Is Hot Clocking a Bad Explanation for Something that Probably Does Not Exist?
I recently challenged Brian Josephson the Nobel Laureate and Emeritus Professor of Physics at Cambridge University, and Simon Berkovich - Professor of Physics at George Washington University – to put their reputations where their brains are and take up my wager that the ‘free energy’ they think exists in a new ‘explanation’ for what used to be explained by cold fusion will be in commercial production at some near future date of their own choosing. Josephson weirdly (but perhaps understandably) declined outright and (at the time of writing) Berkovich continues to evade accepting the challenge. The Dysology Prize was invented as a wager and takes the form of a bronze statue named “Veracity versus Claptrap” to be presented to whoever of us is wrong.
Below is the latest comment in the debate at the date of writing (this 26 September 2011) .
Published Comment Click here to see all the comments – including my Dysology Prize challenge -and to read the article that launched the prize.
Mike Sutton September 21, 2011 at 5:36 am
The Toynbee Phenomenon: Good explanations are refutable and difficult to vary - is yours?
Dear Professor Berkovich
In relation to your reply it seems to me that you have found a convenient post-hoc explanation for a phenomenon that may or may not exist (but that most top scientists agree probably does not - following their own research into it).
Perhaps one of the most fundamental principles of orthodox science (see Shermer 1991) is that we should not confuse observations of data with our explanation for it. The fact that the ‘cold fusion’ 'free energy' (hot clocking or whatever else you wish to call it) data could not be replicated by top scientists – but only by those allegedly making errors or worse - is not a mysteriously good explanation in itself for itself by way of the fact that it could not be replicated by top scientists. Furthermore, and in relation to this debate more importantly, as Karl Popper explained and David Deutsch (2011) recently reminds us: good scientific explanations are:
(1) hard to vary and
(2) easy to refute.
On which note, as I pointed out in my very first comment on your article, Richard Feynman explains that a new law is either right or it is wrong. If it does not stand up to replication by observation or experiment by others then it is wrong – and if you keep promoting it then you enter the realms of pseudo, voodoo and junk science.
What you seem to me (as a non-expert) to be proposing here is a conveniently suitably infinitely variable, and irrefutable explanation for data (that may or may not exist) because the data cannot be reliably observed or replicated by observation in nature or experiment by independent top scientists.
Therefore, I still hold out my offer of the best check on veracity of its existence – that this energy you describe be findable by objective leading scientists and usable. So, I repeat my question that so far you have not been able to answer and that Professor Josephson weirdly (but perhaps understandably) declined to engage wth by way of my offer of a wager: when would you bet it will be commercially viable? Or are you effectively arguing that it never will be commercially available because it is so random you can never pin it down?
I am reminded by your explanation of what Gardner (2010: p. 86) writes of the now widely recognized bias of the historian Arnold Toynbee: 'Toynbee energetically searched for and collected information that supported his convictions while "neglecting or despising" information that did not - and when contrary evidence was too big to dismiss or ignore, he cobbled together ingenious stories that transformed contradiction into confirmation.'
Given the extent to which the 'free energy' you write about here - and now seek to explain by this hot clocking idea- has been debunked as improbable by top scientists, who showed that it was caused by error and other bad science - do you think you might just be irrationally weaving huge strands of veracious disconfirming evidence into a fabric of your own delusion and attempting to pull it over the eyes of others? And, if so, by doing so, falling for the dreaded Toynbee Phenomenon?
Berkovich, D (2011) New Physics of "Hot-Clocking Energy" for the "Excess Heat" Attributed to "Cold Fusion”. http://www.bestthinking.com/articles/energy/new-physics-of-hot-clocking-energy-for-the-excess-heat-attributed-to-cold-fusion-
Deutsch, D. (2011) The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that transform the world. London. Penguin Books.
Feynman, R.P (1964), Cornell University: http://amiquote.tumblr.com/post/4463599197/richard-feynman-on-how-we-would-look-for-a-new-law
Gardner, D. (2010) Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail and Why We Believe Them Anyway. London. Random House.
Dysology Prize also offered for proof of psychic powers: click here