• His 10 dogmas are simplistic half accurate statements and his “logic” brings him to even worse conclusions. He is basically seams to be building a flawed straw-man that is easy to pull apart. I stopped watching at about 9 minutes in.

    The primary premise of science is that if reality is knowable it must be predictable because if it was completely random we would have chaos. Starting with this idea of predictability the core of modern scientific theory is that by observation and experiments you come up with a description of the event/effect, this is a hypothesis. This hypothesis is tested in wider situations, if its predictions are accurate it is considered a theory. As we do more and more observations and experiments their results are compared against the theory to see if the theory still makes sense. If not we recheck the results of the observation/experiment and if they are correct the theory is “fixed” or thrown out and you try to come up with a new hypotheses.

    In his use of the term law he is conflating the common meaning with the scientific meaning. In common usage a law is a a binding custom or practice of a community which has the intent of defining what is acceptable by that community. In scientific usage a law is a a statement that explicitly describes a causal relationship between events under the same circumstances. If you look at the two definitions they are subtly different in that the common usage is a set of restrictions imposed to control actions where as scientific law is an explanation of how things act.

    He is absolutely right that the idea of a fixed set of rules and constants is an old outdated concept and a modern physicist/cosmologist doesn’t think this way. There is a framework of how things should function if they are going to function in a understandable way that is consistent. This framework gives us some ability to see when there is a logical inconsistency in a description we have made so we know that there is an error in the description.

    The bigest problem with things that are outside this paradigm is that they are by definition untestable and unpredictable. This is why they are rejected by science. Things that fall outside this paradigm are things like religion, metaphysics as well as many forms of spirituality.

    Metaphysical or supernatural events/descriptions run into a boundary problem. This boundary problem is between this metaphysical realm and the scientific realm. As long as things outside the realm of scientific methodology only say things about things outside the scientific realm there is no issue but as soon as there is a real tangible measurable effect being predicted then it becomes scientifically testable. For example for consciousness to be a metaphysical phenomenon and interact with the body/brain there needs to be a physical effect and none have been found. So far none of these claims have been shown to be accurate, the James Randi Educational Foundation established in 1996 that had put up 1 million dollars for the first person/group to demonstrate something that is “not scientifically explainable; supernatural.”. No one claimed it yet.

    His idea that there is some sort of metaphysical knowledge that shapes the shape of a developing fetus is way off base. If this were the case how it is that we can gene splice in the code from one species into another can cause a morphological change in the recipient species that is from the donor species? Also the idea of crystals having a metaphysical knowledge that shapes their growth is ridiculous, their growth is described perfectly by chemistry and atomic theory.

    If you want to find out more about the philosophy of the functional view of consciousness take a look at the book “Consciousness Explained” by Daniel Dennett.

    • Detlev says:

      Of course it’s been a while now since I’ve seen that film but I recall, not the details, but conceptually that Rupert Sheldrake’s points made some sense. Not having seen the film in its entirety may have us discussing only imagined differences. In short, it seems that science has written off anything it can’t measure which sounds to me like saying “if I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist”, rather than acknowledging lack of understanding and capacity to measure.

      That reminds me of discussions about multi-dimensionality – sure, physicists may be able to conjure up all sorts of mathematical equations that ‘prove’ or ‘hypothesize’ about 4, 5, or even 11 dimensions. But that is so far outside of my realm of experiential and conceptual reality that this mathematics is immaterial to me and I might as well conclude “it’s not possible; it doesn’t exist”.

      Then again as I learn more, my views will evolve as well.

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