Physics and Psychics: The Search for a World beyond the Senses

By Victor J. Stenger | Go to book overview

3.
Doing the Devil's Job

Truth emerges more readily from error than from confusion.

Francis Bacon


The Devil's Advocate

One fine Wisconsin summer day in 1980 I stood before 500 fellow particle physicists at a major international conference.Representing a large research collaboration, I was given five minutes to present our evidence for gluon radiation in neutrino interactions. I didn't convince everyone. While I was conversing outside the hall after the session, a veteran experimentalist named Rod Cool (now deceased) came up to me and said, " Stenger, you had no right to make the claims you did in that talk!"

Thank goodness I was eventually vindicated when the paper based on the results was published in Physical Review Letters, the journal with the toughest referee standards in physics.Furthermore, subsequent observations in independent experiments confirmed the validity of the claims I had made on behalf of the collaboration.

So was my tormenter wrong? Should Professor Cool not have been more courteous? Should he not have accepted the fact that surely I knew more about this particular subject than he, and just taken my word as a gentleman that the evidence was there?

No. Much as I didn't like it at the time, he was quite right to confront me. Professor Cool did nothing worse than what I and other scientists have done many times: played the devil's advocate.As it turned out, his

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Physics and Psychics: The Search for a World beyond the Senses
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Physics and Psychics - The Search for a World Beyond the Senses *
  • Contents *
  • Preface *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • 1. Supernova Shelton, Supermind, and the Supernatural *
  • 2. the Standard Model and the Search for Anomalies *
  • 3. Doing the Devil's Job *
  • 4. from Magic to Science *
  • 5. is There a Mystical Path to a World Beyond? *
  • 6. on the Matter of Mind *
  • 7. Searching for the Spirit *
  • 8. Psience *
  • 9. Harmonica Virgins *
  • 10. the Spooks of Quantum Mechanics *
  • 11. Thought Waves and the Energies of Consciousness *
  • 12. the Broken Whole *
  • 13. Emergence *
  • 14. Removing the Yoke *
  • Index *
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