Without going into a lot of detail, the site got excited over a supposed live demonstration of a "self-looped motor generator" developed by one Charles Pierce, who claims a Ph.D. from Bethany University (which never offered either doctorate or science degrees and is now defunct) in "Thermonuclear Reactors." Self powered energy devices (and their their pre-electricity ilk) have been around a long time and the idea here, as usual, is that you use batteries to start a motor that spins a flywheel that runs a generator that turns the motor that spins the flywheel that runs the generator that .... you get the idea. Such schemes have been around for centuries (overbalanced wheel gravity engines are pre-electronic examples) but now they typically come dressed up in jargon involving "quantum tunneling," "resonance with ambient energy," etc. You can make people believe in some pretty bizarre contraptions by throwing the word "quantum" into your explanation (albeit, quantum mechanics is, in fact, quite bizarre in any case).
Anyway, the live demonstration was to have taken place August 8, and Sterling Allan, the site's proprietor, blogged the failure to launch. I (along with others) made a sarcastic comment. The moderator responded with the usual "what harm does it do?" The following was my reply (as of this writing, it's still in moderation):
Your contention that "there's nothing to lose" is, in my opinion, very much false. If I want to have the hobby, for example, of throwing the i-ching or drawing tarot cards, or whatever, that's my business and it's no more harmful than collecting baseball cards or birdwatching. If I choose to guide my life by such activities, that's also my business. But when I try to convince the naive that i-ching or tarot really can foretell the future and then I motivative them to make life decisions based on the chance arrangement of printed cardboard or yarrow stalks, I've crossed the line. When I solicit money to inflict such nonsense on the gullible, I've crossed the line.
So-called "free energy," given the available evidence (that is, none), is of a kind with i-ching and tarot. People want it to work, I want it to work. But I'd also like it if I could rely on yarrow stalks to assist me in making the best decision at each stage of my life. Sadly, neither has been shown to work and there is excellent rationale and mountains of evidence, dating back hundreds of years, to show that neither can work. Yes, people can make their own decisions on what to do with their lives, their intellectual, physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial resources but, for all Sterling's, Hank's, your belief you are doing actual harm when you lead them down these paths.
This doesn't even address the many people who have been taken in and lost financially on such schemes (though there are many, as you well know) and I don't (at this point anyway) accuse Mr. Pierce (I will NOT use the honorific "Dr." as it's clear that that's made up B.S.) of running a financial con. Whether or not Mr. Pierce actually believes in his system is an open question for me. People who truly think they've succeeded in producing a free energy device are the most mysterious to me. Con men and hustlers I get. Those who brilliantly design within the constructs of ever-evolving known physical theories, I get. Those who occupy the middle ground (assuming there are such people - not being psychic, of course, I don't know) I don't get.
Update: A somewhat edited version of my comment made it out of moderation.Finally, to quote myself, "I've frequently seen (at PESN, on my blog, and elsewhere) a troubling retort to physics based debunking of alleged miracle fuel saving devices, miracle cures, etc. The retort is along the lines of 'I'm sure glad I never took physics so that my view isn't limited by the dogma of traditional physics. I can be open to new ideas.' It's sad, so very much is possible within what we know and, though we certainly don't know everything, we know a lot more than nothing. And knowing what is and is not possible, the 'man will never fly' and 'aerodynamics says bumblebees can't fly, yet they do' tropes aside, enables efforts to be directed at things that have, at least, the possibility of paying off.