Work in progress
The original version (linked above) covers some of the history, this version is intended to focus on fact and the claims of the article.
RationalWiki articles, in general, collapse fact and interpretation, presenting a standard snarky point of view. What would be, at best, weak or even not supported by sources, are asserted as if fact, and, then, with that “fact” in mind, sources may be read, by the incautious, as confirming the allegations. This is standard “fake news” technique. RationalWiki is far from rational and far from scientific skepticism. The article:
Abd ul-Rahman Lomax (a.k.a. Dennis George Lomax or User:Abd) is an American Muslim, conspiracy theorist, cyber-harasser and internet troll who is best known as proponent of pseudoscientific cold fusion.
These users freely find and use real names and addresses (the latter through sock puppet names, such as using the name of the street I live on in a sock puppet name, to attempt to intimidate me, and they have harassed many, including getting the mother of one of their targets fired by sending email to her employer — and one of my daughters received a harassing mail, obviously from them), but if someone finds their real names and uses them, they scream “harassment” and “doxxing.” In any case, by the early 2000s, I had decided to use my Muslim name, and, yes, I am a Muslim, and a large percentage of what I have written has been on Islam, I might be better known for that, particularly on Quora, but I was also a moderator on the Usenet newsgroup soc.religion.islam.
I was extremely active on the internet in the 1990s and later, and have written voluminously, and I often took on controversial topics, and on occasion, administrators were offended and blocked me. That has actually been rare, or at least it was rare until last year, also, I was rarely called a troll, and never harasser, again, until last year.
One can find many examples of targets of the author of this article who were blocked here and there because of anonymous complaints. I was threatened with this from the beginning of my contact with them. The claims in this article are a pot calling an alleged kettle black.
Now, am I a “promoter” of cold fusion? And what is “cold fusion”? The definition varies with the user of the term. From the RW article linked:
Cold fusion, also called Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) or Chemically-Assisted Nuclear Reactions (CANR) by its proponents, is the claim of nuclear reactions at relatively low temperatures, rather than at millions of degrees.
Notice “proponents.” What do those who are neutral call the field? Pseudoskeptics call it “pseudoscience,” or “woo,” or it’s even been called fraud (and there has been fraud in the field, which I have covered extensively on this blog). In 1989, the U.S. DoE ERAB panel called it “Cold fusion.” (Do not confuse the introduction by a Skeptic group with the actual report.)
This was before significant replications had been reported, and the ERAB panel was convened and rushed. That report concluded (my emphasis):
. . . the experimental results on excess heat from calorimetric cells reported to date do not present convincing evidence that useful sources of energy will result from the phenomena attributed to cold fusion. In addition, the Panel concludes that experiments reported to date do not present convincing evidence to associate the reported anomalous heat with a nuclear process. […]
The Panel also concludes that some observations attributed to cold fusion are not yet invalidated. […]
The Panel recommends against the establishment of special programs or research centers to develop cold fusion. However, there remain unresolved issues which may have interesting implications. The Panel is, therefore, sympathetic toward modest support for carefully focused and cooperative experiments within the present funding system.
The Panel was quite aware of the distinction between reported effects and ideas advanced to explain them. The field I call “cold fusion” for historical and other reasons, is the study of what the Panel was “sympathetic” to. In 2004, the DoE convened another panel, and called it Low Energy Nuclear Reactions. The scientific report presented to them had a more neutral title: New Physical Effects in Metal Deuterides.
The effects reported in that paper include “excess heat,” which means heat not explained by ordinary processes, and “nuclear emissions,” the most widely-reported of which is tritium, but there are others.
I was invited to submit a paper to Low Energy Nuclear Reactions, a special section of Current Science, and it went through review (initially hostile!) and was published in 2015, Replicable cold fusion experiment: heat/helium ratio.
I had been advocating the research suggested in that article, confirming the heat/helium ratio (which is direct evidence of a nuclear reaction), for some years, and that is indeed what I “promote,” scientific research. The real thing. That work was considered important enough, by the end of 2014, that it was very adequately funded for a study at Texas Tech University. The research there calls LENR the “Anomalous Heat Effect.”
And this is what this troll calls “pseudoscientific.” The RW article on cold fusion also has:
There are credible scientists working on fusion at less than millions of degrees, but they tend to avoid the term “cold fusion”.
Some do, some don’t. What we know now(covered in my article) indicates that some kind of deuterium fusion is taking place, but the mechanism is unknown. There are theories not yet entirely ruled out that propose what might be called “non-fusion” mechanisms, but it’s largely a linguistic issue. I’m happy with “Anomalous Heat Effect.”
What I suggest in the article, the heat/helium correlation, is falsifiable, making it “scientific.” It’s not an easy experiment, but it has been done many times, and my proposal was to repeat it with increased precision, and that is exactly the effort taken up in Texas.
So what is the basis for the claim that I am “promoting pseudoscientific cold fusion”? I suggest that it is only that “pseudoscientific” is a dog-whistle for the pseudoskeptics that particularly infest RationalWiki. The RW article gives reasons to consider “Cold fusion as pseudoscience.” I will look at that elsewhere. For now, in addition to being just plain wrong in places, they present straw man arguments, cherry-picked (there are many people writing about or even “promoting” cold fusion, including one major fraud, but they don’t bother actually citing what they claim is being written. I will cover one point:
The effects are not reproducible under independent verification, or even consistently reproducible at all. Even among cold fusion researchers, reports of substantial excess heat are rare, as shown in a 2010 review paper.
The heat effect has been difficult to replicate, that’s obvious. However, techniques have improved, and most attempts now by skilled electrochemists do find the heat effect. The review paper was Storms (2010). They have not noticed that I’m credited in that paper (convenience copy, links to the mention of my name). That claim of “rare” is based on the histogram, Figure 4. The RW editor had no clue what he was looking at. The article also repeats the point, as if established:
The most recent comprehensive review of the field (by Edmund Storms, a proponent of cold fusion) was Status of cold fusion (2010), published in a peer-reviewed journal on life sciences and environmental sciences for which Storms is a member of the editorial board. The review claims that there is evidence that the effect exists and involves a nuclear reaction, but in fact the included charts make it clear that the great majority of reports it analyzed observed no excess heat.
These were arguments presented when the Wikipedia Reliable Source Noticeboard considered that paper. (The consensus there was that the paper would be reliable source, which consensus was ignored in the article, which continues to rely on much older and less definitive sources.) That was, indeed, the most comprehensive review of the field up to that time. The journal was not specifically a life sciences journal, but was still, then, one of the top multidisciplinary journals in the world. They were publishing papers on LENR and wanted an expert to serve on their editorial board, and chose Storms. The paper was independent, I was involved in encouraging Storms to write a review, but the paper he had written was on the heat/helium issue. The editors asked him to write a paper on the entire field, so he did. My opinion is that the field is far too broad, and that the impact of the paper was reduced by being over-broad. But that’s what happened. He certainly did not review his own paper!
The histogram does not show what is claimed. It has been misread by someone looking to prove that his own ideas are correct. This is classic RW deceptive sourcing. The lowest category shown is not “no excess heat.” Those are all excess heat reports. For the “electrolytic method,” the lowest category is 125 mW, which is easily significant in context. The chart on the right is “all methods,” and the lowest category is 10 W. Whether that is significant or not depends on the approach, but all the papers considered it significant.
The effect has been known since discovery to be erratic, and the cause of this became known fairly quickly: lack of control of the nanostructure of the material (though other ideas have not been completely ruled out). The latest idea depends on the discovery, in the early 1990s, of previously unknown phases of palladium deuteride, called “superabundant vacancy phases,” which create effective cavities (and which allow much higher loading ratio). These phases were discovered in diamond-anvil presses at 5 GPa pressure, but the phases are stable and are believed to be the most stable phases of palladium deuteride at high loading. There is then an idea that small quantities of these phases were created “adventitiously” by electrolysis and other methods. Hence there is a new direction I expect in research, involving the specific phases. This is all scientific research. The RW article, being an RW article, focuses on “woo” and overheated promises of free energy, which remains as, at a minimum, way-premature. The Japanese are seeing relatively consistent results, recently, at the level of 20 watts or so, confirmed by three working groups. This is far, far, still, from “commercial potential.”
But my interest has always been the science. Back to the article on me:
Lomax has a history of being banned on forums and wikis for disruption, trolling and posting of personal information of other users; disgruntled he then uses his blog to attack his forum debate opponents or admins who banned him; he likes to ‘weaponize’ Google searches, so if someone searches a name — his blog will show up with ad hominem and smears written about them.
The “history” was spotty and rare and unusual, until impersonation socks appeared and attacked Wikiversity users and educational resources. With over thirty years of on-line history, involving highly-controversial subjects on occasion, I was not known for “disruption, trolling, and posting of personal information.” Mostly, the author of this article was talking about himself, but he was not a “debate opponent.” I was banned by a single moderator on lenr-forum.com, and documented what happened. Is that an “attack”. Examples? There are a few people who will show up in searches on personal name. One is the author of this article, Darryl L. Smith. Another is his twin brother, Oliver D. Smith. Another, who might prefer it not be so, is Joshua P. Schroeder. This was written in October, 2017. No attack on him is visible, to my knowledge, and what had been put up was almost entirely publicly available information.
When I began to document the sock puppetry, I did not know and did not give real names. However, one page on Wikiversity, with information about “Anglo Pyramidologist” — the Wikipedia name for this sock family — had a Smith name in the URL, I did not notice that. This was immediately taken down and hidden. Yet the socks continued attacking and claiming doxxing, both on Wikiversity, on Meta, on Wikipedia, and on RationalWiki. The mention of “Smith brothers” on RationalWiki was in an article created by one of the Smith brothers, likely Oliver, and that I commented on that article was used as an excuse to, first, remove my sysop tools (David Gerard did that, he’d wanted to do it for years, but moderators had previously prevented it. He has outlasted them), and then, to block me for “doxxing.” Simply listing socks is not “doxxing.” Revealing a real name can be, but even more is revealing addresses and other more personal information, something they do routinely. I am, indeed, revealing real names, but only theirs, as to anything significant. And their massive and extensive protests, then, confirm that these are their real names. But, of course, they claim I am lying.
“He likes to weaponize Google.” This is projection, it is what the Smith brothers have been doing for years. I’m a journalist, I simply write what I find. I seek balance, in fact. I invite correction, but what the Smiths do is to attack what is written as “lies.” When asked for what statements, specifically, are incorrect, they ignore the request, and that behavior, it turns out, has been repeated over the years with many people. This was far from beginning with me. I merely refused to shut up and disappear. Many of those who confronted them have done just that. The level of harassment that they have demonstrated is far higher than most people would imagine.
Wikis, in particular, distinguish between blocks and bans. A block is an administrative action, and may generally be undone by any administrator. A block may be “indef,” which means “until the issue is resolved.” My first real block on Wikipedia was like that, and the administrator made it clear that it was not necessary to consult to unblock. It was all a misunderstanding, as later developed. On RationalWiki, “infinite” is an option when blocking, I think. They have modified the software, with their typical snark. Instead of “delete,” they have “vaporize.” But any sysop can reverse it. So cocky sysops may say they have “banned” someone, but it’s meaningless. Normally, a “ban” is reserved for a community decision. On Wikipedia, it is still only indefinite, not “permanent.” By guidelines and policies, an administrator on Wikipedia should not unblock a banned user without consultation. Joshua P. Schroeder was banned, by the Arbitration Committee. It was undone by a community discussion (in which his fans lied, by the way). I was banned on Wikipedia by a community discussion, and it was not a general consensus, but I never appealed it, because I had given up on Wikipedia, entirely. I never violated that ban.
When the article was written originally, I was not banned on any other WMF wiki, nor on RationalWiki, but the Smiths continued their attacks, and it appears they recruited some Wikipedians to support an Office ban. That they could manage that, as they did, showed that the situation with the WMF Office had become even worse than I had imagined. I had consulted with a former WMF Board member about the situation, he was confident that there was nothing that could lead to a ban. But what if the complainants lied? There is not way to find out what they claimed, in fact, because the WMF does not warn before banning, and it does not inform the banned person of the reason for the ban, and it claims that bans are not appealable. But it announces them! (Which would not be a necessity.)
I’m active on Quora, which is notoriously tough on trolls. I’ve been blocked there, and am in good company. It’s easy to be short-blocked, and top writers have learned to avoid any response to trolling, because trolls will attempt to provoke a writer into making a response that will look uncivil (and it is appearance that gets one blocked there, moderation takes very little time, they will not investigate the situation, they just look at a single comment and make a decision. I was blocked once because I quoted what the commenter on my Answer had in his Profile. It looked like an attack! But one learns to be careful about not only reality, but appearance as well. Instead, if a comment is provocative, Quora wants authors to report it. And that’s what I do, and often they act. They don’t want writers arguing with trolls!
I have participated on hundreds of web sites and forums. I can only think of what amount to three sustained blocks (which includes one community ban on Wikipedia in 2011, the block on Wikiversity at the end of last year, which was under appeal until the global ban), the global ban by the WMF Office, which then subsumes those two local blocks, the block on RationalWiki (by one of the Smith brothers), and then a block on lenr-forum.com, issued when I declared a boycott due to arbitrary and extensive deletion by a single moderator, a practice which actually stopped after that complaint.) I had over 35,000 total edits on WMF wikis, with 486 “attached accounts.”
I have accounts on many other wikis, and on none of them am I blocked. Smith brother accounts are routinely blocked on sight (i.e, if identified), except on RationalWiki. I’ve documented many hundreds of blocked socks. Of course, they claim it’s all lies, it’s not actually them, etc. But that’s preposterous to anyone who actually looks at the evidence.
After being blocked from RationalWiki and Wikipedia, Lomax wrote thousands of words on his blog about his bans, continuing to attack more editors.
I write. It’s what I do. I don’t count the words, ordinarily, but one of the trolls recently claimed that I had written “over 200,000 words” about the latest-identified Wikipedia sock, Skeptic from Britain. Counting the subpages, including the page responding to that post, it was about 20,000 words. A lot of words, unless one is interested in the topic. What “editors” are targets of “continuing” “attack”? When I mention RW activity, what editors have done there (with evidence), is that an “attack”? I recently added some research to a page on a very active user there, Bongolian. Is that an “attack”? If so, then what do we call the routine RW articles about their targets? “Teddy bears”?
In December 2017, Lomax was permanently blocked on Wikiversity for long-term disruption and misusing the site for his personal vendettas to harass other users. In February 2018, he was globally banned by the Wikimedia Foundation.
In fact, at that point, I was almost completely inactive on Wikiversity, but was under attack, and educational resources were under attack. I responded, pointing, with evidence, to canvassing on Wikipedia. This had been done many times before. Nobody was being harassed on Wikiversity except for me and the original AP target. But a bureaucrat who had been mostly inactive for years showed up and started wielding a meat-axe. (He has since returned into obscurity.) There was no “vendetta.” Try to find it! What I was doing was considered relatively routine on the meta wiki, which is where I — with others — had filed some checkuser requests — most of which were granted and successful, by the way, all of this has been documented. So why was I blocked on Wikiversity? Because, obviously, they got to that bureaucrat. He violated numerous local policies, which was noticed, but . . . the Wikiversity community had become quite weak, and that is exactly why I had mostly abandoned working on Wikiversity, it had become unsafe.
Darryl believed that I was heavily invested there, which is why he threatened that all my work would be deleted if I continued studying the sock activity. And that is why they went after the cold fusion resource, which was neutral (or if not, it would be a failure of the skeptics to fix it, because there had been no disruption at all over cold fusion resource there, no revert warring, and I had demonstrated how to handle high controversy with rigorous neutrality, on other resources). They also had previously gone after the parapsychology resource, which was very clearly a neutral study, with the only problems being periodic attacks by a series of sock puppets.
Again, they believed that all this was important to me, that’s why it was attacked. Wikiversity had strong traditions of academic freedom, it is not an encyclopedia, original research was allowed, etc. Wikiversity, like all WMF wikis, has a neutrality policy, but it was, in practice, inclusive, not exclusive, and there was no notability policy. It was like academia. Wikipedia’s neutrality is exclusive, in theory. In fact, because of participation bias and factional power there, it is often biased, but better enforcement of policies could fix that … except Wikipedia became radically conservative, strongly resisting any change to the status quo.
I rescued the content, it is all on http://coldfusioncommunity.net/w/. (the Wikiversity imports.) For what it’s worth. The cold fusion resource on Wikiversity there was abandoned unfinished, and I have not focused on improving it. If anyone wants to work on it, it can be done. I have not opened it up to full, immediate, anonymous editing, because it’s a PITA to handle the spammers and trolls, but there is a procedure there for someone to begin editing that would not be difficult to administer, and if there is more participation, I could open it up even further.
Lomax claims to be a free speech advocate and protector of civil liberties.
I notice that if it is negative, they state it as if fact, and if it is positive, it is stated as my claim. Am I a “free speech advocate.” Generally, yes, but there are exceptions. I’m not in favor of libel, and especially not of defamation asserted by anonymous trolls, something that Wikipedia routinely allows. Again, I was a member of the ACLU in college. Does that make me a “protector of civil liberties”? I suppose so.
He has written a series of blog posts defending the far-right child-rape apologist Emil O. W. Kirkegaard and other alt-right activists. After being banned on practically every respectable wiki on the internet, Lomax became a troll poster on Encyclopedia Dramatica.
Note 5 refers to a blog post here, which covers claims by Oliver Smith, which includes claims of Emil Kirkegaard being a “child rape apologist” and “far-right.” Was I defending Kirkegaard or studying and reporting the truth (or at least evidence I have seen)? In places, Smith dropped “apologist” and simply called Kirkegaard a pedophile, for which there is zero evidence.
But what about “ap0logist”? What Kirkegaard actually did was blog a little, years ago, about political issues around “child porn,” a very hot-button topic about which he knew very little. The actual post was not an apologia for “child rape.” He speculated on what it would be like for a pedophile, a topic about which he knew practically nothing. He then came up with the idea of having sex with a child when the child was asleep, would that be morally acceptable? He ended up rejecting the idea completely. But his comments have been quoted out of context to make it look like it was acceptable.?
It is clear that Smith created this charge, and promoted it first on the RationalWiki article on Kirkegaard, and then specifically communicated it to journalists. As a result, the information I have is that he has been sued for defamation, and agree that he was defamed. Now, is Kirkegaard’s attorney “defending a child-rape apologist?” In the muddled, murky, contemptuous mind of this troll, yes.
The article claims “a series of posts,” but it was only one post cited. That, again, is a common troll tactic: convert a single instance into a pattern of instances, creating a stronger impression. I wrote about all this as evidence was developing, and Smith has written all this in many posts on many sites. Were there other posts? None of what I have written is intended as “defending” Smith targets, but as looking at evidence and considering the claims Smith has made. I’m really not sure at this point how much I have written about Kirkegaard.
Is Kirkegaard “far-right”? I don’t know. Probably not, though. He is a hereditarian, I think he would agree with that, if it is properly defined, which can shade into racialism, which can shade into racism. But hereditarianism is not racism, nor is it far-right, though some far-right activists might favor hereditarianism.
Wikipedia on hereditarianism. Kirkegaard is or aspires to be a scientist. As such, he would theoretically be careful about “believing” any hypothesis, like the hereditarian one. But he may routinely operate as if heredity is a major factor in intelligence. This much is obvious to me: there are genetic factors involved in intelligence, or else we would not be smarter than slime mold, the difference being only genetic. The scientific controversy is over how much “intelligence” varies between human beings based on genetic differences, and the “opposing view,” on environmental causes.
At this point, the “politically correct” view is environmentalist, to the point that sometimes basic research into what could be called “ethnic differences” in performance on intelligence tests is attacked as racist. I might not agree much with Kirkegaard on this point, but I’m not defending him, I am only pointing out that he has been defamed, based on invented and misleading evidence. That I can be confident about.
(My own operating position is that if there are populations with significant genetic differences affecting intelligence, individual variations within populations are much more prominent, intelligence being generally favorable to survival in all environments, but the specific nature of intelligence may vary from context to context. From a policy perspective, racial discrimination is pernicious, whether or not there are differences in averages. “Race” is not a scientific concept, and “intelligence” tends to be vague as well. Performance on specific tests can be measured, but there are enormous difficulties in designing tests that are culturally neutral. I actually criticize, somewhere on this blog, a particular intelligence test question from one of the publications being attacked on RW, that was obviously biased toward Russian culture over Kazakh, and so differences in Kazakh performance and Russian performance could be entirely due to test design.) Scientific issues are best resolved by scientific discussion, not by polemic and ad hominem attack, such as “far-right, racist, child rape apologist.” But that is routine on RationalWiki, though even more prominent in Smith-written articles. He’s claimed something like 600 of them. I haven’t seen that many. But he is still busy creating articles on his new obsession, low-carb diets and cholesterol skepticism. This is ironic: the “lipid hypothesis” is treated as if established scientific fact (whereas there has always been substantial skepticism about it), and therefore anyone who questions it is a “quack” or “pseudoscientist.” These are not “rational skeptics,” they are cargo cult believers.
Now, Encyclopedia Dramatica. As the Wikipedia article points out, this is a parody site. RationalWiki used to be more like it. Ace McWicked, if he were so inclined, might drop an image of multiple penises on your user Talk page. The site was dominated by adolescents, wanna-be skeptics and anti-conservatives. Anyone could become a sysop, the privileges were given out easily. There was little adult supervision. I had no problem hanging out with adolescents, after all, I had raised five of them and still have two. But it did become too much, when I was cheerfully told to “go fuck my kids,” and the moderators thought that was just fine. I kept the account and was a sysop when the article was created.
As to ED, I created an account there in March of this year. The link is to an archived version of my user page. Nothing there indicates “troll poster.” ED is NSFW, many pages include deliberately offensive images. I created that account because Oliver Smith (probably) was writing about me, as I recall. So I responded. Responding to Oliver Smith is, to him, “trolling.” That user page was vandalized by an account known there to be Smith. The edit is proof of the opposite of what Smith claims. That is the very definition of trolling, attempting to provoke and anger. This was mild, compared to some of what he has done. Books were published on Lulu purporting to be by me (and by others), and Smith created that photoshop. And then calls me a troll! My first edit was this discussion, where Oliver was trolling JuniusThaddeus about me. I lay out the issues (saying much that I have been saying here), and Junius confirms it. He knew about Smith long before I did.
So that was the lead.
- 1 Education (here)
- 2 Religious views (here)
- 3 Pseudoscience (here)
(links above are to sections of the RW article. I have added links to the corresponding sections here, in red.)
Lomax claims to have studied undergraduate physics at the California Institute of Technology; he has no degree. He admits he never “graduated from any college or university.”
Notice: undergraduate physics at Caltech is a “claim.” Never graduating is “admits.” However, I would not write that I “studied” undergraduate physics. I sat with Feynman, that’s what I often state, and I learned to think from him, not just from his lectures (I was there for most or at least many of the “Feynman Lectures) but also from his telling of his famous personal stories, at Page House, my residence dorm.
However, he writes on websites he attended Cal Tech lectures, studying with Richard Feynman (1961-1963), further that he has knowledge of physics.
I do have a basic knowledge of physics. Compared to a professional physicist, generally no, except possibly in narrow areas where I have read and discussed widely and this professional has not. I can carry on conversations with physicists in person, and I am not infrequently called “Dr. Lomax” by some. I correct them when that happens. My knowledge of physics was quite adequate to know and understand why “cold fusion” was considered impossible, and why Richard Garwin — an extremely knowledgeable physicist, though getting very old — would say, to CBS 60 Minutes, about heat measurements at SRI — being done by professionals working where they had expertise — “They must be doing something wrong.”
But Garwin was afflicted by the pseudoscience of premature conclusions. There was nothing wrong with his understanding of physics, but only with his concept of what cold fusion would be if the experimental results were valid. Quite simply, one cannot calculate the reaction rate of an “unknown nuclear reaction,” which is what Pons and Fleischmann claimed in 1989. Whatever cold fusion is, it almost certainly is not the reaction Garwin had in mind.
He also claims to have taken Linus Pauling‘s freshman chemistry class. Despite, or perhaps because of this, Lomax has previously asserted that formal teachings are unnecessary for him, because he is able to “learn by writing”.
I don’t remember a single word from Pauling, but yes, I saw him in front of that class. So did every other CalTech freshman. (And the same for Feynman for two years of physics.) They have linked to the RW article on Linus Pauling, not the Wikipedia article. Their interest in him is this, from their article:
Linus Pauling (1901—1994) was an American chemist famous for his work on quantum chemistry and the structures of biological molecules, before his unfortunate late turn to pseudoscience.
RationalWiki uses “pseudoscience” to refer to “what we think is wrong.” This is the lead for the Wikipedia article:
Linus Carl Pauling (February 28, 1901 – August 19, 1994) was an American chemist, biochemist, peace activist, author, educator, and husband of American human rights activist Ava Helen Pauling. He published more than 1,200 papers and books, of which about 850 dealt with scientific topics. New Scientist called him one of the 20 greatest scientists of all time, and as of 2000, he was rated the 16th most important scientist in history.
Also in the lead:
In his later years he promoted nuclear disarmament, as well as orthomolecular medicine, megavitamin therapy, and dietary supplements. None of the latter have gained much acceptance in the mainstream scientific community.
For his scientific work, Pauling was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954. For his peace activism, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962. He is one of four individuals to have won more than one Nobel Prize (the others being Marie Curie, John Bardeen and Frederick Sanger). Of these, he is the only person to have been awarded two unshared Nobel Prizes, and one of two people to be awarded Nobel Prizes in different fields, the other being Marie Curie.
Perhaps Pauling was wrong about orthomolecular medicine. But he was a scientist, not a pseudoscientist. His ideas were testable. Apparently he had personal experience with vitamin therapy, and that could lead him into certain ideas. To the irrationals at RationalWiki, if it is not accepted by “mainstream science,” it is woo and nonsense and quackery. This is classic pseudoskepticism, not genuine skepticism.
The “boundary question,” between science and non-science, is a difficult issue, which RationalWiki reduces to snark. Not to science and not to the academic study of the sociology of science.
Feynman also experimented with isolation tanks, from his friend John C. Lilly. He had read about out-of-body experiences” reported by some, and he wanted to find out for himself. He was interested in psychedelics, as well, but was concerned that he might damage his mind, a precious instrument for him. Flotation seemed harmless (and it is. I’ve done it, but it scares the hell out of some people. An hour in the dark with nothing but yourself? To some people, a deeper torture cannot be imagined. I was offered music, I declined.). RationalWiki has not yet begun slamming this technology, the article on https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Out-of-body_experience being as far as they have gone, so far. Feynman reported such an experience. He would not be obsessed by trying to figure out if the experience was “real” or not. He was not a pseudoskeptic. To me, reality includes the mind, and what the mind can do is largely unknown and, in fact, might never be knowable, at least not fully. (That speculation is not “pseudoscientific” because it does not claim to be scientific.)
What the hell did I write? Here it is, this was posted on lenr-forum:
Short term, I’m here mostly to learn about what’s going on with the Rossi-IH case, and the flap over it, and I learn by writing.
How do I learn by writing? This is actually classical educational theory. One learns much more by speaking and writing than by listening and reading. It is a form of “learning by doing.” However, it is not just the writing, it is the research involved, and as well, in discussions, when people refer to sources, I read them. I don’t “study” them, except with a meaning for “study” that is too rare, explaining why learning is so difficult for some. “Study” requires effort, and I learned, years ago, that we learn most powerfully by maintaining an unattached presence with material.
Children do not learn languages by studying them. They simply hear the language in context, and learn naturally, even effortlessly. “Study” implies effort. Now, there are things I do that many would consider effort. For example, I have collected nearly all papers published from the International Conference on Cold Fusion, over the years, and from other related scientific conferences. To do that, I had to look at the papers! I certainly read all the abstracts for thousands of papers. That took time. Was this “study.” No, I was editing and compiling, work that many might consider boring.
This, however, creates a familiarity with material. And then I discover, later, that when someone talks about these things, I understand what they are talking about. I learn like a child, which is a faculty that most people have lost by the time they are adults.
As I have mentioned, I learned Arabic by reading the Qur’an in Arabic. How the hell does one do that? If anyone wants to know, ask me! I still can’t read a newspaper in Arabic, it’s very different. And compared to a genuine scholar of Arabic, my knowledge is primitive. But … I also have a fresh perspective, which is appreciated by many Muslims — and hated by fanatics. I let that book speak to me.
In the case of the lawsuit mentioned, Rossi v. Darden, I collected and made available on this blog all the thousand or so case documents, many of which are quite long and involved. As a result, I’m generally considered an expert on that case. I also researched the legal issues, and reading case law is something I have done for years, legal thinking is often precise, some of the best thinking available. And then I actually attended the trial. Ah, what fun! Being asked to leave the room by name, by Andrea Rossi’s attorney, fun! Getting to talk with the CEO of a billion-dollar corporation, fun! And being the first to report to the world that the case had settled, precious!
Lomax converted to Islam in 1970 and claims to have “become a leader of a spiritual community” as a successor to a popular mystic Sufi named Samuel L. Lewis.
The term is “accepted Islam.” Note 13 is a dead link. Unfortunate, it might have been interesting. Note 2 is from my LessWrong profile cited previously, showing my comments in that forum. Smith did not link to the specific comment, there were many.. And none in the screen that pops up mention that 1970 event. With some effort, going down through “more” screens, I came to this comment.
In which I point out that we don’t say “converted.” No date given. There is a lot there. Because nobody on RW has picked up that the LW reference wasn’t usable directly, I’m pretty sure that nobody there has actually read those sources. It is possible that in another comment somewhere I mentioned the year of acceptance. There is really a lot there, I wrote, six years ago. LessWrong was, then, quite an interesting site. No problems there. And I wrote about cold fusion and about RationalWiki as well.
Really, what they read for is dirt or anything that looks like dirt to them. The word “spiritual” is a dog whistle to that community, and it was confused with “spiritualism” at one point (there is almost no connection. I use the word as Alcoholics Anonymous uses it, which includes atheists. “Spirit” there refers to meaning, as in “the meaning of life,” or what people express with “meaningful work.” The spirit of a thing is the essence of it. Does that exist? (Actually, the ontology I use has life be “meaningless,” but that refers to intrinsic meaning, and does not deny what is called “story,” or “interpretation.” Those exist, obviously, as what was called, in my training, “patterns of neurons firing.”
I noticed a quotation on the article with note . It is from a bio I wrote from LessWrong. It was archived apparently, 3 October, 2018, two days before the article appeared. “Marky” (Darryl), stalking me, had neglected to link to the archive copy (which he usually does). I do not know why it has disappeared, I have not been following LessWrong.
During 1978-1979 Lomax associated with Abdalqadir as-Sufi, Islamic founder of the Murabitun World Movement. He was asked to leave the group, later describing it as a “shady cult”.
This, as with some other aspects of the article, was corrected on Talk and ignored. First of all, yes, I travelled with Abd ul-Qadr’s followers for a time, and spent a little time with him personally. He put me in a retreat, an intense practice. I walked out. He said that he had expected this, not to worry. But then there was a conversation, and in that I pointed out that he had said to his followers, “I have been assuming that we have a contract, you must tell me if we do not.” I said that I did not think we had a contract, a contract is a clear agreement. He said, “Do we have a contract or not.” I said, “If it must be stated, no, we do not have a contract.” He then said, “Then you must leave. But then he said, they made a meal for you, go and eat the meal.” There was no anger or upset. And later, he said to one of his followers, “I don’t know what Abd ul-Rahman was talking about. I don’t have a contract with anyone.” Basically, Abd ul-Qadr was (is still, probably) a very interesting person, and he had truly remarkable followers, people who later became famous. But he was also human, and that is part of what I was being shown. I later called him and gave a message for him to the follower who answered the phone. The message was just “Salaam.” I.e., “peace,” the standard Muslim greeting. The follower came back with “Abd ul-Qadr returns your salaams and says that you will find success in everything you do.” I have heard that message from many, including judges in courts. So, that’s the context for what happened with Abd ul-Qadr. It is far from a simple story of rejection and being kicked out.
I was told at the time that I should just stick around, that he had told many to leave and it would just blow over. I was more or less horrified by that suggestion. I respected this man, and he was telling me to leave, why, pray tell, shouldn’t I leave? Why would I imagine that it was better to stick around and drink tea with the hobbits who were his ordinary followers? (And that was his term for them, just before all this happened.) When I left, the world lit up, everything sparkled and shone with light. Many adventures followed, that would not have happened if I had stayed. It was perfect.
 is a comment I wrote on soc.religion.islam, where I was a moderator, about Abd ul-Qadr. It tells the story I tell above in more detail, fresher in my mind, that was written 22 years ago. I was amazed when I saw that Marky had collected all this stuff. was a quotation of , on a page titled “Warning about a Shady Cult: Murabitun and Ian Dallas.” It began with:
Concerning the group Murabitun and their shady leader “Shaykh Abdalqadir al-Murabit” formerly known as Ian Dallas, this is pertinent information and warning from a former member of that cult and respected author AbdurRahman Lomax. This is being reproduced here for the benefit of the Muslim community, particularly new converts who are often preyed on by the members of this group. Brother Lomax writes:
And then he quoted . So “shady cult” was not from me, it was from “Anam,” whoever that is. This was shoddy work, a result of having a very narrow focus: finding whatever he could find that might make me look bad. What this actually shows is that somebody thought I was a “respected author,” and, indeed, I have been. But I was never a “member of a cult.
And there was no membership definition. Some aspects of that community were “cultish,” but that’s very common, and it is especially common with good things! However, people create their own experience, “good” and “bad,” out of how they interact with conditions. The training I later went through (in 2011 and later), that I often refer to — they don’t mention it in the article — is also sometimes called a cult, but, again, that is highly misleading. Experts on cults have reviewed that and rejected it. “Cult” is used, however, by some people, like RationalWikians use “pseudoscience.” If they don’t understand it, and don’t like it or someone associated with it, they label it as “pseudoscience”, a variation on “Bad.”
I liked the LessWrong community because they do generally understand that. Their goal is not to be “right,” but “less wrong.” Yudkowsky is brilliant, generally. Some of his community is, as well. Not all.
Numeric miracles in the Qur’an
Lomax does not deny the possibility of miracles but has disputed the claims of Rashad Khalifa regarding numeric miracles in the Qur’an.
What’s a miracle?
Concerning Khalifa, Lomax has written:
“Dr. Khalifa’s claims, at best, fall into the category of pious fraud. … Had God intended the Qur’an to carry a code verifying its perfect preservation, he could have done it much more effectively and simply than the complex, arbitrary, and inconclusive ‘code’ claimed by Dr. Khalifa.
I should explain here that I knew Khalifa, personally. I knew about his work directly from him, and I also had conversations with him where I concluded that he was, ah, a strong believer in his own ideas, so by “pious fraud” I did not mean that it was willful. He died for those ideas, he was assassinated as a heretic. When I found out about that, and he had always been kind to me, I decided to verify his work. I had assumed it was correct, even though I did not draw the same conclusions from it as he did. When I did the actual study, I found what had happened, he had created the “miracle” by his research method, confirmation bias, not realizing that he was doing this. (The full history, and I had many documents to study, makes this clear.) I did not like that result. But I care far more about reality than about any kind of ideas about reality, and that is precisely what “Islam” means to me. So I published it, and continued to discuss and investigate it, for some years.
He was also involved in a long internet debate with Edip Yuksel on numeric miracles in the Quar’an. The debate was printed in book format in 1995 and republished in 2012. According to critics, Lomax is notorious for ad hominem.
I consider Edip Yuksel a friend, but . . . a fanatic on the ideas of Khalifa. If I were to argue that Yuksel is wrong because he is a fanatic, that would be an ad hominem argument. There is a whole sect based on the work of Khalifa, and some of them would use every argument they could find to attack what I did. So, here, Darryl is quoting “Father Shaheed,” an unknown person, who is criticizing me for calling someone who had written on soc.religion.islam a “Khalifite.” (I was a moderator there.) “Khalifite” meant someone following the work of Rashad Khalifa. It is not an attack, but to some it would be, because many Muslims consider the followers of Khalifa to be heretics (and that’s why he was assassinated.
(I also confronted someone who had pretended to be a follower of Khalifa, exaggerating their ideas and beliefs, in order to defame them. I called the person a “liar,” which is unusual for me. I don’t think that people are lying merely if I think they are wrong.; He was pretending, and I knew because I knew many followers of Khalifa and knew how they think. I considered this very serious, because there are real fanatics out there who will actually kill people for “heresy.” Khalifa was wrong about certain things, but still a Muslim, and it was not religiously permissible to harm him. (The assassin was eventually caught and convicted. It was a general plot to assassinate many prominent Muslims considered heretics, including Warith-din Muhammad, who would have had more protection. Khalifa was not wealthy and had only a small community of followers.
Because there were bomb threats, I started using a post office box at San Quentin, California, because I was a Muslim chaplain there, in the state prison. Another part of my history Darryl doesn’t mention, of course. I spent a good part of every week in that prison, for quite some time, one of the most highly educational experiences of my life, dealing with real people. “Fake” doesn’t come off well with prison populations, it could be very dangerous.
This is what Father Shaheed wrote:
It seems that Daniel Lomax, from what I gather, likes to resort to personal attacks.
So Darryl got his quote. That is then converted to “according to critics.” That’s typical. One person, anonymous, makes a statement, out of thousands of comments that could be found, and that is made into a plural. (By the way, I’m almost never known as “Dennis Lomax,” except in legal documents. Daniel is the name I used for many years, since I was in my early twenties. I completely converted to using Abd ul-Rahman in all contexts except legal documents, in the early 2000s, after 9/11, because I felt it important to make a statement, to show that not all Muslims were fanatic killers. In fact, very few are, the same as fanatics among any group.
If someone reads that link further, there are other comments. There was definitely no agreement with the claim, no support for “notorious.” There was, instead, suspicion about “Father Shaheed,” who acknowledges sharing his email account.
This is common with how Darryl uses sources. If one just looks at the surface, what has been pointed to, the source can seem to support the claim in the text. But looking more deeply, that impression reverses. The actual source, in context, does not support the claim. It is not just Darryl who does this, it is a common practice in certain fanatic communities on Wikipedia. They get away with it when nobody carefully reads the sources. As well, the fanatic faction will resist clarifying what is in sources by a fuller presentation of what is there, that would balance the impression created by what they wrote. It gets reverted as “too much detail.” And if anyone objects, they are threatened with blocks. It is that which I confronted on Wikipedia. An admin I confronted over this predicted I would be banned. He was right, but … he lost his own tools in the process, which is the part that is not mentioned on RationalWiki. I got one administrator (JzG) reprimanded and the another desysopped (the one who predicted the ban). Do that when you are not an administrator, it’s well-known as wiki-suicide.
Lomax’s skepticism about numerical miracles was positively cited in a book by Martin Gardner.
It was not “skepticism.” It was research, study. I actually was motivated to confirm the “miracle” if possible. However, yes, I’m a skeptic. That is, I am not inclined to believe in something just because someone states it, or because I like it, but also I’m careful not to flip to the other extreme. I have mentioned in places that if I were to affiliate with a sect of Islam, it would be the mu’taziliyya, the “postponers,” because they were rationalists and postponed judgment when matters were not clear. And that’s science, or what science should be. It never becomes “belief,” except in a practical sense. It always remains open to new ideas, though there are practical limits. Pseudoskeptics are “pseudo” because they pretend to skepticism when really they are believers in something, generally that others are wrong, they are right, and it is usually the “mainstream” that is right.
In fact, the mainstream is, my routine assumption, usually right. But not always, and when the rightness of the mainstream becomes a belief, the mainstream becomes cargo cult science. Further, there is no “journal of mainstream opinion.” What is called mainstream sometimes isn’t, it is rather popular belief, supported by only some who might be called mainstream, and not all.
In any case, yes, Gardner did cite my research, and, given that I had been reading him since I was a teenager, I was quite happy with this! Watch how Darryl uses this to reverse the sense of it.
Lomax cites Gardner on websites to prevent himself from being labelled as a pseudo-scientist for his unorthodox views about cold fusion. However, what this actually shows is an example of stopped clock.
Having “unorthodox views” on cold fusion would not make me a pseudoscientist, and if it did, citing Gardner would not prevent a labelling, if I were actually making pseudoscientific claims. I noted the Gardner comments on LessWrong, and I was not labelled a pseudoscientist there. Notice, again, the use of the plural with a single example, and, further, of mind-reading, imputing a motive with no evidence at all (such as, for example, a citation of Gardner as if proving an accusation of “pseudoscience” were wrong, which would be another logical error, an appeal to authority. Stopped clock is actually a comment I have often made.
However, what is worse than a stopped clock is a clock that is fast or slow, because it will only show the correct time on relatively rare occasions. A stopped clock can generally be recognized easily, a clock that is fast or slow can only be identified by comparing it with another clock or time standard. Likewise an accurate clock that is set to an incorrect time, will never be correct. In any case, I did not accidentally hit the right time with Rashad Khalifa. It was a lot of work. I’m still doing work like that. I did not pass peer review in Current Science accidentally. (The reviewer hated my paper. Instead of dismissing him as a pseudoskeptic, I took responsibility for failure to communicate effectively to my target audience, and rewrote the paper. He was astonished, and he then made suggestions for the conclusions, which I accepted. And those conclusions will be quoted here as if ridiculous, which shows the stopped clock nature of the pseudoskeptics. In the deletion discussion on Wikiversity, the attackers quoted from the lead as if it was ridiculous. That was taken from the abstract from Storms (2010). These assholes are ignorant and not only that (ignorance is the state of nature), they are vicious, arrogant, and contemptuous, and there are those who will support and enable them, for their own reasons.
Once again, the link to my mention of Gardner doesn’t work. They changed the software on that site so perhaps it is fortunate that Darryl archived the page. (I’m assuming it was Darryl who created that article; it was Darryl who threatened retaliation.) There is a mention of cold fusion in that, but I was establishing a history with rational skepticism, of which Gardner was a fine example, but also Marcello Truzzi, who developed the modern usage of “pseudoskepticism,” and was one of the founders of CSICOP. I was introducing myself to the LessWrong community, and I was generally welcome there.
The skeptical faction on Wikipedia often attempted to call cold fusion “pseudoscience.” They never succeeded. It’s tagged as “pathological science,” which is a term that Bauer skewered as meaningless, in a paper that used to be cited on Wikipedia, being a review in a peer-reviewed journal on “pathological science,” but it’s been removed. Those categories on Wikipedia refer to topics that have been claimed to be such, the categories are not “facts.” There is no doubt that cold fusion has been called” pathological science” by some, and notably. The pseudoskeptics have attempted to extend the meaning of pseudoscience to include many fields that do not meet the original definitions. It’s a political battle. We will get to more of that below.
I would not expect that the Less Wrong community would call cold fusion pseudoscientific (generally, what is called “cold fusion” by those working with it is falsifiable), and Yudowsky was asked by David Gerard of RationalWiki to review the RationalWiki article on cold fusion. He had some strong criticism of their approach. It made little or not difference. Even more to the point, the effects called “cold fusion” have never been shown to be artifact, aside from some artifacts found with some experiments. The core work stands, and, contrary to common opinion, it’s been confirmed, and not just by a few. That the field was worthy of continued investigation was confirmed by both U.S. Department of Energy reviews, which fact has been excluded from the Wikipedia article, very actively, in favor of misleading impressions created by cherry-picking the sources.
A DOE panel would not support continued investigation of a pseudoscience! They did not recommend a major program specially funded, a recommendation that I came to agree with as I researched the field. Rather, what is needed at this point is very basic research, nailing down some of the fundamentals, not a crash, billion-dollar program. At this point, funding for cold fusion research is adequate, my opinion. One step at a time!
See the main article on this topic: Cold fusion
Lomax is the owner of the pseudoscientific “Infusion Institute” which he formed in December, 2013. It is not a recognized scientific institute, he is the only member. In 2015, he wrote a paper arguing for cold fusion that was published in the peer-reviewed journal Current Science.
Infusion Institute is a project to facilitate basic scientific research. Definition of “Institute”: “a society or organization having a particular object or common factor, especially a scientific, educational, or social one.” It is at this point a corporation sole. That is not the ultimate intention, but Infusion Institute, Inc., was formed to fund my work supporting research (as well as journalism on the topic), and was generously funded. Does that count as “recognized”? After the initial grant, continuing activities have been funded through GoFundMe and individual direct donations, which have been substantial. The 2015 paper was published, yes. It did not “argue for cold fusion.” It was a review of the literature and implications. This would be, for Wikipedia purposes, reliable source. Think it will ever be mentioned there? Fat chance! I was just reviewing the deletion discussion on Wikiversity. This discussion shows precisely why the Wikipedia article is seriously obsolete. What a mess! Policy be damned! (A Wikipedia administrator shows up to vote there, one who was reprimanded by the Arbitration Committee for using his privileged tools to dominate that resource. If a non-admin had shown the long-term, serious Point-of-View pushing that he has displayed without shame for many years, he would have been banned from Wikipedia. Instead . . . they shoot the messenger.
According to Lomax:
Cold fusion is real, and it is time that serious work is funded to study the conditions of cold fusion and other correlated effects, gathering the evidence needed to understand it.
That is the conclusion of the paper. There have been no reviews of the field in the last ten years that come to any contrary conclusion. I could look it up, but some of the language of the conclusion was suggested by the anonymous peer reviewer, who appears to have been a physicist. I was invited to write the paper by a professor of physics. The abstract also has similar language:
Cold fusion effects have often been called ‘unreliable’, even by those convinced of their reality. The chaotic nature of material conditions, so far, has made ordinary reliability elusive. However, the Fleischmann–Pons experiment produces more than one effect, and two major ones are heat and helium. Miles, in 1991, measured both, and found that they were correlated, within an order of magnitude of the ratio expected from deuterium fusion. Miles was amply confirmed, and precision has increased. While there are outliers, there is no experimental evidence contradicting the correlation, and only the exact ratio remains in question. In this, we have direct evidence that the effect is real and is nuclear in nature; the mechanism remains a mystery well worth exploration.
This paper distinguished between direct evidence and circumstantial evidence. The heat/helium correlation is direct evidence, and it has been widely confirmed. “Cold fusion” is a summary name, in my work, for the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect, and is not a claim of deuterium fusion, as such, even though the evidence would seem to support that. “D-D fusion” not only is extremely unlikely, for many well-understood theoretical reasons, but has known effects, and while the heat/helium correlation is consistent with d-d fusion, any mechanism which produces helium from deuterium would generate the same ratio, if there are no leakages, unmeasured losses of either helium or energy (as with radiation that is not thermalized). A 24 MeV gamma would be expected, which is not observed, etc. Hence the “Lomax theory” of cold fusion is that it is a mystery. That theory is falsifiable, it is not pseudoscientific, it merely reflects our present state of ignorance. I look forward to becoming wrong.
At this point the cold fusion road is littered with the wrecks from attempts to explain it, some of the best physicists on the planet have made the attempt and failed, in my opinion. There is no satisfactory explanation. Yet the evidence is clear of “something is happening and you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones”? [Bob Dylan]. (I have had the pleasure of shaking Steve Jones hand and congratulating him on being the only one to attempt a critique in a peer-reviewed journal of Miles’ pioneering work on cold fusion.) This is real science, live, an open mystery. I call that Fun! Someone is likely to win a Nobel Prize, but there are miles to go before we sleep.
(One of the pleasures of my work has been extensive communication with a Nobelist. His name will come up below.)
At least one news report has incorrectly described Lomax as a “physicist”. Lomax has made a number of far-fetched claims, for example he has stated that with further development “cold fusion could supply clean power for humanity indefinitely.”
That “physicist” claim was an assumption by a reporter, not based on any claim by me, and the assumption is common that “cold fusion” is a physics topic, so anyone who writes about it must be a physicist, right? Wrong!
It was a discovery in electrochemistry, originally, and the main science involved has become materials science. The topic is multidisciplinary, and, given that the mechanism of cold fusion is a mystery, physicists only would know why it’s unlikely, unless they have truly reviewed the field, and for many years, there was strong pressure to stay away from it.
(The standard impossibility argument was defective from the beginning, low-energy nuclear reactions are possible and known, and there were plenty of physicists that recognized that, at the time. Until there is what is called, in the field, a “lab rat,” a reliable and affordable experiment that shows the effect, much attention from physicists is unlikely. “Heat/helium” is a lab rat, but a very expensive one that bypasses the ordinary reliability requirement. The actual “reactor” can be made for as little as $100 — that is what I sold a kit for at one point, at a 50% profit — but measuring heat accurately, maybe $10,000 can do it, and measuring helium can take equipment costing a good chunk of a million dollars. The kit was designed to detect neutrons, and included detector material, everything but power supply and etchant (sodium hydroxide). That was an attempted replication of work by SPAWAR, published under peer review. I gave up on that project because neutrons are not generally produced by the effect, they are a rare side-effect, and they have never been correlated with heat, nor, in fact, with tritium, which is also widely reported.)
There is no satisfactory theory of mechanism, but the mechanism presumably will involve quantum field theory or quantum electrodynamics. There is one attempt to approach a theory, by Takahashi, a Japanese hot fusion physicist. It’s incomplete, but there is a major effort, apparently adequately funded, in Japan, to develop gas-loaded experiments with consistent heat. There were some interesting reports at ICCF-21 in Fort Collins, Colorado, this last year. The Conference papers are still in press, but I have videos of the presentations.
Now, the author obviously believes that the statement there is preposterous, “far-fetched.” It’s a conditional statement, and has been presented out of context, to make it seem more extreme. The original (from my GoFundMe page), emphasis added:
No practical applications have been confirmed, but it appears possible that, with appropriate development, cold fusion could supply clean power for humanity indefinitely. Supporting the necessary basic research, as recommended by both U.S. Department of Energy reviews of cold fusion (or LENR, Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions), has been a major focus of mine for many years.
(Far-fetched? This author is a believer in the unreality of cold fusion, based on no evidence whatsoever. Many reviews of the field, particularly some by the U.S. military, have writtten comments like this. It’s routine, actually. The statement was hedged. I am not calling for “belief in cold fusion.” I am calling for further research, because until it is known how to reliably create the effect, it will remain a laboratory curiosity. At this point, something like a billion dollars per year is being spent on hot fusion research, with practical reactors still being many years into the future. Cold fusion presents a possible alternative, if the reliability problem can be solved. Already some experiments have shown more energy out than in, by a substantial margin, but these experiments tend to stop working after a time, and repeating them, results very.
We have many clues as to what is going on, that remain to be researched. The current hot topic is what is called “Super Abundant Vacancy” phases of palladium hydride, that may have been formed “adventitiously” by the experimental processes. Those phases can be made reliably using a diamond anvil press, 5 GPa, at a temperature of about 800 C for a few hours. They are stable when cooled and depressurized. It is still unknown what will happen if this material is used, as pure SAV material, and loading with deuterium. Caution has been advised, because the existing effects could represent only a very small amount the material.
(SAV phases of metal hydrides were discovered in the 1990s and appear to be accepted science.)
Once again, a source has been quoted out of context to create a desired impression.
Lomax is the owner of Lomax Design Associates, now based in Northampton, Massachusetts. In 2011 he gave a presentation at the pseudoscientific Cold Fusion/Lattice-Assisted Nuclear Reactions Colloquium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Yes, Lomax Design still operates with an electronics designer in Brazil.
I did give a presentation at that Colloquium, though it was written at the last minute and very brief, showing a well-known experiment — SRI P13/P14 — that demonstrated the famous “unreliability.” Same experiment, same materials, same conditions, using deuterium with a hydrogen control (often demanded in the early days, and this was an early experiment). There is a famous chart showing the “excess heat” (which is a calculated value, it cannot be measured directly, ordinarily). There is a current excursion that shows no effect on the hydrogen control, which simply becomes a little noisier (bubble noise may affect that, a topic that was studied in that Wikiversity resource). The deuterium cell, same current, everything the same except deuterium vs hydrogen, shows excess heat that increases with current. What that as-published chart (this was part of the material submitted to the U.S. DoE in 2004) did not show was that this was the third time the exact same conditions were created, and the effect only showed up the third time. This is all now reasonably well understood. The repeated loading and deloading from electrolysis causes changes in the material. It expands and it cracks and — we now think — a little superabundant phase material may form at the surface. Once formed, that material is reasonably stable, but electrolytic cells are, to use the technical term, messy as hell. The surface gets gunked up with every cation found in the experimental materials, if it’s a glass cell, silicon deposits on the surface. The whole thing is pretty unstable, and the effects don’t show, using that approach, until after maybe forty days of electrolysis. If then.
Now, what is the basis for calling the Colloquium “pseudscientific”? I see only one: it was about cold fusion, which these activist fanatics firmly believe is a pseudoscience. The Colloquium is sponsored at MIT by Peter L. Hagelstein, who also was lead author for the paper presented to the U.S. DoE in 2004.
As the Wikipedia article shows, Hagelstein has suffered consequences for daring to study cold fusion. He is a very careful thinker, creating what I have called the “theory du jour,” trying many different approaches. Lately he has been settling on some ideas and seems to have some new experimental confirmation of certain possibilities. Cold fusion theory is extraordinarily difficult, but he has taken it on, since the beginning. When sociologists of science write about cold fusion, they write about how the “rejection cascade” damaged the field; when I write about the history, it is called a “conspiracy theory.” However, there was little “conspiracy” involved. Just ordinary — and very non-scientific — social process. There are a few exceptions, not difficult to document. But there is no conspiracy from oil companies, for example, to suppress cold fusion research. Just a large body of people who believe that what was arguably reasonable (though in many ways an appeal to emotion) in 1989 still remains reasonable, people who stopped looking years ago. Those who somehow are led to actually look at the work, even if originally skeptical, have changed their minds, again and again. Great example is Robert Duncan, who is leading the Anomalous Heat Effect work at Texas Tech.
Lomax is an advocate of the Atkins Diet, a low-carb fad diet that most of the medical community have rejected as quackery.
He scoured my writing for maybe a month, looking for anything he could claim was evidence of being a crank who advocates or believes in anything allegedly non-mainstream. That link is to one of my earliest edits on Wikipedia. I had not yet learned how to sign posts. This was an edit to Talk:Atkins diet. It refers to the article as it then stood. I recounted my experience, explaining why I was interested in the article, but what I advocated was not the “Atkins diet,” it was finding editorial consensus on it. I was very new to the Atkins diet, reporting my experience with it, and some of the results of my reading in the field. To these fanatics, anyone who bothers to work on an article must be a believer in it or a skeptic. The concept of seeking neutral information and presentation is beyond them.
I since learned a lot about the issue, and some of what I wrote I would not now write. For example, my explanation of why “a calorie is a calorie” was misleading, because food calories are not thermodynamic calories, and food calories supposedly take into account what part of the food substance is metabolically effective. However, the measurements, the standard values, on which the adjustment from thermodynamic calories to food calories is made, were very old. See the Wikipedia article on Food energy (current version). There is a great deal of nonsense out there on this issue, that does not realize that the conversion ratios may depend on dietary context (there are different metabolic cycles that the body utilizes, and it takes time to shift them).
The was before Taubes’ monumental work, Good calories, Bad calories was published. Taubes was well-known to me, because one of the first books I purchased on cold fusion was his Bad Science. He continued working on the issue of bad science, particularly information cascades that were not rooted in sound science, and after cold fusion, where he was extremely skeptical, he moved on to salt and fat in the diet.
Taubes is like me in certain ways. I found Bad Science, as he did, and our response is not as simple as complaining about it, rather, he documents what he finds and then has worked to facilitate dietary research. It may be years before this generates much result. I have communicated privately with Taubes, about cold fusion, and he has not changed his opinion (to my knowledge) but . . . he fully supported my approach, and when there are clear and unmistakable results on fundamental issues (new results, more than my own paper), I plan to rattle his cage again. His work with nutrition is very important and I’m not about to distract him from it. His book on the early history of Cold fusion is invaluable.
Once gain, a misleading statement not supported by the source. The opinion of “most of the scientific community” is irrelevant when that opinion is knee-jerk,. little more than popular opinion, and not based on scientific review. The issue would be, in science, expert opinion, generally as shown by the peer-reviewed publishing process, or expert panels. That can break down where there is political influence, which Taubes documents very well in the case of fat in the diet and heart disease. Keys was very effective in packing expert panels, but the Atkins diet was actually not new. I tell the story of my doctor’s recommendation in that Talk page comment. When I switched to Atkins from South Beach, my doctor made no objection. When I mentioned to his nurse that I was following Atkins’ approach, she said, “Oh, that works!” That, in fact, was a common opinion in the medical profession at the time, and it still is. Gradually, what is being said, rather than “quackery” is more like, “It works, but it has not been proven safe!” As if the standard dietary recommendations developed in the 1970s had been proven safe.
RationalWiki and people like Tim Farley believe they are promoting “critical thinking,” but actual examples promoted appear to condemn critical thinking that questions alleged scientific consensus, or mainstream thinking, or standard of practice, or whatever the hell one’s doctor says, as being “denialism” or following “quackery” or “conspiracy theories.” One life is anecdotal, by definition, but had I followed “standard of practice,” or initial medical recommendations, I would be missing parts of my body and I might easily have died. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer about ten years ago (after that Wikipedia editing, and there is a plausible case that this was the result of low-fat diet recommendations from my doctor in the late 1980s. (low fat high-carb diets do not, in themselves, cause cancer, but may facilitate the rapid growth that allows cancer cells to mutate to escape biological restriction mechanisms).
Surgery and radiation or chemotherapy were recommended. All very normal, too normal. I did the research. (My doctors love that I do that! They do not want to be treated like gods.) I found that watchful waiting was — latest medical journal article at the time — considered just as safe as intervention. And a lot less expensive and with vastly lower complication rates! At one point, I had a second biopsy and the cancer was not found. Whew! Dodged that bullet! But …. I knew that the probable reason was simply that the cancer was not growing rapidly. Eventually I was able to get an MRI, and certain abnormal areas in my prostate were identified. We are watching this, but the probability has become very high: I will not die from prostate cancer.
One of the things my urologist told me was, whatever I was doing, keep it up! My response to the cancer diagnosis had been to become far more strict with a low-carb diet.
Now, I have another medical condition. I have a heart blockage, diagnosed because I had a nuclear stress test. That was fun! Radioactive pee! Yay! In any case, a blockage that only shows up under stress. I have never had a heart attack, but cardiac rehab was prescribed. There is a great deal of disagreement over the etiology of coronary artery disease, and the treatment of it, but there is one recommendation that everyone agrees on: exercise! What exercise does (if it doesn’t kill you from overdoing it) is to build collateral circulation. So I have a regular exercise program. I do take a beta blocker, I usually say “to keep my cardiologist happy.” He is a bit of a worry-wart. Again, he loves that I don’t just follow his recommendations because he says so (but I’m still in some doubt about taking the beta blocker. There really is very little research on what would be the crucial issue for me, here: does the beta blocker, by preventing elevated heart rate, tend to suppress the growth of collateral circulation? I don’t know. I’m not sure that anyone does know. Maybe I’ll ask Dr. Kendrick about this. Kendrick and low-carb diets and “cholesterol skepticism” are the latest targets of the troll who wrote my article, see Skeptic from Britain.
I will be advocating for having another nuclear stress test, or another cardiac CAT scan (I had one in 2005). Both would show how conditions are developing. I will have another prostate MRI at some point.
Science is fantastic, if one actually understands it and verifies claims. There is a lot of garbage that masquerades as science.
See the main article on this topic: Parapsychology
Lomax is supportive of research in parapsychology but claims he is not a “believer” in the subject.
What does “supportive of research” mean, here? It means only that I support academic freedom. As is typical with pseudoskeptics, a scientific field of investigation is confused with theories or ideas or what is investigated.
CSICOP, which became CSI and which is the favorite organization of the debunkers, was the “Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.” That is, CSICOP was formed for parapsychology, which is currently defined by Wikipedia this way:
Parapsychology is the study of paranormal and psychic phenomena, including [list of examples].
In other words, the field of parapsychology and of CSICOP were the same. Where did this become “pseudoscience”? The pseudoskeptics mess with definitions, especially in the lead. In the article,
The term parapsychology was coined in 1889 by philosopher Max Dessoir as the German “parapsychologie.” It was adopted by J. B. Rhine in the 1930s as a replacement for the term psychical research in order to indicate a significant shift toward experimental methodology and academic discipline. The term originates from the Greek: παρά para meaning “alongside”, and psychology.
“Research” here must be understood as “scientific research,” as parapsychology is a branch of psychology. “experimental methodology” and “academic discipline” support this.
The Encyclopedia Brittanica has (my insertions and bold italics)
Parapsychology, Discipline concerned with investigating events that cannot be accounted for [or are not yet accounted for] by natural law and knowledge that [allegedly] cannot have been obtained through the usual sensory abilities. Parapsychology studies the cognitive phenomena often called extrasensory perception, in which a person [appearently] acquires knowledge of other people’s thoughts or of future events through channels apparently beyond the five senses. It also examines [alleged] physical phenomena such as the levitation of objects and the bending of metal through psychokinesis. Though belief in such phenomena may be traced to earliest times, parapsychology as a subject of serious research originated in the late 19th century, partly in reaction to the growth of the spiritualist movement. The Society of Psychical Research was established in London in 1882, and similar societies were later founded in the U.S. and in many European countries. In the 20th century research into parapsychology was also conducted at some universities, notably at Duke University under J. B. Rhine.
He has argued against skeptics who dismiss parapsychology as pseudoscientific and refers to skeptics of parapsychology as “pseudoskeptics”. Lomax argues that:
Parapsychology is, by definition, a science.
Well, is it? Parapsychology was created and named as a branch of psychology. From dictionary.com:
Parapsychology, the branch of psychology that deals with the investigation of purportedly psychic phenomena, as clairvoyance, extrasensory perception, telepathy, and the like.
Psychology, the science of the mind or of mental states and processes.
This thing called “mind”? Does it exist? Prove it! I claim that there is just a pile of neurons firing. It looks like something to us, but it does not actually exist, any more than there is a woman in that painting called the Mona Lisa.
In any case, parapsychology is properly defined by those who study it, not by random trolls. From Wikipedia: (my emphasis):
The Parapsychological Association (PA) was formed in 1957 as a professional society for parapsychologists following an initiative by Joseph B. Rhine. Its purpose has been “to advance parapsychology as a science, to disseminate knowledge of the field, and to integrate the findings with those of other branches of science.” The work of the association is reported in the Journal of Parapsychology and the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research.
In 1969, the Parapsychological Association became affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The vast majority of scientists, however, consider it a pseudoscience.
Is this true, and if it is, does this bear on the reality? His sources:
 Friedlander, Michael W. (1998). At the Fringes of Science. Westview Press. p. 119. ISBN 0-8133-2200-6“Parapsychology has failed to gain general scientific acceptance even for its improved methods and claimed successes, and it is still treated with a lopsided ambivalence among the scientific community. Most scientists write it off as pseudoscience unworthy of their time.”
At one point earlier in this year, I was looking at the pseudoskeptical claims and I was interested in what Friedlander actually had to say. So I bought the book. Friedlander is far friendlier to parapsychology than this comment might seem. “It” here probably was not meant to refer to parapsychology itself, but to paranormal phenomena.
That is also my opinion about the paranormal, in general, but I do recognize (as have the referees of scientific journals, as Friedlander points out) that there remain unexplained phenomena, of possible interest. That decision, whether to devote on’e own time to a subject, is a personal one. That is, the “claim of the paranormal” might be pseudoscientific, but the investigation of the claim, is that pseudoscientific or scientific? If scientists have adopted a belief (rather than simply applying a heuristic), then they are opining outside of science. I found one paper that used Bayesian statistics to write off some very remarkable parapsychological findings. To reject the findings, he defined a Bayesian prior against them of 10^20. That is, one chance in 10^20 of this being real. Therefore statistics with less strength than that were to be disregarded. I do not have that level of certainty that I exist. Where did this guy get that number from?
From where he sits, that’s where. Does that mean that I believe in ESP or precognition? (I forget the specific topic at this point)? No. Not at all. In any case, Friedlander did not write, and clearly did not believe, “the vast majority of scientists.” Once gain, a source used in a way that exaggerates for polemic effect. And what most scientists do, what they disregard, has no relevance to the status of a field, unless they are experts in the field or a field that includes the field. For example, what about most psychologists? I don’t know. From Wikipedia:
The association has its critics, including physicist John Archibald Wheeler, who tried but failed to convince the AAAS to expel the organization in 1979. During his presentation Wheeler incorrectly stated that J. B. Rhine had committed fraud as a student and retracted that statement in a letter to the Science journal.
What would a physicist know about parapsychology? In order to define parapsychology as a pseudoscience, the skeptics invent new definitions. If a field, for example, does not, in spite of more than a century of research, produce clear and unmistakably convincing evidence of . . . of what? . . . the reality of “psychic phenomena”? In fact, there are many results from parapsychological investigations that produced evidence of mechanism. In some cases, results disappear when the study is double-blinded, which then creates a reasonable possibility that the researcher’s knowledge influenced the study subjects’ results. Those are scientific findings that, by the way, do not prove that there is no phenomenon, because in some cases, the “intuition” by the subjects was every much not expected. Apparently some people are better at reading minds than we expect. Is this “extrasensory”? How would we know. There are definitely more than five senses, that’s elementary.
The real issue for a physicist would be a claim that the mechanism is “non-physical.” But, gain, how would we know? “Non-physical” starts to take us clearly into pseudoscience, if it is advanced as an explanation, it would be an explanation without an explanation, not testable, hence pseudoscientific.
The paranormal is not, by definition, intrinsically non-physical. It is defined, rather, by “unexplained.” And to reject the paranormal, per se, is to claim that we have complete knowledge. Which is pseudoscientifc or pseudoskeptical or both.
This whole topic is a dog whistle for pseudoskeptics. Say anything that can be understood as supporting “parapsychology,” they come running with tar and feathers.
He has worked with psychic Craig Weiler and his friend [redacted] in promoting paranormal studies on Wikiversity. These studies were deleted in January, 2018.
The resource was rescued (with administrative cooperation there) and is currently hosted on the CFC wiki, temporarily and for historical purposes. The history of everything was preserved, except that the [redacted] study (a small part of the resource, but a huge page, broke exports. That user’s name has been redacted because he has expressed a wish for privacy, and he did nothing wrong, worthy of the level of exposure he has suffered.) I covered what had happened in the deletion request, which should be read to understand this. I listed all the contributors.
The parapsychology resource top-level page was rigorously neutral, even though it had been attacked by the same people who later attacked [redacted], using impersonation socks on Wikipedia, and then me and others on Wikipedia, and Wikiversity itself, including proposing the deletion of the cold fusion and parapsychology resources, which had been non-disruptive for years. Wikipedia has had constant disruption and arbitration cases, blocks and bans, for years. That resource was a demonstration of how to have full consensus (of any other than trolls) in an academic context, as distinct from an encyclopedic context, with one article per topic. On Wikiversity, if there were varying points of view that could not be reconciled in a single page, forking to subpages was possible, and it had been done in a few places. By me, by the way, and there were Wikiversitans quite fond of the idea.
The claim above was made as part of the request, that the resource was curated by “pseudoscience POV-pushers” was, quite simply, a lie. Wikiversity is a wiki and the community collectively responsible for content. Exceptions on Wikiversity were sometimes made for attributed subpages. I.e., as part of an educational resource, an author might write an essay, explicity his or her creation. Pages like that could be protected by administrators from unwarranted changes. In the cold fusion deletion discussion it was claimed that the resources were too complicated to be fixed, but the actual method of resolving conflicts was to fork the pages, which took a few minutes. Nobody proposed that for either resource, much less tried to do it. Basically, the nominator lied. And that was the person I supposedly was harassing. Who was harassing whom?
So, then, what happened from these lies? A bureaucrat who had been mostly inactive made a decision without consensus, and another bureaucrat appears to have agreed with it because of a goal of “reducing disruption.” These were radically in contradiction to long-standing Wikiversity traditions and policies, and protest from Wikiversitans, including administrators and a curator, were ignored.
Ironically, I created the resource not because I “believed in parapsychology,” far from it, but partly because I saw that it could reduce disruption on Wikipedia, by giving someone who did, indeed, “believe in the paranormal” useful work to do. It worked. He learned much. As well, it attracted notable scientists to Wikiversity, not at all normal. Brian Josephson showed up. (How many other Nobel Prize winners have written something on Wikiversity?) So did Dean Radin, a notable parapsychologist.
Why doesn’t this troll mention them? Because I wouldn’t look quite so bad, that’s why. He had written an article on RationalWiki on Craig Weiler, who had done little with the resource, and [redacted] did little but compile a list of sources. I organized the resource and acted to maintain neutrality, when necessary, but this had been supported by a Wikiversity administrator/bureaucrat, Dave Braunschweig.
Contrary to the claims in the deletion discussions, there had been very little disruption on Wikiversity. What disruption there was came from outside. This would be like a university blaming professors and students for attracting disruption coming from outside fanatics. Normally, universities will defend academic freedom. It used to be that way on Wikiversity, and this changed radically when the pseudoskeptics attacked and were enabled. And then, of course, in those discussions you can see who was complaining to the Wikimedia Foundation. Did the Foundation defend its own project? Guess!
Defence of Emil Kirkegaard and racialism
“”…were I an attorney, and a pedophile were charged with a crime (pedophilia is not a crime!), I might defend one.
—Abd Lomax in his defence of child-rape apologist Emil Kirkegaard
That is a simple statement of an ordinary obligation for an attorney. The statement about pedophilia not being a crime is literal and simple and factual.
It is not a crime to be a pedophile, which is a psychological condition that might dispose someone to commit certain crimes. The crimes themselves do not have “being a pedophile” as a condition, though sometimes circumstantial evidence can be introduced, i.e., in proving that a crime took place. This is especially the case, perhaps, with offenses involving child porn, but I’m not sure. Emil Kirkegaard was attacked by Oliver Smith as, variously, a “child rape apologist,” for which there is only an out-of-context quotation from him, in which he did not defend child rape but simply attempted to understand the thinking of a pedophile, and he never approved of sexual molestation of children (much less rape, but with the underage, rape takes on a special meaning, it does not require there be any force, the child is considered incapable of giving consent. Kirkegaard knew nothing about pedophilia and was assuming it was a genetic condition, an assumption that his hereditarian views might dispose him to make. What Kirkegaard was actually discussing was what is called “simulated child porn,” which is not illegal in the U.S. if no actual children are involved, at least that was the law at one point. He was taking a rather common libertarian position.
Now, if I correct what Oliver claims, is this “defending a child-rape apologist”? This would depend on the reality of the very claim I’ve been providing evidence against. This is all circular. The evidence is my copy of emails from Oliver to me and my responses. In those emails, Oliver called Kirkegaard a “pedophile,” as he has elsewhere. There is zero evidence I have seen of that. There is evidence, albeit highly misleading, about “child rape apologist,” but in these private emails, Oliver displays no reserve or caution. As well, by the way, he makes it quite clear who he is, and writes about his brother, which confirmed what had been expected, and the mails show that he was not harassed by email (as was later claimed).
The link he provides is to an early copy of that page. It was expanded, because there were many more emails. My responses were moved to another page, Commentary. There was also extended analysis of the emails. These emails became major evidence in the Anglo Pyramidologist study, because they were known and verified to be coming from Oliver D. Smith (who was the original AP,) and they contain information about his twin brother Darryl, the original author of the article on me.
Oliver and Darryl either do not understand that context matters when quoting people, or they deliberately mislead. I vote for the latter.
This is the original discussion from which the quotation was extracted. He had written:
My advice at the moment to you – is its not a good idea for you to side with neo-Nazi paedophiles like Kirkegaard.
I’ve had a look at your blog, and you’re disturbingly defending neo-Nazis and paedophiles.
So the context was a claim of pedophilia, not of being an “apologist.” And so I made a normal comment, simply factual. My general topic was not Emil Kirkegaard, nor pedophilia, nor racism,but the activity of a two vicious trolls who attack anyone who gets in their way or whom they find useful as targets for their bile, and who had directly caused major damage to a WMF wiki project, as well as contributing, long-term, to Wikipedia disruption — which still continues.
I have been quite explicit that if I expose the deceptions and defamation of the Smith brothers I am not “defending” the targets, about whom I may know little. The stopped clock image could apply. They might be attacking someone who richly deserves it, but my goal and purpose has been to clarify and expose reality. Consider this:
Lomax’s exact views on race are hard to pin down,
No, they are not. I have written a great deal on the subject. Race is a social construct, not a biological reality. Biologically, there is only population genetics, and my understanding is that variation within so-called “races” is greater than variation between these constructs. Race, then, is an illusion, though an understandable one, probably rooted in instinctive tribal xenophobia. I have an African daughter and a Chinese daughter, and I have seen racism up close, being personally affected.
Racism is very common, including among people who believe they are “against racism.” My response to racism is not to hate racists, but to support educating them and to help them move beyond the very limited thinking that racism generates. Unfortunately, an all-too-common response to racism is to hate racists. I like the slogan of an anti-racist group, “Hope not Hate.” However, some who claim affiliation with that group clearly hate. I’m not sure that the Smiths actually hate racism, because they use whatever topics they can to attack others, for their own purposes.
but he has defended individuals from the “race realist” community, which Lomax believes is a respectable position.
The Smiths have no idea what I “believe.” I do not respect “race realism,” except in a narrow way (in which in respect, to a degree, most common beliefs. That is, I understand why people might think race is real. When I would write about racism, more than a decade ago (writing about Rudolf Steiner, because I had a child going to a Waldorf School, who was Asian, and there were “issues,” let’s say), and I would write that race was not a reality (defining “racist” as a belief in race as reality), and some would answer, “What, are you blind?” I sympathize with the position, but also know and understand that it is not defensible. That position has become less common, except in some contexts. I don’t hate anyone for thinking race is real, any more than I hate people for holding on to many ideas from the past (including, say, the extreme rejection of cold fusion). Or the belief that the U.S. is a paradigm of democracy. Wrong, but not entirely wrong, and understandable, and possibly educable.
In February 2018, he wrote an extremely bizarre article defending Emil O. W. Kirkegaard and the controversial London Conference on Intelligence.
The reference is to an archived page covering Oliver Smith’s attack blog. That shows typical Oliver Smith behavior. When he has a target, he doesn’t just create an article on the target on RationalWiki, he smears the target all over the internet. Creating a blog with the target’s name, SOP. Sole purpose: attack and Google ranking (what they claims about me).
From the blog, the introduction:
[Note: I cover in this long blog post my encounter and dispute with two weird neo-Nazis,
Emil O. W. Kirkegaard and John Fuerst from June 2015 to January 2018. Nothing I post is defamatory, but the truth, and is well-sourced by mainstream newspapers, for example The Guardian describes Emil Kirkegaard as a “a weird far-right paedophilia apologist”, see here.]
Notice: he is writing about his “dispute,” ongoing since 2015. (Under what names?) He has admitted that he wrote the RW articles on Kirkegaard and Fuerst. The first, created 12 February, 2016, used a sock name implying his identity with [redacted], who was the person his brother later attacked on Wikiversity. The second was created the day before using the same name. The obvious conclusion: he had a personal dispute, perhaps trolling these people — I don’t know the specifics –, and when he was blocked (as I think he was), he then wrote retaliatory articles on them on RationalWiki. Both brothers have done this. My comments were on a page titled “Well-sourced” that looked at this claim of his. (That page is currently here.)
His sources had more or less quoted the articles he wrote on RationalWiki. Yes, he sucked some mainstream newspapers into reporting without careful checking. It happens. In any case, I looked. That page needs some formatting work. . . .
Lomax says he has not seen any evidence that offensive or racist material was presented at the UCL conferences.Do You Believe That?
- That Lomax said that? Citation?
- That he has not seen evidence? He is the authority on what he has seen.
- That there was or was not offensive or racist material presented? How would he know? He wasn’t there.
These guys are far, far from “critical thinkers.”
What did I actually say? I don’t know. I could not find it. However, I might have said something like that, somewhere. I did look at all the sources given by Smith on that blog. I looked at some of the presenters.
This is despite the fact that over 80% of the speakers have published papers in the Mankind Quarterly, a pseudo-scholarly racist journal.
That is not evidence about what was presented. Once again, “pseudo-scholarly.” Mankind Quarterly is controversial. The journal has certainly been criticized, but it is also an academic, peer-reviewed journal, at least Wikipedia thinks so. It’s almost sixty years old. Looking at a recent issue, I see that race is a topic for some papers. A belief in the reality of race, I call “racist,” but that is not how the term is most commonly used. The more objective usage has “race” be a synonym for populations that evolved together, that share certain traits. “Population genetics,” I call it. One of my daughters has very dark skin. So you can guess where she was born. That, obviously, could be incorrect, but would happen to be correct. She is from Ethiopia, which few could tell by looking at her. In Ethiopia, there are a large number of distinct ethnic groups and languages, and what we think of as “race” would, there, be tribal identity.
I see a paper by Richard Lynn in the current issue.
Race Differences in Depression and Mania
The thesis of this paper is that there are race differences in depression and mania such that there is a lower prevalence of depression and a higher prevalence of mania in Blacks and this ratio declines progressively in South Asians, Europeans, Native Americans and North East Asians. It is proposed that race differences in testosterone are a major determinant of these differences and that they have arisen as adaptations to the climatic environments in which the races evolved.
Sounds racist to me, but by my definition. It is not necessarily “offensive.” I’d have to read the paper itself to have a better idea. Richard Lynn was a speaker at that Conference, as I recall. Does his having published a paper in Mankind Quarterly prove that “offensive and racist” material was presented at the Conference?
Richard Lynn is very old, and is not about to change the language he uses. From what I’ve read about him, I would probably find frank remarks from him to be racist, even offensively so. But that is not evidence that such was presented at the Conference.
I would rather his errors, if they be errors, be confronted scientifically, not with political polemic. I have written about race and IQ on Quora. It was removed, simply because the topic was considered too hot. That is unfortunate, the politics prevent rational consideration and education. (I was responding to a question about the Bell Curve, intelligence and race. I pointed to information that definitively dismantled certain racist claims.)
Then, partly because of this, there is a backlash, as ordinary people find what they believe to be labelled racist. Hence . . . Donald Trump. (Whether Trump is racist or not is beside the point, here, but some of his core support is.)
Lomax has defended the journal and criticized the Wikipedia article on it as biased, describing it as “clearly a scientific journal”. Mainstream academics have described the Mankind Quarterly as a “white supremacist journal”.
This is typical for the Smiths and pseudoskeptics in general. If someone is allegedly “mainstream” and says something, it becomes a fact. The Wikipedia article clearly describes Mankind Quarterly as a “peer-reviewed academic journal dedicated to physical and cultural anthropology”. Those are sciences.
Looking at the journal itself, I don’t see it as “white supremacist.” That’s a very strong political category, and would normally be political polemic. “Political” does not mean “wrong,” but it indicates a strong point of view that is not necessarily objective. I can easily believe that some white supremacists would like some of what has been published in that journal, but that, again, does not make the journal into a factional journal, worthy of being characterized by that name. What I saw in the Wikipedia article is what I have seen in many Wikipedia article, a political bias. Again, that does not mean “wrong,” but it does indicate that caution is in order. Sources may have been cherry-picked, overall balance may be missing, etc.
This is not a defense of Mankind Quarterly! It’s just pointing out what I have seen — and don’t see. If it is correct that MQ is biased toward hereditarianism (over environmentalism), I would probably disagree strongly with such as an editorial policy. But the issue of the relative roles of genetics (and thus population genetics) and environment is a scientific one, where both extremes probably miss the mark.
Lomax takes issue with the Southern Poverty Law Center which he claims is “highly political”.
Actually, I support the SPLC. However, that is precisely because it is highly p0litical. Their report on Richard Lynn is as I described it.
He criticizes their report on Richard Lynn, claiming “this hit piece is simply hitting on stereotypes about racism and sexism, knee-jerk expectations”.
I looked at that again. This is the SPLC article on Lynn which was cited in the Wikipedia article. Reading the article, Lynn is quoted as saying some very questionable things. But what I notice is that what Lynn says was very common thinking when I was growing up, and still is in many circles. The SPLC article summarizes what he says in highly offensive ways, but the quotes given to do not justify their extreme interpretations. I will stand with what I wrote: that article is political polemic, designed to appeal to emotional responses, to fire up activists, etc.
This is the lead:
Richard Lynn is one of the most unapologetic and raw “scientific” racists operating today, arguing, among other things, that nations with high average IQs must subjugate or eliminate lower-IQ groups, which he associates with particular racial groups, in order to preserve their dominance.
First of all, a judgment, “one of the most,” If it were so, it should be easy to identify what is then claimed as what he is “arguing.” Yet I have yet to see that argument in what they quote. It’s been synthesized with hostility, and the purpose of his research is imputed, certainly not on direct evidence. If it has been, however, I’d like to know, and then I could say that Oliver was a stopped clock that just happened to be right on this.
Again, my purpose was not to defend “racists” or anyone other than from unsupported allegations. The particular topic was the reports in the news media, which Oliver had essentially created. Feed people the meaning of some evidence first, before they have seen it, and then show them the evidence, they will often misread it according to the biased presentation. Journalists must take special care to avoid this effect. The Smiths are not journalists, they are trolls and attack dogs.
On his blog, Lomax links to the neo-Nazi encyclopedia Rightpedia as a “valid” source of information.
Where? I have never considered Rightpedia as trustworthy. There was certain information that was there, which also existed elsewhere, and which I independently verified. Basically, one of Oliver Smiths’ long-term enemies has been Michael Coombs, whom Smith has blamed for much that was actually done by him or his brother, and he documented Oliver (with far less restraint than I showed). Indeed, one of the red flags for “Smith sock” has been mention of Michael Coombs or mikemikev, and Rightpedia.
For all I know, Mr. Coombs may be a thorough racist, fangs dripping blood. But he has always been polite with me (though we have had little communication. In private mail, he did not seem obsessed or fanatic, more matter-of-fact. Darryl Smith has never emailed me, though he claimed on RationalWiki to be in contact with me (around what had been his brother, and it was all misleading). Oliver has, and is clearly deranged. I do assume that the activity on Encyclopedia Dramatica recently has been him (which is what the sysops there think). There are some claims that the whole brother story is a smokescreen, and a little evidence for that. I’m still reviewing a mountain of evidence.
One can speculate that his defence of alt-right speakers such as Kirkegaard and Lynn stems from his interest in protecting civil liberties:
Not exactly, but not entirely wrong, either. He quotes what I had written:
I was also an officer in the Cal Tech chapter of the ACLU, probably as a sophomore there. (I picketed the House Unamerican Activities Committee meeting in Los Angeles then). The ACLU has defended Nazis and other groups widely considered reprehensible, as action protecting civil liberties. Civil liberties are not just for those with politically correct or popular views, but for everyone, and if it becomes an offense to defend the unpopular, democracy is in double trouble.
Yes, I am Abd ul-Rahman Lomax and I approve this message.
At one point, Smith had filled that article with mention of me, but that’s gone. It was actually removed by Oliver, using his only real-name account (i.e, real-initials) on RationalWiki, ODS. He explained.
(The article was created by EvilGremlin, an obvious Oliver sock, then later maintained by ODS, M87, Octo, Golden, and Spaces, also apparent socks. Other accounts editing that page do not appear to be Smith, but ordinary RationalWiki users.)
The references below have not been formatted for use here, that is planned for later.
- Biography: Abd ul-Rahman Lomax. Cold Fusion Community.
- Abd Profile “Born in 1944, Abd ul-Rahman is not my birth name, I accepted Islam in 1970. Not being willing to accept pale substitutes, I learned to read the Qur’an in Arabic by reading the Qur’an in Arabic.”
- Abd Blocked. (Archived). “Wikiversity is not your personal podium: persistent long term disruption.”
- User:Abd “Abd has been banned by the Wikimedia Foundation from editing Wikimedia sites”.
- Well-sourced. Cold Fusion Community.
- User:Abd. Encyclopedia Dramatica.
- Cold fusion/Experts/Abd ul-Rahman Lomax
- Abd Ul-Rahman Lomax, Sat with Richard P. Feynman, 1961-63. I know a *little* about Physics..
- sat with Richard P. Feynman at Cal Tech 1961-63, in the “Feynman Lectures
- As an undergraduate student at the California Institute of Technology, I studied physics with Richard P. Feynman.
- [http://lesswrong.com/user/Abd/ I was at Cal Tech for a couple of years, being in Richard P. Feynman’s two years of undergraduate physics classes.
- I learn by writing. (Archived).
- Christian-Muslim Exchange: Islamic Encounters — Part 3
- I became a leader of a “spiritual community,” and a successor to a well-known teacher, Samuel L. Lewis
- Who are the Murabitun?
- Warning about a Shady Cult: Murabitun and Ian Dallas.
- The Number 19 in the Qur’an. Bahá’í Library Online.
- bismillAhi r-raHmAni r-raHiym.
- Gardner, Martin. (2000). Did Adam and Eve Have Navels. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 260-261. Online.
- Yuksel, Edip. (2012). Running Like Zebras. Braionbow Press. ISBN 978-0982586730.
- Personal Attacks from Daniel Lomax.
- Abd Profile at LessWrong. (http://archive.is/DQiBq Archived). “As to rational skepticism, I was known to Martin Gardner, who quoted a study of mine on the so-called Miracle of the Nineteen in the Qur’an, the work of Rashad Khalifa, whom I knew personally.”
- What is Infusion Institute?
- Lomax, Abd ul-Rahman. (2015). Replicable cold fusion experiment: heat/helium ratio. Current Science 108 (4): 574-577. (Also check Archive if link is offline).
- Articles written by Lomax, Abd Ul-Rahman. Current Science.
- Replicable cold fusion experiment: heat/helium ratio. Archive.
- Cold fusion is real, claim scientists. “We have direct evidence that the effect is real and is nuclear in nature,” US physicist Abdul-Rahman Lomax of the Infusion Institute in Massachusetts says in his report.”
- Cold fusion journalism.
- 2011 Cold Fusion/Lattice-Assisted Nuclear Reactions Colloquium
- Talk:Atkins diet. Wikipedia.
- Parapsychology/Dispute over Scientific Status/Abd. Wikiversity. (Archive).
- Update May 16, 2016. Also check the Archive.
- Friedlander, Michael W. (1998). At the Fringes of Science. Westview Press. p. 119. ISBN 0-8133-2200-6“Parapsychology has failed to gain general scientific acceptance even for its improved methods and claimed successes, and it is still treated with a lopsided ambivalence among the scientific community. Most scientists write it off as pseudoscience unworthy of their time.”
- Pigliucci, Massimo; Boudry, Maarten. (2013). Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem. University Of Chicago Press p. 158. ISBN 978-0-226-05196-3 “Many observers refer to the field as a “pseudoscience”. When mainstream scientists say that the field of parapsychology is not scientific, they mean that no satisfying naturalistic cause-and-effect explanation for these supposed effects has yet been proposed and that the field’s experiments cannot be consistently replicated.”
- The Parapsychology articles on Wikiversity were written by Dean Radin, Abd ul-Rahman Lomax, Ben Steigmann and Craig Weiler but were later deleted. Also see the archived Parapsychology talk page. Wikiversity.
- Emails. Cold Fusion Community.
- Exposed: London’s eugenics conference and its neo-Nazi links. London Student. 10 Jan 2018.
- Joe L. Kincheloe, et. al, Measured Lies: The Bell Curve Examined, Palgrave Macmillan, 1997, pg. 39