In January, I taught for a week at Schumacher College, in Devon, together with Dr Stephan Harding, in a course called “Mind in Nature: The Evidence.” There was an excellent group of participants, some of whom were in the MSc course in Holistic Science. There are still a few vacancies for next year’s MSc course, in which I will again be teaching, God willing at: Schumacher College
Last month I was in Tucson, Arizona at a meeting called The Post-Materialist Summit, a gathering of eight research scientists, together with several graduate students and invited guests, to discuss ways in which the sciences can go beyond the dogmatism that we all feel is constricting research and teaching. It was lively and constructive, and we plan to launch several initiatives to help move things along. I’ll write more about this in later newsletters. The meeting was generously hosted by Canyon Ranch, which is a spa with beautiful gardens, delicious food and giant cacti.
A group in New York, led by Paul Revis, is planning a protest meeting at TED headquarters in New York City on April 2. This is the anniversary of the date on which TED removed my TEDx talk, along with that of Graham Hancock, from their main web site, under pressure from some militant atheists. I only heard about this protest movement a month ago, and have never met the organizers. You can read about the protest here: Set Science Free
They are also organizing a petition, which can be signed on their Set Science Free web site. This petition is limited to signatories with a PhD or MD degree. Those who have signed already include a Nobel laureate. If you have a PhD or MD and would like to sign, please do so. The petition asks TED to do the following:
1. Reinstate Rupert Sheldrake’s Talk “The Science Delusion” into the main database of searchable talks on TED.com
2. Publish the names of all members of TED’s anonymous scientific board.
TED, we agree with your mission and we advocate open access of ideas. We simply ask that you put your own principles to practice in your distribution of information.
The editing war on my Wikipedia biography page has given rise to a new web site called “Wikipedia, We Have a Problem,” which documents what has been happening: Wikipedia, We Have a Problem The tireless and well-trained group of militant Skeptics who have taken control of my biography page, together with their allies among Wikipedia administrators, have banned editor after editor who has tried to restore a fair and balanced portrayal of my work. You can see the blow-by-blow process by going to the “Talk” pages, accessed through the Talk button at the top left of the Wikipedia entry on me. There are now 19 files of archived arguments, plus many other pages on Wikipedia discussing this. In one of the more amusing sections, an editor called The Cap’n has written some spoof works of fiction about the activities of the militant Skeptics: Militant Skeptics In the last few months, the militant Skeptics have been capturing increasing numbers of pages in Wikipedia, shaping them to reflect their very limited point of view, which is essentially that of scientific fundamentalism.
We are undoubtedly in a period of great change, which is why these conflicts are becoming increasingly intense. Meanwhile, there is a serious shift going on within the scientific world, a new mood of doubt and questioning, the like of which I have never seen before. There have been several recent press reports about it. For example a major article in Forbes magazine highlights the fact that “Scientists themselves are becoming increasingly concerned about the unreliability – that is, the lack of reproducibility – of many experimental or observational results.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/henrymiller/2014/01/08/the-trouble-with-scientific-research-today-a-lot-thats-published-is-junk/ And an article in the New York Times, entitled “Scientific Pride and Prejudice” begins, “Science is in crisis, just when we need it most”. New York Times
Fortunately, here in London it’s now spring, and the trees are bursting into leaf and daffodils are in flower.
Two new dialogues with Mark Vernon are now on my web site, “What Christianity Gets Right” and “The Hidden God of Atheism.” New Dialogues
In July, at Hollyhock on Cortes Island, British Columbia, I am giving a workshop with my sons Merlin and Cosmo, entitled “Aging and growing young again.” Details here: Hollyhock Workshops
From Rupert Sheldrake
London, March 20, 2014:
The Spring Equinox.