The 10 dogmas of scientific materialism, refuted

The ten dogmas of the prevailing scientific worldview are proving to be unreliable; at least, according to the provocative insights of biologist Dr. Rubert Sheldrake in his book Science Set Free.

Dr. Sheldrake gave a brief lecture on his book at a TED talk in 2013. Unfortunately, TEDx decided to ban Dr. Sheldrake’s lecture because he dared to challenge scientific orthodoxy.

Dr. Sheldrake has no qualms about the fruits science has provided. Nevertheless, he draws a line between scientific inquiry, which consists of hypotheses, evidence and cross verification, and the prevailing scientific worldview, which states that the universe is a closed system.

The belief that all reality is material is an outdated mode of thinking embedded in Newtonian physics, which describes the world as a mechanical clock. While Newtonian physics is a great way to understand the world at a preliminary level, it’s been gutted and left for dead by advances made in quantum theory and general relativity.

The 10 dogmas of scientific materialism

Despite these advances, scientists remain shackled to dogmas of a materialistic worldview. These dogmas include the following:

1. Everything is essentially mechanical.
2. All matter is unconscious.
3. The total amount of matter and energy is conserved.
4. The laws of nature are fixed. They are the same today as they were at the beginning, and they will stay the same forever.
5. Nature is purposeless, and evolution has no goal or direction.
6. All biological inheritance is material, carried in the genetic material, DNA, and in other material structures.
7. Minds are inside heads and are nothing but the activities of brains. When you look at a tree, the image of the tree you are seeing is not “out there,” where it seems to be, but inside your brain.
8. Memories are stored as material traces in brains and are wiped out at death.
9. Unexplained phenomena like telepathy are illusory.
10. Mechanistic medicine is the only kind that really works.

None of these claims are actually scientific. Rather, these are philosophical beliefs grounded in an outdated science. Dr. Sheldrake goes on to illustrate how each of these dogmas has its own shortcomings, point by point.[1]

Questioning old dogma

Take for example the claim that the mind is identical to the brain. The problem is many physicists believe quantum mechanics is mind-dependent; meaning, the behavior of particles is determined by the act of observation. Therefore, the mind cannot be reduced to matter, because quantum mechanics presupposes the existence of minds.[1]

Take another dogma: The belief that everything is mechanical. Again, the problem with this claim is it is based upon an outdated description of the universe purported by Newtonian mechanics. The twenty first century revealed that 74 percent of the mass of the universe is attributed to a mysterious repulsive force know as dark energy. The remaining 22 percent is attributed to an unaccounted force known as dark matter. Visible matter as described by Newtonian physics, such as stars, planets and galaxies, makes up a mere 4 percent of the universe’s mass.[2]

The belief that the constants of physics don’t vary has been called into question, too. Cutting edge theories in physics, such as string theory, suggest that our universe is just one among many in a so-called megaverse. Rather than existing uniformly throughout the megaverse, the laws of physics vary from one region to the next. A few cosmological models even suggest that some physical constants, like the cosmological constant, have evolved over time.

Dr. Sheldrake upholds the torch of scientific skepticism by questioning the dogmas of scientific materialism. Don’t limit your intellect to four dimensions. Stay up-to-date on the latest scientific research by visiting

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