Byline: Anthony J. Sadar, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Should science be a fundamentalist belief system? Or should it be based on open-minded inquiry into the unknown? So asks prolific author Rupert Sheldrake, a former fellow of Clare College at Cambridge University, where he was director of studies in cell biology and was a research fellow of the Royal Society.
In his new book, Science Set Free: 10 Paths to New Discovery, Mr. Sheldrake satisfactorily answers a series of 10 questions designed to challenge core doctrines of materialism in the light of hard evidence and recent discoveries. Throughout this abundantly referenced book, anecdotal and ample empirical evidence is given to substantiate the claim that more than just matter and energy is involved with the substance and operation of the universe and our experience of it.
Much attention is paid in the book to the difference between the brain and the mind. The materialist view is that the mind is confined to the brain and the analogy to a computer is often made to describe its operation. Thus, the mind results from physical, chemical, electrical and energy properties of the material brain alone. Yet problems arise with this view when real phenomena like consciousness, including memories, need to be explained in terms of the material only.
Mr. Sheldrake explores what has been learned from a wide variety of investigations in memory work with, for example, trained octopuses and moths (from their days as caterpillars) to study the difference between the brain and the mind.
Science Set Free brings to the forefront how observed phenomena like wind direction are the result of a balance of forces. Those forces are seen and unseen but are nonetheless slow enough to be detected by instrumentation like a simple wind vane. A hypothesized phenomena such as morphic resonance, which Mr. Sheldrake describes in lucid detail, helps to explain how the mind is related to the brain by a combination of sophisticated influences.
By the way, since thought travels faster than the speed of light - you can theoretically get to Mars in 12.5 minutes at the speed of light, but instantly at the speed of thought - attempts to measure its reception and possible transmission is quite a …