I think you have a bit of a misconception (or two) there.
'...the idea that "learned men" know pretty much all there is to know about how the Universe works.'
The foundation of science lies on the knowledge that we know what we don't know and question and explore that. If learned (and otherwise) people never strove to understand the scientific explanation of seemingly supernatural phenomena, we would never make any progress at all.
Where believers tend to throw their hands up and say that the explanation must lie with some magic or ghost or ESP, non-believers actively want to understand the process that produces those results in the first place.
'What riles me most about the skeptics' attitude is that they don't even want to allow research into the mere possibility of psychic phenomena.'
Did you follow the link to Randi's million dollar challenge that explicitly says that JREF wants to explore the possibilities of physic phenomena in a scientific manner?