The British Association for the Advancement of Science set up a panel to consider outre subject matter not normally associated with science festivals. The panel included the well-known maverick, Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, who theorised about morphogenetic fields. The reason for establishing this panel was encapsulated in the extraordinary statement:
She [Dr. Helen Haste] said yesterday's reports tried to conform to "acceptable scientific method".
Now, either a panel will conform to the accepted practices of science or it will not. One should note that I say practices, not method, since the phrase is a professional shorthand, often directed at external audiences, and designed to emphasise the rationality of science.
Given the content of the panel,
Anecdotal evidence from two hospices raised questions "about the continuation of consciousness after death" said Dr Peter Fenwick of the Science and Medical Network, which explores "the interface of science, medicine and spirituality".
Dr Fenwick bases his "new model of dying" on reports of death bed visions, such as visitations by deceased relatives, and spooky coincidences, such as clocks stopping when someone dies.
Dr Rupert Sheldrake, funded by a scholarship to investigate unexplained phenomena, presented the results of tests, published "in peer-reviewed journals," and replicated by the Nolan sisters — "a 1980s girl band" — in which subjects who thought they might be telepathic were contacted by four "senders" many miles away.
one can guage that the panel's subject matter is not conducive to accepted theoretical or experimental models. Indeed, an interface of spirituality, medicine and science sounds like bedside manner rather than a peer-reviewed experiment.
One panel does not make an invasion, and it is doubtful that these 'scientists' will be storming the research councils any time soon.