How do you convince a skeptic?

  • This more recent paper from McKubre addresses some of the questions IO is asking:

    LENR – What We must Do to Complete Martin Fleischmann’s Undertaking, Michael C.H. McKubre, Journal of Condensed Matter Nuclear Science 26 (2018)

    http://www.iscmns.org/CMNS/JCMNS-Vol26.pdf#page=6


    In this paper, McKubre points out the need for a device that can demonstrate the feasibility of LENR as a useful power source. Without such a demo, even if you accept the existence of LENR, you may conclude that it has no more practical importance than something like muon-catalyzed fusion. A demonstration is needed to show the critical difference between a scientific curiosity and something that industry and governments need to pay attention to


    Of all of the experiments he cites, he focuses on one with high enough power and figure-of-merit (aka COP) to allow closing the loop by generating the input power from the output power to make it self-sustaining:


    "Representing Energetics Technologies (Incorporated and operating in Israel as ETI but headquartered in New Jersey) Arik

    El-Boher presented at ICCF10 [15] what was then and remains today one of the most exciting discoveries in Pd–D heat studies. Energetics struck a super-wave modulated glow discharge between thoriated tungsten and a thin palladium coating (on stainless steel) in sub-atmospheric D2. The experiment produced boiling water with a power gain of 3.88 and an energy gain of 6.72 (because of conspicuous “heat after death”) over a periodof 10 h."


    This sounds exciting, but the Energetics paper was from 2003 and could not be replicated:


    "Because the temperature of the plasma was quite high (although unmeasured) one can easily conceive

    of a demonstration prototype but this experiment has not been replicated to my knowledge despite the best

    efforts of El-Boher, Energetics and SKINR"


    I think this is the crux of the problem that IO is talking about. The field is filled with papers describing promising ideas that then vanish or stall at levels that prevent them from becoming practical or even demonstrable power sources. This is much different than most other technologies that make steady progress and get better over time. Maybe Jed is right that the reality of LENR is proven, but IO is right that the reality of useful LENR is far from proven.

  • The replication problems, which is not an experimental problem, as when it is observe with one batch of material, it is replicable, is symptom of a missink key : metallurgy.

    ENEA worked on that point, and Storms, Staker, push ideas.


    All is not failure as showe Iwamura and NEDO-funded line of replications, or even Fralick line...

    The electrolytic PdD line of replication is a bit messy but huge.


    Anyway, there is a need for a theory as Jean-Francois Geneste said at LENRG Milan before ICCF19.

    Always going back to that point. Something usable, not just QM theories with no consequence in choosing the Pd batch.

  • IMHO the problem of replication observed with Pd-D systems, and in particular the 'missing link' that AlainCo mentions are due to the variability of materials, which is in turn partly because of changes in the method that Johnson Matthey (and possibly others) used to refine palladium.


    Two members of my family worked at JM- UK up until the 1980's, one of them responsible for sorting through the precious metal scrap to prepare charges for the remelt system. He was always aware that impurities were making their way into melts because platinum, white gold, nickel-silver, and sterling silver all look superficially similar and sometimes things like scraps of chains, gem-mounts and so on would be included in (say) a platinum remelt that should not be in there. Not every scrap of metal entering the remelt system was assayed beforehand, and inevitably there were always 'impurities' present.


    The scientists involved in P&F replication were aware of the possibility of this happening, and sought to guard against it by seeking materials of 'five-nines' purity. This has not always been a helpful path, and now the improved reliability of LENR systems containing 'mixed materials' has been recognised by some workers in the field. This is also the basis of the 'Atom Ecology' approach, where our fuel is mostly made from impurities. To quote - very loosely - our colleague Russ George. 'Cold Fusion is a natural phenomenon, and nature doesn't do things using five-nines raw materials'.

  • which research fields have you encountered in your life?

    I’ve personally worked on thin-film materials, photovoltaics, superconductivity, power electronics, cryoelectonics, cryocoolers, quasi-one-dimensional solids, rf filter technology, magnetometry, and a few others. I have been involved with in terms of policy and public education but not personally working on battery technology, fuel cells, demand management, various aspects of ecology, endangered species, climate change, and several other issues. And I have managed to gain a reasonable understanding of these things without having to join any exclusive clubs. But, like I said, I guess LENR plays by a different rule book.

  • And I have managed to gain a reasonable understanding of these things without having to join any exclusive clubs. But, like I said, I guess LENR plays by a different rule book.


    IO,


    You keep saying that, and I keep missing where anyone is twisting your arm to become a believer? Our many skeptics here are welcome for their opinions, and are only taken to task when they have not done their homework. And refusing to even read the literature, and demanding to be lead by the hand, or spoon fed, in the discovery process is considered not doing your homework.


    The information you need to make up your mind on LENR is readily available here on LF, LENR-CANR, and elsewhere. I read enough to come away a believer. If you read it and remain unconvinced, fine...you stay a skeptic. At least then you will be an informed skeptic.

  • It is interesting how many people are ascribing various judgements to me with respect to various aspects of LENR. Robert Horst mentioned the crux of the problem I was talking about. Which problem is that? Apparently, even by asking people what progress has been made over the years with respect to understanding, reproducibility, control, scaling, etc., that somehow implies that I have conclusions about those things. I really haven’t but the extreme reticence on the part of all of you to address any of these issues is puzzling. If I want information on these topics, I need to plow through the literature with zero guidance apart from the legendary 10-year-old McKubre paper. People actually sharing knowledge is verboten because that is “spoon feeding”. Jeez!


    And Shane, of course there should be continued LENR research. Jed’s massive heap of publications can’t all be meaningless. Science is all about finding out the truth. Go for it!

  • And Shane, of course there should be continued LENR research. Jed’s massive heap of publications can’t all be meaningless. Science is all about finding out the truth. Go for it!


    "heap of publications can't all be meaningless"...hmmm. Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, it was me! When I said it though, I was accused of "appealing to authority", but it must be something different when you say it. :)


    Thanks for the answer.

  • This more recent paper from McKubre addresses some of the questions IO is asking:

    LENR – What We must Do to Complete Martin Fleischmann’s Undertaking, Michael C.H. McKubre, Journal of Condensed Matter Nuclear Science 26 (2018)


    http://www.iscmns.org/CMNS/JCMNS-Vol26.pdf#page=6


    In this paper, McKubre points out the need for a device that can demonstrate the feasibility of LENR as a useful power source. Without such a demo, even if you accept the existence of LENR, you may conclude that it has no more practical importance than something like muon-catalyzed fusion. A demonstration is needed to show the critical difference between a scientific curiosity and something that industry and governments need to pay attention to


    The demo proposed by McKubre is futile, it will be anyway inconclusive: a possible positive outcome could be due to experimental errors, as happened many times during the long CF history, while, on the other hand, LENR supporters will attribute the likely negative outcomes to some defect in the materials or to a wrong experimental procedure.


    However, McKubre is right in tracing back the entire CF controversy to F&P and their alleged FPHE: "Heat is the principal product predicted and observed by Fleischmann and Pons, and by all serious replicators of their claim (the FPHE)."


    This fact suggests the only possible way to solve the CF controversy, that is answering the following question: were F&P really reliable in their claim to have measured excess heat?


    Let's consider this metaphor. A couple of expert and long-time sailors claim to have saw from afar an island halfway between Chile and Easter Island, but a sudden storm prevented them from approaching it, and they lost contact. To prove their claim, they only show a blurred picture taken from long distance. If their reputation makes them reliable, many other sailors could leave in searching that island. Public initiatives could even be funded to locate it. But after a while, much less than thirty years, the question at stake can no longer be "where the island is and how can it be found", but "were the sailors really reliable"? If it happens that the image in their blurry picture matches a profile of another island already known, the case is closed.


    Going back to F&P, we have a vast documentation of their experimental proofs. As recently discussed in the thread dedicated to their experiments (1), the main claims of their major paper seem to be wrong. Therefore, IMO, the first step to verify the reality of CF/LENR is to re-examine the F&P documents and claims in order to ascertain their scientific reliability. If it happens that they were really wrong, there is no reason to search a "nowhere island".


    (1) FP's experiments discussion

  • There you go Ascoli. Press the button and all LENR research, and funding goes away. No more Toyota/Nissan research. No more universities in Japan, US, and Europe will waste their money on the pseudoscience. NASA will stop working with GEC to develop a hybrid LENR reactor. The US Navy will stop their support. No more DOE funding. No more investment money from Gates, or Darden. All poof. Gone. Only thing allowed will be hobbyists/enthusiasts working in their garage, using their own money.


    Will you do it? Are you so sure it is all an illusion created by bad experiments, anomalies, instrument error, data corruption, or bad intent, that you are willing to stop it all right now? Knowing that doing so, may rob humanity of the perfect green energy source if you are wrong.


    If you type bzzz, we know your answer. :)

  • Quote

    Do any skeptics, or even non-believers, feel there is enough evidence to continue on with LENR research?

    There has to be a reason that people keep claiming excess heat and tritium and so on... it'd be nice to know what that reason is, whether it's LENR or errors or something else. I do not think the evidence justifies government funding but it's fine, IMO, for universities, investors and entrepreneurs to pursue it. That seems to be happening. Sort of.

  • There you go Ascoli. Press the button and all LENR research, and funding goes away. [...]
    Will you do it? Are you so sure it is all an illusion created by bad experiments, anomalies, instrument error, data corruption, or bad intent, that you are willing to stop it all right now? Knowing that doing so, may rob humanity of the perfect green energy source if you are wrong.


    Interesting questions, but out of theme and, in any case, I can't reach that button. :)


    This thread poses a well defined question: "How do you convince a skeptic?", which is almost equivalent to ask how to solve the controversy over the reality of the FPHE. I proposed a technical path to reach this goal. I'm waiting technical answers.

  • lets face it, its just like the earth warming of cooling in coming years, where you get the information will determine what you believe

    Someone coind Fake news for a purpose.


    That's the reason I'm basing my remarks almost exclusively on information coming from the LENR field.

    Are you able to provide an explanation of the apparent F&P errors based on facts?

  • Are you able to provide an explanation of the apparent F&P errors based on facts?


    Yes, they are typographic errors, possibly introduced by somebody hoping to discredit the work, Far more likely under the circumstances than the scandalous reasons for them you have claimed, but equally un-provable.

  • You don't convince a skeptic. They are pathological and do not have the ability to rationally process information and change their opinions. A fundamental difference between an ordinary person and a skeptic is that when presented with a fascinating or interesting possibility they automatically feel a desire to find a way to prove it wrong or impossible instead of looking at the subject with an open mind.


    Now, it is always good to look for possible sources of error or evidence that could prove something isn't real. However, the skeptics who openly call themselves skeptics and spend years on forums on topics they don't believe in will come up with explanations that are simply outrageous.

  • Yes, they are typographic errors, possibly introduced by somebody hoping to discredit the work,


    In my post above, I was referring to the errors contained in the ICCF3 paper and I linked the post where I addressed one of these errors: the time misrepresentation of the boil-off in Cell 2. Are you meaning that it is a typo possibly introduced in Fig.8 by others than F&P?


    Quote

    Far more likely under the circumstances than the scandalous reasons for them you have claimed, but equally un-provable.


    Which scandalous reasons are you referring to?

  • Which scandalous reasons are you referring to?


    These ones.


    In conclusion, not only the misrepresentation of experimental times in Figure 8 (1) is undeniable, but it's very hard to imagine how it could have happened by accident. Even much harder is to realize how it is possible that it could have passed a peer-review (3), the writing and scrutiny of a paper entirely dedicated to this false claim (4) and dozens of years during which the myth of the Heat After Death based on that fake figure was believed and celebrated by the LENR community (5).


    And don't start playing coy about this, your inference of fraud is very clear. And total nonsense.

  • Please provide some quotes from me that make up bullshit about reproducibility and say things about professors who published critiques point out errors. Go ahead and try. Show me some examples where I make up one thing after another, without a shred of evidence.


    You misunderstand. This is science. If you cannot provide a reference to a paper by a scientist that shows a technical error, or if you yourself cannot point to an error, then you have nothing. You have no valid reason to doubt cold fusion, and you have no business taking part in discussion or holding any opinion, positive or negative. In a scientific discussion, only technical issues have any meaning, or any role. They are the only valid criteria. The kinds of things you point to, such as popularity, are off the table.


    It has to be a specific error, described in such a way the others can confirm or falsify the scientist's claim. A vague assertion that "there must be an error somewhere but we don't know where it is" is not science. It is not falsifiable. It cannot be tested. If you cannot point to a specific error described in a paper (or if you yourself cannot come up with one) then you are not engaged in a scientific debate.


    If you want to discuss the public image of cold fusion, or the history, or the mindset of some skeptics, then you can introduce the kinds of things you bring up. But these have absolutely nothing to do with whether the experiments are valid, or whether the heat is real, or the effect is reproducible -- or any other technical issue.


    Let me be a little more specific. Seven of twenty wrote:


    It's due to unconvincing performance as seen by non-enthusiasts.


    That statement cannot be tested. You have to say WHICH non-enthusiasts you have in mind, and you have to specify WHY they find the results unconvincing. For example, you have to say: "Dr. X of the University of Y says the results are unconvincing for thus-and-such reasons, spelled out in his paper the journal of XYZ." Without that specific information, the rest of us have no idea who you are talking about, or what these people have said. We can't debate whether these people are right or wrong. We don't know whether you misinterpreted what these people said. You are saying that someone somewhere is unconvinced for some reason. That is so vague, it is meaningless. My point is, you and s-o-20 have never given us anything more specific than this.

  • In this paper, McKubre points out the need for a device that can demonstrate the feasibility of LENR as a useful power source. Without such a demo, even if you accept the existence of LENR, you may conclude that it has no more practical importance than something like muon-catalyzed fusion. . . .

    I think this is the crux of the problem that IO is talking about.


    That is a political problem. It is a public relations problem. Not scientific in any sense. In science, results must be judged real or not solely on the basis of signal-to-noise ratios and replications. Whether the effect might become practical or whether it will ever be useful or not should play absolutely no role in judging the validity of the claim. That's the only rational approach. It is also the only practical approach that might lead to practical applications, because -- and this is very important! -- nearly every phenomenon discovered by people has started out being impractical and useless. Think about the first discovery of electricity, probably from electric eels. Later static electricity. Or the fact that electric jolts caused frog's legs to move. Even the electromagnet was useless at first. It was many years before it could be applied to the telegraph or generator. The first detection of radioactivity did not result in a practical energy source until 50 years later, and that took billions of dollars in the Manhattan Project.


    It took many years of development before things like lasers or the MRI effect could be made into practical technology. Semiconductors began around 1920, but little progress was made toward a practical device until the late 1940s.


    The only major discovery in modern history that was almost immediately useful was the x-ray. That's the only one I can think of, anyway. There have been many minor discoveries that were soon useful.



    The field is filled with papers describing promising ideas that then vanish or stall at levels that prevent them from becoming practical or even demonstrable power sources.



    No, it isn't. Very few papers predict that the technique might be developed into a practical device. Fleischmann, McKubre, Storms and everyone else I have spoken with or worked with said that the experiments they were doing could never result in a practical device. They said the experiment might lead to a discovery or more knowledge of the phonomenon, and that, in turn, might lead to practical device. Fleischmann told me he thought the Toyota project to scale up his Pd-D electrochemical experiments was a bad idea that would go nowhere.

  • To quote - very loosely - our colleague Russ George. 'Cold Fusion is a natural phenomenon, and nature doesn't do things using five-nines raw materials'.


    On the other hand, transistors would never have worked without 5-nines raw materials, and the zone-refining technique. That's why transistors do not exist in nature.

  • And don't start playing coy about this, your inference of fraud is very clear. And total nonsense.


    I'm not coy about what I wrote and I didn't use the f-word. I carefully chose each word and every sentence is transparent:

    or at least nobody here has denied it until now;


    Of course, it's very hard for me. You proposed an explanation based on "typographic errors, possibly introduced by somebody hoping to discredit the work". Well, it remains very hard to me to imagine how it could have happened and how it has been possible that the same identical "typographic errors" was repeated in at least 3 others of the most cited and referenced LENR documents, issued along a period of 17 years.


    But, I admit it could be a limit of mine. I'm keen to consider any other possible reasonable and viable explanation of both the error and/or its possible accidental nature.


    In any case, the existence of the error on Figure 8, that is implicitly confirmed also by your "typographic errors" hypothesis,


    (1) FP's experiments discussion

  • You don't convince a skeptic.


    So if someone is not a "skeptic" then what is the alternative - a "believer"? Lets all hand out labels and have a fight. Or alternatively we could look at the evidence and discuss.


    No, it isn't. Very few papers predict that the technique might be developed into a practical device. Fleischmann, McKubre, Storms and everyone else I have spoken with or worked with said that the experiments they were doing could never result in a practical device. They said the experiment might lead to a discovery or more knowledge of the phonomenon, and that, in turn, might lead to practical device. Fleischmann told me he thought the Toyota project to scale up his Pd-D electrochemical experiments was a bad idea that would go nowhere.


    Well that's a bummer, and me invested in IH via Woodford. Why did nobody tell me earlier?

    Clearly many would have a different opinion.

    Bill Gates, Darden and other investors are not throwing money at something they think is only a scientific curiosity.

    Alan and many other researchers clearly think there is promise for a significant breakthrough.


    As a layman I do not "know" that LENR is real but I hope it is. Energy is a key area that requires urgent progess. If LENR is real and scalable and controllable then it will change the world in huge ways, which makes it interesting, its just that the rest of the world has not realized yet.


    Even if the chances are low LENR is still worth supporting. After all the chances of practical, controlled fusion are not proven, but billions of dollars are being chucked at it, and probably rightly so given the future energy needs of the planet.

  • So if someone is not a "skeptic" then what is the alternative - a "believer"?


    Yeah, I think we need to define, and name some categories, so we know who our friends and enemies are. Seems to me we have 3 categories here:


    1. Believes LENR exists. Fully supports more public awareness, and increased funding of LENR research by government, and the private sector.

    2. Think LENR is probably bogus, but feel there is enough evidence ("smoke" is probably the better word) to justify further research, but only at existing levels and funding (DOE's 2004 position).

    3. Does not believe LENR exists. It is a pseudoscience, and if that damn button Shane put up really worked, would be happy to push it right now, and be done with this CF crap once and for all.


    So maybe:


    1. Believer

    2. Skeptic

    3.Pseudoskeptic

  • 1. Believer (I believe! The scources tells me, that this is the truth)

    2. Aknostic (I can't decide! I can't proof or disproof, the sources I observed leads me to be uncertain, more obersavation is needed)

    3. Atheist (I do not blieve! The sources I observed tells me, it's not true)


    And there are also the opened minds, that says:

    There are always changes, let's see what the future will bring.

    Some are armchair watchers, other's grap their tools and go to work.


    Let's stay open minded!

    To get more knowledge!


    "Alle sagten: Es geht nicht. Da kam einer, der das nicht wusste und tat es einfach."

  • Ascoli,


    I heavily edited your post, and will do so again if necessary. If you persist, I will take it to a ban. This is like your 4th warning? You have more lives than a cat.


    Not only is it wrong to make these baseless accusations, but we do get feedback from researchers in the field...including the old guard, who find your constant personal attacks offensive. There is just no reason for that here.


    Stick to the science you are very good at, and stop with the ad-homs/conspiracies, and you are perfectly welcome here.

  • Jed, once again you are flinging straw man arguments at me. I asked you for examples of the various things you accuse me of saying and you ignore me and accuse me of even more of them. You seem to think that you can conjure up a stereotype skeptic profile and apply it to anyone you feel like criticizing. For a guy who complains that people don’t read things, you don’t pay attention to anything people say except for the tiny nuggests that suit your agenda.


    I really don’t have anything to say about cold fusion either positive or negative. Your delusion that I am busy criticizing researchers, papers, results, and so on is exactly that: a delusion. What I do have to say is that many of its foremost proponents are irrational and dishonest in what they say to people who don’t suit their fancy.