The Scientific Method

Edward G. Brame, Jr.'s letter in the Feb. 5, 1996, issue of The Scientist (page 13) charged that there is a problem of intolerance, presumably within the research community, which he called scientific fundamentalism. This intolerance is to "new ideas that do not fit a prescribed mold," which are "often out-of-hand rejected and made fun of." He offers as evidence of this behavior the prevailing scientific attitude toward "cold fusion" and "paranormal phenomena." In the first case, cold fusion h

Joseph Cleary
Apr 1, 1996

Edward G. Brame, Jr.'s letter in the Feb. 5, 1996, issue of The Scientist (page 13) charged that there is a problem of intolerance, presumably within the research community, which he called scientific fundamentalism. This intolerance is to "new ideas that do not fit a prescribed mold," which are "often out-of-hand rejected and made fun of." He offers as evidence of this behavior the prevailing scientific attitude toward "cold fusion" and "paranormal phenomena."

In the first case, cold fusion has been the subject of one of the most focused and broad-based evaluations by the physics research community in the last half-century. In spite of this, to date, it has been found to be irreproducible; that is, spurious results due to poorly controlled experiments. Why shouldn't further research in this area be subject to highly critical examination before more money is spent?

In the second case, paranormal phenomena, collectively definable by...

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