I would be interested in knowing how you reached this conclusion. Hopefully not just on the basis of a friendly conversation. Have you read his papers? Do you have the education and experience in plasma physics necessary to be able to detect flaws in his arguments?
There are a few good things I could say about Lerner, but at the end of the day I think he is simply wrong on the important points.
Art, I agree with your last few sentences, but I think you misread my first statement. I'm not qualified to review his work, but my point was a quack will pursue something and claim it works in light of all contrary evidence. Eric, at least from my discussions with him, acknowledges it's an experiment and may not work out the way he'd like it to. Heck, when he told me about the neutron counts the first thing he said is it might be a fluke because neutron counts in his last experiment fluctuated quite abit and he doesn't have enough data point to feel confident yet, but he's hopeful.
He's more interested in his reputation than doing actual science. That says to me he's not a solid scientist.
I don't blame him for that. Tempers flare on the net all the time and it's easy to get involved in incendiary arguments, especially when one's work is involved. (Although I don't know all the details on that episode, so I could be wrong.)
On a side note, I talked with a few other of Eric's friends and we all seemed to agree there is a bizarrely large amount of internet flaming when it comes to fusion on the net, e.g. tokamaks are junk, polywell is a cult, DPF is bull, etc. Is this just regular internet flaming or is the inordinately large amount of dissent in the fusion community?