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Publisher Description

The bestselling author of Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home offers an intriguing new assessment of modern day science that will radically change the way we view what is possible.

In Science Set Free (originally published to acclaim in the UK as The Science Delusion), Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, one of the world's most innovative scientists, shows the ways in which science is being constricted by assumptions that have, over the years, hardened into dogmas. Such dogmas are not only limiting, but dangerous for the future of humanity.
According to these principles, all of reality is material or physical; the world is a machine, made up of inanimate matter; nature is purposeless; consciousness is nothing but the physical activity of the brain; free will is an illusion; God exists only as an idea in human minds, imprisoned within our skulls.
But should science be a belief-system, or a method of enquiry? Sheldrake shows that the materialist ideology is moribund; under its sway, increasingly expensive research is reaping diminishing returns while societies around the world are paying the price.
In the skeptical spirit of true science, Sheldrake turns the ten fundamental dogmas of materialism into exciting questions, and shows how all of them open up startling new possibilities for discovery.
Science Set Free will radically change your view of what is real and what is possible.

Science & Nature
Rupert Sheldrake
hr min
September 4
Random House Audio

Customer Reviews

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Science Set Free

This is a thought-provoking book, to put things mildly.

The author explains one of the seldom articulated assumptions which underlies all of modern science: materialism (also called physicalism). He then breaks it down into several subordinate assumtions and challenges them. This may seem like a pretty dry and theoretical subject for a book, but where it leads is fascinating. For one thing, he argues, very convincingly, that the materialist assuption underlying science limits what science is capable of understanding and even the possibilities it is willing to examine. For that reason, he believes that science should test its materialist assumptions to see if they are, or are not, true. By doing this, he believes science will be set free of its untested assumptions, better able to probe reality and more open to unorthodox ideas.

Among the many things he thinks science should be more open to testing are the claims of psychic phenomena. He argues that science rejects the possibility of psychic phenomena not because it has evidence to disprove it, but because it is inconsistent with the materialist assumption. I'm not a believer in psychic phenoma, but I am acting on the assumption that scientists have looked into it and have evidence to disprove it. But according to the author, it hasn't really been examined; rather, it has been rejected because it conflicts with the underlying materialist belief. I'd be tempted to dismiss the author as a mystic and his ideas as nutty, but he's a professor of bio-chemistry and he does make a strong case for using science to test even implausible claims lke psychic phenomena.

Psychic phenomena doesnlt figure so prominently in the book as it does in this review, but it illustrates where the book is coming from. He spends a lot of other time discussing protien folding and embryonic development and how it too suggests there is more going on than science based on materialism can explain.

Along the way, a couple of scientists, most notably Richard Dawkins (whose books I also like), come across as pretty unattractive. The picture that emerges is of a very opinionated and (ironically) not-so-scientific a guy -- at least when it comes to testing ideas he doesn't already believe in.

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