by Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D.
Biologist and author best known for his hypothesis of morphic resonance. At Cambridge University he worked in developmental biology as a Fellow of Clare College.
After a recent exchange with Michael Shermer about the value of “positive” skepticism, I received the following letter from Rupert Sheldrake, the English biologist who is widely considered one of the leading thinkers in consciousness and post-Darwinian evolution.
He offers a case in point about how fair or even scientific the skeptical attitude often turns out to be. Sheldrake’s many books, beginning with A New Science of Life (1981), propose workable experiments to prove that evolution isn’t merely materialistic and that a field of “extended mind” is real, affecting every life form on earth.
Sheldrake is a speculative thinker by orthodox standards, but his academic credentials are impeccable and he has the patience to contend with his opponents on their own scientific terms.
– Deepak Chopra
I read your exchange with Michael Shermer with much interest. I agree with both of you about the need for skepticism as a essential part of the scientific process. But media skeptics are not usually part of a constructive scientific debate but rather follow a narrow, negative agenda. Michael claimed that skeptics such as himself are “thoughtful, inquiring, and reflective.” But there is a big gulf between this ideal and what media skeptics actually do, which, as you pointed out, all too often involves condemning open-minded inquiry. Like you, I have been the target of many skeptical attacks, and my experience has been very similar to your own.