Ruport Sheldrake, a common name bantered about and regarded in paranormal research circles because he is an academic, has a new book out. It’s selling well but not sitting well with contemporary scientists and critical thinkers. Here are some reasons why:
I would take the evolutionary principle there [cosmology], too. I think that the ‘laws of nature’ are also prone to evolve; I think they are more like habits than laws. Much of what we are beginning to understand is that they clearly have evolved differently in different parts of the universe.”
His research since then has concentrated almost entirely on the kinds of phenomena that science dismisses out of hand “but which people are generally fascinated by and made to feel stupid about”. He has a long-running experiment that collects data about how dogs “know” when their owners are coming home; another is concerned with the apparently strong deviations from chance in human ability to predict when they are being stared at from a distance. He retains an interest in subjects as diverse as the mysteries of crystal formation, the efficacy of Chinese medicine, the forces that trigger migrations of birds and animals over vast distances, and the nature of consciousness.
None of these pursuits has enhanced his standing in the professional scientific community.
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Is he correct? No one can say right now. However, Sheldrake appeals to those who look for legitimacy of science through someone who is sympathetic to mysterious unknowns that have yet to be discovered.
Some allege that Sheldrake is poor at dealing with criticism and has gone off on his own and developed his own ideas about science. People who question his idea are called “dogmatists”.
Sheldrake cites on his page: “Rupert Sheldrake, one of the world’s most innovative biologists and writers, is best known for his theory of morphic fields and morphic resonance, which leads to a vision of a living, developing universe with its own inherent memory.”
He makes a claim that is reaching beyond what we know and speculating about all sorts of fancy stuff. This is why his reputation with well known academics and critical thinking advocates is so poor.