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Sheldrake Lecture Promotion

Whiny Blogger Whines Again About Rupert Sheldrake

From Jerry Coyne, the blogger that originally whined to TED about Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock, kicking off the whole later controversy, comes a new round of whiny whining: he’s going to lodge a protest that Sheldrake will be giving a talk on science to one “the most prestigious “public schools” in the UK”.

It’s outrageous that someone with such wacko ideas is not only being honored this way, but will be given the chance to corrupt young minds with ideas about morphic resonance, psychic phenomena, and How Dogs Know When Their Owners are Coming Home. And the lecture blurb actually boasts of this stuff, characterizing Sheldrake as “one of the world’s most innovative biologists and writers.” “Notorious” would be a better word than “innovative.” Sadly, a bunch of kids in this sold-out lecture will get to hear that materialism is a dying paradigm in science. What were they thinking?

I feel sorry for the lost opportunity to turn kids onto real, genuine, materialistic, hard science rather than fluffy woo. I don’t know about you, but I’m at least going to register a small protest.

Sheldrake is a ‘woomeister’ eh? I think we can comfortably label Coyne a douchemeister using the same intelligent system of categorisation…

(h/t Michelle Gibson)

  1. Knights in Shiny Armor, Defending Us from our Own Ignorance
    It’s something of a persistent trend I keep perceiving among the most vocal skeptics, this “what about the children???” posture they adopt, but by ‘children’ they actually mean ANYONE ELSE who is not as smart & critical-thinking as they are.

    While I listened to Brian Dunning’s recent appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, he said a lot of things that made me cringe constantly, but the most astounding of all was something to the effect of “To allow asking questions on ‘settled’ scientific matters does more harm than good.”

    Think about that for a second. Doesn’t that denote an intrinsic lack of faith in the general capacity of human beings to perceive the Truth, when given enough information? Not to mention the capacity of the scientific corpus itself & the solidity of its arguments…

    When you think common folk are too dumb to tell ‘Proper Science’ from ‘Woo Crap’, you start treating Science as dogma & yourself as an inquisitor.

    Granted, I don’t actually know how old the students who are going to listen to Sheldrake are, but I’d assume Rupert is clever enough to know he can’t deliver the same kind of content which was presented on his TEDx lecture of last year. I bet the main gist of it will boil down to telling the kids to ‘question everything’. Nothing wrong with that IMO –then again, I’m not a school prefect :3

    1. Materialism = Flat-Earthism for the 21st Century
      Reading Coyne, you would think that science had stopped in 1687. Apparently the billiard-ball universe of Newton’s ‘Principia’ is the last word on our understanding of nature.

      In reality, materialism died around 100 years ago, yet Professor Coyne and his fellow Grand Inquisitors are desperately trying to revive its bloated corpse and get it to stagger on into the 21st century.

      I rather like Richard C. Henry’s comment on materialism. As Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins, Henry has taught physics for 40 years, and he said that he finally gave up on materialism when he realised that experiments show, quite clearly, that there is no material! In this, he was merely echoing what had already been stated by scientists of the calibre of Max Planck and Sir Arthur Eddington.

      Bernardo Kastrup’s forthcoming book ‘Why Materialism is Baloney’ points out the self-refuting absurdities of the materialist worldview.

      Materialism is as dead as flat-earthism. This is the crux of the forthcoming scientific revolution; consciousness, not matter, is the foundation of ‘reality’.

      Max Planck told it like it is back in 1944:

      “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

      (Incidentally, Planck also stated the following back in 1931:

      “We have no right to assume that any physical laws exist, or if they have existed up to now, that they will continue to exist in a similar manner in the future.”

      Sounds familiar ….. who said something like this recently …. oh yes – Rupert Sheldrake! But of course he’s a woomeister, just like that whackjob pseudoscientist Max Planck … better stop him spreading such a crazy idea.)

      This whole episode is a sorry example of how dogmatic materialism has supplanted dogmatic religion as the modern-day threat to scientific progress.

    2. Nailed it
      [quote=red pill junkie]It’s something of a persistent trend I keep perceiving among the most vocal skeptics, this “what about the children???” posture they adopt, but by ‘children’ they actually mean ANYONE ELSE who is not as smart & critical-thinking as they are.

      You’ve hit the nail on the head RPJ, and beautifully summed up a lot of thoughts I’ve been having recently (also in the wake of Dunning’s JRE appearance, and other things). A skeptic I followed on Twitter yesterday quoted Carl Sagan: “This is an endemic human characteristic—to be credulous, to believe what others tell us, to prefer what feels good to what’s true.”

      I’m not sure it’s true. Yes, ppl certainly can be credulous, but generally my ‘in-built’ reaction to anything anyone tells me is to be skeptical of it, and has been for as long as I can remember. It makes me wonder if the Sagan quote, and variations on it by skeptics, is more a construct built to (a) justify the existence of skeptical orgs and/or (b) reassure themselves that they (skeptics) are smarter than most other people.

      1. Materialism – a reassuring comfort blanket

        “A skeptic I followed on Twitter yesterday quoted Carl Sagan: “This is an endemic human characteristic—to be credulous, to believe what others tell us, to prefer what feels good to what’s true.”

        I’m not sure it’s true.”

        Well, even if it IS true, skeptics and materialists need to realise that it cuts both ways.

        For example, a large number of skeptics were formerly religious fundamentalists or were raised in a fundamentalist milieu (according to researcher David Leiter, this covers the vast majority of skeptics). It is certainly a major ‘feel good factor’ for these individuals to ditch their belief in God and the afterlife.

        Without God they can surf internet porn, cheat their business partner, commit adultery, fiddle their taxes, engage in some minor shoplifting or ‘come out’ as gay (I’ve nothing against gays, but the God of religious fundamentalism apparently thinks differently) without feelings of fear or guilt.

        And without the afterlife, skeptics can stop worrying about such pesky things as reincarnation (where they might come back as a starving, filthy beggar in an Asian slum, instead of enjoying another life of well-educated, well-fed privilege) and judgement (where, if dogmatic religion is correct, they will burn eternally in Hell for denying God – and possibly for being gay). Not that I think dogmatic religion is correct, of course, but there is still the ‘weighing of the soul’ via self-judgement, according to NDE accounts.

        Yes, materialism and atheism form a very cosy comfort blanket indeed, and it should not be thought that seeking a comforting worldview is solely the preserve of the religious, the spiritual, or the psi researcher.

        it would certainly be understandable that the skeptics should be credulous about what they are told by materialist authority figures, in order to maintain this comforting worldview. It would also be understandable that they would want to ban talks and lectures that might upset this cosy certainty.

    1. Tea Science
      [quote=jupiter.enteract]Coyne and his ilk are to science what the Tea Party is to politics.[/quote]

      That’s a Daily Grail Quote of the Day right there, jupiter! You nailed it.

  2. lel
    He seems to forget that Rupert Sheldrake has academic education on biology amd as far as I’m concerned biology is still science. Materialistic science.

    On a side note, my uncle used to be hardcore scientist too, biologist to be accurate. Guess what he does nowadays? Energy healings 😛

      1. Yup
        I’m not utterly sure but he talked about how he went to see some reiki heiling stuff and apparently it worked for him. Nowadays he is totally in to it (sometimes too much imho)

  3. Hey, Jerry, when are you going to print a retraction?
    Jerry Coyne is a nutcase with a job at the U. of Chicago. His March attacks on Rupert Sheldrake, in which he misrepresented his questions about the speed of light, turning them into assertions that the speed of light was known to be falling, were soon overtaken by research showing that there is evidence that the speed of light is variable, the substance of Sheldrake’s question. I looked and saw no place where Coyne or his equally inaccurate accomplice in his smear, Sean Carroll have corrected themselves.

    Coyne is far more James Randi than a serious scientist these days, I think it’s safe to consider him an ex-scientist as so many who go into materialist polemics turn out to be.

  4. Good to see a post about this
    Glad to see your post about this, Greg. (I’m Michelle Gibson, by the way.)

    Like his previous rant about Sheldrake (one that was published late last year) Coyne’s diatribe is insulting, misleading and puerile. I also think he’s making too much fuss; it’s not as though Sheldrake’s views are being forced on the students in general science lessons, it’s a one-off lecture. While I see the need to stick to a general scientific consensus in schools, I also think that an *occasional* exposure to different scientific perspectives is a good thing. If, in a one-off lecture, kids learn that some scientists do think there is credible evidence for telepathy and other psychic phenomena, what is wrong with that?

    What is most disturbing about Coyne is his totalitarian nature. It seems obvious to me that if he had power, he would likely do his best to forcibly silence Sheldrake. In his previous piece of venom-spewing about Sheldrake, he was complaining about Rupert being given “a voice” on BBC radio. Um, Coyne…in a free society, everyone has the right to their voice.

    Coyne and a lot of his fellow materialist blowhards may identify themselves as liberal politically, but in my opinion, they are the very opposite of liberal in their desire to bully, censor and suppress anything that they consider unsuitable.

    RPJ: You enquired about the ages of the schoolkids. The school website says that it takes students aged 13-18. So, not young kids, although still young enough to get a more simplistic talk than Rupert would usually do, I would think. Between 13 and 18 is probably the perfect age range for young people to become exposed to dissension like Sheldrake’s – teenager’s minds are becoming more nuanced and questioning and I’m hoping that if the talk goes ahead that many of them will come away having benefited from it.

  5. nothing new
    psuedoskeptics have always been doing this. not just within this age but all across history.

    such as when religous groups attacked people with ideas that they did not like and labled it as “sinful” and “satanic”.

    people like this are just a current example of this close-minded dogmatic world view.

    now “sinful” is “woo” and “siner” is “woomeister”.

    their primitive view will fade….someday I hope.

  6. Dear Rupert Sheldrake
    That great woo man – woomaniser rather than woomeister?
    It’s remarkable that Dr Sheldrake has managed never to be either impatient or petulant. Two things, especially the telling childish petulance, which disfigure his detractors. The more children who are exposed to his truly scientific perspective, the better.

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