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No. 62: Mar-Apr 1989

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The "residue fallacy" does not apply to all residues!

While preparing our latst catalog in the field of geology, have been struck by how slavishly some mainstream scientists worship the Residue Fallacy. Briefly, this "fallacy" states that a single type of discrepant observation should not be considered viable if it contradicts a large body of well-established, internally consistent observations. In geology, the Residue Fallacy is employed to dismiss the precursorless polonium halos found by R.V. Gentry, as well as some other radiometric discordances. These scientists seem to have forgotten about the anomalous advance of Mercury's perihelion and a few other obvious residues that ultimately stirred up revolutions in our thinking. Anyway, it is now satisfying to find the Editor of Nature, mainstream science's preeminent journal, acknowledging the value of anomalies.

The stimulus in this case is the morethan-a-decade-old inability of astronomers and physicists to explain the missing solar neutrinos. Two new, more sophisticated, neutrino detectors have come on line, in Japan and the U.S., and they have confirmed the results obtained in the huge vat of cleaning fluid in the Homestead Mine, in South Dakota. For some reason, everyone measures only about one-third the number of solar neutrinos expected. Either something is wrong with our model of the sun's (and other star's) energy-producing mechanism or our knowledge of nuclear physics is faulty. Recently, the solarneutrino anomaly has been complicated by the fact that the Homestead Mine detector seems to "see" more neutrinos during violent solar flares, although the two newer detectors find no such connections.

J. Maddox, Nature's Editor, closes his discussion of these problems with this sentence:

"However this tale comes out, it will remain a marvel that so much work, experimental as well as theoretical, has been stimulated by a single discrepant observation."

(Maddox, John; "More Sideshows for Solar Neutrinos," Nature, 336:615, 1988.)

Comment. Is this the same John Maddox who led the "hit team" to France to pull the plug on Benveniste's "infinite dilution" experiments? You bet it is! Benveniste's "residue" is verboten.

Reference. The enigma of the "missing" solar neutrinos is discussed at length in ASF3 in: The Sun and Solar System Debris. This catalog is described here.

From Science Frontiers #62, MAR-APR 1989. 1989-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987