How do you convince a skeptic?

  • @SOT, as you well know, Jed does not accept that anyone can be agnostic about LENR. Either you provide proof that refutes every paper in his library, or you must accept that LENR exists. The fact that most scientists in relevant disciplines do not consider the existing evidence to be convincing tells me that the evidence is not convincing. Jed contends that this is because of all sorts of things that have nothing to do with science. While there are certainly instances of unprofessional oppostion to LENR research, I simply reject the notion that the vast heterogeneous scientific community has somehow linked arms in a conspiracy to reject a great scientific discovery that could change the world. By Occam’s Razor if for no other reason, It is far more reasonable to assert that the evidence is simply not strong enough. That being said, and despite Jed’s inevitable claim that one cannot hold such a position, I simply think that the jury is still out on whether LENR is real and just like the inestimable Adrian Ashfield, I will wait and see what happens.

  • @SOT, as you well know, Jed does not accept that anyone can be agnostic about LENR. Either you provide proof that refutes every paper in his library, or you must accept that LENR exists.

    That is how science works. If a small number of replicated experiments cannot be refuted, even if hundreds of other experiments are wrong, that means the effect is real.


    That standard also applies to technology. The Wright brothers flight of Dec. 17, 1903 proved that controlled airplanes can exist. There were many, many previous failed tests by other people, but those tests did not negate the Wright's proof.


    And yes, if you are doing science, you must accept a widely replicated, high-sigma experimental result. There is no other standard of proof in science. There is no other way to tell what is true, and what is false. The opinions of experts and what is written in textbooks have absolutely no authority in experimental science. Experiments -- and experiments alone -- are the only way we know anything about nature.


    The fact that most scientists in relevant disciplines do not consider the existing evidence to be convincing tells me that the evidence is not convincing.

    Name three of these scientists, and tell us where they published. What are their reasons for doubting the evidence?


    There are no such people. You imagine they exist, but you cannot name them or point to anything they have written. Because there is nothing. You made that up.


    There are, of course, skeptical papers and many scientists who do not believe the effect is real. However, you have not read these skeptics, and you don't know what they said. I have read them, and I say you are wrong. You are in no position to refute me. Skeptics have published two kinds of papers. Those which say "it violates theory so it cannot exist." That violates the scientific method. The other papers misrepresent the experiments, because they were written by people who have read nothing and know nothing. Here are examples:


    https://lenr-canr.org/wordpress/?p=294


    https://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/Fleischmanreplytothe.pdf


    You cannot point to any examples of actual scientific critiques showing errors in major cold fusion experiments, because no such critiques exist. If you knew of one, you would have listed it long ago.

  • Experiments that have not been refuted are not necessarily experiments that cannot be refuted.


    There are many reasons why a particular experiment doesn’t get refuted. Perhaps nobody cares enough or the experiment is not documented well enough to repeat or the results are not compelling enough and so on. I realize that you are the world’s foremost authority in how science works, but your brandishing articles is just silly. When a field makes no measurable and indisputable progress for 30 years, it is anything but established science regardless of how many papers you rattle in people’s faces.


    I most certainly can’t prove that LENR doesn’t exist and I have absolutely no desire to do so. When and if it is convincingly demonstrated to exist to more than its loyal constituency, I won’t need you to explain to me how science works.

  • Experiments that have not been refuted are not necessarily experiments that cannot be refuted.

    That statement applies equally well to every experiment in history. Any experiment might be wrong. Someone might demonstrate that Newton was wrong and a prism does not prove that white light includes all colors.


    When experiments are replicated by experts in hundreds of laboratories, thousands of times, often at very high signal to noise ratios, the likelihood that they are wrong becomes astronomically small. That is what has happened with cold fusion. Furthermore, no one has ever published a reason to doubt any of the mainstream experiments. These experiments employ techniques discovered 100 to 200 years ago, and the conclusions are grounded in the laws of thermodynamics, which no one doubts.


    I most certainly can’t prove that LENR doesn’t exist and I have absolutely no desire to do so.

    You are not the issue here. No one is asking you to prove or disprove anything. The point is, you cannot point to any scientists anywhere who have shown errors in cold fusion, or critiques that call it into question. Because there are no such scientists and no such papers.


    There are, of course, many mistakes in many cold fusion experiments, including the ones I personally performed. But there are no significant errors in any of the hundreds of mainstream replications. If there were, I would know about them. Again, you have not read the literature and you do not know what the skeptics have said, so you cannot dispute what I say here.


    When a field makes no measurable and indisputable progress for 30 years, it is anything but established science regardless of how many papers you rattle in people’s faces.

    First, that is incorrect. There has been considerable progress. You have not read the literature and you know nothing about it. You made that up. You should not lecture me about this when you know nothing and I have read (and edited) hundreds of papers. Also, don't presume to tell me the difference between transitive and intransitive Japanese verbs. I know way more about Japanese grammar than you do. *


    Second, even if there were no progress, that would not negate or call into question previous research. There was little or no progress in semiconductors between 1920 and 1948, but that did not mean semiconductors do not exist.


    Dr. Brian May, who is working on the New Horizons spacecraft, was mentioned today in the New York Times. He worked toward a PdD in astrophysics in the 1970s. He then abandoned the effort for about 30 years. He became a world-famous rock musician. (Apparently -- I have never heard of him or the group "Queen".) He came back to astrophysics, got his degree, and is making important contributions. He said that fortunately, in his specialty, little progress was made during those 30 years, so he was able to catch up, finish his thesis with the old data, and begin a serious scientific career.



    * On the other hand, if you have heard of the rock group "Queen" then you know way more about rock music than I do.

  • If somebody was truly agnostic about LENR they would not be posting here, would they? Except of course because they just like arguing about something they see no need to believe in or believe to be 'unknowable'.

    Despite what you say, I am genuinely agnostic about LENR. My primary interest for the past seven years has been in the phenomenon of the Rossi fan club, which I find to be endlessly fascinating from a human interest perspective. As I have stated before, I am not at all convinced that the association between LENR and Rossi is more than a construct on Rossi’s part to gain credibility with a preestablished demographic. Whether LENR is the real deal or not, Rossi is still just a conman with a phony gadget.


    I try to stay out of arguments about LENR because, as Jed makes sure to point out at every opportunity, I have little knowledge of it and have not invested the time to study much of the literature. In any case, I don’t have a dog in that race. You are correct that I certainly don’t see a need to believe in LENR. I don’t even think that is a sensible thing to say about a possible physical phenomenon. If LENR is a source of cheap energy, then of course I hope it is real and amenable to application. But my belief is not a pertinent aspect of the issue.


    I tend to get sucked into non-Rossi discussions only because of the way in which non-believers are attacked for not adhering to the party line. I also find it remarkable that the most rabid LENR defenders are people with no scientific training at all. You, Alan, are a rare exception on this forum. Nevertheless, skeptics (a number of whom are actually scientists) are lectured endlessly about how science works by non-scientists. I find that interesting from a human interest standpoint as well.


    In any case, I will try harder not to get sucked into discussions of LENR so as to not get get the knickers of the community in a knot. I have no desire to convince anyone about anything with respect to LENR apart from spotlighting their curious behavior in defending their views. Believe what you will, but I genuinely am not decided about LENR one way or the other. The only material opinion I have on the subject is that I don’t expect the status of the field to change in any meaningful way any time in the foreseeable future. And I genuinely hope I am wrong about that. In the meantime, I am just an interested observer.

  • IO,


    Well said and sincere. Thank you. Only thing I would take exception to, is that no skeptic here is "lectured". It may come across that way, but it is merely the inflection of a debate, where one side did not do their homework, and is taken to task for it. I see it as a rough and tumble, but necessary part of the peer review process.


    My other mild disagreement with what you said, is that we *DO* have a large number of trained scientists here, who represent the "who's who" of the LENR world. Most are quiet though. Some would like to be more vocal, but have their reputation to protect.

  • ot to get sucked into discussions of LENR so as to not get get the knickers of the community in a knot. I have no desire to convince anyone about anything with respect to LENR apart from spotlighting their curious behavior in defending their views.

    In that case, what motivates you to write bullshit such as this?


    "When a field makes no measurable and indisputable progress for 30 years, it is anything but established science . . ."


    Many readers here know something about this field. They will see that you are aggressively making up anti-cold fusion propaganda and posting it here. You are attacking the field with false accusations. Why would you do that if you were neutral, or agnostic, or you did not care? Clearly, you are strongly opposed to cold fusion, even though you have no knowledge of it and no scientific basis for your opposition.


    You justify your opposition by pointing to imaginary experts. You say you agree with "many scientists" who claim this or that. Yet you cannot give us the name of a single one of them, or point to any paper they wrote. They don't exist! Stop pretending there are such people and you happened to forget their names for the last several years.


    Why do you make up this stream of nonsense? Who are you trying to fool? Many readers here have actually read the literature and they see you trying to bamboozle us with bullshit. As I said, it is as if you started lecturing me about the fine points of Japanese grammar, when you don't speak a word of the language. Do you think I would fall for that? Do you think I would ignore 40 years of experience translating and say to myself, "say, maybe this guy is right after all, and I'm wrong, even though he doesn't know how to count to ten in Japanese." *



    * A trick example, and unfair. There are dozens of ways to count to ten in Japanese. It depends on what you are counting.

  • Jed, I am not creating anti-LENR propaganda and I am not “opposed to LENR”. That is utter bullshit. Your comments are exactly the sort of behavior I was talking about on the part of believers. What the hell does it mean to be “opposed to LENR”? Can you be opposed to the Mossbauer Effect? Can you be opposed to superconductivity? Stop treating LENR like a political ideology and start treating it like a physical phenomenon. Its existence doesn’t depend on faithful followers. And please don’t go on a conspiracy theory bender about me protecting Big Oil or Big Solar or Big Tokamak. I would be absolutely delighted if LENR turns out to be real and useful. Hell, I would even swallow my utter disgust and applaud if Rossi actually has something real lurking in his shit show.


    And why in the world would I be creating anti-LENR propaganda and posting it here of all places? Is there some value to be derived from trying to dissuade the small legion of LENR believers from their convictions? If so, I don’t know what that would be.


    My comment about 30 years of non-progress comes from the behavior of you and people like you. If I ask you what progress has been made, you will either tell me not to expect spoon feeding or you will tell me about 187 replications (without defining what that means in this context) and about how the top 100 electrochemists listed in People magazine all vote thumbs up on LENR. In short, your advocacy for the field consists of saying it’s a done deal and shut up. Meanwhile, most of the actual technical discussions here are about F&P papers from 1989. But here is another chance: what progress has been made in the field?


    What is truly hilarious (and fascinating) is that there are multiple posters here who vigorously deny the existence of LENR and post lengthy diatribes against it. You barely pay attention to them. Meanwhile, I say that I am not convinced one way or another and you blow a gasket. You are one strange dude. But at least you know lots of stuff about Japan. The funny thing is that if you aren’t swinging your sword against all the perceived enemies of LENR, you seem like a swell fellow.


    Peace out.

  • Jed, I am not creating anti-LENR propaganda and I am not “opposed to LENR”. That is utter bullshit. .. why in the world would I be creating anti-LENR propaganda and posting it here of all places? Is there some value to be derived from trying to dissuade the small legion of LENR believers from their convictions? If so, I don’t know what that would be.

    ..

    What is truly hilarious (and fascinating) is that there are multiple posters here who vigorously deny the existence of LENR and post lengthy diatribes against it. You barely pay attention to them. Meanwhile, I say that I am not convinced one way or another and you blow a gasket. You are one strange dude. But at least you know lots of stuff about Japan. The funny thing is that if you aren’t swinging your sword against all the perceived enemies of LENR, you seem like a swell fellow.


    Peace out.


    It's the words (believers) you use that show your intentions: We are not LENR believers. We know that the phenomenon exists and how it can be replicated / produced.


    It's people like you or other "strange minded" ones like THH that tell that the bear is a fish even if they know that there is no water...


    Thus all these people have to explain why they don't believe that radiation on demand from a chemical reaction is not nuclear or how a chemical reaction can produce 4-He a fact that has been measured already 30 years ago...


    We don't accept that you pretend to know nothing. Honest people that know nothing keep quiet, at least about things they don't know anything about.

  • Wyttenbach : if you are so offended by the term “believer”, you should give Alan a hard time for his version of giving me a hard time for daring to post here without “knowing” that LENR is real:


    “If somebody was truly agnostic about LENR they would not be posting here, would they? Except of course because they just like arguing about something they see no need to believe in”


    Like I told Jed, why don’t you save your outrage for people who actually argue that LENR doesn’t exist?

  • It's not clear at all from your post above that you were specifically talking about Rossi - so do you accept the other other replications above are genuine proof of Eout>Ein?

    To be more specific: I don’t deny there are replication of experiments that show transmutations or radiation (and cannot be chemical based only). But I have more than a hard time to accept there are replications of a reactor (aka device to generate more energy out than energy in). There is no such device and we all know that Rossi is promising heaven and earth and doesn’t have one, so nothing to copy (or replicate).

  • Jed, I am not creating anti-LENR propaganda and I am not “opposed to LENR”. That is utter bullshit.


    Well, if you are not creating this propaganda, then you are reposting it from someone else, who is creating it. Your statements such as "When a field makes no measurable and indisputable progress for 30 years . . ." are wrong. You have made dozens of similar statements. All of them wrong, ignorant, biased.


    So, either you yourself are biased, or you are copying assertions made by someone else who is biased, and you are too lazy or ignorant to compare this person's statements to the literature. Either way, you should stop doing this.

  • You can lead a horse to the haystack, but you won't find the needle for him. Ok Shane. How about if you explain what progress has been made in the LENR field over the years? In my experience, this is the only field of human endeavor where one cannot be told what progress has been made in some reasonably succinct way without having to study the entire literature. Sounds like a lame excuse to me.

  • A. Takahashi, Toyota/Nissa & 4 Universities (NEDO funded), and BEC for starters. Beiting replicated Arata, who replicated FP's. Staker replicated FP's, and had 2 run-aways. George's Atom Ecology is still showing gammas/XSH and he has official interest, and involvement. BLP is on track. Gates has funded Duncan at Texas Tech to the tune of $5-6 million. GEC/NASA working on an LENR/hybrid fission reactor.


    That is just a few gallons from the water well, now let's see if you will drink.

  • A list of people who replicated other people (particularly given the amorphous sense that “replicated” is used in these parts) and examples of who got money and who is working on it does not answer my question.


    F&P did their thing 30 years ago. A number of people got similar results presumably under similar circumstances. So 30 years later, is the phenomenon better understood? More reproducible? More controlled? Scaled up? Your list is more hay in the haystack. Explain to me in what sense there has been progress. Saying that lots of people have seen similar results and are busy studying it does not equate to progress. I brashly said there has not been any. Refute that statement. Bill Gates spending his money is progress on the funding front but doesn’t equate to scientific progress.


    Despite Jed’s accusations, I am not trying to spread anti-LENR propaganda. I am relating what I can glean from reading this site. Arguing over the validity of 30-year-old publications doesn’t make one think that 20-year-old papers, 10-year-old papers, or 2-year-old papers have advanced the state of the art. Saying there are 100 or 1000 or 10000 papers does not imply that the field is progressing. Obviously you are convinced that it is. So as a champion of LENR, take a shot at convincing me. I have the sense that I am more open-minded than most believers (sorry for using the term but I don’t know what else to call you.)