Warren Weaver

One of my favorite statements about the experiments of the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory came from Warren Weaver. He was a famous scientist and mathematician and the Vice President of the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research at the time. He got up at a conference at Dartmouth about consciousness and said:

“I had rather hoped that this would be introduced by one of my youngers and betters, but since no one else has, I’m going to mention what is obviously a controversial topic … I am in fact referring to that embarrassing, partially disreputable but nevertheless challenging body of phenomena known as extrasensory perception.”

“I would like to mention the fact that I find this whole field intellectually a very painful one. And I find it painful essentially for the following reasons: I cannot reject the evidence and I cannot accept the conclusions.”

I like what he said because it shows a lot of integrity. Most scientists were very quick (and relieved) to reject the lab’s results on the basis of things that are not true, like fraud, sloppy controls, etc.. But Warren Weaver went down to Duke and studied their work and concluded that those objections weren’t valid. He couldn’t accept telepathy, but he wasn’t going to dismiss their work unfairly either.

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