• Question: Do you believe in the supernatural even though you are scientists, or do you dismiss the idea completely?

    Asked by MCR to Damien, Rachael, Simon, Suzi, Tim on 16 Jun 2011. This question was also asked by maevelewisxo, ellapowerxxx.
    • Photo: Suzi Gage

      Suzi Gage answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      HI @theawakening and @maevelewisxo
      Great question!
      Although most scientists would probably say they don’t believe in the supernatural, actually pretty much everyone in some way has strange beliefs about things. Whether it’s being superstitious about what pants you wear when you have to give a talk (!) or crossing your fingers when you wish for something, these kinds of behaviours are all irrational. A professor in Psychology where I used to work has written a brilliant book about this. He’s called Bruce Hood, and the book is called ‘Supersense: Why We Believe the Unbelievable’. I highly recommend it!

      So although I don’t believe in ghosts (although I love the idea), I definitely have some supernatural beliefs!

    • Photo: Damien Hall

      Damien Hall answered on 16 Jun 2011:

      I’m not sure. I do sometimes think I am a little psychic (seriously!) – but a better answer to this question is that I know that there are things that we haven’t (yet) explained, and I know that there are people who swear they have seen a ghost (I’ve heard the stories and can’t explain them myself either!). So I’m waiting to see whether someone comes up with an explanation for those stories. In the meantime, I’d be delighted to interview someone who’d seen a ghost! That would make for an excellent conversation.