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Formative Causation


scitsofreaky
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What do you guys know about Rupert Sheldrake and morphogenesis? I've gotten into a discussion and I can't find anything about his standing in the scientific community, if any.

Here are some things I have found:

Interview

http://fusionanomaly.net/rupertsheldrake.html

Comparison of TGD based theory of self-organization with the ideas of Rupert Sheldrake (this one is for the more physics minded people, and one that I just don't understand)

The Wiki entry on Rupert

Wiki on Morphogenetic feild (breifly says that the response from the scientific community was "critical," and is far from specific)

(And just because I posted a link doesn't mean I know it through and through, they just seemed like good sources)

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The silence is deafening. No matter.

It seems his two big "things" are: dogs know when their master is home (which is a title of one of his books, or something close to that), and people sometimes know when someone is staring at them. Alrighty then, sounds like thrilling work. In the latter, he did a bunch of tests (and apparently cites other similar tests as well) and found that in the control group they could tell if someone was staring at them 50% of the time, but in the test group they could tell 60% of the time. I haven't seen an actual paper on the tests itself, this is just what I managed to find. I don't know what the difference was between the two groups, so I can't really say if that 10% difference is actually significant. He obviously thinks so.

Any way, it seems that a good bit of his work on genetics and the "morphogenic field" was written before we gained much of our knowledge of genes, so I'm not sure how any of his "research" applies today.

It also appears that he is embraced by the new-agers, but he is still a member of the Anglican church.

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I've heard of Sheldrake, but don't know lots about him. Scitsofreaky, you are right in that Sheldrake has a big new-agey following. Think "alternative" science, quantum theory, etc.

 

Here's his website if you want to check him out: Rupert Sheldrake

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I've read this book some time ago. It was rather intreguing except for the knowing when you are being stared at. 2,3,6,&7 were the most interesting.

 

 

Seven Experiments That Could Change the World: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Revolutionary Science

 

Seven Experiments

 

The existence of unexplained natural phenomena has piqued human interest since the days we first grappled with fire. Mysteries such as the language used between animals or the vast potential of the human mind eternally attract our attention and elude our comprehension. Ironically, public interest in attempting to resolve these questions seems to be growing just at a time when science as an institution becomes increasingly reluctant to address these concerns. Persistent areas of paranormal intrigue that do not fit into conventional scientific models continue to remain largely unanswered.

 

Lay researchers and armchair scientists can now actively participate in the process of discovery with the help of Seven Experiments That Could Change the World: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Revolutionary Science by Dr. Rupert Sheldrake. This former Research Fellow of the Royal Society at Cambridge University proposes a grassroots revolution in scientific inquiry, where amateurs everywhere can undertake for themselves the activity that is at the heart of the scientific method: the experiment.

 

In the spirit of Darwin, who recorded many of his observations in the simplicity of his garden and never held an institutional post, Dr. Sheldrake encourages enthusiasts of the paranormal to explore seven of the world's most enigmatic common occurrences by using simple resources of their own. The areas of study focus on phenomenon including:

 

1. A pet's ability to anticipate its owner's return home

2. The direction-finding instincts of homing pigeons

3. The highly organized structure of termite communities

4. Our own tendency to know when we are being stared at from behind

5. Sensations felt in phantom limbs after amputation

6. The validity of the Universal Gravitational constant as a true constant

7. The effect scientists' biases may have on experimentation

 

Support material, such as historical notes and anecdotal evidence, is presented in conjunction with each experiment, while tips on gathering the required materials and clear procedural directions make the research accessible to anyone. Specific data-collecting guidelines and challenging suggestions on ways to expand upon the experiments further ensure statistically valid results. Readers are encouraged by open invitation to send in the results of their work to the renowned Institute of Noetic Sciences for documentation, analysis and world-wide dissemination.

 

Seven Experiments That Could Change the World proposes a new relationship between professional scientists and non-scientists, the former possessing the prestige of professional credentials and the latter having the freedom to explore new areas of research. Such widespread, collective participation opens up the possibility of our being able to address these questions that still remain unanswered. It also enables us, in the process, to revolutionize our approach to the exploration of nature's unseen forces.

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