Processes and the Suppression of Sound Scientific Ideas
American and British history is riddled with
examples of valid research and inventions which have been
suppressed and derogated by the conventional science community.
This has been of great cost to society and to individual scientists.
Rather than furthering the pursuit of new scientific frontiers,
the structure of British and American scientific institutions
leads to conformity and furthers consensus-seeking. Scientists
are generally like other people when it comes to the biases
and self-justifications that cause them to make bad decisions
and evade the truth. Some topics in science are 'taboo' subjects.
Two examples are the field of psychic phenomenon and the field
of new energy devices such as cold fusion. Journals, books
and internet sites exist for those scientists who want an
alternative to conformist scientific venues.
Examples from history
of suppression in the sciences
Cost to individuals
and to society
and Reduction of Dissonance
In-Group and Out-Group
The Urge to Conform
Outside the Paradigm
Taboo or Unpopular Science
Alternatives for excluded scientists
Although some scientific ideas are truely
unfounded, the author of this paper will explore instances
when valuable scientific ideas were unfairly reviled and rejected.
This author will discuss the cognitive processes, including
cognitive dissonance, conformity, and various biases which
contribute to such suppression.
Examples from history of suppression in
A legacy of cognitive biases and faulty judgments exists.
It typifies the history of American and British scientific
inquiry and research.
One of the earliest examples with which nearly everyone is
familiar occurred in the early seventeenth Century. Galileo
was branded as a heretic and sent to prison for declaring
that the earth traveled around the sun (Manning 1996)..
This paper will concentrate on examples from a period starting
closer to the industrial age and continuing until the present.
The first example presented here is drawn from Richard Milton's
(1996) book Alternative Science. Antoine Lavoisier, the science
authority for eighteenth and early nineteenth century Europe
and father of modern chemistry, assured his fellow Academicians
in 1790, that meteorites could not fall from the sky as there
were no stones in the sky (Milton,1996). In spite of first-hand
reports of meteors falling from the sky, Lavoisier was believed.
Nearly all of the meteorites in public and private collections
were then thrown out. Only one meteor that was too heavy to
move was saved, so today the world has few specimens that
predate 1790. Meteors were not commonly collected again until
mounting evidence for their extraterrestrial origin predominated
about 50 years later.
Milton (1996) continued with the history of the human powered
flight. During the years, between 1903 to 1908, Wilbur and
Orville Wright repeatedly demonstrated the flight capability
of their invention, the airplane. Despite these demonstrations
plus numerous independent affidavits and photographs from
local enthusiasts as well, the Wrights' claims were not believed.
Scientific American, the New York Herald, the US Army and
most American scientists discredited the Wrights and proclaimed
that their mechanism was a hoax. Noted experts from the US
Navy and from Johns Hopkins University decried "powered
human flight . . .absurd "(Milton,1996
In a similar vein, the inventors of the turbine ship engine,
the mechanical naval gunnery control, the electric ships telegraph,
and the steel ship hull all initially met with disinterest,
disbelief and derision by the British Navy of the nineteenth
century (Milton, 1996).
There are numerous accounts of useful science ideas that
received such treatment. However, this writer will discuss
just a few of the inventions and ideas by the best known scientists.
Milton (1996) explained how the invention of what is now considered
a very ordinary object, the light bulb, was initially mired
in controversy and disbelief. When Thomas Edison was finally
successful in finding a light bulb filament which could glow
while sustaining the heat of electrical conduction, he invited
members of the scientific community to observe his demonstration
(Milton 1996). Although the general public traveled to witness
his electric lamp, the noted scientists of the day refused
to and claimed the following about Edison:
"Such startling announcements
as these should be deprecated as being unworthy of science
and mischievous to its true progress."
-Sir William Siemens, England's most distinguished engineer
(Milton, 1996 p.18)
"The Sorcerer of Menlo
Park appears not to be acquainted with the subtleties of the
electrical sciences. Mr. Edison takes us backwards. One must
have lost all recollection of American hoaxes to accept such
-Professor Du Moncel (Milton,1996 p.18)
"Edison's claims are
so manifestly absurd as to indicate a positive want of knowledge
of the electric circuit and the principles governing the construction
and operation of electrical machines."-Edwin
Weston, specialist in arc lighting (Milton, 1996 p.18)
Luckily, the disinterest and derision of Edison's scientific
peers did not prevent sharp speculators, like J. P. Morgan
and William Vanderbilt from investing funds and helping Edison's
inventions become universally adopted (Milton, 1996). Other
inventors of the day were not always so lucky.
Cost to individuals and to society
Many invaluable concepts for inventions from Edison's era,
were not granted financial backing (Milton, 1996). This was
the case for most of the ideas of Nikola Tesla, who known
for the discovery and development of AC current. In the book,
The Coming Energy Revolution, the author, Jeanne Manning (1996),
told of how the treatment of Tesla contrasted with that of
his contemporary, Edison. Tesla did not bother as Edison did,
to "play the game" (p. 24) with the U.S. science
establishment, the media and the investors. Manning (1996)
continued with explaining that even though Tesla was the main
trail-blazer of the age of electricity, his almost inaccessible
brilliance, his lack of interest in publishing, and his wish
to give everyone free electric power may have caused substantial
professional jelousy. Manning (1996) further postulated that
this jealousy and Tesla's non-conformity were responsible
for the lack of support and acknowledgment he received. Moreover,
Manning (1996) continued, even though other inventors were
often credited for them, many of the products that came out
of the age of electricity were directly due to Tesla's concepts.
These were inventions such as Marconi's radio, which was presented
to the public in 1901 and used 17 of Tesla's patented ideas.
In 1943, the Supreme Court had, in fact, ruled that Tesla
was the radio's inventor (Manning,1996). Unfortunately for
Tesla, that was some years after his death. After the US science
community and investors turned their back on Tesla, he descended
"into wild eccentricity"(p. 26). However, Manning
(1996) asserted, his research on wireless power conveyance,
bladeless turbines, excess-output energy machines and other
futuristic devices are still being marveled at and studied
by those that have rediscovered this unappreciated genius.
Other innovators who were described by Milton (1996) as victims
of the insults of the skeptical scientific power elite, were
such men as John Logie Baird, inventor of television. Baird
had been described by the British Royal Society as "a
swindler" (p. 19). Likewise, Wilhelm
Roentgen's discovery of X-rays was decried as an "elaborate
hoax" (p.22) by Lord Kelvin, the most
influential scientist of Europe in 1895. Scientists of Roentgen's
day produced film fogging X-rays on a substantial scale but
were unwilling to consider the wide ranging implications of
Roentgen's work for 10 years after his discovery (Milton,
Another example of such victimization, presented by Dean Radin
(1996) in his book The Conscious Universe, involved the theory
of German meteorologist, Alfred Wegener. This theory which
Wegener developed in 1915, contended that the earth's continents
had once been a single mass of land which later drifted apart.
Although Wegener carefully cataloged geological evidence,
his American and British colleagues ridiculed both him and
his idea (Radin, 1996). Although Wegener died an intellectual
outcast in 1930, every schoolchild is currently taught his
theory which is known as continental drift.
The cost of scientific suppression to society can be seen
in the history of the development of the tank. According to
Milton (1996), at a time when 1.000 men a day were dying on
W.W.I battlefields for want of protection from shelling and
gunfire, the British admiralty, of that epoch, had the following
to say about E. L.. deMole's , invention, the tank:.
are idiotic and useless. Nobody has asked for them and nobody
wants them. Those officers and men are wasting their time
and are not pulling their proper weight in the war"(p.
Trivialization and Reduction of Dissonance
Some quotations collected by Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky
in their book The Experts Speak (1984) illustrated further
the hostile or trivializing attitude towards different ideas,
scientific inquiries, and revolutionary discoveries.
"Louis Pasteur's theory
of germs is ridiculous fiction." -Pierre
Pachet, Professor of Physiology France, 1872 (p.30)
"Fooling around with alternating
current in just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever."
-Thomas Edison, 1889 (p.207)
"I laughed till. . .
my sides were sore." -Adam Sedgwick,
British geologist in a letter to Darwin in regards to his
theory of evolution, 1857 (p.9)
"If the whole of the
English language could be condensed into one word, it would
not suffice to express the utter contempt those invite who
are so deluded as to be disciples of such an imposture as
Darwinism." -Francis Orpen Morris, British
ornithologist 1877 (p.10)
are interesting toys, but of no military value."
- Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor
of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre (p.245)
"To affirm that the aeroplane
is going to 'revolutionize' naval warfare of the future is
to be guilty of the wildest exaggeration."
-Scientific American, 1910 (p.246)
"Who the hell wants to
hear actors talk?" - H. M. Warner, Warner
Brothers Studios, 1927 (p.72)
"The whole procedure
of shooting rockets into space. . . presents difficulties
of so fundamental a nature, that we are forced to dismiss
the notion as essentially impracticable, in spite of the author's
insistent appeal to put aside prejudice and to recollect the
supposed impossibility of heavier-than-air flight before it
was actually accomplished." -Richard
van der Riet Wooley, British astronomer (p.257)
energy produced by the atom is a very
poor kind of thing. Anyone who expects a source of power from
the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine."
Ernst Rutherford, 1933 (p.215)
travel is bunk" -
Sir Harold Spencer Jones, Astronomer Royal of Britain, 1957,
two weeks before the launch of Sputnik (p.258)
"But what hell is it
good for?" -Engineer Robert Lloyd, IBM
1968, commenting on the microchip (p.209)
is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
-Ken Olson, president of Digital Equipment Corp. 1977 (p.209)
Several of the above examples show new ideas that were grievously
misjudged by scientific peers and those in authority.
Today, scientific research is still judged by peer review.
Henry Bauer (1994) in his book Scientific Literacy and the
Myth of the Scientific Method revealed how research is generally
funded through association with a university. In Western civilization
, said Bauer (1994) selected peers judge the journal articles
that the academic scientists must publish to retain their
university positions and insure future funding.
Specific questions about the process of peer review were
examined by sociologist Michael J. Mahoney of the University
of Pennsylvania. In an interview granted to Boston Globe science
reporter, David Chandler (1987), Mahoney discussed his study.
Mahoney sent copies of a paper to 75 reviewers but doctored
the results so that in some cases the research appeared to
support mainstream theories (Chandler 1987). In other cases
Mahoney had doctored the paper so the research deviated from
them. When the doctored results ran contrary to the reviewer's
theoretical beliefs the author's procedures were berated and
the manuscript was rejected. When the results in the doctored
papers confirmed the reviewer's beliefs, the same procedures
were then lauded and the manuscript was recommended for publication
Mahoney presented the results of this study to the American
Association for the Advancement of Science. Afterwards, Mahoney
received 200 to 300 letters and phone calls from scientists
who felt they had been victimized because the results of their
research conflicted with the generally accepted scientific
viewpoint or with their reviewer's beliefs (Chandler 1987).
Daniel Koshland, editor the leading US scientific journal,
Science, said this in an interview to Chandler(1987) about
science that threatens to change the parameters of what is
"I think it's fair to say that a new idea, something
that confronts existing dogma, has an uphill road. . .There
certainly is no question that there is a prejudice in favor
of the existing dogma"(Chandler 1987).
In the same interview with Chandler (1987), Koshland cited,
as one example, biochemist Edwin G. Krebs' discovery for which
he received the Nobel prize. The discovery which is now known
as the Krebs cycle, describes the fundamental series of enzyme
reactions in living organisms. It was initially rejected.
Koshland (Chandler 1987) continued with the history of biologist
Lynn Margulis's work, showing the evolution of cell structure
through symbiotic unions of primitive organisms. It was also
initially rejected and even scorned (Chandler 1987). Although
her work has become the accepted dogma and appears in textbooks,
in 1970 the National Science Foundation not only turned her
down for funding, but told her that she should never apply
again. Koshland stated that there are other examples such
as these (Chandler 1987).
In-Group and Out-Group Effects
Koshland's statement about the prejudices against ideas that
go against the existing dogma (Chandler 1987), and the examples
Koshland gives lead this author to suppose that in-group biases
could be blinding the scientific authorities to the validity
of unorthodox, out-group ideas. As Aronson (1995) revealed,
the valid points which the out-group makes are not readily
perceived by the in-group. Moreover, the weak points or elements
of the out-group preponderate in the mind of the in-group.
Aronson (1995) explained the tendency to "in-group favoritism"
(p. 144) in which members were thought to produce better output
than non-members. This author believes that, scientists with
challenging ideas have been viewed as an out-group by the
in-group of conventional scientists.
The Urge to Conform
Chemistry and science studies professor, Henry H. Bauer (1994),
in his book, Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific
Method urged us to realize that scientists are only human
and are therefore subject to all the variations that humans
posses. He claimed that although scientists have been seen
as single- mindedly pursuing truth in all fields, in actuality
scientists are generally expert in only one field and the
pursuit of truth may not be a top priority. The fact that
modern scientists are financially dependent on university
and foundation research positions that are in turn dependent
on grants. (Bauer, 1994) These are key factors in the formulation
of a scientist's priorities. This financial dependence and
instability, declared Bauer (1994), creates a direct conflict
of interest between pure scientific pursuit and behavior aimed
at keeping funding and positions.
A job in scientific research, seems to this writer, to be
much like any precarious career position. There could be the
usual tendencies to conform and participate in group-think.
Criticism by the science community and loss of livelihood
appear to this author to be punishment, while acceptance by
the science community and financial security seem like rewards.
According to Aronson (1996), punishment and rewards generally
compel one to conform.
Bauer (1994) painted a picture of "an elite research
community,"(p. 99) consisting of a few dozen universities,
which traditionally have been deemed to have the most experts.
These universities are thought to turn out the best results
and publications and are the top choice to receive both government
and private research money.
Bauer (1994) explained that there is little money in this
country for more exploratory pursuits for the "sake of
scientific progress"(p. 98). Funding and acknowledgment
go to virtually the same schools and the same groups of scientists,
so the scope of exploration and scientific thought becomes
limited and intellectual inbreeding occurs (Bauer 1994). Most
of the scientists chosen to be journal editors and peer reviewers
are also selected from this same narrow ingrained group. This
phenomenon was referred to by Bauer (1994) as the "imperfections
of the filter"(p. 99).
Like the "concurrence seeking" (p. 18) member
of Hitler's inner circle, described by Aronson (1995), this
"highly filtered" (Bauer p. 99) group of scientists
tend to be in a position that often demand consensus of opinion
and necessitates conformity.
Bauer (1994) illustrated how, throughout history, the course
of scientific discovery was impeded by the social environment
and prejudices of the time. He gave the example of how in
Nazi Germany, the scientists were unable to make progress.
The reason for this Bauer (1994) explained, is that they had
been commanded to work without the theory of relativity as
that theory had been originated and developed by a purportedly
inferior Jew. Similarly the Soviets were commanded to do without
the theory of wave mechanics which also had an unpopular genesis
(Bauer 1994). The punishment of being a maverick scientist
in either of those societies were death or forced labor, so
the writer of this paper supposes the urge to conform must
have been very compelling.
Bauer (1994) asserted that conformity within the scientific
community leads to the evasion of all unwanted or inconsistent
facts and this obstructs the practice of science. This avoidance
of facts and truth by a group, seems to this writer, to be
very much akin to the consensus seeking and evasion of reality
that led up to the faulty decision to launch the Challenger
space shuttle. Even though it had parts which were known to
be of dubious quality, "NASA and Thiokol executive ...reinforced
one another's commitment to proceed"(Aronson , 1995 p.17).
Thomas Gold, a professor and researcher with Cornell, wrote
in his 1989 journal article "New Ideas in Science"
that he attributed the tendency for consensus seeking among
scientist to a primarily vestigial instinct, "a herd
mentality"( p.103). Gold supported this notion of the
herd mentality by stating how petroleum geology and other
disciplines have become completely intolerant of any new ideas
He also told of how he had the experience of making colleagues
violently angry with him, because he had proposed that there
was some uncertainly about the origin of petroleum. (Gold,
1989) Moreover, Gold (1989) claimed, the fresh and genuinely
different research from the other countries that are outsiders
to the US herds, casts light on the truly one-dimensional
nature of our science institutions.
Gold (1989) conjectured that going against the herd and
adopting a deviant viewpoint, feels uncomfortable for personal
cognitive and emotional reasons, as well as for the practical
reasons listed above by Bauer. Furthermore, Gold (1989) postulated
that conformist scientist may be unconsciously motivated by
the protection afforded to them by the herd, "against
being challenged ...or having their ignorance exposed"(p.
According to Aronson (1996), when people are confronted with
opposing beliefs or ones incompatible with their own, they
are likely to ignore or negate that belief. They do this in
order to convince themselves that they have not behaved foolishly
by committing to false beliefs. To assure themselves that
they have been wise in supporting their position, they often
convince themselves that those who oppose that position are
foolish and truly objects for contempt and derision (Aronson,
Aronson(1996) also stated that most people, when they are
confronted with information that they have behaved in a cruel
manner, attempt to reduce subsequent dissonant feelings of
perceiving themselves as unkind. They often do this by creating
a belief that cruelty towards the victim is actually justified.
Studies by Karen Hobden and James M. Olson(1994) examined
disparagement humor directed at an out-group. Hobden et al.(1994)
had a confederate tell extremely disparaging jokes about lawyers
to a group of subjects. The dissonance, caused by disparaging
the lawyer out-group, prompted the majority of the subjects
to change both their public and private attitudes about lawyers
to one that was substantially less favorable. (Hobden et al.,
Another study by Linda Simon, Jeff Greenberg, and Jack Brehm
(1995) showed that trivialization is also effectively employed
as a mode of dissonance reduction. The subjects in Simon et
al.'s (1995) study were led to follow counter-attitudinal
behaviors. They later chose to trivialize the dissonant information
about themselves more often than they chose to change their
opinions (Simon et al., 1995).
Many of the quotes contained in this paper in which a member
of mainstream science reacts towards new inventions or discoveries
are steeped in trivialization and disparagement. This leads
this writer to believe that scientists are reducing their
cognitive dissonance about challenging science ideas with
same faulty cognitions and methods in which non-scientists
Outside the Paradigm
Science author Patrick Huyghe (1995), in his internet article
"Extraordinary Claim? Move the Goal Posts!," claimed
that although a new science idea may have proof, if it defies
convention, then instead of consideration and acceptance:
"There's often some hasty rewriting of the rules of
the game. For the would-be extraordinary, for the unorthodox
claim on the verge of scientific success, the ground rules
are gratefully changed. This practice, often referred to as
'Moving the goal posts' is an extraordinary phenomenon in
itself and deserves recognition."(p.1)
In the book by science writer, Patrick Huyghe co-authored
with physicist Louis A. Frank (1990) The Big Splash, this
moving of the goal posts was depicted by the conventional
science society's reaction to a challenging discovery made
by Dr. Frank. Frank and Huyghe (1990) wrote of how Dr. Frank
found evidence that the Earth was being showered by approximately
twenty house-sized ice comets per minute. These comets all
broke up in the atmosphere. His research led him to believe
that the millennia of bombardment by these ice comets were
responsible for the presence of the water on Earth. Dr. Frank
presented his data and his photographs of the ice comets to
a geophysics journal for publication (Huyghe, 1990). At the
time of the announcement of Dr. Frank's discovery, the academic
standard of proof in astronomy was to have two images of the
same object. Although Dr. Frank presented such proof, the
appearance of ice comets in his photographs was considered
to be merely due to a technical fluke and a higher standard
of proof was then required (Huyghe, 1990). As each subsequent
level of proof was delivered by Dr. Frank, a yet higher tier
of standards was then demanded (Huyghe, 1990).
This writer believes that this goal post shifting is similar
to some of the tendencies examined by Aronson(1995). Aronson
cited a survey which was done to assess people's reaction
to the 1964 surgeon general's report about the serious health
risks from cigarettes. Aronson (1995) found that smokers who
had tried to quit unsuccessfully experienced dissonance over
their inability to stop the habit. Those smokers tended to
change their cognitions and create the belief that smoking
was not dangerous for them (Aronson, 1995). Exemplifying intelligent
people, who also smoked, or deluding themselves "that
a filter traps the all of the cancer- producing materials"
(p.179) reduced the smokers' dissonance and made them feel
that their actions were justified. Just like moving the goal
posts, these cognitive ploys changed the standard by which
information was judged.
James McClenon's(1984) book Deviant Science: The Case of
Parapsychology and Dean Radin's (1997) book, The Conscious
Universe both deal with the topic of psychic phenomenon as
a suppressed science. Dean (1997) cited dissonance reduction
as the reason why conventional science authorities had suppressed
numerous valid studies on psychic phenomenon. Dean (1997)
stated that people have an uncomfortable feeling when they
are confronted with information that seems impossible to them.
Evidence of psychic phenomenon, also known as psi, therefore
becomes dissonant information. Although most of Deviant Science
and Conscious Universe were devoted to describing the many
reproducible, strictly scientific experiments that support
the existence of ESP, the writers also speculated about why
this field has been found unacceptable. Both Dean (1997) and
McClenon (1984) claimed that the dismissal of well executed
studies were not due to skepticism, but mainly to blatant
attacks by those who are threatened by the shifting of perceptions
in the sciences. McClenon (1984) cited the 1970's science
philosophy of Thomas Kuhn, who coined the term for shifting
perceptions "paradigm shifts"(p.21). McClenon (1984)
had the following to say about Kuhn's definition of paradigms
cited from Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions:
"Paradigms are the universally accepted scientific achievements
that for a time provide model problems and solutions to a
community of practitioners . . . an object for future articulation
and specification under new or more stringent conditions"
When an anomaly outside of this accepted model happens frequently
enough, McClenon (1984) explained, there is a crisis. The
anomalies that violates the current ruling paradigm are then
either incorporated and resolved within the paradigm, or there
is a "revolutionary upheaval"(p. 21).
Aronson (1995) described how people commonly have a low tolerance
for anomalous, dissonant information. He had this to say about
how people generally deal with challenges to their beliefs
and thereby reduce their dissonance:
"People don't like to see or hear things that conflict
with their deeply held beliefs or wishes. An ancient response
to such bad news was to kill the messenger"(p. 185).
This writer sees such "killing" going on in the
deriding and dismissing of the science ideas and the "messenger"
Radin (1997) also explained that the rejection of serious
studies on psychic phenomenon is due to a particular type
of confirmation bias, the "expectancy effect"(p.
234). This expectancy effect, as studied by sociologist Harry
Collins in his book The Golem (1993), showed that for controversial
scientific topics where the existence of a phenomenon is in
question, scientific criticism is generally determined by
the critic's prior expectations.
Collin's work, cited by Radin, (1997) also explained a phenomenon
termed "scientific regress"(p. 236). Scientific
regress happens when experimental results are predicted by
a well-accepted theory and then the outcome is examined to
see if it matches the initial expectations. Radin (1997) reasoned
that with psi research there isn't a well-accepted theory
with which to compare the results, so skeptics use "scientific
regress" to invalidate all of the scientific results
in this field of study.
Radin (1997) also called attention to another form of the
confirmation bias, that of seeking to confirm one's original
hypothesis when a situation is unclear or confusing. Radin's
definition here matches Aronson's (1995) definition of "the
confirmation bias -the tendency to confirm our original hypotheses
Radin (1997) said confirmation biases are especially problematic
for older more experienced scientists because "their
commitment to their theories grows so strong, that simpler
or different solutions get overlooked"(p. 236). These
biases, Radin claimed, preserve ideas that are already established
and causes suppression of non-standard science research.
Dean Radin (1997) broke down the acceptance of a new science
idea into the following four predictable stages which this
author sees as being rife with various aforementioned biases
and dissonance reduction:
Stage 1, skeptics proclaim that the
idea is impossible.
Stage 2, skeptics reluctantly concede
that the ideal is possible, but trivial.
Stage 3, the mainstream realizes that
the idea is more important than the trivializing scientists
in authority lead them to believe.
Stage 4, even the skeptics proclaim
that they knew it all along or even that they thought of it
This writer believes that the cognitions in this last stage
are attributable to what Aronson (1996) termed as "the
hindsight effect" (p.7).
Taboo or Unpopular Science
The Golem (Collins 1993), Fire from Ice (Mallove 1991), The
Coming Energy Revolution (Manning 1996) and Alternative Science
(Milton 1996) all had chapters which described the genesis
of cold fusion and gave important evidence for it's validity.
These books told of the findings of two chemists, Professor
Martin Fleischmann of Southampton University and his former
student, Professor Stanley Pons of the University of Utah.
Fleischmann and Pons held a 1989 press conference at which
they announced the discovery of cold fusion. Milton (1996)
defined cold fusion as "the production of usable amounts
of excess energy by a nuclear process occurring in a water
at room temperature"(p. 25).
By making the announcement about their success at a press
conference, Manning(1996) and Milton(1996), and Collins (1993)
all stated that these two distinguished scientists were breaking
with the tradition of first submitting an article to peer
review for publication. Manning (1996) contended that it was
mainly this departure from the expected way of introducing
the phenomenon, not the failing of the results, which led
to the trivializing and derogating of cold fusion, and of
Fleischmann and Pons as well, by the majority of mainstream
Manning (1996) suggested that a secondary cause for disapproval
was the fact that science did not have a framework yet for
how these cold fusion experiments produced the energy. This
lack of a previously existing framework seems to cause most
mainstream scientists to invalidate anomalous data through
experimental regress and the confirmation biases
Evidently Pons and Fleischmann intended to keep the means
of producing cold fusion to themselves in hopes of becoming
wealthy, so they were not forthcoming about the details of
the methodology used. Although they were able to repeatedly
get the same verifiable results, other scientists of the time
were not able to independently duplicate what Pons and Fleischmann
had done (Manning, 1996).
A third cause for disapproval, explained Manning (1996),
is that the massively funded hot fusion research organizations
had also been trying over decades to get some of the same
findings as those from the cold fusion experiments and may
have had professional jealousy (Manning 1996).
This writer believes that the suppression of cold fusion
could have been due to some of the same cognitive distortions
which led to the suppression of other maverick science ideas
and inventions throughout history. These cognitions include
the in-group out-group, confirmation, and that expectancy
biases, as well as cognitive dissonance reactions to anomalies.
Manning (1996) wrote of how in America, Fleischmann and
Pon's reputations as cold fusion researchers were tarnished.
Cold fusion articles were suddenly banished from science journals
and U.S. patents for cold fusion were dismissed.
Manning (1997) continued that only Japan was still putting
major funding into cold fusion research. As a heavily populated
island with few natural energy resources, Japan had everything
to gain from clean safe energy production. Also, because many
Easterners have a "spiritual belief in an all pervading
energy which comes in many forms,"(p. 102) the idea of
fusion reactions taking place without extreme high temperatures
was not quite such a dissonant idea as it had been for Westerners.
Other methods to derive usable energy that are considered
to be in opposition to the beliefs of mainstream science were
discussed by Manning (1996). These included solid state energy
devices, vibrational devices developed by nineteenth century
musician and inventor John Ernst Worrell Keeley, vortex and
magnetic energy mechanisms, new technologies for using waste
and hydropower, and the use of hydrogen for power.
Alternatives for excluded scientists
The internet has, in the last few years, become a valuable
resource for those scientists who have been discouraged from
experimenting with and publishing unorthodox studies. It gives
them the opportunity to network with others interested in
Some websites for these discussion groups can be found at
the yahoo website at http://www.yahoo.com,
under the subheading, alternative science. In addition there
where one can find free energy, cold fusion and otology discussion
groups under the subheadings: freenergy-L, vortex-L and taoshum-L.
There are journals created specifically for printing professionally
written studies on unpopular topics. Since involvement with
these non-standard topics might lead to a professional scientist's
ostracism, one publication, The Journal of Scientific Exploration
(1986-1997) only prints articles by academic research scientists,
anonymously. This journal provides a forum for presentation,
criticism and debate for topics that are ignored or ridiculed
by mainstream science. It also has the secondary goal of publishing
articles that help to promote understanding of the factors
that limit scientific inquiry.
Galilean Electrodynamics is a publication devoted to professionally
written journal articles that challenge Einstein's ideas.
Only papers that are in the realm of mathematics, engineering
or physics and that are relativity-related are considered
for publication in this journal.
Infinite Energy Cold Fusion and New Energy Technology (1994-
1998) is a magazine edited by Eugene Mallove and is devoted
to energy experimentation that is beyond the scope of orthodox
Bauer (1994) called on science institutions to help foster
objectivity by making sure they includes scientist from backgrounds
and viewpoints that are as varied as possible. He also asked
that scientists fight their personal biases and hidden social
agendas by vigilantly examining their own motives, and trying
to see an objective reality rather than one influenced by
expectations (p. 102).
Dr. Brian Martin (1998) in his current writings posted on
the internet, "Suppression Stories," asked that
researchers publish more accounts about suppression, and claimed
that this will provide necessary support for dissident and
Radin (1997) closed his book with a hope that this process
of suppressing new ideas will not continue to be at the cost
of good science and scientists. He included this quote by
Lewis Thomas, biologist and author of the Medusa and the Snail:
"The only solid piece of scientific truth about which
I feel totally confident is that we are profoundly ignorant
about nature. . . It is this sudden confrontation with the
depth and scope of ignorance that represents the most significant
contribution of twentieth-century science to the human intellect"(p.
This author will bring this paper to a close with a quote
from Bill Beaty's (1998) webpage article "Quotes against
"Daring ideas are like chessmen. Moved forward, they
may be defeated, but they start a winning game." -Goethe
Aronson, Elliot (1995) The Social Animal New York: W. H. Freeman
Bauer, Henry H.(1994) Scientific Literacy and the Myth of
the Scientific Method Chicago: University of Illinois Press
Beaty, William J.(1998) Closeminded Science Online, Internet
Brockman, John (1995) The Third Culture: Beyond the Scientific
Revolution New York: Simon & Schuster
Cerf, Christopher and Navasky, Victor ((1984) The Experts
Speak, The Definitive Compendium of Authoritative Misinformation
New York: Pantheon Books
Chandler, David L. and Globe Staff (1987) "Maverick Scientists
Encounter Barriers, Peer Review Called Curb to Creativity."
The Boston Globe Monday 6/22/87
Collins, Harry and Pinch, Trevor (1993) The Golem: What Everyone
Should Know About Science Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University
Duncan, Ronald (1977) The Encyclopaedia of Ignorance: Everything
You Ever Wanted to Know About the Unknown Oxford, U.K. Pergamon
Gold, Dr. Thomas (1989) "New Ideas in Science" Journal
of Scientific Exploration Vol.3(2) p103-112
Haich, Bernhard (1990-1998) Journal of Scientific Exploration
A Publication of the Society for Scientific Exploration Vol
Huyghe, Patrick (1995) Extraordinary Claim? Move the Goalposts
The Anomalist Homepage Online, Internet Available http://www.anomalist.com/commentaries/claim.html
Huyghe, Patrick and Dr. Louis A. Frank (1990) The Big Splash
New York: Birch Lane Press
Mallove, Eugene (1991) Fire from Ice; Searching for the Truth
Behind the Cold Fusion Furor New York: John Wiley & Sons,
Mallove, Eugene (1996-1998) *Infinite Energy: Cold Fusion
and New Energy Technology Vol.1(1) -Vol. 3(17)
Manning, Jeanne (1996) The Coming Energy Revolution: The Search
for Free Energy New York: Avery
Martin, Brian (1996) Suppression Stories Peer Review as Scholarly
Conformity Department of Science and Technology, University
of Wollongong, Online, Internet Available Aus.firstname.lastname@example.org
Milton, Richard (1996) Alternative Science: Challenging the
Myths of the Scientific Establishment Vermont: Park Street
McClenon, James (1984) Deviant Science: The Case of Parapsychology
Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press
Westrum, Ron "Fringes of Reason" Whole Earth Catalog
Radin, Dean (1997) The Conscious Universe: Scientific Truth
of Psychic Phenomenon New York: Harper Collins
Zimbardo, Philip (1969) The Cognitive Control of Motivation
Illinois: Scott, Foresman and Company
Maintained by Bill Beaty. Mail me at: http://www.amasci.com/amateur/amform.html#urls.
If you are using Lynx, type "c" to email.