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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

44 - on the use of prejudice - opinion and assumption - in the advancement of science

Dear Reader,

I've been busy. I have been trying to find a single reporter who I can get to attend that demo and report on it. This has been really problematic. I hinted at Mr Yeld's attitude. Here's more on the subject.

Hello again Natasha,

Clearly you are as confused as your Mr John Yeld. Let me see if I can explain things more simply. In order to evaluate a scientific claim one first needs to have scientific accreditation. It is required that the accreditation is by those experts in the art that the accreditation is reliable. To the best of my knowledge there has never been any other requirement to the release of any scientific news. I am not sure where and why your requirement is now centered on publication in a peer reviewed journal. If this were ever a requirement either for the development of applications based on that science - or for the release of any news related to that science then - for example - the fact of the Wright Brothers' miracles of flight would never have been reported - and nor would there be any report on the bomb blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Neither were preceded by any publication in any peer reviewed journal. And both were done in defiance of known science. I wonder if you can get your head around this point? It's not really that obtuse. I am not sure of the number of discoveries that are ONLY exposed in patents - but I assure you that ALL progress of science is absolutely NOT always reported to or by our revered academics. Indeed, if the progress of science depended only on the opinion and prior publication in reviewed journals - then quantum physics itself would have been buried - along with the then strong and vociferous objections by our classicists. Science does NOT need endorsement in prior peer reviewed publication. It ONLY needs accreditation. Unless, of course, both you and Mr John Yeld now wish to impose some new qualifying criteria - before scientific fact be allowed. In which case I think you would both need to establish this criteria globally and in terms of some kind of 'charter'. And even then I very much doubt that you'd be able to carry global opinion. The simple fact is that many prefer to expose their discoveries only after patenting them. And others will implement applications in defiance of known physics for no better reason than that the application is required - for whatever reason. And yet others will - for example - design and build 'heavier than air' craft and then fly them - in defiance of expert or popular opinion. The most of it pre-eminently newsworthy.

Fortunately, our technological progress remains substantially 'unhampered' by prior scientific endorsement or popular belief. It ONLY requires accreditation. In other words - is the 'claim' experimentally evident? If so then - no matter prior opinion - it's automatically incorporated into that great and diverse body of science. And very often the 'thinking' related to that new fact - is then only established retrospectively. I wonder if you'd both do better to stick to the 'news' interest of accredited results than try and impose some kind of 'standard' that you seem to think is required to render any scientific fact 'newsworthy'. I suspect that you are both appropriating a kind of authority here that exceeds standard protocol and far exceeds your expertise. And I would earnestly suggest that you both defer to expert opinion - especially as it relates to science and scientific protocols. With respect, I wonder if you're both rather out of your depth when you presume to determine WHAT or WHY something scientific can be considered newsworthy. After all, your reading public rather depend on your impartial assessment of these or any facts. And I see very little that is impartial. I suppose what I'm asking is this. By what authority do you determine that something scientific is first newsworthy? And do you have the moral authority or even technological knowledge to impose your own standards of authorisation over that of experts? I very much doubt it.

The purpose of this demonstration is to show that it is possible to dissipate heat without the discharge of energy - or without the loss of voltage - from a battery supply source. This rather disproves a host of fondly held beliefs by our mainstream scientists. It's widely considered to be impossible. In order to refute this 'belief' one would need to show experimental evidence. Our experts themselves acknowledge this required standard. To evaluate that evidence one would first need to see that evidence and that's the purpose of that demonstration. It is a fact that has already carried wide accreditation by our experts in industry. For instance, BP, Sasol, ABB research, Spescom and others have already seen and attested to these results. Sasol went so far as to offer UCT a bursary award to take the study further - which offer was declined. The fact is that it is ONLY our academics who have, to date, been rather reluctant to associate themselves with this claim. Fortunately as time marches on - all of a decade later - then opinions change. And it seems that the requirement of 'evidence' is now, again considered paramount. In other words opinion will be deferred in favour of the facts. Always a good scientific criterion to judge anything at all. Else we're doomed to progress nothing that does not first carry the endorsement of 'opinion' and opinion has never really played any part in science.

You say I have threatened your Mr Yeld? Would you please be explicit. I indeed advised him that I'd be reporting his rudeness to you or to some of the editors. But that's not a threat. It's born out in the fact. But it seems I need not have bothered. You seem entirely satisfied that his rudeness is somehow required. Would you mind elaborating on this. I would be glad to understand why it is that any reporter is entitled to parade this rudeness when I simply challenge - as I do here - his right to determine that this science that we're dealing with is 'nonsense'. In fact - I'm rather concerned that anyone's rudeness is ever endorsed. But when it comes to our media - one rather hopes for the occasional evidence of an open mind - and a search for the truth. I'm not sure whose interests you are serving by prejudging anything at all. In fact - I would have thought that you'd rather spend some time in looking for the 'truth' of any situation - rather than impose your own opinions on this. It would, in the main, be considered more in line with the disciplines of good journalism that you take this trouble. So. My questions stand. What rights do you or Mr Yeld have that you can - determine the facts of an experiment outside of expert advisement - and then determine the required standard of accreditation by imposing the requirement of publication in peer reviewed journal - and then when has the refusal to look for the facts or listen to the argument ever served the interests of good journalism or even good manners?

Yours sincerely
Rosemary