What are the problems that might dog the Electric Universe model?

22 Feb 2014

We've all read the posts at www.thunderbolts.info and watched the various videos - but is it all so clear cut. Surely some of us have a queasy feeling in the hollow of the stomach - a gut feeling that it might involve some nice window dressing. Well, a former member of SIS and a regular on the Thunderbolts Forum has some interesting things to say on his blog at http://hozturner.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/critical-issues-for-electric-uni...

He starts by describing how he first came by the Electric Universe theory, having being impressed by one of the videos. He looked at it from a layman's eyeball and he became convinced there was something wrong with mainstream science. Gravity might not be all that it is cracked up to be. He subsequently became fascinated by EU and wrote a number of articles which regularly pop up in the Google search engine. These too can be viewed at his blog, above, including one on Velikovsky. He embraced the Thunderbolts project enthusiastically and was eager to take part in the debate.

Perhaps he was too enthusiastic - and bound to stumble at some time. He was so enthusiastic he was bound to encounter at some time a dose of reality. That initially came by way of Bob Johnson at the EU 2013 conference, and the talk he gave, 'The Electric Sun Revisited'. Johnson questioned the 'Anode Sun' model and whether or not it was supported by empirical evidence. He used data collected by spacecraft which seemed to contradict the Electric Sun model. Johnson suggested the model might be salvaged even if it was not externally powered - if it was seen as a plasmoid consisting of internal currents. However, Johnson didn't elaborate on the alternative. At this point Hossein Turner (Persian Paladin on Thunderbolts Forum) created a forum post with the title, Anode Sun versus the Plasmoid Model, and was left reeling by the intensity of the debate. He was left in the position of essentially defending the model preferred by Thunderbolts but was astonished by the alternatives. Within weeks of the 2013 conference he found himself with serious doubts - and all kind of different theories were coming out of the woodwork (and they all embraced the idea of electricity in the universe). There was the model favoured by Wal, the different model of Don Scott, a cathode model, one claiming to arise from compressive ionisation (Charles Chandler) and one involving plasma red shift protons. The seeming impressive simplicity of EU was unravelling, it seemed to him, coming apart at the seams

He then started to look around at what EU opponents were saying - which was highly critical. He also sought out the opinions of major players, interviewing the head of the SAFIRE Project, Monty Childs - who was surprisingly open to EU claims. SAFIRE seeks to recreate some solar features in the laboratory. He then turned to Eric Lerner, author of the book, 'The Big Bang Never Happened' and beloved of EU theorists as that would support the idea that red shift was imaginary - and gravity was somewhat superfluous. As Tony Haynes has shown at an SIS speaker meeting and in a couple of Study Group meetings, Lerner is a major player in the development of plasma based energy systems. Not to be sniffed at - by any side. Lerner's views on star formation differ from EU. He is an advocate of the Steady State universe model and plasma cosmology but he is adamant gravity plays an important role. This is all described in his book - so nothing surprising there. In spite of that Lerner is often quoted by EU enthusiasts as if he supports their model. Lerner's work is based on the earlier research of Alfven, another figure beloved of EU and if you believe what you read somebody that had a theory in general sympathy with their model. Not so. Perratt also accepts gravity and nuclear fusion and he is therefore not as onboard as one is led to believe. 

Somewhat later he came across the Chinese Book of Silk. It is not clear where he saw this but as he is in possession of the Catastrophism CD he might have seen it there - and gone on to look it up from other sources. The Book of Silk has a lot of images of comets and he said a light was switched on in his head as some of them resemble the 'squatting man'  image that has impressed audiences around the world whenever the Thunderbolts film on Perratt's research is played. This image is the number one most important marketing tool of EU - it grabs your attention. Likewise, the 'chain of arrows' image of EU also appears in the Book of Silk - as a cometary avatar. Both images are basic to plasma mythology and Perratt has documented them in his work on the pretroglyphs around the world. They continue to pop up in all kinds of places in all parts of the globe and one is left with the impression that plasma discharges were a common occurrence in the past. However, he continues, rather than the atmosphere experiencing high energy plasma discharges from outer space it appears that it may involve people recording encounters with cometary phenomena.

This is a view that has appealed to me for some time - and here it is repeated by Hossein Turner (the Persian Paladin of Thunderbolts). What is revealing at this point, he notes, is that the Chinese did not mention errant planets - per Velikovsky and Talbott etc. He then published an article on his blog (also worth reading), 'The Great Comet - A New Perspective' (which I featured on In the News at the time). Its always nice to keep tabs on what our members are thinking - at any given time. At this point he moved away from planets, a fundamental of EU at Thunderbolts (and probably its weakest characteristic) and edged towards Clube and Napier. This is an attractive theory but it seems to change like a chameleon depending on the audience so how he will get on with it over the course of time will be interesting to watch. The problem is that Clube and Napier were astronomers - and average historians (possibly even very poor historians when it came to fitting their cycles into Holocene history). Hence, they designed a scheme that brought us the idea of coherent catastrophism but the pattern that is clear in early Holocene is not so clear over the last couple of thousand years. Or what the future might herald. Never the less, the idea that comet break-ups spawned the idea of a pantheon of sky deities is appealing.

In spite of reading and making connections he remained faithful to the idea of electric comets but this was diluted after reading Tom Bridgman's blog. He took the idea of electric comets to task - criticising the circuit between the comet and sun and the need to insulate etc. However, he is prepared to still think in terms of comets exhibiting features akin to the electric comet concept - and has not fallen entirely for Bridgman's critique.

Returning to the electric sun he suggests going back to the drawing board and lists a variety of web sites such as www.scholarpedia.org/article/Magneto-convection and www.tim-thompson.com/grey-areas.html and http://web.physics.udel.edu/research/plasma-physics/magnetic-reconnection ... In other words, mainstream is aware of the link between electric and magnetic and the notion it is ignored is erroneous. How much is out of the horses mouth of Bridgman is unclear, an intractible foe of EU on the basis it is popular with Creationists. He is able to quote both Alfven and Lerner liberally and suggests looking at www.photonmatrix.com/pdf/Magnetic%20Vortex%20Filaments.pdf where there is a pdf available on magnetic filaments. The whole piece is well argued and must be essential reading for anyone into EU and its easy going presentation aimed at laypeople rather than scientists. There is plenty here to make you think - and hopefully respond. We could set up a debate on EU on our SIS Forum - if enough people are interested. It might wake it up as it seems to have gone asleep over recent months.

Finally, and equally important, he points out that the EU paradigm rests to a large extent on Velikovsky's catastrophist ideas - made 60 years ago and now somewhat dated, overtaken by space exploration which is throwing up all kinds of oddities. Velikovsky's ideas have been taken forward by others and historical revisionism is part and parcel of it. I'm not sure of that entirely as Velikovsky showed the Biblical Creation story was more likely to be seen as a re-creation story following a major catastrophic event, a theme taken up by Rens van der Sluijs with great effect. Why EU theory is tied to a revision of history (not human history but earth history) is something that some people find unpalatable (but others clearly see this as attractive). It has never been spelled out. Why?

Hossein Turner, the Persian Paladin, then quotes Leroy Ellenberger, and the fact he has been in contact with this arch enemy of EU will not go down well in some circles, but will raise hackles and ruffle the feathers. In spite of this it is worth emphasizing here that Ellenberger is still a red blooded catastrophist. It is just that he favours Clube and Napier over the idea of planets and solar system rearrangements with errant planets periodically coming close to the orbit of the Earth. He is also opposed to the idea that all this catastrophism came to an end in around 687BC - and it has been all quiet on the upheaval front since Sennacherib's army lost all its quivers (eaten by mice) or were incinerated by a 'blast from heaven' - and he skulked home with his tail between his legs. Other than that Leroy is a pussycat - keen to spread his alternative to EU. Hossein Turner appears to plump for Clube and Napier's general outline in preference to that of EU - and over the years others have been also been persuaded. It has its own set of problems - as he will learn. At the same time he does not rule out encounters that involve superheated plasma from cometary or asteroid vectors. His conclusion is that EU has some serious issues to confront and address if it wants to be taken seriously by mainstream - which must be the ultimate ambition. Astrophysics, he adds, is a hard science that requires lots of time and detailed study. This should not put people off from trying to understand the history of the solar system.