Del Mar, CA, December 03, 2009 --(PR.com
)-- Faced with choosing a prominent figure for his Science and Society Masters dissertation, Phillip Stevens avoided the obvious. Instead of Kepler, Newton, or Darwin, Stevens chose controversial British biologist, and Perrott-Warrick Scholar, Dr. Rupert Sheldrake. “I’d known about Rupert Sheldrake and I found him very interesting”, Phillips said.
Although skeptical of Sheldrake’s theories, Phillips focused on how Sheldrake was being judged, “I wanted to be impartial as to whether he was right or wrong and instead go on and look at whether he’d been treated fairly.”
What he discovered surprised him. Stevens found that despite an unblemished academic record and a research fellowship at the Royal Society, Sheldrake faced public scorn from colleagues for publishing his theory of morphic fields which suggests a living, developing universe with its own inherent memory. “There was a review in the journal, Nature in which the editor, John Maddox said that the book, A New Science of Life, should be burned”, Stevens said. “You’d think that that sort of attitude towards what was just a theory would be out of date and would be seen as you know, unscientific. But in fact, it damaged Sheldrake’s career, not John Maddox’s career.”
But the biggest surprise came when Stevens looked at Sheldrake’s collaboration with skeptics like Dr. Richard Wiseman. According to Stevens Wiseman failed to follow normal procedures scientists use when collaborating and reporting their results.
“Wiseman actually did repeats of Sheldrake’s results. He never denied this, but he only admitted it, I think, ten years later. I mean, in normal experiments, if you repeat someone’s results, you say it. And there didn’t seem to be any reason for him not to say, ‘I’ve repeated his results. These experiments work. Sheldrake wasn’t wrong.’ And you know what? Sheldrake was a Research Fellow at the Royal Society. I would hope that when he has some experiments and tests things he’d get it right because he’s from one of the best institutions of science in Britain and in the world. So I really don’t know why Wiseman took so long just to say, ‘Yes, the patterns in Sheldrake’s works were repeated in my own.’”, said Stevens.
A free (audio and transcript) of the complete interview with Phillip Stevens is available at: http://www.skeptiko.com/88-scientific-community-unfair-to-rupert-sheldrake/
Skeptiko.com is the first scientifically oriented Podcast exploring new research in controversial areas of science such as telepathy, psi, parapsychology, near-death-experience, psychic detectives, medium communication, reincarnation, and after-life encounters. Each episode features open, honest debate on new scientific discoveries. The show includes interviews with top research scientists and their critics.
OpenSourceScience is the first scientifically oriented website to bring the power of open source methods to the skeptical examination of controversial areas of science such as telepathy, psi, parapsychology, near-death experiences, reincarnation, and after-life encounters.