Re: Dr Randell Mills etc

Damien Broderick (
Fri, 27 Feb 1998 11:42:42 +0000

At 04:28 PM 2/24/98 -0800, Hal wrote:

>I don't find Dr. Mills' credentials or his theory very impressive.

>interacting with a "secret"
>catalyst that he has invented. This releases heat, so he is trying to
>get people to invest in his mysterious energy-production technology.
>The secrecy, the attempts to raise money by claiming a virtually
>inexhaustable source of energy, setting up a business rather than doing
>conventional scientific research, all point to it being a scam.

I hold no brief for Dr Mills, and certainly not for `cold fusion'
claimants. As I mentioned when I posted these urls, I think it's likely
that he's either a crackpot or a scamster. But I find Hal's line of
argument interesting, given the views common on this list.

Mills claims to have a `secret' catalyst, and hopes to make money out of
it, eh? Suppose he *had* cracked the fabled Shipstone secret (a Heinlein
reference for readers of RAH) - what should he have done? Given it to the
world for free? Patented it? (He says he did, in Australia, although I
haven't checked that out.) Then one might use a less prejudiced and
melodramatic term than `secret' - `proprietory', perhaps? But people here
such as Lee Daniel Crocker regularly inveigh against this path, asserting
the merits of an agoric economy.

He claims `a virtually inexaustible source of energy', does he? Well, in a
way - but he doesn't say it's free, or can be harvested using two wires and
a piece of rubber. And proponents of solar, tidal and hot fusion energy
also promote their favorites by pointing to their inexaustible supply. So
this, too, fails to make Mills a crackpot.

He probably *is* one. It's pretty unlikely that `classical' revisions of
QT will solve the outstanding problems of the inconsistencies between QT
and relativity (but *something* will have to). But I think we need to be
careful about the kinds of arguments we adduce in deciding not to look
through the new instrument. (Just more routine rhetoric - no, folks, *I'm
not asserting that Mills is the new Galileo!*)

Damien Broderick