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Rupert Sheldrake on Science

November 28, 2013

It is refreshing to hear some innovative perceptions on science from Rupert Sheldrake. I have been watching him expressing some of his ideas on you tube this evening.

In his latest book, the science delusion, yes it is some of the typical complaints we have seen with science in the past 50 years of it being too mechanistic, atomistic, materialistic, etc..

But from watching you get the impression beyond this, he is trying to offer something alternative that is well thought through. Not just a spiritual direction, but a new direction for science itself.

His main theoretical contribution is the notion of Morphic Resonance. As a way to fill in some of the gaps in current science, regarding issues of memory, learning and certain telepathic findings from scientific experiments, such as dogs awareness when their owner is heading home and a persons awareness when someone has their attention focused on them.

In relation to memory the idea is that the reason science cannot find where memories are located or stored in the brain is simply because they are not there at all. Memory, he says, is a morphic resonance between similar things interacting. It is only present during the interaction. It is a time-based phenomena, and has no coherent meaning in a purely spatial sense.

Undoubtedly, there are a lot of conceptual difficulties here that would need to be looked into in great depth. And it is always going to be difficult to resist seeing new ideas through the eyes of our current conceptual framework where it obviously isn’t going to fit.

In his talks, Sheldrake, illustrates just how pervasive a framework for science is that rests on many assumptions themselves scientifically dubious when put to the test, as he does in his book, the science delusion. He discusses the ten dogmas of science.

To take one: the notion that the constants of nature are fixed now and forever since the moment of the big bang. Sheldrake shows information from 1928 to 1945 where the speed of light slowed down by 20 km/s, and how scientists found ways to make excuses for this to keep their basic dogma.

He discusses this and other things in this short video.

I am sure they could be errors of calculation, of course they could, but Sheldrakes point is that even if they weren’t we would ignore the data, because we are so set in line with this scientific dogma. Sheldrake suggests an alternate vision. Instead of constants set in stone at the big bang, (the one free miracle science allows itself) we should see laws as evolving habits that can change over time, through feedback, learning etc..

I think it is all the corollary conceptual implications of accepting things like this that scares many, and maybe rightfully so. For it is a small step to seeing the universe itself as a living entity, itself conscious in some sense. I think many are still quite comfortable in the cosy conceptual prison provided for them by the ten dogmas of science. A quest for truth here has long ago given way to a need for security, which is a shame.

Sheldrake also talks of how many scientists feel they are not allowed to discuss their own experiences of things running counter to the public view of science as they will ostracised by the scientific community. It is all very sobering stuff. I have long had my suspicions of this kind of thing going on. But it is still a bit shocking to see it in the details.

A claim following on from this is that not many people actually believe this dominant view of science, it has just become institutionally ingrained and has left professional people concerned, whose job depends on science, scared to speak out against it.

In such a climate we can be thankful for wise voices, such as that of Rupert Sheldrake, prepared to speak out against it. And hopefully lead us towards a new renaissance in science. A new flowering of ideas, unfettered by dogmatic constraints that are there for no reason I can see, other than fear of the unknown.

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