Friday, March 15, 2013

Rupert Sheldrake's TED talk: ideas worth suppressing?

I find an email from Rupert Sheldrake in my inbox, telling me that his TED talk has been removed from the TED London website - although it is still available here - because two scientists have objected to the promotion of the ideas contained within it, it seems.

It always amazes me when scientists wish to eliminate something which doesn't fit within their paradigm of science when there are some simple questions which science cannot answer. If the universe is infinite, what does that mean in terms of what is beyond and beyond and beyond? If the universe is finite, then what is around it? And around that? and around that?

The rise of modern theoretical physics means that very few people in our reality will be able to test out the hypotheses that are put out by perfectly scientific people, or even to understand them. For most lay people the idea that a particle has a chance of being in four places at once is so outside our common experience as to be completely illogical.

Our concept of what science is, in terms of testing hypotheses with scientific method, complete breaks down when observation or non-observation may change the outcome of the experiment... and yet these two scientists, named in Sheldrake's email as Jerry Coyne and P.Z. Myers are *so* afraid of Sheldrake's ideas, that they have demanded that the video which challenges the dogma of science should be removed.

The fabric of the TED talk which has been removed, is a challenge to the idea of science as a religion, as a substitute for religion, in which a rigid view of what science is and can be is imposed by scientists who control the realm of the possible and probable and refuse to allow any enquiry outside those realms. It is manifestly demonstrated that this view is true, from the very action of its opponents.

TED should be ashamed of themselves. Not only are they priced way outside the realm of most ordinary people's pockets (and thus exclusive and elitist) but they respond to pressure by caving, instead of maintain free speech and the opportunity to listen to an alternative point of view. I thought better of them.