ESP and Cold Fusion

ESP and Cold Fusion - ESP and Cold Fusion 6/6/11 8:36 AM...

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6/6/11 8:36 AM ESP and Cold Fusion Page 1 of 2 http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/vstenger/Briefs/ESPcoldfusion.html The Parallel Delusion of ESP and Cold Fusion Victor J. Stenger Reality Check in Skeptical Briefs September, 1999 In 1934, Duke University botanist-turned-parapsychologist Joseph Banks Rhine announced that extrasensory perception is a widespread and common mental phenomenon. Rhine made this remarkable discovery after analyzing the data from a few simple card-guessing experiments, easily duplicated by family members across a dining table. The headlines were sensational. On March 23, 1989, electrochemists Martin Fleischmann and B. Stanley Pons made an announcement of comparable world-shaking, headline-making proportions. In a rudimentary test tube experiment, little more sophisticated than Rhine's dining table exercises, they claimed that the energy of the sun had been harnessed. In one stroke, all the world's energy problems were solved for the foreseeable future. Fleischmann and Pons said they had achieved "cold fusion," nuclear fusion reactions that occur at room temperature instead of the millions of degrees that conventional physics wisdom said was required. This they claimed to accomplish by squeezing deuterons (nuclei of heavy hydrogen) inside the crystal lattice of the metal palladium so that the deuterons fused into heavier elements, with the release of far more energy than was possible chemically. J.B. Rhine became an instant media superstar after announcing that he had demonstrated ESP. But he experienced less success in convincing scientific journals to publish his work. The experts called upon to referee his papers raised many questions about statistics, controls against fraud, and replication. At first Rhine made a serious attempt to answer the criticisms, performing more experiments with increasingly
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This note was uploaded on 10/19/2011 for the course CHEM 83 taught by Professor Bonk,j during the Fall '08 term at Duke.

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ESP and Cold Fusion - ESP and Cold Fusion 6/6/11 8:36 AM...

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