific post.

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