Cold fusion at 20: Healthier than intelligent design, featured on 60 Minutes

April 18, 2009

Once in a while I get a physicist who argues biologists ought to teach intelligent design and “let the kids decide.”  I always ask whether they teach cold fusion “and let the kids decide,” and they always say there isn’t time to teach unproven science, or crank science.  I then point out to them that cold fusion’s advantage over intelligent design is that there are more than 100 times the scientific papers supporting or explaining cold fusion that there are for intelligent design.

So, with that perspective, maybe you’ll find as much humor in Bob Park’s Friday missive as I did:

4. COLD FUSION AT 20: IT WILL BE ON 60 MINUTES THIS SUNDAY.
The faithful, who regard themselves as martyrs, have endured the scorn of skeptics for 20 years.  An appearance on an evening entertainment program won’t make it science, and it’s unlikely to change the minds of many scientists, but it’s the most they’ve had to cheer about.  At least three well-known scientists who were interviewed by CBS will not appear on the show. I don’t know who will.

ID advocates would kill for such time on 60 Minutes.

To get on 60 Minutes, all ID advocates need to do is back their claims with research, like the the advocates of cold fusion have done . . .


What’s the difference between creationism and cold fusion?

March 27, 2009

Science — cold fusion has it, and creationism doesn’t.

One of my favorite comebacks to creationism advocates is pointing out that creationism is biology what cold fusion is to physics, except for the deep experimental results supporting cold fusion.  It usually makes creationists bluster, because they hate to be compared to something they think is pseudo-science.

To be sure, cold fusion’s corpse remain’s pretty cold.  It’s not a science that will soon spring to life to deliver safe, cheap energy to your refrigerator.

But it’s still alive, and research is still being done on cold fusion — in stark contrast to creationism/intelligent design, which remains colder than cold fusion.  Bob Park reminded us of another missed anniversary that passed last Monday:

4. COLD FUSION: TWENTY YEARS LATER, IT’S STILL COLD.
Monday was the 20th anniversary of the infamous press conference called by the University of Utah in Salt Lake City to announce the discovery of Cold Fusion.  The sun warmed the Earth that day as it had for 5 billion years, by the high temperature fusion of hydrogen nuclei. Incredibly, the American chemical Society was meeting in Salt Lake City this week and there were many papers on cold fusion, or as their authors prefer LENR (low-energy nuclear reactions). These people, at least some of them, look in ever greater detail where others have not bothered to look. They say they find great mysteries, and perhaps they do. Is it important?  I doubt it.  But I think it’s science.

The Texas State Board of Education failed to require that Texas kids learn about cold fusion in their high school science classes.  But had they done so, they’d have been on better, more truthful, more accurate and better researched ground than their rants against Big Bang, DNA and common descent.


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