- Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Riverhead Trade; Riverhead Trade Pbk. Ed edition (October 1, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1573225649
- ISBN-13: 978-1573225649
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,076,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Seven experiments that could change the world Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 1996
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I consider myself an open-minded person, but I tend to become itchy and skeptical when I encounter most books about the "unexplained"--there are just too many secret Soviet laboratories, mysterious disappearances (of the phenomena, and the investigators and data for that matter). And, I must admit, I've was somewhat skeptical of Sheldrake's previous books on "morphic resonance".
But being an open-minded person, I am glad when I can change my mind, and I am glad to report that this is a worthy book--because of its practicality. Sheldrake confronts some of the outstanding questions facing "PSIence"--and proposes level-headed experiments that readers themselves can become engaged in. Science has often made its greatest advances not when areas of the unknown were summarily dismissed--but when a proper balance between paradigm shifts and experimentation fell into place. It is conceivable that books such as this may help with the evolution of PSI to science.
From Publishers Weekly
A specialist in biochemistry and cell biology formerly at Cambridge University, Sheldrake questions many tenets of the mechanistic-materialistic orthodoxy governing most science today and proposes certain practical experiments to raise further doubts about it. He presents experiments by which we can determine how some pets know when their owners are coming home, how homing pigeons find their way, how insect colonies operate, how people know that they are being stared at from behind and how phantom limbs sometimes seem to amputees to be still attached. Then he turns to the more abstract area of the philosophy of science, pointing out that the fundamental "constants" of nature are not really constant and that the so-called experimenter expectancy effect may skew the results of any test. Finally, he offers details of experiments by which even those who are not trained scientists can measure some of these possibly paranormal phenomena. A well-reasoned, accessible and provocative book. Illustrations.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I have recommended this book to a number of inquisitive, intelligent people. Stay with the deep stuff....it will all make sense after awhile.
The author was forever hinting that chaos theory, Jung's collective unconscious or other ideas would someday reveal the whole story without telling what that would gain us (for instance, if we accepted that the fundamental constants were slightly variable). Although I would encourage new viewpoints such as morphic fields to shape the matter of the universe, I was left with the impression that this writer bit off way more than his dog could chew.
He wrote in the Preface to this 1995 book, "The idea of writing the present book arose ... (when) I was asked what I would do if I ... wanted to support interesting and productive research with limited resources. My answer was to draw up a list of simple, low-cost experiments that could change the world, and then to encourage this research program... I finally selected the seven in this book. So, this is not just a book, but a broad-based research program, with an open invitation to participate."
Here are some additional quotations from the book:
"Committed Skeptics tend to equate the mechanistic worldview with reason itself and are passionate in its defense. They are scientific fundamentalists." (Pg. 24)
"So although the prospects for this line of research (Kirlian Auras) are not too hopeful, it might be worth a few more tries." (Pg. 157)
"Organized groups of Skeptics, such as CSICOP... are always ready to challenge results that do not fit into the mechanistic worldview, and try their best to discredit them. Parapsychologists are so accumstomed to these critical responses that they are unusually aware of the pitfalls of experimenter effects and other sources of bias. But conventional science is not subject to a similar degree of skeptical scrutiny." (Pg. 172-173)
"Many scientists carry out experiments with strong expectations about the outcome, and with deep-rooted assumptions about what is and what is not possible. Can their expectations influence their results? The answer is yes." (Pg. 210)
"I cannot foresee the outcome of the experiments proposed here, but I think there is a good chance that at least some of them will yield very interesting results. I would not have written this book otherwise." (Pg. 244)
Sheldrake's book describes experiments with no cost or low cost which reveal unexplained aspects of consciousness.