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Cold fusion: science which is not a science

A warning at the very beginning. The comment section below this blog post isn't meant to be a platform for believers in Rossi's fraud to promote their religion. I don't consider these people worthy to comment on this blog and I will blacklist them if they are try to do such a thing. This is a physics blog but cold fusion isn't physics. Deal.
Andrea Rossi is not only a crackpot but a convicted crook who has so far spent four years in prison. His newest generation of "cold fusion" gadgets, E-Cat, has been hyped at least since 2011. This blog contains many articles with the name of Andrea Rossi.

Some of the previous blog posts were dedicated to the absurdity of the physical claims – about the possibility to ignite reactions at "room temperature" even though basic calculations imply that these reactions need tens of millions of kelvins to run (to overcome the Coulomb i.e. electrostatic potential energy barrier between the nuclei). I've discussed some elementary mistakes and tricks. Many of these suspicions were later proven to be true. For example, lots of water that was claimed to vaporize didn't vaporize at all – they misunderstood the actual boiling point.

The thermal radiation wasn't what it was claimed to do. More seriously, in the past, the folks around Rossi have already claimed that they could have dramatically changed the isotopic composition of the fuel. Those claims were later shown to be wrong. It is easy to find details about those events in the past.

I don't want to discuss all these technicalities again because it's absurd and pointless. Who is stupid enough not to understand how absurd these things are is either a crook himself or a moron of the highest caliber who must be banned and not to be discussed with.

In May 2013, Tommaso Dorigo, an experimental physicist of CMS, was stunningly impressed by an Italian-Swedish paper that claimed to have verified the fusion in the E-Cat.

Now it's 2014 and we were offered a new Italian-Swedish paper claiming to have independently verified that the gadget produces a huge amount of energy, perhaps one million times the energy from the same amount of gasoline. Deja vu, indeed. Rossi has claimed to possess a working power plant he quickly built with his own hands but now with the help of millions of dollars and many companies, he can't start to mass produce them for 4 years? How stupid do you have to be to believe such a story?

Once again, Tommaso Rodigo posted a text promoting the "independent test". It's of course not independent at all – almost all these men have been Rossi's pals for years and Rossi himself was allowed to execute some of the key procedures of this "independent test".

Thankfully, Dorigo is a bit less enthusiastic about this cold fusion stuff than he was 3 years ago and he realizes that the believers in the comment section of his blog look like idiots. Well, I would tell him that he is "somewhere in between them and myself" so he should try to understand that from my viewpoint, he looks as the same kind of an idiot as those über-idiots look from his viewpoint!

The new pro-Rossi report also contains some analysis of the isotopic composition that says that over 90% of lithium was lithium-7 at the beginning, but it was below 10% of lithium-7 after the reaction. That's despite the fact that they claim that the output was almost constant over time and they stopped it at a pretty much arbitrary moment. All these claims are ludicrous, of course. If the percentage of the usable fuel dropped that much, they would have to see a huge slowdown of the reaction.

Of course, any nuclear reaction that would convert macroscopic amounts of the material to different isotopes would produce a lethal amount of radiation and the temperature would have to be at least tens of millions of kelvins. To misunderstand why these propositions are true means to misunderstand the very basics of modern physics.

The believers are of course complete imbeciles who don't understand anything in science at all. But they still believe that it's possible for someone with a similar attitude to make a great scientific discovery. That's not possible, of course.

Quite often, I would quote Feynman's commencement speech "Cargo Cult Science", sentences such as
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you've not fooled yourself, it's easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.
Many of those comments are important and relevant here, too.

However, here I choose a piece of the TV program with Feynman, "The Pleasure of Finding Things Out". Go to 42:53 in the video and you will hear him saying the following:
"Science Which Is Not a Science ..."

Because of the success of science, there is, I think, a kind of pseudoscience. Social science is an example of a science which is not a science; they don't do [things] scientifically, they follow the forms—or you gather data, you do so-and-so and so forth but they don't get any laws, they haven't found out anything. They haven't got anywhere yet—maybe someday they will, but it's not very well developed, but what happens is on an even more mundane level. We get experts on everything that sound like they're sort of scientific experts. They're not scientific, they sit at a typewriter and they make up something like, oh, food grown with, er, fertilizer that's organic is better for you than food grown with fertilizer that's inorganic—may be true, may not be true, but it hasn't been demonstrated one way or the other. But they'll sit there on the typewriter and make up all this stuff as if it's science and then become an expert on foods, organic foods and so on. There's all kinds of myths and pseudoscience all over the place.

I may be quite wrong, maybe they do know all these things, but I don't think I'm wrong. You see, I have the advantage of having found out how hard it is to get to really know something, how careful you have to be about checking the experiments, how easy it is to make mistakes and fool yourself. I know what it means to know something, and therefore I see how they get their information and I can't believe that they know it, they haven't done the work necessary, haven't done the checks necessary, haven't done the care necessary. I have a great suspicion that they don't know, that this stuff is [wrong] and they're intimidating people. I think so. I don't know the world very well but that's what I think.

[Full transcript is here.]
The bold face fonts were added to the last paragraph by your humble correspondent. Feynman primarily mentioned some particular "marginal" pseudosciences such as the so-called "social sciences" and "sciences about healthy organic food products" but his comments are obviously much more general and apply much more directly to this cold fusion "science", too.

All the believers try to intimidate people, Feynman says, and the cold fusion believers are also trying to harass you if you tell them that there are no effects in Nature that comparably hugely deviate from the laws of nuclear physics as science has learned them in the last 100 years. It's such a heresy to believe that science understand things! And it's also a heresy to mention that the most sensible explanation of all the remarkable claims in Rossi-related papers is that all of them are fraudulent. It's another heresy, isn't it? We should worship a prophet such as Rossi.

But the scientific evidence is really overwhelming that physics has understood the underlying laws beneath everything we have ever observed and if we want to find effects that may go beyond the laws we have found, we indeed have to build new high-energy colliders for $10 billion dollars or something like that. No gadget in Andrea Rossi's garage that looks just like immersion heater can do something miraculous. Everyone who is neither science-illiterate nor science-semi-illiterate (such as Tommaso Dorigo) knows that – and even Dorigo's intermediate category of semi-idiots semi-knows it.

It is easy to see that Rossi and others around him are almost certainly crooks. If I were a judge deciding about Rossi's life in prison, of course that I would consider the available evidence of his fraud to be irreversible.

His fanatic believers openly tell you that it is not a problem for them if some serious errors are found in the calculations or experimental steps. When semi-idiot Tommaso tells them that
the absolutely mandatory requirement for an independent test is the total absence of the interested party from the scene,
they openly respond with:
It's ridiculous excuse... Instead making such silly excuses it would be better for academia to make some actual science in this area... yet another ridiculous complaining... anyway it's already irrelevant...
I am not joking. This comment was written down by a full-fledged idiot named Stefan Banev on semi-idiot Tommaso Dorigo's blog. Great. So Rossi may execute much of the test and they still think it's just fine to call it an "independent test".

These extremely low standards – well, I think that even "šitty standards" is a striking euphemism – is something they not only embrace but boast about. They are literally proud to support careless and ultimately fraudulent activity and hype it as science – if not important science. And they want the whole world to do something similar.

Clearly, they don't understand science. Feynman's comments that he had the luck to learn "how hard it is to get to really know something" are the key to science that these people don't possess. If one is constructing a proof of the existence or absence of some phenomenon, or anything of the sort, he must really be careful and accurate about very many things.

There are very many requirements that are so essential that if one of them isn't obeyed or under full control, the piece of "scientific work" is almost guaranteed to be worthless noise. These believers are "generous" and they suggest that if one-third or one-half of the steps is just wrong or unverified, it's still OK! If one wants to deduce that (or whether) some cheaply looking "mysterious black box" really does some miraculous things from some available energy budgets, he must be extremely careful about all possible ways how energy (and fuel) may be getting in or out and how all the measuring devices and chemical labs may be compromised, and so on. A person who is doing these tests really scientifically just can't believe another human's claims. Scientifically illiterate people may consider this "distrust" to be unethical but it is really essential in the scientific method. Science can't be based on the trust in between the people; it's based on the a priori skepticism and the impersonal evidence and the other people present in the lab must be treated impartially just like any other physical objects. These objects may open their mouth and a scientist must of course remain open-minded and assume that what these objects say may be false or true.

The idea that "one should trust" people like Rossi – who have spent years in prison for previous, technologically unrelated claims about another "great discovery related to cheap energy" – is amusing by itself and reminds me of an episode of The Big Bang Theory (video) where Penny paid the fines for her ex-boyfriend Kurt who was pissing on cop cars.
Penny: Well, remember Kurt?

Leonard: Your ex-boyfriend?

Penny: Yeah. He got arrested for taking a whiz on a cop car.

Leonard: What?

Penny: He was drunk.

Leonard: I would hope so.

Penny: Anyway, he had a bunch of outstanding tickets and a bench warrant, so I, you know, I paid his fines.

Leonard: Did he pay you back?

Penny: No, but he will.

Leonard: And that’s based on the inherent credit-worthiness of people who get drunk and urinate on police vehicles? [Just like in Rossi's case.]
But some people simply instinctively want to trust folks like Kurt or Rossi. ;-)

Back to the quality requirements in the scientific method.

Some requirements are more important than others. Some of them may be relatively unimportant. But if one deals with complex questions or contrived devices or experimental procedures, the number of essential requirements is still very high. These requirements are no formalities. They are really needed for the "scientific work" not to be a hopelessly stinking pile of šit. They can't be replaced by conspiracy theories about someone's being discriminated against by some powerful institutions, or something of the sort. These requirements are vital for everyone who wants to do serious science whether he is a member of an institution (or "establishment") or not. They're intrinsic requirements of the scientific method as such.

If you are a parent of a kid who wants to establish himself in science or engineering and he or she is deliberately trying to šit and piß on all these vital requirements of the scientific method, i.e. a kid who is beginning to resemble Andrea Rossi, you should ignore the "social science" pseudoscientists who are telling you that it's wrong to spank a child. Instead, you should spank and spank and spank so that the kid can't sit for several days. I hope it will help. There really can't be any "discussion" about these vital things and this is also why I am going to blacklist everyone who would dare to invent apologies for this fraud organized by Andrea Rossi and his accomplices.

Many of the society's institutions may be broken and hijacked so that allow tons of crooks similar to Andrea Rossi – and many others – to get very rich and control many things but I won't allow this blog to become broken in an analogous way.

By the way, the number of reactions to the latest "independent test" remained below a dozen or so. Fortunately. One of the reaction was a letter written by four Swedish professors (I count one emeritus professor) where they express their surprise that Elforsk was incredible gullible during these events. For a few extra comments on the latest release, see Stephan Pomp's blog. Among the mostly "positive" (gullible) responses, Extreme Tech offers you by far the most extensive discussion with over 1,072 comments. The people who realize or "tend to believe" that it's scam dominate there but the number of believers is still incredibly high.

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reader R T Deco said...


reader Michael said...

Hi Lubos,

Yes, the formal social sciences are filled with crap, but it is *not* true that one cannot reach many truths about what could be called social science. In fact it is extremely frustrating that simply breaking down social and learned barriers in oneself, enables so much insight in human behavior, simply from having lived a life, and having the internal perspective. Social sciences quickly get obscured by politics and people "wanting things to be a certain way". If this was not the case it would do perfectly fine as a science.

The actual barrier to truth is that humans prioritize - from basic instincts - maintaining the status quo in the "group"; anything that challenges held beliefs feels like a threat to the security of the group, and therefore it is immediately attacked. Speak simple truths in your family (about society or whatever) and they will most likely attack you, as I am sure you are aware.

I assume the last paragraph in your otherwise good text is not meant literally, but in any case, spanking is very very destructive to children, also to their adult well-being and trust. In fact the one-sided suppression of children is what destroys their natural curiosity and natural scientific demeanor. Because children *have to* see their parents as good in some sense, they believe that the spanking was warranted, and done because they were bad. But it is never about the child but about the adult, who is a effed up piece of s... who can't control his/her temper, and is willing to scar his/her child for life because of this fault of his own. Parenting is about nurturing a true relationship, and understanding one another, not about learning how to dominate a person.

reader alejandro rivero said...

A generic comment about "free energy" experiments, including imitations of E-cat: I have noticed a new trend that is using miscalculations of power in alternating current, in some cases they just forget the phase when multiplying Intensity times Voltage, in other cases they fail to see that they are not using a sinusoidal anymore and then even a phase is not enough. Some variant of this problem includes unadequate instrumental and not taking into account the impedance and extra load comming from the measurement devices. It is not even a physics scam in this case; it is just an engineering one.

reader R. Shearer said...

The inclusion of Li 6 and Ni 62 isotopes point to chemical fraud too.

reader Tea for 330 million said...

Speaking of crackpots, isn't this just warmed over "Intelligent Design"

reader Mark Andrews said...

The best science to apply to Mr. Rossi is criminology.

reader Uncle Al said...

Uncle Al proposes the cryonuclear warhead. Detonate thousands of these puppies and the Earth reglaciates. Canada will be under kilometers of ice - and who can argue with that?

Basic testing (cryocrackers) on portions of gelato and blood orange sorbetto will require $12,486,000 in funding. Gimme. Here are music video credentials including equations, an Oxford supercon magnet, and a Muslim. Nudge nudge wink wink, say no more.

reader Tony said...

So you sayin that all this cold fusion BS is because their drunken dads were beating them when they were young?

reader Michael said...

No. I said it was destructive to the child and the adult life of the child too. You don't have to hit to mess up a child though, there are other destructive measures too. It was a reaction of mine to the sentences of Lubos, where he wrote that the dishonesty better be beaten out of them (I don't think he was serious though).

If parents are "totalitarian", manipulative, dishonest and so on, it does of course effect the character of the child, and there is a great probability that it either creates an overly rebellious person or one that is himself(or herself) just as manipulative, dishonest and maybe violent. How children are treated matter.

For example being good in school is often only about obedience and "buying" what they teach and not so much about critical thinking. In fact honesty and curiosity is often punished.

Of course there will always be people ready to exploit circumstances and twist "reality" in their favor. Promote themselves or their cause. But pretending that childhood doesn't matter for how ubiquitous such people are, is wrong.

I am somewhat offended by your overgeneralization of my words.

reader Tony said...

Don't be. I was just attempting to understand how it relates to the OP

reader Michael said...

Okay, yeah, I probably got carried away and went off topic a bit too much.

reader anna v said...

To be clear ( due to your head notice) I am not supporting these claims, even ignoring all the physics arguments, as what you say:

"Rossi has claimed to possess a working power plant he quickly built with his own hands but now with the help of millions of dollars and manycompanies, he can't start to mass produce them for 4 years? How stupid
do you have to be to believe such a story?"

is certainly true. People will buy snake oil nevertheless. Why I am daring to answer is in order to disagree with your stance that our current theories :

"But the scientific evidence is really overwhelming that physics has understood the underlying laws beneath everything we have ever observed and if we want to find effects that may go beyond the laws we have found, we indeed have to build new high-energy colliders for $10 billion dollars or something like that."

Even though I am rooting for the next large accelerator, still there are a number of challenging low energy experiments going on and proposed that may show us quite new effects and help us decide on the useful models.

In addition, as an experimentalist, I cannot exclude that cracks may exist in our current theoretical understanding that may allow new effects to fall through. Of course though the scientific method should be strictly followed by all researchers, That the honor system should be followed goes without saying.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Anna, I said "something like" which means that I don't consider the large collider to be the only option. The things may be a bit cheaper - like BICEP2 has arguably made a big discovery although its price was around $10 million.

But the meaning of this "something like" is that it is a device that goes to some extreme conditions (energy, luminosity, high temperature, low temperature etc. etc.) or measures something with an unprecedented precision. One can't make a huge new discovery in nuclear physics by placing several boxes of lithium and nickel in a new order in his empty garage or something along these lines. All these things are understood.

It's perfectly OK that you can't exclude a shocking new behavior of such a sequence of lithium and nickel boxes in a garage as an experimenter. That's why there are theorists, too. As theorists, they surely *can* exclude such a thing. Of course it sometimes happen that theorists are wrong. But still what theorists consider possible and impossible - or unlikely or very unlikely - must still influence what the experimenters are looking for, otherwise experimenters would have spent the eternity by hoping in a new miracle while sorting stones in their cave (not yet nickel and lithium in their garage, because they wouldn't have either) in different orders!

Experimenters need theorists as much as theorists need experimenters.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Michael, I treated social sciences as a "marginal" pseudoscience. Of course that the status of these activities is usually on the edge and not so clearcut. They were not the main target here. They were mentioned just because a good quote by Feynman focused on them. I mostly agreed with those Feynman's words and could find a perspective from which I 100% agree with them which doesn't prevent me from seeing that some social science may sometimes be somewhat valuable.

Yes, people are attacked in families and envirionments for speaking an inconvenient truth and so on. But there are also legitimate things that children may be - physically - punished for.

If a kid steals its friend's bike, or something big enough in a shop, it is absolutely right to spank the child. It doesn't make parents "bad" in any sense because it is *good* to punish thieves. Why do you think that kids are not responsible for their possible crimes and they're not being put to prisons? Is it because their acts cannot be harmful? Or because the punishment couldn't direct their behavior?

No, no. Quite on the contrary, children's acts may be as harmful as the adults. And they actually have a much better potential to learn something if they are punished. The point is that the system doesn't want to rob them of their childhood by sending them to a prison for years. The idea is that it can be solved more intelligently - and indeed, spanking them so that they can't sit for a few days is *exactly* the more intelligent solution. But the solution should be pretty much equivalent in its implications! So if something is a potential crime that an adult could be arrested for (and I argued that the parents should notice that similar engineering-flavored crimes are still crimes and their perpetrators *will* often go to prison, and Rossi already has and I hope that he will go again), of course that I think that the same or corresponding crime by a child should be solved by a punishment, potentially a physical one.

At the beginning, I said that some social sciences may have some values although they were called "pseudosciences" as a whole. But your comments presenting a particular form of parentship as the only right ones unambiguously *are* a pseudoscience. When a child is doing something highly counterproductive or naughty, the parent *must* be dominating the child. It's one of his or her basic missions.

reader Michael said...

Okay, I wholeheartedly disagree with your stance on spanking. It does not work, it erodes trust and it has nothing to do with learning to distinguish between right and wrong. Spanking doesn't work, it doesn't produce better people. I cannot believe you believe this.

Tell me this, should men (or women) also hit their wives when they "misbehave" or is there a magical difference here. Do you think this helps the relationship and turn them into better people?

Hitting a person so much smaller than oneself just because one can't raise worth a shit, is absolutely disgusting. Do you even remember how it was when you were hit? (I assume you were since you think its such a great option)

Just because I criticize dominating doesn't mean that the parent don't impose boundaries and limitations. I am not arguing anything goes policy, that's crazy. I am criticizing violent methods that don't focus on making the child understand.

Parents who were themselves spanked have horrible memories, but they continue to defend this horrendous acts in their adulthood so they can pretend their parents were good. Even if they don't want to spank their own children they may end up doing it, as their anxiety becomes enormous when they observe their own child doing something that used to provoke hysteria in their own parents.

I can't believe this, I thought you were a moral beacon, for fuck sake.

reader Alex said...

That has to be one of the wackiest experiments I've come across. My experiment is better.
I swallow a lump of sugar and ten minutes later I breathe in some cold air and exhale some warm air.
My conclusion is that I have a cold fusion reactor in my stomach.

reader Michael said...

Also, by the way, in case you were hit, do you even remember why? Did it make you realize that what you did was wrong? Or did you just experience fear of the people who you trust to protect you? Dude, don't ever hit your kids, and as you don't consider all social science pseudoscientific, read up on this stuff. The knowledge about its destructiveness exist, and there is no doubt about it.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Michael, your opinions are superstitious. Physical punishment helps one to notice the difference between right and wrong at least as efficiently as any other way you could imagine.

It is really both common sense and a scientifically valid protocol. One may tweak one's personality (it's true for animals as well) by attaching positive or negative responses to desirable or undesirable modes of behavior, respectively.


reader Luboš Motl said...

I remember some contexts in which I was hit and why and I do think that most of them were illegitimate.

That's another reason why the proportion of legitimate physical punishment should increase.

Also, while I said that I could think of social sciences that are valuable, I have also stated absolutely unambiguously that I agreed with Feynman's Caltech speech that these "expert recommendations about education" of the very same kind that you offer indisputably *are* a pseudoscience, a pseudoscience that people like you use to intimidate others who have more common sense and ideas what's right.

reader Michael said...

Its not necessary to hit children. Children fucking love to please their parents, and they WANT to do what is being defined as morally right. That is why morality is potentially so dangerous, as it can be used (much like religion) to control people.

Of course you can tweak someones personality with it, and prevent them from doing something by making them afraid of you. BUT it is not the only possible option and it is not the option preferred by the person being punished (yeah I know you want it to hurt on them if they did something wrong). If adult children had the superior outlook anyone who isn't in denial would prefer to not be hit as a punishment. We are not fucking animals.
A child that respect and likes his parent actually listens extremely carefully.

Could you imagine asking your child what it thinks of your way of parenting and if there are something they would like to discuss? Could you imagine listening to their thoughts, ideas and confusions, or should they just shut and obey arbitrary rules?

reader Luboš Motl said...

You are living in a pinko lalaland.

Everyone, whether a child or an adult, has an instinct to simplify and improve his life and a potential to do things in ways that are acceptable or unacceptable.

Training - positive or negative reinforcement, and by someone who loves the culprit more or less - unambiguously influences one's odds of behaving in one way or another, and physical punishment is just a subset that works.

It sometimes looks like one of the worse ones but sometimes it's actually one of the better ones - because the pain really does go away and one may assume that there's a thick line behind the bad events.

reader Michael said...

Thank you for this honest answer.

"I remember some contexts in which I was hit and why and I do think that most of them were illegitimate."

Exactly.You claim my "opinions" (they are not opinions) are superstitions but you don't listen to you own evidence here.

"That's another reason why the proportion of legitimate physical punishment should increase."

Should increase? The should is *your* wishful thinking. It is exactly the case that as your experience also is an example of it is rarely connected with a meaningful "crime" because it is about the parents lack of controlling themselves. And legitimizing this tool, makes people into power abusers. Power potentially corrupts, and no one has more power over another human than a parent over a child.
Please show some empathy for the child you were, and you will understand that what was done to you was wrong.

reader Michael said...

Positive or negative re-inforcenments, of course that's necessary. Nowhere have I implied otherwise. But it is easy to show you non-acceptance of a certain behavior to a child. Would you hit your nephews or do they understand when you aren't pleased with something?

What about if your parents hit you now? Whats the problem with that? Of course manipulative or shame based blaming can be even worse than quick corporal punishment.

This is no lala land okay, not when it actually works in practice to avoid these things, and the kids grow up and become well adjusted people with true integrity.

Just reconsider your position, Please.

reader Luboš Motl said...

I always provide honest answers.

You are throwing the baby out with the bath water. If there are examples in which education pushes the child in a wrong direction or makes more harm than good, it does *not* imply that education should be abandoned.

The wish that parents are punishing children for legitimate reasons may be called a wishful thinking. But whether it's true or not also depends partly on how *they* were educated by their parents, and so on.

I assure you that for centuries, the (pretty much) right values were transferred from one generation to another (e.g. in Europe) and punishment including physical punishment has played a role in it.

If a society or civilization is screwed up, people may be beaten for illegitimate reasons. But I have nothing to do with those. To sometimes beat someone is human, and a priori, it may help or hurt.

reader Luboš Motl said...

I have never hit my nephew and niece (now 5 years old) and they arguably love me as the #1 person in the world.

But that's because I am not primarily responsible for their education, so I can be a beloved uncle who only has the good things to offer.

But of course that I could see lots of contexts in which I would use a "stick" instead of a "carrot", e.g. if one hurts the other.

reader Michael said...

It wasn't really the wish for legitimate punishment, I meant to attack, but the legitimization of spanking *increases* the risk of unjust punishments because it changes the perception of the parent. Suddenly they are these Gods that can inflict violence on people they claim to love more than anything.

I don't know what to say, it seems I can't get my message through to you.

Would you at least consider that there can be more mutually beneficial alternatives?

reader Michael said...

I am very happy to hear that. And they listen to you, and it would be the same thing if you were their parent.

So if one hurts the other, you will show that hurting others is wrong, by hurting one of them?

Sounds amazing. Come on. You show your non-acceptance and tell the child; we don't hit, just like you wouldn't like to be hit, it hurts and scares him when you do that. Do you understand that is not something we do?

Would you at least respect your own experience: Doing fine without it with your nephews, and they love and respect and you could surely manage taking care of them by continuing the kind (but of course confident and robust background) approach.
And respect your experience that you were hit for illegitimate reasons (this is ALWAYS what ends up happening)

Would you not hate, if they also became afraid of you because you hit them?

reader Luboš Motl said...

So if one hurts the other, you will show that hurting others is wrong, by hurting one of them?

No. By spanking him, I show him that it's wrong to hurt an innocent girl who has done nothing wrong. The boy *did* do something wrong and he is helped to learn that.

reader Michael said...

Oh Lubos,
That will not teach him that hitting is wrong. Only that some people can do it, and others can't. If one you did that to your nephew, you will regret it the moment you see his mistrust and confused stare in his eyes.
Its easy to help him understand that its wrong. EASY, okay. Its unnecessary.

Kids are extremely perceptive if you don't destroy this in them, and they learn very much by following our example.

You know people who say; do as I say not as I do. That is such a crappy excuse for people who cannot follow their own principles, and holds their children to higher standards than they hold themselves.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Would you not hate, if they also became afraid of you because you hit them?

reader Michael said...

No, I have been hit too, but not much.
And it is possible for a child to be completely unafraid of their parents and still follow their guidance, because they respect and admire them. Fear is completely unnecessary. You should only fear your enemies.
That doesn't mean you won't feel bad if you do wrong.

That's how it can be otherwise, and it exist, and it works, and it is HORRIBLE to discover that the hitting was unnecessary.

The wonderful spiral in a spiral in a spiral you told me about earlier; did you come up with that because you were afraid of something, no you didn't, it was your wonderful curiosity and playfulness that led you to it. Small children constantly learn on their own and ask and ask and ask about everything.

I never said they were full-fledged voters!!! Children would die without parents, they are the caretakers and they do know better. That has nothing to do with the violence thing, you think I just abandon all structure, but its not the case. I don't say that they don't learn from us, I mean wtf, I feel like you extrapolate absurdly.

You accuse me of bullying because I try to tell you that parenting can be done without hitting and that it is in fact preferable for all participants. In what sense? If people lived two lives and tried both I know which one they would chose.

Your thinking about society is far ahead of your thinking in parenting, fortunately you act in reality in the responsible way, and I am happy to hear that.

I don't believe you would condemn parents who chose not to use fear based punishment, you just believe it won't work and you are wrong.

reader Michael said...

I agree completely with this quote from your text

"Kids are sometimes more perceptive than adults, sometimes less so. They may be insensitive. They may naturally misunderstand that it's bad to beat a sister or someone else. They may lack the empathy unless they are explained how the other one feels, and things like that."

Absolutely completely true.

I agree with the next one too

"Sorry, there's nothing wrong about trying to achieve higher standards with the next generation. It's the whole "planned" part of the progress in the human society."

But I don't agree that parents get to break moral guidelines they impose on their children, okay. Children capture this and see their parents as hypocritical and to avoid this they distort their thinking to protect their parents, and it hurts them in the future too.

I am not suggesting lowering standards, what an absurd assessment. I am instead trying to argue that people learn about parenting, reconsider their own childhood, what was good, what could be improved, and work on themselves before having children.

If you believe more peaceful parenting lead to stupider children, well then you just wrong. While it is known that spanking can be destructive.

In fact the whole submitting to religion, idiotic superstitions and so on is much more prevalent in societies where the kids are treated worse. The children in religious fundamentalist societies, do you think they are suppressed and hit more or less? Surely you know the answer. You say I will make us step back, I am trying to argue that there is a simple step forward and it isn't to abandon rules or guidance, but it is to abandon our (some) belief that we can abuse our children to make them obey.

Please, as a last effort, will you please try to show compassion for your past self, and the experiences you had. You say many things you experienced were much worse, I believe you, but it doesn't make the hitting any better.

Its not my fault it works just fine with children that aren't afraid, and I hope you discover this too.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Michael, curiosity with spirals or talents in general have nothing to do with this discussion about family discipline.

Your comments about doing everything without punishment are mostly self-contradictory. It is not always possible. Every sign of a punishment, physical or otherwise, only comes because more straightforward and more peaceful methods failed. You must know it very well.

So the discussion is only whether it's better to punish or to continue things to fail.

You say that I wouldn't comdemn the people who prefer the "no violence" dogma. Of course that I do condemn them in many cases, it was really a point. Quite explicitly, I think that Rossi has been a crook pretty much from the beginning of his adulthood and this *is* a failure of his parents, too. Just an example but I don't know how you could possibly conclude that I don't condemn them. It was really a key point of this blog post.

Parents naturally have some excess power and tools to protect the children from things like drugs or a criminal path through life, and things like that, so if they deliberately choose not to use any of these tools and the child grows in that way, of course that the parents must bear a part of the responsibility and be condemned. Children are simply not living in the vacuum and one can't blame "just them" because they're not fully responsible for what they do.

Best wishes

reader Luboš Motl said...

But I don't agree that parents get to break moral guidelines they impose on their children, okay.

You are clearly fraudulently accusing me of something I am definitely not guilty of. As I have explained about 5 times, I simply oppose your "moral guidelines" that would imply that beating or spanking anyone is always bad.

It is not always bad. Hitting a person who did something correspondingly wrong is not just okay but desirable. So it's OK for the parent, and it will be OK for the kid if and when he or she becomes a parent, too. It's also sort of OK to fight against the Islamic State given their current activity, and so on.

Pacifism is wrong and it is also a path to open lots of maneuvering space for the *really nasty* people.

reader Michael said...

Lubos, I am *not* saying *not* to punish in the sense of showing your non-acceptance, okay, saying Hey, don't do that or whatever is appropriate in the situation. The power of a confident adult is very persuasive to a child and the background of calm wise adult reassures them in their trust. Children actually needs boundaries and rules also, yes. Yes they thrive under some structure, it gives a feeling of security.

I am only attacking the use of physical (or mental, hysterical outbursts can be just as destructive, sometimes more-so, neglect and other things can be very destructive too) punishments.
The peaceful approach works, regardless of what you think of it. I don't understand why you won't even consider the possibility that physical punishments aren't necessary.

And the way we punish adults criminals is of course a completely different matter. If you interact with children the way you do with your nephews, they simply don't become criminal bastards.

We should condemn the crooks, and really many who don't do the crimes really enable these crimes by continuing to accept crooks in their lives. Such people are only powerful because better people give the power to them (and therefore become accomplishes in a way that's hard to see).

Not hitting don't create criminals, this is true,

Best wishes to you too Lubos, I still hope you may reconsider some of this. That is my hope.

reader Luboš Motl said...

I won't comment on your pacifist Lalaland again, too repetitive.

But not hitting *does* create criminals. Almost every criminal becomes one simply because he's been trained by the experience that increasingly problematic acts could have been responded with no punishment. So greater and greater sins work - and the trend goes up to the moment when they get to the level that may be punished by police and courts. If even these crimes become more serious, it's partly if not predominantly because the activity including the punishment still looks like the better path for those who do such things.

reader Michael said...

Final word, then I will stop, because this is like trying to break free from prison with a tooth-pick and indeed its repetitive, I agree.
"not hitting does create criminals", well no, you are not correct.

Yes if criminals get away with it and it works they might continue. That's why you just don't interact with such people. Fuck the immoral assholes, get them out of your life. If everyone good did that, they would have no one to exploit. They may trick some here and there, but if they weren't given tools from the state to hide behind, even this would diminish greatly.

The story about your children who loves you is different. Children naturally test boundaries and provoke on purpose to see what they can get away with, Hitting them just isn't necessary to show them the path. Its a myth, its nonsense, and the last resort thing is just another excuse for an exhausted parent.

I must accept that we just disagree, you think hitting children is unproblematic, I don't, science have something to tell about the matter, and its on my side and it will converge towards condemning hitting because it hurts children- and I don't mean physically, it *is* destructive to their mental being.

Bye for now.

reader Doctor Bob said...


reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Michael, the natural state of animal species or societies is to eat and kill and exploit and hurt and steal whatever is available simply because it's good for the individual.

It always needs some feedbacks to discourage some forms of this behavior, and the feedback must be strong enough to actually make the moral behavior more beneficial for the individual than the immoral or illegal one. Lots of such feedbacks and traditions and training has developed along with the human society.

If you think that the human society is born as a society of saints and the sins were introduced by someone, then perhaps you may be compatible with some religions but you don't understand how *anything* about life on Earth (and outside Earth) works.

reader Michael said...

I don't disagree with anything in this reply of yours, except for your accusations that I must believe people are saints, which I don't, or that I don't understand how anything on earth works, which I do.

I know as a matter of fact that children can be raised without hitting, and that it doesn't cause them to lose respect for their parents, or create monsters who will never listen, and *your* distorted beliefs that it can't be so don't change anything about this.

Physical punishment is completely normal in the animal kingdom, the problem for humans is the loaded mental baggage that follows, but I am just repeating myself, as you already pointed out.
But you cannot call what I say lalaland, or religion or whatever derogatory terms you choose to attack me with, when it actually works and doesn't breed criminals.
The more religious people are, the more likely they are to hit more. I am not religious, I have studied physics, nature, the animal kingdom and lots of other things. I have studied parenting too, and it has changed my perception of it, much like studying the other things did too.

reader QsaTheory said...

Do you mean Project_Excalibur

reader Svik said...

Cold fusion started 30 years ago!

Why is it still around? Is hep that boring.

Maybe cavitations triggered by dumping 14 tev lead beams from the LHC into a hot liquid uranium 238 under a full moon doped with lithium 7 and other instable isotopes might just work.

It should work best if surrounded by real gold coins to bounce back stray neutrons. Right?

reader Alejandro Rivero said...

Indeed. Note the statement from Alberto Carnera, the guy that was contacted by E-Cat to do the mass spectrometry. If I understand correctly, they just provided him the samples claiming to be reaction products.

At least, classical chemical fraudsters take some work on hidding the fake sample inside the actual composite, so that it appears magically during the reaction. Even "wash-wash" scammers do a nice work of executing the scam in the eyes of the victim.

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