Rupert Sheldrake & The Science Delusion: Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry
There has continuously been controversy and debate between skeptics and mystics; science vs. anything that threatens their neatly formulated and highly esteemed hypothetical conclusions. Tedx has been facing an onslaught of controversy and turbulence due to their “radical” new speakers, on topics such as shamanism, the use of hallucinogenic plants, psychic development, the evolution of consciousness, and other realms of inquiry that are typically viewed as too “woo woo” for the scientific community to touch with a ten foot pole. Rupert Sheldrake gives a refreshing perspective of scientific inquiry in his book, The Science Delusion: Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry. Too often science-minded people abhor the idea of creativity or philosophy intermingling with their serious business of empirical research. But science has lost its passion and curiosity, the very nature of scientific inquiry. If we were to continue on with our viewpoint of science as including only empirical research, maybe the realm of scientific interpretation does belong to the philosophers. Because all further interpretation is outside of the realm of expertise of a scientist, who has not been technically trained in logic and other methods of interpretation that transcend scientific value in their applications to human experience or health.
“The science delusion is the belief that science already understands the nature of reality; the fundamental questions are answered, leaving only the details to be filled in. In his book, Dr Rupert Sheldrake, one of the world’s most innovative scientists, shows that science is being constricted by assumptions that have hardened into dogmas. The ‘scientific worldview’ has become a belief system. All reality is material or physical. The world is a machine, made up of dead matter. Nature is purposeless. Consciousness is nothing but the physical activity of the brain. Free will is an illusion. God exists only as an idea in human minds, imprisoned within our skulls. Sheldrake examines these dogmas scientifically, and shows persuasively that science would be better off without them: freer, more interesting, and more fun. Rupert Sheldrake shows that our understanding of what science can do is old-fashioned and itself a delusion.” (Description of his book from Amazon)
The 10 Dogmas of Science
Default delusions in worldview held by educated people all over the world & people in positions of power or influence.
1. Nature, the universe, animals, and plants are like machines.
2. There’s no consciousness in planets, stars, animals, plants, etc. The universe is made up of unconscious matter. (So then, why would humans be conscious?)
3. Laws of nature are constant & will remain constant.
-The Big Bang Theory was discovered and documented in the 1960′s, when people believed that the universe was eternal, governed by eternal laws. This theory recognizes that the earth is 14 billion years old and is constantly changing and radically evolving. In an evolutionary universe, why shouldn’t laws themselves evolve too? Isn’t the only fixed law – Change?
-Physics has established “fundamental constants” such as the gravitational constant or the speed of light. But are they really fixed? Rupert found by comparing new physics textbooks to old physics textbooks, that the speed of light has changed numerous times. When he questioned a reputable meteorologist on the matter, he told Rupert that he had discovered the biggest error within his realm of science. They had considered these calculations to be incorrect and tried to cover up any evidence that it had changed, skewing the results to match the fixed rate. He described this behavior as “intellectual phaselocking”. Maybe scientists are acting from a place of wishful thinking.
4. Energy never changes in total quantity. (What about the Big Bang Theory?)
-This assumption continued to be accepted as law even though the discovery of the Big Bang Theory itself revealed that the world changed and created a massive amount of energy at one time – the earth/solar system.
5. There is no purpose or direction to existence, evolution, or nature.
6. Biological heredity is material; everything we inherit is in our genes, epigenetic modifications of genes, or cytoplasmic inheritance.
7. Memories are stored inside of our brain in modified nerve endings and phosphorylated proteins. (Despite the fact that nobody actually can explain how this works).
8. Your mind is inside your head. All your consciousness is the activity of your brain and nothing more.
9. Psychic phenomena such as telepathy are impossible; your thoughts and intentions can’t have any effect at a distance because “your mind is inside your head”. Therefore, all evidence for psychic phenomena is “illusory”. The experiences that people have with psychic phenomena just “don’t know enough about science, are deceived by coincidence, or partaking in wishful thinking.”
10. Mechanistic medicine is the only kind that works. That’s why governments only fund research into mechanistic medicine, and ignore complementary and alternative therapies. Alternative therapies are considered to only appear to work because people would have “gotten better anyway” or because of the “placebo effect”.
Are laws of nature really fixed/constant? Only humans & civilized societies have laws. The movements of plants, trees, planets, & stars change, despite their lack of established laws. Perhaps these behaviors can be more accurately described as evolving “habits” of nature, rather than fixed and constant laws.
Charles Sanders Peirce (often known as C.S. Peirce) (1839 – 1914) was a 20th Century American philosopher, logician, mathematician and scientist, and is considered among the greatest of American minds. Rupert discusses his theory of Morphic Resonance, which proposes the following curious hypotheses:
- Everything in nature has a collective memory
- Resonance occurs because of similarity (for example, as a fetus grows, it tunes into the frequency of that species and therefore grows into that species)
- Everything has a collective memory, even crystals or trees
Dr Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and author of more than 80 technical papers and 10 books. He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, where he was Director of Studies in cell biology, and was also a Research Fellow of the Royal Society. From 2005-2010 he was the Director of the Perrott-Warrick Project for research on unexplained human abilities, funded from Trinity College, Cambridge. He is currently a Fellow of the Institute of Noetic Sciences in California, and a Visiting Professor at the Graduate Institute in Connecticut. He is married, has two sons and lives in London. Follow Rupert on Twitter @RupertSheldrake. His web site is www.sheldrake.org
“To say that a stone falls to earth because its obeying a law, makes it a man & even a citizen.”
- C.S. Lewis