Introducing The
Electric Universe

By Wallace Thornhill and David Talbott

It has been said that the greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge. Too often the things we think we know obstruct the things we need to learn.
In the 20th century, the luminaries of theoretical science forged a picture of the universe that seemed somehow complete and inarguable. From subatomic physics to the life sciences, from planetary science to astronomy, astrophysics, and cosmology, the 'big picture' of the natural world left little room for doubt. Or so it seemed.
Today's popular cosmology stirs public imagination with weird and wonderful possibilities, all based on mathematics far beyond the interest or comprehension of most mortals. Working forward from a conjectured primordial state, the theorists would have us believe that they have solved the primary riddles of the cosmos; that they are on the verge of completing a 'theory of everything.'
We believe otherwise. Modern theory is not impregnable, and all is not well in the sciences. Space age engineers have indeed achieved unprecedented advances, and theoreticians have basked in the resultant glow of public attention. But in this environment a decades-old scientific myth froze into dogma that progressively excluded uncomfortable facts and counter-arguments. By the end of the 20th century, the illusion became 'reality' and the voices of critics--present in considerable numbers--were no longer heard.
It will be up to historians of science to show how this occurred. To make our case we need only consider discoveries readily accessible to working scientists and to all who have remained skeptical in the face of supposedly settled questions. As we intend to show, the fatal mistake of standard cosmology is its dismissal of electricity in space. Devotion to an electrically neutral, gravity-driven universe has turned cosmology into a playground for mathematicians. And this turn of events was possible only because today's cosmologists lack the training to see the most compelling message of the space age--that we live in an electric universe.
Cosmic Speculations
How did the universe begin? How does it work? Where is it headed?
For years, the scientific media have bombarded the public with intriguing answers to these big-picture questions. The themes are familiar even to the most casual observers of scientific commentary. Cosmologists speak confidently of the Big Bang that set the clock ticking and the universe on its course 13.7 billion years ago. This is a universe filled with black holes, dark matter, dark energy, and other incomprehensible objects and forces, all with one thing in common: they remain unseen and inaccessible under known laws of physics.
With each new discovery, the 'Big Bang' universe grows increasingly bizarre, inviting parodies that underscore the question many working scientists have hesitated to ask: can anyone make real sense of this? The popular science fiction writer, Terry Pratchett, satirized the cosmological creation event: "In the beginning there was nothing--which exploded." When another science fiction writer, Douglas Adams, conjured an 'Infinite Improbability Drive,' the object of his wit was today's probabilistic quantum mechanics theory, which disconnects cause from effect. This theoretical approach has opened the door to every imaginable violation of physical laws, culminating in what many now claim to be the greatest scientific embarrassment of the twentieth century-'string theory.' "Where are the surrealist-art critics of science?" one humorist asked.
There is good reason for us to be skeptical. Cosmologists contend that their abstractions offer a secure foundation for understanding the origins, structure, and dynamics of the cosmos, as well as our place in it. But as we intend to illustrate with many examples, their conjectures failed to predict any of the milestone discoveries of the space age.
Unyielding Faith in Gravity
Cosmologists insist that the weakest force known to science-gravity- controls the universe. Early in the twentieth century, Einstein redefined Newtonian gravity by adding a metaphysical framework. He combined the three measurable physical dimensions of space with a mathematical 'dimension' that cannot be measured with the same ruler: time. The claimed success of Einstein's 'thought experiments' encouraged mathematicians to follow his lead, and they have dominated physics and cosmology ever since.
It must be said that Einstein himself showed integrity by doubting his own work. But his followers have shown no such restraint. In their devotion to mathematical abstractions, cosmologists wrote themselves a blank check, with the freedom to invent anything necessary to save the theory when observations didn't fit.
Around the middle of the twentieth century, astronomers were shocked to discover unimaginable concentrations of energy in deep space. Limited to gravitational models, they could only envision super-massive, super-compact objects hidden from view. So they suspended observed laws of physics to allow for 'black holes.' On discovering galactic motions that directly contradicted gravitational models, astronomers imagined vast regions of invisible 'dark matter.' Since no one could see it, they were free to place it wherever needed to preserve appearances. Then, when other dubious assumptions led them to think that the universe is expanding ever faster--the ultimate violation of gravitational dogma--they resorted to 'dark energy,' an exotic force neither witnessed nor understood, but supposedly dominating cosmic motions.
As the 'queen of the sciences.' modern cosmology has imposed boundaries on all related disciplines, with disastrous consequences. How did the Sun and its planetary satellites arise? Theory required stars to accrete gravitationally from diffuse nebular clouds, lighting a nuclear furnace hidden in their cores. From the residual disk of equatorial material, the theory says, planets and moons slowly congealed, together with a horde of lesser rocks moving around the Sun as meteors, asteroids, and comets.
From these assumptions, it was no great leap to write the history of our solar system. If gravity rules, the planets have surely moved on regular and predictable orbits for billions of years--a tranquil backdrop for the geologic and biologic evolution of Earth, punctuated only by random impacts from space.
By the force of 'reasoning from the top down,' the clockwork solar system also set firm limits to our understanding of human origins, the history of consciousness, and the rise of civilization. In the uneventful solar system of theory, the present became the guide to the past. The sky above our early ancestors must have been virtually identical to what we observe today. A mere speculation thus deprived historians, archeologists, and anthropologists of a desperately needed incentive. It permitted them to ignore the universal testimony of early cultures that the sky once looked vastly different. Scholars investigating the human past did not realize that this submission to the cosmologists' creed only added to the cost of misdirection in the sciences.
A New View of the Universe
Today a new breed of scientist is challenging modern cosmology at the level of its underpinnings. Researchers standing on the shoulders of unsung twentieth century giants of science (including several Nobel Laureates) are investigating the plasma universe. They remind us that interplanetary, interstellar, and intergalactic space is filled with plasma, a medium that continually defies astronomers' expectations.
Plasma is distinguished by the presence of charged particles, and the freely moving electrons in plasma are efficient carriers of electric currents. For today's innovators, electricity is the key to understanding the never-ending surprises of the space age. The patchwork of modern cosmology is unnecessary, these researchers tells us. They do not follow abstract reasoning from the top down. Their understanding arises from experiment and direct observation.
They begin by comparing plasma behavior in the laboratory to patterns seen in space. And their insights have consistently succeeded in predicting the path of discovery where standard cosmology has failed.
Working with advanced computer simulations and the most powerful electrical discharges that can be produced on Earth, these investigators are now pointing the way to a new and revolutionary vision of the universe.
Note to readers: The full text (including illustrations) of the Introduction and Chapter One of THE ELECTRIC UNIVERSE is now available in PDF at--
Additionally, for a limited time, we have placed the hour-long DVD, "Thunderbolts of the Gods," on Google. Go to Google video and enter this title. It will be the first item listed.



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