Lurker Advisory: The Battle Lines (BLP saga)
Date: Wednesday, August 18, 2004 @ 22:18:34 GMT
"...Mills has raised some $50 million of private funding, and reportedly is engaged in building partnerships to develop and implement various aspects of the technology. When replicated devices using BLP technology appear on the market, that will confound all criticism which then must explain the energy source without using CQM."
In the HSG yahoo group Mike Carrell writes: Lurkers here have seen a "spirited exchange of views" over CQM and SQM. Mills has not posted any new reports on experiments for some time, so the discussion has centered on Mills' theory. Recently , PZ (Peter Zimmerman) has stated:
Some of us believe, Tom, that Mills's "experimental and theoretical falsification" of QM is obviously and manifestly fatally flawed. So don't tell us we're "very human" but not "right". Having shown that Mills's experiments are crude & don't hold water (let alone Helium), and that his theories have fundamental mathematical errors, we would contend that we *have* falsified "CQM", both its theory and its experiments.
This a belief, not supported by facts. The belief is shared by a groups of skeptics. For brevity in the following, I will refer to them as PZ & Co. Charles Pible (woogie_the_cat) is in the PZ camp and we have had extended discussions about certain Mills experiments, mentioned in a recent post to HSG. Charles said:
What are we to do when the principal proponent of CQM is unwilling to do simple experiments to falsify his own theories? What do we do when Mills does not consider his own experimental evidence with a jaundiced eye and ignores the experiments that do not fit with his world-view? How many ad hoc rationalizations of the bits that don't fit should we allow? Which non-Millsian experiments does SQM fail to explain?
This clarified my understanding of a basic issue driving the conversation here, which may not be visible to lurkers. Thus this small essay.
Mills' GUT-CQM is by any measure audacious, especially coming from an MD, not a member of any of the proper academic clubs. If correct, it shakes the foundations of 20th century physics.
In The Character of Physical Law, Richard Feynman says:
"In general we look for a new law by the following process. First we guess it. Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right. Then we compare the result of the computation to nature, with experiment or experience, compare it directly with observation, to see if it works. If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science." --------------------------and PZ said:
Feynman puts the theorists' side of the hunt brilliantly. And of course we ham handed, dirty-fingered experimentalists are out there seeking data to form the appropriate pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. Once in a great while an experimentalist with a new toy (storage ring, accelerator, telescope, etc) will try to find out what it will do and will map wholly unknown territory. Then the theorist studies the map and asks for additional details.
So here we have Mills with a new theory and piles of reports supporting the theory. That is what Feynman said scientist should do, and PZ agrees, but also says above:
Having shown that Mills's experiments are crude & don't hold water (let alone Helium), and that his theories have fundamental mathematical errors, we would contend that we *have* falsified "CQM", both its theory and its experiments.
What's going on here? Mills had an idea, the orbitsphere, and it led him to the idea of the 'resonant transfer' catalyst, and asked Dr. Farrell to identify atomic energy states that might be catalytic, and built a potassium carbonate electrolytic cell that delivered excess heat. Theory>predicted experiment>confirmation, just like Feynman stated and PZ applauded. So why the attack?
For something as audacious as CQM, the criteria for acceptance of experimental support is extremely severe, understandably and perhaps properly so, considering what is at stake in terms of intellectual commitment. Thus Charles Pibel's questions above. PZ & Co. have posed questions and tests over the years which Mills has ignored or answered on his own terms.
Again, what's going on here? Mills has been uncommonly forthcoming about his work. He publishes his massive theory free on the website, publishes turtorials, and a long list of downloadable, detailed lab reports on his ongoing work. He has papers accepted by first and second tier technical journals. And PZ & Co. believe they have falsified the whole edifice.
My take on what is going on is that Mills is confident of his own lab work and has his purpose firmly directed at commercial deployment of a truly innovative technology. He and his investors have the potential to become immensly and deservedly wealthy. A basic patent was nearly issued and then suddenly withdrawn because it did not conform to general understanding of physics. A new, massive patent application has hundreds of claims and hundreds of clauses, covering virtually every aspect of the experimental work but not leaning on CQM at all.
There could easily be a royal battle over the patents, including the one withdrawn. Now Mills can go to court with massive disclosure and reduction to practice and replication by other observers and defend his patents against all comers.
Mills' posted lab reports and journal papers may well lack the extreme rigor required for an assault on SQM, and in that sense are "crude". But for all other purposes, especially showing the existence of new and useful phenomena, they are plenty good enough. Long before Mills had the present building, he sponsored experiments at universities and commercial research labs. Those reports, dozens of them, are no longer on the website, but are boiled down to tables which show up in some presentations. There have indeed been confirmations of the BLP reactions in other labs. None of this is accepted by PZ & Co., who will demand ever more rigorous testing.
Mills has raised some $50 million of private funding, and reportedly is engaged in building partnerships to develop and implement various aspects of the technology. When replicated devices using BLP technology appear on the market, that will confound all criticism which then must explain the energy source without using CQM.
Meanwhile, Mills cannot afford to have his research program directed by PZ & Co. by responding to every test that can be imagined by critics. As the saying goes, that is an exercise left for generations of graduate students.
From: peter zimmerman
Subject: Re: Lurker Advisory: The Battle Lines
Well, Mike, I should hardly have expected my beliefs, which I hold are now proven facts, to be shared by true believers, should I?
The "piles of reports" shrink considerably when an expert in the field (as CPibel is in spectroscopy and Eli in other chemical-physics fields) examine them critically and look for slip-ups.
As for the differences between catalyst and non-catalyst situations, I have 2 suggestions:
1) maybe Mills has some interesting chemical conditions, tho' I doubt it.
2) it's a pity that Mills and his team know which gases are in the mix when they do their experiments.
If I were establishing the protocols, a computer would randomly switch among identically prepared samples with, and w/o catalysts. The experimentalists would take their data and write it to a Write-Once/Read Many system, and then analyze each separate experiment. Only after all the randomly changed runs were analyzed would the computer break the code and tell the experimenters which were which. This is absolutely standard practice in nuclear and partcle physics. It's too damned easy for an experimenter to find what he's looking for if he know's he's got the prism in the N-ray beam. Self-foolery has been the making of many a discovery. And random changes of sample have been the unmaking of the same discoveries.
A real, "tiny" even, working O/U device on the market is the only key to unlocking the new energy revolution. Smart talk is still cheap and will lead/push us over the edge sooner than later. [Vlad]