I only wish I knew the answers. What you describe has happened so many times throughout history.
Both Dr Richard Graham (a consultant psychiatrist who has taken it upon himself to prepare and edit our Newsletter) and another editor who has written about our devices and techniques have both described such people's reactions as Ethan's to me as Cognitive Dissonance. I, simplistically interpret it as follows. "The fear of having their beliefs challenged is greater than their desire for better sound. They cannot put aside their comfort blanket for one moment or they fear their guard will be down and they will be vulnerable"
That description fits quite well because the people who are primarily interested in having better and better sound will listen to other people's ideas. I say LISTEN to what other people are saying and describing. I do NOT mean believe implicitly everything everyone says.
The majority of people are sane, sensible, both feet on the ground, intelligent people and can take a look at other people's ideas without falling under any spell at the flick of a finger !!!
Yes, most people will take their lead from someone they trust, from someone whose judgement they value so are prepared to try things if those significant people suggest it. But, they can still form their own opinion from any (or no) results.
Before anyone reacts, I am not suggesting that people have to abandon their technical and scientific training. Peter has not had to abandon anything technical he ever learned. All one has to do is open one's mind, take off the blinkers and try to get a better understanding of what is going on around them.
One case in point is the Room Acoustic Panel which Ethan Winer designs and makes.
Has he ever tried one of the Harmonix Dots (which John Atkinson attached to his speakers and improved his sound) on one of his (Ethan's) Room Acoustic Panels ? If he did, he would most likely hear an improvement in his sound similar to the improvement which John Atkinson heard !!! Because the Harmonix Dot would be having the same effect on the sound when attached to Ethan's Room Acoustic Panel as it did when attached to John's speakers !!
If the Harmonix Dots can give improvements in the sound when attached to John's speakers in the listening room and give similar improvements in the sound when positioned on walls, ceiling, windows etc of the listening room, then they can give similar improvements in the sound when attached to such as Room Acoustic Panels in the listening room.
But, what this would mean is that anyone, any 'amateur in audio' could attach a Harmonix dot to one of Ethan's Room Acoustic Panels and improve the sound in the room - over and above what Ethan had achieved !!! AND, in addition, the measurements of the Room Acoustic Panel without Harmonix Dots and with Harmonix Dots would be exactly the same !!
Hence the fear of trying such things. No one wants their illusion of their expertise even dented !!
Everyone knows the story of how, 27 years ago, Peter was absolutely shattered when he discovered that he had achieved the best sound he had ever had in his life - AFTER 30 years of using all his expertise to achieve good sound - AFTER designing and manufacturing State of the Art Orthodynamic, actively driven loudspeakers - AFTER having his demonstration of those speakers described as the best sound of the Hi Fi show - by applying a particular chemical to the central heating radiator, to the piano in the corner of the room, to the wall lights, to the brick fireplace, to the perspex lid of the turntable !!!!!!!
But, if your desire is for good sound, then you pick yourself up and continue !!