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Thread: How big is the "electric universe" movement?

  1. #1
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    How big is the "electric universe" movement?

    For a model with no discernable central concept, testable predictions, or even single rationale, it certainly has enough followers to clog up the comment sections to my YouTube videos. I will say this for them; they've at least finally figured out that insulting people at random is not a good way to spread their message. Are they just attracted to YouTube or are they a more formidable group than I thought?
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    I presume you're posting videos on topics dear to their multifarious hearts.
    Electric Universe is a fairly broad church, attractive to creationists, Velikovskians and conspiracy theorists of astronomical and environmental bent. Like many people, they've realized that spamming comments on mainstream material of various kinds is a way of getting their message, such as it is, out there.

    Grant Hutchison

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    I expect they are more common than flat earthers but in the last few years I’ve seen many flat earth comments on videos discussing space travel.

    Some I suspect are just trolling, I don’t believe there are really all that many flat earthers, but they do seem to get around on YouTube. If they can do it, I’m sure the EU types can.

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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by parallaxicality View Post
    For a model with no discernable central concept, testable predictions, or even single rationale, it certainly has enough followers to clog up the comment sections to my YouTube videos. I will say this for them; they've at least finally figured out that insulting people at random is not a good way to spread their message. Are they just attracted to YouTube or are they a more formidable group than I thought?
    Like grant says it is broad church. The main groups is around Wal Thornhill who calls himself a Physicists but actually and electrical engineer, ok a sub division of physics. They are large enough to have a conference. Mostly they don't like the big bang, quantum mechanics and a lot of modern physics. Every week they even have a youtube production. They use to post here on a regular basis but have been away foe a while, I think they post on ISF where the rules are as strict. Right now I am thinking of going over one of their videos. They were on Phils blog all the time but I haven't been on the BAs website in a while.
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    I have rarely heard of them outside references from this forum. However a few years ago I did read a SF novel that included a passing reference to EU physics as the basis of a parallel universe... that also had superheroes and magic.
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    Iíve glanced at ISF and Iíve noticed one EU proponent making the same claims in the same style and ignoring the same kinds of questions and responses they were when they were here at least a decade past. The debate was old then. I didnít have the impression there were a lot of EU posters there.

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    There's also a degree of flocking behaviour. Once one person from a community discovers a place they like to post comments, others generally turn up too. I've only ever attracted one (extreme minority interest) CT group to the blog--after one person started posting and got a response from me, others turned up too. I binned all their comments and they went away again. They pop something into the moderation queue a couple of times a year just to see if I'm still conscious.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    I’ve glanced at ISF and I’ve noticed one EU proponent making the same claims in the same style and ignoring the same kinds of questions and responses they were when they were here at least a decade past. The debate was old then. I didn’t have the impression there were a lot of EU posters there.
    Indeed, there is now one sole proponent of EU, or rather Electric Comet (EC) calles sol88, who sees every mention of electic fields as a confirmation of the EC.
    Interestingly, Talbott joined ISF for about a week, but did not really answer any questions, and then disappeared from the forum.
    There is much more "discussion" on the thunderbolts website, but that is dominated now, I think, by an old ackquaintance Michael Mozina.
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    Has somebody already called dibs on “Electric Universe” as a band name?
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  10. #10
    Well my site is called the anti electric universe but that should change and a new website should be built. But they have mostly ignored my postings about some of the problems with there conclusions. But there does seem to be some people looking up old electric universe threads here from time to time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    Has somebody already called dibs on “Electric Universe” as a band name?
    There is Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    Has somebody already called dibs on “Electric Universe” as a band name?
    Apparently so:

    ElectricUniverse.de
    Electric Universe Wikipedia entry
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    I expect they are more common than flat earthers but in the last few years I’ve seen many flat earth comments on videos discussing space travel.
    FEs are certainly more publicly known and acknowledged. Celebrities espouse the belief, it's a recognized and popular conspiracy theory on social media, etc. The estimates of the total number at least in the USA who proclaim FE beliefs range from almost 1% to 2%, though all according to opinion polls which are notoriously fickle.

    As I say above, I have only heard of one instance of EU being promoted and only semi-seriously. I think the general public simply does not know enough of stellar physics to care much about EU! It's too esoteric. Flat Earth is a simple, easily understood concept, which is probably its main appeal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tusenfem View Post
    There is much more "discussion" on the thunderbolts website, but that is dominated now, I think, by an old ackquaintance Michael Mozina.
    Oh, now there's a familiar name. My friends--who were never members of this board--and I still joke about him.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    As I say above, I have only heard of one instance of EU being promoted and only semi-seriously. I think the general public simply does not know enough of stellar physics to care much about EU! It's too esoteric. Flat Earth is a simple, easily understood concept, which is probably its main appeal.
    Very different for me. I first started reading about Velikovskyís ridiculous notions in my early teens and would see references to them here and there over the decades. For instance, science fiction writer James P. Hogan was a proponent. Iíve argued with various EU proponents online, and seen debates here and there when a physicist or other scientist would get into it.

    On the other hand, I had never heard of serious flat earthers until very recently. It had always been a joke (still is, really) because it was just so easy to show it to be wrong. I have only had one minimal debate with one flat earther (mostly they ignored questions and denied what they didnít ignore, without real explanation).

    As for scientific sophistication, EU proponents usually arenít that much more scientifically knowledgeable than flat earth proponents. Iíd say that most flat earth proponents fail at grade school science levels while EU proponents typically fail at basic high school science levels. Also, flat earth belief requires acceptance of a grand world conspiracy while EU doesnít. There is no math in EU, itís mostly about what they think something looks like. If some picture of an astronomical object looks like something they are more familiar with, then it must work like the thing they are familiar with.

    Anyway, I think there are more EU people than you might expect. Itís a little more sophisticated than flat earth, it takes a little more knowledge to show why it is wrong. And by ďitĒ I am referring to the generic ďit.Ē There are a variety of notions. For instance, the Velikovskian notions typically are about planets popping out of other planets and bouncing around the solar system like billiard balls, all taking place in the last few thousand years then magically settling down into stable orbits. This catastrophism was tied into biblical stories by Velikovsky and is popular with some creationists. As far as I recall, it didnít get into issues of stellar physics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tusenfem View Post
    There is much more "discussion" on the thunderbolts website, but that is dominated now, I think, by an old ackquaintance Michael Mozina
    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    Oh, now there's a familiar name. My friends--who were never members of this board--and I still joke about him.
    Oh, yes. For those unfamiliar, Michael started here (on BABB) I think around 2004-2005, got banned by the BA when he had enough, then came back when there was the general amnesty when BAUT started, then got banned again after too much unsupported nonsense.

    Michael presented images of what he said were the sunís surface, pointed out that the sun in the image looked metallic, and decided this meant that the sun was made of solid iron. Seriously.

    Doing a quick internet search, it wasnít hard to discover that the images were not taken in visible light but through a narrow (IIRC, EUV) filter that showed hot ionized iron vapor in the coronasphere, which is an excellent vacuum, not solid iron. The metallic look was clearly an artifact of image presentation. Also, the iron vapor was millions of degrees hot and it moved about, as other images showed. Beyond that, even the photosphere (usually considered the surface of the sun) was too hot to be solid iron, it got hotter as you went down, spectrographic data showed it was almost all hydrogen and helium anyway, and the sunís density was too low to be iron also.

    I think those were the first counterpoints to his argument though there were others later. Naturally, he either didnít understand or would argue all of them. Eventually the BA pointed out that helioseismology results showed his claim was impossible, and the BA banned him when he kept arguing it.

    I think he got into more of the EU stuff when he came back, and from what I heard, he would go from site to site making more or less the same arguments but sometimes changing some things when enough people brought up the same counterpoints. I know I looked at another skeptic site once and saw posters go through many of the same points we had.

    It was fun for a while going through his incredibly poor arguments. I learned some things when reading up on imaging systems and so on when investigating his claims. Sadly, he learned very little.

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    A counterexample on the EU world conspiracy: Solon's pet conspiracy theory/ATM was based on EU, which as I recall he only hinted at here. With significant deviations/personal quirks, like the whole "transverse waves" thing with visible light being unable to travel through the vacuum. He's still going on about stuff debunked here nearly 10 years ago. In his case, it seems less about digging up pictures that look "electrical" and more about a particular set of technobabble that he seems irrationally attached to. He's still looking for someone to show him just one picture of stars from space with an "ordinary camera" without gratings or magic filters, with additional requirements that he throws in whenever he needs to reject some evidence.

    A lot of people have really broken mental models of how electricity and gravity work. Some of them also have really broken approaches to reasoning and learning.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Oh, yes. For those unfamiliar, Michael started here (on BABB) I think around 2004-2005, got banned by the BA when he had enough, then came back when there was the general amnesty when BAUT started, then got banned again after too much unsupported nonsense.

    Michael presented images of what he said were the sunís surface, pointed out that the sun in the image looked metallic, and decided this meant that the sun was made of solid iron. Seriously.

    Doing a quick internet search, it wasnít hard to discover that the images were not taken in visible light but through a narrow (IIRC, EUV) filter that showed hot ionized iron vapor in the coronasphere, which is an excellent vacuum, not solid iron. The metallic look was clearly an artifact of image presentation. Also, the iron vapor was millions of degrees hot and it moved about, as other images showed. Beyond that, even the photosphere (usually considered the surface of the sun) was too hot to be solid iron, it got hotter as you went down, spectrographic data showed it was almost all hydrogen and helium anyway, and the sunís density was too low to be iron also.

    I think those were the first counterpoints to his argument though there were others later. Naturally, he either didnít understand or would argue all of them. Eventually the BA pointed out that helioseismology results showed his claim was impossible, and the BA banned him when he kept arguing it.

    I think he got into more of the EU stuff when he came back, and from what I heard, he would go from site to site making more or less the same arguments but sometimes changing some things when enough people brought up the same counterpoints. I know I looked at another skeptic site once and saw posters go through many of the same points we had.

    It was fun for a while going through his incredibly poor arguments. I learned some things when reading up on imaging systems and so on when investigating his claims. Sadly, he learned very little.
    Plus he finds spectrum where it says there is iron in the atmosphere and concludes that the sun must be made of iron. If you know a little bit of how to read them and column density you know the sun is mostly hydrogen.
    A newbie to their fold P.M Robitialle who goes be the screen name "Sky Scholar", I don't think he really is an Euer but he also does nit like the big bang, and has been to at least one of the EU conferences. . I really got do some more work on him.
    Some people think the ne Flat Earth movement has to with the Flat Earth Society and it isn't. Some of them I think, think the Earth is Flat, some are doing for attention, some think they are onto some big secret that nobody the few know the truth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    On the other hand, I had never heard of serious flat earthers until very recently. It had always been a joke (still is, really) because it was just so easy to show it to be wrong. I have only had one minimal debate with one flat earther (mostly they ignored questions and denied what they didn’t ignore, without real explanation).

    As for scientific sophistication, EU proponents usually aren’t that much more scientifically knowledgeable than flat earth proponents. I’d say that most flat earth proponents fail at grade school science levels while EU proponents typically fail at basic high school science levels. Also, flat earth belief requires acceptance of a grand world conspiracy while EU doesn’t.
    I grew up knowing actual Flat Earthers. They were mainly a small group of religious based Young Earth Creationists in the 80s, but according to various news sources have lately broadened their appeal greatly online.

    I think the "grand world conspiracy theory" aspect is one reason why they and others like them have done so. In a time when expertise and science in general is increasingly being opposed by populist anti-intellectualism, it's a point of perverse pride to embrace the counterfactual. Believing in complicated high-level conspiracies "hiding" the "truth" is sort of the 2020 zeitgeist.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjameshuff View Post
    A counterexample on the EU world conspiracy: Solon's pet conspiracy theory/ATM was based on EU, which as I recall he only hinted at here.
    Huh, I didnít know it was EU based. On the world conspiracy angle, I tried to be careful in wording my comment. I said EU belief doesnít require a belief in a world conspiracy. I didnít say none believe in such. It doesnít surprise me some do. On the other hand, flat earth belief inherently requires a massive conspiracy to somehow fake satellites, travel times and so on and so forth (honestly, there are so many trivially easy ways to disprove a flat earth I donít understand how anyone can take it seriously, I just know some do).

    He's still going on about stuff debunked here nearly 10 years ago.
    Yes, that usually seems to be the way it works: They move from site to site and make exactly the same debunked claims, until they get tired of it, which can be a very long time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    Plus he finds spectrum where it says there is iron in the atmosphere and concludes that the sun must be made of iron. If you know a little bit of how to read them and column density you know the sun is mostly hydrogen.
    A newbie to their fold P.M Robitialle who goes be the screen name "Sky Scholar", I don't think he really is an Euer but he also does nit like the big bang, and has been to at least one of the EU conferences. . I really got do some more work on him.
    Some people think the ne Flat Earth movement has to with the Flat Earth Society and it isn't. Some of them I think, think the Earth is Flat, some are doing for attention, some think they are onto some big secret that nobody the few know the truth.
    Sky Scholar has been linked by very passionately committed commenters on my videos. I don't feel competent to answer his arguments.
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    P.M Robitaille sounded familiar. As I suspected he has been discussed here before, I even had a small comment on him. Namely, I previously found this post by astrophysicist Brian Koberlein helpful:

    https://archive.briankoberlein.com/2...lls/index.html

    I think there are some useful comments in this thread:

    https://forum.cosmoquest.org/showthr...iquid-hydrogen

    Robitaille has been mentioned off and on here back to 2002 but I didnít see much else that looked very useful.

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  23. #23
    No matter what there will be some around that will think they better than others. An alien could be walking down the road and some one will claim there is no such thing as aliens. There was the moon hoax believers, the antivaxxers, the flat earthers, the electric universe group, people like Robitialle, and so on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    Good. That sounds like a much better use of the name.
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    Article as of 2016 puts lower bounds on EU proponents;

    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/n...lace-thornhill

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Huh, I didn’t know it was EU based. On the world conspiracy angle, I tried to be careful in wording my comment. I said EU belief doesn’t require a belief in a world conspiracy. I didn’t say none believe in such. It doesn’t surprise me some do. On the other hand, flat earth belief inherently requires a massive conspiracy to somehow fake satellites, travel times and so on and so forth (honestly, there are so many trivially easy ways to disprove a flat earth I don’t understand how anyone can take it seriously, I just know some do).
    I think it's more that his quirky beliefs converged with it over time (might be where he picked up the term Compton scattering), but I've come across him spouting typical EU nonsense like "craters are made by electrical discharge" in phys.org comments (which have also attracted an odd number of more conventional EU cranks).

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    I eventually found out that Michael Mozina's picture was taken by a satellite that was, among other things, deliberately looking for traces of iron in the Sun. So it filtered for just iron, and his response was, "Wow, there's a lot of iron in that image!"
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  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    I eventually found out that Michael Mozina's picture was taken by a satellite that was, among other things, deliberately looking for traces of iron in the Sun. So it filtered for just iron, and his response was, "Wow, there's a lot of iron in that image!"
    That satellite would be SOHO and that comment of Mikes deserves several faceplam images.
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