Cosmology is in Crisis, And It's Time to Start Talking About It


#1

There is something very troubling happening in cosmology today: Of those people in our modern society who believe in the power of science to separate fact from fiction, there exists at the core of their beliefs a failure to seek out science-based reasons to disbelieve our most popular theories.

Extravagant programs involving supercomputer simulations are routinely broadcasted on the subject of cosmology. Constructs like dark matter and dark energy are oftentimes described in these programs as though they have already been observed and understood. Scientists detail the history of the universe in terms of microseconds after the universe’s origin, and few think to question it. A rational person might be forgiven for investigating further.

What is noticeably missing from all of this activity is a desire to seek and hear out critics. And it’s probably the case that most people simply assume that there are no critics, for if there were, then wouldn’t science journalists write about them, in the interest of keeping our scientific theories cleansed of our own inherent biases?

The critics are out there, and their arguments have been published in some of the most esteemed journals man has ever created …

Wal Thornhill, theorist who successfully predicted most of the results of the Deep Impact mission based upon an electrical plasma cosmology

Gerrit Verschuur, radio astronomer – who struggles to be heard that the “clouds” of matter between the stars are enigmatically filamentary

Anthony Peratt, government researcher with a focus on plasma physics, whom we trust to watch over our nuclear stockpile, but is nevertheless dismissed by astrophysicists and cosmologists, and even actively interfered with in his attempts to simulate plasma-based cosmology

Hannes Alfven, who was granted the Nobel prize for his creation of magnetohydrodynamics, but was nevertheless ignored when he used the occasion of his acceptance speech to critique the way in which astrophysicists were applying it. Alfven predicted that these problems would inevitably lead to a “crisis in cosmology”.

The implications of a crisis in cosmology could not be more serious, for the belief that we live on a planet which is gravely warming due to human activities is based, in part, upon the worldview that we live in an electrically disconnected universe. But, that’s not all: If the universe is electrically connected, then it naturally follows that this connection incites changes on a timescale which will surely surprise modern cosmologists and astrophysicists. The consequences of ignoring this controversy are too enormous to simply dismiss.

And yet, where cosmic threads are commonly observed connecting planets with stars, stars with other stars, galaxies with galaxies, and even threads of galaxies, we nevertheless teach students of astrophysics and cosmology that these threads cannot possibly be electrical transfers. We teach this worldview even as we realize that there are no physical wires moving currents within novelty plasma globes …

Where magnetic fields are observed to pervade most of the visible universe, we teach students to assume that they originated with the universe itself or result from dynamos hidden from any ability to observe them (both non-falsifiable claims) – and we do so even as electrical engineers just down the hallway create devices and computers which absolutely demand that magnetic fields result from electrical currents. We teach this worldview with an unassailable confidence, and even as these models can only identify around 5% of the universe’s matter and energy necessary for these models to work. Those who disagree, the story goes, simply don’t understand the theory.

There is a growing urgency in science today that we face the problems of our scientific theories with courage. It’s time to stop pretending that there are no critics. It’s time for science journalists to start learning about the problems with our theories in cosmology and astrophysics, and to develop the courage to actually run stories on these failures.

The Growing Case Against the Big Bang

A Summary from LPPhysics, Inc.

The new evidence on surface brightness is by no means the only recent research that contradicts the Big Bang theory. Despite the continuing popularity of the theory, essentially every prediction of the theory has been increasingly contradicted by better and better data

Key contradicted predictions:

1) Lithium

Prediction: Any superhot explosion throughout the universe, like the Big Bang, would have generated a certain small amount of the light element lithium.

Evidence: Yet as astronomers have observed older and older stars, the amount of lithium observed has gotten less and less, and, in the oldest stars is less than one tenth of the predicted level. This, however, accords with non-Big-Bang predictions that explain the production of light elementsby stars and cosmic rays within the galaxies themselves.

2) Dark Matter

Prediction: The Big Bang theory requires the existence of dark matter—mysterious particles that have never been observed in the laboratory, despite huge experiments to find them.

Evidence: Multiple lines of evidence, especially observations of the motions of galaxies, show that this dark matter does not exist.

3) Too Large Structures

Prediction: In the Big Bang theory, the universe is supposed to start off completely smooth and homogenous.

Evidence: But as telescopes have peered farther into space, huger and huger structures of galaxies have been discovered, which are too large to have been formed in the time since the Big Bang.

4) Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR) Asymmetries

Prediction: The inflation that was supposed to have occurred during the Big Bang should have smoothed out any large-scale asymmetries in the universe. The CBR should show be perfectly symmetrical.

Evidence: The CBR in fact shows strong evidence of asymmetries from one side of the sky to the other that, although small, could not have been produced by the ultra-symmetric “inflation” that hypothetically occurred in the Big Bang.

The response of most cosmologists to this growing body of evidence has, unfortunately, not been to decide the Big Bang theory has been falsified, but to add new “parameters” and hypotheses, like dark energy. The theory is now far more complex and speculative than the Ptolemaic epicycles that were destroyed by the Scientific Revolution. Each contradiction with observation is taken as a mere “anomaly” that does not undermine the theory as a whole. Strong peer pressure is applied against many of those who question the theory.

“It’s as if researchers are saying ‘I can see the Emperor’s elbow through his New Clothes’, ‘I can see the Emperor’s knee though his New Clothes’ and so on, “ says Lerner. “It is time to say: ‘The Emperor is not wearing any clothes’. This theory has no correct predictions.”

To replace the Big Bang, other researchers have elaborated, in peer-reviewed publications, alternative explanations of the generation of light elements and of the energy in the CBR by ordinary stars, and of the development of large-scale structures through the interaction of gravity and electromagnetic processes. “No one would claim that all the problems in cosmology have been resolved, “agrees Lerner,” but the evidence is consistent with an evolving, but non-expanding universe, which had no beginning in time and no Big Bang.”

More detailed descriptions of the evidence against the Big Bang theory

[…]

See the article for additional details on each of these four points.


Top Secret Astronomy
#3

I agree with this article 100%, every time I have tried to point out any in your face obvious discrepancy in the big bang,gravity waves,dark matter,etc…etc…in any physics or cosmology forum I’m immediately attacked for my views without any consideration of merit to my argument,its as if these people have been brainwashed into believing in what they read in textbooks is the gospel truth? Most if not all cosmologists physicists etc… don’t want to rock the boat in case they endanger their funding.I think that’s where the main problem lies.


#4

Why is this important to you?


#5

Hang on a sec, wasn’t it the motion of galaxies that led cosmologists to invent dark matter in the first place?


#6

What, again?


#7

Part of the reason that you haven’t heard these arguments before is that people (like wiki editor Joshua Schroeder) have meticulously scoured wikipedia to cleanse it of all opposing cosmological & astrophysical viewpoints. So, Ian Tresman from the UK created his own wiki in coordination with these theorists at plasma-universe.com.

Anthony Peratt, who is an advisor to the Department of Energy, has been the subject of incredible hostility for his pursuit of these investigations. My vague understanding is that there have been events – such as the defacing of government websites – which inspired reactions by the appropriate government agencies (FBI, CIA, etc). These topics are mired in confusion, in part because plasma physics is the science we use to study nuclear weapons.

But, there is also the fact that cosmology acts as the basis for our worldviews. It helps us to answer questions about who we are, where we come from, and what we can expect to happen to us in the future. It shouldn’t surprise anybody that questioning cosmological beliefs inspires an emotional reaction. These reactions should be expected to correspond to the amount of time somebody has invested in the theories being challenged, as well as any occupational relationship to the topic. We like to imagine that scientists will gladly give up an older idea if a newer one can be shown to be better, but the reality is that a lot of resistance should be expected when we are talking about re-asking questions which haven’t been asked for decades.

On the topic of galactic mechanics and simulation:

Anthony Peratt’s electromagnetic galactic simulation

Galaxy formation in the Plasma Universe is modeled as two adjacent interacting Birkeland filaments. The simulation produces a flat rotation curve, but no hypothetical dark matter is needed, as required by the conventional model of galaxy formation.

The simulations derive from the work of Winston H. Bostick who obtained similar results from interacting plasmoids.[1] [2]

In the early 1980s Anthony L. Peratt, a student of Alfvén’s, used supercomputer facilities at Maxwell Laboratories and later at Los Alamos National Laboratory to simulate Alfvén and Fälthammar’s concept of galaxies being formed by primordial clouds of plasma spinning in a magnetic filament.[3]

The simulation began with two spherical clouds of plasma trapped in parallel magnetic filaments, each carrying a current of around 10^18 amperes. The clouds spin around each other until a spiral shape emerges. Peratt concluded that the shapes seen in the simulation appeared similar to observed galaxy shapes, and posited a morphological sequence that corresponded to Halton Arp’s ideas that galaxies formed out of quasars ejected from AGN.4 Perrat’s spirals had qualitatively flat rotation curves.

Experiments with the PK-3 Plus (Plasmakristall-3 Plus) dusty/complex plasmas laboratory on the International Space Station, has shown dusty plasmas in a weightless environment that seem to show “vortices in the plasma resembling a galaxy”,[5] and a “mini-galaxy [that] can be used to study formation of real galaxies”.

There has been much confusion on the topic of worldviews in science. Many people continue to fail to understand what a worldview is, or that they even exist within modern science. There is a structure to scientific theory which starts with properties that apply to concepts, then propositions involving two or more concepts, models based upon collections of these propositions, and then worldviews which drive efforts to construct those models. Worldviews come into play most importantly at two particular points in the scientific process: In the formation of hypotheses and at the inferential step. Worldviews can be based upon anything that is happening within the mind of a scientist. Scientists look to these worldview in order to identify promising avenues for investigation, and our university system actively creates this worldview.

There is the potential here for problems. Worldviews can act as the channel through which bias flows into science. The hypothetical and inferential steps are important points at which new ideas can enter into scientific discourse, where they can be groomed into new models. Thus, what we have to be on the lookout for in science is evidence that reasonable explanations which follow from alternative worldviews are not being investigated.

In this particular case, we can get very specific in identifying what worldviews we should be questioning: It is the belief that where scientists and astronomers see evidence for electricity in space, that it must be a “2nd-order”, localized phenomenon which results from other more fundamental phenomena (expansions, explosions, gravity, etc). This has been the dominant worldview for many decades now. But, it’s important that people realize that this belief does not just independently emerge within the minds of scientists. We teach this worldview within our universities. It’s not a mystery why they believe it.

And this worldview has remained in place as a guide for the Astrophysical Journal, even as many observational reasons and arguments have emerged over time to challenge it. It is the worldview itself which naturally leads scientists to propose a largely “dark” universe – for the force of gravity is just too weak to explain what we are seeing, and from what we can tell, the distances between stars are just too enormous for gravity to explain these motions.

Robert Burnham developed a model to show us in ordinary terms how much space there is out there between the stars. To understand its scale we need to know a couple of real distances.

As noted above, the distance from the Earth to the Sun is around 92,960,000 miles (149,605,000 km). Usually rounded off to 93 million miles (150 million km), this distance is called the Astronomical Unit (AU).

A light-year (ly) is equal to 63,294 AU. Coincidentally, this is about the same number as the number of inches in a statute mile, 63,360. Therefore, there is around the same number of inches in 1 AU (63,360 x 92,960,000) as the number of miles in 1 light-year (63,294 x 92,960,000). Those are really big numbers. Let’s stick to inches.

Burnham set the scale in his model so that 1 inch (1″) equals 1 AU or 93 million miles. Then 1 mile in our model would equal 1 ly. This scale would be expressed as 1:6,000,000,000,000. That’s one unit represents six million million units, which is a scale of one to 6 trillion or 1:6×10¹².

Let’s start describing a Burnhamesque miniature scale model of our solar system using this scale. We know the distance from Earth to the Sun (1 AU) will be one inch. How big will the Sun be? The Sun’s diameter is about 870,000 miles, so in our scale model the Sun will be a little under 1/100th of an inch across. That’s a very tiny speck. The Earth will be one inch away from the Sun but so small (0.00009″, or 9 one hundred thousandths of an inch) that we would not be able to see it without a microscope.

Pluto’s orbital radius is 39.5 times larger than Earth’s, so Pluto will be 39.5 inches, or almost exactly 1 meter, from the Sun.

The heliosphere, the region around the Sun which the solar wind permeates, is about 7 feet in our model.

So where is the nearest star in our model? Our nearest neighbor is Alpha Centauri, which is over 4 light-years away. That’s more than 4 miles in our model.

Yes, 4 miles. Our model Sun is one tiny speck, and it’s 4 miles to the next nearest speck. That’s a lot of space in between. So how big is our galaxy in this tiny model? The model galaxy would stretch 100,000 miles across. The thin disk and spiral arms would be a thousand miles thick. Its central bulge of stars would be well over 6000 miles from top to bottom. Our galaxy is but one of hundreds of billions of galaxies visible in the observable Universe with our present instruments. The nighttime sky appears to be crowded with stars, but stars are separated typically by over 10 million times their diameters.


#8

I’m not a cosmologist. I don’t have the math background to work with cosmological models directly, but I can appreciate the standard cosmological models on an aesthetic level. Part of that aesthetic is knowing that these fairly simple models of mine correspond, more or less, to what is scientifically plausible.

Why would I throw that all away to entertain a fringe cosmology that isn’t shared by most of the researchers in the field?What possible reason could I have for cluttering up my imagination with things that border on, and entertain a thriving smuggling trade with pseudoscience? And why is it suddenly important to you that I do so?


#9

He’s not going to give up till we all agree, then go pester other people about it ourselves.


#10

It happens for some people when they listen to the arguments and think about them. What is happening in cosmology is only barely science. The only reason it seems okay is that so many people are going along with it. The only reason that people go along with it is because they don’t know of a better explanation. And the reason that they don’t know of a better explanation is because people generally have no idea what a plasma is – nor how they tend to behave in the laboratory.

If people knew that, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Is it simply irrelevant that the universe appears to prefer the plasma state … ?

“Today it is recognized that 99.999% of all observable matter in the universe is in the plasma state…”[4]

“It is estimated that as much as 99.9% of the universe is comprised of plasma.”[5]
“…the plasma state is the most abundant state of matter. It is thought that more than 99.9% of matter in the universe is in plasma”[6]

“plasmas are abundant in the universe. More than 99% of all known matter is in the plasma state”[7]

“It is an interesting fact that most of the material in the visible universe, as much as 99% according to some estimates, is in the plasma state”[8]

“Probably more than 99 percent of visible matter in the universe exist in the plasma state.”[9]

“The plasma environment Plasmas, often called the fourth state of matter, are the most common form of matter in the universe. More than 99% of all matter”[10]

“It is estimated that more than 99 percent of matter in the universe exists as plasma; examples include stars, nebulae, and interstellar particles”[11]

“It is sometimes said that more than 99 percent of the material in the universe is in the form of plasma”[12]

“about 99% of matter in the universe is plasma”[13]

“99.9 percent of the Universe is made up of plasma,” says Dr. Dennis Gallagher, a plasma physicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center" [14]

“How was it determined that 99% of the Universe is in a plasma state? Most of the gas in interstellar space is ionized (astronomers can tell by the wavelengths of light the gas absorbs and emits), and all of the gas in stars in ionized, that’s where the 99% comes from. The 99% ignores any dark matter which might be out there.”[15]

"It has often been said that 99% of the matter in the universe is in the plasma state.[16]

“And yet these radio-frequency links must survive the complexities of the plasma which comprises well over 99.9 percent of the universe”.[17]

“This fourth state of matter probably comprises more than 99.9 per cent of the matter in our Universe.”[18]

Re …

And why is it suddenly important to you that I do so?

An electrically connected universe is a catastrophic universe. If energy flows through it, then you are worried about the wrong threats.


#11

I don’t think it’s implausible that most cosmologists are barking up the wrong tree; it’s not like there isn’t any precedent for that sort of thing.

I’d be interested to see a proper debate between informed proponents who can make these matters accessible. Hannes here seems to do a pretty good job, but he needs a counterpoint to properly represent the establishment.

Although this has me stumped… what the hell does that mean?


#12

Another part of what drives me is that I’m consistently alarmed at the nature of discourse I see online with regards to science. People look at all of the nonsense that is indeed going on at the edges of conventional theory, and they take this as reason to view every claim against textbook theory with scorn and ridicule. There comes a point where this pseudoskeptical culture feeds back into science itself, and then this mass of stereotyping behavior dampens our ability to innovate in science.

I call it fake skepticism because it’s not applied equally. It’s more like a bias towards the textbook theory in spite of controversy and enigma; the skepticism is selectively applied. Enigmas and controversies are frequently ignored, and the few who do pay attention to them, and bring them up online, are not exactly thanked for bearing the message.

For instance, from a paper titled “The Speed of Gravity – What the Experiments Say”

A thorough review of online scientific discourse will reveal that people tend to look to simplistic narratives about how science generally works in order to search for shortcuts to actual reasoning, when they are confronted with an actual scientific controversy which involves the questioning of textbook scientific theory. As a culture, we have to re-introduce the processes of critical thinking and philosophy back into our discourse, if we wish to maintain the standard of living we’ve come to expect. The debunking culture takes the whole lot of ideas and casts them away indiscriminately – including the gems that are buried in all of the crud. We can do better than that. There are very important innovations which affect our health and our technology which will become apparent once we build discourse systems to differentiate pseudoscience from critical thinking and thinking like a scientist.

Changes are already underway. If you look at the types of things that are happening right now with the W3C (our Internet standards-making body) with respect to annotation technology, it will become apparent that I am hardly the only person who understands that something is very wrong with online discourse.

Google’s PageRank was inspired by the online annotations idea …

The first web browser came with annotation technology. It was switched off once it was observed how much overhead was required to maintain it. The Mosaic team could not afford to sleep any less, so they shut it off.

It’s time to take a closer look at the benefits of this technology for online discourse.

The W3C understands that what’s happening with online discourse today is not what was intended, and that is why – if you go to these iAnnotate conferences – you will see people from the Critical Thinking Institute talking to people who make internet standards. The annotation technology will in just a few years become embedded into the internet standards. This technology has the potential to facilitate the re-introduction of critical thinking and philosophy standards back into our conversations about science. A new wave of discourse technology is emerging, and it’s a direct response to the problems we see online today. But, the first step towards these objectives is to identify or create a model for how people tend to react to these unconventional claims – so that the systems which emerge are actually a solution to these problems.

We really need to make sure that we are moving forward towards ever more scientific thinking. Carl Sagan probably said it best …

The worst aspect of the Velikovsky affair is not that many of his ideas were wrong or silly or in gross contradiction to the facts. Rather, the worst aspect is that some scientists attempted to suppress Velikovsky’s ideas. The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion or in politics, but it is not the path to knowledge. And there’s no place for it in the endeavor of science. We do not know beforehand where fundamental insights will arise from about our mysterious and lovely solar system. And the history of the study of our solar system shows clearly that accepted and conventional ideas are often wrong – and that fundamental insights can arise from the most unexpected sources.


#13

Hi, Kimmo. I hope you will forgive me, but I am going to hold off on elaborating on this point for now.

As for debate, I will gladly give you the names of all of the principle EU critics. They are:

Tom Bridgman

Note that Tom freely admits that the Electric Universe is not creationism, but he insists upon using this URL nevertheless. Many people never make it past the Bridgman pages. In fact, I’ve observed that a lot of people pass these Bridgman links around without any follow-up discussion – and apparently drop the subject right there.

You will find numerous arguments against the EU here. I’d be glad to walk you through one of these. Either way, what I would suggest is to pick a few and pursue them to their natural conclusion by tracking down the debate online, and when necessary interacting with both sides. That is the correct way to get a feel for it.

Joshua Schroeder

Go to the Wayback Machine and type in:
http://scienceapologist.wikinet.org/wiki/Joshua_P.Schroeder(ScienceApologist)

Joshua has a habit of getting kicked off of wikipedia for his edits. Honestly, the EU more-or-less gave up on wikipedia a number of years ago. It’s not designed to document controversy. This is what education reformer, Joseph Novak, calls a “positivist” view of science. The problematic idea here is the premise that we can basically learn how to think like a scientist by learning what scientists think. That sharply contrasts with the constructivist take on science education, which positions knowledge as having important social aspects to it. For instance, Joshua speaking of himself (from the Wayback Machine link) …

I am ScienceApologist. People generally hate me because I am fairly uncompromising when it comes to describing academic science and oppositional pseudoscience. In fact, I’m more strident in writing the encyclopedia than in real life because I believe that an encyclopedia is meant to be first-stops and so general as to be blandly pedantic: a style of writing which does not lend itself to nuance but is rather offensively dismissive of the minority opinions in and outside of academia.

and a critique …

ScienceApologist gives a self-description that raises the suspicion that he, she, or they is or are in reality a Trojan Horse designed to discredit all who claim to defend science. I could not reach a conclusion as to whether or not this self-description was written satirically, because it is so perfect a send-up of the most extreme scientism — “scientism” being the quasi-religious belief that contemporary science is the place to get true answers to everything.

Leroy Ellenberger

Leroy likes to launch letter-writing campaigns – especially when he discovers that there is a laboratory which is permitting electrodynamic simulations of the universe. This sort of research apparently must be stopped before it can conclude. Leroy will tell you word-for-word what you said to him 20 years ago, so you’ve been warned.

APODNereid

APOD stands for Astronomy Picture of the Day, and a nereid is a sea nymph which protects “sailors” (ie, conventional thinkers are sailors, apparently) through rough seas. So, it would seem that APODNereid is on a mission of sorts. Not a lot is known about Nereid. The actual identity of this individual is a well-kept secret, but I don’t think anybody would be surprised if it ended up being one of the other individuals already on this list.

Tim Thompson

I’ve mentioned Tim before, in his questionable invitation to simultaneously critique the EU and justify the widespread refusal amongst astrophysicists to read IEEE’s Transactions on Plasma Science. He and Don Scott have exchanged rebuttals off-and-on. You can find these online.

Phil Plait

I believe Phil used to run CosmoQuest, back when it was the Bad Astronomy & Universe Today forum (bautforum.com). The BAUTForum was the official place where astrophysicists would use their pre-existing training in conventional theories to attempt to deconstruct competing paradigms & worldviews. It seems to have never occurred to them to try to actually elaborate ideas into competing models which could actually survive critique on a level playing field. Of course, Jeff Schmidt argues in Disciplined Minds that this is no accident. The BAUTForum also had a nasty habit of treating against-the-mainstream theorists like a form of pond scum. Many of these debate scripts are actually a bit hard to follow, because big chunks appear to be missing.

Since then, Phil has published a book on pseudoscience.

What is interesting about Phil Plait is that he and Wal Thornhill share a particular interest in the highly unusual cosmic object known as sn1987a. I believe that this was Phil’s dissertation topic, so one way to compare the two worldviews is to contrast their two very different takes on this specific cosmic object. Phil’s work seems to miss many of the features which Wal’s work points out, and what’s interesting is that Phil’s work repeatedly stresses uncertainty about what they are seeing.

Exploring this debate is actually an excellent way to appreciate the complexity of controversy in science more broadly. It was my own experiences following up on these debates back-and-forth with critics and theorists that I came to get a feel for the two sides’ concerns with one another. This is also how I came to understand that we should be mapping out the arguments systematically. In fact, I find it very problematic that the astrophysicists are not already dong this – and I think this speaks to their eagerness to judge competing ideas which appear to undermine their pre-existing knowledge. You will run into many people who like to imagine that they can wing this, in terms of keeping track of all of the complexity – and perhaps some can (?) – but this is exactly the type of problem that we should be solving with a knowledge graph.

And that’s a subject that I hope to talk more about, as this is where I am confident that online discourse is heading.


#14

In the interest of providing a complete answer on how to research the Electric Universe debate, I’d like to mention one other very important resource for this debate – CosmoQuest, formerly known as the Bad Astronomy & Universe Today Forum (BAUTForum).

To perform a search on the site, you’ll have to register. Once registered, click on the forum link on the upper-right of the homepage, and then the magnifying glass in the upper right corner. Now, you will see this …

It is possible to simply search through the content for “electric universe”. But, for additional ideas on search terms, here is a listing of all of the threads from about 2-3 years ago that made a mention of the EU. To pull any of these up, you’d click “Search Entire Posts” to “Search Titles Only” …

“Bye Bye Big Bang, Hello Reality” Thread
“Confessions of a Dissident Astronomer” Thread
“Electric Comet” Theory and Deep Impact Thread
200,000 quasars can’t be wrong… Thread
30 kV battery in space! (Sun pumps 650,000 amp current into Arctic!) Thread
A Dangerous Opinion? Thread
Advice for Bastions of the Establishment Thread
Alfven Against the Mainstream Thread
An Open Letter to Closed Minds (Big Bang) Thread
Are there intelligent non big bang theories Thread
Bell Lends Credence to Arp? Thread
Big Bang Busted? - Arp Thread
Big Bang Reputiation Thread
Birkeland currents, “stringy things” & Flux tubes Thread
Black Holes v Plasma Focus Thread
Brave new ES Thread
CMBR, Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, Origin and Evolution Thread
Current theory is no scientifically “better than” plasma cosmology Thread
Deep Impact Thread
Discussion- String of Galaxies Puzzles … Thread
Distant Galaxy is Too Massive For Current Theories Thread
Does this qualify as an electrical current flow? Thread
EU - Jets and Birkeland currents Thread
EU - Magnetic Reconnection Thread
Electric Brown Dwarfs Thread
Electric Comets Thread
Electric Cosmos Thread
Electric Currents from Space Thread
Electric Io Thread
Electric Nucleosynthesis Thread
Electric Universe Model Thread
Electric Universe Theory and Saturn’s Moons Thread
Electric Universe thread - the “Table of Contents” Thread
Filamentary and Large Scale Structures of the Universe Thread
Frozen-in Magnetic Field Lines Thread
Galaxies and Quasars Connected Afterall Thread
Gravitational Accretion of Plasma Possible? Thread
How Does a Sun Form Thread
How Much of Hannes Alfven’s work is considered mainstream? Thread
How Open-minded is Mainstream Science? Thread
Iantresman Commentary on Black Hole Imagery Thread
Imagination vs. Experimentation Thread
Let’s Create Steady State Theory Thread
Lets Discuss Reconnection Thread
Local features in the WMAP map? Thread
Magnetic Fields Thread
Mass Exodus From Big Bang Begins Thread
Massive Solar Flare Supports EU Thread
Maybe this is Bad Astronomy - Arp Thread
Milky Way X-ray Mystery… not for the Electric Universe! Thread
More from Arp et al Thread
NGC3314, Personalities, Science, Politics and Funding Thread
New Findings Validate Halton Arp’s AGN Ejection Model Thread
Non Cosmological Redshifts? Thread
PU Claims re Saturn’s Rings Thread
Phil Plait’s Debating PseudoScientists
Pioneer spacecraft favour the Electric Universe Thread
Plasma Cosmology .net Thread
Plasma Cosmology and Math Thread
Plasma Physics for Dummies Thread
Plasma Physics, MHD, Alfvén, etc Thread
Popper and Falsification(ism) Thread
Problems with the Electric Star Theory Thread
Quantized Red-Shifts, RIP? Thread
Quantized Redshift Revisited Thread
Quantized Redshifts Thread
Quasar Interacting with Galaxy? Thread
Quasars Far Away Thread
Questioning Gravitation Thread
Redshift Thread
Redshifts are Cosmological - the Lyman Alpha Forest and Arp Thread
Retrograde Venus Thread
Richard Carrier’s Big-Bang Skepticism Thread
Sani5’s Ideas on Maths and Physics Thread
Science Has Become a Religion? Thread
Skeptical of Mainstream Science? Why? Thread
Solar Wind Acceleration Question Thread
Spiral Galaxies Without Dark Matter Thread
The Electric Sun - A New View Thread
The Electric Sun Thread
The New Electrical Universe Paradigm Thread
Universe the Cosmology Quest Thread
What Baffles me about ATMers… Thread
What IS the “Electric Universe” Idea Thread
What’s Wrong with the Big Bang?? Thread
Where is Objectivity? - Arp Thread
Z-pinch Stellar Formation Theory… Thread

Now, you might be scratching your head at this point. And if you are, I’m with you. Isn’t it interesting that the forum has become the standard format for such complex discussions? Honestly, what are we supposed to do with this deluge of unsorted information? Do they imagine that they are helping us to sort through this complexity?

Look at that list. It’s quite long. Some of the topics are rather complex, and I’d like to clarify that the point of the discourse on this site is not so much to educate people on the fundamentals. That’s largely left up to the reader to do. In other words, if you need help on a particular topic, then there is additional research necessary on top of this reading.

And of course, many more conversations have surely occurred since I logged this listing a few years ago.

This really begs the question of whether or not we are doing debate right in cosmology, and even science more generally. Let’s provide some context here: When you go to the grocery store, you are bombarded with literally tens of thousands of products. Do you feel overloaded?

No.

Why is that?

In the grocery store, we use the concept of brand – and occasionally price – to identify what to buy. Brands elicit emotions which we use as a guide. But, the list you see above probably feels quite a bit different from your typical grocery store experience. Simply put, it’s incredibly overwhelming.

What I’ve observed in watching people respond to this debate is that the subconscious (which Daniel Kahneman calls “System 1”) has its own unique response to the realization that an incredible amount of effort is necessary to get to the bottom of a particular debate. And, if you watch what Kahneman argues, he makes a case that this response involves a subconscious switch from rational (“System 2”) thinking to what he calls “associative coherence” (“System 1”). Associative coherence is the mind’s system for seeking out patterns. It’s kind of like a shortcut to rational thought. And it’s an incredibly important concept for this particular topic, because it is quite different from rational thought.

Kahneman explains …

… We really don’t like the idea of Hitler loving little children or flowers, when in fact he did … This bothers us because it is not emotionally consistent. It is not associatively consistent. We tend to look for stories that have that form of consistency and coherence.

Now, you can make a coherent story from VERY little information. In fact, the less information, in some cases, the easier it is to make a coherent story. Now, what matters here is that subjective confidence – the comfort people have – appears not to be determined by the amount of information. The confidence that people have in their impressions in the stories that system 1 is telling them, the confidence is determined by the associative coherence of the story – by whether the story makes internal sense. If we have a good story, we feel confident in it. It’s the internal contradictions that lower our confidence. This is radically different from the rational way of assigning probability to an event, or to a story, or to a hypothesis.

Kahneman goes on to detail what tends to happen next. If you prefer to read the transcript, it’s available online here.

So, what I’d like to emphasize here is that the systems we currently use to have these debates online encourage a switch to associative coherence. The amount of effort required to perform the proper rational investigation is just too large for most people. It’s partly because the subject is indeed somewhat complex. But, the way in which we convey the information also plays an important role.

The point here is that rational thought must be supported in order to avoid the switch back to associative coherence. So, what is happening with these debate forums online is that they are failing to support rational thought. And what this does, in the long run, is stack the deck against ideas that are out of the mainstream. People implicitly realize that they cannot or will not make it through this debate, and they subconsciously seek out associative coherence as a means of nevertheless formulating certainty on the topic.

We can do better than this. We can build systems which elicit rational thought on complex topics if we wish. And we need not even invent these techniques, for they already exist. We just have to know where to look for them. Physics education research (PER) will turn out to be a great starting point …


#16

Plasma physics just became the ‘god of the gaps’.


#17

You sir, have become your own armour.

I have spent almost a decade helping the public to understand this debate while observing their responses, as a means of understanding how people deal with complex scientific controversies involving subjects they may or may not know much about.

I think your method may be compromising your trolling. Or the other way around.


#18

I think your method may be compromising your trolling. Or the other way around.

What I’ve seen consistently online is that there exists a widespread failure to understand the behavior of laboratory plasmas – which is a very serious problem, as the universe prefers the plasma state. The plasma state for matter was not even coined as a term until 1927. So, when Einstein proposed Relativity, he did so under the assumption that space was a perfect insulator which precluded ANY electrical activity. We’ve since discovered that not only is space a plasma (which like your fluorescent light, are as conductive as copper), but it is also pervaded by magnetic fields. When you use an electronics device, it necessarily and absolutely depends upon the premise that magnetic fields and electric currents tend to go hand-in-hand. To suggest that the same is happening in space, where we see magnetic fields all over the place, is hardly ludicrous. To suggest that the electrical activity we see might be interconnected isn’t crazy either.

My educated guess is that, as you imagine that I’m only here to aggravate people, and since you’ve attempted to criticize w/o actually engaging the actual topic, that you’re dancing around your own failure to understand what a plasma is.

You’ve chosen to speak up on a topic for which you’ve apparently put very little effort at comprehension. Your inclination is to imagine that there are people somewhere out there who have evaluated these ideas in an unbiased manner. You want to assume that professional scientists would not replicate your own lack of thoroughness, but this is what you need to realize:

The scientists see the failure of the public to critically think about these ideas, and they use that to justify their own lack of investigation. You are an integral part of society’s failure to make real progress in these domains.

The truth is that you don’t put any effort into hearing out critiques of conventional theories. Chances are you put more effort into understanding whether or not you’ll like the movie you’re thinking of going to this weekend.

I’m here if you’d like to engage the topic in some sort of manner …


#19

And you have failed to address my ‘point’.
And assumed a great deal about me due to my criticism of your ‘technique’.
Please, read Nietzsche. Hell, read Reich.
Then read a book on logic. This is a good one: Logic.

Then; please, carefully analyse your attitude and your interactions with other people and how they help you achieve your goals.

I recommend Zazen, ‘just sitting’ technique.

If you still feel you have something to contribute you will shine with the light of ingratiating truth rather than a maelstrom of anger and armour.


#20

As this is most fundamentally a conversation about science, perhaps quoting somebody you believe will help …

“Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts" – Richard Feynman

I honestly don’t believe that Feynman was angry when he said it. And neither am I. I am simply focused.

And there’s nothing at all illogical about what I’m trying to do: Online scientific discourse is indeed completely broken – and in a number of crucial ways. A person can easily go through life without reaching this awareness, as it requires intention to actually learn and observe it.

What we see on sites like BoingBoing is that the point of introducing scientific discourse is to build community. But, community is oftentimes at odds with healthy scientific discourse, as scientific heretics are an essential feature of progress in science. John Stuart Mills was poignantly concerned that the crowd can be wrong. I personally do believe that there is indeed wisdom in the crowd, but that it must be carefully designed to emerge.

The systems we use to communicate today have not been designed in service to emergence in science. There is a long tail to science, but it is not being captured – in large part, because nobody has figured out how to bring a sense of order to the existing confusion. The person who figures out how to capture and organize the long tail of science will make a contribution to society which is worth every disparaging remark they will suffer along the way.


#21

It might very well be about that to you but I’m upbraiding you for and in the same style as the way you are promoting your ideals.

An imperative to go learn a bunch of stuff but only from my delimited perspective, a wall of ideas and a maze of implications that are at best, tributary to the apparent topic. Please state your answers in the form of a question.

I will admit; I’m trolling you. Can you do the same?


#22

Rupert Sheldrake brings up a bunch of this stuff…

Seems to me, anybody who actually has a handle on how science works should be most interested in these guys on the fringes, since one or more of them are likely to be pursuing a more fruitful line of inquiry than the mainstream; history is rife with belated recognition for those who were shunned in their time.

I love how six or seven years ago I was saying Lamarckism is probably an actual thing, and nobody had anything but scorn for the notion, and a mere handful of years later, it seems this long-dead dude’s time may be nigh…

Say, do you think maybe Sheldrake’s kooky morphic resonance concept would be more plausible in an electric universe? How far do the ramifications go?