The end of the Enlightenment


Professor M Pepper FRS ; Dr Neil McEwan ; Dr James W Mink ; Professor A Howie FRS ; Professor Philip E Secker ; Professor Michael Pepper FRS ;

The End of the Enlightenment


The analysis proving the end of the Enlightenment is immersed in technical material peculiar to the key experiment. Thus, my book The Catt Anomaly is opaque to some students of history.


Here, the key philosophical points made in that book are given without the technical clutter.

Ivor Catt  20oct02


[Further discussion at

[Scandals in Electromagnetic Theory


Philosophical extracts from

The Catt Anomaly

Science beyond the Crossroads

by Ivor Catt


Westfields Press,

121 Westfields, St. Albans AL3 4JR,

England                 1996, 2001


First published in 1996

Republished with additions in 2001




The case of the Catt Anomaly goes to the heart of elementary electrical theory. It is much simpler and much more important than Dingle's Twin Paradox.

The best introduction to the politics of knowledge in science, and the best scientific demonstration that the scientific Age of Reason is over, is to study the present status of the Catt Anomaly. The reader can stop here and test the following proposition for himself. No scientist is willing to take a scientific approach to the problem of suppression in science - the allegation of widespread censorship, to be tested by the usual criteria of repeatability, corroboration, Popper's falsification and the rest. Try to get a scientist to remain a scientist when addressing these matters! He will start talking about Catt's paranoia or egotism, which are not scientific concepts.

Perhaps more properly called 'The E-M Question', the Catt Anomaly is an elementary question about classical electromagnetism which experts refuse to answer in writing.


McEwan, Pepper, Howie, Mink found that they passed examinations with high marks. This gradually took them further and further up the hierarchy of academe. We have only limited evidence, e.g. McEwan on p6, that they claim competence in electromagnetic theory. It has usually been attributed to them by others. This is the way in which the vital disciplines underpinning our culture gradually disintegrate. Those very few who do have a grasp of electromagnetic theory are elbowed aside by ignoramuses who have floated to the top on a sea of confusion. I have found the same grave situation in my other fields of research; computer architecture and Wafer Scale Integration (see Wireless World, July81 and March89). McEwan, Pepper and Mink show us how scientific knowledge gradually descends into liturgy, examples being their letters. In the same way as the parish priest, having forgotten his theological training, thinks he still retains the key to his religion, so these scientific quacks think they hold the key to their subjects. However, the unanswered questions give them a rare glimpse of the real subject that they should study and discuss. Concern to continue to pay their mortgages and retain the respect of their wives makes them ignore the letters with their awkward questions. Our task is to square the circle; to bring them back into the scientific fold. Unless we do this soon, science will remain at best sterile, and will more probably disintegrate.



The background


The Earlier Background



As the decades drifted by, I continued to fulfil my duty of attempting to get my work published. I also delved deeper into the theory of the Politics of Knowledge, or the Sociology of Science. Basil Bernstein, of the Institute of Education, London, gave me the first clue, which can be paraphrased as follows;

Knowledge is Property, with its own market value and trading relationships, to be protected by those who trade in that body of knowledge.

It was many more years before I realised that

He who brings unsafe new knowledge is a vandal, much as the Nazis who burned the books were vandals.

The reason is that the intrusion of unsafe new knowledge results in the rejection of the old books. Unsafe new knowledge has to be defined.

New knowledge is unsafe if its acceptance would lead to a change in an A level syllabus. It is also unsafe if it would lead to the change of a first degree syllabus. It is not unsafe if it would merely lead to the addition of an extra section in a first degree syllabus, leaving the text books untarnished.

One has to consider the knowledge broker, or lecturer, with his slabs of lecture notes. Each slab of notes represents capital which brings in sixty pounds of income each year from two hours of lecturing. The professional is unwilling to tear up those notes, or to give up the royalties on his text book. His text book probably gained his promotion.

The professionalisation of teaching in around 1850, and the merging of research with teaching, set the stage for the inevitable ossification of science a century later. The professional cannot afford to allow knowledge to advance.

Any attempt to push forward the bounds of knowledge by paying professionals to do so must fail. Even when employed specifically to advance knowledge, the professional will freeze it.

 The existing knowledge base is the professional's identity, his security, and his income. Unsafe new knowledge threatens all of these.

It took further years for me to realize that the role of the professional institution was similar to that of the educational establishment. In the 1970's, when the IEE was obstructing our efforts to publish and to initiate discussion of fundamentals, we naively assumed that if only we could get past the 'decadent' officials to the 'vibrant' membership, all would be well. I am now convinced that this was a delusion, for the following reasons.

Those students who studied, learned, and passed exams in the IEE's static knowledge base developed subject loyalty and also a vested interest in its maintenance and defence against unsafe new knowledge. Some had even passed the IEE's own exams. They now paid their subscriptions to the IEE, not to encourage it to advance knowledge, but so that it would defend the knowledge base which was now their identity and their security.

When working at Lucas forty years ago, the manager told me that the average time a production line girl worked for the company was six weeks. This made nonsense of the SDP idea of worker participation in management decisions. We might as well ask British Rail to have its Board meetings on a platform of Victoria Station and ask the passengers waiting for their trains to help to make decisions on running the railway system, there and then.

Decades later, my son pointed out that the worker's interest was best served if reinvestment were held to a minimum, and his company closed down when he took retirement. That way, his income would be maximised. We can apply the same rule of thumb to the professional engineer, member of the IEE.

My article "The Scientific Reception System as a Servomechanism", Appendix 2 of , gives the next stage in the argument.

Like the Catholic Church, the IEE paying member would allow the IEE to sin a little - to allow small increments, or changes in, the knowledge base. This mirrors the production line worker benefiting from minor improvements to the existing production line. However, major theoretical advances must be held up until the IEE paying member retires. At that point, the bulk of membership would be younger, of an age to want further delay in the publication of major scientific advance, and so ad infinitum. Thus, the IEE and its members mirror the conservative stance of the professional lecturer. Neither benefits from major advance, which would cause short and medium term damage to his career. The professional engineer has no interest in major advance in the art. Major advance benefits only;

(1) putative future generations of engineers, who do not yet pay their membership fees to the IEE, and

(2) society at large, which does not pay membership fees to the IEE.

The more exposed, and the more absurd, [IEE Executives] Williams and Secker were to appear, the more supportive and grateful the IEE membership would be that they had risked so much to protect and maximise members' careers.

In the case of electromagnetism, there was good reason why the blocking of advance was particularly easy for the official to come to terms with, without feeling of guilt or compunction. Books on electromagnetism state that the theory was completed a century ago, and no further advance is possible or necessary. Thus, the IEE officials knew that any purported advance was fallacious. See for instance

John David Jackson, [U Calif. Berkeley and Visiting Professor at Trinity College, Cambridge], "Classical Electrodynamics" 3rd edn., pub. Wiley 1999.
1st edn. 36 years earlier.
2nd edn. 23 years earlier.
Bibliography contains no Heaviside, no Catt.
".... a subject whose fundamental basis was completely established
theoretically 134 years ago by Maxwell and experimentally 110 years ago by Hertz ...."

[But see ]


We have to make considerable effort to gain some understanding of the behaviour of captains of science like Atiyah, Pepper, McEwan, Williams, Secker and the rest. This will enable us to control and limit their destructive activity more effectively, and direct them towards doing what they are paid to do. The picture is clarified if we think of them as politicians first, administrators second and scientists third. However, it is probably more useful to think of them as not scientists at all, as Stalin was not a communist or Marxist. More accurately, whether Stalin was a Marxist or not had minimal influence on his behaviour, which was driven by other forces.

The attack on scientific principles was mounted a few decades following the professionalisation of science in the mid-nineteenth century. Professionals feared the career insecurity when they stood on a shifting knowledge base. At a subconscious level they realised that they had to freeze their body of knowledge. Further, they had to suppress the knowledge that they were doing so. This is the dialectic which makes these commissars of knowledge vulnerable and manipulable. Most of them will go to considerable effort to avoid admitting to themselves, and more particularly to their admirers - wives, maiden aunts and so forth, that they represent the forces of darkness.

The Remedy

The blocking of new information by all our institutions means the end of civilisation. It is of the utmost importance that the facts of the situation be established soon and that remedial action be taken. The remedy is simple - to introduce accountability. I fear that at present a knowledge broker is rewarded for blocking new information.

The necessary reform will be that should a knowledge broker be proved to have blocked new information, he will be dismissed.


AIDS: The failure of contemporary science

The Rise and Fall of Bodies of Knowledge.

                   - I. Catt, The Information Scientist 12 (4) December 1978, pp. 137-144.

It is argued that the self-protecting nature of the knowledge establishment leads to the suppression of new ideas. Proposals are put forward for the establishment of 'Communication nets' which having no central points are incapable of suppression.


Although the principle of free communication of ideas is a basic tenet of the scientific community, there are numerous examples of their suppression. Professor Herbert Dingle, who wrote a book on relativity in the 1920s as well as a section on relativity for ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA, and was the man chosen by the BBC to give the eulogy on Einstein when he died, developed doubts about the special theory of relativity around 1955. To his astonishment, he found that the scientific journals and institutions suddenly closed their pages and doors when he wanted to write or say something unorthodox; that is, heretical. A scientist might say, 'something that was incorrect'. He describes his experience in his book, SCIENCE AT THE CROSSROADS (1).

   Immanuel Velikovsky painstakingly developed the heretical theory that Venus as a planet is only some 3,500 years old, that it moved for centuries on a very eccentric orbit, and about 1500 BC made its two closest approaches to the Earth. During the eighth and seventh centuries BC, the comet Venus repeatedly approached Mars, and Mars in turn menaced our planet. Only after all these encounters did Venus finally lose its last cometary characteristics and settle down to its present planetary behaviour. Velikovsky believes that the effects of these encounters on the Earth, especially the earlier ones, where truly catastrophic. He wrote a book about his theories, called WORLDS IN COLLISION (2).

   Without reading Velikovsky's book, the Professor of Astronomy at Harvard warned Macmillan not to publish anything by Velikovsky, saying that if they did, Macmillan would be boycotted by the academic community. Macmillan bowed to the pressure, and fired the editor who had accepted Velikovsky's manuscript, because he had accepted heretical material (3,4).

   The computer journals and conferences in Britain and the USA consistently evaded 'The Glitch', the way in which computers spontaneously go mad for no apparent reason. The lengthy private correspondence with the editor of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN which culminated in his being forced to give 'The Glitch' a passing mention, in April 1973, is very revealing. It took ten years of dedicated hard slog by a group of scientists in the University of Washington, St. Louis, to get it into the professional journal, the IEEE Transactions on Computers, in June 1975.

   Many other instances could be cited of the suppression of new or unusual, that is 'heretical', ideas by scientific institutions. The system of refereeing technical articles before publication (and I myself have acted as a referee) is a system of censorship, the censor having no training in how to differentiate between 'wrong' and 'heretical'.

   Superficially, it is easy to look at the suppression of free communication in science from the Basil Bernstein point of view (6), that 'knowledge is property with its own market and trading value', to be protected by the practitioners of that particular brand of knowledge - it may be sociology, mathematics, psychology, or some sub-set of these. We might regard the suppression of new ideas and the obstruction of outsiders when they try to trespass into a branch of knowledge as pernicious and retrograde. As one example of many suppressions, digital electronics, otherwise called computer hardware design, can be taught in virtually no college in the world today. It is suppressed by the older knowledge groups of computer science, which means programming, and by electronics, which means telecommunications. Dr Charles Seitz was chased out of the University of Utah when he opened up a laboratory with digital electronic hardware within the Computer Science Department. He then called himself a 'defrocked computer scientist'. (After a long gap, he is now lecturing at CALTECH.)

   If we were certain that the suppression of free communication was wrong, it would merely be necessary to expose the fact that editors of scientific publications work to suppress scientific communication, rather than to sustain it; that university faculties work to block new disciplines, rather than help them to develop, and we would organize methods to prevent editors, professors and conference organizers from suppressing new developments in the future.

The Holt Dictum.

However, across this vista, like a blaze of light, comes the dictum of Dr A. W. Holt, 'Without barriers to communication there can be no communication'. This is one of the great profound truths which often appear facile at first sight.

   As an illustration of Holt's thesis, when I publish something in a scientific journal, a large part of what I am publishing has already been said before the first word of the piece. The fact that I am publishing in that scientific journal means that I accept virtually the whole of what Galbraith calls the 'conventional wisdom' which is accepted by subscribers to that journal and its editors. This rigidly limits the scope of my communication. I want to publish in that journal because I accept the frame of reference established by that journal and the group of scientists who support it. If something were published in that journal by someone who did not accept virtually all the precepts enshrined in previous issues of the journal, it would carry little meaning, or communication, because having broken with the traditional agreed premises of the journal, no reader would any more know what was still agreed; no one would even be sure what the words in the revolutionary article meant. After all, the meaning of a word is a creature of the frame of reference within which it has traditionally been used. (M. Polanyi in PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE says that every time a word is used, it alters or reinforces its meaning as a result of its being used in a different context (7).)

As further illustration of the Holt dictum, we can take something that the poet Stephen Spender once said. He argued for writing in an already accepted style. He said that if one created a new style, one's own style, one ran the risk of creating an 'historical object', and not communicating. Similarly, one could say that if one wrote a revolutionary article in a journal, one would create an historical object; what one said would be unintelligible to the reader. The only meaningful communication is one which only marginally alters the frame of reference.

   In the language of T. S. Kuhn (8) it is permissible to write and speak within the limitations of a shared paradigm, and even to marginally modify the shared paradigm. This is an acceptable, meaningful exercise in what he calls 'normal science'. What is not permissible is to write or say something which contradicts the shared paradigm, and expect it to be tolerated by the accepted journals, conferences and faculties. In so far as such institutions allowed the ingress of revolutionary ideas, they would be inhibiting the proper flow of very useful communication of the normal kind, of normal science, because the shared paradigm, a necessary frame of reference in normal scientific communication, would be undermined.

Knowledge as Property.

Basil Bernstein writes, apparently critically, that a body of knowledge is property, with its own market value and trading arrangements, to be protected by the social group which administers that body of knowledge. However, one can look at such defensiveness in a favourable way. If no one were to defend the integrity of a body of knowledge against assault from laymen outside, the clarity and coherence of that body of knowledge, and in particular the solidity and validity of the shared paradigm which is its foundation, would be undermined.

   Any body of knowledge, which embraces both information and understanding, needs its own body of dedicated practitioners, who exercise their knowledge and keep it alive. Also, they put up barriers around it to defend it against confusion. Without these barriers to more or less random communication, giving precedence to communication between the select few within the barriers, within their journals and conferences (and churches), the body of knowledge that they are protecting would lapse into confusion. That is why 'without barriers to communication there can be no communication'.

New Knowledge.

From time to time, new knowledge tries to break through the defensive barriers into the main body of knowledge, and an important role of the priests within is to analyse these new ideas and decide whether to accept or reject them. All the while they must defend what they already have. It is therefore important that a limit be placed on the amount of new knowledge attempting to break through to the inner sanctum. If too much were allowed in for analysis at any one time the result would be confusion and damage to the valuable body of knowledge already entrenched within.

   However, the new knowledge which attempts to break in beyond the barriers and articulate on to the already established knowledge plays an important role. The existence of such conflicts attracts people of high calibre towards the centre of the knowledge and towards its fringes. Even the rejection of a new piece of knowledge is a useful exercise, because in the process the main body of knowledge is exercised, and the practice of manipulating it will be kept alive among the priests in the inner sanctum.

   As a body of knowledge increases in size and complexity, the problem created by each quantum of new knowledge which attempts to break through into the inner sanctum is greater. For this reason, the defences surrounding a large body of knowledge are rightly much higher, more difficult to surmount, than those surrounding one that is smaller, less complex and less mature. However, new knowledge still comes in, and the body of knowledge continues to grow, albeit at a slower and slower rate. Unfortunately, however, when the body of knowledge is bigger and the rate of inflow of new knowledge is smaller, more and more of the activity within the knowledge becomes 'celebration', more and more ceremonial rather than exercise in depth. As a result, a different calibre of person is attracted to the large knowledge, lacking the ability to understand and defend a body of knowledge with many levels of meaning. They are 'maintenance men' rather than 'builders'. The central body of knowledge ossifies, becomes brittle and disintegrates. This is how civilizations collapse, how religions and cities collapse, and how a scientific community will collapse.

Growth of Knowledge.

We can expect bodies of knowledge to grow rapidly at first, grow more slowly when they are large, and then steady to a more or less fixed maximum. After some time at this maximum they will disintegrate.

   My recent investigations indicate that our knowledge and understanding of electromagnetic theory reached its zenith in about 1910, and we have since lost most of what we knew about the subject. I cannot find anyone in the world today who professes to be an expert on electromagnetic theory, or who is researching into the subject.

   The computer art had reached a large size and complexity as a body of knowledge in 1944, which appears to have been its practical limit. Since there has been no advance in the last thirty years (9), it must be well on its way to disintegration.

   In the language of Professor Lehman's theory of growth dynamics (10) 'progressive' work has come to a halt and all activity is 'anti-regressive' maintenance work. Lehman says that at this point, further advance can only be made if the foundations of the knowledge are re-examined and streamlined.

   However, it is at this point that the Holt barriers to communication play an unfortunate role. By the time fundamental change is needed, we have seen that there are good reasons why the calibre of the 'guardians of the faith', the high priests, will have sunk to an all-time low, becoming worried, inadequate functionaries holding in reverence their predecessors who engineered the era of fast growth and progress. As the need for fundamental change increases, their blocking of communication of new ideas will become more complete and the established institutions more closed and rigid.

   High technology will grind to a halt and even regress unless we fundamentally alter its underlying structure. The key problem is that as a body of knowledge matures, that is, ossifies and becomes decadent, channels of communication are shut off by the vested, mature groups, in a manner vividly described by Dr Charles McCutchen (11).

Need for a New System of Communication.

Clearly, what is needed is a new system of communication between peers which cannot be strangled in the normal way when the relevant body of knowledge reaches maturity. The key to the design of an irrepressible communication system, which we can call a 'Communication Net', is that it should have no central control point, no single focus whose capture leads to strangulation. This is how established institutions are easily emasculated. For instance, control of the staff appointments to a college faculty makes it easy to destroy the elan vital of that faculty. Control of the reviewing process of a professional journal makes it easy to suppress further constructive communication. Similarly the technical conference, with its small cabal choosing the list of speakers, is easy prey to a decadent clique.

   I am not saying that the forces of decadence know that they are strangling their social group's future - indeed the essence of their decadence is their ignorance of what they are doing. Generally, they believe they are maintaining standards.    We must design a system which retains the good intent of the established institutions - search after truth, free communication, appraisal by peers - but does not have their unsound structure, vulnerable to capture by a career- and prestige- oriented clique. One might even go so far as to say that more rugged structures are a prerequisite for the technological revolution, and that the reason for the failure of high technology to generate vast profit is the strangulation of its institutions.

   In principle, a communication net contains equal individuals, each of whom keeps an up to date list of articles that he recommends and copies of which he is willing to supply on request at twice the direct cost involved; 25p would be the kind of sum that another member of the net would send in advance when requesting one article. The reason for charging double is that this gives anyone in the net a surplus of funding which he uses to finance the voluntary sending of unrequested articles - for instance an important new article, or articles to someone who is being invited to join the net.

   A member includes, in his bibliography of a certain subject, only those articles - by himself and others - which he thinks make a contribution to the subject. Each subject will have its own net, and on request a member will supply his bibliographies to all nets of which he is a member. This will break down interdisciplinary boundaries, which is one of the main problems in high technology.

   Since membership of a professional institution costs about £15 p.a., it will be reasonable to expect such members to spend about £5 p.a. on communication nets, that is about twenty communications per year; quite enough in practice.

   Once the nets are in operation, a prestige-oriented scientist will aim to belong both to a professional institution and to a communication net.

   Wide distribution of one's article on a net, particularly if it appeared in bibliographies supplied by a number of eminent experts, would soon become more prestigious than publication in a professional journal. In job applications it would be useful to show that one's articles were recommended by top people in the field - this is a facility unavailable at present.

   A member of a net will include in his bibliography a statement of the hours during which he is available on the telephone. It looks as though two hours per week would be reasonable, and it might be necessary to restrain calls by only allowing trunk calls on the net.

   Xerography and the direct dial telephone appeared after the philosophical and organizational structure of professional institutions ossified, and the institutions make no concessions to such technological advances. Communication nets should be able to adjust rapidly to new communication developments and opportunities.

   In a BBC programme it was estimated that on average a published article was read 1.3 times - that is, articles are read 30% more often than they are published. I asked the editor of AFIPS, a leading computing journal, about this, and he said he thought the figure was probably more like four. Whoever is right, it is clear that even after suppression of important articles, the dissemination of what is allowed through by the censors (reviewers) is ineffective and expensive. It seems eminently economical by comparison to Xerox (say) ten copies of an article and mail them to those likely to read them.

   I myself am setting up at least three nets - one being on electromagnetic theory, a subject totally suppressed by the journals. Another net that I shall start will be a net giving advice on what nets exist. Net design can be expected to improve rapidly during the first ten years or so after their inception, and it is important that improvements in their structure are widely communicated as they are received.

   If communication nets are successful, it may be possible to use their structure as the basis for the design of organizations dedicated to other activities than flow of information. These other activities may develop spontaneously within communication nets, or alternatively they may be consciously started at a later date after some experience has been gained with communication nets.


1. Herbert Dingle, Science at the Crossroads, Martin Brian & O'Keefe, London, 1972.

2. Immanuel Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, Sphere, 1972.

3. De Gracia (Editor), The Velikovsky Affair, Sidgwick & Jackson, 1966.

4. Velikovsky reconsidered, Pensees, May 1972.

5. George R. Couranz and D. F. Wann, Theoretical and experimental behaviour of synchronizers operating in the metastable region, IEEE Trans. Computers, C-24, June 1975, pp. 604-15.

6. Basil Bernstein, Class, Codes and Control, Vol. 1, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1962.

7. Michael Polanyi, Personal Knowledge, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1962.

8. Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, University of Chicago Press, 1962.

9. I. Catt, Computer Worship, Pitman, 1974, p. 125.

10. L. A. Belady and M. M. Lehman, Programming System Dynamics, IBM Research Report RC 3546, 1971.

11. Charles McCutchen, An Evolved conspiracy, New Scientist, 29 April 1976, p. 225.

[Reprinted in I. Catt, Electromagnetic Theory vol. 1, pub. C.A.M. Publishing 1979, p. 117]

Comments made in July 2000 by Ivor Catt.

My website is

The last part of the article obviously describes the Internet of today. However, there are differences. The Internet contains a shadowy central control committee, which we need to obviate. Also, the Internet lacks any system of validation by respected experts in the field.

"Riposte", see my www Home Page, is a more recent idea.

A critical factor is the efficiency of the search engines such as Yahoo. Ironically, The Kernel Machine (see my website), on which my world patents have run out, would have enabled the signal to stay above the noise. Just one such machine owned by Yahoo would increase that company's valuation from $9 billion to $90 billion. (The whole Kernel development project only costs £40 million.) However, it is likely that it will never be built. Society's commitment to limiting each computer to only one processor is very strong. (The Kernel Machine has one million processors.) Thus, Search will evermore limit the power of the Internet.

The scientific reception system as a servomechanism

- I. Catt. The Journal of Information Science 2(1980) 307-308.

In order to survive, a body of knowledge must attract funding. 'Funding' can mean, quite crudely, supplies of cash. It can also mean the support of acolytes, or 'researchers', willing to 'work' for nothing and therefore subsidize the body of knowledge. Instead of money, such people accept as payment pieces of paper called 'degrees', institution membership, etc. We shall call this activity 'zero purchase'. To attract funding, the body of knowledge must stabilize and create an easily recognizable destination for funding. This destination may be a university faculty or a scientific institution. Credibility is gained by such an institution if it owns known leading knowledge brokers, or 'experts'. An individual achieves expert status by accumulating status symbols, from Nobel prizes down to A level passes, and by becoming the editor of an obscure journal or by publishing papers and obscure books. An important distinguishing feature of virtually all of these status symbols is that they are not directly profitable at point of purchase. Anticipated fringe benefits are all. For example, the book with low sales and low royalty counts as a status symbol for the author, but the profitable best seller does not.

By indulging in unremunerative activity helpful to a body of knowledge, a would-be knowledge broker gains 'credit points' for 'selflessness' and 'scientific honesty'. If he gains enough such credit points, he may become one of the leading members of the knowledge establishment and recoup his investment of unpaid toil during the previous decades. However, most people who run in the 'academic selflessness' sweepstakes never recoup in cash terms, but have to be satisfied with the periodical reception of further pieces of paper - M. Sc., Fellow of the Institute, CBE, etc.

When a scientist has attained guru status within an organization and helps it to attract funding, it is important for him and for the organization that his guru status should be made secure. He can ensure this either (1) by continuing to maintain mastery of the evolving body of knowledge, or more simply (2) through his refereeing and editorial power, by stabilizing that knowledge and preventing it from developing, or (3) by some combination of the previous two techniques. In practice, he opts for stability but garnished with gradual growth at a pace well within his (possibly by now failing) capabilities.

As well as by ownership of gurus, an organization uses its official journals to establish itself as a proper destination for funding (and zero purchase). However, in the same way as a salesman tries not to disturb or confuse the customer when making a sale by throwing doubt on the merit of his product, journals can only serve their purpose if they contain no hint that the fount of knowledge may not reside within the organization. On the other hand, totally bland discourses in its journals (and totally bland lectures by its resident gurus) pose another threat to an organization's money supply; the charge that they have gone to sleep, or are old, decadent and rusty. Discussion and dispute must be seen to occur, and this needs to be reasonably orchestrated so as to give both the indication of internal division (or life) in the organization, but not at such a level as to threaten fragmentation leading to the need for the money source (perhaps a government committee or charitable foundation) to take sides by deciding which fragment to finance in the future. Organizations which fail to 'fine tune' this orchestration have disappeared, so those that survive have succeeded.

A money source (and even more so a 'zero purchase' Ph. D. student) also has to achieve status by pointing to the status of the organization or organizations it supports. In engineering terms, any 'life', or 'dispute', represents positive feedback, a destabilizing factor with dangerous possibilities, contrasting with the stabilizing effect of the reiteration of antique ideas.

Once, many years ago, I designed a triple Darlington amplifier, and was surprised to find that in addition to the heavy D.C. current, it could oscillate at low amplitude and very high frequency, the frequency of the first, small, drive transistor, with the following two high power, low speed, transistors acting passively as forward biased conducting Vbe diodes. This is a good model for the compromise invariably reached by the organizations milking a body of knowledge in order to secure their continued funding. The high frequency, superficial, harmless oscillation, or argument, shows the signs of life needed to reassure the funding sources, while paradoxically at the same time the large, steady, bland communication lower down serves to reassure.  This is why [owners of] a body of knowledge will tolerate, and even encourage, argument and violent disagreement about trivial detail while at the same time blocking all questioning of fundamentals. To change the metaphor, a body of knowledge is like a large raft on which all kinds of violent games can and must be played, but no one must attack the raft on which they stand, because then everyone would drown in new ideas.


I Catt, The rise and fall of bodies of knowledge (see above).



Letter to the Editor, Electronics World + Wireless World, published in May95

What Conspiracy?

In a letter to WW in nov81, JL Linsley Hood writes that "censorship has been effective throughout my own professional career....". He lists nine authors who could not have been published anywhere but in Wireless World.

As Pete Davis (EW+WWDec94) asserts, there is usually no conspiracy to suppress heretical views. There is no need of one, except in some specific instances, because as Charles McCutcheon wrote in the New Scientist  (itself a notorious suppressor, but not as bad as Nature) on 29 April 1976, p225, "An evolved conspiracy" suffices. For example, I ran into a discussion in the interval at the Royal Institution seminar to celebrate the centenary of the Michelson-Morley  experiment. An American who was setting up an international conference on relativity discussed with one of the lecturers whether ether buffs should be suppressed at that conference. He also asked the lecturer how Harold Aspden should be dealt with. They concluded that if ether believers kept to Establishment mathematics, they should be allowed to put their case.

The American told me he regarded heresy in science much as he regarded heresy in religion. However, more generally, suppression in science results from fear that a new idea will disrupt the normal, calm progression of academic career progress and research funding.

Suppression is the norm rather than the exception. Even Maddox, Editor of Nature, now says he is worried1. With his track record, that is mind-blowing. Scientists have successfully resorted to false authorship and false addresses to get into Nature. The most interesting, and most destructive, is the pandemic suppression of advances relating to the AIDS epidemic. Other experts, whose names I can supply, specialise in the allied subject of fraud in science. Stewart and Feder lead this field.

My first publication on suppression in science was "The Rise and Fall of Bodies of Knowledge", published in The Information Scientist No 12 (4) dec78, pp137-144, where I discuss some of the cases of suppression which litter science. My article was re-published in my book "Electromagnetic Theory vol 1", 1979, p117. All of the content of that book is suppressed, including the point that I raised at the Michelson-Morley centenary seminar, asking about the apparent paradox in their experiment that although Michelson-Morley pre-date wave/particle dualism, both wave and particle have to be assumed at different stages in the experiment to suppress anomalies.

It appears to me that for the experiment to have any value, the light must act as particles during its travel, because parallel waves would interfere with each other and ruin the experiment; but it has to act as waves on arrival in order to determine transit time difference by interference fringes. In the Michelson-Morley centenary seminar, speaker Professor Kilmister said, "That has never been mentioned before". It has never been mentioned since - being suppressed for good reason.

To raise such questions, and there are many, is cheating, like making your pawn move as a combination of knight and bishop in a chess match. Science today is the manipulation of pre-agreed axioms and old knowledge, nothing more. Further, the request for more detailed statements of the axioms, as in my case with Michelson-Morley, is resisted to the death. Today's science resembles the religious service, which should not be interrupted by the raising of theological questions.

My work on Wafer Scale Integration, described in Wireless World July 1981, was always rejected for publication by all learned journals, even though it attracted £16m of funding - including government funding - and became a widely praised product in the field. Of course, its suppression reduced the threat that it would upset the research funding being received in their universities by journal referees for their own approaches to WSI. In spite of my track record, my new WSI invention, see EW+WW March 1989, for which I have worldwide patents, cannot be published in any learned journal.

In a letter in Wireless World, January 1983, I wrote that during 25 years of work, I have never succeeded in publishing any of my work on e-m theory in any British learned journal. This ban now extends to 35 years. However, Davis should particularly think about the refusal of the Establishment, when approached, to clarify the classical theory they are defending. Professor M. Pepper FRS and his boss Professor A. Howie FRS, head of the Cavendish, disagree with each other2 as to where the negative charge comes from in the Catt Anomaly, EW+WW sep87 They refuse to discuss it with us or with each other, or to say that the matter is of no importance. Not only are new theories ignored and suppressed. We also find that the Establishment is nonchalant about its contradictory versions of old theory. See also the co-existing, hopelessly contradictory, versions of a TEM wave pointed out in 'The Heaviside Signal', WW july79, which has been totally ignored.

Ivor Catt

1 He says that suppression is increasing. "The epoch-making paper by Francis Crick and James Watson outlining the structure of DNA, which appeared in nature in 1953, would 'probably not be publishable today', Mr Maddox laments ...." - Daily Telegraph, 1may89, p18.

2 Howie says it comes from the west. Pepper says that (since electrons would have to travel at the speed of light,) it cannot come from the west, and must come from the south. Until this is resolved, we do not have a classical theory. Before it can exist, a theory has to be stated.

The Betrayal of science by 'modern physics'.

We can classify disciplines as ranging from hard to soft; from physics, engineering, chemistry, biology; through sociology, psychology; to geography, history, literature, religion. The hard disciplines are described as 'science'. In a soft discipline, a model, theory or fact is still of value even if it is imperfect, flawed. The definition of a hard science could be that it is capable of sustaining a perfect, true, model, theory or fact.

For prestige reasons, the soft sciences - sociology and psychology - try to take on the mantle of the hard sciences by using 'scientific method'; a method of arriving at rigid, 'true', facts, models and theories. They do this in order to gain access to the prestige and funding (NASA-type) that the hard sciences command. So we see subjects trying to move to the left, from soft to hard.

Unknown to the soft science careerists, struggling towards the left, the position of their colleagues at the hard, physics end is uncomfortable. This is because if a theory can be exactly true, it is also brittle; more vulnerable to complete overturn by new developments than is the softer, imperfect theory. Now career advancement is, if anything, a soft subject, not a hard one. So for career reasons, a traitor group in physics has developed a soft discipline called 'modern physics'. These careerists betray science by softening their discipline and so stabilizing the theoretical status quo and with it their career status quo.

An individual's career in hard science is brittle, because it is based on more absolute, therefore more brittle, theories and models. He then makes his position more pliable, and his status and career more secure, by softening the brittleness of his discipline. In doing this he betrays his discipline in order to protect and further his career. 'Modern physics', a bastard pseudo-science, is a soft discipline which has been developed by career physicists unwilling to risk a brittle career in hard science.

Meanwhile, the soft sciences (sociology and psychology) trying to obtain the prestige and funding of the hard sciences are not fearful of this brittleness. In any case 'modern physicists' are telling them that physics is soft.

The signposts on the road from physics to modern physics - from hard science to soft - are: uncertainty; (wave-particle) dualism; confusion of the observer with the observed; relativity; and the use of statistics and probability. Paradoxically, one of these, statistics, also signposts the opposite march of the soft sciences towards the hard.      - Ivor Catt. First published as a letter in Electronics and Wireless World, July 1987, p683

The Conquest of Science


We are the hollow men

We are the stuffed men

Leaning together

Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!

Our dried voices, when

We whisper together

Are quiet and meaningless

As wind in dry grass

Or rats' feet over broken glass

In our dry cellar


Shape without form, shade without colour,

Paralysed force, gesture without motion;


Those who have crossed

With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom

Remember us - if at all - not as lost

Violent souls, but only

As the hollow men

The stuffed men.

  - T. S. Eliot, The Hollow Men.


The rise of digital electronics has highlighted weaknesses in our approach to the fundamentals of electromagnetic theory. My twenty years of research into digital electronics led me to put forward a revolutionary theory of electromagnetism, "Theory C", in Wireless World, December 1980. I concluded as follows;


The direct transition from [classical electromagnetism] to Theory C is similar to the change in combustion theory from phlogiston to oxidation, but is more difficult. Phlogiston is very similar to electricity, being a strange 'fluid' which permeates solids. But whereas the oxygen which 'replaced' phlogiston was still within the same body, the energy current which replaces electricity is not where the electricity was; it is where it was not. This is a very difficult transition. If the idea of replacing phlogiston caused mirth at High Table, we have to expect Theory C to generate widespread hilarity.

In the event, Theory C took off like a lead balloon. It has during the subsequent ten years been totally ignored by all accredited members of Academia, and I have had no success in my attempts to publish it in any learned journals.


Here we go round the prickly pear

Prickly pear prickly pear

Here we go round the prickly pear

At five o'clock in the morning.


The scurrilous reason for suppressing advances in science is easy to outline. Entrenched professors and the like need a stable knowledge base which will form a sound launching pad to project them into higher career orbits - FRS, Nobel Prize etc.


This is the dead land

This is cactus land

Here the stone images

Are raised, here they receive

The supplication of a dead man's hand

Under the twinkle of a fading star.


However, this easy rationalisation for suppression should not blind us to the other, less immoral justification for suppression, which results from the present fashion in the Philosophy of Science.

Both K. Popper and T. S. Kuhn regret the majority view in the Philosophy of Science, which Popper calls "Instrumentalism".


What they now care about, as physicists, is (a) mastery of the mathematical formalism, i.e. of the instrument, and (b) its applications; and they care for nothing else.

- K. Popper, Conjectures and Refutations, R.K.P. 1969, p100.


According to the instrumentalist view, the validity or falsity of a theory has no importance. All that matters is its usefulness as an instrument for predicting practical results.


Between the idea

And the reality

Between the motion

And the act

Falls the Shadow

                      For Thine is the Kingdom


An entrenched academic will value past practical results, attributing them to traditional theory, and be suspicious of promises for the future from the new theory.


Between the conception

And the creation

Between the emotion

And the response

Falls the Shadow

                      Life is very long


Given this situation, it is unfortunate that the "Catt Anomaly" (Electronics and Wireless World Sept.87) should have been discovered after the discovery of Theory C (WWdec80), because the instrumentalist  justification for ignoring Theory C does not apply to the Catt Anomaly. Quite the reverse. The Catt Anomaly discusses matters which an instrumentalist regards as central to scientific activity - the prediction of practical results by an established theory. The Catt Anomaly is a question, not a theory; and it is a question about the operation of the established theory of electromagnetism. To an instrumentalist, it is of the utmost importance that Classical Electromagnetism (i.e. Theory N, EWW Oct84) make some statement as to where the extra electric charge comes from in the lower conductor. If the current fashion in the Philosophy of Science enables accredited academics to evade what I regard as some part of their duties, it provides no defence at all for ignoring the Catt Anomaly.


Between the desire

And the spasm

Between the potency

And the existence

Between the essence

And the descent

Falls the Shadow

                      For Thine is the Kingdom


If a Reader in Electromagnetism makes no written comment on the Catt Anomaly, then he is in dereliction of his duty.

Now that it has been clearly pointed out that I rest my case on the Catt Anomaly, we have a clear test of the good faith of those who are receiving salaries from electromagnetic theory. If there is no response, then we will have proved that there is no competence in electromagnetism within academia.


The eyes are not here

There are no eyes here

In this valley of dying stars

In this hollow valley

This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms


In this last of meeting places

We grope together

And avoid speech

Gathered on this beach of the tumid river


Sightless, unless

The eyes reappear

As the perpetual star

Multifoliate rose

Of death's twilight kingdom

The hope only

Of empty men.

                             -T. S. Eliot, The Hollow Men.


Basil Bernstein was the first to point out that knowledge is property with its own market value and trading relationships, to be defended by the group who administer that body of knowledge. Today, each group of knowledge Barons defends his demesne, his body of archaic knowledge, by the cynical use of  spurious pseudo-philosophical double-talk and double-think; wave-particle duality, uncertainty principle and the rest.


This is the way Science ends. This is the way the Renaissance ends. This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.

Ivor Catt,  January 1993.


Additional notes follow, also written in 1993.

".... I am probably the best known name in this field, but nobody with accreditation in the subject will admit to having heard or read my theories, or comment favourably or unfavourably on my theories or competence. In particular, nobody with accreditation in electromagnetic theory will admit to having heard of, or comment on, the Catt Anomaly (EW+WW September 1987), on which I rest my case [Note 1].

As a result, the question of whether text books and college courses should be modified cannot be addressed"

-         Electronics World and Wireless World June 1993, p469.


".... All those with accreditation in electromagnetic theory, that is who earn salary or royalty or Nobel Prize on the back of it, keep their heads down, as usual. Could their students have a go at them [to] put something in writing?

I will give £50 to the first student who gets a Reader in Electromagnetism or equivalent to comment in writing on the Catt Anomaly. The editor of this magazine will judge (Not if I can help it - Ed.) the matter of whether the comment is a serious contribution. - Ivor Catt, EW+WW Aug93, p677"

There was no response to any of this. It's frozen out.       -IC


Note 1.        Aspects of my theories were discussed in almost every monthly issue of Wireless World from 1978 to 1988. However, even those accredited experts who published responses to my theories; Professor Bell (ex-Reader in Electromangetism at Birmingham University) and Ken Smith/Joules Watt (University of Kent), claimed that they had not read them and were not rebutting them. However, the then editor Tom Ivall confirms that they were commenting on my theories. See Electronics and Wireless World dec87 p1251; "The solution to the conundrum, that Bell claims that he was not replying in August 1979 to the Catt article of December 1978, is that the way the Establishment replies to a new theory is to restate the old theory, and so his claim arises out of semantic ambiguity".



The Master, Trinity College,                                   10sep96


Dear Sir Michael Atiyah,

I enclose a copy of "The Catt Anomaly", pub. Westfields Press, 1996.

Please instruct Professor M. Pepper FRS to advise as to whether he finds contradiction between his explanation of the Catt Anomaly, p4, and that of The Reader in Electromagnetics, University of Bradford, p6. I promise that his response, and any further comments by him, will appear in future issues of the book, along with this letter.

Yours sincerely,     Ivor Catt.

[Second copy sent recorded delivery to Atiyah on 1oct96, requesting acknowledgement]

[Third copy sent to Atiyah 1nov96, enclosing copy of Gardiner's 1oct96 letter (below)]

[Fourth copy sent 2dec96; fifth on 23dec96; sixth on 20jan97]




The Dean of Engineering,                             10sep96

Bradford University BD7 1DP   (01274 733466

Dear Professor John Gardiner,

I enclose a copy of "The Catt Anomaly", pub. Westfields Press, 1996.

Please instruct Neil McEwan, HoD Electronic and Electrical Engineering, your Reader in Electromagnetics, to advise as to whether he finds contradiction between his explanation of the Catt Anomaly, p6, and that of Professor M. Pepper FRS, Trinity College and The Cavendish, p4. I promise that his response, and any further comments by him, will appear in future issues of the book, along with this letter.

Yours sincerely,     Ivor Catt.

[Second copy sent recorded delivery to Gardiner on 1oct96, requesting acknowledgement]


From Prof. Gardiner   1oct96

Dear Mr. Catt,

Thank you for your letter, received today by recorded delivery, regarding the copy of 'The Catt Anomaly', which you sent to me in September. I can confirm that this has now been forwarded to Dr. Neil McEwan for his comments. I will get in touch with Dr. McEwan and request that he contacts you direct regarding his response.

Yours sincerely,     Professor J.G. Gardiner


To Professor Gardiner  From Ivor Catt  1nov96.

                                      [repeated 16nov96, 23dec96, 20jan97]

I have not heard from McEwan.

Yours,                                      Ivor Catt




The log-jam identified.


To the Chief Executive, IEE                                   25/11/95

Dear Dr Williams,

The Catt Anomaly

The enclosed letters, all written by IEE officers, show disarray in the IEE.

You may recall that matters started with Catt's letter to you highlighting the discrepancy between Bradford (McEwan) and Cambridge (Pepper). Secker and the IEE backed Cambridge, until suddenly on 25 Oct. 95 they switched to backing Bradford.

On 26 Oct. 1995 your representative Secker disqualified himself from the matter.

I am certain that Catt only wants the IEE to fulfil its role as outlined by Secker on 4 Sep. 95 and "promote the general advancement of electrical science and engineering and their applications and to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas on these subjects". This performance of its stated duties is also requested by Miller OBE, Simmonds FIEE, Turin (subject of BBC Horizon Program on 27 Nov. 95), Ivall (former Editor of Wireless World) - an IEE Journal announces forthcoming discussion; discussion occurs; agreed summary of discussion is reported in an IEE Journal.

Please advise if financial considerations are restraining the IEE from doing its duty.

Yours faithfully  [signed] Eugen Hockenjos, B.Sc., DipHE.

encl.   Hamlin/Miller 9nov95; Secker/Ivall 25oct95; Secker/Catt 4sep95; Secker/Metzer 19sep95; Secker/Simmonds 26oct95; Wilson/Simmonds 9nov95; Turin/Williams 15nov95

The silence is deafening.

First reply received in 2003




Further Reading



References on p37.

Caton, Hiram, Truth management in the Sciences. Search (Australia) vol. 19 no. 5/6, sep/nov88, 242-244. On my website

Truth Management in the Sciences

ibid., Product Control in the Truth Industry. Search vol. 20, jan/feb89, pp24-26

ibid., letter to Catt, 15mar96, available from Catt.

Catt, I., The deeper hidden message in Maxwell's equations, Electronics & Wireless World, dec85. Also A mathematical rake's progress, jan86.

ibid., The conquest of thought, EWW, dec87.

ibid., The conquest of truth, EWW, jan88.

Hoyle, Fred, et al., Our Place in the Cosmos, pub. Dent 1993. See ch.1 in the 1996 Phoenix issue, p7; "On the tendency of human societies to depart indefinitely from the objective truth."

Kuhn, T.S., The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, pub. Univ. of Chicago Press 1970, pp109, 132, 148; " through each other...." repeated three times

MacRoberts and MacRoberts, The Scientific Referee System, Speculations in Science and Technology, vol. 3, no. 5, 1980, pp573-578.

Polanyi, M, Personal Knowledge, pub. RKP 1969, pp146/8.

Popper, K.R, Conjectures and Refutations, pub. RKP 1963, p97. The Science of Galileo and its new betrayal. cf this book, p48.

Theocharis et al., Where science has gone wrong, Nature, vol. 329, pp595-598, 15oct87, at .



“Take the Catt Anomaly. …. Faced with evidence of a problem, a group of idiots have a choice between ignoring it, which is a short-term option only, or trying to discredit it by foul means. The idea of a third choice, of proper discussion, or fear-of-all-fears, of actually making progress in science by bringing clarity to bear on an important problem, would be admitting ignorance. Hence, every point raised is seen to be such a danger to a fragile subject that it must be guarded against the slightest inspection. An anomaly must be ignored or ridiculed. Progress would be a threat to the authority of those who fear revolutionary progress. So they would prefer to shoot themselves in the foot in the long-term …. They can still hope that the short-term cover-up will sweep away a problem for long enough for it to literally die. ….” – Editorial, Electronics World, August 2003, p3.