Tawdry New Efforts To Attack
Sir William Crookes

From Michael Roll

To Professor Peter Wadhams
(Ocean Physics) Cambridge University
Peter, Ever since Sir William Crookes published the results of his experiments in 1874, proving there are people in the invisible part of the universe, he immediately came under a vicious attack from powerful obscurantists who had a great deal to lose from what had just been discovered - the religionists who would lose their monopoly on the vast and lucrative life after death industry and the scientific community that starts from the base that death is the end of everything: that there is no question of us having a soul.
I am familiar with the usual outrageous accusations aimed at Sir William Crookes, that he was a liar, a cheat, a crank, a fraud and that he was having sex with the medium that he worked with. However, in last months issue of The Paranormal Review (July 2002) Professor Bernard Carr reports that the obscurantists have also floated the idea that Sir William must have been poisoned by the chemical element that he discovered - thallium!
This is a new one on me, have you ever come across this little gem?
The psychologist Dr. Richard Wiseman is partly responsible for the outrageous Open University programme about Sir William Crookes that is being shown on a regular basis on BBC 2 Television. This giant of subatomic physics is being destroyed by his enemies who still control education. I have written to the Principal of The Open University asking that this disgraceful attack on Sir William Crookes is withdrawn. I have not even received an acknowledgement of my letter. Please be kind enough to also fire in a letter of protest. The Principal of The Open University will have to take notice of a complaint from a professor of physics from Cambridge University. It's the sheer injustice of the whole thing that is making me so angry.
Michael Roll
Tel. 0117 9561960
August 4, 2002



Peter Wadhams

michael roll


Dear Michael,

I saw the article in Paranormal Review and the mention of thallium poisoning, but I have never heard about it before. It fits of course - it is necessary to demonstrate that Crookes was out of his mind because experimental evidence that does not agree with the standard settled world view has to be discredited in some way (if the evidence is produced by obscure scientists it can be ignored, of course, and the scientists' careers made to suffer, but if it is produced by a great scientist and so cannot be ignored it must be discredited).

The same thing goes on everywhere in science and in every context: Alfred Wegener put forward the idea of continental drift in 1912 but was discredited on the grounds that he was a meteorologist not a geologist and so was unqualified to pronounce on geological questions, and the idea was not accepted until 1965.

In another context, though, the article by Bernard Carr is a very positive description of how appropriate it is that a physicist should get involved in the paranormal,

Best wishes


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