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CMI’s response to the ‘electric universe’


Published: 16 February 2021 (GMT+10)
lightning-sky

We occasionally get queries about the ‘electric universe’, which is basically the idea that electrical fields/forces are much more significant than gravity and a better, over-arching explanation for the structure of the universe than Newton’s gravitation concepts. There is a whole ‘world’ of electric universe proponents, with YouTube videos, etc., purporting to explain all manner of things better than mainstream concepts of physics. We present a fairly typical submission, from a good friend of CMI, with our response from Don Batten that explains why we are not interested in going in this direction.

Dear CMI,

I feel we are missing investigations that are being made into the creation of the universe and ourselves. We are being blinded to some revealing perspectives of the universe by dogmatic educational establishments.

Gravity has an insignificant influence in the universe: Refer The “Burnham Astronomical Model’.

Electric Universe: Electromagnetic fields are 1035 times stronger than gravity.

[a YouTube video on the Burnham Astronomical Model]

Could [CMI] please look into an area that seems to be missing in mainstream science, that natural electricity, magnetic fields, Birkland currents and plasma winds have a large effect around us. Dr Sarfati and Lita Cosner provided an article on ‘The Sun’ in the latest Creation magazine [43(1)], ‘Creation for Kids’. The picture on p 33 shows a ‘magnetic loop’ of heat. ‘Campfires on the Sun’ provides an ‘Electric circuit’ explanation of the Sun. And not a ‘nuclear fusion’, continuing explosion.

Other Thunderbolts projects have investigations and perspectives of our solar system and the world around us in respect to electric circuits. Natural electricity. Electricity that forms auroras and thunderstorms. Plasmas and Birkland currents that shape and explain comets, planets, stars, and galaxies. Electric arc investigations that are scalable, and can replicate galaxies, scars on the planets and on the earth. Grand Canyons, Valles Marineris on Mars, plasma tails from the Sun, comets—that are rocky and not snowballs, and have electric etching over them. Craters are not caused by asteroids but plasma arcing.

[links to YouTube ‘Space News’ videos on:

Campfires on the Sun,

Rosetta continues to shatter dirty snowball myth,

Ring currents—nature’s storm generators and

Electric star and planet birth—cosmic Z-pinch in action]

I recognise these investigators are not Christian or from a Christian perspective. But from an electrical engineering background, their perspectives make sense to me.

[eschatological perspective deleted]

Yours in Christ

Peter C.

Hi Peter,

Thanks for your interest and your support.

Dr Jonathan Sarfati responded to a comment on an article proposing the electric universe idea (Should creationists accept quantum mechanics?):

“From time to time, we have been asked about the electric universe theory. As I say to all the enquirers, CMI can’t adopt maverick theories in operational science otherwise we would be fighting on two fronts, as explained in my paper above [link above: about quantum mechanics and how well it works].

Mathis, a leading proponent of the electric universe theory, is certainly not sympathetic to creation, and has had interaction with creationists showing that he is not very well informed.”

Dr John Hartnett, physicist, also responded to a separate comment (Where materialism logically leads):

“The electric universe idea has been suggested to me many times. But the electrical forces in the galaxies must be nearly zero as all plasmas are neutral. There is no fear of stepping outside the ‘mainstream scientific machine’, because biblical creationist did that a long time ago. If you like the electric universe, write a paper and submit it to the Journal of Creation. Maybe all it has been lacking is someone to defend it in the creationist community. But we are few in number and we need many more to contribute.”

Note: “But the electrical forces in the galaxies must be nearly zero as all plasmas are neutral.” There are positive and negative electrically charged particles (positive ions, protons and negative electrons) but they cancel each other in a plasma. There are no positive and negative gravitons. This is the deciding factor in the claim that gravity is weak in comparison to electric fields, and therefore the latter must be much more significant. On a cosmological scale, all electric fields are neutralized (there are positive and negative charges in equal numbers) whereas there is no ‘anti-gravity’ to counter the gravitational attraction due to mass (for which the famous creationist physicist Isaac Newton was famous for elucidating).

The electric universe idea is not really a theory about origins but a claim about how the universe works. We see no good reason to depart from the established operational science of Newton’s gravity and Einstein’s extension of the creationist physicist Maxwell’s electromagnetism equations. Einstein explicitly said that his theories were a deduction of the equations of one of his scientific heroes, the creationist James Clerk Maxwell—on electromagnetism.

Electrical discharges are certainly important on a local level. Geologists have recognized the role of lightning in the formation of shocked quartz (once thought to be formed from meteorite impact). Lightning has also been recognized in the fracturing of boulders, thus speeding up the weathering process enormously (no need for ‘deep time’).

In my climate change article, I mention the research that recognizes the significant role of the solar wind in earth’s weather, via cloud formation and/or longevity.

So, I don’t think that there is any resistance to acknowledging the role of electrical forces, where it is appropriate. But as an overarching replacement for a well-established understanding of many aspects of the cosmological-scale physics of the universe, we don’t accept the need for such, or the apologetic value of it (as Dr Sarfati explained above). We believe that adopting this maverick position would make it even harder to get a hearing for the case for believing Genesis is history (and its corollary, the Gospel). Our Mission is: “To support the effective proclamation of the Gospel by providing credible answers that affirm the reliability of the Bible, in particular its Genesis history”. Our mission is not to oppose and re-write the whole edifice of modern operational science! I can’t see how the electric universe ideas would be of any help in achieving this mission but would make it more difficult.

Kindest regards in Christ,

Don Batten

Helpful Resources

The Genesis Account
by Jonathan Sarfati
US $39.00
Hard Cover
From Creation to Salvation
by Lita Cosner
US $14.00
Soft Cover

Readers’ comments

Tobias N.
I agree with Peter J above. Truth is more important than tactics. I appreciate the difficulty in fighting a battle on two fronts, and certainly it may be the case that the electric universe theory is incorrect (or perhaps just incomplete), but Dr. Batten, I believe the position you have put forward is problematic. Although I don't think you intend this, the way your position can come across is that you are not interested in pursuing truth because it would undermine much of the work you have done to date and would weaken your credibility and your debate footing in general. Notice that this is very much the same rationale given by many modern secular scientists: if we take out the lies in the textbooks, what would we replace them with? Consider the hypothetical scenario where the electric universe theory is correct. You would rather continue to engage in debate within an incorrect paradigm simply because the corrections required to mainstream scientific thought would be too great?

CMI's mission statement, though good, may here reveal a flaw. If truth cannot be pursued because it does not match the mission statement, then now is a good time to reword the mission statement.

Please be sure to note that I am not advancing the electric universe theory. That is not the point. The point is that a scientist must be willing to follow the evidence wherever it leads regardless of mission statements, risks to credibility or reputation, and so on. Thanks for your consideration.
Jonathan Sarfati
It is a question of choosing our battles as a ministry. The same applies to many important theological debates. We don’t take a stand on many of these issues, not because we don’t think they are important but because they are not part of our non-denominational ministry aims, as explained in some of the related issues. When it comes to non-mainstream theories of operational science, the battle is peripheral to our focus on origins. That is, even if correct, which is most unlikely, it would not help the creation cause. Furthermore, if anyone wants to promote these maverick views, it would be in their interest not to make it look like it is a YEC position.
John Z.
Don, I very much enjoy reading your words. Thanks a lot.
Tim S.
Thanks for drawing this issue to our attention, enabling us to keep our attention focused on those concepts - found everywhere in mainstream science - that overwhelmingly point to how God created our universe and continues to uphold it.
Perhaps some good can come from debunking the 'electric universe' proposition: a renewed emphasis on 'fields' - gravitational, magnetic, and electrical. Considering such fields, and field theory, gives us an insight into the astounding creative mind of God.
Alf F.
Craters caused by plasma arcs and not by meteorites? I stop right there.
Cameron G.
In working on my PhD dissertation (seminary) I decided to write on the Sun, I know many today don’t believe anything is going to happen to the sun in the next 4.5 billion years but I know the Bible says otherwise so I wanted to address this issue. I also wanted to do an indirect attack on evolution much like Lyell did an indirect attack on the Bible. I have doubts about the internal fusion model powering the sun as the researchers have come to that conclusion, I believe they were more interested in finding a method that allowed for a very old sun rather than follow the evidence. I corresponded with noted solar astrophysicist Dr. C. Alex Young of the Goddard Space Flight Center who runs a website about the sun. I asked him, “What is the best evidence that fusion is the power source for the sun?” He replied, “The best evidence is that the Earth is so old.” I have a problem with that, I don’t know about you, but I do. I had never heard of the Electric Universe model before I started my research but fortunately I found it and found that it matches the evidence we have been observing coming from the Sun recently. The neat thing about the Electric Universe model is that it has a single force operating in the universe—the electric force. Magnetism, gravity and the nuclear force are various effects produced by charged, orbitally structured protons and electrons in response to an applied electric force. All matter in the universe is connected by the electric force. And since the electric force can be either attractive or repulsive, there is a balance possible between the force of cohesion and the force that keeps things apart. The universe is in balance. No need for dark matter or dark energy.It sounds to me like what the Bible describes as Jesus Christ doing.
Don Batten
Please see: The sun our special star, especially the "Note added 30 May 2002". There is good evidence that the sun is indeed powered by nuclear fusion. We agree that the sun is not old. That it is powered by fusion does not mean that it is old, just that it could be (theoretically). Note what the solar astronomer John Eddy commented in the article just linked (that there is no good scientific reason for rejecting a young age of the sun).
And dark matter and dark energy are only needed because of myth that the universe arose from a 'big bang', along with the idea that it is expanding at an accelerating rate (dark matter is no longer needed to explain rotational speeds of stars in galaxies; search creation.com).
Peter J.
I agree with everything you said—but I would have preferred a stronger focus on lack of evidence for, and the vast evidence against such a theory, rather than it not being helpful to the mission of CMI.

Historically operational science has been rocked by non-intuitive perspective smashing re-evaluations (relativity, quantum theory come to mind), but even those can be ignored with every-day sized objects with every-day relative velocities—while this theory seems to require a re-interpreting of all existing data, and special explanations for all sorts of things more simply explained.

It’s a minor point, I really appreciate all the great articles, most of which are just fantastic—but I do like to see the focus on truth rather than tactics!
Jonathan Sarfati
We need to point out both aspects. As explained to another commenter, not every truth claim is within our ministry’s purview. We are effective precisely because we have a sharp focus. We also don’t want to be anti-establishment for its own sake, or be in the position of denying well attested operational science.

In my articles on quantum mechanics and vaccination, I explained the bad tactics of trying to fight battles on too many fronts at once, but most of the articles explained why they are both excellent science. Creationists should be in favour of cutting edge science, because creationists founded most branches of science!
Russel P.
Tom Beardon did a resarch paper on the amount of energy it took to maintain matter. He took a cubic centimeter of pure copper calculated the number of atoms in it. Worked out what the magnetic forces between them were also how much energy was required to maintain electrons protons neutrons in there places within the atoms. To describe the amount of energy it took he estimated the closest analogy he could find was it would take as much energy as if you combined every generator in the worlds output for 8.5 minutes you would have enough energy to maitain that cubic centimeter of pure copper for 1 second. His comment was no matter what your concept of God is it is wowfully inadequate as He spoke it all into being and maintains it all by the word of His power. This kind of agrees with your comments on nuetralised charges otherwise the whole thing would self destruct. This comes from Tom Beardons research 1999.
Don Batten
It takes energy to construct matter, but once it is made, no energy is needed to maintain it; it is stable (unless it is an element that is undergoing radioactive decay).
Mark W.
I was not aware of the "electric universe" so watched this video:
[link deleted per feedback rules]T9q-v4lBGuw ("Professor Dave Explains")

Totally debunked and a red herring for CMI.
John D.
Well answered.
There are so many "wild" theories making the rounds these days that I am not surprised by this "Electric Universe" idea. I am well grounded in Electricity and Electronics having studied and worked in these fields for more than 35 years.
I find it rather amusing that the theory, "because it is YouTube it is true" seems to be so popular. Don't these people realise that it is so easy to fake experiments and results and, release it on YouTube. It is just another ploy to drag people away from God.
Daniel V.
Very well and diplomatically said.
Thomas C.
The revelation of God, the Bible, tells us HE spoke and it was so. Also in Hebrews 1:3 "man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" seems to be saying that all reality is God's word. We would say words since we live in time. And the understanding of speech, words is that it is the intelligent organization of energy. Can that be the explanation of all reality? That it is intelligently organized energy?
Don Batten

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