a reply to: Outlier13
It is no one's responsibility to debunk the claims of the EU supporters. That's not how the burden of proof works. The burden of proof lies with the
people making the claim: the EU supporters. This burden is not satisfied by a non-peer-reviewed Youtube video showing how tricks with a torch
resemble something someone saw in a photograph.
For ANY alternative idea in science to gain traction, the claimants must do two things:
1.) The claimant must show why his idea matches the observed data at least as well, if not better
than existing theory. For example, meteoric
impact is a well-understood phenomenon, and the source of meteoric impactors (rubble orbiting around our solar system) has been detected, studied and
documented. If you propose that a specific crater was caused by some sort of cosmic lightening bolt, then you must first prove that cosmic lightening
bolts exist at all (and what their characteristic signatures (that you would not see from a meteor) are), and secondly that detailed forensic data
indicates that the signatures of this specific crater more closely match those of a cosmic lightening bolt than they do of a meteorite. In other
words, what does the preponderance of data indicate?
2.) The claimant must be able to make testable predictions that, when experiments are performed and/or specific observations are made, will show
definitively that their idea has merit. This is call "falsifying your hypothesis". It doesn't mean faking it, but rather if you come up with an
idea, you must also come up with a way to prove whether it is false or not.
Electric Universe proponents have failed utterly on both of these points. As near as I can tell, the only
effort put forth so far has been
videos like this that fool people who aren't familiar with the size, scope and detail of observational data that support the standard models.
Here is an example of these two principles of science working together: As telescopes looked further into the cosmos, astronomers noticed that the
elemental absorption lines in the spectra of distant galaxies were shifted towards the red. The most prosaic explanation for this was that this was
caused by a Doppler-shift as the galaxies moved away from us. Interesting - Why would they be doing that? Then Edwin Hubble noticed that the further
away a galaxy is from us, the greater its redshift. This lead to the idea that the entire universe in which all galaxies exist is actually expanding.
If so, then all of the mass of the universe must have started from a single point, which quantum mechanics tells us would have been unstable and
erupted in a titanic explosion. Physicist Fred Hoyle derisively called this the "Big Bang" theory, and (to his chagrin) the name stuck. To test this
idea (falsifying the hypothesis), BBT proponents predicted that astronomers should be able to observe a residual cosmic background radiation from this
creation event. Observations were made, and the cosmic background radiation (CBR) was indeed detected. If it had not been detected, then the Big
Bang theory would have died 50 years ago. Instead, it gained traction and is now considered the "standard cosmological model".
But that's not the end of the story. Other predictions were made (such as relative abundance of elements in the universe) that were found true, and
added support to the BBT, but other observations raised serious questions about some of the details. Modifications have been made to the model, but
have yet to be backed-up by experimental observation. For example, more precise measurements of the CBR showed that it is very
uniform - too
smooth for the original BBT model. Physicists came up with idea of early "inflation" of spacetime in the first moments of the Big Bang. Yes, it
would explain the smoothness (called isotropy), but is it correct?
. There is no other observational evidence for this inflation - yet (you
can't say that the isotropy is evidence for inflation, because that is circular reasoning - you need to find something else
to support the
Mind you, I know an astrophysicist (whom I think Rather highly of) who argues compellingly against the entire Big Bang Theory. He does not dispute
the data gathered thus far, but instead claims that such observed phenomenon as the cosmic redshift and background radiation have been deeply
misinterpreted, and actually may point to a different universal geometry. He holds that the concept of early-inflation is no more than a mathematical
trick to preserve the theory, much like epicycles in geocentric pre-Coperican astronomy explained (incorrectly) the retrograde motion of planets.
However, before he can publish, he knows that he will have to have impeccable math & reasoning to explain why his idea fits observed data
than the Big Bang theory, and he will have to make predictions for new observations that will either definitively support his idea or
definitively shoot it down.
Here's something that I see many ATSers get consistently wrong: They think that scientists fight to defend standard theory out of dogmatic
closed-mindedness. Absolutely wrong! They defend theories because that's what the data supports. If new data comes in that contradicts, they must
(after verifying that the experiments & observations are valid, i.e. repeatable - that's where "cold fusion" fell on its face) either find a way
modify the theory or come out with a replacement. Note that the replacement does not chuck-out any data, it simply fits more of the data than the
The classic example of this is the overthrow of Newtonian gravity by Einstein's Theory of General Relativity. Newton & Kepler's equations could
correctly predict the orbits of all known objects in the solar system - almost. As observations got more accurate, astronomers detected an anomaly in
Mercury's orbit. The falsifiable hypothesis they came up with was that the might be a planet closer to the Sun, perturbing Mercury's orbit.
Unfortunately, observational experiments failed to find this unknown world. Then along came Einstein's theory of gravity. it correctly predicted the
orbits of all known planets including Mercury
This satisfied the first principle, above. Furthermore, Einstein predicted that if his concept
of gravity was correct, then the path that light takes should be bent by large masses. Under Newton, mass should not affect light, so this was a way
of falsifying Einstein's hypothesis. During an eclipse of the Sun in 1919 (and many times since), observers found that indeed the Sun's mass does
bend the light from distant stars very, very slightly - but exactly in accordance with Einstein's predictions. The key point of this example is not
that Newton was wrong
, it's just that Einstein was more accurate
. General Relativity fits the data better than Newton's Law of
(I should point out that Einstein's equations are MUCH harder to use than Newton's. For almost all applications, Newton is "good enough" All of the
navigation for the Cassini probe (including hundreds of encounters with Saturn's moons) are calculated using Newton, rather than Einstein. It's close
enough and it works. On the other hand, GPS satellites must be excruciatingly accurate, so they use Einstein)
EU does not fit observation as well as standard theories, and it makes no testable predictions.