Sunday, November 30, 2008

How Should We Presume?

Mel Acheson: How Should We Presume?

The burden of proof is on gravity theorists to explain some mechanism that suppresses the large initial electromagnetic energies and then enables the weak force of gravity to build them back up again.

Several astrophysicists have told me that, although plasma cosmology appears interesting, they won’t consider it until proponents can prove that some mechanism can produce charge separation in space from neutral matter on an astronomically significant scale.

At first thought, the presumption that neutral matter is the starting condition appears reasonable. It’s consistent with our everyday experience, and it fits with our other physical theories. It’s compatible with “secure knowledge.” Until the space age, human experience was almost exclusively that of neutral earth, air, fire, and water. Except for a few intermittent events such as lightning, plasma phenomena occur only in the high-energy domains of outer space. The concept of plasma didn’t exist until the twentieth century.

Investigations of plasma phenomena in the past century now confront us with another possibility. We’ve become aware that most of the observable universe is composed of plasma. The starting condition could just as well be separated charges, and what we observe is the consequential charge combination (not recombination).

Consilience with the “already known” is a circular argument because our other physical theories are also based on this presumption. After removing tautologies, “reasonableness” reduces to “familiarity” and parochialism.

Geology provides an illustration of this bias. The formations on Earth have been exclusively described in terms of mechanical action, and the resulting facts are turned back to justify the presumption. A river flows down a valley, and the valley’s existence and form are attributed to the water’s erosion acting over a long time. Then the existence of the valley and the river as the only apparent instrumental agency is thought to justify the attribution.

Stephen Smith, in many Thunderbolts Pictures of the Day, has examined these formations in the light of a presumption that plasma forces may have caused them. The valley could have been formed in a short time by planetary-scale electric arcs, and the river would have been opportunistically “captured.” After all, we see similar formations on planets and moons that don’t have, and probably never had, water.

The electrical presumption is as general as the mechanistic one: the ocean floor may be understood as the scar of an Earth-engulfing plasma discharge, a small-scale version of what we see in planetary nebulae, and the water subsequently collected at the bottom. Changing the familiar presumption changes the familiar landscape into an unfamiliar one.

Awareness of the “bias of familiarity” then provokes a second thought. The bias arises not from where we live but from the peculiar limits of our senses. Plasma activity proclaims itself largely in frequencies such as radio and x-ray that lie outside the sensitivities of our senses. We are unfamiliar with plasma because we are blind to it. Modern astrophysicists are in this sense correct to claim that 90% of the universe is undetectable “dark” substances. Their error is to fill in the blank with mathematical extrapolations from familiar theories and to leave their thinking blind to plasma.

The space age has provided us with instruments and techniques that extend our senses to detect plasma. We are now able to experiment with it in laboratories. Our thinking tends to remain stuck in familiar habits and ideas, however. We must make an effort, sometimes a great and frightening effort, to root out our familiar presumption and to adapt our thinking to an unfamiliar new empirical foundation.


Anaconda said...


On previous Oil Is Mastery posts, I discussed various issues with another commenter, diatreme.

I stated how electromagnetism was much stronger than gravity.

Electromagnetism is 10^39 more powerful than gravity. That is:

000,000,000,000,000 stronger.

diatreme's response was to say electromagnetism's greater strength was only true over atomic scale distances.

I asked for authority for that proposition and he provided none.

But apparently this sentiment is wide-spread in the astrophysical community.

The following discussion was in this article: Charge Separation in Space, August 03, 2004 (

"One of the basic assumptions of astrophysics today is that electrical forces play no part in cosmology because “you can’t get charge separation in space”. But x-ray images of space objects tell a different story."

"Standard phrases show up in astronomical lectures and debates, from elementary documentaries to the most advanced texts: "You can't get charge separation in space;" "The solar wind consists of ions [protons] flowing from the sun (with enough electrons to ensure neutrality;)" "... with the need for electrical neutrality paramount ...;" "The necessity for electrical neutrality then forces the details of the decays to be ...;" or even "Of course there's electricity in space, but it doesn't DO anything."

"The above spectrum was obtained by the Chandra orbiting x-ray camera in December of 1999. The subject is a tiny point-source of x-rays (a small, coherent cloud or the top of a coherent stream) embedded in the nucleus of an active spiral galaxy named NGC 4458 (upper image.)

The elements in the x-ray spectrum are identified by their chemical symbols: O = oxygen, Mg = magnesium, etc. The roman numerals refer to the number of electrons that have been stripped from these elements. By consulting a periodic table of elements, you can calculate how many electrons are left. In this very active region of space, we see:

Mg XII -- Magnesium with all 12 of its electrons missing
Ne X -- Neon with all 10 electrons missing
Ne IX -- Neon with all but 1 electron missing
O VIII -- Oxygen with all 8 of its electrons missing
O VII -- Oxygen with all but 1 electron missing
N VII -- Nitrogen with all 7 of its electrons missing
C VI -- Carbon with all 6 of its electrons missing

Among the common arguments against charge separation in space is the calculation that it would take more energy than there is in the universe just to separate all the electrons from the atoms in a single teaspoon of salt. From an Electric Universe point of view, this is begging the question. We aren't starting with a teaspoon of salt and trying to turn it into a plasma universe; we are starting with a plasma universe in which charges are already separated. So we need to consider theories that don't begin with the assumption that you can't get charge separation in space. We don't need theories that explain how imaginary objects like black holes can separate charges; we need theories that explain how charges combine to produce what we see."

The fact that many elements were observed without a large number of their electrons is significant, it suggests, not only the significant presence of plasma, but suggests a dynamic disequilibrium, an instability that likely would result in energetic forces attempting to create equilibrium.

Electromagnetism over greater distances than atomic scale.

Such as occurs between the Sun and the Earth 93 million miles apart.

Science@NASA -- Magnetic Portals Connect Sun and Earth, October 30, 2008.

"During the time it takes you to read this article, something will happen high overhead that until recently many scientists didn't believe in. A magnetic portal will open, linking Earth to the sun 93 million miles away. Tons of high-energy particles may flow through the opening before it closes again, around the time you reach the end of the page.

"It's called a flux transfer event or 'FTE,'" says space physicist David Sibeck of the Goddard Space Flight Center. "Ten years ago I was pretty sure they didn't exist, but now the evidence is incontrovertible."

"[T]he evidence is incontrovertable."

"Tons of high-energy particles may flow through...every eight minutes."

The objection to electromagnetism's greater power than gravity beyond atomic scale distances is falling to the wayside, in the face of observation and measurement.

Another assumption bites the dust.

Anaconda said...


From time immemorial, when Man first asked the question: "What is that object, or what caused that event, or how does that work, assumptions crept into Man's thinking.

In many situations, assumptions are necessary for Man's survival.

In example, "If I cross the busy roadway, without looking to see if it's clear, I'm likely to get hit by a car."

There are so many assumptions, which Man requires in his daily life, that most of the time we aren't even conscious of them.

And frankly, most of the time Man's assumptions are accurate because they are based on prior experiences or observations of known events or objects.

But because this "assumption" process is so necessary and ubiquitous, we aren't aware of it most of the time.

Assumptions are "embedded" in our thoughts at a very basic level.

When assumptions become problematic is when we are determining or attempting to explain an event or object that we have no prior experience with.

There is an unconscious tendency to apply assumptions to events or objects where those prior assumptions may not accurately apply.

In the previous post's comment sections, in discussion with another commenter, diatreme, the idea of assumption has been deeply explored.

Because assumptions are so deeply embedded in our thought processes, when those assumptions are wrong, it can be very hard to identify them and explore whether those assumptions are, indeed, warranted.

Aristotle was a brilliant man with many ideas about the world.

But as Aristotle was a creature of his times, his powers of observation were many times based on his own assumptions -- as much as he attempted to limit those assumptions.

Much of Aristotle's power was in formulating organizing principles for the world around him.

This power of organization and observation contributed much to Man's advancement.

Aristotle's achievement was as much or more in teaching Man how to view the world as opposed to what was actually in the world.

And Aristotle was honored for his achievements after his death by those that followed him who assumed what Aristotle thought was right.

There was no reason to question Aristotle.

Ultimately, this led to stagnation in the minds of men because they could not conceive of going farther in thought than where Aristotle had gone.

The same is true of Albert Einstein: A brilliant man who was creative and applied what he knew at the time into balancing mathematical equations in an attempt to explain reality based on general principles of Newtonian gravity.

A grand conception, yet limited by the failure to take into account other forces (electromagnetism) besides gravity and converting "time" into an active "force": The curvature of the time-space continuum.

If time is not a force, but rather a "duration" that forces act over, then the theory of General Relativity is fundamentally flawed.

All assumptions based on that abstract mathematical interpretation of the "general" will fail to predict accurately the "specific".

As discussed previously, prediction flows from applying known events, objects, or processes to unknown events, objects, or processes.

Basing predictions on abstract ideas is inherently likely to lead to erroneous predictions.

As basing theories on abstract ideas is inherently likely to lead to erroneous conclusions about the unknown objects theorized.

Astrophysics needs to reaquaint itself with strict empiricism: Relying solely on practical experience (observation and measurement) and without regard for system or theory.

The tools at Man's disposal for observing and measuring the Cosmos have never been better.

Let Man take a "fresh" look toward the heavens without preconceived notions based on abstract mathematical equations from over a century ago.

Man is ready for great discovery, if only we will open our eyes to see it.

Albert Einstein would have wanted it that way.

Anaconda said...


Empirical science flows from the specifc (observations and measurement) to the general (theories and predictions) about unknown events, objects, or processes.

Deductive reasoning flows from the general (grand or universal theories) to the specific (predicting or theorizing) specific unknown events, objects, or processes.

The problem with deductive reasoning is that if the resultant grand conception or universal theory is wrong in the slightest, by the time the theorist telescopes down to the specific unknown event, object, or process he wants to explain -- the error in the universal theory is componded, leaving the general hopelessly "off course" and providing little insight into the specific.

Empirical science by starting from the specific known event, object, or process, by observation and measurement, is the most concrete.

Then it becomes a relatively simple (nothing is simple in science) case of organization and classification.

Is the unknown like something the scientist already knows about?

Man is adept at distinguishing similarity of patterns.

Science has made wonderous advances in applied material dynamics using the emprical method in experiments in the laboratory making observations and measurements of the specific to understand how specific events occur, what are specific objects (structure), or identifying specific processes.

Unfortuneately, several branches of science got off on the wrong foot and have operated from the general to the specific: Namely, geology and astonomy.


Because it was next to impossible to make direct observations or take direct measurements.

But they wanted into the scientific "game".

So, in order to "move the ball up the field" in their respective "game" of science, the leading lights, or whoever could run with the ball, postulated grand conceptions or univeral theories (in geology, Lyell postulated Uniformitarianism, in astronomy, Einstein postulated General Relativity).

But now, the applied material sciences have advanced so far as to provide tools of observation and measurement for field phenomenon.

Both geology and astronomy now have the tools necessary to "rejoin" the empirically based scientific community.

In that effort to rejoin the empirical science community, systems and theories that were postulated in the general to the specific model must be put aside.

"Fresh eyes" must seek anew the basic foundations of the sciences based on "good ol' fashioned science": The specific to the general.

Astronomy has an interesting "leg up", a branch of astronomy had one "leg" in the applied material science camp: Electric Universe theory. Electromagnetism has been an applied material science for along time -- Benjamin Franklin is a most famous early electromagntism scientist with his famous key on a kite in a lightning storm experiment (The observation and measurement were crude -- did I get shocked?).

Electrical engineering has been empirically based for over a century. And plasma observation and measurement in laboratory experiments has been going on over half a century or longer with Noble laureate (1970) Hannes Alfvens being a founder.

In these empirically based laboratory experiments many phenomenon have been observed that mirror phenomenon, adjusting for scales of magnitude, observed in the Cosmos.

Perhaps, astrophysics needs to "let down its guard" and seek reconciliation with it's "seperated cousin" that because of its empirically based scientific approach has a "leg up" on the General Relativity, astronomy community.

New observations continually confirm Electric Universe theory is on the right path.

After all, its about understanding the heavens, not whether mistakes were made along the way.