Science Censorship: The "Invisible Evil"

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by Eugene F. Mallove, Sc.D.
Infinite Energy, Vol. 9, #54

The Spirit and Opportunity rovers on Mars have left their landing cocoons and are exploring the surface of an alien world that has long captivated the human imagination. The robotic laboratories are sending back spectacular imagery and other data, which—thanks to the Internet—give scientists and laypeople around the world an unprecedented chance to explore vicariously another planet. There is no doubt that this is a huge accomplishment. It demonstrates progress in technological sophistication in astronautics, communications, computer technology, and robotics applied toward very valuable ends—to learn about another world by touching it from afar.

The success of the latest Martian initiative might suggest to some that all is well in the halls of science. Everything is working “as planned”; new vistas are opening up; we may soon even be confronted with further evidence that Mars harbors some kind of life, or perhaps once had living things that left remains. Science has triumphed. We are collectively experiencing the fruits of over four centuries of revolutionary scientific progress. There appears to be no obvious evidence of science censorship in these missions: Everyone gets to see pretty much all of the data, all at once, in nearly real time. Wonderful!

But beneath this triumph of the extension of human exploration stands another reality about science, one that is not pleasant to contemplate. Just at this moment of success, for those of us who for most of our lives have dreamed of Martian vistas opening up, we are now all too aware of how much more human beings could be accomplishing at this time—and how fantastically better off civilization would be—were we allowed to use collectively all of our faculties and powers of reason.

Isn’t science supposed to be one of the most liberating endeavors? How can I claim that we are not being “allowed” to use all of our faculties and powers toward making a better world? Easy! If there is even one choke point at which appropriate information about scientific discoveries is withheld or diminished, the community of scientists and the supportive citizenry who fund their work publicly and privately are defrauded. Sadly, today such a choke point exists: it is the routine censoring of scientific information that does not conform to the dominant scientific paradigms of the day.

Yes, it is the Internet Age and all kinds of heretical scientific information exists and can flow freely in that ethereal world of rapidly moving digital information. On the Internet one can find large stores of information about cold fusion/LENR (low-energy nuclear reactions), hydrino physics, aether (vacuum) energy, heretical astronomy and cosmology, complementary medicine, scientific evidence for “paranormal” phenomena, and non-Creationist challenges to the Darwinian dogma of natural selection as the prime mover of evolution. On the web there is a cornucopia of scientific heresy, albeit of uncertain quality. And that is the crux of the problem: how is the average citizen, whether scientifically trained or not, to distinguish good from bad scientific information?

Because we are in a transition stage in which the credibility of various sources of information is still being sorted out, we are stuck for now with a system in which certain influential scientific publications are deemed to be reliable authorities on the status of scientific paradigms. For example, Science and Nature magazines have become over the past half century dominant influences on what is to be regarded as “acceptable” and what is not. It is not surprising that the powerful science journalism industry has grown to regard such publications as nearly the final arbiters of truth—though at the same time that science journalism community acknowledges instances of scientific fraud, later discovered, that managed to get published.

So the influence of such publications is far, far greater than their immediate circulation numbers would indicate. If Science and Nature—or Physical Review—have declared certain topics to be off-limits and questionable, you will rarely or never find articles about those topics in The New York Times, Scientific American, Science News, New Scientist, American Scientist, or other organs of more general audience science journalism. But because the general population has assimilated the idea that articles submitted to the archival journals are fairly treated in “peer review,” the “absence of articles” on a particular controversial phenomenon is taken as “evidence of absence of evidence” for the phenomenon itself. Yet there exists incontrovertible proof on a broad range of topics that proves this belief false. These are the very specific instances in which the overt censoring of science was practiced by mainstream scientific publications.

An egregious case of science censorship occurred in recent months with a paper dealing with very clear-cut experimental evidence of nuclear phenomena associated with LENR (a.k.a. “cold fusion”) experimental cells. I am not at liberty to reveal the identities of the scientists, since they are in the process of submitting the exemplary article to another archival publication. The paper, submitted to Science by credentialed scientists, one of whom is a full professor at a university in the United States, was rejected without review; the article was not even submitted to the review cycle by the receiving editors! Why not? Clearly it was because the paper dealt with one of the forbidden topics for which there is a de facto or actual complete ban on reviewed primary articles. Not putting the article into the review cycle guaranteed that A) It would not be given a chance to appear in Science’s influential pages and B) Reviewers would be spared the “inconvenience” of having to generate seemingly sound, but actually bogus reasons for rejecting the paper.

Thus, in this all too typical case, solid, provocative evidence for low-energy nuclear reactions was censored without even a semblance of peer review from the dominant organ of scientific information in the United States. Infinite Energy has chronicled many other such instances of LENR papers being censored in this manner. Often, the remark of the editors to the hapless victims of censorship is that the “topic would not be of interest to our readership.”

Even in the early days of the cold fusion controversy (1989-1991), such science censorship was alive and well. It was not possible then to suggest that the “topic would not be of interest,” because cold fusion research was still much in the news, so other methods were employed. One of the most egregious examples in that era—which I had the opportunity to witness first hand as it occurred—was the attempt by three independent Ph.D. electrochemists to have Nature magazine publish correspondence critiquing the Caltech calorimetry experiments of Nathan Lewis et al. These experiments, which had been published in Nature, claimed to find no evidence for excess heat in an attempted reproduction of the Fleischmann-Pons experiment. Each of the three chemists were critical of the Caltech conclusions, based in significant part on how the Caltech group analyzed its raw data. A sham “review” of this proposed correspondence was conducted, in which the “reviewer” was evidently none other than Prof. Nathan Lewis himself! Thus, Lewis was put in charge of deciding whether his own work should be criticized in the journal in which it appeared. He flatly rejected the claims of the proposed correspondence (using arguments without foundation, in my view) and the editor of Nature supported his view. The letters were not published in Nature, but did appear in other peer-reviewed venues—albeit not nearly with that same high profile. Thus, with this science censorship one of the key pillars of anti-cold fusion hysteria was allowed to stand unchallenged. The public and the community of practicing scientists and technologists—not to forget an entire new generation of high school and college students—has been left with the impression that the claims of excess energy phenomena and associated nuclear effects are bogus. Though the scientific developments of the struggling LENR community have not disappeared—they live on in publications such as Infinite Energy and websites that deal with this topic—there is not one-tenth-of-one-percent of the effort that civilization could or should muster on behalf of this brilliant window onto an entirely new structure of physics. It is a crime against civilization, as surely as if hundreds of thousands if not millions had been committed to untimely death because of this nearly invisible evil of science censorship.

Nor is this kind of censorship anything very unusual in the halls of science today. The situation is much worse and of more general lethality than even some of the most passionate advocates of LENR may wish to admit. Their persecution is not unique—far from it. Let me cite one of the worst examples that I have discovered, which came to my attention only in the summer of 2001 at a meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration in La Jolla, California. It involves a physiology/medical discovery—or should I say proof of the physical basis of a controversial complementary medicine practice that is already in widespread use, acupuncture. A team of scientists from the University of California at Irving and the Tokyo Institute of Technology1 used functional MRI to document the ability of stimuli localized at a known acupuncture point on the foot (the so-called BL-67 point) to trigger virtually instantaneous visual cortex metabolism in the brain. In effect, this point on the foot, tested on dozens of subjects, worked every time—like a switch to turn on and turn off visual cortex responses. The methodology and control experiments were such that there was no possibility whatsoever that subjective influences on the part of either the subjects or the experimenters could explain the results. Ergo, an entirely new physiologic pathway of signal transmission in the body had been found.

One would think that such a discovery, meticulously documented with the latest technological biomedical sensor, fMRI, would be welcomed as a landmark scientific contribution by either of those journals. Not so! Each journal, in succession, rejected the article without review! Apparently, the threatening subject matter—confirmation of a physiological pathway from at least one acupressure point to the brain—was not acceptable. Why, it might create collateral damage to other medical paradigms—can’t have that, now, can we!?

The work was eventually published in 1998 in the Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, but not before no less than five Nobel laureates in the biological sciences attempted to turn around Nature magazine’s refusal to review the article; the open-minded Nobelists were very impressed with it. Dr. Joie P. Jones, who recounted this sad story of the science censorship of his team’s work, observed that the group deliberately withheld initially some even more controversial aspects of the research, in fear that the addition of this other material would surely condemn the article to rejection. They had determined that the speed of transmission from the foot to the brain of the signals had to be at least 1,000 times the known speed of nerve transmission—much, much faster than any known biochemical or other pathway. That was the functional equivalent of telling the hot fusioneers in 1989 that fusion-like reactions seemed to be occurring “in the cold”—without deadly radiation.

The consequences of such censorship by these two high-profile journals? Nothing less than deliberate concealment from the world of a spectacular new insight into the workings of the human body—and likely a more general insight into some profound gaps in the understanding of fundamental biology. Another “invisible evil,” another unpunished crime in the house of science. Ho, hum. . .

References

1. Cho, Z.H., Chung, S.C., Jones, J.P., Park, J.B., Park, H.J., Lee, H.J., Wong, E.K., and Min, B.I. 1998. “New Findings of the Correlation Between Acupoints and Corresponding Brain Cortices Using Functional MRI”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, Vol. 95, pp. 2670-2673.
 
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