New U.K. Science Minister Cites "Future-Telling Power" Among His Qualifications

By Melissa Lafsky | November 18, 2008 3:45 pm

The British government recently appointed a new minister of science, and he’s quite a character. Aside from being a millionaire with a PhD in robotics who left his position in the Ministry of Defense (a body that has been known to house interesting sorts) to race sports cars, Lord Paul Drayson of Kensington is also, he says, a wee bit psychic. In a recent interview with the U.K. Times, he professed to have “an uncanny ability ‘like a sixth sense’ to know and predict some events instinctively.”

Drayson returned to the government last month, when he was given a cabinet seat and made the Minister of State for the newly-created Committee for Science and Innovation. While his background has long combined science and business—he was the co-founder of PowderJect Pharmaceuticals, one of the country’s biggest suppliers of vaccines and other drugs—it hasn’t been without scandal. In 2002, when Drayson was still running the company, it recalled its supply of a tuberculosis vaccine after it failed to meet “end of shelf life” specifications. The recall came amid whispers that the company had secured large vaccine contracts with the government because Drayson was a generous donor to the party in power.

In the interview this week, Drayson clarifies that he’s not claiming “extra-sensory” or paranormal powers; rather, his future-seeing talents are more the “hyper-instinctual” variety, circa Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, a book Drayson admires:

“Gladwell’s book is about the ability of the human being to know something, but not to know why they know it” [said Drayson]. “This struck a chord with me, because in my life there have been some things that I’ve known and I don’t know why.”

Drayson described the ability as “like a sixth sense” and said it could be linked to the way humans have evolved.

Given the subsequent criticism of the book, including but not limited to claims that its thesis is completely bass-ackward wrong, it may be wise for the new science minister to expand his reading list. Or maybe he can turn his preternatural instincts to solving Britain’s huge public misconceptions of climate change—and, for that matter, vaccines.

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Comments (154)

  1. Andrea

    This is quite interesting in the sense that maybe there are other “sixth senses” out there. It’s hard to believe that this happens at a consistent rate. Couldn’t Drayson just be getting lucky?

  2. Brandon

    Drayson is a bit eccentric, but I don’t see how that means he shouldn’t be allowed to be the science minister. Maybe a little more craziness in government wouldn’t be such a bad thing. He should probably go to a shrink, though.

  3. Emily

    Although this man sounds a bit “out there” and out of the norm, maybe his “sixth sense” will benefit Britain. When someone who is out of the norm voices their opinions, new ideas surface and new discoveries are often made. Think Galileo.

  4. Let’s see, He says he has special powers, Founded a drug company, and has a PhD in Robotics. Please open your bibles to the book of Revelation, Chapter 13:11-18 & 9:21 & remember that “sorceries” in greek is (Pharmakeia) ie.. drugs). Sounds like the perfect appointment.

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  17. some very interesting points… but i think your research and bias leaves a lot to be desired… then of course, that’s just my opinion…
    have a great day… definitely a thought-provoking post!

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