The Science Delusion - Rupert Sheldrake

Leo40

Jedi Master
Here is a link to a Conversation of Rupert Sheldrake with Bruce Lipton:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9b9pXlxB_7A&feature=related

Many topics are covered that are also discussed on this forum:

Programming during childhood.

These progams reside in the unconscious.

One method to access the unconscious is by kinesiology.

But the person testing your muscle response must not have
any inerest or concern regarding the outcome.

And much more.
 

loreta

The Living Force
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Approaching Infinity said:
Liberty said:
Also interested to know why this happens with mammals and birds, but not reptiles? What makes us more emotionally connected to mammals and birds as opposed to reptiles. Is it that all cold blooded animals are on a different wave length, so no reception?

Reptiles lack a myelinated vagus nerve, and a developed limbic system, which are characteristic of mammals and which allow us to form emotional bonds. In other words, they feel no emotions. So yeah, I guess you could say they're on a different wave length. Kind like psychopaths.


I think the same applies with insects. Reading about insects with the Master mister Jean-Henri Fabre one day I had an insight: he was describing a sort of wasp who eats worms. But this wasp doesn't kill the worm before eating it or taking it for her babies, no way. This wasp take the worm, paralyses it, cut the head (the worm is still alive) and goes off with the head. I saw litterally a psychopath in plain action. Maybe I was transferring to the wasp my fear and I was feeling for the worm but I think that some insects are really mad. Mad in our vision of what is madness. But maybe we are afraid of insects because we feel they are... a little sadistic? I don't know.
 

mkrnhr

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Just watched two recent videos by Rupert Sheldrake in which he discusses the subject of consciousness. He cites an interresting philosophical approach called "panpsychism" (_http://consc.net/online/1/all#panpsychism) where the whole universe (humans, animals, stars, etc. express different aspects of consciousness).
_http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0waMBY3qEA4&feature=youtu.be
_http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRKvvxku5So&NR=1&feature=endscreen
Seems that leaving the trap of materialism leads to interresting points of view :)

Edit: He also cites a book that might be worth reading: "Mind and Cosmos:Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False" by Thomas Nagel: _http://www.amazon.com/Mind-Cosmos-Materialist-Neo-Darwinian-ebook/dp/B008SQL6NS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1359090769&sr=8-2&keywords=mind+and+cosmos
 

Approaching Infinity

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mkrnhr said:
Just watched two recent videos by Rupert Sheldrake in which he discusses the subject of consciousness. He cites an interresting philosophical approach called "panpsychism" (_http://consc.net/online/1/all#panpsychism) where the whole universe (humans, animals, stars, etc. express different aspects of consciousness).
_http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0waMBY3qEA4&feature=youtu.be
_http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRKvvxku5So&NR=1&feature=endscreen
Seems that leaving the trap of materialism leads to interresting points of view :)

Edit: He also cites a book that might be worth reading: "Mind and Cosmos:Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False" by Thomas Nagel: _http://www.amazon.com/Mind-Cosmos-Materialist-Neo-Darwinian-ebook/dp/B008SQL6NS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1359090769&sr=8-2&keywords=mind+and+cosmos

David Ray Griffin discusses panpsychism in his latest book on Whitehead, which is where I first encountered the word. He makes some interesting connections, pointing out that the panpsychic worldview was pretty much stamped out in the fight between Christianity and atheistic materialism, both of which are highly flawed philosophies.
 

mkrnhr

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Approaching Infinity said:
David Ray Griffin discusses panpsychism in his latest book on Whitehead, which is where I first encountered the word. He makes some interesting connections, pointing out that the panpsychic worldview was pretty much stamped out in the fight between Christianity and atheistic materialism, both of which are highly flawed philosophies.
The funny thing is that Sheldrake also points to a sort of a conflict between medieval Christianity and full materialism, while Christianity was just one final step towards the crystalization of materialism in a continuous process that followed the suppression of History and its understanding within the framework of the interaction of human consciousness with the cosmic consciousness and its manifestations. On this subject, chapters 7 and 8 in The Horns of Moses deal with that period in Greek history when such concepts have be stalinized.
 

Approaching Infinity

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mkrnhr said:
Approaching Infinity said:
David Ray Griffin discusses panpsychism in his latest book on Whitehead, which is where I first encountered the word. He makes some interesting connections, pointing out that the panpsychic worldview was pretty much stamped out in the fight between Christianity and atheistic materialism, both of which are highly flawed philosophies.
The funny thing is that Sheldrake also points to a sort of a conflict between medieval Christianity and full materialism, while Christianity was just one final step towards the crystalization of materialism in a continuous process that followed the suppression of History and its understanding within the framework of the interaction of human consciousness with the cosmic consciousness and its manifestations. On this subject, chapters 7 and 8 in The Horns of Moses deal with that period in Greek history when such concepts have be stalinized.

Yep, he's got a chapter or two in Science Delusion where he lays it all out quite well, IMO. He tracks the ideas of the soul, spirit, and body, as well as materialism, through the history of philosophy and science.
 

Buddy

The Living Force
Approaching Infinity said:
he's got a chapter or two in Science Delusion where he lays it all out quite well, IMO. He tracks the ideas of the soul, spirit, and body, as well as materialism, through the history of philosophy and science.

That is interesting. I'm also wondering why he uses Nagel's book as a reference for the rest of his case. Nagel is basically a Philosopher-Skeptic. His strong point is said to be simply that "he does suggest that if the materialist account is wrong, then principles of a different kind may also be at work in the history of nature, principles of the growth of order that are in their logical form teleological rather than mechanistic."

On the other hand, there is The Non-Local Universe: The New Physics and Matters of the Mind by Robert Nadeau (science historian) and Menas Kafatos (physicist and writer on science), Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1999; 240 pages, ISBN 0-19-513254-6, hardcover, $27.50.

Nadeau and Kafatos cover a lot of existing material, firmly grounding their case in scientific theory. They also support the idea that materialistic reductionism is bogus. In fact, they offer both their science and philosophical speculation and distinguish between the two. Here's a quote from a reviewer:

In order to give background to the non-specialist, the authors describe the rise of quantum physics, wave-particle dualism, complementarity as found in the new biology, and the metaphysical implications of quantum physics and non-locality. The fundamental conclusion they draw from the non-local experiments is that physical reality on the most basic level is an undivided whole, and that complex physical and biological processes are extremely interdependent, displaying properties and behaviors that cannot be explained in terms of the sum of the parts involved. Rather, it is the whole which "exists in some sense within all parts (quanta)." Since human consciousness is a property of this whole, they argue that "it is not unreasonable to conclude, in philosophical terms at least, that the universe is conscious" (pp. 197-8). Lest this be taken as a scientific proof, the authors are careful to point out that:

"While we have consistently tried to distinguish between scientific knowledge and philosophical speculation based on this knowledge, let us be quite clear on one point — there is no empirically valid causal linkage between the former and the latter. Those who wish to dismiss the speculations on this basis are obviously free to do so. But there is another conclusion to be drawn here that is firmly grounded in scientific theory and experiment — there is no basis in the scientific description of nature for believing in the radical Cartesian division between mind and world sanctioned by classical physics. It now seems clear that this radical separation between mind and world was a macro-level illusion fostered by limited awareness of the actual character of physical reality and by mathematical idealizations that were extended beyond the realm of their applicability." — p. 198

Looks to me like, combined with The Conscious Universe: Parts and Wholes in Physical Reality, by the same authors, there's enough extant material to support, not only Sheldrake's case, but the theoretical underpinnings of superluminal communication, making for a truly holistic presentation!

Interesting that Nadeau and Kafatos's work also falls under the ideas linked to panpsychism by definition, yet they are not on that list that mkrnhr linked upthread.

I wonder why Sheldrake seems to weaken his own work? Maybe that's just my imagination?
 

Laura

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Well, I'm really liking Nagel's book. He is saying a lot of the things I've already written in the next volume of Secret History under the topic headings of Information Theory and Origins of Life, etc. I've also included a long excerpt from Ark's new book on the corruption of science which addresses many of these problems in a very practical way.

The title of the next volume is "Bull Slaying From Romulus to Caesar" though it covers more than just that period of Roman history. And, the first half of the book is, again, taken up with indispensable concepts that are explained in an entertaining way, I hope.

I touched on many of these topics in my talks in Barcelona, but this will be a fuller, written, development. And now, I can even introduce Nagel and some of his ideas which will be a nice addition.
 

psychegram

Dagobah Resident
I just read TSD a couple of months ago and was quite blown away. Sheldrake has done something amazing there ... I have a feeling his book will ultimately have a very large impact. He manages to articulate quite clearly many of the core ideas that drove me to study astronomy in the first place: the panpsychist view as opposed to the materialistic view, the impossibility of PROVING either but the question of which is actually a better fit with everything we know, and also the sociocultural and psychospiritual impact of adoption of one vs. the other position. But where these are insights I've had only over the past four or five years or so it is quite clear that he has been collecting them for decades. I'm a bit in awe to be honest.

His use of monads intrigued me. When I came across Leibniz's La Monadologie (in an extended exposition in Neil Stephenson's excellent Baroque Cycle) I was instantly impressed by the way (although Stephenson did not say it) it's principles seemed to be far more compatible with the quantum physics I had studied in university than the simple deterministic billiard-ball atoms science had assumed up until the 20th century. Yet he had come to this through a consideration of, essentially, the logical consequences of panpsychism! Without any experimental apparatus to guide him. Meanwhile the hardcore materialists who populated the rank and file of physics for the next few hundred years needed to be forced by the evidence of their experiments to adopt a view of matter that included consciousness ... and even then, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they continued in a materialistic stance, at least publicly. While privately many physicists have reached out beyond materialism, they've done very little to examine the assumption, and so have by default enabled the continuation of this position amongst their other scientific colleagues, and hence in official culture.

Of course some members of the culture will reject materialism, but this scarcely matters for those at the top so long as official culture remains materialistic. Then their rape and plunder of the Earth and humanity is only ultimately a question of logistics, rather than ethics. Materialism encourages psychopathy and STS; panpsychism naturally points towards STO (which is not to say that either worldview demands such behaviour). Panpsychism is also intuitively obvious: it's the paleolithic religion, the default belief system of humans and in all likelihood, any other intelligent species. Materialism has to be learned, and constantly reinforced lest a panpsychist view reassert itself ... much in the same way that highly stratified dominance hierarchies need to be constantly enforced via violence and fraud, lest more natural communitarian ways reassert themselves.

At any rate, seems I've some reading to do re: David Ray Griffin, Nagel, and Nadeau & Kafatos. Thanks everyone for pointing to those works!
 

Palinurus

The Living Force
psychegram said:
His use of monads intrigued me. When I came across Leibniz's La Monadologie (in an extended exposition in Neil Stephenson's excellent Baroque Cycle) I was instantly impressed by the way (although Stephenson did not say it) it's principles seemed to be far more compatible with the quantum physics I had studied in university than the simple deterministic billiard-ball atoms science had assumed up until the 20th century. Yet he had come to this through a consideration of, essentially, the logical consequences of panpsychism! Without any experimental apparatus to guide him. Meanwhile the hardcore materialists who populated the rank and file of physics for the next few hundred years needed to be forced by the evidence of their experiments to adopt a view of matter that included consciousness ... and even then, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they continued in a materialistic stance, at least publicly. While privately many physicists have reached out beyond materialism, they've done very little to examine the assumption, and so have by default enabled the continuation of this position amongst their other scientific colleagues, and hence in official culture.

Hi psychegram,

When I read this I remembered a topic in which Ark made some remarks about Leibniz and his monads. You didn't participate in that thread so you might not be aware of its existence. Have a look here: http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,27044.0.html

The specific Leibniz references in it can be found here for a quick appreciation:

http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,27044.msg329219.html#msg329219

http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,27044.msg329493.html#msg329493

http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,27044.msg330311.html#msg330311

http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,27044.msg330714.html#msg330714

Hope this helps a bit. :)
 

Buddy

The Living Force
Laura said:
Well, I'm really liking Nagel's book. He is saying a lot of the things I've already written in the next volume of Secret History under the topic headings of Information Theory and Origins of Life, etc. I've also included a long excerpt from Ark's new book on the corruption of science which addresses many of these problems in a very practical way.

The title of the next volume is "Bull Slaying From Romulus to Caesar" though it covers more than just that period of Roman history. And, the first half of the book is, again, taken up with indispensable concepts that are explained in an entertaining way, I hope.

I touched on many of these topics in my talks in Barcelona, but this will be a fuller, written, development. And now, I can even introduce Nagel and some of his ideas which will be a nice addition.

Thanks for that information.
 

shijing

The Living Force
I listened to a set of "trialogues" today between Rupert Sheldrake, Terrence McKenna and Ralph Abraham called The Evolutionary Mind. Parts of them are relevant to some of the topics in Thomas Nagel's book, and there are other parts that touch on recently discussed topics like artificial intelligence. It's an older recording (1998), but there are a few gems in there.
 

lewis_86

Padawan Learner
Recently watched Rupert Sheldrake talk in which he discussed his research into telepathy, in humans and animals. Really want to conduct my own experiments in this now, would be pretty easy to do I reckon.

In terms of their being hardly any science research into these fields, it must be frustrating for him. He is clearly well versed in the scientific method and some of the "sceptics" he converses with are motivated by quite an arrogant view point, IMO. Specifically the sceptic who insisted that he would be only one able to publish any results if they worked together.

In terms of the science behind it, I had a theory that possibly when these incidents of telepathy occur, there may well be a correlation in brain chemistry between the participants; or certain areas of the brain might become active, maybe ones associated with emotion, communication and memory. Just an idea anyway...
 

Approaching Infinity

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Sheldrake makes some of the points Nagel makes (discussed over here). He focuses on ten scientific dogmas, showing evidence against them, and philosophical reasons for why they aren't good assumptions to have (same as Nagel does). He has one chapter for each dogma. So, as a sort of supplement to Nagel's book, I want to include some my notes from the book, and how they might relate to Nagel's arguments.

First, in the Prologue, Sheldrake makes some general points:

Corruption/Role of Science
"In nations both capitalist and Communist, the official academies of science remain the centres of power of the scientific establishment. There is no separation of science and state. Scientists play the role of an established priesthood, influencing government policies on the arts of warfare, industry, agriculture, medicine, education and research." (p. 15) Of course, the implication is that if their assumptions about the nature of the world are wrong, these filter down through all levels of society.

Denial of Free Will
"When the belief in determinism was applied to the activity of the human brain, it resulted in a denial of free will, on the grounds that everything about the molecular and physical activities of the brain was in principle predictable. Yet this conviction rested not on scientific evidence, but simply on the assumption that everything was fully determined by mathematical laws." (p. 17) But "almost all natural phenomena are probabilistic" and indeterminism is "an essential feature of the physical world." So not even the basis for the assumption was right. But this doesn't necessarily imply free will: "Choices made at random are no freer than if they are fully determined." (p. 18)

So, when Descartes and the gang separated subjective and objective realities, they found that the objective world could be studied and described mathematically. They extrapolated cause-and-effect relationships in the ways matter behaves and interacts. It looked deterministic. The thing is, this was actually a useful conclusion--the world does seem to behave in certain ways according to certain laws or regularities--but the problem comes when they assumed that this applied to everything. Scientists expand it to some universal truth, instead of just a good way of describing and studying a certain part of reality. Because, as it turns out, subatomic events aren't deterministic. And mental causation, or free will, enters the picture as something outside of determinism or indeterminism. It seems to me that free will is something that directs physical cause-and-effect, chooses one option over another, or makes one indeterminate option more likely than another. The "organizing principle" is rooted in consciousness.

Science and Christianity
"The founders of mechanistic science in the seventeenth century [Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, Bacon, Boyle, Newton--all Catholics or Protestants] rejected the animistic view of nature taken for granted in medieval Europe … that the universe was alive …" Instead, they taught that the universe was a soulless machine that was created by God. This mechanistic vision is now the basis of modern science, having rejected the religious vision that gave birth to it. The third option was pretty much eradicated: the idea that the cosmos is like an organism, having mind, body, growth, goals.

Chapter 1

Dogma #1: "Everything is essentially mechanical. Dogs, for example, are complex mechanisms, rather than living organisms with goals of their own. Even people are machines, "lumbering robots," in Richard Dawkins's vivid phrase, with brains that are like genetically programmed computers." (p. 7)

Chapter Summary: "The mechanistic theory is based on the metaphor or the machine. But it's only a metaphor. Living organisms provide better metaphors for organized systems at all levels of complexity, including molecules, plants and societies of animals, all of which are organized in a series of inclusive levels [holons], in which the whole at each level is more than the sum of the parts, which are themselves wholes at a lower level. Even the most ardent defenders of the mechanistic theory smuggle purposive organizing principles into living organisms in the form of selfish genes or genetic programs. In the light of the Big Bang theory, the entire universe is more like a growing, developing organism than a machine slowly running out of steam." (p. 55)

In other words, reductionism doesn't work. Physics and chemistry can't fully explain what a cell is and all the functions of a cell, or the goals and purposes of a full organism. I can't speak about my drive to understand consciousness in terms of the atoms that make up my body. Sheldrake would say that the reason is not simply because I don't know enough about physics, but because it's actually impossible. The organism needs to be seen in terms of the whole organism, and its various levels of organization.

Soul and Spirit
"For Aquinas, the soul was the form of the body. The soul acted like an invisible mold that shaped the plant or the animal as it grew and attracted it toward its mature form [a telos, as in teleology?]. … In most respects fields [e.g., electromagnetic] have replaced the souls of classical and medieval philosophy. … Bodies and souls were part of nature. Spirits were non-material but interacted with embodied beings through their souls. The human spirit, or "rational soul," according to Christian theology, was potentially open to the Spirit of God." (p. 33)

In his morphic field theory, Sheldrake sees goals and physical forms as telos. An organism's final form is like a non-material template, which DNA/protein/cells "grows into." In other words, it's directed by some process over and above just the laws of physics and chemistry. I like Bryant Shiller's term: directed chemistry. (Question is, what is doing the directing?) So it's actually a non-physical form which acts as an attractor, and gene expression is somehow influenced by this attractor, differentiating cells at the right place in time, expressing genes in certain sequences, until this form is reached. Unlike the physical laws of the universe, this kind of teleological law is historical--it's time-dependent, with changes in both the life of the organism, and of the life system itself.

Sheldrake identifies the self-contradiction inherent in mechanistic thinking. When someone argues that mechanism is real, they're making exceptions of themselves. They actually believe their theories are true, "not just doing what his brain makes him do." (p. 36) In other words, they're acting AS IF they weren't mechanistic machines, but beings capable of reason and coming to grips with the world.

A Third Option
"Yet we are not forced to choose between chance and an external intelligence [to account for life]. There is another possibility. Living organisms may have an internal creativity, as we do ourselves. When we have a new idea or find a new way of doing something, we do not design the idea first, and then put it into our own minds. New ideas just happen, and no one knows how or why." (pp. 37-8) Maybe this creativity is inherent in the universe, as in teleology? "Creativity is inherent in living organisms, or works through them. (p. 44)

Vitalism
The vitalists saw life as truly alive; organizing principles, over and above physics and chemistry, "shaped the forms of living organisms, gave them their purposive behaviour, and underlay the instincts and intelligence of animals." German embryologist Hans Driesch (1867-1941) called this principle entelechy (en-telos, in purpose). Aristotle had used this word for the soul. "[Embryos'] entelechy attracted the developing embryos--and even separated parts of embryos--toward the form of the adult." (p. 44-5) Now genes are used to describe and explain everything. But evolutionists still use vitalist metaphors (because they're so difficult to escape).

"The most popular use of a vitalistic metaphor in the name of mechanism is the "genetic program." Genetic programs are explicitly analogous to computer programs, which are intelligently designed by human minds to achieve particular purposes. Programs are purposive, intelligent and goal-directed. They are more like entelechies than mechanisms. The "genetic program" implies that plants and animals are organized by purposive principles that are mind-like, or designed by minds. This is another way of smuggling intelligent design into chemical genes.

"If challenged, most biologists will admit that genes merely specify the sequence of amino acids in proteins, or are involved in the control of protein synthesis. They are not really programs; they are not selfish, they do not mold matter, or shape form, or aspire to immortality. A gene is not "for" a characteristic like a fish's fin or the nest-building behaviour of a weaver bird. But molecular vitalism soon creeps back again. The mechanistic theory of life has degenerated into misleading metaphors and rhetoric." (p. 48)

Holism
Rather than seeing organisms in terms of their parts, holism sees them in terms of their wholes. Jan Smuts saw holism as "the ultimate synthetic, ordering, organizing, regulative activity in the universe, which accounts for all the structural groupings and syntheses in it, from the atom and the physicochemical structures, through the cell and organisms, through Mind in animals to Personality in man. The all-pervading and ever-increasing character of synthetic unity or wholeness in these structures leads to the concept of Holism as the fundamental activity underlying and co-ordinating all others, and to the view of the universe as a Holistic Universe." (p. 49)

Form is an important part of a teleological universe: there need to be tendencies for certain forms to develop, forms capable of consciousness and reason. This is true from the lowest level of matter: "structures of activity, patterns of energetic vibration within fields." What determines the structures and patterns, from the lowest level to the highest, that allow for conscious beings? And the way they all interact and build on top of each other, like "nested hierarchies"?

"In the course of evolution, new holons [wholes made up of parts, a term proposed by Arthur Koestler] arise that did not exist before; for example, the first amino acid molecules, the first living cells, or the first flowers, or the first termite colonies. Since holons are wholes, they must arise by sudden jumps. New levels of organization 'emerge' and their 'emergent properties' go beyond those of the parts that were there before." (p. 51-2) I see a hint of this in Nagel's argument. We have physics and chemistry, acting as a substrate for the world, then the appearance of life on top of that (cells). The organism is a quantum leap away from basic physics and chemistry, and it has new features: consciousness. Then, on top of that, add the reason and personality of human individuals. Each one seems like a sudden jump to new levels of organization.
 
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