Review

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

This page will collect reviews of the ICCF-21 abstracts. The intention is to support study and preparation for talks and poster sessions, as well as to prioritize attendee time.

The abstracts display a wide range of quality and usefulness. Those two characteristics are personal assessments, not fact. Comments are welcome.

My intention is to update reviews during the conference, and to later integrate what is studied here with actual published papers, where those appear.

Analysis re Kirkegaard

The sources cited by Oliver Smith on his Kirkegaard attack blog.

In the introduction, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/14/how-toby-young-got-where-he-isnt-today-universities-regulator-resignation (archive) Sun 14 Jan 2018 05.00 EST attack vituperation (see below) and then:

(the number at the beginning of each link is a link to an anchor for details below. Archive copies are also linked in the details.)

Opinion piece in Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/14/how-toby-young-got-where-he-isnt-today-universities-regulator-resignation (archive)

(I was astonished that the Guardian would put up a piece like this, even as “Opinion.” This is not listed as an official Guardian editorial. The author, Stewart Lee, is a “standup comedian, writer and director.His latest “opinion piece” (really sarcastic satire like this), and, my opinion, funny … as long as one does not take it literally. There are truths behind sarcasm, but it is not “the truth.” These pieces are selected by the Guardian from submissions, see “pitch guidelines.” I have found no disclaimer, however, to warn the reader that pieces are the opinion of the author, not the Guardian. Nor that a piece by a “standup comedian” might be a satirical roast.)

The following is only what relates to Kirkegaard, but the general theme regarding the London Conference on Intelligence is that there would be “nazism … being handed round .”

secret conference on “intelligence”, featuring notorious speakers including in previous years white supremacists and a weird far-right paedophilia apologist called Emil.  

Private Eye

Toby Young Breeds Contempt. Private Eye, 10 Jan. 2018. The link was incorrect, returning an internal link to the deleted blog. With some effort, I found a screenshot of the paper’s article. (archive) Quoting from it, re Kirkegaard, and about the London Conference on Intelligence:

The conference serves as a rendezvous for academic racists and their sympathizers. One speaker, Emil Kirkegaard, whom Young follows on Twitter, presented papers at the 2015, 2016 and 2017 conferences. Writing about pedophilia on his website, he argued in 2012 that a “compromise is having sex with a sleeping child without them knowing it (so, using sleeping medicine). If they dont (sic) notice, it is difficult to see how they cud [sic] be harmed. He added in April 2017 that he advocated a “frank discussion of pedophilia-related issues”.

The author generally is searching for what is wrong, Private Eye is a scandal sheet. Kirkegaard, in his 2017 comment, did not realize the problem: public reaction to mention of pedophilia can be highly reactive, and high reactivity does not allow clear insight, and “frank discussion” is unsafe, outside of a safe context. Even then it can be dangerous! It is easy to say things that are clearly true, and be attacked for “advocating pedophilia.” — and saying that is not advocating pedophilia and does not imply that pedophilic activity — that’s the legal issue, not pedophilia per se, is or should be acceptable, it is quite the contrary. However, to actually protect children, we need to step back and generate deeper understanding than the simple horror that is common — and understandable.

Kirkegaard is a hereditarian, i.e., tends to look for genetic causes of behavior. So he was thinking about pedophilia as genetic. If it is genetic, a conclusion can come to mind that pedophiles “can’t help themselves.” So he was thinking about what one could do if one was unfortunate enough to be a pedophile. He is quite correct that if we want to control damage, we must consider this. However, where one goes from there is not obvious. Someone with an innate disposition to uncontrollable violence — which may have genetic roots — is not therefore to be excused and tolerated!

Kirkegaard’s language “it is hard to see,” would easily be taken as a claim that there is no harm. And so his statement, quoted out of context, seems to be “approving” of child rape. However, he did not claim that, and his post actually goes on to discuss the actual and potential harm. That part was not quoted, and the selective quotation implies that it was missing.

He meant by this that it might be hard for the pedophile. It obviously was not hard for him, as he complete his thinking about the problem. He was not, and probably is not, aware of what real pedophiles, or people who seem (to themselves!) like pedophiles, can actually do to avoid harm to themselves and others.

The author clearly did read the original post, not merely the RationalWiki quotation, but searching for confirmation of the shocking revelation she had seen there, serving the purpose of her article (to smear Toby Young by association), reading the post in the context of a claim that Kirkegaard is a pedophile or pedophile apologist, she missed the contradiction.

As well, it is a common public reaction to believe that pedophiles and pedophile apologists want public discussion of pedophilia. No, they don’t. That is the opposite of reality, in my experience. Genuine pedophiles don’t want the topic brought up at all! (I ended up counselling pedophiles in several instances, there are three examples that I came across. Only one of them would want a “frank conversation.” He had been convicted and had thoroughly accepted the serious wrongness of what he had done. (He was also involved in counselling pedophiles. And he had actually managed to get the sex offender registry lifted, having demonstrated to the satisfaction of the courts that re-offense was very unlikely, and largely because everyone in his life — his family, etc., — knew what he had done. Pedophiles, far more commonly, want it never mentioned. Pedophilic activity thrives in secrecy.

There are organizations that advocate for “boy love” or the like. They create walled gardens for their members, not public conversation. The “frank public conversation” is actually from academics, professionals and the like, actually studying the issue with scientific research and academic publication. Kirkegaard has not apparently been part of the academic conversation.

Hence the author here cites the “frank conversation” comment as if it is advocacy, and that attitude (that conversation must be advocacy) does little or nothing to actually protect children, and may actually cause harm. The archive image on imgur was archived from a photo of the page, for a post on reddit. The title given to the scan, the next day, was “Private Eye: Toby Young attended secret eugenics conference with white supremacists, paedophiles”

The Evolve Politics page (see coverage here) has a complete scan of the Private Eye article 

The Telegraph

UCL launches ‘eugenics’ probe after it emerges academic held controversial conferenceThe Telegraph. 10 Jan. 2018. 10 JANUARY 2018 • 6:49PM  Still up, original link.

Since 2015, Dr James Thompson has overseen the London Conference on Intelligence, which has seen a researcher who has previously advocated child rape online speak on campus on three occasions.

. . .

Speakers who have attended include researcher Emil Kirkegaard, who previously wrote that a “compromise” for child pornography would be for paedophiles to have “sex with a sleeping child without them knowing”.
In a blog published on his personal website in 2012, Mr Kirkegaard wrote: “One can have sex with some rather young ones (say, any consenting child in puberty) without any moral problems, especially when one is young oneself.”
“If they don’t notice it is difficult to see how they cud [sic] be harmed, even if it is rape.”

The second quotation is simple truth, actually, and describes behavior that is often legal. What was confusing here was the use of “child” to refer to someone sexually mature. Whether this is legal or not depends on unstated details. “Rather young” doesn’t mean “children” in this context. The juxtaposition of this sentence with the one about rape is confusing as well. The second sentence actually came first, and there was an intermediate sentence in the original post that made it clear that these were about two different situations.

London Student

London’s eugenics conference and its neo-Nazi links. London Student. 10 Jan. 2018.

Among the speakers and attendees over the last four years are a self-taught geneticist who argues in favour of child rape, multiple white supremacists, and ex-board member of the Office for Students Toby Young.

. . .

Another major organiser of the LCI is Emil Kirkegaard, who has attended all four conferences and even designed the website. Although he refers to himself as a “polymath” and Thompson describes him as a “very bright young guy”, Kirkegaard is not an academic. His highest qualification is a Bachelor’s in linguistics.
Having dropped out of his Masters degree, instead preferring to be “self-taught in various subjects”, Kirkegaard now runs OpenPsych, a platform for non-peer reviewed psychology papers, along with Davide Piffer of Mankind Quarterly. Piffer is a fellow LCI-speaker, and was praised by Richard Lynn as having done “brilliant work identifying the genes responsible for race differences in intelligence.”
. . .
Kirkegaard’s own personal blog is home to topics such as ‘Is miscegenation bad for your kids?’ and how one could empirically verify a Jewish conspiracy. His Facebook features alt-right ‘promotional videos’and once featured a friend’s Nazi salute with the caption ‘There will be an heir to the Führer.’
A post on Facebook featuring a Nazi salute behind Kirkegaard alongside his ‘Führer’ comment
By far the most disturbing of part of Kirkegaard’s internet presence, however, is a blog-post in which he justifies child rape. He states that a ‘compromise’ with paedophiles could be:

“having sex with a sleeping child without them knowing it (so, using sleeping medicine. If they dont notice it is difficult to see how they cud be harmed, even if it is rape. One must distinguish between rape becus the other was disconsenting (wanting to not have sex), and rape becus the other is not consenting, but not disconsenting either.”
He qualifies this with a note that “bodily harm” would undermine this justification, and especially “with small children since their bodily openings are not large enuf [sic] for a regular sized male penis. To avoid this one shud [sic] not penetrate.”
Kirkegaard’s reputation as a scientific advocate for neo-Nazism was increased last April when he appeared on Tara McCarthy’s ‘Reality Calls’ to discuss “the future of eugenics.” McCarthy was banned from YouTube for alleging a Jewish conspiracy to commit “white genocide”, supports deporting naturalized citizens and “killing them if they resist”, and said that she hopes “zero” migrants crossing the Mediterranean “make it alive”.

Unfortunately, the author did not complete the quotation, for Kirkegaard ultimately rejects the whole idea.  The author is again using guilt by association, a common theme. 

University probes eugenics conference with links to white supremacistsThe Jewish Chronicle. 10. Jan. 2018.

The article does not mention Kirkegaard except very indirectly.

University probes eugenics conference with links to white supremacists
The London Conference on Intelligence has connections to a number of controversial racial theorists

There are connections to “racial theorists,” and they are “controversial. This article is not a problem at all. The only quibble I’d have is that the Conference is not actually a “eugenics conference,” but eugenics is a topic that comes up. That is, the practical usage of information about genetics. Eugenics has a bad name because of Nazi eugenics, which was racist, but eugenics, in itself is not racist, and genetic testing is commonly used for selective abortion, as one example. This is about genetics, not race.

Evolve Politics

Toby Young spoke alongside Nazi who argues raping unconscious children is fine. Evolve Politics. 11 Jan. 2018. (original post includes scan of Private Eye article. I have saved a copy if needed.)

This is straightforward defamation.

It is fast becoming clear that Toby Young’s controversialist career is far darker than first appeared, with Private Eye drawing attention to his attendance of a secret eugenics conference alongside white supremacists and advocates of paedophilia.

. . .

Several of the speakers were controversial beyond their presentations. One speaker, Emil Kirkegaard, who presented papers three times at the conference, defended paedophilia suggesting that drugging the child before sex might be a “compromise” as they were unlikely to know it had happened and therefore wouldn’t be harmed. He has also advocated a “frank discussion of paedophilia related issues.”

. . .

It goes without saying that Young follows the openly fascist Kirkegaard on Twitter.

. . .

The obvious question that emerges from this is whether Young is fit for his role as director of the state funded New Schools Network who advise on the education of our children. It is the firm opinion of Evolve Politics that anyone palling around with literal paedophile advocates and white supremacists should have absolutely no place whatsoever in education.

I notice the “quotation creep,” going further than cherry-picking, where what was actually written is twisted to exaggerate impressions. In that context, then, “frank discussion” can imply advocacy of the alleged “no harm” position, which was not Kirkegaards expressed view.

Top London university launches probe into conference that included speakers with controversial views on race and genderDaily Mail. 11 Jan 2018. (original URL still up).

Presents controversy, seems to be responsible journalism, even if incomplete. (i.e., what is the other side of the “controversy”?  

Metro

University investigates ‘racist’ eugenics conferenceMetro. 11 Jan. 2018. (Original URL is still up.)

Defamation.

The London Conference on Intelligence included talks by controversial speakers including white supremacists, child rape advocates, and those with extreme views on race and gender.

. . .

Another speaker was blogger Emil Kirkegaard, who has argued that men should be allowed to have ‘sex with a sleeping child’.

I find it fascinating how collective interpretation can invent what was not in the blog post. There was no “should be allowed” in that post, none at all. The fact of active pedophiles is that one might make an argument like that to him or herself. Kirkegaard actually rejects the argument. Fed an interpretation before reading it, and not reading carefully, though, can create an impression that one has verified it. In this case, it is not necessarily likely that the author actually read the blog post itself.

The Independent

University College London launches ‘eugenics’ probe after controversial conference secretly held on campusThe Independent. 11 Jan. 2018. (original URL is up.)

Other speakers at the conference have included Emil Kirkegaard, a researcher who justified child sexual abuse on his personal blog. In a 2012 post, he wrote: “Perhaps a compromise is having sex with a sleeping child without them knowing it (so, using sleeping medicine). If they dont [sic] notice it is difficult to see how they cud [sic] be harmed, even if it is rape.”

He later added a note to the post in which he said he did not support the legalisation of paedophilia but advocated “frank discussion of paedophilia-related issues”.
Mr Kirkegaard presented research – which was not published by peer-reviewed journals – on differences in cognitive ability between ethnic groups at the International Society for Intelligence Research (ISID) conference in Montreal last July, at which Mr Young also lectured.
Kirkegaard has published research in peer-reviewed journals, and conference papers are commonly current work, presented before publication. Technically, the research is not on “differences in cognitive ability” but on “differences in performance on tests,” and the whole field is a difficult one. The theme being followed is like the RationalWiki article, and as well the extreme assessment of Richard Lynn from the SPLC, which is hardly a neutral organization. (But a good one, by the way, my view, simply very political, and the topic is one which is highly politicized.)
This author did present the later clarification (the only one so far to note it), but the original post did not “support legalization of pedophilia” at all. Again, the “frank discussion” comment can appear to be supporting pedophilia, or at least a conversation over legalization.
The text simply ignores the “not support” comment added and reports that Kirkegaard “justified” child abuse. That reading only appears when one ignores the context and conclusions of the original post.

The Guardian

UCL to investigate eugenics conference secretly held on campusThe Guardian. 11 Jan. 2018. (Original URL is still up.)

Defamation.

Previous attendees included Richard Lynn, whom the US-based research group Southern Poverty Law Center labelled an “unapologetic eugenicist”, and the blogger Emil Kirkegaard, who has written supportively about pedophiles being allowed to have “sex with a sleeping child”.

. . .

Kirkegaard did not respond to requests for comment. But Thompson told the Daily Telegraph that the conference’s main subject was how IQ was inherited between different groups and races. “Eugenics is one topic, but many topics are discussed,” he said.

At least they tried, but it looks like Kirkegaard had very little time to respond. To make the statement they made, and as professional journalists, they would be presumed to have carefully checked that the statement made was true from the evidence they had, and the blog was available, particularly before going ahead with publication. Did it support “allowing pedophiles to have sex with a sleeping child”?

No, it did not. It did not talk about legality at all. Indeed, in the thought-experiment, which is what it was, imagining the thinking of a pedophile, it would be essential to the idea of no-harm that nobody found out about it (as well as other problems, such as physical injury or … pregnancy can happen with a child who has not yet menstruated, it’s rare, but it is known to have happened, and precocious puberty is a thing, meaning first menses before 8. The earliest known pregnancy was a famous case at something like five.) And, again, with many illegal actions, a potential offender may think “if nobody finds out, what’s the harm?” Kirkegaard, however, came up with the conclusion that potential harm cannot be avoided, that the whole line of thinking was ultimately defective, and that perhaps castration was the solution.

It is unfortunate that Kirkegaard did not respond. When major media contact one for comment, they are wanting to publish ASAP, it’s their business. Kirkegaard is young and wanted to consult an attorney, I’ve been told. My suspicion: he was afraid of being misinterpreted, and fear leads us to make poor decisions. Nevertheless, Kirkegaard is not hiding, he is facing this situation, head-on.

The real story here was how a long-term troll managed to manipulate major media, and many others, on RationalWiki (and in the full story, Wikipedia and the WMF wikis) with a story that he largely invented out of thin and misleading evidence.

As well, racism and racialism and hereditarianism vs. environmentalism re intelligence are complex issues that deserve “frank conversations,” because the polarization of hate groups does not allow society to heal and move on, it does not allow us to make sane decisions based on evidence — and based on what we freely choose for society.  

RT

Shamed Toby Young ‘attended secret eugenics conference with neo-nazis and pedophiles’. RT. 11. Jan. 2018. (Original URL is still up)

Defamation.

Shamed Toby Young ‘attended secret eugenics conference with neo-nazis and pedophiles’

Also at the lecture series was Emil Kirkegaard, who was invited despite previously claiming a“compromise” for child pornography would be for pedophiles to have “sex with a sleeping child without them knowing.”
Mr Kirkegaard wrote: “One can have sex with some rather young ones (say, any consenting child in puberty) without any moral problems, especially when one is young oneself. If they don’t notice it is difficult to see how they cud [sic] be harmed, even if it is rape.”
The quote is inaccurate, mashing together separate statements.  (The original, again.) The headline follows classic trolling practice: first, allegations are stated as truth without qualification: (“Shamed, secret, eugenics, neo-nazis, and pedophiles) and then what may be a single fact — if true — becomes many. How many “pedophiles”? RationalWiki is full of that. This is the stuff of “genuine fake news.”

The Times

University College London under fire over its conferences on ‘eugenics’The Times. 11 Jan. 2018. (Original URL is up — but requires registration for full text (free for two articles a week). I have my own copy password protected.)

Not defamation. Some of it was conclusory: that the conference was secret, that rules had been violated, and the conference was characterized by speakers allegedly making certain claims that — I suspect and have some basis — are not presented fairly. Commentors on the article noticed! However, this was, by far, the most balanced coverage. There are 9 comments,quite good, considering. Deeper coverage would explore the real controversy, not the social-media yelling at each other version.

Protecting the fringe allows the mainstream to breathe

Wikipedia is famously biased against fringe points of view or fringe science (and actually the bias can appear with any position considered “truth” by a majority or plurality faction). The pseudoskeptical faction there claims that there is no bias, but it’s quite clear that reliable sources exist, per Wikipedia definitions, that are excluded, and weaker sources “debunking” the fringe are allowed, plus if editors appears to be “fringe,” they are readily harassed and blocked or banned, whereas more egregious behavior, violating Wikipedia policies, is overlooked, if an editor is allied with the “skeptical” faction. Over time, the original Wikipedians, who actually supported Neutral Point of View policy, have substantially been marginalized and ignored, and the faction has become increasingly bold.

When I first confronted factional editing, before the Arbitration Committee in 2009, the faction was relatively weak. However, over the ensuing years, the debunkers organized, Guerrilla Skeptics on Wikipedia (GSoW) came into existence, and operates openly. People who come to Wikipedia to attempt to push toward neutrality (or toward “believer” positions) are sanctioned for treating Wikipedia as a battleground, but that is exactly what the skeptics have done, and the Guerrilla Skeptics (consider the name!) create a consistent push with a factional position.

There is increasing evidence of additional off-wiki coordination. It would actually be surprising if it did not exist, it can be difficult to detect. But we have an incident, now.

February 24, 2018 I was banned by the WikiMediaFoundation. There was no warning, and no explanation, and there is no appeal from a global ban. Why? To my knowledge, I did not violate the Terms of Service in any way. There was, however, at least one claim that I did, an allegation by a user that I had “harassed” him by email, the first of our emails was sent through the WMF servers, so if, in fact, that email was harassment, it would be a TOS violation, though a single violation, unless truly egregious, has never been known to result in a ban. I have published all the emails with that user here.

This much is known, however. One of those who claimed to have complained about me to the WMF posted a list of those complaining on the forum, Wikipedia Sucks. It is practically identical to the list I had inferred; it is, then, a convenient list of those who likely libelled me. However, I will be, ah, requesting the information from the WikiMedia Foundation.

Meanwhile, the purpose of this post is to consider the situation with fringe science and an encyclopedia project. First of all, what is fringe science?

The Wikipedia article, no surprise, is massively confused on this.

Description

The term “fringe science” denotes unorthodox scientific theories and models. Persons who create fringe science may have employed the scientific method in their work, but their results are not accepted by the mainstream scientific community. Fringe science may be advocated by a scientist who has some recognition within the larger scientific community, but this is not always the case. Usually the evidence provided by fringe science is accepted only by a minority and is rejected by most experts.[citation needed]

Indeed, citation needed! Evidence is evidence, and is often confused with conclusions. Rejection of evidence is essentially a claim of fraud or reporting error, which is rare for professional scientists, because it can be career suicide. Rather, a scientist may discover an anomaly, au unexplained phenomenon, more precisely, unexplained results. Then a cause may be hypothesized. If this hypothesis is unexpected within existing scientific knowledge, yet the hypothesis is not yet confirmed independently, it may be “rejected” as premature or even wrong. If there are experts in the relevant field who accept it as possible and worthy of investigation, this then is “possible new science.” There may be experts who reject the new analysis, for various reasons, and we will look at a well-known example, “continental drift.”

There is no “journal of mainstream opinion,” but there are journals considered “mainstream.” The term “mainstream” is casually used by many authors without any clear definition. In my own work, I defined “mainstream journals” as journals acceptable as such by Dieter Britz, a skeptical electrochemist. As well, the issue of speciality arises. If there is an electrochemical anomaly discovered, heat the expert chemists cannot explain through chemistry, what is the relevant field of expertise. Often those who claim a field is “fringe” are referring to the opinions of those who are not expert in the directly relevant field, but whose expertise, perhaps, leads to conclusions that are, on the face, contradicted by evidence gathered with expertise other than in their field.

With “cold fusion,” named after a hypothesized source for anomalous heat,  in the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect,  (also found by many others), it was immediately assumed that the relevant field would be nuclear physics. It was also assumed that if “cold fusion” were real, it would overturn established physical theory. That was a blatant analytical error, because it assumed a specific model of the heat source, a specific mechanism, which was actually contradicted by the experimental evidence, most notably by the “dead graduate student effect.” If the FPHE were caused by the direct fusion of two deuterons to form helium, the third of Huizenga’s three “miracles,” if absent, would have generated fatal levels of gamma radiation. The second miracle was the reaction being guided in to the very rare helium branch, instead of there being fatal levels of neutron radiation, and the first would be the fusion itself. However, that first miracle would not contradict existing physics, because an unknown form of catalysis may exist, and one is already known, muon-catalyzed fusion.

Evidence is not provided by “fringe science.” It is provided by ordinary scientific study. In cargo cult science, ordinary thinking is worshipped as if conclusive, without the rigorous application of the scientific method. Real science is always open, no matter how well-established a theory. The existing theory may be incomplete. Ptolemaic astronomy provided a modal that was quite good at explaining the motions of planets. Ptolemaic astronomy passed into history when a simpler model was found.

Galileo’s observations were rejected because they contradicted certain beliefs.  The observations were evidence, and “contradiction” is an interpretation, not evidence in itself. (It is not uncommon for  apparently contradictory evidence to be later understood as indicating an underlying reality. But with Galileo, his very observations were rejected — I think, it would be interesting to study this in detail — and if he were lying, it would be a serious moral offense, actually heresy.

The boundary between fringe science and pseudoscience is disputed. The connotation of “fringe science” is that the enterprise is rational but is unlikely to produce good results for a variety of reasons, including incomplete or contradictory evidence.[7]

The “boundary question” is an aspect of the sociology of science. “Unlikely to produce good results,” first of all, creates a bias, where results are classified as “good” or “poor” or “wrong,” all of which moves away from evidence to opinion and interpretation. “Contradictory evidence,” then, suggests anomalies. “Contradiction” does not exist in nature. With cold fusion, an example is the neutron radiation issue. Theory would predict, for two-deuteron fusion, massive neutron radiation. So that Pons and Fleischmann reported neutron radiation, but at levels far, far below what would be expected for d-d fusion generating the reported heat, first of all, contradicted the d-d fusion theory, on theoretical grounds. They were quite aware of this, hence what they actually proposed in their first paper was not “d-d fusion” but an “unknown nuclear reaction.” That was largely ignored, so much noise was being made about “fusion,” it was practically a Perfect Storm.

Further, any substantial neutron radiation would be remarkable as a result from an electrochemical experiment. As came out rather rapidly, Pons and Fleischmann had erred. Later work that established an upper limit for neutron radiation was itself defective (the FP heat effect was very difficult to set up, and it was not enough to create an alleged “FP cell” and look for neutrons, because many such cells produce no measurable heat), but it is clear from later work that neutron generation, if it exists at all, is at extremely low levels, basically irrelevant to the main effect.

Such neutron findings were considered “negative” by Britz. In fact, all experimental findings contribute to knowledge; it became a well-established characteristic of the FP Heat Effect that it does not generate significant high-energy radiation, nor has the heat ever been correlated (across multiple experiments and by multiple independent groups) with any other nuclear product except helium. 

The term may be considered pejorative. For example, Lyell D. Henry Jr. wrote that, “fringe science [is] a term also suggesting kookiness.”[8] This characterization is perhaps inspired by the eccentric behavior of many researchers of the kind known colloquially (and with considerable historical precedent) as mad scientists.[9]

The term does suggest that. The looseness of the definition allows inclusion of many different findings and claims, which do include isolated and idiosyncratic ideas of so-called “mad scientists.” This is all pop science, complicated by the fact that some scientists age and suffer from forms of dementia. However, some highly successful scientists also move into a disregard of popular opinion, which can create an impression of “kookiness,” which is, after all, popular judgment and not objective. They may be willing to consider ideas rejected for social reasons by others.

Although most fringe science is rejected, the scientific community has come to accept some portions of it.[10] One example of such is plate tectonics, an idea which had its origin in the fringe science of continental drift and was rejected for decades.[11]

There are lost and crucial details. Rejected by whom, and when? The present tense is used, and this is common with the anti-fringe faction on Wikipedia. If something was rejected by some or by many, that condition is assumed to continee and is reported in the present tense, as as it were a continuing fact, when an author cannot do more than express an opinion about the future.  Now, plate tectonics is mentioned. “Continental drift” is called “fringe science,” even after it became widely accepted.

Wegener’s proposal of continental drift is a fascinating example. The Wikipedia article does not mention “fringe science.” The Wikipedia article is quite good, it seems to me. One particular snippet is of high interest:

David Attenborough, who attended university in the second half of the 1940s, recounted an incident illustrating its lack of acceptance then: “I once asked one of my lecturers why he was not talking to us about continental drift and I was told, sneeringly, that if I could prove there was a force that could move continents, then he might think about it. The idea was moonshine, I was informed.”[47]

As late as 1953 – just five years before Carey[48] introduced the theory of plate tectonics – the theory of continental drift was rejected by the physicist Scheidegger on the following grounds.[49]

That rejection was essentially pseudoskepticism and pseudoscientific. There was observation (experimental evidence) suggesting drift. The lack of explanatory theory is not evidence of anything other than possible ignorance. “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

The fact is that the continental drift hypothesis, as an explanation for the map appearance and fossil record, was not generally accepted. What shifted opinion was the appearance of a plausible theory. Worthy of note was how strongly the opinion of “impossible” was, such that “proof” was demanded. This is a sign of a fixed mind, not open to new ideas. The history of science is a long story of developing methods to overcome prejudice like that. This is a struggle between established belief and actual fact. Experimental evidence is fact. Such and such was observed, such and such was measured. These are truth, the best we have. It can turn out that recorded data was a result of artifact, and some records are incorrect, but that is relatively rare. Scientists are trained to record data accurately and to report it neutrally. Sometimes they fail, they are human. But science has the potential to grow beyond present limitations because of this habit.

Anomalies, observations that are not understood within existing scientific models, are indications that existing models are incomplete. Rejecting new data or analyses because they don’t fit existing models is circular. Rather, a far better understanding of this is that the evidence for a new idea has not risen to a level of detail, including controlled tests, to overcome standing ideas. Science, as a whole, properly remains agnostic. Proof is for math, not the rest of science. This does not require acceptance of new ideas until one is convinced by the preponderance of evidence. Pseudoskeptics often demand “proof.” “Extraordinary claims” require extraordinary evidence.” Yes, but what does that actually mean? What if there is “ordinary evidence?” What is the definition of an “extraordinary claim,” such that ordinary evidence is to be disregarded?

It’s subjective. It means nothing other than “surprising to me” — or to “us,” often defined to exclude anyone with a contrary opinion. For Wikipedia, peer-reviewed secondary source in a clearly mainstream journal is rejected because the author is allegedly a “believer.” That is editorial opinion, clearly not neutral. Back to the fringe science article:

The confusion between science and pseudoscience, between honest scientific error and genuine scientific discovery, is not new, and it is a permanent feature of the scientific landscape …. Acceptance of new science can come slowly.[12]

This was presented by formatting as a quotation, but was not attributed in the text. This should be “According to Michael W. Friedlander.” in his book on the topic, At the Fringes of Science (1005). He is very clear: there is no clear demarcation between “science” and “fringe science.”

Friedlander does cover cold fusion, to some degree. He hedges his comments. On page 1, “… after months of independent, costly, and exhaustive checks by hundreds of scientist around the world, the excitement over cold fusion cooled off, and the claim is probably destined to take its place alongside monopoles, N-rays, polywater, and other fly-by-night “discoveries” that flash across our scientific skies to end up as part of our folklore.”

He hedged with “probably.” On what evidence was he basing that assessment?  Cold fusion was not actually his primary investigation. On pp. 27-34, he reports the early days of the cold fusion fiasco, (with some errors), and doesn’t report on what came later. He doesn’t mention the later confirmations of the heat effect, nor the discovery of a nuclear product, published in 1993 in a mainstream journal (though announced in 1991, Huizenga covered it in 1993). He does not distinguish between the”fusion theory” and the actual report of anomalous heat by experts in heat measurement, not to mention the later discovery of a correlated nuclear product. He closes that section with:

To summarize briefly, the cold fusion “discovery” will surely be remembered as a striking example of how science should not be done. Taubes has compared “many of the proponents of cold fusion” to Blaise Pascal, the seventeenth century scientist who “renounced a life of science for one of faith>” [Bad Science (1993), 92] The whole episode certainly illustrates the practical difficulty in implementing an innocuous-sounding “replication” and points to the need for full and open disclosure if there are to be meaningful tests and checks. It has also exposed some unfortunate professional sensitivities, jealousies, and resentments. At least to date, the exercise appears to be devoid of redeeming scientific value — but perhaps something may yet turn up as the few holdouts tenaciously pursue a theory as evasive as the Cheshire cat.

I agree with much of this, excepting his ignorance of results in the field, and his idea that what was to be pursued was a “theory.” No, what was needed was clear confirmation of the heat anomaly, then confirmation of the direct evidence that it was nuclear in nature (correlated helium!), and then far more intensive study of the effect itself, its conditions and other correlates and only then would a viable theory become likely.

Cold fusion was the “Scientific Fiasco of the Century” (Huizenga, 1992) It looks like Friendlander did not look at the second edition of Huizenga’s book, where he pointed to the amazing discovery of correlated helium. There was a problem in cold fusion research, that there were many “confirmations” of the heat effect, but they were not exact replications, mostly. Much of the rush to confirm — or disconfirm — was premature and focused on what was not present: “expected” nuclear products, i.e., neutrons. Tritium was confirmed but at very low levels and not correlated with heat (often the tritium studies were of cells where heat was not measured).

Nobody sane would argue that fringe claims should be “believed” without evidence, and where each individual draws the line on what level of evidence is necessary is a personal choice. It is offensive, however, when those who support a fringe claim are attacked and belittled and sometimes hounded. If fringe claims are to be rejected ipso facto, i.e., because they are considered fringe, the possibility of growth in scientific understanding is suppressed. This will be true even if most fringe claims ultimately disappear. Ordinary evidence showing some anomaly is just that, showing an anomaly. By definition, an anomaly indicates something is not understood.

With cold fusion, evidence for a heat anomaly accumulated, and because the conditions required to create the anomaly were very poorly understood, a “negative confirmation” was largely meaningless, indicating only that whatever approach was used did not generate the claimed effect, and it could have been understood that the claimed effect was not “fusion,” but anomalous heat. If the millions of dollars per month that the U.S. DoE was spending frantically in 1989 to test the claim had been understood that way, and if time had been allowed for confirmation to appear, it might not have been wasted.

As it is, Bayesian analysis of the major “negative confirmations” shows that with what became known later, those experiments could be strongly predicted to fail, they simply did not set up the conditions that became known as necessary. This was the result of a rush to judgment, pressure was put on the DoE to come up with quick answers, perhaps because the billion-dollar-per-year hot fusion effort was being, it was thought, threatened, with heavy political implications. Think of a billion dollars per year no longer being available for salaries for, say, plasma physicists.

However, though they were widely thought to have “rejected” cold fusion, the reality is that both U.S. DoE reviews were aware of the existence of evidence supporting the heat effect and its nuclear nature, and recommended further research to resolve open questions; in 2004, the 18-member panel was evenly divided on the heat question, with half considering the evidence to be conclusive and half not. Then on the issue of a nuclear origin, a third considered the evidence for a nuclear effect to be “conclusive or somewhat conclusive.”

The heat question has nothing to do with nuclear theory, but it is clear that some panel members rejected the heat evidence because of theory. The most recent major scientific work on cold fusion terms itself as a study of the Anomalous Heat Effect, and they are working on improving precision of heat and helium measurements.

If one does not accept the heat results, there would be no reason to accept nuclear evidence! So it is clear from the 2004 DoE review that cold fusion was, by then, moving into the mainstream, even though there was still rampant skepticism.

The rejection of cold fusion became an entrenched idea, an information cascade that, as is normal for such cascades, perpetuates itself, as scientists and others assume that was “everyone thinks” must be true.

In mainstream journals, publication of papers, and more significantly, reviews that accept the reality of the effect began increasing around 2005. There are no negative reviews that were more than a passing mention. What is missing is reviews in certain major journals that essentially promised to not publish on the topic, over a quarter-century ago.

One of the difficulties is that the basic research that shows, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the effect is real and nuclear in nature was all done more than a decade ago. It is old news, even though it was not widely reported. Hence my proposal, beginning quite a few years ago, was for replication of that work with increased precision, which is a classic measure of “pathological science.” Will the correlation decline or disappear with increased precision?

This is exactly the work that a genuine skeptic would want to see.

I have often written that genuine skepticism is essential to science. As well, those who will give new ideas or reported anomalies enough credence to support testing are also essential. Some of them will be accused of being “believers” or “proponents,” or even “diehards.”

The mainstream needs the fringes to be alive, in order to breathe and grow.

Diehard believers have hope, especially if they also trust reality. Diehard skeptics are simply dying.

(More accurately, “diehard skeptic” is an oxymoron. Such a person is a pseudoskeptic, a negative believer.)

Racialism and racism

Huffington Post, 2015: Racism and Racialism Are Different

Wikipedia, the lede for Racialism:

Racialism is the belief that the human species is naturally divided into races, that are ostensibly distinct biological categories. Most dictionaries define the term racialism as synonymous with racism.[1]

This is fascinating. The meaning of a term, and its synonyms, depend on context. This inspired me to write this page, because I find the statement about “most dictionaries” to be suspect. The reference is to a book by Chester L. Quarles (2004), Christian Identity: The Aryan American Bloodline Religion. McFarland. I have often pointed out that references in the lede is a sign of POV conflict on an article. Whatever is in the lede should clearly be established in the article itself, and no references are needed. But an editor pushing to include something in the lede will cite a reference, and claim that it’s sourced and should not be removed.

What is in the source? The reference does not give a page number. Naughty, naughty! However, it is a search for “racialist synonymous with racist”. The book is mostly talking about “identity groups,” which may be race-based, or based on other factors. One p. 67, after discussing distinctions between racism and racialism, has:

In most dictionaries, the terms “racist” and “racialist” are pretty much synonymous. While racism is described as a discriminatory practice, racialism is described as “a doctrine or teaching without scientific support that claims to find racial differences in character, intelligence, etc., that asserts the superiority of one race over another, or others, and that seeks to maintain the purity of the race, or races.” It is clear, however, that right-wing purists separate these terms in their publications.

To purists, racialism is simply a racial preference and a racialist is merely one who wishes to associate primarily with members of his own race. The racist, on the other hand, is often a hater, with severe prejudices and extreme bias against other racial groups.

Notice how the lede, which should be rigorously neutral, has collapsed “prety much synonymous” with synonymous. Further, the purpose of the author here is not to establish these as synonyms, and he is actually distinguishing the words, but … what he ascribes to “right-wing purists” is arguably racist, and not intrinsic to racialism as it was long understood. Racialism does not necessarily involve a racial preference, but those with a racial preference may certainly be racialist as distinct from racist, as they define the term. It is a term of high opprobrium, and those who might think that race is a biological reality — which is the origin of racialism, not the claims about “racial differences” in themselves — are understandably irate when called “racist,” without the hatred that they associate with the term.

I have an African daughter, and encountered racism in a surprising place, but, in fact, it was a racialist expectation, subtle, and those afflicted with it would have been horrified to be called racist. But they were racist, in that they had different expectations of my daughter than they’d have had if she had been “white,” and the result was discrimination against her.

The collapse of racialism with racism makes it much more difficult to address. Racism is to be disempowered, but the transformative response to racialism is education and exposure to diversity. If people wish to associate with what those believe are “their own kind,” that is properly within their freedom of choice, with limitations as required for fairness. I.e., if one’s job is public service, that trumps the freedom of association rights.

Coercive education will be resisted, prolonging conflict and maintaining polarization. The human spirit insists on freedom.

So what about dictionaries? That was an off-hand comment, not a survey. What is actually in dictionaries?

Merriam-Webster online:

Definition of racialism
a theory that race determines human traits and capacities; also racism

That is, in some contexts, “racialism” might be a synonym for “racism.” But the words are defined differently.

Definition of racism
1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
2 a : a doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles
b : a political or social system founded on racism
3 : racial prejudice or discrimination

There is a fascinating note on the history of the word, which, like racialism, apparently was not used before 1900. The note goes on to point out the foolishness of a certain usage of dictionaries, quite like this was used in Wikipedia:

Dictionaries are often treated as the final arbiter in arguments over a word’s meaning, but they are not always well suited for settling disputes. The lexicographer’s role is to explain how words are (or have been) actually used, not how some may feel that they should be used, and they say nothing about the intrinsic nature of the thing named by a word, much less the significance it may have for individuals. When discussing concepts like racism, therefore, it is prudent to recognize that quoting from a dictionary is unlikely to either mollify or persuade the person with whom one is arguing.

The Wikipedia lede, then, focuses on the word, not the thing or concept the word points to. And what that is varies with the speaker or writer.

We need to know what “race” is, as well:

Definition of race
1 : a breeding stock of animals
2 a : a family, tribe, people, or nation belonging to the same stock
b : a class or kind of people unified by shared interests, habits, or characteristics
3 a : an actually or potentially interbreeding group within a species; also : a taxonomic category (such as a subspecies) representing such a group
b : breed
c : a category of humankind that shares certain distinctive physical traits
4 obsolete : inherited temperament or disposition

“Stock” refers to genetic similarity.

Something is obvious to me here. Back to the definition of racialism: “a theory that race determines human traits and capacities.” “Race” refers to genetics, then, “stock.” It is obvious that structures that support, say, intelligence, require genetic provision of the mechanisms. The idea that behavior is primarily determined by genetics is called “hereditarian,” and I suspect that racialists are generically hereditarian. But as an extreme position, it’s preposterous, i.e., the opposite position is “environmentalism,” which, with intelligence, is presented as the idea that environmental conditions (which would include education) . It is obvious that environment also has a strong effect, and so the scientific question would not be A or B, but how much A and how much B.

Back to the Wikipedia racialism article, they quote W.E. DeBois:

In 1903, W. E. B. Du Bois said that racialism is the philosophical position that races existed, and that collective differences existed among such categories, the races.[citation needed] He further stated that racism required advancing the argument that one race is superior to other races of human beings. In In My Father’s House (1992), Kwame Anthony Appiah summarized Du Bois’s philosophical stance that racialism is value-neutral term and that racism is a value-charged term.

Since the word racialism only is found in 1902, it’s clear that W.E.B Du Bois was making a clear distinction. The idea that race is a biological reality is not intrinsically racist. I know of no other word for the relatively value-free meaning, so what I’m seeing may be an example of linguistic facism, the systematic deprivation of some class of people of language that could be used to describe what they think. Instead, it is all collapsed to racism.

Today, some anthropologists and geneticists point to studies that suggest racialist beliefs are both compatible and incompatible with modern population genetics.[clarification needed][2][3][4][5][6][7][8]

First of all, “skeptics” will focus on “beliefs.” Racialism is an idea, a concept, and there can then be racialist beliefs, but it is not, in itself, a belief. The Wikipedia sentence is amazing for an encyclopedia, totally confusing and unclear. What do the sources say? And what is the source for “both compatible and incompatible” or was that synthesis from someone too lazy to actually cover what is in the sources.

As usual, Wikipedia ontology can be astonishingly primitive. In any case, this edit created the unclear language. The prior language was:

Today, some anthropologists and geneticists point to studies that suggest racialist beliefs are incompatible with modern population genetics.[clarification needed][2][3][4][5][6][7][8]

The editor was, in fact, pointing to an alleged case of sources not supporting the article claim. Without researching those sources, this is what happens when editors have a belief. They see it in the sources! The edit summary was:

(Definitions and differences: none of the links say they are incompatible, nor that racial categories or labels for populations are unsupported)

True? Who cares? This is Wikipedia, where reliability is an unfunded mandate, nobody is responsible.

Without putting too fine a point on it, (1) race as a biological determinant of behavior is pretty much dead in the water, scientifically, it has become fringe; “race” is not well-defined except as a social reality, i.e., what people think and how that affects many environmental conditions. It is likely that human genetics are sufficiently similar, overall and on average, that environmental differences loom far larger. (2) there remains debate on the issue, and there is research being done. The sources cited generally supported the original text, but this had been handled very sloppily, it was weasel text, not specific, using a pile of sources to make a point about “beliefs,” which isn’t what most of those sources were about. (3) because identification of “race” depends on visible markers, it seems to have a reality, but studying how much of that is real and how much is mere appearance is difficult.

Judgement on this is, at present, highly political, which is damaging to science. Calling a hereditarian researcher “racist” does not promote the development of scientific knowledge and consensus, it hinders it.

Hatewatch

If you are reading this on an archive site, be sure to check the original URL for completion, updates, comments and corrections.

A post appeared on Hatewatch, a discussion forum for the Southern Poverty Law Center, –an organization which I generally support, — Wikipedia wars: inside the fight against far-right editors, vandals and sock puppets.

The post was decent, but seemed to assume that far-right sock puppets were a serious problem on Wikipedia, and it cited RationalWiki, which was unfortunate, since RationalWiki routinely defames with misrepresentations and sometimes downright lies, and has no reliable content review process (nor does Wikipedia, but Wikipedia hews far closer to neutrality than RW, which is explicitly and openly biased, site policy is SPOV, Snarky Point of View).

A “Bill Connors” appeared promoting RationalWiki. No surprise, because this person is very likely the creator of articles being cited. (There is an alternate possibility of his twin brother, both defacto banned since 2011 on Wikipedia, the particular topic here is of Oliver D. Smith interest, but there can be some crossover.)

Characteristic of “Anglo Pyramidologist socks” (either one of the brothers) is an account that appears out of nowhere, with very high interest, highly partisan and inflammatory, and recognizable arguments (that have been repeated in many places, often irrelevant to topic, but purely or largely ad-hominem. This commentor showed all these traits. His Discus account.

For comparison, my Discus account.

I responded to a number of the Bill Connors comments on the blog. However, this is distracting from the purpose of the page, so I am creating this as a followup, to avoid adding more noise to that blog. These are comments from Connors (or possibly others) which I am choosing to answer here instead of there. And then I comment in indented italics.

Note Abd Lomax is an internet harasser who has defended Rightpedia and alt-right individuals https://rationalwiki.org/wi…

This is classic AP. I have not “defended Rightpedia,” which is a disgusting pile of far-right trash — as far as I’ve seen. The RationalWiki article on me was written as a retaliation because of my exposure of AP impersonation socking on Wikipedia, and contains many libels based on taking fact (I mentioned Rightpedia) and distorting it (I stated that a particular article on Rightpedia — on one of the AP brothers, Oliver D. Smith, very likely “Bill Connors” — appeared to be correct in its factual claims. This is hardly “defending Rightpedia.”

Some — by no means all — of the individuals attacked by AP socks are or are claimed to be “alt-right.” If I expose the deceptions and impersonations and misrepresentations of sources presented by AP socks (often on RationalWiki), this is not “defending” those individuals, it is defending the truth and the common welfare.

Abd Ul-Rahman Lomax has also defended neo-Nazi Emil O. W. Kirkegaard. https://rationalwiki.org/wi…

“Lomax claims to be a free speech advocate and protector of civil liberties. He has written a series of blog posts defending the far-right child-rape apologist Emil O. W. Kirkegaard and other alt-right activists”

Yes. I was, as an undergraduate at Cal Tech, well over fifty years ago, an officer in the campus chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. I am a strong supporter of free speech, but not libel under the mask of anonymity. People may make anonymous statements, but it is essential that these not be given the same weight as statements made by people willing to stand up and be counted, with real reputations at stake.

What we see in the “Bill Connors” comments is an anonymous hater attacking real people with real names and real reputations. Recently, Oliver D. Smith came out of the closet and acknowledged he had created RationalWiki articles (including those on Emil Kirkegaard and John Fuerst.) I congratulated him on that, on being open, but then he more or less disappeared and has been active with new names.

“Child-rape apologist” is a favorite claim of ODS about Kirkegaard. It is a drastic misrepresentation of something Kirkegaard wrote many years ago. This is a great example of how to abuse sources, picking a phrase out of a paragraph that is actually contradicted by the rest of the source. Sloppy news media, in January, quoted this conclusion as if fact. Smith knows that the claim will elicit immediate reactions of horror, and those reactions can disable the critical thinking that RationalWiki purports to promote.

Kirkegaard denies being “far-right,” and I have seen nothing that indicates he is. However, he is a researcher with a hereditarian focus on “intelligence” in an environment where the popular and more mainstream view is more environmentalist. Both positions, taken as extremes, are unrealistic. Racists and the alt-right might like some of Kirkegaard’s research because it can seem to confirm “racialism,” which then shades into “racist” when emotional content is added, but that does not make him a racist. All of this actually confuses the scientific issues. My own view of Kirkegaard’s research is that it is not well-founded, but such research is properly assessed through normal academic process, not through political polemic.

https://rationalwiki.org/wi… for information about the banned wikipedia troll Abd Ul-Rahman Lomax.

This was irrelevant in context, simply spamming the RW article on me.

Lomax you are a bad liar. Mikemikev confirmed the socks belong to him on his racist Gab account. Mikemikev has written offensive hit-piece articles about anti-fascists on Rightpedia and you have defended the neo-nazi Emil Kirkegaard.

I love stuff where we can actually look at evidence, and that’s most of what I do with my time, compile evidence. What lie?

Here, Bill Connors had written:

Mikemikev the Rightpedia cofounder has confirmed the socks talked about in this article belong to him https://gab.ai/Mikemikev/po… and he seems to find the whole situation funny.

I responded:

 

[…] Mikemikev did not “confirm the socks belong to him.”

So what does the source show?

Michael Coombs @Mikemikev

a class=”inner-post-url” title=”http://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/03/12/wikipedia-wars-inside-fight-against-far-right-editors-vandals-and-sock-puppets” href=”http://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/03/12/wikipedia-wars-inside-fight-against-far-right-editors-vandals-and-sock-puppets” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>http://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/03/12/wiki…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Sockpuppet_…
Their source
http://en.rightpedia.info/w/Magnus_Pharao_Hansen

The Wikipedia link is to the SPI casepage on Mikemikev, so this would be, for him, “my socks.” Were he more careful, he might have inserted “alleged.” But he DGAF (that part was reasonable, he likely does find this “funny”). What I notice was that many of those socks were not mikemikev, that is obvious from the individual reports, so he is definitely not “confirming the socks belong to him.” As well, Mikemikev, like many other AP targets, has been impersonated.  Mikemikev gives the “source” as a person he names in the Rightpedia article as Wikipedia user Maunus. Notice the first report, by Maunus. The finding: “Unrelated.” (But Mikemikev’s comment ascribing all this to Maunus was unfair.)

The article had this text on mikemikev socks:

One of the white nationalists who co-founded Rightpedia, a far-right free encyclopedia that split from Metapedia, created more than 140 accounts in the past 10 years.

That sounds like a lot, though it would only be a little more than one sock per month, and these accounts tend to make few edits before being discovered, so this does not actually bear on the problem of factional bias. However, this was an obvious reference to mikemikev. It was not sourced. However, Bill Connors supplied this:

The cofounder of Rightpedia is neo-Nazi Michael Coombs who users the name Mikemikev, he writes hit-piece articles about anti-fascists on Rightpedia. On Wikipedia he has 143 suspected socks https://en.wikipedia.org/wi…

I reviewed the issue of Mikemikev socks on Wikipedia, found on this subpage. My conclusions: Mikemikev has nowhere near that number of actual socks on Wikipedia. The actual number is unclear, because Wikipedia sock puppet investigations are erratic and a systematic error can be created by impersonations — or other misidentification, and there have been impersonations. It seems nothing is recent that is reasonably clear as Mikemikev is recent. At least two tagged accounts were far more likely to be Oliver D. Smith (Anglo Pyramidologist on Wikipedia) socks. That is very likely Bill Connors. Haters hate.

Overall conclusion: Bill Connors lied about the alleged “confirmation of socks in the article as belonging to him.” He certainly did not confirm this. Oliver Smith commonly uses accidents of language, the multiple interpretations possible for words, to make definitive claims when deeper examination shows this was not the intended meaning. And then he claimed I was lying, on top of that.

There is one person with an obsession about mikemikev and me and others, who behaves this way: Oliver D. Smith, with some minor possibility this is his brother Darryl L. Smith. He will claim that all this is a “defense of Michael Coombs,” but it is not. It is a defense of truthfulness and accuracy and rationality.

 

Note Abd Lomax is an internet harasser who has defended Rightpedia and alt-right individuals https://rationalwiki.org/wi..

Pure ad hominem argument, citing the article he or his brother wrote on me on RationalWiki, in a highly misleading way. This was in response to a comment about the alleged Wikipedia socking of Eleonora Dubcziki. That was not her, it was, high probability, Oliver D. Smith. I did not “defend Rightpedia,” and merely examined claims about certain alleged alt-right individuals. My position is that attacking allegedly reprehensible persons with deception and misinformation is itself reprehensible and sometimes even more so that the original “offenses.”

  

Abd Lomax https://meta.wikimedia.org/… has been globally banned from the Wikimedia Foundation for harassment

 

Abd Ul-Rahman Lomax is on the global ban list https://meta.wikimedia.org/… he was globally banned for doxing and harassing users. He is the 27th person to be globally banned by the WMF.

 Again, pure ad hominem argument, and highly misleading. Yes, I was “office banned” in February of this year. The reason, however, is obscure. There was no warning, no request to cease and desist anything, and no explanation. Star chamber process, and with unclear purpose. What did it prevent? I had filed a series of successful requests for checkuser on the meta wiki. And then something strangely shifted. Something was going on behind the scenes.

However, what is very likely from context is that there were a number of private complaints, claiming harassment. There was no harassment — unless documenting sock puppetry is harassment, which it is not, when the reports are reasonable, even if wrong, and, most importantly, no use of WMF facilities to harass. Because this is being used to defame me — as here –, I am working on a legal appeal process, but it doesn’t matter otherwise, since I wasn’t using the WMF for anything other than to protect users and resources from disruption by … “Anglo Pyramidologist,” who has never been formally banned, but many socks have been globally locked for Long Term Abuse, and I was documenting that and was attacked for it. Anglo Pyramidologist, the evidence is overwhelming, is Oliver D. and Darryl L. Smith. That’s “doxxing” to them and to RationalWiki, though they do it routinely on RationalWiki and elsewhere.

Notice that abundant claims about me, a person who uses a real name, with a real reputation, are being made by “Bill Connors” here. So if doxxing is bad, he’s been doing it for years with many people. (I only stumbled across some impersonation socks a few months ago. And when I simply began collecting the evidence, I was attacked. Which gave me a clue that I was onto something. )

 

https://rationalwiki.org/wi… “Lomax claims to be a free speech advocate and protector of civil liberties. He has written a series of blog posts defending the far-right child-rape apologist Emil O. W. Kirkegaard and other alt-right activists”.

Once again, Connors is citing himself. The article is heavily misleading. Let’s look at one claim here: “the far-right child rape apologist Emil O. W. Kirkegaard.

Kirkegaard is an academic, or at least his approach is academic. I think he would agree that he is a racialist and, on the matter of intelligence, a hereditarian. That does not make him “far-right,” though it might endear him to some who are far right. “Far” would, here, be hyperbole. You want to see something that looks far-right, look at Rightpedia, which Connors claims that I defend. Absolutely, I don’t, but I’m not going over every detail. A liar can toss mud with a few words that then take many words to answer, unless one just wants to say: “Liar!” And what do we think of people who cry “Liar” without providing evidence? Or, say, “fake news!” And who says that phrase over and over?

Is there evidence that Kirkegaard is a “child rape apologist”? That’s highly defamatory, designed that way, in fact.

Yes. There is evidence for the claim, if you take a comment Kirkegaard made in 2011, out of context, ignoring the rest of the page. I like verifiable evidence, but the problem is that some people — and apparently some newspaper reporters — don’t read carefully. They see a claim on RationalWiki that Kirkegaard is a “child rape apologist,” and there is a link. They follow the link, and, yes he wrote what was quoted. They don’t bother to read the rest of it! And so Oliver Smith got his defamation repeated in mainstream media and then he cited the media as proof it was true. This is the Kirkegaard comment, from 2012.

If anyone can read the whole comment and still think that Kirkegaard is a “child-rape apologist,” well, congratulations on the ability to maintain an opinion in the face of clear contrary evidence.

There is a little more. That was in 2012. Here is what Oliver D. Smith was writing in 2012, as Atlantid

He has acknowledged being Atlantid. Blatantly racist. Is this unfair? It could be. He changed his mind, see this farewell to Metapedia (which was definitely right-wing). (He did apparently lie, later, just below, about his connection to RationalWiki, but I haven’t checked the exact dates, and there is some disruption that has been attributed to Oliver Smith that was actually — more likely — Darryl.

The point is that to characterize someone prominently based on an obscure comment they made many years ago is … not fair! In 2012, Darryl was 22, and he has acknowledged a diagnosis of schizophrenia. From my direct email contact with him, he is still unstable, his sanity seems to come and go, fairly rapidly. There is correspondence with him reproduced here, and what starts out as reasonably calm and sane, as in the first part of that farewell, becomes highly reactive and blaming. “Lies!!!” Notice the mention of mikemikev, a long-term obsession of his.

 

https://rationalwiki.org/wi… Liar. You are not a sysop on Rationalwiki you have been trying to vandalize Rationalwiki for years because they exposed your internet harassment and racism.

This is easy. To convince communities and administrators, the Smiths rely on most people not checking sources or investigating independently. RationalWik allows any sysop to remove the sysop privilege, and it gives the privilege relatively easily. My RationalWiki user rights log

I did not claim to be a sysop. I claimed that I was a sysop. The log shows that the right was first given in February 2012. That went back and forth, as these things do when someone is not a hard-core RationalWikian, but a neutral skeptic — with some opinions or wanting to present unpopular evidence. David Gerard removed the right in August, 2012. Gerard was still only a tech, not yet a moderator, he was elected in 2013. There is a story there…. Two weeks later, the right was restored by Blue, who was a moderator. (Moderators have the power to prevent a user from being “demoted,” they call it, to sysop. The removal reason shows how RW used to operate. No “cooping,” i.e., discussion of the removal of rights. Later, Gerard had enough power to ignore that, and he removed the right, after a complaint by Anglo Pyramidologist socks, 9 October, 2017. So I had the rights for over five years.

However, my contributions and the history of my RW user page shows the situation. The page was vandalized in 2012 by Occasional use. I indicated an intention to avoid RW, This edit shows the summary.

The harassment that appeared in October was preceded by my first edit in years. That edit told what had preceded the creation of the article on me, which was created 5 October 2017 by an obvious AP sock, almost certainly Darryl L. Smith, with this, and other actions, carrying out threats to retaliate for documenting Wikipedia socking. This pattern of threats and libel and impersonation — which appeared in strength after I was blocked on RW — is a widely-known behavior of AP socks. Oliver D. Smith, who was, from interests, probably Oliver D. Smith, and the RW sysop who later blocked me (Skeptical), claimed in an email to me that most of the socks were his twin brother, Darryl. Sometime around this point, I suspect that Oliver became involved in the attack on me on Wikipedia (where I had not edited since 2011) and Wikiversity (where I had been mostly inactive for two years, but returned to deal with impersonation socks and attacks on Wikiversity and a Wikiversity user).

Those RW attack socks have names characteristic of socks created by AP, probably Darryl, but there is crossover with the brothers. Oliver admitted creating two articles that were started with an impersonation name, and there is circumstantial evidence that Oliver created the lulu book impersonations.

(It is possible it was his brother. There are no other reasonable suspects. Bill Connors appears there, claiming to be an RW sysop. Yes. He is, through several accounts. The photoshopped image of with my face on an obese almost-naked man was definitely first published by Oliver D. Smith, that evidence is very strong. There is a worse image (the man  is completely naked) on a book pretending to be by Rome Viharo, but like all the impersonation books so far, the content is from RationalWiki. The image is of Tim Farlyy. Why him? Well, because Viharo suspects him of behind-the-scenes involvement with the AP socking. I am unconvinced.)

This is a common AP tactic: using impersonations, present the imagined arguments of his targets as parodies, extreme, and do this especially with something that might have some truth to it. It creates an apriori “paranoid conspiracy theory” impression. I’ve seen it work. On RationalWiki all the material relating to the AP socking has been deleted, some of it revision-deleted so that even sysops cannot see it. Yet anyone else socking in other places is documented in articles. It’s a fascinating public relations technique, that can work for a time.

 

Abd Ul-Rahman Lomax you have been globally banned by the Wikimedia Foundation. Its funny when you call other people socks. You have also defended the neo-Nazi Emil Kirkegaard. You have 0 respectability.

Again, repetitive and irrelevant. It would imply that I am massively socking, which I have not done. This is coming from a person who has about 200 tagged socks on Wikipedia, and who has claimed to have more active accounts. He definitely has active accounts on RationalWiki, see rationalwiki/anglo-pyramidologist/list-of-articles/

(With the retirement of ODS, the current Oliver account appears to be MrsBlintz, and Debunking spiritualism has returned to strenuous activity.)

As to Kirkegaard, I have defended the truth. A judgment of Kirkegaard as “neo-nazi” is not apparent from what I’ve seen. However, he’s been accused of being a “child rape apologist,” which claim is radically unsupported by the evidence, which has been cherry-picked and presented out of context, and the actual context would lead to very different conclusions. Technically, yes, this is defending him from false claims. Is that reprehensible? Apparently, Bill Connors would have it be so. Who cares about the truth? Lynch the lying rapists!!!

 

https://rationalwiki.org/wi… “Lomax takes issue with the Southern Poverty Law Center which he claims is “highly political”. He criticizes their report on Richard Lynn, claiming “this hit piece is simply hitting on stereotypes about racism and sexism, knee-jerk expectations”. On his blog, Lomax links to the neo-Nazi encyclopedia Rightpedia as a “valid” source of information”.

This is a clear example of the divisive AP tactics. The RatWiki article sources the claim about the SPLC to a page where I studied the claim of Oliver D. Smith in a short-lived blog about Kirkegaard that information was “well-sourced.” In fact, the media cited got their leads from RationalWiki or Oliver Smith himself, and apparently did not carefully check. So I looked at the sources claimed by Oliver, hence that page.

These pages are generally study notes, finding sources and summarizing or analyzing them, and this writing is not generally polemic, i.e., succinct, sound-bite, and is not designed to rabble-rouse. The issue I was looking at was attendees at the London Conference on Intelligence.. Richard Lynn was listed, and I wrote about him (with comments now inserted)

Richard Lynn (Wikipedia article). A link is given to a web site about Lynn: https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/richard-lynn That is the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is highly political.

This was a comment about Wikipedia reliable source. “Highly political” is not an attack on the SPLC, which is particularly valuable for its political work! SPLC would not be a reliable source for fact on Lynn, by Wikipedia policy, if policy were being followed. That is generally true for political sources, it is like blogs. I could look at how the source was used, but this was not “taking issue with the Southern Policy Law Center.” I might agree with their conclusions, in fact. I was, instead, examining the solidity of sources, faced with a claim that they were “well-founded.”

In 2016, Lynn spoke on “Sex differences in intelligence.” If Lynn is smart, he would be talking about how much smarter than men, women are. Seriously, I have two immediate reactions: comparing intelligence between woman and men is extremely difficult, what one can do is to compare measures only. and there are hosts of stereotypes to deal with. Men have trouble understanding cooking and taking care of babies, right? And especially men have trouble understanding women, famously.

Does Lynn give a decent speech, raising questions worth considering, or was this uninterrupted racist or sexist propaganda? To know, one would probably have to be there! This hit piece is simply hitting on stereotypes about racism and sexism, knee-jerk expectations. The Wikipedia article provides much more balance. I’d be amazed at a Conference on Intelligence that did not include Lynn. Yes, his views might be highly controversial, and he might take positions on social issues that I might find offensive, but the man does have academic qualifications.

This does not defend views. It is about objectivity, neutrality, and the SPLC article isn’t neutral, it leads with conclusions. I read what Lynn allegedly wrote there, and I don’t have time to research it in detail. The SPLC page has an apparent political purpose: to discredit Lynn, it is not simply to inform about his views.

I’m starting to smell academic censorship, rejection of research because it offends political correctness (which is more or less what Kirkegaard has been claiming). The existence of that kind of bias does not mean that the research is sound, but a free academy will not be reasoning from consequences. Data is data. Interpretation of data is distinct from that, and interpretation is often quite biased. According to the Wikipedia article on Lynn, he sits on the board of the journal Intelligence, published by Elsevier. He is also 87 years old. Someone is surprised that he attends and speaks at a conference on intelligence?

This was much more abou the general academic milieu than about the SPLC article, which would simply be reflecting it, from their own political perspective.

The purpose here was to examine how a collection of selected facts were used to create an impression in media of a blatantly and offensively racist conference. The problem, from my point of view, is that racialism and racism are not the same, and, if we are careful about language, statements that might appear racist, knee-jerk, may simply be factual. These kinds of semantic difficulties foment and foster division among people, and if the goal is to “hate nothing but hatred,” if hatred is the true enemy, polemic that fails to allow diversity of thought fosters and creates hatred.

On RationalWiki they claim I am vague about racism. I’ve been explicit: racism is, in my view, an extension of ancient and probably instinctive survival reaction. We evolved under tribal conditions, small groups, family groups, not large populations with high genetic diversity. The visible markers that people use to quickly discriminate “race” are signs that a person is probably different, from some different tribe, and under some conditions, that would be a danger signal, requiring rapid response for survival.

There are many examples where our instinctive survival responses (fight or flight, generally) have become dangerous in themselves. It is difficult to define “intelligence.” It is obvious, though, that there is a genetic component to intelligence, but core to intelligence is experience. Intelligence doesn’t exist in the human brain when it has no training or experience. It is obvious that genetic variations might lead to differences in brain performance under differing conditions, but I see no sign that these differences are major; rather, all the evidence I have seen is that it is the programming of the brain, the accumulated experience, which includes the learning of technique and analysis, is environmentally based. It is that programming that is crucial, the hardware, so to speak, is less fundamental. However, no hardware, no intelligence.

“IQ” is not the same thing as “intelligence.” IQ is a test result, on a standardized test. I have no doubt that the tests will include cultural bias, or, more subtly, may include “triggers” that can statistically alter group performance.

Further, even if there were substantial genetic differences affecting intelligence, that does not automatically lead to what amount to racist political decisions. In fact, some people have disorders or diseases which impair performance. “Eugenics” has a very bad name because of mixing up the possibly laudable goals of eugenics with racist and inhumane policies. Remarkable, here, is what I found about the RW user behind the hatred of the racialists and hereditarians: blatant racism, expressed on Metapedia,  that would indicate what kinds of traits he would consider “good,” i.e., “improvements.” Definitely not kinky hair! He later renounced the racism, though I’m not sure he really understood the issues, but kept the high intolerance, the attempt to attack any views different from his, the intellectual fascism.

Racism is not going to be long-term addressed through hating racists. Absolutely, violent racists should be disempowered, but racialism (which I’ll define as the belief in race as a biological reality, more than simple population genetics) is very common. When we label people with these views as “deplorables,” we lose elections. To combat racism, our goal must be to educate (Not indoctrinate, i.e., forced education) and when we do that, people will transform themselves. At least most will.

I should mention: Black Lives Matter.

Of course, all lives matter! But that slogan arose in a context where black lives, too often, did not matter. It’s a medicine and certainly not a claim that “white lives” don’t matter, or that police lives don’t matter. An antidote to racism is caring about people. All people.

Continued comment

“Bill Connors,” an obvious fake account, continued to attack. Responding to my single comment, place in lieu of individual responses, since this mess is not likely the interest of the SPLC blog, he wrote two comments. My responses are in italics.

 

Abd-Ul-Rahman Lomax says in the above link his friend Emil Kirkegaard is not racist or far-right, that is laughable https://rationalwiki.org/wi… for the real facts.

For starters, I did’t say that. I wrote that I had seen no evidence that Kirkegaard is these things, but that he is a racialist, and might have some views that are right-wing. “Far-right” is not generally a fact, it’s a complex judgment relative to an overall view. The RationalWiki article includes much which is not “real fact,” such as the claim that Kirkegaard is a “child rape apologist.” From the evidence, that’s preposterous. And this is irrelevant to the issues raised in the SPLC article.

Racialism is not racist, though some racialists might be racist. See also this HuffPost article, explicitly on this point. The confusion causes political damage to the cause of disempowering racism, a cause which I firmly support. The Wikipedia article on this is … weird, and shows evidence of POV pushing. Instead of a focus on racialism and the history of it, it is mostly an argument that racialism is wrong. I happen to agree with that, but … on a separate page, I explore the distinction between racialism and racism, and what is said in that Wikipedia article.

However, the postings of Bill Connors are an example of how hatred is neither right-wing nor left-wing, and my view is that the real enemy of humanity is hatred, which sometimes masks itself as anti-hate. Falling into hatred is an obvious hazard for anyone who is confronting hatred.

The end of racism will not come from hatred of racists, which perpetuates conflict. Even less will it be furthered by hating racialists, the fundamental concepts of which are very common. Yes, they are in error, but the error is not corrected by hating people with those beliefs, at all. The opposite, in fact.

RationalWiki is a joke wiki, started by mostly adolescent refugees from Conservapedia. It is founded in snark, and snark — dismissive and contemptuous comment — is policy there. (I was a sysop there until the AP affair, but I had given up on using it for anything serious.)  Citing it as if reliable source is proof of ignorance or extreme bias, full of hate. In the case of the author of the article, it would be ignorance, in the case of “Bill Connors,” who, from evidence, is the primary author of the articles cited, it’s effectively the lies of a hater.

 

“Inflammatory claims”? No all factual. You are globally banned by the Wikimedia Foundation for harassing users https://meta.wikimedia.org/… and you spend your time defending racists like Emil Kirkegaard and Mikemikev.

Bill Connors is not a known person. On another site, he claimed to be a RationalWiki sysop, almost all of which are anonymous, but there is no sysop by that name. However, behaviorally, he may well be one.

Yes, I am globally banned, but Connors has invented the reason for it. Others think I was banned because I was a critic. Global bans never stated a reason, it is private (even if a user waives privacy, they don’t explain.) I did not harass users, but it is entirely possible that I was accused of this, and, if so, the WMF believed lies. That happens on occasion.

This claim of defending racists is just another deception from one who has been attacking Kirkegaard and Mikemikev — and many others not arguably racist — for many years. I defended a target of this person from the consequences of his impersonation on Wikipedia, and there is clear and abundant evidence of that, which will be cited on request. I exposed the abusive socking and was attacked, and threatened with deletion of all my work. And, remarkably, that happened! Extensive work that had stood without disruption for a decade was deleted. (Though I was able to recover all of it.) How did that happen? I became even more interested! How did an obvious long-term abuser, globally banned as such by stewards, manage to accomplish this?

The answer is that there is a much deeper problem than a pair of crazy brothers. The problem cuts to the core defects in Wikipedia and its vulnerability to manipulation by factions. These factions need not have majority support, and years ago, I concluded that a handful of users could strongly manipulate Wikipedia through off-wiki coordination to promote their point of view and attack what offends it.

I previously had seen evidence of such coordination, but … I had dismissed it. “Never ascribe to a conspiracy what could merely be ignorance.” I no longer dismiss it, because, particularly with the ban, and the evidence I found researching this matter, the evidence becomes overwhelming that collusion exists. To discover the full extent of it may take legal action, and the ban gives me a wedge into discovery.

In Memoriam: John Perry Barlow

A page popped up in my Firefox feed: John Perry Barlow’s Tips for Being a Grown Up

The author adds this:

Barlow was determined to adhere to his list of self-imposed virtues, and stated in his original post about the principles in 1977: “Should any of my friends or colleagues catch me violating any one of them, bust me.”

This was written in 1977 when Barlow was 30. It’s a guide to live by, and living by it can be predicted to create a life well worth living. I would nudge a few of his tips, based on more than forty additional years of experience and intense training, but it is astonishing that someone only 30 would be so clear. Whatever he needed beyond that, he would find.

Barlow’s Wikipedia page.

His obituary on the Electronic Frontiers Foundation.

I never met Barlow, but I was a moderator on the W.E.L.L. when he was on the board, and I’d followed EFF in general. This man accomplished much, but there is much left to do. Those who take responsibility are doing that work, and will continue.

While his body passed away, as all bodies do, his spirit is immortal, at least as long as there are people to stand for what he stood for.

We will overcome.

And, yes, “should anyone (friend or otherwise) catch me violating the principles of a powerful life, bust me.” I promise to, at least, consider the objection, and to look at what I can rectify without compromising other basic principles. There is often a way. Enemies may tell me what friends will not, and I learned years ago to listen carefully, and especially to “enemies.”

Farewell, John Barlow. Joy was your birthright and your legacy.

Well-sourced

If you are reading this on an archive site, be sure to check the original URL for updates, corrections, or retractions.

In his attack blog (covered in the page supra), Oliver D. Smith wrote:

Emil O. W. Kirkegaard is a far-right/neo-Nazi child rape apologist who made news headlines in January 2018 about his paedophilia apologism and links to white supremacists and eugenicists:

And then he listed ten sources. What I notice is that none of the headlines mention Kirkegaard by name. They are all about someone or something else, and only two of the headlines mention him. These stories all appeared within two days. They obviously copy from each other. And where did the information come from about what an alleged Nazi allegedly argues? It came from this RationalWiki article written by … Oliver D. Smith. Smith has claimed that I have abused Google to attack critics. He is a hypocrite, accusing me (and others) of doing what he has done for years.

I wrote the above and the rest of this study before I noticed that Smith actually bragged about creating the media flap:

The person who wrote those RationalWiki articles sent a tip-off to some newspapers. The story now has national coverage.[[User:SkepticDave|SkepticDave]] ([[User talk:SkepticDave|talk]]) 23:07, 11 January 2018 (UTC)

(SkepticDave is an obvious AngloPyramidologist sock, i.e., Oliver Smith — or possibly his brother Darryl.)

Smith just demonstrated how lies on a site that appears to be encyclopedic can create, then, news stories in sloppy media, that then are used to strengthen the original claims (as all those stories then were cited on RationalWiki). I will here look at each story on the claim Smith makes, but first some background:

Hereditarianism

Kirkegaard would be, perhaps, a speaker on hereditarian views on intelligence or related research, the Wikipedia article has this:

Hereditarianism is the doctrine or school of thought that heredity plays a significant role in determining human nature and character traits, such as intelligence and personality. Hereditarians believe in the power of genetics to explain human character traits and solve human social and political problems. Hereditarians adopt the view that an understanding of human evolution can extend the understanding of human nature.

The statement is unsourced, however, I’m going to assume that a hereditarian would agree with the definition. The article goes on:

Theories opposed to hereditarianism include behaviorismsocial determinism and environmental determinism.[citation needed] This disagreement and controversy is part of the nature versus nurture debate. But both are based on the assumption that genes and environment have large independent effects. The dominant view outside psychology among biologists and geneticists is that both of these are gross oversimplifications and that the behavioral/psychological phenotype for human beings is determined by a function of genes and environment which cannot be decomposed into a sum of functions of the two independently. And this especially because human behavior is uniquely plastic compared to that of other animals.

Hereditarianism has major political implications.

Pastore [1949] has claimed that hereditarians were more likely to be conservative,[4] that they view social and economic inequality as a natural result of variation in talent and character. Consequently, they explain class and race differences as the result of partly genetic group differences. Pastore contrasted this with the claim that behaviorists were more likely to be liberals or leftists, that they believe economic disadvantage and structural problems in the social order were to blame for group differences.[4]

The political implications become incendiary when the claim is made of a correlation between race and intelligence. The problem is amplified if “race” is assumed to be a biological reality, which might be one definition of “racialism,” which should be distinguished from “racism,” though obviously racism is racialist.

All this becomes a chaotic mess when implications which may be taken from scientific findings are judged based on the imagined — or real — political consequences. If some fact is shown by scientific research that would lead to a “wrong” policy decision, then the research must be wrong and is to be attacked. That is reasoning from consequences, a major logical error. As well, if research is supported by or funded by or liked by Bad People, with the Wrong Political Views, the research and the researcher are Bad. Guilt by association.

Kirkegaard on pedophiles

I cover this in a comment on an email from Oliver Smith, here. The short of it. Kirkegaard made some socially clumsy statements, but did not intent to legitimate child rape or child sexual abuse. Rather he “thought out loud” about how a moral pedophile might deal with the “problem” of being a pedophile, writing things that were just plain silly and useless. Many have done that, but it usually isn’t picked up and broadcast six years later, in what is a totally irrelevant context, like the UCL conference. A speaker at a conference, many years ago, said something dumb? This is relevant news? Only in the world of “fake news” (and counter-fake news, which is really the same) which seeks for the sensational and salacious, regardless of relevance. The UCL Conference organizers would not be responsible for knowing what Kirkegaard wrote many years before, only his recent activity. The tragedy of this is that “mainstream media” repeated accusations from RationalWiki, which then cites those repetitions and highly biased analysis — not mentioning where the newspapers got the information, which is obvious. RationalWiki. So Oliver Smith created a media nightmare and then cites it as proof that the nightmare is true. Nice trick. Not.

Exposed: London’s eugenics conference and its neo-Nazi links

A eugenics conference held annually at University College London by an honorary professor, the London Conference on Intelligence, is dominated by a secretive group of white supremacists with neo-Nazi links, London Student can exclusively reveal.
First of all, was it a “eugenics conference,” and what is “eugenics?” Wikipedia: Eugenics. The concept has come to refer to attempts or study of techniques for “improving” human genetics, which could range from what was done in the past (such as selective sterilization of people deemed to be carrying “defective heritable characteristics”) to genetic engineering, including selective abortion. I.e., aborting a child because it is shown to be carrying some gene for a genetic disorder, would be a form of eugenics. Eugenics, as a field, has a bad name particularly because of concepts and applications in Nazi Germany, where the idea was heavily mixed with concepts of “racial purity.”
Racialism is hereditarian, with a concept of the reality of races as genetic in nature. It’s rather obvious that the characteristics used to identify people racially can have a genetic component.  Is this story factual? The official name of the Conference has been the London Conference on Intelligence. Not “Eugenics.”
The article states that the Conference has its own Youtube channel, but that is gone. No details were given. It is unclear what was the importance of mentioning this.
The co-op article is a massive exercise in guilt by association. If a “link” can be found, that shows “domination.” What we have is a list of persons who have participated in the Conference. I would expect, by the way, that racists would be attracted to hereditarianism, but that does not make hereditarianism racist. There is obviously a genetic component to intelligence; what is the difference, otherwise, between a mouse and a human in intelligence? The issue as to racialism would be the extent of genetic differences between the populations called “races” — which can be very poorly defined — and, for the Conference, how they relate to measures of intelligence, intelligence itself being, often, poorly defined. That mouse is pretty smart, when it comes to being a mouse!
So the “speakers and attendees” named, and then the “links” to “neo-Nazis”:
  • Professor James Thompson, who allegedly “doesn’t understand genetics.” Evidence. Another professor said so. Maybe it’s true and maybe it isn’t!
  • “a self-taught geneticist who argues in favour of child rape,” Which would be Emil Kirkegaard, and what he wrote six years ago and did not promote or repeat, even if he did do what was stated, and … this has zero to do with “neo-Nazi” or hereditarianism, it’s simply mud to toss.
  • multiple white supremacists, not named. Out of how many? and a conference and its organizers is to be judge by those who are interested and attend? Invited speakers, yes, but sometimes anyone is allowed to present a paper, generally based on an abstract presented. A conference will not do deep research to rule out some “neo-Nazi link.” They may not look at presenter qualifications at all, it depends.
  • ex-board member of the Office for Students Toby Young.
  • Richard Lynn (Wikipedia article). A link is given to a web site about Lynn: https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/richard-lynn That is the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is highly political. In 2016, Lynn spoke on “Sex differences in intelligence.” If Lynn is smart, he would be talking about how much smarter than men, women are. Seriously, I have two immediate reactions: comparing intelligence between woman and men is extremely difficult, what one can do is to compare measures only. and there are hosts of stereotypes to deal with. Men have trouble understanding cooking and taking care of babies, right? And especially men have trouble understanding women, famously. Does Lynn give a decent speech, raising questions worth considering, or was this uninterrupted racist or sexist propaganda? To know, one would probably have to be there! This hit piece is simply hitting on stereotypes about racism and sexism, knee-jerk expectations. The Wikipedia article provides much more balance. I’d be amazed at a Conference on Intelligence that did not include Lynn. Yes, his views might be highly controversial, and he might take positions on social issues that I might find offensive, but the man does have academic qualifications. I’m starting to smell academic censorship, rejection of research because it offends political correctness (which is more or less what Kirkegaard has been claiming). The existence of that kind of bias does not mean that the research is sound, but a free academy will not be reasoning from consequences. Data is data. Intepretation of data is distinct from that, and interpretation is often quite biased. According to the Wikipedia article on Lynn, he sits on the board of the journal Intelligence, published by Elsevier. He is also 87 years old. Someone is surprised that he attends and speaks at a conference on intelligence?
  • four of the six members of the UISR’s Academic Advisory Council. The Ulster Institute for Social Research, on the face, is an academic institution. The members are titled “professors,” Edward Miller, Helmuth Nyborg, Donald Templer, Andrei Grigoriev, James Thompson, Gerhard Meisenberg. James Thompson, of course, was the Conference sponsor at UCL, so he’s been mentioned twice. I will list these separately:
  • Edward M. Miller, “is an American economist. He is a professor whose writings on race and intelligence have sparked debates on academic freedom. Indeed, and it is still happening. Academic freedom must include the right to be wrong. When ideas must be “correct” in order to be considered and discussed, we have a new orthodoxy that can and will crush real progress. Miller is my age, a born about four months after me.
  • Helmuth Nyborg is a Danish psychologist and author. He is former professor of developmental psychology at Aarhus UniversityDenmark and Olympic canoeist. His main research topic is the connection between hormones and intelligence. Among other things, he has worked on increasing the intelligence of girls with Turner’s syndrome by giving them estrogen. His research was censured for political reasons[1] by the administration of Aarhus University in 2007, forcing his retirement. He was later cleared by the governmental Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD).[1] From my point of view, with any particular measure  of intelligence, there may be differences between  populations (i.e., “races” or ethnic groups) and between genders. The implications for policies are quite unclear, because there are other issues, and individual difference may be (I’ll simply say are) far larger than the population differences. Nyborg is 81.
  • Donald Templer died in 2016. He was 68 years old and was also quite controversial. Racists will believe in racialism and hereditarianism, and will show interest in these topics, but that does not make them “racist.” As well, political views can become highly biased, but if a researcher does good science, the bias can be separated from it; it will show up in how data is interpreted. If a researcher actually falsifies data, they would be rejected by all scientists. It’s rare.
  • Andrei Gigoriev: co-authored with Richard Lynn A_study_of_the_intelligence_of_Kazakhs_Russians_and_Uzbeks_in_Kazakhstan, published in Intelligence (2014)

Reading the paper, the immediate question I looked to find is how “intelligence” was measured. I find the research itself interesting, but quite inadequately explored. The paper talks about “intelligence” and does actually consider measures of intelligence, and … this is a general problem with “intelligence”: The test was a test designed in Great Britain and was administered in Russian, so higher performance for Russians could simply be related to familiarity with that language. Could there be a racialist or cultural bias here? Yes, my opinion. However, part of a solution would be to repeat the study with a similar test in Uzbek. The paper also suggests another problem: cultural emphasis on certain kinds of thinking and de-emphasis on other kinds. That is, the definition of “intelligence” may incorporate cultural bias. And the paper then goes into what I would call “racist or racialist speculation.” I would fault the reviewers at Intelligence for not insisting on skeptical analysis (i.e., the authors could have suggested further research to clear up ambiguities, but they did not.) (I could rip this paper to shreds, my opinion, but … academic freedom can handle this, and should.

  • James Thompson was the organizer of the UCL conference. He appears to be a recognized academic, see this paper, published by Oxford University Press in the Journal of Biosocial Science. From his Twitter feed, some quotes (All from January 15):

 If you want to combat racism and sexism you need the benchmark of open discussion of racial and sexual differences.

An unpopular idea may be traduced, misrepresented and suppressed and yet be wrong.

We should examine the ideas we cherish with as much ferocity as those we find repellent.

(See Spearman’s hypothesis, which is highly relevant, and G-loading. To my mind, the difference between hereditarian positions and those which consider other factors more important (such as environment, including cultural environment, social expectations, etc.) is one of degree, not absolute. I have been diagnosed with ADHD, and it was not marginal. There are theories that ADHD (which does run in families) is a genetic variant that favors hunter-gatherer survival, whereas “normies” are adapted for settled communities, originally agricultural. Nomadic peoples (like the Kazakhs) would probably fit more on the hunter-gatherer side. All human cultures need intelligence, but the form of intelligence would vary. But how large is the genetic component? The racist aspect of this research shows up in assumptions about what is “better.” It is generally assumed that “higher intelligence” is good, but what is the definition of “good”? It can be highly biased, culturally. The Gigoriev study cites some  specific question differences. It seems the authors cannot see the trees for the forest. A question designed to test the operation of logic included words that would be cultural triggers for Kazakhs, causing them to respond from a cultural position rather than from pure logic. These kinds of differences were then interpreted as an “inability to reason logically.” But all people when triggered into well-established patterns of thought do not apply abstract logic. The test, as designed, apparently, would create a process bias. It is not that a Kazakh could not understand “All A is not B. Given an example of A, is it B?” Different people, on average, and culturally, might have strong reactions to A or B, thus shifting answers. It would only need to shift the answers from some to warp the results. The paper is confused about racialism vs. culturalism.)

The Wikipedia article on Mankind Quarterly covers critique (quite prominently, by the way, a sign of biased editing there.) Generally, controversy should be kept out of the lede, and placing four links to what is obviously political criticism in the lede is not balanced. The Journal itself is clearly a scientific journal, publishing articles in a field with high controversy. For the latest issue, I picked a paper to look at.

“The Relationship between the “Smart Fraction”, SES, and Education: The Sudan Case.” From the abstract, this is neither hereditarian nor racialist. There is a paper by Emil Kirkegaard, ‘Employment Rates for 11 Country of Origin Groups in Scandinavia.” This was the only paper that I noticed as possibly being “politically edgy.” However, such data is needed for public policy review. Without reading the paper itself, I could expect that Kirkegaard might have expressed an anti-immigration position. Whether or not this would discredit the actual research is another issue.

For Kirkegaard: the article has “Kirkegaard’s reputation as a scientific advocate for neo-Nazism was increased last April when he appeared on Tara McCarthy’s ‘Reality Calls’ to discuss “the future of eugenics.” … and then evidence is shown that Tara McCarthy is Very Bad. This is guilt by association. Kirkegaard’s actual views were not described (and Kirkegaard has denied being a “neo-Nazi.” HIs general views on hereditarianism and intelligence — and eugenics — would make him a person of interest to certain racists and white supremacists, but that does not make him one of them. Further, even if he has politically offensive views, that does not discredit his scientific work. The London Student article is attacking an entire field, the study of intelligence and in particular, the origin of differences in measures of intelligence. Hereditarians consider genetics important, but the more mainstream view (and my view) is now that, among human beings (with very similar genetic coding, and aside from specific genetic disorders), other factors are far more important, and that survival pressure optimized for “general intelligence” in all major populations. However, I will argue strongly for the right of hereditatians and racialists to perform and present research, academically. If offensive racist (not merely racialist) views are presented, or, related, pernicious sexist views, not merely a study of sexual differences), then an academic institution may decide to exclude such work. The hysterical London Student article does not consider the real issues, but has merely fleshed out — a little — what came from the RationalWiki article by Oliver D. Smith, who has acknowledged, through his sock SkepticDave, that he fomented the whole flap by email.

Then the article mentions another Conference speaker as having been interviewed by McCarthy: Adam Perkins. Here is a cogent critique of Perkin’s work. “Cogent” means thoughtful and, to some extent, balanced, not knee-jerk, not that I necessarily agree. (But I probably would if I studied the book, which I’m not doing). The political significance is considered, and it is politics that dominate here. Not science. The book title is sensationalist: The Welfare Trait: How State Benefits Affect Personality. I have no doubt that this would appeal to conservatives and, as well, to certain neo-Nazis.

I conclude that the London Student article was sensationalist, focused on easy allegations, not distinguishing between the academic study of intelligence and heredity (by no means a resolved scientific controversy) and “neo-Nazi.”

this was a straightforward news report, reporting an investigation, not conclusions.

This is on the face repeating Oliver D. Smith’s attacks and arguments. It’s pure guilt by association.

Kirkegaard is not a “Nazi.” The article is conclusory, making exaggerated claims, such as “The London Conference on Intelligence (LCI) is a secretive, invitation-only event where they appear to discuss only the most bigoted of topics.”

Topics are not bigoted, unless they are, by their nature, conclusory on bigotry. I.e., “Why are Blacks of such Low Intelligence” would be racist and conclusory (i.e., incorporated racist assumption).” So far, I haven’t seen topics like that. So this is a hit piece, and we know that Oliver D. Smith contacted media to promote these ideas. They fell for it. They quote Kirkegaard (not mentioning that it was years ago):

He has also advocated a “frank discussion of paedophilia related issues.”

Obviously a pedophile because any non-pedophile would not want any discussion of such issues, they are unthinkable to any normal person. See Harris Mirkin. (Seriously, I’m a parent and pedophile hysteria does not protect children, it probably has the opposite effect.)

Top London university launches probe into conference that included speakers with controversial views on race and gender

Yes, they did that. There is some level of incorporated conclusion in the headline. Certainly there are allegations of “controversial views.” But these topics are not generally well-understood. So, looking at details, first in the subheads:

University College London said it was probing a potential breach of policy

Yes, that’s clear. The exact nature of the breach is not clear, not to me, yet.

One professor said the London Conference on Intelligence was ‘pseudoscience’

What did this mean? The source was the London Student. This was a media feeding frenzy. I will later look for follow-up. “Intelligence” is a very hot topic, with strong views being common, and politically fraught.

Some speakers claim certain countries have higher IQs than others, it is alleged

This is shocking, perhaps, until one knows what “IQ” actually is. Intelligence Quotient is measured by performance on standardized tests. Given a set of tests, I don’t think it is controversial: differing populations may have differing average scores on such tests. As a silly point: Countries do not have IQ, people do. Or perhaps robots. Siri is pretty smart! Good, perhaps, the word “alleged” is put in there. But the claim is not controversial! Except that some people will come unglued if one says it.

Public policy formation should not be knee-jerk from shallow interpretations of data. The public policy implications of the measured differences in IQ are a quite different topic than the raw data. There are many issues to be example, which will not be examined while there is shouting about “Racism!” Though with countries, it would be Nationalism, right? Which may or may not be racist.

By Eleanor Harding Education Correspondent For The Daily Mail

PUBLISHED: 20:41 EST, 10 January 2018 | UPDATED: 21:01 EST, 10 January 2018

The annual conference, which was first held in 2014, is alleged to have included speakers who have written about people in some countries having on average a higher IQ than those in others.

Again, that is not controversial, once we know what IQ is. It is performance on a standardized test. So, then, it becomes a matter of interest, scientifically (and with public policy implications). Why? Answers to that are not necessarily simple, and would, scientifically, require testing. Or it would be pseudoscience.

It was hosted by an honorary UCL senior lecturer, Professor James Thompson, who taught psychology for 32 years and for the last decade has worked as a consultant psychologist.

Yes. So, surprising that a conference on intelligence is hosted by a psychologist?

Another speaker at the LCI has been Emil Kirkegaard, who gave a talk in 2015 about how far ‘genomic race’ is associated with cognitive ability.

Well, “how far” is actually an open scientific question. It’s difficult to study. Kirkegaard used the term “genomic race.” What is that. Is it different from “race”? How? Here is a blog post by Kirkegaard.

The post shows some problems. First of all, genomic race is race measured by genetic markers, rather than “SIRE” or “self reported race/ethnicity.” Kirkegaard emphasizes the need for strong evidence because “environmentalists are very stubborn.” He is betraying a strong bias, his research is attempting to prove something, which classically leads to poor research. However, that does not make his results wrong, only that the results must be interpreted with caution, because he may then select data to publish that has been selected for value in creating desired conclusions, He is clearly a hereditarian (opposed to “environmentalism”) and a racialist. That is, he believes that the genetic influence on intelligence is strong — which is not a mainstream position now — and that “race” is a biological reality — also a widely rejected view. In my opinion, the statement “race is a biological reality” is neither true nor false, it is confuses interpretation with fact. But the interpretation that race is not a reality (other than as a social construct) is now dominant (and I have expressed that view many times.) We will see a comment on this:

Writer and geneticist Adam Rutherford told the London Student that, based on the titles and abstracts at the LCI, some of the views presented by speakers were a ‘pseudoscientific front for bog-standard, old-school racism’.

“Bog-standard” appears to be British for “ordinary.” I don’t agree. Racism, to confront the core, is a manifestation of what may be a human instinct, to mistrust strangers, people who are different. That made some level of sense for first reactions under “tribal conditions.” It becomes dangerous and pernicious under more modern conditions. But that kind of reaction will occur, it’s mediated by the amygdala, my opinion. So most “normal people” will be racist. Under modern conditions, such people are likely to deny it, since racism is Bad. (This has changed radically in my lifetime. When I was growing up in a white community, Manhattan Beach, California, racism was completely normal. That shifted, to the point that racism is suppressed. But people will still have those reactions, and to move beyond this, declaring the reactions Bad and Wrong will not shift this. Rather, racism is disappearing mostly because of increased exposure and familiarity, such that “black people” are now part of “our tribe.” The first step in defeating that “inner racism” is to acknowledge it, and the atmosphere of strong rejection makes that more difficult, not less difficult. Basically, blaming people is not a part of any skilled pedagogy or social transformation. 

This was not the comment of some careful academic. Basic on the Wikipedia article, Adam Rutherford, I’d expect a certain kind of bias, which is amply displayed here.

“Some views expressed” could refer to one or two speakers.

He added: ‘As soon as you begin to speak about black people and IQ you have a problem, because genetically-speaking “black people” aren’t one homogenous group.

Okay, who spoke about “black people”? Remember, he did not attend the conference and did not read the papers. Here is the list of speakers for the 2016 Conference: It includes a paper that I’d expect might have something like that, by Kirkegaard and Fuerst. http://www.dcscience.net/London-conference-of-Intelligence-2016.pdf#14

‘Any two people of recent African descent are likely to be more genetically distinct from each other than either of them is to anyone else in the world.’

Yes, I understand that is correct. But there is an obvious error here. That fact (i.e., genetic diversity, which can be measured) does not negate the possibility of a genetic influence on intelligence, and the variations in intelligence studied by researchers in the field are not confined to genetic differences. To determine these effects, as well as their causes, research is needed, and especially careful research. But if the field is rejected as intrinsically racist, which is the appearance here, that research will not be done, or if done, may not be reported and criticized.

The London Conference on Intelligence included talks by controversial speakers including white supremacists, child rape advocates, and those with extreme views on race and gender.

This article depends heavily on the London Student article. With “child rape advocates” (how many?) it shows its the origin with, directly or indirectly. Oliver D. Smith. It is full of the same non sequiturs. 

The use of the hyperbolic plural is a tipoff to the yellow journalistic agenda.

Was it a “eugenics” conference? Notice that this is an incorporated assumption in the headline. The 2016 conference document cited above is headed with a photograph of Edward Thorndike, and a saying from him:

Selective breeding can alter man’s capacity to learn, to keep sane, to cherish justice or to be happy. There is no more certain and economical a way to improve man’s environment as to improve his nature.

“Selective breeding” is actually natural and normal. (But Thorndike may have had something more “scientific” in mind.). There is nothing offensive about the statement, though I might disagree with the weight that he put on it. There is nothing ‘racist’ about this comment. If he was a racist — I don’t know, but many were in his day — the comment appears independent of that, he was not talking about “race purity,” which is, actually, genetically dangerous. Diversity is important for the maintenance of healthy populations.

Richard Lynn has an obvious interest in eugenics. He wrote Eugenics: A Reassessment. However, I see no indication that the Conference is fairly called a “eugenics conference.” It was about intelligence and population studies of measures of intelligence. It was accurately named. I saw not one paper in the list that was about eugenics (which in modern times would refer most strongly to genetic engineering. The study of intelligence could have an impact on that. Can genes for “intelligence” be found? Again, how would we know? Genetic engineering will bring many ethical issues — and it’s already happening. It is common to do fetal genetic testing to detect Down syndrome, and to then selectively abort. However, eugenics would probably be focused on increasing desirable characteristics.

 

Is it a “eugenics probe”? Or is it a reaction to a massive flap about alleged racism? Is a topic to be banned because someone interested in the topic, and who writes academic papers on it, has expressed, at some time or other, allegedly abhorrent views?  From a comment by a  UCL spokesperson:

“Our records indicate the university was not informed in advance about the speakers and content of the conference series, as it should have been for the event to be allowed to go ahead. The conferences were booked and paid for as an external event and without our officials being told of the details. They were therefore not approved or endorsed by UCL.

It would be radically contrary to academic freedom for the university to assert control over speakers and content. From the topics of the 2016 conference, I would expect a normal university response to allow a next conference, if they even took that much interest. The conference organizer was apparently a trusted faculty member, and that would be the extent of it.

I would not expect specific conference speakers and content to be approved in advance by the university. That is quite contrary to actual practice, which is that a conference is planned, often very long in advance, the venue secured for the general topic, and then, once a location is secure, the speakers and papers to be delivered are chosen. 

“We have suspended approval for any further conferences of this nature by the honorary lecturer and speakers pending our investigation into the case. As part of that investigation, we will be speaking to the honorary lecturer and seeking an explanation.”

As a temporary measure pending investigation, this makes sense. Oliver D. Smith, who triggered this flap by private email to the media, probably linking to the RationalWiki article that he wrote, crowed on RationalWiki that he got the conference “shut down.” That has not happened yet. There is a temporary suspension pending investigation and whether or not it affects this year’s conference is unclear. If it stays up in the air, unresolved, Conference organizers may simply move the Conference elsewhere. This was a small conference and does not need to be held at a University. I’d suggest a hotel in Hawaii. Cheaper in China, I’m sure.

The university stressed it was “committed to free speech but also to combatting racism and sexism in all forms”.

We will see how committed they are to free speech.

University College London has launched an urgent investigation into how a senior academic was able to secretly host conferences on eugenics and intelligence with notorious speakers including white supremacists.

The London Conference on Intelligence was said to have been run secretly for at least three years by James Thompson, an honorary senior lecturer at the university, including contributions from a researcher who has previously advocated child rape.

Oliver Smith successfully framed the conversation. The conference was on intelligence, yes. Were any speakers “white supremacists?” That’s quite unclear. Oliver Smith has made this claim about some. The speakers were well-known academics in the field. “Notorious”? Who? This was an appalling piece by the Guardian, polemic, not sober reporting. The “child rape” accusation was false, and the comments he made — which were not advocacy, clearly — were many years before, as a young blogger.

Any actual journalism here? Okay:

UCL said it had no knowledge of the conference, an invitation-only circle of 24 attendees, which could have led to a breach of the government’s Prevent regulations on campus extremism.

This conference was not “extremist.” It was, in some respects, fringe or controversial research.  The actual Prevent document is about terrorism.

Russia Television. Shabby yellow journalism, repeating the Smith claims. Much commentary was about Toby Young, for having “attended” the conference. Young is a highly opininated journalist and has made comments relating to eugenics. The Wikipedia article is, by the way, afflicted with Oliver Smith fake news, my sense is that it violates biography policy, with recentism and focus on a splash of claims in media. (The claims actually contradict sources, but … newspapers like the Guardian are “reliable source.” Nevertheless, it’s up to editors to consider balance. It’s obvious that a series of media sources copied each other having copied RationalWiki. And there was an Oliver Smith sock (tagged as Anglo Pyramidologist) who edited that. (“Rebecca Bird.”)

The quality is a little higher, in a dismal field:

One of Britain’s most liberal universities has learnt that it has played host to a conference for controversial academics and experts for three years without knowing it.

More accurately, the University spokesperson has claimed, to repeat:

Our records indicate the university was not informed in advance about the speakers and content of the conference series, as it should have been for the event to be allowed to go ahead. The conferences were booked and paid for as an external event and without our officials being told of the details. They were therefore not approved or endorsed by UCL.

This kind of statement can be quite misleading. “Records indicate” shows that someone didn’t find something in the records, but information may have been provided that was not recorded. “Booked and paid for as an external event” is possible. Who can do that and under what rules? What information, if any, was actually provided? This was, however, arguably “secretive” — from what Toby Young has written, there was a realization that the content could be controversial — but not “secret.” There was ample information about the conference, in public view. I would not expect the University to be informed of conference details, particularly speakers. Rather, what would seem more likely would be that the general conference subject would be revealed. Speakers would not necessarily be known until not long before the conference, and it would not be the job of the University to vet speakers. The Time more accurately describes the topic of the conference than any of the other sources:

University College London has been the venue for the London Conference on Intelligence, a secretive, invitation-only event on “empirical studies of intelligence, personality and behaviour”.

Given the apparent function of the conference, I would not be surprised for it to be “invitation-only.” That does not, in itself, make it “secretive” or “secret.” Just in the last few days, there was a conference for cold fusion researchers at MIT that was “invitation-only.” This is done where the desire is to create a collaborative working environment, among people already familiar with the research.

It has been held at the university every year since 2015 without the authorities being notified, in a breach of its own rules. This year’s conference, scheduled for May, has been suspended while UCL investigates.

The Times is stating that the rules have been breached, but has not provided evidence or a source for that, other than the vague comments of the University spokesperson. The inquiry is into whether or not rules were breached. Who, exactly was responsible for notifying exactly whom? Is there a form for booking a conference. Did it contain the required information. My guess would be, it did, and that the idea of rules violation is CYA from some University officials. But I certainly don’t know.

The conferences have hosted speakers presenting work that claims racial mixing has a negative effect on population “quality”, and that “skin brightness” is a factor in global development.

So, with a rather diverse group of speakers, and many papers over the years, one finds a few studies that sound weird. I could go over all the lists of papers, but I’m not doing that now.

I have seen “skin brightness” used as a measure of “color.” It is a crude marker for certain populations. (Skin brightness can be objectively measured. Skin brightness might be a factor in global development because of endemic racism. How would one know? It’s obvious that there is an attitude of certain topics being forbidden, to be condemned, which is more or less what Kirkegaard has claimed. “Population quality” is vague, but in the few papers I have read, these terms are defined and may not be at all what a reader of a newspaper would assume.  

I find this fascinating: as media picked up the stories, each new report tended to focus on the facts or claims of the prior reports. There is little sign of investigation de novo. So facts or claims that would be, in an unbiased report, considered marginal or irrelevant, not to be covered, are covered, and there is a bias in this toward what is sensational or scandalous.

Standard, ancient problem of media bias, not necessarily a bias toward a political position, but toward scandal and the like. The most obvious example here is the often mentioned alleged advocacy of child rape, that wasn’t. This had nothing to do with the conference (the ostensible topic of the stories) and was simple ad hominem attack and claim of guilt by association.

For a very different (and still very political) view, http://www.vdare.com/articles/then-they-came-for-the-london-conference-on-intelligence

A modest proposal: perhaps there is a gene for racism. (From what I’ve described above, this is not absolutely preposterous. Fear of the “other” may be instinctive and not simply conditioned, it probably has some genetic basis. So, how about the possibility of a genetic test for racism, and there could be fetal tests for it, and then selective abortion to diminish the obviously damaging propensity for racism in the population. Readers should be aware of the history of “a modest proposal.”

My hope here is that UCL makes a sane decision that does protect academic  freedom. If there are aspects of the Conference that are gratuitously offensive — I have not seen that yet — then they may sanely place restrictions. In this field, some of the researchers will hold unconventional views. That’s critical for the scientific process. What would truly concern me would be data falsification, and nothing like that has been alleged.

SOS Wikipedia

Original post

I’ve been working on some studies that involve a lot of looking at Wikipedia, and I come across the Same Old S … ah, Stuff! Yeah! Stuff!

Wikipedia has absolutely wonderful policies that are not worth the paper they are not written on, because what actually matters is enforcement. If you push a point of view considered fringe by the administrative cabal (Jimbo’s word for what he created … but shhhh! Don’t write the word on Wikipedia, the sky will fall!) you are in for some, ah, enforcement. But if you have and push a clear anti-fringe point of view — which is quite distinct from neutrally insisting on policy — nothing will happen, unless you go beyond limits, in which case you might even get blocked until your friends bail you out, as happened with jps, mentioned below. Way beyond limits.

So an example pushed against my eyeballs today. It’s not about cold fusion, but it shows the thinking of an administrator (JzG is the account but he signs “Guy”) and a user (the former Science Apologist, who has a deliberately unpronounceable username but who signs jps (those were his real-life initials), who were prominent in establishing the very iffy state of Cold fusion.

Wikipedia:Fringe_theories/Noticeboard


Aron K. Barbey ‎[edit]

Before looking at what JzG (Guy) and UnpronounceableUsername (jps) wrote, what happened here? What is the state of the article and the user?

First thing I find is that Aron barbey wrote the article and has almost no other edits. However, he wrote the article on Articles for creation. Looking at his user talk page, I find

16 July 2012, Barbey was warned about writing an article about himself, by a user declining a first article creation submission.

9 July 2014, it appears that Aron barbey created a version of the article at Articles for Creation. That day, he was politely and properly warned about conflict of interest.

The article was declined, see 00:43:46, 9 July 2014 review of submission by Aron barbey

from the log found there:

It appears that the article was actually originally written by Barbey in 2012. See this early copy, and logs for that page.

Barbey continued to work on his article in the new location, and resubmitted it August 2, 2014

It was accepted August 14, 2014.  and moved to mainspace.

Now, the article itself. It has not been written or improved by someone with a clue as to what Wikipedia articles need. As it stands, it will not withstand a Articles for deletion request. The problem is that there are few, if any, reliable secondary sources. Over three years after the article was accepted, JzG multiply issue-tagged it. Those tags are correct. There are those problems, some minor, some major. However, this edit was appalling, and the problem shows up in the FTN filing.

The problems with the article would properly suggest AfD if they cannot be resolved. So why did JzG go to FTN? What is the “Fringe Theory” involved? He would go there for  one reason: on that page the problems with this article can be seen by anti-fringe users, who may then either sit on the article to support what JzG is doing, or vote for deletion with opinions warped by claims of “fringe,” which actually should be irrelevant. The issue, by policy would be the existence of reliable secondary sources. If there are not enough, then deletion is appropriate, fringe or not fringe.

So his filing:


The article on Aron Barbey is an obvious autobiography, edited by himself and IP addresses from his university. The only other edits have been removing obvious puffery – and even then, there’s precious little else in the article. What caught my eye is the fact that he’s associated with a Frontiers journal, and promulgates a field called “Nutritional Cognitive Neuroscience”, which was linked in his autobiography not to a Wikipedia article but to a journal article in Frontiers. Virtually all the cites in the article are primary references to his won work, and most of those are in the Frontiers journal he edits. Which is a massive red flag.

Who edited the article is a problem, but the identity of editors is not actually relevant to Keep/Delete and content. Or it shouldn’t be. In reality, those arguments often prevail. If an edit is made in conflict of interest, it can be reverted. But … what is the problem with that journal? JzG removed the link and explanation. For Wikipedia Reliable Source, the relevant fact is the publisher. But I have seen JzG and jps arguing that something is not reliable source because the author had fringe opinions — in their opinion!

What JzG removed:

15:48, 15 December 2017‎ JzG (talk | contribs)‎ . . (27,241 bytes) (-901)‎  . (remove links to crank journal) (undo)

This took out this link:

Nutritional Cognitive Neuroscience

and removed what could show that the journal is not “crank.” There is a better source (showing that the editors of the article didn’t know what they were doing). Nature Publishing Group press release. This “crank journal” is Reliable Source for Wikipedia, and that is quite clear. (However, there are some problems with all this, complexities. POV-pushing confuses the issues, it doesn’t resolve them.

Aron Barbey is Associate Editor of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Nature Publishing Group journal.[14] Barbey is also on the Editorial Board of NeuroImage,[15] Intelligence,[16] and Thinking & Reasoning,.[17]

Is Barbey an “Associate Editor”? This is the journal home page.

Yes, Barbie is an Associate Editor. There are two Chief Editors. A journal will choose a specialist in the field, to participate in the selection and review of articles, so this indicates some notability, but is a primary source.

And JzG mangled:

Barbey is known for helping to establish the field of Nutritional Cognitive Neuroscience.[36]

was changed to this:

Barbey is known for helping to establish the field of Cognitive Neuroscience.[35]

JzG continues on FTN:

So, I suspect we have a woo-monger here, but I don’t know whether the article needs to be nuked, or expanded to cover reality-based critique, if any exists. Guy (Help!) 16:03, 15 December 2017 (UTC)

“Woo” is a term used by “skeptic” organizations. “Woo-monger” is uncivil, for sure. As well, the standard for inclusion in Wikipedia is not “reality-based” but “verifiable in reliable source.” “Critique” assumes that what Barbey is doing is controversial, and Guy has found no evidence for that other than his own knee-jerk responses to the names of things.

It may be that the article needs to be deleted. It certainly needs to be improved. However, what is obvious is that JzG is not at all shy about displaying blatant bias, and insulting an academic and an academic journal.

And jps does quite the same:

This is borderline Men who stare at goats sort of research (not quite as bad as that, but following the tradition) that the US government pushes around. Nutriceuticals? That’s very dodgy. Still, the guy’s won millions of dollars to study this stuff. Makes me think a bit less of IARPA. jps (talk) 20:41, 15 December 2017 (UTC)

This does not even remotely resemble that Army paranormal research, but referring to that project is routine for pseudosceptics whenever there is government support of anything they consider fringe. Does nutrition have any effect on intelligence? Is the effect of nutrition on intelligence of any interest? Apparently, not for these guys. No wonder they are as they are. Not enough kale (or, more accurately, not enough nutritional research, which is what this fellow is doing.)

This is all about warping Wikipedia toward an extreme Skeptical Point of View. This is not about improving the article, or deleting it for lack of reliable secondary sources. It’s about fighting woo and other evils.

In editing the article, JzG used these edit summaries:

  • (remove links to crank journal)
  • (rm. vanispamcruft)
  • (Selected publications: Selected by Barbey, usually published by his own journal. Let’s see if anyone else selects them)
  • (Cognitive Neuroscience Methods to Enhance Human Intelligence: Oh good, they are going to be fad diet sellers too)

This are all uncivil (the least uncivil would be the removal of publications, but it has no basis. JzG has no idea of what would be notable and what not.

The journal is not “his own journal.” He is merely an Associate Editor, selected for expertise. He would not be involved in selecting his own article to publish. I’ve been through this with jps, actually, where Ed Storms was a consulting editor for Naturwissenschaften and the claim was made that he had approved his own article, a major peer-reviewed review of cold fusion, still not used in the article. Yet I helped with the writing of that article and Storms had to go through ordinary peer review. The faction makes up arguments like this all the time.

I saw this happen again and again: an academic edits Wikipedia, in his field. He is not welcomed and guided to support Wikipedia editorial policy. He is, instead, attacked and insulted. Ultimately, if he is not blocked, he goes away and the opinion grows in academia that Wikipedia is hopeless. I have no idea, so far, if this neuroscientist is notable by Wikipedia standards, but he is definitely a real neuroscientist, and being treated as he is being treated is utterly unnecessary. But JzG has done this for years.

Once upon a time, when I saw an article like this up for Deletion, I might stub it, reducing the article to just what is in the strongest sources, which a new editor without experience may not recognize. Later, if the article survives the AfD discussion, more can be added from weaker sources, including some primary sources, if it’s not controversial. If the article isn’t going to survive AfD, I’d move it to user space, pending finding better sources. (I moved a fair number of articles to my own user space so they could be worked on. Those were deleted at the motion of …. JzG.)

(One of the problems with AfD is that if an article is facing deletion, it can be a lot of work to find proper sources. I did the work on some occasions, and the article was deleted anyway, because there had been so many delete !votes (Wikipedia pretends it doesn’t vote, one of the ways the community lies to itself.  before the article was improved, and people don’t come back and reconsider, usually. That’s all part of Wikipedia structural dysfunction. Wasted work. Hardly anyone cares.)

Sources on Barbey

Barbey and friends may be aware of sources not easily found on the internet. Any newspaper will generally be a reliable source. If Barbey’s work is covered in a book that is not internet-searchable, it may be reliable source. Sourcing for the biography should be coverage of Barbey and/or Barbey’s work, attributed to him, and not merely passing mention. Primary sources (such as his university web site) are inadequate. If there were an article on him in the journal where he is Associate Editor, it would probably qualify (because he would not be making the editorial decision on that). If he is the publisher, or he controls the publisher, it would not qualify.

Reliable independent sources
  • WAMC.org BRADLEY CORNELIUS “Dr. Aron Barbey, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Emotional Intelligence  APR 27, 2013
  • 2013 Carle Research Institute Awards October 2013, Research Newsletter. Singles out a paper for recognition, “Nutrient Biomarker Patterns, Cognitive Function, and MRI Measures of Brain Aging,” however, I found a paper by that title and Barbey is not listed as an author, nor could I find a connection with Barbey.
  • SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE David Noonan, “How to Plug In Your Brain” MAY 2016
  • The New Yorker.  Emily Anthes  “Vietnam’s Neuroscientific Legacy” October 2, 2014 PASSING MENTION
  • MedicalXpress.com Liz Ahlberg Touchstone “Cognitive cross-training enhances learning, study finds” July 25, 2017

“Aron Barbey, a professor of psychology” (reliable sources make mistakes) Cites a study, the largest and most comprehensive to date, … published in the journal Scientific Reports. N. Ward et al, Enhanced Learning through Multimodal Training: Evidence from a Comprehensive Cognitive, Physical Fitness, and Neuroscience Intervention, Scientific Reports (2017).
The error indicates to me that this was actually written by Touchstone, based on information provided by the University of Illinois, not merely copied from that.

Iffy but maybe

My sense is that continued search could find much more. Barbey is apparently a mainstream neuroscientist, with some level of recognition. His article needs work by an experienced Wikipedian.

Notes for Wikipedians

An IP editor appeared in the Fringe Theories Noticeboard discussion pointing to this CFC post:

Abd is stalking and attacking you both on his blog [25] in regard to Aron Barbey. He has done the same on about 5 other articles of his. [26]. He was banned on Wikipedia yet he is still active on Wiki-media projects. Can this guy get banned for this? The Wikimedia foundation should be informed about his harassment. 82.132.217.30 (talk) 13:30, 16 December 2017 (UTC)

This behavior is clearly of the sock family, called Anglo Pyramidologist on Wikipedia, and when I discovered the massive damage that this family had done, I verified the most recent activity with stewards (many accounts were locked and IPs blocked) and I have continued documentation, which Wikipedia may use or not, as it chooses. It is all verifiable. This IP comment was completely irrelevant to the FTN discussion, but attempting to turn every conversation into an attack on favorite targets is common AP sock behavior. For prior edits in this sequence, see (from the meta documentation):

This new account is not an open proxy. However, I will file a request anyway, because the behavior is so clear, following up on the 193.70.12.231 activity.

I have private technical evidence that this is indeed the same account or strongly related to Anglo Pyramidologist, see the Wikipedia SPI.

(I have found other socks, some blocked, not included in that archive.)

I have also been compiling obvious socks and reasonable suspicions from RationalWiki, for this same user or set of users, after he created a revenge article there on me (as he had previously done with many others).  It’s funny that he is claiming stalking. He has obviously been stalking, finding quite obscure pages and now giving them much more publicity.

And I see that there is now more sock editing on RationalWiki, new accounts with nothing better to do than document that famous troll or pseudoscientist or anti-skeptic (none of which I am but this is precisely what they claim.) Thanks for the incoming links. Every little bit helps.

If anyone thinks that there is private information in posts that should not ethically be revealed, please contact me through my WMF email, it works. Comments are also open on this blog, and corrections are welcome.

On the actual topic of that FTN discussion, the Aron Barbey article (with whom I have absolutely no connection), I have found better sources and my guess is that there are even better ones available.

JzG weighs in

Nobody is surprised. Abd is obsessive. He even got banned from RationalWiki because they got bored with him. Not seeing any evidence of meatpuppetry or sockpuppetry here though. Guy (Help!) 20:16, 16 December 2017 (UTC)

This is a blog I started and run, I have control. Guy behaves as if the Fringe Theories Noticeboard is his personal blog, where he can insult others without any necessity, including scientists like Barbey and a writer like me. And he lies. I cannot correct JzG’s lies on Wikipedia, but I can do it here.

I am not “banned” from RationalWiki. I was blocked by a sock of the massively disruptive user who I had been documenting, on meta for the WMF, on RationalWiki and on my blog when that was deleted by the same sock. The stated cause of the block was not “boring,” though they do that on RW. It was “doxxing.” As JzG should know, connecting accounts is not “doxxing.” It is revelation of real names for accounts that have not freely revealed that, or personal identification, like place of employment.

“Not seeing any evidence of meatpuppetry or sockpuppetry here.” Really? That IP is obviously the same user as behind the globally blocked Anglo Pyramidologist pushing the same agenda, this time with, likely, a local cell phone provide (because the geolocation matches know AP location), whereas with the other socking, documented above, was with open proxies.)

Properly, that IP should have been blocked and the edits reverted as vandalism. But JzG likes attack dogs. They are useful for his purposes.

Paranoia strikes deep

Evil Big Physics is out to fool and deceive us! They don’t explain everything in ordinary language! If Steve Krivit was Fooled, how about Joe Six-Pack?

Krivit continues to rail at alleged deception.

Nov. 7, 2017 EUROfusion’s Role in the ITER Power Deception 

All his fuss about language ignores the really big problem with this kind of hot fusion research: it is extremely expensive, it is not clear that it will ever truly be practical, the claims of being environmentally benign are not actually proven, because there are problems with the generation of radioactive waste from reactor materials exposed to high neutron flux; it is simply not clear that this is the best use of research resources.

That is, in fact, a complex problem, not made easier by Krivit’s raucous noises about fraud. Nevertheless, I want to complete this small study of how he approaches the writing of others, in this case, mostly, public relations people working for ITER or related projects. Continue reading “Paranoia strikes deep”

ITERitation

Krivit continues his crusade against DECEPTION!

Nov. 7, 2017 List of Corrected Fusion Power Statements on the ITER Web Site

What has been done is to replace “input power” with “input heating power.” Krivit says this is to “differentiate between reactor input power and plasma heating input power.” He’s not wrong, but … “Input heating power” could still be misunderstood. In fact, all along what was meant by “input power” was plasma heating power, and it never meant total power consumption, not even total power consumption by the heating system, since there are inefficiencies in converting electrical power to plasma heating.

Krivit calls all this “false and misleading statements about the promised performance of the ITER fusion reactor” and claims “This misrepresentation was a key factor in the ITER organization’s efforts to secure $22 billion of public funding.”

If anyone was misled about ITER operation, they were not paying attention. Continue reading “ITERitation”

Krivit’s ITERation – Deja vu all over again

Krivit must be lonely, there is no news confirming Widom-Larsen theory, which has now been out for a dozen years with zero confirmation, only more post-hoc “explanations” that use or abuse it, for no demonstrated value, so far.

But, hey, he can always bash ITER, and he has done it again. Continue reading “Krivit’s ITERation – Deja vu all over again”

Citywire coverage of Rossi v. Darden

Ah, it was so tempting to resort to an obvious pun in the name of Citywire, but the blogivation would be so rude…. and the report was a decent attempt at news reporting, even though, as is common with mainstream media without more than a little to invest in investigation, it was shallow and a tad misleading.

Woodford tech holding settles battle with scientist

Heh! For starters, Rossi was not and is not a scientist. He has explicitly disavowed and ridiculed the scientific method. He is an inventor and entrpreneur, and, some claim, a practiced and experienced fraud. (This is a common error in mainstream media about Rossi. He does not claim to be a scientist and has no credentials as one. What is true is that some scientists have supported his claims, which is a huge and complex story.)

So I commented there, linking to the docket here for information on the case. Their news was more than a month old. Almost two months. Notice the lack of dates in the story….  My review:

Citywire on Woodford and Rossi v. Darden

I created that page to hold my replies to comments on the story, instead of cluttering up the Citywire page, which was already starting to happen with the typical public comment process.

Citywire on Woodford and Rossi v. Darden

http://citywire.co.uk/money/woodford-tech-holding-settles-battle-with-scientist/a1045121

Citywire qualifies, I think, as “main stream media.” Stories on cold fusion in this kind of media tend to be totally shallow and poorly researched. This is certainly not the worst I’ve seen! Some of what I write below may be nit-picking, minor quibbles, but … some of it isn’t. My purpose in creating this page is actually to hold responses to the public comments on the Citywire story.


An energy technology company backed by fund manager Neil Woodford has settled a legal battle with a scientist who claimed he was owed $89 million (£69 million) for the use of his invention.

The company that Woodford backed was not sued by the “scientist,” who is not a scientist, rather. Andrea Rossi, an Italian inventor and entrepreneur, sued Thomas Darden, John T. Vaughn, Industrial Heat, LLC, IPH International B.V. (an IP holding company wholly-owned by IH), and Cherokee Limited Partners. IH was a party to the original License Agreement with Rossi, and IPH was added by amendment. The others were an attempt by Rossi to pierce the corporate veil, claiming fraud, and Cherokee Limited Partners was included on a Rossi claim he’d been led to believe that Cherokee would cover any failures to pay. This made no legal sense, but did survive to trial because Stuff Happens.

The Rossi claim was not for “use of the invention.” It was for an alleged failure to pay an additional fee, $89 million, as allegedly triggered by the Agreement, for an alleged successful test.

Scientist Andrea Rossi, who claims to have invented a ‘low energy nuclear device’ alleged Industrial Heat, held by Woodford’s Woodford Equity Income fund and Woodford Patient Capital (WPCT) investment trust, had ‘systematically defrauded’ his intellectual property rights to the energy catalyser, or E-Cat.

Industrial Heat is owned entirely by IH Holdings International, Ltd. Technically, Woodford does not “hold” either IH or IHHI. Rather, Woodford owns preferred stock in IHHI. Control of IHHI is not under Woodford control, it is with the original investors. By the time Woodford supported IHHI by investing, IH was probably out of money. Woodford is then the largest investor (by roughly $50 million vs $20 million), but this actually had almost nothing to do with Rossi, who sued the original company and its officers and the kitchen sink. But who could not touch IHHI.

E-Cat technology has been shunned by the scientific mainstream but claims to be able to generate energy at more moderate conditions than the high temperatures required for other forms of nuclear fusion.

This confuses the field of LENR (low-energy nuclear reactions) with a particular claimant. The “mainstream” is not well-defined. LENR is considered “fringe science,” or “emerging science,” the reality of LENR effects is generally considered controversial, but investment has been increasing. Woodford invested $50 million making them the largest recent investment. What could be called “mainstream acceptance” of “E-Cat technology” has been rare. Most scientists involved with LENR did not accept Rossi’s claims. However, some did.

The mechanism behind LENR is unknown, though there are various theories. It is popularly called “cold fusion,” but it is not known if the term “fusion” is accurate. There have been claims of independent scientific verification of Rossi’s claims, but these were found, by Industrial Heat, as well as others, to be defective. There are persistent reports of anomalous energy generation, but at levels far lower than Rossi’s claims.

A “technology” does not make a claim, people do.

Rossi’s claim against Industrial Heat reached the Florida courts, but the two parties reached a settlement a week into the case.

After more than a year of legal wrangling. The settlement, July 5, 2017, was abrupt and unexpected. It appears to have arisen that morning in court, after the jury had been chosen and the parties had given, July 10, opening statements. A new lawyer for the plaintiff asked permission of the court to have a few words with the defendant’s lead attorney. And then it all unfolded. It appears that Rossi had decided to settle and let go of his claims, and his attorney was able to negotiate the return of the License (which then allowed him to save face, claiming, on Lewan’s blog, that this was all he wanted in the first place. My guess is that what he wanted could have been obtained by ordinary negotiation a year earlier without spending what may have been $5 million in legal fees on both sides (estimates of the fees have varied widely, but this was obviously very expensive).

It is unclear what was actually agreed July 5, but some time later the document appeared on Mats Lewan’s blog, almost certainly supplied by Andrea Rossi. At that point, the information I have is that the document had not yet been signed by all the parties, so the terms were not necessarily final. The lawsuit and countersuit, however, were dismissed with prejudice July 5, in court. Later, there was confirmation of the Agreement; eventually, the last remaining party signed the Agreement.

Technology and science writer Mats Lewan, author of An Impossible Invention chronicling Rossi’s work, published what he claimed were the terms of the settlement, with Rossi receiving the license to the E-Cat.

This is correct. That is, the License was returned to him, and, as well, all embodiments of the technology, whether built by Rossi and sold to IH, or built by IH.

Rossi had claimed before the court hearings that Industrial Heat’s claim to the intellectual property had been crucial to its fundraising from Woodford Investment Management and others.

Which was probably deceptive and misleading. Woodford did not invest in IH, and there is no sign that Woodford was impressed by Rossi technology. It is more likely that Woodford was impressed by IH’s willingness to take the risk they did. No evidence appeared in pleadings that Woodford relied on Rossi claims, but the License may have served as a hedge against a possible Rossi surprise, because Woodford investments were actually targeted to other LENR technologies and research (including theory development).

Woodford’s small stake in Industrial Heat has been one of his worst performing holdings.

As completely expected. There was no expectation of any performance, this was all long-term establishment of position. With the Rossi technology not confirmed by Industrial Heat testing, it was worthless, and very little other LENR research or development appears to have short-term profit possibilities. Nobody has a clearly successful product to promote. That is, and was surely known to be, the nature of the field at this time.

There is real science involved, as can be seen in the publication record in scientific journals, and many published reviews. The idea that this is uniformly rejected (“shunned”) is old and quite obsolete; but it persists and if people believe the field is shunned, to that extent it is, even though substantial publication has continued and official reviews have unanimously recommended further research (with opinion being divided on the reality of the effect, evenly divided in the last major review, by the U.S. Department of Energy in 2004).

Over the 12 months to the end of June, only Allied Minds (ALML +
), 4D Pharma (DDDD +
) and fellow unquoted stock Kind Consumer have been a bigger drag on performance in the Patient Capital trust. Industrial Heat accounts for around 1.3% of the portfolio.

Then it is a 1.3% that is devoted to a serious blue-sky possibilities, work that might lose money for decades, but that, if successful, could be worth a trillion dollars (i.e., since I may have some Brit readers, a thousand thousand million).

The stock accounts for a much smaller proportion of the Equity income fund, at just over 0.1%, but still ranks among the 20 biggest weights on the fund over the 12 months to the end of June.

I am not sure how the investment was valued, but IHHI has no profits and is not expected to; it may have some license rights, which may be carried on the books as assets, even if return is unlikely. It now, with the Settlement Agreement, may write this off entirely, producing tax benefits for shareholders, as they have pass-through profit and loss, if I’m correct.

Woodford Investment Management declined to comment, but has previously said it shared Industrial Heat’s ‘quest to eliminate pollution’ through its ‘diverse portfolio of innovative technology, such as low energy nuclear reactions’.

That’s what they say, all right. However, they have never claimed to have an actually performing LENR technology, and only, at times, hopes of such. At this point they have perhaps six technologies that remain for consideration as possible.

I would not suggest to anyone to invest in LENR who is looking for profit in their lifetime, unless maybe they are young and, as well, risk-tolerant. This is a long shot; I personally expect commercial application of LENR to eventually be successful, but it could take a very long time. We still don’t know what is actually happening with the known effects, other than results (the original effect, with palladium deuteride, produces energy and helium correlated at a ratio that indicates some kind of fusion is taking place. That’s widely confirmed, and there is current work to increase precision on that, I expect to see publication soon.

Now, as expected, there have been comments. The site does not allow threaded comments. I posted there yesterday and I’ve been asked at least one question. I’ve decided to answer comments here, posting only a link there, assuming it’s approved, to the comment section of this page, here, and anyone may continue the conversation here, through our open comments, if they choose.

Comments on Citywire

List of comments (apparent threading added)

PaulSh Aug 30, 2017 at 16:41
==Mary Yugo Sep 06, 2017 at 19:40
General Zod Aug 30, 2017 at 17:39
RKB Aug 30, 2017 at 18:32
== Tyrion Lannister Aug 30, 2017 at 19:28
=== PaulSh Aug 31, 2017 at 10:34
Abd ul-Rahman Lomax Aug 31, 2017 at 13:05
== PaulSh Aug 31, 2017 at 15:09
=== Tyrion Lannister Aug 31, 2017 at 16:27
Mary Yugo Aug 31, 2017 at 18:54
== RKB Aug 31, 2017 at 19:24
Abd ul-Rahman Lomax Sep 01, 2017 at 01:26<
Capt Ahab: 11:27 on 02 September 2017/a>
Mary Yugo Sep 05, 2017 at 22:26

 

PaulSh Aug 30, 2017 at 16:41

The way I read both the linked blog and the actual settlement, Industrial Heat is finished. To say that Rossi is “receiving the license to the E-Cat” is a bit of an understatement because he is actually having the licence returned to him along with all existing hardware and IP – in other words, IH will have nothing.

This assumes that Industrial heat was only interested in Rossi. If Paul would read the rest of that blog, he would see that when Woodford invested $50 million in IHHI, effectively into the control of the original IH investors, and they invested this in his “competitors,” Rossi decided he could not trust them.

(Even though the License allowed them to sublicence and did not restrict them from disclosing the IP.)

However, by this time, they already knew that they could not make his technology work with independent testing. While the License had a possible value as a hedge, they didn’t need the hardware, which the alleged test actually showed was, at best, not ready for commercialization, so they were moving on already. Other than legal expenses, they had put about $20 million into Rossi, but they have already put substantially more than that into other technologies. So they are hardly “finished.” They are continuing to work with researchers and have developed broad connections with the research community, and they are generally trusted in the field. Nobody who matters believes Rossi’s story of IH defrauding him.

There is a remaining possibility, if Rossi ever does actually pull a rabbit out of the hat. Ampenergo was the prior owner of the Rossi license for the Americas, and IH gave them something like $5 million plus stock for those rights. Ampenergo was a party to the License Agreement and still has rights, and the new agreement between Industrial Heat and Rossi could not affect those, and Ampenergo is still responsible to IH for what they separately agreed. So if the Rossi License ever does happen to develop value, IH might still have a line on it. They do not expect this, but these people work with hedges when possible.

[…]

RKB Aug 30, 2017 at 18:32

Cunning. The investors in IH lose, presumably the promoters have taken fees, the device never gets exposed as a fraud, and Rossi is free to licence to another startup. Rinse and repeat.

There are no promoters taking fees. The “investors in IH” were a close group of highly experienced investors, and Thomas Darden was the largest investor, spending his own money. The court documents expose that Rossi fraud is very likely.

IH, I am sure, researched everything they could find about Rossi before investing in the possibility with him. Nothing like that new court record existed for them to see. For Rossi to find new investors is now far more difficult. By standing up to the Rossi suit, they made the world far safer for people willing to invest in risky technology; Rossi will be off the table for almost all of these.

Tyrion Lannister Aug 30, 2017 at 19:28

What really worries me is that Woodford fell for it.

In effect, Industrial Heat claimed to have harnessed cold fusion. Anybody who knows anything significant about science will tell you this exists only in the realms of fantasy.

Without a definition, “cold fusion” exists as a fantasy, and much that Tyrion says here is fantasy. Industrial Heat did not “claim to have harnessed cold fusion.” What is variously called the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect, or the Anomalous Heat Effect, was originally called “cold fusion” in the media, even though Fleischmann and Pons were explicit that what they had found was an “unknown nuclear reaction,” and they only speculated that it might be fusion. Later research has developed that they were, in round outlines, correct, because helium is being produced from deuterium — by the preponderance of the evidence, confirmed. However, nobody has shown that the effect is “harnessed.” That claim was Rossi’s, and he usually did not claim it was “cold fusion.” He was quite evasive and still is.

I would put this differently: at this point, “harnessing cold fusion” is very much beyond the state of the art. There are protocols that may generate a few hundred milliwatts in most attempts, and work is under way to improve reliability and develop better control of conditions. Rossi’s claims were far outside the envelope. Most scientists involved with the field were suspicious, but a few theorists adapted their theories to possibly explain Rossi’s results. There were a few scientists who were incautious enough to report positively on his work; scientists are not necessarily trained to recognize fraud and deception. This was very different from the situation with “cold fusion,” where there is credible work published and under way, justifying further research. There are a few companies with commercial projects, claiming some level of success. Again, far less than what Rossi was claiming.

Woodford knew what they were doing and did not generally invest in “claims of harnessing cold fusion.” Woodford did not invest in Rossi at all.

PaulSh Aug 31, 2017 at 10:34

@Tyrion Lannister, much as I have often scoffed at “cold fusion” and other dubious branches of pseudo-science, it has to be said that anybody who knows anything significant about science should also tell you that we don’t know everything there is to be known. So it’s a question of getting the balance right between, as one NASA scientist once put it, being so open-minded your brains fall out, and being so closed-minded you end up missing out on great opportunities.

The field popularly called “cold fusion,” more soberly called “condensed matter nuclear science,” with a subfield being “low energy nuclear reactions,” is not pseudoscience, even if one thinks it dubious. Real experimental work is being done, by experienced researchers and scientists, for exploration to develop hypotheses and to test them, and even real physicists are working on possible theory. There are sometimes people too eager to accept what pleases them, and people very reluctant to look at their own assumptions, but from the beginning in 1989, those who actually understand science have supported investigating the possibilities of “cold fusion.” (Pseudoscience is unverifiable, claims of LENR are generally verifiable or multiply confirmed, it can be a complex issue. Claims of impossibility are well-known to be pseudoscientific, in fact. They cannot be proven, because absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. And there is evidence, merely controversial evidence, in many cases.

There are many common memes about cold fusion that are directly contrary to easily verifiable fact, such as the claim that the Pons and Fleischmann reports “could never be confirmed.” That claim is actually preposterous. Pons and Fleischmann did make mistakes, but their central report — anomalous heat — was never found to be wrong, and many others found it, once the conditions became better understood. Famous early “negative replications” actually confirm later understanding, i.e., the conditions set up in those experiments are now known to certainly fail to see the effect.

In this particular case, Industrial Heat was a huge gamble that you might have put a little of your own money into in the hope of winning big, just as you might buy a lottery ticket, but there’s no way you should have been putting other people’s money into it.

That depends. One would ethically not put “other people’s money” into it without those investors being aware of the risks. If a fund invests without due diligence and disclosure, the fund manager could be held liable for losses. Investment may look like gambling, but is not, because it is not a zero-sum game. Darden of Industrial Heat testified that they considered that if there was 1% chance of Rossi technology actually being commercial or commercializable, it was worth their investment. As another wrote, “Do the math.” What is the value of LENR technology? What are the odds of success? To answer those questions takes some research. My estimate of the potential value is generally about a trillion dollars (i.e., 10^12). 1% of a trillion dollars is $10 billion. Allow for the likelihood that there will be competition and other market factors, and still $20 million is chicken feed.

If you have it to risk.

Make bets like this frequently, and if you choose well, you are likely to win, overall. Suppose you make a hundred bets like this, your cost will be $2 billion. Nobody is going to do this alone, I’m sure. It has to be, in some sense, “other people’s money.” Darden has built a $2.2 billion company, Cherokee Investment Partners, by making risky investments in environmental remediation. Many of these investments fail, and when they fail, Cherokee tends to lose up to $25 million, their typical investment. Stupid? Stupid all the way to the bank. When these investments win, they may result in profits in the hundreds of millions.

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax Aug 31, 2017 at 13:05

There is full coverage of the lawsuit, all documents and links to analysis, at http://coldfusioncommunity.net/rossi-v-darden-docket-and-case-files/

I followed the case from filing to settlement. I travelled to Miami and attended the trial (Except for one person, one day, I was the only media there.) Many will comment on this case without knowledge, this is the internet.

My brief summary: Industrial Heat invested $20 million of their own money (a small group of investors who know each other well) on a long shot. Darden said in a deposition that, if there was 1% chance of Rossi technology being real, it was worth the investment, and, coming from their interest in environmental remediation and protection, their goal was the field of Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR), not Rossi himself. They needed to know.

They found out, and by the time Woodford invested, (having committed up to $200 million, so the Woodford $50 million was just the first tranche), whatever has been spent of the Woodford money went entirely into other investigations and was beyond his reach, since Woodford did not invest in Industrial Heat, a United States LLC, but in IH Holdings International, Ltd, a U.K. corporation.

This was known to be very risky, with expectations that failing to find a commercial-scale application with only $50 million was likely. They did due diligence and know that LENR is real, but very difficult to control, due to severe problems with material conditions, with theoretical understanding still being in a primitive stage. Rossi’s claims were damaging the field, because who wants to invest in scientific research claiming a few watts, when Rossi was claiming kilowatts? — and there were some scientists supporting the claim (especially a group from Uppsala University in Sweden)..

To read Rossi’s account to Mats Lewan, when Rossi found out about the $50 million going to his “competitors,” he decided he could not trust them, and all relations were hostile from then on, and eventually he sued them (which made no business sense). IH settled for a return of the License and his reactor junk, worthless to them, but allowing Rossi to continue to claim that his technology worked. (Someone who wants to continue believing this is forced to conclude that Darden and others lied under oath, or, alternatively, that Ross never trusted them with the secrets, in spite of being paid for them. Paranoia strikes deep. Even Rossi’s friends consider him paranoid and very difficult to deal with.)

As to the public interest (which they are not obligated to protect), the roughly $5 million that they are said to have spent on legal fees has allowed the public to know what happened, through case documents, clear evidence that would have been introduced in the trial if it had actually entered the evidentiary phase, filed with pleadings and attested., Future possible investors can see how Rossi treated what appears in the documents, with Rossi aggressively pursuing in discovery every bit of apparent dirt he could find, as an angel investor.

Woodford did not invest in Rossi. A small portion of Woodford funds may have been used to help pay legal expenses (IHHI became the sole owner of IH, through stock swaps). The Woodford investment was, and remains, extremely risky. It could take billions of dollars to develop LENR, but, through Industrial Heat, Woodford will have his finger on the pulse of the field and will know when it is appropriate to invest more. They bought, actually IH created, expertise. This could take twenty years to pay off. There is a small possibility that LENR will remain, forever, a lab curiosity, but … my sense is that this is unlikely. What is unclear is what and how long it will take.

Well, I intended to be brief, I see I failed! However, this was just a comment on a news story, and not worth sweating over.

PaulSh Aug 31, 2017 at 15:09

Dear Mr. Lomax, thank you for that “brief” summary. Would I therefore be correct in saying your position is that Rossi’s work proved to be a dead end but IH itself is far from dead even though Rossi has taken back everything apart from their “expertise”?

Yes, Rossi’s work adequately proved to be a dead end. If he has a real technology, he did not deliver it as promised, and his “1 MW plant,” if it had actually worked, would have cooked everyone in that warehouse. And then Rossi has a story to explain that away, a story that changed over the year that the issue was pending. He’s almost certainly lying.

IH is far from “dead” because they were much larger than Rossi. Consider that their original investment went to Rossi or to support validation and confirmation attempts, and that was apparently from a $20 million stock sale (to the small group). Then they received the $50 million from Woodford and the bulk of that has been spent on other approaches. This is all about gaining knowledge and experience. Rossi can’t possibly take that back. Rossi had physical possession of the 1 MW Plant that they had padlocked. He was offering to drop the lawsuit if they surrendered the License. Instead of arguing that they paid $10 million for the License — Rossi did claim elsewhere that he had offered to refund their money (all $11.5 million they had paid him) if they surrendered the license, but from what happened later, I doubt it. He was almost certainly lying about that as he lied about many things where we later found out the truth — they decided to walk away. Rossi had no technology worth fighting over. They might have obtained some recovery from their counterclaims, but … it was not necessarily going to recover their legal costs and there were risks. So, then, what about the Plant that they had paid $1.5 million for in 2012? It was useless to them. Remember, they have already thoroughly tested the technology and their analysis of performance in Doral, Florida, was that it wasn’t performing at anything like what was being claimed, units were failing, it was a mess. What would they do with it? Far easier to just give it all back.

They always claimed that their goal was to make Rossi successful. Okay, so he’s too paranoid to work with. Suing him for recovery could spook their basic “customers,” i.e., the inventors they want to work with. I think that, that Wednesday morning in Miami, they took the opportunity to just leave it behind. They had already gained, in a way, an additional $50 million for research to compensate for the $20 million they were walking away from. I spoke with Darden after the settlement came down, and he was “philosophical.”

Remember, this was largely his money. Now, Woodford has invested, in something just as risky, general LENR research, “other people’s money.” But he is not betting anyone’s far on this, it is a tiny part of the porfolio. He could make many investments that are “blue sky,” and if his judgment is sound, his assesment of risk and possible benefit, this could make total business sense, as long as no investors are misled.

Tyrion LannisterAug 31, 2017 at 16:27

PaulSh,

It’s down to maths and physics, and the maths prove it isn’t possible. The activation energy required is colossal. You simply can’t get energy for free which is what would be required for cold fusion to work.

If some told you they could break the speed of light, would you keep an open mind on that?

This is utter nonsense. The energy in the Anomalous Heat Effect is through an unknown mechanism, but the source is known, it is, with high probability, the conversion of deuterium to helium. That implies, but is not necessarily, “fusion.” Fusion ordinarily involves the fusing particles to move beyond a charge-repulsion barrier, and one way to do that is for them to have high kinetic energy. That energy is normally found at high temperatures. However, that is not the only path to fusion. Also called “cold fusion” when discovered and shown to exist, muon-catalyzed fusion bypasses the coulomb barrier by using muons to shield that repulsion. Most theories of “cold fusion” involve some other kind of catalysis. Most fusion, in fact, even with “hot fusion” occurs by tunneling, which is a quantum-mechanical effect that allows moving to the other side of a barrier without actually going over it.

There is no known impossibility to “cold fusion,” but it was unexpected. Pons and Fleischmann were not looking for free energy, they were looking to test the assumptions of plasma physics as applied to the solid state, where the interactions of particles may be far more complex. They actually expected to find nothing (because they thought the approximations were good enough, but they had decided to look. That’s science.) Then their experiment melted down, releasing more energy than they could explain with chemistry, and they were world-class electrochemists. They waited five years to announce and still were not ready. It became a colossal mess, as many rushed to confirm without adequate information and Pons and Fleischmann themselves did not understand aspects of their work. We know far more now, thanks to the work that did continue.

The opinions expressed here are common, though, because the field is extremely complex and many people decided, years ago, to wait for some killer demonstration. Some people thought that might be Rossi. It wasn’t.

Mary Yugo Aug 31, 2017 at 18:54

It seems as if a post in which I attempted to draw attention to Rossi’s past may have been censored. So I will leave it to this link:

http://newenergytimes.com/v2/sr/RossiECat/Rossis-Italian-Financial-and-Environmental-Criminal-History.shtml

I also commented on the quality of Woodford’s vetting of Rossi and IH. That didn’t make it through either.

Ah, Mary Yugo. For those who don’t know the history, for sure, it is informative, though Krivit is a yellow journalist and commonly tells only one side of a story. Be that as it may, all this was known to IH and to Woodford. “Mary” commonly expresses regret that IH didn’t pay attention to him! They could have saved $11.5 million? What idiots they are!

From a comment by Dewey Weaver, an investor in IH and a contractor to them, who tangled with Rossi immediately (he tells the story that he pulled out a heat gun to confirm temperatures Rossi was reporting in a demo, Rossi yelled “Everyone out of the room, it’s about to explode!” and then told T. Barker Dameron, who was at that point managing IH attempts to confirm Rossi, to “Get that lawyer out of here!” (Weaver is not a lawyer, as far as I know.)

MY – as intimated before, TD had a hunch that the splash from engaging / funding Rossi would lead to other opportunity whether R was real or not. A combination of huge vision and gigantic nerve/skill.

The sector had been resource starved for almost 2 decades and very good dedicated folks had managed to stay in active research sometimes at great sacrifice to themselves – these folks turned out to be excellent people beyond their research capabilities which makes this fun on top of rewarding. I’m greater than 50/50 now that his hunch is going to end up working out. (not much greater but confidence is growing – still a long way to go).

Weaver was responding to Mary Yugo, who is like a Timex watch with a broken set knob, “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.” Mary belabors the obvious as if nobody else can see it. Darden, as described by Weaver, was right. The IH investment actually paid off, turning $20 million invested in Industrial Heat into $50 million and probably more invested in IHHI, for LENR research, demonstrating “vision and nerve/skill,” and that is what Woodford invested in. Not Rossi.

If someone does develop a practical device, they will know about it and will be ready for investment opportunities. Nobody else is likely to pull off the Rossi tricks. Everything is being carefully tested. Mostly, though, we will not, as the public, learn about this, because it would almost all be under non-disclosure agreements. Even the straight scientific research in the field is normally cautious about publicity.

RKB Aug 31, 2017 at 19:24

Rather ironic when you consider Woodford, from his Cowley base, is just a few miles away from JET at Culham, as well as Harwell and the University. He didn’t think to get their opinion – or maybe didn’t understand why they were laughing so much?

To anyone who knows the history of cold fusion, this is hilarious. Cold fusion was originally a finding in electrochemistry, not physics. Electrochemists, experts in measuring heat, were finding heat they could not explain with chemistry. Because the level of the heat was beyond what they understood as chemistry, they did speculate that it was nuclear. They had some evidence of neutron generation, far, far below the levels expected if the reaction was ordinary fusion, and they reported it. That evidence was artifact, error, so physicists, of course, laughed at them for their mistake in nuclear physics, which was outside their field. But then physicists tried to do electrochemistry, which can be far more difficult than it would appear to a plasma physicist, say. Many looked for neutrons and when they found no neutrons, proclaimed “cold fusion is dead.” What we now know is that the reaction originally found, from multiple confirmed experiments, is generating helium from deuterium, and that reaction would produce some of the observed heat, but, if that reaction were ordinary fusion, somehow induced to only result in the rare helium branch, it would produce very hot gamma rays, which would also be dangerous.

The reaction, whatever it is, produces helium and heat, and very little else. There are suspicions of low-energy photons that would not be easily detected, i.e., bursts of them. None of this is expected. So far, all we really know is, as to major products, there is helium and there is heat. No plasma physicist would be expected to have any clue about this. As to Rossi’s claimed nickel hydride reactions, again, a straight fusion theory would predict a way-crazy-low rate. In general, cold fusion results are based on something unknown, and if you want to know about them, as experimental results, the people to ask are the experts who know how to make those measurements. A plasma physicist from JET would be clueless. Totally out of his field, the only connection is “fusion.” And if this is fusion, it is of a kind they have never seen.

(There are extensive reports of tritium production, but the rates a far below what would be associated with the heat, and my sense is that tritium, when produced, is from a rare secondary reaction. Very rare.

Bottom line, Woodford claims that he or his people did investigate the field and decided (like Darden before them) to get his feet wet. Woodford actually committed up to $200 million if needed. My sense of the field is that that is not enough to insure success. But a carefully managed program could identify promising technology and then seek to take it to the next level, including raising additional research funding. Nothing, so far, is meriting any kind of crash program.

Unfortunately, much research in the field is secret. Which can also become an excuse for fraud. IH now has some very extensive experience with that. They, and many others, out of their experience, will be more careful, and that’s a good outcome. Rossi originally claimed he would sell his “secret” for $100 million. He didn’t get it and is very unlikely to see serious money again.

Rossi also showed that some scientists can be fooled. He actually did an amazing job of it!

Again, bottom line, if one does not trust Woodford to perform due diligence, don’t invest with Woodford! Many of his investments are risky, but overall payoff will depend on his skill at balancing risk with reward, and the probabilities.

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax Sep 01, 2017 at 01:26

Because this comment section does not allow threaded comments, I am replying to @PaulSh on a page on my blog. I have written, there, a review of the article, and also replies to almost all comments here. Comments there are welcome.

http://coldfusioncommunity.net/citywire-on-woodford-and-rossi-v-darden/#Comments

Update

Capt Ahab: 11:27 on 02 September 2017

Mr Woodford’s name appears far too often for all the wrong reasons

Woodford was very little involved with the lawsuit and is not known to have played any role in the Settlement Agreement. It is likely, however, from ongoing behavior of Woodford that they were supportive of IH’s determination to “not write a check” to Rossi. They appears that Woodford invested another $2 million in IHHI in June, 2017, from a June 19, 2017, allotment of more Series A shares.

See also Woodford WEIF holdings,, as of 31 July, 2017, lines 102 and 115. For WPCT, see as of 31 July, 2017, lines 37 and 52. As I recall, but do not have links at hand, Woodford previously had two holdings, now there are likely four. As would be expected from IH (and therefore IHHI) writing off the Rossi investment and any residual value assigned to the License that they returned, the value of Woodford investments in IHHI has declined; however, this was expected, it was understood that IHHI was not likely to generate any income, but would require additional investment.

(On former IHHI share allocations, see the 24 May 2016 Annual Return of IHHI, as of 21 April, 2016. There are two lines for entities holding Series A shares (which were issued for $50 million US, collectively), as Norwood Nominees, which would be trusts with owner concealed.) These could be compared with Woodford statements, but it’s more complex than I care to investigate.)

Mary Yugo Sep 05, 2017 at 22:26

Opening statements of all parties in the trial (Rossi, IH, countersuit, and two third parties) — thanks to “Abd”
http://coldfusioncommunity.net/rvd-opening-statements/

Thanks, MY. While I might ordinarily think, when someone like you thanks me, “OMG, what am I doing wrong?”, set that aside. It seems like all “sides” are thanking me for that page. That is actually a sign of doing something right, forget the damn personal reactions. Maybe we can build on this.

Mary Yugo Sep 06, 2017 at 19:40

“The way I read both the linked blog and the actual settlement, Industrial Heat is finished. To say that Rossi is “receiving the license to the E-Cat” is a bit of an understatement because he is actually having the licence returned to him along with all existing hardware and IP – in other words, IH will have nothing.”

Actually, it is Rossi who ends up with nothing but all the evidence IH was able to generate shows clearly that his devices do not produce energy. They are simply electric heaters. And IH tried to make Rossi equipment work for going on three years with Rossi’s help and supposedly his full cooperation which is what they originally gave him TEN MILLION DOLLARS to get!

IH still has investment capital and is supposedly working with the most clever people they can find to make LENR work. Personally, I don’t think they will but they are hardly “finished.”

You can get more input on this from Dewey Weaver, an IH principal, who posts discussions in this thread:

https://www.lenr-forum.com/forum/thread/5287-rossi-vs-darden-aftermath-discussions/?postID=70796#post70796

That is a good place to learn what is going on with LENR and IH today and to discuss it pro and con although with somewhat heavy handed pro-LENR moderation.

Rossi did walk with what was left of the $11.5 million he was paid, minus legal fees, which were, I assume, considerable. There is really only one “heavy-handed” LENR Forum moderator, Alan Smith, who just banned Ascoli65.

Using moderation tools to argue with a user, maintaining off-topic confusion, not good. Alan doesn’t use gentler alternatives. There is plenty of marginal-libel on LF, routinely tolerated. So why this particular suddenly strong enforcement? I think it’s personal, reflective of a desire to protect Levi from understandable criticism, and, if so, Alan should properly defer to other administrators, if there are any.

However, consistently, LF ownership has supported Alan. That’s Nygren’s right. He gets what he pays for. (In this case, free moderation labor, with the obvious cost, power in the hands of the moderator. It is entirely unclear if Alan’s actions are a priori supported by the Team. They tend to have a very different quality from the actions of other moderators.

Update

There is a new article on Citywire about Woodford. It’s quite good, my opinion. A video has Woodford explaining his reaction to recent losses, and his investment philosophy. My opinion: he knows exactly what he is doing, it is a long-term and overall highly profitable strategy, albeit with some risk.

The IH (thus IHHI) losses were expected. He points out that he works closely with the management of small unquoted businesses, and has full information. The large losses that did impact his fund value (IHHI is tiny by comparison) were with quoted stocks, where regulation prevents the full flow of information. (I’d never before considered this as to how it impacts investment decisions). What he comes to is that if one does not trust the management of a quoted business, don’t invest in it. He didn’t say it quite like this, but I will: if it seems they are treating you like mushrooms, i.e., keeping you in the dark and feeding you bullshit, ask the necessary questions — and, obviously, consider divesting, and with a large stake, that may impact the market valuation of that business.

Some of the Planet Rossi community are mushrooms, from where they choose to live and what they apparently choose to believe. See my comment there, and responses to it.

 

Doing the Shanahan Shake

Gangnam style.

Shanahan is posting fairly regularly on LENR Forum, sometimes on relevant topics, often where his comments are completely irrelevant to the declared topic. I invited Shanahan, years ago, to participate and support the development of educational resources that would fully explore his ideas. He always declined. When I pointed out a major error in his Letter to JEM, his last published piece, as a courtesy before publishing it, he responded with an insult: “you will do anything to support your belief.”

Pot, kettle, black.

Shanahan is important to the progress of LENR. I will show below why. Continue reading “Doing the Shanahan Shake”

Storms 2017 video transcript

video on YouTube

Questions regarding this video are welcome as comments on this page.

Transcript

( from YouTube CC, edited by Abd ul-Rahman Lomax)

I have not created capitalization, generally, as not sufficiently useful to be worth the effort. I have generally followed Dr. Storms’ exact words, which differ from the captions. Correction of errors is requested.

Ruby Carat:

0:01 ● cold fusion. atomic power from water. no radioactive materials. no radioactive waste and no CO2. ColdFusion is power for the people. where no communities can be denied access to fuel with 10 million times the energy density of fossil fuels.
0:30 ● it could provide energy for the whole planet for billions of years researchers are trying to make a technology while still [not] understanding the science and almost three decades of experimental research produced a variety of startling effects.
0:48 ● in 1989 Drs. Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons announced the discovery of an anomalous fusion-sized excess heat energy generated by palladium and deuterium cells. from these types of cells tritium was found but always in amounts millions of times less than hot fusion and without the commensurate neutrons .

1:11 ● the production of helium was correlated with the excess heat using palladium and deuterium while nickel and light hydrogen produced weak
gamma photons.
1:30 ● today, low energy nuclear reactions or LENRs experiments have produced softened x-rays, coherent laser-like photons and exhibited superconductivity, and two types of transmutations of elements have been achieved in multiple LENR environments, including biological systems.
1:53 ● how can such a wide variety of effects result when hydrogen interacts with solid materials? theorists struggled to find an answer.
2:07 ● Nobel laureate Julian Schwinger remarked, “The circumstances of cold fusion are not those of hot fusion,” for conventional nuclear theory does not explain these laboratory observations.
2:23 ● no recipe to both initiate and scale the effect exists. laboratory successes are won by trial and error, but a new idea is transforming understanding.
2:40 ● Dr. Edmund Storms is a nuclear chemist who has conducted many surveys of the field and [has] written two books from the signs and theories of LENR.
2:49 ● his experiments have shown that temperature is the single most important factor [in] regulating LENR excess heat and that high loading is not necessary to maintain a reaction in palladium deuterium systems.
3:00 ● he has put together the first physical science-based description of LENR utilizing the tiny nano spaces in materials as the nuclear active environment where hydrogen assembles to form a unique structure able to initiate nuclear fusion through resonance by a new and yet unknown atomic mechanism.

Dr. Storms:

3:22 ● we’ve spent 24 years proving to the ourselves first and then to the world that this is real. it’s a physically real phenomenon. now the problem is we have to convince ourselves and the world how and why it works. nothing about this violates conventional theory, it adds to it. this is a new undiscovered phenomenon.
4:02 ● It occurs in hot fusion very rapidly, the energy comes out in one big burst that is, let’s say, they’re deuterium, they come together momentarily and then they blow apart immediately in different combinations of neutrons and protons, carrying the energy with them, and the energy comes off instantaneously as energetic particles.
4:28 ● in cold fusion they come together very very slowly and the energy goes off as photons, gradually, as they get closer and closer together.
4:40 ● that’s the distinguishing characteristic and that’s what makes cold fusion truly unique as a nuclear reaction. that slow interaction is not the kind of interaction people have experienced in the past nor have much understanding of,  theoretically
4:57 ● the more ways in which Nature has to do something the easier it is to occur and the more often in nature. this occurs in nature very very seldom, and it’s very very difficult to duplicate and so therefore it must be something fairly rare and therefore very unique and therefore I’ve said that it really only has one way of doing this and unless you have precisely that arrangement, that Nuclear Active Environment, it’s not going to happen.
5:29 ● LENR requires the significant change in the material to occur, and getting that change in the material has been the real big problem to make this effect reproducible.
5:40 ● right now we’re creating that environment by accident, we threw a bunch of stuff together, a few places at random happen to have the right combination of materials and relationships to work.
5:52 ● so most of the samples … maybe less than 1% are active.
5:57 ● the effect has not occurred throughout the sample. It only occurs in special very rare,  randomly created regions in the sample. I call this a nuclear active environment.
6:07 ● presumably the more of the sites are present the more energy we will be able to make.


Figure 8. Histogram of power production vs. the number of reported values. A probability function, shown as the dashed line, is used to fit the data to bins at 10 W intervals. (Storms, 2016)

6:14 ● [pointing to Figure 8] these samples [on the left] would have had only a few of these active sites and these samples [on the right] would have had a large number of that. this assembles as a  probability distribution showing that the probability of having a large number of sites were very low and the probability of having a few sites were very high and, of course, zero having a very high probability that’s why it’s been very difficult to reproduce.
6:42 ● I assume that something changes within the material and I call that change the creation of the nuclear active environment. it has to be something that is universally present in all the experiments that work, no matter what method is used, no matter what material is used,  or whether it’s light hydrogen or heavy hydrogen.
7:02 ● now, what are the characteristics of the nuclear active environment? we know a few of them. we know that you have to have deuterium or hydrogen in that environment. we know that the higher the concentration in that environment, the faster the reaction goes. we know that something in that environment is capable of hiding the Coulomb barrier of hydrogen or deuterium. we know that something in that environment also is able to communicate the energy to the lattice rather than have it go off as energetic particles, so we know, just from the way at which it behaves, certain overall characteristics, but we don’t know the details yet, but when I say, okay, let’s talk about the nuclear active environment, I’m saying, let’s talk about where those details are located in the material.
7:54 ● we want to look where we expect that material to be located. I expect it to be located on the surface. the challenge is to figure out what about the surface is universally related to a sample that makes excess energy.
8:10 ● all except for the last few microns of the surface is totally dead. so all you need is a few microns of palladium on something else and I put a few microns on platinum, it works just well as a solid piece.
8:29 ● but after examining hundreds of these photomicrographs by other people or by myself, the only thing I would see was common to all experimental methods and experimental conditions were cracks.
8:42 ●  in hot fusion, you overcome the Coulomb barrier by brute force, using high-energy, and in cold fusion you overcome it by lowering the Coulomb barrier using electric charge.
8:58 ●  you have to have a condition in which the electric charge is suitably large, and cracks have the potential to produce that kind of condition.
9:07 ● that seems crazy because for a long time people felt that cracks were bad. they allow the deuterium to leak out of the palladium.
9:17 ● we see that happen because if you put some of this material that has the cracks in it in a liquid, you can see the bubbles of hydrogen coming out of those cracks. so they were ignored or people were trying to avoid them.
9:34 ● what I propose is that the crack has to have a particular size, and when it has that size, it allows the nuclei of deuterons or protons to come into that and set up a series of, say,  proton-electron-proton-electron, with the electrons between each of the nuclei, thus hiding or reducing the Coulomb barrier
10:02 ● the size of the crack is something that ought to be determined. it has to be small enough that they would not allow the hydrogen molecule to penetrate because we know the hydrogen molecule does not produce a nuclear reaction. they have to be big enough that a single nucleus of hydrogen can go in there and be retained and not interact with it chemically.
10:28 ● so I’m guessing something less than 10 nanometers. cracks always start small. cracks always start at the size that would be nuclear active, but only for a short time.
10:48 ● holes themselves are not active. they only give you the indication that that stress reorganized the surface.
11:02 ● what I’m saying is that stress also produced the nanocracks in the walls these holes, and that’s where you have the look to find the genie of cold fusion.

Ruby Carat:

11:14 ● the nuclear active environment is proposed to be a nano-sized gap that hosts a unique form of hydrogen. while large spaces in cracks allow hydrogen to escape the material, tiny nano sized gaps are small enough to retain [a] single nuclei of hydrogen in a covalent chain called a hydroton. subjected to the high concentration of negative charge in the walls, the electrons shared by the hydrogen nuclei are forced into a more compact state with an average smaller distance between nuclei. but what happens to create a nuclear reaction?

Dr. Storms

11:55 ●  whatever it is has the ability to initiate a number of different kinds of reactions. one makes helium, heat, and makes tritium, another transmutation, so there’s a variety of things that can happen in that environment.
12:12 ● all LENR behavior using istotopes of hydrogen can be explained by a single basic mechanism  operating in a single nuclear active environment. That would be a lot to expect.


12:21 ● for something so unusual for this to have a variety of ways in which it can happen… by sheer probability — chance — there’s a crack formed and it has to have the right size, and then because of diffusion they [hydrogen nuclei] start building up a concentration in the crack.
12:39 ● hydrogen once it gets into this gap forms a covalent chain, which I call a hydroton, which releases Gibbs energy and that stabilizes the gap.
12:50 ● the hydrogen can form a chemical compound that has lower energy than any hydrogen anywhere else in the material so the hydrogen migrates there, forms this compound, and because that compound is more stable than any other it cannot decompose without that
energy being reapplied to the hydrogen, in order to get it out of there. because that is occurring in the chemical lattice it follows all the rules of a chemical reaction.
13:22 ● that narrow crack would have a very high concentration of negative charge on both walls which would force the hydrogen into a structure that I believe would help hide the Coulomb barrier and would help the resonance process take place.
13:44 ● once that builds up to a sufficient number something triggers it. that can just be the normal temperature vibrations because everything at the atomic level is vibrating, but because it has a linear structure it can start to vibrate such that these two come together, these apart,  these come together and so forth. so these things start to vibrate in line.
14:09 ● and when they do, because you have charges moving, you have the prospect of photons being generated.
14:19 ● these two come together they find themselves too close, they have too much energy, too much mass for the distance because they’re all the way to having formed a fusion product. now the system knows that if it collapses, if it comes  closer together it will gain energy because the end product is a nuclear product that has less mass than the sum total so it knows that that’s the direction to go
14:51 ● so it just keeps giving off photons. finally enough are given off and it’s time to get a little closer, and they give off a little bigger photon. each time it gives up a photon it collapses a little more, a little more, a little more, meanwhile vibrating, photons are streaming out, finally the last photon, goes off and it becomes a deuteron, because the electron that was between them gets sucked into a final product.
15:18 ● there’s hardly any mass-energy left over at that point so this becomes stable, or if not, gives off a very weak gamma.
15:28 ● now the deuteron, if there happens to be another proton or another deuteron in there, it can start the process all over again. if another deuteron happens to be there, then it can make helium, or if a proton happens to be there it will make tritium. The deuterium has a choice, it can diffuse out, in which case it will be replaced by a proton, more likely, because that’s what’s in the general environment, or it can stay there and another proton comes in and that, starts to fuse, and it makes tritium instead.
16:03 ● it is symmetrical, it isn’t just when they’re bounced in this direction they give off a photon, when they bounce in [the other] direction they give off a photon also.  these things are bouncing in a symmetrical way.
16:12 ● each time they go this direction, they lose mass and then they come back together and lose mass. at some point they’ve lost enough that these two guys don’t bounce and stick together and then these two guys over here stick together and so the question is, where during that process do they recognize that they have too much mass and have to get rid of [it]? when you do it by hot fusion that’s done very very quickly and overwhelms this process
16:37 ● I’m proposing that this is the unique feature of cold fusion. this is where cold  fusion differs from hot fusion.
16:46 ●  cold fusion is slow, it’s methodical. because it occurs over a period of time, the energy has time to get out in small quanta.
16:59 ● that electron has to have very special properties and that’s the only thing that is novel. this is total consistent normal physics except for that electron and its characteristics.
17:11 ● something new has happened, has been discovered and is required to make cold fusion work. the crack is not destroyed. the crack is a manufacturing tool it’s just simply there and atoms go in, fuse, end products diffuse  out, maybe, or they stay there, more stuff fuses. It’s an assembly line of the fusion process. that crack becomes attractive. and it’s also attractive because it’s very difficult to produce and it’s outside of the thermodynamic characteristics of a material. in other words, cracks can occur in any material regardless of its thermodynamic properties.

Ruby Carat

18:00 ● nano spaces allow a different form of atomic interaction to occur where hydrogen nuclei and electrons can form a chain called a hydroton.
18:12 ● pulsing in resonance periodically smaller distances coax nuclei into a slow fusion process where smaller bits of mass convert to energy through coherent photon emission. an electron is absorbed to make the final product. all the isotopes of hydrogen are proposed to behave the same way. any other element in the gap resonates to transmutation.

Dr. Storms

18:40 ● that’s why cold fusion was essentially rejected by people who were educated and had experience with hot fusion, which plays by entirely different rules. cold fusion plays by rules that we don’t presently understand and those rules involve slow interaction and a slow release of energy. I also say that cold fusion has to follow all the laws of nature as we presently know and love them.
19:09 ● they cannot violate any law of nature, chemical or physical. the only problem is if there’s something missing in those laws, so it isn’t that they’re conflicting with anything. it’s just that we don’t have all the pieces yet. that’s the the big, what I call the big discovery, that a chemical compound of hydrogen created under very special circumstances can then fuse.

Ruby Carat

19:37 ● nanogaps and hydrotons are able to explain the broad variety of evidence in LENR experiments by reasoning that follows the data and begins with tritium production.

Dr. Storms

20:00 ● tritium provides the key to understanding this process and tritium also provides the way which the process can be verified. tritium is made in cold fusion cells. but the tritium cannot be made by the hot fusion reaction because we’re not seeing any neutrons, so it has to be made by some other process.
20:22 ● well, there are a limited number of ways in which you can make tritium. when you examine all those, you discover that the only thing that really makes any sense is this reaction here: the deuteron fuses with a proton, captures the electron, makes tritium, which then decays by its normal behavior, with a half-life of 12.3 years, to helium-3 and an electron.
20:43 ● all of the hydrogen isotopes happen to behave the same way because that’s the only way you can get tritium. then it’s also the only way you can get helium. the electron also has to be sucked in. the deuteron does this with the electron, that makes hydrogen-4 which decays very very rapidly so we don’t see that accumulate, to make helium-4 and, of course, the electron as part of the decay.
21:12 ● hydrogen-4 does not decay normally into helium-4 and, but it has to, for the cold fusion thing to work, because if this is an exception, if the electron doesn’t get sucked in, then my whole model starts to fall apart because where the heck does that electron go? it has to be there in order to hide the Coulomb barrier. it sits there in the other two reactions, so why isn’t it there in the helium? so right there, normal nuclear expectations break down,
21:46 ● hydroton is a whole new world that now cold fusion and Pons and Fleischmann have revealed exists. it was totally invisible until they came along and said, hey wait a minute, here’s something that can only work if the rules change, and so better start looking at new rules, and the hydroton is, in fact, the structure that makes those rules operate.
22:13 ● I’m taking these various ideas — many of them are not original to me, what is original is the putting together so that they have a logical relationship, and then, on the basis of that relationship, they can predict precisely what’s going to happen…. there’s no wiggle room in this theory. I mean I’m not like most theoreticians, “okay if that doesn’t work I can adjust some of the parameters here and make it work.” no, it is either right or wrong. it’s easy, simple as that, I even go down in flames or I’m right, and the result is that suddenly I can make sense of cold fusion, and suddenly now I know how to make it reproducible, and once it works I know how to engineer it.  so you know what? problem is I haven’t yet proven that.

Ruby Carat

23:07 ● beginning with experimental facts and following a logical process of reasoning has produced both questions that challenge the standard model of nuclear physics and provided testable predictions that will confirm or deny the nanogap hydroton hypothesis.

Dr. Storms

23:26 ● I predict that the hydroton is metallic hydrogen. this is that mythical material that people have been looking for by squeezing higher than at very high pressure. that is precisely what is formed in this gap. the gap makes that possible.
23:41 ● the reason why metallic hydrogen is been very difficult to detect is because once it forms, it fuses. that allows us to harvest the mathematical understanding of metallic hydrogen, which is already in the literature, to explain this material, and also will lead to another kind of measurement.
24:02 ● cold fusion represents a whole new way of looking at nuclear interaction, the rules of which will have other implications, that will have other applications and will allow us to do things that we can’t even suspect to be done now, including the deactivation of radioactive material we have generated by virtue of the other energy sources.

Ruby Carat

Figure 13. Relative rates of formation for deuterium, helium, and tritium as a function of d/(p+d) in the NAE. The figure approximates ideal behavior when the concentration of NAE and temperature are constant. Unknown influences are expected to slightly modify the relationship. The concentration of p is 100% in the metal on the left side of the figure and d has a concentration of 100% on the right side. (Storms, 2016.)

24:33 ● only experimental results will validate the hypotheses of the nanogap hydroton model. new data supports the hydroton prediction that the amount of tritium is related to the deuterium to protium ratio  in the fuel, to confirm the nuclear active environment as the nanogap, creating the right size nanospace that hosts the reaction, with 100% reliability, is crucial. determining if light hydrogen systems are producing tritium is an important next step.
25:08 ● laboratory evidence that identifies emitted photons as coming from a particular reaction would be defining for the hydrogen model.
25:23 ● cold fusion technology will be a radically different type of power creating a paradigm shift in global operations. a mere one cubic kilometer of ocean water contains fusion energy equal to all the world’s oil reserves and the nano-sized source of power holds the promise of a defining next step in our human evolution.
25:48 ● what we have to do is find a way of encouraging a material to create that structure in the presence of hydrogen. doesn’t do any good to try to create it in the absence of hydrogen because in the absence of hydrogen the crack will just simply continue to grow and if you put hydrogen in later its to big, it’s no longer nuclear active, so you have to have the hydrogen present simultaneously with the formation of the crack structure, and that’s the secret of the process
26:22 ● you have to have these two things happen simultaneously well it’s like opening a window and you open a little bit and you see a little bit of what’s outside, and it looks really interesting, you open a little bit more and then all of a sudden you realize wow there’s a whole new world out there. and so this theory has opened that world into a way of looking at cold fusion that hasn’t really been explored in completion. my guess is that once we understand how it works we will find some other metal or some alloy or maybe an alloy of palladium and nickel and some combination of deuterium and hydrogen that will be even better than what we presently have. we are nowhere near the ideal at this point.

[Credits]

Edmund Storms video from
2011 Kiva Labs, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2012 Natural Philosophy Alliance Talk.
2012 Albuquerque, New Mexico interview
2013 University of Missouri ICCF-18 Talk
2013, University of Missouri, ICCF-18 Interview
2017 Cold Fusion Now! HQ Eureka, CA

ICCF18 Camera and Video, Eli Elliott
Title Animation, Augustus Clark, Mike Harris
Hydroton Animation, Jasen Chambers
Music, Esa Ruoho a.k.a. Lackluster
Special Thanks, Edmund Storms, John Francisco, LENRIA, Christy Frazier, and Lee Roland Carter
Filmed, Edited, and Narrated, Ruby Carat

Dr. Storms

27:38 ● my theory tries to address the big reactions, the ones that are producing heat. those are the ones that are going like gangbusters. now, at lower levels there’s all kinds of little things that are going on, really weird
things. there are the things that, you know, a hundred graduate students will work on for twenty years to really master and understand, and they’ll give the details of this mechanism going on, and they’ll generate the Nobel Prizes that everybody will be really happy about, understanding this physics better.
28:12 ● my theory tries to address what’s happening at the highest rating level, and at that level it’s fairly straightforward.

Ruby Carat releases Storms video on HYDROTON A Model of Cold Fusion

Edmund Storms HYDROTON A Model of Cold Fusion

Transcript at Storms 2017 video transcript.

Comments welcome. My commentary will be added.

This is an excellent video explaining Storms’ theory. Ruby, at the beginning, treats cold fusion as a known thing (i.e., will provide energy for a very long time, etc.) — but that’s her job, political. Cold Fusion Now is an advocacy organization.

Our purpose here, to empower the community of interest in cold fusion, can dovetail with that, but we include — and invite — skeptical points of view.

As to cold fusion theory, there is little agreement in the field. Criticism of theory by other theoreticians and those capable of understanding the theories is rare, for historical reasons. We intend to move beyond that limitation, self-imposed as a defensive reaction to the rejection cascade. It’s time.

For cold fusion to move forward we must include and respect skepticism, just as most of us want to see the mainstream include and respect cold fusion as a legitimate research area.

At this point, I intend to put together a review of the video, which first requires a transcript. Anyone could make such a thing. If a reader would like to contribute, I’d ask that references be included to the video elapsed time (where a section begins) … though this could also be added later. Every contribution matters and takes us into the future.

I have done things like this myself, in the past, and I always learned a great deal by paying attention to detail like that, detail without judgment, just what was actually said. So I’m inviting someone else to benefit in this way. Let me know!

(I did make a transcript, then checked my email a day late and found Ruby Carat had sent me one….)

(There is a “partial” transcript here. I’ll be looking at that. If someone wants to check or complete it, that would be useful.)

Transcript ( from YouTube CC, edited by Abd ul-Rahman Lomax)

Transcript moved to Storms 2017 video transcript.

Questions on that video may be asked as comments on that page.

Modelling

subpage of http://coldfusioncommunity.net/morrison-fleischmann-debate/original/


 

3

Modelling of the Calorimeters

The temperature-time variations of the calorimeters have been shown to be determined by the differential equation [1]

In equation [1] the term allows for the change of the water equivalent with time;
the term β was introduced to allow for a more rapid decrease than would be given by electrolysis
alone (exposure of the solid components of the cell contents, D2O vapour carried off in the gas
stream). As expected, the effects of β on Qf and K0R can be neglected if the cells are operated below 60°C. Furthermore, significant changes in the enthalpy contents of the calorimeters are normally only observed following the refilling of the cells with D2O (to make up for losses due to electrolysis and evaporation) so that it is usually sufficient to use the approximation [2]

The term allows for the decrease of the radiant surface area with time but, as we have already noted, this term may be neglected for calorimeters silvered in the top portion
(however, this term is significant for measurements made in unsilvered Dewars (1); see also (7)). Similarly, the effects of conductive heat transfer are small. We have therefore set Φ = 0 and have made a small increase in the radiative heat transfer coefficient k0R to k’R to allow for this
assumption. We have shown (see Appendix 2 of (1)) that this leads to a small underestimate of Qf (t); at the same time the random errors of the estimations are decreased because the number of parameters to be determined is reduced by one.

We have also throughout used the temperature of the water bath as the reference value and
arrive at the simpler equation which we have used extensively in our work:

4


GLOSSARY OF SYMBOLS USED

CP,O2,g Heat capacity of O2, JK-1mol-1.
CP,D2,g Heat capacity of D2, JK-1 mol-1.
CP,D2O,l Heat capacity of liquid D2O, JK-1mol-1.
CP,D2O,g Heat capacity of D2O vapour, JK-1mol-1.
Ecell Measured cell potential, V
Ecell,t=0 Measured cell potential at the time when the initial values of the parameters are evaluated, V
Ethermoneutral bath Potential equivalent of the enthalpy of reaction for the dissociation of heavy water at the bath temperature, V
F Faraday constant, 96484.56 C mol-1.
H Heaviside unity function.
I Cell current, A.
k0R Heat transfer coefficient due to radiation at a chosen time origin, WK-4
(k’REffective heat transfer coefficient due to radiation, WK-4 Symbol for liquid phase.
L Enthalpy of evaporation, JK1mol-1.
M0 Heavy water equivalent of the calorimeter at a chosen time origin, mols.
P Partial pressure, Pa; product species. P* Atmospheric pressure
P* Rate of generation of excess enthalpy, W.
Qf(t) Time dependent rate of generation of excess enthalpy, W.
T Time, s.
Ν Symbol for vapour phase.
Q Rate of heat dissipation of calibration heater, W.
Δθ Difference in cell and bath temperature, K.
Θ Absolute temperature, K.
θbath Bath temperature, K.
Λ Slope of the change in the heat transfer coefficient with time.
Φ Proportionality constant relating conductive heat transfer to the radiative heat transfer term.

References

1. Martin Fleischmann, Stanley Pons, Mark W. Anderson, Liang Jun Li and Marvin
Hawkins, J. Electroanal. Chem., 287 (1990) 293. [copy]

2. Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, Fusion Technology, 17 (1990) 669. [Britz Pons1990]

3. Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann, Proceedings of the First Annual Conference on Cold Fusion, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. (28-31 March, 1990). [unavailable]

4. Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann in T . Bressani, E. Del Guidice and G.
Preparata (Eds), The Science of Cold Fusion: Proceedings of the II Annual Conference on Cold Fusion, Como, Italy, (29 June-4 July 1991), Vol. 33 of the Conference Proceedings, The Italian Physical Society, Bologna, (1992) 349, ISBN 887794-045-X. [unavailable]

5. M. Fleischmann and S. Pons, J. Electroanal. Chem., 332 (1992) 33. [Britz Flei1992]

6. W. Hansen, Report to the Utah State Fusion Energy Council on the Analysis of Selected Pons-Fleischmann Calorimetric Data, in T. Bressani, E. Del Guidice and G. Preparata (Eds), The Science of Cold Fusion: Proceedings of the II Annual Conference on Cold Fusion, Como, Italy, (29 June-4 July 1991), Vol. 33 of the Conference Proceedings, The Italian Physical Society, Bologna, (1992) 491, ISBN 887794-045-X. [link]

7. D. E. Williams, D. J. S. Findlay, D. W. Craston, M. R. Sene, M. Bailey, S. Croft, B.W. Hooten, C.P. Jones, A.R.J. Kucernak, J.A. Mason and R.I. Taylor, Nature, 342 (1989) 375. [Britz Will1989]

8. To be published.

9. R.H. Wilson, J.W. Bray, P.G. Kosky, H.B. Vakil and F.G. Will, J. Electroanal. Chem., 332 (1992) 1. [Britz Wils1992]

Fleischmann and Pons reply

Draft, this document has not been fully formatted and hyperlinked.

This is a subpage of Morrison Fleischmann debate

This copy is taken from a document showing the Morrison comment and the Fleischmann reply. That itself may have been taken from sci.physics.fusion, posted August 17, 1993 by Mitchell Swartz. The reply was published eventually as “Reply to the critique by Morrison entitled: “Comments on claims of excess enthalpy by Fleischmann and Pons using simple cells made to boil,” M. Fleischmann, S. Pons, Physics Letters A 187, 18 April 1994 276-280. [Britz Flei1994b]

Received 28 June 1993, revised manuscript received 18 February 1994, accepted for publication 21 February 1994. Communicated by J P Vigier.

Abstract

We reply here to the critique by Douglas Morrison [1] of our paper [2] which was recently
published in this Journal. Apart from his general classification of our experiments into stages 1-
5, we find that the comments made [1] are either irrelevant or inaccurate or both.

In the article “Comments on Claims of Excess Enthalpy by Fleishmann and Pons using simple
cells made to Boil” Douglas Morrison presents a critique [1] of the paper “Calorimetry of the Pd-
D2O system: from simplicity via complications to simplicity” which has recently been published
in this Journal [2]. In the introduction to his critique, Douglas Morrison has divided the timescale
of the experiments we reported into 5 stages. In this reply, we will divide our comments
into the same 5 parts. However, we note at the outset that Douglas Morrison has restricted his
critique to those aspects of our own paper which are relevant to the generation of high levels of
the specific excess enthalpy in Pd-cathodes polarized in D2O solutions i.e. to stages 3-5. By
omitting stages 1 and 2, Douglas Morrison has ignored one of the most important aspects of our
paper and this, in turn, leads him to make several erroneous statements. We therefore start our
reply by drawing attention to these omissions in Douglas Morrison’s critique.

Stages 1 and 2

In the initial stage of these experiments the electrodes (0.2mm diameter x
12.5mm length Pd-cathodes) were first polarised at 0.2A, the current being raised to 0.5A in
stage 2 of the experiments.

We note at the outset that Douglas Morrison has not drawn attention to the all important “blank
experiments” illustrated in Figs 4 and 6 or our paper by the example of a Pt cathode polarised in
the identical 0.1M LiOD electrolyte. By ignoring this part of the paper he has failed to
understand that one can obtain a precise calibration of the cells (relative standard deviation
0.17%) in a simple way using what we have termed the “lower bound heat transfer coefficient,
(kR’)11”, based on the assumption that there is zero excess enthalpy generation in such “blank
cells”. We have shown that the accuracy of this value is within 1 sigma of the precision of the
true value of the heat transfer coefficient, (kR’)2, obtained by a simple independent calibration
using a resistive Joule heater. Further methods of analysis [3] (beyond the scope of the particular
paper [2]) show that the precision of (kR’)11 is also close to the accuracy of this heat transfer
coefficient (see our discussion of stage 3).

We draw attention to the fact that the time-dependence of (kR’)11, (the simplest possible way of
characterising the cells) when applied to measurements for Pd-cathodes polarised in D2O
solutions, gives direct evidence for the generation of excess enthalpy in these systems. It is quite
unnecessary to use complicated methods of data analysis to demonstrate this fact in a semiquantitative
fashion.

Stage 3 Calculations

Douglas Morrison starts by asserting: “Firstly, a complicated non-linear
regression analysis is employed to allow a claim of excess enthalpy to be made”. He has failed
to observe that we manifestly have not used this technique in this paper [2], the aim of which has
been to show that the simplest methods of data analysis are quite sufficient to demonstrate the
excess enthalpy generation. The only point at which we made reference to the use of non-linear
regression fitting (a technique which we used in our early work [4]) was in the section dealing
with the accuracy of the lower bound heat transfer coefficient, (kR’)11, determined for “blank
experiments” using Pt-cathodes polarised in D2O solutions. At that point we stated that the
accuracy of the determination of the coefficient (kR’)2 (relative standard deviation ~1.4% for the
example illustrated [2]), can be improved so as to be better than the precision of (kR’)11 by using
non-linear regression fitting; we have designated the values of (kR’) determined by non-linear
regression fitting by (kR’)5. The values of (kR’)5 obtained show that the precision of the lower
bound heat transfer coefficient (kR’)11 for “blank experiments” can indeed be taken as a measure
of the accuracy of (kR’). For the particular example illustrated the relative standard deviation was
~ 0.17% of the mean. It follows that the calibration of the cells using such simple means can be
expected to give calorimetric data having an accuracy set by this relative standard deviation in
the subsequent application of these cells.

We note here that we introduced the particular method of non-linear regression fitting (of the
numerical integral of the differential equation representing the model of the calorimeter to the
experimental data) for three reasons: firstly, because we believe that it is the most accurate single
method (experience in the field of chemical kinetics teaches us that this is the case); secondly,
because it avoids introducing any personal bias in the data treatment; thirdly, because it leads to
direct estimates of the standard deviations of all the derived values from the diagonal elements of
the error matrix. However, our experience in the intervening years has shown us that the use of
this method is a case of “overkill”: it is perfectly sufficient to use simpler methods such as multilinear
regression fitting if one aims for high accuracy. This is a topic which we will discuss
elsewhere [3]. For the present, we point out again that the purpose of our recent paper [2] was to
illustrate that the simplest possible techniques can be used to illustrate the generation of excess
enthalpy. It was for this reason that we chose the title: “Calorimetry of the Pd-D2O system: from
simplicity via complications to simplicity”.
Douglas Morrison ignores such considerations because his purpose evidently is to introduce a
critique of our work which has been published by the group at General Electric [5]. We will
show below that this critique is totally irrelevant to the recent paper published in this Journal [2].
However, as Douglas Morrison has raised the question of the critique published by General
Electric, we would like to point out once again that we have no dispute regarding the particular
method of data analysis favoured by that group [5]: their analysis is in fact based on the heat
transfer coefficient (kR’)2. If there was an area of dispute, then this was due solely to the fact that
Wilson et al introduced a subtraction of an energy term which had already been allowed for in
our own data analysis, i.e. they made a “double subtraction error”. By doing this they derived
heat transfer coefficients which showed that the cells were operating endothermically, i.e. as
refrigerators! Needless to say, such a situation contravenes the Second Law of Thermodynamics
as the entropy changes have already been taken into account by using the thermoneutral potential
of the cells.
We will leave others to judge whether our reply [6] to the critique by the group at General
Electric [5] did or did not “address the main questions posed by Wilson et al.” (in the words of
Douglas Morrison). However, as we have noted above the critique produced byWilson et al [5]
is in any event irrelevant to the evaluations presented in our paper in this journal [2]: we have
used the self-same method advocated by that group to derive the values of the excess enthalpy
given in our paper. We therefore come to a most important question: “given that Douglas
Morrison accepts the methods advocated by the group at General Electric and, given that we
have used the same methods in the recent publication [2] should he not have accepted the
validity of the derived values?”

Stage 4 Calculation

Douglas Morrison first of all raises the question whether parts of the cell contents may have been expelled as droplets during the later stages of intense heating. This is readily answered by titrating the residual cell contents: based on our earlier work about 95% of the residual lithium deuteroxide is recovered; some is undoubtedly lost in the reaction of this “aggressive” species with the glass components to form residues which cannot be titrated.

Furthermore, we have found that the total amounts of D2O added to the cells (in some cases over
periods of several months) correspond precisely to the amounts predicted to be evolved by (a)
evaporation of D2O at the instantaneous atmospheric pressures and (b) by electrolysis of D2O to
form D2 and O2 at the appropriate currents; this balance can be maintained even at temperatures
in excess of 90 degrees C [7]

We note here that other research groups (eg [5]) have reported that some Li can be detected
outside the cell using atomic absorption spectroscopy. This analytic technique is so sensitive
that it will undoubtedly detect the expulsion of small quantities of electrolyte in the vapour
stream. We also draw attention to the fact that D2O bought from many suppliers contains
surfactants. These are added to facilitate the filling of NMR sample tubes and are difficult
(probably impossible) to remove by normal methods of purification. There will undoubtedly be
excessive foaming (and expulsion of foam from the cells) if D2O from such sources is used. We
recommend the routine screening of the sources of D2O and of the cell contents using NMR
techniques. The primary reason for such routine screening is to check on the H2O content of the
electrolytes.

Secondly, Douglas Morrison raises the question of the influence of A.C. components of the
current, an issue which has been referred to before and which we have previously answered [4].
It appears that Douglas Morrison does not appreciate the primary physics of power dissipation
from a constant current source controlled by negative feedback. Our methodology is exactly the
same as that which we have described previously [4]; it should be noted in addition that we have
always taken special steps to prevent oscillations in the galvanostats. As the cell voltages are
measured using fast sample-and-hold systems, the product (Ecell – Ethermoneutral, bath)I will give the mean enthalpy input to the cells: the A.C. component is therefore determined by the ripple
content of the current which is 0.04%.

In his third point on this section, Douglas Morrison appears to be re-establishing the transition
from nucleate to film boiling based on his experience of the use of bubble chambers. This
transition is a well-understood phenomenon in the field of heat transfer engineering. A careful
reading of our paper [2] will show that we have addressed this question and that we have pointed
out that the transition from nucleate to film boiling can be extended to 1-10kW cm-2 in the
presence of electrolytic gas evolution.

Fourthly and for good measure, Douglas Morrison once again introduces the question of the
effect of a putative catalytic recombination of oxygen and deuterium (notwithstanding the fact
that this has repeatedly been shown to be absent). We refer to this question in the next section;
here we note that the maximum conceivable total rate of heat generation (~ 5mW for the
electrode dimensions used) will be reduced because intense D2 evolution and D2O evaporation
degasses the oxygen from the solution in the vicinity of the cathode; furthermore, D2 cannot be
oxidised at the oxide coated Pt-anode. We note furthermore that the maximum localised effect
will be observed when the density of the putative “hot spots” will be 1/delta2 where delta is the
thickness of the boundary layer. This gives us a maximum localised rate of heating of ~ 6nW.
The effects of such localised hot spots will be negligible because the flow of heat in the metal
(and the solution) is governed by Laplace’s Equation (here Fourier’s Law). The spherical
symmetry of the field ensures that the temperature perturbations are eliminated (compare the
elimination of the electrical contact resistance of two plates touching at a small number of
points).

We believe that the onus is on Douglas Morrison to devise models which would have to be
taken seriously and which are capable of being subjected to quantitative analysis. Statements of
the kind which he has made belong to the category of “arm waving”.

Stage 5 Effects

In this section we are given a good illustration of Douglas Morrison’s selective
and biased reporting. His description of this stage of the experiments starts with an incomplete
quotation of a single sentence in our paper. The full sentence reads:

“We also draw attention to some further important features: provided satisfactory electrode
materials are used, the reproducibility of the experiments is high; following the boiling to
dryness and the open-circuiting of the cells, the cells nevertheless remain at a high temperature
for prolonged periods of time (fig 11); furthermore the Kel-F supports of the electrodes at the
base of the cells melt so that the local temperature must exceed 300 degrees C”.

Douglas Morrison translates this to: “Following boiling to dryness and the open-circuiting of
the cells, the cells nevertheless remain at high temperature for prolonged periods of time;
furthermore the Kel-F supports of the electrodes at the base of the cells melt so that the local
temperature must exceed 300 degrees C”.

Readers will observe that the most important part of the sentence, which we have underlined, is
omitted; we have italicised the words “satisfactory electrode materials” because that is the nub of
the problem. In common with the experience of other research groups, we have had numerous
experiments in which we have observed zero excess enthalpy generation. The major cause
appears to be the cracking of the electrodes, a phenomenon which we will discuss elsewhere.
With respect to his own quotation Douglas Morrison goes on to say: “No explanation is given
and fig 10 is marked ‘cell remains hot, excess heat unknown'”. The reason why we refrained
from speculation about the phenomena at this stage of the work is precisely because explanations
are just that: speculations. Much further work is required before the effects referred to can be
explained in a quantitative fashion. Douglas Morrison has no such inhibitions, we believe
mainly because in the lengthy section Stage 5 Effects he wishes to disinter “the cigarette lighter
effect”. This phenomenon (the combustion of hydrogen stored in palladium when this is exposed
to the atmosphere) was first proposed by Kreysa et al [8] to explain one of our early
observations: the vapourisation of a large quantity of D2O (~ 500ml) by a 1cm cube palladium
cathode followed by the melting of the cathode and parts of the cell components and destruction
of a section of the fume cupboard housing the experiment [9]. Douglas Morrison (in common
with other critics of “Cold Fusion”) is much attached to such “Chemical Explanations” of the
“Cold Fusion” phenomena. As this particular explanation has been raised by Douglas Morrison,
we examine it here.

In the first place we note that the explanation of Kreysa et al [8] could not possibly have
applied to the experiment in question: the vapourisation of the D2O alone would have required
~1.1MJ of energy whereas the combustion of all the D in the palladium would at most have
produced ~ 650J (assuming that the D/Pd ratio had reached ~1 in the cathode), a discrepancy of a
factor of ~ 1700. In the second place, the timescale of the explanation is impossible: the
diffusional relaxation time is ~ 29 days whereas the phenomenon took at most ~ 6 hours (we
have based this diffusional relaxation time on the value of the diffusion coefficient in the alphaphase;
the processes of phase transformation coupled to diffusion are much slower in the fully
formed Pd-D system with a corresponding increase of the diffusional relaxation time for the
removal of D from the lattice). Thirdly, Kreysa et al [8] confused the notion of power (Watts)
with that of energy (Joules) which is again an error which has been promulgated by critics
seeking “Chemical Explanations” of “Cold Fusion”. Thus Douglas Morrison reiterates the notion
of heat flow, no doubt in order to seek an explanation of the high levels of excess enthalpy
during Stage 4 of the experiments. We observe that at a heat flow of 144.5W (corresponding to
the rate of excess enthalpy generation in the experiment discussed in our paper [2] the total
combustion of all the D in the cathode would be completed in ~ 4.5s, not the 600s of the duration
of this stage. Needless to say, the D in the lattice could not reach the surface in that time (the
diffusional relaxation time is ~ 105s) while the rate of diffusion of oxygen through the boundary
layer could lead at most to a rate of generation of excess enthalpy of ~ 5mW.

Douglas Morrison next asserts that no evidence has been presented in the paper about stages
three or four using H2O in place of D2O. As has already been pointed out above he has failed to
comment on the extensive discussion in our paper of a “blank experiment”. Admittedly, the
evidence was restricted to stages 1 and 2 of his own classification but a reference to an
independent review of our own work [10] will show him and interested readers that such cells
stay in thermal balance to at least 90 degrees C (we note that Douglas Morrison was present at
the Second Annual Conference on Cold Fusion). We find statements of the kind made by
Douglas Morrison distasteful. Have scientists now abandoned the notion of verifying their facts
before rushing into print?

In the last paragraph of this section Douglas Morrison finally “boxes himself into a corner”:
having set up an unlikely and unworkable scenario he finds that this cannot explain Stage 5 of
the experiment. In the normal course of events this should have led him to: (i) enquire of us
whether the particular experiment is typical of such cells; (ii) to revise his own scenario. Instead,
he implies that our experiment is incorrect, a view which he apparently shares with Tom Droege
[11]. However, an experimental observation is just that: an experimental observation. The fact
that cells containing palladium and palladium alloy cathodes polarised in D2O solutions stay at
high temperatures after they have been driven to such extremes of excess enthalpy generation
does not present us with any difficulties. It is certainly possible to choose conditions which also
lead to “boiling to dryness” in “blank cells” but such cells cool down immediately after such
“boiling to dryness”. If there are any difficulties in our observations, then these are surely in the
province of those seeking explanations in terms of “Chemical Effects” for “Cold Fusion”. It is
certainly true that the heat transfer coefficient for cells filled with gas (N2) stay close to those for
cells filled with 0.1M Li0D (this is not surprising because the main thermal impedance is across
the vacuum gap of the Dewar-type cells). The “dry cell” must therefore have generated ~120kJ
during the period at which it remained at high temperature (or ~ 3MJcm-3 or 26MJ(mol Pd)-1).
We refrained from discussing this stage of the experiments because the cells and procedures we
have used are not well suited for making quantitative measurements in this region. Inevitably,
therefore, interpretations are speculative. There is no doubt, however, that Stage 5 is probably
the most interesting part of the experiments in that it points towards new systems which merit
investigation. Suffice it to say that energies in the range observed are not within the realm of any
chemical explanations.
We do, however, feel that it is justified to conclude with a further comment at this point in
time. Afficionados of the field of “Hot Fusion” will realise that there is a large release of excess
energy during Stage 5 at zero energy input. The system is therefore operating under conditions
which are described as “Ignition” in “Hot Fusion”. It appears to us therefore that these types of
systems not only “merit investigation” (as we have stated in the last paragraph) but, more
correctly, “merit frantic investigation”.

Douglas Morrison’s Section “Conclusions” and some General Comments

In his section entitled “Conclusions”, Douglas Morrison shows yet again that he does not
understand the nature of our experimental techniques, procedures and methods of data evaluation
(or, perhaps, that he chooses to misunderstand these?). Furthermore, he fails to appreciate that
some of his own recommendations regarding the experiment design would effectively preclude
the observation of high levels of excess enthalpy. We illustrate these shortcomings with a
number of examples:

(i) Douglas Morrison asserts that accurate calorimetry requires the use of three thermal
impedances in series and that we do not follow this practice. In point of fact we do have three
impedances in series: from the room housing the experiments to a heat sink (with two
independent controllers to thermostat the room itself); from the thermostat tanks to the room
(and, for good measure, from the thermostat tanks to further thermostatically controlled sinks);
finally, from the cells to the thermostat tanks. In this way, we are able to maintain 64
experiments at reasonable cost at any one time (typically two separate five-factor experiments).

(ii) It is naturally essential to measure the heat flow at one of these thermal impedances and we
follow the normal convention of doing this at the innermost surface (we could hardly do
otherwise with our particular experiment design!). In our calorimeters, this thermal impedance is
the vacuum gap of the Dewar vessels which ensures high stability of the heat transfer
coefficients. The silvering of the top section of the Dewars (see Fig 2 of our paper [2] further
ensures that the heat transfer coefficients are virtually independent of the level of electrolyte in
the cells.

(iii) Douglas Morrison suggests that we should use isothermal calorimetry and that, in some
magical fashion, isothermal calorimeters do not require calibration. We do not understand: how
he can entertain such a notion? All calorimeters require calibration and this is normally done by
using an electrical resistive heater (following the practice introduced by Joule himself). Needless
to say, we use the same method. We observe that in many types of calorimeter, the nature of the
correction terms are “hidden” by the method of calibration. Of course, we could follow the selfsame
practice but we choose to allow for some of these terms explicitly. For example, we allow
for the enthalpy of evaporation of the D2O. We do this because we are interested in the operation
of the systems under extreme conditions (including “boiling”) where solvent evaporation
becomes the dominant form of heat transfer (it would not be sensible to include the dominant
term into a correction).

(iv) There is, however, one important aspect which is related to (iii) i.e. the need to calibrate the
calorimeters. If one chooses to measure the lower bound of the heat transfer coefficient (as we
have done in part of the paper published recently in this journal [2]) then there is no need to carry
out any calibrations nor to make corrections. It is then quite sufficient to investigate the time
dependence of this lower bound heat transfer coefficient in order to show that there is a
generation of excess enthalpy for the Pd-D2O system whereas there is no such generation for
appropriate blanks (e.g. Pt-D2O or Pd-H2O). Alternatively, one can use the maximum value of
the lower bound heat transfer coefficient to give lower bound values of the rates of excess
enthalpy generation.

It appears to us that Douglas Morrison has failed to understand this point as he continuously
asserts that our demonstrations of excess enthalpy generation are dependent on calibrations and
corrections.

(v) Further with regard to (iii) it appears to us that Douglas Morrison believes that a “null
method” (as used in isothermal calorimeters) is inherently more accurate than say the
isoperibolic calorimetry which we favour. While it is certainly believed that “null” methods in
the Physical Sciences can be made to be more accurate than direct measurements (e.g. when a
voltage difference is detected as in bridge circuits: however, note that even here the advent of
“ramp” methods makes this assumption questionable) this advantage disappears when it is
necessary to transduce the primary signal. In that case the accuracy of all the methods is
determined by the measurement accuracy (here of the temperature) quite irrespective of which
particular technique is used.

In point of fact and with particular reference to the supposed advantages of isothermal versus
isoperibolic calorimetry, we note that in the former the large thermal mass of the calorimeter
appears across the input of the feedback regulator. The broadband noise performance of the
system is therefore poor; attempts to improve the performance by integrating over long times
drive the electronics into 1/f noise and, needless to say, the frequency response of the system is
degraded. (see also (vii) below)

(vi) with regard to implementing measurements with isothermal calorimeters, Douglas
Morrrison recommends the use of internal catalytic recombiners (so that the enthalpy input to the
system is just Ecell.I rather than (Ecell – Ethermoneutral, bath).I as in our “open” calorimeters. We find it interesting that Douglas Morrison will now countenance the introduction of intense local “hot
spots” on the recombiners (what is more in the gas phase!) whereas in the earlier parts of his
critique he objects to the possible creation of microscopic “hot spots” on the electrode surfaces
in contact with the solution.

We consider this criticism from Douglas Morrison to be invalid and inapplicable. In the first
place it is inapplicable because the term Ethermoneutral,bath.I (which we require in our analysis) is
known with high precision (it is determined by the enthalpy of formation of D2O from D2 and
1/2 O2). In the second place it is inapplicable because the term itself is ~ 0.77 Watt whereas we
are measuring a total enthalpy output of ~ 170 Watts in the last stages of the experiment.
(vii) We observe here that if we had followed the advice to use isothermal calorimetry for the
main part of our work, then we would have been unable to take advantage of the “positive
feedback” to drive the system into regions of high excess enthalpy generation (perhaps, stated
more exactly, we would not have found that there is such positive feedback). The fact that there
is such feedback was pointed out by Michael McKubre at the Third Annual Conference of Cold
Fusion and strongly endorsed by one of us (M.F.). As this issue had then been raised in public,
we have felt free to comment on this point in our papers (although we have previously drawn
attention to this fact in private discussions). We note that Douglas Morrison was present at the
Third Annual Conference on Cold Fusion.

(viii) While it is certainly true that the calorimetric methods need to be evolved, we do not
believe that an emphasis on isothermal calorimetry will be useful. For example, we can identify
three major requirements at the present time:

a) the design of calorimeters which allow charging of the electrodes at low thermal inputs and
temperatures below 50 degrees C followed by operation at high thermal outputs and
temperatures above 100 degrees C
b) the design of calorimeters which allow the exploration of Stage 5 of the experiments
c) the design of calorimeters having a wide frequency response in order to explore the transfer
functions of the systems.

We note that c) will in itself lead to calorimeters having an accuracy which could hardly be
rivalled by other methods.

(ix) Douglas Morrison’s critique implies that we have never used calorimetric techniques other
than that described in our recent paper [2]. Needless to say, this assertion is incorrect. It is true,
however, that we have never found a technique which is more satisfactory than the isoperibolic
method which we have described. It is also true that this is the only method which we have found
so far which can be implemented within our resources for the number of experiments which we
consider to be necessary. In our approach we have chosen to achieve accuracy by using
software; others may prefer to use hardware. The question as to which is the wiser choice is
difficult to answer: it is a dilemma which has to be faced frequently in modern experimental
science. We observe also that Douglas Morrison regards complicated instrumentation (three
feedback regulators working in series) as being “simple” whereas he regards data analysis as
being complicated.

Douglas Morrrison also asserts that we have never used more than one thermistor in our
experimentation and he raises this issue in connection with measurements on cells driven to
boiling. Needless to say, this assertion is also incorrect. However, further to this remark is it
necessary for us to point out that one does not need any temperature measurement in order to
determine the rate of boiling of a liquid?

(x) Douglas Morrison evidently has difficulties with our application of non-linear regression
methods to fit the integrals of the differential equations to the experimental data. Indeed he has
such an idee fixe regarding this point that he maintains that we used this method in our recent
paper [2]; we did not do so (see also ‘stage 3 calculations’ above). However, we note that we find
his attitude to the Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm hard to understand. It is one of the most
powerful, easily implemented “canned software” methods for problems of this kind. A classic
text for applications of this algorithm [12] has been praised by most prominent physics journals
and magazines.

(xi) Douglas Morrison’s account contains numerous misleading comments and descriptions. For
example, he refers to our calorimeters as “small transparent test tubes”. It is hard for us to
understand why he chooses to make such misleading statements. In this particular case he could
equally well have said “glass Dewar vessels silvered in their top portion” (which is accurate)
rather than “small transparent test tubes” (which is not). Alternatively, if he did not wish to
provide an accurate description, he could simply have referred readers to Fig 2 of our paper [2].
This type of misrepresentation is a non-trivial matter. We have never used calorimeters made of
test-tubes since we do not believe that such devices can be made to function satisfactorily.

(xii) As a further example of Douglas Morrison’s inaccurate reporting, we quote his last
paragraph in full:

“It is interesting to note that the Fleischmann and Pons paper compares their claimed power
production with that from nuclear reactions in a nuclear reactor and this is in line with their
dramatic claims (9) that “`SIMPLE EXPERIMENT’ RESULTS IN SUSTAINED N-FUSION AT
ROOM TEMPERATURE FOR THE FIRST TIME: breakthrough process has potential to provide
inexhaustible source of energy”.

It may be noted that the present paper does not mention “Cold Fusion” nor indeed consider a possible nuclear source for the excess heat claimed.

Douglas Morrison’s reference (9) reads: “Press release, University of Utah, 23 March 1989.” With regard to this paragraph we note that:

a) our claim that the phenomena cannot be explained by chemical or conventional physical
processes is based on the energy produced in the various stages and not the power output
b) the dramatic claim he refers to was made by the Press Office of the University of Utah and
not by us
c) we did not coin the term “Cold Fusion” and have avoided using this term except in those
instances where we refer to other research workers who have described the system in this way.
Indeed, if readers refer to our paper presented to the Third International Conference on Cold
Fusion [13] (which contains further information about some of the experiments described in [2]),
they will find that we have not used the term there. Indeed, we remain as convinced as ever that
the excess energy produced cannot be explained in terms of the conventional reaction paths of
“Hot Fusion”
d) it has been widely stated that the editor of this journal “did not allow us to use the term Cold
Fusion”. This is not true: he did not forbid us from using this term as we never did use it (see
also [13]).

(xiii) in his section “Conclusions”, Douglas Morrison makes the following summary of his
opinion of our paper:

The experiment and some of the calculations have been described as “simple”. This is incorrect
– the process involving chaotic motion, is complex and may appear simple by incorrectly
ignoring important factors. It would have been better to describe the experiments as “poor”
rather than “simple”.

We urge the readers of this journal to consult the original text [2] and to read Douglas
Morrison’s critique [1] in the context of the present reply. They may well then come to the
conclusion that our approach did after all merit the description “simple” but that the epithet
“poor” should be attached to Douglas Morrision’s critique.

Our own conclusions

We welcome the fact that Douglas Morrison has decided to publish his criticisms of our work
in the conventional scientific literature rather than relying on the electronic mail, comments to
the press and popular talks; we urge his many correspondees to follow his example. Following
this traditional pattern of publication will ensure that their comments are properly recorded for
future use and that the rights of scientific referees will not be abrogated. Furthermore, it is our
view that a return to this traditional pattern of communication will in due course eliminate the
illogical and hysterical remarks which have been so evident in the messages on the electronic
bulletins and in the scientific tabloid press. If this proves to be the case, we may yet be able to
return to a reasoned discussion of new research. Indeed, critics may decide that the proper
course of inquiry is to address a personal letter to authors of papers in the first place to seek
clarification of inadequately explained sections of publications.

Apart from the general description of stages 1-5, we find that the comments made by Douglas
Morrison are either irrelevant or inaccurate or both.

References

[1] Douglas Morrison, Phys. Lett. A.
[2] M.Fleischmann andd S. Pons, Phys. Lett. A 176 (1993) 1
[3] to be published
[4] M.Fleischmann, S.Pons, M.W.Anderson, L.J. Li, and M.Hawkins, J. Electroanal. Chem.
287 (1990) 293.
[5] R.H. Wilson, J.W. Bray, P.G. Kosky, H.B. Vakil, and F.G Will, J. Electroanal. Chem.
332 (1992) 1
[6] M.Fleischmann and S.Pons, J.Electroanal. Chem. 332 (1992) 33
[7] S. Pons and M.Fleischmann in: Final Report to the Utah State Energy Advisory Council,
June 1991.
[8] G. Kreysa, G. Marx, and W.Plieth, J. Electroanal. Chem. 268 (1989)659
[9] M. Fleischmann and S. Pons, J. Electroanal. Chem. 261 (1989)301
[10] W.Hansen, Report to the Utah State Fusion Energy Council on the Analysis of Selected
Pons-Fleischmann Calorimetric Data, in: “The Science of Cold Fusion”: Proc. Second
Annual Conf. on Cold Fusion, Como, Italy, 29 June-4 July 1991, eds T. Bressani, E. del
Guidice and G. Preparata, Vol 33 of the Conference Proceedings of the Italian Physical
Society (Bologna, 1992) p491; ISBN-887794–045-X
[11] T. Droege: private communication to Douglas Morrison.
[12] W.H. Press, B.P. Flannery, S.A. Teukolsky, and W.T. Vetterling, “Numerical Recipes”,
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1989.
[13] M.Fleischmann and S. Pons “Frontiers of Cold Fusion” ed. H. Ikegami, Universal
Academy Press Inc., Tokyo, 1993, p47; ISBN 4-946-443-12-6

General

Subpage of  Calorimetry of the PD-D2O System: from Simplicity via Complications to Simplicity.

The purpose of this subpage is to study the section named below. Comments here should be aimed toward study and learning as to what is in the Original paper. This is not a place to argue “right” and “wrong,” but to seek agreement, where possible, or to delineate unresolved issues. General comments may be made on the Open discussion subpage.

General Features of our Calorimetry

Our approach to the measurement of excess enthalpy generation in Pd and Pd-alloy
cathodes polarised in D2O solutions has been described in detail elsewhere (see especially (1-5); see also (6)). The form of the calorimeter which we currently use is illustrated in Fig 1. The following features are of particular importance:

(i) at low to intermediate temperatures (say 20-50°C) heat transfer from the cell is dominated by
radiation across the vacuum gap of the lower, unsilvered, portion of the Dewar vessel to the
surrounding water bath (at a cell current of 0.5A and atmospheric pressure of 1 bar, the cooling due to evaporation of D2O reaches 10% of that due to radiation at typically 95-98°C for Dewar cells of the design shown in Fig 1).

(ii) the values of the heat transfer coefficients determined in a variety of ways (see below) both with and without the calibrating resistance heater (see Fig 2 for an example of the temperature-time and cell potential-time transients) are close to those given by the product of the Stefan-Boltzmann coefficient and the radiant surface areas of the cells.

(iii) the variations of the heat transfer coefficients with time (due to the progressive fall of the level of the electrolyte) may be neglected at the first level of approximation (heat balances to within 99%) as long as the liquid level remains in the upper, silvered portions of the calorimeters.

(iv) the room temperature is controlled and set equal to that of the water baths which contain
secondary cooling circuits; this allows precise operation of the calorimeters at low to intermediate
temperatures (thermal balances can be made to within 99.9% if this is required).

(v) heat transfer from the cells becomes dominated by evaporation of D2O as the cells are driven to the boiling point.

(vi) the current efficiencies for the electrolysis of D2O (or H2O) are close to 100%.

2

Figure 1. Schematic diagram of the single compartment open vacuum Dewar calorimeter cells used in this work.

Figure 2. Segment of a temperature-time/cell potential-time response (with 0.250 W heat calibration pulses) for a cell containing a 12.5 × 1.5mm platinum electrode polarised in 0.IM LiOD at 0.250A.

References (for this section)

1. Martin Fleischmann, Stanley Pons, Mark W. Anderson, Liang Jun Li and Marvin
Hawkins, J. Electroanal. Chem., 287 (1990) 293. [copy]

2. Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, Fusion Technology, 17 (1990) 669. [Britz Pons1990]

3. Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann, Proceedings of the First Annual Conference on Cold Fusion, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. (28-31 March, 1990). [unavailable]

4. Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann in T . Bressani, E. Del Guidice and G.
Preparata (Eds), The Science of Cold Fusion: Proceedings of the II Annual Conference on Cold Fusion, Como, Italy, (29 June-4 July 1991), Vol. 33 of the Conference Proceedings, The Italian Physical Society, Bologna, (1992) 349, ISBN 887794-045-X. [unavailable]

5. M. Fleischmann and S. Pons, J. Electroanal. Chem., 332 (1992) 33. [Britz Flei1992]

6. W. Hansen, Report to the Utah State Fusion Energy Council on the Analysis of Selected Pons-Fleischmann Calorimetric Data, in T. Bressani, E. Del Guidice and G. Preparata (Eds), The Science of Cold Fusion: Proceedings of the II Annual Conference on Cold Fusion, Como, Italy, (29 June-4 July 1991), Vol. 33 of the Conference Proceedings, The Italian Physical Society, Bologna, (1992) 491, ISBN 887794-045-X. [link]