For this discussion, I use the word “theory” to describe any attempt to explain using unifying concepts, regardless of the detail or the certainty being applied or expected.
All phenomenon in Nature are complex and do not have a single behavior. Some phenomenon have a single and obvious characteristic, such as gravity. But a full understanding requires more information than only a falling apple provides. A theory attempts to bring all the behaviors together into a single unifying understanding.
Sometimes, the behavior complex is large and involves many kinds of behaviors, such as is found for LENR. This phenomenon involves chemistry, nuclear physics, quantum physics, nano-technology, heat measurements, radiation measurements, and psychology. Each behavior appears to be isolated from every other behavior while being very unreliable in its occurrence. A different set of behaviors are even observed when different conditions are used. As result, a person has difficulty in knowing how many independent phenomenon are operating.
Without a unifying explanation, these behaviors make no sense, they can not be produced with reliable expectation, and amplification of the effect becomes impossible. We are forced to explore the effect at random, by trial and error, without any expectation of success.
This limitation can be greatly reduced when an effort is made to unify all the separate behaviors. Success requires the correct identification of the behaviors without introducing too much arbitrary imagination. The explanation must also be consistent as much as possible with behavior already accepted in chemistry and physics.
The best theory takes the greatest number of behaviors into account.
Unfortunately, we are presently overwhelmed by theories based on small subsets of the behavior complex.
The psychology of theory is also important. Some people seem to think that theory supports a claim, a conclusion, or a reveals something new about Nature. It does not. Theory is ONLY a tool used to connect a collection of behaviors so that the unifying characteristics can be revealed.
Theory can be neither proven or disproven. Only a logical relationship can be proven or disproven, but this kind of relationship is not a theory of natural behavior. Mixing these two kinds of explanations creates much confusion, especially in the minds of mathematicians who think their equations actually are an expression of the real Nature.
A theory of natural behavior simply relates a collection of behaviors in order to predict future behavior under a wide variety of conditions. For example, the laws of thermodynamics allow the behavior of chemical systems to be predicted when a wide range of conditions are used. The theory does not reveal how how or why these behaviors occur, except perhaps as result of using imagination.
Quantum theory attempts to answer such questions, but again much imagination must be used. The part of any theory based only on imagination is subject to change as more understanding based on behavior is achieved. Of course, the part of theory based on behavior, rather than imagination, remains unchanged. The connection between these two different aspects of theory remain confusing to many people, even to scientists.
To state another way, theory proves nothing about Nature and is subject to change without notice as the part based on imagination is modified. Nevertheless, the human mind must have an explanation regardless of how effective it might be in describing Nature. Any crazy idea will serve as long as it attempts to satisfy this craving. That is why so many theories are applied to LENR. LENR is a theory vacuum that must be filled. Pretending this need does not exist or is not important is pointless because it is basic to human nature.
Nevertheless, this does not mean all theories need to be taken seriously. Eventually, someone will put the pieces together in the correct way and the theory will become part of conventional understanding. The sooner this happens, the sooner the effect will be accepted by conventional science.
In my case, I have attempted to unify as many behaviors as possible while identifying all the behaviors and citing the sources. I also attempted to show the deficiencies of other theories, which need to be filled rather than stubbornly insisting on deficient ideas.
Understanding the logical connections in my theory will reveal a total structure that connects many behaviors. Appropriate testing to keep, modify, or discard any ideas can then be used to refine the model.