Wikiversity/Cold fusion/Skeptical arguments/Wikipedia talk
The following arguments, questions, and comments are taken from Wikipedia, Talk:Cold fusion permanent link. Most of the argument on that page is not about cold fusion itself, is is over how "mainstream science" views cold fusion, which, in a field in transition, could be argued long after it doesn't matter any more. (Either way!) There is no "Journal of Mainstream Science" that defines what is mainstream and what is not. Rarely are surveys taken and a problem with surveys is that science is vast, while fields can be narrow. Normally, the opinion of those outside a field doesn't matter. It's the opinion of the knowledgeable that matters. So, then, who knows about cold fusion, to be eligible to have an opinion about it?
It is claimed that recognition must come from nuclear physicists, by publication in physics journals. However, cold fusion papers *are* published in physics journals, just not the most prominent. What is likely true is that most nuclear physicists think cold fusion was rejected and found to be not reproducible twenty years ago, but they are also mostly not aware of the continued research in the field, if they only read their own journals.
Bottom line, there is no way to resolve the argument, and this writer's opinion is that Wikipedia should follow its own policies and report whatever can be reliably sourced, balancing it all through a prior identification of sources through consistent standards applied equally to all "sides" of a controversy. That is, prominence in the article will reflect prominence in reliable source, not editorial opinion about whether the field is widely rejected or not.
But this page won't be about that, it will be about the arguments over the reality and possibly the nuclear nature of the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect. So let's get started:
- 1 There is no evidence of a nuclear process at all
- 2 True believers
- 3 It has to be consistently reproducible
- 4 if cells were different, they would be producing different products
- 5 I have a friend who ... and so I am well-informed
- 6 electrochemical potential difference between H and D
- 7 There are no reproducible results
- 8 If cold fusion occurs under near-normal conditions in the lab, why not in nature?
- 9 Hot fusion accepted but hard, cold fusion is therefore an extraordinary claim
- 10 Pseudoscience
- 11 Next section
There is no evidence of a nuclear process at all
That's covered in commentaries, but you can't say there would be little or no nuclear waste because it's pure conjecture, there's no actual evidence of a nuclear process at all so conjecture about the level of waste is not going to fly. --Wikipedia user
- This is simply an uninformed comment. There are two types of evidence that the FPHE is a nuclear process, direct and circumstantial. The first evidence found was circumstantial.
- Long-term production of anomalous heat well beyond the level possible from chemistry for the involved materials.
- A reaction rate with deuterium far higher than with hydrogen, if there is any effect with hydrogen at all. While deuterium and hydrogen are not chemically identical, the slight differences in chemistry are unlikely to be responsible for the huge difference in anomalous heat results. Anomalous heat has been reported by hundreds of researchers.
- X-rays and tritium are found, many, many reports, indicating some nuclear process is happening. Because these levels are very low, these products cannot be the normal products of the main reaction, but they are at significant levels, especially tritium, which has been carefully studied by experts.
- Other transmutations are also seen. While it is arguable that these are contamination, it cannot be said that this is not evidence. It's evidence.
- And then there is direct evidence, and it's confirmed, and it is reproducible and the measurement has been repeated by many.
- In the FPHE, helium is produced commensurate with heat, at a ratio commensurate with the heat expected if deuterium is converted to helium. That is a nuclear reaction. The user here is simply denying what has been published in reliable sources many times. His evidence is?
Once the finding can be replicated independently without the need for True Believers taking part, I am sure it will be published in the peer reviewed journals. Until then.. --Wikipedia user
- This is a denial of the history of cold fusion. If someone confirms the FPHE and reports it, they are, according to some skeptics, ipso facto, "true believers." The direct evidence described above could be confirmed (or disconfirmed) by anyone, and "belief" doesn't help. What it takes could be about $50,000 to $500,000 plus access to a mass spectrometer designed to discriminate helium from D2. It's been done. Somebody had to "believe" enough to fund it, but the best work on this was from w:Micheal McKubre at w:SRI International, which was retained by the w:Electric Power Research Institute to replicate and confirm and explore the FPHE. SRI's work on cold fusion was not published in scientific journals, it was, rather provided as reports to clients, standard for that kind of consulting. EPRI later released the reports. If we care about Wikipedia policies, we might get into a snit over whether or not that is reliable source, but our concern on Wikiversity is closer to "truth," or at least to the usage of the scientific method. The heat/helium work was also reported in Storms (2010), which meets all Wikipedia standards for reliable source, easily.
- The circumstantial evidence, of course, has also been widely published in peer reviewed journals. But the myth stated here is still repeated over and over. --Abd (discuss • contribs) 01:16, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
It has to be consistently reproducible
It has to be consistently reproducible, or a compelling argument has to be made as to why it usually fails. --Wikipedia user (the same as for the above two arguments)
- Heat/helium is consistently reproducible. The heat produced varies, but the helium is always proportional to the heat.
- Even if we did not have this direct evidence, the argument that because an effect is not fully controlled, it isn't real, is utterly bogus. If a medicine only cures half the patients, but a placebo cures none, we will call this an efficacious medicine, even if we don't know why it cures one and not another.
- The user here assumes that "it usually fails." No, as an example, Michael McKubre of SRI, replicating a design from Energetic Technologies, and as reporteded in the the Low Energy Nuclear Reactions Sourcebook, published by the American Chemical Society and Oxford University Press in 2008, showed 23 runs. Of these, 14 showed excess power greater than 5% of input power (which is well above noise). One showed 300% excess, and one showed 200%.
- However, even if it usually fails, and even without understanding why, it is still quite possible to demonstrate reality, by comparison with controls. If there is no heat with control cells, and there is heat with a significant number of experimental cells, then we can know that the difference between the control cells and the experimental cells is producing heat.
- Further, we do have an understanding of what is different between cells that make heat and cells that don't. And, of course, reliable source on that was just rejected on Talk:Cold fusion. A palladium cathode in a cold fusion experiment like this is subject to weeks and sometimes months of electrolysis. As it loads and deloads with deuterium, the material expands and contracts, and it cracks, and, as well, an electrolytic cathode attracts every cationic element in the electrolyte, it will plate with materials dissolved from the glass or any other available material, and oxygen is involved, too. The chemistry at the surface, as shown by EDX spectrography, becomes a mess, and the surface, even if initially smooth, becomes extraordinarily complex. Essentially, no two cathodes are the the same, even if they start out apparently the same. It's a horrible mess, and this is one reason why most in the field don't think that the Pons and Fleischmann approach will ever have commercial potential. It's extremely difficult to control. However, the differences between cathodes is noise, of a kind, and correlations and comparison with controls cuts through noise.
if cells were different, they would be producing different products
... Each cell is an independent reactor. If your theory was correct then each cell would be giving different products. We wouldn't have each group reporting that all their active cells give the same products.
- This argument did not understand what had been said. However, taking this as relevant, it is entirely possible that there is more than one possible reaction under CF conditions. There is some sign of this in the low levels of tritium and other transmutations reported, and even, in SPAWAR work, a few neutrons. However, only one major reaction product, at a level high enough to produce measurable heat, and in the palladium-deuterium system, is known, that is helium. Most workers don't measure helium, because it is expensive to do it, and the measures needed to exclude ambient helium create an onerous burden, as explained to me by KcKubre. It's not easy, it makes everything more tedious and difficult. So most cold fusion work just reports heat. Instead, workers look for correlations between heat and other experimental conditions.
I have a friend who ... and so I am well-informed
Nobody needs to do anything to maintain the impression that CF is fringe: it is fringe. A very good friend of mine worked in Fleischmann's lab back in the day, I am quite well informed on this. You are advocating pathological science....
- This is practically unbelievable, but, indeed, this is behind much of the history of the cold fusion article. It is unclear how many times and how deeply he discussed this with his friend. He reported, years ago, that he had shown his friend the Wikipedia cold fusion article, I think when it was a Featured Article then, and his friend said something like, "not bad." I've seen this editor's work for years -- I wouldn't mention this here except that he has claimed authority -- and he has no clue about science, how science works, or cold fusion, and what is in and is not in the literature. He is routinely arguing with a Nobel Prize Winner in Physics, over cold fusion. I had a background in science and physics, and it took me over a year of extensive reading in the field to even start to have a clue. The literature is huge, and confusing, because all kinds of effects and systems and procedures have been claimed. The review by Storms (2010) is correct, but also confusing, because, for example, a great deal of what must be seen as minor effects are reported, not just the central effect. I have now specialized in this field for about five years, and consider myself a beginner, I write with caution, and my position is that we still don't know what is actually happening in the FPHE. But it's real, and it is likely some kind of fusion, that much can be said. Based on very solid evidence, not belief or wishful thinking. I do not know if cold fusion will ever be a practical energy source, that is entirely another issue.
- Remarkably, in further comment, he mentioned the name of his friend. I wrote the above before reading his full comment. My memory was good. At my age, that's always remarkable. --Abd (discuss • contribs) 01:16, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
Professor Séamus Higson. ... I also showed him our FA version of this article; he said it was a fair and accurate. A lot of special pleading has been added since. I haven't asked him recently, but he shakes his head ruefully when the topic is mentioned: he liked Martin Fleischmann and largely blamed Pons for the science-by-press-release fiasco and the race with Jones, which trashed a formerly very sound career.
- There is nothing in what this editor has reported which would confirm the views being pushed. It is simply not surprising that the professor would say this.
- So what was in the FA version? Here it is: . There was a great deal in that version that has been removed, some of it by this particular editor. There are certainly things to criticize in the FA version, but it was, given what existed in reliable source at the time, better than the current article.
- As to the views expressed on Pons, this was irrelevant gossip, we don't know what Higson said exactly, this is a second-hand report years later. The history is complicated, and it's possible to blame this person or that person for what, in the end, was unfortunate all around. As they say, "mistakes were made." Jones, himself, is starting to turn around. It's going to get very interesting. If Pons shows up at ICCF-19, he will get an ovation. These were scientists, all of them, and they laid their careers on the line to report what they knew would be very controversial. We have not focused on the history much, here on Wikiversity.
This is what w:John R. Huizenga called the Scientific Fiasco of the Century, and the Wikipedia coverage is impoverished. Looking at the his article, I see that he just died, may he rest in peace.
- By the way, if the Wikipedia editors look here, I have Huizenga and Taubes. When I saw what was happening with the cold fusion article, an abusive blacklisting -- a whole other can of worms, but it removed the library that was mentioned in the FA, and linked from it, and that has also been linked from many peer-reviewed publications as the place to read most of the source papers in the field -- and realized that maybe something was happening with cold fusion after all, I bought all the major books, starting with Huizenga and Taubes. Allegedly skeptical sources. Taubes is invaluable for the history, and Huizenga in other ways. I was a Wikipedia editor first, and interested in cold fusion second. When I was banned, the balance shifted! So, in the end, I'm grateful I was banned. Wikipedia editors, skeptics, believers, neutral, or just people who want to learn, all are welcome here. And yes, we discuss matters in depth. This is not Wikipedia. --Abd (discuss • contribs) 01:16, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
electrochemical potential difference between H and D
Kirk Shanahan, a published critic of cold fusion, responded in more than one thread on the subject page, and discussion of this is moved to a subpage --Abd (discuss • contribs) 19:54, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
There are no reproducible results
Another issue is that an article at Wikipedia is not the place to debate why some experiments may have failed to reproduce results. The take-home message in an encyclopedic article like this is that there are no reproducible results, and there is no mainstream support for the reported phenomenon. --Wikipedia editor
- The editor is correct that Wikipedia is not the place to debate. However, he proceeds to debate, and is rejecting what is in a peer-reviewed reliable source on the topic, i.e., why some experiments may have failed to reproduce results. The claim that "there are no reproducible results" may have been stated somewhere at some time, and might even have been accurate as of that time, but later work could make this no longer true. So we would look at the entire body of literature, and later reviews would trump earlier ones. At least with later reviews claiming reproducible results, one can no longer baldly state that they do not exist.
- Again, that there is "no mainstream support" for "the reported phenomenon" is blatantly incorrect. There are something on the order of a thousand peer-reviewed papers on cold fusion in *mainstream publications*. This editor, as is common, is confusing a broad general opinion, from those who do *not* study cold fusion, who don't read the literature, and who long ago abandoned any interest in it, with "no mainstream support," as if the mainstream were monolithic.
- I could also argue truth on this. It's not stated explicitly in Storms (2010), but there is an experiment which is readily reproducible, it's been reproduced, with consistent results, and Storms does describe that work, in detail. That is the measurement of the correlation of heat and helium in cold fusion experiments. In this work, are anomalous heat and measured helium correlated? They are, in every study. This is now heavily confirmed, though there is plenty of room for more work; for example, the ratio is of high interest, and the data isn't good enough to come up with anything closer than Storms' estimate of 25 +/- 5 MeV/He-4. SRI's single result from M4 came closer to the theoretical value of 23.8 MeV/He-4 for deuterium fusion, but that is just one experiment. However, Huizenga looked at the early Miles work, and considered it amazing, from the raw fact or a reported correlation and that the correlation was within an order of magnitude of the fusion value. Huizenga merely expected that "like much cold fusion work, this will not be replicated." But it was, confirmed, and with higher accuracy.
- No, folks, this is not pseudoscience, untestable. This is real science, and at this point, the beliefs that are being stated as if they were fact, on that talk page, are pseudoscience. (Technically, they are pseudoskepticism.)
- Nobody has successfully proposed an artifact that would explain those results. It is easy to imagine error in heat measurement, that happens. It is easy to imagine leakage of helium, that also happens, though, in fact, Miles' controls were quite clean, so the "leakage" only happened when heat was being produced. Why? And if this is leakage, isn't it astonishing that he helium produced is sitting on the dueterium fusion ratio. Why would this ratio be found using quite different protocols, and, as well, in some experiments where they did not exclude atmospheric helium, but measured elevation above ambient? No, at this point, Occam's Razor suggests something else: there is an unknown nuclear process that converts deuterium, under rare and so far difficult-to-control conditions, to helium. --Abd (discuss • contribs) 02:01, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
... an article at Wikipedia is not available for the promotion of fringe ideas by diluting the fact that results have not been reproduced with suggestions for why such failures occur
- The editors have been warned that the article is under discretionary sanctions, but editors who take this side, in the debate there, have no fear that they will be seen as POV-pushing. But this editor, without reliable source backing him as to the status of cold fusion research, explicitly states, as fact, what is radically contrary to reliable source, and, at the same time, wants to exclude what is in reliable source, based on it being "promotion of fringe ideas." What "fringe ideas"? It seems that "cold fusion is a fringe idea, but what is cold fusion?
- What was actually claimed by Pons and Fleischmann was not fusion, but an "unknown nuclear reaction." Rejecting that is tantamount to an assertion that there is no possibility of any unknown nuclear reaction. Huizenga was fond of stating, about once on every page -- okay, an exaggeration, but not by far! -- that cold fusion was impossible because deterium-deuterium fusion had too low a reaction rate at that temperature. This was actually not a claim of impossibility, rather it was that the rate would be too low to show the heat involved, and if somehow, the reaction occurred anyway, the neutron levels would be fatal, and if somehow the reaction went entirely to the very rare helium branch, conservation of momentum would have again required the emission of fatal levels of gamma rays, so, no dice, folks, end of question. A "triple miracle." But Huizenga, never, as far as I saw, made his assumption explicit, that if this effect were real, it must be deuterium-deuterium fusion, the known reaction. But Pons and Fleischmann claimed an unknown reaction. Again complicating it all, what was the ash? Tritium was being reported, all right, but at levels far too low to explain the heat. Helium was reported, but leakage was an ever-present possibility, and the first reports were weak. For those who don't know the physics, here, it only takes a tiny bit of helium production to produce a lot of heat. And helium wasn't expected by most of the physicists.
- Preparata, the Italian physicist, though, predicted that helium would be the product, and Miles followed up on that, and found that heat and helium were correlated. Huizenga noticed! He realized how important this result was, but the Wikipedia article still does not. Miles was covered in Huizenga (1993), in peer-reviewed publications and reviews, was critiqued in peer-reviewed publications, has been covered in Storms (2007) the major academic work on cold fusion, in Storms (2010), and still is not covered in the Wikipedia article. Essentially, it seems, some believe their own article as if their agreement -- or ability to control the article -- makes it reliable source. This is completely blatant, this is not marginal. That information has been systematically excluded, by arguments that can be seen on the cold fusion Talk page or the Archive. And the editors who knew the most about cold fusion were banned. And it was known that the two major ones were civil and did not revert war. Both were banned for reasons that had nothing to do with Wikipedia article content. Just sayin!
- I have no idea why this view is so strong there. It may be the result of some kind of natural alliance, between those who debunk, say, homeopathy, parapsychology, psychics, etc. and those who have some strong opinions on cold fusion, formed, not from study of the field or from what is reliable source, but somewhere else. I have heard conspiracy theories, i.e, those who might be threatened by cold fusion, and there are two major suspects for these, are paying for this. I don't believe it, at all. There is a known phenomenon where a broad pseudo-consensus arises, which is just people believing things because others believe them. There is some brilliant work on this by none other than w:Gary Taubes, the author of w:Bad Science: The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion but on a different topic, see  --Abd (discuss • contribs) 03:38, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
If cold fusion occurs under near-normal conditions in the lab, why not in nature?
If [cold fusion]] does happen under nearly normal conditions, why hasn't it been observed in non-laboratory conditions? What is the theoretical explanation of when it does and does not happen? --Wikipedia editor
- This was repeated by the same editor.
If cold fusion under nearly normal laboratory conditions exists, why has it not been observed outside of laboratories? --Wikipedia editor
- The editor has incorporated some incorrect assumptions. The temperature is near room temperature, and with some approaches, it is higher, but still it is condensed matter, and long before ordinary fusion temperatures have been reached, condensed matter is not possible, nor is even ordinary gas, it's dissociated and ionized plasma.
- However, the conditions of cold fusion, as known, are far from "normal." First of all, palladium metal has an extremely high affinity for hydrogen or deuterium. It soaks it up to amazing levels of concentration, so that at the levels of loading where the FPHE shows up, the deuterium is somewhat like w:metallic hydrogen, not found anywhere on earth, if anywhere. Now, we don't know the mechanism of cold fusion, and we aren't sure about the exact nature of the reaction site, but there is no reason to think that this condition exists anywhere in nature, more than something on a very small scale, and transiently. If there are rare fusions from natural LENR, we would never observe them.
- There is some evidence that some bacteria may be able to transmute elements, I won't go into details. Again, unless one was specifically looking for this, at the rates observed in the experiments that have been done (but not confirmed!), it would not be seen. Nobody was looking for what Pons and Fleischmann decided to look for. They knew that the reaction rate was predicted to be far too low to observe. However, they also knew something else: the predicted reaction rate was as if the conditions were such that the condensed matter environment was irrelevant, and I could explain both why that assumption was reasonable and why it was, from what we now know, probably wrong. Pons and Fleischmann knew that the reaction rate was based on an approximation, as I just described. They thought that the condensed matter environment would have an effect, that predicted fusion rates would likely be too low, but that they they would be very lucky to see anything barely measurable. In other words, they didn't think the approximaion was far off. They were not looking for an energy source, the idea that they were blinded by greed was made up, a scurrilous accusation. They were doing basic science, checking a prediction that nobody had bothered to check, under these conditions. They created deuterium loading of palladium than was easily 50% higher than had been thought possible by others (and this is confirmed by many others, who learned to do the same thing.)
- And then their experimental cell melted down, burning a hole through the lab bench and into the concrete floor some inches. There wasn't any chemistry there that could get that hot. They had used 1 cubic centimeter of palladium, and much of it vaporized.
- I'm quite sure that scared the hell out of them. If this was nuclear fusion, how? What were the limits? There is enough energy in that experiment, if the nuclear energy could be released, to more than take out the entire city, not just a little experiment. So they scaled down, greatly, they started working with much smaller pieces of palladium. Nobody, to my knowledge, has tried to reproduce that original experiment. One person has died in cold fusion research, but from a chemical explosion (these cells can be quite dangerous, if they are not very small). Remember the idea that this is not "reproducible"? The truth behind that is that it is reproducible, but not yet controllable. One doesn't know how much energy will be released with a particular sample. There are plenty of approaches where over half of the cells show significant heat, and occasionally it is a lot of heat, as much as three orders of magnitude above ordinary results. But that is rare, quite rare.
- When they published, they warned IGNITION! We don't think, today, this was true ignition, but something can tip the reaction rate, apparently, suddenly, and fairly drastically. The reaction, Storms believes, and I think he is totally correct on this -- and so do most in the field -- that there is some special and unusual environment, some configuration of the palladium and whatever else is there, that catalyzes fusion. There are theories working on what this might look like, but nobody knows. It is totally difficult to study, it's painstaking work, at this point trial and error. Storms' theory is that the reaction takes place in cracks, very small, in the naoometer region, that form as the palladium is excercised by long electrolyis and loading and deloading of deuterium. These cracks must have an adjacent deuterium supply at high rate, hence the requirement for high loading, but they are not in the bulk but on the surface, and evidence for that is strong. What this means is that the energy density calculations of Pons and Fleischmann, which led them to conclude "nuclear," were very low, the actual energy density is much higher, because the reaction only takes place at or near the surface.
- Manipulating the surface conditions to create the apparently precise and fragile conditions that produce the reaction is beyond present technology, but this is approachable with nanotechnological techniques, and that's happening at SKINR at the University of Missouri. We have seen no results from that lab yet, but they are really just getting going with the nanotech fabrication approaches.
- So, simple answer: it's not seen in nature for three reasons. The major one is that the conditions are far, far from "normal," as to a highly loaded metal deuteride, and the second is that if some low reaction rate did occur, it easily might not be seen. The third reason is that the FPHE is spoiled by the presence of 1% light water, and natural water is has something like 0.1% heavy water, and heavy water is not naturally separated from light. There are other more complex aspects to this that I'm not mentioning. --Abd (discuss • contribs) 04:19, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
Hot fusion accepted but hard, cold fusion is therefore an extraordinary claim
Fusion is difficult to achieve even under extreme laboratory conditions, and there is no good theoretical explanation of why cold fusion should be achievable under "relatively normal" laboratory conditions. The difficulty of achieving practical hot fusion under extreme conditions is another reason why cold fusion is an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary proof. --Wikipedia editor
- There are quite a number of problems with this statement.
- Hot fusion is easy to obtain, teenagers do it not uncommonly at home, using a w:Farnsworth fusor or the like. The editor has confused reality with practicality. "Practical hot fusion" is very difficult, a billion dollars a year for fifty years has managed to hit "breakeven" once for a fraction of a second, roughly stated. The problem is actually unique to hot fusion. Basiclly, hot means "really, really, really hot" and confining something that hot for long enough to get decent fusion yield is extraordinary difficult. So the difficulty of hot fusion has no bearing on the difficulty of cold fusion.
- Again, the editor is assuming that cold fusion is hot fusion taking place at low temperatures. That was actually a common error, in the early days. What we learned and now know is that whater the FPHE reaction is, it is not the reaction that takes place in hot fusion. It can't be. Something is very, very different.
- There is no doubt that the claim of nuclear reactions at room temperature with those ingredients was extraordinary. However, that is only because no reactions were known to be possible under the conditions of the FP experiment. None had been seen, and it's not like nobody had ever loaded palladium with deuterium. In hindsight, there were anomalies that had been dismissed by observers as just one of those things that one can't explain. Mizuno has written about this. He saw substantial anomalous heat from some long-running electrolysis device, with palladium in heavy water, this was commonly done to create high deuterium-content targets to study hot fusion, before the report from Pons and Fleischmann. He had no idea that it was nuclear, it simply did not occur to him as a possibility, but it was more heat than he could explain by chemistry. What that shows was how strong the idea was that this region had no nuclear activity in it.
- However, more objectively, there is no reason to think that all possible nuclear reactions could be ruled out. In particular, now, there is work being done with the study of multibody nuclear reactions. Those are very rare under plasma conditions, though they are known, and the w:triple alpha process is a possible example. Those are, however, under plasma conditions at very high temperature. What has been shown by Takahashi is that multibody reaction rates in a palladium-deuterium target, under deuteron bombardment, are much higher (10^23 higher) than expected from assuming that the interactions are effectively in a plasma. That is an approximation coming from the idea that the nucleus is so much smaller than the interatomic distances that nuclei interact only two at a time. That is a naive assumption, and there is now quite a bit of work being done done to study the quantum field theory of complex structures. Again, not easy.
- But critical to the question of the editor is the idea that some theoretical understanding is necessary. That is totally backwards. The primary question for anyone who knows the scientific method and approach is not what has "explanatory theory," but the test of theory, including existing theory. Existing theory, as it was -- based on approximations -- predicted no reaction, so no anomalous heat, no helium, and certainly no correlation between the two, if either measurement should happen to be mistaken. What we now have as experimental evidence, as covered in Storms (2010) -- fully RS by Wikipedia guidelines -- is adequate to know that existing theory fails, that is, the theory of no reaction. It is contrary to the experimental evidence. Something nuclear is happening. Now what? Should Pons and Fleischmann have waited until they understood the reaction before reporting the significant anomaly they had found?
- I'm sure not. They saw an anomaly with enough consistency to report. That anomaly, unexpected and unexplained heat sometimes found in highly loaded palladium deuteride, has been confirmed, there are 153 peer-reviewed reports of this in mainstream journals, as of a few years ago. That's extraordinary evidence, and this was compounded when the ash was identified, and when that was confirmed, as it has been by a dozen research groups around the world.
- So the question I'd have for the Wikipedia editor is why he doesn't know that? At least that this is what is in the scientific journals. The reason he doesn't know it has been studied by sociologists of science, such as Bart Simon, in Undead Science (Rutgers University Press). And that reason is reflected in the Wikipedia article. Not covered in the article, rather the article and the Wikipedia community demonstrate the phenomenon. If the editors actually followed Wikipedia policies, they would have an article that would be far, far more informative and neutral. But they don't. Instead they imagine themselves qualified to have an opinion on a topic that engaged and baffled Nobel Prize winners, that is still a mystery in spite of some serious effort for 25 years by people who don't just sit around and yak. And then these edit the article and judge other editors by their own opinions. --Abd (discuss • contribs) 04:47, 28 June 2014 (UTC)
There was much discussion of "pathological science" and "pseudoscience" on the page, with an RfC on both. This is mostly not covered here, because what was in question was how cold fusion is viewed, and by whom, and the relative prominence of the view, with there being plenty of reliable source showing that cold fusion has been regarded by some or many as pathological science or pseudoscience. There are other sources denying that cold fusion actually is one of these (by the way, it can't be both. Pathological science is testable. Pseudoscience is not.)
The topic of interest here is not how cold fusion is seen, but what is known about it, and what are the arguments of substance (and not of substance). In some cases, we are concerned about what is in reliable source, but we are not Wikipedia, which requires reliable source, in theory. Much of the discussion on the Wikipedia article results from relying on original research and controversial conclusions in order to make article judgments, instead of reporting what is in reliable source, with balance arising from applying uniform sourcing standards and thus causing due weight based on the balance in sources of comparable quality.
Instead, editors have opinions about cold fusion, including about whether cold fusion is science or pathological science or pseudoscience, which should be irrelevant to what is in reliable source. They then work for an article that reflects the balance they imagine is correct. It's a complete setup for unresolvable conflict. --Abd (discuss • contribs) 20:16, 28 June 2014 (UTC)