Freeing the Spirit of Extravagance!

Astute readers will see I haven’t written much the last 10 days – ah, but that’s because I have been reading.   And if you are wondering what could possibly stretch my attention span that far:

This book is one every scientist, psychologist, nutritionist, doctor, researcher, evolutionary biologist and bus driver (and every author of The God Delusion) needs to read before they do anything else.

No point in going into all the mountain of research and insight in detail here, but suffice to say if you enjoy anything about this blog or are even the tiniest bit open minded, you will get a lot out of it.  Since starting scienceandreligion.com I’ve waded through easily fifty books on the subject over the years and I’m sorry to say hardly any of them merited reading all the way through.  This is the first I have ever seen by a scientist which treats the mind as an observable phenomenon and then openly goes wherever the facts lead.

So as a special offer to the doubters, the first fifteen skeptics who email me their name and address will receive a free copy of this book direct from Amazon.  No catches!  Except one: you have to read it, starting at the beginning.  And fight your way through Amazon’s indestructible cardboard packaging, but you must surely have realised that from the outset.  Proof of your skeptic status will not be required as I won’t be skeptical about it.

[26th March: please note all copies have now been sent.  Happy reading!]

And should you hold back for fear that life could then never get any better, know ye this, that Rupert Sheldrake is embarking on a lecture tour as detailed in the following link, with some engagements in London and Oxford, and in North America:

http://www.sheldrake.org/About/schedule/

And treat this claim with skepticism if you must, but he might even sign your book!

About iain carstairs

I have a great interest in both scientific advances and the beauty of religion, and created www.scienceandreligion.com about 15 years ago with the aim of finding common ground between the scientist and the believer, and to encourage debate between the two sides.
This entry was posted in Authors, Biology, Books, Designs in nature, Dreams, Education, Evolution, Intuition, Natural Intelligence, Rupert Sheldrake, Senses, The Brain, The Science Delusion and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Freeing the Spirit of Extravagance!

  1. Dear Iain Carstairs,
    If I am still in luck, please register my name and address for the entry into “The Science Delusion” by Rupert Sheldrake contest.

    I will disburse the necessary postage cost, if any, should for overseas charges.

    Thank you.

  2. Ms. Grundy says:

    Sounds like spring break reading in Canada. Off to Amazon pronto.

  3. I’m a couple chapters into Sheldrake’s “The Presence of the Past.” The first two chapters are a good review of the development of scientific thought from the ancient Greeks through the developments in Europe. They’re a good reminder that science and mathematics were developed by mystics and theists, with certain ideas about the nature of god(s), and that some of our persistent assumptions about science are rooted in decidely unscientific thought.

    Freeman Dyson’s memoir “Disturbing the Universe” is another good read. His final chapter “Argument from Design” reveals his outlook on the nature of mind and material. Despite the title, he doesn’t fall back on the traditional theistic watchmaker approach, but something far more subtle, informed by his background in experimental quantum physics.

  4. Yes, it’s all good stuff. I’m hoping to get to his talk on the 26th down in London. The Science Delusion has to be the best book, by a long, long way, that I have read in this field – at last someone has done the research, has the stats, and makes positive suggestions about where it leads, and the logical reasons for it. This seems to be a genuine use of logic, and it’s high time

  5. Alan Crowle says:

    Can’t see your email anywhere on the blog, I am interested in the free copy of The Science Delusion. I make a point to read as much evidence and proof as I can from both sides of the argument however I have yet to find anything that conclusively supports a worldview containing god. How can I get in touch, if you have my email from where I entered it for this post then email me so I might respond. Thanks.

    • Hi, no problem – email me at iain@dataworld.co.uk. but be advised he makes no reference to “god”. he simply expands the scientific worldview so that it accounts for observed behaviour.

      I also don’t talk much about God on this blog, because the idea is so personal. if something as everyday as colour can’t be proven from one person to another, imagine how much more difficult it is to prove the existence of God! Representing the largest imaginable mental constuct, the idea depends solely on the type and capacity of each mind.

      A very boring accountant I once knew thought Heaven should probably have some kind of golf course where he could play eternally. Some Christians in America think they will ascend in the rapture and leave all of hated mankind to their eternal torment – the idea of children screaming for eternity not troubling them in the least. The character of a “God” is coloured in by the personality itself: Jesus saw God as the infinitely forgiving, loving father; Babbage thought God must be the perfect programmer; Michelangelo saw God as the bestower of great beauty; Dawkins sees God as an impossibility outside the evolving material world: such a being could exist, but could emerge only from Darwinism. And so every mind insists that God retain the shape of their own ideas. You can put God into the human mind when you can put Canis Majoris into a wine glass, or hold a meaningful conversation with an ant.

      Therefore the subject is pretty well pointless as a platform for discussion – each side just reinforces their own arguments and walks away angry. You may as well try and commit everyone to the same idea of what makes a good marriage. Far more relevant is the biological reaction to spiritual practices; if convinced by such evidence, people can firstly understand why religion has accompanied mankind through all evolution, and secondly, put these things into practice to draw their own conclusions.

      But as to direct experience, I don’t think anyone has ever communicated directly with God or will do in the forseeable future. Man is currently one step above the animal world, and the difference in consciousness would be too vast. But either way, God is an extension of consciousness, and must depend on individual experience; a person will never get proof one way or the other from a book written by someone else.

  6. Philip Ethridge says:

    Mr. Carstairs,

    I’m new to the site and would love a copy of this book. I could not find your email address, forgive me of my wordpress ignorance!
    How do I go about receiving one of these 12 remaining copies??

    Yours,
    Philip

  7. I’d like to take you up on your challenge, if I’m within the first 50. How would you like me to contact you with delivery information?

  8. Thanks for sending me the book. I am 3 chapters into it. To me, this seems to be Sheldrake’s most mature work yet. He still hasn’t attempted to define a “field.” In my research, I have come across some other books along the line of trying to view the history and theories of science from a more distant and neutral view. As I wrote in my dissertation literature search: “Books by Bryson (2004), Ginzburg (1996, 1999, & 2006), Lederman (1993), and Schrödinger (1967), combined offer the layperson a captivating journey through the history of the physical sciences, educating the reader into an awareness that physics and metapysics have never been too far removed from one another.” I can now add Sheldrake to that list. I look forward to joining others in person somewhere, sometime, to further the discussion.
    Thanks again for the book.

  9. I’m glad you’re enjoying it. I’m not sure there is a consistent definition of “a field”, I mean, the mechanisms behind fields are only guessed at – like gravity for example. We see it work but not how it works. I always thought a field represented an area of consistently observed phenomena, dependent on the level of existence. Inside the cell gravity isn’t effective, as the forces between molecules are hugely more influential, but those are negligible on the human scale, and so on. I think Sheldrake’s morphogenic field arises in the same way, from observed phenomenon, as yet without a mechanism. The difficulty with science, as he points out, is that they proceed now not from observed phenomena, but in whatever way preserves principles already set out, creating an ever bigger schism between observation and mechanical theory. I don’t think science as it is can survive much longer, and in many quarters it has even become a laughing stock, thanks to wretched abuses which Sheldrake also points out, which is a great shame.

    To give you an example of what I think is a valid idea for a field, I just heard back from a team prepared to help me design and build a working hemoglobin molecule. They have quoted six months of work for a highly qualified post-graduate fellow, at $50,000. This is to build a manageable, football sized molecule within the current year. The argument that it would be difficult to build because of having to work on a molecular scale is negated since it can be any size of our choosing, and the argument that it would be too difficult to figure out what its components are is negated because the complete atomic design of the hemoglobin molecule is already known, down to the last atom, as are the electrical charges of all the 541 parts and the order in which they are assembled. All we have to do is build it in our own time.

    This six months of time is 648 million times as long as on the molecular level, on a human scale where the difficulties of molecular physics do not apply, and where great intelligence is being brought to bear 10 hours a day. If intelligence is a measurable commodity from which we can predict results – in other words, say someone half as smart could build one in a year, and someone half as smart again could never achieve it, then we have to propose a vastly superior intelligence to come up with the design itsef, and thousands of others, all working and interacting perfectly, as well as the assembly mechanism to provide an astronomical number of them.

    To me it seems intelligence must therefore be a measurable commodity which propagates through consciousness as a medium, and is detectable by other intelligences, and measurable tangentially if not directly, by results. We might not see the mechanism of gravity but sure enough we find heavier objects generate more of it. Therefore, nature must be conscious because it must be intelligent. But this would never pass a scientific scrutiny, even though the logic is, as far as I can see, completely water tight!

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