As mentioned in the weekend roundup today, the Skeptical Investigations website has a short essay by Guy Lyon Playfair titled “Science’s Gulf War“. Playfair takes a look back at the ‘uproar’ earlier this month at the BAS Festival, where a small group of scientists announced their disgust that topics like telepathy would be discussed there. Playfair scores some good shots, though it would have been pretty easy work.
Even more damning though is the transcript of an interview with Rupert Sheldrake and the skeptical Professor Peter Atkins, which you can find on Rupert Sheldrake’s website. In short:
Dr Atkins: Well, you can’t rely on any of these experiments…there is no serious work done in this field. The samples that people use are very tiny, the effects are statistically insignificant, the controls are not done in a scientific way.
Dr Sheldrake: Well I’d like to ask him if he’s actually read the evidence? May I ask you Professor Atkins if you’ve actually studied any of this evidence or any other evidence?
Dr Atkins: No, but I would be very suspicious of it.
It’s a wonderful, concise, almost farcical example of a point we’ve been making regularly here on TDG over the years.