I recently watched a talk by Rupert Sheldrake and Bruce Lipton with the title A Quest Beyond the Limits of the Ordinary given in 2007. I have been following their work for some time so I was excited to see the both on the same platform. They are the vanguard of generation of scientists who are challenging the Newtonian view of the world which has become as dogmatic as the religious view it opposes.
Both men started out in conventional science but found that did not even explain some of the most basic aspects of their work let alone the deeper questions of consciousness and our existence.
Rupert Sheldrake Ph. D. is a biochemist and plant physiologist that has proposed the theory the Morphic field and Morphic resonance as an explanation of morphogenesis. His research has involved studies of parapsychology and provides a real scientific explanation of various phenomena that conventional science is totally unable to deal with.
Bruce Lipton Ph. D. is a cell biologist who was cloning stem cells long before the general population was even aware of the concept. He proposes that it is environmental stimulus and not predetermined genetics that is responsible for every aspect of our existence and life experience, and that we are ultimately in control of our environment through our beliefs. He was ardent atheist and believer in laws of Newtonian physics but it was actually his work that planted the seeds of doubt in his mind and has taken him down a path that reconciles science with spirituality.
As expected the talk was extremely interesting but towards the end Rupert Sheldrake made a comment about Richard Dawkins that really caught my attention. I recently reviewed The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and expressed dismay at the failure of the books to even consider other alternatives.
The contention of the book is belief in a God is delusional but really the book is primarily just an attack on organized religion and in particular the three major world religions. After providing numerous examples of the inherent hypocrisy and illogical aspects of the beliefs of organized religion he concludes that atheism and the theory of evolution is the only logical alternative to organized religion and accordingly anyone that does not agree is delusional. I took exception to his arrogance and his dogmatic approach which seemed to my mind to go against the principles of scientific enquiring mind.
When Rupert Sheldrake referred to “extremely dogmatic skeptics like Richard Dawkins “ saying “these people are absolutely certain they are right” and that they “attack other peoples beliefs, what they don’t do is look at their own” this echoed the impression I came away with after reading the God Delusion.
I realize there are now three main camps.
Camp one is the religious people with their belief in an external God that created everything.
Camp two is the self proclaimed Atheists with their belief in a Newtonian Universe that propose we are here by an accident of evolution in some primeval soup. To my mind they are nihilist s and do not provide any better explanation of our existence than the religious camp they feel so intellectually superior to.
Camp three is the new kid on the block composing of those that reject both conventional religious beliefs and the view of a Newtonian Universe. Many diverse beliefs and ideas fall within this camp but most interesting is the theory of quantum physics. New Age pseudo science ideas are often mixed with theoretical quantum mechanics making it confusing to most.
The first two camps are engaged in an argument that has remained unresolved since Descartes proposed the separation of religion and science providing an uneasy truce between the two camps.
The religious camp are for the most part unaware of the arrival of the new camp and do not make any distinction between them and their long time enemies (or as some would believe disciples of the devil) the atheists.
The Atheist camp seems to feel threatened by the new kid on the block with its totally new paradigm and vigorously rejects and opposes any such new ideas. The irony is the Atheists have become as much a closed and dogmatic belief system as the religious camp.
The reality is that none of the camps can provide the ultimate answer to the meaning of life we all search for and for many. Let’s look at some of the general beliefs from each camp:
Camp 1: You are mere mortals created by God and cannot hope to even understand God. He has provided with a set of rules for life – don’t worry about trying to understand the big stuff. Just have faith and get on your life following the rules and you will be rewarded in the afterlife.
Camp 2: You are a mere machines created by an accident of evaluation governed by natural physical laws of the Universe. There is no God and no ultimate purpose to life. Everything can be understood by reducing it to its most basic component. There is no afterlife when you die – you simply cease to exist.
Camp 3: You are not your physical body and your perception of the physical world is an illusion. The physical laws of the universe seem to exist but there are subordinate to other laws or forces we as yet do not fully understand. There is some greater force that we can give the label of God to but it is not separate to us – in fact we are not separate to anything else in the universe.