This is a banned TED Talk given by Rupert Sheldrake in early 2013. He gave this talk, by invitation, at an event in Whitechapel, London, called “Challenging Existing Paradigms.” It summarized 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