Have you ever had this experience? You are driving down the road and come to a red light. All of a sudden, you look to your right and find the person in the car next to you is staring directly at you.
Have you ever thought of someone and then they called? Did you know who was calling you before even looking at your phone?
How do dogs always seem to know that their owners are about to come home even before they pull into the driveway?
Telepathy: the supposed communication of thoughts or ideas by means other than the known senses.
Standard materialist science has relegated telepathy to the fringes of pseudoscience. But what happens when one of their own performs rigorous scientific tests and publishes them in prestigious scientific journals proving without a doubt that telepathy does exist?
Dr. Rupert Sheldrake followed all of the rules. He did scientific tests on telephone telepathy, the sense of being stared at and the question of telepathy in dogs using a rigorous methodology and thousands of trials with hundreds of people and got statistically significant results. He published his papers for peer review in scientific journals. The science community initially balked, but because his results could not be disproved or discarded, they simply buried his findings and spread disinformation about his methodology, even going so far as to insult his character and suggest his books “should be burned.”
When Galileo discovered the moons of Jupiter through his new telescope, the establishment refused to even look, preferring to stick to their world view where the earth was still the center of the solar system.
The telepathy experiments are comprised of three studies that were performed by Dr. Sheldrake. You can find out all the details on his site, www.sheldrake.org including reading the white paper he submitted for scientific review. I would simply like to highlight the one test he is most famous for: the Telephone Telepathy Test.
The test involves one person and either 2-4 callers. In a test that was run with 3 callers, there were 2,080 trials. In the test, a caller selects three people who they have a social bond with (telepathy works best apparently with people we are close with) and either the proctor uses a random number generator or a die roll to choose one of the three callers. That caller is then selected to call the participant. Before the phone is picked up, the participant is asked to choose which of the callers he or she thinks it is. The results were incredibly significant: On average, participants guessed the caller 41.8% above chance (33.3%). The odds of that happening are astronomical, P=1×10^15. Dr. Sheldrake’s results were replicated with above-chance results by two other studies as well.
If you would like to see the telephone telepathy test in action, a segment was filmed with a famous UK girl-group, the Nolan Sisters. The clip starts around 1:05:00, although the whole video is very interesting as well.
The telepathy test results are astounding in their own right, but Dr. Sheldrake doesn’t rest on his laurels. Dr. Sheldrake is a crusader against ‘Scientism’ or science fundamentalism which seeks to deny or suppress any research that disagrees with a materialist assumption. He’s also no stranger to controversy. Below are links to his banned TED talk, his recently published book and his debate with Richard Wiseman who attempted to discredit Dr. Sheldrake’s own animal studies tests.
The Disinformation Campaign and the Infamous Skeptiko Fight
Skeptics of Dr. Sheldrake are numerous, and most use disinformation to discredit him. They suggest he hasn’t published in peer-reviewed journals, or that his findings weren’t replicated. This is patently false. On the Skeptiko blog, he engaged in a debate with Dr. Richard Wiseman who in the past has attempted to viciously debunk Dr. Sheldrake’s animal telepathy experiment. When Dr. Wiseman essentially came to the same conclusion as Dr. Sheldrake, he attempted to change the interpretation of the results. During the Skeptiko debate, Dr. Wiseman agreed to run a collaborative study with Dr. Sheldrake and two other prominent parapsychologists. The host of Skeptiko, Alex Tsakiris, offered both to fund it and set up preliminary meetings. Dr. Wiseman weaseled out of it by attempting to set preconditions that insulted the other willing participants. You can read the exchange of the emails between Dr. Wiseman and Alex Tsakiris here and decide for yourself.
Dr. Sheldrake on the Morphic Resonance Theory
Beyond the telepathy experiments, Dr. Rupert Sheldrake has a list of impressive credentials as a biologist and a reputation now as somewhat of a maverick. Although he accepted the materialist worldview early in his career, he has become a proponent of a fascinating theory called Morphic Resonance and has rejected the idea that humans are machines and consciousness is an illusion. Morphic Resonance attempts to explain the organization of complex structures using a type of consciousness, expressed in a field. Although currently there is no testable hypothesis for the Morphic Resonance theory, Dr. Sheldrake does present some interesting evidence. If you are interested in learning more, view the video below:
Dr. Sheldrake also takes on the rigid materialist worldview of Science. In his book Science Set Free, (The Science Delusion in the UK) he turns the table on ten of the most fundamental dogmas of science and turns them into testable hypotheses. For example, science takes it for granted the fundamental forces, such as gravity, in the cosmos are constant. However, it is known that the force of gravity has actually fluctuated quite a bit, even as the measurements got more precise. He also looks at the mechanistic theory that the mind and consciousness are an illusion created by the brain, and that the universe operates as if it were an unconscious machine, which is a prevailing view of science.
Despite questioning 10 dogmas of science, Dr. Sheldrake is quick to point out that he is, in fact, pro-science. He hopes to inspire scientists to throw off the shackles of taboos and dogmas in the field and have the courage to explore new territories that may go against that materialist worldview.
Dr. Sheldrake’s Banned Ted Talk
Dr. Sheldrake was invited to discuss his new book, Science Set Free, at a TEDxWhiteChapel event. After the event, it was decided by an anonymous panel of scientists working for TEDx that Dr. Sheldrake’s talk should be moved to a dusty corner of their website or banned altogether because his theories crossed over into pseudoscience. Of course, this has had the opposite effect, garnering renewed interest, and revealing the exact sort of dogmatic materialism that is rampant in academic science to begin with.
I highly recommend you watch his “banned” TEDx talk. You can view it below.
When Galileo followed the evidence of a sun-centered system, he was vilified. Had the religious and scientific people of his day just had the courage to peer through his telescope, we might have advanced science by a few centuries. Instead, Galileo was put on trial and forced by threat of torture to recant his testimony that the sun was the center of the solar system. Although free thought is protected in the western world, a core of fundamentalism still exists in the halls of academia, protecting science from the threat of new ideas that clash with the materialist status quo. Young scientists learn quickly which topics are ‘safe’ and which will threaten your career, grant money and tenure.
It is vital that any parapsychologists or Psi researchers use sound scientific principles to study these phenomena properly, but the science establishment also has the responsibility to allow submission of all credible papers with testable hypotheses into scientific journals so that other scientists can attempt to reproduce them. Without the courage to explore these possibilities, science will lose the very thing that makes it great: to explore the unknown with curiosity and progress the human condition toward greater sufficiency.