The Society for Psychical Research has organised a study day with the above title to take place at St Philip’s Church, Earl’s Court Road, London W8 on Saturday, 25th October 2008 from 10 am to 5 pm
From the SPR web site:
“Cost: Members £30 / Non-Members £35. / Students, Over 60s or Unwaged: £2 discount.
Tea, coffee and biscuits will be served, but bring your own lunch [or go to a local restaurant or pub!].
Advance booking is recommended, as space is limited.”
If the cost doesn’t put you off (and I hope it doesn’t), the speakers for the day are as follows:
Guy Lyon Playfair: “The rise and fall of organised scepticism”.
Robert McLuhan: “The psychology of the skeptic: What militant skeptics feel and how they think”
Rupert Sheldrake: “How skeptics work: Some case studies”
The meeting is described as follows: “From the earliest days psychical researchers, some of them experienced investigators and experimenters, some with expertise in related disciplines, some just apparently honest people who have reported incidents personally witnessed by them, all have had to endure some ill-informed and hostile attacks from critics who often seem prepared to say anything, however insecurely based, to discredit findings that favour the reality of paranormal phenomena. This will be the theme addressed by our three speakers.”
I have been invited to comment on the presentations and join with the speakers in leading the general discussion. Given that description the meeting, those speakers and those titles, it is just possible that a little bit of “skeptic bashing” might occur (just a tad!). Sceptics might like to come along in order to ensure that the picture of sceptics that is painted is a true one – and to respond appropriately if it isn’t. While there is no doubt that sceptics can sometimes behave in unacceptable ways in debates with their opponents (and I know Rupert will be able to give us lots of examples!), there are also many, many examples of a sceptical approach being 100% vindicated. It would be good if this meeting was a step towards mutual understanding rather than a slanging match – but I guess it’ll be interesting however it turns out!
If you want to attend:
“Please return a cheque for your fee as soon as possible, marking the envelope ‘S.P.R. Study Day’. Receipts will not be sent, but confirmation of receipt of your fee will be available by telephone from the SPR office. Alternatively, you may telephone the SPR office to pay with a credit card: 020-7957-8984. Advance booking is recommended, as space is limited.
Send to:- The Secretary, Society for Psychical Research, 49 Marloes Road, Kensington, LONDON, W8 6LA”
Hope to see you there, whether you’re a believer or a sceptic!