The Science Delusion

This is a banned TED Talk given by Rupert Sheldrake in 2013. Held in Whitechapel, London, the event was called “Challenging Existing Paradigms.” Sheldrake summarizes some of the main themes in his book Science Set Free.

At eighteen minutes long, it is only a primer, but will still support multiple listenings. He lists the 10 Dogmas of modern science, and discusses his hypothesis of morphic resonance. He asks the question whether in an evolving universe might not the laws themselves evolve. Is there a larger consciousness? Does nature have a purpose? Is your mind only inside your head? Are the speed of light and the force of gravity in fact not constant at all?

I say that in every age science and religion propose to be the final word on everything. These institutions may reveal great truths to us, but still, even when inspired, are only interpretations by fallible man. Sheldrake reminds us that dogmatic assumptions only inhibit inquiry, and in this way actually hinder us in our pursuit of the truth.

The Science Delusion
The 10 Dogmas – the default worldview of most educated people:

1. Nature (the universe) is mechanical or machine like
2. Matter is unconscious
3. The laws of nature are fixed (the constants of nature are fixed)
4. The total amount of matter and energy is always the same
5. Nature is purposeless
6. Biological heredity is material*
7. Memories are stored inside your brain as material traces
8. Your mind is inside your head**
9. Psychic phenomena like telepathy are impossible
10. Mechanistic medicine is the only kind that really works

* (everything you inherit is in your genes, or in epigenetic modifications of the genes, or in cytoplasmic inheritance)
** all your consciousness is the activity of your brain and nothing more

“To say that a stone falls to earth because it is obeying a law makes it a man, and even a citizen.”
— C.S. Lewis


  1. The Science Delusion
    Bravo! Well said! ??? Challenging our preconceived notions is the capacity to learn. George Leonard stated that his favorite student to teach Aikido to is the humble and open to new ideas. His worst student is one who is holding onto beliefs already formulated. Science is not an authoritative source in and of itself. Science is dynamic, just like religion. It is always changing to the conditions of the environment. Things evolve and adapt. Adapting means learning from the change in the environment that works for the situation. In life we are constantly learning and adapting. Once we stop we are a mindless robot. Sound familiar? That’s our modern life. That’s why nihilism is on the rise because we have lost the meaning to life. Everything is by the book like Nurse Ratchett in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The indomitable will, the spirit of freedom embodied by the ward McMurphy is broken when Nurse Ratchett forces him to get a lobotomy. That is the Tyrant. Science and religion don’t have the final say. If they did, they would be the Tyrant.

    • Right! What Zen Buddhism calls Shoshin — the Beginner’s Mind.

      I need to watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest again.

      Black Pigeon talks about how the decrease in organized religion today in the West has led to people creating their own Religions of Liberalism, Social Justice, et cetera. The Church of Woke, with a priest class, dogma and doctrine, adherence, blasphemy, excommunication, and more. The religion of self.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *