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June 27, 2007

Barry L. Beyerstein (1947-2007)

Dad with Book, originally uploaded by Lindsay Beyerstein.

This is the last picture I took of my father, who died on June 25th. The picture shows him unwrapping a 60th birthday present. It was taken less than a month before.

Quite simply, I adored my father. He was among the most ethical people I have ever known. I don't think it's an accident that he was also one of the most fulfilled people I've had occasion to meet.

Dad was a scholar, an activist, and a devoted family man.

Dad loved all knowledge, no matter how arcane or obscure. He believed in the power of reason, compassion, and humility. He lived a life of service. 

I loved and respected him so much. It's a rare person who could leave so little unsaid or unfinished, despite having his life cut short so suddenly.


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» Condolences to Lindsay Beyerstein from Respectful Insolence
Please take a moment to head over to Majikthise and pay your respects to Lindsay, whose father, Barry L. Beyerstein, died yesterday. Dr. Beyerstein was a prominent skeptic and very active in the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and served as... [Read More]

» Condolences from Mike the Mad Biologist
Lindsay Beyerstein of Majikthise lost her father recently. Some kind words couldn't hurt. [Read More]

» Condolences, Lindsay from A Blog Around The Clock
I find it very difficult to say something nice, deep, profound or meaningful at the time of sorrow. But I am deeply saddened by the news that Lindsay Beyerstein's father has died. Lindsay is a dear friend, a philosopher and... [Read More]

» The loss of a great thinker from Terra Sigillata
I just learned from Orac and Bora that the father of blogger Lindsay Beyerstein (Majikthise) has passed away. Dr Barry L Beyerstein was a member of the executive council of the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal... [Read More]

» The shock to me is that he's exactly my age from City Comforts
Barry L. Beyerstein (1947-2007) You get a little chill when you read about someone in the same cohort. [Read More]


I knew Barry from the start of CSICOP, and corresponded with him all these years and met him (and his brother) at many conferences. I'm deeply shocked. Ivan

I knew Barry from the start of CSICOP, and corresponded with him all these years and met him (and his brother) at many conferences. I'm deeply shocked. Ivan

Your dad looks like he was exactly as you describe him - kind, generous, giving, compassionate and ethical. He looks very honest.

I am so sorry for your loss, and that his time was cut short on this earth.

Having read this thread, and then looked through some archival references (& a few obits), the human beauty of this fellow simply glows... and I feel that, if he discovered, upon passing, that his "new environs" were 180º from his expectations, he would laugh without regret, and embrace the situation without missing a beat... ^..^


I just saw this post. I am so sorry that you lost your father, and at such a young age. I know what this feels like, because I felt the same way about my father as you did about yours, and also, oddly enough, my father also died at the age of 60.

I understand the pain you're going through now. My thoughts are with you.

Kathy Kattenburg

I am sorry for your loss. I only just heard of Barry and his work at the Skeptic's toolbox this year. Everyone I talked to couldn't say enough good things about your father. It was amazing, a couple of people compared him with Carl Sagan. How wonderful he must have been. I feel cheated for having not known him.

Lindsay, I cannot tell you how saddened I am by the passing of your father. I was an undergrad at SFU when he first joined the faculty there. He was an amazing inspiration to me. I developed a real love for learning through him and carried that with me for all the years that followed. I saw him last about 4 years ago on a trip to visit my family in Vancouver. His door was closed but I knocked anyway and there he was. After about 25 years, he recognized me and remembered me and we had a wonderful chat. I will remember him always with great fondness and admiration.

Patricia McAdie (class of '76)

I am becoming acquainted with your father's work much too late. I did not know about his death and somehow came across your Flickr account where you show yourself presenting his last paper to the Royal Society in Scotland. My condolences, and I second what has been said above regarding your good fortune in having such a great thinker and activist as a father.


I was shocked to hear of your father's death. He was an amazing teacher and a great mentor. I was working with him on a project and his insight as well as determination were definetly admirable qualities. He surely had a zest for life! He will be greatly missed by many.

Take Care and Be strong... he is watching over you.

I was a student of your father's back in the 1980's. I am deeply saddened by the news of his passing. He was a phenomenal teacher whose enthusiasm for knowledge motivated those around him. He was an inspiration to me and many others.

Please accept my condolences for your Dad's passing. I was born in 1947, the same year as your Dad, and his untimely passing saddens me deeply. The photo of your Dad combing your hair when you were young especially touched me. It reminded me of memories I have of my own daughters at the same age. So I honor the one who is not here to share these moments, the fruition of our lives.

This is absurdly late but I want to register it anyway. Your pics and writing about your dad have been incredibly moving, and I've been keeping you in my thoughts all summer long...and now the fall.

Thank you for sharing his life with us. What a beautiful man....


I just lost my father 4 months ago on July 1st, 2007. I came across your blog when I was searching for people who have been through and are living with the same grief. Your blog inspired me to start writing on my father as a way to release my pain. thank you


Long time - I remember you at a time when I was your father's student in cog-bio and he was on my PhD committee. When Barry died there were many of us, his former students, who mourned the loss. I just ran across your work while doing some research on line, and have come to the conclusion that we should not mourn Barry but celebrate him, for his spirit certainly is continued in you.


Lindsay -

Sorry to read of your father's passing. Last year I lost both of my parents and nothing could have prepared me for the experience.


Aidan M


I've just found out about the passing of your father last summer, and I am absolutely shocked and deeply saddened by it.

Your dad was my thesis supervisor at SFU about twenty years ago, and he was also one of the smartest, nicest men I have ever known.

We often talked about various things besides psychology, and he has also talked about you and your brother. He was very proud of how smart you were and how good you were at science. One time he even told me that you had won a Science Fair competition at school. I could tell by the way he talked about you how proud he was and how much he loved you.

Please accept me sincerest (albeit belated) condolences.

Thomas May

I know I sent you a short note when I heard of Barry passing but I would like to contribute something to your memorial page. As I read through the many comments, I realize there were many who knew Barry well, one character trait often mentioned being tolerance. Tolerance, humility, wisdom and a jovial spirit, among other words describe Barry.

I believe, the first time I met Barry was in Beaverdell with Clark and Cheryl. I took Barry and Clark to a good spot for scrounging bleached barnwood to use for Cheryl’s cabinets that Barry was working on. Very far from academia but the evening conversations were unrestricted in topic and engaged every avenue of our minds and humour.

Under very different circumstances several years later I found myself at SFU and a student of Professor Beyerstein. He did indeed, treat me as if a colleague albeit an ignorant one. I was invited into the labs where we unfolded the current theories, at the time, of heroin addiction with the use of ‘Rat Park’. He allowed me into upper level studies based on my thought processes and knowledge rather than prerequisite classes. How thankful I am for that. Many times I consulted Barry on issues which arose in later life and he gave his opinions unminced and always welcomed me with a glad and enthusiastic nature. There are very few in this world with a mind like Barry’s.

What I learned from Barry I carry with me to this day in my current research, that is to look at things scientifically becoming subjective only when the evidence is overwhelmingly supportive. Just think, how many more there are influenced as I am by your extraordinary father.

Tim Wilson

Hello, I discovered your blog whilst searching for information about H2B Visa interviews. I notice it is almost a year since the passing of your father at just 60 years of age. I just want to let you know, at this sad milestone for you, that things will get better, the tears will dry up and your memories will get fonder as time progresses. Stay strong and thank you for the excellent blog.

I know this is over a year old. But that doesn't matter of course. He was still your dad, and your words still touch me, even though I know(knew) neither you or him.

My condolences to you and your family

Lindsey - Your Dad lives on in so many of our memories. Never forgotten....

What a coincidence - my father passed away on 24 June 2007 and it was a very unexpected death - what a shock to the whole family. In one week time we would've celebrated his 60th Birthday.

The best professor i had in my 6 years at SFU. He inspired thought and care and did it in a manner that is to be respected.

oXcaK9 h1! oxyumelno!

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