Wednesday 4 January 2012

Woo or no? Rupert Sheldrake on BBC Radio 3

Monday evening — it could have been any po-faced radio documentary on theology or abstruse literary criticism, but it was framed by Joan Bakewell's guest as "science". Here's the blurb from the BBC website:
Tonight on Belief Joan Bakewell talks to Professor Rupert Sheldrake. Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and a former Research Fellow of the Royal Society. He's worked at Clare College Cambridge and at the International Crops Research Institute in Hyderabad. During his seven years in India Professor Sheldrake studied the Upanishads, yoga and meditation but then went to live in a Christian ashram. He tells Joan about his journey through Methodism, atheism and Hinduism to the Anglican Church and explains why he finds more blind faith and dogma in the scientific world than among any religious community.
Unfortunately on Rupert Sheldrake's part it was all unsubstantiated assertion. He mentioned the dozens of scientific papers he's published, though didn't identify any in particular. He claimed telepathy is real, and (I think) that he has proved that some dogs can tell when their owners are about to return home. He made out these things were indisputably true, and that he has a theory that explains them. Joan Bakewell was commendably skeptical, and asked him about "morphic resonance" and how it actually works, but he didn't elaborate, other than that telepathy works through "morphic fields".

The half-hour radio programme is available to listen again (in HD sound, no less):

Rupert Sheldrake has a new book to promote (which to some extent explains why he's on the radio):

Original title, don't you think? And by the way, the Sun is a concious entity.