Instead of making a ludicrous futile attempt to commandeer a key propaganda mouthpiece of EU detractors, how about we write a point-by-point refutation of their rubbish? Here’s one I prepared earlier...
(Note: the below refutation is in respect to the RationalWiki Electric Universe article as it was on 13 November 2015).
“In an interdisciplinary science like the Electric Universe, you could say we have no peers, so peer review is not available.”
Before the article even begins, RationalWiki make it clear that they aren’t even remotely interested in offering an objective critique of the Electric Universe. Thornhill’s comment was blunderiffic to be sure, but not because it provides any genuine insight into the EU paradigm’s credibility or lack thereof; rather, it is because the comment lends itself so readily to being taken out of context by dogmatic “rationalist” ideologues such as RationalWiki and Michael Shermer.
What Thornhill was trying to say is that the standard mainstream academic notion of peer review is not presently compatible with the Electrical Universe. This is because the EU community:
*is small and under-resourced;
*is busy enough as it is defending itself from underhanded attacks by pseudosceptics; and
*prefers to adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to investigating and understanding reality, as opposed to the narrow territorial compartmentalist approach which so completely dominates contemporary mainstream science.
"Electric Universe" (EU) is an umbrella term that covers various pseudo-scientific cosmologicalideas built around the claim that the formation and existence of various features of the universe can be better explained by electricity and magnetism than by gravity alone.
RationalWiki promptly erects a Straw-Man version of the Electric Universe in the first part of the first sentence of their article. They do this because: 1) it paves the way for all the other snide irrelevant criticisms which comprise the bulk of the article; and 2) because they are unable fault the actual
key premise of EU (as stated in the second part of their opening sentence), and they want to distract you from this inconvenient state of affairs as much as they possibly can.
As a rule, EU is usually touted as an aether-based theory…
No it’s not. The EU paradigm does not assume or rely on the existence of any sort of aether - not even the aether-in-relativistic-drag otherwise known as “space-time”.
…with numerous references to tall tales from Mythology.
Now this is just downright sneaky. Not only does RationalWiki cite one solitary reference to substantiate its claim that the EU makes “numerous references” to mythology, but they structure the sentence in such a way as to mislead the reader into thinking that the same solitary reference verifies the fallacious claim that the EU is “usually touted as an aether-based theory”!
Furthermore, who are RationalWiki to say that ancient myths are “tall-tales”? By what criteria do they make such a breezy dismissal? What we have here is the article’s second Straw Man, which acts as a subsidiary Straw-Man to the primary Straw-Man that was erected in the very first sentence of the article. In other words, what we have here is a case of Straw Matryoshka Men! Credit where credit is due though: at least RationalWiki strive to be innovators when it comes to fallacious argumentation.
However, the exact details and claims are ambiguous…
No more ambiguous than this claim, or the claims of modern mainstream physics for that matter.
…lack mathematical formalism
What the EU lacks is mathematical fetishism.
…and often vary from one delusional crank to the next.
More of that trademark RationalWiki objectivity, this time in the form of a cheap ad-hominem! Evidently the pseudosceptics at RationalWiki don’t realize that variation of opinion within in a scientific field of study is actually a GOOD thing. If the fine folks at RationalWiki prefer it when everyone sings from the same hymn sheet, then I suggest they go join a church…
EU advocates can be roughly split into two groups: garden-variety physics cranks who are convinced that they have a legitimate revolutionary scientific theory…
Hey, they just used that ad-hominem a moment ago! I guess making those Straw Matryoshka Men depleted RationalWiki’s creative juices.
…and various woo-peddlers who use EU claims to prop up their main ideas (because mainstream physics would blow them apart).
Yep, they’re all puffed out, because now they’re rehashing the original Straw Man. What woo-peddlers would those be, exactly? Do they actually use EU claims to prop up their main ideas, or do they just use the EU community as a vehicle to promote ideas that have no scientific bearing on, or relation to EU whatsoever? By RationalWiki’s logic, mainstream physics deserves scorn and castigation for the woo-tastic claims of Deepak Chopra, Michio Kaku, and Dean Radin.
One subset of the latter comprises some of the more loony global warming deniers (such as Vault-Co), who try to use it to "prove" that climate change is being caused by some process outside human control.
Never heard of them, but then why would I have? After all I’m involved with the EU crowd, not the AGW denier crowd. It would seem that RationalWiki have rejuvenated their creative juices at this point, because they manage to seamlessly merge Straw Man with guilt by (questionable) association. The reality is that EU is no more related to AGW denial than Darwinian Evolution is to Eugenics.
That said, why is RationalWiki averse to the idea of climate change being caused by “some process outside human control”? Doesn’t the geological record provide an abundance of evidence that the global climate can be affected by non-anthropogenic factors?? In the last 20,000 years alone the world has experienced climate change by “some process outside human control” to an extent which far surpasses even the direst predictions of AGW proponents. If RationalWiki’s objection to non-AGW is based on political ideology
rather than actual science, then they should have the decency to explicitly admit this.
Each year the Electric Universe holds their annual EU conference, where a seemingly endless parade of misguided fools take to the stage and discuss mythology, homeopathy, numerology, dipole gravity, and other equally absurd nonsense.
…and so we circle back to ad-hominem and guilt-by-association. It is true that a number of purveyors of highly questionable ideas have attached themselves to the EU like so many parasites to the body of an unfortunate host, but few if any of those ideas has any substantive scientific connection to, or implication for the EU. I wonder, does RationalWiki count Michael Shermer as part of that “endless parade of misguided fools” who discusses “absurd nonsense”? I mean, Michael Shermer *did* speak at the 2015 EU Conference, so by RationalWiki’s logic the EU is no less affiliated with Michael Shermer than it is with numerology and homeopathy.
The only common thread is the notion that a conspiracy is afoot to suppress their oddball beliefs.
Notice that RationalWiki provides no references for this claim. Who exactly is crying conspiracy, and when and where have they done so? They very fact of the existence of the Thunderbolts website and their Youtube channel proves that no such conspiracy exists! At any rate, it doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to see the mainstream physics community is beset by a number of serious cognitive and political dysfunctions.
The conferences are open to the public, provided you cough up the $395 price of admission.
Or you can wait a little while and watch them on Youtube FOR FREE.
Immanuel Velikovsky was an enthusiastic early adopter of electric universe ideas…
More guilt-by-association, plus a failure to mention that Velikovsky a) actually did make a number of successful predictions that eluded the mainstream astronomy community and b) was taken seriously by supporters and detractors alike prior to his death.
…seeing in them a possible mechanism to explain his scenario of planetary billiards…
I presume that RationalWiki is referring to different “planetary billiards” than those that mainstream astronomy and physics utterly relies on to ‘explain’ planetary and solar system formation?
…cosmic thunderbolts, and the notion that Earth was previously a satellite of Saturn.
Since when has either of these notions been disproved? Mainstream astronomy’s version of the Solar System’s history is nothing but guesswork resting on a foundation of questionable assumptions.
Velikovsky’s influence still looms large and has become an integral part of the current Electric Universe orthodoxy.
“Electric Universe orthodoxy”?! A few sentences ago, RationalWiki was telling us that the details and claims of EU are “ambiguous” and “often vary from one delusional crank to the next”! So is the EU ambiguous and variable, or does it have an orthodoxy? You can’t have it both ways guys. Nevertheless the EU paradigm does not depend on the claims of Velikovsky; it just happens to be the case that there is some degree of compatibility between Velikovsky’s ideas and EU ideas.
EU figureheads Wallace Thornhill and David Talbott are staunch supporters of Velikovsky’s mythological-based fairy tales and often pay tribute to the enormous influence he has had on shaping their own far-fetched theories.
“Figureheads”?? Don’t you have to have an organised hierarchy in order to have a figurehead? Here we see RationalWiki attempting to have it both ways (an ambiguous variable orthodox hierarchy!) while simultaneously piling on more guilt-by-association. It would seem that RationalWiki’s definition of “fairy tale” is something along the lines of “a speculation which is not
(currently) endorsed by mainstream scientific institutions”.
Einstein's postulates are wrong.
wrong. But I guess it’s hard to see that when you’re so preoccupied looking for non-existent gravitational waves and dark matter…
The electric force travels faster than the speed of light with near infinite velocity.
This belief 1) is held by some
members of the EU community, and 2) has not been disproven.
Gravity has two poles like a bar magnet; dipole gravity.
This is Wallace Thornhill’s pet theory. However if the RationalWiki editors ever actually bothered to find out what the wider EU community has to say about dipole gravity, then they would quickly realize that it is far from being an accepted or integral part of the EU paradigm. At the very least Thornhill’s dipole gravity idea is no less preposterous then having TWO mutually incompatible theories of gravity, one of which involves the magical distortion of a non-thing and the other of which proposes an exchange of never-observed subatomic particles that somehow ‘carry’ a pulling force!
A plenum of neutrinos forms an all-pervasive aether.
As previously mentioned the EU paradigm does not require an all-pervasive aether, neutrino-based or otherwise.
Planets give birth to comets.
And this is impossible because….?
Stars do not shine because of internal nuclear fusion caused by gravitational collapse. Rather, they are anodes for galactic discharge currents.
Correct, with the additional note that the EU does not rule out fusion taking place in the corona as a result of the star’s intense electrical activity. We are more than happy for someone to empirically demonstrate how nuclear fusion can be caused entirely or even primarily by gravitational collapse, but so far human attempts to emulate the sun’s (alleged) internal fusion processes have been utterly reliant on electromagnetic confinement of plasmas. Funny that.
Impact craters on Venus, Mars and the Moon are not caused by impacts, but by electrical discharges. The same applies to the Valles Marineris (a massive canyon on Mars) and the Grand Canyon on Earth.
How is this any less plausible than the mainstream’s version of cosmic billiards? How many times have we actually witnessed so-called impact craters being created by impacts on other celestial bodies?
The Sun is negatively charged, and the solar wind is positively charged -- the two systems forming a giant capacitor (this isJames McCanney's particular erroneous belief.)
That the Sun (and other stars) acts as an interstellar electrode in some way is widely agreed upon amongst the EU community. Whether stars are positively or negatively charged, or some combination of both, is still a matter of debate.
EU proponents from the Thunderbolts Project claim to have predicted the natures of Pluto and Comet 67P more accurately than NASA or ESA.
After all the vilification and slander, we finally
get to see Giffyguy’s Mad PR Skillz in action! This sentence should say that the Thunderbolts Project DID predict those things, but Giffyguy wanted to exercise utmost caution in his attempt to put lipstick on a pig. Unfortunately the placement of this sentence is as underwhelming as its wording, and these two drawbacks synergistically manage to make the EU community look like nothing more than a bunch of pathetic, desperate, delusional fools. The moral of the story here is that it does little good to put lipstick on a pig, particularly if the lipstick ends up going on the pig’s anus.
Most Electric Universe proponents claim some kind of relation to the "plasma cosmology" of the Nobel Prize laureate Hannes Alfvén. Too bad his model was rendered obsolete by the missing observations of the radio emission predicted by his cosmology.
At long last, we finally encounter something that vaguely resembles a substantive criticism! But why is RationalWiki so eager to move right along with nothing more than a reference? Where’s the discussion of *how* Alfven’s model was rendered obsolete and how exactly this is supposed to impact on the EU paradigm? Once again, RationalWiki is attempting to have it both ways: first they make a vague assertion about how EU proponents claim “some kind of” relation to plasma cosmology, and then they suggest that this “some kind of relation” invalidates the EU owing to the referenced paper (which, I presume, the “sceptics” at RationalWiki are not in any great hurry to critically analyse).
A common motif is the insistence that all science should be done in a laboratory — an attempt to throw away gravity from the very beginning, because one can't put a solar system or a galaxy in a laboratory.
This is my favourite line in the article. Science ought to be done in a laboratory?? You mean, in an actual empirical
setting?! Now that’s just cray-cray!
RationalWiki raises a fatuous objection to attempting to “put a solar system or a galaxy in a laboratory”, yet they apparently have no problem with mainstream cosmologists ‘testing’ their theories by modelling the universe
with computer simulations! Pray tell, how can you “throw away” gravity when no one even knows what gravity is in the first place?? RationalWiki fails to appreciate that “gravity” is as much a theoretical gap-filler as dark matter and dark energy. When Newtown devised his Law of Universal Gravitation, scientists weren’t even aware of the most basic principles of electromagnetism, let alone the existence of electromagnetic phenomena in space such as the solar “wind”, magnetospheres and Birkland currents. For RationalWiki’s information, the EU does not “throw away gravity from the very beginning”. What the EU says is that electromagnetism plays a much greater role in the cosmos than gravity, a contention which is very much consistent with the relative strengths of these forces.
Incidentally, although this line is (pathetically) one of the most germane criticisms of EU that RationalWiki offers, it used to occur much earlier in the article and was only moved down to the end very recently. Perhaps the folks at RationalWiki are torn between the desire to get rid of such an asinine anti-scientific objection, and the desire to have an article composed of something other than irrelevant bile.
 SAFIRE Project
The International Science Foundation, a group which claims to neither support nor oppose the Electric Universe hypothesis, has provided $2,200,000 USD to fund an unprecedented laboratory experiment to test the Electric Universe claims regarding the nature of the sun. The intent is to compare the results of this experiment to the results of NASA's Solar Probe Plus mission, and thereby demonstrate whether the EU solar model has any grounding in reality.
Giffyguy works his PR magic once again, and this time it’s buried at the very bottom of the article
! This particular section also used to occur much earlier in the article until very recently. I wonder why that is? It’s not exactly a spirited defence of EU (“a group which claims to neither support nor oppose” the EU, “demonstrate whether the EU solar model has any grounding in reality”). Perhaps it’s buried at the bottom of the article because the totally objective and not-at-all-political folks at RationalWiki would rather not draw attention to the fact that a respected scientific organisation takes EU ideas seriously enough to consider them worthy of empirical testing?
In summary, RationalWiki’s article on the Electric Universe amounts to nothing more than a putrid pile of ad-hominem, Straw Man, guilt by association, double-standards, childish name calling, calculated misrepresentation, and worst of all blatant ideological bias. It is a piss-poor effort, even by RationalWiki’s sophomoric standards.