TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Did Rupert Sheldrake make a factual error?

An editor at TED seems to suggest that Rupert Sheldrake made a factual error in his talk "The Science Delusion" when he said governments "ignore complimentary and alternative therapies." She writes:

"Sheldrake says that governments do not fund research into complementary medicine. Here are the US figures on NIH investment in complementary and alternative medicine 2009-2010: http://nccam.nih.gov/about/budget/institute-center.htm "


At the NIH link we find that the NIH invested $441,819, 000 in complimentary and alternative medicine in 2011.

But the total NIH budget is about $31,000,000,000 or $31 billion.


This means the NIH invested about 1.425% of its budget in complimentary and alternative medicine in 2011.

To what extent have other governments funded research in complimentary and alternative medicine?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Apr 8 2013: 3. The total amount of matter and energy is always the same (with the exception of the Big Bang, when all the matter and energy of the universe suddenly appeared).

    >>> Did someone say Higgs Boson? The (simplified) idea is this: energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but it can be transformed. Instead of zooming out into oblivion, elementary particles, which have no intrinsic mass, interact with the Higg’s field, causing them to slow and change their kinetic energy into mass-energy. There are many other models of the Universe that don't involve the Big Bang. Even Fred Hoyle, who coined the term on a radio broadcast, used the term pejoratively.

    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.

    >>> Science includes many principles at least *once thought to be laws of nature: Newton's law of gravitation, his three laws of motion, the ideal gas laws, Mendel's laws, the laws of supply and demand, and so on. Other regularities important to science were not thought to have this status. These include regularities that, unlike laws, were (or still are) thought by scientists to stand in need of explanation. These include the regularity of the ocean tides, the perihelion of Mercury's orbit, the photoelectric effect, that the universe is expanding, and so on.

    5. Nature is purposeless, and evolution has no goal or direction.

    >>> In science, teleology is a way of modelling a system's behaviour by referring to its end-state, or goal. Opinions divide over whether Darwin's theory of evolution provides a means of eliminating teleology from biology, or whether it provides a naturalistic account of the role of teleological notions in the science. Many contemporary biologists and philosophers of biology believe that teleological notions are a distinctive and ineliminable feature of biological explanations.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.