Rupert Sheldrake’s Alternative Science
Richard Dawkins will barely give him the time of day and many other scientists hint darkly that he has gone mad. Since 1981, when a leader in the journal Nature accused him of “pseudoscience” and “finding a place for magic within scientific discussion”, Rupert Sheldrake has been outlawed by the science establishment.
But, before he went rogue, he was accepted as a very distinguished biochemist indeed so he cannot easily be dismissed as an ill-informed fantasist. The origin of his heresy lay in his conviction that biochemistry alone could not solve the problem of how organisms assumed their final form, the process of morphogenesis. He alighted on the idea of morphic resonance. We are all surrounded by as yet undetected fields, which carry information from the past that forms new organisms. Not only that, they carry our memories and store skills. So, thanks to morphic resonance, the first person who learns to ride a bike makes it easier for the second person and so on.
This points to a perennial failing of the institution of science (and, in fairness, of most institutions) — dogmatic vanity.
In a series of books, Sheldrake has explored the evidence for and the implications of this idea. This involves ordinary phenomena such as dogs who know when their owner is coming home and the way people seem to know they are being stared at, as well as critiques of the whole edifice of materialist science.