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132 of 159 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful challenge to the materialist worldview
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...
Published on January 7, 2012 by Robert McLuhan

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Science and it's inaccuracies
This is an interesting twist on the majestic lure of science. The author points out the dumbing down approach that seems pretty common today in popular venues like Ted presentations. There is an arrogance that ignores the wonders and phenomenon that is still missing adequate descriptive vocabulary. Recently I saw Half Life of Facts that points out that much of science...
Published 5 months ago by Michael L. Loren

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132 of 159 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful challenge to the materialist worldview, January 7, 2012
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)
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36 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Sheldrake primer, June 17, 2012
B. Scanlon (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Science Delusion (Paperback)
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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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Science Delusion, August 15, 2012
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This review is from: Science Delusion (Hardcover)
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.
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62 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Readable Insight into the Challenges of Modern Physcis,, January 10, 2012
Robert Lomas (Univ of Bradford) - See all my reviews
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.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science with Dogma and Blinders, July 14, 2013
Jay casbon (Lake Owego, Oregon United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Science Delusion (Paperback)
Fabulous topic with respectable science behind the premise of the book - highly recommend to anyone who loves science but is suspicious of much that passes for "science " as a rigid form of dogma and belief - even faith in our universities and public discourse - time to wake-up and explore a rich universe without the blinders of dogma! jc
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Emperor Has No Clothes, November 6, 2013
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The Emperor Has No Clothes

Rupert Sheldrake’s book, The Science Delusion deserves to be read by anyone who takes an over blown view of Science, Scientism, Materialism and Reductionism, to extreme proportions. In the Book Rupert tackles the Scientific Creed, which consists of?

1. Everything is essentially Mechanical
2. All Matter is Unconscious
3. The Total amount of matter and Energy is always the same
4. The laws of nature are fixed
5. Nature is Purposeless
6. All Biological inheritance is via DNA, and other material substances.
7. Minds are inside heads and are nothing than brains in action
8. Memories are in Brains “Only”
9. There is no room for Unexplained phenomena &
10. Medicine is best served by pharmacology.

And turns each into a question, which he dually explores and critiques, leaving the reader both enlightened and angry, that people who claim to be scientists are really nothing more than evangelists with a hidden agenda.

I’ will give one example. It seems that whilst it is true that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, it also seems that people such as Dawkins, Sagan and Wiseman (along with Blackmore), don’t even bother to investigate the tests, proof or research, when it comes to forming their views. Shame on them and others who blindly support them.

What I find though with the book, is that it is in two parts. Chapters one to ten, look at the Creed, and are devastating in their expose, with much information that is new to this reader. But the second part may have been a lot more informative, especially with its implications, drawn from the first part of the book.

That said I still give it my hearty endorsement, and am pleased that I took the time to read and study this very important book.

And it has given me a fresh perspective on Science, Human fallibilities and the great mystery that is existence. But if I can return to one person whom seemed to encapsulate the true scientific spirit, it is Sir Francis Bacon, who whilst suspected of being a Rosicrucian, nonetheless had high hopes for mankind, as he continued on his journey to the stars. Something that Science has forgotten and unfortunately derailed.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fundamentalisms exposed, May 7, 2014
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Scientism is as stupid and illogical as any other fundamentalism and this book exposes the illusory nature of scientism. The idea that materialism is all that is needed to 'explain' us is revealed as nonsense, even in materialist terms. Dawkins is a hubristic fraud and commits the ultimate scientific fraud of ignoring/ disqualifying the evidence - et NDE's just dismissed as chemical interactions
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Science and it's inaccuracies, February 2, 2014
This review is from: The Science Delusion (Paperback)
This is an interesting twist on the majestic lure of science. The author points out the dumbing down approach that seems pretty common today in popular venues like Ted presentations. There is an arrogance that ignores the wonders and phenomenon that is still missing adequate descriptive vocabulary. Recently I saw Half Life of Facts that points out that much of science is continually being reevaluated and the questions are often the same each year, but the answers change every few decades. Science seems to be a moving target. This is not an easy book to get through, at times I thought I was in a war zone attacking popular culture.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent summary of the current dilema of science, September 26, 2013
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This review is from: The Science Delusion (Paperback)
I endorse this book with no reservations. It is crucial to remember that a culture war currently rages in the West, between the militant atheists and most of the rest of society. Unfortunately, it is these militants who attempt to distort modern science in an attempt to use it as a weapon against those who do not share their ideological opinions.

The foundation of secular humanism and other atheistic belief systems is the ancient doctrine of materialism. Although materialists often claim that materialism is the bedrock of modern science, this is complete nonsense. The founders of science were not materialists. One of the reasons Galileo recanted is because he feared excommunication. Kepler studied to be a priest in his youth. Newton devoted the last half of his life to theological writing. Even Gregor Mendel, the father of modern genetics, was a monk.

The success of modern science is due to the method of empirical hypothesis testing, and not adherence to some discredited notion of the mind/body relationship. Several surveys have shown that most scientists today accept the likely reality of extra-sensory perception.

So, in this book Sheldrake simply exposes the problems of mixing ideology in with science. I highly recommend this book.

Chris Carter, author of Science and Psychic Phenomena: the Fall of the House of Skeptics
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightened challenge to mainstream contemporary science, March 13, 2012
This review is from: The Science Delusion (Paperback)
As suggested by the title, which mimicks the book by one of Rupert Sheldrake's critics, Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), this book contains a critique of the mechanistic and materialistic philosophy underlying modern science.
From its early days, science has been characterized by the "spirit of inquiry", favouring change and the free, unprejudiced debates, unfettered by authority or tradition but led by the power of mathematical demonstrations and empirical evidence. This curious, almost child-like exploration of all natural phenomena was reflected in the scientific discussions of the early days of the Royal Society of London, where there was virtually no limit to what was an acceptable object of scientific investigation. Thus, "serious" experiments on the nature of light were put forward along with the presentation of "odd" devices and speculation, which were to be mocked by the satiric pen of Johnatan Swift in Gulliver's Travels. This vivid curiosity was coupled with a belief in the powers of human reason and observation over the authority of the ancient texts and religion, best exemplified by the dispute (and later trial) between Galileo and the Holy Inquisition. However, since its beginnings, a more conservative force has been part of the scientific program, laid out by Francis Bacon which associated knowledge with power and proposed the creation of a scientific priesthood.
The baconian concept inspired much of later scientific research, including the founding of the Royal Society in London in 1660. However, the persistance of a strong spirity of free inquiry delayed the creation of a scientific establishment. However, by the beginning of the 20th century science was almost entirely institutionalised and professionalised. After the Second World war, science was heavily funded by governments and big corporations. Popular or individual control over research activities reached the lowest level in the 21st century, with funding driven by economical and political forces.
Sheldrake's sociological and historical critique of science reveals the ideological origin of many current scientific dogmas. In his book, he exposes the weaknesses of ten scientific theories that are generally held by lay people and scientists alike to be true and unassailable. Sheldrake shows the inconsistencies and the inability of the current scientific creed to account for many facts and undermines with acute observations and powerful arguments the fundamental and diverse official scientific beliefs, such as the principle of conservation of mattter and energy; the randomness of genetic mutations and the blindness/purposlessness of genetic evolution; the unconsciousness of matter; the absence of psychical phenomena; the doctrine that memories are confined to brains and the exclusivism and inflated curative powers of mechanistic medicine; the assumption that constants such as the speed of light never change. The author proposes a principle that underlies all these phenomena seemingly unexplained by current scientific theory. This is the "morphic resonance" hypothesis, which Sheldrake illusatrated with greater detail in previous books. The author does not provide a clear and concise definition of this concept, which we can regards as an attempt to reintroduce metaphysics into science. It is related to Jung's collective subconscious but extends to all living and non living entities, thus resembling Richard Bucke's concept of cosmic consciousness. Morphic resonance is the interaction between morphic units or holons (which can be be thought of as chunks of information or memories set up by the repetition of similar acts or thoughts) through morphic fields that guide the development and organization of new forms. The greater the degree of similarity, the greater the resonance, leading to habituation or persistance of certain forms.
The author is to be praised for his courage to put forward a grand theory of natural and psychological phenomena and for his attempt to reinstate many domains of inquiry into the realm of science. In order to "rehabilitate" many diverse and fundamental topics to the status of acceptable scientific ideas, R.Sheldrake has greatly damaged his own academic reputation. Thus, Sheldrake can be considered one of the last martyrs of science.
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The Science Delusion
The Science Delusion by Rupert Sheldrake (Paperback - January 1, 2012)
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