The impossibility of energy for free is enshrined in one of the most fundamental
and important laws of physics: the First Law of Thermodynamics or the Law of
Conservation of Energy, which states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed,
but can only change its form.
In 1847, a 26-year-old German medical doctor, Hermann Helmholtz, gave a
presentation to the Physical Society of Berlin that would change the course of history.
He presented the original formulation of what
is now known as the First Law of Thermodynamics, beginning with the axiomatic
statement that a Perpetual Motion Machine is impossible.
Axiom - A statement or proposition that is accepted as true without proof.
No one had ever succeeded, he wrote, in building a Perpetual Motion Machine that
worked. Therefore, such machines must be impossible. If they are impossible it must
be because of some natural law preventing their construction. This law, he said,
could only be the Conservation of Energy.
But a profound reversal of reasoning has occurred in the last century. Helmholtz
originally said "Because a Perpetual Motion Machine is impossible, therefore the
First Law of Thermodynamics;" while in any physics text book today one will
find the statement that "Because of the First Law of Thermodynamics, a
Perpetual Motion Machine is impossible."
Skeptics are quick to cite the Laws of Thermodynamics to disprove Bessler's claims.
In fact, the argument is circular. The Laws of Thermodynamics do not prove that
Bessler's machine is impossible. On the contrary, they are deduced
from the "leap of faith" of first presuming it is impossible.