The Suppression of Inconvenient Facts in Physics

The Suppression of Inconvenient Facts in Physics
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The Suppression of Inconvenient Facts in Physics
"Textbooks present science as a noble search for truth, in which progress depends on questioningestablished ideas. But for many scientists, this is a cruel myth. They know from bitter experience thatdisagreeing with the dominant view is dangerous - especially when that view is backed by powerfulinterest groups. Call it suppression of intellectual dissent. The usual pattern is that someone does researchor speaks out in a way that threatens a powerful interest group, typically a government, industry or professional body. As a result, representatives of that group attack the critic's ideas or the critic personally-by censoring writing, blocking publications, denying appointments or promotions,withdrawing research grants, taking legal actions, harassing, blacklisting, spreading rumors." (1)
Science is in a state of crisis. Where free inquiry, natural curiosity and open-minded discussion andconsideration of new ideas should reign, a new orthodoxy has emerged. This 'new inquisition', as it has been called by Robert Anton Wilson (2) consists not of cardinals and popes, but of the editors andreviewers of scientific journals, of leading authorities and self-appointed "skeptics", and last but not leastof corporations and governments that have a vested interest in preserving the status quo, and it is just aseffective in suppressing unorthodox ideas as the original. The scientists in the editorial boards of journalswho decide which research is fit to be published, and which is not, the science bureaucrats at the patentoffice who decide what feats nature allows human technology to perform, and which ones it does not, andthe scientists in governmental agencies who decide what proposals to fund, and not to fund, either truly believe that they are in complete knowledge of all the fundamental laws of nature, or they purposelysuppress certain discoveries that threaten the scientific prestige of individuals or institutions, or economicinterests. Research that indicates that an accepted theory is incomplete, severely flawed, or completelymistaken, is frequently rejected on the grounds that it "contradicts the laws of nature", and therefore hasto be the result of sloppiness or fraud. At the heart of this argument is the incorrect notion that
theoryoverrides evidence
.In true science, theory always surrenders to the primacy of evidence. If observations are made that, after careful verification and theoretical analysis, are found to be inconsistent with a theory, than that theoryhas to go - no matter how aesthetically pleasing it is, how much mathematical elegance it contains, how prestigious its supporters are, or how many billions of dollars a certain industry has bet on it.This article will show that a different reaction occurs with disturbing regularity. Anomalous evidence isfirst ignored, then ridiculed, and if that fails, its author attacked. Scientific conferences will not admit it to be presented, scientific journals will refuse to publish it, and fellow scientists know better than to expresssolidarity with an unorthodox colleague. In today's scientific world, the cards are stacked heavily againsttrue scientific breakthroughs. Too many careers are at stake; too many vested interests are involved for any truly revolutionary advancement in science to take place any more. All too often, scientific truth isdetermined by the authority of experts and textbooks, not by logic and reason.In
20th and 21st Century Science: Reflections and Projections (3)
Robert G. Jahn writes:Thus, at the dawn of the 21st century, we again find an elite, smugly contented scientific establishment, but one now endowed with far more public authority and respect than that of the prior version. A veritable priesthood of high science controls major segments of public and private policy and expenditure for research, development, construction, production, education and publication throughout the world, andenjoys a cultural trust and reverence that extends far beyond its true merit. It is an establishment that is

largely consumed with refinements and deployments of mid-20th century science, rather than withcreative advancement of fundamental understanding of the most profound and seminal aspects of itstrade. Even more seriously, it is an establishment that persists in frenetically sweeping legitimate genresof new anomalous phenomena under its intellectual carpet, thereby denying its own well-documentedheritage that anomalies are the most precious raw material from which future science is formed.Henry H. Bauer gives a similarly bleak assessment of the state of modern science (4):Mainstream orthodoxy routinely resists novelties that later become accepted. (..) Indeed, it may well bethat the suppression of unorthodox views in science is on the increase rather than in decline. InPrometheus Bound (1994), John Ziman has outlined how science changed during the 20th century:traditionally (since perhaps the 17th century) a relatively disinterested knowledge-seeking activity,science progressively became handmaiden to industry and government, and its direction of research isincreasingly influenced by vested interests and self-interested bureaucracies, including bureaucraciessupposedly established to promote good science such as the National Academies, the National ScienceFoundation, and the National Institutes of Health.In many cases of anomalous evidence that threatens established theories, simple denial of publicationsuffices to suppress the anomaly. Sometimes, however, renegade scientists manage to capture theattention of the general public, pleading their case to a larger audience that has no vested interest in thevalidity of the established theories. When that happens, and significant interests are at stake, the scientificestablishment may turn nasty and resort to misrepresentation or outright falsification of evidence and toad-hominem attacks.
The Cold Fusion Scandal
Such misrepresentation and falsification of evidence happened after Stanley Pons and MartinFleischman (5) announced in March 1989 that they had achieved fusion by electrochemical means.Several influential US laboratories (Caltech(6), MIT (7), Yale/Brookhaven (8)) reported negative resultson Cold Fusion that were based on shoddy experimental work and a misunderstanding of the Pons-Fleischmann claims (9). They gave a hostile hot fusion establishment the excuse it needed to concludethat the claims made by Pons and Fleischmann were bogus. In November 1989, a DOE panel concludedthe same after a shallow investigation of only seven month (10).The late Eugene F. Mallove, who was the Chief Science Writer at the MIT News Office at the time andlater founded
 Infinite Energy
, a journal dedicated to covering potential new energy sources ignored bymainstream science, played a part in exposing the MIT report as mistaken, possibly fraudulent (11), andresigned in protest over it in 1991. He writes in
Ten Years That Shook Physics
(12) :Each of the widely cited 1989 'null' experiments has been found to be deeply flawed in experimental protocols, data evaluation, and presentation. Each, in fact, contained some evidence of excess heat asclaimed by Fleischmann and Pons. There is evidence that the MIT data was deliberately altered to erasean indication of excess heat. The altered data was published officially by MIT, and it was included inreports to a government agency under the official seal of MIT. The experiment was paid for out of federalgovernment funds. This report had a dramatic impact on the perception of many scientists and journalists.It is ironic that each of these negative results were themselves the product of the kind of low quality work of which Fleischmann and Pons were accused. The difference was that the reports said what the hotfusion community wanted to hear.

Most people, including physicists, continue to be unaware that low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR) arereal, and have been verified in hundreds of experiments.In February 2002, the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWAR) of the United State Navy inSan Diego released a 310 page report titled
Thermal and Nuclear Aspects of the Pd/D
O System
(13) thatdiscusses the overwhelming experimental evidence that the cold fusion effect indeed exists. Dr. Frank E.Gordon, the head of the center's Navigation and Applied Sciences Department, writes in the foreword:We do not know if 'Cold Fusion' will be the answer to future energy needs, but we do know the existenceof Cold Fusion phenomenon through repeated observations by scientists throughout the world. It is timethat this phenomenon be investigated so that we can reap whatever benefits accrue from additionalscientific understanding. It is time for government funding organizations to invest in this research.A March 2003
 New Scientist
article (14) quotes Robert Nowak, an electrochemist and programmemanager in chemistry at the Office of Naval Research on the suppression efforts that the Navy researchhad to overcome:From the beginning, the idea was to keep things modest. 'We put less than $1 million a year into the programme,' Nowak says. 'Above that level, the red flags go up.' Saalfeld and Nowak never gave the programme its own line in the ONR's budget, but allotted money to it from miscellaneous funds. 'Wewere to keep working and we were allowed to publish our results, but we weren't supposed to say a lotabout it,' Miles recalls. 'Some people were worried that word would get out and it would jeopardise thenavy labs' funding from Congress for other research. We didn't even call it 'cold fusion'. We called it'anomalous effects in deuterated systems'.' That was still not enough to keep the sceptics off their backs. 'Fairly prominent individuals within the physics community voiced threats,' Nowak admits. 'They said that they were aware that federal fundswere going into cold fusion research and they were going to do what they could to stop it.Fortunately, these suppressive efforts were not successful and LENR research at SPAWAR hascontinued. In a paper published in the German journal Naturwissenschaften in 2007, the Navy researchersreported “undisputable evidence” of the nuclear origin of high-energy particles emitted from a cold fusioncell (15). Unfortunately, these results are still largely being ignored by the scientific mainstream and thegeneral public, despite the fact that they portend a solution to the energy and environmental crisis thatthreatens our civilization.The plasma fusion community also reacts with hostility to new concepts for hot fusion that threaten tolead to practical fusion energy soon - and therefore to a gigantic embarrassment for themselves and to anend of decades of lavish government funding. One such idea is
 Focus Fusion
. Plasma physicists Eric J.Lerner, Dr. Bruce Freeman and Dr. Hank Oona have proposed an innovative design to achieve hydrogen- boron fusion which, unlike the deuterium-tritium reaction the hot fusion mainstream is trying to create,creates no lethal neutrons. Yet (or therefore?) focus fusion met with stiff resistance from the hot fusionestablishment. A 2002 press release of the Focus Fusion Societyw describes the reaction:On May 23rd Dr. Richard Seimon, Fusion Energy Science Program Manager at Los Alamos demandedDr. Hank Oona, one of the physicist involved in the experiment, dissociate himself from comparisons thatshowed the new results to be superior in key respects to those of the tokamak and to remove his namefrom the paper describing the results. The tokamak, a much larger and more expensive device, has beenthe centerpiece of the US fusion effort for 25 years. Seimon did not disputing the data or the achievementof high temperatures. He objected to the comparisons with the tokamak, arguing that it was biased against

the tokamak. In addition, Seimon pressured Dr. Bruce Freeman, another co-author of the paper, toadvocate the removal of all tokamak comparisons from the paper. “Both of my colleagues in this researchhave been threatened with losing their jobs if they don’t distance themselves from the comparisons withthe tokamak,” says Lerner who is lead author on the paper. “Both of them had carefully reviewed andapproved the paper originally and had endorsed its conclusions. For them to be forced to recant under threat of firing is outrageous. It undermines the very basis of scientific discourse if researchers are notallowed by their institutions to speak honestly to each other."Just like cold fusion, focus fusion could be the cheap, clean, inexhaustible source of energy that the hotfusion establishment has been promising the world for half a century but failed to deliver.
Transmutation and "Alchemy"
If a new class of nuclear reactions can take place under low energy conditions, then it is reasonable toexpect even transmutations of heavy elements. But to conventional chemistry and physics, the claim of heavy elemental transmutations occurring in "chemical" systems, apparently validating the ancient proto-science of alchemy, constitutes an even greater provocation than cold fusion.John Bockris, a distinguished professor of chemistry at Texas A&M and one of the world's leadingelectrochemists, had to learn this lesson in the early years of the cold fusion scandal. He successfullyreplicated the Pons and Fleischmann experiment in 1989 and discovered bursts of tritium production.He then became one of the principal targets of a smear campaign against cold fusion research by science journalist Gary Taubes. Taubes was writing a book on Cold Fusion and had already made up his mindthat cold fusion was "pathological science". He spent time with Bockris and his students at Texas A&M, posing as a disinterested investigator. There, he got the idea that Nigel Packham, one of Bockris' graduatestudents had "spiked" the cold fusion cell with tritium. The allegation was utterly baseless, but Taubeswas out for blood and needed to have his scandal. He got
to publish his allegations in June 1990(16). Bockris called the editor and asked for the right to publish a detailed response, but his request wasdenied. Eventually, he managed to get a one-column letter published denying the allegations. Publicationof Taubes' paranoid delusions in
gave them wide credence and circulation.A fair-minded Nov 1998 article in
Wired (17)
sets the record straight:'We thought Taubes was genuine at first,' Bockris told me recently, speaking in a clipped, precise Britishaccent that he acquired before he moved to the United States in 1953. 'We exposed our lab books to him,and told him our results. But then he said to Packham, my grad student, 'I've turned off the tape, now youcan tell me - it's a fraud, isn't it? If you confess to me now, I won't be hard on you, you'll be able to pursueyour career.(Taubes has been shown Bockris's statement. He prefers not to comment.)According to Bockris, 'A postdoctoral student named Kainthla, and a technician named Velev, bothdetected tritium and heat after we took Packham off the work because of the controversy. Since then,numerous people have obtained comparable results. In 1994, I counted 140 papers reporting tritium inlow-temperature fusion experiments. One of them was by Fritz Will, the president of The ElectrochemicalSociety, who has an impeccable reputation.Taubes's June 1990 report in
reassured many people that cold fusion had been bogus all along.Packham received his PhD, but only on condition that all references to cold fusion be removed from the