No matter how convincing the evidence or how rigorous the experiments, telepathy and other aspects of the extended mind are too threatening or too dissonant for hardened materialists. They dismiss in willful ignorance. They attack without reason or even respect, with vitriol at times verging on the ridiculous. This dismissive and unconstructive attitude poses challenges that inevitably impede the progress of research. A sampling of these troubles with telepathy are outlined below.
The crusading atheist visited Rupert in 2007 to interview him for his TV series Enemies of Reason. Rupert shares the experience in Richard Dawkins Comes to Call.
BA Festival of Science, UEA Norwich, Sept 6, 2006
Rupert's presentation on Telephone Telepathy at the BA Science Festival, along with Dr Peter Fenwick's talk on deathbed visions and Prof Deborah Delanoy's on telepathy, gave a few hardened materialists quite the fright back in 2006. The controversy was widely reported in the media, including an article by Mark Henderson in The Times, startling the entire pantheon of normally unflinching skeptics. Among the most startled was Professor Peter Atkins who complained that "although it is politically incorrect to dismiss ideas out of hand, in this case there is absolutely no reason to suppose that telepathy is anything more than a charlatan's fantasy.” This controversy and the behind-the-scenes activities of science journalists were very well summarised by Ted Nield in The Science Reporter.
In "Expelling Sheldrake" Daily Grail editor Greg Taylor sets the P.Z. Myers stage and asks Rupert to respond to the blogger's ridicule. "With such a farrago of prejudice, ignorance and arrogance, it's hard to know where to begin."
University of British Columbia
Photo Sebastian Penraeth
Blogger Shannon Rupp, objecting to Rupert's lecture at the University of British Columbia on 20th July 2006, inquired "Why is UBC promoting New Age pseudoscience?" Though Rupert found her remarks "replete with sneers, smears and emotive rhetoric" he answered each of her emotive charges in his measured response.
CSICOP Fellow and professor at City University, London, David Marks is the author of The Psychology of the Psychic (2000), in which he rejects a wide range of "paranormal" phenomena, including Rupert's research on the sense of being stared at. He attacked this research in 2000 in the Skeptical Inquirer in an article co-authored with John Colwell.
Rupert's reply in the Skeptical Inquirer.
He attacked this research again in 2003 in The Skeptic, and also tried to explain away Rupert's work on return-anticipating dogs.
Rupert's reply in The Skeptic
Dr Robert A Baker is a retired psychology professor at the University of Kentucky, and a CSICOP Fellow. In the Skeptical Inquirer, he dismissed the sense of being stared at as false.