Simply So Story | by Brian Koberlein



27 January 2018

Diagram of the electric sun model.
All the pieces is Electrical
Diagram of the electrical solar mannequin.

If there’s one factor I’ve discovered by writing about science, it’s this: various physics people love an argument. They notably love for those who make a press release about their mannequin that they assume is flawed. Then they will focus in your error reasonably than defending the deserves (or lack thereof) of their mannequin. That is notably true of a number of the extra widespread fringe fashions such because the electrical universe, planet Nibiru, or the flat Earth. Somewhat than a single work by a lone genius, these fashions have dozens of books and web sites, a whole lot of movies, and a myriad of typically contradictory claims. In case you aren’t completely correct about each minor element of their mannequin, for those who haven’t learn and absolutely understood every thing about their mannequin, then might God have mercy in your mendacity little soul. Working example: the nice neutrino debate of 2014 – 2018.

Whereas I don’t typically concentrate on various science fashions on this weblog, I do like to speak about them sometimes. It’s a good way to indicate how we take a look at scientific claims based mostly on the proof at hand. Fringe fashions aren’t rejected as a result of they appear loopy. They’re rejected as a result of the proof doesn’t help them. So again in 2013 I began getting feedback claiming astrophysics is flawed, and the reality is revealed in a brand new mannequin referred to as the Electrical Universe, or EU for brief. Over the following a number of months these feedback received more and more extra frequent, so I figured I’d begin trying into the mannequin.

It’s a little bit of an odd historical past. It’s origins might be traced again to The Electrical Universe, revealed in 2007 by physicist Wallace Thornhill and comparative mythologist David Talbot. The broad declare is that conventional astrophysics is flawed, notably in the best way it offers with gravity, or prioritizes gravity in its fashions. In its place it presents a mannequin the place gravity performs a minor function. Planets, stars and galaxies are guided and even fashioned by means of electromagnetic forces. The universe is electrical, not gravitational.

Dude, this plasma form looks like ancient artwork! Let’s rewrite physics!
Dude, this plasma type seems to be like historic art work! Let’s rewrite physics!

Now it appears odd {that a} comparative mythologist would co-author a e-book on astrophysics, till you understand that The Electrical Universe is a sequel to the 2005 e-book Thunderbolts of the Gods by the identical authors. On this e-book the authors declare that most of the myths present in historic civilizations have been based mostly on actual astronomical occasions. As they write within the first chapter, after greater than thirty years spent learning historic historical past they’ve come to the surprising conclusion

The proof means that just a few thousand years in the past planets moved near the earth, producing electrical phenomena of intense magnificence and terror. Historical sky worshippers witnessed these celestial wonders, and far-flung cultures recorded the occasions within the nice myths, symbols, and ritual practices of antiquity.

Additionally they write:

We contend that people as soon as noticed planets suspended as enormous spheres within the heavens. Immersed within the charged particles of a dense plasma, celestial our bodies “spoke” electrically and plasma discharge produced heaven-spanning formations above the terrestrial witnesses. Within the creativeness of the traditional myth-makers, the planets have been alive: they have been the gods, the ruling powers of the sky.

That’s some fairly trippy stuff, however it appears to have roots in Immanuel Velikovsky’s 1950 e-book Worlds in Collision, the place he claimed Venus was ejected from Jupiter hundreds of years in the past, handed by Earth altering its orbit and axial tilt, and the ensuing geological catastrophes have been recorded by early civilizations, comparable to Athena (not Venus, however shut sufficient) springing out of the top of Zeus (Jupiter).

In different phrases, the electrical universe started as a just-so story. The tales of historic civilizations have to be true, so the authors toss out established science to create a brand new discipline of astrophysics. One that may transfer Heaven and Earth to match their idea. However no matter its origins, by 2014 the EU mannequin was promoted as a legit scientific mannequin. One based mostly not on mythology, however on trendy astronomical information. One which mainstream astronomers couldn’t settle for as a result of it might overturn their cherished cosmology.

Meme via Reddit
Meme through Reddit

Given its historical past, I might have simply mocked the EU mannequin as some sort of Chariots of the Gods sort of nonsense. However I wished to present the mannequin a good shake. What are the precise claims of EU, and the way do they evaluate to precise information? Weeding by means of varied web sites and movies could be a problem, however thankfully EU had an incredible useful resource for freshmen. A Newbie’s View of Our Electrical Universe, by Tom Findlay. It was revised in 2013, making it moderately updated, and it was extremely praised by Thornhill and different main supporters of EU. As an additional bonus, the creator made a PDF model freely accessible to the general public, so anybody can take a look at the claims of EU for themselves. With this and different assets I used to be prepared to write down my submit.

There’s loads of unusual claims made within the EU mannequin, however one of many strangest is that stars are usually not powered by nuclear fusion. Findlay’s e-book reiterates this level quite a few instances, arguing that fusion doesn’t happen in stars. In chapter 4, Findlay writes:

We will likely be returning to the concept of nuclear fusion-powered stars later to delve into why this, in truth, is just not the best way the Solar works and to take a detailed take a look at how all stars truly do work, electrically in fact.

Picture from Findlay’s e-book, exhibiting the relation between present move and stellar sort.

Image from Findlay’s book, showing the relation between current flow and stellar type.
Tom Findlay
Picture from Findlay’s e-book, exhibiting the relation between present move and stellar sort.

In Chapter 6, Findlay explains that stars shine resulting from cosmic electrical currents flowing by means of a star’s plasmasphere. Somewhat than nuclear fusion, stars are powered like an arc gentle. There are two large issues with this concept. One is that with out nuclear fusion, the Solar would produce no neutrinos, however photo voltaic neutrinos have lengthy been noticed. The second is that plasma arc gentle doesn’t emit gentle in a steady thermal spectrum, whereas the noticed spectrum of the Solar is a thermal blackbody. Naturally, I pointed this out it my submit, Testing the Electrical Universe. And thus I sparked the fury of EU followers in all places.

Their largest grievance was that EU doesn’t say fusion doesn’t happen. Which was proof not solely of my ignoble habits, but additionally that scientists typically can’t be trusted. It doesn’t matter than Findlay clearly claims fusion doesn’t happen in any respect. Since different variations of EU say it would, I’m a mendacity liar. A few people even tried to get me fired from my college place over this. To this present day EU followers proceed to demand I clarify my unethical habits, even if it’s been debated advert nauseam within the feedback.

After all the issue is that there isn’t only one EU mannequin at this level, there are a number of conflicting variations of them. To my greatest present understanding, some EU fashions say fusion doesn’t happen in any respect, some EU supporters declare neutrinos don’t even exist, and a few declare fusion happens close to stellar surfaces, however (so far as I do know) all declare fusion doesn’t happen in stellar cores. Once more, to my understanding, if core fusion have been proven to be legitimate, it might overturn the electrical star claims of EU fashions, and thus most of EU typically.

If fusion occurred close to a Solar’s floor, it might produce neutrinos, so the mere detection of photo voltaic neutrinos is per each floor and core fusion fashions. Nonetheless, we are able to do far more than detect photo voltaic neutrinos. We now have measurements of each the sorts (flavors) of neutrinos and their power ranges. We all know the speed at which photo voltaic neutrinos are generated at varied power ranges. What we discover is that the power of neutrinos follows a thermal distribution per the thermal distribution we count on within the core (that’s, produced by intense warmth and stress). Fusion produced by electromagnetic plasmas would have a special spectrum, which isn’t noticed in photo voltaic neutrinos. We all know this as a result of we use particle accelerators (electromagnetic plasmas) to supply neutrinos within the lab. Extra lately we now have lastly detected neutrinos from the elemental proton-proton collisions within the Solar’s core, which is per core fusion.

Even when EU’s floor fusion mannequin may very well be tweaked to imitate core fusion, there have been nonetheless be the problem of excessive power gamma rays. Any fusion of sunshine parts produces not solely neutrinos, however excessive power photons (gamma rays). We’ve noticed the Solar with gamma ray telescopes, and located no regular stream of gamma rays coming from the Solar. We generally observe bursts gamma rays coming from very intense photo voltaic flares, however this isn’t per the electrical Solar claims. The dearth of noticed gamma rays is per the core fusion mannequin. Gamma rays are produced within the photo voltaic core through fusion, however the photons quickly collide with different nuclei within the core, transferring power to the nuclei to generate warmth. Thus the Solar is thermally heated by means of these gamma rays, which lose most of their power earlier than escaping the Solar.

The spectrum of a plasma arc is not a thermal blackbody.
Ogawa Giken
The spectrum of a plasma arc is just not a thermal blackbody.

Because the Solar is heated internally by means of nuclear fusion, its floor emits gentle with a thermal spectrum distribution. This is called blackbody radiation. We see this impact in a lot of issues from heated metallic to stars. Objects which have (near) a blackbody spectrum produce their gentle by means of inner warmth reasonably than electron band gaps and such. Because of this for those who take a look at gentle from an incandescent gentle bulb you will note a easy rainbow (thermal gentle), however for those who take a look at a fluorescent gentle or LED gentle by means of a prism you will note particular colours (non-thermal gentle). If daylight have been produced by floor fusion within the low-density outer layer of the Solar, the sunshine produced wouldn’t be a thermal blackbody. Now, you could possibly argue for some unspecified course of that takes the sunshine produced by floor fusion and heats the (extra dense) photosphere to supply a thermal spectrum. That may be per the daylight we observe, as a result of no matter how the photosphere is thermally heated (core or floor) the spectrum can be just about the identical.

However there’s an issue with a surface-heated photosphere mannequin. If the Solar is floor heated reasonably than core heated, the floor must be hotter than the inside. Some EU people truly declare this. However we all know from observations that the deeper layers of the photosphere are hotter than the floor layer. So floor heating can’t be proper given customary physics. To get round this, some people comparable to Pierre-Marie Robitaille now declare that the blackbody legislation isn’t legitimate, and that the floor of the Solar is some sort of liquid metallic. It will get fairly unusual past that time. Principally it’s a must to begin tossing out well-proven physics left and proper simply to cobble collectively a mannequin that may match statement, when the core fusion mannequin already matches statement extraordinarily nicely and in a number of methods.

As I wrote in 2014, the Electrical Universe mannequin is contradicted by observational proof. Neutrinos or no, EU is provably flawed. That reality hasn’t modified through the years, and isn’t prone to.

In case you’re an EU fan studying this, it’s in all probability since you tried to argue about my 2014 submit, and I despatched you this hyperlink in reply. Congratulations on making it to the tip. It’s been 4 years since I wrote that submit, and I’ve grown uninterested in consistently being requested to rebut your just-so story.

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