How do you convince a skeptic?

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


    One more point needed Shane!


    4) People that know how to get the LENR effect (s) --> people that know LENR exists. This is different from believing in Pink unicorns!


    You can create a second category for peoples believing (knowing how to build it) in a LENR based machine that generates a useful amount of excess energy.


    I guess people who might know it will keep quiet until the can really do it...

  • bang99 is far closer to reality than Shane. Certainly none of Shane’s 3 category describes my own position and anybody who says otherwise is just making up shit to suit their biases. Of course, Jed insists that it is impossible to be agnostic about LENR. That is because he thinks he is in charge of what other people can think.


  • Now it is getting complicated. We have IO, who is a "skeptic"...with an attitude, so we can make him a sub category of #2 (sorry for the pun IO). Now we have multiple levels of believers? LOLs.


    Just having fun Wyttenbach. Yes, I have read many first hand accounts of those who KNOW LENR exists, because they have seen it first hand. Their "eureka moment", and I can tell you have your own story to tell one day...as did Martin last week.


  • I think that these definitions mix up the factual/scientific and the human/social levels.


    For the first level, the definitions should be much shorter:

    - Believer; a person who believes that the CF/LENR phenomena do exist;

    - Skeptic: a person who doubts that CF/LENR phenomena exist, but who recognizes some credibility to the relative claims;

    - Unbeliever or naysayer: a person who don't believe the CF/LENR claims or believe that they are impossible. ("Pseudoskeptic" is an unsuitable word for naming these people, unless they proclaim themselves to be skeptic. But in any case this is more a "name calling" than a mutually accepted definition.)


    As for the human/social level, which goes from urging more public funding down to the "red button", the situation is much more articulated. It could be even possible that an unbeliever deems opportune to keep alive an illusion just for socio-political or strategic reasons. In any case, this level goes beyond the scope of this specific thread, which is more devoted to the scientific reality of the LENR phenomena and to the suitable ways to minimize the number of persons still in doubt.

  • All I was trying to do was build something that could power a field of mach building and RC Aircraft for night time combat simulation Something that could power glow powder mixed with fiberglass skin. 11 day from the patent approval i'm still in court waiting. seems like only umm..10 years now~ what story I could tell.

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


    Sticking to the science is what I'm doing. Ad-homs and conspiracies are evoked by others, often in reply to my factual remarks.


    I'm just doing what believers ask the unbelievers to do:

    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. ...


    The problem is that when a technical error is shown and the other L-F members are asked to recognize it or to explain why it is not an error at all, nobody answers anymore. You asked me to show you an F&P error (1). I have shown you what is IMO a blatant and crucial error (2-3). What is your answer? Do you recognize it is an error or can you explain why it is not?


    The only argument you have raised against the factual remarks I've raised for some months is based on the scientific reputation of F&P (4). All right for me, an "appeal to authority" is a valid scientific argument, because it is usually adopted, with a high rate of success, to preliminary filter out the claims worth of attention. But if you play the "appeal to authority" card, you put at stake that same authority. The only way to reply to such a move is to dispute the validity of this authority and this can be done only by ascertain the true cause of any possible mistake committed by those deemed to be reliable by authority.


    So, if nobody here - which is the most important and visited forum on LENR - is able to deny the presence of the serious error on Figure 8 of the ICCF3 paper, the next legitimate question is how it could have happened, and how it is possible that it was not detected and corrected in the subsequent occasions when the same figure was used to demonstrate the reality of the HAD phenomenon.


    What is not scientific about this reasoning?


    (1) FP's experiments discussion

    (2) FP's experiments discussion

    (3) FP's experiments discussion

    (4) FP's experiments discussion

  • those supporting LENR hypothesis are not necessarily more believer than skeptics are.

    I see a range


    1. Believer in LENR, whatever are the new evidences, trying to rationalize contrary evidences, instead of integrating them. (guess who I think about on what, not LENR but a Fiasco)
    2. Convinced, beyond a reasonable doubt, because of experimental results accumulated, despite past experiments in mainstream science, but ready to change opinion, probably with pain. Have to find the mechanism, to get reliable evidences that even convinced opponents cannot deny. (NB: this is my position today)
    3. Positive, estimating without total confidence, it is probably (very? some?) true, because of coherent evidences of fair quality, and possible hole in mainstream position... Sure research is to be done, even if it leads to deceiving results, and finding the mechanism is required to convince everybody.
    4. Unsure of anything, troubled by contrary evidences, like past scientific results having driven current maintream theories, and contrary LENR evidences... Hard to judge something impossible supported by undeniable evidences. Sure, need to search to have an answer, finding the artifact, or the mechanism. (I know some people not far from there; some ready to talk with me).
    5. Negative, estimating it is probably errors and misconducts because of possible holes in experiments, and good confidence in mainstream results until now. Sure, need to search to close the question definitively, finding the artifact and the tricks, that is still missing for most experiments. Artifact may even lead to applications (NB: this was my position in 1993).
    6. Convinced, beyond a reasonable doubt, that each LENR experiment is an error, or a fraud, but ready to change opinion, probably with pain. Research is probably a waste of time, but that is the game of Science. Maybe we could learn something from that BS experments... it happened before . (This is my position on Rossi, but not with my money).
    7. Believer in non-LENR, sure whatever is shown that it is wrong, trusting without any question nor verification, that mainstream position is right on LENR. Don't search. (guess who I think about on what)
  • AlainCo : good job. Much more nuance than the previous formulations. I think your category 4 comes in several forms. If one is not inclined to comprehensively study the literature (a cardinal sin according to some), then one can come to this very undecided viewpoint as a result of possibly extraneous factors. The nonsense generated by Rossi and other scam artists (e,g, Defkalion) muddies the water. The fact that “serial believers” (i.e. those who accept every pseudoscience claim as legitimate) are loudly on the LENR bandwagon doesn’t help either. Given this noise background, it is difficult to read enough into the signals. Couple that with the parochial and belligerent attitude of the pro-LENR crowd, it isn’t surprising that someone would have the attitude that there is not much reason to delve to deeply into this topic. That’s the scientific side of it. From the human interest side, on the other side, it is compellingly fascinating. If I may make a brief political aside, my exposure to the Rossi affair for the past seven years has given me real insights into the morass of American politics over the past couple of years.

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


    Wyttenbach: 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.


    I, personally, feel there is enough evidence to continue quite a few of the "positive but v complex" experiments. For example the SRI results, Alan's lovely gammas, etc. In all these cases there is an initial exciting positive result with clear possibility of instrumenting it better, double-checking, etc.


    I myself itch to have this done by others less lazy than me, and find the results fascinating.


    I'd be very excited were the results to be positive. What would than mean? With all of these strong indications you would expect with a bit of effort the result could be made more bomb-proof. That then would mean a replication closing holes in the original, adding more experimental insight to reduce the possibility of unconsidered systematic errors, which would be very strong. And this could be iterated with more strength each time.


    I have not seen this yet. But, in both Alan's case and SRI given the nature of the results if they are real I'd expect that. So I live in (some) hope. But not much, since I would have said the same thing 5 years ago or 10 years ago.


    I also find it somewhat frustrating and unscientific that with all these exciting results, the positives get reported, the detailed examination and (presumably) negative attempts to tighten up don't.


    And, I find it 100% unscientific to give credence to remarks like that from Wyttenbach about people with special knowledge who "know" things but have not openly disclosed enough for anyone outside the magic circle to have a similar view. Joining such magic circles is a dangerous activity because of the probability of group think, and an annoying thing because without the robust third party examination that comes from full disclosure you can never know your ideas are real.


    THH

  • And, I find it 100% unscientific to give credence to remarks like that from Wyttenbach about people with special knowledge who "know" things but have not openly disclosed enough for anyone outside the magic circle to have a similar view. Joining such magic circles is a dangerous activity because of the probability of group think, and an annoying thing because without the robust third party examination that comes from full disclosure you can never know your ideas are real.


    And it is not enough that Wyttenbach has published (and applied for a patent for) a complete descriptive theoretical framework we have found to be experimentally predictive? And that we are to take our experiments to one o best equipped laboratories anywhere so they can join the group-think too? Would you still need 'full disclosure' then?

  • Director


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    You don't convince a skeptic. They are pathological and do not have the ability to rationally process information and change their opinions.


    All this crap about pathological skeptics is mostly nonsense. Sure some people can never be convinced they were wrong. But most can.


    Rossi is a good case in point. I first became interested in LENR because of news releases from Rossi in early 2011 and the demos run by Lewan along with the interviews done by Krivit and the discussions on the Vortex email list. At that time, I thought to myself, wouldn't it be cool if it was so simple to release energy from a new source that even a small, strange looking (and rusty) device from an obscure engineer in Italy could do it? All I needed to convince me was basically reliable proof of almost anything Rossi claimed. Could the demo/experiment be duplicated or verified by an unimpeachable source like a major government or test lab? Would a major manufacturer pick up the patents and start experimenting and demonstrating the concept? Could Rossi really show a megawatt energy generator based on his technology in such a way that it was very clear it worked? Could Rossi even take good advice and improve his calorimetry as recommended by scientists who tended to believe him?


    We all know how all that turned out. Well... most of us do. But the fact remained. Had Rossi come through, in a credible fashion, I would have had no trouble "believing" it.


    But then Rossi turned out to be a crook and an obvious serial liar with a past history of nasty and expensive and destructive cons.


    So what does it take to convince a skeptical scientist? It requires really good evidence, collected independently of the original investor. And the more improbable and counter-current-knowledge the claim is, the better the evidence needs to be. There is nothing whatever unusual or illogical about this skeptical way of thinking. It's not one bit "pathological." In fact it is completely logical. What's illogical is believing extreme claims without adequate proof.

  • And, I find it 100% unscientific to give credence to remarks like that from Wyttenbach about people with special knowledge who "know" things but have not openly disclosed enough for anyone outside the magic circle to have a similar view.


    I posted here on the forum a subset of the temperature dependent gamma ray spectra I personally measured. The parts of the spectrum we are interested in are more than 6 times above background. I made hundreds of measurements in the noise range as I call it, where the total count difference was not significantly higher, but the interesting parts still were significantly (1.5-3 times) elevated.

    We work with entry level measurement tools. As a consequence we first had to learn how we can make optimal use of them. Thus without a big budget research needs far more time, but we are willing to spend it.


    But there are far more important things we measure, that, as Alan said, seems to prove some theoretical assumptions. This includes entire spectrum "range shifts", what can only be documented by a video.


    I think people knowledgable in the field will - under certain conditions - always be welcome if they are willing to spend time & little money for their personal measurement tools.


    THHuxleynew : There are some other people that know what they do: Holmlid is one that is fairly public, & of course Mills & Brillouin, Takahashi...

  • robert bryant

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    Rossi is not LENR.. Rossi is Rossi ...


    That's an obvious fact plus a tautology. Congratulations. You missed the point.


    The question asked and addressed was what it would take to convince a skeptic. In my case (and I am sure many others) I would be easily convinced if Rossi's original claims had been true. Instead they were lies. Despite how obvious it was after November 2011 that they were lies, that did not stop enthusiasts on the e-catworld.com forum, ecatnews.com and Vortex list from insulting, abusing and banning anyone who recognized Rossi for what he was. Most did not see the light until Rossi vs IH facts came out and some still don't.

  • Clearly many would have a different opinion. [about the utility of Pd-D electrochemical cold fusion]

    Who do you have in mind? Name three people who have a different opinion. Now name three who have conducted experiments and produced positive results. I don't know three such people and I doubt you do either.


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


    How do you know this? Have you spoken with them? But you are missing the point. All discoveries are scientific curiosities at first. Radium was useless. Worse than useless; it was dangerous. Radium itself has few practical uses, but research into it eventually led to uranium fission, fission reactors, bombs and other useful technology. People had to first go through the "scientific curiosity" stage. Furthermore, even during that stage they discovered many things that were eventually useful and worth a lot of money.


    Obviously, these people along with all cold fusion researchers are hoping that a scientific breakthrough or improved understanding with Pd-D electrolysis will lead to a more practical technique. What else would lead to such a technique? Blind guessing?


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

    They all think that. Just because something is a scientific curiosity, that does not mean it has no potential to be a significant breakthrough. Electricity was a curiosity when Franklin and Volta were working with it. The laser was a curiosity when Townes invented it. For many years it was called "a solution in search of a problem." It had no economic value. Whereas if lasers vanished from the face of the earth today, our civilization would collapse.

  • Pathological skepticism is a real thing and is properly applied to things like Holocaust denial,moon landing denial, and flat earthism. However, the way the term is tossed around here is thoroughly bogus. Jed may try to argue that cold fusion is as firmly established as the spherical earth, but that is utter nonsense. The fact that the phenomenon is still quite controversial is not exclusively a result of bias and various conspiracies. The fact that mainstream science has not accepted the phenomenon is not something to just be ignored because Jed says so. People with considerable expertise have doubts, including some on this site. They are not crackpots just because Jed says so. Mostly, pathological skepticism is used here as a way of dismissing people and making the spurious claim that if you don’t accept the gospel according to Jed, your skepticism must be pathological. Sorry, but skepticism doesn’t work that way and science doesn’t work that way either.


    Basically, calling everyone who is skeptical about LENR pathological is just another form of the absurd viewpoint espoused by Adrian et al that unless something is proven false, it should be considered to be true. Not only does science not work like that, nothing works like that.

  • Jed may try to argue that cold fusion is as firmly established as the spherical earth, but that is utter nonsense.

    So you say, but you give no technical reasons to support your argument. You begin and end by say it is wrong. That is not how science is done. You must specify why the calorimetry in McKubre's experiment is wrong, and why the helium detection in Miles' is wrong. You can't wave your hands and dismiss results without telling us why. We have no way of evaluating your claims. We cannot read your mind and know why you think McKubre and all the others are wrong. A negative critique does not get a free pass. It must be held to the same rigor as a positive critique.


    The researchers have spelled out their work in enormous detail. They have been replicated thousands of times. You cannot dispute that except by addressing the specific details in the literature.


    The fact that mainstream science has not accepted the phenomenon is not something to just be ignored because Jed says so.

    "Mainstream science" is an abstraction. You mean that some mainstream scientists have not accepted the phenomenon. That is a fact, and I never said we should ignore it. I said we must examine why those mainstream scientists rejected the cold fusion. We must read their critiques and evaluate whether they are right or wrong. I have done that. You have not. I say those people are wrong. They know nothing about cold fusion, and their critiques all boil down to rejecting experiments because of theory. That violates the scientific method.


    You cannot dispute me, because you have not told us the name of a single mainstream scientist who rejects cold fusion. If you know of one who has a valid reason to reject the experiments, tell us the name. Otherwise we have nothing to work with and no way to evaluate what you say.

  • Interested Observer apparently thinks that mainstream scientists have rejected cold fusion for good reasons. He refuses to name any of these scientists, and he will not tell us these good reasons. We have to have faith in his evaluation, because he is keeping his reasons and sources secret.


    I suspect he has not actually read the skeptical critiques. I have read them. In my opinion they have no merit. I spelled out the reasons here:


    http://pages.csam.montclair.ed…lski/cf/293wikipedia.html


    Interested Observer cannot dispute my opinion until he points to a specific skeptical critique and shows I am wrong. Waving your hands and saying that "mainstream science disagrees" for unstated reasons, or saying that hundreds of experiments are "utter nonsense" for unstated reasons, are empty arguments. They are opinions unsupported by evidence. No one can debate them because we have no idea who or what Interested Observer refers to, or why he thinks all of the experimental results in cold fusion are "utter nonsense." (He must think that, because he dismisses the entire field as "utter nonsense" and if any experiment is valid, logically the field as a whole cannot be nonsense. There is indeed a great deal of nonsense in the literature. I know that better than anyone except Ed Storms. But, if even 1 paper is valid, 100 other nonsensical papers cannot invalidate it or make the field nonsensical.)

  • Jed, you must have been a broken record in a previous life. You have one speech for each person you disagree with and you repeat it ad nauseum. And it is as off-track the 27th time as it was the first.


    I do not need to find a problem with McKubre’s calorimetry or dispute Miles’ helium detection because I am not claiming that there is something wrong with their work. I have no opinion of their work. I can tell you that 100 times and you are incapable of understanding it. Clearly, you have some sort of disorder.


    I am not disputing the so-called reputations you harp on (I say so-called because you refuse to define the term in any meaningful way). Furthermore, I am also not disputing the critiques of cold fusion. I don’t have a opinion of them either.


    What do I have? What most of us have for technical and other academic subjects that we have not studied in detail: opinions formed by exposure to whatever sources we have encountered. Nobody studies the literature of every topic that they form some opinion of.


    LENR is a topic I have repeatedly encountered by virtue of its apparent connection to the antics of a very entertaining con artist. This led me to read a few things here and there, but has not enticed me to really study the technical literature. Why not? Guilt by association. The LENR community (meaning the folks who inhabit LENR websites as distinct from practioners in the field to whom I have virtually no exposure) seems to be heavily populated by the same sort of people who are into bigfoot, UFOs, and other nonsense. Does that mean that LENR belongs in that category? Not necessarily, but like I said, guilt by association.


    I have a great deal of experience discussing a wide range of technical topics with active practitioners, business people, and ordinary folks. There is a certain comminality that transcends the specific topic. When it comes to LENR, It is more like talking to Scientologists or members of other fringe groups. It is all club secrets and special rules for learning anything as well as personal attacks on heretics.


    The technical material I have looked at related to LENR is intriguing. I would not be surprised if there is some meaningful science going on. But given the weird culture surrounding the subject, I choose to remain neutral until more convincing information filters its way into the real world. You insist that I am anti-LeNR and believe it doesn’t exist. That is your problem and your error. But really, I don’t care what you think because you don’t base your opinions about people on fact.

  • The LENR community (meaning the folks who inhabit LENR websites as distinct from practioners in the field to whom I have virtually no exposure) seems to be heavily populated by the same sort of people who are into bigfoot, UFOs, and other nonsense. Does that mean that LENR belongs in that category? Not necessarily, but like I said, guilt by association.


    Unfair generalization, and something the earliest CF opponents resorted to (guilt by association with crackpots) for lack of anything scientifically substantial to say...so nothing new. Yawn. When you say something like that, it tells me you are just spoiling for a fight, as I already suspected.

  • Shane D.

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    Unfair generalization,

    Perhaps you have not spent any time on Frank Acland's forum? Or 22Passi? Plenty of enthusiasts there for homeopathy, alien probes, psychic and paranormal phenomena, and many other weird things. At least there was when I used to browse those back around 2012 - 2015.


    interested observer

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    I do not need to find a problem with McKubre’s calorimetry or dispute Miles’ helium detection because I am not claiming that there is something wrong with their work. I have no opinion of their work. I can tell you that 100 times and you are incapable of understanding it. Clearly, you have some sort of disorder


    I agree with that but in fact LENR calorimetry, specifically isoperibolic calorimetry (which is actually point temperature measurement) has been specifically challenged as well as have the evidence and methods for measuring helium generation via LENR. I recall reading critiques a few years ago. Not sure where the links appeared that I saw. Possibly Vortex. I suspect both McKubre and Shanahan know where those are if Jed Rothwell doesn't.

  • robert bryant

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    I think this is becoming the default Rossi thread.. 7/20's fallback.. rossi.. or steorn..

    wherever there is no data .. but only words.. is 7/20 's forte.

    ROTFWL. You know the old saying. Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it (usually attributed to Churchill). I suspect Brillouin is next up for those honors as well as Shane's favorite NASA and whatever-connected claimants. GEC was it? And probably BLP as well. There are so many completely unsupported and wide-ranging claims in the field and vaguely related "fields" that my eyes tend to glaze over and I lose track.

  • I do not need to find a problem with McKubre’s calorimetry or dispute Miles’ helium detection because I am not claiming that there is something wrong with their work. I have no opinion of their work.

    In that case, you can have no opinion of cold fusion. McKubre's work is cold fusion. They are one and the same. When you say cold fusion is nonsense, you can only mean that his results are nonsense.


    What most of us have for technical and other academic subjects that we have not studied in detail: opinions formed by exposure to whatever sources we have encountered.

    What are your sources? Who do you refer to? Whose opinions? If you will not tell us who has these opinions and where they are published, we have no way of knowing whether you and your sources are right or wrong.


    I have read every mass media and academic published opinion about cold fusion. I have uploaded some them (when I got permission), and included the others in the bibliography. I assert that every single skeptical review of cold fusion is mistaken. I have defended my assertion, and documented it. I listed the authors, quoted from them, and gave the reasons I think they are wrong. If you wish to make a valid point, you must list your sources and defend their point of view. You are asking us to take on faith that you have read sources; that you understand them; and that these sources have merit. No one here has any idea who you are talking about. You have not given a single reason to believe what you say.


    I suggest you put up or shut up. Stop demanding that we believe you on faith alone.