(this entry has been rewritten and reposted with updates and corrections. Many thanks go out to astronomers Phil Plait & W.T.(“Tom”)Bridgman, philosopher Massimo Pigliucci, and those on dozens of online forums who were supportive of or critical of the electric universe ideas. Thanks, guys.)
In this installment we deal with links pertaining to a doctrine known as the Electric Universe, or EU.
What is this idea?
It seems to be based around the claim that everything in the universe can be explained electrically, though different claimants are inconsistent on this point, and it appears to have originated in the ideas of Immanuel Velikovsky, as continued by some of his disciples, and currently appears to be a mix of ideas including something called Saturn theory and a failed model of the universe known as Plasma Cosmology, though specific claims are as varied as the number of proponents and differ from claimant to claimant.
From my sources, often EU proponents themselves (who do not fill me with confidence that their idea is truly valid science) as well as their critics, EU claims follow a pattern typical of many such doctrines:
It incorporates the interpretation of mythology as directly indicative of literal historical and scientific fact.
It makes use of reasoning modes outdated and inadequate in comparison with those used in present-day scientific methodology — much is made of the claim that the EU idea is a ‘sensible,’ ‘reasonable,’ ‘simple,’ and ‘logical’ alternative to mainstream cosmology — when our everyday sensibilities are frequently wrong about those findings of science that regularly defy our intuition despite their being confirmed to a high degree of probability by both experiment and observation.
It greatly overvalues both genuine and alleged mysteries in science as somehow being proof that science is broken for not conveniently explaining everything to the satisfaction of the claimants.
It employs the use of “If it walks like X, looks like X, and quacks like X, then it must be X.” style arguments in making false comparisons between phenomena. A case in point are some claims that canyons and rifts are shaped roughly like electrical discharges and therefore must have been electrically formed.
It substitutes superficially clever-sounding verbal hand-waving for empirical means of testing hypotheses, and literary narratives for attempts to make sense of facts rather than present valid interpretations using real evidence for its case.
Rather than update and correct itself with new and better data, it perpetuates and even compounds its errors, and it’s claims are conveniently redefined or so poorly defined as needed to make them incapable of being falsified or meaningfully confirmed.
Attempts to promote it are made principally on the claims that it is revolutionary, controversial, and dogmatically opposed by an entrenched scientific orthodoxy bent on resisting it at all costs for fear of their funding, careers, and reputations if Teh (sic) Truth™ should ever get out…
…claims that are absurd prima facie.
Why, yes, the EU is certainly a viable cosmological model if you ignore every published — and freely accessible to the public for most findings, I might add — astronomical observation ever made.
I find it rather difficult to swallow the silly notion that all those poor delusional gravity-theorists would be able to successfully hoodwink every research organization, every government, and every media-outlet on the planet if it were glaringly obvious that they were wrong and that celestial mechanics were electrically dominated.
Revolutionary sentiment and conspiracy theories do not a science make…
…and so, without further digression, I (not so) humbly present the links and URls for your perusal!
- Here is the Electric Cosmos page of astronomer W.T. Bridgman on his site Dealing with Creationism in Astronomy
- Here is a link to the Wikipedia entry on the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite, the findings of which led to the downfall of Plasma cosmology
- Here is the Electric Cosmos web page at http://www.electric-cosmos.org/, apparently for promoting Donald Scott’s book, the Electric Sky
- Here is another of Donald Scott’s sites, The Electric Sky, at http://members.cox.net/dascott3/index.htm
- Another pro-Electric Universe theory web site at http://www.holoscience.com/
- Here is the Thunderbolts home page, at http://www.thunderbolts.info/, another site propounding on this idea
- And a final such site, at http://www.plasmacosmology.net/