41) A message from a friend
Ludwik Kowalski (email@example.com)
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043
Return to the clickable list of items
An Internet friend, physics teacher an electrical engineer and an observer of cold fusion, sent me a message about that field last night. I think his wise comments and quotations are worth adding as an item to my list. He wrote:
I'm still running the forum for Cold Fusion and physics anomalies, "vortex-L." A couple of the CF scientists are current subscribers, as are the ones running the lenr-canr.org site. See
The biggest issue I have with the CF controversy is that each experiment supposedly takes upwards of six months, since it takes that long to build up sufficient protons in the palladium electrodes. Simply designing the appropriate equipment take more months. Yet the "ERAB" report condemning Cold Fusion was submitted only 8 months after the very first Pons-Fleischmann announcement. Cold fusion supporters label this historical
event as "the rush to judgment," and point out that the CF claims couldn't possibly have been given honest testing. I can't see how it could be anything else. WHETHER OR NOT THE "CF" EFFECT EXISTS, the controversy appears to be a classic example of intellectual suppression.
I like Arthur C. Clarke's prediction, that Drs. Pons and Fleischmann will be
the only scientists in history to win both the Ignoble and the Nobel
prizes. Take a look at Julian Schwinger's [Nobel laureate] talk on CF:
(Unfortunately Dr. Schwinger is no longer around to defend CF against disbelievers.)
> In fact your old message will be reposted there soon. I wander what you think about cold fusion now? Your comments and observations will be appreciated.
If 500 researchers fail to replicate, while 5 researchers claim success, does this proves that the claimed phenomenon doesn't exist? When doing science, majority rules? Consensus leads the day? The real world doesn't work like that. Yes, maybe those 5 researchers made mistakes, so that their success was an artifact. But maybe the 5 were right, while the 500 unsuccessful attempts only prove that replication is extremely difficult. We supposedly have ways to cut through to the truth, but they cannot work if the field is filled with covert irrationality driven by hidden emotions, or by huge glaring conflicts of interest. Fourteen years later the heat has died down and perhaps reality can finally be seen behind the noise caused by the CF-bashers and CF-lovers.
Ed Storms claims that CF is now easily replicated (well, easy for those with the skills and equipment.) He gets anomalous heat and and tritium production but not the neutron production which is expected from hot-fusion reaction paths (see Schwinger's comments on neutrons in his paper linked above). It would be very interesting if groups outside the current CF community would agree to look into this. Yet there's still the chance that such an attempt, if successful, would do nothing but ruin careers. After all, attaining success at "cold fusion" experiments supposedly DOESN'T add to the body of evidence supporting the existence of CF, instead it just proves that the experimenter is at best mistaken, or
at worst has changed sides and gone to join all the other "loonies;" those professional scientists who claim repeated success. If CF is a genuine phenomenon, such a controversy is certainly not the first of its kind...
1) "If I want to stop a research program I can always do it by getting a few experts to sit in on the subject, because they know right away that it was a fool thing to try in the first place." ...- Charles Kettering, GM
2) "...By far the most usual way of handling phenomena so novel that they would make for a serious rearrangement of our preconceptions is to ignore them altogether, or to abuse those who bear witness for them." - William James
3) "When adults first become conscious of something new, they usually either attack or try to escape from it... Attack includes such mild forms as ridicule, and escape includes merely putting out of mind." - W. I. Beveridge
4) "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." - M. Planck
5) "Theories have four stages of acceptance: i) this is worthless nonsense; ii) this is an interesting, but perverse, point of view; iii) this is true, but quite unimportant; iv) I always said so. -J.B.S. Haldane, 1963
6) "New and stirring things are belittled because if they are not belittled, the humiliating question arises, 'Why then are you not taking part in them?' " - H. G. Wells
7) "The mind likes a strange idea as little as the body likes a strange protein and resists it with similar energy. It would not perhaps be too fanciful to say that a new idea is the most quickly acting antigen known to science." - Wilfred Trotter, 1941
8) "Be not astonished at new ideas; for it is well known to you that a thing does not therefore cease to be true because it is not accepted by many." - Spinoza
9) "If we watch ourselves honestly we shall often find that we have begun to argue against a new idea even before it has been completely stated." - Wilfred Trotter
10) And most frightening, a quote from a paragraph about instances of suppression in the history of science: "Many [genuine] discoveries must have been stillborn or smothered at birth. We know only those which survived." - W. I. Beveridge, THE ART OF SCI. INVESTIGATION, 1950
Return to the clickable list of items