The original thread of this discussion has increased up to 8100 words, not manageable in a blog. Some 80% of the words belong to my discussion partner and are showing a lot of very relevant examples of his LENR experience and thinking, while I am more interrogative than affirmative.
However, the discussion has a hard core and I hope that Abd will
kindly agree with my definition of it, in what follows.
Abd’s statements that are at the root of the dispute:
"We do not need reliability for Science. It is desirable, that's all.
"Improvement in reliability is desirable, but not necessary."
The main obstacle, psychological barrier, for me to accept these is my personal work experience in a medium where unreliability is danger but this was a technological “place” not a scientific one.
Add to this my favorite modes of thinking- I need solid, stable,
repeatable premises. Human weaknesses, perhaps sometimes
not good for the Superlogical Thinking see please: http://egooutpeters.blogspot.ro/2011/03/modes-of-thinking-my-taxonomy.html. A reason more to take in account very carefully
and positively what Abd has to say.
I have asked him to give examples of science based on unreliable
The example that comes to mind first, for me, is medicine. A medicine may not successfully treat a disorder in all cases. Yet by controlled research, we may find that it is helpful in enough cases to be useful.
In my opinion, here Abd has entered with courage a mined territory and I am going with him. Due to the extreme complexity – in space and in time (personal heredity and history) of the human organisms, there are really cases when some medicine helps only a part of the sick people and 100% efficient solutions are rare. Medicines are rarely acting in the style of “The Moor has done his duty, the Moor can go.” No, Big Pharma likes more dependency on its products than complete, irreversible healing.
The Moor usually remains with us, as a servant & master.
I am an ideal small customer, have hypertension and I take daily
2 pills of Enalapril and one of Tertensiv, and these help me to be able to drink one cup of instant coffee each morning- vital for me and also to survive temporarily and that’s also very good and surprising for me. If we will think quantitatively, a medicine with an expected success rate of 80% will have much better chances to be used than one having 20% chances of some success.
Going further with/from this analogy with medicine, re Cold Fusion/LENR, Abd shows the following:
Cold fusion, particularly in electrochemical cells, is a complex phenomenon, and the necessary conditions are poorly understood and apparently chaotic. Nevertheless, we can study the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect (in PdD) and can measure helium in the evolved gases, or we can even go deeper and do a comprehensive analysis of cell contents. Either way, from what's been done, the helium found is highly correlated with the anomalous heat generated.
It is not necessary for this that the generation of heat may be reliable, all that is necessary is that a significant number of cells, where this experiment is done, do show the FPHE. The number that I have for cells showing the FPHE in the original work is one out of six. Suppose that 60 cells are run, and 10 show anomalous heat above noise. Suppose that, for all 60 cells, helium is measured, and helium is above background levels for 10 cells. And all ten of these showed anomalous heat, and none of the cells with no anomalous heat showed helium. This is really enough, but suppose that, as well, the more anomalous heat found, the more helium is found, within experimental error. If the study is comprehensive (which might require taking steps like dissolving the cathode or melting it to drive off all retained helium), suppose that the ratio of heat to helium corresponds to 25 +/- 5 MeV/He-4.
Here I had a kind of revelation- Abd’s truth is based on realistic thinking, we have no alternative! Nothing else can be done, hic et nunc. The experimental practice has shown it, many times and for many years. We have to use some “unhappy man’s methods” first of all because there are no other methods available. We have to solve the problem with the tools and resources we have, not with those we want to get- it is not possible now. Problems have to be always solved with what we have, not with what we wish to have.
Difficult, but realistic.
That result would be conclusive that the heat is nuclear in origin. It would create a high probability that the nuclear reaction involved is some kind of fusion that takes deuterium and converts it to helium. It is not necessarily "d-d fusion." There are other possibilities.
However Abd is clearly aware of both the limitations and the drawbacks of using (forcedly) unreliable results/methods:
Obviously, though, such an experiment would not establish any kind of practical possibility. That's what I mean by distinguishing the science from the engineering of energy generation. We don't need reliability to extend our scientific knowledge (at least not reliability in the sense of each experiment producing specifically predictable results, specific values of energy -- and we don't necessarily need great reliability with our measurement methods. Properly done, the experiment I mentioned would adequately establish the reliability of the calorimetry and the helium measurement!)
So you run many more cathodes. *Many*. You got one working one. Great! That's one out of six, not bad. Were all these cathodes apparently identical, or did you keep changing conditions to try to make it work. You are aware, I presume, that all that variation may have been for nothing. But perhaps you did learn to run the experiment more successfully. So great. Run more cathodes as close to what you did with the successful one as you can.
I think Abd’s following statement has truth value:
“A great deal can be discovered about an unreliable reaction.”
Abd writes about his idea that a good theory could contribute a lot to solving the reliability problem.
And if a practical application is possible, setting Rossi et al aside, it will very likely be from theory enabled by the presence of more data from what should have been done twenty years ago. The idea that it was necessary to get reliability permeated the field, and that was an error. Reliability would very likely follow from a successful theory. Or not.
I think my colleague is right; theory that is understanding will help us to go forward/upward from unreliability based on overwhelming complexity to unreliability based on a known cause to high reliability
The essence is that now I have understood Abd’s points of view and I can accept them.
I want to follow the discussion with causal unreliability, specifically with my idea that any gaseous components of air can deactivate NAE- and are not shy doing it. I think that this kind of poisoning is acting in all classic CF/LENR systems, and is deadly. Euphemistically speaking.