Monday, August 12, 2013

What Kind of People are Pseudoskeptics? Part V

Here are more examples for my series What Kind of People are Pseudoskeptics? These examples show how pseudoskeptics inhibit scientific freedom, abuse medical science, and persecute children and veterans:

  • The first example is from an interview in which near-death experience researcher, Raymond Moody, tells how his own family committed him to a psychiatric hospital when he began to study the afterlife. He later went on to become one of best known pioneers of near-death experience research and is the author of the classic work on near-death experiences Life after Life as well as several other books.
  • The second example shows how Nobel prize winner Brian Josephson was ostracized by his colleagues and excluded from a scientific conference because of his interest paranormal research.
  • In the third example, Richard Sternberg explains how he was persecuted for authorizing the publication an article on Intelligent Design that had passed peer-review in a journal he edited.
  • The fourth example describes how psychic medium George Anderson was persecuted as a child and treated as a psychiatric patient because of his psychic abilities.
  • The fifth example describes how a veteran "was medicated and sent to a psychiatric ward" after he told his doctor about a near-death experience.

  1. In this excerpt from A Conversation with Dr. Raymond Moody by Sharon Barbell, Raymond Moody tells how his own family committed him to a mental hospital because of his research into the afterlife.
    Nearly twenty years ago, Dr. Raymond Moody wrote Life After Life, the culmination of groundbreaking study on the NearÐDeath Experience. His work helped legitimize a phenomenon that had once been regarded as fantasy, hallucination or something we simply could not explain and most often, would not even acknowledge. Dr. Moody is once again helping to en-lighten us all by having written Reunions: Visionary Encounters with Departed Loved Ones (Villard Books). This book is hot off the presses and is certain to intrigue and fascinate its readers. The following is part of a recent conversation I was privileged enough to have had with the author at his research facility in Anniston, Alabama.


    SB: Have you encountered any resistance to this research from colleagues, friends or relatives?

    RM: That has been so funny. One thing is that my family had me put into a mental hospital about it, and I suppose you can call that a form of resistance (laughter). And so it was a really funny situation. And of course the people at my college thought that I had lost my mind.

  2. The next example shows how pseudoskeptics will persecute and ostracize a Nobel prize winning physicist like Brian Josephson for being interested in paranormal phenomena. If they persecute a Nobel prize winner, what chance does an ordinary scientist have of expressing or pursuing a similar interest?

    From How to Run a Conference at Brian Josephson's web site.

    Certain invitees to a workshop on the Foundations of Physics received from the organisers letters withdrawing their invitations. The letter to Brian Josephson asserted:
    "It has come to my attention that one of your principal research interests is the paranormal ... in my view, it would not be appropriate for someone with such research interests to attend a scientific conference."

  3. In the next example, Richard Sternberg explains how he was persecuted for authorizing the publication an article on Intelligent Design that had passed peer-review in a journal he edited.
    In 2004, in my capacity as editor of The Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, I authorized The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories by Dr. Stephen Meyer to be published in the journal after passing peer-review. Because Dr. Meyer's article presented scientific evidence for intelligent design in biology, I faced retaliation, defamation, harassment, and a hostile work environment at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History that was designed to force me out as a Research Associate there. These actions were taken by federal government employees acting in concert with an outside advocacy group, the National Center for Science Education. Efforts were also made to get me fired from my job as a staff scientist at the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Subsequently, there were two federal investigations of my mistreatment, one by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel in 2005 , and the other by subcommittee staff of the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform in 2006. Both investigations unearthed clear evidence that my rights had been repeatedly violated. Because there has been so much misinformation spread about what actually happened to me, I have decided to make available the relevant documents here for those who would like to know the truth.

  4. In We Don't Die: George Anderson's Conversations with the Other Side by Joel Martin and Patricia Romanowski, the authors explain that when the psychic medium George Anderson was a teenager, he was bullied at school and punished by his teachers because of his psychic abilities. His parents took him to a psychiatrist because they didn't understand what was happening to their son. George was diagnosed with schizophrenia and put on Librium and then Valium which caused him to sleep up to 20 hours a day. The psychiatrist told his parents to take him to a state run mental institution. At the institution one psychiatrist recommended electro-shock treatments. A second psychiatrist disagreed and was in fact alarmed at the prospect of institutionalizing a child in an adult facility because he would probably be raped by other inmates. Due to the actions of the second psychiatrist, George was spared institutionalization although he was kept on mind-numbing drugs.

  5. An article by Keith Upchurch published in The Herald Sun on January 25, 2012, RETIRED COLONEL HAS DEALT WITH NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES SINCE VIETNAM WAR, tells us that Diane Corcoran, a "retired Army colonel and nurse ... said she knows of one veteran who tried to discuss his near-death experience, but was medicated and sent to a psychiatric ward. 'We’ve seen this reaction too often,' she said."

In this series on pseudoskeptics I have been trying to show that the science scam is one of the biggest and worst scams of all time perpetrated on humanity. This installment gives more examples of how pseudoskeptics have inhibited scientific freedom and abuse medical science in the process. What knowledge or discoveries about the human mind have they prevented us from learning? What technology does not exist now that otherwise might be saving lives and improving our standard of living? Without pseudoskepticism our civilization would much better off. Pseudoskepticism harms everyone.

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