No matter how famous and celebrated some scientists may be, they are all prone to promoting scientific fallacies. One example everyone is familiar with is Lord Kelvin’s statement in 1895, that “heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible”, only to be proved definitively wrong just eight years later by the Wright brothers’ flight. But Kelvin wasn’t alone, the number of scientists and engineers who shared his conviction is too large to count.
Almost every top scientist you can mention made firm comments at some point in their otherwise illustrious careers, about some areas of scientific research which later proved to be wrong. I include Charles Darwin, Fred Hoyle, Linus Pauling, Albert Einstein and Carl Sagan to mention just a few.
“In 1847, a 26-year-old German medical doctor, Hermann Helmholtz, gave a presentation to the Physical Society of Berlin that would change the course of history. He presented the original formulation of what is now known as the First Law of Thermodynamics, beginning with the axiomatic statement that a Perpetual Motion Machine is impossible.
Axiom - A statement or proposition that is accepted as true without proof.
No one had ever succeeded, he wrote, in building a Perpetual Motion Machine that worked. Therefore, such machines must be impossible. If they are impossible it must be because of some natural law preventing their construction. This law, he said, could only be the Conservation of Energy.
But a profound reversal of reasoning has occurred in the last century. Helmholtz originally said "Because a Perpetual Motion Machine is impossible, therefore the First Law of Thermodynamics;" while in any physics text book today one will find the statement that "Because of the First Law of Thermodynamics, a Perpetual Motion Machine is impossible."
Skeptics are quick to cite the Laws of Thermodynamics to disprove Bessler's claims. In fact, the argument is circular. The Laws of Thermodynamics do not prove that Bessler's machine is impossible. On the contrary, they are deduced from the "leap of faith" of first presuming it is impossible.”
So given the doubts about Helmholtz’s axiom and Bessler’s validated claim to have invented such a machine, how can we ignore the potential benefit of a machine which costs nothing in energy to run?
There are many fields occupied by so-called pseudo-scientists and that is one of the more respectable names I’ve been called. But how much more pseudo-scientific can you get than Helmholtz’s ridiculous axion, especially when Johann Bessler had proved him wrong over 130 years earlier? It doesn’t matter that he made some significant discoveries in unconnected fields of science, so did the celebrated people I mentioned above, but just because someone excels in a particular field doesn’t necessarily mean that everything they say is correct.