Setting the Record Straight

Commentary by Paul LaViolette countering misstatements of fact
and outright lies that have circulated about him in the press

1. Paul LaViolette is not a "cold fusion" devotee.

 Curt Suplee's Washington Post article about me (Wednesday, 8/23/00, Section A, p. 23) was entitled "EEOC Backs 'Cold Fusion' Devotee."  To refer to me as a "cold fusion" devotee is a bit misleading.  Cold fusion is one of many emerging cutting edge technologies that I have an interest in.  But it is not the main area of focus of my work and I don't claim any detailed expertise in the subject. The phrase "cold fusion devotee" suggests to most people someone who has an unswerving faith in cold fusion.  But, in truth, I maintain an objective stance on the subject. I base my opinions about it on supporting experimental evidence, and my conclusions are subject to change as new evidence presents itself.  Currently, I consider that the evidence very much favors the view that cold fusion is a real phenomenon.  This does not make me a devotee.

2. Paul LaViolette was not recruited by Tom Valone to his Patent Office job, nor
did he "infiltrate" the Patent Office to bring in ideas favoring "fringe science."

This fabrication was originally disseminated by Science magazine (article by David Voss),
and repeated by the American Physical Society (Robert Park's news column),
and the Washington Post (Curt Suplee's article).

In his Washington Post article about me Curt Suplee states:

"[LaViolette] joined the PTO following an Internet appeal by patent examiner Thomas Valone, who in 1998 called for 'all able-bodied free energy technologists' to 'infiltrate' the agency, according to published reports."

  This incorrect statement had been previously repeated in several other news media. For example in March 1999 Robert Park wrote in his "What's New" internet news column sponsored by the American Physical Society:

[Integrity Research institute] is headed by a US Patent Examiner named Tom Valone, who has been recruiting other open-minded people to become Patent Examiners (WN 20 Nov 98).

The citation that Park places at the end of this sentence refers to his November 1998 posting in which he made fun of the Patent Office for hiring me.

Shortly after this March posting I was fired from my job.

Later, in May 1999 David Voss wrote a slanted and inaccurate Science magazine article in which he stated:

"In an email message broadcast last year on Internet news groups dealing with fringe science, Valone called for "all able-bodied free energy technologists' to 'infiltrate' the Patent Office..." "LaViolette confirms that Valone helped recruit him."

  In fact, I never told Voss that "Valone helped to recruit" me. What Voss wrote was incorrect.  He was apparently reporting Park's statements about me.  Voss could instead have stated that "Robert Park claims that Valone helped recruit LaViolette," but Robert Park was in fact wrong!

  Also in May, three days after Voss' article appeared, Park wrote in his "What's New" internet news column:

"WN [What's New] has been warning for some time about efforts to infiltrate the Patent Office with examiners sympathetic to fringe science (WN 20 Nov 98)."

  Here, again, Park cited his defamatory posting about me being hired by the Patent Office, further distorting the lie that had been repeated earlier in Science magazine.  He here not only claims that Valone recruited me, but also that I was supposedly part of an effort to "infiltrate" the Patent Office.

  For those who are interested to know the truth, here is what really happened.

  On February 2, 1998 Tom Valone indeed had mailed and faxed an announcement to a few of his friends informing "all able-bodied free energy technologists" that the Patent Office was actively hiring people and urging them to take advantage of this opportunity to "infiltrate the Patent Office" (a figure of speech).  Some of these people later circulated his letter, and it ended up being posted on the internet. Valone did not himself place this appeal on the internet as the article seems to imply.  However, let me make clear, I never received or saw that letter, nor did I view it on the internet. I did not even know that it existed until after I began work at the PTO.

  Contrary to what Park, Voss, and Suplee write, I was not recruited by Tom Valone to my job at the Patent Office.  In May 1998 Tom did call me, but that was to ask me to send him a review copy of my book Earth Under Fire.  After discussing that matter of business, I proceeded to tell him how I had been busily looking for work in localities to the south and east of me since jobs were then scarce in my hometown of Schenectady.  Tom responded to this telling me of the job opportunity in Washington at the Patent Office.  I initiated the discussion of job hunting, and Tom, being a good friend of mine, responded with the suggestion to look for work at the Patent Office.  How as a friend could he have not told me of the opportunity?  He did not mention his recruiting letter or suggest to me that I "infiltrate" the Patent Office. Conspiracy theorists often try to twist facts to suit their theory.  Sorry, to pop their bubble.  The truth is that I did not apply for the Patent Office job with the intention of changing the Patent Office's antiquated views on energy technology or for any other reason "subversive to the American Physical Society's sacrosanct scientific dogma.  My interest was simply to earn a descent living. Is this not what the "American Dream" is all about?  I was looking for work, this was a job I was qualified for, I applied, and subsequently I was hired. It is simple as that.  So I hope this puts to rest this infiltration fiasco.

  By the way, in a Patent Office hearing in regard to his "recruitment letter" Sydney Rose (of PTO Employee Relations) had asked Valone: "What do you mean by "infiltrate."  Valone had responded: "to become a member of the Patent Office."  It seems that PTO officials don't have a very well developed sense of humor.  Did they really believe that Valone was organizing a subversive overthrow of the Patent Office?  Ironically, none of the people who had received Valone's announcement ever followed up to apply for a job at the Patent Office. So this infiltration claim is all much ado about nothing.

3. Paul LaViolette did indeed issue patents while he was working at the Patent Office.

 In his May 1999 Science magazine article, David Voss incorrectly wrote:

  "He [LaViolette] did not issue any patents during his short tenure."

This is completely incorrect. I worked on numerous patent applications during my short stay with the Patent Office, and of these I allowed 4 patents which eventually issued.


4. Paul LaViolette did not issue any patents on cold fusion technology
nor did he issue any patents on "dubious" technologies.

 In August 2000, one internet news tabloid operated by the Microsoft Corp. carried several slanted stories about me. The reporter, who exhibited a decided anti-cold fusion bias, wrote:

  "A logical suspicion is that LaViolette was handing out patents for dubious cold-fusion technologies."  

This is a total fabrication.  The art area that I was working in at the Patent Office was not concerned with energy inventions, whether they be cold fusion based or otherwise.  Furthermore cold fusion does not in my opinion fall under the category of "dubious technologies;" I consider it a very legitimate endeavor. But more importantly, I find exceedingly offensive this tabloid's innuendo that I would be handing out patents for "dubious" technologies.  Its reporter here implies that either I was incompetent and reckless at my work or was willfully breaking the law by issuing patents for inventions that don't really work.  People who know me know that I am a discriminative thinker and very careful about the conclusions I draw, whether they be in regard to my scientific research or my work at the Patent Office.  Also people will attest that I am a very honest person and would not intentionally break the law.

5. Paul LaViolette's religion is not astrology!

 This same above mentioned Microsoft internet tabloid printed another lie when it said:

"According to a recent profile in Washington City Paper, LaViolette's religion is astrology."

This is a total fabrication. The Washington City Paper cover story about me never stated this, nor did they imply it.  After initially reading the Washington Post article on the EEOC decision, the tabloid reporter called me up and asked me to give him some statement as to what my religion was.  I told him that I did not wish to disclose to him my religious beliefs because I feel that a person's religious beliefs are a private matter. Also I had legal reasons since at that time my Civil Rights case had not been completed.  Apparently, determined that he would write something about my religious views, he fabricated the above quote, which was apparently intended to give the reader the impression that I held very strange religious beliefs.  I don't know of any organized religion called "astrology" and I think that even most dedicated astrologers would have found this statement insulting.  

The Washington City Paper did write "LaViolette is a religious man, praying and meditating often.  He wears a gold necklace around his neck given to him by his mother.  It's his astrological sign; Scorpio."  Perhaps the tabloid reporter, desperate to make a religious connection, inferred that because I wear a necklace with my astrological sign that this automatically meant that astrology was my religion.  Or, could it have been the passage mistakenly stating that I had taken a course in astrology.  Actually, it was in fact a course on the Tarot that I had taken.  So, just because you take a course in something does that make it your religion?  In business school I took a course in economics.  Is then economics my religion too?

 In fact, none of my books or theories concern themselves with natal astrology, which is the conventional meaning of the term "astrology."  Two of my books, Beyond the Big Bang and Earth Under Fire, study the archetypal symbolism of the myths and lore associated with the zodiac constellations.  But this is better categorized as archeoastronomy.  It is not concerned at all with whether people's personalities are astrologically determined at the time of birth.

6. Paul LaViolette did not say that his scientific beliefs
can't be separated from his religious beliefs.

 This same internet tabloid wrote:

 "Paul LaViolette says his scientific beliefs can't be separated from his religious beliefs."

 I never stated that. The Washington Post did quote me as stating, "There is a connection between my scientific beliefs and my very deep religious beliefs."  Although I admit that there is a connection between the two, this does not mean that the two can't be distinguished. What the tabloid wrote is solely the conjecture of the reporter, not anything that I stated.

7. Paul LaViolette did not argue that his belief in cold fusion constituted,
or was somehow congruent with, belief in a Supreme Being.

 The internet tabloid wrote:

 "In essence, LaViolette argued that his belief in cold fusion -- the doctrine, widely disparaged by mainstream scientists, that energy can be generated inexpensively at low temperatures through fusion of hydrogen or deuterium nuclei -- constituted, or was somehow congruent with, belief in a Supreme Being."

 This inaccurately construes the essence of my argument.  The EEOC decision interpreted my argument as claiming that "my unconventional beliefs about cold fusion and other technologies should be viewed as a religion and therefore protected."  Also they say that I argue that I was "terminated and denied the opportunity to be rehired because of religion, which embodies [my] cold fusion beliefs."  Though, for legal reasons I do not wish to elaborate here as to how religion embodies these beliefs or as to how my beliefs about these technologies might be viewed as a religion.  Also, to clear up another inaccurate statement, my initial complaint to the Office of Civil Rights did not mention anything about discrimination on the basis of religion.

8. Paul LaViolette's scientific beliefs are based on observation
and subject to change based on new findings.

 The internet tabloid claimed that I had said:

 "A lot of people normally associate religious belief with doctrinaire belief, something unchanging.  Mine are based on observation and subject to change based on new findings."

This is an excerpt taken out of context from the Washington Post article. The word "mine" refers to "scientific beliefs" in an earlier quoted sentence, not reproduced by the tabloid.  Hence the correct quote should state: "My scientific beliefs are based on observation and subject to change based on new findings."