How do you convince a skeptic?

  • 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.