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A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Morphic Resonance Paperback – March 1, 1995

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"As far-reaching in its implications as Darwin's theory of evolution."
(Brain/Mind Bulletin)

"An important scientific inquiry into the nature of biological and physical reality."
(New Scientist)

"Sheldrake is a Cambridge-trained research biologist whose modest proposals. . . have upset scientific orthodoxy"
(Utne Reader)

"An immensely challenging and stimulating hypothesis, which proposes an unorthodox approach to evolution."
(Arthur Koestler, author of The Lotus and the Robot and The Ghost in the Machine)

From the Back Cover

NEW SCIENCE / BIOLOGY

"As far-reaching in its implications as Darwin's theory of evolution."
--Brain/Mind Bulletin

"An important scientific inquiry into the nature of biological and physical reality."
--New Scientist

"An immensely challenging and stimulating hypothesis, which proposes an unorthodox approach to evolution."
--Arthur Koestler, author of The Lotus and the Robot and The Ghost in the Machine

"Sheldrake is a Cambridge-trained research biologist whose modest proposals. . . have upset scientific orthodoxy"
--Utne Reader

Why do many phenonmena defy the explanations of conventional biology and physics? For instance, when laboratory rats in one place have learned how to navigate a new maze, why do rats elsewhere seem to learn it more easily? Rupert Sheldrake describes this process as morphic resonance: the past forms and behaviors of organisms, he argues, influence organisms in the present through direct connections across time and space. Calling into question many of our fundamental concepts about life and consciousness, Sheldrake reinterprets the regularities of nature as being more like habits than immutable laws.

The first edition of A New Science of Life created a furor when it appeared, provoking the outrage of the old-guard scientific community and the approbation of the new. The British journal Nature called it "the best candidate for burning there has been for many years." A lively debate ensued, as researchers devised experiments testing Sheldrake's hypothesis, including some involving millions of people through the medium of television. These developments are recorded in this revised and expanded edition.

RUPERT SHELDRAKE, Ph.D., is a former Research Fellow of the Royal Society and was a scholar of Clare College, Cambridge, and a Frank Knox Fellow at Harvard University. His other books include The Presence of the Past, The Rebirth of Nature, and Seven Experiments That Could Change the World. He lives in London with his wife and two sons.
 

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Park Street Press (March 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892815353
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892815357
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #793,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Sheldrake's hypothesis of morphic resonance is an expansion of the evolutionary debate into the larger problem of morphogenesis (ie, the evolution of all form), implying that the forces which shape a polypeptide molecule or the structure of galaxies are the same as those that determine the shape of a dog's tooth or the behavior of nudibranchs. The implicite heresy here is that something bigger is afoot than Darwin ever imagined, and that natural selection has little or nothing to do with the evolution of species and life. Yet Sheldrake, a bona fide scientist, is far from invoking god as the grand designer of nature. Morphic resonance is a hypothesis which will appear decidedly far-fetched and psychedelic for readers already dyed in the naturally selected wool of evolutionary theory. It will make mad-dog reductionists like Richard Dawkins positively foam at the mouth (eg: the prestigious journal 'Nature' suggests burning Sheldrake's books). This is a book for scientific minds who have come to recognize the limitations of the Darwinian doctrine yet are horrified at the creationist alternative. Sheldrake's largely speculative but compelling hypothesis, even if proved totally false, is a welcome breath of fresh air in a tired debate. I found it a fascinating read.
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This is an excellent book, a hypothesis on an unconventional theory that just as well can be completely acknowledged as science, as many of the conventional science theories always started with unproven hypothesis, such as Newton's gravitational fields until proven at a later time. Quantum physics, relativity, and many other ideas are true science without fully documented mechanistically determined answers all tested in line with Karl Popper. If your a science reader and interested in biology, physics and evolution, then this book is a must to read. It is the conventionalists and those who are unable to allow a paradigm shift that have attacked this theory as pseudo science. This book is from 1981 and since then there have been more experiments regarding this theory and also Sheldrake has another book from 1995 on the same with more details called The Presence of the Past.

The theory consists of an addition to the chemical and physical properties of materialism, something in addition to the DNA code in random mutations and non-random natural selection, an additional force what many vitialists have always acknowledged; the idea of higher organizational states. And here it is the theory of morphogenetic fields and formative causation. The idea of morphogenetic fields first developed by embryologists such as Conrad Waddington and later mathematically by theoreticians such as Rene Thomas.

The ideas starts with no answer to what causes the first change, but continues with a theory as to subsequent developments. As each thought is created, enlarged, elaborated on, taught, as each experience develops a certain particular field in a particular person, animal, and all organic and inorganic matter and energy, there is a change in that particular morphogenetic field.
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Format: Paperback
Sheldrake is adept at drawing theoretical correlations between various realms of science and life itself in a manner that simultaneously alienates both the poet and the scientist. How can you not love that?
Dealing with those thoughts that transcend modern language and modern scientific methodology will appeal to those readers who really want to gravitate to the cutting edge and not miss a beat.
Anything by Sheldrake is worth the price of admission into a world usually not discussed but often experienced.
Stay curious, be patient, and peer into this man's mind. He is willing to venture into those most curious areas of thought and does so with authority and humor.
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Format: Paperback
I strongly recommend mathematician and physicist Roger Penrose and his book "The Emperor's New Mind" for a completely different approach to the conclusion that Mind, at least human sapience, is non-mechanistic in nature, and that current science does not have the facts or theory to explain consciousness at this point in time. He feels, and builds a very strong case for the idea, that quantum physics plays a role in the operation of the brain. I suspect that quantum physics will play an increasing role in the exploration of morphic resonance as well, and that we discover DNA-controlled processes are affected by quantum mechanics.
Penrose's book is interesting in that he does not have a bit of "New Age" orientation about him, yet he comes to some very similar conclusions about the operation of Mind that Sheldrake finds with the processes of Life.
I feel the two books should be read in tandem.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book after watching Sheldrake's speech on scientific paradigms on TED. I was so fascinated by his ability to think independently I had to do some research and found out he is a serious mind. I love reading anything connected with consciousness research and how it relates to esoteric study .This book was a definite connection with those topics even though I didn't think that was necessarily the author's intention.I did find out that he has an interest in parapsychology. For instance , Sheldreake theorizes that the outer atomic shell is a field which brings forms into being , this is connected to the manifestation of the un-manifested aspect of the universe - it's coming into being , the "out-breathing". There is also some thought provoking theory which to me , could explain things like the strange (to me) belief that some people are born homosexual or with other divergent behaviors sometimes attributed to genetics.Sheldrake's work would say that these behaviors are manifestations of the morphic resonance of past behaviors. This book is a wonderful mind expanding read. It is a bit thick at times if you are unfamiliar with some of the bio chemistry (if you are like me) but a little bit of tame researching on the internet will clear those things up .Loved it - I definitely suggest you purchase !
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