Sheldrake’s idea that dogs know when there owner is coming home is unconfirmed and falls on the highly dubious side. But let’s tell kids about it!
Kate Banks and world-renowned biologist Rupert Sheldrake collaborate on this novel about two boys who set out to prove that their dogs know when they are coming home.
The book is scheduled to come out this summer. It is fiction but based on experimental findings that Sheldrake conducted and believes are valid showing the special powers of animals. He wrote his own book about it. However, the experiments were repeated by others and FAILED to reproduce the same effect, thus, highly suspect.
In his book, Seven Experiments That Could Change The World, Rupert Sheldrake suggested that the public carry out experiments to test whether pets can psychically detect when their owners are returning home. The first of these tests was undertaken by an Austrian television company and involved an owner in the Northwest of England (PS) and her dog (Jaytee). The test appeared remarkably successful and seemed to show Jaytee responding when PS set off to return home from a remote location. Rupert Sheldrake and PS kindly asked the authors if they would like to carry out their own investigation into Jaytee’s abilities. This paper outlines various ‘normal’ explanations that might account for the phenomenon and presents an experimental design that minimised these possibilities. The paper then details the procedure and results of four experiments. Analysis of the data did not support the hypothesis that Jaytee could psychically detect when his owner was returning home. Finally, the paper discusses a possible reason for the difference in results of these studies and those carried out by the Austrian television company.
Sheldrake disagreed with the results of this version of the experiment by Richard Wiseman. Sheldrake endorses a wide variety of scientifically unaccepted ideas such as “morphic resonance” and the sense of being stared it. He has also taken to skeptic bashing, calling qualified scientists like Wiseman dogmatists and researchers of fringe subjects “open minded”. When you don’t have the data, attack the critics.
Is his work reliable? Most don’t accept that to be so and his work is considered “pseudoscientific” or lacking in the rigor and ethos of sound science. It’s disturbing that he would promote his ideas in kids books. But, if you have perused the juvenile non-fiction, you will see that kids are regularly marketed books that are chock-full of mistaken stories, anecdotes and terrible evidence to support paranormal subjects like Bigfoot, ghosts, UFOs and psychic powers. The real story here is that there are not many books that interested children can turn to that have a solid skeptical approach. Publishers, hit me up. I’m game.