About 18 months ago, I saw an episode on “Current Affairs,” in Australia, in w…

About 18 months ago, I saw an episode on “Current Affairs,” in Australia, in which this dude made a “free electricity” machine, using magnets, fixed and non fixed-on a spinning wheel. While I know that I should be skeptical, I can’t help thinking “what if?” Have scientists carefully tested this stuff to see for sure that it does or does work? – P, Australia

Not surprisingly, no “free electricity” machines are ever released to real scientists for testing. That’s because the results of such testing are certain: those machines simply can’t work for very fundamental and incontrovertible reasons.

Like so many “scientific” conmen, the purveyors of this particular scam claim to be victims of a hostile scientific establishment, which refuses to accept their brilliant discoveries. They typically attack the deepest and most central tenets of science and claim that a conspiracy is perpetuating belief on those tenets. Their refusal to submit their work to scientific peer review is supposedly based on a fear that such review will be biased and subjective, controlled by the conspiracy.

The sad reality is that the “scientific establishment” is more than willing to examine the claims, but those claims won’t survive the process of inspection. In some cases, the authors of the claims are truly self-deluded and are guilty only of pride and ignorance. But in other cases, the authors are real conmen who are out to make a buck at public expense. They should be run out of town on a rail. >

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