In a banned TED talk speech, English author and biologist Rupert Sheldrake spoke at length about how science shares the same dogmatic principles that govern institutionalized religions. In his monumental book ‘The Science Delusion’, Sheldrake writes the 10 dogmas, or assumptions, of science. He says that when you check their validity under a scientific light, all of them crumble.
Dogma 1: Nature is a machine, and so are plants, animals, and people.
A belief that is just a “hangover” from an older worldview. Before the big bang theory, the prevailing belief was that everything was designed by an external mind, that that we all ultimately serve the purpose of the “machine-maker”.
Dogma 2: Matter is unconscious.
This idea stipulates that everything in the natural world – stars, animals, plants – is unconscious, which means that we are unconscious as well. But no one knows how molecules acquire the qualities of the mind.
Dogma 3: The laws of nature are fixed.
They say that this ‘fixed law’ will continue to be constant from the Bog Bang until the end of time. It’s funny that a mass of matter spontaneously exploded to create the known universe, but we believe that everything from there-on-out will be fixed and certain.
Dogma 4: The total amount of matter and energy is the same all the time.
The Big Bang revealed a universe that is extremely evolutionary (constantly growing, cooling, expanding) and doing so indefinitely with dark matter, the nature of which we don’t actually understand yet.
Dogma 5: Nature is purposeless.
That there is no design in nature, and the evolutionary process is merely a mechanical function – there is no higher purpose. But since every function in science serves a purpose, it’s logical to assume that all of the micro-purposes serve a larger one – even if we can’t scientifically identify it or philosophically agree on it.
Dogma 6: The traits of a species are composed of a physical material that reside in the genes.
But several forms of material inheritance are non-genetic. Cells inherit patterns of cell structures like mitochondria right from their mother cells. Animals and plants are also influenced by characteristics acquired by their ancestors through chemical changes that do not actually affect the underlying genetic code.
Dogma 7: Memories are stored inside of the brain as material traces.
This is the idea that memories are stored somewhere in the proteins and nerve endings are the memories of the mind. But attempts to locate memory traces have been unsuccessful despite more than a century of research.
Dogma 8: The mind is inside the head.
But there is ultimately no evidence for this. No one has ever seen a thought or image inside their own brain or someone else’s. When we look around us, the images of the things we see are outside us, not in our heads. Our experience of our bodies are in our bodies.
Dogma 9: Psychic phenomena, like telepathy, is impossible.
An idea based on Dogma #8 which holds that thoughts have no effect on the outside world. This is despite the fact that most people have had seemingly telepathic or precognitive experiences. An example can be found in the behaviour of animals just before the onslaught of a natural disaster.
Dogma 10: Mechanistic medicine is the only kind that works – It is merely chance or the placebo effect if a natural remedy or other healing practice seems to affect physical healing.
Despite its usefulness, modern medicines have their limitations, which are becoming apparent. With a rise in more “natural,” holistic alternatives on the brink, there’s a huge political and economic consequence to the pharmaceutical industry being overturned for less expensive, more effective remedies.
Watch Rupert Sheldrake speak at the TEDx-Whitechapel