A (shortish) summary of the old arguments between Kirk S and others broke out on another thread:
Reading these posts is revealing. It shows why LENR advocates such as Jed have some work to do before being taken seriously. I remember following an earlier and longer incarnation of this argument (also on here). I could not easily conclude what was correct because both sides presented their arguments and dismissed or ignored those of opponents. I'm not saying this happened equally in both directions, but it was frustrating because I was trying to follow through specific arguments to their conclusion where either it would be clear that one of other poster was lying (never my first idea, and in this case never true) or the difference in judgement or fact discovered that led to such divergent views.
There is no dishonour in different people coming to different conclusions based on the same set of evidence. They should be able to agree on most facts, identify facts in contention (there were not many such in this case) and then drill down to the differences in judgement that result in such different overall conclusions.
There is also the prior belief issue. (I'm using belief here in a Bayesian sense to mean inductive likelihood of propositions given all previous observations). If you reckon based on diverse strands of evidence that LENR effects very likely happen you will properly weight uncertain evidence of possible LENR differently from if you have no such prior belief. With no LENR prior belief, evidence that is strongly contrary to a normal interpretation of physics and has no predictive supporting theory would be seen as most likely experimental or interpretive error. This is one of the key things that makes debate about LENR sociologically complex, and allows people of good will and considerable expertise to come to very different conclusions.
What annoys me is the lack of courtesy and clarity in these debates. Consider the type of checking and probing that happens in the best peer review. It is a flawed process, as we are all flawed people - especially so since done for free and not everyone is altruistic enough to spend lots of time with no reward - but still it is valuable. Peer review has some safeguards not present here. Personalities are removed from the issue, and comments are polite. Reviewers are supposed to have some expertise in the matter reviewed. That will always be variable, but the overall quality is not too bad: thus one reviewer in three typically gives really well-informed constructive criticism (on average, in my experience).
Peer review on LENR suffers the same prior belief problem. The LENR community, by definition, are self-selected as those who have positive LENR prior belief. Not necessarily 100%, but much higher than the mainstream default of "this behaviour is extraordinary and therefore requires extraordinary evidence". Those mainstream scientists who are active in the LENR debate will have a negative LENR belief the bar remains extraordinary because they have seen nothing that convinces them. Otherwise they would cross over to LENR community - as a very few have done. Those who continue to be interested, and contribute to the debate, will either have positive LENR belief or some other reason to be interested in making negative statements.
This is inevitable, and also problematic. Whether LENR is pseudo-science, or science that a biased establishment is too blinkered to appreciate, or new science that is just beginning to be appreciated by an establishment slow to change, getting good critiques from skeptical informed people will be hard. Critiques from non-skeptics will inevitably be less helpful if the wish is to strengthen the scientific case for LENR.
I think there are differences here in what the LENR community wants. Some feel that there is no point trying to convince a biased mainstream community. The peer-reviewed evidence is already cast-iron, those who do not look at it will not look at more. Those who look at it and are not convinced are pseudo-skeptics. Others feel that the complex nature of LENR phenomena is a real intrinsic characteristic that has made progress hard, and stronger evidence can be obtained, but has not yet been. They think getting this strong evidence is of great importance.
Regardless of that, when engaging in dialog about the evidence, details matter. Kirk here has a specific contribution to make. He has a well-argued case that some (he would say in principle all) LENR liquid-phase calorimetry has an additional error mechanism that is not taken into account. His arguments are plausible but it is very unclear precisely what is their scope and applicability. They clearly apply to some experiments. They clearly apply much less (how much less is open to debate) to others. Delimiting that is interesting.
The most depressing thing for me, here, and it is very deeply depressing, is the way this dialog with Kirk goes. Both sides are obviously tired, having replayed this dialog many times before and reached entrenched positions. Yet the matter at hand here is evidence in the public domain that is mostly all agreed, and analysis that can be critiqued by anyone with decent 1st year university maths and physics. Why cannot both sides drill down to those real differences that inform the sharply divergent opinion? In the sequence of posts starting with those I've linked Kirk does a better job of sticking to the train of argument, not throwing round personal comments, and addressing all contrary points made. But that is mostly because Jed is not interested in careful reworking of the analysis here, and impatient with views he believes clearly wrong. There are also a few points that Kirk does not follow up.
From the previous, much longer, thread you get plenty of arguments on both sides. I see no reason why these cannot be considered, patiently, cross-referenced, with both sides responding until an agreed position, or agreed set of differing judgments, is reached. I don't believe for a moment that Jed or Abd or Kirk are dishonest, or incapable of thinking about clear matters of physics, and they all have an interest in establishing what is true.
I'm unusual in this debate, in that what most interests me is not one side or other winning, but the process of establishing belief. It is a wonderful product of enlightenment thinking - one thing of which humanity can be proud, and which in human history is quite unique. In this post-truth era it might seem to be threatened - but I do not believe this. Whatever happens with politics the value of scientific exploration and robust challenge to find new better scientific theory will remain. You can see from this that as my pseudonominal character I care more about the search for truth than its outcome. I don't by this mean that I'm any less opinionated and biased than the next person - we are all human - but I do care more about correcting bias than persuading others I'm right.