Rupert Sheldrake

Lewis Wolpert’s Brain


Lewis Wolpert’s Brain


by Rupert Sheldrake


Excerpted from Appendix 3 of:
Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home
by Rupert Sheldrake, Broadway Books, 2011.

Lewis Wolpert was Professor of Biology at University College, London, and served for five years as Chairman of COPUS, the British Committee for the Public Understanding of Science. He was a faithful standby for the media for more than 20 years as a denouncer of ideas that he suspected were tainted with mysticism or the paranormal.

In 2001, in a programme about some of my telepathy experiments on the Discovery Channel, he proclaimed, “There is no evidence for any person, animal, or thing being telepathic.” The director of the documentary offered to show him a video of my experiments so that he could see the evidence for himself, but he was not interested. He preferred to make his skeptical claim without looking at the facts.

In January 2004, Wolpert and I took part in a public debate on telepathy at the Royal Society of Arts in London, with a high court judge in the chair. We were each given 30 minutes to present our cases. Wolpert spoke first and said that research on telepathy was “pathological science,” and added, “An open mind is a very bad thing – everything falls out.” He asserted that “the whole issue is about evidence,” and concluded after a mere 15 minutes that “There is zero evidence to support the idea that thoughts can be transmitted from a person to an animal, from an animal to a person, from a person to a person, or from an animal to an animal.”

I then summarized evidence for telepathy from thousands of scientific tests and showed a video of recent experiments, but Wolpert averted his eyes from the screen. He did not want to know. According to a report on the debate in Nature, “few members of the audience seemed to be swayed by his [Wolpert’s] arguments…. Many in the audience… variously accused Wolpert of ‘not knowing the evidence’ and being ‘unscientific’.”

For anyone who wants to hear both sides for themselves, the debate is online in streaming audio, as is the transcript.

Excerpted From:

Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home
Rupert Sheldrake. Broadway Books; Fully Updated and Revised:
April 26, 2011.

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