Believers have their heads wedged

By definition, in fact. Pseudoskeptics have their heads wedged in the opposite end, a dark place. Now, if we unwedge our heads, from whatever end, what can we see? That is what I find interesting.

irk shanahan wrote:

So perhaps we have the final chapter now.

Kirk has an inflated sense of his own importance, as if his personal story is our story, is the whole damn book. Nothing new about this. Kirk is, in fact, the last published skeptic in a mainstream journal. In fact, he is a believer in his own anomalous effect, that is obvious, and he has failed to engage experimental resources, it’s all armchair.

Dr. Miles and I continued our email exchange. (Krivit opted out once he had enough info to adequately misrepresent on his Web page.)

He is correct about Krivit, I covered this  on If I’m stupid, it’s your fault. Miles is game and will discuss, generally, and he has a slow fuse.

(I was going to say communications, but he doesn’t actually seem to have read anything I wrote.)

… according to Shanahan, who is not a reliable judge. But maybe.

Kirk is up against years of assumptions he created by how he wrote; he was originally an internet critic, not a peer-reviewed author. I have identified examples where Shanahan’s claims have been misunderstood and misrepresented, but Shanahan himself set this up by how he has presented his work.

To move beyond that would take skilled facilitation, and the putative skilled facilitator around here, who long took Shanahan’s critiques seriously and who attempted to explore them in detail, found him caustic, sarcastic, and uncooperative. Over and over, Shanahan was invited to participate on Wikiversity, where it is possible to negotiate genuine consensus (which can be very, very difficult on Wikipedia). Shanahan never took this offer up. In fact, had he wished to do that, I could not have stopped him.

Shanahan is quite welcome to participate here, and, given his status, I’d give him author privileges — subject to some restraints, which I would work out with him. My goal would be that he would be free to fully express his ideas and to present evidence. I might ask him to refrain from the routine ad-hominem arguments and personal attacks disguised as complaints about personal attacks. But he’d be able to fully express what is relevant to the science of LENR — or whatever it is. And he’d even be able to express his opinion about the head-wedged believers. Within limits. (Right now, as the chief cook and bottle washer here, that’s my decision; ultimately these things will be community decisions, as informed and according to clear and transparent procedures.)

He has resorted to accusing me of distorting his work. I have noted in many settings and many places that people who accuse others of doing something nefarious are usually the actual ones doing such.

So, is Kirk accusing Miles of doing something nefarious? At this point, Kirk’s claims are evidence free, such that we, as an interested community, cannot assess them. He is dumping, spouting off, expressing his own resentments, probably unaware of how this will be read by an interested community — or he doesn’t care. That’s classic Kirk.

What I find amusing here is that that observation applies.

Sure. It is merely more amusing than Kirk realizes.

Dr. Miles has written several times and places that my ATER explanation of F&P excess heats can’t be real because Fritz Will showed that electrochemical recombination rarely exceeds 2% of the input power.

Here is a general objection to the conclusion reported as that of Miles. “Can’t be real,” of course, is an argument that was commonly applied to cold fusion, with an argument that PdD only “rarely” showed an excess heat effect. Kirk’s claim is that there is an AHE, unexpected recombination. Then Kirk goes to great lengths to establish that this may be possible, and generally rejects what might be contrary experimental evidence. ATER is not “random CCS.” It’s an actual chemical anomaly, but experimentally unverified and I have seen some contrary evidence, and have pointed to it in prior discussions. But ATER could never be disproven, this is generally true of anomalies, or at least it can remain possible that some anomaly exists under rare and perhaps unspecified conditions.

There is experimental evidence that knocks ATER upside the head, knocks it silly, however, so Shanahan attacked that, and this is Miles’ work. So how did Kirk represent Miles? In the past, he has misrepresented it, and with some face-palm errors, showing that his JEM Letter was not carefully reviewed. My guess is that it was a CYA move by the editors of JEM. It was the best critique they received.

What Dr. Miles ignores is that I agree totally with him regarding electrochemical recombination and did so in writing in my 2005 publication responding to the Szpak version of the paper that Miles just had published in Infinite Energy.

Right. (At least it seems that way to me, I have not reviewed the publications. Writing something like this, I’d give links so that readers can verify. Shanahan generally doesn’t do that, it takes additional time to find and identify the papers so that the arguments can be assessed.

He also ignores my discussions of all the ways that the electrodes can be affected in F&P setups (as published on Krivit’s recent Web page addition) and how that would affect the overvoltages, instead saying I only consider the Ohmic behavior of the cells, which is an obvious distortion.

Miles, possibly influenced by how Krivit approached him, did err in this way, asserting about Shanahan what was true about Krivit, not Shanahan. This was all covered in the blog post cited above.

Further, he claims *I* distort *his* work by my claims that his apparent excess heat signals are just recombination.

Moi? Distort? Miles has developed and presented evidence of high probity that his heat signals are not from recombination. Heat/helium. The heat/helium correlation is widely confirmed, with two experiments that did what apparently recovers all the helium; in both cases the ratio tightened to the theoretical value for mass conversion to energy by conversion of deuterium to helium, within experimental error. This is very strong evidence, but is also, so far, not completely satisfactory for reasons that can easily come out in discussion, hence my strong suggestion for replication with increased precisions, and my joy that this work appears to be under way. Is Shanahan applauding? If not, why not?

He says that any kind of recombination in the cell would be accurately measured, which flies in the face of my reanalysis from 2002 and the whole CCS idea.

Shanahan takes his work with a particular Storms paper, if I’m correct — notice he is not citing an exact source — as if it applied to all cold fusion work. In some cells, Miles’ claims would be quite reasonable. Open cells, in particular, where the gases are recombined externally and measured.

In a closed cell with a recombiner, unexpected recombination can move the heat source from the recombiner to the cathode. It is conceivable, from first principles, that under some conditions this could result in a heat anomaly. However, as I recall, in the 2002 situation, Storms had used two calibrations: Joule heat in the electrolyte, and a separate resistive heat source near the recombiner. He found very little difference. Shanahan seems to have ignored that, and what he remembers is how strong his arguments were.

Very human.

Of course, he did admit he never had read anything I wrote, which makes me wonder how he can claim as one of the ten co-authors of the 2010 logically incorrect diatribe that my ATER/CCS mechanism was wrong…

Shanahan does not seem to realize that the alleged errors of the ten co-authors are actually irrelevant. This mirrors the complaints about the CMNS community about the alleged errors of skeptics. Critics may make many errors, the only way to avoid critical errors is to not criticize. Believers fall into the same traps as to critiquing critique.

We need to realize thought, that as human beings, we are interested in people and will talk about them. As to science, though, we will, with one exception, set that aside. The exception is unconfirmed reports, where our assessment of the competence and probity of the reporter is, in fact, relevant. That’s about assessment of fact, where the facts are gathered by a person. Is that person reliable as to reporting of fact? (Conclusions are a very different matter!)

That question also applies to everything he has written in his recent emails and in the 2017 Infinite Energy 132 cover letter to the Flesichmann ‘rebuttal’ of my proposals. BTW, Fleischmann also makes all the same mistakes. Miles is frustrated with me and has resorted to name calling and I now see it is pointless to continue. His mind is cemented in. So we are probably done.

This is all evidence-free complaint about Miles, and may reflect the pot calling the kettle black phenomenon.

This is why I can’t understand why anybody would trust anything these people say (any of them – Fleishmann, Pons, Miles, McKubre, Hagelstein, Rossi, Celeni, Piantelli, (fill in the blank with your preferred CF ‘true believer’)).

“True believer” is a pseudoskeptical trope, and anyone who would lump, say, McKubre and Miles in with Rossi is far, far gone. I’ll say “demented,” and Shanahan is not young.

They clearly don’t critically evaluate information available to them, apparently preferring to depend on selected individuals to do their homework for them.

This is radically unclear and unsupported, and I’m thinking about McKubre, in particular. McKubre was professionally engaged to investigate LENR, starting in 1989, and made his living at it until his recent retirement, and has then been retained, with quite adequate compensation, by the LLC started by Robert Duncan under contract to Texas Tech, fulfilling on the major grant received for basic LENR research. McKubre certainly did not “depend on selected individuals to do [his] homework for [him].” Shanahan is insulting a professional, working within his specific and high expertise, and this is a clear sign of how far outside science he has moved.

But it is clear those people aren’t doing their job either. Yet a ‘cold fusion water heater’ (to make tea of course) is just around the corner. Right… Folks, it ain’t nuclear. Start there…

This is mere pseudoskeptical cant. McKubre did say, to CBS news, that they had seen enough heat to make many cups of tea, but this has never become a reliable product that could be used in this way, nor has McKubre claimed that it has. “It ain’t nuclear” is a possible hypothesis, but it’s not scientific, because it is not testable (unless one lucks out and identifies and shows the artifact, which Shanahan has never done, he has only dredged up a series of possibilities, many of them Rube Goldberg and highly implausible.) Bottom line, he has never managed to arouse sufficient acceptance of his ideas to inspire experimental validation.

This is the paradox here: I have good communication with the researchers. When I suggested research, it was funded and is being done. If Shanahan could give me something clear to be tested, I could communicate it, and it is possible that the tests would actually happen. But Shanahan has always sarcastically rejected my commentary. He makes his bed, lies in it, and complains about everyone else. In my #3 daughter’s teenage world, that’s called a “bitch ass.”

So, THHuxleynew wrote: [quoting the above from Kirk]

• The lack of substance in the refutal of your ideas as shown in the ten author paper is clear: they have not followed up on detailed points, and made a number of serious mistakes in characterising your argument. That this continues informally is a shame.

I agree. I attempted to intervene with Miles. So far, no response, which may be unusual. We’ll see. THH, we can do something about this. If IH can deal with the terminally eccentric, at best, Andrea Rossi, we can deal with the far more honest, if deluded, Kirk Shanahan. He’s going to need a proxy, probably, an advocate, unless he decides to participate in a deeper examination. Always, in the past, he’s bailed when things got tight.

• I can’t say that your argument covers all or even most of the claimed electrolytic cell excess heat results. But, I can’t say it does not cover these either. Were I an LENR researcher placing any reliance on these claims the first thing I’d want to do would be to examine your arguments carefully and see what they apply to.

I will certainly support a more careful examination, and if we can create something useful, I can then invite comment from serious scientists with high knowledge of the field. They have, in the past, supported this kind of work, with various skeptical theories. Most of these are real scientists, they are not nailed to their own theories, but they are a bit burned out by years of repetition of the same pseudskeptical tropes, starting with accusations that they are merely “true believers,” “die-hards,” who refuse to accept fact. It is grossly insulting, and it can burn people out.

Before then, perhaps Jed Rothwell would contribute, but I’d ask him to refrain from commenting with his common sarcasm. He has high knowledge of the experimental record and may be able to point to sources, instead of simply providing conclusions.

• Your extending this to a polemic on not trusting LENR researchers is uncalled-for. Though I guess normal on this Forum! Whether anyone is right, or wrong, the only proper approach here is to evaluate specific actions of specific people, not to generalise. After a lot of such evaluation you might come to a conclusion that the whole collection of anomalies on which a set of LENR people depend has been well explained in ways that those people refuse to consider. The best way to show LENR ideas right or wrong would be to continue to take them seriously and be interested in them, and follow through the evidence. You have to some extent done this, and to some extent been stopped by those making claims refusing to consider the arguments against: so a shame to fall at the last hurdle. For most a cursory look at the area makes these ideas look unlikely to yield up anything more, so it is not an issue.

It would be similar to rejecting an idea because it is “Planet Rossi.” I note “Planet Rossi” because it represents obvious factional behavior, but no idea is wrong because “Planet Rossi.”

I have attempted to support Shanahan’s ideas, in various ways, precisely because the field needs skeptics, skepticism is essential to science. Starting in 2012, I had the explicit support of McKubre and others in the field in this endeavor. One of the problems caused by the rejection cascade is that workers in the field “circled the wagons,” perceiving themselves under attack, and that perception had reality behind it. This is all part of the extensive done by pseudoskeptical rejection, an information cascade, and it is ironic that one of the best students of and writers about this is the same Gary Taubes, who wrote Bad Science about cold fusion. In his most recent study, the damage could have been millions of premature deaths. Bad Science can be truly expensive.

The work now being done with heat/helium should have been done well before 1995. What stopped it? I really don’t know, it is yet another mystery, so far. I must assign some responsibility for that to the CMNS community, because the community obviously had no clue about how to approach the DoE, the lack of political acumen was striking. These were, however, scientists, not trained advocates. Did they have a lawyer? Where was APCO when they might have made a difference?

(The CMNS community generally thought of itself as powerless and helpless, and more or less hoping for the skeptics to die before they did.)

Free energy ideas will always exist – it is human nature. What is so annoying about LENR is that the level of scientific engagement in this process is much higher than for other free energy ideas.

Yeah, I can see how it could appear that way. Lumping LENR in with other free energy ideas is convenient for pseudoskeptics. To some extent, the CMNS community has cooperated with this thinking, because, having experienced unfair rejection, we may bend over backwards to avoid being knee-jerk rejecting ourselves, and so poor-quality claims get mixed in with higher-quality ones.

Much better: legitimate, invite, and even inspire genuine skepticism, the kind that inquires, not the kind that condemns. I’ve been working on this for years.

When I submitted my heat/helium paper to Current Science at the beginning of 2015, the anonymous reviewer’s comments were highly rejecting, outraged at the poor quality of the paper, i.e., his first impression.

If I had “made him wrong,” I would then have had no success, and probably, even if I had appealed and pushed the paper through, which might have succeeded, the paper would have been weaker, since the goal would be to communicate a message precisely to skeptics. So I rewrote the paper to address his objections.

I’ve been trained to do this, this isn’t just some accidental personality trait. It worked, as I’d expect. (And when I talk about my training, someone like Sifferkoll imagines an abusive cult…. goes to show!)

I feel when there is such an attempt at science it should be treated with respect even if totally misguided, and badly done, as long as participants themselves behave properly.

Right. To make that happen takes facilitation. It is well-known how to do this in standard deliberative process — which happens to be another long-term study of mind. This does not generally happen with “free discussion” fora. It takes much more focus. It is possible here, but the possibility is broader than this one blog.

We use pages to build content. Blog posts are in-the-flow, often reactive to immediate events. Blog posts are opinionated, that’s part of the fun. While pages may be opinionated as well, they can also be deliberately neutral. Our Rossi v. Darden Docket and case files page is intended to be totally neutral, clear fact, uncontroversial. If anyone objects, we will look at it and attempt to address the objection, to become fully neutral-by-complete-consensus, to the maximum extent possible.

That way in the chance there is something weird going on this gets considered. What makes LENR unlikely as science is not the Coulomb barrier, but all the other things that don’t fit nuclear reactions.

Well, obviously, I will suggest that this is uninformed and based on a shallow view of the research, but we may address this issue piecemeal. The original claim was an “unknown nuclear reaction,” and so the claim here would require that all nuclear reactions would fit some standard model, but, in fact, there are known nuclear reactions that would be exceptions.

The approach, consideration by theory, is defective. The real questions were always (1) is there a heat anomaly? and (2) what are the confirmed correlates? These are experimental questions, not theoretical ones. Only after developing clear evidence on those two questions is there basis for moving on to speculations about causation. I’m not starting that discussion here, but I assume we will do this. I will note that Texas Tech does not refer to the subject of their research as LENR, but as AHE, Anomalous Heat Effect.

Shanahan ought to agree with this! After all, he thinks he has identified a cause for the anomaly, and it is testable, so how could Kirk attempt to have Texas test his idea? Bloviate on LENR Forum? Why do I think that likely to fail? Kirk has ruled out doing his own experiments. So how can he motivate those with the resources and inclination to do experiments to test his theories?

It’s obvious: he’s clueless, disempowered, and, I’d say, shoots himself in the foot by how he writes, and takes no responsibility for his failure to communicate, thinking it is their fault.

So help him out!

In which case you have a choice of non-nuclear really weird (because we don’t have another way that makes sense to get the claimed energies) or nuclear nothing fits. I’m never sure why in this case people claiming excess heat as they do jump on nuclear, unless for example the He4 evidence were to become real.

Funny you should mention that! You might start with my paper, which did, after all, make it through an initially hostile peer review. Critique it (here or on Wikiversity). Maybe even write a critique and send it to Current Science. Become familiar with the evidence, well enough that you could write that damn paper yourself (even if you disagree with this or that). The process will educate you.

The deficiencies of the existing research are fairly obvious, but they all pointed, not to rejection, but to calling for more research, very specific research, not some endless investigation into the unknown. The research questions to be addressed are not exactly “nuclear,” they are really chemistry and measurement. Yes, the results, so far, lead to a “nuclear” conclusion, and I found that the existing evidence was strong enough to allow recommending the research as being very likely to generate results of high interest, unlike much LENR research, where millions of dollars of effort may come up with zilch.

Plan B.

Epimetheus wrote:

[Just typical antiskeptical bullshit, which obviously doesn’t understand what is going on and the value of THH’s kind of skepticism.]

Kirk went on to comment on THH’s post, but quite conspicuously — to me — missed the 4He issue, which is the kicker, the killer experimental fact, making all his commentary that his “CCS” effect — horrible name for it, misleads any experimental electrochemist — irrelevant, because if heat and helium are correlated, the possibility that the heat is due to something non-nuclear has gone far toward zero.

Essentially, the heat/helium evidence can be considered an experimental test of Shanahan’s theory. He then attempts strongly to figure out some way that it could be wrong, instead of looking at the obvious implications.

We will still look at the alleged heat artifact or non-nuclear anomaly. We will still look at possible helium problems. But the correlation, man! This was considered stunning evidence by Huizenga in the second edition of his book, even when it was far less precise than it later became, and before it had been confirmed.

Eric Walker wrote:

People like THHuxley are the best people to have around for LENR. If only there were ten more of him. They help to increase the rigor of the science of LENR, to suggest improvements to experiments that can be made and to reassess findings that might require additional follow-up to get excited about. Many LENR watchers find this kind of challenge to be distressing and a profound threat, but this is due to a misunderstanding of what science entails. Skeptical challenges are no threat in the slightest, for the truth will always out. It will emerge even from an overly pessimistic analysis, and it is the truth that we should seek, whatever it is.

Eric noticed.

Author: Abd ulRahman Lomax


14 thoughts on “Believers have their heads wedged”

  1. The problem with wedged heads applies to a lot of situations, and not just LENR.

    Theories are based on observations of what Nature actually does, and we try to deduce the logical rules of why things happen the way they do. From the deduced rules, we predict what we will see in situations that we haven’t yet tested, and the more those predictions are borne out the more secure we feel that the logic and deductions are correct and that we have a good explanation of the way Nature works.

    Unfortunately this also leads to paradoxes which we can either ignore (which a lot of people seem to do) or try to resolve. For example, quantum theory and Relativity can’t both be right – they are mutually exclusive. Both theories however work perfectly well when used in the right situations. I can’t explain how this computer works without leaning heavily on quantum theory, and I can’t explain what we see in cosmology without Einstein’s theory. Still, it’s obvious that we haven’t got the explanations right yet, and that when we find paradoxes it’s a sign to “dig here”.

    We have a good set of rules for nuclear reactions that apply to fission (solid state where the nucleus seems to be not affected by any external conditions) and fusion in a plasma where we’re talking about two-body reactions and all we need to know is the kinetic energy of collision to work out the probability of a reaction. There are a few experiments that show evidence of beta-decay variations with the season of the year (see or do a search on “beta decay variation”, and note as well for refutation) and from Ron Hammack looking at variation of alpha and beta decay rates with static charge (these have since disappeared from the net, so no link that currently works). To me, though, there seems to be a tendency to hold to the “traditional” invariability of decay rates even though there’s no logical reason why such decay rates should be totally constant and not dependent on influences outside the atom. Still, that’s what the theory says, and it will take some absolutely waterproof experiment to prove otherwise. Personally, I suspect that the nuclear stability is affected by the presence of the electrons around it, but that this is a small effect (below measurement errors) in the situations we have tested so far. That may change if some crackpot decides to attack the status quo and succeeds.

    Since I’ve been working with electronics for a long time, I have no problem with considering that a lattice and the periodic energy-wells that entails can have a large effect on what happens. There is thus no good reason for insisting that the rules we know for nuclear reactions in either single-body or two-body situations will apply to what happens in a lattice. In electronics, we depend on the lattice effects to design the semiconductors, after all. We depend on group effects and the modification of the energy-levels by a very small number of interlopers in the lattice to achieve the required properties.

    After Rossi came to my attention in 2011 I thought his measurements were not believable, but after spending around 3 months reading Jed’s library I came to the conclusion that LENR itself was something that did happen. I’ve only recently become aware (thanks, Jed) of the extreme sensitivity of the Helium measurements involved in Miles’ experiment and thus that the correlation of heat/Helium cannot have been due to some calorimeter error or any other reason other than a real nuclear reaction happening.

    At the heart of this question is whether we’re going to insist that the rules we know for nuclear reaction are absolute and unchanging, or that when we change the conditions dramatically that we should expect to find other rules apply. When we’re talking about one nucleus or a temporary agglomeration of two nuclei driven together by kinetic energy, emission of a gamma may be the only way that excess energy can be radiated, but when that nucleus is in a periodic set of energy-wells in a lattice there may well be other ways to dissipate that excess energy. There may be no need to eject a neutron, either.

    Currently, there is no mathematical explanation of LENR, but I don’t see any room for reasonable doubt that it does happen (just an unreasonable insistence that the current nuclear theory doesn’t allow it and therefore it must be an experimental error). For a long time we were in the same position with superconductivity, though that was a lot easier to demonstrate and anyone with access to liquid Helium and some Mercury could measure it. Superfluidity was another problem, and whereas Professor Kurti took his kit apart (yet again) to find where the leak was (and thus delayed the announcement for a couple of weeks), Kapitska announced superfluidity and ended up with a Nobel for it. When we go outside the bounds of what has been tested, the theories we use are only guides as to what we may expect to happen, and something different may happen instead. This is something we always need to bear in mind in physics – our rules have tested limits, and beyond those limits we just don’t know whether they apply or not. If something weird happens (as with superconductivity and superfluidity) then we learn something new about Nature and need to re-jig the theories.

    It’s however also reasonable (and necessary) to explore any other explanations for the results before saying that a well-tried theory is wrong. Recalescence is an interesting phenomenon and could provide an explanation for a short burst of unexplained heat. Miles’ experiment, though, knocks out such “stored chemical energy” explanations. The calibration constant shift idea was tested and found to not be sufficient by measurement. Still, that was just one experiment, and theories (despite Feynman’s insistence) aren’t changed over one experiment – it needs to be replicated by someone else. Plan B should thus take away the last leg of justification for ignoring Miles and put LENR into the same status as superconductivity and superfluidity used to be – something that really happens but we can’t explain it yet.

    1. The headline was intended to be provocative, but the lead-in, “by definition,” is literally true, if by having one’s head wedged means having a fixed belief, as if held in place. That does not make the belief wrong. It is merely “wedged.” Then I wrote that pseudoskeptics also have their heads wedged, only in the other end. This is because a pseudoskeptic, as distinct from a genuine skeptic, is also a believer, but of a particularly offensive kind; I won’t attempt to establish this, but anyone who stands back from the on-line debates can see it. (Some believers can also be offensive. It’s an issue of tolerance or lack of tolerance.)

      A genuine skeptic is like an agnostic, which is “not-a-believer.” There are now very strong and active atheists who claim to be “merely not believers,” but then the behavior is blatantly contrary to that. None of this is an argument for or against any belief. The distinction between a psuedoskeptic and a genuine skeptic, though, is operationally obvious. I know many genuine skeptics, smart people, and easy to talk with. Disagreements can be explored productively. This is commonly not so with pseudoskeptics.

      The distinction is not necessarily hard and fast. Each of us may think that our beliefs aren’t “beliefs,” they are facts. However, people trained in onotology and epistemology can generally recognize the difference rapidly, just as mathematicians can recognize what is deducted logically (or inferred in some way) and distinguish it from premises or axioms.

      Yes, Plan B was designed to generate clarity. I have found, among some skeptics, substantial agreement that skilled confirmation of heat/helium with increased precision is a worthwhile endeavor. Where we may, at this point, differ is on how strong the existing evidence is, but I concluded that continued intense argument over that was futile; because there are obvious interpretive problems. I may think, as Jed Rothwell apparently thinks, that maintaining high skepticism in the presence of the existing evidence is foolish or ignorant (or worse, offensive trolling), but where Jed and I differ is in my tolerance for skepticism, which may look like pseudoskepticism in the presence of ignorance of the record. Jed has been following LENR for something like 25 years. I’ve been following it and studying it for about 8 years. It took years of exposure to the evidence to develop the sense of clarity that I have about heat/helium. There is no way I would expect a skeptic to invest that time. However, a genuine skeptic who is careful will not stick his foot in his mouth, but skeptics (actually genuine) are not always so careful. It’s human. Jed then reacts to that. In a way, he’s burned out, tired of defending LENR. My recommendation to him is that if he’s tired, stop! Watch as others take up the task. If it’s not fun any more, stay away! Stay with what is fun.

      Personally, I find it fun to explore agreement. I found it fun to inspire the very skeptical physicist, I think he probably was, the anonymous peer reviewer of my Current Science paper, to turn around from his original very negative position to one where he praised the paper and helped write the conclusions. I did not manage that by telling him what I might have thought, that he was ignorant. In fact, he was ignorant, but it was my job to educate him, and if he hadn’t understood the paper, that was my failure, not his. Sure, if my paper was perfect, then I could imagine someone could blame him, but my assumption of my own perfection would be arrogant and actually disempowering, because perfection cannot be improved. I largely rewrote the paper to address his concerns. That paper is not perfect, I can think of many possible improvements, but … it did the job, and McKubre’s keynote at ICCF 20 was incredibly gratifying to me. His message as I remember it: together, we go far.

      1. Abd – yep, we need to periodically re-examine our beliefs and see if the evidence for them is strong enough. Sometimes asking asking stupid questions and following the rabbit down the hole can expose the invalidity of basic assumptions. Though we tend to present theory as deductions, they often have inductive logic hidden in some of the basics. This is my point with LENR – we are extending what we know of nuclear reactions for single nuclei (or temporarily single nuclei when two collide) to the situation of multiple nuclei and energy wells, and that inductive logic is not warranted. People who say that LENR is theoretically impossible are thus making a logical error in their assumptions. That error is however invisible to most people because they are accustomed to their rules working in the situations they have experienced.

        Pointing out such logical errors tends to run up against the belief system. Where some wriggle-room exists, people will mostly stick to the rules they know work rather than accept that there are exceptions to them or that they simply don’t apply in special circumstances. In order to get over that hump, the evidence needs to be very strong and unmistakeably true. We thus get the cavils over errors in calorimetry or the quantity of Helium, since the alternative for the sceptic is to change the underlying rules that they are used to and realise that there’s a logical error in the rule structure.

        Again, since the rules don’t allow LENR, it’s not much use expecting people to put the effort into understanding the experimental evidence for something that is widely regarded as pathological science. They know it doesn’t work, so why would they spend the time required? It’s a catch-22 situation. If everyone thinks that, I’d be a fool to think any different, sir! Information cascade.

        Jed has put a lot of time and money into making the LENR papers available. He can quote papers that give the answers to any sceptical question. It’s probably no longer fun to keep pointing to the evidence when he’s pretty sure that most people won’t read it or, if they do, will not understand it because it takes a degree of familiarity with the processes in order to understand the measurements. However, at the basic level whether you accept the measurements or not really depends on the trust you place in the scientists who performed the experiments and whether the answers agree with your basic beliefs, and the beliefs are the biggest barrier. That’s a human problem.

        1. My suggestion to Jed would be that he stop personally providing evidence in apparently endless and useless arguments, unless (1) it is clear and on point — and will appear so –, and (2) he has reason to expect that someone is paying attention.

          1. You wrote: “My suggestion to Jed would be that he stop personally providing evidence in apparently endless and useless arguments . . .”

            For the most part I stopped talking to skeptics many years ago. I do it occasionally just to keep in practice. Friend or foe, I usually just refer people to the introductory papers by McKubre and Storms featured on the front page at



            I figure if the person will not read these, he or she will not listen to me either. If the person cannot understand these papers, he will not understand me either. Storms and McKubre are better at explaining these things than I am.

            A friend asked me to respond to a question on Quara, which I did. My message plus a follow-up message got a surprising number of views: 870 + ~1,100. That may do some good. I do not intend to post anything more there. I have no interest in Quara, Wikipedia or social media such as Facebook or Twitter.



            1. Thanks for the links. We might review those articles here, and, once again, on behalf of the planet, thanks for all the work you have done making LENR-related material available. If there are questions, I assume they will be asked, of you or of others, as I’ve done in the past. These questions lead to progress, even if only a little.

              Little by little, we go far.

  2. You wrote: This is somewhere of the order of the ‘Nigerian prince’ emails, with enough spelling-mistakes that the gullible people self-select and the sender doesn’t have to deal with smarter people.”

    That’s right. It is a counter-intuitive strategy, but it works. See this research paper from Microsoft: “Why Do Nigerian Scammers Say They are From Nigeria?”

    The abstract begins:

    “False positives cause many promising detection technologies to be unworkable in practice. Attackers, we show, face this problem too. In deciding who to attack true positives are targets successfully attacked, while false positives are those that are attacked but yield nothing.

    This allows us to view the attacker’s problem as a binary classification, and use Receiver Operator Characteristic (ROC) curves to analyze the economics. The most profitable strategy requires accurately distinguishing viable from non-viable users, and balancing the relative costs of true and false positives . . .”


    “By sending an email that repels all but the most gullible the scammer gets the most promising marks to self-select, and tilts the true to false positive ratio in his favor.”

    That describes Rossi’s technique to a T.

  3. You wrote: “Before then, perhaps Jed Rothwell would contribute, but I’d ask him to refrain from commenting with his common sarcasm.”

    Marwan et al. and Storms answered all of Shanahan’s claims. The issue is closed. I have nothing to add. See:

    Walker is quoted: “People like THHuxley are the best people to have around for LENR. If only there were ten more of him. They help to increase the rigor of the science of LENR, to suggest improvements to experiments that can be made . . .”

    Nope. At least in this forum, THHuxley has contributed nothing of value. I cited specific, technical reasons why his claims are wrong. He never addressed what I wrote. I did not cite my own opinions or claims: I pointed to what the researchers have said. I showed that THHuxley is wrong, and that in most cases he has not read the literature and he does not know what he is talking about.

    That is not sarcasm, by the way.

    1. Jed is correct here. I have not made any significant tech comments on the CCS issue. It would need a lot of time and care. But Jed has not in his reasons why I am wrong exercised that care and time: for example Marwan et al and Storms do not answer the matter.

  4. You wrote: “Open cells, in particular, where the gases are recombined externally and measured.”

    You do not need to recombine the gases. It is easier to just measure them. This can be done with a gas flow meter or an inverted test tube in a bubbler (the method Miles used).

    Recombining externally and then capturing the D2O is somewhat difficult because when water forms it is hot vapor from combustion, and it tends to escape. To capture and condense the vapor calls for a closed cell, but the cell has to be open to get the gas into it in the first place.

    You also measure the amount of water that leaves the cell. A very small amount leaves from evaporation, but most leaves as O2 and D2. If there is recombination, it does not leave. The cell is replenished daily, and the amount added will be less than Faraday’s law predicts.

    As I mentioned here previously, the water is usually measured with a syringe. IV equipment can also be used. Medical equipment is a good choice because it is precise, and it keeps the heavy water clean and free of air, which contaminates it with H2O.

  5. As to dementia, “understanding” Rossi still requires, for me, maintaining alternate scenarios. The two major ones are:
    1. Rossi had something at some point, or believes he did. He fooled himself, but then is caught in maintaining his position and identity. He will keep trying.

    2. Rossi has become a total con, but his goal is not exactly money. He is “taking the piss.”. Perhaps he is angry with the world for rejecting his hard work with PetrolDragon. His first family apparently rejected him. He’ll show them!

    Dementia often can be seen to have origins in earlier behavior, but compensation mechanisms can cover it up. I regularly monitor my attention performance using Sudoku, doing them in ink, rapidly, and watching my error rate. I saw signs of loss of function by my forties. So then we compensate, learn to do things in different ways and not to depend on what might have been easy years before. Some people cannot admit they are dying. But we all are. As individuals, that is. Humanity as a whole may also be dying, but that’s on a far larger time scale, and we don’t know the end of things. Meanwhile, there is life, now.

    3. Taking the piss can be fun. I want to see Rossi in action, a major reason for going to the trial. I’m still looking at whether or not it is worth the time and effort. I’m discussing it with others, seeing where that goes. I can do it, regardless of any new support, but …. is that the best use of resources?

    4. Meanwhile, what will take CFC to a new level is broader participation. One user has accepted author privileges, we will see what that generates. He is not a yes-man.

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