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Which best and most neutrally represents the reliable sources?

Here are two recent versions of the third and fourth paragraphs of the intro:

Cold fusion gained a reputation as pathological science after other scientists failed to replicate the results.[1] A review panel organized by the US Department of Energy (DOE) in 1989 did not find the evidence persuasive. Since then, other reports of anomalous heat production and anomalous Helium-4 production have been reported in peer-reviewed journals[α] and have been discussed at scientific conferences.[2][3] Most scientists have met these reports with skepticism.[4] In 2004 the US DOE organized another review panel (US DOE 2004) which—like the one in 1989—did not recommend a focused federally-funded program for low energy nuclear reactions. The 2004 panel identified basic research areas that could be helpful in resolving some of the controversies in the field. It stated that the field would benefit from the peer-review processes associated with proposal submission to agencies and paper submission to archival academic journals.

In 2007, a peer-reviewed literature review[5] and update[6] concluded that cold fusion has been demonstrated by experiments that result in excess heat production and nuclear reaction products such as helium-4. The reviews stated that although many explanations have been proposed, several of which do not use new physics, none is yet satisfactory. The author of the review has proposed a series of experiments to resolve the controversy.[7]

Cold fusion gained a reputation as pathological science after the majority scientists to follow up the research failed to replicate the results and/or identified experimental/theoretical oversights in the original work that lead them to make different conclusions.[1] A review panel organized by the US Department of Energy (DOE) in 1989 did not find the evidence for cold fusion persuasive. Since then, other reports of anomalous heat production and anomalous Helium-4 production have been reported in many peer-reviewed journals[α]. Most scientists have met these reports with skepticism.[8]

In 2004 the US DOE organized another review panel (US DOE 2004) which—like the one in 1989—did not recommend a focused federally-funded program for low energy nuclear reactions. Since 2004, several articles[5][6] and conferences[9][10] reporting supportive results show that there is continued work in the field.

Which version best represents the current state of the reliable sources in accordance with WP:V and WP:NPOV? The longer version on the left or the shorter version on the right? Can you come up with a version which is even better? IwRnHaA (talk) 21:14, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

If we say that the DOE did not recommend a focused federally funded program, we should also say that the nearly unanimous opinion of the reviewers was that funding agencies should entertain proposals to address relevant questions in this scientific controversy. Both sentences come from the same paragraph of the report, and they should both be included for proper balance. I would not understand why we would keep one and not the other.
I find the left version too affirmative of the reality of cold fusion. I find the "continued work in the field" in the right version too weak. I would propose something like this: "Since 2004, several articles[6][7] and conferences[10][11] reporting supportive results show that the accumulation of positive evidence is growing, although the phenomena is poorly understood." This would be in line with our "recent development" section. Wording may have to be adapted to avoid new synthesis though. Pcarbonn (talk) 22:21, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
I have replaced the less-affirmative, more detailed statement from the longer version on the left. However, I did not include "accumulation of positive evidence is growing" because that would need a time-frame, e.g., "in the last [how many] years." IwRnHaA (talk) 01:01, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
Again, I find the right version too weak to represent the current state, and I don't understand why it would need a time frame, nor why we could not give one (eg. since 2004, or since 1989). One option would be to revert to the sentence we had last week : "In 2007, a book and two peer-reviewed literature reviews presented the state of the research favorably." Pcarbonn (talk) 07:08, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

On early criticism

I've altered the right intro (which I support) because not only did folks like Lewis fail to reproduce the original result they explained where Pons & Fleischmann made mistakes in theory and experiment. It wasn't "we're not getting the same result" it was often "we're not getting the same conclusion and here's why".--OMCV (talk) 04:08, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
Don't you find strange that the article of NYT in support of this sentence said that scientists were ready to accept the claim of Jones to find neutrons, but not the claims of F&P ? Can someone explain this to me ? Fleischmann is a fellow of the Royal Society, and discoverer of Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering. One cannot say that he is incompetent. How can one attribute such simple experimental errors to him, in his field of expertise ?
Doesn't it say a lot about the frameset of the scientists at the time ? "It's OK to say it's nuclear, but not that it can be a source of energy". Where is the logic ? Pcarbonn (talk) 07:08, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
The latest paper from SPAWAR are corroborating evidence of neutron emission (see Mosier-Bos 2008). I urge you to read it. I'm ready to share it with you if you send me an e-mail. Pcarbonn (talk) 07:22, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
Please send that (and any other stuff if you want to send) to Olorinish (talk) 17:48, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
For one thing, Jones had observed nuclear products in his previous cold fusion work and described it in a believable way in Scientific American. FP had no obvious nuclear detection experience. Olorinish (talk) 22:55, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
That's no reason to reject Fleischmann's claim of excess heat, and explaining them with simple experimental errors that an electrochemist with his expertise would not do. Remember that his excess heat report was reproduced quickly by Bockris, who published it in Sept 89. He was also an expert electrochemist. He was accused of spiking by Taubes, then cleared by 3 professors. Why the smearing ? Why the need to close this opening scientific controversy so quickly ? Pcarbonn (talk) 05:17, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Have you read the Taubes book? One of the very unique things about cold fusion is that respected scientists couldn't replicate the effects with reasonable amounts of effort. That basically never happens in science. The only other episode in physics I can think of is the case of Jan Schon, and he was a lying fraud. Olorinish (talk) 10:55, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
No, I have not read Taubes book. I prefer to read books from scientists. Taubes handling of the Bockris case (described in our article) is enough for me to discredit him. I don't need to hear his fabrications, whatever his intent might be.
Bockris did replicate the F&P effect independently by Sept 89, and many others later. The fact that others could not replicate it with "reasonable amounts of efforts" only means that it was more difficult to replicate it than they anticipated, not that the initial report was wrong. Progress was later slowed by the unavailability of resources. As Hubler says in his powerpoint presentation: "These suggested experiments can not be conducted by individuals acting alone or in their garage or basement" It is true that the conditions for replication are not fully mastered yet, but that does not change the reality of the effect. Also, please read our section on reproducibility. Pcarbonn (talk) 11:40, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
I read our article on Jan Hendrik Schön, and I see absolutely no similarity with the cold fusion case. Pcarbonn (talk) 12:36, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
"I prefer to read books from scientists." Then that is another difference between us Pcarbonn. I learn from all kinds of sources. Olorinish (talk) 17:31, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
"Bockris did replicate the F&P effect independently by Sept 89, and many others later." If they did, then it is very significant that there has not been convincing confirmation of nuclear products measured with traditional particle detectors (counting pits in plastic sheets is not good enough). Olorinish (talk) 17:31, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Ahah. LOL. This is ridiculously funny, and grossly misinformed. Pcarbonn (talk) 19:32, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
I apologize for my previous humorous post. Neutrons are indeed emitted at a much lower rate than expected by conventional fusion in view of the observed heat. Such low levels are very difficult to measure with traditional particle detectors, explaining why there has been no convincing confirmation of neutron detection. The advantage of using CR-39 detectors is that they are integrating, i.e. the longer you leave them in the experiment, the more tracks you can get. Such CR-39 detectors are routinely used by nuclear physicists, not just by CF scientists. And the number of tracks obtained by Mosier-Boss in 2008 is well over the background level obtained in control experiments. The radiation of neutron in such experiments cannot be explained at all by conventional physics. Pcarbonn (talk) 10:41, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Another example of fabricated criticism is Lewis comment on the meltdown of F&P's cell in 1985, as published in NYT (Browne 1989) : "My understanding," Dr. Lewis said, "is that Pons's son was there at the time, not Pons himself. I understand that someone turned the current off for a while. When that happens hydrogen naturally bubbles out of the palladium cathode, and creates a hazard of fire or explosion. It is a simple chemical reaction that has nothing to do with fusion".

Such explosion can indeed occur, as Dr. Riley unfortunately found out, in closed cells. However, it cannot explain a meltdown or vaporisation of the cathode. And more importantly, such an explosion cannot happen in an open cell. F&P used open cells, so the gas was constantly going out and its partial pressure was too low for possible explosion. Dr. Lewis must have known that for sure, as he had tried to replicated F&P's experiment... Pcarbonn (talk) 04:56, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

"it cannot explain a meltdown or vaporisation" I have to disagree. Pd is a ductile metal, and the shock wave from a D2+O2 explosion occurring in the cell could easily deform the material. It could also literally 'blow away' some of the material, which some people would interpret as 'vaporization'. There is no reason to believe that what happened in F&P's lab is anything other than a common D2+O2 explosion occurring in an apparatus that may have focused the shock wave downwards. Kirk shanahan (talk) 13:06, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
As explained above, open cells used by F&P do not allow the accumulation of gas, and thus cannot create an explosion. Fleischmann is a respected scientist, and could certainly distinguish a meltdown from an explosion. You may as well say that he made the whole story up. Pcarbonn (talk) 17:55, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
_In principle_ open cells do not allow for the accumulation of gas. In fact numerous problems can lead to plugging or flow restrictions that do allow for such to occur. You may recall the ongoing discussion about measuring recombination. In Fleishmann's case, he plumbed up several cells to a common measurement point. That kind of plumbing is suceptible to plugging.
Your second sentence is what is known as a 'call to authority'. Fleishmann is 'respected' so whatever he says must be true, right? No, not at all. Does Fleishmann have any expertise in explosives or demolitions? If not, then he is not an expert in making that kind of call. Instead what we have is a prime example of the endemic problem of cold fusion: Something happens, and it forcibly interpreted to support the nuclear explanation, instead of the conventional one. So no, he didn't make it up, he just jumped to a predetermined conclusion without cause. Kirk shanahan (talk) 14:04, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Continued work in the field

The sentence "Since 2004, several articles[6][7] and conferences[10][11] reporting supportive results show that there is continued work in the field." is clearly a new synthesis, not backed up by a source. I would much prefer "Since 2004, scientific journals and conferences have reported additional supporting results." (the CR-39 papers being some prominent ones). Pcarbonn (talk) 13:30, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Eh, isn't this saying the same thing, but without giving specific examples to support the statement? --Enric Naval (talk) 15:11, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
In my view, it's not saying the same thing, because the emphasis is not the same. If you are indifferent, then why not choose the one I propose. We would of course need to add the sources. Pcarbonn (talk) 15:22, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
I just looked at the context (I didn't look at it before, I just looked at the sentence itself). It's right after a sentence saying that the DOE does not recommend more federal spending into it. It's incoherent that the next sentence says "additional supporting results" when the former sentence talks about no such supporting results. The other wording connects with the former sentence by saying "there is continued work in the field [in spite of the DOE not recommending a federal-funded program]" --Enric Naval (talk) 19:08, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
It says "additional supporting results" because the 2004 DOE review was prompted by earlier supporting results. This is explained a couple of sentences above that sentence in the lead section. As I said above in this thread, I support adding a sentence saying that the 2004 DOE reviewers nearly unanimously recommended further studies, although not in a federally focused program. So, it should not be a surprise that work is continuing. Hence, no need to add the connecting word that you propose. Pcarbonn (talk) 19:41, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Oh, ok, then the context is badly worded. I suppose that, for a person that read the whole lead in order, it's understandable. The new sentence looks ok to me, remember to specify that they recommended "well designed" experiments and that they were all under peer review (they must have found quite a few bad designed ones?). --Enric Naval (talk) 05:32, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

It Doesn't Look Like Fusion

Some of you seem to have a strong desire to see that the subject of "cold fusion" is relegated to the trash bin. However, you don't seem to have anything substantive to back up your position and opinions besides pejorative comments and an infinite amount of time for bitfu**ing. If you want to understand why "cold fusion" doesn't seem like real fusion, let me help you. I've made it easy (From my presntation at the ACS National Meeting, August, 2008

Here are the reasons why "cold fusion" doesn't look like fusion:

1. Missing or suppressed gamma

2. Wrong neutron to tritium ratios

3. Wrong 4He to neutron ratios

4. Missing 1st branch of thermonuclear fusion

5. Missing 2nd branch of thermonuclear fusion

6. Weak data for 24 MeV energy (wide range of data, incomplete assay)

7. Heavy Z transmutations

8. Normal water and hydrogen experiments

Also see this article:

P.S. The lead is incorrect where it states "Lacking an explanation for the source of such heat, they proposed the hypothesis that the heat came from nuclear fusion of deuterium (D).

It should read: "Lacking an explanation for the source of such heat, they proposed the hypothesis that the heat came from nuclear fusion of deuterium (D)" or a hitherto unknown nuclear process or processes. —Preceding unsigned comment added by StevenBKrivit (talkcontribs) 03:08, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

StevenBKrivit (talk) 02:55, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Steven wikipedia is not the place for something that wikipedia calls original research. Your PPT, book, web page, is firmly in the original research category when you present them. Even if another editor presents them they can only be considered your opinion. If you want to direct editors to significant peer-reviewed papers that would be more helpful and considered to be part of science (although only your opinion in the scientific community). Basically keep your professional discourse in the scientific community and once its incorporated there it will be incorporated here as part of that discourse. It sounds convoluted but the point is not. Simply stated, this is not the place for you to publish. In science (as with everything else) wikipedia has the responsibility to present the established understanding of the field as established by the available body of citation (peer-reviewed in the case of science). In the case of "cold fusion" that understanding centers around what happens with Fleischmann, Pons, and Jones and the mass of rebutting articles. Your more recent work is nothing more than a foot note compared to those historic events. I wish you all the luck in shifting the consensus understanding especially if you find phenomenon of value. I don't claim to understand the current state of "cold fusion" but I'll make sure to see your next talk if I'm at the same meeting. I'll also add that I'm shocked that you included Bockris as a supporting element in your field. The man may have been vindicated of fraud but only by being confirmed an imbecile. I hope this helps you understand wikipedia's policies.--OMCV (talk) 03:41, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
OMCV: I don't edit the main article, that would be OR. As a journalist that specializes in this, I perform OR, that's pretty much all I do; I'm well aware of WIKI:OR. That being said, I had just popped in here and saw a lot of confusion. I thought I would try to help. I happen to have a fair amount of familiarity with the topic. Sometimes the current editors at Wikipedia appreciate my help, sometimes they don't. With a rebuke like yours, I'm content to leave well enough alone for the time being. Feel free to contact me (anyone) if I can be of any assistance in the future. If I see any obvious errors, I'll be back to notify you here. Other than that, I'll let you all sort it out as best you can. Good luck.
StevenBKrivit (talk) 23:41, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
This may not be quite the right place for this comment, but no other spot is good either. One current problem with the article is that is does not present the real state of affairs in the general scientific community. That state is that 'cold fusion' is a known example of pathological science. This reputation was gained early in the history of cold fusion, and I think it was promoted primarily by the book by J. R. Huizenga (Cold Fusion: The Scientific Fiasco of the Century. University of Rochester Press, Rochester, NY, 1992. ISBN 1 878822 07 1). (Huizenga was the head of the 1989 DOE review committee.) The books by F. Close helped a lot too (Close F; "Too Hot to Handle" WH Allen, London 1990; ISBN 1 85227 206 6 and "Too Hot to Handle. The Race for Cold Fusion" 2nd Edition, Penguin paperback 1992, ISBN 0-14-015926-6). The average scientist followed the 'fiasco' up to that point and then went on about his/her business, assuming the issue was settled. The publication rate began dropping off shortly after that point was reached (see D. Britz's Figures here However, a core of believers continued to try to figure the situation out, and they have continued to this day. By avoiding publication (by primarily only publishing in their own conference's Proceedings) they have lulled the average scientist further into that belief. So today, the Cfers are resurging somewhat because they have figured out ways around the system, and they have limited opposition. The article is written primarily (as far as what basic facts are contained in the article) from that closed mindset, where CF is opposed, barred, and suppressed. In fact, they refuse to participate in normal scientific channels by responding to valid criticisms, they just ignore them, hoping to continue to bank on the lack of interest of mainstream science. Their most recent tactic is to rename the field to something 'more respectable'. So from Wiki's POV, what is needed is to bring in the historical aspects of this, and then lay out the criticisms that they CFers avoid answering. Once that is in place, the article should be much more balanced. Kirk shanahan (talk) 11:53, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Dear Kirk,

PLEASE edit the article. We are here to support you. Your understanding of the situation is far better than anyone else I have come across.

ScienceApologist (talk) 13:00, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Yikes. This article is absurdly POV. I'd also support you, Kirk, and hope you work on the article. Cool Hand Luke 14:53, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
OK, since we now have other eyes on the problem, I have altered the first few paragraphs of the Intro to reflect what I discuss above. Have at it editors! (also added a couple of refs that are 2nd editions of books, should we keep both eds. or just the last?) I may add more later if this effort works out. Kirk shanahan (talk) 20:04, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
May I ask that proper sources are provided when new content is added ? Thanks. Pcarbonn (talk) 20:59, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
You may ask for proper sources by adding {{cn}} tags or by mentioning them explicitly on the talkpage. ScienceApologist (talk) 21:58, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
I also support your efforts Kirk. As for Pcarbonn I was wondering if you could explain the citation requests I assume you added. This intro material is not an especially controversial historic perspective. It seems to be a fair overview that treats CF with far more respect than I would offer for reasons that I can cite. But there is no need for me to lamblast Bockris for being a nut job or P&F for a predilection towards press conferences. The point is the current intro is fair and discusses a social split that is real regardless of whether there is substance in cold fusion research. I would imagine the information is covered in any number of the books already cited in the surrounding sentences. The more detailed and technical perspective based on the peer-reviewed papers can go into the body.--OMCV (talk) 01:27, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
You say : "I would imagine the information is covered in any number of the books already cited in the surrounding sentences". So it should be easy to provide a source for it. We should work towards the highest verifiability on such a controversial topic. Using the precise word from the source is often necessary. As I said below, I challenge the exact role and notability of the books that the lead mentions. Pcarbonn (talk) 06:39, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for your support OMCV, and welcome to dealing with the editing style of Pcarbonn. Anything he finds negative towards cold fusion, he attacks with full guns. He always starts with the 'sourcing' ploy. However, as you have noted, there are numerous articles and references, and trying to work that into the lead is unnecessary. Pcarbonn brought up several other refs in the section below that also substantiate the historical situation. This is all well known and equates to saying "2+2=4", i.e. it does not require a source. So, I have no intention of engaging in another drawn out debate with Pcarbonn on this. I will not supply a source for the "a position which is still held by the majority of scientists today" statement. That is a valid summary of the current state of affairs. Regarding the "Some of the criticisms put forth in these sources were ill-founded" and "some direct charges of fabrication on the part of one of the authors" statements: these were added to partially justify the CFers position, as there were some positions taken by skeptics in the early days that were not really supportable. If you all don't like them, drop those parts of the sentence. Re: "allowed cold fusion researchers to discount their overall validity" The idea that this needs a source is ridiculous. But I don't care, drop it as well if you like. Re: "with the result that they have formed a core group that still pursues proof of cold fusion to this day", why would anyone think that needs a source? Isn't the fact that a select group of researchers have continued to do the research and put out publications (in various places, including Proceedings) patently obvious from this whole article? The whole 2nd sentence here was pro-CF in the sense that there are reasons to pursue research, but not to the exclusion of conventional explanations. As noted above, there is nothing wrong with these statements as I added them except to cold fusion fanatics. We need to come to a consensus on this now, as Pcarbonn has used this tactic repeatedly on my additions in situations where I am just stating the obvious. The only problem is always that they can be interpreted as anti-CF by a fanatic. Kirk shanahan (talk) 13:56, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
Don't worry, Kirk, I've got you covered with sourcing. ScienceApologist (talk) 14:52, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm glad that your realize that I defend wikipedia's policies of verifiability to the point of supporting the removal of pro-CF statements. I do believe these statements should go until properly sourced. Pcarbonn (talk) 14:07, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

[unindent]SA, it's not that I can't source, it's that I feel the supposed requirement is inappropriate. Start going through the newspaper articles from recent times. The Wired 2007 report _starts_ with "to discuss a phenomenon that allegedly does not exist. Despite a backdrop of meager funding and career-killing derision from mainstream scientists and engineers, cold fusion is anything but a dead field of research." Note the 'alleged', 'derision from mainstream scientists', and 'dead field'. Then there's the Biberian 2007 "review", in its Abstract it says "the scientific community does not acknowledge this field as a genuine scientific research theme". The 2004 Physics Today article says "The cold fusion claims made in 1989 by B. Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann didn't hold up. But they did spawn a small and devoted coterie of researchers who continue to investigate the alleged effect". All that took me about 2 minutes to find. What I wrote is the current consensus position and is well known to all who know _anything_ about the cold fusion issue. It does not need to be sourced because everyone realizes this, except Pcarbonn. This either means we have a person editing a technical article who has zero knowledge about the field, or we have a biased advocate who is trying to suppress _individuals_ from contributing. Either way, Pcarbonn should not be editing this article. Kirk shanahan (talk) 16:42, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree with you that the sourcing requirements are a level of absurdity that is almost ridiculous. Unfortunately, since Wikipedia is not written by experts but instead by anonymous editors, the sourcing requirements on this encyclopedia are absurd. At first, I thought it was a problem, but after years of working around these problems I've learned how to essentially work around the absurdity. Pcarbonn is essentially POV-pushing on a grand scale here. He is technically right that the standards of Wikipedia are such that nearly every assertion needs to be cited, but he abuses this rule as a bludgeon. Including sources as footnotes on every sentence removes the tactic completely. I agree with you that Pcarbonn should be banned from this article. We'll see if that happens. ScienceApologist (talk) 23:36, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but… The problem is that if I source these statements properly, it would look like: “a position which is still held by the majority of scientists today[1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17…99,100,101,…].” which is utterly ridiculous in this case. It literally took me about two minutes to check the first few references on the reference list and identify the phrases that supported the statements I made. With a larger time investment, I’m sure I can get further support from many articles just in the references we already have. We need to keep in mind what we are trying to communicate to the Wiki reader who comes to this article. An uncluttered general overview of the field is what we are seeking I’d think. When the referencing gets so deep, the reader looks at it and thinks that they can’t handle the silliness of this article and leaves. If instead, he/she is enticed by the lead-in to read further, then specific sources can be given, and the whole idea that CF is a fringe field will become readily apparent, confirming the general overview if the reader had any doubts. (And note that even reading proCF reports will still confirm that the field is fringe.)
The reason I am banging on this is that when I tried to write a general description of the criticisms against heavy metal transmutations, Pcarbonn pulled the same tactics out. He refused to recognize that when you deal in trace level impurities, contamination is always as issue. That’s just basic chemistry, yet P insisted I ‘source’ that. I don’t even think that’s possible, since it is an underlying theme to chemistry that isn’t even explicitly stated in freshman or high school chemistry texts, yet everyone knows that ‘A’ and ‘B’ won’t react with ‘C’ the same way, so that if you have a mix of A and B, you will get different results than if you used separated components. Why would this need to be sourced? It makes no sense. Furhter, in my discussion of the literature discussion revolving about my work on the calibration constant shift problem, I cited all the relevant papers and then discussed them. But P again whipped out his ‘sourcing’ flame thrower and trashed the whole discussion. In normal scientific discussion, you cite the work and discuss it. As long as you don’t shift away to something else (which should then be referenced) the context remains the same and repeating the citations every time you mention a point is redundant and confusing. I would think the same standards would apply to an encyclopedia.
I suppose we could take the quotes I gave in my comment above and put them into the lead with citation, but that may not give the reader the impression that there is consensus view of the field A flat-out statement to that effect is both true and more direct. What do you think? Kirk shanahan (talk) 13:00, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Just glancing through your comment right now, I saw the statement "He refused to recognize that when you deal in trace level impurities, contamination is always as issue." Firstly, I think this is disingenuous. I'm pretty sure that Pcarbonn recognizes this. And I know that the people who did the transmutations experiments certainly do, as they took the liberty of bringing that up in their report (or a response to a criticism of it?). And they said that the discovered elements were unlikely to be contaminants because 1. they are rare isotopes of rare elements and 2. they were not present (in any detectable quantity, at least) in the material prior to the experiment. So not only did they acknowledge the possibility of contamination, but they went even further and assessed the probability of contamination for the specific elements, in addition to testing for contamination prior to the experiment. And if I'm not mistaken, that material's still in the article and Pcarbonn's perfectly fine with that. Kevin Baastalk 19:22, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Kevin, you’re confounding two things here. First there is the issue of whether or not CFers have adequately dealt with the contamination issue. Second is whether or not Pcarbonn is maliciously applying Wiki policy when it is clearly not relevant. Bottom line, contamination at trace levels is ALWAYS an issue. This is a given in chemistry. It HAS BEEN SHOWN TO BE a problem in CF research. CFers CLAIM they have dealt with the issue, but in fact they HAVE NOT. These facts need to be in the Criticisms section. I hope to get them in when we decide to work on the section in the near future. But Pcarbonn chose to block their inclusion previously, and will probably do so again. Hopefully, the new eyes participating now will see through his charade, and we will get a fair representation of current criticisms into the Wiki article. Kirk shanahan (talk) 19:05, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
Whether or not CFers have adequately dealt with the contamination issue is not ours to decide. When there is a notable, verifiable dispute, we present both sides per WP:NPOV, and do not take a side. As to "whether or not Pcarbonn is maliciously applying Wiki policy when it is clearly not relevant.", the simple answer is of course not. If you really think about it, that's not very likely/reasonable, though I understand how those feelings emerge. Bottom line is you need to remember to assume good faith. Kevin Baastalk 15:52, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Re: "In normal scientific discussion..." perhaps that's precisely the problem: by "normal scientific discussion" I presume you mean "research papers" and the like. But wikipedia is not a research paper and writing in the article as if it was is the very definition of putting original research in the article. And I don't think anybody's asking you to repeat citations over and over again. But yeah, if two different parts of the article cite the same source, they both get a cite and that cite points to the same reference at the bottom. Usually just about every single sentence is cited to at least one source. But I suppose if two adjacent sentences cite the same source, you only need a cite at the end of the second one and it's assumed to apply to the previous sentence, also. But yeah, we cite just about everything. He's not making that up. And there's no need to teach textbook physics in the article. For instance, instead of explaining what contamination is and how it's usually dealt w/in experiments, one would find reputable sources that discuss contamination in regard to a particular C.F. experiment. If you're still really concerned that people don't know what contamination is in regard to scientific experiments and all the subtleties thereof, you can (and should) wikilink it. (contamination). That's the convention here. As we say, wikipedia is not paper. (And on a side note, if you find the article on contamination lacking, feel free to improve it. It looks (to me) like it could use some meat.) Kevin Baastalk 19:47, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps I should have said 'normal logical dissussion'. The idea that references cited once in a paragraph are potentially active throughout the paragraph is standard writing. Sometimes, they even cross paragraph boundaries if it is clear that that has happened. I did Wikilink my additions, and, for fun, try checking the revision history of the contamination page.
To my knowledge at this time there is no peer-reviewed criticism of heavy metal transmutation claims. There is the claim by Iwamura to have detected isotopic anomalies in Mo (cited in our article I believe) that has been countered by Miuno, et al, in one of the ICCF conference proceedings, but supposedly I can't cite that. There is also the excellent example self-published by Scott Little showing that most of these observations can be could arise from concentration of trace contaminants, and the subsequent tracking down of those he had a chance to detect, but supposedly I can't even use that as an example. And then there is the clear bias in CF papers against molecular ion explanations, which can be illustrated easily, but is OR. What's a guy to do? Kirk shanahan (talk) 19:17, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
What's a scientist to do ? Write a paper in a scientific journal to explain his arguments and go on the record, so that others can respond to it. That's what. That's how Science is conducted. Self-published website are not peer reviewed, and do not allow responses.
Iwamura does discuss molecular ions, and reject that explanation, so please find something better. And what about the energetic neutrons found from SPAWAR and reported in Natuurwissenschaften ? Do you have an explanation for that too ? Pcarbonn (talk) 19:46, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Reliable sources

Various sources are being discussed. I know it is a quick and easy route out of a dilemma to identify that a source is not reliable, but we can't pick and choose on the basis of content. Best sources for this article: overviews and reviews of the literature, e.g. DOE reports. Next best sources, books from good publishers. Next best sources, articles in academic journals. Finally, articles in the non peer-reviewed science mags. Top-notch journals better than medium or low status ones, but all academic journal articles are OK so long as the journal's status is not dubious or disputed (e.g. Journal of Scientific Exploration). Some of these reliable sources are pro-CF others anti. Get over it (as I believe the young people rather rudely say). We are all going to work together to make a neutral article out of these sources. If that's not your agenda then there are plenty of other articles that need attention. Itsmejudith (talk) 01:36, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

One thing you miss in your analysis is an evaluation of authorship which is important as it relates to WP:PSTS. To this end, I recommend considering a weighting based on authorship as follows: 1 (primary source) if the author is directly associated with/has materially supported or conducted cold fusion research, 2 (secondary source) if the author is not directly associated with/has not materially supported or conducted cold fusion research, 3 (tertiary sources) if the author is summarizing expert opinion either as a journalist for popular audiences or as a neutral third-party presenter. I think that overviews and reviews from the DOE are great because they are essentially tertiary sources of the "best source" variety you list. However, books from good publishers can be ranked according to authorship. A book by Storms is manifestly NOT as good as a book by someone who isn't a cold fusion proponent. Whether Ed Storms' book is better than a secondary/tertiary article in an academic journal is up for debate. But we always must assume that third-party criticism is better than primary source advocacy. That's the case across the board, but especially when dealing with fringe articles like this one. ScienceApologist (talk) 01:50, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
I can't reconcile your logic with sourcing policy. Whatever criteria we use to evaluate sources must be independent of the author's conclusions. Otherwise our arguments become circular. I do accept that author is important alongside publisher. There is a threshold requirement for this article that an author must be a qualified scientist, probably a physicist, who has published in a relevant sub-field. Storms meets that. Itsmejudith (talk) 02:05, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
I do not think that weighting based on conclusions is being proposed, only authorship. The WP:RS of a secondary analysis by someone who does not conduct cold fusion research should be based on its independence, not its conclusions. Storms has well and truly drunk the kool-aid, which must color our reporting. The DOE tertiary analyses are both independent and thorough, and should form the pillars around which we build the rest of the article. - Eldereft (cont.) 03:24, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
AFAIM, you can be as tough as you want on the selection of sources, as long as you apply them equally to both sides of the controversy. For example, by your rules, we need to consider Shanahan's work as primary source. I support the use of the DOE reports, as long as they are properly and neutrally quoted. I believe that the current version does a decent job of reporting them. Pcarbonn (talk) 06:30, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
Shanhan's work is independent of cold fusion researchers, for the most part, which means that according to WP:FRINGE#Independent sources, we can use Shanhan's work can act as "a guide for describing the relationship of the fringe idea to the mainstream viewpoint." ScienceApologist (talk) 14:50, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't understand what you mean by "Shanahan's work is independent". He has analysed data, and published a theory to explain it. That's what scientists do. Are you saying that theoretician, because they don't conduct experiments, are independent of researchers ? Would you consider that theoreticians favorable to cold fusion would be also independent, on a par with Shanahan ? They would not be difficult to find, Hagelstein, of MIT, being one of them.
Or are you really saying that Shanahan is reliable because he dislikes CF ? In that case, I'd agree with Itsmejudith that your argument is circular: "He is reliable because I agree with him". Pcarbonn (talk) 16:28, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
Nope. Shanahan is not actively promoting cold fusion. That makes him independent from cold fusion promotion. ScienceApologist (talk) 23:40, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
?!?!?!?!? Kevin Baastalk 15:56, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Since when are books more reliable than academic journals? Since when are government reviews more reliable than peer-reviewed literature reviews? Those assertions are both contrary to WP:V and WP:RS. (talk) 19:53, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

I second that. WP:V policy has precedence over the WP:Fringe guideline (where ScienceApologist has been a regular contributor, by the way. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all define our own, self-serving rules, in line with our stated goal on our user page ? )
Here is the order of precedence defined in WP:RS: "In general, the most reliable sources are peer-reviewed journals and books published in university presses; university-level textbooks; magazines, journals, and books published by respected publishing houses; and mainstream newspapers." Pcarbonn (talk) 20:06, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
Authorship is of the utmost importance. If you disagree with this point, I suggest you start a RfC. ScienceApologist (talk) 23:40, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Summarizing Biberian's update

I've proposed using Biberian's peer-reviewed update to represent the proponents in the introduction. I don't think its abstract does it justice, and I don't think our exsiting summary of it does, either. How would you summarize it? IwRnHaA (talk) 21:36, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

I don't think that's necessary. ScienceApologist (talk) 23:46, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
You don't seem to think it's necessary to present more than one side of the findings and recommendations of the DOE 2004 panel, either. I propose to extend your final two sentences on it to read, "They were nearly unanimous in their recommendation that scientists apply for research grants from funding agencies and submit their work to peer-reviewed journals. Several reviewers stated that the current lines of experiments are unlikely to advance knowledge, but about a third said they were somewhat convinced by the existing evidence."
Is that not more neutral? IwRnHaA (talk) 00:00, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Nope. It's pandering and not summative -- unhelpful to the reader giving them an impression of something that is false per the discussion of what the report is saying "in plain English" above. ScienceApologist (talk) 00:17, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
And this material you deleted is soapbox grandstanding? Both my expansions and that material you deleted are from the sources cited. You seem to be willing to discard WP:NPOV to fit into your absolutist version of WP:FRINGE even when 1/3 of the scientists polled by the DoE were "somewhat convinced" -- but in this case you are eliminating material sourced to peer-reviewed journals. Where do you draw the line? IwRnHaA (talk) 00:45, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
I think, if you read the top of my user page, you'll see exactly where I draw the line. ScienceApologist (talk) 00:48, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
For a supporter of WP:V, you seem to be fine with using government committee reviews while discarding peer-reviewed sources. I guess we all see what we want to see and ignore what we don't want to see, to some extent. IwRnHaA (talk) 00:54, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
We certainly do. There are those who want to see the mainstream and those who wish to deny it. I am a member of the first group as far as Wikipedia is concerned. ScienceApologist (talk) 02:12, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree with you when it comes to articles about medical conditions like homeopathy, and subjects upon which people make everyday decisions like religion and spirituality (or would if agnosticism was in the mainstream.) But what is the benefit to excluding all non-mainstream views in electrochemistry articles? IwRnHaA (talk) 11:10, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
It's not excluded, it's just covered according to our policies and guidelines. ScienceApologist (talk) 13:03, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

SA, please abide with WP:NPOV: "All Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view, representing significant views fairly, proportionately, and without bias." This applies to the lead too. If 1/3 of the DOE panelists were somewhat convinced of low energy nuclear reactions, and the panel evenly split on the evidence of anomalous heat, this deserves a mention in the lead. Your "no equivocation" principle stated in a previous thread is just yours, and contrary to the core policies of wikipedia. Pcarbonn (talk) 07:56, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

WP:NPOV says "Articles that compare views should not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more popular views". Cold fusion is rejected by the majority of the scientific community and is a minority view, and the reason this article is almost certain to be delisted from GA is because it doesn't comply with this aspect of the policy. The lead is meant to summarise the topic whilst keeping to this policy, and this purpose is not fulfilled by inserting lots of pro-cold fusion material. Hut 8.5 10:07, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
How big is the majority ? That's the issue. WP:Weasel words won't help answer it. Pcarbonn (talk) 18:32, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Britz book review – “with most mainstream scientists refusing to accept the reality of cold fusion and a smallish band of researchers continuing work”
Beaudette Book (1st Ed.) – 1st line of book - “The topic called cold fusion has been dismissed, often derisively, by most scientists and the general population as wrong, a good example of bad science.”
Biberian 2007 – Abstract – “the scientific community does not acknowledge this field as a genuine scientific research theme”
Goodstein (1994) – “Cold Fusion is a pariah field, cast out by the scientific establishment.”
Wired 2007 – “a convocation of 50 researchers and investors gathered to discuss a phenomenon that allegedly does not exist. Despite a backdrop of meager funding and career-killing derision from mainstream scientists and engineers”
Physics Today (2004) – “The cold fusion claims made in 1989 by B. Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann didn't hold up. But they did spawn a small and devoted coterie of researchers who continue”
Seems to be "most, all, or nearly all" vs. a "small and devoted coterie". Kirk shanahan (talk) 19:30, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
So you are accepting Biberian as a reliable source for the review of the field ? Journal of Scientific Exploration (and Britz paper) as a reliable journal ? Please be consistent when assessing the reliability of a source. As for News story, WP:RS says that scholarly sources are preferred over news stories for academic topics. Pcarbonn (talk) 20:21, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
I am accepting that when Biberian wrote his Abstract, he stated the obvious, that most scientitst don't accept cold fusion as real. Biberian's paper is hardly a 'review', and he doesn't call it that, he calls it an update. It has 16 refs, 8 of which are to ICCF Proceedings. He also doesn't discuss any non-nuclear explanations. Hardly a 'review'. I count this paper here for the purpose of determining the social context equivalent to a newspaper report.
Likewise, the Britz book review is counted as a newspaper report, not a technical source. One could cite the New Energy Times version of it equally well. It's a book review, not a paper.
And finally, what is your point in quoting policies to me again? If there had been a scientific survey conducted, do you think I wouldn't have used it? Get real. Kirk shanahan (talk) 14:21, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Szpak and Shanahan on the volume of recombined gases?

What do other people think? Should we, per WP:LEAD, mention the specific controversy between Szpak and Shanahan concerning ruling out catalytic and other non-electrochemical recombination of the evolved gases by measuring the volume of water produced from recombined output gases? IwRnHaA (talk) 21:29, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

What are you trying to accomplish with this question? It looks a bit pointy to me. ScienceApologist (talk) 23:47, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
Is the question as to whether the volume of the recombined evolved gases rules out in-cell recombination during excess heat events central to the questions of calorimetry or not? Shanahan thought it was important enough to rebut, and expanded on his rebuttal above. I'm a bit hesitant to ask whether you think it's as important as he does. IwRnHaA (talk) 23:57, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
What does this have to do with the article lead? What wording are you referencing? ScienceApologist (talk) 00:19, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Per WP:LEAD, include, "any notable controversies that may exist."
Kirk Shanahan suggested that a calibration constant shift could explain apparent excess heat signals, and that such a shift could occur by a redistribution of heat in a F&P cell. He further speculated that such a redistribution would occur if recombination at the electrode became active, but acknowledged that this is not experimentally proven.[11][12] Cold fusion proponents say that such speculations are not supported by experimental results (in particular, that the measured volume of recombined output evolved gases does not allow for recombination within the cell), a statement that Shanahan later disputed.[13][14]
Which of our controversies is more notable than that one? It's a nice conservation of mass argument: during the excess heat events, either the volume of recombined evolved output gases goes down, indicating in-cell recombination, or it stays the same, indicating no in-cell non-electrochemical recombination. Either-Or, and a point on which Shanahan has repeatedly contradicted Szpak (and his coauthors including Fleischman.) I would think that detractors would be jumping at the chance to expose the most potent criticisms. IwRnHaA (talk) 00:52, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
The notable controversy is the fact that there are groups of people who disagree with the scientific consensus that fusion does not happen at temperatures suggested by cold fusion proponents. That's the only controversy that should be referenced in the lead. ScienceApologist (talk) 02:10, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
By DOE's count, this group represents 1/3 of scientists. They deserve a proportional representation in the article, per WP:NPOV. Pcarbonn (talk) 07:58, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Not necessarily, because Wikipedia is not an experiment in democracy. Our duty is to insure that the reader learns the proportions, not that one group or another is given space in accordance with those proportions.
Proponents do deserve at least three sentences in the lead, to the effect that: (1) Biberian is the most recent author of a peer-reviewed literature survey on the topic; (2) 1/3 of the 2004 DoE panel was somewhat convinced of the evidence; and (3) Navy SPAWAR researchers and Fleischman disagree with Shanahan about whether the volume of recombined evolved output gases allows for in-cell non-electrochemical recombination. IwRnHaA (talk) 11:00, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
I challenge one thing you said : "Our duty is [...] not that one group or another is given space in accordance with those proportions." This is contradicted by WP:NPOV which says: "All Wikipedia articles [...] must be written from a neutral point of view, representing significant views fairly, proportionately, and without bias."
For the rest, I agree. Here are some more arguments for including the pro view in the lead: (1) the DOE panel was evenly split on the evidence of excess heat; (2) WP:DUE says "In determining proper weight we consider a viewpoint's prevalence in reliable sources, not its prevalence among Wikipedia editors." It is not difficult to show that the prevalence of the pro-view in peer reviewed journals is far from insignificant as some like to think (see Dieter's list); (3) the fact that "most scientists are skeptical" is not relevant, because they are not reliable sources on this subject (they don't publish); (4) "most" is a WP:WEASEL word. Wikipedia's verifiability policy requires that the statement that follows "most scientists say" be much more clearly attributed. Pcarbonn (talk) 11:43, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
(5) WP:RS - Scholarly says : "Wikipedia articles should cover all significant views, doing so in proportion to their published prominence among the most reliable sources." (6) WP:V says : "In general, the most reliable sources are peer-reviewed journals and books published in university presses". I have already cited the pro-CF book published by Oxford University Press in association with the American Chemical Society(ISBN 978-0-8412-6966-8). Where is the equivalent skeptic book ? Pcarbonn (talk) 12:41, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

To be blunt, the "pro-view" is more than adequately covered in the current lead. I think that if either of you have an issue with the way this evaluation of what is the prominence/mainstream status of cold fusion, you should take it up at WP:NPOVN or WP:RSN because I'm not budging on this point and I doubt the other editors who are not explicitly pro-cf will either. ScienceApologist (talk) 12:58, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

What more does your introduction say about the views of the proponents than mentioning that they exist? Is there any reason that you are trying to shunt 1/3 of the 2004 DoE scientists' views down to a minimal mention other than (a) that you would then agree that 2/3 of the article should then be comprised of opponents views, and none have published in peer-reviewed journals since Shanahan, or (b) it opens the question as to whether the article should be apportioned congruently with some measure of the peer-reviewed literature, which would mean very much less than 2/3rds for the detractors? IwRnHaA (talk) 16:19, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
IwRnHaA, I find your comment difficult to understand. I think you want to say that there is very little skeptical papers worthy of inclusion, making the skeptics' case difficult to defend. Correct ?
SA suggests to raise our NPOV dispute to a noticeboard. Noticeboards can only address simple questions. WP:NPOVN suggests that we go for an RfC or mediation for complex questions. I would go for these options. Pcarbonn (talk) 16:34, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Why don't you just ask to reopen mediation? If you do, you might want to ask for a different mediator. IwRnHaA (talk) 16:44, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Would you be ready to join us in mediation ? I believe you could significantly contribute to it. Pcarbonn (talk) 17:29, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
If mediation is limited to a few central questions, like what proportion of proponents' and detractors' arguments should be in the lead, for example. IwRnHaA (talk) 03:15, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
I welcome other opinions on the best way forward in this dispute. Pcarbonn (talk) 17:31, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

In answer to IwRnHaA's original question, I don't think that the "specific controversy between Szpak and Shanahan concerning ruling out catalytic and other non-electrochemical recombination of the evolved gases by measuring the volume of water produced from recombined output gases" is notable enough for the lead. Kevin Baastalk 17:40, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree. Pcarbonn (talk) 19:46, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
Do either of you care to share your reasons why? Here we have a disagreement about simple, measurable results of experiments. The theoretician who hasn't performed any actual experiments says that there is recombination going on inside the cell resulting in the excess heat. The empiricists who have actually been doing the experiments say no there isn't, because they've been measuring the volume of the recombined output gases. And the disagreement has taken place in the most reliable of all the sources in the article. (Peer reviewed journals with the greatest impact factor.) How is that not a far more notable controversy than the fact that there are still proponents (SA's example above of the "only" controversy) which is implicit in the results of the DOE 2004 panel? It's entirely inconceivable to me why anyone wouldn't think that this easily-answerable question about what happens during the experiments isn't at the crux of the whole matter. IwRnHaA (talk) 03:10, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
You may have a point when you say that it's been published in a respectable peer reviewed journal. It would be nice to find a secondary sources that support the notability. Also, you are talking about the recombination issue, which is notable. I believe the CSS hypothesis is much less notable. Pcarbonn (talk) 06:54, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

sure, i'll give a few, but first some corrections/answers to what you wrote:
  • "Here we have a disagreement about simple, measurable results of experiments." - we have that just about everywhere. There's nothing particularly outstanding about this one.
  • "The theoretician who hasn't performed any actual experiments says that there is recombination going on inside the cell resulting in the excess heat." - well if one person has empirical evidence, and the other doesn't, than it's not much of an issue - then one of the viewpoints isn't significant. I.e. then it's not a "notable controversy".
  • "And the disagreement has taken place in the most reliable of all the sources in the article. (Peer reviewed journals with the greatest impact factor.)" That's not relevant. The issue isn't about RS it's about notability, proportion, etc.; "Summary style".
  • "How is that not a far more notable controversy than the fact that there are still proponents (SA's example above of the "only" controversy) which is implicit in the results of the DOE 2004 panel?" - what?! I don't understand what your're saying. maybe you said it wrong.
  • "It's entirely inconceivable to me why anyone wouldn't think that this easily-answerable question about what happens during the experiments isn't at the crux of the whole matter." Well let me blow your mind then: the crux of the matter is two-fold: whether or not there is some new phenomena going on here or just some measurement error and or oversight, and whether or not it is worthwhile to continue investigating.
Now a few reasons why it's not notable:
  • disproportiate to the space given in the article. The focus/space given to an item in the intro should be roughly reflective of that given to it in the body of the article. far from moving in that direction, the proposal is basically taking a microscope to one little aspect.
  • It's not a "notable controversy". Does the average laymen who's heard of CF before know about this and think about it when they think of cold fusion? No.
  • Way too specific. The intro is supposed to be a general overview
  • The only thing, in fact, with any specificity;
    • the only experiment
    • the only proposed explanation
    • the only time any pro or anti cf person would be mentioned in the intro (save pons & fleishman), etc.
There are so many other proposed explanations, experiments, and the like, why this one and none other? It's arbitrary. Unless you're going to include the entire pro and cons sections in the intro... which then it would obviously not be an intro... which is exactly my point. It is not intro material. Compare it to everything else in the intro and it stands out like a sore thumb. Why? Because it doesn't belong. Kevin Baastalk 15:43, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Re: Precision and accuracy of calorimetry

On rereading the article today, I discovered that the referencing to my work in this section was messed up. I corrected that by rephrasing the last part about what my papers dispute, and correcting the references.

I also placed a cit. needed tag on the statement regarding the opposing view. Will someone please cite the paper or papers that specifically say that? Kirk shanahan (talk) 16:19, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

In Szpak, et al. (2004) "Thermal behavior of polarized Pd/D electrodes prepared by co-deposition," Thermochimica Acta, volume 410, page 101, on page 102, they say,
"The frequently cited D2 + O2 recombination reaction, as being responsible for excess enthalpy generation, is not supported by experiment (recombination of evolving gases yielded volumes that were better than 1.0% of those calculated assuming 100.0% Faradaic efficiency [citing S. Szpak, P.A. Mosier-Boss, R.D. Boss, J.J. Smith, Fusion Technol. 33 (1998) 38], or theoretical considerations [citing F. Will, J. Electroanal. Chem. 426 (1997) 177])."
Maybe someone who isn't facing 3RR and understands the non-standard two-level references in this article can fix your citation needed tag. IwRnHaA (talk) 16:27, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
IwRnHaA, if you have not been blocked, and I believe you haven't, there is no reason why you could not make this edit at all. Pcarbonn (talk) 16:42, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
I would rather wait two days than risk violating WP:3RR. Also, I have become convinced that this controversy is intro-level material, because WP:LEAD specifically directs inclusion of controversies in the plural. IwRnHaA (talk) 16:51, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
You only risk violating 3RR when you do a revert. When you do constructive edits, as this one, I don't see how you would take a risk. Pcarbonn (talk) 17:29, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Fixed cit req by adding above paper ref link in Kirk shanahan (talk) 18:19, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

How to determine the weight to give to the Pro-Cold-Fusion side in the cold fusion article ?

This thread may eventually become an open RfC, or a notice on WP:NPOVN

Comments are welcome on the above question in order to satisfy WP:NPOV, WP:V and WP:RS policies, and associated guidelines. Among others, it has a bearing on the lead section (e.g. this disputed edit, but there are many more examples) and the body of the article (see full dispute above).

Here are some principles that have been proposed on the talk page, with a brief description of the arguments (this is not the place to develop the argument !):

Principle Arguments in favor of this principle Arguments against
1. "Most scientists say..."

or "The majority of scientists say..."

Stated by several News organisations WP:Weasel word.

Does not indicate how many scientists disagree.

"Most scientists" are not WP:Reliable sources for CF.

Academic journals should be preferred over WP:RS#News_organizations

2. 2004 DOE panel conclusions: WP:Notable source, meets WP:V

Gives precise indication of how many panelists were favorable or not to CF

not peer-reviewed --> not as WP:Reliable as it should be
3. Preponderence in peer-reviewed journals or reliable books Principle to be used per WP:NPOV
4. Hubler's published review of the field Published in scientific journal. Proceedings ==> not as WP:Reliable as it should be

A possible way for you to comment on this is to indicate the principle(s) you prefer, and why. You may also propose other principles, or improve the summary of the arguments. At this point, you should not discuss what the consequence of using the principles are. Pcarbonn (talk) 18:46, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

  • Rule 2 & 3 & 4: not ideal, but DOE is the most precise we can find. Wikipedia should report what the most reliable sources say, not coyly say what our audience expects, as a news organisation would do. Our reliability is at stake. Pcarbonn (talk) 19:07, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Rule 1: (see Wikipedia:Weasel#Exceptions.) Kevin Baastalk 15:27, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

There is an excessive focus on WP:RS in the analysis above. The following is my interpretation of how various content policies play out here.

  • Following WP:DUE, the coverage should be proportionate to the coverage in reliable sources. But of all the papers indexed by ISI (or whatever) in applied physics / condensed matter physics (or whatever), how many where about this topic? If this matter is broadly ignored by the scientific community at large, I worry that hand-picking a few peer-reviewed articles will skew the presentation.
  • What are the most reliable sources on questions related to the politics of science? Answers to meta-scientific questions should not be mined from special purpose journals. Instead, the DOE report seems ideal for this purpose. Newspapers should not be ignored either. Wikipedia articles should not read like scientific papers: softer sources, newspapers and science magazines, may be the most reliable sources for high-level questions, e.g., "What do most scientists think about cold fusion?"
  • Another way of insisting on the importance of higher-level sources is to ask to what extent the sources used explicitly and directly support the claims in this article, or whether there is some synthetic interpretation of primary sources involved here. For example, citing a bibliography to support the statement that cold-fusion researchers publish in peer-reviewed journals is not the same as citing a source that explicitly says "Cold fusion researchers have published in reputable peer-reviewed journals".

In conclusion, there may be many important questions, especially those related to political aspects of science, for which the most reliable sources are not found in peer-reviewed journals, but in newspaper coverage. The point is to ask what is the most reliable source that explicitly and directly supports a particular kind of statement. Vesal (talk) 11:16, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for your comment. Please note that the issue is not so much on the sources supporting particular statements (they are good sources quoted verbatim, so no new synthesis), but rather how much space should be given to each side of the controversy, in the lead and in the article. Pcarbonn (talk) 17:59, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
I will state my underlying concern more openly. I have only a fleeting interest in this question as I was lead here by the WP:FT/N postings, but I find this situation very complicated. On the one hand, I think you, Pcarbonn, are operating completely within Wikipedia policy; on the other hand, I sympathize with certain apologists of the scientific mainstream, even if they are resorting to quite heavy-handed methods to get their way.
Let me state the concern I have in more general terms. Consider another topic, say Bohmian mechanics. This obviously isn't as fringe as say intelligent design, neither as politically relevant to merit outright rebuttals, and there are decent scientists that publish about it in decent journals. For all I know, it may even be the theory that will win out; but currently it is a minority view. My worry is that the presentation can easily be skewed by hand-picking peer-reviewed sources in favor of Bohmian mechanics.
There seems to be a "bug" in Wikipedia's blind emphasis on peer-reviewed sources that can be easily exploited to over-emphasize minority (but not completely fringe) views. I admit, however, that it may not be an altogether bad thing: going with cutting edge, rather than the establishment; but it certainly makes conservative people like myself very nervous. Anyway, I'll leave this now for you all to decide what to do. It seems like a very difficult balance to strike. Best wishes to everyone involved, Vesal (talk) 23:17, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
It's funny that you take the example of Bohmian mechanics. That article does not have any disparaging statements from "most scientists". I wonder why, and why the cold fusion article must absolutely have them. Pcarbonn (talk) 08:30, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Heh? Did you read the section "Seen as isomorphic to many worlds" or the "criticism" section at the end?
Also, let's use WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS properly. The Bohmian mechanics is a theory much less famous than cold fusion, and it doesn't have die-hard supporters popping up on the page and trying to trying to push the latest experiment, so it's watched by less editors and has suffered less improvements. Also, that theory has not had as much notable criticism in mainstream newspapers and scientific journals as cold fusion has had, so it's totally normal that it's not on the lead. Look for "Gibbzmann 03:20, 28 October 2007" on the talk page, and the comments below it, to see complaints of non-neutrality and re-write proposals. That article needs some third-party meta-review of quantum mechanics that provides a realitic view of its importance, just like this one. --Enric Naval (talk) 12:20, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Patching Up the Intro

I have made another attempt to add cited comments regarding the mainstream scientists' view of CF. I have attempted to fold in Pcarbonn's comments on what led to the consensus, along with what I also feel helped. I have also added quotes to show the actual state of affairs over the span of 1994 to present. Hopefuly this will be found acceptable. Kirk shanahan (talk) 12:49, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

In response to Kevin's tag line on his edits "what's with all the quotes?! a bit unneccessary. plead much?" and "let's not include dimunitive opinion in the intro..."
I am in basic agreement with what you have done. By way of explanation, when I wrote something similar without citations I was requested to cite. Also, extensive discussion has occurred on this Talkpage about _how many_ scientists feel CF is bogus. So, when I wrote the mods today, I tried to address all those points. By deleting the quotes, you have removed the answer to the question about 'how many are for and how many against?'. As I said, I don't care, it reads fine to me now, but others may still want some clarification. Kirk shanahan (talk) 17:20, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Proposal for conflict reduction

How about we declare a temporary moratorium on edits to the lead (say for a month or two) and focus on fixing the article instead. The lead can then be rewritten from scratch to reflect the body at that time.LeadSongDog (talk) 15:00, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Fine with me. See my comment in the previous section. I have been rechecking the references and their usage today, and have a couple of comments on that. Also, I think there are some improvements to the sections where the positive results are presented. And of course, my favorite, we still need to drastically fix up the 'Criticisms' section. I'll hold off on the last one for a bit, as it will be a biggie.
With regards to references, there are only a couple left from my prior post here on that. Thanks to all for cleaning it up. I will note that the Fleischmann refs to the Proceedings of ICCF9 and ICCF10 are still in (2002 and 2003). Since their use is historical in context vs. technical, I don't mind that. Hubler is now only referenced once, and I think it is actually unecessary at that point, so it could be dropped completely to conform to the 'no Proceedings' rule. I think the reference to Josephson's address (2004) is questionable. He does use the term 'pathological disbelief' but my question is: Is a physicist (even a Nobel winning one) a reliable source for a sociological term? The Hutchinson reference seems a bit strained, it only mentions CF in 1 sentence in an article on the sonofusion debate. The Rusbringer and Di Giulio ref links seem to be broken. The Storms 1990 ref is to a photocopy of a letter posted on a Web page. Does this meet Wiki standards? Also, I seem to recall the work referred to in that ref was actually published. If so, we need that ref, not the one currently in.
With regards to the other sections, I would like to consider the problem of 'name-dropping'. There are two places where lists are used for no apparent reason than to overwhelm the reader with the diversity of what's on the list. The first case is where the list of peer-reviewed journals is presented. This idea is redundant to the Britz bibliography and all the other refs in the article. As well, one could simply cite the Storms 2007 book here. Why do we need an exhaustive list? This list has two refs associated with it, a link to Krivit's Web page again (is this per Wiki policy?), and a singular ref to the Di Giulio paper, which seems out of place.
The second place is the list of researchers who have reported positive CF results in the "Excess Heat" subsection. Again, making a simple statement that "many have reported positive results, see Storms 2007" should be adequate. Name-dropping is an indirect 'call to authority', i.e. 'surely if all these people find excess heat (journals have CF papers), the field _must_ be valid'. In fact, simply accumulating numbers doesn't mean a lot, especially if they are simply making the same mistakes as their predecessors, as is the case with the CCS error. I vote for condensing the lists to simple cited statements. Kirk shanahan (talk) 17:46, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
Oh, and one other problem. I noticed that the new book by Marwan and Krivit is already being worked into the article. Considering it just came out (as in a couple of days ago I think), I don't think its fair to be doing that. No one can confirm anything about it, and no reviews exist on it yet, etc. In other words, is it considered reliable or is it too recent? Kirk shanahan (talk) 18:16, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
Marwan and Krivit's book is considered reliable because it is published by the American Chemical Society and Oxford University Press. For the rest, it is justified by the need to present all sides of the controversy fairly. What is fairly ? We need a principle for that, and I welcome comment in the thread titled "How to determine the weight to give to the Pro-Cold-Fusion side in the cold fusion article ?". Pcarbonn (talk) 19:46, 31 October 2008 (UTC)
I think the problem is how we know it is being used fairly. Like the Storms book where he fails to mention the Clarke work and my final paper that rebutted his comments. With the book being new it is going to be some time before I get it at least. Kirk shanahan (talk) 14:54, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Is excess heat from in-cell recombination independent of calibration constant shift?

A question for Kirk Shanahan: Is a calibration constant shift a necessary result of excess heat from in-cell recombination? Or are they independent? I think the paragraph on this subject should be split into two or otherwise clarified if they're not interdependent. IwRnHaA (talk) 03:42, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

A possible CCS occurs because something has changed in the apparatus between the time the system was calibrated and the experiment was run. Typically, that is how calibration is done, separately from the experiment. In the limited number of cases where the calibration is done on the fly at the moment of a cold fusion event, the CCS would be expected to show only if the calibration method used at that point is suceptible to the same thing that caused the CCS. In my papers, I proposed what seemed to me to be the most logical method one could get a CCS in an F&P cell, but that doesn't mean that is the only way to get one. I haven't come up with any other, but that just means I may not be creative enough.
In my proposal, heat (in the form of chemical bonds) that is either lost through a vent in the open cell case or is normally deposited at the recombination catalyst in the closed cell case moves in the cell (I think to the electrode, based on Szpak's photographs of it). So what needs to be done in calibrating is to set up for that possibility, i.e. they probably need to use two heating resistors and change the power distribution between tham. That has never been done.
So, to answer your question, the change in distribution seems to be what is required to get the CCS (unless someone can think of another way). So I guess technically they are independent, as in-cell recombination may be going on while you are calibrating. You actually need to be more specific about the time profile of when and where the recombination is occurring.
The real key to understanding the CCS is to realize that the real cells are not homogeneous, and the possibility of change is real if the particular heterogeneity present at one point changes later. Kirk shanahan (talk) 14:44, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

Citation style -- let's get rid of the two-level abomination

I have added citationstyle to the articleissues template at the top of the article after wrestling with the arcane and Byzantine two-level citation references in use in this article, which obscure the normal links from the references to the articles used in the text. I noticed that Paneth and Peters' original publications in English no longer appear in the article, but I'm not particularly inclined to replace them until there is consensus that we should move from this abominable two-level style of citations to the standard Wikipedia practice of one-level named references. Any objections to that? I'll hold off for a week to see if there is any opposition. IwRnHaA (talk) 02:49, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

This method is particularly useful when a source is repeated in several places, as in this article. I support keeping it. Pcarbonn (talk) 18:02, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
It's no better than normal footnotes for sources cited multiple times. On the other hand it takes twice as long to check an existing reference or add a new one, and very few articles use it. Hut 8.5 09:16, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
It is better when a source is cited multiple times on a page that is constantly changing like this one: either you have to insert the full citation in each reference, or you have to make sure that the first reference where it is cited in full does not get deleted inadvertently. Either way is worse than the system we use. This one also has the advantage that we can easily cite a reference in the talk page, eg. Storms 2007 : it is easy to find in the alphabetic bibliography. Pcarbonn (talk) 16:17, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Changed more POV-pushing

I go away for three days and come back to find a lead rife with POV-pushing and pro-CF innuendo. I removed it or changed it.



  1. Stop claiming that CF evidence have been published in "numerous peer-reviewed journals". We've already discussed the fact that they are unable to publish in the top-tier journals of their field which is far more relevant to this page than the fact that they manage to squeeze in to low-impact factor journals be they "numerous" or not.
  2. Stop trying to segregate the journals, books, and conferences. They are all part of the same ploy; the same ploy that scientists have met with skepticism.
  3. Stop inserting "conclusively" before the word "demonstrated". We discussed above how using the adjective "conclusively" makes it seem like it actually was demonstrated. The adjective as it is used here looks like it is being used to sow doubt in the reader's mind as to whether it was possible that the claim had been demonstrated, just not "conclusively". It's actually the opposite sense that works in science per extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. This innuendo must stop.
  4. Stop trying to cook up favorable statistics from the 2004 report. "A third of the reviewers found the evidence somewhat convincing". Or we can say, "Most of the reviewers did not even find the evidence to be somewhat convincing". Note that we've discussed the fact that the 2004 report did not vindicate cold fusion advocates, it explicitly was not in contradiction to the 1998 report. That's the sense that the reader must get. None of this "cold fusion is making progress! They convinced a third of the panel!" Bullcrap.

ScienceApologist (talk) 15:07, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

  1. As discussed above, CF papers have been published in the top third of all journals. Since when does wikipedia rejects these reliable sources ?
  2. The skepticism of scientists does not justify the rejection that you actually do.
  3. extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence is in no way part of the scientific method. Is the pioneer anomaly issue based on extraordinary evidence? Not at all.
  4. Stop inserting WP:weasel words. The statement is verbatim from the DOE report : there is no reason to hide this from our readers, as it does represent what the DOE found. Pcarbonn (talk) 16:27, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
  1. Top third in a data-dump of journals, most of which are not even obliquely related to the topic. I suggest that only half of the journals in your analysis were relevant to the subfields which means that most of the cf-publications were in the bottom half of relevant journals in terms of IFs.
  2. The skepticism of scientists is the majority opinion that must be respected as the majority opinion.
  3. No one said it was part of the scientific method and this is a red herring on your part meant to obscure the fact that the article should not be advocating a positive treatment for cold fusion.
  4. The verbatim statement is cherry-picked. There are no weasel words inserted.
ScienceApologist (talk) 21:13, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
We have plenty of references saying that the majority of scientists reject cold fusion. Nobody mentioned trying to "hide" the results of the DOE report from readers, but the lead should only be summarising the main points of the article and if the only thing it says about the 2004 DOE is "one third of the reviewers were somewhat convinced" this doesn't give an accurate impression of the full contents of the report. Saying "most scientists" doesn't violate WP:WEASEL, since that guideline explicitly allows uses "when the belief or opinion is actually the topic of discussion" and gives as an example "In the Middle Ages, most people believed that the Sun revolved around the Earth", so "most of the reviewers" or "most scientists" are acceptable. The Pioneer anomaly may not require any new physics at all to explain, so there aren't any "extraordinary claims".
Out of interest I had a look at what the online edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica had to say about cold fusion. They gave it only one paragraph (a lot less than muon-catalyzed fusion) and that paragraph consisted of a description of the Pons-Fleischmann experiment followed by "Efforts to give a theoretical explanation of the results failed, as did worldwide efforts to reproduce the claimed cold fusion". Note that this gives the pro-cold fusion side a lot less weight than this article does. Hut 8.5 21:09, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
The references say that scientists are skeptical, not that they reject CF. That's what the scientists say, and we state it clearly in the intro already. The DOE, being another entity, said something different. The DOE said that they did not find the effect to be conclusively demonstrated, that 2/3 were not convinced, and that 1/3 was somewhat convinced. Let's not confuse the two different opinions. Let's not force the DOE to say what the scientists say, if the DOE did not say it. Pcarbonn (talk) 21:47, 4 November 2008 (UTC)
They say things like "Cold Fusion is a pariah field, cast out by the scientific establishment. Between Cold Fusion and respectable science there is virtually no communication at all." That's a lot stronger than "skeptical". The current version of the lead (as I write this, anyway) is fine. Hut 8.5 07:48, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

Current quote conflicts with WP:WEIGHT

Pcarbonn changed the quote to the conclusions of Charge Element 1 which is a quote which violates our WP:WEIGHT policy. In particular, it give equal weight to the minority view (one reviewer) as it does to the majority review (two-thirds of the reviewers). I recommend using the quotation from Charge Element 2 since it is more in-line with our policies. ScienceApologist (talk) 01:43, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

Some quotes from WP:WEIGHT : "Minority views can receive attention on pages specifically devoted to them", "On such pages, though a view may be described, the article should make appropriate reference to the majority viewpoint wherever relevant". I believe we are perfectly in line with that policy when we quote the conclusion of charge element 1 of the DOE report. Please note that the minority view include the 1/3 of reviewers who were somewhat convinced. Pcarbonn (talk) 07:48, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
You are confusing the issue. This is not a page on The minority view of the 2004 DOE panel. This is a page on cold fusion. As such, the minority view on the subject (the 2004 DOE panel) does not deserve more weight than the majority view. Right now, by using this quote we are weighted in terms of sheer amount of wording much more heavily toward the minority view of the panel than the majority view. It's not hard to see why a cold fusion proponent would want to weight the discussion in such a fashion, but we are here to write a neutral account, not an advocacy screed. ScienceApologist (talk) 07:51, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
When I count the amount of wording devoted to each views, I don't see any significant difference between the wording you propose and the one I propose. Both have a statement about the one reviewer who was convinced. The statement I propose has the advantage of being more precise and informative. Pcarbonn (talk) 11:55, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
Suggestion - why not say "Of eighteen reviewers, twelve thought X, one thought Y and five were unconvinced." to remove ambiguity?LeadSongDog (talk) 15:56, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
Good idea. I support it. Pcarbonn (talk) 16:52, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
That's fine. It gives enough weight to the skepticism by replacing "somewhat convinced" with unconvinced. ScienceApologist (talk) 20:43, 6 November 2008 (UTC)
Unfortunately, Pcarbonn has reneged on his agreement and has tried to push back repositioning the weight towards the cold fusion advocates again. I reverted, but we may need to go back to the drawing board. ScienceApologist (talk) 08:16, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
Indeed, I agreed on the use of 12, 5 and 1, instead of 2/3, 1/3 and 1. I still don't agree on the rephrasing of the DOE statements to align it to your skeptical opinions. This is as question simple enough to be addressed by WP:NPOVN or an RfC, so I'll raise it there when I have some time. Pcarbonn (talk) 08:19, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Change a direct quotation paragraph to a single sentence

I think the issue is that we use a direct quotation in the lead, which is something that we probably shouldn't do per WP:LEAD and WP:SUMMARY. My feeling is that we should simply summarize the report without pandering. There is no need to say who was "convinced by evidence". All we need to do is say that the report is in-line with the conclusions of the 1989 report and leave it at that. A single sentence will do the trick.

What's more, including an entire paragraph devoted to the DOE report is overkill. We don't devote an entire paragraph in the lead to the 1989 report. I think that since we devote one sentence to the 1989 report, devoting one sentence to the 2004 report is fine.

ScienceApologist (talk) 08:23, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

I oppose that. That paragraph has been worked on by many editors in the last 2 weeks, and we were close to reach a consensus. The 2004 DOE provides the most notable and recent assessment of the cold fusion controversy, and the reader deserves to know more that just one sentence of it. That you do not like its conclusion is not a good reason for eliminating the paragraph. Pcarbonn (talk) 09:38, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
It has nothing to do with liking the conclusion or not. Right now we are focusing too much on one report at the expense of the subject material. We do not need an entire paragraph in the lead on the 2004 report, and the current lead makes it seem like a full quarter of the article will be about the 2004 report when that is far from the case. ScienceApologist (talk) 10:22, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Brooks' book

I'd like to get opinion on how to use the following sentence from Brooks' book : "13 things that don't make sense":

"In the years since the DOE report came out, there has been a further breakthrough, too. The cold fusioneers now have reliable evidence that, whatever the calorimetry considerations, some kind of nuclear reactions are definitely going on in their experiment." (p. 66)

He is referring to the CR-39 evidence from SPAWAR. Thanks in advance. Pcarbonn (talk) 12:04, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

In a word, don't. My impression from the New Scientist article is that his level of understanding of physics is rather low. There is no reason to consider the book a reliable secondary source (like a textbook or review article) and it is certainly not even a reliable primary source (no peer review).
It's not our job to evaluate the content, but I would like to make the personal comment that I have trouble using words like "reliable" and "definitely" - much less "bulletproof" - when it comes to CR-39 detectors used by themselves. If the dozens of experiments with time- and energy-resolved neutron detectors didn't yield unambiguous results, then CR-39 can't either.
--Art Carlson (talk) 13:26, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
Funny you should say that his level of understanding of physics is rather low : Michael Brooks (science writer) has a PhD in quantum physics. Also, please remember that CR-39 are routinely used as detectors in nuclear physics, and that they are very sensitive (thanks to their integrating nature) and straightforward to analyze, unlike time- and energy-resolved neutron detectors. The evidence presented in Natuurwissenschaften is "almost incontestable", as Brooks put it (and I agree, for what it's worth). Pcarbonn (talk) 13:49, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
Brooks is certainly not a reliable vetter of SPAWAR's claims.He is a science journalist and cannot have a professional opinion on the subject since he doesn't work in physics any longer. His opinion is not encyclopedic on this matter. ScienceApologist (talk) 04:26, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

Off topic

At the risk of getting off-topic (on-topic being whether Brooks is a reliable source): How does the sensitivity of CR-39 compare to a scintillation detector (or one based on neutron absorption)? How is etching and counting pits under a microscope more straightforward than analyzing pulses of light? Why is CR-39 not even mentioned in the Neutron detection article? --Art Carlson (talk) 14:55, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
If I'm reading this study correctly, it appears that CR-39 detectors are used to calibrate scintillation detectors. Is that accurate enough? Ronnotel (talk) 16:38, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
Nice. What's more accurate, the guitar string or the tuning fork used to tune it? The thing about "integrating" devices is that they get more accurate by the second, quite literally. I imagine that property is very useful when sensitivity is an issue but time is not. Kevin Baastalk 23:49, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't know what a scintillation detector is, so I don't know. counting pits is more straightforward than analyzing pulses of light because it is easier to do, it doesn't require high-technology and there is less room for error. (Besides, as previously mentioned, it's natural integrating effect makes it tough to beat.) I don't know why it's not mentioned in said article. Kevin Baastalk 15:26, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
Oh, and by "less room for error" I mean it's less prone to electromagnetic interference and things like that. It's more "robust", to put it in a word. Kevin Baastalk 23:56, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Here is what Mosier-Bos (Natuurwissenschaften 2008) says on CR-39 : CR-39 is an allyl glycol carbonate plastic that has been widely used as a solid-state nuclear track detector. These detectors have been used extensively to detect and identify such fusion products as p, D, T, 3He, and α particles resulting from inertial confinement fusion (ICF) experiments (Séguin et al. 2003). They have also been used to detect neutrons (Phillips et al. 2006). When a charged particle passes through the CR-39 detector, it leaves a trail of damage along its track inside the plastic in the form of broken molecular chains and free radicals (Frenje et al. 2002). After treatment with an etching agent, tracks remain as holes or pits. The size and shape of these pits provide information about the mass, charge, energy, and direction of motion of the particles (Nikezic and Yu 2004). Therefore, CR-39 detectors can semiqualitatively be used to distinguish the types and energies of individual particles. Advantages of CR-39 for ICF experiments include its insensitivity to electromagnetic noise; its resistance to mechanical damage; and its relative insensitivity to electrons, X-rays, and γ-rays. Consequently, CR- 39 detectors can be placed close to the source without being damaged. Furthermore CR-39, like photographic film, is an example of a constantly integrating detector, which means that events are permanently stamped on the surface of the detector. As a result, CR-39 detectors can be used to detect events that occur either sporadically or at low fluxes. Pcarbonn (talk) 16:02, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

There was an interesting study done over at earthtech, but unfortunately I'm not aware of this being published other than at that web page. They find that pits don't have the appearance of pits made from alpha particles. They were also able to make similar pits while electroplating other metals (including Cu and Ni), with pit formation depending on the anion plated as well as the metal. They conclude that "...chemical origin is a distinct possibility and therefore that nuclear origin is not a certainty."
Also see slide 22 of Ludwik Kowalski's APS talk on CR-39], entitled "Large pits we observed cannot be attributed to alpha particles or protons, or neutrons." --Noren (talk) 04:42, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Earthtech's criticism cannot explain the triple-tracks reported in the later paper of Mosier-Boss (2008), indicative of energetic neutrons. Furthermore, Earthtech's paper has not been accepted for publication in a peer reviewed journal. Pcarbonn (talk) 10:52, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
It is unfortunate that they have not yet published this in a forum we can use in the article space, but this may just be a matter of time. I am hopeful that there will be discussion of the topic in the forthcoming book by some of the scientists at Earthtech, Frontiers of Propulsion Science, which is set to contain a chapter entitled 'Null Tests of “Free-Energy” Claims'. --Noren (talk) 16:30, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

"Criticisms based on theoretical grounds have been contradicted by experiments"

What exactly is that supposed to mean? It's in the DOE 2004 section of the introduction, but none of the papers seems to discuss any of the theoretical objections mentioned in that report. The sentence is also extremely weasely. What criticism and which experiments? --Stephan Schulz (talk) 23:07, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

If by "weasely" you mean "vague", then yes, it is vague. "It's in the DOE 2004 section" - do you mean that it's in the DOE report? "of the introduction" - the introduction is a summary of the body of the article and it is supposed to be vague. The body of the article should have the criticisms and the experiments. According to Wikipedia:Summary style. Kevin Baastalk 23:41, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
I disagree about anything being supposed to be vague. Vague is not the opposite of detailed. And the full section on the DOE report is not enlightening about this statement, either. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 23:51, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
True, specific is the opposite of vague. Kevin Baastalk

I was referring to the controversy between the empiricists and the theoreticians described above. I remain astonished that this dispute based on conservation of mass from the most reliable of all the sources in the article according to the criteria in WP:RS and WP:V is not enthusiastically supported by everyone for inclusion in the introduction. IwRnHaA (talk) 20:27, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

I have re-inserted and expanded with clarification:

Criticisms based on theoretical grounds have been contradicted by experiments; for example, suggestions that excess heat is due to non-anomalous causes have been disputed by those who have measured the volume of recombined output gases;[15][13][16][12] similarly, experimenters have denied theoretical criticisms of radiation detection[17] and of results showing nuclear transmutation.[18]

IwRnHaA (talk) 21:14, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

No, you cannot say that. It's simply not neutral. There are many sources which cast a pall of doubt on cold fusion experiments and therefore it is questionable whether they "contradict" anything. Also, you are misusing the term "theoretical" when you probably mean "speculative" -- and even so, that the criticism is "speculative" or not is a POV that is held only by a tiny minority. ScienceApologist (talk) 03:02, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
Can you summarize the same facts in a more neutral way? IwRnHaA (talk) 05:01, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

While I believe that IwRnHaA is going a bit too far in terms of WP:OR in his latest edits, I strongly support his view that the article should represent the view of the most reliable sources. In fact, this is what wikipedia policies require. Here is what WP:NPOV says : "All Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view (NPOV), representing fairly, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources. [...] Keep in mind that in determining proper weight we consider a viewpoint's prevalence in reliable sources, not its prevalence among Wikipedia editors.". Please note that the policy does not say that the article should represent the view of "most scientists", and for good reasons.

Ranking of sources per reliability

To help resolve the dispute, I would propose that we establish a ranking of the source per reliability, indicating wether they are favorable or not. To help rank them, Wikipedia:Verifiability#Reliable_sources says "In general, the most reliable sources are peer-reviewed journals and books published in university presses; university-level textbooks; magazines, journals, and books published by respected publishing houses; and mainstream newspapers".

So, here is a start according to this ranking and WP:PSTS:

1a secondary reputable peer-reviewed papers:

Favorable : Biberian, Jean-Paul (2007), "Condensed Matter Nuclear Science (Cold Fusion): An Update" (PDF), International Journal of Nuclear Energy Science and Technology '3 (1): 31–43, doi:doi:10.1504%2FIJNEST.2007.012439,

1b primary reputable peer-reviewed papers:

Too many to cite, even if we limit ourselves to the top third of journals by impact factor. Mix of favorable and skeptical articles. See bibliography in our article, or D. Britz bibliography.

1c books published in University press:

Negative: Park, Robert (2000), Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud, New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-513515-6
Favorable: Marwan, Jan and Krivit, Steven B., editors (2008), Low energy nuclear reactions sourcebook, American Chemical Society/Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-8412-6966-8
Favorable: Storms, Edmund (2007), Science of Low Energy Nuclear Reaction: A Comprehensive Compilation of Evidence and Explanations, Singapore: World Scientific, ISBN 9-8127062-0-8

2 university-level textbooks:

3 magazines published by respected publishing houses:

Negative : Feder, Toni (January 2005), "Cold Fusion Gets Chilly Encore", Physics Today 58: 31, doi:10.1063/1.1881896,
Favorable : Anderson, Mark (August 2007), "Cold-Fusion Graybeards Keep the Research Coming", Wired Magazine, retrieved on 25 May 2008
Favorable : Jayaraman, K. S. (January 17, 2008), "Cold fusion hot again" , Nature India, doi:10.1038/nindia.2008.77

4 Government technical reports, including of panel surveys -- note: this might be higher if, for example, there had been some attempt at a comprehensive survey of researchers.

skeptical : U.S. Department of Energy (2004), Report of the Review of Low Energy Nuclear Reactions, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Energy,
Favorable : Szpak, Stanislaw; Mosier-Boss, Pamela A., eds. (2002a), Thermal and nuclear aspects of the Pd/D2O system - Volume 1:A decade of research at Navy laboratories, Technical report 1862, San Diego: Office of Naval Research/Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center,

5 books published by respected publishing houses

Negative: Taubes, Gary (1993), Bad Science: The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion, New York: Random House, ISBN 0-394-58456-2
Negative: Close, Frank E. (1992), Too Hot to Handle: The Race for Cold Fusion (2 ed.), London: Penguin, ISBN 0-14-015926-6
Favorable: Brooks, Michael (2008), 13 things that don't make sense, New York: Doubleday, ISBN 978-0-385-52068-3

6 mainstream newspapers

Too many to cite. See our bibliography.

7 academic conference proceedings

Favorable : Hubler, G. K. (5 August 2007), "Anomalous Effects in Hydrogen-Charged Palladium - A Review" (PDF), 'Surface and Coatings Technology '201' (19-20): 8568–8573; (slides accompanying author's lecture), doi:doi:10.1016%2Fj.surfcoat.2006.03.062, from SMMIB 2005, 14th International Conference on Surface Modification of Materials by Ion Beams

Please note that all the recent publications have been favorable. Also, the 2004 DOE report is hard to place in this ranking. I welcome contribution to this list, especially from the skeptical side. Pcarbonn (talk) 10:00, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

Of course "all the recent publications have been favorable" (or at least most). The majority of scientists have satisfied themselves that cold fusion does not exist, and so they have no incentive to publish their views. Hence the only people publishing on the subject are the minority who think it does exist, and they inevitably provide positive coverage. (The only exception are historical works analysing the 1989 controversy, but the publications of this type you have listed above are negative.) Wikipedia policy (WP:NPOV) says that we should not give undue weight to minority views, and we've established that cold fusion is a minority view (otherwise "most scientists" would not reject it). Hut 8.5 13:07, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
Our core policies does not mention the logic you propose at all. You have not demonstrated that cold fusion is the minority view in reliable, published sources. Please note the quality of the publishers in the list above. Pcarbonn (talk) 13:35, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
Why aren't you following the same general lines as WP:MEDRS: meta-reviews > papers > media articles. It's not our job to interpret the trends on publications when there are already meta-reviews doing so. --Enric Naval (talk) 21:24, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
Good idea. Does it say that Wikipedia article should represent the view of "most physicians" ? That would be scary. Pcarbonn (talk) 08:19, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
It sort of says that. Translate "the view of most physicians" to "the view of authoritative mainstream physics publications", and shorten it to "scientific consensus", and you get something similar. I quoth:
"Neutrality and no original research policies demand that we present the prevailing medical or scientific consensus, which can be found in recent, authoritative review articles or textbooks and some forms of monographs. Although significant-minority views are welcome in Wikipedia, such views must be presented in the context of their acceptance by experts in the field. The views of tiny minorities need not be reported. (See Wikipedia:Neutral Point of View.)" (emphasis added) Wikipedia:MEDRS#Summarize_scientific_consensus
In short, wikipedia is a bad vehicle for challenging mainstream scientific views, as it's supposed to give a report of the current mainstream view (and then report on only the significant (=notable?) non-mainstream views, but always on the context of mainstream (=if mainstream rejects them, then we say that they are rejected (and we explain why))).
(change of topic) Another good thing of WP:MEDRS is that it says that all clinical trials are primary sources, while reviews are secondary ones. Translated to cold fusion research, it means that all experiments are primary sources, and reviews, like DOE's review are secondary sources. This allow to apply WP:OR directly when inevitabily someone appears with a cherry-picked list of clinical trials (current location), without having to argue for a month on "are clinical trials secondary sources?". Also, even if you only work with reviews you can't list every review, you need to pick the best ones, or you can get swamped by too many low-quality/not-really-reliable meta-reviews that contradict each other. Also, it leaves clear that media reports tend to cherry-pick clinical trials (primary sources). The list compiled above by IwRnHaA had all of those problems. --Enric Naval (talk) 16:43, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
Here is what WP:DUE says : "If a viewpoint is in the majority, then it should be easy to substantiate it with reference to commonly accepted reference texts". Why don't you do just that to defend the skeptical view ? Pcarbonn (talk) 08:19, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
Are you asking for documentation that the existence of cold fusion is a minority view?! How about determining the top 10 textbooks and review articles on fusion. If they don't mention cold fusion, then we can say based on reliable sources that cold fusion is not considered fusion by the mainstream. --Art Carlson (talk) 09:36, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
No, he is not "asking for documentation that the existence of cold fusion is a minority view". He is asking you to "substantiate [the majority view] with references to commonly accepted reference texts". Nobody is arguing that the viewpoint that cold fusion phenomena have not been satisfactorily explained is in the majority, so there's no need to consult the top 10 textbooks. Kevin Baastalk 19:24, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, but I don't understand your comment any better than Pcarbonn's. Does somebody still have a problem with the article or a suggestion for improvement here, or have we moved on? --Art Carlson (talk) 07:57, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
As Dr. Shanahan points out above, Dr. Hubler's paper was not peer-reviewed. I've moved it to a new category 7, as it is fairly easy to get un-reviewed conference proceedings published. I've also renamed empty category 4 because that seems to me where the DOE panel surveys go.
Now, what do you think I added with WP:OR in it? IwRnHaA (talk) 13:20, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
Hubler is with Navy, so I moved it to category 4. Concerning OR, it's just a belief. Please check that you did not come up with new synthesis. Pcarbonn (talk) 08:19, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
Being with the Navy does not make a conference paper into a government report. Moved back. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 10:17, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Comparison to the pioneer anomaly

I'd like to hear your view about how the pioneer anomaly compares with cold fusion. Is the pioneer anomaly a possible challenge to the mainstream view ? Is the view that it is a possible challenge a minority view ? How do you determine that ? What can be inferred from the fact that the pioneer anomaly is not discussed in book or reviews about relativity or gravitation ? How does all this differ from cold fusion ? Pcarbonn (talk) 22:32, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Storms on energetic radiation

ScienceApologist has removed well-source statements (see this diff), with the following edit summary "some fixes of POV-pandering to cold fusion believers." This is ignoring that cold fusion is an ongoing scientific controversy, as reported by the 2004 DOE (whose conclusion included specific suggestions "to resolve some of the controversies in the field"). Significant views in this controversy deserve a fair representation, according to ArbComm's decision. Any comments ? Pcarbonn (talk) 12:23, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

It's definitely undue weight to rely so much on a single source by what seems to be an author with little impact in the field (Google Scholar finds a total of 4 publications, one self-published, two meeting contributions, and the book, and with none cited more than 3 times[2]). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 17:01, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Storms 2007 is one of the most reliable sources on cold fusion, according to Wikipedia policy. If you know of any better one, please tell us in this thread. Thanks. Pcarbonn (talk) 12:43, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm not (currently) dealing with reliability, but with weight. It's a book by a barely published author and with very few citations. It has had nearly no impact (so far). As such, it might be mentioned, but it should not form the backbone of an argument. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 14:00, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
The same logic applies for notability: do you know of a more notable source ? Please let us know. Pcarbonn (talk) 08:19, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
That's a surprising comment. First, I'm not talking about notability, either, but about weight. Secondly, why do you think the same logic applies to notability as for reliability? And thirdly, why do you think that "being the least non-notable source" is sufficient to use it for sweeping statements? --Stephan Schulz (talk) 10:11, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
You use Google Scholar to assess the impact of Ed Storms papers. Yet, Google Scholar lists only a couple of Ed papers, while he has written over 50]. I don't believe Google Scholar can be used reliably to assess his impact. That World Scientific is publishing a book from him, and that this book has had a favorable review published in J. of Scientific Exploration is evidence enough that he is a recognized authority in the field. Pcarbonn (talk) 22:32, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
This is RIDICULOUS. Publishing a book that has a favorable review in JSE? That's supposed to take precedence over a Google Scholar search? Transparent promotionalism is what this is. Let's think about the possibilities: one) Google scholar is unfairly characterizing a cold fusion proponents or two) Google scholar is showing how marginalized cold fusion proponents are. I don't think it's that difficult to figure out. ScienceApologist (talk) 05:52, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
The question is whether or not Google Scholar is a reliable source for assessing the impact of the person in question. Pcarbonn generalized that into two possibilities: 1) Google Scholar can be used reliably to assess the impact of all scientists. 2) Google Scholar cannot be used reliably to assess the impact of all scientists. Then, by comparing google scholar to authoritative publications, he provided an example where google scholar failed in that respect. That example happened to be of the person in question. So the argument is valid. He is arguing two things: Firstly, he is arguing that 1) (above) is the case. The way to post a valid rebuttle to this argument would be to show that a few out of 50 is a decent sample size for making a reliable assessment of a scientist's impact. Secondly, he is arguing "That World Scientific is publishing a book from him, and that this book has had a favorable review published in J. of Scientific Exploration is evidence enough that he is a recognized authority in the field." The way to construct a valid rebuttle to this argument would be to show this statement is in some way false. Kevin Baastalk 17:31, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
No wonder that your Google Scholar search returned only 4 references: it was limited to 2007 ! If you remove that criteria, you'll find 63 references, the most popular one being cited 43 times. Is that a better evidence of his impact ? Pcarbonn (talk) 21:59, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
Good catch. I was looking for the new book specifically, and forgot to broaden the search afterwards. Still, 43 citations is not much for a review article on hot topic. Most of his scholarly articles are 30 years old and on different topics. Newer ones are in obvious quack publications like Infinite Energy and LaRouche crap like 21st Century Science and Technology. This is not something that bolsters reliability, nor impact. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 22:21, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
A hot topic ? I thought it was a fringe science ! Pcarbonn (talk) 22:59, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
Sure. But 17 years ago it was a hot topic. Then the approach failed to deliver... --Stephan Schulz (talk) 23:09, 11 November 2008 (UTC)


For your information, ScienceApologist has again suggested that I be banned from contributing to this article, here on WP:ANI. Pcarbonn (talk) 10:02, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

The cold fusion case has now been escalated to the Arbitration Committee, which accepted it. Pcarbonn (talk) 06:11, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

Case opened at Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Cold_fusion. Evidence can be added at the "evidence" subpage --Enric Naval (talk) 15:40, 14 November 2008 (UTC)
Where would I post a comment on the case for the arbitrators to see? Kevin Baastalk 16:45, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
On the "evidence" subpage. Your comment should be based on evidence. Pcarbonn (talk) 16:52, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
I added a statement. I don't have the time/motivation for the evidence subpage. I just want to make a comment, FWIW. Thanks, though. Kevin Baastalk 17:29, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

I take a leave

There is another proposal to topic-ban me from cold fusion here. Feel free to comment on it, as it will give me valuable feedback.

Based on the feedback I have received recently, I finally accept that I have developped some bad questionable editing habits. For my comfort, I use the excuse that I had to deal with many editors who wanted to present cold fusion as pseudoscience, despite evidence to the contrary. I apologize for having spent your precious editors' time.

It is thus a good idea for me to stop editing for some time. If someone can respond to my question about "pioneer anomaly vs cold fusion" here, it would help me understand how cold fusion should be presented on wikipedia, and how I can contribute. I suggest that this be conducted on my talk page. I'll also be happy to send info to editors who ask me about CF, a subject that I believe I know pretty well.

I repeat that my only goals are to make a better wikipedia based on the most reliable sources on the subject, and to make a better world for my children. This is something close to my heart. It is of course contrary to maintaining the status quo. Other than that, I deny any conflict of interest.

Pcarbonn (talk) 22:59, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

May I humbly suggest that the community takes a look at the (in my opinion) questionable editing behavior of some other editors ? And that, in addition to WP:POV, we stick to the core policy of WP:V and WP:RS ? Pcarbonn (talk) 05:05, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

The Summary of cold fusion in the pathological science article is rather unbalanced

(n/t) -- Nevard 02:13, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Image Verification?

The image on the main page (, claims to be from the US Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center. Is there any verification of this? If none is forthcoming I'll remove it in a couple of days. Phil153 (talk) 02:58, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

The original uploader Stevenkrivit (talk · contribs · count) commented: "(I shot this photo on 2/18/2005 at the United States Navy SPAWAR Systems Center in San Diego, Calif. while shooting a film documentary on cold fusion. Steven B. Krivit" here. In this case WP:AGF applies. Dr.K. (talk) 03:19, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
If the claim wasn't so important, I'd agree that WF:AGF applies. In this case, the image lends substantial credibility to cold fusion's viability and standing. As such, the image is providing WP:UNDUE weight. It's no different to a user claiming "I went to the naval yard and they had a cold fusion experiement running!. We would still WF:AGF but reject it as unverified and original research if this text was included in the article. Why should images be different? Phil153 (talk) 03:26, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Good points. Except that the mere presence of the tube and instruments doesn't guarantee that the system is working. It is simply the picture of an experimental set up. No guarantees are given it is actually producing fusion. Dr.K. (talk) 03:31, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
Oh I agree, I was more interested in the claim that the particular navy yard is doing these experiments and that the apparatus pictured is an experimental device produced by them. To me it's important whether or not the government is undertaking recent research in cold fusion as it gives the practice greater credibility. I'm having trouble verifying this as many of the references (including this picture) lead to, which fails as a NPOV source. Anyway, I realize I'm skirting WP:AGF so I'll leave it up to someone else to step in since this is controversial. Phil153 (talk) 03:45, 23 November 2008 (UTC)
I agree. You are raising a valid point. This, like many aspects of this field, is inconclusive. The association with the Energy Times POV source and the government connection claimed for the picture are valid concerns. However the Navy connection should be verifiable. If the Navy really carried out such research records should exist somewhere. If they can be found the claim made by the uploader should be easier to AGF. Let's see if anyone can assist in this. Dr.K. (talk) 03:55, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Verified I found and, an independent source which mentions involvement of people who work at the US Naval Research Labs. Apparently the labs do low level funding of various kinds of "out there" technologies. Good enough. Phil153 (talk) 04:11, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Excellent work. I apologise for not trying myself but this particular subject is simply not on the top list of my priorities. Your well posed question piqued my interest however, so I was interested enough to respond. Thanks and take care. Dr.K. (talk) 04:17, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

Some edits for NPOV, MAINSTREAM

Wikipedia is a mainstream encyclopedia. As such, we are here to fairly report on cold fusion.

Here is an edit I did to help this article conform to the above doctrine:



  1. "Summary of evidence for cold fusion" is not NPOV. People do not agree that this stuff listed here is actually "evidence" "for" "cold fusion". Everyone can agree that these are the assertions of cold fusion proponents. Let's keep it at that.
  2. We need to be clear that the only thing being discussed (right now) in this section are cold fusion devices that were built and reported on by proponents. The previous version did not do that. The current version does.
  3. "As of 2008, over 200..." We agreed a long time ago that attaching particular numbers to claims is irresponsible. Since Wikipedia has no way of verifying the number of "proper" claims, or even what makes a "proper" claim, we should not be reporting the number of claims. The source that numbers them is not universally considered reliable and is, in fact, promotional.
  4. The Hubler review is cited as evidence for "how much" excess heat. Of course, this is not a reliable source for this claim. The amount of excess heat has varied and reporting solely on positive results is an example of publication bias. We need to avoid this. It is good enough to simply state that cold fusion proponents believe that excess heat has been reported and leave it at that.
  5. The statement about nuclear science theory and cold fusion explanations was clarified to let it be known that no "theory" of "cold fusion" has ever been accepted by anyone but cold fusion proponents.
  6. The listing of people who believe in excess heat is excessive, promotional, and unnecessary. We can cite the people, but listing them in the article text is Project Steve-esque. Wikipedia is a neutral encyclopedia, not an indiscriminate collection of information. Unless the report of the particular cold fusion researcher can be shown to be prominent, Wikipedia policy says to marginalize it. To show prominence, we need to show that independent sources (that is, sources who are NOT cold fusion proponents) think the claims are notable. That criteria has not been fulfilled.
  7. Specific claims of the "order of magnitude" of the nuclear products were removed as being essentially unverfiable. We can state that researchers claim nuclear products. The details of their claims have not been scrutinized independent of cold fusion proponents and therefore cannot be included in Wikipedia.
  8. Claims made by pro-cold fusion proponents from the DOE report were not vetted independently. They were, in fact, intended to be partisan. Including them is tantamount to a complete subversion of WP:NPOV. Therefore those specific claims of "independent verification" of nuclear transmutations have been removed.
  9. The novel process conjecture is one held solely by cold fusion proponents. Therefore I have rewritten the sentence to conform to this point.
  10. Iwamura's specific claims are not independently verified. As such, I have kept in a simpler summary and removed points that are obviously contentious.

I expect that cold fusion proponents will be none to happy with these changes. However, if we are to take it seriously that Wikipedia needs to be WP:MAINSTREAM these edits, or at least edits along these lines will need to be put in place.

If you wish to argue with any point above, please do so below.

People who agree with this edit are encouraged to say so in the interest of proving consensus. If only cold fusion proponents respond, we cannot properly gauge the level of support for this treatment of the subject.

ScienceApologist (talk) 00:09, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

  • Support I first read this article a couple of days ago and was shocked at how bad it is (I'm a physicist). Your edits are a step in the right direction. As noted in WP:MAINSTREAM, Wikipedia should be presenting a highly fringe phenomenon in terms of the language of the maintstream, and the article doesn't do that. There's a lot more to do, I'll be happy to highlight some more problems and do the edits. Phil153 (talk) 00:45, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support On balance these edits and associated proposals seem reasonable. As a complete outsider to this debate up to now I really would like to see a more neutral tone to the article because I suspect we may have an "in universe" mentality reflected in some sections rather than a mainstream one. If and when any breakthroughs happen supported by WP:RS we can happily add them to the article. That would be a more fitting approach for a serious encyclopedia. To put it in football terms let the cheerleading begin after the touchdown has been achieved but not before that. We don't need a blow by blow account of the state of the art of cold fusion. Just a general overview of the topic. Dr.K. (talk) 05:07, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support On the whole, I think the article is shaping up. I would like to see more improvements though. In particular:
"In 2004, the DOE organized another panel to take a look at cold fusion developments since 1989 to determine if their policies towards cold fusion should be altered"
is misleading. The DOE did not undertake a review of the field as a whole. Instead, they agreed to consider a new petition from a group seeking DOE funding for cold fusion (referred to as "proposers") in a peer review process. The material considered was only that of the proposers. Instead of:
"Various people who have reported a supposed demonstration of cold fusion have used a variety of devices"
I would prefer something like
"Cold fusion claims have involved a variety of devices"
The statement:
"The cold fusion researchers who presented their review document to the 2004 DOE panel said that "the hypothesis that the excess heat effect arises only as a consequence of errors in calorimetry was considered, studied, tested, and ultimately rejected"
goes too far into the arguments and should be struck. It is much more interpretive than describing the kinds of apparatus cold fusion researchers use and the kinds of observations they claim to have made. You cannot observe "no calorimetry error." Likewise I would strike:
"The cold fusion researchers who presented their review document to the 2004 DOE panel on cold fusion proposed that there were insufficient chemical reaction products to account for the excess heat.[79] However, the amount of helium in the gas stream was about half of what would be expected for a heat source of the type D + D → 4He.
The former sentence is interpretive, the second is misleading and inaccurate. Finally, I would like to see:
" has lead some cold fusion proponents to conjecture that new processes may by converting nuclear energy directly to heat"
replaced with something more specific an accordance with the archived discussion. I think it is worth reporting that the proponents proposed an entirely new way in which high energy particles can interact with macroscopic bodies rather than attach significance to the absence of high energy particles.Paul V. Keller (talk) 16:15, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Support per all above. Verbal chat 16:19, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose, obviously. Wikipedia is not a mainstream encyclopedia, as discussed here. On the contrary, it is a NPOV encyclopedia based on reputable, scholarly sources. The statements under dispute come from reliable sources, and we should not evaluate them further. Hopefully, this will be resolved by the ArbComm case. Pcarbonn (talk) 16:41, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
Verifiability to reliable sources is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for including something. Wikipedia articles are not collections of all verifiable information on a specific subject. Hut 8.5 18:25, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Comment and follow-up I support Dr. Keller's proposals. They are reasonable and they address my concerns as expressed in my comments above. I don't think that the article will benefit by presenting in minute detail arguments and technical information contained in the sources or by micro-analysing and then trying to interpret technical details presented in reports or technical papers, especially if we still pretend that our readers need not be nuclear physicists in order to comprehend the article. Even if they were nuclear physicists there is still no agreement between them as to the exact processes involved so it is even more useless to include these highly detailed claims here. It is clear that this article does not have to be the battlefield of the micro-details as they continually unfold in the field. The analysis ethic in this article clearly needs to be more macroscopic. Dr.K. (talk) 19:54, 30 November 2008 (UTC)
  IMPORTANT: This is not the place to discuss or debate the validity of cold fusion. The following conversation, which was all this was, has been archived.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

You wrote:

"As of 2008, over 200..." We agreed a long time ago that attaching particular numbers to claims is irresponsible. Since Wikipedia has no way of verifying the number of "proper" claims, or even what makes a "proper" claim, we should not be reporting the number of claims.

You "skeptics" are astounding. You live in your own cloud-cuckoo land, where academic standards do not apply and conventional scientific evidence is not admitted. You say "Wikipedia" has "no way of verifying" the claims. What methods have you tried? Have you been to a library? Have you tried reading the mainstream, peer-reviewed journal papers listed at Our copies of these papers came from the libraries at Georgia Tech and Los Alamos National Laboratory. That's the kind of place people usually go to verify a claim. Your "information," on the other hand, appears to come out of a sewer, or you just make it up.

In normal, accepted science (something you apparently know nothing about) replicated, high sigma peer-reviewed results from over 200 mainstream laboratories would be considered irrefutable proof that a claim is confirmed. You "refute" this proof by pretending it does not exist, or putting quote signs around the word 'proper.' In the words of the Bush administration, you are not members of the reality-based community, and consequently you have filled this article and this discussion area with absurd speculation and nonsense.

- Jed Rothwell, Librarian,

The core of science, and of accepting scientific work, is replication of results. There isn't a single experiment described that can reliably replicate any of the results attributed to cold fusion proponents (such as detection of heat, or fusion products such as neutrons). In this sense, has very strong similarities to Polywater. The trouble with claims such as replicated, high sigma peer-reviewed results from over 200 mainstream laboratories is that they are original research. Who decides what is a "mainstream" laboratory, a replicated result, or a high sigma peer reviewed publication? Does Fusion Technology count as a reliable publication, even if peer reviewed and highly cited in Journal of Infinite Energy or Third International Conference on Cold Fusion?
That's what we must rely on reliable secondary and tertiary sources to make these kind of claims. If you find something backing up these claims in a reliable, NPOV publication, then source it, and the skeptics will have a much harder time removing such statements. I don't think that's unreasonable. Unless there's a massive conspiracy to keep cold fusion down, the main strike against it is that there isn't a working model that can reliably generate anomalous anything after decades and tens of millions of dollars spent in research.
Thanks for being up front about your background, BTW. Phil153 (talk) 03:05, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

You wrote:
Who decides what is a "mainstream" laboratory?
Okay, how would you describe Los Alamos, China Lake, BARC, Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, AMOCO, SRI, TAMU or the ENEA labs? Are these not mainstream?
. . . a replicated result
If you do not know what replications means you are helpless.
. . . or a high sigma peer reviewed publication?
High sigma refers to data, not publications.
Does Fusion Technology count as a reliable publication?
Yes, and so does the the Japanese Journal of Applied Physics, Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, the Journal of Fusion Energy and Physics Letters A. And unless you have been to a library you have not read the papers in these journals because they are not available on line (due to copyright restrictions).
That's what we must rely on reliable secondary and tertiary sources to make these kind of claims.
Who is relying on secondary sources?!? I have uploaded 500 original source papers, and made available a list of 3,000 others! How many have you read? You are the one relying on tertiary sources and rumors.
Furthermore, unless you think the laws of thermodynamics have been repealed and x-ray film has magically ceased to work, you have no reason to doubt the existence of cold fusion. In 20 years, no skeptic has published a credible, peer-reviewed critique of cold fusion. Skeptics have published only a dozen or so peer-reviewed papers. You can read most of them at Look up Morrison or Jones. You will find that they have no merit. When massive, positive, high sigma data has been collected and confirmed in hundreds of labs, using many different instrument types, a scientific debate must end. Peer-reviewed replicated evidence is the gold standard of proof in science. In fact, it is the only standard. You would substitute for it your own opinion, or handwaving, or facts that you just invented. You refuse to read the papers, and you ignore the judgment of thousands of leading experts in electrochemistry, calorimetry, tritium detection and other relevant fields. That puts you on the outside. Cold fusion researchers are distinguished, mainstream experts, and people like you are no better than Creationists!
- Jed Rothwell, Librarian,

Phil153, I'd suggest that you read our article. You'll find the evidence that you are looking for, including neutron detection, published in reputable peer reviewed journals. Don't be blind. Look at the sources. Pcarbonn (talk) 07:55, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
I have looked at the many of the sources, and I'm not impressed. I see the purpose of this sub disucssion as coming to consensus on whether or not the use of "over 200 experiments have produced results" is reasonable. I don't believe it is, for the following reasons:
  • It lacks a reliable source for the count. Can you help out with one?
  • There is no indications how many are reliable, how many debunked, etc. To see why this is a problem, consider that I could easily find > 200 favorable case studies for homeopathy for example, or remote viewing, fields that are thoroughly debunked.
  • It only presents one side, giving undue weight. For example, typical comments seems to suggest about 1/3 of experiments produce some kind of anomalous result; should we be stating that "over 400 studies have shown that cold fusion produces nothing"?
  • There is a publishing bias. Those producing results will generally try to get it published through favorable (and sometimes mainstream) journals, while those that don't tend not to publish. Strong believers will also do an experiment multiple times until a result is obtained, and use ad hoc explanations for why it didn't work before. This is classic pathological science that increases the prevalence of error, instead of decreasing it (which is the role of the scientific method).
For all these reasons I think the mention of the number of favorable experiments is inappropriate in an article on a largely discredited field. Can you tell me which parts you disagree with? Phil153 (talk) 09:46, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
One of the best source is Storms 2007, published by World Scientific Publishing. I would propose that we say : "Storms published a list of 200 reports of excess heat experiments and 60 reports of anomalous tritium production", so that it is properly attributed and factual information from a secondary, reputable source. (I could not find a book on homeopathy nor on remote viewing from that publisher, in their bookshop).
I disagree with your analysis of negative results. See what 1989 DOE said : "Even a single short but valid cold fusion period would be revolutionary. As a result, it is difficult convincingly to resolve all cold fusion claims since, for example, any good experiment that fails to find cold fusion can be discounted as merely not working for unknown reasons." This is perfectly in line with the scientific method. Many people have tried, and failed, to clone animal, and they did not publish about it : do you conclude that successful ones are in errors ? This proves that such a line of reasoning is not correct. Pcarbonn (talk) 11:03, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Good work on the source. BTW, I don't conclude that the successful ones are in error (that would be silly), but merely that there is a strong bias toward publishing successful results in a field with a KNOWN history of poorly conducted experiments and strong proven likelihood of false positives. It's the combination (good likelihood of false positives in any given experiment + selection bias) that leads to the accumulation of error and a lopsided positive count. It would occur even if cold fusion was total bunk. Therefore, publishing the count of successful experiments gives a very misleading and biased analysis of the field. Your comparison with cloning is inappropriate, since cloning can be independently and conclusively verified after the fact by a DNA experiment. No such independent verification is available for cold fusion; we rely on the reporting of the scientists involved, who are reporting small margins not very far out of the realm of calibration and measurement errors (it's not like you can run a light bulb off a cold fusion device, or have it self power after a jump start, or cook you breakfast). Phil153 (talk) 11:34, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
So, we seem to agree : the publishing bias is not relevant. The issue is how convincing are the published favorable results, irrespective of the negative ones. The CR-39 provide clear evidence of nuclear activity, and can be "independently and conclusively verified after the fact by a [nuclear expert]", as far as I'm concerned. Pcarbonn (talk) 11:44, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Just to follow up a bit further, I'd be happy if the quote you proposed above went into Summary_of_assertions_of_current_proponents. I think it's appropriate to present their claims (as a subsection of a cold fusion article), although WP:Fringe suggests that it must be written from a mainstream perspective (i.e. critically and with disclaimers on the more unsupported claims). I'm not sure if SA and others would agree though. Phil153 (talk) 11:49, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
To be honest, I'm very wary of WP:Fringe. I prefer to stick to WP:NPOV, which says that "The principles upon which these policies are based cannot be superseded by other policies or guidelines, or by editors' consensus." Here is what I think of WP:MAINSTREAM. Pcarbonn (talk) 12:15, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Let me explain something to this audience that you may not realize about the perspective of the cold fusion researchers regarding this debate.

You are probably as ignorant of the field as the editors of the Scientific American are. They told me they have not read a single paper on the subject because it is “not their job.” They are certain that the effect was never replicated. Such people of course can have no notion who published these papers, where the papers were published, what the claims are, what experiments have been done, what instruments were used, or anything else. It is clear from the comments published by the Scientific American editors that they know none of these details, and they have in fact made up absurd nonsense about cold fusion, or dredged up it from the Internet. You can compare their statements to the experimentally proven facts to confirm this.

As you probably know, in academic science it is customary to first read experimental papers before discussing them or criticizing them. People who do not do this are generally considered crackpots.

Many distinguished experimentalists and theorists have contributed to cold fusion, including Nobel laureates, the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Physical Chemistry in Berlin; Iyengar, the Director of BARC and later chairman of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission; Prof. Melvin Miles, Fellow of China Lake; three editors of major plasma fusion and physics journals; a retired member of the French Atomic Energy Commission, and so on, an so forth, not to mention Martin Fleischmann, FRS. (You will find papers from all of these authors in the library, and of course at the Georgia Tech and Los Alamos libraries.) Most researchers are distinguished senior professors because younger professors cannot get funding, because the research is controversial.

These people are highly capable and certain of themselves. Many of them literally wrote the book on modern electrochemistry, calorimetry and other relevant fields. They do not make stupid mistakes. They have repeated the experiment thousands of times. They seldom read the kind of comments you skeptics make here, but when they do they instantly dismiss you people as a bunch of ignorant crackpots who do not understand the laws of thermodynamics, who have no clue how a calorimeter works, and who criticize papers they have never read. Naturally, I agree with them.

You people imagine you are qualified to write an article about cold fusion. I doubt that you would casually edit some similar article about some other scientific research that you know nothing about, but for some inexplicable reason you imagine that you are experts on this subject, and that you can casually contradict the likes of Iyengar, Miles or Fleischmann. You imagine that their work is "discredited." This is unbelievable chutzpah. It is egomania. This is why Wikipedia will never become a viable source of information about this research.

- Jed Rothwell, Librarian, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:14, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Maybe you should submit to a proper academic journal rather than Scientific American, then? The peer review comments should be helpful. Verbal chat 23:21, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
Jed Rothwell emphasizes that cold fusion researchers are experts in "electrochemistry, calorimetry, and other relevant fields" and that they have published articles in many journals. However, it is important to remember that cold fusion is a nuclear reaction topic, not simply a chemistry topic, and that experts in nuclear reactions would need to be convinced of its existence before the rest of the world takes notice. If cold fusion researchers are ethical and serious about sharing cold fusion with the world, it is their obligation to submit papers to journals that report on nuclear reactions such as Physical Review C. The fact that they either do not, or do not get their articles accepted for publication, is very significant. Olorinish (talk) 00:05, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Olorinish wrote: ". . . experts in nuclear reactions would need to be convinced of its existence. . . " Many of them are. I listed some above, especially the people at BARC and Los Alamos. All serious cold fusion experiments are collaborations with nuclear experts, and the nuclear experts I know who have participated in successful experiments are convinced, except for the late Dr. Clarke, mentioned in the article, and of course Prof. Steve Jones. The nuclear experts I have spoken with who are not convinced have not read the literature and have no idea what has been discovered, or claimed.
- Jed Rothwell, Librarian,
Jed Rothwell, as far as I understand it, Wikipedia's purpose is to present an encyclopedia that contains accepted knowledge. It doesn't seek be an arbitrer of the truth of any claim, or do its own research, but merely to present the mainstream via secondary and tertiary sources, and some of the controversy. This has been discussed ad naseum here and in other fringe science articles.
In any case, the purpose of the talk page is to improve the article - so I'm curious what specific statements in the main article you disagree with and how you think they should be changed. Phil153 (talk) 02:52, 26 November 2008 (UTC)
Phil153 asked: "I'm curious what specific statements in the main article you disagree with and how you think they should be changed." This reminds of the joke: 'How do you make a sculpture of an elephant?' 'Answer: get a large rock and cut away everything that does not look like an elephant.' I would take this article and cut away everything that does not look like conventional, peer-reviewed, rock-solid science from mainstream journals. Cut away opinions, unfounded rumors, crackpot theories from people who don't believe that calorimetry works, and assertions that the research has been "discredited" by unnamed "experts" who have never published a paper. Unless these experts have names, credible professional affiliations, and they have published peer-reviewed papers listing technical errors in actual cold fusion papers, they do not belong here. Eliminate the politics, the fake history, and unimportant gossip. In short, I would make this article look like any article about any scientific topic! If you want an article about the academic politics surrounding cold fusion, by all means make one. Put the crackpot theories elsewhere too. Wikipedia articles about biology are not overrun by Creationist crackpots, so why are the 'skeptics' who know nothing about cold fusion allowed to overwrite this one?
There are, in fact, six actual, professional scientists who have published papers and books that purport to find errors in cold fusion experiments. I have uploaded as much of their work as they have given me permission to upload. I encourage everyone to read them, especially Huizenga, Hoffman and Morrison, because I think their work has no merit. It will convince readers that there are no valid arguments against cold fusion, which is correct. If you want to add their arguments to this article, I encourage you to do so. They are first-class crackpots, but unlike the anonymous crackpot opinions now littering the article these are from real professors with names from legitimate institutions who have actually published papers with falsifiable technical claims -- papers you can read at a library, or at (A few others have written books attacking cold fusion that have no technical content; that is, no falsifiable technical arguments that can be resolved with reference to data. For example, Park claims that all cold fusion scientists are liars, lunatics or criminals. Such claims cannot be put to the test by examining colorimetric data, whereas anyone who knows a little chemistry will find glaring errors in papers by Morrison or Hoffman.)
Note that there are ~2,500 authors at LENR-CANR and as far as I know every one of them is a professional scientist. I would not list their papers otherwise.
The other thing you need to do is to organize the topical logically, according to what has been discovered and what types of experiments are done, instead of wandering around the topic. This article has very little useful information, and what little there is is out of date and buried under mounds of empty speculation.
- Jed Rothwell, Librarian,
So, you assert that all who criticize cold fusion are crackpots or skeptics and have never published any paper... except for the ones that actually did, but those don't count because you looked yourself at the papers and you determined that they are all wrong. Sorry, but that's all WP:OR original research and it just won't cut it here. You have to follow the WP:RS reliable sources guideline and find proper sources for all those claims you make. --Enric Naval (talk) 16:33, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

Enric Naval wrote:
. . . skeptics and have never published any paper... except for the ones that actually did, but those don't count because you looked yourself at the papers and you determined that they are all wrong.
On the contrary! The ones who actually did publish should count. They should be part of this article. I tried to add the main points from their papers years ago, but the 'skeptics' deleted them. The 'skeptics' do not want any actual anti-cold fusion papers mentioned here because these papers are full of astounding mistakes. They are an embarrassment. You can look at their papers and see that for yourself, and I encourage you to do so. See, for example:
See also the book by Hoffman, which was mainly devoted to the hypothesis that Ontario Hydro (now Hydro One) sells used moderator heavy water from CANDU reactors for use in laboratories. This kind of grotesque nonsense is the best argument the anti-cold fusion authors can come up with. You can scour the literature all you like: I guarantee you will not find anything sounder than this. Look at books by non-scientists such as Taubes and you find even more mind boggling stuff, such as the claim that electrochemists measure voltage only and not amps, and the claim that laboratory power supplies deliver "more electricity" on weekends because factories use less. It would not be fair to list mistakes by Taubes here (for one thing, there are hundreds like that in his book -- you wouldn't know where to start), but Hoffman is a professional and I think this article would benefit from a section mentioning some of his mistakes.
What I object to are non-technical critiques and assertions that cannot be verified or falsified. Also, baseless and imaginary assertions, such as the ones in Scientific American, should only be mentioned in the article to point out that they wrong. An article about science should be based on experimentally proven facts, not whatever random notion pops into John Horgan's head. See:
- Jed Rothwell, Librarian,

I'm not taking a position on the article, but I do not think you can make a credibility judgment in a vacuum. There has to be a distinction between good science and huckster science because there are more hucksters out there than you can shake a stick at. If we cannot filter good information from bad, then good information is hopelessly diluted and eveything reduces to a matter of undifferentiated opinion. Read everything, fund everything, what's the difference?
Peer review publication is one way of screening, even if it is not an acid test. No one can look over every article or analyze every experiment that has been done, but it would help to know that lots of qualified people have made the effort and been convinced, or not.
Other credibility factors cannot and should not be ignored. A lack of a theoretical basis convincing to physicists figures large. If an experiment is contrary to a previously tested and broadly functioning theory, that is a good reason to hypothesize an experimatal mistake. Many experiments showing more energy out than in have been found flawed, revindicating conservation of energy.
Foundaton in mistake does not bode well - I do not think the Manhatten project would have gotten far if they were just stumbling about in the lab. Talking to the press before convincing peers looks bad to me. And the desire for cheap clean energy without all the hassle of sustaining 10 million degrees makes this field ripe for pseudoscience.
Which nobel laureates did you say are convinced cold fusion is real?Paul V. Keller (talk) 20:02, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

Paul V. Keller wrote:
No one can look over every article or analyze every experiment that has been done, but it would help to know that lots of qualified people have made the effort and been convinced, or not.
Lots of qualified people have made the effort, and are convinced. Roughly 2,500 of them are. You will find papers written by them at Please read them and see why they are convinced.
If an experiment is contrary to a previously tested and broadly functioning theory . . .
I am no expert in theory, but people who are say that cold fusion does not contradict or violate theory.
. . . that is a good reason to hypothesize an experimatal mistake. Many experiments showing more energy out than in have been found flawed, revindicating conservation of energy.
Cold fusion is based upon calorimetry, which is based upon the conservation of energy. If energy is not conserved, cold fusion experiments are wrong, and meaningless. (It is more the other way around; thermodynamics was derived from calorimetry.)
Which Nobel laureates did you say are convinced cold fusion is real?
In physics, Schwinger, Rubbia and Josephson. I do not know about ones in chemistry or other fields.
- Jed Rothwell
I should add that Schwinger, Rubbia and Josephson gave reasons why they believe cold fusion is true, and wrote technical papers. I have read brief statements by other Nobel laureates who do not believe cold fusion is real, but these statements did not include any technical details. So I do not know what basis they have for their beliefs -- if any. Of course many other scientists have published various letters and statements expressing doubt about cold fusion but again, the statements have no technical content so they cannot be verified or falsified. Roughly half of the 2004 DoE reviewers do not believe cold fusion is real, and most of them gave reasons for their views. You can read their statements at You will find that the ones who do not believe in cold fusion gave invalid reasons. That is to say, they made assertions that are not in evidence (such as the notion that cold fusion heat might be caused by a chemical reaction) or assertions that violate the scientific method (such as the notion that theory can overrule replicated, high sigma experimental results).
- Jed Rothwell —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:10, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
You exaggerate. A lot. Julian Schwinger did not "believe" in cold fusion. Schwinger believed in being open minded about cold fusion. What his writings offer is a hypothesis that could reconcile theory with experiment. These hypothesis were based on what would be required to explain the data, assuming the data was valid. I see nothing in what he wrote that showed "belief". I'll grant you Schwinger clearly felt cold fusion warranted further consideration and that scientists should not prejudge cold fusion. But I also note that in related work Schwinger prepared a vacuum energy theory to explain sonoluminescence, a theory that has not gained traction or been supported by experimental data. To the contrary, it seems a very hard fit to the phenomena and the phenomena has been more convincingly explained by other theories. Also, the sonoluminescence was just sketched out by Schwinger: he left someone else to puts some flesh on the bones of his theory.
I do not think Rubbia has any place on your list. As far as I can tell, he said something that got quoted in an Italian paper and propogated by cold fusion enthusists. I could not find any original material, but it seems most likely he was referring to his idea for a particle accelerator-based power source, which is a far cry from "believing" and "publishing papers" claiming you can get nuclear reactions by chemical means.
Josephson, like Schwinger, seems credulous when it comes to data and seems able to come up with a theory for any observation. Josephson also believes in telepathy. He has a theory to explain it.
Reason number 47 for being incredulous, proponents feel the need to exaggerate the stregth of their position: Reason number 48 for being incredulous: proponents grasp at straws. Reason number 49 for being incredulous, leading proponent also believe in telepathy.Paul V. Keller (talk) 23:48, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

Rubbia has worked with cold fusion researchers in Italy with whom I am in frequent contact. He gave lectures indicating that he is convinced. I have not read any newspaper accounts and I do not know Italian, so I do not know exactly what he said, but the researchers told me that's what he said. Schwinger told me he was quite convinced, shortly before he died.
No one is grasping at straws; the results speak for themselves. Cells have produced over 100 W for hours, with no input. In some cases they have produced 10,000 times more than an equivalent mass of chemical fuel could, and not one milligram of chemical ash has been found. Tritium has been measured at levels millions of times background. Hundreds of fogged x-ray films and other x-ray detectors prove there are x-rays. There are some marginal results but other results are beyond doubt. People who do not believe such clear-cut results have turned their backs on the experimental method. They have abandoned objective standards in favor of faith-based, opinion-based, anything-goes pseudo religion. If you are a scientist you must believe what the instruments prove. That is the bedrock basis of the scientific method.
- Jed Rothwell, Librarian, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:15, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
I strongly disagree with the statement that non-believers have "turned their backs on the scientific method." I, for one, have not. When someone publishes solid nuclear reaction evidence in a major journal, or demonstrates a device which provides useful heat, people like me will change our minds about cold fusion. Olorinish (talk) 01:48, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
Jed, I do not believe your comments are contributing in any logical way to a discussion of the article content. You assert "cells have produced over 100 W for hours, with no input" with no context or citation. Who would know whether that is a credible claim, or what you mean by "no input"? You assert that in some cases they have produced 10,000 times more than an equivalent mass of chemical fuel could, and not one milligram of chemical ash has been found. What "chemical ash" are you talking about and why should I attach significance to the failure to find "one milligram"? How was this "equivalent mass of chemical fuel" and its chemical potential energy determined? What would lead me to conclude that your "hundreds of fogged x-ray films" are best explained by cold fusion? Frankly, there in no possible justification for your assertion that what "the instruments prove" is beyond dispute. If yesterday's "proof" could not be disputed, "cold fusion" would never have seen the light of day. By making so many undocumented, controversial, and half stated assertons of experimental results you foreclose a logical discussion by sheer volume. What's left is just inuendo and insult. I disagree with your claim that cold fusion proponents are objective, whereas those that are unpersuaded are "opinion-based" and engaging in "pseudo-religion".Paul V. Keller (talk) 18:59, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Olorinish wrote:
When someone publishes solid nuclear reaction evidence in a major journal . . .
There are hundreds of papers in major journals describing rock-solid, irrefutable proof of solid-state nuclear reactions. These papers are written by thousands of professional scientists. If you have read these papers and you do not think they prove there is a nuclear reaction, I suggest you write a paper describing the technical reasons for your conclusion. Contact me at when you finish, and I will upload it. (By "technical reasons," I mean you must cite errors in the experimental technique. I do not mean an assertion that a result is theoretically impossible and therefore the experiment must be wrong, or an assertion that calorimeters, mass spectrometers and x-ray film do not work. Those are violations of the scientific method.)
. . . or demonstrates a device which provides useful heat, people like me will change our minds about cold fusion.
It is probably impossible to develop or demonstrate such a device without proper funding. The reaction cannot be controlled enough to scale up safely. Cold fusion research is orders of magnitude cheaper than tokamak plasma fusion research, but it still costs millions. Results have improved considerably in the last 10 years. SRI used to input 1 W and get out at most 3 W excess, with only ~10% success rate (as I recall). Now they input less than 1 W and get out 20 to 30 W, and it works nearly every time. So there has been progress, but it is unreasonable to expect a practical device. In any case, no one demands practical tokamak, HTSC or cloning before believing these results, so it is unreasonable to demand this of cold fusion. This standard has never been applied to other experimental breakthroughs.
- Jed Rothwell —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:59, 29 November 2008 (UTC)
Please list the three articles that you think are most persuasive of nuclear reactions. Regarding the higher standard for cold fusion confirmation compared to other topics, people should be more skeptical: (A) The compatibility of cold fusion with existing scientific knowledge is far, far lower than with the other topics you mention. (B) The incentives for success are higher than in other fields, so people might "want" to believe more in positive results. (C) Cold fusion had advocates (P and F) who acted very strangely during their time in the spotlight. (D) Cold fusion has had "confirmations" that turned out to be erroneous. In fact, considering these factors it would be irresponsible for scientists, or wikipedia editors, to have the same standards for confirmation of cold fusion as other topics. Olorinish (talk) 17:08, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Olorinish wrote:
Please list the three articles that you think are most persuasive of nuclear reactions.
I do not think anyone should read three article and try to form an opinion on cold fusion. It is a complicated and poorly-understood subject. I think ~30 papers and books would be better. Here are some that I often recommend:
Introductory articles and books: Storms, Beaudette, Mallove.
Introduction for non-scientists: Rothwell, chapter 2 (FAQ):
An early but important review paper: Gerischer
Excess heat: McKubre, Mengoli, Storms, Pons, many others
Tritium: Will, Bockris Packham Chien et al., Storms, Radhakrishnan et al. at BARC, Claytor
Heat and tritium: Lautzenhiser
Helium: Miles, B. Bush
X-ray detection: Rout et al. at BARC
X-ray, heat excess and 4He in the D:Pd system, D. Gozzi et al.
Particle beam (lukewarm) cold fusion: Kasagi, Takahashi
(C) Cold fusion had advocates (P and F) who acted very strangely during their time in the spotlight.
I disagree. I know Pons and Fleischmann personally, and I know a lot about what they said and did in the spotlight. I cannot imagine anyone could have handled the pressure better than they did, except perhaps Obama.
(D) Cold fusion has had "confirmations" that turned out to be erroneous.
I am not aware of any. Which experiments do you have in mind? I know of three famous negative experiments that are actually positive (false negatives), and I know of about 100 early replications that failed for reasons that are now well understood, but I do not know of any erroneous confirmations (false positives). The only one in this category might be Georgia Tech, but it was never published so it does not count. (I only count experiments that I have on paper, either from journals or proceedings. I have 3,600 papers in English, and several hundred in Japanese.)
- Jed Rothwell, Librarian,

Wikipedia is not a WP:Mainstream encyclopedia: on the contrary, it is a WP:NPOV encyclopedia. This is not the same. Also, how do you explain that the 2004 DOE panel was evenly split on the evidence of excess heat, if there was a mundane explanation for the heat observed ? How do you explain that 1/3 was somewhat convinced by the evidence of nuclear reactions, and that one was entirely convinced ? Obviously, they do not consider the argument that it would contradict known thery. We should not either, and follow the experts who have reviewed the evidence, if we want to give a service to our readers. Pcarbonn (talk) 00:38, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

As a scientist, the first thing I am looking for is reproducible experiments. Next, I am looking for reproducibility with progressively increasing precision to the point where the data shows what some of the important variables are and some rough functional relationships. Then I am looking for the all important steps of forming a theory and making predictions from that theory, followed by testing of the predictions, and thus the theory, by experiments.

Cold fusion is way behind the curve on this flow. Cold fusion is still stumbling on the reproducibility part. The review cited in the main article describes 50-200% excess heat in 1/3 of the experiments, which is pretty sorry in terms of reproducibility. The 2004 DOE report, which is based on a report prepared by cold fusion research proponents, left 50% of the reviewers concluding excess heat itself had not been convincingly shown, to say nothing of quantified.

Figure out what the variables are and start controlling them to get near 100% reproducibility followed by decreasing experimental error (measurement uncertainty) and you'll be doing science and you will have little trouble convincing people you are doing science. If you think the Pd electrode is the wild card, build a system with eight Pd electrodes to statistically average the effect, etc.

Various reports of X-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons, helium-4, helium-3, and/or "anomalous" isotopic distributions do not make cold fusion science or advance the theory. A report of one of these products that is reproducibly quantified would be more convincing than the collective report of all of them.

Cold fusion has made poor progress from the point of view of theory and experiment. Schwinger tried to help make cold fusion a science by giving it a theoretical framework. Given the absence of helium-4 (D+D), he postulated p+D -> helium-3 and a gamma ray. Given that no gamma ray was observed, he went out on a limb and postulated comparatively macroscopic well-ordered portions of the Pd array could take up the gamma rays before they are emitted. I would expect this to lead to experimentally testable predictions, such as a prediction that a Pd array will adsorb gamma rays of a certain frequency, or that gamma ray will be emitted if you alter the Pd lattice structure. I see no such predictions and experiments. Instead, the main proponents are now claiming helium-4.

Every science has to start somewhere, but "cold fusion" has already had a good helping of time, effort and funding. The hypothesis is that electrochemically-induced nuclear reactions explain an experimental result. It was a far-fetched hypothesis to begin with, because the working theories of nuclear physics lead to the conclusion that a very high energy is required to bring the nuclei together and all past observations show nothing in the electrochemical system that could impart the required energy. Prediction based on that far-fetched hypothesis, such as gamma rays, did not bear out. Instead or rejecting the hypothesis, enthusiasts added another far-fetched theory: macroscopic lattices take up all the gamma ray energy before it can be detected. What prediction will be made on that theory? Could any experimental result cause proponents to reject the nuclear reaction theory, or is cold fusion now a religion?

Cold fusion proponents, who decry for their lack of objectivity those physicists who assert cold fusion is impossible, brazenly assert that a chemical source is impossible, that all other energy sources are impossible, and that various types of experimental error are impossible. Ahem. Meanwhile, even the demonstrations of unaccounted for heat prove hard to reproduce. I see a very unconvincing case for cold fusion. I see a very convincing case for pathological science.Paul V. Keller (talk) 16:47, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Paul V. Keller wrote:
As a scientist, the first thing I am looking for is reproducible experiments.
Where have you looked? Which authors and papers have you read? Many papers describe reproducible experiments.

I cited my source above. The 2004 DOE report (which only looked at material gather by cold fusion proponents) and the review article cited in the main article. I also explained that good reproducibility would include quantitative results, not just qualitative result. The articles I cite are only talking about qualitative results.Paul V. Keller (talk) 23:55, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Cold fusion proponents . . . brazenly assert that a chemical source is impossible . . .
If you disagree, then please list a chemical source of energy that produces 50 to 150 MJ of heat from ~20 ml of water and a few grams of palladium, with no chemical ash or detectable chemical changes. Now tell us what chemical reaction can produce tritium, x-rays, and helium in the same ratio to the heat as plasma fusion does.

Its not a question of whether I disageee. The point is that you and other cold fusion advocates are applying a double standard, one to when considering evidence contrary to cold fusion theory and one when considering evidence contrary to other theories that would explain the same data. Just look at what's written above.

As far as speculating on a previously unidentified energy source or storage mechanism, that seems a little premature when more than half the DOE reviewers were not convinced there was even an effect to explain.Paul V. Keller (talk) 23:55, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

. . . and that various types of experimental error are impossible.
Not impossible. I know of many errors in cold fusion experiments, especially the false-negative ones. However no significant errors have been found in quality experiments, after 20 years of searching for errors and thousands of replications, using conventional off-the-shelf instruments in mainstream institutions. Again, if you are aware of any errors in the peer-reviewed literature please list them. Claiming that there "might be" errors doesn't count. You have to actually show them. A skeptical point of view does not get a free pass.

You need to make a prima facie case before you can shift the burden of persuasion.Paul V. Keller (talk) 23:55, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Meanwhile, even the demonstrations of unaccounted for heat prove hard to reproduce.
Experts now reproduce heat 80 to 90% of the time. Many experiments are far more difficult to reproduce than cold fusion, such as the plasma fusion tokamaks and the top quark experiment, or in biology, cloning of mammals. The failure rate in the latter is about 100 times greater than cold fusion. No one claims that plasma fusion does not exist because it is difficult or expensive to replicate. In the history of science, this has never been given as a reason to disbelieve a result.
- Jed Rothwell, Librarian, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:42, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Paul V. Keller wrote:
I see a very convincing case for pathological science.
This is a good example of an unfounded assertion. You linked the term "pathological science" to the article with Langmuir's definition. This definition includes 6 characteristics:
   * The maximum effect that is observed is produced by a causative agent of barely detectable intensity, and the magnitude of the effect is substantially independent of the intensity of the cause.
   * The effect is of a magnitude that remains close to the limit of detectability, or many measurements are necessary because of the very low statistical significance of the results.
   * There are claims of great accuracy.
   * Fantastic theories contrary to experience are suggested.
   * Criticisms are met by ad hoc excuses.
   * The ratio of supporters to critics rises and then falls gradually to oblivion.
Cold fusion does not have a single one of these characteristics. People often claim it does, but a cursory review of the literature proves that it does not. It produces heat, tritium and other effects at levels hundreds to millions of times above "barely detectable intensity"; the magnitude of the effect is correlated with loading, flux and other well defined parameters (which has been known since 1992). It is far above the limits of detection. And you can go through the rest of the list yourself.
Please refrain from making statements which are totally at odds with the facts. Waving your hand and declaring that cold fusion is "pathological science" does not make it pathological science, unless you redefine that term to mean something other than what Langmuir had in mind. The late editor of the Scientific American once did this, in a letter to me. He redefined "pathological science" to mean any effect for which the "precise physical mechanism is not fully understood." That sure covers a lot of ground!
- Jed Rothwell

I gave the foundation for my statement, and I was careful to qualify it as a matter of opinion. What I meant was that I find much more support for the hypothesis "cold fusion is pathological science" than for the hypothesis "cold fusion has been found experimentally". By pathological science I mean a theory that will not go away no matter how much evidence accumulates that it is not a good theory. In this case, I pointed out that the theory would have predicted gamma rays. Gamma rays were not found. Instead of rejecting the cold fusion theory and looking for other explanations for the data, the researchers came up with another far feteched theory: the lattice theory of direct energy transfer. As far as the specific factors go:

The causitive agent remains unclear: Energy can be stored in many forms and heat effects can have innumerable causes.

Effects near the limit of detectibility: The only evidence of nuclear reactions presented to the DOE was Helium-4 production, which was detected at background levels or barely above. When above, air contamination would explain the result (according to the report). As far as gamma rays: I do not even know if you claim them now. You mentioned X-ray plates. The 2004 DOE applicants did not claim gamma rays, but advanced the lattice theory.

Claims for great accuracy: Check how many times "irrefutable proof" is used above. Btw, there is no such thing in science.

Fantastic theory: Fusion at room temperature.

Criticisms are met by ad hoc excuses (not to mention hostility): See the foregoing discussion

I'll ask you specifically: could any experimental result cause you to reject the nuclear reaction theory? If not, is you belief in cold fusion different from a religious belief? If it hass become a religious belief to some, if it has a life of its own, if the theory cannot die no matter how poorly it performs, then pathological is a good description.Paul V. Keller (talk) 23:55, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Paul V. Keller wrote:
I mean a theory that will not go away no matter how much evidence accumulates that it is not a good theory. In this case, I pointed out that the theory would have predicted gamma rays. Gamma rays were not found. Instead of rejecting the cold fusion theory and looking for other explanations for the data . . .
Obviously, this means that cold fusion is a nuclear process that does not (often) produce gamma rays. That is not a theory; it is an observation. Cold fusion produces heat and helium commensurate with the heat, therefore it is fusion. Or do you claim that a chemical process can do this? A chemical process with no chemical fuel and no chemical ash? That is much more farfetched than the nuclear hypothesis.
The causitive agent remains unclear: Energy can be stored in many forms and heat effects can have innumerable causes.
Chemical energy can only be stored to roughly 4 eV per atom. Cold fusion has produced 10,000 eV per atom, with no known upper limit. (That is, the reaction did not stop on its own.) There are not "innumerable causes" of heat effects but only three: mechanical, chemical and nuclear.
Effects near the limit of detectibility: The only evidence of nuclear reactions presented to the DOE was Helium-4 production . . .
A great deal more than that was presented to the DoE! Tritium, gamma rays, x-rays and neutrons were also presented, although obviously not at levels commensurate with a plasma fusion reaction.
. . . which was detected at background levels or barely above. When above, air contamination would explain the result (according to the report).
I am not sure which report you refer to, but that is mistaken. Helium has been detected at levels above atmospheric concentration in some cases. In other cases it is far below these levels, and as Miles points out, it would have to leak in at fantastically well controlled levels to achieve just the right ratio to the heat, and it would have to leave behind the other gasses in the air. There is no known way to make that happen.
As far as gamma rays: I do not even know if you claim them now.
Then you are not familiar with the literature.
You mentioned X-ray plates. The 2004 DOE applicants did not claim gamma rays, but advanced the lattice theory.
Theory has no bearing on cold fusion. It is an experimental observation. It has no theoretical explanation yet, as far as I know.
Claims for great accuracy: Check how many times "irrefutable proof" is used above. Btw, there is no such thing in science.
Who has refuted cold fusion experiments? Please tell me the title of a peer-reviewed paper that points out significant errors in major cold fusion papers.
Fantastic theory: Fusion at room temperature.
This is an observation, not a theory, as I said.
Criticisms are met by ad hoc excuses (not to mention hostility): See the foregoing discussion
There is nothing ad hoc about the methods used to confirm cold fusion. They are all conventional, reliable experimental techniques performed by experts, and they have been repeated thousands of times.
I'll ask you specifically: could any experimental result cause you to reject the nuclear reaction theory?
Certainly! It is obvious! All you have to do is demonstrate that a chemical reaction can produce a hundred megajoules from a mole of chemically inert material, without producing chemical ash. Plus you have to show how it can produce helium and tritium.
Alternatively, all you have to do is show that conventional calorimetry, tritium detection, x-ray film and so on do not work, or that they were done incorrectly. Looking at calorimetry: many different calorimeter types have been used to confirm cold fusion heat, such as static, flow, and Seebeck. These techniques have been used in countless experiments, in many different fields of chemistry, biology and nuclear physics, going back to the 1840s. The instruments, techniques, and calibration method used by Fleischmann and Pons and others were developed by J. P. Joule in the 1840s, and the instruments that Joule himself used were good enough to measure cold fusion heat with confidence. Many high-tech, modern methods have also been employed, such as IR cameras at the U.S. Navy, and microcalorimeters at Tsinghua U. Researchers have measured heat ranging from a fraction of a watt to over 100 W, with no input power in some cases. This has been done in over 200 labs. So, to disprove the heat results, you need only show that the results from all of these different calorimeter types, in different labs, operated by different people, were all -- without exception -- mistaken (or fraudulent). Or you might show that calorimetry itself does not work because the laws of thermodynamics are wrong. (Some skeptics make this claim.)
It isn't enough to falsify one or two of these results; you have to show mistakes in hundreds of experiments, and thousands of runs. Because if even one of these results is right, then cold fusion is real, and it is not a chemical reaction.
I think there is no chance you can prove that all these experiments were in error. No widely replicated experiment in history has ever been shown to be a mistake. Replicated experiments are the only standard of truth. What the instruments show to be true must be accepted as truth, when it has been seen by many researchers. You might quibble with the number of replications needed. Some might want 5 quality replications; others might hold out for 10. But to continue to deny the results after they have been replicated hundreds of times is to deny the experimental method itself.
- Jed Rothwell, Librarian,

Another try at the intro

I have made changes to the intro which are relatively bold. I tried to gather similar references together and eliminate redundant statements, and I also changed some details of the phrasing. If you feel these changes are not in the right direction, I ask that we discuss the intro here. Olorinish (talk) 03:41, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

I have said this before on the talk page but I disagree with the statement "Cold fusion gained a reputation as pathological science after several researchers presented reports of failed replication attempts at conferences and in journals." It wasn't so much that they "failed" to get result but "didn't" get the same conclusion. In fact many of them observed the same results but could explain it without fusion. It wasn't just a negative results the follow ups explained a large number of theoretical and experimental flaws in the original work. One of these follow-up papers was in the room I had group meetings and I would thumb through it when things got slow. I made edits to reflect this and they have since been reverted.--OMCV (talk) 05:23, 25 November 2008 (UTC)
OMCV wrote:
. . . it wasn't so much that they "failed" to get result but "didn't" get the same conclusion. In fact many of them observed the same results but could explain it without fusion.
Who are you talking about? Which researchers observed "the same" results, and how did they "explain" them? Where did they publish? Please be specific. I am not aware of anyone who has observed megajoules of heat per mole of reactant, no measurable chemical changes, and yet who claims these results can be explained by anything other than a nuclear process.
Unless you can cite specific authors, papers and claims, your statement is unsubstantiated opinion, and should not be included in a serious review of cold fusion.
It wasn't just a negative results the follow ups explained a large number of theoretical and experimental flaws in the original work.
Apart from the neutron results in the first paper, what experimental flaws do you mean? Again, which authors, and which papers do you refer to? What theoretical flaws do you have in mind? As far as I know, cold fusion is entirely experimental, without a theoretical basis, so how can there be theoretical flaws? The only theory involved are the laws of thermodynamics which govern calorimetry, and the various theories that govern mass spectroscopy, x-ray detection and so on. Do you think the laws of thermodynamics are in error? (I am asking seriously: some skeptics do claim that thermodynamics and calorimeters fundamentally do not work, and they say this is all that cold fusion researchers have discovered.)
- Jed Rothwell, Librarian, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:19, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

OMCV, I see what you are talking about. What would an improved version look like? Olorinish (talk) 16:30, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for addressing my comments despite their stilted grammar. My point was that follow-up researchers claims on the work of Pons and Fleischmann were not limited to its irreproducibility (and thus fraudulence). The usual claim was that their cell was badly designed and they didn't account for all known phenomenon (poorly informed rather than liars). Phenomenon insufficiently accounted for included things like voltage vs. faradaic efficiency. I don't bring this up to discuss the validity of the pros or cons of P&F's claims. I think the page should be clearly state what the con claims were regardless of whether they are "right".
I would direct the reader to Nate Lewis' analysis of the situation. For a simple example I'm sure many are aware of "the cell that exploded"; P&F believed this was the result of nuclear reaction but Lewis suggests it was the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen in a semi-closed vessel. Thankfully not all scientists jump to conclusion they found a nuclear reaction every time they blow something up.
The paper I was thinking of was Lewis NS, et al Nature 340 (1989) 525-530. At the moment I don't have a copy to reference but this paper is conspicuously absent from this page since for many researchers it was the definitive end of the P&F work and their version of cold fusion. The nature paper represents a bunch of reliable researchers publishing in a major journal a debunking of wild claims form a number of individuals on the fringe (some of them widely assumed to be crazy: Bockris). I'm not saying that this is right but this was the way many scientist understood the situation. This is the history regardless of content debate.
Olorinish, I would like to write something but I would not be able to sufficiently cite it at the moment. But anyone who is widely read in the cold fusion literature should be able to explain my point. Jed Rothwell I see you have translated a book on the subject, maybe you could correct the error with proper citation.--OMCV (talk) 03:41, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

2004 DOE panel views

There had been agreement to include this in the intro description of the 2004 DOE report:

Of eighteen reviewers, twelve decided the occurrence of low energy nuclear reactions was not conclusively demonstrated by the evidence, five were somewhat convinced, and one believed that the occurrence was demonstrated.

But that simple factual statement which puts proportions to the sides of the controversy has been considered "too detailed" and "cherry picking parts of the report to make cold fusion look better". Why? Why is simply telling the numbers from polling the jury too detailed? Why is it cherry picking?

Why is this information about the proportion of experts holding different viewpoints not an essential component of representing the different points of view neutrally in a controversial science article such as this one? (talk) 13:53, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

To me it seems out of place in the intro. The intro is meant to give a broad overview, not specifics, and the information is available later in the article so it's not being left out. Phil153 (talk) 14:16, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
The consensus is, I believe, to keep the specificity out of the intro. We are more detailed in the relevant section. ScienceApologist (talk) 01:42, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

The purpose of the Wikipedia "Cold fusion" article

I keep reading here about various experiments published hither and yon and arguments about them. No! The purpose of the talk page is not to debate the subject but to improve the article. "Peer review" is not a talisman preventing error, since working scientists agree that most published results are just wrong and weigh them accordingly. But cold fusion advocates and skeptics do agree on one thing: "Cold fusion" is viewed as bunk by mainstream science. The Wikipedia article should not leave its readers with any other impression. -- (talk) 12:06, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

I think some advocates would disagree with that statement. Regardless, the intro is muddled and unclear on this point, I'd propose changing it to something like this:
Cold fusion, also known as low energy nuclear reactions (LENR) or condensed matter nuclear science, is a name given to supposed nuclear fusion reactions hypothesized to occur at normal temperatures and pressures. Most physicists reject cold fusion as both an effect and a viable source of energy. However, low level research continues with some notable proponents.
Cold fusion gained prominence in 1989 when Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons reported anomalous heat production in an electrolytic cell during electrolysis of heavy water using palladium electrodes, which they proposed was due to nuclear fusion. Significant scientific and media attention followed. In the months after their report, a lack of reliable replication of the initial experiment and the lack of a viable theoretical basis caused the field to fall into disrepute. Today it is considered a kind of pathological science and most scientists remain skeptical of the field.

Phil153 (talk) 14:50, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Oppose, obviously. Sources say that "most scientists" are skeptical, not that they reject cold fusion. Also, this intro is full of WP:weasel words, and gives too much weight to the view of "most scientists" as opposed to the one from reliable secondary sources. Pcarbonn (talk) 16:36, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Reliable secondary sources catalog this rejection, and note that many journals will not even publish cold fusion research. I think reject is a very reasonable term to use. "Skeptical" isn't a strong enough word to describe how most scientists feel about cold fusion.
Also, weight *should* be given to the opinion of most scientists and the mainstream. If 95% of scientists think cold fusion is nonsense, it is far more important to stress this point in the introduction than anything cold fusion advocates say or publish.
Anyway, I don't propose the above text as the new intro, merely an example of how strongly the mainstream view (and its reasons for rejecting CF) should be presented in the intro, in order to have a balanced and accurate article for a layman. Phil153 (talk) 16:45, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
You are wrong about rejection. The American Chemical Society has published a review book on cold fusion in 2008, distributed by Oxford University Press, cited above as Marwan 2008. They wouldn't if cold fusion was rejected, and there was no market for it; on the contrary, it is a proof that it is not rejected. World Scientific Publishing has published a book in 2007. This is a reliable secondary source. "Rejection" is not a "reasonable" term to use according to reliable secondary sources (and "most scientists" is not a reliable source for wikipedia). Pcarbonn (talk) 17:04, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
And yet, the author of, one of the most pro cold fusion sites around, states: the editors at Nature and Sci. Am. denounced cold fusion as fraud. Since then, the journals I listed (and most others) automatically reject any manuscript about cold fusion, usually with a polite form letter. Several researchers have shown me these form letters. If that isn't rejection by mainstream science, I don't know what would possibly satisfy you. In addition, the US patent office rejects cold fusion applications, just as it rejects perpetual motion machines. Here is a reliable source that explicitly states the rejection by mainstream scientists:
Erratic results such as those, coupled with the theoretical unlikelihood of the whole idea, long ago drove most mainstream scientists to dismiss cold fusion; they say that any indication of heat or nuclear byproducts is the result of an error in the experiment. Research money has dried up. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has refused to grant a patent on any invention claiming cold fusion. According to Esther Kepplinger, the deputy commissioner of patents, this is for the same reason it wouldn't give one for a perpetual motion machine: It doesn't work.
Given the above, would you accept "dismiss" instead of "reject"? "Skeptical" gives a poor description of most physicists' rejection of cold fusion.
Anyway, the scientist interest you are claiming does not exist except at the fringes. Also, one book - a book of evidence presented at a Chemistry symposium, or even several books - does not refute the fact that most physicists and physics journals reject cold fusion as stated above. Phil153 (talk) 18:39, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I would accept "dismiss" instead of "reject" : "dismiss" means that they choose to ignore cold fusion; it does not mean that they say it is wrong on scientific ground. That also explains why some journals choose to not publish papers, while others have: it depends on editorial policy, not on the scientific status of the field. Also, you have changed from "most scientists" to "most physicists" : that may also be more accurate, as chemists seem more open to the idea of anomalous effects that cannot be explained by chemical theory, whatever the explanation. Pcarbonn (talk) 11:52, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
I like coupled with the theoretical unlikelihood of the whole idea. The theoretical side is very important to understanding main stream science's view of cold fusion research. The erratic nature of the results would not be given the same interpretation if there were a plausible nuclear theory to explain appreciable cold fusion or if the interpretation of results proposed by cold fusion enthusiasts did not require a radical yet unspecified revision of our current understanding of nuclear reactions. (A 1999 article apropos today).
A study showing rain dances produce rain would not be, and should not be, interpreted without considering what we know about weather. Likewise, a study showing time dilation in an atomic clock moved around at high speeds would be of little significance absent that it tested and showed results consistent with relativity theory. In this case, I am concerned that the plausibility of cold fusion is greater the less one knows about the science that came before it.
A fundamental disagreement we have here is that one group thinks finding certain things implausible is bias, whereas another group understands finding certain things implausible is progress. Understanding what does and does not make sense is an important goal of science education. I have in mind here an anecdote at a commencement address about the response of legendary chemical engineering professor Neal R. Amundson to an inquiry about rumors of a chemical that could dissolve a tornado. Here, I think we would do a disservice if we left readers with a more optimistic view of cold fusion research than an understanding of science would warrant. The degree of contradiction with current theory and the significance of that contradiction need to be conveyed with clarity to do justice to this subject.Paul V. Keller (talk) 14:42, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
I think that's an important point. One of the main reasons that true believers and skeptics talk past each other is the theoretical expectations. I like to think about it in terms of Bayesian priors. A similar case that springs to mind is the Fifth force. That field was also plagued with a few years of mixed results, but it was taken seriously (although eventually abandoned) because it was possible to think about the problem within the constraints of known physics. Anyway, we do not need to come to a consensus on the a priori likelihood of cold fusion and how that should affect our interpretation of the experimental reports. But we should make it clear in the article that the lack of theoretical underpinnings is considered by the skeptics to be a serious problem, regardless of the number of sigmas reported. Very similar to homeopathy as well. --Art Carlson (talk) 15:24, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
That 1999 SciAm article has a now-broken link to the article archived here on the Wayback Machine. It describes an attempt to replicate the 1995 CETI "Patterson power cell" results that may be worth reading.LeadSongDog (talk) 16:49, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
A second set of reports on an attempted replication of the Patterson Power Cell can be found on Scott Little's Web page ( under the 'CETI' subsection. There was a third attempt made as I recall, by a guy named Shaffer or Schafer or such at the time. It was reported in sci.physics.fusion, but is probably long gone by now. None of the three replications succeeded.Kirk shanahan (talk) 16:16, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
BTW, I should note that the Little papers contain that subsection of work that comments on the use of SIMS to support nuclear heavy metal transmutation that I tried to include in the 'Criticisms' section of the CF Wiki article, and which Pcarbonn block deleted.
I have to plead guilty about putting technical discussions on these pages, but that was brought about because Pcarbonn wanted to argue every detail I tried to add. Some discussion was necessary anyway because I assumed the article should be written for an 'average' user not familiar with the field, and some of the quoted comments needed some explaining for those readers.
In agreement with the comments above, the article always was too biased towards the 'reality' of cold fusion, and I tried to make it less so, with the result that I was opposed at every step by Pcarbonn. The general state of affairs regarding cold fusion today, as observed by myself as a worker in the field of the materials claimed to show CF, is that the average scientist thinks the issue was setled c. 1994, with CF being declared 'bad science' (or pathological or pseudoscience, they don't tend to distinguish between these various terms). Almost universally (including me), these scientists when presented with current CF papers or statements say "What? I thought that was over." A very few are aware it is not, most of them are somewhat incensed that CF is NOT dead, and, at this point, only one (me) has actually studied the field and published conventional explanations (the other, W. B. Clarke, passed away). This situation has allowed the CF die-hards to experience a resurgence of their view in the popular press, since not enough informed scientists are available to stop them (which is not a nefarious plot, they just do lousy science and rarely make it through a good peer review) and they actively suppress mention of the outstanding criticisms of their work. Thus we have the recent book published via the ACS.Kirk shanahan (talk) 16:49, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Please undelete mediation pages

Someone wanted a tabulation of the Britz peer-reviewed paper database with 'res+' and 'res-' but not 'theory' above. I remember seeing something like that in the mediation pages but those have been deleted because of arbitration, for some reason I sure don't understand.

Please undelete the mediation pages. (talk) 01:24, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Could an admin check the deleted history and copy/paste that part of the pages on a sandbox? --Enric Naval (talk) 03:09, 3 December 2008 (UTC) presently has 313 papers with "res+" (case insensitive) on lines beginning "**" that do not contain "theor", and 234 similarly but with "res-" instead. (talk) 03:15, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Weighing validity of opposition

Please take to Kirk's talk page per WP:TALK, thank you. Verbal chat 22:05, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

This discussion bears directly on the portions of the article citing Dr. Shanahan. (talk) 17:06, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

Dr. Shanahan, I want to repeat a question to you which you may have missed above, based on your reply to subsequent comments. You said that your method of theoretical opposition to cold fusion is potentially applicable to forms of which do not involve electrolisis. You said your "calibration constant shift" method includes to "reverse engineer the constants required to force Storms' data to produce 0 excess power." I asked if that means starting with the assumption that there is no excess power, and then designing a general theoretical argument in support of that assumption. You said yes, but "it also includes evaluating that argument and reanalysis for credibility." Again, how do you select among a set of arguments in support of a selected hypothesis for credibility? (talk) 19:08, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Shanahan's assertions about experiments are not in evidence. See: Storms, E., Comment on papers by K. Shanahan that propose to explain anomalous heat generated by cold fusion. Thermochim. Acta, 2006. 441: p. 207-209.
- Jed Rothwell, Librarian, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:50, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Don't forget to look at the paper immediately following that one. Kirk shanahan (talk) 20:09, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
I assume you mean: Shanahan, K., A Possible Calorimetric Error in Heavy Water Electrolysis on Platinum. Thermochim. Acta, 2002. 387(2): p. 95-101.
See also: K.L. Shanahan, Comments on Thermal behavior of polarized Pd/D electrodes prepared by co-deposition, Thermochim. Acta 428 (2005) 207. We do not have this one, regrettably.
Ah, ha. It is here:
See also: Shanahan, Kirk (2006), "Reply to 'Comment on papers by K. Shanahan that propose to explain anomalous heat generated by cold fusion', E. Storms, Thermochim. Acta (2005)" (PDF), Thermochimica Acta 441 (2): 210-214
Will add the latter to the database.
- Jed Rothwell —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:16, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
Okay, both added. The on-line database is updated. Sorry they did not show up properly before. That was a clerical error on my part.
I wish you would let me upload them to! And let me know if there are others, pretty-please.
- Jed Rothwell

Actually three, unless Jed is using 2 accounts. I was asked a question by, and Jed has been using, but it’s OK to move it to my Talk page. Kirk shanahan (talk) 20:49, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

Firstly, I'm not sure all of this discussion is appreciated by the others using this talk page, who have already complained about this kind of discussion being OR, but I will try to keep it short so as to minimize the impact. Secondly, I'm not sure I am quite following your question, but I will try to answer it as best I can.
I determine the credibility of a 'reversed engineered' (RE) hypothesis based upon its conformance to any available experimental data and to general expectations based upon general quality control knowledge. In the case of my reanalysis, actual reproducibility numbers were available from Storms' own report. He reported both the calibrations constants obtained by eletrolytic calibration and Joule heating calibration, AND, he reported different calibration constants obtained from different electrolytic calibrations done in different time frames. These individual points are then assumed to roughly represent a 1 sigma span for comparison to the RE constants (they were on the order of 1.5%). My results were that changes of 1-3% were needed to zero out the apparent excess heat. That compares directly and favorably to that reported by Storms. Furthermore, based on my experience in chemical laboratory statistical process control, I know that biases of 1% and RSD's of 1% are obtainable with effort, so again the RE results compare favorably to general expectation. Thus the CCS mechanism is equally accurate to the CF mechanism, but the CCS mechanism does not require new revolutionary physics, which makes it the preferred explanation for a mainline scientist. If I apply this RE method to another technique, I would have to make these same kind of considerations to try to decide if the RE approach provided reasonable results there. Kirk shanahan (talk) 20:09, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
The work that you have published in the peer-reviewed literature does not match Wikipedia's definition of forbidden original research, because it was published in a secondary source. Improvements to the article are the purpose of discussion here, and helping everyone to understand your sources should lead to improvements in the article.
I am trying to understand your "calibration constant shift" technique, which you say is potentially applicable to non-electrolytic cold fusion. We have established that you start by assuming a hypothesis of no excess heat, and then you design a general theoretical argument in support of that hypothesis. You then evaluate your argument's credibility based on conformance to available data and your expectations about quality control. If you were to later learn that there was data which was not consistent with your argument, would that invalidate it? (talk) 21:57, 10 December 2008 (UTC)
My argument so to speak is nothing but a mathematical demonstration of the analytical chemistry 'Golden Rule' (of which there are many) that "You can't calibrate an unstable system". As such, what I have done is show that a CCS (which occurs because the system has changed) can explain Storms' (2002 paper) and Szpak, Fleischmann, et al's (2005 paper) results. That is a done deal, and won't change. However, it is always possible that new data will shed more light on the problem and point elsewhere than a CCS, even to the point of proving CF. But, at the same time, since it has been shown twice in cases where the calibration data was available that a CCS has the potential to explain the results, _every_ excess heat claim must show their calibration results in order to eliminate a possible CCS. To put it another way, I have delineated a systematic error that seems to explain a lot, and any claim to excess heat must prove that a CCS is not active, otherwise the CCS remains a preferrred explanation (since it is a conservative one). When you go to different experimental protocols like the D2 flow through membranes, the error bar on their results is unknown at this time. But as long as they are calibating, a CCS could be present, so again, they have to supply the data to be able to refute its presence if they want their results accepted. Kirk shanahan (talk) 13:25, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
When applied to electrolysis, does your calibration constant shift theory imply a reduction in the volume of evolved output gases? If so, how much? (talk) 17:02, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
Again, potentially. To explain, my 'theory' has 3 levels. The first is the simple CCS, i.e. by using slightly different calibration constants, the apparent excess heat signals can be eliminated. The 2nd level is a proposal of one of possibly many ways to get a CCS. That specifically is to move heat from a zone of the calorimeter where it is detected less efficiently to a zone of higher heat detection efficiency. The zone of lower efficiency is most likely where heat losses are greater, which is most likely where heat loss paths exist, such as penetrations of power leadss and thermocouples, etc. That normally means the gas head space. In open cells, the gas just leaves this area and exits the cell. In closed cells, the recombination catalyst is found there. The first and second levels are nothing but algebra, nothing complicated there, and no one has challenged any of that. But I also proposed a third level, which was a physical/chemical mechanims that I felt explained how a CCS could be obtained AND also explained many other observations on the functioning of P&F type cells. That mechanism is what was attacked by Szpak, Fleischmann, Storms, etc., in the literature. I feel I answered all criticisms and showed how the critics were making many erors, but you read the papers and decide for yourself.
So, IF my proposed physical/chemical mechanism is correct, one would see a reduction in the volume of evolved gases from an open cell. There would be no noticeable change in the closed cell, with the possible exception of gas space pressure.
The only time gas space pressure in a closed F&P cell has been measured to my knowledge was by McKubre as reported in his 1998 EPRI report. Unfortunately, the signal is not explained, i.e. calibrated, and the numbers didn't make sense to me. I asked McKubre for help on his cell calibrations twice in 1999, and he declined to help (which may be reasonable given the fact that the data presented in the report was from 1993-4). In my 2005 paper I point out that the Szpak et al paper I am commenting on attempts to measure this by recombining the gases external to the cell/calorimeter, but they end up with 7% MORE water than they should based on their power consumption. The cause of this is proposed to be entraiment of water droplets in the gas stream, which would be another systematic error in these type of measurements.
So the key point is here that if it was measured correctly, evolved gas volume would potentially show that excess recombination was occurring. If you look here you can see a plot that Ed Storms has posted showing that the parasitic electrochemical recombination reaction drops off as current density increases. But there are two zones of anomalous data in this plot - the fourth point reading left to right and the several points in the .03-.07A region. These points lie above the line that goes through the rest of the data as indicated by the Will model (note that the Will model is not linear and would curve up to fit the Jones data if plotted to that region). Both regions lie about 20% or so above where the Will model would say they should lie, and I contend this is the excess non-electrochemocal recombination needed for my 3rd level mechanism. But there are no excess heat data available for these runs and both sets of authors told me they saw no excess heat. So, at this point my physical/chemical mechanism remains untested, but it certainly could be. However, if it can't be proven, that does NOT negate the CCS, just forces us to come up with a new mecahnism to get it. Kirk shanahan (talk) 19:05, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
I must repeat my question about the quantity of the evolved gases. Based on your understanding of quality control in calorimetry, what is the chance that those who have said your explanation is in error because of the quantity of evolved gases observed are themselves in error? (talk) 05:44, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
The 2004 publication by Szpak, Mossier-Boss, Miles and Fleischmann contained an attempt to measure the quantity of evolved gases. Given that all these folks are 'experts' in the field, I believe we should assume that their results are the best of the typical. They were using an open cell configuration but they subsequently converted the outflowing gases to water and measured the amount formed. They observed that "the total consumption of D2O was 7.7 cm3 instead of 7.2 cm3, assuming 100% Faradaic efficiency, which is within experimental error.". In my 2005 comment on their paper, I noted that this is a 7% error (while the CCS is a 1-2% error), and that it is in a positive direction. In other words they 'created' 7% excess water. How could that happen? The simplest explanation is a process called entrainment (Wiki's page on this is a little lame), which is where one phase of material is carried along in another phase. In this case small water droplets in the gas flow. I believe it is reasonable to assume this process is active in all other cells. So, this means that for an accurate measure of the actual gas flow rate, it must be 'demisted' before being measured. I know of no experimental setup that did that. So I think it is safe to assume an error bar on such measurements of 1 sigma=7%, 3 sigma=21%. That's not very good. In the few other cases where people try to measure this, as I recall, the errors were consistent with this estimate or worse.
In other words, I am saying that a) very few actual measurements of this type exist, and b) they are very error laden, to the extent that they really don't offer any reliable evidence of any kind. That might be a bit strong, but that's where I am at today. Perhaps you can find a study that disproves me. So in relation to your question, based on the above, I would say the chances are near 100% that those who claim they have disproved my CCS mechanism by measuring evolved gases are in error. (talk) 13:56, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
The 2004 publication by Szpak, Mossier-Boss, Miles and Fleischmann claims agreement with calculated volumes within "1.0%", not 7% (page 102.) (talk) 21:16, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

Use of collapse boxes on talk pages

Above, User:Verbal placed my questions to Dr. Shanahan and his answers in a "collapse box", citing WP:TALK, even though the elided discussion directly concerns the treatment of papers by Shanahan, Szpak, Fleishman, and others in the article text. The only mention of collapsing text on WP:TALK is in the context of code samples:

"You may redact (replace with a note, or collapse) large code samples once discussion of the sample has ended" [emphasis added]

Furthermore, I note that MOS:SCROLL indicates that such elision has "issues with readability, accessibility, and printing."

I can not say whether Verbal hopes that people will not read the exchange with Dr. Shanahan because it will lead them to understand more about the validity of Dr. Shanahan's arguments, but I have been unable to convince myself of any other possibility.

I ask that the discussion be made plain for all to see, in accordance with WP:TALK. (talk) 05:36, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

To my way of thinking, the talk page guidelines make it very clear that topics unrelated to article improvement aren't welcome. Rather than remove it, it was generously put in a box for continued discussion. If you prefer to stick to the talk page guidelines, then most of this discussion should be archived and/or removed. I can't see how discussing WP:OR regarding CCS, or any of Jed Rothwell's numerous claims about CF being proved beyond a doubt (or mine that it isn't), help to improve the article. Phil153 (talk) 07:04, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
actually Phil, my papers are published, so I don't think its OR for the article, and I am not proposing anything for the article other than to describe what they say to give the technical argument to the reader, and to describe that it was challenged and defended, and then ignored, in the literature. I believe that is within the Wiki intent for the article. it presents some scientific meat but doesn't do OR. Explanations appearing in the talk pages are intended to remove questions editors may have about what I write, and I would hope they would get the papers and read them to confirm I am not miconstruing the issues. Kirk shanahan (talk) 18:07, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Dr. Shanahan and the anon. This page, like the talk pages of many scientific topics, has to have a generous exchange of details pertaining to the better understanding of the material used in the article. Just look at the talk page of Centrifugal force to see the endless debates. Why should this article not get the benefit of a full evaluation of all the facts? The anon's exchange with Dr. Shanahan in the reduced section was very informative about the function of CCS as a viable counter-theory to CF. Far from being OR CCS is a published theory. It should be discussed boldly and fully. Not in compressed sections with small font size. Dr.K. (logos) 18:33, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
I'd just like to point out that discussions do not need to be about specific content to be pertinent to the accuracy and balance of the article. Kevin Baastalk 18:36, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
I agree completely. Railroading the discussion to narrow parameters and topics can lead to a distorted article and leave pertinent facts unclear. Dr.K. (logos) 19:17, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
And I'd like to make a factual correction: Jed has asserted on this very talk page that there is no theory to prove or disapprove - that it is a matter of discovering a cause. To say that he has asserted numerous times that the cause has been found and is irrefutable is directly contrary to the record. It's inaccurate statements like this that give me the feeling that some of the editors on here aren't really listening to/understanding what he is saying. Kevin Baastalk 18:45, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
I also agree. Jed has remained factual and clear about the lack of a coherent theory. Dr.K. (logos) 19:17, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
Just to clarify: Some theorists believe they can explain cold fusion, and some experimentalists agree with them. But it is my impression, after speaking with hundreds of experimentalists, that most of them do not agree there is a valid theory yet. They are using Edisonian, empirical methods to uncover patterns and data that will allow a theory to be developed. They have developed many rules of thumb. For example, they have shown that bulk-Pd has to be highly loaded before the reaction occurs. Whether this applies to nano-particle gas loaded Pd, or Ti, and how to explain it theoretically are open questions.
Everyone agrees that a theory that makes valid predictions and guides the research would be immensely helpful!
- Jed Rothwell, Librarian,
@Dr.K. Eh, you know, if it was on the hands of us editors to examine in detail the raw primary data from experiments and decide themselves their validity independently of what secondary sources say, then that conversation would have been extremely valuable and I would have never thought of collapsing it.
(mind you, I can see some merit on the discussion and it's not totally off-topic, that's why, after copying it to a new location, I collapsed it instead of simply removing it. And, indeed, the discussion continued inside the collaped box without disturbing those who aren't interested on trying to understand how certain primary sources are done and would like to see more secondary sources being used :P )
Also, next time you can hold the discussion at User talk:Kirk shanahan and simply place a link here saying "hey, there is a discussion here on how what specific method Shanahan uses to determine the credibility of calibration data, people interested on exploring the details will find it very useful". In your talk pages you can engage in as much original research as you desire (user talk pages are arguibly the correct place to engage in massive OR between editors), and gain as much knowledge as you seem fit to understand the topic, without filling a page that should be centered more on secondary sources, and use OR only to complement them. --Enric Naval (talk) 20:25, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
Hi Enric. I didn't know that it was you who collapsed it, but it doesn't matter anyway because my comments were not directed at the person who collapsed the thread but rather at helping to clarify the process involved in exchanging information on the talk page of an article. I also understand your point fully about editor to editor communication, which you so humourously describe as a free exchange of OR. I grant you that in many cases you may be right. I'm sure even in this instance you make a good case of keeping this segregated from the rest of the debate and I appreciate that you didn't take it out altogether. But the whole thing goes back to the definition of what constitutes a discussion dedicated at improving the article. In scientific matters a case can be made that a wider allowance be made on the article talkpage to encompass discussions that deal with associated matters, even if verging on OR, so that ultimately the editors can clarify a few points relevant to the article. Also the information will not be scattered in various other talkpages so that everyone may enjoy (get frustrated by) it in one location. I know that's a tough call sometimes, but look at the massive amount of OR on the Centrifugal force talkpage. I know WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS is no justification but science is sometimes like that. Dr.K. (logos) 22:41, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
I wouldn't worry about the OR at that page, it has since been "fixed", notice the complaints about having to archive a megabyte worth of "largely pointless drivel mostly two people that are treating the wikipedia talk page as a chat page" and not using "good, mainstream sources". --Enric Naval (talk) 02:30, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the link. One megabyte? That's simply amazing. At least here we are nowhere close to that, yet. Hopefully we'll agree on something without the excesses witnessed there. Although they have been quiet for some time in that talkpage. Dr.K. (logos) 03:48, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
A discussion with strong POVs who wouldn't touch a Wikipedia article with the fag end of a barge poll has very little productivity wrt the article. In fact, it detracts from the writing of it, which should proceed mostly as a summary of reliable secondary sources, not from the WP:TRUTH as decided by original thought on the discussion page. I enjoy discussing the topic as much as the next person but all the discussion in the world of barely published CCS or the nth paper from a cold fusion conference isn't helping to improve the article. Phil153 (talk) 23:44, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
Phil153 wrote: "A discussion with strong POVs who wouldn't touch a Wikipedia article with the fag end of a barge poll has very little productivity wrt the article." How would that compare to a discussion with strong POVs who do not acknowledge the laws of thermodynamics? Your POV is like the creationist view of evolution, except that creationists pretend (or imagine) they can explain the data, whereas you pretend the data does not exist. - Jed Rothwell —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:08, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
Jed, I apologize if I have been uncivil. I work in optics but I certainly don't reject thermodynamics.  :) Phil153 (talk) 12:10, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
Phil153 wrote: "I work in optics but I certainly don't reject thermodynamics." Ah but you do, perhaps without realizing it. To reject cold fusion you must also reject thermodynamics. McKubre explained: "Calorimetry, the basis of the thermodynamic laws, the basis of chemical thermodynamics, and everything we know about heats and energies of reactions in chemistry and ultimately electrochemistry, is a well-worked-out technique that is regularly practiced at 0.1 percent accuracy and better. It has been this way for 100 years or more. . ." To put it in concrete terms, the instrument, calibration methods and so on used by Fleischmann & Pons, Miles and many others was designed by J. P. Joule, and Joule's own instrument and thermometers could have easily detected cold fusion heat. (Modern researchers use thermocouples instead of -- or in addition to -- mercury thermometers. Joule's thermometers could measure 0.02 deg C as I recall, which is more than enough precision for cold fusion. - Jed Rothwell —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:31, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Kevin Baas said:
To say that he has asserted numerous times that the cause has been found and is irrefutable is directly contrary to the record.
Jed has asserted and implied numerous times that fusion is the only possible explanation. Some other comments he's made:
1: Not one study and not one paper has ever demonstrated an error in a positive cold fusion paper. If anyone ever did find an error, it would not only disprove cold fusion, it would overthrow the laws of thermodynamics and a large part of chemistry and physics going back to 1860. That isn't going to happen.
2: We know why the null experiments produced no heat; we can see that the false negatives are actually positive
3.There are no "real" criticisms, but only criticism such as yours and Jones' which could only "explain" a tiny fraction of the results.

I couldn't be bothered finding others, but these are very clear statements that shows he believes that nuclear fusion has been proven beyond a doubt. Jed's statement say that only the exact mechanism is in question, not the question of whether fusion has been proven beyond a doubt. Phil153 (talk) 23:21, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
That is correct. It is a little more subtle. Quoting a recent document by Melich and me:
"We do not assert that cold fusion is unquestionably a nuclear effect and only a nuclear effect. . . . We assert that a chemical effect or experimental error is ruled out, and that the heat beyond the limits of chemistry, helium commensurate with a plasma fusion reaction, tritium and heavy metal transmutations all point to an unknown nuclear reaction. In short, the nuclear hypothesis best fits the facts, but until a detailed nuclear theory is worked out and broadly accepted, this will remain only a working hypothesis." I think most cold fusion researchers would agree.
Beaudette best explained the role of empirical evidence: "Pierre Curie announced his empirical evidence for anomalous power discharge from radium and was awarded a Nobel Prize. Similarly, the empirical evidence for an astonishingly rapid expansion of the universe is recognized as requiring explanation by the cosmologists. There was no assertion from scientists that these two examples were pathological because of the lack of causal information. The empirical data in these two examples was not hidden from view pending some additional knowledge. Science requires only that there be no procedural error in the measurements."
My assertion that "not one study and not one paper has ever demonstrated an error in a positive cold fusion paper" is a matter of fact, as far as I know. I have read and edited hundreds of papers and books, and as far as I know no skeptic has demonstrated -- or even tried to demonstrate -- a "procedural error" in technique or instruments, except Morrison, and perhaps Shanahan. All of the others try to disprove cold fusion based on theory, or by attempting to show that the effect has a mundane cause. In other words, they say the data is real, the heat is real, the instruments are working, but the results can be explained by something like recombination. (I think it would be fair to say that Shanahan believes the data to be an instrument artifact and not caused by actual heat, but I would not want to put words in his mouth.)
Morrison is here:
- Jed Rothwell, Librarian, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:47, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
I forgot to add that if you know of a skeptical paper that cites a procedural error in a cold fusion experiment, please let me know! Send it to me. If you want to write one, please do so. And send it to me.
Another well-known example of citing a mundane cause to explain the results was the assertion made by Hoffman that cold fusion tritium comes from used moderator heavy water from CANDU reactors, which Hoffman believed Ontario Hydro sells to the public. The ANS paid him $100,000 to write a book trying to prove this. He neglected ask Ontario Hydro if this is true. I asked them, and they said it wasn't. I could have saved the ANS 100 grand!
There are, needless to say, several books and maybe a dozen papers that attempt to prove that all cold fusion experiments are wrong because theory predicts the results are impossible. Huizenga's book is the best example. He does not -- anywhere -- attempt to show what mistake or mistakes researchers have made, but he asserts that they must have made unspecified mistakes because they cannot be right. In his words: "Furthermore, if the claimed excess heat exceeds that possible by other conventional processes (chemical, mechanical, etc.), one must conclude that an error has been made in measuring the excess heat." Needless to say, this turns the scientific method upside down! It is also a logical fallacy: circular reasoning.
- Jed Rothwell, Librarian, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:17, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Does it strike the rest of you as strongly as it does me as to how disconnected from reality Jed is? I sit here practically screaming at him (because he doesn't listen to normal tomes) that the CCS is a systematic error (read 'procedural error') that no CFer has taken into account, and demonstrated that in two cases (published!), and he says, "if you know of a skeptical paper that cites a procedural error in a cold fusion experiment, please let me know!" with exclamation point no less. Further, you have the Clarke work that shows 'procedural errors' must be present (in order to get 'hydrogen' samples contaminated with air) in SRI's attempts to measure He production! And you have Mizuno's ICCF14 paper that says Iwamura misidentified a sulfur contaminant. And you have Krivit's most recent report of Kidwell's comments at ICCF14. How can one argue with such denial of reality? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kirk shanahan (talkcontribs) 13:59, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Kirk shanahan wrote:
Does it strike the rest of you as strongly as it does me as to how disconnected from reality Jed is? I sit here practically screaming at him (because he doesn't listen to normal tomes) that the CCS is a systematic error (read 'procedural error') . . .
That's what I said: "I think it would be fair to say that Shanahan believes the data to be an instrument artifact and not caused by actual heat . . ."
Further, you have the Clarke work that shows 'procedural errors' must be present (in order to get 'hydrogen' samples contaminated with air) in SRI's attempts to measure He production!
I was talking about calorimetry only. I realize there are discussions of errors in other measurements, and some of these other measurements are not as widely replicated or certain.
- Jed Rothwell, Librarian, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:52, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Jed's travelling IP roadshow

Jed, In order to try to keep some semblance of coherent history for your efforts here, I've compiled a list of your IP contribs and talkpages. Of course, I still would prefer that you register like the rest of us.LeadSongDog (talk) 18:59, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Jed's Contribs: Special:Contributions/ Special:Contributions/ Special:Contributions/ Special:Contributions/ Special:Contributions/ Special:Contributions/ Special:Contributions/ Special:Contributions/ Special:Contributions/ Special:Contributions/ Special:Contributions/ Special:Contributions/ Special:Contributions/

Jed's talk: User_talk: User_talk: User_talk: User_talk: User_talk: User_talk: User_talk: User_talk: User_talk: User_talk: User_talk: User_talk: User_talk:

Well -- whoever you are, Mr. Dog -- while I appreciate your efforts compiling this info, I am told that discussions about people are off topic and not allowed. So I have attempted to delete this information, but someone keeps putting it back!
By the way, what is it with people here that they do not use real names? You remind me of Japanese comic book aficionados ("otaku" in Japanese). It seems peculiar and childish to me that adults would refer to themselves as LeadSongDog. Or . . . is this question off topic? Plus, I now note that your real name is not on your "Talk Page." One gets the impression that you are trying to hide, or not take responsibility for your words.
- Jed Rothwell, Librarian, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:03, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
Contribution lists are standard for regular users. It's not talking about people. When people use different names on the internet, this is called using a "screen name" and it's quite common -- I would almost say ubiquitous. It's kinda a fun thing. Nothing to do with hiding or not taking responsibility. Having a registered identity (whatever name you choose) complete with personal talk page and contribution list, along with signing your posts, is what insures accountability here. Also it really doesn't matter who a person is in "real life" (for the most part), just that you can associate all the dialogue from them together under one entity. Hence the contribution list. And yes, what you just said could be construed as a personal attack and thus against policy (WP:NPA). Kevin Baastalk 21:16, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
You may wish to read WP:USERNAME. Except in rare cases, editors should be perfectly happy to have the record of their contributions available for every editor to examine. I'm prepared to assume Jed didn't intend it as a personal attack this time, though I might not again. My record is here:Special:Contributions/LeadSongDog LeadSongDog (talk) 21:21, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Kevin Baas wrote:
When people use different names on the internet, this is called using a "screen name" and it's quite common -- I would almost say ubiquitous. It's kinda a fun thing.
Well perhaps, but it seems creepy to me. I think the real name policy at Citizendium is better:
And yes, what you just said could be construed as a personal attack and thus against policy
Good heavens! It is like dealing with Victorian maiden aunts. The least little thing and one must Pass the Smelling Salts; Aunt Martha has fainted because I said "legs" instead of "limbs."
Anyway, you people threw out Pierre Carbonnelle who is far more civil than I (and cool, calm, debonair -- European, in short, all that I am not). I have no doubt you will soon throw me out. You people are incorrigible.
You mentioned that you have "fun." I don't see much of that here. Collectively and individually you seem to lack a sense of humor, and a sense of the absurd. The article is absurd, it goes without saying, but most people here fail to recognize that.
Ah, but perhaps this is off topic?!? Even though I appear to be topic of this section? Such an honor!
- Jed Rothwell, Librarian, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:52, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
Jed did edit while logged in for some time, though after his behavior led to several blocks he decided to leave. Alas, it seems that this decision did not last. --Noren (talk) 05:30, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
For reference, what the "right to vanish" page looked like back in 6 May 2006, before it was copied to enwiki. --Enric Naval (talk) 20:57, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
My decision not to edit the article is final. Storms, Carbonnel, I and others made a FAR better encyclopedia article here:
This is how a grown-up article looks. See? It is based on real, peer-reviewed, verifiable, objective facts that anyone can confirm at a university library. Also, it is rationally organized, rather than being a random agglomeration of facts plus unfounded nonsense that happened to pop into various skeptics' heads.
While I would not touch this article, I enjoy bothering skeptics from time to time, until you throw me out again. From time to time someone should let the "skeptics" know how the researchers feel, and that you are not fooling everyone. Dozens of researchers feel the same way I do, but no self-respecting scientist would contribute to this mess.
- Jed Rothwell, Librarian, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:16, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
The intro of the article and first few paragraphs are very well written. I agree they are far better than what we have now. However, the citizendium article has a a graph from Energetics Technology Ltd, which really hurts the article's credibility. Phil153 (talk) 21:35, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
Phil153 wrote: "The intro of the article and first few paragraphs are very well written."
I would say thank you but Ed Storms wrote that.
". . . the citizendium article has a a graph from Energetics Technology Ltd, which really hurts the article's credibility."
Why do you say that? Are you aware of any technical problems with this experiment? (I am asking seriously.) Can you a cite a paper describing these problems?
That slide is from McKubre (SRI) as noted. His technical judgement is excellent. He and others have witnessed and checked the Energetics Technology experiment. If you or someone you know has found a problem with this work, I will inform SRI and Energetics Technology. If you have not found a problem, I suggest you refrain from saying that their work reduces credibility.
- Jed Rothwell, Librarian,
"His technical judgement is excellent." - except when it comes to how to keep air out of his experiments. Kirk shanahan (talk) 12:43, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
I am making no assertions of my own - merely quoting reliable secondary sources. Here's what the Washington Post has to say:
Yet endorsing the physics experiments of a medical doctor found to have defrauded sick patients is a serious threat to McKubre's reputation."
There's about 5 paragraphs on this in that article. In a fringe field, using such sources doesn't help the cause, especially when they're claiming results which have apparently (correct me if I'm wrong) not been reproduced independently elsewhere. Phil153 (talk) 02:27, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
"While I would not touch this article, I enjoy bothering skeptics from time to time, until you throw me out again. From time to time someone should let the "skeptics" know how the researchers feel, and that you are not fooling everyone." Jed Rothwell, if are not trying to improve an article, the honorable thing to do is to stop posting on talk pages. Wikipedia is a good faith effort to build a useful encyclopedia. Posting in order to "bother skeptics" is against wikipedia's soapbox policy. [4] Olorinish (talk) 23:15, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
Olorinish wrote:
Wikipedia is a good faith effort to build a useful encyclopedia.
I see no sign of good faith on the part of the leading skeptics here. On the contrary, they betray all standards of academic discourse. They, not I, should be condemned. Let me give two examples:
1. They threw out Pierre Carbonnelle. He is one of the fairest, most courteous, objective and reasonable people I know, and he has been far more patient and forgiving with the skeptics than they deserve. He also knows more about cold fusion than all of the skeptics put together.
He was fair as long as you weren't putting arguments/facts against CF in the article. Then he became legalistic and stubborn and unrelenting, all while being polite of course. You and he Jed, should take a moment and realize why P was banned, as it was primarily for not being able to conduct an unbiased discussion. Kirk shanahan (talk) 12:43, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
2. Just now, Shanahan wrote: "That means the rate of H2 release is minimized, and the apparent excess heat signal could potentially exist for a considerable time (many hours or even days) until the Pd is unloaded." This "recombination" hypothesis has been raised thousands of times in the history of cold fusion. Fleischmann, Bockris and many others have proved that it cannot be true. Shanahan knows enough about cold fusion that he must be aware of that, yet he raised the point yet again. I am forced to conclude that he is doing this in order to fool people who know little about the subject into thinking it might be true. This is bad faith.
Jed has said this twice now, so I'll answer it here. First, I can always be wrong, and maybe Jed can cite some references that show this. But he misses the whole gist of the argument. 'Heat after death' is measured in an uncalibrated system. I would expect massive changes in the thermal behavior of the system (the biggest CCS yet). How could anyone make any claims about what is going on heatwise without recalibrating?!? So Jed, just show me a ref where they recalibrate before measuring heat-after-death, and where they ALSO discuss the reproducibility of that calibration (so we can assess the sensitivity of the results to that) and I will be convinced. BUT, make sure your citations ACTUALLY do what I say and not just pretend to do so. Thanks. Kirk shanahan (talk) 12:43, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
For the rest of you, Jed is pulling one of his standard tricks here. Anytime anyone talks about heat from recombination, Jed whips out the 'names' and says they proved it can't be true. Well, they didn't. They made one or two good points here and there, and Jed (and themselves apparantly) takes that as a global defeat of any explanation having to do with recombination. Doesn't work that way Jed. Kirk shanahan (talk) 12:43, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
And Jed is also using the old trick of 'whoever says it first must be right', so no Jed, you are the one who shows bad faith by never, ever accepting any argument that can dethrone even a part of CF. Kirk shanahan (talk) 12:43, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
He and others have done this sort of thing time after time, with recombination and countless other details. For example, he repeatedly states that all cold fusion results are at low power with a small signal-to-noise ratio, whereas anyone familiar with the literature can see that is not true. There are indeed many results at low power, low ratios, but a small number of results at much higher power with a higher s/n ratio. The reasons for this distribution are well understood, and they are important. Shanahan deliberately and repeatedly throws away the data at the high end. He cannot be unaware that it exists.
And Jed repeatedly throws away the CCS idea, which changes the relevant noise figure from 75mW on a signal of 780mw (Storms) to 5% or so of input (in the best quality calorimeters). And nothing in the CF field is 'well understood'. ROFL Kirk shanahan (talk) 12:43, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
Regarding recombination, see:, as I noted above.
And that, by gum, is a serious, good faith response from me. No hint of levity. You have no right to talk of "honor" to me in a place where people do things like this!
- Jed Rothwell, Librarian, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:40, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
Jed Rothwell, I posted a notice accusing you of using wikipedia as a soapbox at the Administrators Noticeboard. If you think people here have acted dishonorably, there are dispute resolution procedures you can follow. [5] Olorinish (talk) 00:12, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Olorinish wrote:

Jed Rothwell, I posted a notice accusing you of using wikipedia as a soapbox at the Administrators Noticeboard.

This is no concern of mine. Please feel free to post as many notices as you like, where ever you like. It is somewhat unclear to me what using Wikipedia as a "soapbox" would be, but surely using it as means to distort important scientific research, and to make a mockery of academic traditions, must be worse.

If you think people here have acted dishonorably, there are dispute resolution procedures you can follow. [

I have made it abundantly clear that people have acted dishonorably. I am sure that all of the cold fusion researchers would agree. They have acted more dishonorably than any group of people in the history of modern science! This dispute can only be resolved by the skeptics themselves, in their own minds. They must learn to respect the truth and the scientific method. They must learn that the paramount rule of science is that facts matter, and instrument and experiments must decide all issues. No authority can force enlightenment upon them, or stop them from making mischief. Perhaps, however, if some of the worst ones would see the light, the damage can be limited. In other institutions, academic standards are upheld, but I fear that Wikipedia's structure and anonymity will not allow it.

- Jed Rothwell, Librarian, —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:28, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

^^^ is what using Wikipedia as a soapbox would look like. ~Paul V. Keller 15:52, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
Jed Rothwell, this is the policy I think you violated: [6] Olorinish (talk) 17:44, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
  1. ^ a b Browne 1989, para. 29.
  2. ^ Van Noorden 2007, para. 2.
  3. ^ Chubb et al. 2006.
  4. ^ Feder 2005,Hutchinson 2006,Kruglinksi 2006.
  5. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference Hubler_2007 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  6. ^ a b Biberian 2007.
  7. ^ Hubler lecture slides
  8. ^ Feder 2005,Hutchinson 2006,Kruglinksi 2006.
  9. ^ Van Noorden 2007, para. 2.
  10. ^ Chubb et al. 2006.
  11. ^ Shanahan 2002.
  12. ^ a b Shanahan 2006
  13. ^ a b Szpak 2004
  14. ^ Storms 2007, p. 41.
  15. ^ Shanahan 2002
  16. ^ Shanahan 2005
  17. ^ Mosier-Boss et al. 2008
  18. ^ Iwamura, Sakano & Itoh 2002, p. 4648-4649