In my last post on Velikovsky’s historical and cosmological theories I linked to the site of what might be termed the post Velikovskian cosmo-catastrophists. I haven’t been back there for about ten years, but they seem as bright and chipper as ever. For newcomers to Electric Universe theory I recommend their daily updates at
where you normally have a photo of some planetary body, plus an explanation of the features shown which conventional science either glosses over or seeks to explain with increasingly unconvincing ad hoc hypotheses. (Those round things on every object in the solar system? They’re volcanic craters when we think the interior was hot, and impact craters when we think it wasn’t.)
Here, in two paragraphs, is my resumé of the electric universe theory as I think I understood it ten years ago:
Space is not a vacuum, but an extremely weak plasma. Plasmas conduct electricity. The sun (and everything else in the cosmos) is heated by Birkeland currents which traverse the universe, like the anode of a battery. Craters observed on practically all bodies in space were formed by electric arcing. Note how small craters cluster round the edges of large craters, an effect which would be impossible if due to the random impacts of incoming meteors.
Electricity in a plasma produces strange visual geometric effects – for example a column with symmetrical emanations, which can be found in ancient rock art in the Sahara, and also in the iconography of Greek mythology, for instance in the thunderbolt of Zeus, and in images of Artemis the tamer of animals, (an image which is found also in the Babylonian seals representing Gilgamesh).
The significance for the impossible Velikovskian hypothesis of planets bouncing off each other is this: electrically charged bodies in a plasma do not obey classical laws of Newtonian mechanics. What Velikovsky interpreted as collisions of bodies in the solar system may have been close encounters accompanied by spectacular electromagnetic effects. Nobody in the Thunderbolts crowd is willing to date these effects to the moment of the Exodus or the Iliad, as Velikovsky tried to, but the nineteenth century insight that mythology, and particularly prehistoric iconography, can be useful in cosmological research is re-established.
The Thunderbolt crowd also espouse the positions of the astronomer Halton Arp, author of the classic “Atlas of Unusual Galaxies”. For Arp, qasars – objects unimaginably far away, and inexplicably powerful sources of radio emissions – tend to appear in pairs in the sky. Arp’s explanation is that Hubble’s hypothesis that red shift equals distance is not true for young cosmic objects, and that qasars, far from being big and far away, are young galaxies being born, ejected symmetrically from existing galaxies.
The one time I found a reference to Arp in a popular science book, this theory was dismissed with the comment that Arp had been accused of falsifying his data. Note that the author did not say outright that Arp had falsified his data. Merely that he had been accused of doing so. [It’s as if I published a refutation of Cook and Lewandowsky claiming that some authorities had accused them of being liars and frauds. That, dear readers, is not at all my position]
For more on the theories of Arp, see
or the Wikipaedia article at
Next month the European Space Agency is hoping to land on a comet which resembles a rubber duck. Except that it doesn’t, not in my iconography. But calling it a rubber duck is a helpful jokey way of hiding the embarrassment of cosmologists who don’t want to admit that they haven’t the foggiest idea about comets or the solar system or anything else. On the one hand they want to make the subject interesting enough to the public to justify the hundreds of millions that taxpayers contribute to the ESA. On the other hand, they don’t like to admit their ignorance.
Next post: bad weather alert at Troy