Slides from Bob Johnson's two talks at the September SIS speaker meeting are available to read on the web site in case anyone is unaware of how to view them. Simply click on the blue text on Autumn Meeting and the two links will pop up on the next page. The first talk concerns the differences between the Plasma Universe as espoused by the likes of Alfven and Perratt, and the Electric Universe as outlined at Thunderbolts web site. Paradigm shifts are very rare events and cosmologists for example have been slow to embrace the Plasma Universe (when interpreting data seen in telescopes of activity in distant galaxies). Hence, a paradigm shift may never happen. Certainly, it seems likely that the Thunderbolts version of cosmology will never see more than minority interest and therefore it is useful to compare their model with what scientists such as Alfven and Perratt actually did propose – which is what Johnson has done.
The other talk by Johnson concerns mountain building and the idea plasma via coronal mass ejections from the Sun are sometimes powerful enough to raise mountains on Earth, an altogether radical theory that seems to have first been published in the journal New Concepts in Global Tectonics (see www.ncgtjournal.com). What causes mountain building to occur has been theorised endlessly over the last hundred years or so and the mainstream version is simply the one that best fits the uniforimitarian model as it is assumed to be a slow process. In contrast, Johnson's theory would involve rapid episodes of mountain building – separated by long periods of dormancy. His theory is not of course the only one that visualises rapid growth in height of mountain systems but he provides a novel source. Ollier and Pain in 'The Origin of Mountains' Routledge:2000 also had a novel idea, basically a variation on the mainstream theory, and Peter Michael James in 'Deformation of the Earth's Crust – Cause and Effect' (2016) had an even more radical idea. Geology is usually one of those subjects considered done and dusted, settled as in comfortable within itself. It is sometimes surprising to learn that geologists do not always agree with each other. For example punctuated evolution requires punctuated and episodic catastrophism in order to be viable. What causes such episodes is wrought with endless arguments – as the controversy surrounding the K/T boundary event and the end of the dinosaurs has shown. Some geologists are unable to move from what they learnt at university or college and stick rigidly to the orthodox framework. Others are able to move outside the box and consider alternative points of view – or even develop their own theories. Geology is in fact far from done and dusted and the plasma universe is likely to open the subject to a wide range of alternative ways of looking at the earth in the past. Johnson's talk should be regarded as a salvo over the bows of mainstream – with more to follow from others.