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am 3. Januar 2000
"Familiarity with concepts conceals a deep problem". Mr Sheldrake is right to point this out, but never quite gets to grips with the problem he is tackling because ironically, he is never quite able to escape the familiarity of his own field of expertise. Like every scientist who is trying to say something new, he struggles to keep it in the fold of accepted thinking and to that purpose does no more than invent a new language in his conception of morphogenetic fields which does little more than the old idea of psi-fields or holons. From a scientific point of view, it gives to the kind of information he is dealing with an acceptable image, but in the end it is the same as saying that there is a something-I-know-not-what going on. The fact that experiments he has performed or reported on suggests something extraordinary in the nature of reality amounts to no more than saying that there may be something in it. The book has a lengthy section analysing the notion of a law as it has come down to us from the Greeks, but he never actually challenges the familiarity of the basic concepts of science that are passed down the generations as immutable. Consequently, he picks on the notion of a "field" within whose boundaries he presents his case for the morphogenetic experience and causative formation, not noticing that this conception itself is designed to bolster the laws of inertia which are now some three hundred years old and still unrevoked. Consequently, he is blind to the role that death plays in the structure of reality and within morphogenesis itself, merely noting that dead languages or unfamiliar languages can be learnt faster than gobbledegook or invented languages never spoken before. Furthermore, it suffers from a flaw that was a criticism of the platonic Forms in that Mr Sheldrake thinks that new fields arise with the formation of new ideas. He does not consider that, in the event of a field existing, it is just as capable of being switched off! To try to demonstrate the drama of experience in a test-tube is to invite the drama to dissipate and leave only a husk of itself for eyes to pry. It was the same problem for those experiments exploring psychic phenomena: how can the interest of the phenomenon be sustained over long periods of cold examination? Usually the experiments are held up as evidence of disproof by the skeptical and the positivist. At the end of the day, given the narrow parameters of operation, and the desire to be scientific, the best one can say is that there may be something in it and that is the end of that. What is really needed are ideas that challenge the autocratic position of science which is self-assumed which demands that anything concerning the nature of reality must comply with the conditions laid down by etc.etc. Even so, it is an interesting read, as far as it is prepared to go.
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am 3. Januar 2000
"Familiarity with concepts conceals a deep problem". Mr Sheldrake is right to point this out, but never quite gets to grips with the problem he is tackling because ironically, he is never quite able to escape the familiarity of his own field of expertise. Like every scientist who is trying to say something new, he struggles to keep it in the fold of accepted thinking and to that purpose does no more than invent a new language in his conception of morphogenetic fields which does little more than the old idea of psi-fields or holons. From a scientific point of view, it gives to the kind of information he is dealing with an acceptable image, but in the end it is the same as saying that there is a something-I-know-not-what going on. The fact that experiments he has performed or reported on suggests something extraordinary in the nature of reality amounts to no more than saying that there may be something in it. The book has a lengthy section analysing the notion of a law as it has come down to us from the Greeks, but he never actually challenges the familiarity of the basic concepts of science that are passed down the generations as immutable. Consequently, he picks on the notion of a "field" within whose boundaries he presents his case for the morphogenetic experience and causative formation, not noticing that this conception itself is designed to bolster the laws of inertia which are now some three hundred years old and still unrevoked. Consequently, he is blind to the role that death plays in the structure of reality and within morphogenesis itself, merely noting that dead languages or unfamiliar languages can be learnt faster than gobbledegook or invented languages never spoken before. Furthermore, it suffers from a flaw that was a criticism of the platonic Forms in that Mr Sheldrake thinks that new fields arise with the formation of new ideas. He does not consider that, in the event of a field existing, it is just as capable of being switched off! To try to demonstrate the drama of experience in a test-tube is to invite the drama to dissipate and leave only a husk of itself for eyes to pry. It was the same problem for those experiments exploring psychic phenomena: how can the interest of the phenomenon be sustained over long periods of cold examination? Usually the experiments are held up as evidence of disproof by the skeptical and the positivist. At the end of the day, given the narrow parameters of operation, and the desire to be scientific, the best one can say is that there may be something in it and that is the end of that. What is really needed are ideas that challenge the autocratic position of science which is self-assumed which demands that anything concerning the nature of reality must comply with the conditions laid down by etc.etc. Even so, it is an interesting read, as far as it is prepared to go.
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