homeaboutessential guidepicture of the daythunderblogsnewsmultimediapredictionsproductsget involvedcontact

Credit: NASA/JPL--Caltech/UMD


pic of the day
  subject index
  abstract archive



Electric Cosmos

The Universe

Plasma Cosmology

Society for



Sep 13, 2005
Paradigm Lockout, Paradigm Paralysis?

The power of the paradigm tells you what you see. The prevailing comet theories see this image of Tempel 1 as an insubstantial "dirty snowball" or "fluffy dustball", and the Electric Universe theory sees this image as a substantial cratered rock, whether or not embedded ices are present.

Today we feature excerpts from four newspaper articles that are reporting what they are told by their scientist interviewees.

A September.07, 2005 article in the Guardian reports "Deep Impact space collision reveals comets to be fluffy balls of powder". This is the latest adjustment of a theory of comets that has seen them first as "dirty snowballs", then as "snowy dirtballs", now as "fluffy balls of powder".  Each adjustment has come after new observations have surprised space scientists with data that the older version of the theory failed to predict. Such a consistent series of breakdowns after spot repairs should lead one to suspect there may be a larger flaw in the theory and to consider alternate explanations. But undue attachment to the flawed theory locks one away from other possibilities.

A September.07, 2005 article in the New York Times reports, "The collision tossed up thousands of tons of ice and dust from the comet...." On the same day, an article in the Baltimore Sun converted the ice to water: "The impact spewed out millions of gallons of water in tiny droplets and up to 10 times that much dust".

What was actually observed was the signature of water in the spectrum of the light from the comet. That the water—as water or as ice—came from the comet's nucleus is an interpretation delivered by the prevailing paradigm. Because comets are isolated bodies that react only to the gravity and radiation of the Sun, the theory implies that there is no source of water except their own nuclei.

Other paradigms suggest other possibilities: In an Electric Universe, the observed water did NOT come from ice on the comet. Rather oxygen ions were electrically machined from the comet. These ions combined with hydrogen ions in the solar "wind" to generate water in the coma, or plasma sheath, that surrounds the nucleus.

The Baltimore Sun further reports:

"The probe hit the comet with the force of five tons of TNT, forming a crater the size of a football field, A'Hearn said, as it plunged "tens of meters" down into the comet."

But the same article revealed, "The dust and water particles spewed out by impact were so tiny and bright that no images have captured the crater's location."

The power of the paradigm forces scientists to describe the depth of the plunge and the crater when these can't even be seen. This would be a prediction, not a fact. But because no other possibility is imagined, scientists "know" a crater exists without having seen it.

The New York Times article continues:

The Spitzer Space Telescope "detected specific colors of infrared light that indicated that Tempel 1 contained clays and carbonates, the minerals of limestone and seashells.

"Clays and carbonates both require liquid water to form.

"'How do clays and carbonates form in frozen comets where there isn't liquid water?' said Carey M. Lisse, a research scientist at the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University who is presenting the Spitzer data today at a meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences in Cambridge, England. 'Nobody expected this.'"

Minerals known as clays and carbonates" are commonly known as sedimentary rock!

The article adds, "Spitzer also detected minerals known as crystalline silicates. Astronomers had already known that comets contain silicates, but silicates line up in neat crystal structures only when they are warmed to 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit - temperatures reached at around the orbit of Mercury - and then cooled."

Minerals "known as crystalline silicates" are usually better know as rock. In the prevailing model the nebular cloud giving birth to comets lies out beyond Pluto, and therefore the temperature would have been far below 1300 degrees.

Of course in the prevailing model the nebular cloud from which comets are thought to have formed places their formation out beyond Pluto, and therefore the temperature would have been far below 1300 degrees.

In the Electric Universe model comets are the debris that has been electrically excavated from the rocky planets and moons in catastrophic  episodes of discharge with other bodies. Cometary nuclei did not condense from a diffuse cloud in isolation but were part of a rocky body before they became comets.

Finally, the New York Times article stated, "Observations of the Deep Impact collision confirmed that the comet is mostly empty space. The outer layers of Tempel 1 are 'unbelievably fragile, less strong than a snow bank,' said Michael A'Hearn, the mission's principal investigator".

Confirmed?  This is not a fact but an unwarranted assumption forced by the model. It's needed in order to "explain away" the double flash at impact, which in the prevailing paradigm can only mean that the impactor hit a double crust or boundary.

In the electric model, a double flash is expected because the impactor and comet have different charges. A potential difference—a voltage—exists between them. When the impactor gets close to the surface, an electrical discharge—lightning—will flash between impactor and nucleus. If the impactor is not torn apart by the discharge, it will produce a second flash when it impacts moments later.

With a different paradigm, the observation confirmed that the comet is mostly, and perhaps entirely, solid rock. Unless a range of alternatives is considered, confirmation only means that you see what you believe. (See the essay "Error Probes, Truth Probes, and Space Probes" at )

Contributed by Michael Armstrong


David Talbott, Wallace Thornhill
Mel Acheson
  CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Michael Armstrong, Dwardu Cardona, Ev Cochrane,
C.J. Ransom, Don Scott, Rens van der Sluijs, Ian Tresman
  WEBMASTER: Michael Armstrong

Copyright 2005: