Michael Shermer’s article on his EU2015 experience

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Michael Shermer’s article on his EU2015 experience

Unread postby David » Sun Oct 04, 2015 11:30 pm

Michael Shermer was one of the guest speakers at this year’s Electric Universe conference (EU2015). The topic of his lecture was "Distinguishing Science from Pseudoscience".

Shermer has written an article for the Scientific American magazine (September 2015), which recounts his experience at EU2015. Here are a few noteworthy excerpts from that article:

Michael Shermer wrote:
If Newton and Einstein are wrong, I inquired of EU proponent Wallace Thornhill, can you generate spacecraft flight paths that are more accurate than those based on gravitational theory? No, he replied. GPS satellites in orbit around Earth are also dependent on relativity theory, so I asked the conference host David Talbott if EU theory offers anything like the practical applications that theoretical physics has given us. No. Then what does EU theory add? A deeper understanding of nature, I was told. Oh.

The EU folks I met were unfailingly polite, unquestionably smart and steadfastly unwavering in their belief that they have made one of the most important discoveries in the history of science. Have they? Probably not. The problem was articulated in a comment Thornhill made when I asked for their peer-reviewed papers: “In an interdisciplinary science like the Electric Universe, you could say we have no peers, so peer review is not available.”

"The Difference between Science and Pseudoscience"
http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... doscience/
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Re: Michael Shermer’s article on his EU2015 experience

Unread postby Sal » Mon Oct 05, 2015 1:52 am

Electricity in space does nothing, we all know that, right? :D
Last edited by Sal on Mon Oct 05, 2015 1:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Michael Shermer’s article on his EU2015 experience

Unread postby Metryq » Mon Oct 05, 2015 1:53 am

Straw man arguments galore. On a another form I recently noted that gravity is the weakest of the four fundamental forces of nature and included a reference link to illustrate the point. Another forum member replied that I was the first person he'd met who didn't believe in gravity. (What? I never said that!)

This is the straw man argument—put words in your opponent's mouth, then attack it. Shermer's article is full of it. No one in the EU community ever said Newton was wrong because Newton never tried to explain gravity. All he did was quantify it, describe it, the first step to getting a handle on something.

By mentioning 9/11 truther conspiracy and chemtrails in the same article—which have nothing to do with EU at all—Shermer adds additional straw men to make EU proponents all sound like complete nut-jobs. And who can question TIME magazine's selection of person-of-the-century? From various sources, I gather that Einstein's Relativity has very little practical application—I highly doubt it would be used to plot interplanetary orbits, and even THE LOS ALAMOS PRIMER claims Relativity has nothing to do with the atomic bomb.

Shermer is dishonest with himself as well as his readers. And this is what passes for informed skepticism? No wonder he accepts a miracle universe that appeared from nowhere and a procrustean model where space and time warp and contort to fit within preconceived bounds.

(Somewhat off topic, since Tom Van Flandern was not specifically a proponent of EU, Shermer might want to do a little expanded reading before blithely accepting the mainstream take: "But it is important to realize that none of the 11 independent experiments said to confirm the validity of [Special Relativity] experimentally distinguish it from [Lorentzian Relativity] -- at least not in Einstein's favor.")

One doesn't have to accept an alternative theory to acknowledge another model's shortcomings. That's called "unbiased." Sadly for Shermer, he had to invent fake arguments to find issue with EU. If he were a true scientist, he'd want to address specific issues instead of making them up. (I find some of the most cogent critiques of EU here in these forums.)
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Re: Michael Shermer’s article on his EU2015 experience

Unread postby Zyxzevn » Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:03 am

What is actually necessary to make the electric universe peer-reviewed?

I am thinking of starting a monthly online paper.
The Unbiased Scientist - The scientist that is open to learn new things

Interested in contributing or peer-reviewing?
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Re: Michael Shermer’s article on his EU2015 experience

Unread postby willendure » Mon Oct 05, 2015 6:21 am

It is what I said about Thornhill's gravity presentation; if you start spouting nonsense like that you risk someone coming along and dismissing the whole of EU as a result, which is exactly what this author has done. Frankly, I'm amazed that Thornhill gave the presentation then failed to stand by his own words, or the other way around - he knows it is a load of crap but delivers the presentation anyway.

Don't misunderstand me, I don't think it means that EU should start to tow the line. Its a good thing that this is a place for crazy ideas too, and for challenging the dominant view. It just needs to be done in the "mad ideas" forum that is all, or prefixed with an explanation when given as a presentation - "this is probably a load of bollocks but lets just throw these ideas out there anyway...".

Personally I'd prefer if EU shied away from trying to take on fundamental physics head on with such weak and nonsensical notions. There is room for gravity and electricity in this universe after all.
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Re: Michael Shermer’s article on his EU2015 experience

Unread postby BecomingTesla » Mon Oct 05, 2015 6:26 am

I actually find all of his points remarkably important, and fairly unbiased. They're criticisms that anyone here should take legitimately. I've said it before and I'll say it again: significantly less time needs to be spent on attacking the standard model - which has ~100 years of published papers, mathematical models, and a successful invention - and more time needs to be spent just getting our shit together. Wanting to become the dominant model in astrophysics before we've (a) gathered all the previously papers on EU material and published them in a consistent framework and (b) began publishing our own collection of papers/running our own experiments, is simply unrealistic and honestly unscientific.

If we can't give a open and willing-to-listen skeptic a volume of published scientific work that is quantifiable and experimentally verifiable to describe the framework we're building, then no, we're not on the boat yet.
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Re: Michael Shermer’s article on his EU2015 experience

Unread postby querious » Mon Oct 05, 2015 9:42 am

Metryq wrote:No one in the EU community ever said Newton was wrong because Newton never tried to explain gravity.


I disagree. Newton said gravity was proportional to mass, while EU likes to say we can't really be sure of a body's mass because gravity is actually proportional to the charge on a object.

This is the whole basis for claiming that comets could actually be solid rock, not dirty snowballs.
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Re: Michael Shermer’s article on his EU2015 experience

Unread postby Metryq » Mon Oct 05, 2015 7:41 pm

querious wrote:
Metryq wrote:No one in the EU community ever said Newton was wrong because Newton never tried to explain gravity.


I disagree. Newton said gravity was proportional to mass, while EU likes to say we can't really be sure of a body's mass because gravity is actually proportional to the charge on a object.

This is the whole basis for claiming that comets could actually be solid rock, not dirty snowballs.


That's still a matter of quantifying the phenomenon, not explaining it. Were there any observations in Newton's time that invalidated that proportionality idea? One might call the idea circular: how does one determine the amount of matter? Weigh it! Ergo heavier means more mass!

And I think there were other factors pointing to electric comets than mass.
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Re: Michael Shermer’s article on his EU2015 experience

Unread postby Pi sees » Mon Oct 05, 2015 8:15 pm

Michael Shermer wrote:
If Newton and Einstein are wrong, I inquired of EU proponent Wallace Thornhill, can you generate spacecraft flight paths that are more accurate than those based on gravitational theory? No, he replied.


Hmm, I wonder if it ever occurred to Michael that Wal's answer might have been somewhat different if he and other EU scientists also had the benefit of billions of dollars of funding and decades worth of political support?

Furthermore, I would be very interested to see if actual data from spacecraft journeys really does corroborate Newtonian and Einsteinian ideas about gravity (or at least one of these, since, you know, the former was supposedly superseded by the latter).

Michael Shermer wrote: GPS satellites in orbit around Earth are also dependent on relativity theory, so I asked the conference host David Talbott if EU theory offers anything like the practical applications that theoretical physics has given us. No.


Are they really?? Because from what I've read, the discrepancies between GPS clocks are much greater than what can be accounted for by Einsteinian relativity. To be fair to Michael though, Einsteinian relativity does offer the tantalizing prospect of an anti-ageing treatment for anyone -and I do mean anyone - who has an identical twin....

By the way Michael, would you care to tell us how mass distorts spacetime?

Michael Shermer wrote:Then what does EU theory add? A deeper understanding of nature, I was told. Oh.


Oh, gee, that's pretty underwhelming isn't it? Who needs a deeper understanding of nature when you can sell millions of books about fantasist BS like black holes and multiverses??

Michael Shermer wrote:The EU folks I met were unfailingly polite, unquestionably smart and steadfastly unwavering in their belief that they have made one of the most important discoveries in the history of science. Have they? Probably not. The problem was articulated in a comment Thornhill made when I asked for their peer-reviewed papers: “In an interdisciplinary science like the Electric Universe, you could say we have no peers, so peer review is not available.”


Indeed; much better to have a well-insulated Ivory Tower and the resultant reassuring groupthink that passes for "peer review" therein...
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Re: Michael Shermer’s article on his EU2015 experience

Unread postby querious » Tue Oct 06, 2015 7:56 pm

Pi sees wrote:
Michael Shermer wrote:
If Newton and Einstein are wrong, I inquired of EU proponent Wallace Thornhill, can you generate spacecraft flight paths that are more accurate than those based on gravitational theory? No, he replied.


Hmm, I wonder if it ever occurred to Michael that Wal's answer might have been somewhat different if he and other EU scientists also had the benefit of billions of dollars of funding and decades worth of political support?


Holy cow, I just saw the youtube video of Wal's EU2015 talk. He's still uttering complete nonsense about dipoles causing gravity "like little magnets lined up". I'm flabbergasted.

What's way worse though, is that the other EU "scientists" must agree with Wal about dipole gravity, otherwise they would've talked some sense into him by now.

What a sad state of affairs.
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Re: Michael Shermer’s article on his EU2015 experience

Unread postby Pi sees » Tue Oct 06, 2015 8:33 pm

querious wrote:
Pi sees wrote:
Michael Shermer wrote:
If Newton and Einstein are wrong, I inquired of EU proponent Wallace Thornhill, can you generate spacecraft flight paths that are more accurate than those based on gravitational theory? No, he replied.


Hmm, I wonder if it ever occurred to Michael that Wal's answer might have been somewhat different if he and other EU scientists also had the benefit of billions of dollars of funding and decades worth of political support?


Holy cow, I just saw the youtube video of Wal's EU2015 talk. He's still uttering complete nonsense about dipoles causing gravity "like little magnets lined up". I'm flabbergasted.

What's way worse though, is that the other EU "scientists" must agree with Wal about dipole gravity, otherwise they would've talked some sense into him by now.

What a sad state of affairs.


Dipole gravity is one of the big weaknesses of the EU paradigm. One of the main aspects of EU that appeals to me is the underlying idea of getting back to experiment, evidence and logic. Speculations such as dipole gravity are *not* consistent with this idea, and if the EU community persists with these sorts of speculations then it is no better than the mainstream with their black holes and superstrings. The more we learn about the electrical nature of the cosmos, the less important this "gravity" becomes anyway.

EU will not gain credibility with the wider community until it distances itself from far-out ideas like dipole gravity, morphic resonance, psi and homeopathy. Such ideas are like parasites on the body of the EU paradigm.
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Re: Michael Shermer’s article on his EU2015 experience

Unread postby willendure » Wed Oct 07, 2015 7:56 am

Pi sees wrote:EU will not gain credibility with the wider community until it distances itself from far-out ideas like dipole gravity, morphic resonance, psi and homeopathy. Such ideas are like parasites on the body of the EU paradigm.


+1 from me.

The issue is that to move away from mainstream views you have to become open minded, and if you become too open minded then you lose your grip on what is plausible and what is not.

The result is that the good stuff is being dismissed along with the bad stuff. That is, if Thornhill babbles on about dipole gravity, no-one is going to give his material on the electric sun a chance, and that would be a shame. I mean I don't think he is totally right on that either, but I have seen a very good presentation by him that points out the obvious flaws in the nuclear fusion model.
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Re: Michael Shermer’s article on his EU2015 experience

Unread postby querious » Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:36 am

willendure wrote: but I have seen a very good presentation by him that points out the obvious flaws in the nuclear fusion model.


And what would those be?
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Re: Michael Shermer’s article on his EU2015 experience

Unread postby Metryq » Wed Oct 07, 2015 2:35 pm

querious wrote:
willendure wrote: but I have seen a very good presentation by him that points out the obvious flaws in the nuclear fusion model.


And what would those be?


I'm not trying to be rude, Querious, but are you asking a serious question? The problems have been listed on this site and in these forums often enough.
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Re: Michael Shermer’s article on his EU2015 experience

Unread postby Zyxzevn » Wed Oct 07, 2015 4:40 pm

On reddit I made a summary how I see Plasma Cosmology and the Electric Universe

I think Michael misses the general idea of the EU, and gets lost in theories that may not even work.

zyxzevn@reddit wrote:
Introduction into Plasma Cosmology

Big-bang = Infinite x Infinite x Infinite x Nothing

According to many mainstream scientists an infinite universe comes from infinite parallel multiverses, that are
born each moment in time. All this comes from nothing.

While infinite is mathematically interesting, I rather look at the origin of stars and galaxies. And the mainstream models (gravity only) seem totally wrong.

If we know better how the stars and the galaxies formed, we can get a better picture of the origin of the universe.

Electrical origin

According to the electric universe theory, which is based on plasma cosmology, strong electric currents are responsible for forming stars and structures in a galaxy. Gravity is still present, but is not the only force in the universe. The strong currents come possibly from nuclear reactions. The strong currents are birkeland currents, called fluxlines by the nasa after rediscovering them.

Plasma

Plasma is the universal substance that is everywhere. The atoms and electrons are usually separated in plasma, to a certain degree. Plasma itself is not visible unless it reaches high temperatures. This is "dark mode" plasma and may be abundant in the galaxies.

Cold sparse plasma is even able to capture photons and emit them at lower frequencies. This plasma is all around the universe. It causes much light to be red-shifted, depending on the distance. This has been measured in laboratories. And also depending on the temperature of the plasma. I suspect that more free electrons give larger redshifts. See also: http://www.plasmaredshift.com

Additionally some Halton Arp has found that near large galaxies, there are large stars that appear to be more redshifted than according to their distance. So these stars are much nearer and much less energetic. This has caused a lot of resistance from the mainstream community that depended on these stars to be far away.


Controversies

So if you want to more about plasma cosmology you will encounter some controversies around the redshift and the expansion of the universe. There may be no expansion at all.

Plasma cosmology can give some explanations for the rotation and structure of galaxies. So there is no need for dark matter theories.

Because plasma is very electrically active, the plasma can form structures that emit very energetic light. The frequency of the light depends on the voltage that electrons cross when they move. Our x-ray machines work on such a principle.
So plasma cosmology can explain the existence of very high energetic light pulses with pretty common plasma structures. That means that the current explanations related to black holes, are probably invalid. It may even be that there are no black holes at all.

This seems to raise some questions on the validity of our theories of gravity. Einstein's gravity already has problems with singularities and quantum physics. So assuming that it is just an approximation is not a bad idea. If we actually listen to the people that claim to have spotted errors in Einstein's gravity, we can actually see some interesting conflicts.

Hammer and nails

Sadly many mainstream scientists do not want to believe the criticism that is presented to them. The scientists rather believe that this is only pseudo-science. They often repeat the same big mistake: they rely on the specialists that have been trained in one direction only. These specialists can still be wrong, especially if many new things are found. The specialists will try to hold on to their old theories. Their predictions will be more and more away from actual observations, just like we currently see in astronomy. If you have been working with a hammer all your life, everything looks like a nail.

The beginning of the universe

So according to plasma cosmology, the universe is not expanding. At least not as much. And it may be much much older than most scientists believe. So if there was a beginning, we can only observe it from the structures that we see.
( There is no real theory on how it started)
Maybe everything came from vacuum where energy-fluctuations created protons and electrons. No need to create space/time and more paradoxes. We don't even need to change our current physics to make this theory work. There are still things to discover, though.



Let me repeat that for everyone:
We don't even need to change our current physics to make this theory work.


Thornhill might have a different idea about gravity, but that is not the essence of
plasma cosmology or the electric universe. If you have watched all Thunderbolts videos, you can
see that there are other gravity theories. Ron Hatch stated that the speed of light is
changed by gravity.
The electric universe theory works whatever gravity-theory is correct.
Because it is about electromagnetism.
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