Graham Hancock and Ruper Sheldrake allege to have had their TEDx talks banned

50


Discussion by: dilated_in_disbelief

At the TEDxWhitechapel event that took place on January 13th, 2013, Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake gave their own talks. Their talks did not meet the scientific standards of TED's advisory board, so TED decided to move their videos from one TED YouTube channel location to another. This meant that the two videos had to be removed from their original location so that they could be found at another one instead. As is to be expected, this has given the illusion to Hancock's and Sheldrake's supporters, and the men thenselves, that their videos were banned. This has caused some controversy.

Here are videos of their TEDx talks:

Graham Hancock- The War on Consciousness BANNED TED TALK
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0c5nIvJH7w&feature=share

Rupert Sheldrake – The Science Delusion BANNED TED TALK
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKHUaNAxsTg

Here are links to TED's website that discuss this current controversy:

http://blog.ted.com/2013/03/18/graham-hancock-and-rupert-sheldrake-a-fresh-take/

http://blog.ted.com/

Of course, militant atheists and materialist, reductionist scientists are having a fit because their orthodoxy and scientific belief system are being challenged. Or, these are two of the worst TED talks of all time which have no place at a TED event. My opinions are clear. What do you guys think?

50 COMMENTS

  1. You didn’t make your opinions that clear. Yes, these are two of the worst TED talks of all time. I watched Sheldrakes last week and was just shocked that they would let such a nut bag speak there. Just about everything he said was a strawman and wrong. Yes he has a Ph.D. in biochemistry, but all of his “research” is unrelated. His whole argument can be summed up like his, “Hey, listen to me, I’m smart with my Ph.D. and I think this! Therefor, all science has been lying to you. Also, science often changes its mind and doesn’t yet know this. Aha! There must be some spirtual magic going on.”

    • In reply to #1 by 3mantiger:

      You didn’t make your opinions that clear. Yes, these are two of the worst TED talks of all time. I watched Sheldrakes last week and was just shocked that they would let such a nut bag speak there. Just about everything he said was a strawman and wrong. Yes he has a Ph.D. in biochemistry, but all of his “research” is unrelated. His whole argument can be summed up like his, “Hey, listen to me, I’m smart with my Ph.D. and I think this! Therefor, all science has been lying to you. Also, science often changes its mind and doesn’t yet know this. Aha! There must be some spirtual magic going on.”

      I apologize. Sometimes I forget that other people can’t hear the voice of sarcasm inside my head. :(

    • In reply to #1 by 3mantiger:

      You didn’t make your opinions that clear. Yes, these are two of the worst TED talks of all time. I watched Sheldrakes last week and was just shocked that they would let such a nut bag speak there. Just about everything he said was a strawman and wrong. Yes he has a Ph.D. in biochemistry, but all of his “research” is unrelated. His whole argument can be summed up like his, “Hey, listen to me, I’m smart with my Ph.D. and I think this! Therefore, all science has been lying to you. Also, science often changes its mind and doesn’t yet know this. Aha! There must be some spirtual magic going on.”

      Some of the most ignorant people on the planet, are those who have studied a narrow specialism to the exclusion of everything else. – Especially those of limited capability, who had to put ALL of their efforts and time, into that study in order to qualify!

  2. The two talks that were moved from the normal TEDx youtube channel to the secondary one are unmitigated woo.

    They were not banned; they were moved.

    In my opinion the subjects should never have been approved as a scientific talk.

  3. TED has been making a number of blunders lately; the producers have been lax in adhering to their “ideas worth spreading” axiom, as admitted in their response to the controversy. Ph.D’s seem to have been dumbed down as all other educational qualifications, it seems to me.

    • In reply to #3 by Nodhimmi:

      TED has been making a number of blunders lately; the producers have been lax in adhering to their “ideas worth spreading” axiom, as admitted in their response to the controversy. Ph.D’s seem to have been dumbed down as all other educational qualifications, it seems to me.

      there are plenty of nutcase Ph.D’s, and it’s not a new thing.

      • In reply to #4 by aminfidel:

        In reply to #3 by Nodhimmi:

        TED has been making a number of blunders lately; the producers have been lax in adhering to their “ideas worth spreading” axiom, as admitted in their response to the controversy. Ph.D’s seem to have been dumbed down as all other educational qualifications, it seems to me.

        there are plenty of nutcase Ph.D’s, and it’s not a new thing.

        Too true!

  4. 10 dogmas of science; free miracle; purpose in nature; psychic phenomena; mechanised medicine; alternative therapies. Best of all, morphic resonance; collective memory (of crystals & giraffes)

    BeJeebus, Sheldrake’s a loon! On one hand he decries science for its alleged rigidity/ dogma (flat out lie) , on the other decries it for not making allowance for mysticism.

    As the cliche says- open mindedness is good until the brain falls out…

    • In reply to #6 by Charles Pegge:

      I looked for signs of insanity but was most disappointed :-)

      Good interview here:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqaATPAnTZQ

      Hey Charles. I’m going to finish the entire interview soon. I do think it is a very good representation of Sheldrake’s ideas, so I’m grateful that you posted it. I’m interested in reading the publications of those experiments Sheldrake talked about. Of course, I have several doubts. I’m not a trained scientist; just a reader of science, so I can’t say that I’m qualified to take on Sheldrake. For the sake of argument, I’ll give it a shot.

      The proposed rat experiment that hasn’t been tested obviously can’t be used as evidence, and he doesn’t go into enough detail with the experiment conducted at Harvard University, which was replicated in Scotland and Melbourne. It seems to me that in order to test his hypothesis of morphic resonance (he says this theory is at the hypothesis stage in his TED talk, perhaps the rest of the interview as well), one breed/specie of rat would have to be tested the world over. There would have to be a massive statistical undertaking of the rats’ abilities prior to the experiments, followed by many replications to validate it. I don’t buy the idea that one control line of generations of rats whose parents were not trained to learn the new tricks, yet learned the new tricks at the same rate of the generations of rats whose parents did learn the new tricks, is a sign of something more “mysterious.” From my limited reading of the philosophy of science, specifically Karl Popper’s ideas (Sheldrake refers to him in the interview), the causes for a phenomenon explained by a scientific theory have to be hard to vary. This means that the phenomenon in question has to be explainable by that one good explanation, not another, in order for that explanation to adequately explain it (was that tautological?). My basic understanding of science leads me to ask certain questions in light of Sheldrake’s explanations. Were the experimenter’s ability to train these rats new tricks improved by practice? Are these new tricks really new tricks or so different as to be outside the realm of the rats’ abilities? How was one group of rats not more intelligent and ‘talented’ than the other? How many different rats were used in the experiments? The real mystery, as it appears to me, is why these experiments don’t seem to describe the events in more detail. I have heard from several people that Sheldrake’s methodology is allegedly respected. Regardless, I can’t see the mysteriousness in these studies. Sheldrake may have the right methodology down, but his hypothesis doesn’t cover the gamut.

      Sheldrake says “there is no point in trying to prove people wrong.” Yet, Popper, the philosopher of science he refers to, has an essay collection called Conjectures and Refutations. This view of scientific knowledge is all about finding out what is ‘less’ wrong than what is ‘more right’. So, it makes sense that he would be bombarded by naysayers, which seems to be an important point of the process of anonymous peer-reviews. Perhaps he can write the script of the so-called “organized skeptics” because he’s been wrong about the same things for more than thirty years.

      On a different point, I do not see the dogmas he claims are held by the organized materialists of modern science. For example, I like to read books on neuroscience, cognitive science, the philosophy of the mind, evolution and human nature. Far from being dogmatic, these fields of science do not have the consensus that Sheldrake says they have; that consciousness is fully explainable by the activity of the brain. It is true that there are many new popular science books that explain consciousness in that way, like Bruce Hood’s The Self Illusion and David Eagleman’s Incognito, but their ideas don’t go by unscathed. However, books like Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos appear to be the most criticized, especially for making the same arguments as Sheldrake. I can’t help but think that Sheldrake has made a straw man.

      Personally, I have no interest in one theory or another because of the world it describes. If morphic resonance is the best explanation, I’m more than happy to agree with it. Likewise, if the worldview of “materialist reductionists”–does Sheldrake, or Hancock, know what reductionism is?–is the best explanation, I’m more than happy to agree with it.

      Please critique my noob response!

      • _In reply to #19 by dilated-in-disbelief:

        In reply to #6 by Charles Pegge:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqaATPAnTZQ

        Hey Charles. I’m going to finish the entire interview soon. I do think it is a very good representation of Sheldrake’s ideas, so I’m grateful that you posted it. I’m interested in reading the publications of those experiments Sheldrake talked about. Of course, I have several doubts. I’m not a trained scientist; just a reader of science, so I can’t say that I’m qualified to take on Sheldrake. For the sake of argument, I’ll give it a shot.

        Glad you found it worth watching. This brings us up to date with his views.

        I’m all for discussion with a light touch. When this kind of subject is approached with excessive zeal, the truth flies away. You have written quite a lot here, so I”ll mull it over, and attempt a response later

      • In reply to #19 by dilated_in_disbelief:

        he doesn’t go into enough detail with the experiment conducted at Harvard University, which was replicated in Scotland and Melbourne. It seems to me that in order to test his hypothesis of morphic resonance (he says this theory is at the hypothesis stage in his TED talk, perhaps the rest of the interview as well), one breed/specie of rat would have to be tested the world over.

        He is referring to studies carried out in the 1920s..1950s. (Took me a while to track this down)

        This is extracted from Chapter 11 of Rupert Sheldrake’s book Morphic Resonance (in the US) and A New Science of Life (in the UK)

        Rat learning and morphic resonance:

        http://sciencesetfree.tumblr.com/

  5. This meme of conflating freedom of expression with the freedom of passing woo off as factual infects nearly every area of our public discourse. This is what allowed the creationism (camouflaged as “intelligent design”) debate to resurface much like another outbreak of the bubonic plague after decades lying dormant; enabled by the (liberal) media’s mania – driven by political correctness and scientific illiteracy – to give equal time to “both” sides of an issue even when the “other” side stopped being one in the 19th century.

    This is most corrosive when it happens in what is supposed to be our civilization’s repository of knowledge. Behold these “behavioral guidelines” from the Wikipedia etiquette page for people who wish to contribute to the online encyclopedia:

    “Wikipedia articles are supposed to represent all views, instead of supporting one over another, even if you believe something strongly. What you think is not necessarily right or necessarily wrong—a common example of this is religion.”

    That said, TED has provided a platform for various subspecies of woo merchants far too long for this sudden inept flailing and muddling to look anything other than cadaveric spasms to regain long ago lost scientific rigour which it perhaps didn’t much have in the first place.

  6. Do I detect a wiff a group-think here? Condemning paradigm-shifting ideas and their proponents, is the same mode of behaviour as was adopted by organised religion. We don’t want to end up with a scientistic version of the Inquisition. All science theories should be open to challenge. This is how science progresses.

    • In reply to #9 by Charles Pegge:

      All science theories should be open to challenge. This is how science progresses.

      All science theories should be open to – evidenced, rational, challenge. Refuted nonsense and wild speculations do not count!

      • In reply to #11 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #9 by Charles Pegge:

        All science theories should be open to challenge. This is how science progresses.

        All science theories should be open to – evidenced, rational, challenge. Refuted nonsense and wild speculations do not count!

        You’re welcome to engage in refuted nonsense, just label it refuted nonsense. You’re welcome to engage in wild speculations, just label it wild speculations. This must be done because the general public often is not equipped (thanks to decrepit or non existent science education) to know the difference. And we’ll be happy to move the wild speculation to the speculation ledger to the possibility ledger to the plausibility ledger to the hypothesis ledger and finally to the full-fledged theory level commensurate with the evidence.

        That’s all this TED row is about – not to have gold mixed with fools gold presented as gold. Unfortunately they’re as late as they are inept to act on this concern.

      • In reply to #11 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #9 by Charles Pegge:

        All science theories should be open to challenge. This is how science progresses.

        All science theories should be open to – evidenced, rational, challenge. Refuted nonsense and wild speculations do not count!

        I just (re) watched Carl Sagan’s Cosmos episode “Heaven and Hell”, in which he takes time out to address the “Worlds in Collision” fantasy/theory by Immanuel Velikovsky. I was a little surprised Sagan put so much time and effort into describing the theory – even pulling a model of Venus out of a trapdoor in Jupiter – before refuting it.

        He also stated that notions like this should not be suppressed, as they will die of their own accord in face of contradictory evidence. ( He said it better. I’m paraphrasing)

        Worth a watch, and pertinent to this discussion.

    • Yes, I followed this on Jerry Coyne’s blog, and I have to say I’m as surprised as him over the backlash the relocation caused. People apparently get very upset when pro-science people put pro-pseudoscience videos on a separate website.

      In reply to #9 by Charles Pegge:

      Do I detect a wiff a group-think here?

      Ad hominem. I’m certainly getting a whiff of wishful thinking from your direction.

      Condemning paradigm-shifting ideas and their proponents, is the same mode of behaviour as was adopted by organised religion.

      Guilt by association. Also, no one was condemned, unless you think having your ideas exposed as unscientific, and your videos placed in a parallel website, is condemnation. In any case, the “paradigm-shifting” ideas were, more importantly, unjustified, and it’s easier to propose several such ideas than to justify treating any of them as true.

      We don’t want to end up with a scientistic version of the Inquisition.

      Does this sort of sneering even deserve a response? If you want to see an Inquisition, find a religion with all the brakes off.

      All science theories should be open to challenge. This is how science progresses.

      Science progresses by getting the facts right and not letting wishful thinking influence one’s ideas, something you don’t seem particularly wary of. The ideas espoused in the videos don’t pass even minimal skeptical inquiry, so they don’t get to share a platform with those that do. That would be misleading, and therefore dishonest.

    • In reply to #9 by Charles Pegge:

      Do I detect a wiff a group-think here? Condemning paradigm-shifting ideas and their proponents, is the same mode of behaviour as was adopted by organised religion. We don’t want to end up with a scientistic version of the Inquisition. All science theories should be open to challenge. This is how science progresses.

      Yes, but you challenge science with observations, experiments, and evidence. Holding forth at length about dubious ideas with no evidence at all, OR lots of evidence contradicting your idea is not challenging science.

    • Psychic communication is possible; dogs can know when their owners are coming home; people can tell who’s on the other end of a ringing phone.

    This is a classic and is easily delt with, Dogs have an extreme sense of smell and probably ‘see’ with their noses, somewhat like bats ‘see’ with their ears and thus can probably smell their owners from distance.

    Being able to tell who is on the other end of the phone is nothing more than remembering the hits and forgetting the misses. It realy does baffle me how people can believe this nosense.

    • In reply to #14 by veggiemanuk:

      Psychic communication is possible; dogs can know when their owners are coming home; people can tell who’s on the other end of a ringing phone.

      This is a classic and is easily delt with, Dogs have an extreme sense of smell and probably ‘see’ with their noses, somewhat like bats ‘see’ with their ears and thus can probably smell their owners from distance.

      Being able to tell who is on the other end of the phone is nothing more than remembering the hits and forgetting the misses. It realy does baffle me how people can believe this nosense.

      How about something simpler, like sense of time? I had a cat that would be in the 2nd floor window looking down at me when I got home from work and then he’d be at the door when I came in. Never thought it was anything more complicated. I had another that wouldn’t come down 6 steps to the door, if he even bothered to get up, and sit waiting for me to come up.

  7. Rupert Sheldrake’s experimental approach seems perfectly reasonable to me, at least for pilot studies. And he also cites independent researchers confirming his results. If you hear of an interesting phenomenon, why not pursue it. Why nay say it?

    • In reply to #15 by Charles Pegge:

      Rupert Sheldrake’s experimental approach seems perfectly reasonable to me, at least for pilot studies. And he also cites independent researchers confirming his results. If you hear of an interesting phenomenon, why not pursue it. Why nay say it?

      Perhaps you should brush up on scientific methodology and the modern scientific knowledge established by using these scientific methods.

      Shedrake is just preaching doubt, about well-proven science, to promote his “immaterial” anti-science mystical views. It is just unevidenced rhetoric and waffle, showing his failure to understand the laws of science.

      He thinks “every one of these (key – well evidenced) scientific “dogmas” (including the mistaken strawman details he added to them) is highly questionable”! ? ? .. … All hail his alternative quackology, and pseudoscience! Halleuja!

      This anti-science pseudo-philosophical drivel, has no place being treated as science in the science section of a science web-site! It belongs in a section with the astrology, homoeopathy, fortune telling, and general quackery – possibly with a few magic spells from Harry Potter thrown in!

      Science keeps an open mind on new evidence, but it is not open like a bucket with no lid, into which any unchecked, unevidenced, speculative drivel can be poured at will!

  8. Being an academic Botanist in his early career, Rupert Sheldrake has a very good experimental science background. I have read some of his papers, seen the videos and have difficulty in understanding the furore that surrounds his hypotheses. His early quest was to discover what factors are involved in morphogenesis, Some forty years later, even after the technical marvel of full genome sequencing, it remains something of a mystery. So why not allow some lateral exploration of the subject?

    • In reply to #20 by Charles Pegge:

      Being an academic Botanist in his early career, Rupert Sheldrake has a very good experimental science background. I have read some of his papers, seen the videos and have difficulty in understanding the furore that surrounds his hypotheses.

      That’s quite a jump from botany to neuroscience!

      His early quest was to discover what factors are involved in morphogenesis, Some forty years later, even after the technical marvel of full genome sequencing, it remains something of a mystery.

      Not much of a connection to neuroscience:- especially if his work on cell development was years ago on plants!

      So why not allow some lateral exploration of the subject?

      The subjects have already been very well mapped, by more able people than him!

      His video description of the “ten dogmas of science”, was either ignorance or dishonesty. – Before we even look past his strawman additions to it – to the sheer volume of underlying scientific work supporting the science he claims to be disputing!

      It is possible to be a passable scientist in one field, and a hopelessly incompetent wish-thinking pseudo-scientist in another unrelated area!

      • In reply to #21 by Alan4discussion:

        That’s quite a jump from botany to neuroscience!

        Well, consider the structure of a mushroom and its mycelium, then compare it with the brain and the nervous system :-)

        • In reply to #23 by Charles Pegge:

          In reply to #21 by Alan4discussion:

          That’s quite a jump from botany to neuroscience!

          Well, consider the structure of a mushroom and its mycelium, then compare it with the brain and the nervous system :-)

          You seem to have made a further massive jump – Alt Text (Right click and select “view image”)

          Not only from nerve cells, which are complex animal cells, to plant cells, but now on to Fungi!
          The domains of thinking – Achaea or Bacteria next perhaps?

          This would suggest that you have no idea what you are talking about and are throwing out random diversions, clinging to wishful straws!

    • In reply to #20 by Charles Pegge:

      Being an academic Botanist in his early career, Rupert Sheldrake has a very good experimental science background. I have read some of his papers, seen the videos and have difficulty in understanding the furore that surrounds his hypotheses. His early quest was to discover what factors are involved in morphogenesis, Some forty years later, even after the technical marvel of full genome sequencing, it remains something of a mystery. So why not allow some lateral exploration of the subject?

      I assume that Sheldrake is more knowledgable than I on the matter of science. However, I think he might be too in love with his theory. I read about an experiment to test morphic resonance by Sheldrake and another scientist. They trained baby chicks to respond aversely to a light by an injection that caused an illness. Sheldrake claimed that the next generation of baby chicks would be more averse to this light because of this. The other scientist thought that wouldn’t happen. According to this other scientist and everyone else who looked at the data, Sheldrake’s prediction wasn’t observed. Yet, Sheldrake kept going on about how it was observed. I think it is probable that Sheldrake might treat criticism and antagonism to his theories as affirmations, much in the same way that conspiracy theorists affirm their theories of false-flag operations by pointing out ‘denialism’ from government officials.

      As for lateral exploration, I don’t think anyone has a problem with that. I think many scientists are in a so-called furore because Sheldrake has been saying the same things for decades, yet manages to give a talk at a TEDx event.

      • _In reply to #22 by dilatedin_disbelief

        I assume that Sheldrake is more knowledgable than I on the matter of science. However, I think he might be too in love with his theory. I read about an experiment to test morphic resonance by Sheldrake and another scientist. . … . . ..

        According to this other scientist and everyone else who looked at the data, Sheldrake’s prediction wasn’t observed. Yet, Sheldrake kept going on about how it was observed.

        It is not so much that he is in love with his alleged scientific “theory”, but that it is not a scientific theory

        1. A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.
        2. The branch of a science or art consisting of its explanatory statements, accepted principles, and methods of analysis, as opposed to practice:

        but is instead based on his teleological paranormal notions and then dressed up in as science.

        Where scientific methods have been used, his claims have not been repeatable by other scientists.

        If you are reading about Sheldrake and science, here is a good place to start!

        Morphic resonance is a term coined by Rupert Sheldrake in his 1981 book A New Science of Life. He uses the expression to refer to what he thinks is “the basis of memory in nature….the idea of mysterious telepathy-type interconnections between organisms and of collective memories within species.”

        Sheldrake has been trained in 20th century scientific models–he has a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Cambridge University (1967)–but he prefers Goethe and 19th century vitalism. Sheldrake prefers teleological to mechanistic models of reality. His main interests are in the paranormal.
        http://skepdic.com/morphicres.html

        In short, he prefers metaphysics to science, though he seems to think he can do the former but call it the latter. Perhaps it would be fairer to say that he sees no borderline between science and metaphysics.

        ‘Morphic resonance’ (MR) is put forth as if it were an empirical term, but it is no more empirical than L. Ron Hubbard’s ‘engram’, the alleged source of all mental and physical illness. The term is more on par with the Stoic’s notion of the logos. Bergson’s notion of the élan vital, or Plato’s notion of the eidos than it is with any scientific notion of the laws of nature.

        In short, although Sheldrake commands some respect as a scientist because of his education and degree, he has clearly abandoned conventional science in favor of magical thinking. This is his right, of course. However, his continued pose as a scientist on the frontier of discovery is unwarranted. He is one of a growing horde of “alternative” scientists whose resentment at the aspiritual nature of modern scientific paradigms, as well as the obviously harmful and seemingly indifferent applications of modern science, have led them to seek their own paradigms in ancient and long-abandoned concepts.

        He is railing against the basic principles of material science in the video, BECAUSE they have refuted his paranormal claims.

        Morphic Resonance is quackery made up by Shedrake, which has no scientific basis.
        Reading cherry-picked long out-dated misconceptions and metaphysical quackery is just a diversion from the real issues!

  9. _In reply to #22 by dilatedin_disbelief:

    In reply to #20 by Charles Pegge:

    I assume that Sheldrake is more knowledgable than I on the matter of science. However, I think he might be too in love with his theory. I read about an experiment to test morphic resonance by Sheldrake and another scientist. They trained baby chicks to respond aversely to a light by an injection that caused an illness. Sheldrake claimed that the next generation of baby chicks would be more averse to this light because of this. The other scientist thought that wouldn’t happen. According to this other scientist and everyone else who looked at the data, Sheldrake’s prediction wasn’t observed. Yet, Sheldrake kept going on about how it was observed. I think it is probable that Sheldrake might treat criticism and antagonism to his theories as affirmations, much in the same way that conspiracy theorists affirm their theories of false-flag operations by pointing out ‘denialism’ from government officials.

    Here are the original papers: Quite a long read but worth the effort. (Requires some familiarity with experimental statistics)

    Sheldrake:

    http://www.sheldrake.org/Articles&Papers/papers/morphic/formative.html

    Rose:

    http://www.sheldrake.org/Articles&Papers/papers/morphic/Rose_response.html

    Sheldrake:

    http://www.sheldrake.org/Articles&Papers/papers/morphic/Rose_refuted.html

    Graph of the disputed data: Yellow bead test : Chrome beads control

  10. I found a paper that corroborates Rupert Sheldrakes assertion (and encounter with the Teddington metrologist) that the speed of light is not constant over time: It provides raw data tables. Unfortunately these tables are gif images, so the data can’t be inserted directly into a spread sheet. But really fascinating material. Would anyone here like to transcribe them into plain text?

    Is the Velocity of Light Constant in Time? (1993)

    http://www.ldolphin.org/cdkgal.html

    • In reply to #33 by Charles Pegge:

      I found a paper that corroborates Rupert Sheldrakes assertion (and encounter with the Teddington metrologist) that the speed of light is not constant over time: It provides raw data tables. Unfortunately these tables are gif images, so the data can’t be inserted directly into a spread sheet. But really fascinating material. Would anyone here like to transcribe them into plain text?

      Is the Velocity of Light Constant in Time? (1993)

      http://www.ldolphin.org/cdkgal.html

      The speed of light is tested every day by everyone with a GPS receiver. The numerical value used for the speed of light by GPS has been found to be good enough for use to within 12m/s. This “experiment” has run continuously for 20 years with no discernible drift.

      • In reply to #35 by phil rimmer:

        In reply to #33 by Charles Pegge:

        I found a paper that corroborates Rupert Sheldrakes assertion (and encounter with the Teddington metrologist) that the speed of light is not constant over time: It provides raw data tables. Unfortunately these tables are gif images, so the data can’t be inserted directly into a spread sheet. But really fascinating material. Would anyone here like to transcribe them into plain text?

        Is the Velocity of Light Constant in Time? (1993)

        http://www.ldolphin.org/cdkgal.html

        The speed of light is tested every day by everyone with a GPS receiver. The numerical value used for the speed of light by GPS has been found to be good enough for use to within 12m/s. This “experiment” has run continuously for 20 years with no discernible drift.

        The GPS system is regularly recalibrated, due to subtle variations in atomic clocks, and the slightly imperfect orbits of the satellites. So any fine drift in the speed of light is not going to be detectable by this technology, unfortunately.

        I found another article on variations in the speed of light here

        Speed of light may have changed recently

        http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6092-speed-of-light-may-have-changed-recently.html?full=true

        In 1983, the speed of light was defined as an absolute. Ie locked to 299,792.458 km/s. Which means that time or length varies insead. You choose which :-)

        • In reply to #36 by Charles Pegge:

          In reply to #35 by phil rimmer:

          In reply to #33 by Charles Pegge:

          The GPS system is regularly recalibrated, due to subtle variations in atomic clocks, and the slightly imperfect orbits of the satellites. So any fine drift in the speed of light is not going to be detectable by this technology, unfortunately.

          I found another article on variations in the speed of light here

          Speed of light may have changed recently

          http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn6092-speed-of-light-may-have-changed-recently.html?full=true

          In 1983, the speed of light was defined as an absolute. Ie locked to 299,792.458 km/s. Which means that time or length varies insead. You choose which :-)

          You are absolutely correct about the regular recalibration, as I found out for myself. I came back to edit/delete but was too late then had to taxi kids. I’m currently researching if the recallibrations (satellite repositioning) net a measurable delta in themselves. Had some good reading out of this so far!

          I’m familiar with the NS linked story. Thanks for the reminder. The delta in c is much more useful in sign and credible in magnitude than your earlier linked paper, which had me looking up early standards for the metre and foot. I noticed the uncertainties in definition broadly matched the estimates of c in error. So the question I have is what did “corrected” mean in the right hand columns of the list of the various experiments?

          • In reply to #37 by phil rimmer:

            The GPS system is regularly recalibrated, due to subtle variations in atomic clocks, and the slightly imperfect orbits of the satellites. So any fine drift in the speed of light is not going to be detectable by this technology, unfortunately.

            There are various inputs causing variations. Atomic clocks vary with temperature, satellites need orbital corrections and dish alignments, and of course light speed is reduced when travelling through air or other dense mediums.
            Alt Text – (Right click and select “view image)

            You are absolutely correct about the regular recalibration, as I found out for myself. I came back to edit/delete but was too late then had to taxi kids. I’m currently researching if the recallibrations (satellite repositioning) net a measurable delta in themselves. Had some good reading out of this so far!

            The speed of light as usually quoted, is for photons in high vacuum.

            When light traveling through the air enters a different medium, such as glass or water, the speed and wavelength of light are reduced (see Figure 1), although the frequency remains unaltered. Light travels at approximately 300,000 kilometers per second in a vacuum, which has a refractive index of 1.0, but it slows down to 225,000 kilometers per second in water (refractive index = 1.3; see Figure 1) and 200,000 kilometers per second in glass (refractive index of 1.5). In diamond, with a relatively high refractive index of 2.4, the speed of light is reduced to a relative crawl (125,000 kilometers per second), being about 60 percent less than its maximum speed in a vacuum. http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/speedoflight/

            If we look at photons inside hot dense bodies such as stars, it gets a lot more complicated.

            The high-energy photons (gamma rays and x-rays) released in fusion reactions take a long time to reach the Sun’s surface, slowed down by the indirect path taken, as well as by constant absorption and reemission at lower energies in the solar mantle. Estimates of the “photon travel time” range from as much as 50 million years[5] to as little as 17,000 years.[6] However, the concept of photon travel is not a well-defined one, since photons are not conserved, and one photon at a high temperature normally turns into many photons at a lower temperature, during passage of heat out of the solar core to the Sun’s photosphere http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar-core

            Plenty of scope for gappery and quackery for an uneducated audience!

    • In reply to #39 by Charles Pegge:

      I think it’s worth revisiting the Sheldrake video, and listen to the section where he discusses metrology:

      I don’t. The redefinition of the metre simply pushes the manifestation of a change in c elsewhere. My concern was for the bigger errors in estimating c at the end of the eighteenth century if the metre as a standard was uncertain to 10e-4 and with no good process for sharing that standard.

      Sheldrake’s “worthy” call to caution on “constants” is fatuous and baseless. Others pointing to possible variation are measured (!) evidenced, scientific, predictive and useful. He remains for me a a self serving clown, I’m afraid.

  11. Well, Studies on the long term variation in the speed of light are certainly hard to come by. May be the metrologists might be persuaded to make their raw data public eventually, and settle the controversy.

    But I have yet to see a convincing debunk of Rupert Sheldrake’s experiments, and on the other hand, I am somewhat alarmed at the vilification heaped upon his head. So I am content to place the morphic resonance theory in the box of possibilities, and on the right side of Popper’s ‘demarkation’.

    • In reply to #41 by Charles Pegge:

      Well, Studies on the long term variation in the speed of light are certainly hard to come by. May be the metrologists might be persuaded to make their raw data public eventually, and settle the controversy.

      There is no “Sheldrake controversy”, The data is there for those who have studied enough to know the subject title they are looking for rather than cheering for authors of pseudo-science!

      meteorology – n http://www.thefreedictionary.com/meteorology

      (Earth Sciences / Physical Geography) the study of the earth’s atmosphere, esp of weather-forming processes and weather forecasting

      But I have yet to see a convincing debunk of Rupert Sheldrake’s experiments, and on the other hand, I am somewhat alarmed at the vilification heaped upon his head.

      The onus of proof of his claims is on Shedrake to produce independently testable evidence. He has many years and has not done so! . It is not everyone else’s responsibility to refute nonsense others make up! The properly peer-reviewed scientific papers countering his claims, are available in scientific journals.

      So I am content to place the morphic resonance theory in the box of possibilities, and on the right side of Popper’s ‘demarkation’.

      Morphic resonance, is NOT a scientific theory (as I pointed out @30) and has failed the Popper test! ! It is unevidenced fanciful pseudoscience!

      I could take your “contented view”, ability to evaluate Sheldrake’s work, and ability to understand explanations and refutations, more seriously, if you actually knew the name of the subject which involves the study of light speed!

      astrophysics – http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/astrophysics

      Branch of astronomy concerned mainly with the properties and structures of cosmic objects, including the universe as a whole. Starting in the 19th century, spectroscopy and photography were applied to astronomical research, making it possible to study the brightness, temperature, and chemical composition of cosmic objects.

      X-ray astronomy, gamma-ray astronomy, infra-red astronomy, ultraviolet astronomy, and radio and radar astronomy are all basically concerned with extending electromagnetic coverage beyond the visible spectrum to constrain the physical characteristics of astronomical objects.

      As I pointed out for the biology claims @25 -

      @25 – This would suggest that you have no idea what you are talking about and are throwing out random diversions, clinging to wishful straws!

      Just because Shedrake can “blind you with pseudo-”science”, does not mean that he is likely to impress other people on a science site such as this one! Scientists expose quacks and fakes!

  12. I have little problem with Graham Hancock. Most of what he says is just relating personal experience. I have no reason to believe he is lying. I have have created some arguments why consciousness does not survive the body, but I don’t see them as conclusive. His arguments are “I had an experience when I was shown my death” and “this is the conclusion of many people and cultures” and “people who do not hold this view behave irresponsibly”. In my experience, Christians are the most anti-environmental people because they believe in life after death. This world does not matter and human have no effect on it anyway. God makes all the big decisions. I could see an argument for treating CEOs with ayahuasca to make them more environmentally aware, but this has nothing to do with the existence or non-existence of goddesses, but of the effect of DMT on the brain. I went to a lecture by Dr. Gabor Mate. He argued persuasively and at great length for theraputic use.

  13. Starting on 1974-11-30 for a year, I had a very large number of very strange experiences. I might summarise by saying every sci fi book I ever read came true. It appeared I had a way of slipping between alternate universes. I spent years looking for an explanation. I was intrigued by Sheldrake, hoping he might have some light to shed.

    The catch is, though his hypothesis is fun, I don’t think he has any evidence that the laws of nature morph, or that rocks are conscious. He is a bit like a Christian demanding you prove that laws never change and rocks have no consciousness.

    He is no scientific heavyweight. He seems to think the big bang violated the conservation of mass-energy.

    He uses a standard debating cheat, using the word purpose in two different senses, doing a bait and switch. Purpose in one sense implies a conscious being with intent. Purpose in another sense means “convenient for survival”, as in “the purpose of a clam’s foot is digging”.

    Dogma is something you believe without evidence. There plenty of evidence for science’s dogmas and none I have come across to contradict them. However, I for one would be quite excited to learn of any contradictory evidence.

    With his enumerations of our obvious assumptions, he does a service. Whoever discovered water was certainly not a fish. He also helps us keep an eye out for any anomalies, by at least opening us to the possibility of an anomaly.

    He claims genes cannot account for shape. I suggest he read Evolving: The Human Effect and Why It Matters by Daniel J. Fairbanks. Fairbanks explains in quite a bit of detail how some genes turn others on and off, and that timing controls rate of growth, which controls shape.

    He has a tantalising habit of saying evidence exists for some rather bizarre effects, but oddly tells you nothing that would help you look it up.

    His best argument was big G, how belief it must be constant inhibits any inquiry to see if it really is.

    Note how he appears on stage with bare feet. I suspect he is someone who craves attention so badly he will say very strange things he does not even believe himself.

  14. With Sheldrake I see a plot for a SciFi story, along the lines of Carl Sagan’s Contact. To shut Rupert Sheldrake up all the ever measured values of G and c are posted on the Internet. Budding computer scientist, 15 year old Jimmy Lion analyses them and “proves” the fluctuations must be the result of intelligent manipulation, much like the money supply, and using steganographic principles discovers some coded messages hidden in them as well. This turns out to be our first “contact” with alien intelligent life, even though we have no idea where they are and no way of saying anything back.

  15. It seems to me, both from a familiarity with his theories and from having watched the interview in post #6 above, that Sheldrake is just doing what this site actually promotes – indulging in critical thinking. Where’s the problem?

    • In reply to #47 by TanyaK:

      It seems to me, both from a familiarity with his theories and from having watched the interview in post #6 above, that Sheldrake is just doing what this site actually promotes – indulging in critical thinking. Where’s the problem?

      I completely agree. Although Sheldrake may be using a bit of a strawman I can think of plenty of skeptics who also do the same thing. So many people think James Randi is an honest debunker of the supernatural but yet through Flim Flam one gets exhausted by the condescending tone and dismissive attitude. Ehem moving on from that digression I find some of Sheldrake’s idea interesting including the so called “sense of being stared at.” The majority of people have had this experience which usually occurs when one isn’t self absorbed and in a relaxed state of mind. Similarly Cartesian Dualism hasn’t been disproven yet despite arguments to the contrary. Free will, consciousness are extremely difficult to put into a reductionist framework (it would be difficult to use determinism as a defence in a murder case.) I also have experimented with mantras and so called psychic techniques because as a real skeptic I thought I would experiment on myself rather than label everything ‘woo’ out of prejudice. I found that one does have your awareness raised and become more sensitive to feeling the moods of others so I’m open to the idea of an aura or emotional atmosphere. This could be linked to the fields that Sheldrake invokes. Before others think that I’m also a loon I am a highly functioning university undergraduate who has two part time jobs and plays a musical instrument. Anyway that’s my two cents, and I’m highly passionate by the way so I will continue to be a peddler of “woo” and push back when people claim that this is all nonsense.

  16. In reply to #48 by michael.i.shell:

    Anyway that’s my two cents, and I’m highly passionate by the way so I will continue to be a peddler of “woo” and push back when people claim that this is all nonsense.

    Ah yes, Alfred Rupert Sheldrake, he of the psychic dog (Jaytee) hypothesis, and other woo (telepathy, morphic resonance, the psychic staring effect).

  17. I see no mention a TED talk by Terry Moore on algebra that contained unsourced claims about Spanish language and history. Then there is the TED talk by Felisa Wolfe-Simon who claims that bacteria could incorporate arsenic into their DNA. She refused to engage with her critics. The scientific gatekeepers are as bad as any gestapo. We see that on display in this forum.
    Anyone familiar with Dr. John Ioannidis and his work?
    Here is a brief article from The Atlantic from 2010 that serves as good introductory material into his work: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/308269/
    Science is no better or worse than organized religions in the damage caused through the blind faith of its followers.

Leave a Reply