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The Science Delusion: Feeling the Spirit of Enquiry (Anglais) Relié – 5 janvier 2012

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Revue de presse

'Sheldrake powerfully reminds us that science must be pursued with an open mind.' (Robert Jackson, former UK Minister for Science)

'This is a terrific, engrossing book that throws open the shutters to reveal our world to be so much more intriguing and profound than could ever have been supposed.' (Dr James Le Fanu, author of The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine)

'The author, a biologist, takes issue with the idea that science already understands the nature of reality - and in doing so, frees up the spirit of enquiry.' (The Times)

'There is something rather odd about the current state of science. For Rupert Sheldrake, [it is] facing a 'credibility crunch' on many fronts. He presents this challenging argument by identifying 'ten core beliefs that most scientists take for granted.' He then interrogates each in turn by reformulating it, in the spirit of radical scepticism, as a question. This Socratic method of inquiry proves surprisingly illuminating. A serious mind-expanding book.' (James le Fanu, The Spectator)

'Certainly we need to accept the limitations of much current dogma and keep our minds open as we reasonably can. Sheldrake may help us do so through this well-written, challenging and always interesting book.' (Crispin Tickell, Financial Times)

'Rupert Sheldrake does science, humanity and the world at large a considerable favour.' (Colin Tudge, The Independent)

Rupert Sheldrake shows very convincingly the way that time and again scientists refuse to look at anything outside a very limited set of possibilities. Sheldrake shows powerfully how some professional skeptics simply have no interest in looking into claims for anything outside of our current scientific understanding. A valuable and powerful message. (

'Isn't it nice to have some mystery back? Isn't it nice to have doubts?' (Esquire)

'We must somehow find different, more realistic ways of understanding human beings - and indeed other animals - as the active wholes that they are, rather than pretending to see them as meaningless consignments of chemicals. Rupert Sheldrake, who has long called for this development, spells out this need forcibly in his new book. He shows how materialism has gradually hardened into a kind of anti-Christian principle, claiming authority to dictate theories and to veto inquiries on topics that don't suit it, such as unorthodox medicine, let along religion. He shows just how unworkable the assumptions behind today's fashionable habits have become. The 'science delusion' of his title is the current popular confidence in certain fixed assumptions - the exaltation of today's science, not as the busy, constantly changing workshop that it actually is but as a final, infallible oracle preaching a crude kind of materialism... His insistence on the need to attend to possible wider ways of thinking is surely right.' (Mary Midgley, The Guardian)

'A fascinating, humane and refreshing book that any layman can enjoy, in which he takes ten supposed scientific 'laws' and turns them, instead, into questions... Dr Sheldrake wants to bring energy and excitement back into science... he has already done more than any other scientist alive to broaden the appeal of the discipline, and readers should get their teeth into the important and astounding book.' (Country Life)

'This is a delightful, interesting, informative, highly readable and much needed book and we definitely recommend it.' (

'This is a book about science and understanding the world that I have been hoping to read for years. It should be on every science student's course.' (The Oldie)

'This book is worth reading because of the depth of focus that the author brings to bear not only on the mind and our fixed opinions but also on our unthinking acceptance of the world, as we like to see it, along with our unquestioned assumptions.' (The Middle Way: Journal of the Buddhist Society)

'Sheldrake will be seen as a prophet.' (The Sunday Times)

This provocatibe and fascinating book challenges long held assumptions...This book is a refreshingly controversial approach to our understanding of the world. (Daily Mail)

An entertaining read. (The Sunday Times)

Whether or not we want to follow Sheldrake's further speculations on topics such as morphic resonance, his insistence on the need to attend to possible wider ways of thinking is surely right. (Guardian)

The maverick scientist questions the orthodox "scientific worldview" (The Observer)

Présentation de l'éditeur

Freeing the Spirit of EnquiryThe 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 this book (published in the US as Science Set Free), 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.

In The God Delusion Richard Dawkins used science to bash God, but here Rupert Sheldrake shows that Dawkins' understanding of what science can do is old-fashioned and itself a delusion. 'Rupert Sheldrake does science, humanity and the world at large a considerable favour.'

The Independent

'Certainly we need to accept the limitations of much current dogma and keep our minds open as we reasonably can. Sheldrake may help us do so through this well-written, challenging and always interesting book.'

Financial Times

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Format: Broché
c'est le titre de son TedTalk qui est a été banni!
Démonte et démontre la stupidité de 10 Dogmes de la Science!
un vrai chercheur et trouveur!
il a repêché la théorie Morphogénétique. et est entrain de la prouver.
je conseille ses légendaires Trialogue avec Terrence McKenna (légendaire Psychonaute) et Abraham (Mathématicien Impliqué dans la Théorie du Chaos_), notamment celui sur la conscience.
un autre TedTalk banni a regarder Graham Hancock, ainsi que ses documentaires, ses bouquins!
Sheldrake en ce moment a des expériences sur son site avec faire au téléphone, a l'ordi sur la télépathie :)
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In short, this is just a snide, opportunistic attack upon Hitchens, a superior author, simply because he's not around to debunk this doggerel himself any more.
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160 internautes sur 193 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Powerful challenge to the materialist worldview 7 janvier 2012
Par Robert McLuhan - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle
For those of us who are suspicious of the claims of materialism it's astonishing, and also heartening, to hear a scientist agree that it's a hidebound ideology, dismiss the belief in determinism as a 'delusion' and call on the 'high priests' of science to abandon their 'fantasy of omniscience'.

This all sounds rather rhetorical, and the title seems to have been chosen as a counterblast to Richard Dawkins. Actually this is as polemical as his language gets; the book certainly has little about religion. For the most part it's a dispassionate expose of materialism's failures, and a plea for scientists to open up to new thinking. Despite his reputation as a heretic, gained from his controversial theory of morphic resonance and his psychic research, Sheldrake has impeccable credentials as a biochemist - Cambridge, Harvard, ground-breaking research and a stint in India helping to develop high-yield crops - that demand respect.

Sheldrake identifies ten core beliefs that scientists take for granted: that people and animals are complex mechanisms rather than goal-driven organisms; that matter is unconscious and human consciousness an illusion; that the laws of nature are fixed; that nature is purposeless; that all biological inheritance is carried via material structures like genes, and so on. Each is the basis of a chapter, in which he draws attention to unresolved tensions, problems and dilemmas. Most scientists think these will eventually be ironed out. However Sheldrake argues they are symptoms of a deeper malaise, and that the failure of the materialist model to make good on its predictions will eventually lead to its demise.

A key idea for Sheldrake is the existence of information fields that act as a kind of universal memory. Once a form or activity has come into being it provides the blueprint for other similar effects, which may then multiply with ease. The classic example is the formation of crystals, for which Sheldrake has elsewhere provided evidence, but in principle he thinks it can apply to anything, from the development of organisms to the acquisition of new skills.

This has implications for cosmology, he believes. Far from being set in stone since the Big Bang, nature's laws should be considered as evolving habits that grow stronger through repetition; the universe is an ongoing creative process, of which human creativity is part. In biology the machine metaphors beloved of materialist thinkers are misleading, he insists. No machine starts from small beginnings, grows, forms new structures within itself and then reproduces itself. Yet plants and animals do this all the time and to many people - especially those like pet owners and gardeners who deal with them on a daily basis - it's 'blindingly obvious' that they are living organisms. For scientists to see them as machines propelled only by ordinary physics and chemistry is an act of faith.

Despite the excitement over gene science in the past two decades, and the $100 billion biotechnology boom that it fuelled, only a very limited genetic basis has been discovered for human disease, he points out. The genes associated with development have turned out to be almost identical in mice, humans, flies and reptiles, offering no insights as to why these forms differ so dramatically.

On the subject of consciousness Sheldrake points out that even materialists can't decide what causes it, which is why there are so many rival theories. He quotes Galen Strawson, himself a materialist, who is scathing about the way fellow philosophers are willing to deny the reality of their own experience - testament to the power of the materialist faith. He approves Strawson's interest in panspychism, the doctrine that all matter is invested with mental as well as physical aspects.

There is just one chapter on psychic research: this covers telepathy and precognition, with especial focus on animal telepathy. (The sense of being stared at is covered in a chapter on consciousness.) There is also a chapter on mechanistic medicine, in which he acknowledges its record of success, but questions whether it is the only kind that works.

This is a superb and timely book. My own academic research has convinced me that psychic phenomena genuinely occur, and that the rejection of it is driven largely by ideology and personal antipathy. That being the case, it's hard to conceive that the materialist model is the whole story. Most scientists will brush off Sheldrake's arguments as a persistence of discredited vitalism, but it may encourage some to be open about the more sympathetic views that Sheldrake claims they often express to him in private.

There's also a need for a book like this that's authoritative, wide ranging and accessible, and that challenges the materialist paradigm for the benefit of a wider audience. That applies especially to young people whose ideas have not yet been shaped by it, and their curiosity tamed and dulled as a result. It would be good to think that their generation may have a greater opportunity to question the prevailing dogmas and perhaps eventually forge a new science, one that describes more closely what humans observe and feel about their world.

(Robert McLuhan is author of Randi's Prize: What sceptics say about the paranormal, why they are wrong and why it matters)
51 internautes sur 61 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Good Sheldrake primer 17 juin 2012
Par B. Scanlon - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This needs to be two separate reviews. One for past readers of Sheldrake, and one for newbies.

Newbies, you get three things here: *The historical background and philosophical/metaphysical background of contemporary scientific ideas. *A collection of areas of scientific thought which have EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE which challenge widely held assumptions. *Alternative theories which might explain the challenging evidence.

Some people make the mistake of dismissing the first two aspects of the book because they do not like the sound of the alternative theories. This is a demonstration of the primary complaint by Sheldrake that the materialist assumptions underpinning much of modern science are dogmatic, ideological, and unscientific. But if you have already made up your mind, don't bother reading the book.

For past readers of Sheldrake, you may have a similar experience to my own, which was to find much of the material to be a repeat of previous writings, with less detail than the originals because of the broader scope of this book.

However, I did find the discussion of reverse-time causation to be rather fresh and thought provoking, and if you have not read the updated editions of Sheldrake's work he has been producing in the last few years, then there will be some data that will be new to you.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Science Delusion 15 août 2012
Par Matthew Fox Friends of Creation - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Rupert Sheldrake's The Science Delusion: The Most Important Book of the Decade?

Matthew Fox

Rupert Sheldrake's most recent book, The Science Delusion in England and Science Set Free in the United States, may well prove to be the most important book of the decade, surely one of the most important books. Why? Because everyone knows that Science is the "good housekeeping" approval for most any intellectual effort in the West and Sheldrake has both the smarts and the balls to dare to challenge--not its hegemony--but its premises. And by "its" I mean the unexamined "dogmas" (Sheldrake's word) of modern science that we still have with us like haze after a fire or pollution after a coal train has sped by even though we imagine we have outgrown 19th century thought.

Sheldrake makes clear that he is writing his book for scientists; he is critiquing science by its own terms; after all he is a well established though controversial scientist (graduate of Cambridge and all that) and he shows great courage in daring to stand up to his own discipline and scientific super egos. Yet Sheldrake writes in so lucid a style that his arguments are for the most part easily understood even by non-scientists like myself. Nor does he just throw firebombs at the "unscientific" suppositions (ten of them) that comprise the ten chapters of the book--he offers calm (and sometimes humorous) alternatives to the stuck ideologies of modern (as distinct from post-modern) science that still rules and haunts the halls of academia and the media and the fund granters. Sheldrake has spent years creating scientific experiments on low budgets that in fact support many of his criticisms of dogmas, experiments such as those with dogs that know when their masters are returning home and with people who know when they are being stared at--findings that deconstruct some dearly held scientific shibboleths.

Speaking personally, I have to say that this book was most timely for me for at least two reasons. First, I read Stephen Hawking's latest book that was intended to shed light on the universe for all of us but I was so frustrated and frankly angry when I finished it that I wanted to throw it across the room. Here is a man who is elevated as an icon by the media (as are so many atheists these days, a number of whom such as Richard Dawkins are raking in even more money than silly television preachers), whom we all are supposed to listen silently to, but who in telling us the story of the universe never even mentions consciousness once. What? As if consciousness is not part of the universe? Or important in it? What about his own consciousness? I admire Hawking not only for his brilliant intellect but also for the amazing battle he has had to wage with his torn body to do his work and live his life. Does that struggle alone not give evidence of a deep consciousness and determination? One silver lining in Hawking's book was that he was honest enough to come out of the closet as a materialist--that is his ideology, that is his belief system, that is the setting in which he plants all his other seeds.

That is what makes Sheldrake's book so important. He establishes first of all that the dominant scientific paradigm today is still that of materialistic determinism a la Dawkins and Hawking and that, practically speaking, these are the ones and this is the ideological bent that gets the lion's share of grants for investigative research. (The English title of Sheldrake's book plays on Dawkins' book title, The God Delusion.) So we are talking about what questions are asked and what questions are funded for research and, of course, what questions are not asked, never allowed to be asked, and never funded research-wise.

I said my first reason for the timeliness of this book was my experience with Hawking (and of course picking up on Dawkin's noise and so many other very vocal and very well-connected-to-the-media-megaphone atheists). My second event this year that rendered this book so timely was reading an amazing book on the spiritual perspective of Albert Einstein put together by an old friend from German days who, like Einstein, escaped Germany to come to America in the thirties. This book, Einstein and the Poet: In Search of the Cosmic Man, by William Hermanns gives first hand accounts of Einstein's philosophy which was not at all that of scientific materialism but was beholden to Spinoza. In it Einstein talks about our need today for a "cosmic religion" that goes beyond all religions and all nationalities and political tribalism and that houses a "church of conscience." I do not find in Hawkins work or in Dawkins much discussion of conscience. I suppose if you throw consciousness out the window, conscience goes out with it. The baby with the bathwater of course.

But this lacuna in contemporary materialism is precisely one thing that renders Sheldrake's work so refreshing. If he is right--that ten dogmas are holding science back from doing its deeper work today--then exploring these ten shadows of contemporary culture could unleash tremendous vitality and possibility--even moral possibilities. It was Einstein who said: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and our rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." To which I say: Amen. Amen. Amen. Think of all the creative advertising we see on our televisions--that is intuition serving the rational gods of consumerism. Consider the numbers being posted on Wall Street. Whom are they serving? The gods of rationality and casino capitalism.

Sheldrake, with courage and finesse, with scientific brilliance and a sharp wit, dares to take on the unexamined dogmas of today's (outmoded) scientific ideologies. He proves that, alas!, the Stephen Hawkins of the world are to science what the Cardinal Ratzingers are to religion: They are dinosaurs and they are holding us back.

Following are the ten "dogmas" of modern science that Sheldrake names and takes apart in ten chapters, each dogma with its own chapter dedicated to it. He presents the chapter titles as questions.

1. Is Nature Mechanical?
2. Is the Total Amount of Matter and Energy Always the Same?
3. Are the Laws of Nature Fixed?
4. Is Matter Unconscious?
5. Is Nature Purposeless?
6. Is All Biological Inheritance Material?
7. Are Memories Stored as Material Traces?
8. Are Minds Confined to Brains?
9. Are Psychic Phenomena Illusory?
10. Is Mechanistic Medicine the Only Kind that Really Works?

He closes the book with chapters on "Illusions of Objectivity" and "Scientific Futures." His vision is laid out in the final chapter like this: "The sciences are entering a new phase. The materialist ideology that has ruled them since the nineteenth century is out of date. All ten of its essential doctrines have been superseded. The authoritarian structure of the sciences, the illusions of objectivity and the fantasies of omniscience have all outlived their usefulness." (p. 318) He also adds another and significant observation: Science is now global and materialistic ideology is uniquely European deriving from religious wars of the seventeenth century. "But these preoccupations are alien to cultures and traditions in many other parts of the world." Just this one point makes clear how important this book is. The deconstruction of the ideologies behind science is an important part of keeping science itself relevant and alive on a global scale. Science needs to be ecumenical with various cultures (and religious world views) the world-over.

Though I am a christian I am by no means a fundamentalist who wants to make war with science or use the Bible as proof texts about creation. I want to use science to better understand creation whether we are talking about the universality of homosexuality among human tribes and among non-human species, or whether we are facing global warming and humanity's moral implications in contributing to the same, or whether we are talking about life on mars or intelligent life elsewhere in the universe--for all these great questions I expect science to inform me. I come from the tradition of Thomas Aquinas who fought the fundamentalists of his day (has much changed in seven centuries since?) and brought in the "pagan" scientist Aristotle to do so. Aquinas says, "a mistake about creation results in a mistake about God." Science therefore is integral to my theology and worldview and always will be and I am not only curious but eager to learn about creation from science; and therefore more about God. I am as anti-fundamentalist as any angry atheist. I am very critical of my own discipline as a theologian. Can not scientists be equally critical of their own discipline? Should they not be?

Let me make my position clear. Atheism has its place. I do not begrudge atheists their philosophy or worldview and indeed all theists should be listening to and be in dialog with atheists for, among other gifts, they assist the cleansing of hypocrisy and they also challenge the overuse and misuse and projected use of the Divine Name, the Mystery without a name that "has no name and will never be given a name" that Meister Eckhart talks of. There are many kinds of atheism just as there are many kinds of theologies. Some atheists are anti-theists (I am anti-theist also, my God is a panentheistic God, not a theist God). Some atheists are anti-organized religion (a pretty easy sell these days when so-called religious leaders countenance pedophilia and saddle up with dictators). Some atheists are anti-fundamentalists who are anti-intellectual. I share common ground there also, for I believe what Hildegard of Bingen said: "All science comes from God." The left brain is a gift as are our right (or mystical, intuitive) brains.

Meister Eckhart offers the following prayer: "I pray God to rid me of God," a challenge that deserves to be flung before every churchgoer and theist whether by a mystic like Eckhart or an atheist of conscience (of which there are plenty). Sheldrake is not arguing for theism; he is just making clear that an entire world view of materialistic science is reductionistic and rests on unproven assumptions. Why believe the unbelievable and/or at least the unproven? Why teach that the mind is limited to what goes on in the cranium? Why make that the basis of education and the basis of grant-giving and the basis of culture itself? Especially when that culture is so often revealing a less than dignified direction and preaches despair and pessimism so readily? For the record, I do not consider myself a theist but a panentheist. They are not the same thing. All mystics are panentheists.

One bone I have to pick with scientific materialists is the lack of admiration and praise many of them offer for the great and generous souls who, whether they be Gandhi or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela or Mother Teresa, Buddha or Jesus, Mohammad or Dorothy Day, Oscar Romero or Hildegard of Bingen, were driven to the summits of moral generosity by their spiritual beliefs. These people are moral heroes in anybody's book. But they all come out of some kind of sense of the Sacred, God, the holy Universe, the Church (King and Romero for example), etc. That is where they derived their courage. That fed them in their darkest times. Such nourishment deserve to be acknowledged. And even praised. These people were not fools. They represent the best among us, the best within us. As Eckhart said: "Who is a good person? A good person praises good people." Why are materialists so often short on praise? Not just of good people but of the goodness of the earth and of the universe and of our existence from which we all derive?

Years ago, with Sheldrake's first book, a scientific journal embarrassed itself by declaring that "this book more than any other in the last ten years deserves to be burned." Goodness! Modern science borrowing a page from religion's dark side (or politics' dark side? Smells a bit like Nazi times also). The response so far to this latest book from Sheldrake has been overwhelmingly positive in the press in England. BUT not a single scientific journal has had the balls to review it. Isn't that telling? Here is a scientist talking to scientists about their unconscious and unexamined and shadow side--and not ONE scientific journal has the guts to discuss it. Isn't science supposed to be curious? Are dogmas so frozen that questions cannot be examined? My, my. It makes the Vatican and its unexamined dogmas almost standard. I cannot think of a greater accolade for this book than to say: It scares the bejesus out of scientists. And out of academicians.

When I wrote my book on The Reinvention of Work some twenty years ago, I called on all of us to take a more critical view at our professions and to find the values and the mysticism and prophetic possibilities that were there--and to offer alternatives, to carry the good fight into our work worlds because that is how history gets altered. I have tried to do that in my work both as an educator and as a theologian over the years. Rupert Sheldrake carries on that good and prophetic fight of reinventing his profession in this book where he dares to take on the scientific establishment---not out of rancor or hubris--but out of love for his vocation and vocations of future scientists. As he says, "This book is pro-science. I want the sciences to be less dogmatic and more scientific. I believe that the sciences will be regenerated when they are liberated from the dogmas that constrict them." (p. 7) Is anyone listening? Are any scientists listening? Are any scientific journals listening?

Rupert, like any prophet, dares to speak truth to power and science is powerful. "Its influence is greater than that of any other system of thought in all of human history." (p. 13) He wishes to rid science of "centuries-old assumptions that have hardened into dogmas. The sciences would be better off without them: freer, more interesting, and more fun." (p. 6) Sadly, Sheldrake notes that "many scientists are unaware that materialism is an assumption: they simply think of it as science, or the scientific view of reality, or the scientific worldview." (p. 8) This book is rich with the history of science and philosophy telling important stories of movements and persons and ideas that have shaped our scientific world often in conflict with our religious beliefs.

In its studied and quiet and gentle and sometimes humorous way this book pulls the rug out from under an entire culture, one that is already on the down-slide as neither education nor science nor economics nor politics nor religion nor media are doing their job today. They are not feeding the souls and spirits of the Earth or its peoples. They deny us a future. We can do better. Sheldrake lights the way.
72 internautes sur 94 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Readable Insight into the Challenges of Modern Physcis, 10 janvier 2012
Par Robert Lomas - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle
Dr Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist with a distinguished track record as fellow of Clare College Cambridge where he served as Director of Studies in cell biology before heading up the Perrott-Warwick Project to investigate human abilities at Trinity College, Cambridge. He has published over 80 peer reviewed scientific papers and ten books. He studied natural sciences at Cambridge University where he got a double first in botany and biology. He then spent a year a Harvard studying the history and philosophy of Science before returning to Cambridge to take a Phd in biochemistry. His scientific credentials are sound, which makes the questions he poses in The Science Delusion worth considering. Having studied the science of living things for all of his academic life he has noticed that there is an interaction between consciousness and the structure of reality which fits uncomfortably alongside the reductionist assumptions of the neo-darwinist school of materialist biologists, led by Prof Richard Dawkins. The neo-Darwinists believe that life is simply a complex, but accidental, automation. It consists of chemical and physical interactions between purposeless particles and self-awareness is nothing more than a post hoc rationalization of predetermined outcomes ruled only by chance. The main thrust of their thesis is that life is a pointless and purposeless accident.

As a physicist I have long known that my intent when devising a quantum experiment can have a considerable impact on the results I observe, even to the extent of creating a past for an experimental particle which had a multiple range of possible histories until I decided to observe it. I am also aware that I can force instantaneous action on quantum entangled particles over vast distances in total defiance of the relativistic speed limit of light. As Sheldrake points out there is not one scientific approach to understanding the nature of the universe, there are three. For the very large we have Relativity, for the very small we have Quantum Mechanics and for the human sized we have Newtonian Mechanics, and these three systems do not agree. Once we get down to the level of single atoms and sub-atomic particles then quantum probabilities take over, but the moment we string together wires four atoms wide and 1 atom deep then the rules of Newtonian objects (Ohms Law) apply and the systems become determinist.

The problem Shedrake identifies for the neo-Darwinist school is that they are seeped in Newtonian thinking and fail to notice the role of the conscious observer in relativity and quantum mechanics. As a result they have created what is in effect an atheistic religion with its own dogmas and creeds. Sheldrake sees the issues of conscious purpose which arise when trying to reconcile the three viewpoints of science and in this book poses ten probing questions to address the boundaries between these conflicting areas of scientific knowledge. These range from asking life is simply a complex, mechanism of dead matter, through whether memories are storied and retrieved from in quantum fields (he names these fields as morphic fields), rather than as material traces in brain matter to sweeping questions such as are the laws of nature fixed or do they evolve by interactions with conscious observation? The book is a carefully argued investigation of the main articles of faith of the neo-Darwinist materialist religion and musters considerable evidence to suggest that their view is nowhere near a full explanation of universe. He also puts forward a series of challenging questions which offer ways of testing the currently accepted assumptions about hidden mysteries of nature and science in order to open up understanding of the greater mystery of the function of consciousness. He closes his discussion with these powerful words.
"The realization that the sciences do not know the fundamental answers leads to humility rather than arrogance and openness rather then dogmatism. Much remains to be discovered and rediscovered, including wisdom."

Although he is addressing issues at the forefront of modern physics Sheldrake is eminently readable and clear in his writing. A most enjoyable book which will challenge you to think again about the nature of conscious life.
27 internautes sur 38 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A powerful critique of contemporary physicalism as science 22 janvier 2012
Par Geoff Crocker - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Rupert Sheldrake makes a much needed case against the current dominant paradigm which regards science as certain, and physicalism as the unchallengeable truth. His argument is articulate and powerful. His book is readable, widely informed from his own scientific capability, and enjoyable, if occasionally repetitive. Each core chapter has a useful summary and set of questions.

The inevitable, almost definitional, problem for physicalism is its failure to offer an account of the metaphysical. Francis Crick's (of DNA fame) `astonishing hypothesis' assertion that we are no more than our component molecules is a valid hypothesis, but an inadequate theory, due to its inability to explain the metaphysical, ie our consciousness, our ideas, emotions, decisions. Even if the metaphysical is simply an ordering of the physical, as in the orientation of molecules in a magnet sensing magnetic field, there is still a layer of information beyond the physical which needs better scientific explanation than that provided by physicalism. Dawkins, Dennett and others need to recognise this inadequacy and limitation of their certainties. Science has gained its supreme status because it works, and because it displaced fearful and exploitative religion and superstition. But science, as Sheldrake points out, is a method of enquiry, and not the system of beliefs it is often made into. Constant openness and humility of mind are its necessity.

Specific challenges set out by Sheldrake include that nature is organic rather than mechanical, that matter and energy in the universe are little understood and may well increase, that the laws of nature in turn require explanation and may evolve, that consciousness is not readily explained by physicalism, that genes don't explain organisms, that memory does not appear to be physically stored in identifiable locations. He makes much of claims for telepathy, homeopathic medicine and hypnosis, but this somewhat weakens his argument which does not need to rely on marginal disputed phenomena, given that core undisputed metaphysical phenomena, such as consciousness, ideas and emotions remain unaccounted for in physicalism. He could have done more to challenge the epistemology of science - what science can really claim to know - which has been well explored by Karl Popper and others. As a biologist, he could have offered some critique of the dominant Darwin/Mendel/W D Hamilton synthesis. He is somewhat obsessed with applying his version of scientific investigation to life, and launches his own scientific enquiries into everything from a case of inedia in Rajasthan, constructing databases on animal telepathy and human premonitions, analysing nursing mothers' awareness of their babies' distress at a distance, researching telephone telepathy, to conducting an analysis of blind research methodology.

His alternative field theory of morphic resonance to explain the metaphysical is interesting, but extremely embryonic. He hardly specifies it clearly (p99), and offers no research agenda and no scientific criteria to judge its power. However, given that core scientific theories of gravity, electromagnetism, probability distributions et al, also lean on unexplained concepts of metaphysical field, Sheldrake may have the right to add his morphic resonance as a possibility.

What is certain is that there is much of which we remain uncertain in contemporary science. This acknowledgement should inspire further thought and investigation, whereas the smug certainty of contemporary physicalism is more likely to stifle scientific thinking, and inhibit the science it claims to triumph.

PS Australians drive on the left (p329) !
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