Rossi-Blog Comment Discussion

  • The flaw in Ascoli’s persistent theory that he has been adamantly espousing for years is that he completely ignores the possibility that people with advanced degrees, prestigious positions, or important connections are incapable of being fooled by a talented con man. That is a naive and foolish position to take.

    Law 2: The probability that a certain person be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.


    What is the combined probability that a couple of dozen physics professors, including a Nobel Prize winner, may have all been deceived into their field of expertise by a philosopher whose attitudes and controversial past were well known?


  • What is the combined probability that a couple of dozen physics professors, including a Nobel Prize winner


    We should get concrete, Ascoli65 . Can we presume that the Nobel Prize winner is Brian Josephson? He was only going off of indirect reports, so I do not think it would really be accurate to suggest that he was "fooled" by Rossi. He was open to Rossi's having something on the strength of accounts he was hearing. That is not remarkable when you consider that he is particularly open-minded. That brings us to 23 physics professors. Would you be so kind as to list them out? I can think of Levi and the Swedes. Presumably there are 20 or so more.

  • @ Erik Walker,


    you appear to have conveniently passed over the cold fusion literature entirely. Your apparent conclusion, that cold fusion has no scientific basis, assuming that is your conclusion (it can be hard to know for sure what your conclusions are), remains to be given support. What you need to do to advance this particular prong of your thesis is to show that all of the cold fusion experiments are flawed in some way. There are many such experiments over the previous 30 years to take a look at, so you will be engaged for a while, of course, helpfully answering questions at each step.


    First of all, this is just my personal belief. I'm not here to convince anybody that the CF/LENR doesn't exists, it would be unfair. I give only my opinion, when it is necessary to explain a possible interpretation of the Ecat events.


    If you want to know on what basis this opinion is based, I should list a series of contrary evidence that I encountered in these last years. But it would take too much time. The best and most concise explanation I can give you is based on the following excerpt from the Rossi-Focardi paper:


    Quote

    From: http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/FocardiSanewenergy.pdf


    The tunneling probability becomes, as a consequence, P=4.7x10-1059, so small to make the capture of a single proton by a Nickel nucleus impossible. Nevertheless we have an experimental evidence of a large energy that can only arise from nuclear reactions between Nickel and Hydrogen, the only two elements existing in our apparatus.


    That is: the theory exclude the possibility of CF, but there are experimental evidences that contradict the theory and shows large excess heat. Well, after you have seen in detail what these experimental evidences are, and of how much credit they have obtained in the LENR field, you can easily deduce with a large confidence that the probability that the CF is real is that of the theoretical part calculated by Focardi.


  • No, of course the profs did not admit being suckered. Had they done so, it would be big news in LENR land. But you did not ask me that, you asked me if I blame them for believing in Rossi. I told you I do not blame them for that, but I do for their not exercising "good science practice" after releasing their Lugano report. 3 years prior to that at Bologna is another story. Ask me how I feel about that separately.


    Ferrara was the first time the Swedes and Levi, physically got their hands on an Ecat in what was advertised as a truly independent test. They wrote a cautious conclusion, saying it looked promising, but more tests would be needed. It was published in Arxiv, and heavily critiqued...without any major flaws being exposed. All good. Then they did a follow up at Lugano.


    That is where they strayed from good scientific practice IMO. For one, the main criticism of Ferrara was Rossi being there. They understood that, and went to pains to explain his minimal role at Lugano. As we learned later from the court records, Rossi *and* Fabiani were there most, if not all the time. That was omitted from the report. Even worse, the Swedes only flew in a few times to check on things. Levi, we do not even know how much he was there.


    Then, they compounded their mistakes by refusing to answer to legitimate criticisms after the report was published on the UOB website. That was after they told Rossi, who told us on JONP, that they were open for questioning. Had they followed through on their promise, as I said, they would have discovered the errors they made and IH would have been saved the trouble IH cost them. The $11.5 million they spent up until then you mentioned, was what they felt was the cost to see if Rossi was legit. Throw away money. Dewey; feel free to say something here if you want.


    The fact Ferrara/Lugano were done with a Hotcat vs Ecat (LT), means nothing. The fuel was the same, it was just the operating temperature range that differed. Joshua Cude made a great observation of that back on ECNs at the time.

  • Fair enough, Ascoli65 . Everyone has his personal assessment of the field.


    That is: the theory exclude the possibility of CF, but there are experimental evidences that contradict the theory and shows large excess heat. Well, after you have seen in detail what these experimental evidences are, and of how much credit they have obtained in the LENR field, you can easily deduce with a large confidence that the probability that the CF is real is that of the theoretical part calculated by Focardi.


    Cold fusion/LENR is above all an experimental phenomenon. One can safely conclude that protons are not fusing with nickel nuclei and still have the problem of explaining the results of palladium deuteride experiments of the kind Fleischmann and Pons and Miles investigated. One can go even further and say that, in one's own assessment, it seems unlikely that there is any fusion at all and still face that challenge — what is the source of the significant excess heat and other findings in the experimental phenomenon of LENR? There are other possibilities that are not fusion. As an experimental phenomenon, a particular explanation (e.g., fusion) need not be true in order for some or many of the experimental reports to be correct.


    This is the heart of empiricism — you go where the experiments lead you rather than relying solely on theoretical arguments.

  • What is the combined probability that a couple of dozen physics professors, including a Nobel Prize winner, may have all been deceived into their field of expertise by a philosopher whose attitudes and controversial past were well known?


    I would say 100%. If something has already occurred, then the probability of it happening is 100% (or whatever nomenclature the stats guys use).

  • @ Eric Walker,


    We should get concrete, Ascoli65. [...] That brings us to 23 physics professors. Would you be so kind as to list them out? I can think of Levi and the Swedes. Presumably there are 20 or so more.


    OK. But first a premise. For me a couple of dozen means a number around 24, and when I said professors I included all the public researchers with equivalent scientific degrees and same responsibility levels toward the citizens.


    Now the list. At the January 2011 demo in Bologna there were 10 professors (or researchers) from the local university, all of whom did support the Ecat initiative in one way or another. There was also Celani who also supported the reality of the Ecat phenomena. On the other side of the ocean, there were at least 3 professors (or equivalent) who supported the results of that demo: Melich, and the prominent "Physical Chemist" and "Catalyst Chemist" cited, along with Levi, in his "Brief Technical Description" of the demo. Another chemist, the director of the Chemistry Department in Bologna, was publicly reported for having positively verified the Levi's report. As for Josephson, he closely followed on the web the debate on the Bologna demo, and later he publicly endorsed the calorimetric results. Moreover, these results was divulged initially by the JoNP, whose Board of Advisers, which guaranteed the correctness of the published articles, included 3 other professors in addition to those cited above. So, just around the results of the first public demo in January 2011, there were at least 19 professors (or equivalent) who were expert in the related scientific disciplines and who gave, one way or another, their public support to the calorimetric results of the Ecat.


    In the following months, many Swedish professors came to increase this group: Essen, Kullander, and at least the 4 other professors from Uppsala University who signed the Ferrara report.


    In total 25+.


    Quote

    ... Can we presume that the Nobel Prize winner is Brian Josephson? He was only going off of indirect reports, so I do not think it would really be accurate to suggest that he was "fooled" by Rossi. ...


    Exactly, I am just saying that the professors (including Josephson) have not been fooled by Rossi


    Quote

    He was open to Rossi's having something on the strength of accounts he was hearing. That is not remarkable when you consider that he is particularly open-minded.


    Is this the way the citizens should consider the prominent scientists when they support wrong positions?

  • What is the combined probability that a couple of dozen physics professors, including a Nobel Prize winner, may have all been deceived into their field of expertise by a philosopher whose attitudes and controversial past were well known?



    An important lesson in probability 101 comes from the under-specification of this question.


    If it means: there exists a selected couple of dozen physics profs so deceived - HIGH

    If it means: for a randomly chosen specific couple of dozen physics profs - LOW


    Then you need to note:


    1. Rossi is very good at choosing people

    2. Confirmation bias affects groups of profs worse than other people. That is because profs tend to be narrow specialists and defer to others outside of their speciality. A groups of profs asked a tech question will tend to defer to whomever's expertise covers the question.

    3. The expertise required to validate practical Rossi test setups can be very surprising and variable: it certainly does not include nuclear physics!


    These things are not often considered when people hear "a group of profs has validated a Rossi demo".

  • If you have followed Brian Josephson’s career since the 1970s, you would know that he has embraced a number of topics that fall well outside the bounds of accepted science such as homeopathy. The appeal to authority is a logical fallacy in any case but is especially specious in this instance.

  • Is this the way the citizens should consider the prominent scientists when they support wrong positions?


    It is clearly important to distinguish, on one side, people who are open to anomalous results being real on the basis of secondhand accounts they've heard, and, on the other, people with relevant training who actually carried out specific tests and assert that anomalous E-Cat results are real. I think if we went back over your list of 25+ people with (semi-) relevant training (not all professors), only a far smaller group would fall into the second category. The people in the first category (who are open to anomalous results mentioned in secondhand reports) have an entirely different relationship to the activities of interest to you than the people who attested to the anomalous E-Cat results. You want to lump them all together.

  • I view it as a kind of "scientific brainstorming". I brainstorming you do not just attack a suggestion but try to see how it might be true. I think some "open minded" scientists do that when looking at new advancements. It is how you obtain a working hypothesis for a new phenomenon. However in a scientific experiment the opposite should be use- that is trying to falsify the hypotheses . I do not fault them for openness at the start only their not following through on the scientific method.


    I also fault people who try to equate a demo with an experiment. Rossi has not done good "experiments" only demos - no controls, no redundant measures of critical items, no traces to standards, no attempts to falsify an hypothesis.....

  • Rossi is famous for his demos, which are often conflated with experiments when people are arguing in a hurry. But there have also been several reports based on actual tests involving somewhat careful protocols; e.g., the Ferrara test. Were they scientifically adequate? I can only conclude from the comments I've followed that either these tests were inadequate to establish their conclusions because of some methodological flaw (e.g., a bad or missing control); or, at minimum, there were one or more holes that were in need of filling in during a subsequent pass.


    Is a "test" an "experiment" in all of the ways you mention, oldguy ? Perhaps not. But neither is it a lackluster demo of the kind seen recently in Stockholm. Enough of those more rigorous tests would justify taking interest in something provided there is follow-through. So I do not fault many of the people with relevant credentials who publicly showed interest except for a lack of caution, given all of the negative indicators that have long accompanied Rossi.

  • @Ascoli: you are certainly correct that people will believe almost anything if it fattens their wallets. There was no passive construction implied by my comment. Your 20+ professors and experts were most assuredly deceived by someone. Why you find it hard to believe that "the philosopher" was the deceiver continues to puzzle me.