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Thread: What IS the "electric universe" idea (& what's wrong with it)

  1. #1
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    Question What IS the "electric universe" idea (& what's wrong with it)

    I keep seeing references to "electric universe" as a nutty ATM idea, but no description of exactly what it is. Someone even brought it up recently in a conversation about the magnetic fields associated with solar flares/arches, which is a perfectly standard, mainstream, widely accepted idea in itself.

    I gather that EU's proponents can be found in the ATM forum defending it, but a brief statement of what an idea is can almost never be found in am argument between its proponents and opponents when both are already quite familiar with the idea and the argument about it, so such threads are no help in finding out what it actually is the people are arguing about... at least not unless one wades through vast amounts of it.

    So what's the issue here? What's it all about?

  2. #2
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    The electric Universe hypothesis states that electric forces have an important role in the large-scale dynamics of the Universe. This is pretty much false, but that doesn't stop some people from promoting the idea.

    Also, the fact some people have been promoting this stuff oftenly, without obeying forum rules and and using sockpuppet accounts has been pretty annoying.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    I keep seeing references to "electric universe" as a nutty ATM idea, but no description of exactly what it is. Someone even brought it up recently in a conversation about the magnetic fields associated with solar flares/arches, which is a perfectly standard, mainstream, widely accepted idea in itself.
    Indeed, magnetic fields at solar flares is pretty standard and is mainstream, as is the whole of plasma-astrophysics.

    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    I gather that EU's proponents can be found in the ATM forum defending it, but a brief statement of what an idea is can almost never be found in am argument between its proponents and opponents when both are already quite familiar with the idea and the argument about it, so such threads are no help in finding out what it actually is the people are arguing about... at least not unless one wades through vast amounts of it.

    So what's the issue here? What's it all about?
    Basically, many of the EU proponents are claiming that plasmas (being 99% of the visible universe) and associated electric and magnetic effects are the driving forces behind the whole dynamics of the universe. Often the claim is brought up that this is justified as the electrical force is so much stronger than the gravitational force. Example proton - anti-proton at 1 meter distance:
    Fe = (4 π ε0)[sup]-1[sup] e2 / r2 = 2.3 × 10-28 N
    Fg = G m2 / r2 = 1.9 × 10-68 N
    So, this is true for two particles by themselves. However, they forget about collective plasmaphyiscal phenomena such as deBye screening, high conductivity along magnetic field lines eliminating large electric fields (apart from some special cases like double layers). Then you basically have a neutral ball of "gas" (the EU proponents are also usually upset when you call a plasma a gas).

    So basically the "complaints" of the EU proponents with respect to mainstream are:
    1. gravitation is overrated with respect to the dominant electical and magnetic forces
    2. electrical currents are not taken into account, they do not exist
    3. any filamentation of gas (even if it is neutral) you might see are Birkeland currents
    4. Hannes Alfvén is not appreciated enough

    This is only a small part of the EU complaints, but the most important ones.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    I keep seeing references to "electric universe" as a nutty ATM idea, but no description of exactly what it is. Someone even brought it up recently in a conversation about the magnetic fields associated with solar flares/arches, which is a perfectly standard, mainstream, widely accepted idea in itself.

    I gather that EU's proponents can be found in the ATM forum defending it, but a brief statement of what an idea is can almost never be found in am argument between its proponents and opponents when both are already quite familiar with the idea and the argument about it, so such threads are no help in finding out what it actually is the people are arguing about... at least not unless one wades through vast amounts of it.

    So what's the issue here? What's it all about?
    The 'EU' sticky at the top of the ATM section may be a good place to start.

    The initial posts of those starting 'EU' threads in the ATM section also, generally, provide links to other websites where you can read about those ATM ideas. The signatures of some of the leading proponents of EU ideas also contain links to such sites.

    As Fraser has made very clear, BAUT is not in the business of serving as a promotion tool for ATM theorists ... so you will not find any further statements of what this ATM idea is, outside the ATM section.

    As to what the fuss is about, I shall close this post, and this thread, by referring to only cosmology (the 'U' in 'EU' refers to 'universe'; one related set of ATM ideas is 'plasma cosmology').

    The EU ideas fail to get to even first base because they fail - spectacularly - a core requirement of cosmology as a science: the ability to account for, quantitatively, the key sets of independent, good observational results, of direct relevance to cosmology.

    These are, in shorthand:
    * Olbers' paradox (why the night sky is dark)
    * the Hubble relationship (between redshift and distance, for galaxies, supernovae, quasars, etc beyond the Local Group)
    * the CMB (cosmic microwave background) blackbody SED (spectral energy distribution)
    * the primordial abundance, relative to H, of the light nuclides D, 3He, 4He, and 7Li
    * the angular power spectrum of the CMB
    * the large-scale structure of matter (this one has a rather technical, and very quantitative, definition; basically it says that as you look at larger and larger regions of the universe, it becomes smoother and smoother).

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