Rupert Sheldrake’s goal is to dispute ten current scientific dogmas (“the scientific creed”).
- Dogma: Life is essentially mechanical. Dispute: The mechanical explanation of life is akin to trying to understand a computer by grinding it up and analyzing its component elements. All mechanistic supporters smuggle purpose in their model through concept such as “selfish gene”, “genetic programs”, or simply though the zeal they show in trying to convince the skeptics.
- Dogma: All matter is unconscious. Human consciousness is an illusion. Dispute: This dogma is a corollary of a materialistic view of the Universe. But what if materialism is itself a delusion? If consciousness is an illusion, why do we have this “evolutionary adaptation”?
- Dogma: Total amount of matter and energy in the Universe is always the same (except the Big Bang). Dispute: This dogma is just an unverifiable assumption. Modern cosmology relies upon dark energy and dark matter – two utterly unknown entities that at this time look like equation plugins to sustain the cosmology model.
- Dogma: The laws of nature are fixed and perpetual. Dispute: Where were the laws of nature before the Big Bang? This dogma is just an unverifiable assumption.
- Dogma: Nature is purposeless, and evolution has no goal or direction. Dispute: How would one know there is no purpose? If there is no purpose, how come our actions are purposeful? Organisms show goal-directed development. If their development is interrupted, they can often reach the same end by different paths.
- Dogma: All biological inheritance is material, carried in the genetic material, and in other material structures. Dispute: Genes are overrated in the sense that they do not “code for” (“program”) the form and function of an organism. Epigenetics and other yet largely unknown phenomena contribute significantly to inheritance.
- Dogma: Minds are inside heads and are nothing but the activities of brains. An image of a tree is not “out there,” where it seems to be, but inside your brain. Dispute: Our minds are extended in the act of perception. What we see around us is in our mind, but not in our brain.
- Dogma: Memories are stored as material traces in brains and are wiped out at death. Dispute: We have not observed any memory traces despite the effort. Memory might instead be a resonant phenomenon.
- Dogma: Unexpected phenomena like telepathy are illusory. Dispute: Most people have experience telepathy. Animal telepathic experiences are well known and widely documented.
- Dogma: Mechanistic medicine is the only kind that really works. Dispute: Modern medicine has clearly been very successful, but it’s clear that other factors such as patient’s beliefs and feelings play a significant role in outcomes. It has been shown that end of life palliative and hospice care is more effective than mechanistic medical interventions. Placebo effect is not part of mechanistic medicine.
- Dogma: Science is always objective. Dispute: It’s unrealistic to dissociate scientists from their beliefs, hopes, fears, and emotions. Blind and double-blind methodologies accept implicitly that scientists are intrinsically biased. Outright fraud, peer pressure, “publish or perish” attitude, and biased skepticism have also been extensively documented.
In conclusion, the materialist approach has been liberating in the past. But now, despite lip service being paid to “an open mind”, materialism is just as dogmatic as the old approaches. The biggest delusion is that “science has already answered the fundamental questions”.