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  • The science delusion is the belief that science already understands the nature of reality

  • in principle, leaving only the details to be filled in. This is a very widespread belief

  • in our society. It's the kind of belief system of people who say "I don't believe in God,

  • I believe in science." It's a belief system which has now been spread to the entire world.

  • But there's a conflict in the heart of science between science as a method of inquiry based

  • on reason, evidence, hypothesis and collective investigation, and science as a belief system

  • or a world view. And unfortunately the world view aspect of science has come to inhibit

  • and constrict the free inquiry which is the very lifeblood of the scientific endeavour.

  • Since the late nineteenth century, science has been conducted under the aspect of a belief

  • system or a world view which is essentially that of materialism; philosophical materialism.

  • And the sciences are now wholly owned subsidiaries of the materialist world view. I think that

  • as we break out of it, the sciences will be regenerated. What I do in my book The Science

  • Delusion, which is called Science Set Free in the United States, is take the ten dogmas,

  • or assumptions of science, and turn them into questions. Seeing how well they stand up if

  • you look at them scientifically. None of them stand up very well.

  • What I'm going to do is first run through what these ten dogmas are. And then I'll only

  • have time to discuss one or two of them in a bit more detail. But essentially the ten

  • dogmas, which are the world view of most educated people all over the world are:

  • First, that nature's mechanical or machine-like. The universe is like a machine, animals and

  • plants are like machines, we're like machines. In fact, we are machines. We are lumbering

  • robots, in Richard Dawkins' vivid phrase. With brains that are genetically programmed

  • computers. Second, matter is unconscious. The whole universe

  • is made up of unconscious matter. There's no consciousness in stars, in galaxies, in

  • planets, in animals, in plants, and there ought not in any of us either, if this theory's

  • true. So a lot of the philosophy of mind over the last hundred years has been trying to

  • prove that we're not really conscious at all. So the matter's unconscious, then the laws

  • of nature are fixed. This is dogma three. The laws of nature are

  • the same now as they were at the time of the big bang and they'll be the same forever.

  • Not just the laws; but the constants of nature are fixed, which is why they are called constants.

  • Dogma four: The total amount of matter and energy is always the same. It never changes

  • in total quantity, except at the moment of the big bang when it all sprang into existence

  • from nowhere in a single instant. The fifth dogma is that nature's purposeless.

  • There are no purposes in all nature and the evolutionary process has no purpose or direction.

  • Dogma six, the biological hereditary is material. Everything you inheret is in your genes, or

  • in epigenetic modifications of the genes, or in cytoplasmic inheritance. It's material.

  • Dogma seven, memories are stored inside your brain as material traces. Somehow everything

  • you remember is in your brain in modified nerve endings, phosphorylated proteins, no-one

  • knows how it works. But nevertheless almost everyone in the scientific world believes

  • it must be in the brain. Dogma eight, your mind is inside your head.

  • All your consciousness is the activity of your brain, nothing more.

  • Dogma nine, which follows from dogma eight, psychic phenomena like telepathy are impossible.

  • Your thoughts and intentions cannot have any effect at a distance because your mind's inside

  • your head. Therefore all the apparent evidence for telepathy and other psychic phenomena

  • is illusory. People believe these things happen, but it's just because they don't know enough

  • about statistics, or they're deceived by coincidences, or it's wishful thinking.

  • And dogma ten, mechanistic medicine is the only kind that really works. That's why governments

  • only fund research into mechanistic medicine and ignore complementary and alternative therapies.

  • Those can't possibly really work because they're not mechanistic. They may appear to work because

  • people would have got better anyway, or because of the placebo effect. But the only kind that

  • really works is mechanistic medicine.Well this is the default world view which is held

  • by almost all educated people all over the world. It's the basis of the educational system,

  • the national health service, the medical research council, governments and it's just the default

  • world view of educated people. But I think every one of these dogmas is very, very questionable.

  • And when you look at it, they fall apart.I'm going to take first the idea that the laws

  • of nature are fixed. This is a hangover from an older world view, before the 1960s, when

  • the big bang theory came in. People thought that the whole universe was eternal, governed

  • by eternal mathematical laws. When the big bang came in, then that assumption continued,

  • even though the big bang revealed a universe that's radically evolutionary, about fourteen

  • billion years old. Growing and developing and evolving, for fourteen billion years.

  • Growing and cooling and more structures and patterns appear within it. But the idea is

  • all the laws of nature were completely fixed at the moment of the big bang like a cosmic

  • Napoleonic code. As my friend Terrence McKenna used to say, modern science is based upon

  • the principle "give us one free miracle, and we'll explain the rest". And the one free

  • miracle is the appearance of all the matter and energy in the universe and all the laws

  • that govern it, from nothing, in a single instant.

  • Well, in an evolutionary universe, why shouldn't the laws themselves evolve? After all, human

  • laws do, and the idea of laws of nature is based a metaphor with human laws. It's a very

  • anthropocentric metaphor; only humans have laws. In fact, only civilised societies have

  • laws. As C.S. Lewis once said, to say that a stone falls to earth because it's obeying

  • a law makes it a man, and even a citizen. It's a metaphor we've got so used to we forgot

  • it's a metaphor. In an evolving universe, I think a much better idea is the idea of

  • habits. I think the habits of nature evolve; the regularities of nature are essentially

  • habitual. This was an idea put forward at the beginning of the twentieth century by

  • the American philosopher C.S. Pierce, and it's an idea which various other philosophers

  • have entertained, and it's one which I, myself have developed into a scientific hypothesis;

  • the hypothesis of morphic resonance, which is the basis of these evolving habits. According

  • to this hypothesis, everything in nature has a kind of collective memory, resonance occurs

  • on the basis of similarity. As a young giraffe embryo grows in its mother's

  • womb, it tunes in to the morphic resonance of previous giraffes. It draws on that collective

  • memory, grows like a giraffe, and it behaves like a giraffe, because it's drawing on this

  • collective memory. It has to have the right genes to make the right proteins. But genes

  • in my view are grossly overrated. They only account for the proteins that the organism

  • can make, not the form or the shape or the behaviour. Every species has a kind of collective

  • memory. Even crystals do. This theory predicts that if you make a new kind of crystal for

  • the first time, the very first time you make it, it won't have an existing habit. But once

  • it crystallises, then the next time you make it, there'll be an influence from the first

  • crystals to the second ones, all over the world by morphic resonance, it'll crystallise

  • a bit easier. The third time, there'll be an influence from the first and second crystals.

  • There is, in fact, good evidence that new compounds get easier to crystallise all round

  • the world, just as this theory would predict. It also predicts that if you train animals

  • to learn a new trick, for example rats learn a new trick in London, then all round the

  • world rats of the same breed should learn the same trick quicker just because the rats

  • had learned it here. And surprisingly, there's already evidence that this actually happens.

  • Anyway, that's my own hypothesis in a nutshell of morphic resonance. Everything depends on

  • evolving habits not on fixed laws. But I want to spend a few moments on the constants

  • of nature too. Because these are, again, assumed to be constant. Things like the gravitational

  • constant of the speed of light are called the fundamental constants. Are they really

  • constant? Well, when I got interested in this question, I tried to find out. They're given

  • in physics handbooks. Handbooks of physics list the existing fundamental constants, tell

  • you their value. But I wanted to see if they'd changed, so I got the old volumes of physical

  • handbooks. I went to the patent office library here in London - they're the only place I

  • could find that kept the old volumes. Normally people throw them away when the new values

  • (volumes) come out, they throw away the old ones. When I did this I found that the speed

  • of light dropped between nineteen twenty-eight and nineteen fourty-five by about twenty kilometres

  • per second. It's a huge drop because they're given with errors of any fractions of a second/decimal

  • points of error. And yet, all over the world, it dropped, and they were all getting very

  • similar values to each other with tiny errors. Then in nineteen fourty-eight, it went up

  • again. And then people started getting very similar values again. I was very intrigued

  • by this and I couldn't make sense of it, so I went to see the head of metrology at the

  • National Physical Laboratory in Teddington. Metrology is the science in which people measure

  • constants. And I asked him about this, I said "what do

  • you make of this drop in the speed of light between nineteen twenty-eight and nineteen

  • fourty-five?" And he said "oh dear", he said "you've uncovered

  • the most embarrassing episode in the history of our science."

  • So I said "well, could the speed of light have actually dropped? And that would have

  • amazing implications if so." He said "no, no, of course it couldn't have

  • actually dropped. It's a constant!" "Oh, well then how do you explain the fact

  • that everyone was finding it going much slower during that period? Is it because they were

  • fudging their results to get what they thought other people should be getting and the whole

  • thing was just produced in the minds of physicists?" "We don't like to use the word 'fudge'."

  • I said "Well, so what do you prefer?" He said "well, we prefer to call it 'intellectual

  • phase-locking'." So I said "well if it was going on then, how

  • can you be so sure it's not going on today? And the present values produced are by intellectual

  • phase-locking?" And he said "oh we know that's not the case."

  • And I said "how do we know?" He said "well", he said "we've solved the

  • problem." And I said "well how?"

  • And he said "well we fixed the speed of light by definition in nineteen seventy-two."

  • So I said "but it might still change." He said "yes, but we'd never know it, because

  • we've defined the metre in terms of the speed of light, so the units would change with it!"

  • So he looked very pleased about that, they'd fixed that problem.

  • But I said "well, then what about big G?" The gravitational constant, known in the trade

  • as "big G", it was written with a capital G. Newton's universal gravitational constant.

  • "That's varied by more than 1.3% in recent years. And it seems to vary from place to

  • place and from time to time." And he said "oh well, those are just errors.

  • And unfortunately there are quite big errors with big G."

  • So I said "well, what if it's really changing? I mean, perhaps it is really changing."

  • And then I looked at how they do it, what happens is they measure it in different labs,

  • they get different values on different days, and then they average them. And then other

  • labs around the world do the same, they come out usually with a rather different average.

  • And then the international committee of metrology meets every ten years or so and average the

  • ones from labs all around the world to come up with the value of big G. But what if G

  • were actually fluctuating? What if it changed? There's already evidence actually that it

  • changes throughout the day and througout the year. What if the earth, as it moves through

  • the galactic environment went through patches of dark matter or other environmental factors

  • that could alter it? Maybe they all change together. What if these errors are going up

  • together and down together? For more than ten years I've been trying to persuade metrologists

  • to look at the raw data. In fact I'm now trying to persuade them to put it up online, on the

  • internet. With the dates, and the actual measurements, and see if they're correlated. To see if they're

  • all up at one time, all down at another. If so, they might be fluctuating together. And

  • what would tell us something very, very interesting. But no-one has done this, they haven't done

  • it because G is a constant. There's no point looking for changes. You see, here's a very

  • simple example of where a dogmatic assumption actually inhibits enquiry. I, myself think

  • that the constants may vary quite considerably. Well, within narrow limits. But they may all

  • be varying, and I think the day will come when scientific journals like Nature have

  • a weekly report on the constants, like stock-market reports in the newspapers. You know, "this

  • week, big G was slightly up, the charge on the electron was down, the speed of light

  • held steady, and so on." So that's one area where I think thinking

  • this dogmatically could open things up. One of the biggest areas is the nature of

  • the mind. This is the most unsolved problem as Graham just said, that science simply can't

  • deal with the fact we're conscious. And it can't deal with the fact that our thoughts

  • don't seem to be inside our brains. Our experiences don't all seem to be inside our brain. Your

  • image of me now doesn't seem to be inside your brain, yet the official view is that

  • there's a little Rupert somewhere inside your head. And everything else in this room is

  • inside your head; your experience is inside your brain. I'm suggesting actually that vision

  • involves an outward projection of images, what you're seeing is inside your mind but

  • not inside your head. Our minds are extended beyond our brains in the simplest act of perception.

  • I think that we project out the images we're seeing, and these images touch what we're

  • looking at. If I look at you from behind, you don't know I'm there. Could I affect you?

  • Could you feel my gaze? There's a great deal of evidence that people can. The sense of

  • being stared at is an extremely common experience, and recent experimental evidence actually

  • suggests it's real. Animals seem to have it too, I think it probably

  • evolved in the context of predator/prey relationships. Prey animals that could feel the gaze of a

  • predator would survive better than those that couldn't. This would lead to a whole new way

  • of thinking about ecological relationships between predators and prey.

  • Also about the extent of our minds. If we look at distant stars, I think our minds reach

  • out in a sense to touch those stars, and literally extend out over astronomical distances. They're

  • not just inside our heads. Now it may seem astonishing that this is a topic of debate

  • in the twenty-first century. We know so little about our own minds that where our images

  • are is a hot topic of debate within consciousness studies right now.

  • I don't have time to deal with any more of these dogmas, but every single one of them

  • is questionable. If one questions it, new forms of research, new possibilities open

  • up. And I think as we question these dogmas that have held back science so long, science

  • will undergo a reflowering, a renaissance. I'm a total believer in the importance of

  • science. I've spent my whole life as a research scientist, my whole career. But I think by

  • moving beyond these dogmas, it can be regenerated. Once again, it can become interesting, and

  • I hope, life-affirming. Thank you.

The science delusion is the belief that science already understands the nature of reality

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魯珀特-謝德雷克--科學妄想被禁止的TED演講。 (Rupert Sheldrake - The Science Delusion BANNED TED TALK)

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    李掌櫃 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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