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Rupert Sheldrake

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An opportunity to watch a new video of Rupert Sheldrake talking about his new book The Science Delusion

I have written or referred to Rupert Sheldrake many times previously on Learning from Dogs. I have also read the book by Mr. Sheldrake, Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home. (The linked title takes you to something I published about the book and the author on the 9th May, 2011 and also links to other articles about Rupert Sheldrake.)

Rupert Sheldrake

Previously, I had written about what Rupert Sheldrake calls morphic resonance and morphic fields, see my article here.

Yesterday, I received an email promoting Sheldrake’s new book.  This is what it said,

From Rupert Sheldrake
London January 30th, 2012

In my last newsletter I said that the UK launch of my new book The Science Delusion would be streamed live from Kings College, London University, on January 17, but unfortunately the internet connection at King College broke down, so this did not happen.

Clearly they were able to film that launch and that video link is available, but only until February 7th, 2012!  So if you want to watch the video then please go here.  I am not able to embed that into this Post.  You will be going to the video of this:

ONLINE VIDEO STREAM

THE SCIENCE DELUSION: FREEING THE SPIRIT OF INQUIRY

January 17, 2012, 7pm – 8:30pm (GMT), 2pm – 3:30pm (EST)
Venue: Great Hall King’s College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS

In addition, that email newsletter carried the link to a review of the new book in the British Guardian newspaper, by Mary Midgley.  It starts thus,

The unlucky fact that our current form of mechanistic materialism rests on muddled, outdated notions of matter isn’t often mentioned today. It’s a mess that can be ignored for everyday scientific purposes, but for our wider thinking it is getting very destructive. We can’t approach important mind-body topics such as consciousness or the origins of life while we still treat matter in 17th-century style as if it were dead, inert stuff, incapable of producing life. And we certainly can’t go on pretending to believe that our own experience – the source of all our thought – is just an illusion, which it would have to be if that dead, alien stuff were indeed the only reality.

If you want to read the review in full then it is here. (If you are a follower of Rupert Sheldrake, best not to take the comments to Mary’s article too seriously!)

Also, the Guardian blog carried a piece by Mark Vernon, that opened thus,

Werner Heisenberg, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, once observed that history could be divided into periods according to what people of the time made of matter. In his book Physics and Philosophy, published in the early 60s, he argued that at the beginning of the 20th century we entered a new period. It was then that quantum physics threw off the materialism that dominated the natural sciences of the 19th century.

Of materialism, he wrote:

“[This] frame was so narrow and rigid that it was difficult to find a place in it for many concepts of our language that had always belonged to its very substance, for instance, the concept of mind, of the human soul or of life. Mind could be introduced into the general picture only as a kind of mirror of the material world.”

Today we live in the 21st century, and it seems that we are still stuck with this narrow and rigid view of the things. As Rupert Sheldrake puts it in his new book, published this week, The Science Delusion: “The belief system that governs conventional scientific thinking is an act of faith, grounded in a 19th-century ideology.”

Mark Vernon closes the fascinating piece with these tantalising words.

The analogy has the benefit of naturalising extrasensory perception, Watts notes. But it also raises problems. For example, how would it be possible mentally “to touch” objects that don’t exist, as would happen when contemplating a centaur? Watts concludes: “An adequate account of the mind must encompass both first- and third-person description whereas the idea of a ‘field’, along with the other spatial descriptions that Sheldrake uses, seem to be exclusively third-person type descriptions.” Oddly, this is a strikingly 19th century attitude to have.

Nonetheless, Sheldrake must welcome such serious engagement with his work. He may not be right in the details. But he is surely right, with Heisenberg, in insisting that the materialist world view must go.

Don’t rely on my short excerpts, read the article in full here.

For my money, this will be a book that I won’t miss reading!

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