Oct 10 2014

E-Cat Cold Fusion Claims are Back

For years Andrea Rossi has claimed that he has invented a method for generating cold fusion, but has been unable to convince an appropriately skeptical scientific community. Fusion is the nuclear process of combining lighter elements into heavier elements, such as fusing hydrogen into helium. Fusion is what powers stars – in fact, the only processes scientists know about that can cause fusion require the heat and density of stars.

When lighter elements combine into a heavier element that overall has less mass, the missing mass is essentially converted into radiation and energy. The amount of energy released is orders of magnitude greater than what can be released from chemical reactions. Only matter-antimatter reactions are more energetic.

Now Rossi is claiming that an independent third party has verified that the E-Cat cold fusion device can generate large amounts of energy, the kind that can only come from nuclear fusion. What are we to make of these claims?

The researchers tested a small E-Cat device for 32 days. They found: 

The total net energy obtained during the 32 days run was about 1.5 MWh. This amount of energy is far more than can be obtained from any known chemical sources in the small reactor volume.

The isotope composition in Lithium and Nickel was found to agree with the natural composition before the run, while after the run it was found to have changed substantially. Nuclear reactions are therefore indicated to be present in the run process, which however is hard to reconcile with the fact that no radioactivity was detected outside the reactor during the run.

That sounds impressive at first glance, but such claims requires a closer look. Rossi’s claims have been around for a while, and so far the scientific community has not been impressed – outside of cold fusion true believer circles.

Ethan Siegel does a thorough job of discussing why it is unlikely that the E-Cat is fusing nickel into copper, as Rossi claims. To summarize: We know that nickel does not fuse into copper even inside stars. If the extreme heat and pressure of stars is not enough to result in this fusion, it’s unlikely adding a few catalysts under moderate pressure will do so.

Fusion should produce a lot of radiation, including high energy gamma rays. None were detected, and if they were present much greater shielding would be needed to protect anyone near the device. This is pretty much a deal-killer – no radiation = no fusion.

In prior tests the copper found in the device after alleged fusion took place had the same isotopic ratio as normal copper, which would not be the case if the copper were freshly made by adding a proton to nickel. Also, by Siegel’s calculations there was more copper found in the device than would have resulted from even a completely efficient fusion process.

From a scientific point of view, the claims made for cold fusion in the E-Cat device are extremely improbable, and the evidence we have does not support such claims. We don’t have a clear scientific explanation for how the device can work, with evidence (in terms of output products and radiation detection) that match predictions from a specific model.

What we do have are very curious anomalies.

Tim Worstall, writing in Forbes magazine, comes at the question from a completely different angle. He argues that if Rossi had a device that could generate power, he could be selling that power back to the grid and using the income to finance further development. The fact that he is not doing this, but instead is looking for outside investors, means he does not have a device that is actually producing power.

This is very similar to an argument I have used before in relation to all free-energy or cold fusion claims. Show that you can produce electricity, not in a rigged demonstration, but in a practical application.

Conclusion

In the face of this new apparently independent replication, I remain skeptical. Proponents are likely to point out that our scientific knowledge is forever incomplete. We can never say something is impossible, and when we encounter an anomaly it just means we have an opportunity to learn something new.

This is true, as far as it goes, but at the same time the more a new claim runs contrary to existing well-established scientific findings, the more unlikely it is. We also have to consider all possibilities.

In this case the physics strongly argues that the alleged reaction taking place, fusing nickel and hydrogen into copper, is extremely unlikely, and the evidence being presented has some serious (even fatal) holes. So – one possibility is that the results are simply in error. The researchers are not accounting for a more mundane source of power, or are not properly measuring or accounting for all inputs and outputs.

It’s also possible that there is fraud taking place. The fraud can be gross and deliberate, or perhaps just cutting corners on the part of a true believer.

It is also possible that Rossi has stumbled upon a discovery that will ultimately rewrite the physics textbooks and transform our civilization. I think some combination of 1 and 2 are far more likely than the third possibility.

The profound nature of the claims being made need to be recognized. If the E-Cat were truly able to generate large amounts of clean energy in a small package, the practical applications would be overwhelming and would squash any skepticism. All you would have to do is just build it. Industry would not wait for the physicists to catch up, which they eventually would do.

If such a discovery were made one day, I don’t think we would be reading about it in obscure article in a tech journal.

 

87 responses so far

87 Responses to “E-Cat Cold Fusion Claims are Back”

  1. dorian.latawiec@gmail.comon 10 Oct 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Isn’t Rossi missing one of the great hallmarks of a scam? I don’t think I’ve seen him asking for money or investors, I thought he had personally funded the research at the start and sold prototype units to anonymous parties to further fund his research.

    Ultimately it is much more likely for this to be a scam than new science, I have been following Rossi for almost three years now and I have yet to see a viable explanation for how his demonstrations could be faked. I see lots of people explaining why our current understanding of physics/chemistry does not allow for what is happening, but no theories as to how it does work, or how Rossi is faking out people.

    I don’t think “I don’t understand it, so it must be fake.” is any more valid than “I don’t understand how it could be fake, so it must be real.” But until someone can either come up with a mathematical model for where the extra energy must be coming from or prove conclusively that there is shenanigans involved, I think this bears at least an open mind.

    -Dorian

  2. pusherroboton 10 Oct 2014 at 1:05 pm

    “[I]n fact, the only processes scientists know about that can cause fusion require the heat and density of stars.”

    Isn’t this contradicted by the existence of the Farnsworth-Hirsch Fusor?

  3. Mr Qwertyon 10 Oct 2014 at 4:31 pm

    I like the Forbes article because it is providing a simple common sense argument that’s easy to understand to those not used to skeptical dilligence, and difficult to answer in any other way than “E-Cat doesn’t work” just by using “common sense”.

    If, to quote the researchers, the claim that “The total net energy obtained during the 32 days run was about 1.5 MWh.” is true, then this is worth around $425 on the Italian energy market (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_pricing).

    So, depending, on the cost of building and maintaining the hypothetical device, Andrea Rossi could keep the discovery secret and scale up over time and become the richest person in history of the world (if that is his cup of tea).

    Unless the cost of building or maintaining device is too high, in which case there is need for outside investment, but in that case there is an existing framework (patent system) to becoming very rich through making it public, on top of also solving the world’s energy problems, global warming, possibly helping a lot with world peace, and also setting himself for a Nobel prize or two and, well, being remembered in history (in a good way).

    So, what’s really his excuse?

  4. Observeron 10 Oct 2014 at 9:58 pm

    Are you critical? – Yes. Are you thinking? – Not by my standards:

    >”Now Rossi is claiming…” Andrea Rossi has gone out of his way not claim anything “positive or negative” about this report. He is not an author of the report. The professors conclusions are their own.

    >The report finds no evidence of nickel converting to copper. What it does find (Section 8, Fuel analysis) is a significant percentage of Li7 is disappearing and a significant percentage of Li6 is appearing. Also there is a depletion of Ni58 and Ni60 and a buildup of Ni62. Ethan Siegel’s discussion is irrelevant under these circumstances.

    >The references you use are old and do not address the recently released paper.

    >Accusations of fraud require proof, not just “possibility”. Do not even use the word if you are not prepared to back it up.

    >If you are going to write an article about a recently released paper, read the paper first.

    If that takes too much effort, at least read their conclusion:

    “We have a device giving heat energy compatible with nuclear transformations, but it operates at low energy and gives neither nuclear radioactive waste nor emits radiation. From basic general knowledge in nuclear physics this should not be possible. Nevertheless we have to relate to the fact that the experimental results from our test show heat production beyond chemical burning, and that the E-Cat fuel undergoes nuclear transformations. It is certainly most unsatisfying that these results so far have no convincing theoretical explanation, but the experimental results cannot be dismissed or ignored just because of lack of theoretical understanding. “

  5. grabulaon 10 Oct 2014 at 10:27 pm

    I’m curious why we never get any cold fusion quacks here. I know Fullerton WAS a cold fusion quack, maybe he’ll come back to demolish this article?

  6. jsterritton 11 Oct 2014 at 12:04 am

    @Dr Novella…

    “All you would have to do is just build it.”

    All the red flags of hucksterism are there and the E-Cat looks like any other free energy machine by its hallmarks alone. This makes me sad, because it is so rare that the two things I enjoy most — particle physics (in this case atomic physics) and skepticism — come together. Why isn’t there a Higgs CT? Or neutrinos-explain-everything quacks? Or black hole denialists. The last two actually exist (see [1] and [2]), but whatever you do, don’t buy Jeff Yee’s book unless you collect “awesome pseudoscience” as a curiosity. Where are the cranks sounding alarms about nuclear-powered space probes? Don’t panicky idiots worry that the LHC at CERN will spaghettify us all? There’s gluten in spaghetti!

    All we have is M_Morgan’s theory of everything (the pride of my curiosity collection), but who wants all the answers? Some particle physics JAQing would make my day.

    Thanks for another great post!

    ____
    [1] http://www.amazon.com/The-Particles-Universe-Jeff-Yee-ebook/dp/B007PM4ZZW
    [2] http://arxiv.org/pdf/1409.1837v1.pdf

  7. steve12on 11 Oct 2014 at 12:48 am

    The oddest thing with all of these weird belief folks is that they seem to think that we all want bad outcomes.

    I think I speak for every skeptic when I say that we’d be happy if the evidence said that…

    a. Death is not real
    b. The climate isn’t changing, throw up all the carbon you want!
    c. OK, even if AGW is real, we have (insert magic energy source here) !
    d. The world is made of magic, and by extensions chocolate:
    https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#safe=off&q=simpsons%20land%20of%20chocolate

    We don’t reject these things because we’re dicks, especially considering that we actually want them to be true. We reject them because the evidence indicates they’re wrong.

  8. Charonon 11 Oct 2014 at 1:53 am

    “nickel does not fuse into copper even inside stars”

    It’s really, really key to this why Ni doesn’t fuse to Cu inside stars. It’s not because they aren’t hot or dense enough. It’s because you can’t get energy from this process. Look at the nuclear energy binding curve – the reason stars stop fusing at iron and nickel is because those are the peak elements on the curve (greatest binding energy per nucleon). They are the heaviest elements from which you can get energy from fusion. All heavier elements (lead, gold, uranium, etc.) take more energy to fuse than they produce (and are thus only produced in supernovae and gamma-ray bursts, where some energy is used up in their creation).

    In the future, as soon as you get to “fusion of nickel producing energy”, you can stop.

  9. TheJuryIsBackon 11 Oct 2014 at 8:32 am

    Well apparently copper is now completely out of the loop. The “new and improved” e-cat supposedly uses mainly Ni-58, Ni-60 and Li-7 that is converted to Ni-62 and Li-6.

    The “before” sample contains Nickel with a natural Isotope content of around 68% Ni-58, 26% Ni-60 and small amounts of other isotopes including 0.9% Ni-64.

    In the “after” sample there’s 98,7% Ni-62 and virtually no other Nickel isotopes. That means that no matter what the starting isotope is, everything gets converted in to the same isotope without even a trace of gamma rays despite capturing a various number of neutrons. (Indeed the Ni-64 does not capture neutrons but lose a couple instead!).

    If nothing else this looks like a step up from the former alleged process ending in a copper isotope mix exactly corresponding to what’s found in nature.

    At least the resulting isotope mix seems a bit artificial. Although not more artificial than being exactly what you get if you buy “pure” Ni-62 from any number of dealers.

    Another astounding fact is that the power output of this magical machine remains virtually constant until the end of the test. Despite the almost complete expenditure of the fuel there’s no sign of the power output dropping off as the concentration of fuel must be approaching zero!

    As far as “independent test” goes it is enough to read the passage:

    “The dummy reactor was switched on at 12:20 PM of 24 February 2014 by Andrea Rossi who gradually brought it to the power level requested by us. Rossi later intervened to switch off the dummy, and in the following subsequent operations on the E-Cat: charge insertion, reactor startup, reactor shutdown and powder charge extraction. Throughout the test, no further intervention or interference on his part occurred; moreover, all phases of the test were monitored directly by the collaboration.”

  10. mindmeon 11 Oct 2014 at 9:24 am

    On the SGU board, my understanding it Rossi was given access to lab during certain operations:

    http://sguforums.com/index.php/topic,44684.0/topicseen.html

    That’s a bit of a red flag right out of Project Alpha.

  11. daedalus2uon 11 Oct 2014 at 11:53 am

    It is bogus. From the image shown, it is obvious that they used wrong values for emissivity.

    They are assuming the radiation from the object is only due to thermal radiation from alumina at the emissivity of alumina. That internal glowing resistors are visible through the alumina in the picture demonstrates that this assumption is not valid. Alumina is not a black-body. Alumina is transparent to some of the radiation produced by the hot resistors. That radiation is radiated by the hot resistors, but they assume that all the radiation observed is only coming from the alumina (which has a lower emissivity). To get the amount of radiation from emitting alumina, the alumina has to be hotter, which is what they assume.

    It is exactly like “measuring” the temperature of a lightbulb by looking at how much radiation it emits, and then using the size and emissivity of the outer glass envelope as the radiating area. If you used this type of analysis on a light bulb, you would find that it emits many times more energy than you are putting into it.

    The “temperatures” they calculate are right at the melting point of some of the alloys they are using. Chromel-alumel (type K) thermocouples can’t take 1412 C that they calculate (chromel melts at 1420 C). Usual temperature limits for type K thermocouples is 1260 C. The temperature vs mV charts only go up to 1372 C. They don’t say which Inconel alloy they are using, but all of the common ones have melting points below 1412 C. The Inconel aloy with the highest melting range is Inconel 750-X which has a range of 1393-1427. There is no way that Inconel resistors could withstand days at 1400 C. These alloys don’t have sharp melting points because they are not pure compounds or eutectics, so they melt over a range. Once they start to melt, they rapidly corrode and disintegrate.

    Also, they have a thermocouple in the reactor. They are using it to control the heaters. What did that thermocouple say the temperature was? Why didn’t they use a thermocouple with a higher range? Type R (Pt vs Pt-Rh) will take 1450 C, and the chart goes to 1760 C or tungsten rhenium (W vs W-Re) which goes up to 2320 C?

    They never take the “dummy” reactor up to either the same temperature, or the same power density as they take the “active” reactor. If they did, then they could measure the emissivity of the alumina, instead of using a value from a table and assuming it applies.

    They could coat the alumina tube with something black, so as to make it an actual black body with an emissivity of 1. But then the black coating would also block thermal radiation from the inside, and they wouldn’t get spurious values.

    They absolutely could use a circulating fluid calorimeter. Of course it wouldn’t give them the answers that they want.

    Using a lumped parameter for radiation heat transfer was the source of the error in the the Pons and Fleischmann work too. They used partially transparent vacuum insulated vessels and “calibrated” them at temperatures different than the temperatures they were used at. Emissivity of materials that are partially transparent to the radiation of interest varies with temperature and wavelength. A lumped parameter approach is not appropriate.

  12. tmac57on 11 Oct 2014 at 2:43 pm

    grabula-“I’m curious why we never get any cold fusion quacks here.”

    Oh we have seen one here and there.Going way back there was a Jed Rothwell.
    I’m sure Steve remembers him fondly:

    http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/cold-fusion-after-20-years/

    I hope this isn’t like summoning up Beetlejuice :)

  13. _Arthuron 11 Oct 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Bah, the BlackLightPower rigmarole generate both Free Energy and …hydrinos!

    http://www.blacklightpower.com/press/011414-2/

  14. alaincoon 11 Oct 2014 at 8:51 pm

    @daedalus2u
    you relay the claim of goatguy.
    it was interesting but it is debunked.

    the alumina is transparent a little around visible lignt, but it is opaque above wavelength of 7um, and the IR cam start to considere IR at 7um
    see
    http://digital.csic.es/bitstream/10261/83021/1/Sintering%20to%20transparency.pdf
    See page 528
    and
    http://digital.csic.es/bitstream/10261/83021/1/Sintering%20to%20transparency.pdf

    moreover the IR cam did not see difference from place that were illuminated and some shadowed

    note that alumina have a good thermal conductivity
    http://accuratus.com/alumox.html

    the rest of you talk is just euristics, innuendo and similar soup

    don’t talk about wattmetter that cannot integrate triac power…

    that work, it was clear before from a mesh of variosu evidence…

    cold fusion was validated scientifically since 1991, and the fiasco of 1989 is simply that big ego did not accept that calorimetry was a job of chemist and that their simplified theory was wrong…
    today there are beginning of theory that respect all known laws… so there is no excluse to deny LENr, even if theory have never been an excuse for denial of evidence, for scientifically literate people.

  15. grabulaon 11 Oct 2014 at 9:05 pm

    @Tmac57

    “Oh we have seen one here and there.Going way back there was a Jed Rothwell.
    I’m sure Steve remembers him fondly:”

    before my time here regularly BUT I see sonic was JAQ’ing off even then!

  16. Steven Novellaon 11 Oct 2014 at 10:18 pm

    Observer – I did not accuse Rossi of fraud. I listed fraud as among all the logical possibilities to explain the results. There’s a huge difference. Listing possibilities as a logical exercise does not require proof.

    I understand that this experiment was different than the previous ones. That actually makes it not a replication.

    Proponents then have to explain (among the many other anomalies) why previous experiments produced copper, and this one just produced different isotopes of Nickel and Li. That is actually more damning than anything. Please offer me a reasonable hypothesis to explain these disparate outcomes that does not involve something hinky going on. I’m all ears.

    dorian – you are giving a false equivalency. What is more likely – that we cannot explain exactly how the results were fudged, or that Rossi has discovered apparently two different nuclear processes that defy even the most basic aspects of nuclear physics?

    If you think these probabilities are equivalent, then I have a bridge in New York to show you.

  17. cosmicaugon 11 Oct 2014 at 10:46 pm

    Didn’t he claim to have a secret customer that he had sold a unit to with substantial generating capacity back around the time when Ethan Siegel wrote his piece? Shouldn’t we be hearing reports of a very happy customer by now if this stuff really works?

    Or am I totally misremembering?

  18. limeson 12 Oct 2014 at 2:51 am

    Sorry if I won’t be as articulate as you guys, I won’t be trying to dissect the findings of Rossi from the scientific point of view.
    I’ll tell you another story instead, that you has not been touched in your comments, so, again, I’m sorry if you maybe already know that, but I think it’s worth to at least telling it in any article citing the finding of this great man.
    Rossi has discovered a way to turn plastic waste into petroleum. Wow uh? I mean… with so much waste in the world and shortage in the fossil fuel that would come handy, before you had waste then you’ve no waste anymore and something to sell. Looks cool.
    Rossi made a company called Petroldragon (1978), that claimed being able to do this exact thing, has been a bogus going on for quite some time in Italy, people let him do that. In the end turned out he was stockpiling waste and keeping it there, with no way of doing the things that he claimed he could do. After keeping on stockpiling (with companies paying him for disposing of their garbage) he filled for bankruptcy, and region Lombardy (Lombardia, an administrative region of Italy) found that the land he used as deposit needed to be reclaimed, and 23 millions euro (in 1996) were spent in the process.
    He claimed that the reason he could not do that was for administrative restrictions at national and local level!! The same administrations that paid to reclaim the land he soiled…
    And who can blame him? Italy has two laws for anything, one that says the opposite of the other, we’ve been great at killing functional companies. But well, if the process is really working, I guess other countries would be interested too, I mean, Japan could become exporter of petroleum just by disposing of the garbage! A new Saudi Arabia of the far east! Or maybe China would be interested to satisfy it’s internal demand? Maybe some of those countries would be less picky with garbage disposal and let him do that…? But no, with his kind heart he decided to let Lombardia take the burden and not give his secret, not working, method to other countries.
    In 2011 he comes out with this thing.
    Again a way to cheat physics and gaining free energy without anyone knowing the process, without anyone being able to explain it and him claiming. He’s able of doing something that would make him rich beyond imagination and solve the world’s energetic problems for good.
    I’m not even trying to analyze.
    What are the chances that someone that invented a way of turning plastic into gasoline (that doesn’t work) will invent the could fusion? Without anyone being able to reproduce his results in 4 (more or less) years from his discovery? Would you invest money on his method knowing his records?

  19. vmon 12 Oct 2014 at 4:41 am

    get a large remote control car or a small electric car. install this. Run it for a few hundred km over lonely rural roads. that would be hard proof that it works

  20. Lukas Xavieron 12 Oct 2014 at 5:26 am

    @Dorian
    >>Isn’t Rossi missing one of the great hallmarks of a scam? I don’t think I’ve seen him asking for money or investors, I thought he had personally funded the research at the start and sold prototype units to anonymous parties to further fund his research.

    This is exactly what a lot of scammers are doing. They sell their device to individuals and get money that way. Frankly, this approach doesn’t speak in his favor. Quite the opposite.

  21. Observeron 12 Oct 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Previous experiments used a copper reaction chamber. Rossi himself admitted that the copper in the previous ash may have come from the walls of the reaction chamber.

    Also, do not most of these isotopic analysis techniques only look at the surface of the particle? To say that the reaction is depleted may be incorrect.

    To state the possibility of fraud is an attach on an individual’s character. We do not state the possibility of incest just because family members live in the same house.

    Rossi and the e-cat is a moving target, and if you do not follow each development carefully you risk the possibility of mixing what was true or doubtful yesterday with what is true or doubtful today.

    I appreciate your efforts.

  22. Lukas Xavieron 12 Oct 2014 at 2:59 pm

    @Observer
    >>To state the possibility of fraud is an attach on an individual’s character. We do not state the possibility of incest just because family members live in the same house.

    False equivalence. Compare:
    1) How often does the situation occur?
    2) How often is a person found in that situation guilty of wrong-doing?

    For living with your family, the answers are “very often” and “relatively rarely”. For claiming the discovery of cold fusion, the answers are “quite rarely” and “almost universally”. Clearly, these are not equivalent situations.

    When you make claims in an area traditionally riddled with cranks and scam artists, people are going to check your work for signs of fraud. Not only is it reasonable to do so, it would be downright irresponsible not to.

  23. jsterritton 12 Oct 2014 at 3:45 pm

    @Observer

    “To state the possibility of fraud is an attach (sic) on an individual’s character.”

    To not state the possibility of fraud would make Dr Novella a terrible reporter. Dr Novella has already addressed your concerns (above). Ironically, you are now engaging in an ad hominem attack on Dr Novella. Kindly stick to the facts of the story as they develop or at least move onto a new straw man to worry about.

  24. daedalus2uon 12 Oct 2014 at 6:36 pm

    alainco, alumina is transparent to light from ~0.25 to 5 microns.

    http://www.cmscientific.com/info_sheets/Sapphire_Optical_Properties.pdf

    The spectrum of blackbody radiation depends on temperature.

    http://www.digitalwavetheory.com/DWT/31_Thermodynamics.html

    For lowish temperatures (500 K), most of the radiation is greater than 5 microns, in the region where alumina is largely opaque. For high temperatures (1500 K), most of the radiation is below 5 microns where alumina is substantially transparent.

    In the picture, I can see an orange-red glow from the inside of the alumina tube. This wavelength is ~0.6 microns, and alumina is highly transparent to this wavelength.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photoreceptor_cell#mediaviewer/File:1416_Color_Sensitivity.jpg

    If I can see light that is passing through the alumina, then the alumina tube is not capturing all of the energy that the resistors are dissipating. This is not surprising to me because I know alumina is transparent to these wavelengths. There are other wavelengths that I can’t see at which much more power is being radiated and which alumina is transparent to

    This also demonstrates that an infrared camera is not a valid way to measure the heat flux from such a system.

    There are many aspects of this apparatus that cause me to doubt that it is generating excess heat.

    The presence of non-natural nickel isotopes is artificial and could only have occurred through deliberate fraud.

    Rossi has been at this for years. If he wanted to put up a completely rigorous and fraud-proof demonstration, he could do it. This is not it. This has obvious inconsistencies that are best explained by fraud, and not by honest error.

    One of the simplest tests would be to run the “dummy” at the same power rating as the “active” tube. Surely there is nothing that prohibits that? That would be the best way to “calibrate” the emissivity of the alumina tube, run it at a certain temperature with electric power, measure the temperature with the thermocouple and calculate the emissivity.

    Are we supposed to believe that in all of his testing he never tried to run the “dummy” at a higher power? Never at the same power as the “active” tube?

  25. Giovaneloon 12 Oct 2014 at 7:22 pm

    “The climate isn’t changing, throw up all the carbon you want!
    c. OK, even if AGW is real, we have (insert magic energy source here) ”

    this is simply a pathetic display of elementary scientific illiteracy. Climate does change all the time on all times scales. The rate of warming 1910-1940 was similar to that of 1975-2000 (much before the human-emitted CO2 could have had any discernible influence on climate). In the period 1945-1975 the globe has cooled by 0.5 degrees K (at least that’s what scientists believed in 1970s and 1980s, before Jim Hansen decided to “remove the known cooling biases from the temperature record”) in the time of exponential growth of human emitted CO2. It’s simply grossly uniformed and irresposnible to peddle over and over the same nonsense that climate does not change without human influence. It does, and very significantly so.

    So, to display it schematically for you: “climate changes” does NOT equal “AGW is real” and even less does it equal “global warming (anthropogenic or not) is a crisis that requires a massive de-carbonization of world economy”.

    As for the magical energy sources, yes we do have them, but the governments and environmental freaks are doing their best to obstruct their use: nuclear and shale gas, for example. But, it’s impossible to argue with religious fanatics whose only goal to is inflict poverty and sacrifice on everyone in order to satisfy their medieval apocalyptic superstitions and anthropomorphism.

    How magical they are you can judge by the fact that the USA essentially met the Kyoto targets without any scheme of carbon rationing, just by tremendously increasing the production of natural gas by fracking. in 2012 the CO emissions were on the level of 1993. So, natural gas is a magical solution to the “problem” of CO2 emissions. If you add the nuclear energy into the mix (horror, horror), USA could de-carbonize in a couple of decades or 50 years. By market forces and without socialist central planning and energy rationing. But, that’s not the goal of politicians, environmental groups and powerful banks and firms who woudl have profited from cape-and-trade and similar scams.

  26. Giovaneloon 12 Oct 2014 at 7:40 pm

    And as for the cold fusion – would not be most responsible to ask for another independent replication, instead of insinuating in advance without any knowledge about the experiment that it is a scam or in error. If the energy production by this process is real, then everyone should be able to reproduce the experiment. If we don’t believe this team that replicated it, let’s commission another one and check if this is real. If Rossi refuses to allow another team to check, that would suggest a possible scam. But, this way it’s difficult to speculate and irresponsible to claim this is a scam. And the precise mechanism is less important: if the device produces the excess energy it’s immaterial whether this is done by “cold fusion” or not; if it does not it’s again irrelevant for obvious reasons.

  27. Observeron 12 Oct 2014 at 8:49 pm

    What happens next is the company Industrial Heat builds and sells high temperature systems for industrial customers. Once the abridged version of this report is published in Physics D, Industrial Heat will be able to secure its IP in the form of U.S. Patents. Andrea Rossi will continue in his capacity as Chief Technical Officer, guiding their R&D division.

    The gate keepers of scientific publications and funding will over estimate their own power and will be bypassed by the market place.

    Just as Scientific American had to back track their skepticism regarding the Wright Flyer, so will the scientific community have to back track their skepticism regarding the e-cat.

    Just as the Wright Brothers, over time Andrea Rossi will be re-written as a favorite son of the main stream.

    The hardcore skeptics will pat themselves on the back for being “part of the process”.

  28. daedalus2uon 12 Oct 2014 at 10:12 pm

    No one is “insinuating in advance with out any knowledge.” Taking what Rossi has published in his description of what was done at his word, it doesn’t demonstrate excess energy production. It demonstrates very poor technique that could easily (and likely) lead to spurious results of false positive excess energy measurement.

    If Rossi wants to make extraordinary claims, he needs to provide extraordinary evidence. So far, he hasn’t even supplied ordinary evidence.

    There isn’t even a first demonstration. It is premature to ask for a “replication”.

  29. grabulaon 12 Oct 2014 at 10:38 pm

    “Just as Scientific American had to back track their skepticism regarding the Wright Flyer, so will the scientific community have to back track their skepticism regarding the e-cat.”

    SWEET! my wish has been granted, a real cold fusion loon!

  30. Andyoon 12 Oct 2014 at 10:48 pm

    To state the possibility of fraud is an attach [sic] on an individual’s character.

    Even if he’s a known decades-spanning fraudster?

    I don’t think enough people are pointing this out. Like I said in the SGU forums, it’s like believing that L Ron Hubbard created a religion in earnest.

  31. Andyoon 12 Oct 2014 at 10:48 pm

    bah, link failed above here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrea_Rossi_%28entrepreneur%29#Business_ventures

  32. jsterritton 13 Oct 2014 at 12:13 am

    @Giovanelo

    “But, it’s impossible to argue with religious fanatics whose only goal to is inflict poverty and sacrifice on everyone in order to satisfy their medieval apocalyptic superstitions and anthropomorphism.”

    Well, it is for you.

    @Observer

    “Just as Scientific American had to back track their skepticism regarding the Wright Flyer, so will the scientific community have to back track their skepticism regarding the e-cat.”

    That would be f*cking awesome! You hang in there, champ…

  33. Davdoodleson 13 Oct 2014 at 1:55 am

    “To state the possibility of fraud is an attach on an individual’s character. We do not state the possibility of incest just because family members live in the same house.”

    We do, if they are claiming to have produced a virgin birth.
    .

  34. Lukas Xavieron 13 Oct 2014 at 7:52 am

    @Observer
    The fact that some extraordinary claims turn out to be supported by evidence is no reason to uncritically accept any claim made. Being skeptical until proper evidence is given is not only an appropriate reaction, it’s the only appropriate reaction.

    What you’re arguing for is simple gullibility. Don’t expect to get a lot of traction for that around here.

  35. Bruceon 13 Oct 2014 at 8:40 am

    Observer:

    “The hardcore skeptics will pat themselves on the back for being “part of the process”.”

    This is true despite your scare quotes and use of the pejorative “hardcore”, and not because we believe that we are better than anyone else, but because any self respecting scientist would WANT his work to be scrutinised and reviewed and tested.

    “Just as the Wright Brothers, over time Andrea Rossi will be re-written as a favorite son of the main stream.”

    The only difference being that the Wright Brothers had an actual working flying machine. This is what will convince a skeptic… you know… actual working prototypes that actually work!

  36. jsterritton 13 Oct 2014 at 10:17 am

    Re: virgin births and flying machines:

    Some pretty entry level fallacious arguments are being brought to this discussion (e.g., false equivalence and Galileo gambits). One reason they are called “logical fallacies” is that they don’t bear close scrutiny. Funny, though.

  37. tmac57on 13 Oct 2014 at 10:40 am

    I think that I can speak for all skeptics by saying that if Rossi’s E-Cat device turns out to be real,that we will all collectively reject his cheap energy,and put our fingers in our ears,and continue to denounce the clear evidence,and ridicule Rossi and his supporters and…oh wait!…I was confusing skeptics with another group of people. My bad.

  38. tmac57on 13 Oct 2014 at 10:49 am

    Observer said “What happens next is the company Industrial Heat builds and sells high temperature systems for industrial customers. Once the abridged version of this report is published in Physics D, Industrial Heat will be able to secure its IP in the form of U.S. Patents. Andrea Rossi will continue in his capacity as Chief Technical Officer, guiding their R&D division.”

    So if none of that ever happens,will you eat your words,or (more likely) will you claim that the ‘gatekeepers’ have once again suppressed technology that would put them out of business?
    Never mind,I suspect that I already know the answer.
    Rinse and repeat.

  39. Steven Novellaon 13 Oct 2014 at 11:00 am

    Referencing the Wright Brothers is partly the hindsight bias. You are looking back at history and picking out innovators who were met with initial skepticism but were later vindicated. But what about the countless innovators and scam artists who were met with skepticism and were never later vindicated, or were uncovered as frauds?

    How do you know Rossi will be vindicated? The signs are not looking good. All I am saying is that it is far more likely Rossi will end up in the far larger category of crank rather than the exclusive club of unrecognized genius. The physics also is against him. His history of fraud is likely not irrelevant, but even if we give him every benefit of the doubt, the odds are against him.

    I am curious as to your reasons for optimism.

  40. Observeron 13 Oct 2014 at 11:55 am

    What I described is already happening. I have more information than you.

    I tell you what, I will bet you (gentlemen’s bet) that the following statement is true:

    “They turned kids into unicorns and sold them to the circus.”

    On the surface it sounds ridiculous, however, there is actually a patent for surgically altering baby goats and turning them into “unicorns”. Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus bought a few.

    My knowledge trumps your common sense.

  41. Steven Novellaon 13 Oct 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Observer – Saying, “trust me, I have secret information,” is not very convincing, and you really shouldn’t expect anyone to take your word for it. If you have more information, please share it.

    I am also willing to make a gentleman’s bet with you. I bet you that Rossi’s E-cat will, in the end, turn out to be a bust. It will not revolutionize energy production. I hope I’m wrong – I want cheap clean portable energy too. But if history is any guide, the chances are overwhelming this will be yet another failed claim.

  42. jsterritton 13 Oct 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Observer…

    Your argument from the sixth grade (e.g., silly riddles and Snapple Facts) suggests that while you may have “more information” it is not “good” information. Quality trumps quantity and I can prove it: I’ll bet you a golden guinea that you cannot argue your position using logic, reason, and facts. Double or nothin’ says you cannot even begin to debate without instantly invoking conspiracy tropes, ad hominems, and age-old straw man arguments. Needless to say, you will have to do all the work, which might seem unfair, but then I am not making outrageous and utterly baseless claims. Kindly keep in mind that the burden does not lie with me to prove that Rossi’s device isn’t a genuine cold fusion reactor. It lies with you to prove that it is.

    That is your argument, right?

  43. Observeron 13 Oct 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Alas, I can tell you what I know, but I can not make you know it yourself.

  44. SteveAon 13 Oct 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Observer: “I tell you what, I will bet you (gentlemen’s bet) that the following statement is true: “They turned kids into unicorns and sold them to the circus.””

    Then it looks like you lost your bet, because they weren’t the human children your use of the word ‘kid’ was designed to suggest, and they weren’t real unicorns.

    Perhaps Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus will buy a few cold fusion reactors?

  45. Observeron 13 Oct 2014 at 12:54 pm

    This is not an argument.

    It is more like a game of “Mastermind”.

    You choose what you wish to believe, then adjust those beliefs when inconsistencies result.

    I do not anticipate changing your beliefs.

    I am only giving you another set of colored pegs to try when your set fails.

  46. saschbon 13 Oct 2014 at 12:57 pm

    “They turned kids into unicorns and sold them to the circus.”
    Strange to choose a bet involving a fraud to assure people that there’s no fraud, isn’t it?

    “I have more information than you.”
    “Alas, I can tell you what I know, but I can not make you know it yourself.”
    Please, try us. But, I guess, if you really had information, you would already have told us.

  47. jsterritton 13 Oct 2014 at 1:45 pm

    @Observer

    “You choose what you wish to believe, then adjust those beliefs when inconsistencies result.”

    This is precisely antithetical to skepticism. You may perhaps be describing yourself, but to so completely miss the mark in describing others further calls into question if you know anything at all about anything.

    It is also an ad hominem: an absurd, arrogant, belittling, and sweeping statement that others are incapable or unwilling of understanding. You are calling us stoopid. So far, not very persuasive.

  48. tmac57on 13 Oct 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Observer- Can you give us a cutoff date at which we can safely say that either you and Rossi are correct,or that the skeptics of Rossi will be shown to be correct?
    The evidence would have to be in the form of a commercial product that does what he claims,and is being successfully used to generate useful energy.*

    *Note,that evidence would not be just that a company merely invested (unwisely I would guess) in the E-Cat device,but that it is widely shown to be a valid and accepted technology.

    If you cannot supply such a date,then any wager would be useless,since you could infinitely keep pushing the date into the future,and we could never ‘collect’.

  49. Davdoodleson 13 Oct 2014 at 7:18 pm

    ““They turned kids into unicorns and sold them to the circus.” On the surface it sounds ridiculous, however, there is actually a patent for surgically altering baby goats and turning them into “unicorns”. Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus bought a few.”

    Are you saying that Rossi’s claim to have produced cold fusion are, in fact, only correct in the sense that it relies on some sophomoric wordplay?

    If not, what’s the point of this ‘point’?
    .

  50. grabulaon 13 Oct 2014 at 9:19 pm

    @Observer

    “My knowledge trumps your common sense.”

    How old are you? I’m 41 and the old ‘wink wink, I know something you don’t’ trick sort of lost it’s umph around the age of 16 or so. Can this discussion get any more childish? If you HAD information you thought was real and would provide evidence you would present it here. Instead you’ll pretend to be privy on the secrets of the universe while the rest of us sit out here in the dark. This is probably the most amateur attempt at an argument I”ve seen in a while on this board.

    “Alas, I can tell you what I know, but I can not make you know it yourself.”

    Well? We’re waiting?

    “I am only giving you another set of colored pegs to try when your set fails.”

    Colored and belabored metaphors, another childish gambit to make ones self feel special or superior, and nearly as pathetic as I know something you don’t.

  51. Lukas Xavieron 14 Oct 2014 at 5:28 am

    @Observer
    >I am only giving you another set of colored pegs to try when your set fails.

    A transparent and arrogant attempt to set yourself up as a supreme authority on truth. Did you really think that would work?

    You claim to possess knowledge that the rest of us don’t, so how about just laying it out for us? Tell us exactly what you know and how you know it. That’s a lot more convincing than these vague proclamations about how right you are.

  52. grabulaon 14 Oct 2014 at 7:48 am

    “You claim to possess knowledge that the rest of us don’t, so how about just laying it out for us? Tell us exactly what you know and how you know it.”

    You’re not good enough! er… I mean it’s top secret! uhhh, I mean I was sworn to secrecy! well… really the masons said they would kill me if I told you their secrets!

  53. Lukas Xavieron 14 Oct 2014 at 9:44 am

    @grabula
    I’m betting on “I could tell you, but you’re too narrow-minded to understand, so I won’t bother.”

  54. mindmeon 14 Oct 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Observer, what level of evidence would it take to convince you the ecat doesn’t work?

  55. jsterritton 14 Oct 2014 at 2:28 pm

    “What level of evidence would it take to convince you the ecat doesn’t work?”

    This is a good question for Observer, who accepts the absolute lowest level of evidence — from dubious sources no less — that it does work. I have the sneaking suspicion that the bar in the other direction will be set lopsidedly, dizzyingly high.

  56. BillyJoe7on 15 Oct 2014 at 8:15 am

    I believe we’ve just observed a hit and run. :)

  57. mindmeon 15 Oct 2014 at 12:20 pm

    UFO crank needs UFO crank to be on side with free energy crank.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/ECat.LENR/permalink/1002482966434274/

  58. Ekkoon 15 Oct 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Well this is certainly interesting:
    http://aviationweek.com/technology/skunk-works-reveals-compact-fusion-reactor-details

    Lockheed-Martin is a far cry from some guy tinkering in his workshop. There’s no prototype yet but they are claiming one in 5 years and ready for prime time in 10.

  59. tmac57on 15 Oct 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Ekko- I just saw that too.Very intriguing,but I am always wary of early press releases such as this.
    The one I read said they might have a test model as early as one year,with an operational reactor in 10 years (why always 10 years :) )

  60. Lukas Xavieron 15 Oct 2014 at 5:51 pm

    >There’s no prototype yet but they are claiming one in 5 years and ready for prime time in 10.

    I’d be interested in a survey of how many ideas that are reported as being “five to ten years away” actually make it to a workable product. It would be a fun statistic to have.

  61. tmac57on 15 Oct 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Lukas- That would be fun! It would also be a never ending task too.
    It would be nice,however,if this one time it would turn out to be within the realm of possibility.
    Sooner or later,I think that the energy problem will be cracked.We can only hope that it is sooner.

  62. Bruceon 16 Oct 2014 at 4:20 am

    Lukas/tmac57,

    “five to ten years away” has already become an SGU meme for crank or even just unlikely technologies.

  63. Bill Openthalton 16 Oct 2014 at 7:06 am

    Lukas —

    It would be a fun statistic to have.

    100% gets boring quickly.

  64. Hosson 16 Oct 2014 at 11:08 am

    It appears that Rossi was inspired by Pons and Fleischmann.

    “[Andrea Rossi] was fascinated with the Pons and Fleischmann discovery and tried to replicate their effect with electrolysis too. Although he did not succeed at that time, the seed in the development of the energy catalyzer fusor, i.e. ECAT, had been planted.” http://ecat.com/inventor-andrea-rossi

  65. mindmeon 17 Oct 2014 at 10:05 am

    Independent test? Ummm. Yeah. Not so much:

    https://medium.com/starts-with-a-bang/the-e-cat-cold-fusion-or-scientific-fraud-624f15676f96

    “So Rossi himself, the person whose device must be tested independently to ensure that he is not tampering with the results, tampered with the only portion of the test that showed a compelling, positive result!”

    “In the meantime, the other members of the independent team are:

    Giuseppe Levi, longtime collaborator of Rossi,

    Bo Höistad, Roland Pettersson and Lars Tegnér, from Uppsala University in Sweden. Höistad participated in the hugely flawed previous e-Cat test, Pettersson has been working on Rossi devices since 2011, and Tegnér participated in the previous test as well.”

    Hmmm.

  66. Dorianon 13 Nov 2014 at 12:42 pm

    So are we now taking the conspiracy theorists mantra? Oh these scientists confirm the results so they must be in on the conspiracy too! Will everyone that comes out in favor of this being a new discovery just be lumped together in an increasingly larger and larger conspiracy? I think I saw this week that the patent office is now on-board with the conspiracy! Where will it end?

  67. All Rights Reservedon 20 Nov 2014 at 11:34 pm

    I am not a scientist so I am not qualified to assess these claims. But I was a while ago curious about scientists who were interested in this.

    I don’t know what the general view here is of Brian Josephson. He is a Nobel Leaureate who ended up endorsing a lot of fringe views, and I was curious about his perspective on these views, and why he supported them. He supported this claim. He wrote in a comment on a 2014-10-08 Nature blog: http://www.nature.com/news/seven-days-3-9-october-2014-1.16087#comment-1626001865
    “The most important news of the year, perhaps, not just the last seven days? The results of a new investigation into the Rossi reactor (allegedly a high-power cold fusion reactor), involving running the reactor over a 32-day period, are now out. The report not only confirms output power far in excess of anything possible by chemical reaction, but also gives a clear indication that a nuclear reaction is occurring, on the basis of a substantial change in the isotopic proportions of Li and Ni over the period of the run. The report, entitled Observation of abundant heat production from a reactor device and of isotopic changes in the fuel may be seen at http://www.sifferkoll.se/sifferkoll/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/LuganoReportSubmit.pdf. As before, I predict that pigs will fly before Nature makes any mention of the report, which has also been put on hold by the physics preprint archive arxiv.org (with an earlier report, a leaked email disclosed that the moderators were trying hard to find a reason to block the report but eventually gave in). Brian Josephson”

    Prior to this, he wrote on his site, “Extensive testing [http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.3913] supports Andrea Rossi’s controversial claims [http://sms.cam.ac.uk/media/1150242]: considerable excess energy, inexplicable on conventional grounds, is observed in his ‘E-cat’ reactor by independent investigators.”: http://www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/~bdj10/articles/oldlinks.html – see also: http://www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/~bdj10/

    I emailed him, and asked his opinion about a criticism of the energy catalyzer, which Steven Novella linked to above, that states that for it to work, “you’ve got to overcome the tremendous Coulomb barrier (the electrical repulsion between nickel and hydrogen nuclei), which — according to our knowledge of nuclear physics — requires temperatures and pressures not found naturally anywhere in the Universe. Not in the Sun, not in the cores of the most massive stars, and (to the best of our knowledge) not even in supernova explosions!”

    He replied in an email that he had no objections to me sharing, on Sat, Nov 23, 2013 at 4:42 AM:
    “Not necessarily. That assumes isolated particles, but there could be collective effects (cf. e.g. the Mössbauer effect, where the lattice recoils as a whole). See http://sms.cam.ac.uk/media/1150242 for some comments in this regard.”

    Through a friend of his I became aware of a paper published in the journal Naturwissenschaften called “Status of Cold-Fusion (2010)” which provides a very positive counterpoint to traditional derision: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00114-010-0711-x#page-1 – a preprint of the article is here: http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/StormsEstatusofcoa.pdf

    Josephson, in the following lecture, discussed some of thee issues, noted replications, etc.: lenr-canr.org/acrobat/JosephsonBpathologic.pdf

    It’s an interesting lecture, and highlights the importance of skeptics making sure they do not become misoneists.

  68. Observeron 14 Feb 2015 at 1:00 pm

    “We’re at the Tipping Point”

    http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Andrea-Rossi-Vindicated-Cold-Fusion-Takes-Another-Step-Towards-Credibility.html

  69. Observeron 18 Feb 2015 at 11:06 am

    Black peg? White peg? No peg?

    http://andrea-rossi.com/

  70. steve12on 18 Feb 2015 at 11:44 am

    It’s funny that not only are the “creators” of cold fusion unnecessarily cryptic and obfuscating, but so are their followers!

  71. Observeron 18 Feb 2015 at 12:20 pm

    The whole idea is to get the gears in your brain moving. It is not my intention to give you any answers. It is my intention that you find them yourself. Only then will they be yours.

  72. steve12on 18 Feb 2015 at 12:35 pm

    “The whole idea is to get the gears in your brain moving.”

    Gears in my brain? WTF does that have to do with anything? My gears are working just fine. Worry about the gears in the e-cat.

    If it worked as he says he’d just put X times the amount of energy he’s getting back on the grid under the observation of scientists. Money talks bullshit walks.

  73. steve12on 18 Feb 2015 at 12:38 pm

    I love when new-agers lecture me about having an “open mind”.

    Remember – Rossi’s not claiming tiny effects. That means this is the simplest thing to test in the world, yet it drags on forever, producing nothing but cryptic comments. But NOT believing is having the gears of your mind jammed. Good grief.

  74. tmac57on 18 Feb 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Cold fusion is much like the coming apocalypse. It’s just around the corner, just you wait and see! Then we’ll see who the fool is.
    But actually, the apocalypse is really much more plausible, as there are many many ways in which we know it could happen. Not so much with cold fusion.

  75. Observeron 18 Feb 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Rossi (Industrial Heat Inc.) is beta-testing a one megawatt plant generating heat (boiling water) for a year at a customer location. The test will not be based on calorimetry, but on how much money the costumer saves.

    http://andrea-rossi.com/1mw-plant/

    Of course all the released information could be faked, the pictures of the plant could be doctored, and the moon landing could have occurred on a sound stage.

    You choose what you believe, then make adjustments when inconsistencies arise.

  76. steve12on 18 Feb 2015 at 2:46 pm

    “You choose what you believe, then make adjustments when inconsistencies arise.”

    So profound! You’re blowing my mind!

    I don’t believe anything. I go by evidence. It’s not that I can’t accept cold fusion, it’s that no one has demonstrated it to the scientific community. And the notion that the pics on his site are to be accepted as evidence lest we also question the moon landing (where we have much more than pics) is so ridiculous that further comment is not required.

  77. Observeron 18 Feb 2015 at 2:57 pm

    True Skepticism is a luxury that can only be applied to issues that have little immediate consequence.

    In the mean time decisions have to be made.

    Choose your colored pegs then test your choice.

    http://www.web-games-online.com/mastermind/

  78. steve12on 18 Feb 2015 at 3:55 pm

    You’re not making any sense.

  79. Observeron 18 Feb 2015 at 4:19 pm

    We are not engaged in an argument, we are engaged in a game of “Mastermind”.

    Choose your colored pegs then test your choice. -> Choose your beliefs then test your choice.

  80. steve12on 18 Feb 2015 at 5:30 pm

    You’re trying to be pithy and coy with the analogy but it just doesn’t hold up.

    I don’t have any “belief” here other than the “belief” that cold fusion needs to be demonstrated to the scientific community before I “believe” it. No metaphysics required, no bullshit required (pardon my redundancy).

    Unless there’s peer-reviewed evidence that I’m not aware of? Enlighten me.

  81. Observeron 19 Feb 2015 at 11:56 am

    Do you have peer-reviewed evidence when deciding whether or not a chair can support your weight?
    Do you ask for peer reviewed evidence from you broker when he suggests an investment?

    Why do you trust anonymous peer reviewers as the gate keepers to your beliefs.

    I have peer reviewed scientific papers. Is my opinion more valid as a peer reviewer than under any other circumstance?

    With regards to expertise, if a reviewer is the authoritative expert on a submitted paper, than he probably has a conflict of interest in reviewing that paper. If he is not an expert on the specific subject matter of the paper, than his review most likely only addresses the correctness of procedures.

  82. mumadaddon 19 Feb 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Is that you, Jeremiah? From behind the gate of dangerous ideas?

  83. Ekkoon 19 Feb 2015 at 12:08 pm

    “Do you have peer-reviewed evidence when deciding whether or not a chair can support your weight?
    Do you ask for peer reviewed evidence from you broker when he suggests an investment?”

    Neither of these are remotely comparable to whether a cold fusion machine works as claimed or not. I feel like I probably shouldn’t have to explain why…

  84. Steven Novellaon 19 Feb 2015 at 12:23 pm

    observer – skepticism is especially important when decisions have to be made. You really don’t want a gullible doctor treating you.

    Peer-review is one indication that data can be taken seriously. It is insufficient by itself to be an arbiter for what to believe.

    When the question is a new scientific phenomenon, what I find convincing is a robust consensus of expert opinion based upon published and reviewed data. Anything less than that is suspect. The more new and unusual the claim, the greater my demand for compelling evidence before I will think it is likely to be true.

    Dubious claims from charlatans don’t even come close.

  85. Observeron 19 Feb 2015 at 1:18 pm

    And if all your experts are waiting for a consensus of experts, then where are you?

    Group think is not part of the scientific method. Nor is peer review.

    Despite our best efforts to the contrary, the truth of a matter is not determined by democracy.

  86. steve12on 19 Feb 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Observer:

    Enough with the BS. If he proves the f*cking thing works, we’ll all be using it. This isn’t some metaphysical quandary. If this thing works, why in the hell would peer review be a problem? Peer review is a problem for BS artists. Does it only work if scientists aren’t looking?

    The rest of us who actually do science realize that peer review is an essential part of science, and we welcome it even when it pisses us off. CHarlatans hate it, because it exposes them.

  87. Steven Novellaon 19 Feb 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Scientific consensus is not group think nor a vote by popularity.

    Peer review is part of quality control in science, so your statement about it not being part of the scientific method is a non sequitur.

    It is nonsensical, clueless, and avoidant behavior like that which fills us with skepticism. You are not helping your case.

    Steve12 has it exactly right – show us the evidence, not the distracting bullshit.

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