Biologist Rupert Sheldrake Explains the Ten Dogmas Holding Science Back

'Maverick biologist' Rupert Sheldrake thinks there is a big problem in science, caused by those who employ it as a belief system, rather than using it as a method of inquiry. He thinks science is being held back by the former, and in his soon-to-be-released book Science Set Free (already available in the UK as The Science Delusion) he offers the "ten dogmas of science" that he thinks need to be treated with more suspicion than they currently are:

  1. That nature is mechanical.
  2. That matter is unconscious.
  3. The laws of nature are fixed.
  4. The totally amount of matter and energy are always the same.
  5. That nature is purposeless.
  6. Biological inheritance is material.
  7. That memories are stored as material traces.
  8. The mind is in the brain.
  9. Telepathy and other psychic phenomena are illusory.
  10. Mechanistic medicine is the only kind that really works.

The 'science delusion' is the uncritical belief in these dogmas, treating them not as beliefs but as truths... Science is much more fun, much more interesting, much more free, when we turn these dogmas into questions.

See the video at the top of this post for Sheldrake's more detailed explanation of these ten dogmas, or better still pick up the book for the complete argument.

US: Science Set Free (released Sept 4, 2012)
UK: The Science Delusion (available now)

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emlong's picture
Member since:
18 September 2007
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1 day 16 hours

Sheldrake is one brave dude. In 50 years we will look back upon these benighted times and laugh at how incomplete was the scientific model of these days. What's more we will wonder at the gall of thinking that any model of the universe could ever be "complete" in the first place. The anal retentiveness of such a conceit will be obvious as we understand how malleable reality truly is.

RealityTest's picture
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16 August 2006
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5 weeks 1 day

Very well said, in my opinion.

Bill I.

Inannawhimsey's picture
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14 April 2009
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14 weeks 5 days

Bill I. the Metaphysical Guy
Bill I. the Metaphysical Guy
Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill
Bill I. the Metaphysical Guy
(Metaphysical rules)
Bill I. the Metaphysical Guy
(Reality is programmable)
Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill
Bill I. the Metaphysical Guy
Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill
(T-minus seven seconds)
Bill I., the Metaphysical Guy

(riffing on a local Science popularizer, Bill Nye the Science Guy and his program)

All that lives is holy, life delights in life.

--William Blake