9) Storms on Scientific Method in CF

Ludwik Kowalski, <kowalskiL@mail.montclair.edu>
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, N.J.

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The piece below was extracted from an article of E. Storms, as downloaded from < http://home.netcom.com/~storms2/park.html >

The article is a review of a book "Voodoo Science" published by R. Park. Addressing the issue "observations versus theories" Storms wrote: "Science prides itself on resolving conflicts using logic and facts to provide a better understanding of nature. . . [But to Park] the explanation becomes more important than the observation. Because this particular explanation can not be believed, the observation must also be rejected. Thus, a major flaw in modern science is revealed - a Theory is more important than an Observation. The behavior of nature is not real unless it can be explained, especially using conventional concepts. This flaw in logic is at the heart of the book and provides an explanation for rejection of these and other subjects by many scientists.

New discoveries always conflict with some dearly held belief. This conflict when used to reject the claims, prevents new discoveries from being explored and properly explained. This is not to say that all ‘strange’ ideas are correct or that all have a new and worthwhile explanation. Clearly, some should be rejected as being caused by obvious error, fraud, or simple insanity. The problem comes in deciding how much time and resource should be devoted to a search for an explanation and how the resulting facts should be evaluated. . . . If science is to clean up its act, this defect in the approach scientists use needs to be addressed. A clear and extensive discussion of this general problem can be found in the book "Revolution in Science" by J. Bernard Cohen (1985) or "Forbidden Science" by Richard Milton (1994)."

The next piece was extracted for a relatively recent articles of E. Storms, "A Critical Evaluation of the Pons-Fleischmann Effect" Infinite Energy, 2000, #31, p 10. I downloaded this article as the StrmsEacritical.html file from the following web site: < http://lenr-canr.org/Features.htm >

"Many new studies are available to make an objective evaluation of the Pons-Fleischmann effect possible. ... A wide range of observations involving anomalous production of energy as well as nuclear products have been published. While many of the claims are still open to interpretation, the general conclusion is that an important, novel phenomenon has been discovered which deserves renewed interest. Since the claims of Profs. Pons and Fleischmann were announced ten years ago, studies have been undertaken by hundreds of scientists in laboratories of at least nine countries in an attempt to verify what they then called "cold fusion." Some of the results support the idea that the anomalous nuclear reactions can be made to occur in special solid materials. Many more investigations failed to show the claimed effects. Although this body of work is largely unknown to the general scientific community, it nevertheless is believed by many to show the claims to be false.

Ten years of work worldwide have produced over 2500 published papers, many peer reviewed, which have answered most of the objections leveled by the critics. It is now possible to make a more objective evaluation of the phenomenon than was previously possible. Unfortunately, during this time the claims have been the subject of considerable distortion. The reader is asked to lay aside the emotional reaction ‘cold fusion’ can generate and read the following arguments with an open mind. . . . Of course, many studies have been poorly done and cannot be used to evaluate the claims either way. Such deficiencies are common in all aspects of science. [In this article] an attempt will be made to determine how well the claims have been replicated and whether consistent patterns of behavior have been revealed. For good reason, these are the techniques science demands be followed when any new ideas are evaluated.

In contrast to these conventional criteria, numerous critics have observed that ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.’ This is a very high standard which has prematurely doomed many new ideas to the trash bin, some deserving and some not. We need to realize that potential errors can be found by clever critics in any study, no matter how well done. Hence, a perfect proof is almost impossible to obtain until considerable information has accumulated. Such an accumulation is very slow and difficult if an idea is completely rejected, as has been done in this case. Consequently, at the very least, I would hope that the skeptical reader would entertain a possibility that some parts of the claim deserve further study, even though all important questions have not, as yet, been answered."

That was an introduction to a very long and worth reading article. Let me mention that Edmund Storms is a retired material scientist with a Ph.D. in radiochemistry. Prior to his retirement he worked for 34 years at Los Alamos National Laboratory. His work involved basic research in the field of high temperature chemistry as applied to materials used in nuclear power and propulsion reactors, including studies of the "cold fusion" effect. He was among the first scientists to discover radioactive tritium in electrochemical cells after they were used to produce excess heat.

Over seventy reviewed publications and monographs resulted from this work as well as several books, all describing an assortment of material properties. He presently lives in Santa Fe where he is investigating the “cold fusion” effects in his own laboratory. These studies have resulted in sixteen presentations to various conferences including the ACS and APS. In addition, twenty-one papers have been published including three complete scientific reviews of the field, one published in 1991, another in 1996 and the latest one in 1998. A critical evaluation of the Pons-Fleichmann Effect was published in 2000. In May 1993, he was invited to testify before a congressional committee about the “cold fusion" effect. These biographical details were extracted from < http://home.netcom.com/~storms2/index.html >. Let me quote a letter that Dr. E. Storms sent to the editors of Scientific American.

* * * * * * * * * *
November 30, 2002
Editors Scientific American
415 Madison Ave. New York, NY 10017

Dear Sir:
Your analysis in the December issue about why science is neither respected nor understood by the general public I found to be very much to the point. Those occasions when science accepts claims that are later found to be false clearly give science a black mark. Unfortunately, in an effort to avoid such embarrassment, science also rejects claims that are later found to be true. I ask you, which is the greater threat to science and mankind, accepting a claim that can have no possible benefit or rejecting a claim that can have great benefit?

I could offer many examples of how good ideas have been rejected in the past, but I would like you to consider one very important claim that now has almost universal rejection, yet is supported by a growing body of data. As a scientist, I was trained to judge the reality of nature from good data based on replicated experiments. Yet, I find that the scientific community increasingly bases what is real on the opinions of a few respected journals and academics using theoretical arguments, regardless what is being discovered by other scientists operating in the real world. How is the general public expected to respect science when it does not follow its own stated rules of evidence?

The discovery I would like to use as an example of this double standard is what is called LENR or low energy nuclear reactions. This has also been given the very inaccurate name of cold fusion, a name that now causes rejection and ridicule. This ridicule comes from people who have no understanding about what is now known, yet their opinions are accepted as fact. Is this the way science is supposed to operate?

If you wish to be true to your stated wish to make science more respected, I suggest you educate yourself about this important phenomenon by reading information available at www.lenr-canr.org. There you will find over a thousand publications that support the reality of such anomalous nuclear reactions, as well as several reviews in full text that answer important questions raised by skeptics in the past. Serious scientists rejected ‘cold fusion’ in the past for good reason. These reasons no longer apply. If science cannot correct a past rejection, then what good is the scientific method? Can anyone respect a scientist who cannot change his/her mind after being presented with better data?

Respectfully, Edmund Storms, Ph.D.

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