In both religion and science, some people are dishonest, exploitative, incompetent and exhibit other human failings. My concern here is with the bigger picture.

I have been a scientist for more than 40 years, having studied at Cambridge and Harvard. I researched and taught at Cambridge University, was a research fellow of the Royal Society, and have more than 80 publications in peer-reviewed journals. I am strongly pro-science. But I am more and more convinced that that the spirit of free inquiry is being repressed within the scientific community by fear-based conformity. Institutional science is being crippled by dogmas and taboos. Increasingly expensive research is yielding diminishing returns.

Bad religion is arrogant, self-righteous, dogmatic and intolerant. And so is bad science. But unlike religious fundamentalists, scientific fundamentalists do not realize that their opinions are based on faith. They think they know the truth. They believe that science has already solved the fundamental questions. The details still need working out, but in principle the answers are known.

Science at its best is an open-minded method of inquiry, not a belief system. But the “scientific worldview,” based on the materialist philosophy, is enormously prestigious because science has been so successful. Its achievements touch all our lives through technologies like computers, jet planes, cell phones, the Internet and modern medicine. Our intellectual world has been transformed through an immense expansion of scientific knowledge, down into the most microscopic particles of matter and out into the vastness of space, with hundreds of billions of galaxies in an ever-expanding universe.

Read more at Huffington Post.

Published On: January 18, 2013


  • Brock Haussamen says:

    A very helpful perspective. We shouldn’t be surprised that the materialist paradigm is bumping up against its limitations. And we shouldn’t be taken aback that many scientists have become as entrenched as other successful groups have been. But we are.

  • Roy Niles says:

    Rupert Sheldrake knows what’s wrong with today’s increasingly dogmatic scientific theorizing, but what he has in mind as corrective is not much better.  He has for example organisms evolving by passing on their memories, but while all organisms have a part in that sort of culture, they all have a myriad of internal strategies which in relation to changing circumstances, must evolve themselves according to the lessons growing in their cultural memories.  Sheldrake has a book to sell about this, but then so do I (the only one under my name on sale at Amazon and elsewhere).

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