Ask Adam Savage: Testing Myths With “No Basis in Science”

In this Q&A, Adam answers Tested member Derald Porter’s question, “How did the teams mentally get into the myths that had no basis in science? I’m thinking especially about Free Energy and 300MPG carburetor add-ons.” Thank you, Derald, for your support and question! Join this channel to support Tested and get access to perks, like asking Adam a question:

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Adam Savage
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20 comments

  1. Join this channel to support Tested and get access to perks, like asking Adam a question:

    Watch MythBusters on DiscoveryPlus:
    More Adam Q&A here:

  2. I have a fondness for ‘perpetual motion machines’ and such things. Just aesthetically speaking, they usually look like neat devices even if they don’t work. Things like the overbalanced wheels, stuff like that, if made well, look really cool both sitting still and in operation (as they slowly lose energy to friction and stop). What I have never understood is how, with all of these such machines that are destined to just slowly lose energy and stop… why haven’t the people working on them managed to at least achieve something remarkably long-lasting? Like, sure, you can’t build a machine that runs forever without any additional energy input. But there’s no physical law saying you couldn’t make something that runs for 10 years solid. Yet the ones they come up with always run down after a few hours at best. That’s a bit disappointing.

    Also, I believe there is a distinction between ‘free energy’ and ‘overunity’. Overunity is clearly impossible, but some ‘free energy’ devices claim to extract or make useful energy from things like the cosmic microwave background radiation or ‘zero point’ quantum energy, stuff like that. Those would be ‘free’ (although maybe better called ‘ambient energy’) and at some point might even find something useful (extremely unlikely, but not impossible). I see no reason to not be precise and pendantic just because talking about a field full of people who don’t typically engage in deep understanding of things themselves.

  3. Quick note: it isn’t conservation of energy which forbids perpetual motion devices. Conservation of energy forbids devices which output more energy than they take in, not devices whose outputs and inputs are exactly equal. It’s the 2nd law of thermodynamics which forbids perpetual motion devices.

  4. I’m pretty sure you expected this type of comment, but I noticed that there is a new mill(?) in the cave that you have yet to talk about. Looks awesome!

  5. There are only 2 free energies, Solar and Geo Thermal. Wind is solar because it is caused by air warming and cooling from the sun.

  6. Before I clicked on the video, I read the “no basis in science” part, and Pyramid Power automatically came to my mind.
    To so kindly quote Jamie Hyneman, it is an “oogy boogy myth.”

  7. science is to me means of testing & understanding proving all theory correct or inconclusive, not be all end all as knowledge always grows each century, new info comes to light new molecular structures compounds are understood, that we didn’t know before. Example water oil don’t mix fact o’wait what a emulsifier.oil & water can & do mix, with a emulsifier. thus science we know is not be all end all. more its the pathway to knowledge & understanding more..

  8. “Science is not a compendium of knowledge” is just not true. It’s not true in principle (i.e. science, as a discipline, is fundamentally about the collecting of knowledge of whatever area of science you are studying), definition (i.e. most definitions of science include this notion of collecting knowledge in its definition and the word science derives its name from this explicitly) or in practice (working scientists are going out of their way to study/work and publish to add to the compendium of knowledge). Also, the phrase “basis in science” makes perfect sense. For something to be a “basis” of something else would mean for it to be composed of/explicable from that thing. In mathematics, you would describe the basis for 3D vector space as being 3 orthogonal normal vectors because that is the fundamental “basis” upon which you define everything else in it. So to say something doesn’t have a “basis in science” just means there exists no scientific knowledge, principles, experiments, etc from which you could yield/describe a free energy device. And that’s true. No such thing exists in science to make that basis. Both of these points (i.e. science is only the scientific method and not a collection of knowledge and the notion that a basis of explanation for a thing is not a coherent idea) are both very bizarre points to get hung up on.

  9. No basis in science is what happened last year where for 5months we were told worldwide that masks ‘don’t do a thing.’

  10. “no basis in current scientific research” would have made it a better question.

  11. What makes me sad is that actual scientists WANT these ridiculous claims to be true. Because that means there is some mechanism that we are currently unaware of that’s creating the result seen. Scientists WANT to discover new things, that’s why they are scientists in the first place. I remember when “cold fusion” was all the rage in the media. Everybody wanted it to be true, but trying to replicate the results just didn’t work.

    But interestingly, research is still going on in that field, and there have been verifiable, repeatable results in nano scale cold fusion. No usable power produced, but you can fuse two light nuclei into a heavier one at room temperatures, and pressures, by exploiting certain physical rules. Sadly, they are not scalable solutions, but even a failed experiment that teaches you something is valuable, because it adds to the human races pool of knowledge about how the universe works. And who knows, get enough knowledge, and maybe combining certain aspects of the several approaches that work on extremely small scales will enable actual useful machinery to finally get fusion power from a laboratory curiosity to something actually usable.

  12. Do magnets motors work many claim to power there homes on home made magnets motors some as big as a car. You first argument also leaves out the arc gap which is vital for the system to work drawing elections from the air.

  13. Just as a side note overunity is not possible but renewable energy is free energy. The cost of wind, sunlight, wave, tide, geothermal, water is free. Like the overunity kits there is a cost to begin with but they have taken “free” away from the now renewable energy sector. Would solar panels be more popular if they could be sold as free energy rather than renewable or alternative energy. Something to think about?

  14. Testing cold fusion? Zero point energy. Would love to know what exactly Tesla found. I am sure he found something. I can accept that humans might experiment with known energy fields or chemical property and find a hereto unknown phenomenon.
    Science is the fearful exploration of the almost known.

  15. “Free Energy” absolutely has a basis in science. They regularly draw from science to steal credibility. They intentionally pretend to use science as part of their deception. The better phrasing is “pseudoscientific codswallop”.