Evans, Christopher (Riche) (1931–1979)
British psychologist and anthropologist who conducted research
in parapsychology. Born May 29, 1931, in Aberdovey,
Wales, Evans trained as a psychologist at University College,
London, and the University of Reading, receiving a doctorate
in psychology. He was a founder and secretary of the Brain Research
Association and a member of the British Psychological
Association, the Behavioral Psychotherapy Association, and the
Ergonomics Research Society.
He took a special interest in computer technology and
helped to develop the ‘‘computer doctor’’ Mickie, which elicited
diagnostic information from patients by asking computerized
questions. Evans was Principal Scientific Officer of the National
Physical Laboratory, London, and a contributing editor
to the U.S. magazine Omni. He acted as an investigative reporter
and news correspondent at scientific conventions in Britain,
Europe, and the United States.
As a member of the Society for Psychical Research, London,
he conducted parapsychological investigations. Evans was responsible
for a questionnaire that got 1,500 responses from
readers about psychic phenomena. His conclusions were published
in New Scientist January 25, 1973, and showed that 63
percent of the respondents possessed degrees, and of those 29
percent had advanced degrees. In February 1974 he conducted
a survey of telepathic or ESP faculties on West German television.
Over 50,000 viewers participated, and the results threw
doubt on the sheep-goat hypothesis of parapsychologist Gertrude
Schmeidler, which posits that believers in ESP score
higher than disbelievers.
Evans published several books but is best remembered for
his attack upon new religions, Cults of Unreason (1973), which
examines a variety of newer religions and belief systems, including
Scientology, UFOs, black boxes (devices for diagnosing
disease), and some popular Eastern religions. Although
mainly skeptical in tone, and while critical of some of the unfounded
scientific claims, such as those supporting the black
boxes, the book often veers into mere rhetoric directed against
those holding religious ideas with which Evans disagrees. Evans
died October 10, 1979.
Sources
Evans, Christopher. Cults of Unreason. London Harrap,
1974.
———. Cybernetics. Baltimore University Park Press, 1968.
———. The Mighty Micro. London Gollancz, 1979.
———. Psychology A Dictionary of the Mind, Brain, and Behavior.
London Arrow Books, 1978.
———. Understanding Yourself. New York A & W Visual Library,
1977.