The Science Delusion – an intriguing argument
After stumbling around the web (as we all do) for perhaps too long, I came across a post regarding talks that TED had self-censored! Yes, I think if any sentence deserves an exclamation mark it is that one. Without knowing a lot about the TED organization, I had always enjoyed watching the remarkable and innovative lectures, and assumed that the ethos of TED must be one of open-mindedness and inclusion. And yet, this video had been retrospectively removed form the general TED feed:
Apart from the fact that this has sparked incredible levels of debate and outrage, the content of Professor Rupert Sheldrake’s is intriguing to say the least. He argues that Science has become bogged down with dogma, closed-mindedness and a fundamentalism which is akin to a religious belief. He had, of course, written a book on the subject. His examples sparked my curiosity, and a flitted over to Amazon and was reading his tome within minutes.
The Science Delusion (or Science Set Free in the US) expounds on Sheldrake’s idea that Science has been stifled by the belief that we already know how the Universe works. He goes through ten main tenets of modern Science, breaking them down step-by-step with convincing arguments based on published papers and testable hypotheses.
Here is a small example. In one chapter, Sheldrake challenges the idea that so-called Universal Constant always have the same value. Indeed, it turns out that between 1928 and 1945 the measured values of the speed of light (‘c’) were lower than they should be by 20 kilometres per second. Some scientist speculated that the ‘constant’ may be fluctuating, but the consensus was that such occurrences were done to ‘intellectual phase locking’. In 1972 the embarrassment of this episode was expunged as the value of ‘c’ was fixed by definition. In 1983, the standard unit of length, the metre, was redefined in terms of the speed of light. So, if any fluctuations of ‘c’ were occurring, it is now impossible to detect as the length of the metre would also change!
Sheldrake has theories which are far more outré and are classed as parapsychology. However, I challenge you to read this book. If you find yourself offended by the ideas he is putting forward, then perhaps you hold a belief regarding how Science, and the Universe, works.
And I would ask you, “Shouldn’t science be free of the dogma of belief?”