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Thread: Morphic resonance.

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    Morphic resonance.

    This unpopular hypothesis, unpopular with mainstream, is eminently testable in every prediction.

    Some may not have heard of it, the author, forty years ago, is Rupert Sheldrake, a biology scientist from Cambridge.

    His original book, a new science of life is now in third updated edition.

    He was researching how plants form the shapes they do. Eventually he came up with the idea that previous, numerous shape examples of that plant formed an information field in space and time , this field affected all plants with that shape. He called it a morphogenic field, meaning a shape forming field.

    Later he generalised this idea into just about everything from molecules, living beings, consciousness and now cosmic shapes like stars and galaxies.

    So it is a big idea and does require extraordinary evidence.

    One known fact at the time was that mice or rats doing mazes in Skinner type experiments got faster at a given maze.
    The animals were not related although the same species. This fact has no mainstream explanation. At the time, critics even claimed the researchers were affecting the mice by expectation. This is telepathy, another non mainstream explanation.

    Another example is with humans doing crossword puzzles. The experiment was run in the city of Nottingham where the crossword was not available. It was published in a London paper and completed by thousands. The prediction from morphic resonance was that subjects in Nottingham would take less time to complete the puzzle after it was published and completed by thousands in London. It was indeed found to be significant. The information field was set up by the first puzzlers making it easier for later tries.

    In a similar vein the performance in standard intelligence tests has got better with time. It is not thought intelligence has changed.

    Now the challenge of melting points is very interesting. The MP of cocaine has been measured for at least a century and is constant as you would expect. But cocain acidified with hydrochloric is a new compound and its MP also measured over years has increased by many degrees C. This kind of experiment could be easily repeated but mainstream chemistry refuses to get involved.

    These hypotheses and experiments are far from ridiculous but they make us think.

    Until seeing his long talk on You Tube recently, I had not heard that he suggests this field might be the fifth and explaining dark matter. That is fascinating.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Another human example is the so called learning curve. Any task gets easier and is done better with repetition. Now an individual learning by practice is mainstream and not the morphic resonance idea. That requires a number of people, ( in his case) to perform a new task. Then the prediction is that a new person will be better without communication with the many. Just like mice in a maze.

    The task in each case, melting point, dexterity, remembering mazes, does not improve for ever, it approaches a limit which then becomes stable when well enough rehearsed.

    Another biology example is four winged fruit flies. Two winged fruit flies can be forced by epigenetic change to have four wings by exposure to ether.

    If you then reproduced from four winged flies you expect increasing numbers. But the experiment kept using new unrelated fruit flies and the same dose of ether, plus control groups with no ether.

    As predicted in this experiment the number of four winged flies from each batch should stay about the same. But the number increases significantly with each fresh batch.

    You can see this puts a twist on natural selection, with a numbers effect on top of the arithmetic of numbers. A successful mutation does not only propagate by gene transmission, it affects future generations by morphic resonanace.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    This unpopular hypothesis [Morphic resonance], unpopular with mainstream, is eminently testable in every prediction.
    From:

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/a...rts-resonance/

    Fifth, there is an experimenter bias problem. Institute of Noetic Sciences researcher Marilyn Schlitz--a believer in psychic phenomena--collaborated with Wiseman (a skeptic of psi) in replicating Sheldrake's research and discovered that when they did the staring Schlitz found statistically significant results, whereas Wiseman found chance results.

    Sheldrake responds that skeptics dampen the morphic field, whereas believers enhance it. Of Wiseman, he remarked: "Perhaps his negative expectations consciously or unconsciously influenced the way he looked at the subjects."

    Perhaps, but wouldn't that mean that this claim is ultimately nonfalsifiable? If both positive and negative results are interpreted as supporting a theory, how can we test its validity? Skepticism is the default position because the burden of proof is on the believer, not the skeptic.


    I’ve seen this pointed out elsewhere too, where Sheldrake claims that skeptical or negative thought affects this claimed morphic field. This makes it an untestable claim. His “evidence” typically comes from his books, not peer reviewed articles. Here is a discussion of that:

    https://www.samwoolfe.com/2013/07/th...sheldrake.html

    The problem with Rupert Sheldrake, however, is that his ideas do not really survive critical investigation and so they remain within the realm of pseudoscience. Also, his book, The Science Delusion (2012), which many celebrate as an attack on the dogmatism in science, instead involves a distortion of how science actually operates.

    Despite having a PhD in Biochemistry, Sheldrake has received a great deal of criticism from the scientific community for his work on telepathy. He views this attack as a refusal to look at the evidence he has collected over the years on this topic; however, none of his experiments has ever been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, suggesting that there is no compelling evidence in the first place.


    Untestable and lack of evidence seem to me to be good reasons not to take this seriously.

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    Unfortunately Rupert Sheldrake is using similar excuses to those mediums and psychics use to excuse their failures. Skeptics do not detect his morphic field so he imagines that it is dampened by them. A scientist would test this assumption. which should be easy. Sheldrake can have a believer doing multiple runs of an experiment such as his staring test. They do not know that randomly a skeptic observes runs. Textbook analysis will see if there is an effect.
    Sheldrake mostly relying on anecdotal "evidence" collected by amateurs and not publishing any scientific papers shows that he is not dong science.
    Last edited by Reality Check; 2021-Jul-20 at 10:17 PM.

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    I don't know what "acidified with hydrochloric" implies in this context, but my Sixth Year Studies Chemistry project was all about the thermodynamics of melting point depression in camphor, caused by the deliberate introduction of small quantities of other substances. So my working hypothesis for any apparent rise in the experimental melting point of an initially novel substance would be that people are just getting better at producing the pure material. My other working hypothesis is that chemists are unimpressed by Sheldrake's "rising melting points" narrative for that very reason.

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    Many journals refuse to publish and many peers refuse to review. This is then self fulfilling rebuttal.
    I do not know enough of the details of the MP results he quotes but he also claims that labs simply refuse to repeat the experiments. In this way his ideas are treated like astrology, too toxic to even touch by science.
    I can understand that labs do not want to be criticised for even considering a study which could be published as a rebuttal. This pushes the work into the arms of amateurs, and that alone is enough to damn the results.
    Of course the idea that skeptics kill the field is an excuse too far. But equally book burning hysteria is unhelpful.
    The useful tests are the fruit flies and day old chicks. There should be plant based tests too. These tests could be repeated cheaply and would push the competing explanations to the fore.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    The problem is, I don’t believe Sheldrake is doing or arguing for science. It isn’t clear to me that he has a coherent hypothesis and is interested in falsification. To me, what he is doing comes off as blatant pseudoscience, including his common complaints about mainstream science, some of which appear to me to be strawman arguments, others are just wrong.

    This article linked below by Steven Novella mostly focuses on Deepak Chapra, but I agree with his opinion about Sheldrake. From:

    https://www.skepticblog.org/2013/11/...sm-and-misses/

    Chopra would have you believe that Sheldrake in an “impeccable thinker” wrongly targeted by “militant skeptics.” The most generous characterization, rather, is that Sheldrake is a highly controversial figure. He is trying to actually change the nature and scope of science. He should not be shocked that there is pushback. Sheldrake is also, in my opinion, completely wrong, and is a very sloppy thinker who is trying to erode scientific standards in order to admit his particular brand of supernaturalism.

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    Profloater, mainstream science encourages the tester to always be skeptical about unproven claims. So how can one test a hypothesis when the very thing that makes one want to test distorts the results?

    If Morphic Resonance truly acts as Sheldrake proposes then it is untestable in practice. The very desire to test makes the results unreliable.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    People actually have attempted to replicate several of Sheldrake's results--the allegedly psychic dogs, the "sensation of being stared at", the learning in day-old chicks--to my knowledge with negative results. Sheldrake's response then seems to me to be a mix of misleading analysis and special pleading, followed by a return to claims that scientists are refusing to attempt replication of his work.
    You can find Steven Rose's discussion of his (and Sheldrake's) day-old chick experiment on Sheldrake's website, here.

    Grant Hutchison
    Last edited by grant hutchison; 2021-Jul-21 at 01:48 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    People actually have attempted to replicate several of Sheldrake's results--the allegedly psychic dogs, the "sensation of being stared at", the learning in day-old chicks--to my knowledge with negative results. Sheldrake's response then seems to me to be a mix of misleading analysis and special pleading, followed by a return to claims that scientists are refusing to attempt replication of his work.
    You can find Steven Rose's discussion of his (and Sheldrake's) day-old chick experiment on Sheldrake's website, here.

    Grant Hutchison
    Reading Rose and the results does not, to me, show increased latency. Rose suggests that Sheldrake interpretation of the difference between yellow led and chrome bead is misleading but I could not find that figure. Sheldrake does use it in his talks.
    There were some experimental problems, the forward memory of pecking and later being made sick, might affect both beads equally since the chicks might simply remember pecking. The first days results being poor also points toward an issue that kind of spoils all the results.

    I agree that at least this is not a strong piece of evidence and the hypothesis should show increased latency more strongly.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I don't know what "acidified with hydrochloric" implies in this context, but my Sixth Year Studies Chemistry project was all about the thermodynamics of melting point depression in camphor, caused by the deliberate introduction of small quantities of other substances. So my working hypothesis for any apparent rise in the experimental melting point of an initially novel substance would be that people are just getting better at producing the pure material. My other working hypothesis is that chemists are unimpressed by Sheldrake's "rising melting points" narrative for that very reason.

    Grant Hutchison
    To clarify the cocaine point. Sheldrake claims that historical measurement of cocaine hydrochloride crystals has shown significant rise during the twentieth century where cocaine crystals have been measured as a constant value. The hydrochloride ( formed with hydrochloric acid) is a “ new “ commercial form of the drug compared to cocaine as a very old crystal, thousands of years old.
    The counter was that the agreed historical rise in MP “must” be due to purity issues. Indeed that might be the case but then it might not. These melting point figures follow on the original claim in the first edition of his book, that new crystals are hard to get to crystalise out, but get easier as more labs around the world prepare them.

    These chemical arguments seem stronger as evidence since MP is supposed to be an analytical constant for a compound and very easy to measure. The asymptotic nature of the claimed effect means that you need new formulations all the time plus timed records of the MP and perhaps the effort required to form the crystal.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    But equally book burning hysteria is unhelpful.
    Have there been any episodes of "book burning hysteria"?
    That's a narrative popularized by Sheldrake (and Graham Hancock, in relation to their TEDx talks), but the reality seems to be otherwise.

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    To characterize normal scientific standards as "book burning hysteria" does not make me think that Sheldrake has an unbiased agenda.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    To characterize normal scientific standards as "book burning hysteria" does not make me think that Sheldrake has an unbiased agenda.
    The back story is John Maddox's review in Nature of Sheldrake's first book, which Maddox tagged with the rhetorical question "A book for burning?"
    To which Maddox's answer was "No, we don't burn books". Sheldrake's boosters seem only to recall the title.

    Maddox was making a point about the concept of heresy, and how it relates to the scientific worldview, and whether Sheldrake could be consider a "scientific heretic". Personally, I don't find that a useful philosophical approach, but it's a long way from book burning, and a long way from hysteria.

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Many journals refuse to publish and many peers refuse to review. ...
    Stating what looks like Sheldrake fantasies or paranoia does not support the existence of morphic resonance.
    Journal extremely rarely refuse to publish valid papers. There are even journals who basically publish anything! Peer reviewers extremely rarely refuse to review. The sad fact is that even obviously invalid papers xan get published.
    Labs simply refuse to repeat unpublished experiments. Even so, labs have repeated his experiments and not supported his claims.
    Sheldrake's claims are pseudoscience partially because he has not published any papers in the last 40 years supporting his claims.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    People actually have attempted to replicate several of Sheldrake's results--the allegedly psychic dogs, the "sensation of being stared at", the learning in day-old chicks--to my knowledge with negative results. Sheldrake's response then seems to me to be a mix of misleading analysis and special pleading, followed by a return to claims that scientists are refusing to attempt replication of his work.
    Yes, as another example I found this pdf article on testing of a psychic dog claim, and Sheldrake’s response was much like you describe above:

    https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/1638363.pdf

    The claim was that a particular dog psychically knew when its owner was coming home. Of course, the problem is how do you reasonably test that, and not count mundane behaviors that could be mistaken for a positive result, especially if you are hoping for a positive result? The independent researchers defined what would be considered a positive result before the experiment. The results were negative. However, Sheldrake made post hoc arguments finding behavior (not the same criteria the independent researchers used) he claimed supported a positive result, which reasonably could be behavior having a mundane cause. He criticized the independent testing, and later even claimed their work supported a positive result in one of his books.

    All in all, it makes me feel Sheldrake has little objectivity on this subject, and I see little reason to trust his statements.

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    Here is the transcript of a controversial Ted talk that Sheldrake gave. There was a bit of a kerfuffle because Ted talks have certain rules about requiring support for claims, and his was deemed to not meet requirements. His talk was “banned” (as some people put it) but in practice, it was still available for viewing but moved to a different area with some mention of background concerns.

    Anyway, he makes a claim about what he calls ten dogmas or assumptions of modern science. I think this is a good introduction to how he thinks. My view is that generally these claimed dogmas are strawmen or simply wrong. Typically, what he claims are dogmas are actually well supported conclusions based on current evidence. In some cases, it isn’t clear to me just what he is claiming.

    Here is the link:

    https://singjupost.com/rupert-sheldr.../?singlepage=1

    I’m not going to go through all ten, but I’ll comment on issues I see with these:

    Second, matter is unconscious. The whole universe is made up of unconscious matter. There’s no consciousness in stars, in galaxies, in planets, in animals, in plants, and there ought not in any of us either, if this theory’s true. So a lot of the philosophy of mind over the last 100 years has been trying to prove that we’re not really conscious at all.

    This reminds me of a certain thread I won’t name. He doesn’t explain here what he means by “conscious” so I don’t really understand what he is getting at, but I have the impression his concept is very different from mine. Based on the definitions I would consider, though, I would say there is no evidence for consciousness in stars, in galaxies, in planets, in plants, though for some animals it is another matter. If he wants to argue for it, present a definition and present evidence. I have no idea what he means by “and there ought not in any of us either, if this theory’s true.” Why not? What theory?

    So the matter’s unconscious, then the laws of nature are fixed. This is dogma three. The laws of nature are the same now as they were at the time of the Big Bang and they’ll be the same forever. Not just the laws; but the constants of nature are fixed, which is why they are called constants.

    He seems to be saying that fixed laws of nature follow from unconscious matter. How does that follow? Anyway, this is a false claim. There have been tests to see if “constants” actually are constant. There is good evidence and theoretical support, but it is false to say it is a dogma.

    The fifth dogma is that nature’s purposeless. There are no purposes in all nature and the evolutionary process has no purpose or direction.

    There is no evidence that evolution has a direction. And what does he mean by a purpose of nature? It sounds to me like he is trying to force fit a religious belief into a discussion of science.

    Dogma seven, memories are stored inside your brain as material traces. Somehow everything you remember is in your brain in modified nerve endings, phosphorylated proteins, no one knows how it works. But nevertheless almost everyone in the scientific world believes it must be in the brain.

    Dogma eight, your mind is inside your head. All your consciousness is the activity of your brain, and nothing more

    Again, the evidence is that our minds are a function of our brains. If you want to argue otherwise, present your evidence.

    Dogma nine, which follows from dogma eight, psychic phenomena like telepathy are impossible. Your thoughts and intentions cannot have any effect at a distance because your mind’s inside your head. Therefore all the apparent evidence for telepathy and other psychic phenomena is illusory.

    (emphasis added) How does this follow from eight and WHAT apparent evidence? Telepathy has been researched for decades and the results have been consistently negative in well controlled experiments. Far from a dogma, again, the most reasonable conclusion from current evidence is that telepathy doesn’t exist.

    And dogma ten, mechanistic medicine is the only kind that really works. That’s why governments only fund research into mechanistic medicine and ignore complementary and alternative therapies.

    Still again the evidence is that “mechanistic medicine” works. Faith healing, homeopathic medicine don’t. And yet, he is still wrong, things like acupuncture get more funding and attention than they should, based on evidence.

    In my opinion, this is a gross misrepresentation of modern science and shows his lack of understanding and bias.
    Last edited by Van Rijn; 2021-Jul-22 at 02:33 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Here is the transcript of a controversial Ted talk that Sheldrake gave.
    A small but important point: despite what the headline in your link say, it was actually a TEDx talk, as witnessed by the giant "TEDx" in the background of the video.
    TED talks are selected by the organization, whereas TEDx are locally organized with support from TED. As you can read on the TED blog:
    TED began an experiment in which we granted free licenses to people who wanted to organize their own local events in which ideas could be exchanged, with talks captured on film and uploaded to YouTube. These events use the brand name TEDx, where x stands for “self-organized.” Organizers pledge to work within a set of rules, but then they have freedom to run the event themselves. Speakers are invited without our pre-approval.
    This usually goes really well, but occasionally TED finds it has unknowingly supported a talk that it finds problematic. My link gives the specifics in the case of Sheldrake (and Graham Hancock).
    As you say, the narrative that Sheldrake was invited by TED and then censored is a common one, but misleading.

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    Yes the question of removing a platform for people like that is very current. My view is that the way to tackle it is by having a debate with someone opposing and using science in this case. Hancock is trying to propmote a civilisation during the ice age, which got wiped out by catastrophe and Sheldrake basically probes how living things form the shapes the do. He claims they need more information than DNA provides. There is evidence to be interpreted in both these different standpoints.

    If the vastly improved knowledge of DNA today explains how a leaf forms, then that is the way to counter what is rather quickly called pseudoscience.. if an hypothesis can be tested, that is the way to dispute it. Hancock is not a scientist and there are inconsistencies in the official story of civilisation flowering a few thousand years ago, but that is not the point here. The similarity in non platforming nconventional speakers is of interest.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Here is the transcript of a controversial Ted talk that Sheldrake gave. There was a bit of a kerfuffle because Ted talks have certain rules about requiring support for claims, and his was deemed to not meet requirements. His talk was “banned” (as some people put it) but in practice, it was still available for viewing but moved to a different area with some mention of background concerns.

    Anyway, he makes a claim about what he calls ten dogmas or assumptions of modern science. I think this is a good introduction to how he thinks. My view is that generally these claimed dogmas are strawmen or simply wrong. Typically, what he claims are dogmas are actually well supported conclusions based on current evidence. In some cases, it isn’t clear to me just what he is claiming.

    Here is the link:

    https://singjupost.com/rupert-sheldr.../?singlepage=1

    I’m not going to go through all ten, but I’ll comment on issues I see with these:

    Second, matter is unconscious. The whole universe is made up of unconscious matter. There’s no consciousness in stars, in galaxies, in planets, in animals, in plants, and there ought not in any of us either, if this theory’s true. So a lot of the philosophy of mind over the last 100 years has been trying to prove that we’re not really conscious at all.

    This reminds me of a certain thread I won’t name. He doesn’t explain here what he means by “conscious” so I don’t really understand what he is getting at, but I have the impression his concept is very different from mine. Based on the definitions I would consider, though, I would say there is no evidence for consciousness in stars, in galaxies, in planets, in plants, though for some animals it is another matter. If he wants to argue for it, present a definition and present evidence. I have no idea what he means by “and there ought not in any of us either, if this theory’s true.” Why not? What theory?

    So the matter’s unconscious, then the laws of nature are fixed. This is dogma three. The laws of nature are the same now as they were at the time of the Big Bang and they’ll be the same forever. Not just the laws; but the constants of nature are fixed, which is why they are called constants.

    He seems to be saying that fixed laws of nature follow from unconscious matter. How does that follow? Anyway, this is a false claim. There have been tests to see if “constants” actually are constant. There is good evidence and theoretical support, but it is false to say it is a dogma.

    The fifth dogma is that nature’s purposeless. There are no purposes in all nature and the evolutionary process has no purpose or direction.

    There is no evidence that evolution has a direction. And what does he mean by a purpose of nature? It sounds to me like he is trying to force fit a religious belief into a discussion of science.

    Dogma seven, memories are stored inside your brain as material traces. Somehow everything you remember is in your brain in modified nerve endings, phosphorylated proteins, no one knows how it works. But nevertheless almost everyone in the scientific world believes it must be in the brain.

    Dogma eight, your mind is inside your head. All your consciousness is the activity of your brain, and nothing more

    Again, the evidence is that our minds are a function of our brains. If you want to argue otherwise, present your evidence.

    Dogma nine, which follows from dogma eight, psychic phenomena like telepathy are impossible. Your thoughts and intentions cannot have any effect at a distance because your mind’s inside your head. Therefore all the apparent evidence for telepathy and other psychic phenomena is illusory.

    (emphasis added) How does this follow from eight and WHAT apparent evidence? Telepathy has been researched for decades and the results have been consistently negative in well controlled experiments. Far from a dogma, again, the most reasonable conclusion from current evidence is that telepathy doesn’t exist.

    And dogma ten, mechanistic medicine is the only kind that really works. That’s why governments only fund research into mechanistic medicine and ignore complementary and alternative therapies.

    Still again the evidence is that “mechanistic medicine” works. Faith healing, homeopathic medicine don’t. And yet, he is still wrong, things like acupuncture get more funding and attention than they should, based on evidence.

    In my opinion, this is a gross misrepresentation of modern science and shows his lack of understanding and bias.
    I appreciate your points but there is a scattergun effect. I agree Sheldrake does not help his own cause by tangents like telepathy and indeed consciousness even when that is part of his idea, it puts people right off.

    There are simple but important direct claims like crystal formation, melting point and the original leaf shape issues that can be discussed as testable. We now have a new science of epigenetic change and inheritance. This must offer testable hypotheses. DNA mutation should have correlations if his basic hypothesis has any merit.

    You mention homeopathy which is a powerful placebo effect. Thus it is not quite fair to say it does not work. It does not work like conventional medicine but by personal belief. Those kinds of beliefs spread in populations. The way that works needs explaining at a basic level to counter claims that he would make about that. Unfortunately many such experiments are unethical. Melting points are simple by comparison.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Yes the question of removing a platform for people like that is very current.
    The weren't "no-platformed", they were "different platformed". The TED organization took the following stance:
    One option would be to have an “anything goes” policy. We could just say that these events are the responsibility of the local organizer and wash our hands of it. The problem with that stance is that we would soon find the TEDx brand and platform being hijacked by those with dangerous or fringe ideas. And eventually credible speakers would not want to be associated with it. TED’s mission is not “any old idea” but “ideas worth spreading.” We’ve taken a deliberately broad interpretation of that phrase, but it still has to mean something.
    and
    When Sheldrake and Hancock’s talks were flagged, the majority of the board recommended we remove them from circulation, pointing out questionable suggestions and arguments in both talks. But there was a counter view that removing talks that had already been posted would lead to accusations of censorship. It’s also the case that both speakers explicitly take on mainstream scientific opinion. This gives them a stronger reason to be listened to than those who simply use scientific sounding language to make nonsensical claims. So we decided we would not remove the talks from the web altogether, but simply transfer them to our own site where they could be framed in a way which included the critique of our board, but still allow for an open conversation about them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    The weren't "no-platformed", they were "different platformed". The TED organization took the following stance:andGrant Hutchison
    Yes that seems sensible for TED. But Sheldrake remains an outsider in the scientific community. It does not matter how non mainstream his ideas are if they can be scientifically tested. Most of the simple tests are not expensive to do. Many of the others are difficult to untangle from other explanations.

    Unfortunately his support comes from people who leap to the far end possibilités . That puts mainstream off. (No idea where accent acute popped from.)
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Medicine is actually plagued by the exact opposite of what Sheldrake claims should happen, an effect that has been dubbed "cosmic habituation"--treatments apparently get less effective as time goes by.
    It's an interesting and problematic phenomenon, probably only partly explained (so far) by the sociology of experimenters, subjects and journal editors.
    There's a (fairly long-form) description of the problem in Jonah Lehrer's New Yorker article, "The Truth Wears Off".

    My serious point is that life is complicated, science doubly so, and Sheldrake evidently chooses the data that suit his claims.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Medicine is actually plagued by the exact opposite of what Sheldrake claims should happen, an effect that has been dubbed "cosmic habituation"--treatments apparently get less effective as time goes by.
    It's an interesting and problematic phenomenon, probably only partly explained (so far) by the sociology of experimenters, subjects and journal editors.
    There's a (fairly long-form) description of the problem in Jonah Lehrer's New Yorker article, "The Truth Wears Off".

    My serious point is that life is complicated, science doubly so, and Sheldrake evidently chooses the data that suit his claims.

    Grant Hutchison
    Well to play devil’s advocate, would an intervention be expected to get more or less effective if there was a learning field. I guess this is a question of tolerance but of what by whom? I guess there is no law that a shape field must be beneficial to humans or indeed beneficial at all excepting , according to Sheldrake . a greater number. If a bacterium develops tolerance of a bactericide, we can explain that by random mutation followed by natural selection. Any information being passed by a Sheldrake mechanism would be swamped by our adequate explanation. It is only if a separate strain of that bacterium also develops resistance/tolerance with no DNA inheritance that we need to explain that.

    I read that bacteria in remote caves are found to have such resistance and the explanation is competition and natural selection. I guess this is another easy experiment since bacteria are so prolific. In two batches, one under stress from a not quite lethal compound, first one then the other unchallenged batch should develop tolerance. Similarly virus phages develop in a bacterial soup, but that has been going on for aeons, I suppose.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Well to play devil’s advocate, would an intervention be expected to get more or less effective if there was a learning field. I guess this is a question of tolerance but of what by whom? I guess there is no law that a shape field must be beneficial to humans or indeed beneficial at all excepting , according to Sheldrake . a greater number.
    See? Sheldrake's hypothesis is not a scientific hypothesis, because (as you've just demonstrated) it can be beaten into shape to "explain" anything. Whatever explains anything explains nothing.
    But my point was about cherry-picking data (Sheldrake specifically claims his field makes things happen better and faster, as the Universe learns) to the exclusion of "damned" data that don't fit--precisely what Sheldrake accuses scientists of doing.
    We can't have it both ways. Either the data are being cherry-picked to match the hypothesis, or the hypothesis can be bent to explain anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    If a bacterium develops tolerance of a bactericide, we can explain that by random mutation followed by natural selection. Any information being passed by a Sheldrake mechanism would be swamped by our adequate explanation. It is only if a separate strain of that bacterium also develops resistance/tolerance with no DNA inheritance that we need to explain that.
    I read that bacteria in remote caves are found to have such resistance and the explanation is competition and natural selection. I guess this is another easy experiment since bacteria are so prolific. In two batches, one under stress from a not quite lethal compound, first one then the other unchallenged batch should develop tolerance.
    We know the precise genetic and molecular mechanisms of antibiotic resistance, and most of it is achieved by bacteria exchanging the useful plasmids that code for the necessary molecules, rather than mutating afresh. Is it your suggestion that the appropriate plasmids would simply appear spontaneously in this isolated unstressed culture, or that the appropriate molecules would appear spontaneously?

    Grant Hutchison
    Last edited by grant hutchison; 2021-Jul-22 at 03:49 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Medicine is actually plagued by the exact opposite of what Sheldrake claims should happen, an effect that has been dubbed "cosmic habituation"--treatments apparently get less effective as time goes by.
    It's an interesting and problematic phenomenon, probably only partly explained (so far) by the sociology of experimenters, subjects and journal editors.
    There's a (fairly long-form) description of the problem in Jonah Lehrer's New Yorker article, "The Truth Wears Off".

    My serious point is that life is complicated, science doubly so, and Sheldrake evidently chooses the data that suit his claims.

    Grant Hutchison
    I read the New Yorker article with interest, thank you for finding it.
    If I wear a Sheldrake hat there is much to cherry pick, especially Crabbe’s careful mice on cocaine experiment. In that as many other examples statistical outliers are called upon to explain an unexpected result, any possibility of information passing magically between trials is taboo.

    One common factor in the cosmic habituation is that early exciting results are hard to replicate and get harder with time. Regression to the mean is just as non scientific as inter trial intelligence. Just different words. There is no statistical reason why early trials should find the outliers while later trials do not!

    As you point out, at first look this seems inverse from any morphic field. Except that as numbers increase, according to a generalised version of the hypothesis, regression to a mean is exactly what should be predicted. Just as asymptotic approach to a constant is predicted in the MP of a new crystal.

    In a new intervention, research might well concentrate on extra good results, we know medical results are scattered, but as more people are exposed there will be regression to a mean effect, accoding to morphic resonance. The final mean might be a null result or an accelerated result, like cocaine doped mice, depending on the range of results first found.

    I attended a lecture by Stan Groff ( who was one who welcomed Sheldrake to USA). Groff was invited by Sandos to test LSD on patients. He gave up because the results were chaotic, some patient s greatly improved, some greatly disturbed. Unpredictable. If he had picked the positives it would seem a miracle drug. Now I believe it is back on the table, as it were, with less dramatic variance. It should be a perfect subject for a Sheldrake test. Could it be that people today tolerate LSD more than a few decades ago?
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Regression to the mean is just as non scientific as inter trial intelligence. Just different words. There is no statistical reason why early trials should find the outliers while later trials do not!
    That's completely wrong, I'm afraid. The mechanism for this is pretty well understood--initial trials are small and subject to selection bias at various levels during the route from conception to publication. The result that reaches initial publication is almost always a highly selected small trial with a positive result, while negative trials are left invisibly abandoned in what's called the "file drawer problem". Larger studies and metaanalyses then follow, and give a better estimate of the true population mean.
    Lehrer was writing in 2010, about five years after Ioannidis published "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False". By the time I retired in 2015, we were only just starting to see the moderating effects of things put in place in the wake of that publication, like open access publishing and clinical trial registration. I'd say we're going to need another decade or so to fix the obvious systemic problems with the medical literature, before we start fretting about magic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    See? Sheldrake's hypothesis is not a scientific hypothesis, because (as you've just demonstrated) it can be beaten into shape to "explain" anything. Whatever explains anything explains nothing.
    But my point was about cherry-picking data (Sheldrake specifically claims his field makes things happen better and faster, as the Universe learns) to the exclusion of "damned" data that don't fit--precisely what Sheldrake accuses scientists of doing.
    We can't have it both ways. Either the data are being cherry-picked to match the hypothesis, or the hypothesis can be bent to explain anything.

    We know the precise genetic and molecular mechanisms of antibiotic resistance, and most of it is achieved by bacteria exchanging the useful plasmids that code for the necessary molecules, rather than mutating afresh. Is it your suggestion that the appropriate plasmids would simply appear spontaneously in this isolated unstressed culture, or that the appropriate molecules would appear spontaneously?

    Grant Hutchison
    Well, that is a good point, he certainly does emphasise the better and faster results. I have to criticise the implied human benefit assumption there. If I rephrase his hypothesis as expaining anomalous regression to the mean, there is no good or bad result. By that I mean specifically if in a series of trials the early in time results are more scattered than a later set of results, then that is not a fair random result. There is a calming down effect, the variance is reducing. We cannot say that a rising MP of a new compound, if that happens, is good or bad it is just a phenomenon that merits explanation beyond noise. Usually any such reduction in variance would be ascribed to the learning curve. Then left at that, although the mechanism of the learning curve also merits investigation.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    I have to criticise the implied human benefit assumption there.
    What "implied human benefit assumption"? Drugs work by cellular mechanisms. The drugs and the cells don't care about "human benefit". Sheldrake's magic Universal memory should make drug effects on cells happen better and faster. That's his claim--if crystals form better and faster once the Universe knows how to make them, novel drugs should work better and faster once the Universe knows the chemistry of action. It doesn't matter whether the drugs are good or bad for the human recipient.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    To characterize normal scientific standards as "book burning hysteria" does not make me think that Sheldrake has an unbiased agenda.
    Do you think Sheldrake faced opposition that was scientific for an hypothesis that can be tested? Is it true that journals and labs just did not want to do those tests because they were against the mainstream? Is science free of dogma in the process of grants, peer review and publication. Even if wholly wromg, a testable hypothesis deserves the resources to test it. His first book was this denounced by, for example , Dawkins, it is one reason I paid attention at the time and bought the book.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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