|The fault in our stars|
“”In an interdisciplinary science like the Electric Universe, you could say we have no peers, so peer review is not available.
|—Wallace Thornhill |
Electric Universe (EU) is an umbrella term that covers various pseudo-scientific cosmological ideas 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. As a rule, EU is usually touted as an aether-based theory with numerous references to tall tales from mythology. However, the exact details and claims are ambiguous, lack mathematical formalism, and often vary from one delusional crank to the next.
EU advocates can be roughly split into two groups. The first are garden-variety physics cranks who are convinced that they have a legitimate, revolutionary scientific theory, and that the scientific establishment is either blindly ignoring them out of misplaced faith in their own theories, or deliberately suppressing them for some greater, nefarious purpose. This group has somewhat cross-pollinated with Flat-Earthers who realize gravity is a problem with a flat earth model but still want some stain of science on their stuff because "god did it" isn't good enough.
The second group is composed of various other woo-peddlers who use EU claims to prop up their main ideas (because mainstream physics would blow them apart). For these people, the EU hypothesis is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. The more common subsets of this group include some Young Earth creationists, who wish to discredit the mainstream cosmology and geology suggesting that Earth is billions of years old, and some of the loonier fringes of global warming denialism (such as Vault-Co), who are trying to find some process outside human control that they can attribute climate change to. The latter particularly like the hypotheses of Pierre-Marie Robitaille.
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, dipole gravity, and other equally absurd nonsense. The only common thread is the notion that a conspiracy is afoot to suppress their oddball beliefs. The conferences are open to the public, provided you cough up the $395 price of admission.
Immanuel Velikovsky (1895–1979) was an enthusiastic early adopter of electric universe ideas, seeing in them a possible mechanism to explain his hypothesis of a violent rearranging of the Solar System as recently as a few thousand years ago, and that Earth had previously been a satellite of Saturn. Velikovsky’s influence still looms large and has become an integral part of the current EU dogma. 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.
- Einstein's postulates are wrong.
- General relativity (GR) is wrong.
- The Universe is not expanding.
- The electric force travels faster than the speed of light with near-infinite velocity.
- Gravity has two poles like a bar magnet; dipole gravity.
- A plenum of neutrinos forms an all-pervasive aether.
- Planets give birth to comets.
- Stars do not shine because of internal nuclear fusion caused by gravitational collapse. Rather, they are anodes for galactic discharge currents.
- 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.
- The Sun is negatively charged, and the solar wind is positively charged — the two systems forming a giant capacitor (this is James McCanney's particular erroneous belief.)
- EU proponents from the Thunderbolts Project claim to have predicted the natures of Pluto and Comet 67P more accurately than NASA or ESA.
Many of the claims made by EU proponents are unsubstantiated by any scientific observations.
Decades of observations and even a direct landing by the Rosetta spacecraft have shown beyond any doubt that comets are not "electric." Geochemical studies of cometary samples returned by the Stardust Mission showed that samples of the comet Wild are consistent with the comet being composed primarily of primitive nebular condensates.
Stars are generally accepted to produce energy through atomic fusion. EU proponents have postulated that stars are powered by energy sources at the center of each galaxy, but no one has ever observed any evidence of an external source of stellar energy.
Humans have now photographically documented the formation of impact craters on other bodies, proving that they are formed by the impacts of asteroidal bodies and not by "electrical discharge." As of the early 2000s, there is actual video footage of meteorite impacts.
Most EU proponents claim some kind of relation to the "plasma cosmology" of the Nobel Prize laureate Hannes Alfvén (see also Nobel disease). This model predicted that radio emissions would be produced in certain conditions, and they were not.
A oft-recurring idea in EU dogma is the insistence that all science should be done in a laboratory — this is done in an attempt to discredit most historic studies and observations of gravitational theory.[citation NOT needed]
The International Science Foundation (a front group of EU supporters who falsely claim to neither support nor oppose the Electric Universe hypothesis) says that they provided $2,200,000 USD to fund a laboratory experiment to test the EU claims regarding the nature of the Sun. There is no independent analysis of their work and no publications about SAFIRE found on Google Scholar. The SAFIRE Project is housed in Mississauga, Ontario, and is documented in videos  from the EU2016 conference. They say that their 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.
Now for the other miscellaneous issues with it that aren't about its actual ability to make testable repeatable predictions and experiments:
- The hypothesis has never been supported by any reputable scientist of any kind.
- It has not appeared on any peer reviewed scientific journal (e.g Nature).
The EU is mentioned on sites like holoscience.com[note 1] with things like "®" registered trademark symbols and the tab name for the thunderbolts.info site even mentions the T-Project with a trademark symbol. They also sell merchandise and things like DVD copies of the documentaries they've put up on their official Youtube channel. [note 2]
- Dealing with Creationism in Astronomy, Tom Bridgman's blog that deals with Electric Universe claims along with other things (posts labeled Electric Universe)
- Electric Universe category at the Exposing PseudoAstronomy blog
- Electric Universe Theory debunked, a blog entry which discusses 5 major claims by EU
- Electric Universe Theory, RIP: New Discovery of Why Sun's Corona is Hot, thread at Above Top Secret
- On The Electric Sun Hypothesis, Tim Thompson -- physicist formerly employed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
- An Antidote To Velikovskian Delusions, Leroy Ellenberger
- Debunking the Electric Universe, Professor Dave Explains
- The Electric Universe, Wallace Thornhill's website
- Thunderbolts Forum, probably the most popular EU advocate website, run by David Talbott
- Electric Cosmos (by Donald E. Scott, Ph.D. (Electrical Engineering))
- The Electric Universe, László Körtvélyessy's website
- A site thunderbolts.info links to on its Related Sites tab.
- Einstein didn't sell Relativity merch.
- The kind that are creationists, think the Earth is flat, that 9/11 was a conspiracy, that Tesla was some kind of tech wizard that could violate physics or any combination thereof.
- video footage
- The Electric Sky, Short-Circuited (archived 2015-04-16), page 2:"This loss of interest was very possibly the result of the all-sky microwave maps of COBE and later WMAP, which exhibited no evidence of radio emission from these galaxy-forming currents."
- https://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2015/11/01/montgomery-childs-safire-project-update-eu2015/ at 5:20 in the video.
- P. C. W. Davies, Electric Universe. Nature volume 273, pages 268–269 (1978).