For years I’ve been part of a private discussion group of scientific parapsychologists, mostly experimentalists. Recently we heard from one of our members, Professor Brian Josephson, a Nobel prize winning physicist, that he and another physicist had been dis-invited from participation in a small physics conference this summer because the organizers learned he was interested in parapsychology. He was not scheduled to speak on it, knowing he was interested in it was enough to condemn him. [NOTE: This is a corrected version, I left out the “not” in the previous sentence the first time I posted.]
I found this insulting and unusually blatant – there is lots of prejudice against people who even show an interest in psi phenomena, but it usually manifest behind the scenes rather than a blatant “We don’t want to associate with heretics” kind of style.
Professor Josephson wrote a apt haiku about it on his website (http://www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/~bdj10/articles/uninvite.html )(the dis-invitation letters are there too), which I won’t quote as I haven’t had time to get his permission*, but he did inspire me to my own effort:
Scientists fear ghosts!
Pull up covers, hide, hide, hide!
Away damned psi, away, away!
I figure it’s better to have a little fun with the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (Shakespeare gets the credit on that phrase….) than just worry about it…. But it does illustrate, too well, as I’ve discussed in The End of Materialism, how much irrationality and unconscious emotion goes into supposedly scientific discussion of the paranormal…
* I’ve since gotten Professor Josephson’s permission, here’s his haiku:
Madness season is here
Scientists waxing furious
To what end?